In the film ‘Back to the Future II’, Marty McFly travels to the future date of October 21st, 2015 (today’s date for those scoring at home). In light of this, today has been declared ‘Back to the Future Day.’ Wooohoo! I confess that I love those movies. I own the trilogy box-set pictured above. And I admit that it is a bit interesting to have actually made it to McFly’s future. In celebration, you can read about how others are celebrating. Or you can read about developments in the hoverboard industry. Or, my personal favorite, what technology we have today that is similar to what the movie predicted. It is fun to compare the fictional future with our current reality. In McFly’s 2015, ‘Jaws 19’ is about to be released and the Cubs win the World Series (both crazy predictions!) Everyone drives a flying car and they are all fueld with garbage (not quite). It is humurous to consider what folks in 1985 thought 2015 might look like.
But then, it is always humurous to think that anyone can predict the future, right? I mean, they do it science fiction movies because it is so obviously fictitious. Nobody really knows what will happen in 30 years or 3 years or even 3 days. We simply cannot know the future.
Such thinking leads many people to dismiss the Bible’s teaching about the future. How could the biblical authors know anything about what will happen in the days ahead? People think that is silly, and put it in the same category as hoverboards and trasholine.
Yet, for those who do believe Scripture to be God’s inerrant Word, the predictions about the future in the Bible is serious business. They believe that every prophecy in the text will eventually come to pass. Why do they believe in this? Why do they take these predictions about the future so seriously?
- They believe because it is specific: The prophecies in the Old and New Testaments are often very specific, unlike many others throughout history. If I say that war will come in the future, then I am not a prophet. But if I name the armies and the outcome, that is a bit different. And if I do it hundreds of years in advance, then that is amazing, which is exactly what God did for Abraham in Genesis 15:13-16. It is easy to make a general prediction about the future, it is much more difficult to be specific (as we see with McFly’s 2015).
- They believe because it is verified: It is interesting to see what the writers in 1985 got ‘close’ about 2015. Hoverboards and flying cars and self-tying shoes are being produced. The Cubs could still win the series (theoretically). But for the most part, none of it really came true. Yet, we find repeated fulfillments of prophecy in the pages of Scripture. So much so that I don’t even have time to scratch the surface. But just think about some of the prophecies concerning the Messiah that we celebrate each Christmas. He will be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2). He will be a son of David (2 Samuel 7:1-17). He will be called Immanuel (Isaiah 7:14). All of these were fulfilled by Jesus. And if those are not convincing, then think about Isaiah’s prediction of His death in Isaiah 53. He will be despised and rejected by men (v. 3). He will be wounded for our transgressions and crushed for our iniquities (v. 5). He will be like a lamb being led to the slaughter (v. 7). These words were written by the prophet 700 years before Jesus drew a breath. When I read about Jesus’ crucifixion in the Gospels, I cannot help but see the fulfillment of these predictions. In the same way, when I read about Jesus’ return in the pages of the New Testament, I am convinced that it will indeed come to pass. The prophets foretold that He would come and He came. Jesus says He will return and He will come.
- They believe because of the Author: The reason why we rightfully question anyone who predicts the future is because they have not really been there. If someone really could travel through time by going 88 miles per hour in a DeLorean, then perhaps we could believe what they say about the future. For those who believe the Scriptures to be God’s Word, it is not hard for them to trust in what it says about the future. After all, the Author has been there. He knows exactly what can and will take place because He is sovereign over it all. You could say that He has unlimited supply of 1.21 gigowatts. Thus, when He reveals that the Son will return to judge the world and take home His Bride, then I would be foolish to not believe. He has said it in His Word, so I can believe it with all confidence.
So enjoy ‘Back to the Future Day.’ Have some laughs about the silly predictions in the movie (Cubs winning the series, hilarious!) But don’t treat the Bible like science-fiction. The future Day is coming. The present and future King will return for His own. Are you ready?