Two of my favorite movies are Back to the Future and The Time Machine. Both films deal with time travel, with the emphasis on the future. We have an insatiable appetite to know what's ahead. This is good if you're driving, but difficult to accomplish in life.
Throughout the centuries, there have been scores of predictions and prophets professing to portend impending portents of the future. Currently, there is some fuss about Nostradamus's predictions of the end of the world, which brings out of the woodwork Mayan calendars, mystical codes, and malevolent comets.
Here is a sampling of end of the world predictions:
In 2003, a comet that passes earth every 3657 years will cause the earth to stop rotating and the land to be submerged.
The Mayan calendar, which started with the birth of Venus, expects the world to end during the winter solstice of 2012.
The Novelty Theory says that, because of "the coincidence of the moment of the solstice and the heliacal rising of the galactic centre, levels of planetary novelty will exponentially increase." Throw in "trans-dimensional objects" and "Quasar Ignition," and you have a most novel prediction!
In 1514, Pope Leo IX expected the world to end in 2014.
Nostradamus gives us a good amount of time, predicting the end of the world in 3797.
If we can wait a little longer, gamma rays will destroy life on earth in 1,000,000 A.D.
And so it goes.
The most popular predictions concern the end of the world and the return of Christ. Benjamin Crème, a British artist, has been heralding the presence of Lord Maitraya, who embodies religious diversity as the Christ, Messiah, Imam Mahdi, Krishna, and Maitraya Buddha. Jesus warned the disciples that "false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect" (Matthew 24:24, NKJV). One of the most robust proofs of the Bible's veracity and accuracy is its hundreds of perfectly detailed predictions, many of which were fulfilled in Christ's first coming, with the rest awaiting his return.
Among Christians, this time of year is often known as the Advent season, because it celebrates the arrival of Jesus, as foretold by the Old Testament prophets. He came and fulfilled prophecies that were hundreds of years old and incapable of human fulfillment.
As the angels told the disciples in Acts 1:11: "This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven." There are many, many more prophecies, in both Testaments, that foretell events leading up to, culminating in, and following his return. A majority of these involve, of all things, the end of the world.
Sadly, non-Biblical end-of-the-world prophecies offer no hope after the world is destroyed by global warming, killer bees, nuclear war, decadence or space dust. There is nothing to look forward to, except maybe nothing. However, the Bible, again in infallible detail, outlines the days in which we are living, as well as the days to come. As is true of no other book, you can read Daniel, Ezekiel, Joel, Isaiah, Zechariah, Jeremiah, Psalms, Matthew, Luke, Acts, Peter's epistles, Revelation, and many other Bible books, and piece together a fully coherent picture of the end times. Wonderfully, it doesn't end at the endit ends at the beginning, with "new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells" (2 Peter 3:13, NKJV).
The hope of the future is the hope that we celebrate this Christmas season: "the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come" (Revelation 4:8). It is he who will reign forever and ever (Revelation 11:15).
Da Vinci Codes and "new" Gospels and world rulers and tabloid prognostications have been popping up like metaphysical mushrooms for thousands of years. How predictable! But only one book has proven 100% accurate, and only one Savior has risen from the dead. And the future is totally predictable: "Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forththose who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation" (John 5:28, 29). As God the Father said, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!" (Matthew 17:5). Merry CHRISTmas!