Is studying Bible prophecy really worth it? What’s in it for me? What are the practical benefits of studying prophecy? Jeff and Todd discuss myths and reasons Christians should explore Scripture’s prophecies.
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Jeff: I’m Jeff Kinley of the Prophecy Pros Podcast, along with Todd Hampson, and Todd, hey, why are we doing this? I mean, what’s the so-what of the Prophecy Pros Podcast?
Todd: Yeah, that’s what most people want to know, is what’s the practical relevance of it. So what? What’s the big deal? And that’s what we’re going to talk about with you for a few minutes today.
Jeff: Todd, what I found, and I know you see this too as you travel around, is that people avoid Bible prophecy for a lot of different reasons, and some of them you can really understand why they do it. And some of the reasons that I have encountered as I’ve traveled around is that people just don’t even know about Bible … They don’t even know it’s a thing.
Jeff: They don’t even know it’s in the Bible, it’s kind of like they don’t know that they don’t know. And so, part of what we want to do is to help kind of dispel some of those … Not ignorance, but just some of that lack of information that’s out there.
Jeff: The other thing is that a lot of people don’t really hear it taught in their churches, and so, for that reason, they’re not getting it when they go to church, and that type of thing. But I think too, is people have said to me, “Isn’t prophecy just for really learned people? Don’t you have to go to Seminary to understand prophecy?”
Jeff: So what I like to say is that prophecy is not just for PhDs or what I call PnTs, the Prophecy Nerd Types, you know? Those kind of people who just-
Todd: That would be us.
Jeff: That would be us a little bit, yeah, okay. We’re nerds, we’re geeks, we admit it. But that’s kind of the whole thing, it’s that it’s not just for those people, but it’s written for … The Bible’s written for the average person, the average Christian. But I think a lot of times too, people avoid Bible prophecies because, I mean, it does require a little bit of study.
Jeff: Think about it, they call it bible study for a reason. But to understand really anything in depth in the Bible, you have to do a little bit of research, a little bit of study, you have to get into the Scripture a little bit more … And it’s not HTML code. You’re not writing this hidden Hammurabi’s code kind of thing from the Egyptians or whatever.
Jeff: But I think too, people have said to me, “Jeff, Revelation’s scary to me. I don’t want to face that.” Maybe they’ve seen apocalyptic movies and that kind of stuff, which we’re going to a whole episode, by the way, on just Hollywood’s obsession-
Jeff: I can’t wait to talk about that with you. But there are a lot of difficult truths, obviously, when you face the End Times and that type of thing. But God didn’t write prophecy to scare us, He wrote is to comfort us, to let us know that He’s in charge, He’s got a plan, He’s got this thing. But many other reasons why people don’t study Bible prophecy, another thing too, is that people, “Well, there’s some conflicting views on Bible prophecy.”
Jeff: We’re going to talk about those views, and one of the things that I’m looking forward to, Todd, is to lay out some of the different interpretations that people have on the End Times, and talk about some strengths of different views, but to let people really make up their own minds, and study the Scripture for yourself.
Jeff: And a couple of other quick reasons is that I think people seeing … seeing that prophecy is sort of foggy, it’s far-off, it’s Sci-fi, and I like to say it’s sort of a mishmash of Interstellar, The Book of Eli, Mad Max, and The Walking Dead. It’s like all of those kind of put together, whoa. It’s a little bit intense there.
Todd: That’s right.
Jeff: But again, it’s something that we can handle. And I think finally, the thing that people really want to know more than anything else is, so what? What difference does it make to my life?
Jeff: Because in the end, we’re people on this earth, we’re Christians, we’re following Jesus. We want to live for God. So how does prophecy help me live better for God? And that’s one of the payoffs that we really want to present with the Prophecy Pros Podcast.
Todd: Absolutely man, beautifully put. I mean, it’s not a pie in the sky, we’re up in our ivory tower just studying random obscure bits of Scripture. And I think for our generation, or for most Christians that I talk to, their connotation of Bible prophecy is a dude on the corner with a sandwich board and a bullhorn screaming at you that the end is coming.
Todd: And like you said, there’s different views, there’s fights and arguments, and all this stuff muddies the waters a little bit. And I believe, and we talked about this a little bit in Episode One, that the enemy’s done a great job of getting … of muddying the water and getting people’s eyes off of Scripture.
Todd: And like you said, it does take study, but it’s a study that’s worth doing. It’s interesting to me that the Bible, like a child can understand salvation. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you’ll be saved.” Most of my kids came to the Lord when they were really young. First grade, second grade, that kind of thing.
Todd: But when it comes to deeper things of theology, or especially eschatology in the End Times and Bible prophecy, like you said, you got to roll your sleeves up a little bit. But it’s an amazing journey, and that’s what we’re trying to show people, is it’s not a boring, dry study. It is something that is extremely relevant to how you live day-to-day.
Todd: It impacts how you feel, it impacts how you think, it impacts how you look at the world. It impacts what you live for. It really gets your mind off of the things of the world, and onto Christ. And we also talked in Episode One about how Paul introduced the whole concept of the Second Coming to early believers, as part of their Believers 101 class.
Todd: But also, First and Second Testaments and he talked a lot about basically working hard while you’re here, and being a witness every which way you can, but at the same, anticipating and looking forward to the Lord’s return. And we’ve kind of lost that art. We’re so focused on things today and what we’re dealing with on a day-to-day basis, that we’re forgetting to look for the Lord.
Todd: And what you and I want to show in this podcast today is that there are practical, really so what things that have to do with studying Bible prophecy, things that affect us in a very real way. What are one or two of the key ways you see a study of Bible prophecy impacting us in a practical way?
Jeff: Well, I find it very interesting, Todd, that in Revelation, the last book of the Bible, which is the Paul book about prophecy, that he begins the whole book, in Verse 3, he says, “Blessed are those who hear these words and who heed them.” And in fact, that’s the only book in the entire Bible that promises a specific blessing to people who engage the words of God in this thing.
Jeff: Of course, the word of God gives us blessings all over, but God wanted us to do that. He wants us to get into the words of the prophecy, and so, when we do that, there’s a practical benefit that comes to us from doing that, and I think one of them is, it lets us know what’s going to happen in the world. That’s kind of like, if you know something is going to happen, you can prepare for it, or you can avoid it, or whatever.
Jeff: And I think one of the things that God does with prophecy is that He kind of lays the map out. In fact, think about this Todd, God did that in the Old Testament, when He laid out the map for the Messiah and all the prophecies concerning Jesus’ First Coming, they knew what to expect. And of course, they were … A lot of them missed it, because they were misinterpreting or focusing on the wrong things.
Jeff: But that’s why, all the more reason why we should make sure that we know what God says about the future, so that we, when things come into our world, we can go, “Hey, how does that jive with Scripture? How does that mix up with that?”
Todd: Yeah, it gives you a blueprint. I mean, it really does give you kind of a roadmap of what to expect, so that when you see things happening in the world, and we’ll talk about some very specific things in future podcasts, but when you see things happening in the world, you can see how it’s lining up with Bible prophecy. And I love that you pointed out Revelations 1:3, or Revelation 1:3. It’s the only promise, like you said, in Scripture, that, “If you read this, you will be blessed.”
Todd: And it’s the one book that Satan seems to be able to get people’s eyes off of. And also, just naturally as humans, we have an innate need to understand our origins and where we’re going, and Genesis and Revelation give us the answer to both of those things. I mean, if you knew anybody who was adopted, a child, or anything like that, adopted children still want to know about their natural roots.
Todd: “Where did I come from?” They want to know who their natural parents were and all that kind of stuff. And just like that, we want to know where we came from, so there’s a direct connection between Genesis and Revelation, and there’s a thread of prophecy that connects those two.
Todd: And one thing we should point out too that just hit me is that the Bible is the only book that has fulfilled Bible prophecy as a proof for-
Todd: And that claims to be the word of God. The Quran doesn’t claim to be the word of God, no Hindu or Buddhist writing claims to be the word of God, it’s just philosophy, or in the case of Islam, they say it’s the words of a prophet, and then they have some teaching materials. But Scripture is alone in any book of the world that claims to be the word of God, and backs it up with very specific, 100% fulfillment track record of fulfilled Bible prophecy, so that should get everyone’s attention.
Todd: And I found there are multiple practical ways that Bible prophecy impacts our lives. The three that stand out to me the most, that are kind of … There’s several within these three, but discipleship, Evangelism, and developing a biblical worldview.
Todd: Personally, I have grown probably more than any other time in my life from studying Bible prophecy, because when you get God’s word into you, you can’t help but change. And also, when you sense the relevance of God’s word and the fact that the Lord is returning at some point, it gives us a sense of urgency and a sense of, “I want to live with more purity, I want to live with more purpose and passion and intensity, and I want to make sure I’m doing what God’s called me to do. I don’t want to waste any time.”
Todd: And then, on the Evangelism side, the more we get our mind off of the world and onto the fact that the Lord’s returning at some point, and that all this is heading somewhere, it lights a fire under us to evangelize, to tell other people about Jesus. We want them to be with us, and it lights a fire there, and then developing a biblical worldview.
Todd: When you study Bible prophecy, it touches on all aspects of Scripture. We talked about that a little bit in the last episode, but it really gives you a biblical worldview. So when you see crazy stuff going on in the news, and screaming talking heads at each other, you can make sense of it. “Okay, this is what’s going on here.” There’s a biblical worldview that we can look, it’s a grid we can look at the world with, that makes sense of a lot of things and gives us a lot of clarity.
Jeff: Yeah, absolutely. And you talked about just the Bible’s accuracy through prophecy, I think prophecy is an incredible apologetic for our time today, because people want to know real answers. They want to know, “Give me something solid, don’t just tell me to have faith. Give me something solid.” And that’s what the Bible does.
Jeff: If we look at all the prophecies, I mean, the over 300 prophecies fulfilled in Jesus, from just His messianic prophecies and the chances of that happening is like one in 48 …
Jeff: A hundred thousand degrees. It’s like so incredibly ridiculous that it’s an unmistakable proof that He is the Son of God. Well, Bible prophecy is just like that too, and every single prophecy about Christ’s First Coming was fulfilled literally and exactly the way God said it would.
Jeff: And I think of it this way, I kind of think in terms of sports or whatever. It’s like if you had a guy who was batting 1,000, like every time he got at the plate, he got a hit, get a home run, so like … That guy’s getting drafted, okay?
Todd: That’s right.
Jeff: Or some guy who just nails three-pointers from La La Land.
Jeff: It’s like, “Dude, you’re going to play NBA, guarantee, all the time.” So, that’s the way the Bible is, it has proved itself time and time again from an archeological standpoint, from a prophetic standpoint, from a literary standpoint. I mean, the Scripture stands. So now, here we are, in the days in which we live, with all these prophecies about what’s going to happen.
Jeff: And some of them have already happened in our age, some of them are in the process of coming together. We’re going to talk about all those prophecies on this podcast. But what are some of the prophecies that we see coming together? So those are the kind of things that I think even a skeptic has to go …
Jeff: “I don’t know that I believe yet, but that’s very interesting.”
Jeff: That is like these nine prophecies have all come true, and there’s a 10th one. So why should I not believe the 10th one’s going to happen? So those are some of the things that we want to point out in terms of the benefits. And I have to say one more thing too, is that for someone who loves God and loves Jesus and loves His word, engaging in prophecy just really makes you delight more in the Bible.
Jeff: I tell you, I have underlined so much of my Bible, and I always have done that, but it’s just the idea of, “Man, God, your word is just, I mean, it’s jumping off the page.” I mean, it’s just in full HD, 4K, everything, because of what we’re seeing happening in our world right now. So there are tons and tons of more benefits to Bible prophecy, those are just some of them off the top of our heads.
Jeff: And that’s probably what we want more than anything else for this podcast, is for people to say, “Man, you’ve impacted me in such a way that I feel like I can know, and I can live.” And we say that, “Learn it, live it.” Right?
Todd: That’s right. Learn it, live it. And you’re exactly right. I mean, God wants us to love His word in that way, and be impacted in that way. In one of my books, I use the analogy of a couple of parents who’re about to have a baby and somebody gives them a baby book, and in the baby book is every key detail of that baby’s life from birth to college, all the key milestones, the high points, the low points.
Todd: And at first, they just think it’s kind of a gag gift, but after the first couple years and every single thing that they said was going to happen to that baby in the first two years happens, it starts to get their attention. Then, by the time they get to high school and college, and they’re like, “Okay, he’s going to college exactly where they said,” and all these details, it starts to get your attention, it starts to really … You start to respect it and understand it more.
Todd: and that’s another thing we really want to challenge people to do, like you said, it’s just to know that fulfilled Bible prophecy should be such an attention-getter, even if someone’s … And I pray that there are people listening to this podcast who don’t know the Lord, who think that the Bible’s a book of fairy tales. Please, test it for yourself.
Todd: Look at some of these prophecies, like Jeff said, over 300 of just the first birth of Christ, First Coming. There’s even things on our day, Israel becoming a nation again in 1948, every Old Testament prophet, except for Jonah, predicted that Israel would become a nation again in the last days, in the End Times, so … And we’ll talk about that a lot as time goes on, but there are several things like that, kingdoms that Daniel talked about, and four successive kingdoms that Daniel predicted before they happened that came to pass exactly like they did, and so many other things.
Todd: In other words, it’s not just like self-fulfilling prophecies or prophecies that were fulfilled a year later. These are, we’re talking 15, 2,000, 2600 years later, very specific, very detailed prophecies being fulfilled. And again, that shouldn’t give us a dry passion to read the Word, but as we get into it, like you said, you just bump into hidden gems, and you …
Todd: The Bible says that God’s word is alive and active. It does something to us when we engage with it, so the more we engage with it, the better.
Jeff: Amen. And those kind of questions that we’ve just kind of brought up right now, there are going to be questions that our listeners will want answers to. And one of the ways that they can get those answers is to contact us. So how do people contact us and ask us questions about Bible prophecy?
Todd: Yes. We definitely want to hear from you, because we don’t want to just shoot in the dark. We think we know what questions you might have, but we want to know for sure, so we see this as a conversation, and we invite you to submit your questions. And you can find out all the information you need about us on prophecyprospodcast.com. And there, you can post questions, you can find information about Jeff’s ministry, my ministry, anything you’d want to know about this podcast and what we do.
Jeff: And I’d say one more thing. We’re taking this Prophecy Pros Podcast thing on the road, man.
Jeff: Yeah. So we’re coming to a town near you, hopefully, doing what we call the Daniel Project. And just in a nutshell, Todd, what is the Daniel Project, and what do we hope to accomplish with people?
Todd: So the Daniel Project is kind of a one-day event geared towards Millennials and Gen Z, but of course, everybody’s welcome, but we’re trying to really talk about Bible prophecy in a way that helps them know how to live in a post-Christian culture, just like Daniel did. He lived in a pagan culture, but he still lived for the Lord, and also, there’s a ton of Bible prophecy in the Book of Daniel.
Todd: So we’re going to talk about practical ways to live in today’s world, and study Bible prophecy in a way that makes it relevant and real to you.
Jeff: Absolutely. Daniel did … He lived in some challenging times, right? And so are we. We’re in some really challenging times, much like Daniel, much like the early Church, and a lot of Christians are like, “Man, I’m being swept out to sea. What’s going on here? So how do I do it?” Daniel Project is going to do that, and in fact, we’re getting ready to do that with about 600 high school students here soon.
Jeff: And so, this is going to kind of be our test market. It’s going to be exciting to see what happens, but yeah, the Daniel Project, you can get all the information on the podcast’s website.
Todd: Yeah, so stay tuned, and go to prophecyprospodcast.com for everything about us.
Todd: Hey, thank you so much for listening. We’re really excited you found us. Make sure to subscribe if you have not done so already, and if you liked what you heard, please let us know by leaving a review, that does us a huge favor, and helps us out a lot. For more resources, or to ask questions or find more about our ministries, go to prophecyprospodcast.com. And a major thank you, major shout-out to Harvest House Publishers for helping us with this podcast.