Shortly after I came to Christ, I was introduced to the "Left Behind" series. I found the series fascinating, but did my best to focus on the entire Bible, so as not to over-focus on end-time prophecy. I know that many people feel that a lot of Christians have some kind of morbid fascination with doom and destruction, but for me, prophecy inspires me to live right today. Here's a list I've borrowed that mentions good reasons for studying prophecy:
Why Study Prophecy?
Nearly 1/3rd of the Bible deals with prophecy…events which at the time they were written had not yet occurred.
A. Prophecy Comforts and Calms (1 Th 4:16-18)
1. (1Th 4:18) “Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”
B. Prophecy Converts (Acts 4:1-4)
(fulfilled prophecy provides proof of the Bible's authority and veracity to help convert the unbeliever)
C. Prophecy Cleanses (1 Jn 3:2-3)
(we are declared righteous but we will be righteous at the marriage supper)
D. Prophecy Reveals True Doctrine
(pre-millennial position is not a popular one, but it is Biblical…literal)
(over 300 OT prophecies told of the coming Messiah...all fulfilled in Jesus, but the Nation of Israel failed to recognize Him as their Messiah)
E. Prophecy Instructs (1 Jn 2:27)
If we look at the prophecies that have been fulfilled, we see that they were fulfilled literally... and THAT fact gives us reason to believe that those prophecies that are yet unfulfilled, will be fulfilled.
That said, I also can't help paying attention to the warning of Ray Comfort, reminding us that examining the details of possible end times scenarios (amongst Christians) does nothing to evengelize. In his words:
Prophecy is great, it's fun, it sparks the intellect and proves the bible is divine revelation BUT it's polishing the brass inside the lifeboat.Good point. However, I still think prophecy itself can be a powerful evangelizing tool. If and when someone can see that the Bible is astoundingly accurate at showing what's to come, it can make the person see God's omniscience, and spark an interest in learning more about what the one true God has to say on other matters.
Once again, I hold to no specific time that the end-times will occur, but this list certainly makes one wonder if we are "in season." Today, next week, 147ooo years from now? Only God knows, but Luke 21:36 tells us to : "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."
101 Last Days Prophecies