Monday, February 27, 2012

Hey! Where’s My Flying Car?

Thoughts on the Sabbath School Lesson for 3.3.12

There are a whole bunch of crazy predictions and prophecies out there. People are always trying to predict what’s going to happen in the future.

Here are a few I found that you might find interesting:
"Inventions have long since reached their limit, and I see no hope for further developments." —Roman engineer Julius Sextus Frontinus, A.D. 100"The abdomen, the chest, and the brain will forever be shut from the intrusion of the wise and humane surgeon." —John Eric Ericksen, surgeon to Queen Victoria, 1873"Law will be simplified [over the next century]. Lawyers will have diminished, and their fees will have been vastly curtailed." —journalist Junius Henri Browne, 1893"It doesn't matter what he does, he will never amount to anything." —Albert Einstein's teacher to Einstein's father, 1895"It would appear we have reached the limits of what it is possible to achieve with computer technology." —computer scientist John von Neumann, 1949"The Japanese don't make anything the people in the U.S. would want." —Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, 1954"Nuclear powered vacuum cleaners will probably be a reality within ten years." —Alex Lewyt, president of the Lewyt Vacuum Cleaner Company, quoted in The New York Times, June 10, 1955"Before man reaches the moon, your mail will be delivered within hours from New York to Australia by guided missiles. We stand on the threshold of rocket mail." —Arthur Summerfield, U.S. Postmaster General under Eisenhower, 1959"By the turn of the century, we will live in a paperless society." —Roger Smith, chairman of General Motors, 1986"I predict the Internet . . . will go spectacularly supernova and in 1996 catastrophically collapse." —Bob Metcalfe, InfoWorld, 1995[1]
Wow, all of those predictions are spectacularly wrong! The truth is, almost all of the predictions that men make are just as wrong, and yet, we keep making them. 

We hate not knowing what’s coming next so much that almost everybody I know stays up a little later than he or she should to catch the final weather report on the news in order to have a jump on deciding what to wear in the morning. And how often is the weather forecast wrong?

How do we decide which predictions to believe and which to forget? I guess we keep an running tally, and if a certain source is right more often than it’s wrong, we tend to trust that source. We also trust individuals who seem to have some expertise in an area and people who are in authority. No, really, psychologists have actually done studies about who people trust. They did study where, as the volunteers came through the door, they were randomly and blindly assigned to be either “questioners” or “answerers.” The questioners were given a set of cards with general information types of questions and answers on them that they then asked the answerers. After 20 or 30 minutes, the questioning stopped and the volunteers were interviewed individually. In almost every case, the answerers said that they believed that the questioners were much smarter and had more education than they themselves had. 

This was absolutely not true because the roles were assigned randomly and blindly. When I first read that I thought, “How silly. Who would assume someone was smarter just because he or she was asking questions?” But then, I thought, who hasn’t, at some time or another, thought of Alex Trebek as a really, really smart man? People consider him so smart and trustworthy that he even does life insurance commercials.

Even Alex Trebek is wrong sometimes, right? As are horoscopes, palm readers, weathermen (and women), seers and most prophets, even the Farmer’s Almanac gets it wrong from time to time. No human is ever 100% accurate with his or her predictions.
So, where can we turn to relieve our uncertainty about the future? You know the answer … God is never wrong!  And His prophecies, when correctly interpreted, have never been wrong.

Want proof? Let’s look at Daniel 2:32-34 (NKJV):
“This image’s head was of fine gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay. You watched while a stone was cut out without hands, which struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold were crushed together, and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; the wind carried them away so that no trace of them was found. And the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.”
In those few verses, through Daniel, God laid out a prophecy that covers thousands of years? And when we use the rest of the Bible to interpret those verses, we can see that every prediction has been complete correct…except the last one and that one hasn’t happened yet. Based on just those verses and their accuracy, what do you think are the chances of that last bit (“a stone was cut out without hands, which struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces. …”) happening? Well, I don’t have any doubt at all that the rest of the prophecy will happen just like God said.

If you’re still not sure, consider that every prophecy about Jesus’ birth, life and death were absolutely spot on, right down to how the Roman soldiers would decide who got His robe.

God is trustworthy; His words are always true. He has given us the guideposts to look for so that we don’t need to feel uncertain about what’s going to happen next. 
“The Bible was designed to be a guide to all who wish to become acquainted with the will of their Maker. God gave to men the sure word of prophecy; angels and even Christ Himself came to make known to Daniel and John the things that must shortly come to pass. Those important matters that concern our salvation were not left involved in mystery. They were not revealed in such a way as to perplex and mislead the honest seeker after truth. Said the Lord by the prophet Habakkuk: ‘Write the vision, and make it plain, ... that he may run that readeth it.’ Habakkuk 2:2. The word of God is plain to all who study it with a prayerful heart. Every truly honest soul will come to the light of truth. ‘Light is sown for the righteous.’ Psalm 97:11. And no church can advance in holiness unless its members are earnestly seeking for truth as for hid treasure.”[2]

[1] The Futurist, (September/October, 2000), p. 20-25
[2] E.G. White, Darkness before Dawn, p. 7

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