People today are fascinated with predictions about the future. It has become especially popular when folks predict what God is going to do. It has also become financially lucrative.
One self-proclaimed “Biblical researcher,” David Meade, predicted the world would end on September 23, 2017. When it didn’t happen, he amended his highly-publicized claim by saying, “Wait until the middle of October. I don’t believe you’ll be disappointed.” It’s now past the middle of October!
Television evangelist Rick Joyner predicted that Christian prophets would soon be able to write news stories a week in advance. He said, “You don’t need to watch the Super Bowl. I’m going to tell you what’s going to happen.” If he could really do that, he could make a quick fortune as a stock broker.
In the 1980’s, Edgar Whisenant wrote a book – “88 Reasons Why the Rapture will be in 1988.” He sold a lot of copies of that book. When the world didn’t end in 1988, he revised the book to add one more reason and called it “89 Reasons Why the Rapture will be in 1989.” The interesting thing about buying that new book was that you could pay for it with a credit card and not make any payments for 2 years!
Predicting has gone on for a long time. Back in the 1800’s, a religious leader named William Miller calculated that somewhere between March 21, 1823 and March 21, 1844, Christ would return and Judgment would occur, and the new Millennium would begin. A contemporary of Miller’s was Alexander Campbell, the leader of the Disciples of Christ. He wrote an article in 1841 to poke fun at Miller and documented that Miller had taken out a copyright on his book . What good was a copyright that didn’t expire until 10 years after he said the world would expire?
Sports fans really love to predict outcomes of games. Some go a little too far. A couple of years ago, Burke O’Connell, a New England Patriots fan, had the Patriots logo tattooed on his calf along with these words – “Super Bowl 50 Champs.” The Patriots lost two days later to the Denver Broncos, but Burke still has the tattoo. He actually made an even dumber prediction when he had his chin tattooed with the name of his girlfriend, and then she broke up with him! He simply admitted, “I can’t say ‘live and learn’ because I didn’t live and learn.”
One of my favorite sports stories is about the Major League All-Star game several years ago when Yogi Berra and Stan Musial were playing against each other. Yogi Berra was in the locker room with all the pitchers from the American League. They were discussing how to pitch to Stan Musial. They discussed at length whether you should throw the ball high and tight, or low and away, or change speeds, or keep the ball high and away. Everybody was predicting how they could get Stan Musial out. Finally, the inimitable Yogi Berra said, “That’s enough. Quit. Your American League pitchers are not going to figure out how in 15 minutes what National League pitchers haven’t been able to figure out in 15 years.” Good advice!
I think the best advice is not to worry or panic about the future. We know that God is in charge and Jesus is coming again. We don’t know the day or the hour. Jesus was very clear that our responsibility is not to figure out the details of His return, but to be ready. Read Matthew 24:35-42 and 25:13. Mahatma Gandhi said, “I do not want to foresee the future. I am concerned with taking care of the present. God has given me no control over the moment following.”
We need to quit predicting the future and start producing the fruit of the present! We need to quit looking for clever ways to use religion to make money, and start letting the Bible teach us how to help prepare people to live effectively starting today and forever. (Tweet this)
We need to move from apocalyptic conjectures to apostolic certainties!