Prophecy 101

Future blocks 

Does God dictate the future? Is the ‘morrow all figured out and all we need to do is watch it unfold? What is prophecy about anyway? If the future is foretold and already known by God, then nothing we say or do makes any difference, right? The following is going to be pretty basic, but I think vital if we want to approach prophecy and the bigger question of God’s omniscience (all knowing-ness) with an open heart. I know learning this really helped shift my perspective of God and what He is up to…

There is this belief that prophecy (telling the future) outlines what people must do in the future. I have learned that just because God or a prophet knows something is going to happen down the road (and hence records it for posterity so others are aware of it) doesn’t mean He/he/she is fating someone to do something in the future. Free will is still totally active and present. No, God and the prophet merely see what that person is going to do/choose and the prophet records it.

For instance, in my email Bible study group, we’re at the end of the Gospel of Matthew where Judas betrays Jesus to the authorities. Many times I’ve heard that Judas can’t be held responsible for what he did because he was merely the agent God used to fulfill prophecy. The Old Testament scriptures demanded that Jesus be betrayed and so, someone had to do it…hence Judas had no choice, he went for the kiss of death.  Judas was a pawn in a cosmic chess game…

God stands outside of time. (Hello! He created time.) He is omniscient, all knowing…He stands outside of time and can see the whole of it–from beginning to end. He knows what we’re going to do, He knows what we’re going to choose, He knows what will happen. Prophecy is merely a telling of what people are going to choose, a window into the future, not an iron fist dictating the future. Free will is fully present and active, we are responsible for our actions, even people like Judas and the anti-Christ (found in Revelation).

This is a poor example but one I think we all remember (I’m not, in the least, advocating visiting psychics, witches and the like, here): In The Wizard of Oz, we see crystal balls used at various times (usually by The Wicked Witch of the West) to see what is going on and what is going to happen. I don’t think any of us would think that the Wicked Witch is making these things happen….we just know that she can see them. She is seeing the future, not dictating it–the same thing goes for God and His prophets.

The prophets who prophesied about Judas and his role in Jesus’ death, weren’t fating Judas to do what he did. The were granted, by God, a glimpse into Jesus’ last moments before being crucified and they recorded it so that when it happened people would know that Jesus is the real deal…the Savior that the Scriptures foretold.


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