The Bible says all Scripture is useful for instruction and for equipping believers for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17). That includes Bible prophecy, which is often overlooked as an essential part of every believer’s spiritual knowledge and growth.
Nearly 28 percent of God’s Word is prophetic in nature, and there is much we can learn from those passages about the character and attributes of God the Father and God the Son. Prophecy also instructs us about how we are to live today and the wonderful future we have waiting for us in heaven and eternity. Bible prophecy is rich with opportunities for us to grow a stronger and deeper faith!
Here are eight significant ways we benefit from studying Bible prophecy:
1. Bible Prophecy Teaches Us We Can Trust God
Up to today, every prophecy that is supposed to have been fulfilled has come to pass with 100 percent accuracy. God has never been wrong. Not only does He know the future, but He controls the future.
As God says in Isaiah 46:10, “I made known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come.” His perfect track record of fulfilling past prophecies means we can have total confidence that all future prophecies will happen exactly as predicted. As Job correctly observed, God “can do all things…no purpose of [His] can be thwarted” (Job 42:2).
Because God is totally sovereign and nothing can prevent His plans from coming to pass, He is able to keep every promise He makes. That means we can trust Him completely. “Not one word has failed of all his good promise” (1 Kings 8:56).
2. Bible Prophecy Teaches God Can Use Negative Events for Our Good
The supreme example of God being able to overrule a bad situation and redeem it for our good is when Adam and Eve fell into sin in the Garden of Eden. In the very same moment that God pronounced how Adam and Eve would suffer because of their rebellion, He promised a Savior who would be born of a woman, defeat Satan, and make salvation available to mankind (Genesis 3:15).
We live in a fallen world filled with sin, evil, and darkness. All through the Bible, there are prophecies that point to a time when Christ will make all things right. We will live in an eternity of perfect bliss, peace, and joy. “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Revelation 21:4).
Bible prophecy confirms for us that “in all things God works for the good of those who love him” (Romans 8:28).
3. Bible Prophecy Teaches Us Patience
When the Old Testament prophets proclaimed the coming of Messiah and salvation, they “searched and inquired carefully, inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories” (1 Peter 1:10-11). This tells us they were eager to understand the details about God’s promised deliverance and hope! They wanted to know who this Savior was and when He would come. Verse 12 goes on to tell us even the angels longed to know these things. The New Testament Greek word translated “long” reveals they were curious with a strong passion! And they had to patiently wait a long time—centuries, and even millennia, to see the fulfillment of all the prophecies about Christ’s first coming.
This eagerness is easy to understand. Ever since the fall, God’s people have longed to break free from the ravages of sin. Romans 8:20-23 tells us all of creation is groaning to be “set free from its bondage to corruption…and not only the creation, but we ourselves…groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.”
As eager as we are to get to heaven and eternity, we know that “suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope” (Romans 5:3-4). And as Paul said in 2 Corinthians 4:17, our “light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.”
Through our earthly pain and suffering, we are learning patience. Though today’s burdens may seem unbearable at times, they are temporary. Soon we will be in glory—forever!
4. Bible Prophecy Teaches Us to Use Our Days Wisely
Ephesians 5:15-17 says, “Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.”
A key part of “making the most of every opportunity” is living with the awareness that time is short. Bible prophecy provides clues that enable us to recognize we are drawing closer to the Lord’s return. As we learn how to “interpret the signs of the times” (Matthew 16:3), we will know how to live wisely.
5. Bible Prophecy Motivates Us to Personal Purity
The apostle John wrote that the hope of Christ’s return should motivate us toward holiness: “Everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure” (1 John 3:3). As we live in the knowledge that Christ could come at any moment, we are prompted to live holy so that we will not be ashamed when we are called to “meet the Lord in the air” (1 Thessalonians 4:17).
Peter wrote, “As you look forward to the day of God…make every effort to be found spotless, blameless, and at peace with him” (2 Peter 3:12, 14).
Does the possibility that Christ could rapture us at any time spur you to resist temptation and say no to sin? As we consider all that Christ has done for us, we should live with a gratefulness that inspires us to stay pure so that Christ can say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
6. Bible Prophecy Spurs Us to Share the Gospel
Every time we read about the coming day of judgment, we are reminded that time is running out for unbelievers. Eventually, there will come a point of no return.
As 2 Corinthians 6:2 says, “Now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.” Out of love for the lost, we ought to eagerly use whatever opportunities we have to share the life-saving gospel.
In the days of Noah, once the doors to the ark were shut, no one could escape God’s judgment. And when Christ returns, it will be too late for unbelievers to change their minds. Jesus said, “As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work” (John 9:4).
7. Bible Prophecy Gives Us Hope in a Hopeless World
All through the Old Testament, when the people of Israel faced dark times, God would inform them—through prophecies—that He would deliver them from their predicaments. For example, in Jeremiah 25:11, God warned His people that because of their rebellion, they would be taken into captivity for 70 years.
The fact Jeremiah had prophesied that the captivity would end after 70 years gave the Jewish people hope. In fact, when the 70 years was about to end, the prophet Daniel turned to God in prayer and repentance, in anticipation that the people would soon go free again (Daniel 9:3).
Likewise, as we face trials and tribulations in today’s world, the prophecies of Christ’s return and our future in heaven give us hope. Paul specifically described the promise of our Lord’s glorious appearing as “the blessed hope” (Titus 2:13).
8. Bible Prophecy Teaches Us to Live with an Eternal Perspective
As we read what Scripture says about the future, our minds become focused on the things of heaven and eternity. That is exactly what God desires of us. In Colossians 3:1-2, we read, “Seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.”
The things of this world will not last. Jesus urged us to store up our treasures in heaven, not on earth (Matthew 6:19-20). Reading Bible prophecy is a wonderful way to teach ourselves to live with an eternal perspective—one that sets our minds on things above.