According to David Pawson, 27% of the verses of the Bible contained a prediction about future events. 737 different future events were predicted in detail of which 80% have been fulfilled. The balance 20% concerned events still in the future yet to be fulfilled.
We cannot come away after reading the Bible without seeing that God knew and planned the future events. He alone decides the destiny of the world and the nations. He decides the rise and fall of nations.
What is the purpose of God telling us what is about to happen ? God wants to help us to meet the future and He aims to strengthen His people.
David Pawson gave us 6 reasons in his commentary on the book of Daniel and I took the liberty to para-phrase them with my own observation :
- God’s people will stand firm. When the world is shaking, God’s people will stand firm. Such times will differentiate the wheat from the tares, and the sheep from the goats. The Christians will expect the Return of our Lord eagerly and they also know that hard times will precede His Return.
- God’s people will do exploits. God graciously allows His people to be His co-workers. His people will want to do something to hasten His Return rather than be passive. They will be up and running to obey God’s exhortation to care for His people as exhorted in the 4 parables in Matt 24 and 25. They will be the wise servants who expect their Lord to return soon and invest in the talents given, the wise virgins who carry enough oil, and the sheep who care for the least of the brothers.
- God’s people will bring understanding. They will have a great ministry of teaching when the disturbances come. When the disturbances come, we can teach people who is in charge, why these events are happening, and where all these events are heading. (Personally I am surprised how God has called me to galvanize the churches in the region to prepare to care for God’s people when the hard times hit, given the fact that I was not part of any ministry in any church from the start, and I have no seminary or church network to call upon.)
- God’s people will endure suffering. In the Book of Daniel, God mentioned about the coming persecution of the Jewish people and the desecration of the Temple by Antiochus IV Epiphanes, the Seleucid monarch, before Judas Maccabee liberated them.
- God’s people will be refined. Suffering always bring the peaceful fruit of righteousness. It will smelt and sift. Dross will be smelted away and the true will be sifted from the false. God’s people will be purged and purified. Though one may find the church congregation halved, take heart that those who are left will be the strong and faithful.
- God’s people will find rest. Knowing that redemption draws near, God’s people know that their days of suffering will be over soon. But sadly for those who do not believe or have fallen, their days of suffering will actually begin for all eternity, after all these tribulations have come to an end.