There is a strong tendency to not preach from Bible prophecy today. It is rare to hear a sermon series from the book of Revelation. It is even rarer to hear a series from one of the Old Testament prophets (Isaiah – Malachi). The prophets are by far the most neglected portion of the entire Bible.
I think there are a few reasons for this. First, preachers want to avoid sensationalism. They don’t want to get swept up in rapture mania and preach an incorrect view of the end times that constantly needs updating. Second, they don’t want to do the hard work of understanding and applying these unfamiliar portions of Scripture.
This avoidance of the prophets has produced serious character flaws in the church. One is our theological deficiency. Many Christians’ faith is largely uninformed by the Bible. Another is our aversion to justice. Few first-world Christians make an effort to minister to the poor and oppressed.
Bible prophecy adds richness and depth to our theology. It also inspires us to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves. To lead our churches to maturity, we must preach from Bible prophecy.
Deepening our Theology
Bible prophecy informs many fields of theology. Specifically, it contributes to:
Eschatology – “study of the end times”
The book of Revelation concerns the predicament of the church between Jesus’ first and second comings. It inspires us to remain faithful as we await His return. Its primary sources are Ezekiel and Daniel, both major prophets.
Ecclesiology – “study of the church”
The early church understood itself as the fulfillment of prophecy. James and Paul quote from minor prophets (Amos, Hosea) to show that God is rebuilding David’s kingdom and reuniting Israel and Judah by including Gentiles among His people (Acts 15:16-18; Romans 9:25-26).
Christology – “study of Christ”
The circumstances surrounding Jesus’ death happen so “that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled” (Matthew 26:56; Isaiah 53, Psalm 22). God raises Him from the dead to fulfill His promise to David (Acts 2:30; 2 Samuel 7).
Soteriology – “study of salvation”
Hebrews explains that Jesus is our high priest who offered Himself as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. It describes our salvation using imagery and terminology taken directly from Leviticus.
Pneumatology – “study of the Holy Spirit”
Peter notes the fulfillment of God’s promise to “pour out [His] Spirit on all people” on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:17; Joel 2:28). Paul says He “works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose,” in fulfillment of His promise in Ezekiel 36 (Philippians 2:13).
Bible prophecy shaped how the early Christians viewed themselves, their salvation, and the times in which they lived. It is time for it to resuscitate our theology as well.
Advocating for Justice
The minor prophets were passionate about justice. Amos thunders, “Hate evil, love good; maintain justice in the courts” (Amos 5:15). He cries out, “Let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!” (Amos 5:24)
Micah declares, “I am filled with power, with the Spirit of the LORD, and with justice and might” (Micah 3:8). He asks, “And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8)
The early church was passionate about justice as well. That is why “they shared everything they had” until “there were no needy persons among them” (Acts 4:32, 34). Paul says the apostles asked him to “continue to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do” (Galatians 2:10).
The first-world church bickers over matters of preference and luxury. All the while, believers in other countries suffer horrific persecution. And countless victims are held captive by oppression and poverty. It is time for Bible prophecy to galvanize us into action on behalf of others.
How has Bible prophecy strengthened your relationship with God? Share your thoughts with a comment below!
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