Will we be able to recognize end times events as they are happening because we have read prophecy?
I believe that most Christians will be able to recognize end times events, especially if they are familiar with biblical accounts of them. It’s especially important to pay attention to Christ’s teaching on end times events in Matthew 24-25.
I think that some people will have one of three reactions. The first is to recognize it and be able to place it within Scripture. Combining Old Testament prophecy and New Testament prophecy like Revelation, 1 & 2 Thessalonians, 1 Corinthians 15, and several other passages in the Gospels for the most part will help us see it and prepare for it.
The second option is that people won’t see it and won’t understand what is going on. This will bring fear and chaos to the world. But the Bible tells us this will happen anyway. It would be sad if a Christian was not familiar enough with Scripture to recognize the times and seasons of the Lord’s coming.
A third option is that they misinterpret what they see for something else. One example can be from Revelation 9:1-7. Giant locusts come out of the ground and begin to attack anyone without God’s seal on them.
John continues to describe them in Revelation 9:8-9 and some Christians have understood them to sound like Black Hawk helicopters. Does that mean that the locus represent Black Hawk call copters? Could be. But maybe not. They could be locusts.
My point is that some people can misinterpret scriptural prophecy and refuse to allow that they could be wrong. When I talk about end times prophecy and read it, I have my ideas and assumptions. But I hold them lightly.
The fact is that we don’t know exactly what’s going to happen in every instance. Some people have everything so nailed down and won’t let anyone tell them different than their ideas. Boy are they gonna be surprised if they are wrong. Since these things have not happened yet, we cannot be sure we are right about every detail.
We may not be right about every detail, but if the Bible tells us that something is going to happen, we can be sure it will. We just may not be right about when and in what order. Anyone who reads Revelation can see either an episodic or cyclic approach.
Episodic means that everything is in order and it will happen just as it says. The problem with this approach is that there would then be 21 judgments of God from the three seals to the three bowls to the three trumpets.
A cyclic view suggests that Paul describes seven judgments of God in three different ways (seals, bowls, trumpets) with the judgments getting worse and worse as time progresses. Who’s right? I don’t know. I have my ideas and lean a certain way but I am open to hearing different perspectives.
My last caution about end times events and prophecy is not only to hold lightly our own views and listen to others but also to not get so caught up in this stuff that we don’t pay attention to what God is doing among us. We must not get sidetracked like a horse with blinders. Focus on God first and worry about the end times later. After all, there’s a very good chance that we won’t be here for most of it anyway.
Reactions to and times events
- People can be right about their view and it happens the way they believe.
- People can be wrong about their views and it happens a way they don’t expect.
- People can misinterpret images and symbols of the end times.