By Elizabeth Prata
1. Why Study Prophecy (the prophetic scriptures)
It’s a sanctifying hope. Keeping our eyes on the heavenlies keeps our hope in the future reward alive. Our citizenship isn’t here on earth, it’s in heaven. Hoping in faith for Jesus to come, each day, (‘When you pray, pray…Thy Kingdom Come…’ Matthew 6:10) keeps us inside a sanctifying hope. Our eyes lodged firmly on Jesus, we can better resist the flesh, which, in our sanctifying hope, we know will pass away
And every man that has this hope in him purifies himself, even as he is pure. (1 John 3:3)
2. What does it mean to keep our eyes on our future?
It means we always remember this earth is not our home. Once your mind is awakened to this concept that we are pilgrims, you will see the reference and types throughout scripture from the Old Testament to the New. The Bible alternately uses words like sojourner, exiles, foreigners, aliens, and strangers.
You shall not oppress a sojourner. You know the heart of a sojourner, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt. (Exodus 29:3)
Hear my prayer, O Lord, and give ear to my cry; hold not your peace at my tears! For I am a sojourner with you, a guest, like all my fathers. (Psalm 39:12)
Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation. (1 Peter 2:11-12)
The word in Greek as used in the 1 Peter 2 means,
parepídēmos – a sojourner (foreigner) – literally, someone “passing through” but still with personal relationship with the people in that locale (note the prefix, para, “close beside”). This temporary (but active) relationship is made necessary by circumstances.
The writer of Hebrews noted the patriarchs that have come before us, and concludes,
All these people died in faith, without having received the things they were promised. However, they saw them and welcomed them from afar. And they acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.
Do we acknowledge we are in relationship with the citizens of earth but know this relationship is temporary? Or do we participate in the world systems, for example the political, with a do-or-die attitude?
3. What will happen at the very, very end?
But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. (2 Peter 3:10).
As John MacArthur said of global warming: “So, your hairspray isn’t going to do it. Go ahead and spray.”
This is one startling example of reasons not to get entangled in world systems. In the above case, it’s environmentalism. In the vein of the word sojourner above, we have a relationship with the people in our lives and our surroundings, and God did tell us to shepherd the earth (care for the garden). But getting embroiled in saving the earth is a quite different activity. It is an activity that people who are eternally attached to the earth will do. We are not attached to the earth. Upon salvation, our citizenship was transferred off the earth, to heaven.
We can rejoice in knowing our future is with Jesus and He is sovereign over all things, including the prophetic plan.