Imagine a foot soldier near the front lines of battle. This is his first taste of combat. His sergeant orders him to dig a foxhole. The soldier responds with a hearty, Yes, Sir! He thinks to himself, I can dig this foxhole! Yes! After months of fighting, marching, then fighting again, the sergeant orders him to dig a foxhole for the thousandth time. This has now become a very dreary task. The soldier may continue his grunt work because of his fear of losing his life or of the sergeants wrath. With only these motivations, however, his foxhole digging might become less than enthusiastic.
Now suppose that soldier came to understand his part in the drama that surrounded him. He now understands the tactical requirements of the current battle in which his unit is engaged. He clearly sees how this battle fits into the overall strategy his commander has mapped out for that front. The strategic plan for the entire theatre is in his mind. At an even deeper level, let us suppose this soldier comes to comprehend the cause for which the war is being fought in the first place and that he completely agrees with that cause. Can you see how these changed perspectives affect the enthusiasm and energy with which the soldier digs fox holes? Now, this mundane task carries great meaning for him; he sees it in an entirely different perspective.
Scripture compares Christians to soldiers fighting in a (spiritual) war. These warriors must perform many repetitive and often boring tasks. To give these tasks meaning, the soldiers need to understand everything possible about the war in which they are engaged: the cause (the glory of God), the theaters (ethics, culture, politics, etc.), the strategies (worship, preaching, etc.), the weapons (the church, truth, righteousness) and the objectives (dominion, complete restoration). In order to wage the most effective warfare possible, Christians must understand these matters. But, this understanding depends on the adoption of a framework for prophecy. Without an overall picture of what we are trying to accomplish, the everyday tasks of our warfare can become acts of drudgery.
This is one of the reasons I am writing a book with the tentative title A Framework for Prophecy. I hope to present God’s story-line for history in such a way that we as individual Christians and churches can see our place in it. We are actors in God’s redemptive drama. May we learn and play our parts well.