Predictions And Prophecy
Yesterday the governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, lamented over failed coronavirus models: “Now, people can speculate. People can guess. ‘I think next week.’ ‘I think two weeks.’ ‘I think a month,’” Cuomo told reporters on Memorial Day. “I'm out of that business because we all failed ... Right? All the early national experts. ‘Here's my projection model.’ ‘Here's my projection model.’ They were all wrong. They were all wrong.”
Three months into this pandemic, we do not yet know where the path leads. When and how quickly should states relax their lockdowns? Will schools open in August? When will retail, travel and recreation return to normal? What will the new normal look like? Will we suffer a second wave of COVID-19? Am I going to get it?
In the fog of viral war, one thing is clear: Ouija boards, tarot cards, séances, palm readers, astrologers, channelers and other fortunetellers are all frauds, for if anyone on earth could just reassure Crimson Tide fans about fall football, he would receive the keys of the kingdom.
All of this uncertainty highlights the vast difference between human predictions and biblical prophecy. For mere mortals, the future lies beyond a locked door. The best prognostications rest on past experience, the laws of nature and human tendencies and result in, at best, educated guesses. We can forecast trends, but when desperate for details we’re at an impasse. To quote a famous movie line: “The way is shut!”
But when one reads the gospels, a particular phrase stands out – “that it might be fulfilled ” (cf. Matt. 1:22; 2:15, 23; 4:14; etc.).
When John the Baptist was born, his father Zacharias prophesied of the coming Messiah: “‘Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, for He has ... raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of His servant David, as He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets, who have been since the world began’” (Luke 1:67-70). Jesus Himself clarified His mission, “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill” (Matt. 5:17).
The major thread of those prophecies was that the Savior would be rejected, crucified, buried and then rise from the dead. This is precisely what Jesus foretold, not once or twice but repeatedly (cf. Matt. 16:21; 20:17-19; etc.). One can incorrectly predict tomorrow’s weather and keep his job, but when you base your claim to be the Son of God on rising from the dead, remaining in your tomb is fatal to your argument (pun intended). And no one wanted to see Jesus’ body remain entombed more than His scheming, embittered enemies.
Following His resurrection Jesus said to His disciples, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me” (Luke 24:44). And a short time later, in the midst of the very city where He died, under the malignant stare of His killers, those same disciples preached a message of forgiveness and hope based squarely on the truth that Jesus had risen from the dead.
The one way His detractors could have dealt a death-blow to the fledgling movement: produce the body. But they couldn’t for one simple reason: it wasn’t there.
We serve a God who from the dawn of time has been telling us where the path was leading. And when He came into the world, He was proven right. It led to the cross and an empty tomb. Whatever tomorrow holds, we don’t have to be afraid of it. Because Jesus defeated our worst enemy for us, we can march confidently into tomorrow assured that “we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us” (Rom. 8:37).