How Will Prophecy Impact You?

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How Will Prophecy Impact You?

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As a student of both history and the Bible, I've always found prophecy to be a fascinating intersection between the two.

I've explored the ruins of the ancient hilltop city of Samaria, capital of the powerful kingdom of Israel, captured by Assyrian invaders just as foretold by God's prophets (2 Kings 17:5-18 2 Kings 17:5-18 [5] Then the king of Assyria came up throughout all the land, and went up to Samaria, and besieged it three years. [6] In the ninth year of Hoshea the king of Assyria took Samaria, and carried Israel away into Assyria, and placed them in Halah and in Habor by the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes. [7] For so it was, that the children of Israel had sinned against the LORD their God, which had brought them up out of the land of Egypt, from under the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and had feared other gods, [8] And walked in the statutes of the heathen, whom the LORD cast out from before the children of Israel, and of the kings of Israel, which they had made. [9] And the children of Israel did secretly those things that were not right against the LORD their God, and they built them high places in all their cities, from the tower of the watchmen to the fenced city. [10] And they set them up images and groves in every high hill, and under every green tree: [11] And there they burnt incense in all the high places, as did the heathen whom the LORD carried away before them; and worked wicked things to provoke the LORD to anger: [12] For they served idols, whereof the LORD had said to them, You shall not do this thing. [13] Yet the LORD testified against Israel, and against Judah, by all the prophets, and by all the seers, saying, Turn you from your evil ways, and keep my commandments and my statutes, according to all the law which I commanded your fathers, and which I sent to you by my servants the prophets. [14] Notwithstanding they would not hear, but hardened their necks, like to the neck of their fathers, that did not believe in the LORD their God. [15] And they rejected his statutes, and his covenant that he made with their fathers, and his testimonies which he testified against them; and they followed vanity, and became vain, and went after the heathen that were round about them, concerning whom the LORD had charged them, that they should not do like them. [16] And they left all the commandments of the LORD their God, and made them molten images, even two calves, and made a grove, and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served Baal. [17] And they caused their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire, and used divination and enchantments, and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger. [18] Therefore the LORD was very angry with Israel, and removed them out of his sight: there was none left but the tribe of Judah only.
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). I've been to the desolate hill of Shiloh, which, God foretold, the entire kingdom of Judah would become like if the people didn't heed His warnings to repent (Jeremiah 7:12-14 Jeremiah 7:12-14 [12] But go you now to my place which was in Shiloh, where I set my name at the first, and see what I did to it for the wickedness of my people Israel. [13] And now, because you have done all these works, said the LORD, and I spoke to you, rising up early and speaking, but you heard not; and I called you, but you answered not; [14] Therefore will I do to this house, which is called by my name, wherein you trust, and to the place which I gave to you and to your fathers, as I have done to Shiloh.
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). Sadly, they refused and suffered the consequences of their rebellion.

I've visited Bethlehem, the town which the prophet Micah foretold would be the birthplace of the greatest Man of all time, One who would forever change human history—Jesus the Messiah (Micah 5:2 Micah 5:2But you, Bethlehem Ephratah, though you be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall he come forth to me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.
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).

Not far away is Jerusalem, where His enemies plotted and executed Him, and where many a prophecy was given and fulfilled—including the destruction of the magnificent temple built by Herod the Great of which Jesus said, "Not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down" (Matthew 24:2 Matthew 24:2And Jesus said to them, See you not all these things? truly I say to you, There shall not be left here one stone on another, that shall not be thrown down.
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). Overlooking the city, I've marveled at the Mount of Olives, from which Christ ascended into the sky and to which He promises to return (Acts 1:9-11 Acts 1:9-11 [9] And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. [10] And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; [11] Which also said, You men of Galilee, why stand you gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as you have seen him go into heaven.
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).

In the northern part of the country I've walked the dusty paths of Megiddo, from which the end-time (but misnamed) "battle of Armageddon" gets its name, and the ruins of Capernaum and Bethsaida, towns where Jesus conducted much of His ministry and which He declared would perish for their unbelief (Matthew 11:21-23 Matthew 11:21-23 [21] Woe to you, Chorazin! woe to you, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. [22] But I say to you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you. [23] And you, Capernaum, which are exalted to heaven, shall be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in you, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.
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).

Further afield, I've visited the Greek island of Patmos, where the apostle John received the visions of the book of Revelation, which describes human history from that time up through the return of Jesus Christ and beyond. And in Turkey I've journeyed to the seven cities of Asia Minor to which Jesus Christ sent prophetic messages regarding His people down through the ages up until the end time (Revelation 2–3).

I've also seen the ruins of two ancient superpowers—Egypt, which Ezekiel foretold would be brought low and never again attain its former greatness (Ezekiel 29:12 Ezekiel 29:12And I will make the land of Egypt desolate in the middle of the countries that are desolate, and her cities among the cities that are laid waste shall be desolate forty years: and I will scatter the Egyptians among the nations, and will disperse them through the countries.
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, Ezekiel 29:15 Ezekiel 29:15It shall be the basest of the kingdoms; neither shall it exalt itself any more above the nations: for I will diminish them, that they shall no more rule over the nations.
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), and Rome, prophesied heart of an empire that would rise to rule the known world before collapsing (to later be resurrected in the end time).

I've also been privileged to visit museums in Jerusalem, Cairo, Amman, Istanbul, London and Chicago where one can see artifacts that, like the many locations listed above, bear silent witness to various aspects of the fulfillment of Bible prophecy.

Regrettably, many people doubt Bible prophecy. But in my travels I've seen too much compelling evidence for its dead-on accuracy to ignore its truthfulness and crucial message for our times.

Much prophecy has been fulfilled. Much remains to be fulfilled. But the most important aspect of prophecy for you and me is how it impacts our lives—a theme explored in the first two articles in this issue.

Students of Bible prophecy also recognize that much prophecy is given in symbols—where God commanded that certain things be done in representation of events to come later. That's another theme explored in this issue, wherein we show that God's festivals proclaimed in the Bible reveal how He will work out some of Scripture's more amazing prophecies to bring to pass His plan for the salvation of mankind.