Prophecy Proves the Bible
There are many good reasons to believe that the Bible is true.
The Bible is historically accurate.
The Bible is geographically accurate.
The Bible is scientifically accurate.
But today we’ll consider the Bible’s amazing prophetic accuracy.
The Bible tells the future before it happens - and doesn’t get it wrong.
Prophecy, which accurately reveals the future, is the missing element in the sacred writings of the non-Christian religions. False gods can’t foretell the future.
- You won’t find accurate prophecy in the Koran or in the Hindu Vedas.
- You won’t find accurate prophecy in the Bhagavad-Gita or in the Book of Mormon.
- You won’t find accurate prophecy in the sayings of Buddha or in the writings of Mary Baker Eddy the founder of “Christian Science”. In fact, the so called “Christian Science” is neither Christian nor Scientific.
But accurate prophecy is about 30 percent of the Bible.
In fact, prophecy is irrefutable evidence of God’s existence and also the authenticity of His Word, the Bible.
The God of the Bible identifies Himself as the One who accurately foretells the future. As we read in Isaiah 46:9-10,
“….I am God, and there is no other …
Declaring the end from the beginning,
And from ancient times things that are not yet done,”
There are two major areas of Bible prophecy, both of which must be studied if you want to understand the Bible:
- Prophecies about Israel
- Prophecies about the Lord Jesus – the Messiah.
Many of the prophecies have already come true -- proving the accuracy of the Bible.
These accurate prophecies also prove God's existence, because only the Creator of time could know the future. God created the time dimension –and can see it all at once.
God told the Israelis that He would save the world through Israel and that they would be His witnesses to the world.
“…I will place salvation in Zion for Israel my glory.” Isaiah 46:13.
“Zion” is another name for Jerusalem, the capital of Israel.
Also God says to Israel in Isaiah 43:10,
“You are My witnesses,” says the Lord,
“and My servant whom I have chosen,
That you may know and believe Me, …“
“I, even I, am the LORD,
And besides Me there is no saviour.
… Therefore you are My witnesses,”
Says the LORD, "that I am God.”
In other words, God will use Israel to witness that He exists and that He is the only Saviour.
Fulfilled prophecy is compelling proof; not only of the existence of God, but that the Bible is exactly what it claims to be—God’s Word!
Now let’s look at some actual Bible prophecies.
A great scattering of the Jews was prophesied in Deuteronomy 28:64:
"The LORD will scatter you among all peoples, from one end of the earth to the other"
This prophecy was fulfilled exactly - over 1,000 years after it was made.
This scattering of the Jews (diaspora) started when a Roman army under the Emperor Titus completely destroyed Jerusalem in AD 70.
The Jews were scattered to every country in the known world.
The Bible also tells us how the Jews would be mistreated in the countries they go to:
… and I will deliver them to trouble among all the kingdoms of the earth —to be a curse, an astonishment, a hissing, and a reproach among all the nations where I have driven them. Jeremiah 29:18
This is what is known as anti-Semitism. Anti-Semitism was first prophesied 1,500 years before it happened - by Moses in Deuteronomy 28:32. Moses said:
And you shall become an astonishment, a proverb, and a byword among all nations where the Lord will drive you.
Just as God’s prophets prophesied – the Jews have suffered terribly in many countries for their disobedience.
A few examples of this suffering are:
The First Roman Catholic Crusade of 1096. This was ordered by Pope Urban II in an attempt to conquer the Holy Land. It is said that the Crusaders armies massacred over 75% of all the Jews in Europe.
Then there was the expulsion of Jews from England in 1290.
Later the terrible Inquisition, was established by Pope Innocent III. In the Spanish Inquisition huge numbers of Jews were tortured and burned alive by the Roman Catholic church. If they recanted, or said they were sorry for being Jews, then they were strangled before being burned because that wasn’t so painful!
Thousands of Bible-believing Christians were also tortured and burned by the Inquisition of the Roman Catholic church.
The Jews were expelled from Spain in 1492 and they were expelled from Portugal in 1497.
And within the lifetime of some of us, there was the Holocaust under Adolf Hitler's Nazi Germany – in which over 6 million Jews were slaughtered and sent to the ovens.
This is what happened when Hitler invaded one country – Holland – in May 1940:
- A few days after the invasion Jews were singled out by being forbidden to act as air-raid wardens.
- Then all the Jews in The Hague, Holland’s capital city, were ordered to leave.
- In September, all the Jewish newspapers were banned.
- In November all Jews who worked for the government, including telecommunications and education were fired.
- In January 1941 all Jews were told they had to register on a special register or be imprisoned.
- Then Jews were forbidden to donate blood – it was said to be contaminated.
- Forbidden to enter hotels or eat in restaurants.
- Forbidden to attend the theatre or enter public libraries.
- Forbidden to serve on the stock exchange - remember that many of them were businessmen.
- Jewish children were not allowed to attend Dutch schools.
- Jews were then required to sell all their businesses to non-Jews.
- Then they were required to deposit all their savings in a Nazi owned bank.
- In April 1942 they were required to wear a big yellow star of David whenever they were in public. This had to be sewn on – not pinned on. They had to pay for the stars.
- Then they were forbidden to leave their homes at night - or to enter the homes of non-Jews - or to use telephones - or to ride on public buses or trains.
- Then Jews were sent by the thousands to the death camps. Nearly 140,000 were sent from Holland alone.
Today many Arab countries are still vowing to destroy the Jewish nation.
It would seem that this dispersion, along with the persecutions and attempts at annihilating the Jews, would have meant that God’s promise to give them the land couldn’t possibly come true. Even though God had promised unconditionally to Abraham that, “the land you see I give to you and your descendants forever.” Gen 13:15
But in Ezekiel 36:24 we read that the Lord said:
“I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land.”
This prophecy was fulfilled 2,500 years after it was made.
That a scattered and persecuted minority like the Jews could live for two thousand years or more among other races without being absorbed into them is a miracle.
There hasn’t been anything else like this in world history.
And add to that the astonishing fact that they would then be gathered from around the world and brought back to the land God actually promised to them thousands of years ago.
This actually took place "officially" in May 14, 1948 when Israel was recognized as a sovereign nation.
In the late 1800s, the famous American author, Mark Twain (who was not a Christian) visited the land where Israel now is and said that it was almost entirely barren like a desert.
But the Bible prophecy in Isaiah 27:6 states that:
…Israel will bud and blossom, and fill all the world with fruit.
How could that be, when much of the land was desert?
The Jews developed an automated desert agricultural technology. The American Society for Horticultural Sciences recently called it, “one of the most significant advances in food production in the last 100 years.”
They invented advanced irrigation schemes that had never been tried before, including what is known as “drip irrigation”.
So now, 2,500 years after the prophecy was made, it’s being fulfilled exactly
Since the return of the Jews to their land, agriculture has become one of Israel's top economic enterprises. Israel is now the biggest exporter of fruit and vegetables to Europe, and even ships flowers to Holland!
Israel is one of the world's leading fresh citrus fruit producers and exporters. Agricultural exports from Israel are worth over 1.5 billion dollars per year.
So there’s another great Bible prophecy fulfilled!
But how could they stay in the land that God had promised them, if other countries attacked them?
The Bible prophets also said that Israel would exhibit an awesome military capability.
Just read Zechariah 12:8-9,
“At that time I will be like a shield to those who live in Jerusalem. Then even the weakest among them will be great warriors like David. … On that day I will begin to destroy all of the nations that attack Jerusalem."
Even a quick look at Israel's three wars to protect itself from being totally destroyed by the surrounding Arab countries, provides overwhelming proof that they are a fulfilment of Zechariah's God-given words:
The 1948-49 war had the new nation of Israel hopelessly outnumbered and outgunned by 6 countries; her astounding victory, therefore, was nothing short of miraculous.
The 1967 Six-day War was against overwhelming military force from several much bigger and much richer countries. The war was won so quickly and so decisively by Israel, that Newsweek magazine featured an article about it called, "Terrible Swift Sword."
The 1973 Yom Kippur War again found Israel totally outnumbered. This time, because the attack came during its religious holiday, they were caught by surprise. Yet despite heavy casualties, they beat the much larger Arab armies.
God is the God of prophecy, and He’s also the God of our salvation.
Israel was chosen by God to bring His Messiah into the world "that the world through Him might be saved" (John3:17)
When the Apostle Paul went on his missionary journeys, in each city preached to the Jews that Jesus was the Messiah God had promised them. There were hundreds of Bible prophecies about the Lord Jesus that Paul could have quoted. He could have listed for them the requirements necessary for someone to qualify as God's Christ, the Saviour of all mankind.
These requirements were prophesied in the Bible thousands of years in advance:
- He must be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2);
- He must be from the tribe of Judah (Genesis 49:10);
- His must be descended from King David (Isaiah 11:1);
- He must be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14);
- He must demonstrate a miracle-filled life (Isaiah 35:4-6);
- He must die for the sins of the world (Isaiah 53:5,6,10);
- He must be buried with the rich and be three days and nights in the grave (Isaiah 53:9, Matthew 12:40);
- He must be resurrected from the dead (Psalm 16:10, Isaiah 26:19)
Only Jesus satisfies all of these requirements. Only Jesus qualifies to be the Saviour of the world.
Paul could also have supplied his listeners with so many details about the Lord Jesus, the Messiah, from Old Testament prophecies (written 1,500 to 400 years before the event) that it would almost have seemed to them that they’d been there themselves.
Consider the following:
- Daniel gives us the exact day the Messiah will enter Jerusalem to be hailed as Israel's King (Daniel 9:25).
- Zechariah tells us He will be riding on a donkey (Zechariah 9:9) and that He will be betrayed for thirty pieces of silver (Zechariah 11:12);
- The betrayal will be by a friend (Psalm 41:9).
- Isaiah predicts He will be silent before His accusers and then be beaten and spat upon (Isaiah 53:7; 50:6).
- The Psalms tell us that the crowds present at His crucifixion will scorn and mock Him, and shake their heads at Him (Psalm 22:7-8; 109:25);
- His friends will watch from afar (Psalm 38:11);
- Soldiers will gamble for His clothes (Psalm 22:16-18);
- For His thirst they will offer Him gall and vinegar to drink (Psalm 69:21);
- His hands and feet will be pierced (Psalm 22:16);
- None of His bones will be broken (Psalm 34:20);
- The actual words which He’ll cry out to the Father are given (Psalm 22:1; 31:5).
- Zechariah writes that His side will be pierced (Zechariah 12:10).
- Isaiah declares that He will die among thieves (Isaiah 53:9,12) but He will be buried in a rich man's grave (Isaiah 53:9).
- Isaiah 53:5-10 gives the reasons that the Son of God went to the cross: "He was wounded for our transgressions"; "the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all"; "You make his soul an offering for sin”
Once again, only Jesus qualifies to be our Saviour.
What about all the prophecies that are still to be fulfilled?
Since what was predicted regarding Christ's First Coming was perfectly fulfilled, and the Jews returned to Israel exactly as prophesied, we can be confident that God will bring to pass the other prophecies in the Bible.
Bible prophecy helps us to know that God exists, and that He alone knows "the things that are coming" and we who have faith in Him have no reason to "fear, nor be afraid.”
More than that, we’re to be God's "witnesses," using Bible prophecy as evidence for the truth of the Bible. Fulfilled prophecy is proof that faith in Jesus Christ, God’s only begotten Son, is mankind's only hope for salvation.
As we read in Romans 1:1-3, we have the good news,
"the gospel of God which he promised before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures, concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord"
The Bible is from God to us:
We can confidently base our lives on the teachings of this amazing, God-given book.
We can rely on the Lord Jesus as our only Saviour.
We can then be sure that our lives will count for eternity and that God’s blessing will be ours.
Lindsay Smith, December 2013