The question has been asked “why do you study prophecy”? If you want to be really proper the question may be phrased a bit more eloquently, something like this: “What is your main purpose for undertaking the study of eschatology?” No matter how the question is asked, nor by whom, the answer will vary based on the person answering the question. There are many reasons for studying prophecy. Here are just a few of the answers and reasons I give when answering the question.
Prophecy is important. All prophecy is not about future events, nor end time scenarios. The study of prophecy also includes that which has already been fulfilled. For example, a myriad of prophetic verses from the Old Testament foretold the coming Messiah, and in the New Testament we are able to see the fulfillment. By studying fulfilled prophecy we are better able to understand the prophetic verses. We are also able to see the exact and perfect detail of the fulfillment of those verses. Consider the following for an example:
Psalms:22:1: My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?
Matthew:27:46: And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
Concerning prophecy, Peter had this to say:
2nd Peter:1:19: We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:
Not only, according to Peter, do we have eye-witness accounts, we have a more sure word of prophecy. God’s word about those thing which will be, before they are, is more sure than an eye-witness. I would say that makes prophecy a worthy study.
In the book of Timothy it says to “study to show thy self approved”. With so many people specializing in prophecy, it becomes necessary to know something about prophecy for yourself so that you are not led astray. We should always rely on the Word, not just what someone else has to say.
Another reason I study prophecy is because I want to understand what is coming next. Many people have an interest in knowing the future. I like to know if the world events have a direct relationship with something God has said in His word. For example, the relationship that has blossomed between Russia and Iran seems to be an odd pairing of allies. Is there any evidence this could part of a biblical prophecy? In my estimation, yes, according to what i read in Ezekiel chapters 38 and 39. These may be two of the major players in the war of Gog/Magog, and something to continue to monitor.
We are also commanded to watch for the return of our King, Jesus.
Mark:13:28: Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When her branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is near:
Mark:13:29: So ye in like manner, when ye shall see these things come to pass, know that it is nigh, even at the doors.
Mark:13:30: Verily I say unto you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done.
Mark:13:31: Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.
Mark:13:32: But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.
Mark:13:33: Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is.
Mark:13:34: For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch.
Mark:13:35: Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning:
Mark:13:36: Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping.
Mark:13:37: And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.
Although we cannot know the day, and we cannot know the hour, we can know the season. If you live expectantly, looking for the season, looking for the return of Jesus, you are doing what you are commanded. To watch indicates an active search. When you study prophecy of those things which are to come, and you are trying to discern the times, you are living in expectation. I see this as an act of obedience, a duty.
If you were to need one more reason to study prophecy, consider this: The end is just as divinely appointed as the creation. So much study and research continue to go toward finding information on the beginning of the world and universe as we know it. If as much effort were put into discerning the times we live in now and what God said would be at the time of the end as we do researching evolution or the big bang theory, we would be better prepared for those things that appear close at hand.
These are just a few of the reasons I study prophecy. These answers have found acceptance by those who have questioned my reasons. If you have other reasons, or thoughts in general, feel free to comment. In closing, praise Jesus, for those things which are and those yet to come!