Issue of January 8, 2017
     
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Prophecy and predictions

Although both pertain to events that are foretold to happen in the future, there is a stark difference between the terms prophecy and prediction. According to some sources dealing with religious concepts that I encountered, a prophecy is something that is certain to happen while a prediction is not. The dictionary further distinguishes that the former foretells future events, whereas the latter foretells future conditions. It explains that events are occurrences that affects the lives and history of the people like wars, famine, politics and economics while conditions are situations that affect the environment like typhoons and other weather disturbances.

Accordingly, what Jesus tells us in the Bible about the fate of humans and the potents of things to come, being occurrences in the future that will affect our lives and history are prophecies. On the other hand, what the Pagasa tells us about the probable number of typhoons, storms and cyclones that will visit the country in the future are mere predictions.

Why is it so important to distinguish between the two terms? It is because as the advent of a new year comes into the fore, several stories about the probable future of the world and humanity are circulating not only in social media but in public debates as well. There are those who believe that the fate of the world is sealed due to the visions of self-proclaimed clairvoyants who have seen the future. They claim to prophesize the future.

The most famous among these is Nostradamus. Every time an Earth-shaking event happens in world history, his name is almost always mentioned to be a person of concern who predicted it happening. His alleged prophecies are embodied in so-called quatrains which, in the eyes of ordinary mortals like you and me, may read like a poem or a song or a code. Still, his followers believe in the accuracy of his words.

The problem with the Nostradamus’ quatrains is that it is so generally worded that it can fit any situation in the future. Do I believe them? Honestly, no. Nostradamus, according to the book “Holy Blood, Holy Grail,” may have been a government spy. The purpose why he wrote his quatrains was to communicate dossiers that he was able to steal on behalf of his King rather than to prophesize the future. This is the reason why the words used are in codes and crypts. Besides, the accuracy of what he has allegedly foretold is far from perfect.

Then, there is Baba Vanga, the Bolivian seer whose claim to fame is her vision of the rise of the ISIS and the bombing of the Twin Towers in America. In her biography, she mysteriously lost her sight at the age 12 and have since, seen omens. She died in 1996 after making a series of “prophecies.” She, too, is being looked upon as an authentic clairvoyant who had been consulted by several world leaders on the course of what history offers.

Among her visions for the year 2016 is the invasion of Europe by Islam extremists. This did not happen. She also foresaw the breakup of the European Union. It did not also happen although the United Kingdom seceded from it. She foretold of the melting of the ice caps which, even if she did not, is imminently happening due to global warming. She mentioned about a war between Turkey and Iran that might trigger a holocaust. So far, nothing of this sort is happening. If everything she dreamt became a reality, this world will not be a better place to live in.

That is the problem with these “prophets.” What they tell are tragedies and calamities that strike fear in the hearts of men. Their words are eerily taken as bible truth by their followers, most of whom are doomsday believers, thereby hindering a brighter future for the Earth. Ironically, only those which were told that coincide with wars, terrorism, death, and destruction are highlighted. They almost take for granted that there are good things happening that can easily reverse the deterioration of the world. Surely, despite all the pitfalls that have hit mankind, there are a number of good men working tirelessly and relentlessly to preserve the Earth and prepare a better future for the next generation. Should we not look for prophets among them, too?

Now tell me, how many have “prophesized” the end of the world in the past years? Have any of them proved to be correct?

Only God through Jesus Christ is the proven prophet. All others are mere pretenders, at most, predictors. Only He knows what the future holds. The accuracy of His prophecies leaves nothing to be desired. He assured us not to let “our hearts be troubled” for “many will come in My name” only to be unmasked as false.

These people can make predictions. We can believe in that. After all, it may or it may not happen. But to prophecy? I do not think that what they say about the future will come true.

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