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My pastor correlates any event going on in the world as a sign of getting closer to the return of Christ, using all different quotes from the book of Revelation.

I remember Jesus saying something about looking for signs is a sin.

Is it sinful to prophesy what will happen in the future by looking for world events that match some scripture?

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

There are two important aspects to this:

1) We are not allowed to attribute meaning to a Biblical prophecy that is different from God's intended meaning:

But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God. -2 Peter 1:20-21

2) We are supposed to pay attention to prophecy, understand it, and recognize it when it begins to be fulfilled:

Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near. -Revelation 1:3

But take heed; behold, I have told you everything in advance. -Mark 13:23

Even so, you too, when you see these things happening, recognize that He is near, right at the door. -Mark 13:29

Conclusion: Every prophecy of Scripture originated with God, who had a specific meaning in mind when He gave it. The only appropriate interpretation is the one which retains His original intent. If a prophecy is truly being fulfilled, we would do well to recognize it. However, it is inappropriate to make guesses about the meaning based on current life circumstances and then teach it as if it were God's original intent.

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As a side note, I can't imagine how difficult it would have been for Christians during World War II not to think Hitler was the Antichrist! – Jas 3.1 Jun 18 '12 at 2:04
I know right? Whenever people say we are in end times I wonder how it is worse than WWII. – styfle Jun 18 '12 at 4:37
@Jas 3.1 - Hitler most certainly was AN Antichrist: just as others who have claimed to be either Jesus returned, or preaching heresy "in His name" are (David Koresh, Moon, etc etc) – warren Jun 18 '12 at 14:30
@Jas: thank you, that sheds some clarity... – Greg McNulty Jun 18 '12 at 20:01
@styfle: seriously! – Greg McNulty Jun 18 '12 at 20:04

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