Well, I have just preached through Mark 13 which contains the Olivet Discourse, a prophecy by Jesus of the end times.
Last evening I wanted to give our congregation some help when they read prophetic sections of Scripture (and there is a great deal of it).
I shared this article in part with them from Stephen Nichols over at the Crossway blog:
Many of you have your Bible and your reading plan all set for 2012. However, there are undoubtedly some passages or even books that more difficult to understand than others. InWelcome to the Story, Stephen Nichols gives us some pointers on understanding the prophetic texts:
You should keep the big picture of hope in view. It’s easy for us to get lost in the details. We are tempted to run down rabbit trails of trying to decipher minutiae and looking for some secret insight into the details. Is Ezekiel’s “wheel within a wheel” some sort of UFO? Are the locusts in Revelation Huey helicopters of the US Air Force?
Remember the big-picture reason why God reveals the future to us. He wants us to know what will happen so that we can have a real and abiding hope. God wants us to know what will happen so that we will trust in him that despite appearances, he controls the future and we need to trust and rest in him. He wants us to know what will happen so that we will work until he comes.
As you journey through these prophetic passages of Scripture, you can easily lose your way. These questions serve as guideposts to help you navigate these texts. Begin with trying to capture the big picture of restoration, and then work from that solid ground to sorting through and understanding the details.
Questions for reading prophetic passages of Scripture:
- What does this passage teach about the grand narrative of creation, fall, redemption, and restoration?
- What does this passage specifically teach about the coming restoration of all things?
- What have I learned from this passage about the future that I can put into practice now?
- What do I need to change in my life based on what I have learned about the future?
- How does this passage offer a different perspective on life, as compared to the perspective offered by our surrounding culture?
Learn more about Welcome to the Story by Stephen Nichols.