Throughout the 2017 season and part the 2018 season, the Houston Astros stole pitching signals from the teams they played against and passed them on to their own team, making it easier for their team to win the games. And an official investigation by the Major League Baseball Players Association confirmed that this did indeed happen.

It worked like this: through a combination of unique body language and a series of complex hand signals, the Astros picked up the opposing team’s pitching signals, then communicated them to their own players by banging on a trash can. Then the Astros who were up to bat could know ahead of time the kind of pitch they would receive from the opposing team’s pitcher.

On February 13, 2020, several of the players and the new management of the Houston Astros held a press conference in which they took responsibility for the cheating and apologized for it. This scandal has caused a backlash—not only within the Astros but also, more importantly, it has caused baseball fans to lose faith and trust in their teams, their management, and their players.

And it was all because the Astros were trying to know the future. They were trying to be certain of the kind of pitch that was coming so they could be prepared for it.

But you’ll be happy to know that you and I don’t have to cheat to know what will happen in our future. An inside track is available to anyone who wants it. And the best thing about it is that it’s scandal free!

scandal-free signs

Throughout history, God used prophets to provide His children with peace, comfort, guidance, instruction, and correction. When they lost their way, He sent prophets to the people to call them back to Him. When they started to despair, He sent prophets to encourage them. And when they needed someone to talk to, God listened and replied through His prophets.

God’s prophets are His messengers, appointed to speak His words. Our human nature made it impossible for us to see God face-to-face; but through His prophets we can clearly see the kind of God He is.

hope and peace!

Have you recently had a tough day or week? Maybe you are going through some difficult times even as you read this. But as tough as you think you’ve got it, imagine being captured by a pagan kingdom and taken far away from your land, your people, and everything you’ve ever known. Then imagine getting a letter from home. What wonderful words of encouragement and hope will be in it?

Epic failure! In the letter you’re told that you will be in captivity for 70 years! And what’s more, God Himself confirms that He was one who ordered it! Then, through a prophet, He gives you this gem:

“Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper” (Jeremiah 29:5–7).

Did you hear right? Did God just encourage you—amid slavery and imprisonment—to just “get on with living your life” and do your best to be happy?

The letter continues “This is what the LORD says: ‘You will be in Babylon for seventy years. But then I will . . . gather you out of the nations where I sent you and will bring you home again to your own land’ ” (verses 10, 14, NLT1).

We, like those captives living in a foreign country, are not without hope! We have all been taken captive by sin, but because of Jesus’ eternal gift of salvation, we can have hope and peace about the future, for when Jesus returns, we will all be permanently free from both sin and death! (1 Corinthians 15:51–55). Because of the Bible’s promises, we can choose hope instead of despair and peace instead of turmoil!

please come soon!

The apostle John wrote the last book of the Bible known as Revelation. By now, he was in the last part of his life and had personally experienced his share of suffering, especially persecution for his religious convictions. John had lived to see all his friends killed—martyred for the cause of Christ. He was the last of Jesus’ 12 apostles to still be alive.

The Roman government had exiled him to the island of Patmos for preaching about Jesus (Revelation 1:9). Patmos is an island in the Aegean Sea 380 miles (600 kilometers) from Greece. He was surely missing his friends and family. And, oh, how he must have missed seeing Jesus and being with Him!

By any other estimate, he was a broken man. He had lost everything. But he chose not to focus on the negative things that happened to him in the past and were happening in the present. Instead, he focused on the positive things that would happen in the future. There, on that desolate island, God gave him a vision of things that were to happen in the future. John wrote out what he had learned from this vision in the biblical book called Revelation. The book ends in chapters 21 and 22 with an incredible description of something new, something better, something improved! Here’s part of what John wrote:

“I saw a new heaven and a new earth. The first heaven and the first earth had disappeared, and so had the sea. Then I saw New Jerusalem, that holy city, coming down from God in heaven. It was like a bride dressed in her wedding gown and ready to meet her husband. I heard a loud voice shout from the throne: ‘God’s home is now with his people. He will live with them, and they will be his own. Yes, God will make his home among his people. He will wipe all tears from their eyes, and there will be no more death, suffering, crying, or pain’ ” (Revelation 21:1–4, CEV2; emphasis added).

And in chapter 22—the last chapter of Revelation—John encourages us to know that Jesus is coming soon (verses 7, 12, 20). But until He comes, Jesus wants us to know that He’s here for us. He pleads with us to come to Him.

“The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’

“Everyone who hears this should say ‘Come!’ If you are thirsty, come! If you want life-giving water, come and take it. It’s free!” (verse 17, CEV).

It’s so wonderful to know that no matter what’s happening in the world around us today, ultimately everything will turn out OK.

But now that we know what will happen in the future, are we truly thirsty for something other than what today’s world has to offer? What will be our response to Jesus’ offer to “come”? What will be your response? I hope that both your response and my response will be that of John the Revelator, who longed for something better, when he wrote in verse 20, those six simple words: “So, Lord Jesus, please come soon!” (CEV, emphasis added).

1. Bible quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

2. Bible quotations marked CEV are from the Contemporary English Version®. Copyright © 1995 American Bible Society. All rights reserved.

Omar Miranda was the last editor of Insight magazine, a former Seventh-day Adventist publication for teens. He also contributes frequently to Signs of the Times.® He lives in Plainville, Georgia, USA.

The Importance of Knowing the Future

by Omar Miranda
  
From the October 2020 Signs