A More Sure Word of Prophecy (2 Peter 1:19)
Compiled from the writings of David Berg
So many people today are worried about the future, wondering what's going to happen. Most of today's youth seem to almost instinctively realize that they are living on borrowed time. After all, we are the first generation that has had to live with the knowledge that we could completely destroy ourselves. People want to know what to do about it, or if there is any way to avoid it or prepare for it, to survive it.
Psychologists tell us that uncertainty and the fear of the unknown is the worst fear of all--not knowing what's going to happen. It's sad that so few people realize that they can know the future, that they can know what's going to happen--accurately and in detail. Even the exact number of years, months, and days of parts of it.
How could this be? By what means can mortal man possibly transcend the bounds of time and peer into the future? By tuning in to God and His wonderful Word, the Bible. For He alone is the great "I AM," who dwells in the eternal nowÂ where there is no past nor future and "time shall be no more" (Revelation 10:6). It all looks the same to God, and He can easily reveal to His prophets and seers the mysteries of the future. "For surely the Lord God will do nothing, but He revealeth His secret unto His servants the prophets" (Amos 3:7).
"For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy: Behold, the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare: before they spring forth I tell you of them. For I am the Lord: I will speak, and the word that I shall speak shall come to pass; for I say the word, and will perform it, saith the Lord God" (Isaiah 57:15; 42:9; Ezekiel 12:25).
"Seek ye out of the book of the Lord, and read: no one of these shall fail, none shall want her mate: for My mouth it hath commanded them" (Isaiah 34:16). The mate of every prophecy is its fulfillment. God's Word finds its mate in fulfilled Bible prophecy, and the ones which have already occurred and been fulfilled, foretold hundreds of years in advance, have been fulfilled. Every prophecy the Bible has uttered has been fulfilled except the ones that are yet to come, and they'll be fulfilled just as surely as the ones that have been fulfilled in the past.
It's a marvelous, thrilling study to deal with fulfilled prophecies, and it encourages your faith to know that those regarding the future will be fulfilled just as accurately and just as perfectly and just as surely as every prophecy of the past. But we are particularly interested in those which are yet to be fulfilled.
You'll find that God's Word is specific and clear. Its prophecies tell you exactly who and where and even when. So if you've been wondering, "Where did we come from? Where are we going? What's happening?" this wonderful book, the Bible, tells you all about it, exactly what's going to happen. You don't have to worry about it; you don't have to fear. You don't have to guess at it. It's all here just as plain as can be.
"For that that is determined shall be done" (Daniel 11:36). What God has determined and prophesied, He's going to do. Whatever God has said He's going to do, He is going to do. Not one shall lack her mate. Not one prophecy shall be without fulfillment; every single one shall be fulfilled.
"We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost" (2 Peter 1:19-21).
"And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My words shall not pass away" (John 14:29; Matthew 24:35).
"Pearls of great price" (Matthew 13:45-46)
God has warned us time and again almost since the beginning of man, and certainly throughout the Bible, that there's coming an end to things as far as man's rule on this earth is concerned, and that his governments are going to eventually end so that God can set up His heavenly kingdom of peace on earth.
God has given man thousands of years to try to solve his own problems and run the world and bring peace and happiness, and he has brought nothing but war and misery. God has given man his chance and he has done nothing but make a mess of the world. And now, finally, man is able to destroy it. And if God did not step in and intervene in this last hour of history, man could completely destroy it and totally annihilate himself.
If God didn't step in, mankind could commit suicide. We could either blow ourselves up with the bomb or we could gradually kill ourselves with famine or overpopulation or air pollution or water pollution. Let's face it, man is destroying himself. He's killing himself with his pollution and with his destructive nature, and if God doesn't intervene and stop it, man would eventually wipe himself off the map! This is why Jesus prophesied of the last days: "Except those days be shortened, there should no flesh be saved" (Matthew 24:22).
The Bible predicts that in the last days of man-made regimes on earth, a totally godless, anti-Christ world government will arise, led by a Devil-possessed dictator, Satan incarnate, who will bring a temporary false peace on earth and a counterfeit utopia. Its price will be enforced worship of him as the imitation Messiah. All of his subjects will be branded with a credit number in order to buy or sell or obtain food or employment, and all those who refuse to cooperate will be hunted, persecuted, and slaughtered by his commandment. This will be a time of Great Tribulation.
This anti-Christ government of anti-Christ forces under the leadership of the Antichrist himself, this superhuman world dictator of man's last one-world godless government, will then set up its headquarters in Jerusalem, his capital, and unite all peoples of the world into a one-world worship of this demon-demagogue and his magical image which can speak.
These startling events will immediately precede the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, which is the major endtime event, the grand climax, as the Lord Himself returns and wipes out the Antichrist and his followers and sets up the last and most lasting and only perfect government the world has ever known, and "the meek shall inherit the earth" (Psalm 37:11).
Most Christians seem to have rightly gathered from reading their Bibles and hearing various preachers that in the last days, times are going to wax worse and worse, and not get better. A lot of them believe that the end is going to be a time of very bad trouble and tribulation. And, of course, all real Bible-believing Christians believe that Jesus is coming again. They have also gathered the fundamental idea that there's going to be a heavenly time on earth at some time or other. But a lot of them have it pretty mixed up and they don't know how, where, or when these events will take place.
They've got the knowledge of these events and these priceless truths like a handful of pearls, but they don't realize exactly how they ought to be strung, in what order and in what sequence, to make them a beautiful string of pearls in proper order to, you might say, wear around their neck of knowledge. They don't realize the chronological sequence, which is necessary to understand what's going to happen, how it's going to happen, when it's going to happen, etc.
True, the Bible admonishes us not to fret for tomorrow, which means we're not to worry about tomorrow, but the Lord sure has had a lot to say about tomorrow, so He certainly must want us to be informed about tomorrow! That's the whole point of prophecy: to let you know what's going to happen so you won't worry about it. You'll know what's going to happen.
To be forewarned is to be forearmed. To understand what's going to occur is to be prepared to face it and take it as it comes and hopefully survive it.--At least certainly to understand what you're going through and to know what's happening. You may not understand it all in advance; you may not know everything that's going to happen. But we can know enough from God's Word that we can know the major events and their characteristics, the major characters in these events, and in some cases when they're going to happen, the exact time periods predicted in the Bible, so that when the time comes you'll know exactly when certain events are going to take place, because God has already said so in His Word, plain as day.
It's wonderful to be able to read a newspaper that tells you what's going to happen--not just what's already happened. Anybody can tell you what's already happened, but the Bible tells you what's going to happen. Newspapers are not really newspapers; they're history papers. They tell you what's already happened--past news. But God has given us a lot of later news about today, the time in which we're living right now, and what's going to happen next. So the Bible is not just a history book, it's a news book. It not only tells you about yesterday, it also tells you about tomorrow.
To know or not to know "the times and the seasons"
All the way through the prophecies of Jeremiah, Daniel, Ezekiel, Isaiah, John, and Jesus, there are specific detailed descriptions of the last days on earth before Christ's Second Coming. Has the Lord given us these signs for a reason? Does He want us to know about the soon coming of His kingdom? Does He want us to be prepared for it? Does He want us to have that knowledge and be able to teach others so? If He doesn't, He's sure wasting an awful lot of time throughout both the Old and New Testament telling us all the signs of His coming.
In fact, in one of the most descriptive endtime prophecy books of the Bible, the Lord told Daniel to close up the book and seal up the prophecy until the end: "But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased. For the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. And none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand" (Daniel 12:4, 9-10).
For almost 2,500 years the book of Daniel has been virtually a sealed book, and it's only recently that men have begun to open the book, break the seals, and understand the prophecies and what Daniel was saying. Although they had the Bible for thousands of years, they still didn't understand endtime Bible prophecy. But now we're supposed to open the book, break the seals, and read it and understand it, because we live in the time of the end.
God's Word says, "Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy" (Revelation 1:3). It takes an effort; it's work to try to understand Bible prophecy and to "study to show thyself approved unto God, rightly dividing the word of truth" (2 Timothy 2:15). But you'll find that "the entrance of Thy words giveth light" and wisdom and understanding (Psalm 119:130). When we delve into God's Word, we "bring forth treasures, both new and old" (Matthew 13:52). You'll discover how wonderfully the Lord can weave His Word together like a beautiful tapestry, filling in the whole picture to give you His vision of His plans. "For where there is no vision, the people perish" (Proverbs 29:18).
Of course, some Bible professors and students are going to say, "Jesus told His disciples that 'no man knoweth the day or the hour when the Son of Man cometh, not even the angels in heaven.' And 'it's not for you to know the times or the seasons'" (Matthew 24:36; Acts 1:7). When all the dramatic, climactic, final events of world history begin to unfold, let me tell you, you're going to need to know. You are going to want to know and you are going to know, because God promised it in His Word.
If the Lord did not intend for us to know the times and the seasons, then why did He give us Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 21, John 14, Acts 1, 1 Thessalonians 4 and 5, 2 Thessalonians 2, 1 Timothy 4, 2 Timothy 3, 2 Peter 1 and 3, and the whole book of Revelation, as well as multitudes of prophecies in the Old Testament, including many in the historical books, as well as the poetical books, and 17 books of the prophets with prophecies and specific predictions of the future. If God didn't want His children to know anything specific about the future, then He wasted half the Bible talking about it, and we ought to throw that half away.
But He does want us to know, and throughout the Bible He continues to give us multitudes of literal, specific predictions of the future and what its times and seasons will be like. In fact, the Lord makes it extremely explicit many times in many places regarding the exact number of years and months, and even days, during the crucial last seven years of the endtime.
In Matthew chapter 24 and Luke chapter 21, Jesus Himself gives one of the most descriptive and specific of all resumes of future endtime events of any prophet in the Bible. After giving a long list of predictions and coming signs of the times, He tells us, "When you see these things or these signs come to pass, look up, for your redemption draweth nigh." "The generation that sees these things come to pass is not going to pass away till all these things are fulfilled" (Luke 21:28; Matthew 24:34). So obviously He wants us to "see" and "look" at the signs of His coming being fulfilled before He returns so that we can "discern the signs of the times" (Matthew 16:3).
"For as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days that were before the Flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage"--going on, business as usual--"until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and they knew not until the Flood came and swept them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be" (Matthew 24:37-39). Who knew not? The wicked. Who knew? Noah! He knew what was going to happen; he was expecting it.
"For unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to others it is not given, because they seeing, see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear. For verily I say unto you, many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them" (Matthew 13:11-17).
"For ye, brethren," the apostle Paul tells us," are not in darkness, that that day (of Christ's Second Coming) should overtake you as a thief." In other words, it shouldn't take you by surprise. "Ye are all the children of light, the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness." We're not in the dark on this question. We know Jesus is coming, and from His Word we know how He's going to come. The Bible tells us plainly! (1 Thessalonians 5:1-5).
"Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober." He says, "You're not children of the night. You're not supposed to be sleepy and asleep when it happens. You're the children of the day, children of light. You're supposed to be wide awake and have the light on these things" (1 Thessalonians 5:6).
You're supposed to know what's happening and when it's going to happen. God's children are not supposed to be in the dark about all these Bible prophecies. If you know His Word, you won't be surprised when you hear about the rise of a new powerful world leader and one-world government, the new credit-only computerized economic system and the dramatic ending of man's governments on earth with the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
To be foretold is to be forewarned. We who know His Word and His prophecies and promises for the future will never be surprised with a "mighty widening of the eyes" like those who have not discerned the signs of the times. We will be prepared.
We don't have to be in doubt and confusion and in darkness, wondering what's going on like the rest of the world, "men's hearts failing them for fear, for looking after those things which are coming on the earth" (Luke 21:26). We can know exactly what's going to happen, exactly the way things are going to go. We may not like it and it may look pretty bad, but we know the happy ending, and all is well that ends well.
Thank God we have the preparation that prepares us for anything that's going to happen, and that's salvation, knowing Jesus and knowing that we're saved. Then no matter what happens, even sudden death is sudden glory! No matter what anyone does to you, even if they kill you, "after they've killed the body, they have no more that they can do" (Luke 12:4-5), because God will take you into His spirit world with Him until we return to rule and reign here on this earth with Jesus.
Are you prepared? Have you personally received Jesus into your heart? I hope you've accepted Him. I hope you've received Him so that you can look forward to these marvelous future events not with fear and trembling, but with hope and faith and assurance that God's going to see you through, He's going to save you and rescue you out of it all and take you to be with Him, to live with Him forever.
You don't have to know the future and all the marvelous details of endtime prophecy. These events will happen whether you know them or not. But it's a good thing to know and to understand these things so that you'll be able to know what's going on and what's happening, as well as be able to teach and warn others. The main thing you need to know is summed up in one verse, John 3:16: "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son (Jesus), that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
So receive salvation now; then you'll be ready for the revelation of the future. Otherwise, knowing the future wouldn't make much difference to you, because your future will be all bad news. You probably won't even want to hear about what's going to happen if you're not saved. But if you are saved, then God has got some marvelous, wonderful, encouraging, thrilling revelations of the future in store for you.
Knowing Him and His Word, that's what's going to carry you through. The vision of what's coming will give you the faith to believe God and the courage to launch out and march victoriously through the plagues of this world, through Great Tribulation, and right on through to the coming of Jesus Christ and our loving reign with Him forever.