French President Francois Hollande in the wake of the Islamic State attacks in his country said, “France is at war.” France has taken a number of steps to enhance its national security and has called for a coalition that would include the United State and Russia to eradicate IS.
When Jesus was asked by his disciples what would be the sign of His return and the end of this age He said, “You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars,” Matthew 24:6. President Hollande’s declaration seems an eerie reminder of Christ’s prophetic words. If that is the case, does this mean God has predestined the human conflicts we witness occurring around the world to herald the return of His Son?
It is estimated that approximately twenty-five percent of the Bible when it was originally penned referenced future events. While there is much debate regarding the nature of biblical prophecy, I am convinced fatidic passages flow from two of God’s attributes, His omniscience and His omnipotence.
God knows everything and this includes what will happen in the future, and He is all-powerful and this includes His ability to control what will happen. While these are distinctive attributes of the Father, they do not operate independently of one another. What God predetermines to occur is subject to what He foreknows.
The clearest example of this is the fall of Adam and Eve. I do not believe God predestined Adam and Eve to eat the forbidden fruit, but foreknowing they would transgress; He had already predestined a Savior, a plan to remedy their rebellion to His law. Calvary was in the heart and mind of God at Creation.
This means that God foreknows each decision and action of saint and sinner, and without violating the will of either, He weaves all into the tapestry of human history so that human history flows inexorably to the culmination of His predetermined and perfect will.
When Jesus prophesied, “You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars,” He does not mean God has predestined us to fight and kill each other, but He foresees that as men turn from God, they will turn on one another. God is not the author of evil nor does He predestine it, but He does foresee it and warns us of its approach.
I know I have waded into deep theological waters in this article, but I think it is important for those who read prophetic passages to have a proper perspective of what has been foretold. The conflicts we witness raging around the world merely presage an escalation of the same in incidence, duration and intensity, but the evil to come is manmade. We are prone to blame God for what transpires when in reality we have no one to blame but ourselves.
Those IS terrorists are responsible for what happened in Paris, not God.