God declares the end from the beginning. He knows all things—and this has huge implications for our Christian lives.
“For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose.’”
- Isaiah 46:9b–10
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Transcript: Hi, welcome to Five Minutes With Pastor Lutzer, as we continue our study on the attributes of God. Specifically today we are discussing the omniscience of God. That means that God knows all things, both actual and possible. It’s very important that we meditate on these things, because the implications for Christian living are huge.
But first of all, our text; it comes to us from Isaiah chapter 46, and I’m picking it up at verse 9: “Remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other. I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose.’” I love this text. God declares the end from the beginning. He knows all things.
Now I need to begin by saying that in evangelical theology, a number of years ago, this idea arose that God doesn’t know everything. He does not know what our free decisions are going to be. Because these people, God bless them, they wanted to preserve free will. And they said that if God knows the decisions that we are going to make, then it’s very clear that the future, in some sense, is fixed. Because obviously it’s gonna happen the way God knows it’s gonna happen. So in order to keep the future open, they said, “God knows only those things that are knowable, and the free decision of people is unknown to God.”
You see, they also wanted to preserve the problem of evil. That is to say, they wanted to say that God had nothing to do with it. Well, that’s a whole different subject, but here’s the idea: if God didn’t know that Lucifer was going to fall, then God, in a sense, is absolved.
One of these theologians was counseling a woman who came to him and said, “If God knew that my husband was going to commit adultery, why did God let me marry him?” And the answer that this pastor who believed in the “openness of God” said, his answer was, “Well, God didn’t know that your husband was going to be unfaithful.” Well my friend, today, that kind of a god is not the God of the Bible. God calls those things which are not as if they are.
Now, what I’d like to do is to give you one example of God’s ability to predict the future. How would you like to try to predict who will be the President of the United States in 100 years, and predict his most important foreign policy decision, and call him by name? That’s exactly what God does here in the book of Isaiah. We read today from chapter 46. But if you go to 45 and 44, let me summarize it for you.
Isaiah is writing in about the year 700, and he is predicting the fact that Israel will be able to go back into the land. Babylon was rising in its power, so he predicts the captivity, and then the fact that the Israelites will be able to go back and rebuild the temple, as you know.
But here’s the thing: God predicted that the person who was going to allow them to go back was Cyrus: Cyrus the Persian. God was predicting through Isaiah that Babylon was going to go down. Persia was gonna conquer Babylon, and God said, “I am going to predict the person who is My servant. His name is Cyrus.”
I’m actually reading now from chapter 45, where it says, “I call you by your name for the sake of my servant Jacob, and Israel, my chosen, that you may know that I am the Lord and that there is none like me.”
I hope that all of this becomes clear to you. Isaiah, writing in the year 700, predicts something that happens a hundred years later. Cyrus is the one that allows the Jews to return. And God says, “I’m doing it so that you know that I’m not like the other gods. I can predict the end right from the beginning.” Now just think about that for a moment. You know what this means? God knew Cyrus. He knew his parents. He knew that his parents were going to name him Cyrus. He knew that his—Cyrus’ grandparents, who they were and that they would have children who eventually would marry. God knows all of these contingencies. And God knows the future, calling those things that are not as if they are.
Remember that song we used to sing—at least some of us used to sing it—“He’s got the whole world in his hands?” Now my friend, you remember how the rest of the song goes. He goes—it goes and says “He’s got you and me, brother, in His hands,” and we could say “He’s got you and me, sister, in His hands.” Because He has you in His hands.
Has it ever dawned on you that nothing has ever dawned on God? You don’t have to know the future, my friend, because God does. And if we trust Him, He will lead us into it.
Thanks so much for joining us today. We hope that you will join us again next time, and meanwhile, today, go with God.