THE BIBLE TELLS ABOUT EVENTS BEFORE THEY HAPPEN
A measure of one’s knowledge is the ability to accurately predict in detail what will happen in the future. If the Bible is God’s book, we would expect that in it God would make statements about the future which prove to be correct. Furthermore, we would expect that he would not make any statements about the future which prove to be incorrect. While we expect only a percentage fulfillment in man’s predictions, we expect perfect fulfillment in God’s predictions. Therefore, our confidence in the Bible depends upon the accuracy of Bible prophecy.
The word ‘prophecy’ – used throughout the Bible – means prediction of the future with divine knowledge. In Old Testament times, before Jesus, God revealed certain knowledge of the future to prophets who spoke for him in foretelling coming events, usually warnings. For example:
More than two centuries before it happened, the prophet Isaiah said that Babylon would be overthrown by the Medes (Isaiah 13:17) and that the conqueror’s name would be Cyrus (Isaiah 44:28). That’s like someone announcing in 1717 that the U.S. will fight Germany in the 1940’s, that the U.S. will win, and that the President’s name will be Roosevelt.
The Prophet Ezekiel said that the large Babylonian city of Tyre would be scraped away so that only bare rock would remain (Ezra 26:4). About 60 years later, Alexander the Great, in a famous seven-month siege of the city, tore down its walls and buildings and with the rubble built a causeway to a nearby island. The city was literally scraped away. Today fishermen dry their nets on the bare rock site of the old city, never rebuilt, exactly as foretold in the Bible (Ezra 26:14).
ISRAEL IS EXAMPLE OF PROPHECY UNFOLDING TODAY
Every day the world’s newspapers report on the conflict between Jews and Arabs, as the Bible outlined the problem thousands of years ago. The Bible said – as diagrammed in Topic 12 – that the descendants of Israel (ancestral father of Jews) and Ishmael (ancestral father of Arabs) will live in hostility to each other (Genesis 16:11-12).
The Bible said further that the Jews would be scattered throughout the earth without a homeland of their own (Hosea 9:17). Over a thousand years after this prophecy, the Romans destroyed Jerusalem in 70 A.D., and the Jews lost their land and dispersed throughout the world.
But the Bible also said that the nation of Israel would be restored (Jeremiah 31). People scoffed at this prophecy, saying it would be impossible for the weak and scattered Jews to get their land back after nearly nineteen centuries. However, in one of the most amazing political phenomena of our time, Britain and the United Nations in 1948 forced the Palestinians to surrender land to a new nation – Israel! And the furor over this highly improbable turn of events – predicted thousands of year ago in the Bible – is still in the headlines today.
ONLY GOD CAN HAVE 100% ACCURACY
There are hundreds of prophesies in the Bible – written long before the actual events – which have come true exactly as predicted. What’s even more amazing is the fact that none of the prophesies has been wrong!
If a person could make an almost infinite number of predictions, he could produce an impressive list of fulfillments. The real measure of accuracy, however, is not the number of fulfillments but rather the ratio of right predictions to wrong predictions. In foretelling future events, the Bible has been 100% right – 0% wrong – a record impossible by even the best of concerted human ability. Only God can have 100% accuracy, and therefore the Bible must be his book.
Not all Bible prophecy has been fulfilled yet. There are a considerable number of future events of enormous consequence recorded in the Bible which have not yet occurred. These future events are not cited here because they cannot yet be offered as proof for the Bible’s accuracy. Only time will prove them.
Since the Bible has been completely accurate in its predictions in the past, it’s reasonable to assume that it’ll be completely accurate in its predictions for the future. Therefore, the Bible should be regarded as both a history of the past and the master plan of the future.
Here's a sampling of what the Bible says on this subject.
Cyrus (identified by name even before he was born) would be used by God to guarantee Jews’ return to Jerusalem and restoration of Temple (prophesied about 688 B.C., fulfilled 539 B.C.)
Babylon would be severely punished for destroying Jerusalem and exiling Jews (prophesied about 605 B.C., fulfilled when Cyrus the Great conquered Babylon in 539 B.C.)
Jews would spend 70 years in Babylon, then God would bring them back to their homeland (prophesied about 594 B.C., fulfilled in 537 B.C. when Zerubbabel lead first group of captives home)
Prophecy is a blessing from God
For help, see Topic 29.
God’s Book Topics
CORRECT IN EVERY DETAIL
The Bible consists of two parts – the Old Testament and the New Testament (see Discoveries 29, 33 and 36). The Old Testament was widely known and read by the Jewish people hundreds of years before the birth of Jesus Christ. Here are some prophecies about the coming Savior
(Jesus). In each instance the prophecy was fulfilled precisely as stated in the Bible hundreds of years earlier!
|Born in Bethlehem||Michah 5:2||Matthew 2Z:1, Luke 2:4-7|
|Born to a virgin||Isaiah 7:14||Matthew 1:18-25|
|Descendant of Abraham||Genesis 12:1-3, 22:18||Matthew 1:1, Galatians 3:16|
|Descendant of Judah||Genesis 49:10||Luke 3:23,33|
|Descendant of David||II Samuel 7:12, Jeremiah 23:5||Matthew 1:1, Luke 1:32|
|Announced by a preacher||Isaiah 40:3-5, Matthew 3:1||Matthew 3:1-3, Luke 3:3-6|
|Empowered by Holy Spirit||Isaiah 11:12, 61:1-3||Matthew 3:16-17, Luke 4:17-21|
|Recognized as a prophet||Deuteronomy 18:18||John 6:14, Acts 3:20-22|
|Healed people||Isaiah 35:5-6||Matthew 9:35|
|Rode donkey to jubilant crowd||Zechariah 9:9||John 12:12-16|
|Betrayed for 30 pieces of silver||Zechariah 11:12-13||Matthew 26:15, 27:7-10|
|Silent before his accusers||Isaiah 53:7||Matthew 27:12-14|
|Beat, mocked and spat upon||Isaiah 50:6||Matthew 26:67|
|Hands and feet pierced||Psalms 22:16||John 129:16-18, Acts 2:23|
|Crucified with criminals||Isaiah 53:12||Mark 15:27|
|No bones broken||Psalms 34:20||John 19:31-36|
|Pierced in his side||Zachariah 12:10||John 19:34, 37|
|Lots cast for his garments||Psalms 22:18||John 19:23-24|
|Buried among rich people||Isaiah 53:9||Matthew 27:57-60|
|Resurrected||Psalms 16:10, 53:10-12||Acts 2:25-29|