Understanding Prophecy Requires Humility

In Matthew 24, Jesus Christ’s disciples came to Him privately on the Mount of Olives and asked Him what the sign of His Second Coming would be. They also wanted to know when this age of man’s rule would end.

Over the centuries—since Christ’s first coming, crucifixion and resurrection—many people have asked the same questions. When will Christ return? When will the Kingdom of God begin to rule the Earth?

These are excellent questions to ask! And as world events become more dramatic, more people are asking these questions. Thankfully, the Bible records the answer Christ gave to His disciples.

When Christ answered His disciples, He gave them a specific warning first.

“And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many” (Matthew 4:4-5).

Before we can really understand the signs of the times, we have to make sure we aren’t being deceived by false teachers. Christ is making the point that many would come and talk about the person of Christ, yet they would not live according to every word of God.

Christ gives some strong correction for this attitude in Luke 6:46: “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?”

Can a person refuse to obey Christ and still understand the rest of the signs He gave in Matthew 24? Of course the answer is no! God only gives understanding to those who are humble and teachable. Notice what Christ said about this.

“At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes” (Matthew 11:25).

We are instructed in Proverbs 3:7 not to be wise in our own eyes. Isaiah 5:21 says, “Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!” God will hide His truth from those who are wise in their own eyes. These people are deceived.

James 4:6 says that God resists the proud. But notice the attitude that we need. In Psalm 119:34, Jeremiah wrote, “Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law; yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart.”

What an outstanding attitude Jeremiah had! He knew that God gives understanding. And Jeremiah wanted understanding so he could keep God’s law with his whole heart! That is a humble, teachable attitude. That is the attitude of a man who didn’t just say “Lord, Lord,” but did what God said. And God used Jeremiah as a prophet (Jeremiah 1:5).

In order to understand prophecy, Jeremiah knew that that understanding had to come from God. And he used that understanding to do what God told him to do. If Jeremiah was “wise in his own eyes,” God couldn’t have used him.

As times become more intense, people want to understand prophecy. They want to understand Matthew 24. That is a good desire to have. But before a person can really understand God’s prophecies, he or she must have the humility to obey God.

All revelation is given through apostles and prophets (Ephesians 3:5). Those whom God is calling today will humbly seek God’s will and do what is taught through Christ’s apostles of the past and His apostle today. They will do what Christ says.

A person must obey God and His government or he or she simply won’t understand prophecy! That type of obedience takes a humility that is so rare on Earth today.

Before Christ gave the rest of the signs in Matthew 24, He first warned His disciples not to let any man deceive them—and people can vainly deceive themselves. If you will humbly submit to God’s Word, you can begin to understand God’s prophecy.

To understand all of Christ’s prophecy in Matthew 24, read our free reprint article “Matthew 24—Christ’s Most Pivotal Prophecy.”