I’ve started teaching a course in our church called “Things To Come,” concerning Bible prophecy. From time to time I hope to put up some excerpts from the class and related thoughts. One of the things we explored in our opening night was why people don’t study prophecy. Certainly one question I think we’ve all heard is this:
Why should I worry about prophecy? After all, isn’t it all going to just pan out?
Sometimes people say they’re not really worried about what’s going to happen in the end times because it’s all going to pan out. In other words, God will take care of it – and there’s nothing we can do about it – so let’s not worry.
Perhaps this viewpoint makes a little sense. After all, we do want to confidently place our futures in the hands of God. I can certainly sound as if I’m full of faith when I say, “Don’t worry, it’s all going to pan out!,” but if we examine this little catchphrase, we’ll see it lose its veneer of wisdom.
First, We are always counseled to be students of the Word. The Bible teaches us that people who look into the Word, study it, and pray about its meaning, are honorable and wise – no matter what the subject. We have no license not to know, so to speak. Paul considered it a pastoral duty to give the flock the whole counsel of God.
Second, we must take stock of the fact that the return of Jesus and the end of the age is a major theme of Scripture. In my opinion, it is not an understandable oversight but rather a true dishonoring of the Word of God to say that there are whole passages, even entire books of the Bible that we can just ignore and not worry about. As much as 20% of the Bible deals with the Second Coming and the future. So how can you even say you know the Bible if you’re ignorant about these matters?
Third, the Bible does not teach fatalism. Fatalism says that whatever is going to happen is going to happen. That is not a biblical way of looking at the world. The Bible everywhere shows us a God who is very much interested in our lives and very much active in history. It’s important that we know what the prophetic Scriptures say.
It’s vital that we listen to the warnings that the Bible gives about the end times. This is a matter of gravest importance for our spiritual health. Many Christians believe (and will tell anyone with a set of ears) that we are living in the last days. But let me ask you this: if you really believe that we are living in the last days, don’t you think you should know what the Bible has to say to that group of people who find themselves alive in the last days?
Think of how foolish it would sound if we actually verbalized a willfully ignorant attitude about last days living:
“Well, I know that I live in a very special time of history, and I know that the Bible has a lot to say about that time period, but I’m not really interested in the specific warnings and teachings God gave to the people who find themselves alive during those days.”
The fact that the Bible has many specific warnings for people who live in the last days is not meant to frighten us… rather, it’s a sign of God’s love and care for us. It’s a sign of Christ’s care for his church, and we do well to heed those warnings. We should be thanking God for taking care of His people and giving us the warnings and the spiritual nourishment that we will need to live during the last days.
Let’s acknowledge that when we say “It’ll all just pan out!” we’ve disclosed an attitude of the heart unworthy of a Christian people.