In Search of Reliable Predictions
“HE WHO could foresee affairs three days in advance would be rich for thousands of years.” So says a Chinese proverb.
People do want to know what tomorrow will bring, and many would gladly pay a great deal for dependable information of that kind. They search for reliable predictions. As seen from weather forecasts and economic indicators, we have an interest in events that lie ahead. Moreover, reliable knowledge of the future would enable us to plan and arrange our lives.
A desire to know what the future holds in store prompts many to consult fortune-tellers, gurus, astrologers, and witch doctors. Bookstores and magazine racks abound with ancient and modern writings of those claiming to foretell the future. But skepticism surrounds these forms of prediction. The Roman statesman Cato reportedly said: ‘I wonder that a soothsayer doesn’t laugh whenever he sees another soothsayer.’
There are, of course, predictions of many kinds. In 1972 an international group of academics and businessmen known as the Club of Rome published a study predicting that the world would soon run out of nonrenewable resources. It would be without gold by 1981, mercury by 1985, zinc by 1990, petroleum by 1992, and so forth. We now see that these predictions did not come true.
Many predictions have been based on religious views. To illustrate: Saxon bishop Wulfstan held that the Danish invasion of England early in the 11th century was a sign that the world’s end was near. In 1525, Thomas Münzer led a revolt of German peasants because in a vision he saw the angels sharpening sickles for what he thought would be a great harvest. Clearly, these predictions were inaccurate.
As you may know, the Bible contains predictions. Moreover, Bible writers claimed to be inspired by God. The Christian apostle Peter said: “No prophecy of Scripture springs from any private interpretation. For prophecy was at no time brought by man’s will, but men spoke from God as they were borne along by holy spirit.”—2 Peter 1:20, 21.
Among other things, the Bible foretold various developments identifying the generation that would experience the presence of Jesus Christ in heavenly Kingdom power. Unprecedented warfare, famine, earthquakes, and the breakdown of human moral fiber would be the hallmark of what the Bible describes as “the last days.” (2 Timothy 3:1-5; Matthew 24:3-14, 34) According to the Bible, the removal of the present system of things would pave the way for mankind’s happiness in a new world of endless blessings.—2 Peter 3:13; Revelation 21:1-4.
How do you view such Bible predictions? Like many other forecasts, are they mere speculations? We can test the reliability of yet unfulfilled Bible prophecies by determining whether the Bible’s predictions concerning past events were reliable. In the next article, we will consider some of these.
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Courtesy National Weather Service