In Isaiah 46:10 God says, “I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is to come.” In this four week series Derek looks at what God has said in Scripture concerning events that are still in the future. We do not have to walk in darkness but in the light of His Word.
It’s good to be with you again at the beginning of a new week, sharing with you Keys to Successful Living which God has placed in my hand through many years of personal experience and Christian ministry.
Today I’m commencing a series of talks that will extend over the next four weeks. Their theme is one which I believe you will find both exciting and helpful. It is, “Facing the Future.” Or, “What Does the Future Hold?”
But first, let me say “Thank you” to those of you who have been writing to me. Before I finish this talk we’ll be giving you a mailing address to which you may write. It means a great deal to me to hear how this radio ministry of mine has been helping you and blessing you. So please take time to write, even if it’s only a brief note.
Now, back to our theme, “Facing the Future.” Throughout human history, men have always desired to know what the future holds. Traditionally, they’ve sought this knowledge in ways that go beyond what man can discover merely by reason or by his senses; ways such as astrology, oracles, fortune telling, and various forms of mysticism. The record of history indicates, however, that man’s attempts to obtain knowledge of the future in these ways have proved illusive and deceptive. In more recent times, man has also sought this kind of knowledge of the future in more sophisticated and scientific ways. Studies and surveys have been made by experts in various fields by physicists, sociologists, economists, experts in the related fields of population and food production, and so on. In recent decades, the help of computers has been extensively invoked.
The published results of such studies as these have often proved thought-provoking and helpful. Nevertheless, it’s obvious that there are many unknown contingencies which no human mind or system can foresee and which could radically affect the ongoing course of events. For this reason, none of these studies can be accepted as fully reliable. There remains a third source to which we may look for insight into the future. This third source is the Bible and it is to the Bible that we will be looking for that insight into the future in my talks this week and for the next three weeks.
The first thing we need to see is that the Bible definitely offers light to those who study it and obey it. It makes many such claims. We’ll look at only one such claim very simply and clearly and vividly stated in Psalm 119:105, where the psalmist says to the Lord:
“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.”
The two things that are required to walk are feet to walk with and a path to walk on. God’s Word provides light for our feet and light for our path. In other words, it always shows us where to put the next step. It may not always show us a long way ahead but we are never left to walk in darkness. What a tremendous blessing that is! I hope you appreciate that, that if you really study and obey your Bible, you will never be left walking in darkness.
Specifically, in the Bible, God claims to foretell the future. He makes many such claims and they’re very specific. We’ll look at two passages in Isaiah, where these claims are made. Isaiah 44:6-8:
“This is what the Lord says, Israel’s King and Redeemer, the Lord Almighty: I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God. Who then is like me: Let him proclaim it. Let him declare and lay out before me what has happened since I established my ancient people, and what is yet to come, yes, let him foretell what will come.”
There’s a challenge. The Lord says, “I’m God. I know what happened in the past. I know what will happen in the future. If there’s anybody that challenges me, let him come out with the same kind of knowledge that I offer. Then He says to His own people:
“Do not tremble, do not be afraid. Did I not proclaim this and foretell it long ago?”
The God that foretells the future is the one that can see us safely through the future. And that’s the God of the Bible. And then again in Isaiah 46:9-10:
“Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.”
There’s a very clear claim. God says, “Right from the beginning I know what the end will be and I declare it and I have a purpose revealed in My Word, and that purpose will stand. It will work out the way I have said it will be.” That’s very clear, specific language.
Furthermore, God, in the Bible, rejects the claim of other sources of information for the future such as astrologers, fortune tellers and so on; of whom, of course, there were multitudes of in biblical days just as there are today. This is what the Lord says about these alternative sources of information in Isaiah 44:24-26:
“This is what the Lord says, your Redeemer, who formed you in the womb: I am the Lord, who has made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth by myself, who foils the signs of false prophets and makes fools of diviners [or fortune tellers], who overthrows the learning of the wise and turns it into nonsense, who carries out the words of his servants and fulfills the predictions of his messengers...”
There’s the contrast. When God’s servants predict, God stands behind it and sees that it happens; when other from other sources make predictions, God says He’ll turn them upside down and make them look foolish. His Word will stand, His purpose is the one that will be worked out.
Let me just repeat that one verse I read already from Isaiah 46:10, it’s so emphatic:
“I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.”
That’s Almighty God speaking. He created the heavens, He created the earth, He created man and He’s in full control of all that He created.
The Bible not merely claims to predict the future but, more important than that, it has a record of proven correctness over many centuries. There are many, many things in the Bible which were predicted long before they ever happened and which have taken place exactly as the Bible said they would. There are so many areas of fulfilled prophecy, we cannot look into them all. I’m going to deal briefly just with two themes.
The first is the life of Jesus Christ. I want to say this: The Bible predicted every significant event of the life of Jesus in its prophecy in the Old Testament in accurate detail. This is including His birth, His childhood, His public ministry, His death, His burial and His resurrection from the dead.
In this connection I want to read a brief extract from my book, Foundation for Faith, which gives the following list of eighteen specific events in the life of Jesus concerning each one of which it says that it happened that the Scripture might be fulfilled. You see, not merely does the Bible predict, but in a certain sense it has control over what is going to happen. So here are eighteen specific events in the life of Jesus:
His birth of a virgin.
His birth at Bethlehem.
His flight into Egypt.
His dwelling at Nazareth.
His being anointed by the Holy Spirit.
His ministry in Galilee.
His healing of the sick.
Rejection of His teachings and His miracles by the Jews.
His use of parables.
His being betrayed by a friend.
His being forsaken by His disciples.
His being hated without a cause.
His being condemned with criminals.
His garments being parted and divided by lot.
His being offered vinegar for His thirst.
His body being pierced without His bones being broken.
His being buried in a rich man’s tomb.
His rising from the dead on the third day.
This list is taken from my book, Foundation for Faith. At the end of my talk today, my announcer will tell you how you may obtain this book. So, there’s eighteen points in which the Bible was absolutely correct concerning the life of Jesus.
Now, the other example I want to look at briefly is the nation of Israel, the history of Israel. The prophecies of Israel in the Bible are far too numerous to list. Suffice it to say that the Bible has accurately predicted the course of Israel’s history for the past 3,500 years, and here are seven specific aspects of Israel’s history; all of which were predicted in the Bible:
First, Israel’s conquest of the land of Canaan.
Second, the destruction of both the first and the second temple.
Third, Israel’s exile in Babylon and their return from Babylon.
Fourth, their subsequent dispersal as exiles among all nations.
Fifth, their persecutions and sufferings during their dispersal.
Sixth, the preservation of a remnant in spite of all attempts to destroy them.
Seventh, their regathering from all nations to a restored state in the land of Israel.
The predictions of the Bible concerning Israel and Jesus are only two out of many examples of predictions made by the Bible thousands of years ago that have been and are still being accurately fulfilled in every detail. In the light of the Bible’s proven record of correct predictions, it is both logical and practical to examine other important predictions of the Bible which relate to events that are still in the future. This is what I’ll be doing in this series of talks on “Facing the Future.” Remember, if we study and obey the Bible, we do not need to walk in darkness.
Well, our time is up for today. I’ll be back with you again tomorrow at this time. Tomorrow I’ll be speaking about the right attitude with which to face the future.