Today’s question: What are the three main sections of the Bible that contain the essential keys to understanding the future? If we agree with the conclusion of the last post on “Biblelink,” that prophecy is important, the answer to our question is also important because it shows us a good place to start our study! The answer is (1) the book of Daniel, (2) the Olivet discourse (Matt. 24), and (3) the book of Revelation. To quote Mark Hitchcock, author of The End: A Complete Overview of Bible Prophecy and the End of Days, “to gain a basic understanding of Bible prophecy, one must have a general grasp of these three passages.”*
Daniel helps us understand the future in two ways. First, he gives us a detailed picture of what Jesus called the “times of the Gentiles” (Luke 21:24). This era began when Nebuchadnezzar attacked Jerusalem in 605 BC and will end with the second coming of Christ. Daniel presents this by using two graphic pictures. One is a giant statue of a man made of four different metals (Daniel 2). This is repeated with a vision of four beasts coming out of the sea (Daniel 7).
Second, Daniel gives us what many consider to be the most important prophecy in Scripture. It is usually referred to as “The Seventy Weeks” (Daniel 9:24-27). Even though this “timeline” is somewhat complicated, you will find that Bible scholars have gone to great lengths to help you understand its meaning! **
Just a few days before His crucifixion Jesus was leaving the Temple area in Jerusalem with His disciples. When they referred to the large buildings around them, Jesus told them, “…not one stone here will be left upon another, which will not be torn down” (Matt. 24:2). As often happened, Jesus’ words sent the disciples into a frenzy of discussion among themselves. A short while later, when they reached the Mount of Olives, four of His disciples came to Jesus with many questions about the future (Mark 13:3). Jesus’ answers have become known as The Olivet Discourse. This event is included in Matthew, Mark and Luke’s gospels. Matthew gives the most details in chapters 24 and 25. Jesus’ teaching gives a wealth of information about the coming seven-year period of suffering and death that he called tribulation (Matt. 24:9) which will immediately precede His return to earth. ***
Our third essential key to understanding the future is the book of Revelation. Like all Bible prophecy, I need a lot of help in understanding Revelation. Some Bible teachers have used Jesus’ words to John in the first chapter as a simple outline to the book. “Therefore write the things which you have seen (chap. 1), and the things which are (chaps. 2-3), and the things which will take place after these things (chaps. 4-22)” (Rev. 1:19-20). Another big help to me is a list of the four ages in Revelation:
- Church Age – ? years – chaps. 1-3
- Tribulation – 7 years – chaps. 4-19
- Kingdom Age – 1,000 years – chap. 20
- Eternal Age – endless years – chaps. 21-22 ****
Here’s your next question: Which chapter in Isaiah has been referred to recently by several Christian leaders regarding the election of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States? Here’s a link for those of you who might not have a Bible at your finger tips: www.BibleGateway.com. Praying that you will allow the transforming power of His Word into your heart!!!!!
Don’t forget to refer your family, friends and church to the Bible Overview Mini-Course – http://www.bibleoverview.net/.
* Mark Hitchcock, The End: A Complete Overview of Bible Prophecy and the End of Days, ©2012 by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.: 61.
** Ibid., 63-70.
*** Ibid., 72-75.
**** Ibid., 77.
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