As you read this article, somebody is either doing a prophecy course or reading some prophecy book either online or off. Instruction regarding Bible prophecy is very crucial especially at this late stage of earth’s history. When a Bible instructor gives an exposition on the prophetic word, he is setting up expectations for the future. His interpretation on Bible prophecy is the bridge between the utterances of the prophets and the people he instructs.
The purpose of a prophecy course is to provide instructions on Bible predictions in a systematic and methodical manner to make the learning process as easy as possible. But there are so many prophecy courses on the internet, how can we know which one to choose? Below are ten cardinal principles you need to take into consideration before deciding on the prophecy course that is right for you.
1. All scriptures are given by inspiration of God (2Tim. 3:16, 17): Every belief system in the area of Bible prophecy must acknowledge the divine inspiration of the Bible. If it does not, avoid it.
2. No prophecy is of private interpretation (2Pet. 1:20): The interpretation of prophecy should not be according to the personal opinion of a Bible teacher. Every interpretation of Bible prophecy must be based on clear instructions provided in the scriptures. As the Bible teaches, interpretation belongs to God (Gen. 40:8).
3. The testimonies of the prophets must harmonize (Luke 24:44): Every prophecy course must endeavour to coordinate the writings of different prophets on a particular subject matter so as to ensure harmony between them. Some prophecy experts are so caught up in pushing a particular viewpoint without realizing the extent to which it makes one prophet contradicts the other.
4. Conclusions must not contradict any Bible tenet (Cor. 15: 12-17): A good example of this is found in the doctrine of eternal torment. In this teaching is the prediction that all the wicked will be burned in hell throughout the ceaseless ages of eternity. But this is a contradiction of the plain Bible teaching that the wicked will be burned to ashes (Mal. 4:1). Furthermore, the Bible teaches that the final punishment will be the second death (Rev. 20:14). If death is the cessation of life, how can we truly believe this while teaching that the wicked will live in eternal misery in hell? This is a clear case of contradiction between an orthodox prophecy conclusion and a clear Bible teaching.
5. Scriptures must be compared with scriptures (1Cor. 2:12, 13; Isa. 28:10): This is a simple but powerful principle; it is the means by which we solve Bible passages that are difficult to understand. Complex Bible verses can be explained when we compare them with simpler texts. The process of scripture comparison can be greatly assisted by a good Bible concordance. Every prophecy course must recognize this principle.
6. No orthodox position must be held for the sake of tradition (Matt. 15:7-9): The fact that a prophecy position is widely taught and is popular with theologians does not make it right. Make the scriptures your only guide. Bible commentary must only be sought for assistance, not for verification. Tradition is good when it conforms to the word of God, but where it contradicts it, it must be abandoned.
7. No conclusion must be arrived at merely in the interest of denominational loyalty (John 11:45-48): While prophecy courses offered by denominations do offer useful ideas, as an outsider, you must treat them with some amount of caution as the positions taken are usually along denomination lines. If you are doing a course offered by a denomination, try and get as much value out of it as possible but do not allow yourself to be caught up in their church politics where prophecy interpretation is concerned. This is where your knowledge of the aforementioned principles is needed.
8. Instructions on Bible prophecy must be designed to enable you to explain the scriptures for yourself (2Pet. 3:18): A sure sign of a good course in Bible prophecy is when it enables you to defend the scriptures on your own without having to run to your Bible teacher for assistance at every moment of difficulty. As a prophecy student the Lord does not intend that you stay on the breast milk or the nipple bottle of the word forever; the ultimate goal of Bible studies is to enable us to become men and women in Christ Jesus.
9. It must be so thought-provoking that it increases your appreciation for the scriptures (2Pet. 1:12): No prophecy instruction must be taken seriously if it does not develop a better appreciation for the truth and stir up your mind to search the scriptures on your own initiative. In other words, it should set you on a search mission to find more answers.
10. A prophecy course must lead you to a better relationship with God (2Pet. 2:19; 2Chron. 20:20): This is the most important principle. What is the benefit of a prophecy course if it does not make you a better Christian? This is usually the case when you became awed by the marvelous fulfillment of Bible prophecy and the unmistakable evidence that God, indeed, rules in the affairs of men. The objective of a prophecy course is not to just to press your sensational hot buttons and get you excited but to settle you into the truth so that you cannot be moved.
Allowing your expectations about future events to be shaped by a prophecy course is more critical a decision than many of us are making it out to be. Whatever information you allow to penetrate your cranium will be a determining factor as to the kind of preparation we make in these last days. Preparation is nothing but an anticipation of something to happen based on what is expected. Because false expectation can lead to false anticipation, let us diligently heed the warnings of the scriptures about the proliferation of falsehoods in the last days and seek to become acquainted with the cunning devices of the enemy to deceive the saints of God.
For information on the latest course in End-time Bible prophecy based on the ten principles outlined above, go to: Prophecy Course