First, Christ referred to the future often as He ministered to His disciples and to others. For example, in the Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24:25), Jesus said, “See, I have told you beforehand.” He is letting His followers know ahead of time some things that will help them face the days before them.
In Mark 13:23, He said something similar: “But take heed; see, I have told you all things beforehand.” Even during His days upon this earth, Jesus told those around Him things they could anticipate in the days ahead.
Jesus Rebuked People for Not Knowing About the Future
Jesus also reprimanded and rebuked people because they didn’t seem to know what was going on in their times. On one occasion, He said, “When it is evening you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red’; and in the morning, ‘It will be foul weather today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ Hypocrites! You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times” (Matthew 16:2–3).
So Jesus not only referred to the future but also He rebuked some for not being interested in it.
The Bible tells us that we are always to look at our times, not with our own speculation and calculations, but with understanding of what the Bible has to say, asking God to help us recognize the day and the hour in which we live. We cannot be ignorant just because thinking about it may make us uncomfortable.
Jesus Related Future Truth to Present Situations
Every time Jesus talked about the future, He connected it to the important things going on in the present. The prophecies of the New Testament are constantly undergirded with strong encouragement and admonition about how we are to live our lives.
The Lord also used truth about the future to encourage His disciples. In John 14:1–3, He said, “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to myself, that where I am, there you may be also.”
And in John 16:1, Jesus said, “These things [about the future] I have spoken to you, that you should not be made to stumble.” In other words, He said, “If you know what I am telling you about the future, you won’t fall into the trap of being in a panic mode when you don’t have any reason to be.”
In John 16:4, Jesus said, “These things I have told you, that when the time comes, you may remember that I told you of them.” There are going to be some days in the future when we see the hand of God move across this globe; and if we know the Word of God, we won’t be taken by surprise.
Jesus Revealed the Future So That His Disciples Would Rest in Him
When we don’t know how this is all going to work out, we have to hold tightly to the Lord Jesus Christ himself and rest in Him. That’s the message we often find in the New Testament.
In John 16:33, Jesus said to His disciples, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” Jesus had been talking about His future death, but then He said, “Don’t get caught up in that. Make sure in the midst of these tumultuous times, your trust is in Me.”
When we go through a tough time, if we’ve spent any time at all in the Word of God, that tough time is like a magnet that draws us to the Lord Jesus. Nothing will happen in the future that will catch Jesus Christ by surprise. And there’s nothing that will happen that He can’t help His children work through.
So rather than spending our time trying to figure out the nuances of what will happen, we should spend at least as much time getting to know Him better.
Jeremiah, David. 2007. Until Christ Returns: Living Faithfully Today While We Wait for Our Glorious Tomorrow (Study Guide). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.
Check out our Bible Study on the Second Coming of Christ. It is on Amazon as well as part of the Good Questions Have Groups Talking subscription service. Like Netflix for Bible Lessons, one low subscription gives you access to all our lessons–thousands of them. For a medium-sized church, lessons are as little as $10 per teacher per year.