Episode 007 – Back To The Future

Key Passage(s): Isaiah 2:1-2

The future is often really fuzzy. And trying to figure out what is to come or understand what God is doing can leave us confused, frustrated, anxious, or even angry. So how we do we approach an unknown future? This teaching seeks to answer this by looking at a key concept in Isaiah 2. Personally, this was one of the biggest lessons I learned in one of the most challenging transitions I’ve undergone.

Discussion Questions

  • What’s your biggest takeaway from the teaching?
  • Where are you allowing the future to negatively affect your present?
  • What are key moments in your past where God met you in profound ways?
  • Where do you need to simply breathe, relax, and trust God with your future?
  • What’s one step you can take in walking out the truths of this teaching this week?

For Further Study

  • Back To The Future – this is a sermon I did on this concept from Isaiah 2 in light of the details of Jesus’ last week as well as those of Pentecost. Be prepared to have your mind blown because God is a God of the details, and He does care about what’s unfolding in your life and future!
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  1. Roslyn Jackson March 20, 2018 at 5:03 am - Reply

    Thanks for this teaching Brad, it has really resonated with me. Both my husband and I have just retired and are unsure what the future holds, plus we are facing some worrying challenges at the moment. This video has encouraged me greatly as there is certainly much in my past where I can clearly see God’s hand in my life.

    • Brad Gray March 21, 2018 at 3:46 pm - Reply

      Grateful you found this teaching helpful!

  2. Miriam Nathu March 20, 2018 at 10:06 am - Reply

    Has I sit here in my new beautiful home alone while my husband is at work and wondering why the lord has lifted me out of my home of. 33 years. Leaving my 3 children and 5 grandchildren in another state I listen to your teaching and am grateful for the reminder of how the lord has always lead me in my past. He has given me piece with this move but there are times I question why and want to know his plans immediately.
    I will continue to pray for God to guide me through his plans but in His time and remembering His guidance in my past
    Thankyou Brad

    • Brad Gray March 21, 2018 at 3:45 pm - Reply

      Yep, keep praying. Transitions are HARD! This last year has been one of the most challenging years I’ve gone through. We knew the move was right, but understanding why we needed to move was a challenge. Hang in there!

  3. Alane garde March 21, 2018 at 8:05 am - Reply

    My husband and I had the same kind of experience back 23 years ago. We left Tulsa ok and moved to Joplin mo and waited for a year for God to tell us why. Then we heard there was an anesthetist program starting just 35 minutes from our house. This was my husband’s dream. We were amazed that God moves us here not that we could do for Him, but that He was going to bless us! And I still keep in touch with friends we left behind, but God blessed us with wonderful Godly friends here a million times over. And somehow led us to go to Israel with you as our guide back in 2011. LOVE your weekly teachings! So good to sit in in your teaching again! Chris & Alane Garde

  4. Sue Christian March 21, 2018 at 9:08 am - Reply

    What a beautiful reminder to look back at our past and see how faithful God has been then to see our future through those lenses. I daily need to remember to “walk backwards”. 🙂 Maybe I will walk a bit today backwards, not only will this teaching come to mind but it will make me smile as I picture Jesus and I walking backwards together laughing.

  5. Ed Lenane March 21, 2018 at 9:31 am - Reply

    Thank you Brad. Could you comment more on the more literal meaning of “in the last days” as being “in the behind days”? The Hebrew seems to be “achirit-hayamin” which looks to be ‘days of redemption” which feels more like in the last days.

    • Brad Gray March 21, 2018 at 3:42 pm - Reply

      Hi Ed, the word “redemption” doesn’t appear in this phrase. “Hayamim” is literally “the days” and with “achirit” it’s “the behind days.” “Achirit” is connected to “achor” which means “back, backward.” The “behind days” are in the future, which we call the last days.

  6. Mary Heyboer March 22, 2018 at 6:33 am - Reply

    Oh my goodness this teaching has been so helpful for me. My husband has stage 4 cancer and I am facing my future alone. I now have turned around with my back to my future. My anxiety has turned into peace. My sadness feels like joy. I have confident now that all will be ok. Thank you Brad for helping me get back on the path.

    • Brad Gray March 22, 2018 at 7:16 am - Reply

      Blessing God you found this teaching to be so helpful and encouraging, Mary!

  7. Angie March 22, 2018 at 8:29 am - Reply

    I love the reminder to remember what God has done in the past, so as to to trust Him with my future. So often we try to bury our past, but along with that we bury God’s redemption of those things as well. Thank you! So much uncertainty in the future that we are not called to make happen…trusting Him is vital to my mental, spiritual, and emotional health, as well as my service to Him.
    I’m having an issue though, with understanding the context of the verses that follow in light of, “In The Behind Days”. Hmmm. Prophetic scriptures?

    • Brad Gray March 22, 2018 at 9:03 am - Reply

      Hi Angie, the rest of Isaiah’s vision has to do with a picture of the end days, similar to what John received in Revelation. In order to explain the rest of Isaiah’s vision, I would need to do a teaching on that as there is quite a bit to it. Perhaps I’ll circle back around to that in a future teaching.

  8. Tom March 22, 2018 at 4:50 pm - Reply

    Interesting. I certainly agree that we should remember on all that God has done for us in our past, yet I don’t see that we should be oriented to the past. I believe God wants us to be oriented to the future he has revealed for us. Jesus endured “for the joy that was set before Him.” The phrase “behind days” does not mean the days that are behind US, with our back to them. Rather, it means the days that are behind the other days that come before–the “behind days” are the days that come after. The first days are at the head of the train. The “behind days” follow at the end of the train. Surely that is the real picture here.

    • Brad Gray March 23, 2018 at 10:12 am - Reply

      Hey Tom, thank you for your thoughts. Greatly appreciate them. And I see what you’re saying. Another way of looking it at from the perspective you shared is that the only reason why we can understand the future is because we’re oriented to the past, which is where Jesus revealed himself and made the future a hopeful reality precisely because of what he did on the cross and in the empty tomb. So we get to walk backwards with hope into the future because we don’t lose sight of what Christ did in the past.

  9. Josh Ake March 24, 2018 at 10:05 am - Reply

    Great stuff, Brad! I still remember you teaching on this in Israel eight whole years ago! How do we reconcile this perspective with Paul’s words in Philippians about “forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead”? Is it just that he’s talking about abandoning his old way of life of empty religious observance, or is he catering to a Gentile audience that might not understand this more Jewish way of thinking? Either way he seems to be presenting more of a “face to the future” mentality.

    • Brad Gray March 31, 2018 at 6:17 pm - Reply

      Hey Josh, great thoughts. In the larger context in Philippians 3, Paul is speaking to his singleness of purpose, which is to attain the prize. As you’ll recall, Paul often uses “running” metaphors. Obviously, Paul doesn’t advocate to run backwards in a race. So we need to understand what metaphors are being used and allow them to be what they are. Additionally, Paul is aware of what’s he’s been called to do, so he’s pursuing it – and this is the language he chose to use for his audience in Philippians 3 (which is a more Gentile-based audience). So I believe there are a number of factors in play as to why Paul chose this language to address his purpose/goal.

  10. Forrest Glass March 27, 2018 at 11:03 am - Reply

    Brad, again you brought a useful teaching that I have never heard before. As you were speaking, I thought about the disciples and the feeding of the 4,000. They didn’t know how in the world they were going to feed so many people. And Jesus told them, don’t you remember (Looking BACK) at how the Father fed the 5,000? He was actually teaching them this principle. This will be very useful to me as future events appear in my present and I am at a loss as to how to get through it. Thank you for your insight. Keep the messages coming!

  11. roger Wiersma March 29, 2018 at 6:22 pm - Reply

    Hi Brad. I really enjoy these short teaching series and I appreciate that you are making this available to us. I have one question on this lesson and that is where you are getting the interpretation on “the last days” in verse two. I have looked at all of my study resources and have not found any reference to this sort of thinking. I like how you have presented this but I also feel compelled to do my own research on this concept. This is really helping me to think outside the box and giving me incentive to dig deeper. Thanks Brad.

    • Brad Gray March 31, 2018 at 5:16 pm - Reply

      Hey Roger, thank you for your message. I answered a similar question Ed had (see above). In addition to that, here are some connected thoughts:

      The transliterated Hebrew is be’achirit hayamim.
      be’ = in
      achirit = behind
      ha = the
      yamim = days

      The key word in play here is “achirit” which is connected to the Hebrew word “achor” which means “back, backward.” Hence, the translation “in the behind days.”

      A well-respected Hebrew professor (Travis West) originally showed me that translation. In the notes he provided me, here’s what he said:

      “Lit. the “behind” days. Generally translated as the “latter” days, primarily because our cosmology (understanding of the cosmos/universe) is so radically different from the Hebrews’. The Hebrews sought the Source of all things, and that Source was God, and God had revealed Godself most profoundly in the past to the ancestors: Adam, Abraham, Moses, etc. So, the Hebrews sought to return to the Source – the ancient times. They faced the past. We face the future. Because they faced the past – oriented themselves toward the past – the days coming at the end of time were behind them. The Hebrews backed into the future.”

      Hope that helps.

  12. David Kelsey April 8, 2018 at 5:50 am - Reply

    What do you do when all is going good, then your wife gets ill. You pray for her healing, you care for her and watch her die. All you believed for didn’t work. Now as a widower I face a future without her….with so many questions. after 35 years of marriage and now being alone it is difficult….I don’t know which way to face.

    • Brad Gray April 16, 2018 at 1:30 pm - Reply

      I’m so very sorry for your loss, David. I can’t even begin to imagine the pain you’re in. I’m hoping you have friends and family who are walking with you in this grief. Again, I’m so sorry.

  13. Angie Crisman April 12, 2018 at 10:04 am - Reply

    Thanks Brad!!!
    The symbolism of, “my back to my future”, has been so
    helpful to me… and to others. I have shared with friends to encourage them as well.
    I so much appreciate your weekly
    messages, and your personal journey!
    God’s Richest Blessings!!!

  14. Stephanie May 25, 2018 at 7:05 am - Reply

    Wow! This message was just what I needed to hear. The Lord has moved us across country and back in th last 6 years and I have been focusing on the future and why we are where we are instead of reminding myself of what he has done in that time and knowing that he is with me now and has the future. So I can stop trying to to figure it out without him.
    Thanks again,

  15. Mary Jean Inman November 13, 2018 at 11:48 am - Reply

    Hey Brad! I met you recently at the Resoration of All Things Conference in Moscow, ID at Real Life. You encouraged me to watch this teaching as my family just transitioned back to the states from planting a church in Ethiopia and God has us on a new path of creating an organization called Family Culture Project. This video spoke right to where I am at. I value so much living in the present and it’s really the heart of our project, but the uncertainty of the future has been pulling me away trying to control what is coming. God was so unbelievably clear about this dream and every time we have taken a step into the unknown out of sheer faith and obedience He has turned the lights on and brought more clarity. It has really been a remarkable journey thus far and I needed to be reminded to connect the dots. I have been overwhelmed by fear and self-doubt looking forward and yet I can look back so confidently and know I am on the right path. Thanks so much for this teaching and pointing me in this direction. I appreciate it! Also my family was impacted hugely in your time with us at Real Life. Thank you for your obedience and walking out in faith when God said to go!

    • Brad Gray November 13, 2018 at 3:53 pm - Reply

      Hi Mary Jean, it was great meeting you at Real Life! Thank you so much for taking the time to share how this teaching impacted you and what your journey has been!

  16. Emily August 12, 2019 at 8:43 pm - Reply

    This was providential! My sister sent me this link yesterday and me and my husband listened to it together. In April we made a decision to sell our house and most of our things, and moved our family (3 month old and 3 year old) to a new city to commit ourselves to the church. I’m so thankful for this word and how we can rest in the work of God – this really challenges my thinking and has given me a fresh perspective on how I’m planning for the future!

    • Brad Gray September 4, 2019 at 4:14 pm - Reply

      Thank you for sharing this, Emily! And I pray that you would continue to see the many ways God has met you and is meeting you in the midst of this transition.

  17. Kerri DeMann March 27, 2020 at 4:52 pm - Reply

    This has always been one of my top few favorites to pass along. But now it is more appropriate than ever and will continue to put it out there.

  18. Susan Bailey March 27, 2020 at 8:50 pm - Reply

    Thank you, Brad. How timely. I have always been inspired by your teachings; beginning back in Adrian, Michigan at Ogden Church!
    May God continue to bless and protect you, your family and your ministry.

    • Brad Gray March 30, 2020 at 2:26 pm - Reply

      Thank you, Susan! So great to hear from you.

  19. Russ Cox March 27, 2020 at 9:00 pm - Reply

    Brad ,
    I really enjoy all your lessons, but I wanted to know your thoughts on what we are doing as Christians during the Carona Virus. Do you think we have a lack of faith if we are running scared, hoarding and afraid to be around anyone. It seem to me that many Christians are acting just like non believers. I have been through lots of terrible situations in my past. And I look at this time as a tremendous time we can bring people to God, if we can even speak to them.
    Thanks for your thoughts.

    • Brad Gray March 30, 2020 at 2:29 pm - Reply

      Hey Russ, I think this is an incredible time to demonstrate the peace and calm of Jesus Christ as we respond to COVID-19. I understand the fear and concern that people have, but in the midst of it all, as followers of Jesus, I believe we’re called to act in accordance with what our leaders are asking (social distancing, washing hands, etc.), but running around scared, hoarding, etc. is not the way of Jesus. And I’m actually witnessing a ton of Jesus followers responding in a way of peace, and calm, and thoughtfulness, and selflessness, etc. And it’s stunning. My only hope is that all followers of Jesus would respond this way because we have a phenomenal opportunity to show the world another way to live in a time like this.

  20. Cecil Benjamin August 12, 2021 at 3:35 am - Reply

    I watched listened to this after 133 as you suggested. Sooo good thank you

    • Brad Gray August 20, 2021 at 2:52 pm - Reply

      So good to hear, Cecil. Thank you for mentioning that.

  21. Mark Deno October 26, 2022 at 1:35 pm - Reply

    Brad this is a teaching that continues to be a blessing to me and many people I have shared it with. Recently, several colleagues at work have been promoted and (oddly enough) are moving to Nashville. Your personal story applied to this teaching makes this very special. Thank you for your ministry.

    • Brad Gray November 1, 2022 at 10:06 am - Reply

      Appreciate you sharing this, Mark. Thank you.

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