THE MAP OF THE FUTURE GOD LEFT IN HIS WORD
God wrote down an inspired record of the history of the world: from the time when John was sitting on Patmos in AD 95, right up to the very end of days. That is what you are holding in your hands this morning.
The online world mourned for a few moments this week, the passing of another icon from the former, pre-cyber world of the past. After 244 years of publication, the Encyclopedia Britannica will no longer be printed on paper. Thus ended the longest published record of civilization’s knowledge.
The byline of that monumental compendium of knowledge, are these words: facts matter.
Facts matter even more to God. Today, the facts about what God has said, describing the future of every person in the world, are crucial. The facts that God has given to us are quite clear. The ability to precisely tell the future is part of God’s uniquely Divine identity. First we know that:
Gives the Facts
Do you remember a few weeks ago when we looked at how we know the Bible is true?
Remember the fourth reason we should trust God’s Word? It was: Fulfilled Prophecy is the simplest and yet most profound evidence the Bible offers. Prophecy fulfilled is an irrefutable verification found only in the Judeo-Christian Scriptures.
Prophecy is the missing element in all other sacred scriptures of the world’s religions. It is not to be found in the Muslim’s Koran, the sayings of Buddha, the Hindu’s Vedas, or the Mormon’s Book.
By contrast: prophecy comprises about one-third of the Scriptures! The Book of Isaiah contains six of the clearest declarations of God’s sole ability to write the future, plus perhaps the clearest and most remarkable prophetic passage, in the Bible!
Look at this string of declarations from the one and only God, who reveals Himself by writing down history before it happens. Start with me in Isaiah 41:21.
1. Prophecy is God’s Unique Distinctive: Isaiah 41:21-22 (NKJV) “Present your case,” says the LORD. “Bring forth your strong reasons,” says the King of Jacob. 22 “Let them bring forth and show us what will happen; Let them show the former things, what they were, That we may consider them, And know the latter end of them; Or declare to us things to come.
2. Prophecy is a demonstration of God’s Glory: Isaiah 42:8-9 (NKJV) I am the LORD, that is My name; And My glory I will not give to another, Nor My praise to carved images.9 Behold, the former things have come to pass, And new things I declare; Before they spring forth I tell you of them.”
3. Prophecy is the Acid Test of Deity: Isaiah 44:6-7 (NKJV) “Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel, And his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: ‘I am the First and I am the Last; Besides Me there is no God.7 And who can proclaim as I do? Then let him declare it and set it in order for Me, Since I appointed the ancient people. And the things that are coming and shall come, Let them show these to them.
4. Prophecy is a Verifiable Proof of God’s Power: Isaiah 45:21 (NKJV) Tell and bring forth your case; Yes, let them take counsel together. Who has declared this from ancient time? Who has told it from that time? Have not I, the LORD? And there is no other God besides Me, A just God and a Savior; There is none besides Me.
5. Prophecy is History Written in Advance: Isaiah 46:10 (NKJV) Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure,’
6. Prophecy is to Confirm that God can be Trusted: Isaiah 48:3-5 (NKJV) “I have declared the former things from the beginning; They went forth from My mouth, and I caused them to hear it. Suddenly I did them, and they came to pass. 4 Because I knew that you were obstinate, And your neck was an iron sinew, And your brow bronze, 5 Even from the beginning I have declared it to you; Before it came to pass I proclaimed it to you, Lest you should say, ‘My idol has done them, And my carved image and my molded image Have commanded them.’
Now, for a moment, move back to Isaiah 45:1. This is what I call perhaps the single most remarkable prophecy in the Bible.
One of the Most Astounding