Biblical prophecy, a popular subject, can strengthen our witness—it gives us hope and assurance in our turbulent world as we share the gospel. However, if taken too far, it can also hinder our outreach. Here are a few cautionary warnings to help us maintain a balanced approach:
Watch out for pride and divisiveness—Interpretation of Biblical prophecy can be a sharp dividing point for believers. For example, the millennium has been described as “the 1000 years of peace that Christians like to fight about.” While dialogue over differences on issues like end-time events can be healthy when undergirded by love for one another, it can easily lead to exclusiveness and prideful division among believers.
Make sure facts and dates don’t become more important than people—We can be so focused on trying to figure out the future that we miss the opportunities God provides in the present to tell others about Him.
Avoid picking dates or interpreting prophecy based on current events—Date setting has been popular but detrimental to the Church, resulting in derision from skeptics and critics. Regarding His return, Jesus said, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only” (Matt. 24:36). Why try to predict something that even the angels do not know?
Remember that unbelievers from other nations or people groups are not the enemy—Some have labeled countries in Europe, Asia, and Africa as enemies of God based on end time prophecy rather than fields white for harvest right now. It is best to leave the big picture up to God and focus on His mission to “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations” (Matt. 28:19).