Why Prophecy?

Island Called Patmos, Revelation 1:9
The island called Patmos is where the last book of the Bible was written in the late first century (see Revelation 1:9).

COGwriter

Should you pay attention to prophecy?  Some wonder about that.  Some consider that most prophecy is already fulfilled, which is a wrong and dangerous position to take (see The Dangerous Rise of Preterists).

Between 1/5th and 1/3rd of the Bible is prophetic. Since, "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God'" (Luke 4:4), knowing the prophetic word is important. All scripture, including prophecy, is important:

16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

If you do not understand relevant prophecy, you cannot "be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work."

Yet, most discount or misunderstand prophecy.

Actually, it should be noted that, nearly all the COG groups have significant prophetic misunderstandings. 

The Sardis group CG7-Denver, for example, is preterist and thus believes many events that are prophesied for the future are already past, hence Jesus warned them “you will not know what hour I will come upon you” (Revelation 3:3).

Nearly all the rest of the COG groups are Laodicean and hold to prophetic misunderstandings, that unless they repent as Jesus tells them to (Revelation 3:14-22), they will not possibly know when the Great Tribulation will be (details are in the article The Laodicean Church Era).

And then there are a variety of wrong prophetic position of Protestants and Catholics.

Since many are wrong, is paying attention to prophecy and current events important?

Certainly.

Notice what God had Amos record:

7 Surely the Lord God does nothing,
Unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets.
8 A lion has roared!
Who will not fear?
The Lord God has spoken!
Who can but prophesy? (Amos 3:7-8)

3 Woe to you who put far off the day of doom ...
6 Who drink wine from bowls,
And anoint yourselves with the best ointments,
But are not grieved for the affliction of Joseph.
7 Therefore they shall now go captive as the first of the captives,
And those who recline at banquets shall be removed. (Amos 6:3, 6-7)

Prophets and prophecy are important (see also How To Determine If Someone is a True Prophet of God). Notice that those who DO NOT seem the care about what is going on in the lands of Joseph's descendants Manasseh and Ephraim (the USA and its British-descended allies) will be taken into captivity (see also Will the Anglo-Saxon Nations be Divided and Have People Taken as Slaves?).

Many in various COGs do not take prophecy seriously enough. And nearly all groups have major prophetic errors (some details are in the articles The Laodicean Church Era and The Sardis Church era).

Some fail to realize that in the first recorded sermon, the Apostle Peter tied current events in with biblical prophecy (Acts 2:14-40).  Partially because people were aware of the events that Peter discussed, many paid attention and thousands were converted (Acts 2:41).

Throughout the New Testament, Christian leaders did try to tie events to prophecy and other parts of the Bible to known events better reach their audiences (e.g. Acts 17:22-31).

The first message that it is recorded that Jesus preached (the gospel of the kingdom in Mark 1:14) and the last message Jesus gave (the Book of Revelation) were prophetic.  Various messages that He gave (e.g. Matthew 24, Luke 21) were tied to upcoming world events.

Does this mean that prophecy is the most important characteristic of the true Church?

No, love is (cf. 1 Corinthians 13:1,8).

Yet, the pursuit of love is also tied in with prophecy in the Bible (1 Corinthians 14:1). Those who truly have the love of the truth, will be spared from some prophesied events according to 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12.

Today, massive societal changes are taking place. Many of them are prophesied in the Bible. Even though between perhaps one-quarter to one-third of the entire Bible is prophetic, most simply do not understand that truth about various key prophecies in the Bible that Jesus urged His followers in the end to understand (e.g. Matthew 24:15).

The Bible is clear that signs and lying wonders will deceive the masses of humanity:

9 The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, 10 and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, 12 that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12)

Those who are not real Christians will be deceived. Yet the more faithful will be spiritually strong around this time and give a witness:

32 Those who do wickedly against the covenant he shall corrupt with flattery; but the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits. 33 And those of the people who understand shall instruct many; yet for many days they shall fall by sword and flame, by captivity and plundering. (Daniel 11:32-33)

Those who are Philadelphian Christians are subject to protection during the time of the Great Tribulation (Revelation 3:7-10) which begins a few verses later. But not all Christians (like the Laodiceans and those who remain of Sardis) will be protected:

25 ... Then the saints shall be given into his hand For a time and times and half a time. (Daniel 7:25)

14 But the woman was given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent. 15 So the serpent spewed water out of his mouth like a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away by the flood. 16 But the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed up the flood which the dragon had spewed out of his mouth. 17 And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. (Revelation 12:14-17)

The "testimony of Jesus is the spirit of PROPHECY" and true Christians have that:

1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants — things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John, 2 who bore witness to the word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, to all things that he saw. 3 Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near. (Revelation 1:1-3)

9 Then he said to me, "Write: 'Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!'" And he said to me, "These are the true sayings of God." 10 And I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, "See that you do not do that! I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren who have the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy." (Revelation 19:9-10)

People who discount prophecy are not understanding the Bible.

Jesus wanted His followers to pay attention to when He would return. Notice also the following:

54 Then He also said to the multitudes, “Whenever you see a cloud rising out of the west, immediately you say, ‘A shower is coming’; and so it is. 55 And when you see the south wind blow, you say, ‘There will be hot weather’; and there is. 56 Hypocrites! You can discern the face of the sky and of the earth, but how is it you do not discern this time? (Luke 12:54-56)

Various Jews knew that the Messiah was expected about the time that Jesus was on earth. Yet, the vast majority failed to properly recognize Him.

Well, we are in the time that Jesus called the beginning of sorrows (Matthew 24:4-8). More sorrows and troubles are ahead, many world events are aligning with properly understood biblical prophecy, and true believers should be willing to watch and discern the signs of this time.

Some, despite claiming to believe the Bible, either discount or overlook prophecy. But that is not supposed to be the case for true Christians:

29 “Look at the fig tree, and all the trees. 30 When they are already budding, you see and know for yourselves that summer is now near. 31 So you also, when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near. 32 Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all things take place. 33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.

34 “But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. 35 For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. 36 Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.” (Luke 21:29-36)

Notice that Jesus taught that His followers will always to pay attention to events and prophecies related to His return. Jesus repeatedly told His followers to watch for world events that would fulfill prophecy in other scriptures such as Matthew 24:42, 25:13; Mark 13:9,33,34,35,37, and Revelation 3:3. Jesus did expect His followers to watch. 

But scripture is clear that not all real Christians will be protected (Revelation 12:17), thus those who will not pay proper attention to prophecy will not realizing what is happening until it is too late.

Jesus used prophecy to keep His followers vigilant–He wanted them to be ‘hot’ and not lukewarm (Revelation 3:14-22).

Jesus also taught that the Holy Spirit, “the Spirit of truth,” would assist the faithful understanding all truth, including prophetic ones:

12 I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 However, when …the Spirit of truth, has come, {it} will guide you into all truth; …will tell you things to come. (John 16:12-13)

Having the Holy Spirit and properly being led by the Holy Spirit helps us understand prophecy.

The Bible also teaches:

19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not despise prophecies. (1 Thessalonians 5:19-20)

Yet many do not seem to believe that God’s Spirit is currently working prophetically now. Many also tend to despise biblical prophecies as well as, often, their proper explanation(s).

While some discount the importance of prophecy, notice what the Apostle Paul taught:

11 And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. 12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. 13 Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts. (Romans 13:11-14)

Are we not a lot closer to the end now than when Paul wrote that?  Paul also taught that true Christians were not to be like others who would not know near when Jesus would return (1 Thessalonians 5:4).

The Apostle Peter wrote:

11 Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, 12 looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? 13 Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. (2 Peter 3:11-13)

Properly paying attention to prophetic events helps one to be ready for Jesus (Luke 21:36; Matthew 24). Additionally, the reality of prophecy and world events is also intended to be a reflective exercise to get Christians to examine their lives enough to change as they should (cf. Romans 13:11-14; 2 Peter 3:10-13).

Another reason to pay attention to prophecy and events is so that you will not be carried away with false prophetic and other teachings.  That is also part of the reason that there is a ministry, including prophets:

11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head — Christ —  16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.  (Ephesians 4:11-16)

Throughout the years, various ones have claimed that the end was sooner that it was.  One of most famous in the 21st century were the pronouncements of the now deceased Harold Camping.  But those who properly understood current events in the light on biblical prophecy could easily prove he was in error (for details, see Harold Camping’s Teachings About the End of the World Do Not Agree with the Bible).

There are others as well.

But no matter what anyone says, the world will not end this year, or next year, or even the year after.

How can I be sure?

Well, for one reason, the Apostle Peter wrote:

19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed (2 Peter 1:19, KJV).

This is the case with the Continuing Church of God.  (Details about what biblical signs to watch for and WHY the end cannot happen until then, etc. are in the article When Will the Great Tribulation Begin?)

Part of the reason to watch events and understand Bible prophecy is so that we will not affected by those who promote false doctrines or claim that the end can come before the Bible allows it (cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:2; Ephesians 4:14).

Prophecy also assures us that God is in charge and that His will will be done. The faithful do not have to fear what humans can say or do. Notice what Jesus said in one of the most reassuring of the prophecies:

32 Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom (Luke 12:32, NKJV).

The Bible is clear that certain events need to occur before the end comes. And that includes us all growing in “grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18, NKJV).

Part of that knowledge is prophetic. And part of that biblical knowledge tells us that the world will not end before the events that the Bible shows must first come to pass.

Why prophecy?

To keep us vigilant physically and spiritually, and also so we will not be swayed by others who do not have sufficient love of the truth.

To know about what some of those events are, check out the article When Will the Great Tribulation Begin?

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Thiel B. Why Prophecy? http://www.cogwriter.com/why-prophecy.htm (c) COGwriter 2016/2017 0323