Through the centuries various peoples have sought out seers, fortune-tellers and mediums to predict what lies ahead. These self-proclaimed seers usually come to nothing. Their few accurate predictions are either outnumbered by their misses or are lucky guesses.
The Bible, however, is different. It contains hundreds of detailed prophecies, then it shows how many of those predictions were fulfilled centuries later. Much of the Bible is prophecy, and its predictions are so sure that we could call Bible prophecy "history written in advance." In this lesson we will read the headlines of tomorrow. Let's see what the Bible says is in store for this world.
Does God foretell the future?
"Remember the former things of old, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done, saying, 'My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure'" (Isaiah 46:9-10).
Does He allow people to understand what will take place in the future?
"Surely the Lord GOD does nothing, unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets" (Amos 3:7).
God has revealed specific aspects of the future through His prophets. The messages of those prophets, as well as some of the apostles who had aspects of the future revealed to them, are recorded for us in the Bible. God's Word is the only sure source for understanding the future.
Can God bring to pass what He has foretold?
". . . Indeed I have spoken it; I will also bring it to pass. I have purposed it; I will also do it" (Isaiah 46:11).
It is one thing to predict the future. It is something else entirely to have the power to bring those events to pass. No human seer has that power!
Does the Bible speak of various ages?
"So [Jesus] said to them, 'Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or parents or brothers or wife or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who shall not receive many times more in this present time, and in the age to come eternal life''' (Luke 18:29-30).
"Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age . . ." (Galatians 1:3-4).
Jesus Christ contrasted "this present time" with "the age to come." The apostle Paul described this era as "this present evil age." In this lesson we see what the Bible says about the transition from "this present evil age" to "the age to come."
Does the Bible discuss "the end of the age"—our particular epoch in history?
"Now as [Jesus Christ] sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, 'Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?'" (Matthew 24:3).
Did Jesus Christ predict specific conditions and events that would precede His return?
"Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near . . ." (Luke 21:27-28).
"So you also, when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near" (Luke 21:31).
Carefully study Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21. These are parallel accounts of the Olivet Prophecy, given by Jesus Christ to His disciples shortly before He was crucified. In this astounding prediction, given on the Mount of Olives, Jesus summarizes the conditions and events that will affect the world in the time leading up to His return.
This prophecy also unlocks our understanding of the prophetic books of Daniel and Revelation, which describe some of the same events. After completing this lesson, you should also read these two books to expand your comprehension of end-time conditions and events.