“And we have the prophetic word more sure, to which you will do well to pay attention, like a lamp shining in a dark place, until that day should dawn and the morning star might arise in your hearts; knowing this first; that every prophecy of scripture does not become of one’s own interpretation; for no desire of man ever brought prophecy; but holy men of God spoke, being carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:19-21).
The study of prophecy will do more than bring to us a knowledge of things to come; it will equip us so that we can link the future with the past and see for ourselves the great overarching scheme of God as revealed in His Word; only then can we truly know the “ways of God”. Christians ignore the prophetic books of the Bible to their peril; prophecy is written not so that we might prophesy ourselves but that, in its fulfillment, it will bear witness to God. For that reason, it is vital for Christians to study the prophetic scriptures and gain the testimony they afford to the divine nature and character of the scriptures generally.
Prophetic study is a spiritually assisted enquiry into the unsearchable counsels of God; it will profit the student by his discovery that the Holy Scriptures are not a heterogeneous collection of religious books, but one harmonious whole whose author is God. Christianity tends to emphasise what was said in the past and gain comfort in the promises made in the scriptures; but if we think that a knowledge of the past is important, how much more important is a knowledge of the future, if we are to be lifted out of the slumber occasioned by a narrow and unenlightened contemplation of the present?
“But when they were alone, He explained all things to His disciples” (Mark 4:34). That is what must take place; time alone with the Lord of glory is the only way that the Holy Spirit can teach us; and it is the Holy Spirit who is meant to be our teacher. There is much enthusiasm for the pulpit today; Bible colleges pour out graduates who know a few theological facts and they hunger to stand before an audience and expound what they have been taught. It needs to be said that the man who has this hunger within him is hardly equipped, spiritually speaking, to stand before the people of God, for the one who regularly stands in the presence of God will find himself ill at ease when he stands in the presence of men; and no man should stand before an audience who has not first stood for many hours before God; the prayer closet need to be a more familiar place than the public platform.
Bible colleges teach almost everything there is to know about “platform ministry”, as it is ludicrously called, except the part that is the most important of all; praying. And praying is the one work that gets done with the least amount of enthusiasm!