HOW TO STUDY PROPHECY
(OVER 300 PAGES!)
Almost daily I run across people who have peered into the Bible prophecies, and then after a few moments they close the book thinking that these prophecies just cannot be understood by the common man. They literally give up that easy!
Regardless of what some may think, Scripture positively confirms that prophecy can in fact be understood. All we really need to do is put into practice the Bible counsels that will eventually put us in a place that makes us to better understand His Prophecy. And in so doing, we will eventually become better effective at evangelizing others.
Since it is the Holy Spirit that inspires Prophecy, common sense dictates that we must then be in tune with that very same Holy Spirit. Amen?
So.. in reality, what do we truly need to do? What did Daniel do? I like to look to him because without a doubt he is my favorite prophet of the Word. I cannot wait to meet him in New Jeruslaem. By the way, that will be AFTER I meet my Lord Jesus Christ of course. :)
So.. how did Daniel get in tune? First off, he had a desire deep within to understand. He wanted to know what the prophecies meant. In this case it was a dream he was given. Did you notice the Word said he "chastened" himself? In the Strongs Concordance, that word means "to humble thyself." (See strongs #06031) This is one very important aspect in Christianity. Without humbling oneself, we can never expect to have the meekness of Christ. And that is what every Christian must strive for!
Daniel wanted to know and understand the prophecy. His attitude was such that his mind was wide open to all blessed revelations the Lord would give him. This I fear is also a major obstacle for most people today. They are so set in their ways that they refuse to have a “change of mind” when it comes to Biblical truth. I praise the Lord my mind was open to the truth when He revealed to me His Truth regarding the Roman Catholic church. Had I stayed in that church and decided to obery men over Scripture, as all Catholics do to this day, I shudder to think of what I would be doing at this place in time. I also shudder to think of how that prophesied house of lies would have destroyed my wife and children as well.
The student of prophecy must make sure to maintain a constant good relationship with the Almighty day in and day out. Else the prophecies he or she seeks to understand will eventually become sealed to them as well.
This strong ongoing relationship with the Lord, as well as perfect desire to do His will, shall create a humble and contrite heart within the student. The student will also understand that which is Truth, and that which is lies. MANY people can look at doctrinal statements of their own churches and see no danger. Yet the child that is humble before His God, and is walking in His will can see that which the blind cannot. That is one major reason the elect of the Lord cannot be deceived. Jesus said the following to confirm this.
The student will have no doubt in his or her mind that the understanding of these prophecies will not be of their own doing. Unlike the Scribes and Pharisee's of Christ's day that hoarded the Scriptures and used their 'knoweldge' of the Written Word as a status symbol; all their flock looked up tto them as if they themselves were holy and special. They eventually became blind to the Truth within the written Word and completely missed the arrival of Jesus Christ as Messiah. The true Christian seeking understanding will know that he or she understands simply because the Creator God that knows all secrets has revealed it to them. It is simply not of themselves.
The one seeking understanding will know that he or she understands simply because the Creator God that knows all secrets has revealed it to them.
This genuine relationship will also bring the student to seek after God’s perfect will. In fact, this is what makes the seeker noticeablely different from the natural man "…that receives not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." (1 Corinthians 2:14) A true child of God will seek to know His will and even pray for it. Daniel prayed for this, and as we can see the Angel Gabriel gave him that which he prayed for.
The key is to admitting we need help in understanding prophecy. No man can do it without the help of the one who spoke the prophecy. So ASK and you will receive! SEEK and you will find! KNOCK and it will be opened unto you!
Prayer is the essential key to all of this! The angel tells Daniel that “At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to shew thee” If it wasn’t for his prayers, (supplications) the vision would have remained sealed!
Prophetic understanding and prayer are strongly linked in His Word. Especially for end time prophecy. This is a major reason today most people do not understand prophecy. They just don’t ASK, SEEK, or KNOCK in faith that He will reveal these truth’s to them. And when I say “ask in faith” I mean to be one that is in tune 100% with the Lord. One who has the fruits of a Christian, specifically the two major ones as Revelation 12:17 so amply describes as being "Keeping the Commandments" and "having the Testimony of Jesus Christ."
(NOTE: Testimony of Jesus = Spirit of Prophecy. See Revelation 19:10)
If you have those two major fruits, I believe all the rest are simply going to be added unto you. Fact is, if you cannot obey the Lord by keeping His Law, how can you expect the Lord to give you the understanding of the prophecies? You have to be in His will to receive His blessings do you not? And by the way, seeking the “future” from so called “psychics” is merely setting yourself up for a major fall.
If they have not the Light in them, their are simply speaking lies. Plain and simple.
The Word of the Creator God is not to be taken lightly. Our attitude towards this book should be of overwhelming TRUST. We must believe this Word of the Christian God is factual and 100% accurate. And if we do, we must then act accordingly and follow the examples held within it. Our life must be fashioned after that which is written. To do otherwise would mean we are outside His will, and to be outside His will would mean the prophecies in His Word will be sealed from our understanding. And because of this sealing, we will not be ready for what prophecy says will happen next! We will echo the words of Jeremiah 8:20 that says, "The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved." So in the Bible we must be and whenever we hear a preacher or teacher speak, it is back into the Bible to makes sure they speak truth. Even the Bereans of old knew to do this.
The Word of this Creator God must be our final source of infallible Truth. PERIOD! No ifs ands or buts about it.
And before sharing that which is revealed unto us. We must always be careful as to not add anything to that which is written or take away from it either. Doing so is plainly described here as against His will. No matter how much the revelation of prophecy may be to us, we musn’t “gild the lilly” so as to not offend. If people have a hard time with the Truth as it is written, it is not our place to alter it so as to convince them. The Roman Catholic church tried that, and look where it lead them. Sadly, right now in our day, another church that had the understanding of these prophecies in her infancy is now displaying bold signs of having them sealed from their eyes.The General Conference of the SDA church has opted to “gild the lilly” so as to not offend the Roman Catholic church recently in numerous watered down sermons as well as other fruits of a sister in Babylon. And now we see they too cannot understand prophetic fact.
Yes, on the surface they appear to have much Truth. But most of it is borrowed from previous scholars and the like. Do you hear of any “original” revelations that are biblically accurate coming from this church lately? I don’t. So, ALL those that have opted to re-write that which is written by our Creator will see the plagues fall upon them. That is prophetically accurate no matter how much it offends!
Not only is obedience and important factor in understanding prophecy. Perseverance is as well! Another prophetic fact is…
As all true Christians today have discovered, obediance has its heavenly perks. It is the Almighty’s “condition” for granting us the continuous presence of His Holy Spirit who actually guides us in the study of prophecy. Now that we know the basic attitude that is needed to study prophecy. What are some of the keys that unlock it’s hidden truths?
We must NEVER give our own opinion as to what His prophecy means. The Bible clearly interprets all of its symbols on it’s own. For example.. Did you know that there are 404 verses in the book of Revelation? Did you also know that 278 of those verses can be found almost word for word in all the other books of the Bible? That being the case, why bother giving your opinion in the first place? Sooner or later you are going to be exposed as a liar by someone who has done their homework and can show using a Bible what a symbol in prophecy means, and in so doing expose you. You cannot refute the Word. So why try?
Case in point.. Hal Lindsay in his book, “Late Great Planet Earth” stated that the vision Ezekiel had in chapter one of his books was the Vietnam war. However, students of prophecy know that’s a lie. And now there are literally millions of people on earth right now that have documented proof in their own Bibles that Hal Lindsey is a false prophet. Bottom line is, there is always someone who knows what those symbols mean.
Fact remains.. the Bible identifies prophetic symbolism just fine on it’s own. For example…
For a quick example we see in John's vision a whore sitting on many waters. Later we see..
The later Angel actually tells John what that means! Absolutely no room whatsoever is left here for human opinion. Let’s see another easy example…
So, what do the ram, the goat and his large horn symbolize?
Here again, the Word of God gives us a very precise answer. No room for human opinion once again. Fact is… 2 Timothy 3:16 says, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:"
God's obedient remnant know this, and so they act accordingly.
Key #2 The entire bible is essential in understanding prophecy.
Remember what I said earler about the 404 verses in Revelation? The entire Bibel helps us dfine the symbols in prophey. However, not all the symbols are as easy to find as the ones I just shared. You will be expected to study and show yourself approved before finding the harder ones. Prophecy is a lot like doctrine. You need to investigate it fully to understand it completely
As you will discover in your studies, much of prophetic symbolism refers to the sanctuary, it’s articles, and the religious services held within it. So.. it would behove us all to study up on the sanctuary itself. Otherwise, a lot of the symbolism may appear to be confusing to us.
For example.. the next verses from Revealtion show a literal mention of the sanctuary and the things related to it…
Key #4 Prophetic symbolism also refers to Old Testament nations.
The litteral and local events that actually played out in reality quit often becomes both symbolic and universal in prophecy.
Key #5 Prophetic symbolism refers to Old Testament characters.
Prophecy can also refer to the characters attitude toward God, and to their past deeds.
Key #6: In prophecy, numbers express more than just a quantity.
All the numbers in these passages I am about to share, which are, 24, 144 and 144000, are multiples of 12. Now, 12 is a number playing an important part in the Bible. Which of course is a completely different message and study. So I won't go into that here. But we must understand that numbers don't always mean quantity. They can be used to represent importance, size, and yes, even quantity. Now do you see why it's so important to be an avid Bible student as well? Without the Holy Spirit man simply cannot decipher the prophetic Word.
Key #7 Milk first, Meat later
We must do as babes in Christ do with Scripture. Milk first, and the Meat later. We should never try to decipher the more complex prophecies without first understanding the basics all prophecies adhere to.
It is very important not to cut corners. If we jump into areas we aren’t ready for, we may get a misunderstanding of what the prophecy is saying. Let’s take our time and do it using the perfect timing of God’s will. There is a reason for the Milk, just as much as there is a reason for the Meat.
We don't know when or even why our Father reveals what He chooses to reveal when and if He does so. HAd the apostles known certain things beforehand they may not have been able to understand other truths later. So again. trust comes in right along side the obedience we already stand in. Truth is, trying to learn the meat first is like building the roof of ahouse before the foundation.
Someone untaught or unstable may knowingly or unknowingly twist Scriptural facts making a prophecy seems to say another thing. Case in point, the Roman Catholic Jesuits that twisted the “week of Daniel” so as to preach a 7 year trib theory has caused literally billions to have a twisted understanding of the prophetic Word of God. And now, low and behold, almost the entire Christian world believes their error as if it is truth because they never bothered to do as the Bereans of old did.
Only the Student that follows the Bible metod for understanding prophecy will be able to use the keys our Lord provides to open the doors that have the hidden meanings of prophecy. Once these keys are found, the child of God can then become very effective in sharing the prophecies with those the Lord sends their way.
Summing It up
7 keys that allow us to be in tune with the Author of Prophecy. The Holy Spirit
1. A humble attitude
2. An open mind and spirit desirous to learn
3. A strong desire to cultivate a relationship with the Lord through prayer
4. A trust in the Bible that is unwavering
5. A mind that seeks only to understand the will of God
6. A desire to change ones life to match the will of God
7. Perseverance in relationship, as well as obedience to God
7 keys that open the closed doors of prophecy
1. Prophecy must be interpreted by the Word itself
2. The entire Bible is needed to understand prophecy
3. Prophetic symbolism often refers to the sanctuary
4. Symbolism also refers to places in the OT
5. Symbolism also refers to characters in the OT
6. Numerbs express more than just quantity
7. Study the simple prophecies first, then the complex
(keys outline courtesy of Cyberspace ministry)