The History of What Comes Next
by Hal Lindsey
Everyone wants to know what happens next. That makes predicting the future big business. Huge corporations spend millions on consulting firms to tell them what’s around the corner. Many of these consultants create computer models that take known facts and attempt to extrapolate from them an understanding of the unknown future.
But even in our modern era, many approach the future much as their pagan forebears did. Astrologists, spiritualists, psychics, mystics, palm readers, and other occult practitioners rake in huge amounts of money, especially in times of uncertainty.
In our everyday lives, we make sense of the future by looking at the past. The sun has been rising for a long time. We assume it will rise again tomorrow. None of us have seen tomorrow yet, so we use our brains the way scientists use their supercomputers. We extrapolate — make educated guesses.
But God doesn’t have to guess. For human beings, time passes sequentially. We’re like people along the street watching a parade. A helicopter pilot flying above the parade can see it all at once. On the ground, we see what’s right in front of us. From on high, he sees the whole parade at once, from beginning to end.
That’s a small picture of the way God sees time. Isaiah 57:15 calls Him, “the High and Lofty One Who inhabits eternity.” (NKJV) In other words, He’s already an eyewitness to the future.
God can and does reveal certain things about the future to us. Through the prophet Daniel, He correctly laid out a detailed outline of world history from Daniel’s time forward, covering the next 600 years. In our time, we see the nations of the world aligning themselves in ways predicted by Daniel and the other prophets.
But to really understand the future, we have to see the context of prophecy. To do that, look at two things — the fundamental nature of God and the series of promises He has made. Assurance of the latter depends on our certainty of the former.
A promise is only as good as the one making the promise. Does a lifetime money-back guarantee mean you’re covered until the end of your days? Not necessarily. A company can go belly-up. Bankrupt owners might not have the ability to keep their warranty. Other businesses are scams from the beginning.
So, before we look at God’s promises, we have to look at His attributes. Does He have the ability to fulfill His promises? If so, does He have the good character needed to keep His word?
Theologians often use the word “omnipotent” to describe God’s ability. “Omni” means all, and “potent” means power. In Genesis 17:1, God said to Abraham, “I am God Almighty.” Almighty is another word meaning all powerful.
Revelation 19:6 says, “And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.”
Our imaginations fall short when trying to grasp the power and magnificence of a single star — our sun. Yet scientists say a typical galaxy contains a hundred billion stars of which the sun is merely average. Our Milky Way contains up to 400 billion stars. And the universe contains at least a hundred billion galaxies. Think of that, and then think of Genesis 1:1 — “In the beginning God created the Heaven and the earth.”
Isaiah 40 says, “‘To whom then will you liken Me, or to whom shall I be equal?’ says the Holy One. Lift up your eyes on high, and see who has created these things, Who brings out their host by number; He calls them all by name, by the greatness of His might and the strength of His power.” (Isaiah 40:25-26 NKJV)
Yes. The Almighty Creator of all things has the ability to keep His promises. But what about His character? His capabilities wouldn’t matter if His honesty couldn’t be trusted.
Remember the vast universe I just described? In Mark 13:31, Jesus said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.” Numbers 23:19 says, “God is not a man, that He should lie.” Isaiah 40:8 says, “The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever.” Titus 1:2 says “God . . . cannot lie.” (NASB)
God cannot lie! That’s not a limitation on His omnipotence; it’s an expression of it. 2 Timothy 2:13 says, “He cannot deny Himself.” (NASB) He remains forever true to Who He is, and He is truth. (John 14:6)
Because of His power and His character, His promises cannot fail. The moment He makes a promise, it is as good as done.
To gain an understanding of the future, then, we need to examine His promises. Some of them were conditional, such as the covenant of the law given through Moses. Other promises were unconditional. He promised to Abraham that He would give the Promised Land to Abraham’s offspring through Isaac and Jacob. God would reiterate this promise many times in many ways. So it must happen.
God promised King David, “Your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever; your throne shall be established forever.” [2 Samuel 7:10-11,16 NASB] That promise can be fulfilled only in the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
What’s going to happen? All the things God promised.