The Lord will be king over the whole earth. (Zech 14:9)

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Our future has already happened for God

When it comes to Bible prophecy, we often view God as making a prediction and then coordinating events on earth to fulfil it – a bit like a puppet on a string.

One example is Jesus’ birth. Jesus was predicted to be born in Bethlehem, but his parents were settled up in Galilee (80 miles away!). Mary was in the wrong place for Jesus’ birth. She needed to be in Bethlehem, but how was she going get there?

Caesar Augustus caused this to be fulfilled through his census. This census had already been delayed by a few years due to protests in the area. If the census had happened on the original timeline, it would have been too early, and if any later, Mary wouldn’t be in Bethlehem either. The timing was perfect.

We imagine God expressing a big sigh of relief from heaven that everything came together with the prophecy. Is God looking at the world now, desperately hoping everything comes together as predicted for the end times, grappling to bring the different moving parts of the jigsaw together?

We doubt it.

When God revealed that Jesus was to be born in Bethlehem, it was not a prediction in the way that we may predict the outcome of a football match.

God was revealing what had already happened, from outside of time. He knew that events took Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem for Jesus’ birth – he simply revealed that through the prophet to demonstrate he is God.

It is not a prediction as such – it is a revelation. God is revealing how things will occur from our perspective within the dimension of time, as it has already happened from his perspective outside of the dimension of time.

This is a little mind-bending for us, but maybe it’s a bit like someone watching a football match live. They then meet someone else who has recorded the game to watch at a later point and doesn’t know the final score. The person who watched the game live can tell that person the score and all about the key moments before. To the other person, in their experience of time in relation to the match, the game hasn’t started – for the person who watched the game live, it has finished. The person who watched the game live is not predicting the future or fortune-telling…they are simply operating on a different timeline. They are revealing what happened – demonstrating an existence outside the timeframe of the other person in this instance.

We often pray that God fulfils prophecy. However, in reality, he has already done it. It is not a case of ‘if’ – for us, it’s a case of when. God is revealing future events from having already watched the football match – we have just not yet experienced or witnessed it.

This should be comforting – it reassures us that God is in total control in a world that seems out of control.

There are numerous places in Scripture where his faithful become impatient:

How long, LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? (Psalm 13:1 NIV)

How long, LORD, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, “Violence!” but you do not save? Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrongdoing?… (Habakkuk 1:2-3 NIV)

In Revelation chapter 6 you have those who have been killed for their faith expressing impatience:

How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood? (Revelation 6:10 NIV)

They were impatient – understandably!

The same was happening when Peter wrote his epistle. People were scoffing at the second coming and Peter was reassuring the faithful. God had not changed his mind about the second coming – everything was happening perfectly on his timeline.

When God says:

…the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare. (2 Peter 3:10 NIV)

That has happened – from God’s position outside of time. He is simply revealing what happened to us through Peter. This is not a prediction or fortune telling – it’s a revelation from outside of time!

What do we do with this?

  1. Firstly, be encouraged. God is in control. God is not pacing up and down his throneroom biting his nails hoping that everything happens as he predicted. He revealed the future to us because it has happened. It ends well for those who believe – everything will be revealed, there will be justice, the broken world will be repaired, and the new heavens and earth will be brilliant! Be encouraged.
  2. Secondly, be patient. If the Bible says something will happen, it HAS happened! Peter says,

    The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead, he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9 NIV)

    Let’s be patient and trust God with time.

  3. Thirdly, be useful. How are you using time? Time is a commodity, a resource. Peter instructs us to ‘live holy and godly lives’ and to be ‘found spotless, blameless and at peace with him.’

As we roar into a new year, there are all kinds of signs that the end time stage is being set. How are you using your time in these last days?

We can’t wait for the Lord’s return, but let’s use time well. Everything is bang on schedule from God’s point of view. Let’s be patient and trust God with time.

Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations. Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the whole world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God. (Psalm 90:1-2 NIV)


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