Can We Know the Future?

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Can We Know the Future?

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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 Isaiah 46:9-11 9 Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, 10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure: 11 Calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executes my counsel from a far country: yes, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it.
American King James Version×
, 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 Isaiah 14:24-27 24 The LORD of hosts has sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, so shall it stand: 25 That I will break the Assyrian in my land, and on my mountains tread him under foot: then shall his yoke depart from off them, and his burden depart from off their shoulders. 26 This is the purpose that is purposed on the whole earth: and this is the hand that is stretched out on all the nations. 27 For the LORD of hosts has purposed, and who shall cancel it? and his hand is stretched out, and who shall turn it back?
American King James Version×
, 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!

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