To See the Future, Look at the Past

Wisdom's Friend

To See the Future, Look at the Past

Another terrorist attack, this time in Brussels. Their intention is to strike fear and terror in the world in order to further their ultimate aim, which is to take over the world and force it to conform to their evil religious vision. But it is a false vision, from the evil one, and not from the God of truth (Ps. 31:5).

“These men oppose the truth–men of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected” (2Tim 3:8 NIV).

The world is surprised and shocked at the terrorist phenomenon of our time. A person straps a hidden bomb to himself and blows himself up in hopes of killing and injuring others, thus hoping to create terror in those who are unprepared for such insane acts by insane people.

But such acts of terror should not surprise those who trust in God’s Word. For in that Word he warns us that such times will come near the end:

“But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be . . . abusive . . . unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, . . . having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them” (2 Tim. 3:1-5 NIV).

A further biblical description that can be applied to such terrorists says that “these men oppose the truth–men of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected” (2Tim 3:8 NIV).

No better description can be found than to describe such deluded souls as ones with depraved minds. For what else can one call such actions but the result of depraved minds? All of these descriptions fit the unstable people who commit the acts of terror we see in our world today.

But we should not simply shake our heads in sorrow over the terrible bombings taking place in our world by terrorists and then go about our daily business. God’s people are meant to be light to this world (Jn. 8:12, Mt. 5:14-16). As the world ever more quickly falls to pieces because of its evil (1Cor. 7:31), God has left us here so that the light he has given us in Christ (understanding of God and reality (Mt. 13:11, 1Cor. 2:12-13)) can be passed on to the world.

The world desperately needs the light of God as seen in Jesus Christ (Jn. 8:12) and in those in whom this light dwells (Mt. 5:14, Jn. 14:23), as the world descends ever more steeply into chaos and evil. The people of this world cannot understand what is happening with the increasing mad bombings in their midst. But God’s people have the understanding that they need. Not that it comes from within themselves, but that they have this understanding in Christ (1Cor. 2:16) and the Word of God (Psalm 119:169, 2Peter 1:19).

The Principle

The warning from Second Timothy quoted at the beginning of this piece was written many centuries ago; for God, who knows the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10), sees what once was our future world and prepares those who trust in him to live as his children in that world, that future. Another example of God forewarning his children is Jesus’ warning to his disciples of all ages:

“All this I have told you so that you will not go astray. . . . A time is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is offering a service to God. They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me. I have told you this, so that when the time comes you will remember that I warned you” (John 16:1-4 NIV).

We have this and many other warnings from God to help us fulfill our end-times ministry from God, to show the world the light of Christ in the midst of the world’s darkness. In addition, he has given us a general principle that holds true for anyone trying to make sense of the strange, incredible events of these end times. That principle is this:To see the future, look at the past .

This principle was recognized by wise King Solomon in his passionate and comprehensive search for ultimate truth, the record of which search is recorded for our benefit (1Cor. 10:11) in the book of Ecclesiastes. There we find this insightful comment from his pen:

“What has been done is what will be done; there is nothing truly new on earth. Is there anything about which someone can say, ‘Look at this! It is new!’? It was already done long ago, before our time” (Ecclesiastes 1:9-10 NET).

There are other places in Scripture that also instruct us to look at the past so that we can see the future. In Isaiah 46:10, God says that he is the one “who announces the end from the beginning and reveals beforehand what has not yet occurred, who says ‘My plan will be realized, I will accomplish what I desire'” (NET).

The reason why God does this, revealing the future to us, is also made plain in the verse immediately preceding: “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” (Isaiah 46: 9 NIV).

Elsewhere, God confirms this truth: “Who predicted this in the past? Who announced it beforehand? Was it not I, the LORD? I have no peer, there is no God but me, a God who vindicates and delivers; there is none but me” (Isaiah 45:21 NET).

These verses make it plain that God does not reveal the future to us just to satisfy our natural human curiosity about the future. It is to point us to the ultimate truth of all time, past, present, and future: that he is God and he alone is God. This, of course, is the very truth that the world refuses to recognize, because it is hell-bent on going its own way, or at least what it thinks is its own way. For the truth is, the world is being manipulated by the prince of darkness, the devil (1John 5:19), to become a place where he can rule. But since no one in his right mind would freely choose to let him rule over him, the devil must use deception and terror to achieve his aims and goal for this world. Hence he uses those whose minds are unbalanced to the extent that they would kill themselves and others, thinking that they are advancing their cause, when they are really dupes of the devil, advancing his cause.

Taking all of this together, then, and applying it to what we see in our world today regarding terrorism, a strange and frightening scenario unfolds to our vision of the future: Terrorism will reach its ultimate expression in something far beyond what is seen today. What exactly is this ultimate expression of terror? God’s Word is not explicit in all the details, but it does give enough information to us so that we can surmise some aspects of it, especially when we examine what has happened in the past. Two aspects of this are now here examined: the future terror which will come, and a possible way that it will come. In so doing, we apply the biblical principle of looking at the past.

Some Peeks into the Past

Obeying the scriptural command to look to the past to see something of what will befall this earth in the near future, we are reminded of something revealed in an ancient book written by a believer in God when times were very wicked, as today. That person is the righteous man of God named Enoch, and the book he authored long ago is called “The Book of Enoch”. Though it is not included with the divinely inspired books of the Bible, the Bible does quote with favor from it (Jude 1:14-15).

In the book of Enoch, it is recorded that spiritual beings long ago altered the physical structure of human beings to produce giants which are mentioned in various places in the Old Testament. Today we would recognize what these wicked spiritual beings did as genetic manipulation. In case you are not aware of it, this same genetic manipulation is going on today in laboratories all around the world. Gene modification does present possible benefits for human beings in such areas as medicine and better foods (GMO, genetically modified organisms). But even this supposedly beneficial use is controversial. No wonder, then, that if these possibly beneficial experiments are the subject of much concern and controversy, that other, far more extreme experiments, which have much more sinister possibilities, have been kept secret in order to avoid public outcry.

Nevertheless, knowledge of these experiments has leaked out, wherein this same technique is used to cross-breed humans and animals, similar to the mixing of creatures done by the evil spiritual beings in the ancient past. The result of those genetic manipulations by evil beings led to the feared giants of the earth who constantly fought against God and his people.

“There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown” (Genesis 6:4 KJV).

One man of renown of old is recorded in the Old Testament in the story of Nimrod. Now, Nimrod is described in the Bible (Genesis 10:8-10) in this way:

“Cush was the father of Nimrod, who grew to be a mighty warrior on the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the LORD; that is why it is said, ‘Like Nimrod, a mighty hunter before the LORD'” (Gen. 10:8-9 NIV).

What was this man Nimrod like? What was his character, good or evil? The results of many studies by biblical scholars show a man in violent rebellion against God. The name Nimrod itself is derived from a Hebrew word meaning rebel. He was so powerful and so intent on rebelling against God that he is mentioned by name in God’s Word. He hunted down his fellow human beings in order to rule over them by force. There is not space to defend such a characterization of Nimrod here, but those who wish to check out such a depiction can easily do so with today’s modern resources.

A wicked man who attacks his neighbors and everyone else who stands in his way as he seeks to gain control over all he desires–a chillingly familiar description of the terrorists of our own times. But there are even more disturbing similarities. In the book of Enoch mentioned previously, Enoch describes how God showed him the rebellion of wicked spiritual beings who mixed with female human beings as described in the previously mentioned reference of Genesis 6:4, producing the men of renown mentioned there.

The same result is likely to ensue today, for it is all the result of the same influence and guidance of the devil, who seeks to have a world to rule, populated by creatures who have no will of their own but do only what he commands them to do. What has happened in the past will be repeated in the future. Scripture says that in the last times of the earth, a man will arise who will have power over the earth and be so arrogant and proud that he will think of himself as God (2 Th 2:1-11) and demand to be worshipped as such (Rev. 13:1-9). Those who refuse to do so will be killed (Rev. 13:15). This is similar to the way of ancient Nimrod.

It is possible that the anti-Christ foretold in the Bible will be such a hybrid creature as was seen in the past, in the days of Genesis and which possibly Nimrod himself was: a monstrous, half-human being with tremendous physical strength and occult powers that cause the whole world to stand in awe of him as a god.

“The whole world was astonished and followed the beast. Men worshiped . . . the beast and asked, ‘Who is like the beast? Who can make war against him?'” (Rev. 13:3-4 NIV).

This world has seen this same type of super-human in the past, perhaps with Nimrod, and closer to our own time, with Hitler, who was deeply involved in the occult and who swayed multitudes to follow his evil plans and also seemed unstoppable at first. As in the past, so in the future.

With the potential of genetic manipulation for the supposed good of mankind but really for the same evil purposes of the devil, as revealed through earth’s past history, do not be shocked or surprised to see another super-human figure arise in our own time. You can see the preparation for his arrival in the actions of terrorists today, just as Hitler used force and terror to gain control in his rise to power. He fooled the masses by giving them some small good; he made the trains run on time–until his own time of power ran out. For God, in his eternal plan for this world, has allowed a figurative one hour for darkness to rule over it, just as Jesus declared as the powers of darkness came to arrest him in the Garden of Gethsemane.

“Every day I was with you in the temple courts, and you did not lay a hand on me. But this is your hour–when darkness reigns” (Luke 22:53 NIV).

When those aligned with the power of darkness came for Jesus that dark night, all the disciples fled. What will his followers of today do when the same situation arises for them, and the followers of darkness come to seize and kill the children of light? We know this will happen, both because God’s Word says so (John 16:2) and because we can see the future by observing what happened in the past.

As we near the end of this world, more and more similarities to its beginning emerge. We will see the future reflect the past;

King Solomon said so: “The sun rises and the sun sets, and hurries back to where it rises. The wind blows to the south and turns to the north; round and round it goes, ever returning on its course. All streams flow into the sea, yet the sea is never full. To the place the streams come from, there they return again.

“What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which one can say, ‘Look! This is something new’? It was here already, long ago; it was here before our time” (Ecc. 1:5-10 NIV).

Jesus, the King of kings, said so: “As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man” (Mt. 24:37-39 NIV).

So, knowing this, what are we to do? Shall we resign ourselves to a fatalistic attitude? Do we consider that the monumental events prophesied to happen to the last generation on earth as we know it to be so far beyond our control that we just sigh in resignation and wait idly for God to take care of everything? We have the answer to that in the parable of the ten talents (Mt. 25:13-30). The man who did nothing with what God gave him but buried it in the ground was rejected by his master as a worthless servant. The same lesson is found in the parable of Jesus regarding the two types of servants who typify those at the end: one going about the business his master has given him to do, while the other became like those of the world, becoming self-indulgent (Mt. 24:45-51).

It is clear from God’s Word that he expects those of us still around at the end to continue serving him actively, being a light to this dark world. This is what our father in faith, Abraham, did, and God uses him as an example to us, when he says, “Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness and who seek the LORD: Look to the rock from which you were cut and to the quarry from which you were hewn; Look to Abraham, your father” (Isaiah 51:1-2 NIV).

In encouraging his children to not give up in the face of difficulties but to continue on in their daily tasks of living for the Lord, even to the very end, God refers back to the past, when he called those who believed in him to be separated from the world just as a rock is separated from the quarry in the past, before it is transported to its future home, where it will be built into the temple of the Lord (Eph. 2:21-22, Rev. 3:12).

God has always called his people out of this world. He led them out of slavery in Egypt (Acts 7:36); he called Joseph and Mary also to depart from Egypt (Mt. 2:14-21); just as he calls all his people to become separated from this world (2Cor. 6:17). Past, present or future, this call of separation from the world stands the same. It was the call which Abraham heeded when God called him out of his homeland to go to an unknown land: “By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going” (Heb. 11:8 NIV).

We may not know in detail where we are going in our future earthly life either. In this, we are like Abraham. But we notice how, once again, Scripture uses a reference to the past to show us how to live in the future. Both now and in the future, we who live in these last days are to live the same way that ancient Abraham of the past lived: Not knowing all that is yet to befall our world, we simply go about our daily lives obeying God, serving him and loving him, while holding out to the world the light of Christ. As our blessed Lord himself said concerning the conduct of his servants who do this at the end of earth’s numbered days:

“Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns” (Mt. 24:45-46 NIV).

The terror of the last days of this world will increase greatly as this world nears its end. I believe that we will see the openly visible invasion of our world by evil spiritual beings, masquerading as aliens from space and other worlds, along with the anti-Christ’s rise to power in this world. We are not to melt in fear as this happens but continue to hold out the light of the gospel to the world. We are the light of the world, holding out that light of Christ to the darkness:

” . . . pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life” (Ph. 2:14-16 NIV).

This is our destiny and we must fulfill it or be rejected by God. If we cower with the rest of the world as the terror of the end becomes worse and worse, we will be judged with the rest of the world. To be judged by God as unworthy because we give way to the terror of the world and the devil instead of the terror of God’s righteous judgment (Luke 12:5) is the ultimate terror experienced by the one who is not ready for the return of our Lord, who will come in the day “when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Mt. 24:45-51 NIV).

Far better to find encouragement in God’s Word, which strengthens us to be more than conquerors (Romans 8:37) of all the terror of the last days:

“So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. For in just a very little while, ‘He who is coming will come and will not delay. But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him.’ But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved” (Hebrews 10:35-39 NIV).

May this be our destiny which we embrace, not to shrink back in terror of terrorism, but to continue to trust God to protect us. The choice is up to us. And one way we can strengthen ourselves to meet whatever the future brings is to find strength in how God has protected his people in the past. We can find strength for our future by looking at how God has provided for his people in the past.

“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” (Isaiah 46:9-10 NIV).

“Don’t be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom” (Luke 12:32 WEB).

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