The Bible accurately foretells the future

[This article was taken from our book The Bible: You Can Believe It.]

The Bible is the only known religious document with historically verifiable prophecies that have consistently been fulfilled. This point cannot be overstated. That the Bible has dozens of prophecies that can be verified by historians as having been accurately fulfilled is very strong proof that God is its Author. There are some critics who claim the foretelling in the Bible is not really foretelling, but men writing down both the “prophecy” and the “fulfillment” after the event occurred. However, there is no historical or textual basis for their claim. What is, in fact, true, is that the Bible contains numerous records of accurate, verified foretelling. No human can consistently predict the future. We cannot even tell what is going to happen to us in the next few days or weeks. Only God could be the source of the accurate prophecies in the Bible. [1]

If you are seriously ill, and someone suggests you visit a doctor who uses a non-standard method to treat his patients, you would normally ask, “Who else has gone to this doctor and were they healed?” In other words you would ask about his “track record.” Similarly, if you move into a new town and need an auto mechanic, you ask around to see what shop has done good work for people in the past. It is wise to investigate what someone has done in the past to see if what he claims can be believed and trusted. Finding that there is a good track record is sometimes the surest way of knowing what someone can do, and businesses establish good credibility by having one.

It is common to hear an advertisement such as, “We have been in this business for 30 years.” Why would someone make that claim? Because potential buyers know if a business has been successful in the past, there is a good chance it will be in the future. Just as there are many businesses claiming to have the best service, there are a lot of religions whose “holy books” claim to have the truth and reveal what will happen on earth in the future and what happens when we die. How can we tell if these books accurately predict the future and tell us the truth about what will happen to us after we die? It seems logical that we would choose the book to trust by using the same technique we use to choose the right auto mechanic or doctor—look at its track record.

As stated above, the Bible is the only known religious document with historically verifiable prophecies that have consistently been fulfilled. God has been establishing His track record for millennia. He has consistently predicted future events that have been fulfilled just as He said they would be. We are very fortunate to be living when we are, because so many of the prophecies recorded in the Bible have been fulfilled. Spirit & Truth Fellowship International and other ministries have more complete works on prophecy than this short work can contain, because there are dozens of them that have been fulfilled in a way that can be confirmed by secular history. Nevertheless, here are a few examples:

Genesis 12:2. God said He would make Abraham’s name great and make him into a great nation. Although God spoke to Abraham about 2,000 B.C., and Moses, by revelation, wrote this prophecy down about 1,450 B.C., today the people of three great religions of the world, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam all know about and honor Abraham. How could anyone have known so long ago that Abraham would have a great name and become a great nation? Moses could not have known this when he wrote, but God, who has His hand on history, reveals Himself as the God of all creation by foretelling the future. Interestingly, the “great nations” at the time the prophecy was spoken have disappeared. The Sumerians, Elamites, and Hittites were powerful nations contemporary with Abraham, but the majority of people today, even if well educated, know little about them. That the prophecy about Abraham was so accurately spoken by God thousands of years before Christ gives us confidence that when He speaks of what is still future He is just as accurate.

Genesis 16:10. The Word of the Lord given to Hagar, the slave of Sarah, Abraham’s wife, was, “…I will so increase your descendants that they will be too numerous to count.” Who would have ever thought that Ishmael, the only child of Abraham and Hagar, would grow into a nation of millions and millions of people? Man could not possibly have known that, but God reveals He is the God of creation by foretelling the future. Today, thousands of years after the prophecy was spoken, we know those descendants as Arabs, and it is well known they trace their own ancestry to Abraham through Ishmael.

Numbers 24:5-7. The prophet Balaam foretold that Israel would have a king. Moses foretold the same thing in Deuteronomy 17:14-20. These prophecies were spoken in the 40th and last year of Israel’s wilderness wanderings and almost 400 years before Israel had its first king—Saul. Both Balaam and Moses were long dead when the prophecies that God inspired them to speak were fulfilled.

1 Kings 14:15. The prophet Ahijah foretold around 940 B.C. that the country of Israel (the ten Northern Tribes; the southern kingdom was called “Judah”) would be deported and scattered beyond the Euphrates River. The Assyrians did exactly that about 720 B.C., more than 200 years later. When Ahijah gave this prophecy, the country of Israel was only a few years old, and there was no way to tell what its history was going to be. How would anyone have known the people would have been uprooted and deported to the other side of the Euphrates River? It is through accurate prophecies like these that God reveals to us who He is, and in the case of the nation of Israel, His words were fulfilled more than 200 years after they were spoken.

Isaiah 44:26-45:6. Isaiah the prophet foretold that Jerusalem and the Temple would be rebuilt at the command of Cyrus. We know that Isaiah prophesied between 776-696 B.C. because Isaiah 1:1 says Isaiah lived in the time of Uzziah (who started reigning in 776 B.C.), Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah (who ended his reign in 696 B.C.). Cyrus was a king of the Persian Empire, and he came to the throne in 559 B.C., almost 150 years after Isaiah died. In 538 B.C., he entered Babylon and shortly thereafter commanded that Jerusalem and the Temple be rebuilt (Ezra 1:1-4).

When Isaiah foretold the rebuilding of the Temple, it had not even been destroyed yet! It was still standing, and it continued to stand for more than 100 years after his prophecy. In 586 B.C. it was burned to the ground by Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon. God told Isaiah what the future had in store for the kingdom and people of Israel, and even told Isaiah that a man named “Cyrus” would command that the Temple be rebuilt. Only God can predict the future with that kind of accuracy, and the Bible is the only book ever written that contains prophecy so clear and exact. The history of the reign of Cyrus and what he did for Israel is common knowledge and can be read in any good encyclopedia.

The accuracy of Isaiah’s prophecy is so “unreal” to some historians that they have said the book of Isaiah was written during the Greek empire, after Cyrus lived, or they have claimed there were two, or even three, Isaiahs. Conservative scholars have refuted these erroneous accusations and ably defended the truth of the book of Isaiah.

This is just a small sampling of the many prophecies spoken long ago, recorded in Scripture, and fulfilled in such a way that their accuracy can be seen and documented, not only in the Bible, but in secular history as well. That future events are accurately predicted over and over again in the Bible is one of the great proofs that God authored it. As we stated earlier, God has been establishing His track record for millennia.

The Old Testament prophets also foretold the coming of the Messiah in great detail. According to the Old Testament, the Messiah would:

  • be a descendant of Abraham (Gen. 12:3; Gen. 22:18)
  • be from the tribe of Judah (Gen. 49:10)
  • be a descendant of David (2 Sam. 7:12 and 13)
  • come from the “stump” of Jessie, i.e., after the Davidic Kingdom was cut off (Isa. 11:1)
  • be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2)
  • ride into Jerusalem on a donkey (Zech. 9:9)
  • suffer (Gen. 3:15; Isa. 53:5 and 6)
  • be silent before his accusers (Isa. 53:7)
  • be considered a criminal and executed with them (Isa. 53:12)
  • make intercession for those who really were criminals (Isa. 53:12)
  • be killed (Isa. 53:8)
  • have his hands and feet pierced (Ps. 22:16—this is especially interesting because crucifixion was not yet practiced when Psalms was written, so there was no known reason to pierce anyone’s hands and feet)
  • have people gamble for his clothing (Ps. 22:18)
  • as a criminal be assigned a burial place with the wicked, but actually end up being buried in the tomb of a wealthy man (Isa. 53:9)
  • not decay (Ps. 16:10)
  • get up from the dead (Ps. 2:7-9; Ps. 16:10 and 11; Isa. 53:9-12)
  • ascend into heaven from where he will one day return to rule the earth (Ps. 110:1; Dan. 7:13 and 14)

Jesus Christ fulfilled all these prophecies and even more. With such amazing accuracy about the first coming of the Lord, why would any reasonable person doubt the prophecies that have not yet been fulfilled? And why would any reasonable person doubt that Jesus Christ was the man the Old Testament prophecies referred to? The fact that the Bible has been accurate in its prophecy time after time should make it easy to believe God is its Author, and that its prophecies concerning the return of Jesus Christ, the battle of Armageddon, the coming Judgment of all people, and saved people’s living forever, are all true.

Endnotes

[1] Through the ages there have been so called prophets, seers, and psychics who occasionally get a prophecy correct. However, they are wrong much more than they are right, a sure sign that they are false prophets (Duet. 18:20-22). As was stated above, the Bible is the only religious document with prophecies that have consistently been fulfilled. The Bible does not “hit and miss” as the psychics and false seers do.

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2 comments

  1. Love your thoughts about The Book of Prophesy by Noname. Quite likely false — but does touch on things which make me think.

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