It may appear that it does not matter how we interpret prophecy, for how can prophetic events affect our way of life and our salvation? If we look carefully into the Bible, however, we find examples indicating that it does matter how we view Bible prophecy.
One clear example is found in Matthew 24 where Jesus warned the Jews about the coming invasion of the Romans into Jerusalem. Jesus said:
"So when you see the desolating sacrilege spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains; let him who is on the housetop not go down to take what is in his house; and let him who is in the field not turn back to take his mantle." (Matthew 24:15-18)
To the Jews that were living at that time, this was a very important prophecy because the Roman army later surrounded Jerusalem and the Jews who understood the words of Jesus fled from the city and were saved. Those who did not correctly understand this prophecy stayed in the city to be trapped by the Roman army and die in the siege that followed.
Another clear example is found in the Jews' rejection of Jesus. If the Jewish people had correctly understood the Old Testament prophecies which indicated that their Messiah would have to suffer and even die before he could reign as king, then they would not have rejected Jesus as the Messiah. Tragically, most of the Jews did not understand Bible prophecy correctly, since they expected the Messiah to overthrow the Romans in their day and then establish the kingdom in Israel. Their wrong understanding of prophecy caused them to reject Jesus Christ!
Certainly from these two examples we can see how necessary it is for us to have a correct understanding of Bible prophecies. We also live in an age when we are looking for the Messiah to come and establish his kingdom. No one desires to be in the position where he or she might reject Jesus when he comes because of an incorrect understanding of the prophetic events related to his second coming. Yet the framework has already been laid throughout Christianity for most Christians to do exactly that. A sudden and rapid change has recently occurred within most Christian churches that has completely altered their prior understanding of the events at Jesus' second coming. Many of these churches and their leaders have abandoned the original teachings of their founders on this subject and have replaced them with the belief that a satanic man (the future Antichrist) will control the world for 7 years just prior to the return of Jesus. This false teaching is preparing millions of Christians throughout the earth to reject Jesus at his return because they will be convinced, by the things he will do, that he is "the Antichrist" and will oppose him.