Why study prophecy? And what does apocalypse really mean, anyway?
Do you notice that many of today's news headlines refer to the apocalypse? 'Drachmageddon"... "Election Apocalypse", "Apocalypse-like hailstorm.." etc. ... Though fewer people say they don't believe in apocalypse, more and more the secular world is talking about it. Society is expecting...something. Carl Worline explained his opinion of this phenomenon:
"It is a pervasive feeling that something really big is about to happen. This feeling is exceptionally difficult to define. Christians hopefully look for the return of the Messiah. Many in the New Age Movement look[ed] for the Age of Pisces to end on the winter solstice on December 21, 2012, and for the Age of Aquarius to begin as the earth’s equatorial plane aligns exactly with the center of our galaxy. Buddhists look for the return of Maitreya sometime in the very near future. Mayans predicted and end of an epoch on December 21, 2012, and a new epoch to begin. The Aztec looked for the return of the flying serpent, Quetzalcoatl, sometime around the end of 2012. Aztecs also predict the possible end of time, as we know it, and possibly the end of the world. The I-Ching independently predicts the end to occur on the winter solstice this year. ... The entire world is on edge because its inhabitants from every nation and culture feel something. Something that is almost impossible to identify or define..."That's the secular world for you, nibbling at the edges of the meaning of spiritual things but never quite coming to the truth. However, we have Christ, the mind of Christ, and His Spirit, so we know the definition of Apocalypse. We don't have to guess. Though it's often referred to as an event that is of great destruction or even the end of the world, it literally means unveiling. It comes from the Book of Revelation, where the word is used in Revelation 1:1. God's intent for the world is unveiled. From Strong's Greek in Revelation 1:1,
The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John,
Apokalypsis Ἀποκάλυψις [The] Revelation
In that sense, the entire Bible could be called the Apokalypsis, because it is God's inspired revelation of Himself to humanity. But the word and the concept is deeply explored in Revelation 1-22 because Jesus specifically reveals His Second Coming.
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 things 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)
Isn't that beautiful! I'm sometimes saddened by the number of people who profess Christianity but obviously do not possess Him. It's comforting to know the peoples will stream to the holy Hill to worship! Or this prophecy from Isaiah 19:23-25, it's so beautiful, uplifting, and hopeful.
In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria, and Assyria will come into Egypt, and Egypt into Assyria, and the Egyptians will worship with the Assyrians. In that day Israel will be the third with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the earth, whom the Lord of hosts has blessed, saying, "Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel my inheritance."
We study the Bible to know God and worship Him rightly. We also study it to know of His past mighty deeds. If you avoid prophecy you won't be studying His future deeds! Again, why study prophecy?
--observing and studying is not just for knowledge, but to apply as we grow in 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
When the fog totally lifts and it becomes apparent to all that the end IS near (Revelation 6:15-17), it is most comforting of all to know that the greatest revival on earth will take place. Though it takes place through blood and judgment, the LORD saves many to be with Him in heaven. (Revelation 7:9, 14).
What a prophecy, the best of all. This age will conclude with myriad upon myriad of saints worshiping Jesus at His throne! Despite the crushingly low count of seeming Christians around today, even in churches, the Lord wakes many hearts for His name. This is the best reason of all to study prophecy, to see His future handiwork in hearts.
After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”
And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”
13Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?” 14I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
15“Therefore they are before the throne of God,
and serve him day and night in his temple;
and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence.
16They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore;
the sun shall not strike them,
nor any scorching heat.
17For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd,
and he will guide them to springs of living water,
and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”