In my opinion, the more you study the bible, including prophecy, the more you want to apply it. Why study prophecy? Why seek to be watchful and respect the signs? Aside from the fact that we are commanded to? (Mark 13:37).
I study prophecy because -
--it is part of the bible, God's revelation of Himself through holy inspired word
--it is commanded (See above)
--it instills in me an urgency to live righteously and to witness. We don't study just for the information and go our way. It has to affect our Christian walk, just as any scripture does.
--It comforts me to think of these promises being fulfilled:
"In the last days the mountain of the Lord’s temple will be established as chief among the mountains; it will be raised above the hills, and peoples will stream to it. Many nations will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.” The law will go out from Zion, the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. (Micah 4:1-2)
If you are driving in a fogbank, you get disoriented. You slow down. You look carefully. You are on high alert. You see a fogline at the edge and you know how far to go.
When in the fog you look for distinct landmarks, but the fog may be so heavy you don't see them unless they are large or unless they are close. Eventually you start to emerge from the fogbank and you can see more clearly, landmarks near and far.
It is like these days, we are emerging from the fogbank. The prophetic unclarity is lifting. And even this is a prophetic fulfillment:
"But you, Daniel, shut up the words and seal the book, until the time of the end. Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.” (Daniel 12:4).
I'm convinced that the last 5 years' sudden burst of interest in, understanding of and controversy about prophecy is that it is a progressive fulfillment of the Daniel verse above.
The knowledge that is increasing is not just worldly knowledge like what makes the sun work and how to beat cancer. It is also knowledge of the prophecies, and we are gaining that knowledge because it is the time of the end, and the fogbank is lifting. Christians see the signs, and non-Christians feel something is about to happen.
I liken myself and other watchmen to the fogline: we inhabit the edge, and sound the warning about going too far. 'Your doctrine is drifting!' we say. We do this because we are protectors of the truth, contending for the faith. We live on the boundary and when someone is about to wander off we sound the alarm, and their course is hopefully corrected... While everyone is coming and going and using their gifts in church, we keep watch for potential collisions.
I feel an ever burdened weight to speak and to write. Look at the following sermon excerpt regarding the burden Jude felt:
"Like Paul, who wrote to the Corinthians, “For necessity is laid upon me; yes, woe is me if I do not preach the gospel” (1 Cor. 9:16, nkjv), Jude felt the necessity—a heavy burden or mandate—to write. Agcho, the root of the noun rendered necessity, means literally “compress.” Jude recognized that he was a watchman for the truth (cf. Ezek. 3:16–21) who could not simply watch in silence as his readers slipped into error. His fervent passion for sound doctrine, especially regarding the gospel, made even the thought of false teaching a heavy burden on his heart (cf. 2 Cor. 11:28). And he and his readers would not be able to share a common salvation if they lost the gospel." (source)
Again, why study prophecy?
--We are observing and studying not just for knowledge:
--to learn the entire sweep and scope of God's promises,
--to instill a wonder at His sovereign hand from beginning to end,
--to create in us an urgency so as to live righteously and to share boldly,
--to be encouraged.
I have a sincere love of the brethren that we stay strong and thus receive the ultimate blessings of God: closeness with Him in light and in truth. As we all go down the narrow path toward glory, won't it be wonderful on that Day when we are raised to heaven and there will be no more need for watchfulness. All will be clear sailing. No more wolves, no more false doctrine, no more false teachers, no more alarms. No more watchmen! Just a blessed rest and peace with Jesus.