Why Do We Feel The Need To Know the Future

Why is it that humans keep reaching for a sense of certainty in a life that has always been quite uncertain? We want to know the future. But even today’s most sophisticated computer models can’t tell us with certainty what the weather will be next week.

Even so, there are people who study the Bible looking for hints of the future. It gets so bad that there was a guy I heard about in the 70s who had figured out the size of the “New Jerusalem” and the cubic feet of gold as described in John’s Revelation and the weight of that amount of gold and multiplied by the price of gold to figure out the US Dollar value of that gold. I was so put off by how much that person (and the people who spouted that off as if it meant something) missed the spiritual point, that I still remember the episode.

I didn’t want to write about Revelation. But the small study group I attend is still in the book. It’s still on my mind.

There are many interpretations of the meaning of the writing. Several interpretations hold that it is an actual description of historical events to come. Even though God is explicit in his condemnation of fortune telling–predicting the future. (My interpretation, picked up from some of the early Church Fathers–who, by the way didn’t agree not only on the interpretation of the book but on whether to even include it in the official canon for teaching–is that it “describes” events that have already happened. Its focus is on the horrors of Rome, the destruction of the Temple, and how God’s people will triumph because God has already won the war.)

Don’t bother trying to argue the points with me. I don’t care. Someone in the group asked why our church doesn’t teach from the book. Well, I don’t teach from it. I can understand others.

The purpose of study is to learn how to live a life that’s pleasing to God–the with-God life. If a writing is so open to conjecture and argument, how can we learn from it? Paul condemned idle argumentation. I go with him.

Jesus said, “Follow me.” He said the Kingdom of God was there. I’m with him.

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