Can We Know the Future?

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MP3 Audio (7.16 MB)


Can We Know the Future?

MP3 Audio (7.16 MB)

Humankind has long had a fascination with trying to know the future. In ancient times priests, prophets, shamans and other self-styled seers amassed great power and prestige by claiming the ability to discern what's to come.

The desire to understand the future hasn’t waned over time. Considering the current state of the world as we begin a new decade, it’s no wonder people want to know what the future holds. Many nations—and at times it seems the whole world—lurch from crisis to crisis. Adding to the unease are various other supposed crises manufactured by politicians, media personalities and other intelligentsia who, in their quest for control over the lives of others, claim to know what’s best for the rest of us and don’t hesitate to tell us how to live.

We certainly live in a world plagued with problems. It’s almost impossible to keep up with the number of wars and international conflicts afflicting the planet, with new clashes springing up almost weekly. Many nations are cursed with megalomaniacal leaders far more concerned with their own power and prestige than with their suffering citizens. Just this morning I read of one recently deceased leader who was found to have died with $10 million in his bank account, plus at least eight cars and several palatial homes—all accumulated while his country’s living standard plunged to one of the lowest on earth.

I subscribe to several science, technology and military newsletters, and it’s frightening to see the steady stream of high-tech weaponry under development promising ever-more-efficient ways to kill ever-larger numbers of people in shorter amounts of time. 

It’s ironic that one of the latest concerns of public health officials is the growing amount of pharmaceutical contaminants found in the drinking water of major cities—one of the most common being antidepressants, flushed into water supplies from upstream sources. So if you don’t have enough to worry about, your neighbor’s anti-anxiety prescription drugs may be coming out of your faucet into your drinking glass!

If all of this sounds like bad news to you, you’re right—it is. Such is the world we’ve built for ourselves by rejecting the knowledge found in the “instruction manual” given to us by our Creator, His amazing book we know as the Holy Bible. 

Mankind wants to know and understand the future, but there’s really only one reliable source for that information—and that’s the Bible.

Somewhere between a fourth and a third of the Bible is prophecy—history written in advance. Many books of the Bible are prophetic, describing the future. Many show how some prophecy has already been fulfilled, often in intricate detail.

Only in the Bible do we see the factual story of a God so powerful that He not only can foretell the future, but also has the power to bring to pass what He has foretold. And in the pages of the Bible He provides plenty of evidence that He can and will do exactly that—foretelling and directing the rise and fall of rulers, nations and empires.

Notice what He tells us in one of these prophetic books: “Remember the things I have done in the past. For I alone am God! I am God, and there is none like me. Only I can tell you the future before it even happens. Everything I plan will come to pass, for I do whatever I wish . . . I have said what I would do, and I will do it” (Isaiah 46:9-11, New Living Translation).  

He also says: “The Lord of Heaven’s Armies has sworn this oath: ‘It will all happen as I have planned. It will be as I have decided . . . I have a plan for the whole earth, a hand of judgment upon all the nations. The Lord of Heaven’s Armies has spoken—who can change his plans? When his hand is raised, who can stop him?’” (Isaiah 14:24-27, NLT).

In the pages of the Bible, God really does show where our world is headed and, equally important, why. He explains why our world is in such a perilous condition, as well as what He plans to do about it. Several articles in this issue discuss this in greater detail.

In revealing what God has planned, the Bible is also a message of great hope—hope far greater than anything promised by human leaders and would-be saviors. That’s why this magazine’s name is Beyond Today. We look for a brighter future beyond today's troubled world, a hope exceeding any human efforts and dreams.

We hope you’ll join us on that journey to an awesome future, and that you’ll continue learning more about what’s ahead through this issue and others to come!


  • Malachi 3_16-18

    Hi Doug, I believe that the statement about prophecy being history in advance was a general one. Most times, that is the case. In this situation, it was God's intention to do destroy Nineveh if they didn't repent. But He gives us free will, and doesn't necessarily know ahead of time exactly what choices we are going to make. As it turned out, the people did repent, and so He saved them and their city at that time. However, roughly another century later, Nineveh WAS destroyed! Did God lie? No, but it was fully His intention to destroy Nineveh at that time, based on their evil way of living. And He did end up doing just that - just in a revised time frame.

  • douglasyo

    I'm not sure that prophecy is "history written in advance". That wasn't the case for Jonah's prophecy about Nineveh: "Yet 40 days and Nineveh shall be overthrown!". This prophecy did not come to pass. Not because God was unable to make it come to pass, but because God relented due to Nineveh's heartfelt repentance. If any of us ever feel we have sinned to the point that only doom awaits us, God will hear and forgive, if we engage in heartfelt, deep repentance. All that said, I am not very confident that any segment of this world's population will repent of their evil doings, so the prophecies discussed in this article do indeed look inevitable. But any of us individually, can repent to God, change our ways, and excitedly look forward to the brighter future that will come after the darkness.

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