Spiritual Principles from Studying Prophecy
Spiritual Principles Video
The Ten Commandments. George Bannister from Woodville, via Wikimedia Commons
History Runs on God's Timetable
Bible prophecy operates on the principle that all history runs on God's timetable which has a start point and a stop point.
Everything happens according to His timing
[Act 17:26-27 KJV] 26 And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; 27 That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:
The Starting Point
History started with the creation of Adam and Eve "in the beginning".
[Mar 10:6 KJV] 6 But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female.
This is the starting point and from this point the years are added up. Seth was born when Adam was 130 years old so we count this as year 130 (and so on). All understanding of bible prophecy rests on this understanding of Adam being the starting point.
Sin came into the world through the sin of Adam and with sin came death:
[Rom 5:12 KJV] 12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
Since the time of the Fall of Adam and Eve the whole world has been dying both physically and spiritually. The exact opposite of what the theory of evolution tells us.
The Return of Christ
The effects of the fall will last for 6,000 years of human history. At the end of this period the Lord Jesus Christ will return as King and the world will enjoy 1,000 years of peace and restoration.
[Zec 14:9 KJV] 9 And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one.
All man's attempts to fix the world's problems will ultimately fail but the Lord Himself will restore all things.
An important principle of bible prophecy is God's Grace throughout history.
[Mat 18:21-22 KJV] 21 Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? 22 Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.
It was Sir Edward Denny who first had this revelation when he had the understanding of the 490 year cycle of redemption through history. See the section on Sir Edward Denny for more details. Sir Edward understood that God recognises the years of grace but does not recognise the years of rebellion against him thus providing a picture of how the atoning sacrifice of Jesus pays for our sins so that our heavenly father no longer recognises them.
God Announces His Plans to His Servants the Prophets
God first reveals His secrets to His prophets who can then make them known to the people.
[Amos 3:7 KJV] 7 Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.
All God's purposes for the future are heralded by his servants the prophets. This is useful for us to remember because if someone comes up with a foreseeing of what lies ahead but it is not based on any genuine prophetic word then there is no reason to have any confidence in it. God's revealed things are found in his word and this does not change. When we attempt to understand his purposes then we need to start with what his prophets have said and written.
Some Things We Can Know and Some Things We Can't.
We can only only know what God allows us to know and chooses to reveal to us. We certainly won't know it all.
[Pro 25:2 KJV] 2 [It is] the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings [is] to search out a matter.
[Deu 29:29 KJV] 29 The secret [things belong] unto the LORD our God: but those [things which are] revealed [belong] unto us and to our children for ever, that [we] may do all the words of this law.
It is a good thing for a believer to search out a matter and ask the Lord to help. He is the one who is able to reveal secrets to his children.
Nobody Gets it all Right
[1Co 13:12 KJV] 12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
One thing that is clear when studying the subject of bible prophecy is that none of the interpreters got it all right. We only "know in part" however much we would like to see the whole picture. Sir Robert Anderson and Grattan Guinness did not always agree with each other. Particularly on the subject of what calendar to base a prophetic chronology. Arthur Ware built on the work of Sir Edward Denny but when he projected his findings into the future and attempted to find a time period for the Lord's return he definitely got it wrong. These were all diligent truth seekers who belonged to the Lord. Similarly in our era Hal Lindsey had amazing insights but some things he didn't get right in terms of timescales. In fairness he is still broadcasting and giving very sound teaching on prophetic matters. When looking into prophetic matters we need to have the humility to know that we will get things wrong.