Whats the point of watching "signs", as given by ancient prophetic scriptures? Whats the point?
After all, people have mistakenly thought that they were living in the last days before - why would we want to make that same mistake?
There are multiple reasons for watching. One could argue that prophecy reveals the presence of God - that through prophetic fulfillment, one can make the case for God's very existance, as there is no other explanation for hundreds of prophetic scriptures being fulfilled in a manner exactly described in the bible. Only a sovereign God could know the future. In fact, no other religion can claim such literal, specific fulfillment of prophecy, as we have seen throughout bible history. Additionally, prophecy represents approximately 30% of the bible. Ignoring prophecy leaves a significant void in our understanding of God's word.
But there is a better reason for reading and understanding prophecy. It is important to Jesus. Very important. Jesus instructed us to watch for the signs of His coming over and over and over again. A quick glance at His last discourse, known as the Olivet Discourse, reveals no less than TEN warnings to watch for, and know the signs preceeding His coming:
Isn't that enough? Don't we want to be obedient to Jesus?
I find it interesting that many folks express a desire to follow Jesus' commands, yet they ignore one of His most important commands, and that is to watch for His return, and the various signs that indicate His return is soon. In fact, we know from Matthew 24 that one generation of people living on the planet will see ALL signs given for His return. He urged us to know the signs, and understand the "season" of His return.
So what if we're all wrong? What if, for some reason, we're not in the season just before Christ's return?
All I can say is - I'd rather be wrong in making efforts to obey Christ's commands (to watch), rather than being wrong by ignoring His commands. In other words, I'd far rather face Jesus, having attempted to watch for the signs, and having been wrong, as contrasted with actually BEING in that last generation, and ignoring the signs. Plus, there is the added benefit of watching the signs and having such bible study bring us closer to Christ. Its hard to find a prophecy "watcher" who isn't coming closer and closer to Christ, as we await His return. Its hard to be lukewarm when you feel that Jesus' return is very near. I repeat: Its hard to be lukewarm when you feel that Jesus' return is very near.
However, the evidence is overwhelming that we're in that season; that we're actually living in the last generation that Jesus described so vividly.
Just as we watched for a loved one to return from a long trip, we watch for Jesus to return. It shows our deep love for Him, and our deep desire to be with Him. Lets not make the mistake made 2,000 years ago, when Jesus walked on this earth. The signs of Christ's first coming were largely ignored; something Jesus addressed following the resurrection. As Jesus appeared to the apostles, He reminded them of why they didn't understand the events which had just taken place, three days earlier:
"He said to them, 'This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms'. Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures". Jesus went through all of the prophecies about Himself on the last remaining days that He had on earth.
The bottom line: If its important to Jesus, it should be important to us. Period. So lets keep watching.