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In Isaiah 46:8-10 it is written (NIV),

8 Remember this, fix it in mind,

take it to heart you rebels.

9 Remember the former things, those of long ago,

I am God, and there is no other,

I am God, and there is none like me.

10a I make known the end from the beginning,

from ancient times, what is still to come. ...

What is the meaning of "I make known the end from the beginning" in verse 10. ?

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Great answers already, just thought I'd share some reading in Isaiah 48, couple chapters later, verses 3,5 fit with this very well: "3 The former things I declared of old; they went out from my mouth, and I announced them; then suddenly I did them, and they came to pass." "5 I declared them to you from of old, before they came to pass I announced them to you," – Joshua Bigbee Dec 7 '15 at 13:51
@JoshuaBigbee- Your input is appreciated.I did not expect to receive such a good response from this post.I would like to read your answer if you have one. – Bagpipes Dec 7 '15 at 15:26
Not sure I have anything to add. I actually ended up upvoting all of the top three answers! They each provide a good insight. Only question is if you were asking what specific event was getting prophesied here? Were you looking for meaning of the phrase or fulfillment of the passage? I suppose that part could still be tackled. – Joshua Bigbee Dec 7 '15 at 16:16
@JoshuaBigbee- Just the meaning of the phrase. – Bagpipes Dec 7 '15 at 16:18
up vote 6 down vote accepted

The previous verse says it all, “for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me,”

“I make known the end from the beginning” is a declaration of His Omnipotence since He is not restricted by time as we are instead He lives in eternity and not time, His Omnipresence since He is all places at all times He is literally in the beginning but also at the end and most importantly His Omniscience; The all-knowing God does not seek knowledge He is knowledge personified and there is absolutely nothing that He does not know including the most remote future events. Others would have to see the end in order to know the end but He is able to see the end even from the beginning.

The prophetic nature of God is an attribute that was lacking among the many other Canaanite deities of that era so to assert His superiority over anything else considered to be God this statement was made. The question is asked in verse 5 “To whom will ye liken me, and make me equal, and compare me,” in other words He stands alone as God; matchless and unparalleled and one evidence of this truth is the fact that He can make known the end from the beginning or prophetically declare the culmination of all things.

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@WillSivart-Yes! His Omniscience and His Omnipresence dwell outside the realm of time, which as He chooses He can reveal it-and yet not take away our free will. – Tau Feb 10 '14 at 15:28

The Hebrew word used here is Magid (מגיד), Strong's H5046, which usually means "declare," making 46:10:

"Declaring the end from the beginning..."

"Declare" is used in the King James and JPS translations, and seems more appropriate here. In this context, God's "declaration of history" is a poetic way of describing God's orchestration of history, and 46:10 highlights God's omniscience and omnipotence which exists outside of time:

"Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done; saying: 'My counsel shall stand, and all My pleasure will I do'" (JPS)

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To "make known the end from the beginning" may be an indication of the chiastic structure of the Scriptures - the symmetry of events that work their way to a point of time and are then resolved in reverse order. We began with the first heaven and earth, and we end with a new heaven and new earth.

For instance, the Sabbath (one "7") was established in the beginning. It expands to the Sabbath year - a "7" - which then expands to the Sabbath of Sabbaths, a final "7". So you have three sets of expanding 7's nested within each other. In the book of Revelation, the reverse order is seen. The first 7 (seals) begin with the broadest length of time, followed by the next 7 (trumpets) and finally the shortest length of time, the 7 vials or bowls. Three sets of contracting 7's - a resolution in reverse order. At the beginning the timeline expands and at the end it contracts. What we know of the end can be known from the beginning.

Here is another mirroring of events. Counting down to the cross we have:

  • Eternity Past
  • Creation of heaven and earth
  • Satan unbound
  • Garden of Eden
  • First Adam reigns
  • Institution of the Curse
  • Days of Noah (judgment on the earth)
  • Attempt at unification of the nations (tower of Babel)
  • Birth of Israel (physical birth, wages physical warfare, physically set apart from the nations)

Turning point - Christ on the Cross. Events begin to resolve in reverse order to the list above:

  • Birth of the Church (spiritual birth, wages spiritual warfare, spiritually set apart from the unbelieving world.
  • Attempt at unification of nations (kingdom of the Antichrist)
  • Tribulation (judgment on the earth)
  • Removal of the curse
  • Second Adam (Christ) reigns
  • Satan bound
  • Creation of new heaven and earth
  • Eternity future

It seems that the Lord has so orchestrated events that while the details may be a little obscure, there is an overall structure such that the end has been revealed from the beginning.

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One of God's signatures is telling the future before it happens. God uses this element of his prophecy to validate himself and the prophet. Remember God promised the messiah will come in detail thousand of years before jesus was even born.

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