I’ve noticed something lately that has surprised me a little bit, honestly. In my current Bible reading plan, I’m in a pretty long section where I’m reading through all the Prophets in the Old Testament (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Amos, Hosea, etc.). What is surprising is that I’m pretty bored with the whole big section. What I mean is that, except for a few interesting stories or poetical beauty here and there in the Prophets, I enjoyed reading Leviticus and Deuteronomy more than this…
But it wasn’t always this way for me. I remember being younger and being absolutely fascinated with prophecy. I mean, totally mesmerized.
I, like many others, devoured the Left Behind books. Part of that was that they were pretty well-written and entertaining, but part of it was also the fact that they dealt with the end-times and prophecy. I particularly liked the parts where the scholarly Tsion Ben Judah would, piece by piece, reveal what was going to happen next to the earth and those who were left behind in the rapture. I think, looking back, that I liked the feeling of knowing and understanding something that was difficult to know or understand.
But now as I look back on those books, I realize that my attraction to them was also about my own weak faith. Here’s what I mean… As I got into the story, put myself in among the Remnant, I began to feel like my faith was bolstered every time I could point to something and say, “See, that happened according to prophecy! God really is in control!”
And I think the reality is, that is why so many people are fascinated/borderline obsessed with studying Revelation and other end-times prophecy. We simply like the reassurance that we get when something in real life lines up with a prophecy in scripture. It comforts us, in a way.
Personally, as I’ve grown in my faith, I’ve become less and less interested in end-times prophecies. The reason is pretty simple, I think – whether God gave me special understanding for every prophecy in scripture, or if I never understood a single one of them, it shouldn’t affect the way I live right now. Either way, total comprehension or complete ignorance, I should be loving God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength, and I should be loving other people as myself (Mark 12:28-31). I should also be going out into the world and making disciples, baptizing them in the name of the Trinity, and teaching them to obey Jesus’ commands (Matthew 28:19-20).
I think this is a sign of spiritual growth – that I’m more focused on living obediently day to day now than on trying to piece together and understand things that might happen in my lifetime or might not. You shouldn’t take this to mean that I don’t think the prophecy sections of the Bible aren’t important. Fact is, the whole thing is God’s revelation to mankind, so it’s all important. I’m just not all that interested anymore in focusing a ton of time and energy trying to solve the mysteries of God. If everything I believe is true, then it really doesn’t matter how the world ends, or who the anti-Christ is, or what the one-world-government will look like. My job, regardless of all that other stuff, is to love God, love people, and make disciples.