Studying Prophecy

Prophecy Basics

Key Terms

Prophecy Views in Church History

Herb’s Commentaries

Reasons People Don’t Study End-Time Prophecy

Although end-time prophecy makes up a good chunk of the Bible, many Christians admit they don’t know much about it. There are a number of reasons they give for this. Here are five.

  • It’s too hard to understand. It’s true that end-time prophecy is a difficult subject. Revelation — with its many strange symbols — is one of the most difficult books of the Bible to interpret. Yet, just because it’s hard to understand doesn’t mean it should be ignored. If anything, that’s a reason it should be studied more carefully. Like other important things in life, understanding prophecy takes time and effort. God knew Revelation was a difficult book; perhaps that’s why He started and ended it with the promise of a special blessing to those who study it (Revelation 1:3, 22:7).
  • It’s not important. Many Christians think it’s not important to know the details of the end times since we know that, in the end, God wins. Yet, the details are important. Why? For starters, God gave us the details in His Word. So, He must have wanted us to know them. To ignore end-times prophecy is to ignore a significant portion of the Bible. For more reasons why the details matter, see Why Study End-Times Prophecy?.
  • There are too many different interpretations. Yes, there are many different interpretations of the prophecies. Yet, just because there are many ways to interpret them doesn’t mean Christians should ignore them. After all, there are many ways to interpret many passages in the Bible, but that doesn’t mean we should ignore them. Through sound principles of biblical interpretation and the guidance of the Holy Spirit, God will lead us to truth if we persistently and humbly seek it (Matthew 7:7-11).
  • Too many Christians have been wrong in the past. Yes, it’s true that many end-times speculations have failed. But failed speculations don’t mean we should stop paying attention to the prophecies because one day they will be fulfilled. And Jesus commanded us to watch for their fulfillments (Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 21). Our faith shouldn’t be placed in the speculations, but in what God’s Word says about the prophecies.
  • It’s more important to focus on evangelism than studying prophecy. Evangelism and study of the end times are not sworn enemies. In fact, they go hand in hand. Showing people Bible prophecies that have already been fulfilled is a powerful witnessing tool. Also, we’re not just commanded to share the gospel with people, but also to make disciples of them, teaching them everything Jesus taught (Matthew 28:19-20). And a portion of his teachings addressed the end times, including his famous Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24-25, Mark 13, Luke 21).