The Blessings of Bible Prophecy
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 provides perhaps the clearest description of Christ’s coming rapture. While many emphasize the details of this event, the context before and after these details is often neglected.
In verse 13, Paul writes, “But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope.” The first reason Paul includes these words concerning the rapture is to provide information.
Second, he seeks to offer hope. Unbelievers have no hope regarding the afterlife. Believers do. Those who know Christ can look forward to either the rapture or to eternity in God’s presence after this life ends.
Third, Paul concludes with the words of verse 18: “Therefore encourage one another with these words.” For believers, prophecy is not based in fear; it is designed for encouragement.
While all of God’s Word is important, including the details of the end times, Paul emphasizes three aspects we can devote our energy to today in a positive way: teaching, hope, and encouragement. Unlike the fear-based approach of many end-times messages, we can offer clear instruction, hope for the future, and encouragement for today to every believer regarding the end times.
How can we “encourage one another with these words” in our lives today? The following practical tips may help:
- Grow through Reading (or Listening to) the Bible’s Prophecies: Did you know approximately 27% of the Bible is related to prophecy? It’s difficult to read more than one page of Scripture without encountering a theme related to the future. By regularly reflecting on the Bible, you’ll naturally find encouragement for your daily life.
- Grow through Prophecy Resources: Numerous online resources, books, podcasts, videos, and resources abound. In addition to IAmAWatchman.com, we can recommend Behold Israel, Jan Markell, J.D. Farag (pastor of Calvary Chapel, Kaneohe, Hawaii), Jack Hibbs (pastor of Calvary Chapel, Chino Hills, California), and Dr. Mark Hitchcock (Dallas Theological Seminary), among others.
- Grow in Community: Social media makes it easier than ever to connect with other people interested in discussing the Bible and prophecy. We offer community through our Facebook page and other social channels. Some of the other ministries mentioned above do as well. When you feel alone, it’s a great spiritual refreshment to connect with like-minded believers worldwide. Also, don’t forget the importance of a local church community and small group.
- Grow in Sharing Your Faith: While the rapture is good news for believers, it can and should be concerning to those without a relationship with Christ. Ultimately, our increased understanding of the end times should lead to a deep conviction to share the gospel message with everyone we can.
Again, Bible prophecy is designed as an encouragement for the believer. We don’t need to live in fear of the rapture or the end times. We can enjoy living for God today, despite any hardships, knowing eternity with our Lord is coming soon.
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