With the internet, there is no shortage of Biblical interpretations, especially when it comes to end times eschatology. We often cover it ourselves here, but there’s an important thing to remember. Prophecy is for recognition, not for interpretation.
The awakening that seems to be happening in recent years points to the idea that much of the Christian world is coming to an understanding that we really may be living in the prophesied end times from Revelation, Daniel, Ezekiel, the Gospels, and others. So many books of the Bible offer explanations of what will take place just prior to the returning of our Lord and Savior.
For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. – Matthew 24:5 (KJV)
This awakening is doing two important things, one good and one bad. The good part is that it’s making believers more cognizant and watchful while placing a sense of urgency on us to right our own paths and exposing others to the Word. The bad part is that it’s making it easier for false prophets, false teachers, and false religions to be able to mislead the masses towards an incorrect conclusion. We feel there’s a very good chance that the adversary will use Bible prophecy to paint an erroneous picture. In fact, we believe they will quote the Bible to justify many of their actions. That’s not written as such and we’ve considered the possibility that it may be impossible for them to do so, but our current leaning is that they will do it. We’re seeing at least a little of it today.
Interpreting Bible prophecies is very dangerous. It can take people down a dark path. It can make them draw conclusions that are false. We’ve seen time and time again when people will interpret Bible prophecies to mean certain events are going to happen at certain times. These false interpretations have led many astray and even cost people their souls. That’s not the intent of prophecy in the Bible. Its intention is so we will have a point of reference to identify events when they happen, not before.
2 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.
4 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.
1 Thessalonians 5:2-4 (KJV)
It is very easy to try to anticipate things such as the mark of the beast, the fall of New Babylon, the identity of the antichrist, and any number of prophecies. We’ve been caught doing it ourselves. Know this: if you study your scriptures and pray on them then when the prophecies start to come to pass, you will recognize them. Trying to define them ahead of time can take you in the wrong direction, especially with the rise of false prophets.
Some false prophets today are even telling people not to study prophecy. I think their intentions in some cases may be in the right place but they are giving the wrong message. It’s not that we shouldn’t study prophecy. We simply shouldn’t try to make prophecy fit into current events. It will be obvious. There will not be a symbolic abomination of desolation. There will not be a subtle appearance of Christ. There will not be a secret rapture.
Despise not prophesyings. – 1 Thessalonians 5:20 (KJV)
If you take the Bible at face value, the prophecies will come alive for you as they happen, letting you know that your faith is justified. The Bible gives no warning about the events in a way that allows us to prepare. The woes, the trials, the tribulation will be clear and we must be prepared spiritually rather than physically. As prophecies in the Old Testament pointed to Yeshua’s first coming, prophecies in the New and Old Testament point to His second. The old prophecies that came true vindicated the beliefs of the apostles and gave them the foundation they needed upon which to build the church. The new prophecies will, in our opinion, help to bring people to the faith before it’s too late. They will also help believers going through the tribulation to stay true through the roughest of times knowing that the Bible was correct and their perseverance is righteous unto the end.
Know prophecy. Read it. Pray about it. Share it with others. Don’t try to interpret it, especially when doing so is an attempt to attribute current or upcoming events. We are given signs and we know what is coming. It is fruitless to try to anticipate them before they happen, but it is necessary to recognize them when they do. That’s the whole point of them.