The Christ in Prophecy Journal

The Purposes of Bible Prophecy

Purposes of Bible Prophecy

[Note: The following is an excerpt from Steve Miller’s wonderful book, One Day Nearer, published by our friends at Harvest House Publishers. Steve Miller is the senior editor at Harvest House and the author of multiple books. He and his wife, Becky, are active in deaf ministry. His books can be found at]

1) To Give Hope

Imagine the Bible with no prophecies in it. Suppose God had decided not to tell us anything about the Second Coming, ultimate victory over evil, and our future home in heaven and eternity. If God had left prophecies out of His Word, we would have no idea of what the future holds. Instead, all we would know is that the world we live in is descending deeper and deeper into darkness, evil, and hopelessness.

With no knowledge of what is to come, life would be bleak. We would have nothing to look forward to. We would go from day to day filled with dread and uncertainty.

But because God chose to provide us with glimpses of the glorious future that awaits us, we can live with hope. That is the major reason God filled the Bible with so many prophecies about what is to come: to give us hope.

What we know about the future helps to influence our thoughts and actions in the present. Because we know the ultimate outcome of the battle now being waged on earth, we can live with anticipation rather than angst. Bible prophecy helps us to have an eternal focus—it reminds us that no matter how bad things get, good and righteousness will prevail. Victory is certain.

That is why, in 1 Thessalonians 4, Paul wrote at length about the promised Rapture that will deliver us from this world and take us to heaven. He concluded with the exhortation that we “encourage one another with these words” (verse 18, ESV). The more we remind each other of God’s prophetic promises, the more we give one another hope.

2) To Give Us an Eternal Focus

Because we live in a fallen world, life is filled with struggles. Romans 5:12 says that “just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned” (ESV). No one can avoid sin and its devastating consequences. Even “creation [is] subject to futility”—all of nature is in “bondage to corruption.” It groans in anticipation of the day when we are freed from our decaying mortal bodies and given new, immortal bodies (Romans 8:19-23, ESV).

Sin is the reason that life is filled with pain and trials. And after we receive salvation in Christ, we enter a new kind of battle. Because we have turned away from sin to walk in the light, we are now at odds with the darkness around us. Jesus warned the disciples—and us, by extension—that “in the world you will have tribulation” (John 16:33).

But notice Jesus’ very next words: “Take courage; I have overcome the world.” In our times of suffering, we can find hope in the Lord’s promises of future redemption and victory. Even when life becomes so unbearable we don’t know how we can possibly go on, we are reminded that “the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”

God’s promises about the future are meant to help us look beyond the present and develop an eternal focus. As we learn what it means to live with our minds and hearts set on eternity, we are more able to persevere through the difficulties we face now. Every prophecy about the future is designed to keep us looking up and ahead at the glory that awaits us.

3) To Motivate Us to Purity

One of the most amazing truths in Scripture is that someday, we will be fully transformed into the likeness of Christ.

Because we dwell in imperfect bodies in a fallen world, we are not able to fully grasp what we will become. As the apostle Paul wrote, “for now we see in a mirror dimly” (1 Corinthians 13:12). There is coming a day when we will see clearly— when “the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality” (1 Corinthians 15:54, ESV). At long last, we will be conformed to the image of God’s Son (Romans 8:29).

We eagerly look forward to that day, don’t we? We tire of succumbing to temptation and stumbling into sin. We become increasingly frustrated as we fight the same spiritual battles over and over. With Paul, we say, “I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out…I do not do the good I want” (Romans 7:18-19, ESV).

When we struggle with sin, the prophetic promise that we will someday have glorified bodies and be like Christ is uplifting. This hope not only keeps us going, it also motivates us to personal purity. As 1 John 3:3 says, “Everyone who thus hopes in Him purifies himself as He is pure” (ESV).

As we fix our hope on the premise that we will be transformed to Christlikeness in the future, the result is that we will want to be more like Him in the present. In this way, Bible prophecy has a powerful and sanctifying effect on our lives.

4) To Spur Us to Share the Gospel

Time is running out. Each day that we draw nearer to Christ’s Second Coming, we draw closer to when it will be too late for unbelievers to receive Jesus as their Savior. When the King of kings and Lord of lords descends from heaven to reclaim the earth, He will wield “a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations” (Revelation 19:15). On that day, every unbeliever on earth will have their eternal fate sealed.

Now, it is true that after Christ raptures all believers to heaven, the seven-year Tribulation will offer more time for unbelievers to come to salvation. We might think, If my loved one or friend doesn’t become a Christian before the Rapture, they will still have opportunities during the Tribulation.

But consider the dismal survival rates of those who end up being on the earth during the Tribulation. In Revelation 6:7-8, we are told that one-fourth of the world’s population will die during the fourth Seal Judgment. Then in Revelation 9:15-18, we read about four angels who will “kill a third of mankind.” Between those two events, half the people on the earth will die. Also, many people will be so hardhearted that even when they recognize God as the source of the Tribulation judgments, they will call for the rocks and the mountains to fall upon them rather than turn from their sin (Revelation 6:15-17).

When it comes to sharing the Gospel, sooner is better than later. The fact that we don’t know the time of Christ’s coming should fill us with a sense of urgency. God’s desire is that Bible prophecy will spur us to proclaim the message of salvation before it’s too late.

5) To Rest in God’s Sovereignty

Only God is able to declare “the end from the beginning.” And not only does He know the future, He plans it. He dares to say, “I will accomplish all my purpose…I will bring it to pass; I have purposed, and I will do it” (Isaiah 46:10-11).

Those aren’t just empty words. Up to this point in time, every one of God’s declarations about the future—in the form of Bible prophecies—has come to pass with precision. This helps us to realize that prophecies are not merely guesses or predictions; rather, they reveal exactly what God will do. Prophecy is history written in advance.

The abundance of fulfilled prophecies serves as powerful confirmation that God truly is God. His sovereignty is total; nothing can alter what He says will happen. He who created and sustains the universe guides the course of human history and our individual lives. As chaos swirls seemingly out of control here on earth, all is calm in God’s throne room. As surely as Jesus silenced the storm and the waves, God has all world events in His hands.

Because every single prophecy about Christ’s First Coming was fulfilled literally with 100 percent accuracy, we can be at peace—confident that the same will be true with every single prophecy about Christ’s Second Coming. There is coming a day when every wrong in this world will be righted—for all eternity. Nothing can keep that from happening, because God is God. Because His sovereignty is total, our heavenly future is secure.

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ABOUT AUTHOR View all posts Author Website

Dr. Nathan E. Jones

As the Internet Evangelist at Lamb & Lion Ministries, Nathan reaches out to the over 4.5 billion people accessible over the Internet with the Good News of Jesus Christ. He also co-hosts the ministry's television program Christ in Prophecy and podcast The Truth Will Set You Free.


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