Your Future—A Better Way to Learn About It
IN 1962 Indian astrologers predicted a worldwide catastrophe “because of a rare conjunction of eight planets in the sign of Capricorn.” Nothing came of it, however. More recently, at the end of 1980, most French astrologers were of the opinion that then president of France, Giscard d’Estaing, would be reelected for a second term. But his opponent, François Mitterrand, won the election. Failures like these remind us that astrology provides no sure way to know the future.
Is there, then, another way? For example, will efforts of scientists to predict the future help you? Well, here is the prediction made by the McGraw Hill Institute (United States) in 1970 of what would happen by 1980: “Drugs to defeat cancer, manned spaceflights to Mars and Venus, a permanent lunar base, cars run on electricity, a generalization of home computers, the possibility of choosing your baby’s sex, and three-dimensional television and cinema.”
Back in 1970 the scientists of this institute stated: “This method [of predicting] aims at achieving a reliable forecast by the unanimous opinion of a group of experts.” But these experts’ predictions have proved wrong in these fields and a number of others, such as politics and economics.
A Sure Source of Information
If astrologers and scientists cannot foresee with any certainty what is going to happen, does that mean that it is impossible to get reliable information about the future? Before giving up, we should check what the Bible says on the subject. Remember, Jehovah, the Author of the Bible, is described as “the One telling from the beginning the finale, and from long ago the things that have not been done.”—Isaiah 46:10.
God’s Word contains many prophecies. How do they differ from the predictions of astrologers? Following is the reply of a work entitled The Great Ideas: “But so far as the foreknowledge of mortal men is concerned, the Hebrew prophets seem to be unique. Unlike pagan diviners or soothsayers, . . . they do not have to employ arts or devices for penetrating divine secrets. . . . For the most part their prophetic speeches, unlike those of the oracles, seem to be unambiguous. At least the intention seems to be to reveal, not to conceal, God’s plan on such matters as He Himself wishes men to foresee the course of providence.”
As an example of this, much information about Jesus was recorded in the Bible many centuries before his birth. It was prophesied that he would be born in the town of Bethlehem and in the family line of Jesse, the father of King David. (Micah 5:2; Isaiah 11:1, 10) The Scriptures also foretold that he would be put to death on a stake but that none of his bones would be broken, as was the custom with such executions. These details proved true, and they are just a few examples of what one Bible scholar estimates to be more than 120 prophecies that were fulfilled in Jesus.—Psalm 22:16, 17; 34:20.
A Prophecy Fulfilled Today
Moreover, the Bible contains prophecies that focus on our day. Let us consider one of the most important of these. It describes a series of events that would mark the period immediately preceding a dramatic intervention of God’s Kingdom in earthly affairs. These events include world wars, earthquakes, epidemics, famines, and increasing lawlessness. Has not the intensification of these things become prominent in world news during our 20th century?—Matthew 24:3, 7-14; Luke 21:7, 10, 11; 2 Timothy 3:1-5.
Jesus explained that the fulfillment of these prophecies would herald the arrival of his Kingdom just as surely as the appearing of buds on the trees announces the arrival of spring. He even specified that they would have to be fulfilled in just one generation. All the aspects of the sign, including the details mentioned above, have been fulfilled before our eyes since 1914.* We can therefore have complete confidence that the Kingdom will act very soon.—Luke 21:29-33.
Another feature prophesied for this time was “anguish of nations, not knowing the way out.” (Luke 21:25) Now, why is there such a fascination today with astrology and other forms of the occult? The French newspaper Le Monde Dimanche answers: “Faced with the crisis, people will stop at nothing to find reassurance. Parapsychology gives great comfort for little effort, and in this age of fear-inspiring scientific accomplishments such as nuclear feats and gene splicing, people are tempted to escape to the unknown and irrational, trying to rediscover a meaning to life.” So we should not be surprised at the widespread interest in occult practices, such as astrology. It is one of the symptoms of the “anguish” that people are experiencing today in fulfillment of Jesus’ prophecy.
‘Lift Your Head Up’
What should Christians do when they see all these things? Give way to fear, like the people around them? Jesus offered the following counsel: “But as these things start to occur, raise yourselves erect and lift your heads up, because your deliverance is getting near.”—Luke 21:28.
Would you like to know your future in more detail? Then take the time to examine the Bible in depth and “test the inspired expressions to see whether they originate with God.” (1 John 4:1) You can do this with the help of the magazine The Watchtower, which regularly discusses Bible prophecies and explains their application to our day. Thus, as you become convinced that the end of the present troubled world is close, you, too, will be able to ‘lift your head up.’ You will also learn what you must do to enjoy the blessings of the Messianic Kingdom, which will soon intervene in world affairs for the benefit of all right-hearted people.
For more details about the fulfillment of these prophecies since 1914, see chapter 7 of the book True Peace and Security—How Can You Find It? published by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc.
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“And the Sign . . . Does Come True”
‘What is wrong with going to a fortune-teller or reading your horoscope in a newspaper? Isn’t this just harmless fun?’
The Bible does not treat the matter so lightly. In fact, it puts us on our guard against mediums and diviners. In the book of Deuteronomy, Jehovah gives the following warning: “In case a prophet or a dreamer of a dream . . . does give you a sign or a portent, and the sign or the portent does come true of which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us walk after other gods,’ . . . you must not listen to the words of that prophet or to the dreamer of that dream.”—Deuteronomy 13:1-3.
Notice that the Scriptures do not question the fact that some of the predictions of mediums and astrologers may come true. Rather, the Bible warns us that, if these predictions are based on signs in the heavens or other methods of divination, they come from the demons, are deceiving, and may turn men away from the true God.—See Acts 16:16-18.
To pay attention to astrologers or to others who claim to predict the future is to run the risk of incurring serious spiritual problems and ending up a slave of “the wicked spirit forces in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12) Thus, to consult such individuals is considered by God to be a serious sin; those who practice such things are detestable in his eyes and they will not inherit his Kingdom.—Revelation 22:15.
It is thus for our own good that the Bible puts us on guard against astrology and all other forms of divination.
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THE BIBLE FORETOLD IN ADVANCE THAT:
◆ Jesus would be born in Bethlehem.—Micah 5:2
◆ He would be put to death on a stake.—Psalm 22:16, 17
◆ None of his bones would be broken.—Psalm 34:20