Commentary by Dennis Diehl
I'll get right to the point. Can human beings know the future? No they cannot.
The future is an illusion, as is the past. We think the future is something ahead of us that is laid out in some way that is knowable only to the "chosenites" in the world of religion. Our experience in the WCG and all those who continue to base most of their ministries on the fallacy that the future is knowable either in the form of some revelation or prophecy is that, indeed, if we just work the dials correctly, we can know the unknowable.
The Bible is not really 1/3 prophecy as we have been assured. It has prophecy. It has failed prophecy. It has text that is made to look prophetic which , in fact, has been redacted into the text and written after the events it pretends to foretell will happen. If you want to make the head of a COG prophetic type spin, just tell him that the entire Book of Daniel was written as prophecy in reverse. It was written long after the events it foretells happened and when it gets to the parts that are really future, it goes vague. It was written to encourage the Jews in just the same way it's knock-off, Revelation, was written to encourage the Jewish Church. However in both cases, the Romans won.
Matthew, in his gospel was notorious for his "fulfillment" texts about the birth of Jesus being foretold in every detail from the flight to Egypt to the murder of the children and the Virgin Birth. Matthew needed to tell a story about Jesus and went back into the OT for hints of what to say. No one knew anything about Jesus birth, so stories had to be written.
NOT ONE of his "thus it was fulfilled" passages was a prophecy about Jesus. NOT ONE was ever meant to mean what meaning Matthew assigned it. NOT ONE is prophecy and ALL are taken grossly out of context. But since it is "Matthew" who wrote it, (the author's name was assigned to the anonymous book many years after it was written), we assume he must know what the scoop is or was. Since it is "in the Bible" it must be true. We suspend critical thinking and we pay for it by perpetuating ignorance and pious conviction salted with marginal information.
The Apostle Paul was a bit more subtle in his misquoting of the OT to make his points. For example, since he wanted to promote his approach to faith and grace over works, he made a text that really said, "The just shall live by HIS Faith," into "The just shall live by faith." Big diff. And why the Pharisee of Pharisees who was the smartest pencil in the box and a Hebrew of the Hebrews used the Greek renditions in all his OT justifications for his Gospel, we can only guess. I suspect Paul was not a Pharisee at all and only God knows why if he was the top dog in Jerusalem at the same time as the Gospel Jesus, why he never showed up to persecute him. But I wander.
The very lifeblood of the major splinter's of WCG depend on prophecy and their "time is short" rendition of it for their survival. It is their schtick. It's the Goose that lays the Golden Egg for them. It is also bunk.
A close reading of the prophecies of Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel will show that much of what they predicted failed to occur. Yet in our day we can project those past failed prophecies into the future as if they have yet to occur the first time and keep the hokum alive. Most would never understand that competing factions in the OT inserted failed prophecies into the text to make fools out of their rivals.
The further back in history prophecy seems to go the more we lionize the author of it. We all know today that ANYONE who laid seige to a frying pan, crawled through a small hole he punched in the temple wall, cooked his food with his own dung, laid on his side for a year and flipped over for a bit more time and heard voices constantly in his head was not well. However as the Prophet Ezekiel, we look the other way. What if modern Christianity is based on the perceptions of men with temporal lobe epilepsy, bi polar difficulties or schizophrenia? These conditions would make fascinating personages and easily attract the religious among them, but today we would put them on medication.
Even in the NT, any man who cast the demon out of a human being, in reality, having an epileptic seizure, and restored him to normalcy in about thirty minutes, would feel he had done something amazing. Of course, it takes about thirty minutes to get over a seizure. Mayan Priests used to get up before sunrise and beckon forth the sun. Sure enough...it dawned on them. What miracle workers!
The Book of Revelation, the very lifeblood of the COG splinters is a failed prophecy and it failed in either 56 AD or on October 8th, 70 AD depending on one's chronological tendencies. Revelation is a marvelous astro-theological text adapted to encouraging the Jewish Christians before the destruction of the Temple by the Romans who were not often held to prophectic timetables in their running of the country. It's a book that bashes the two most hated people in the minds of the Jewish Church....Vespasian and the false prophet and destroyer of Jewish Church Customs, the Apostle Paul. (All this is IMHO.)
In the letter to the church at Ephesus in Revelation we find this simple reality:
The Apostle Paul: I am the Apostle to Ephesus
Jesus to the Jewish Church: You have tried those who say the are Apostles and found them wanting."
Jewish Church to Paul: "Sorry, but we hate you."
The Apostle Paul to the Church: "All those in Asia (where Ephesus is) have forsaken ME." (You'd think he'd ask why? instead of just asking God to forgive them all for being wrong about him)
Jesus to the Jewish Church: "Well done."
Jewish Church to Jesus: "Thank you."
Time, past and future is an illusion. It is not real. It either is a present moment now past or a present moment not yet here at which time it will not be the future but just another present moment. It is unknowable because it has not yet occurred. And the story can go ten million ways before it ever arrives at another present moment.
Are we so blind that we cannot admit that 100% of all speculations both in and out of the Bible about how it will be and when it will all go this way or that depending on one's beliefs, have proven 100% false 100% of the time for the past 2000 years?
Do we not see that "God does not see time as you do," or that "a day with God is as a thousand years," is the apologetic for getting it wrong...again?
It is said that not even God can change the past. Dare we say that not even God knows the future? I dare say we can and it is men who dabble in such silliness and not God at all. Jesus said he did not know the day or the hour and assumed only God did. At least he admitted he did not. Jesus did not know the day or the hour because it is unknowable as it has not yet happened or not happened depending on which event actually occurs.
It used to be intriguing to me but now is quite sad and not a little frightening to witness the battle of the ministers in the splinters for top dog. I think it takes a mentally ill human being to put his name in the same sentence with Elijah, John the Baptist and Jesus. I'm not a little annoyed that the Apostle Paul said he was called from the womb ranking himself right up there with Jeremiah and Jesus. Nothing has change in the world of title taking. I think it takes a mentally ill human being to demand his congregation "send it in," or claim to be the only one true Chosenite cult and follower of one man. It certainly is a delusion. I think a man who see's himself in the scriptures needs medication not encouragement or a following.
Can human beings know the future? Does the Bible accurately predict the future as if it is all neatly laid out and all the Chosenites have to do is get the combination on the dial correct to unlock it's mysteries? I say no. I believe it is inherent in humans to feel safer THINKING they are both special and in the know about what is going to happen and how they are going to both survive and thrive through "it." I believe they are wrong.
The present moment is all human beings really have. Don't squander it spinning and basing your present moment life on tales full of sound and fury...signifying nothing.
What say you?