I was perusing some of Isaac Newton’s writings on prophecy over at the Newton project and it dawned on me how similar his view was to mine. Keeping in mind my last post here, read Newton’s thoughts on the value of end time prophecy:
“If then the Prophesies which concerned the Apostolique age were given for the conversion of the men of that age to the truth & for the establishment of their faith, & if it was their duty to search diligently into those Prophesies: why should we not think that the Prophesies which concern the latter times into which we are fallen were in like manner intended for our use that in the midst of Apostacies we might be able to discern the truth & be established in the faith thereof, & consequently that it is also our duty to search with all diligence into these Prophesies. And If God was so angry with the Jews for not searching more diligently into the Prophesies which he had given them to know Christ by: why should we think he will excuse us for not searching into the Prophesies which he hath given us to know Antichrist by? For certainly it must be as dangerous & as easy an error for Christians to adhere to Antichrist as it was for the Iews to reject Christ. And therefore it is as much our duty to indeavour to be able to know him that we may avoyd him, as it was theirs to know Christ that they might follow him.
Thou seest therefore that this is no idle speculation, no matters of indifferency but a duty of the greatest moment. Wherefore it concerns thee to look about thee narrowly least thou shouldest in so degenerate an age be dangerously seduced & not know it. Antichrist was to seduce the whole Christian world and therefore he may easily seduce thee if thou beest not well prepared to discern him. But if he should not be yet come into the world yet amidst so many religions of which there can be but one true & perhaps none of those that thou art acquainted with it is great odds but thou mayst be deceived & therefore it concerns thee to be very circumspect.” Source: The Newton Project
The point that Newton makes about God holding them accountable for understanding the prophecies is true. Daniel had written the 70 weeks prophecy specifically enough that the Pharisees should have recognized when Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey presenting himself as Messiah. Jesus certainly held them accountable for knowing the prophecies,
“Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up a barricade around you and surround you and hem you in on every side and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you. And they will not leave one stone upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation.” (Luke 19:42–44, ESV)
Newton wrote “Antichrist was to seduce the whole Christian world and therefore he may easily seduce thee if thou beest not well prepared to discern him.” Might Jesus hold you accountable as well?