Understanding End Times Scriptures and Prophecies in the Bible

Contributing Writer
Understanding End Times Scriptures and Prophecies in the Bible

The Bible is a prophetic book. Approximately thirty percent of the Bible was prophetic when the writer wrote it. These prophecies address events that have already happened and things still to come. In Matthew 24, the disciples asked Jesus a question about the signs of his coming and of the end of the age. We have been studying his response for the last two thousand years. It seems every generation points to or considers their generation to be the one where Jesus will return. While it hasn’t happened yet, eventually one of those generations will be right.

Because prophecy is such an expansive topic, it is impossible to give you a full-fledged analysis of all Bible prophecy in one article. I can, however, give you a few things that will aid you in understanding end times Scriptures and prophecies in the Bible.

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What Is the "End Times"?

Golden face of a clock

When you think of the end times, we often think of the time right before Jesus comes back. Sometimes the Bible refers to this as the last days. When you hear terms like last days and end times, what may first come to mind is immediacy or something that is eminent. However, the last days began when Jesus ascended into heaven in Acts 1 and the Holy Spirit fell at Pentecost. This period will end when Christ returns.

With this understanding, it’s important to recognize we have been living in this period for two thousand years as we have been looking for and expecting Christ’s return. 

There are three major events typically associated with the end times. 

  • The Rapture of the Church
  • The Great Tribulation
  • The Second Coming of Christ

Your understanding of end times Scriptures and prophecies in the Bible will dictate the order in which you place these events, as there is not universal agreement. While the order of when these events will happen is great for discussion, I am purposely leaving it out of this conversation today.

Important Scripture Verses about the End Times, and What They Mean

There are so many places you can look that will help you in understanding end times Scriptures and prophecies in the Bible, but for brevity’s sake I had to narrow it down. Therefore, I grouped them into different categories. You should read all Scriptures that relate to the end times with an eye on what is happening now and how those things correlate.

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End Times Scriptures That Speak to the Culture

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“But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God — having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people” (2 Timothy 3:1-5).

“Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, ‘Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation’” (2 Peter 3:3-4).

These verses present a vivid picture of our society today. Pick any of these descriptions and you can watch it playing out before your eyes. Many of these things have been indicative of every generation, however it seems with each passing generation they become worse. 

End Times Scriptures That Speak to the Great Tribulation

“He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’ In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And at the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him” (Daniel 9:27).

“For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now — and never to be equaled again” (Matthew 24:21).

The Great Tribulation will be unlike any period in history. This will be a time of great distress and the rise of a person the Bible identifies as the antichrist. This period will end with Christ’s physical return to the earth. The time of tribulation will last seven years, so this is a set time with a definitive end.

End Times Scriptures That Speak to the Second Coming

“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am” (John 14:3).

“He who testifies to these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming soon’” (Revelation 22:20).

The exciting part about Bible prophecy is Jesus is coming back. Whenever you find Scriptures that talk about his second coming, these should be places of encouragement and strength.

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Important Prophecies about the End Times

The End text on typewriter

When you focus on understanding the end times Scriptures and prophecies in the Bible, there are many places you can turn. Let me give you two places which will give you an acceptable starting point for studying Bible prophecy.  

Matthew 24

This chapter in Scripture is also known as the Olivet Discourse and is one of the more extensive teachings about end times events outside of Revelation. These words came straight from Jesus. 

One thing that will help you in understanding end times Scriptures and prophecies in the Bible is to recognize prophecies can have multiple fulfillments. This happens in Matthew 24. Jesus initially talked about the destruction of the temple and Jerusalem, which was a prophecy fulfilled in 70 AD. That destruction was also a foreshadowing of the day of Christ’s return. The rest of Matthew gives insight into the tribulation leading up to the second coming.

There are events in this chapter that have already taken place and events that are yet to take place. When reading this passage, many look for the connection between the events happening in our world today and what Jesus was saying here.

The Book of Daniel

Daniel prophesied into the near future and into the distant future. There are many prophecies in Daniel that any person seriously looking into Bible prophecy would have to study. You can read Daniel chapter 2 and then read chapters 7-12. Honestly you could just read the entire book, but those areas focus more on prophecies.

Daniel is one of the important books, outside of Revelation, that is key to understanding end times Scriptures and prophecies in the Bible.

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Should We as Christians Be Anxious about the End Times?

Close-up of a group of people with hands folded in prayer

As Christians, we should not be anxious about the end times. It doesn’t mean things won’t get worse or uglier, but when you turn to the end of the book, we win. We don’t win because we are so special, we win because we are in Christ and because he will reign forever as Lord of all. Our victory is secure in him because he is special.

The other reason we don’t have to be anxious is because He has promised to be with us through it all. The comfort of his presence should ease any anxiety you would have about end times events.

Should We Be Trying to Predict When These Things Will Happen?

The Bible encourages us to look for his coming. However, the Bible never tells us to predict his coming. This is a fruitless exercise and all who have attempted have failed. Anyone who tries to tell you they know when Jesus is coming back, ignore them. Regardless of how educated or profound they sound, they are violating a truth of Scripture.

Jesus said no one knows when he is coming back, and I think his word carries a lot more weight. Look for and be ready for his return. Just don’t try predicting when it will happen because you can’t.

Don’t Become Distracted

Understanding end times Scriptures and prophecies in the Bible can be a lifelong pursuit. Some people have dedicated their entire ministry to this study. I want to leave you with one word of caution. This topic can lead people to become very passionate about looking at signs and trying to figure out where we are on the prophetic calendar. While this can be great for discussion, it can also become a great distraction.

As important as it is to understand these things, our mandate is to not just be looking for his return, but working until he does. Understanding end times Scriptures and prophecies in the Bible is good. Doing God’s will on the earth until he returns is far better. Of the two, focus on doing God’s will because you can be certain the prophecies will take care of themselves.

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Clarence Haynes 1200x1200Clarence L. Haynes Jr. is a speaker, Bible teacher, and co-founder of The Bible Study Club.  He is the author of The Pursuit of Purpose which will help you understand how God leads you into his will. He has also just released his new book The Pursuit of Victory: How To Conquer Your Greatest Challenges and Win In Your Christian Life. Do you want to go deeper in your walk with the Lord but can’t seem to overcome the stuff that keeps getting in the way? This book will teach you how to put the pieces together so you can live a victorious Christian life and finally become the man or woman of God that you truly desire to be. To learn more about his ministry please visit clarencehaynes.com