Ask a Franciscan

Imminent Catastrophes Prophesied

Q: I recently came across a book warning world leaders about imminent catastrophic events, based on prophecies encoded in the Old Testament. A friend of mine says that looking into the future has existed in every civilization.

A: In Mark 13:1–2, Jesus predicts the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem. When Peter, James, John, and Andrew ask him privately when this will occur, “Jesus began to say to them, ‘See that no one deceives you. Many will come in my name saying, “I am he,” and they will deceive many. When you hear of wars and reports of wars do not be alarmed; such things must happen, but it will not yet be the end. Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes from place to place and there will be famines. These are the beginnings of the labor pains’” (vv. 5–8). Jesus encourages them to watch (v. 37).

I choose not to name the book you cited or its author because writers who claim to decode Old Testament or New Testament prophecies in this fashion are pointing to themselves, not to God.

“He’s got the whole world in his hands,” says the song.

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