If God knows the future, why doesn’t
He tell you the future more often? For that matter, even if He
doesn’t tell you, why doesn’t God at least tell His
ministers more often? Why don’t major ministers warn people
about upcoming earthquakes, hurricanes, and stock market crashes?
Is it possible to know the future?
First of all, God demonstrates over
and over again in the Bible that He knows the future. There are
hundreds of prophecies
(which books of other religions do not have), and a huge percentage
of the Bible’s prophecies have already come true. What God
usually does not say when He predicts the future is when the event
will occur. There are a number of reasons why God does not give
more dates for future events, and we will discuss those below.
However, God does know when future events will occur, and He sometimes
give dates for them. For example, God said certain things would
occur in 65 years (Isa.
7:8), in 3 years (Isa.
16:14), in 70 years (Isa.
23:15), in 15 years (Isa.
38:5), in 2 years (Jer.
28:3), and in 70 years (Jer.
Why doesn’t God more often
tell what will happen and when events will occur? There are a
number of reasons. Reason number one is that God does not usually
want to give specific dates to Satan
for what He is planning to do. In every battle, the element of
surprise is a valuable benefit. Further, just keeping your enemy
ignorant is an advantage. Even the death of Jesus on the cross
was confusing to Satan
(it even confused the disciples — Luke
18:34). The Bible tells us that Satan’s principalities
would not have crucified the Lord of Glory had they known the
full ramifications of the sacrifice and death of Jesus (1st
Reason number two is the nature of
human beings. If God told people they would be in a car wreck
on the way to work tomorrow, they would wake up and call in sick
and stay home — and God could be called a liar! Similarly,
if God told the average person he was going to win a contest and
receive $100,000 next year, he would immediately charge the credit
cards to the limit and buy a bunch of stuff and a new car ahead
of God’s timing — and thwart God’s true purpose
for the special revenue. The mere fact that God does not often
tell us the future is testimony to the fact He has given mankind
a free will. If God’s will always occurred regardless of
man’s free will, He could tell us the future all the time,
and we would not be able to do anything about it.
Reason number three is God does not
want people to seek Him for what they can get out of Him. Knowledge
of the future can bring enormous wealth in stocks, commodities,
and other investments. If God freely told His followers the future,
everyone would jump on the Christian bandwagon to have access
to the "crystal ball". As a contrast, if God only told
some of His believers the future all the time for their personal
prosperity, and not others, God would be a "respecter of
persons" (meaning partial to some). The Bible tells us repeatedly
that God is no respecter of persons (He is impartial). References
2:6, and James
Reason number four is God is so secure,
He does not need to show off by telling the future. He is so powerful,
so intelligent, so eternal, that He feels no need to impress a
human being who has an IQ which is just a tiny fraction of His.
When was the last time you felt you needed to "impress"
a one year old child? Would you show him your college degree?
Would you quote the multiplication tables to him to show him how
much you know? No, you would probably hold him and tell him you
love him. That is God’s attitude toward us. If you did know
the key future events of your child’s life by the time he
was in elementary school, would you tell him he would marry at
age 22, be divorced at age 28, have one of his kid’s die
in a drive-by shooting, get cancer at age 63 and die after a lengthy
expensive chemotherapy program? I know what you are thinking —
"But if I told him these things, he would live different
and these bad things would not happen!" First of all,
see reason number two above. But in reality, God does tell mankind
many bad consequences of disobedience and wrong living, and the
vast majority of all mankind ignores God’s predictions and
warnings. As an extreme example, the future of the unsaved (damnation
in Hell) is preached in every city, and on every TV set —
every week — and very few pay heed. And the book of Proverbs
alone is full of God’s statements that if you live a certain
way, such-and-such will be the consequences. Many Christians ignore
these "predictions" from God, and certainly nearly all
Along these lines, reason number
five is an important spiritual truth that to spare you from greater
judgment, God will only tell you more as you demonstrate you will
obey what He has already told you. The more you know — but
don’t do — the more accountable you are. Jesus told
the knowledgeable Pharisees
and scribes that they would receive greater condemnation and punishment
for their disobedience because they knew more (Mark
20:47). This is at the heart of the obscure scripture, "For
everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required."
12:48). This is the meaning of another obscure scripture,
"Take heed what you hear.
With the same measure you use, it will be measured to you; and
to you who hear, more will be given."
4:24). Disobedience brings a "famine" of God’s
Out of God’s mercy, He does
often give special warnings for His own reasons which are rooted
in compassion. Noah preached the coming flood for 100 years (and
only saved eight people who were his own family). God has always
used prophets to proclaim warnings and truth, but people have
always been more interested in someone who will "tell them
what they want to hear". 2nd
Tim. 4:3-4 says, "They will not endure sound
doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have
itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they
will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside
to fables." (Frankly, that sounds uncomfortably
close to the condition of much of American Christian television.)
God’s prophets — and therefore God’s truth —
have hardly ever been popular. The problem facing Christian TV
is the economics of television are driven by ratings and viewer
response. So don’t expect Christian TV to be your main source
of truth. It is great for evangelism, and to a certain extent
Christian entertainment, but due to the cost of air time don’t
expect many TV preachers to tell the people what they don’t
want to hear, because the people usually won’t respond with
enough offerings to pay the huge costs involved, and the finances
needed are enormous.
So where do we look for our answers?
The answer is God. God will tell us what we need to know if we
seek Him. He may not usually tell us "the future" but
He will tell us the right thing to choose — decision by
decision — if we will seek Him and listen to the various
ways He will speak to us. As a rule, He uses "peace in our
3:15), but He also uses various other means of guidance (and
He often uses Godly people) to show and confirm the right path
for our lives. We cannot judge the right path just by what everyone
else is doing. Jesus
said, "Broad is the road
that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But...narrow
the road that leads to life, and only a few find it." (Matt.
7:13-14). We can be the "few who find it" by praying
and obeying, and experience the blessing of God upon our life’s
journey. We may not know the future, but we can know the one who
holds the future. God has already "been there" and He
can be our guide if we will stay close to Him. Trials and tribulation
might come, but with God we can over-come! "Thanks
be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ."
If we will follow God’s Word,
we can "predict" our future to a certain extent. God’s
Word already has predetermined outcomes. With God’s Word,
we can "create" our future. Our life will be better
if we will obey the Word. There is still persecution of believers,
and a devil
on this planet, but following God is way better than sinning because
"the way of transgressors is hard" (Prov.
13:15). And there is one fact of the future God has made very
clear — following Jesus
leads to Heaven
for eternity, and that is the main thing we need to know about
Teaching God’s Word,
Dale & Judi Leander