The Bible encourages us to study its prophetic passages—but the Bible also warns us not to become obsessed with predicting the dates and times. It's not our job to know exactly when any given event will take place. Our job is to preach the Good News and to be spiritually and morally ready at all times for the Lord's return.
There's a strange paradox taking place in the church today, and it is focused on Bible prophecy. I call it the end-times paradox. The paradox is simply this: There has never been more interest in the end times than there is today—yet that interest is not being manifested in the lives of Christians.
How can anyone sincerely await the return of the Lord, yet live as if the world will go on forever?
Prophecy conferences with speakers and authors promoting their end-times merchandise easily draw tens of thousands of people—yet prayer meetings draw very few. Social media is abuzz with various theories about the rapture (the return of Christ for His church), the signs of the great tribulation, and the identity of the antichrist—yet fewer and fewer Christians are willing to witness for their faith.
Do you see the paradox? How can anyone sincerely await the return of the Lord, yet live as if the world will go on forever? How can we be watching for the second coming—yet we do so little to reach out to those who would be left behind? There's nothing wrong with reading about the end times and learning about Bible prophecy, but shouldn't we also spend time inviting the lost into the Lord's Kingdom?
One day, the Lord will return to take us to heaven. This Truth ought to motivate every dimension of our lives. It ought to inspire us to serve more, to witness more, to give more, to pray more, and to live in the daily expectation that Christ could return at any moment.
Prayer: Father, forgive me for those times when I have been swept away by the mystery and intrigue of Bible prophecy at the expense of the right response of compassionate, joyful evangelism. As I study Your Word, may I be motivated to submit to Your authority in all aspects of my life to Your glory. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
"We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts" (2 Peter 1:19).
*Excerpt adapted from Fearless Living in Troubled Times by Michael Youssef © 2017. Published by Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, OR. Used by permission.
Learn more in Dr. Michael Youssef's sermon series Until Christ Returns: Living Confidently in Turbulent Times: LISTEN NOW | WATCH NOW