But occasionally we should take a step back and remember what this is all about - the watching, the waiting, the research, the news, the development of new insights into the scriptures, the anticipation - and the reasons we do this every day.
There are so many reasons we watch the news with an eye on prophecy - we get to see the amazing accuracy of scriptures written thousands of years ago by God's prophets, and we get tremendous comfort in the reassurance that everything in the Bible can be trusted in a very literal sense. We can read about the prophets and see their incredible bravery, courage and closeness to God, and we can also see their basic humanity, weaknesses and flaws. We realize that our time on this earth is drawing to a close and we live with great anticipation of what is to come.
And all of that is good and represents sound reasoning for following current events and news in the context of prophecy.
But all of the above still misses the point.
Soon, we will actually be in the very presence of Jesus Himself. Just think about that for a minute.
We will be face to face with Jesus - in His very presence. Jesus, who left paradise and took human form - willingly - and knowing that He would suffer immeasurable pain, humiliation, beatings, and torture, far beyond what any of us can comprehend. And He did it all because of His intense love for each of us. What kind of love is that?
While searching for something to bolster this message, I stumbled on the writing below as written by John Piper and he can make the point far more eloquently than any abilities I possess:
I try not to make the posts on this blog about me (after all, I am a very boring person and if I wrote about myself, the readership on this blog would be 1 - me :)...But here I want to take a diversion from that - and I want to express what I know so many of us are thinking as well.
I follow prophecy because I long for being in the presence of Jesus Himself. I crave it. I think about it daily. I miss being in the presence of Jesus. I miss Him. It is a deep, deep yearning to be with Him. To be able to fall at His feet and thank Him over and over and over for what He has done - for what He did on the cross for me - for being my King and Savior. For loving me - me! - a deeply flawed, sinful person who deserves nothing at all - certainly not the love of the creator of the universe. Yet He loved me enough to die for me.
I'll admit it - I'm obsessed with Jesus.
Not only the fact that He is God, not only the fact that He died for me and offered me salvation by what He did on the cross, not only because of His infinite wisdom, but everything else about Jesus - His compassion, His understanding of the human condition, the tenderness with which He treated people (even the "worst" of sinners), His cleverness, His insight, His brilliance, His patience, His healing, His sensitivity and His sheer magnitude - just to name a few.
Do you think about what that moment will be like? That moment when we come face to face with Jesus Himself?
What will you do? What will you say? How will you express your love and gratitude for Him?
Personally, I have no idea - as that moment will be so incredible - a moment I have waited for, for most of my life. I know I will fall at His feet until He says otherwise - I don't feel that I deserve to stand eye-eye. At least not initially. I'm sure there will be a cathartic lengthy period of sobbing - tears which express relief, joy, gratitude, love, thankfullness, and almost every other conceivable emotion.
I'm sure Jesus will take me through my life on earth and He will reveal that He was always with me, through the pain and joy and everything in-between during the life journey here on earth.
But that will only be the beginning. Jesus will be anxious to show me the glories of Heaven that await. Jesus will be overjoyed as He watches the reunion taking place with loved ones who have been in heaven and those who have arrived with me.
I don't think I will ever want to leave Him. Once in the presence of Jesus, how could anything else matter? How could you want to do anything other than to simply be in His presence?
Watching prophecy actually makes one feel closer to Jesus because it reminds us that we will be in His presence - soon. As we see the news unfold - it is exciting to a prophecy watcher for one primary reason:
It tells us that His coming will be soon, and when it happens, we will actually be with Him. For real. Not through prayer, not through feeling His presence, but actually in His presence!
Can you even imagine that? That very moment when we are literally with Jesus Himself?
The paradox for a prophecy watcher is the fact that knowledge of this and anticipation of this can actually make life more difficult - as we await that moment. The difference in life here on earth as contrasted with what awaits us is often unbearable. If you are like me, and typically impatient, that moment can't come soon enough. The waiting is very very difficult.
But it will happen in the twinkling of the eye. In an instant.
We will be watching TV, driving, washing dishes, working, reading the bible, praying, teaching school, at a sports event - whatever we do regularly - and suddenly, without warning we will hear the call and immediately find ourselves in the presence of Jesus.
Give that some thought. Dwell on it for a while. Fall asleep with this thought in mind - what it will really be like when we see Him. Because it will happen - without a doubt - and probably soon.
In heaven. With Jesus. With our loved ones. Seeing Him in His glory, at the right hand of God.
And with everything that awaits us in Heaven because of His gift to us - as born out of pure love for us.
I can't help but think of the following lyrics of "Came To My Rescue" by Hillsong:
Falling on my knees in worship,
Giving all I am to seek Your face,
Lord all I am is is Yours.
My whole life,
I place in Your hands,
God of mercy,
Humbled I bow down,
In your presence at Your throne.
I called You answered,
And You came to my rescue and I,
I wanna be where You are.
In my life be lifted high.
In our world be lifted high.
In our love be lifted high.
Come Quickly Lord - we desperately want to be in your presence. Forever. We love you so much. Thank you for all you have done for us.