Friday, September 19, 2014

Predicting the Future ..................... Parables 172

(July 5, 1989)

Those OLD magazines in the doctor’s office are pure entertainment... or have you noticed?

Have a look at the articles that deal with “coming” events. It seems everyone is a prophet. They already knew who will win the Presidential Election; who will win the Kentucky Derby; which hockey team will trade which player; if the Oilers will make the playoffs; and who they will defeat and by how much. Fascinating reading, especially after the elections, after the races, and after the hockey season is over.

Obviously, 100% accuracy they don’t have. In fact, some of them are so far off, one wonders where they got their assurance. But then again, most nonfiction periodical writers don’t consider their prophecies will be read six months later by someone with a sore stomach or a tooth ache.

In fact, we probably all make such self-assured predictions, based more or less on our personal preferences, but since no one records them for posterity, and unless someone makes a bet on it, we soon forgot how clouded is our crystal ball.

Newspaper, “prophets” fare a little better. Their articles usually wind up recycled or in the fireplace before the actual events disprove their predictions. However some, sports columnists in particular, must have red faces now and then. They are so sure— and so wrong — so often.

Maybe I’m getting cynical but it seems to me that predictions about the future, whether sports, politics or any other news story, are a total waste of time, effort and paper.

Why bother? Maybe some writers can’t wait until the thing is done and over with before commenting on it, or today’s news is old hat (television’s fault) so let’s discuss tomorrow’s?

One thing is for sure, no matter how gifted we are perception-wise, or how observant we are trend-wise, we are not very good at foretelling tomorrow or next week. There are just too many variables.

That is why fulfilled prophecy in Scripture is so astounding. What are the odds that an assortment of men, smattered over a few hundred years, could make predictions about the future and have all of them come true? Someone once said about the same as finding a certain five-dollar bill in a pile of fives three feet deep covering the entire globe. Long odds.

Have a look at these few examples. Zechariah wrote in about 520 B.C., “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you. He is just and having salvation; lowly and riding on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey.” (Zechariah 9:9)

The event happened about 33 A.D. “... When they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, they took branches of palm trees, and went out to meet Him, and cried out, Hosanna: Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! The King of Israel! Then Jesus, when He had found a young donkey, sat on it...” (John 12:12-14).

Here’s another from Isaiah 53:9 about the burial place of the promised Messiah. “And they made His grave with the wicked — but with the rich at His death...”

Several hundred years later, Matthew tells how Jesus was crucified between two thieves (the wicked) and buried in the tomb of a rich man named Joseph of Arimathea (Matthew 27:57-60).

Every now and then, someone says the Bible is just an ordinary book written by ordinary men. But if evaluated by prophecy alone, TIME, LIFE, McLean’s, and Sports Illustrated are the ordinary books written by ordinary men. No matter how old the waiting room copy, the events predicted in Scripture ALWAYS happen exactly as the prophets of God said they would.

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