• Prophecy: God Telling the Future

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What is the simplest and yet most profound evidence the Bible offers? It is prophecy fulfilled, an irrefutable verification reserved to the Judeo-Christian Scriptures alone. Prophecy is the missing element in all other sacred scriptures of the world's religions; It is not to be found in the Koran, the Hindu Vedas, the Bhagavad-Gita. the Book of Mormon, the sayings of Buddha, the writings of Mary Baker Eddy (Christian Science). By contrast prophecy comprises about one third of the Scriptures! Isaiah 41:21 " Present your case," says the LORD. "Bring forth your strong [reasons,"] says the King of Jacob. (NKJV)

Wilbur Smith (The Incomparable Book, Beacon Publications), a man who has read several thousand books, concludes that "whatever one may think of the authority of and the message presented in the book we call the Bible, there is world-wide agreement that in more ways than one it is the most remarkable volume that has ever been produced in these some five thousand years of writing on the part of the human race. It is the only volume ever produced by man, or a group of men in which is to be found a large body of prophecies relating to individual nations, to Israel, to all the peoples of the earth, to certain cities, and to the coming of One who was to be the Messiah."

The ancient world had many different devices for determining the future, known as divination, but not in the entire gamut of Greek and Latin literature, even though they use the words prophet and prophecy, can we find any real specific prophecy of a great historic event to come in the distant future, nor any prophecy of a Savior to arise in the human race......... Neither can the founders of any cult in this country rightly identify any ancient text specifically foretelling their appearance."

When we say PROPHESY we mean detailed, specific descriptions of future events.

  • Not a few, hundreds.
  • Not close calls, fulfilled to the letter.
  • Not historical accounts as they unfolded, but prophesies written centuries, many centuries before they took place.

Shouldn't we treat it differently, read it diligently, wait before it expectantly and from it learn to live triumphantly?

Remember when we started this series we saw there are several reasons why I believe the Bible is true:

1. JESUS CHRIST: Because our Lord Jesus Christ said so! Over and over we find Him asking those who questioned Him, "Have you never read?", "It is written", and "Search the Scriptures".
2. APOSTLES & PROPHETS: Because all the writers said so thousands of times. They were totally convinced that they were sharing words that were not originating with them.
3. HISTORICAL ACCURACY: Because of its archaeological verification.
4. SCIENTIFIC ACCURACY: Because of its scientific accuracy in every realm. Genesis is foundational to all we know in life. Origins, purpose, and destiny. Then week #5 was creation as recorded by the Word of God!
5. PROPHETIC ACCURACY: Because of its fulfilled prophecy, the Bible has proven itself to be true. Just for an example let me share some of the Scriptures that surround the life of Christ that are quite well known.


A. PROPHECIES ABOUT JESUS CHRIST. There are no less than 300 specific prophecies in the Scriptures about our Lord Jesus Christ. Those who won't believe the Bible say He just arranged to have all these events happen. Listen to just a few and see if you think it would take anything less than the OMNIPOTENCE of God to 'arrange' these details!

DIVINE DETAILS ABOUT HIS FIRST COMING:

  1. First, Jesus arranged to have His death described a thousand years before it took place with the precision of a medical research project. In about 1000 BC David was moved by the Holy Spirit to pen the words of Psalm 22. The graphic details are just another reminder. This Psalm details the death of Christ a millennium before it took place. Who described crucifixion hundreds of years before its use as a form of execution? God through David. These prophesies surrounding the death of Christ are amazing. But God spoke with equal clarity on other topics. Each of the following events could stand up in any court of law as a perfect case for supernatural divination. God telling the future to the minutest detail.
  2. Second, Jesus arranged to have a man living in 700 BC named Isaiah to foretell that His birth would be a miraculous virgin birth. That was 7 centuries before it happened. In fact all of history AD & BC is built on Christ and His coming! Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. (KJV)
  3. Third, Jesus arranged that He would be able to die with some thieves? And that He wanted to be buried in a rich man's tomb. He also had to arrange that He be disfigured by beating. And through the whole ignominious affair he had to remain like a lamb silent? Did all that really happen? Yes, and in Isaiah 53, again 700 years before the event, God tells us in stunning detail exactly how it would happen. Christ arranged it because He is God the Son!
  4. Fourthly, Jesus had to persuade His parents (before He was born) to travel all the way to Bethlehem so He could be born there. How come? Because a little known prophet named Micah gave us the exact location of the Messiah's birth, 500 years before it took place! Micah 5:2 But thou, Bethlehem Ephrathah, [though] thou be little among the thousands of Judah, [yet] out of thee shall he come forth unto me [that is] to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth [have been] from of old, from everlasting. (KJV) Luke 2:4-7 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) 5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. 6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. 7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. (KJV) And it took Augustus Caesar to make an empire wide decree, all to accomplish the plan of God.

DIVINE DETAILS ABOUT HIS DEATH:

Thirty-three prophecies were fulfilled in a single day when the Lord Jesus died. Those prophesies included details of His betrayal (Psalm 41:9; Mark 14:10), His being forsaken by His disciples (Zechariah 13:7; Mark 14:50), the actual price of His betrayal [He had to arrange that Judas would trade Him for exactly 30 pieces of silver] (Zechariah 11: 12; Matthew 26:15), what would be done with the betrayal money [He had to convince those hardened religious leaders to use that betrayal money to buy a very specific piece of real estate] (Zechariah 11:13; Matthew 27:3,7), His scourging (Isaiah 50:6; Matthew 27:26,30), His trial being furthered by false witnesses (Psalm 35:11; Mark 14:56), what would be done with His garments [He had to arrange that the Roman soldiers would divide His garments into four parts but not tear His robe, instead they must gamble for it] (Psalm 22:18; John 19:24), His death by crucifixion contrary to the normal Jewish method of execution by stoning (Psalm 22:16; John 19:16), His thirst (Psalm 69:3; John 19:28), His being given vinegar to drink (Psalm 69:21; John 19:29), the piercing of His side [He had to arrange that the Roman soldiers spear His side so the Scriptures would come true] (Zechariah 12: 10; John 19:34), the mockery of the people (Psalm 22:7-8; Matthew 27:40), no bone being broken in His body. [This one was hard, He had to convince them not to break His legs in spite of being a special prisoner. Pilate wanted to make sure was dead] (Exodus 12:46; John 19:33,36), and His place of burial (Isaiah 53:9; Matthew 27:57-60). But of course the greatest feat of all was to convince over 500 people He actually came back to life, that they should give up all hope of comfort and material gain in this life and spend the rest of their now endangered lives trying to convince everyone they met that what they believed about this Jesus was true!] Well, that is just what Bible prophecy teaches. And, it really happened, just as the Scriptures said it would.

B. As we have seen, these were by no means all the prophecies fulfilled in the life and death of Jesus, but these were all fulfilled in a single day. Some of these prophecies depended for their fulfillment on the actions of His enemies, people who knew well the prophetic Scriptures and who certainly had no interest in seeing any of them fulfilled in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. Then, too, some of the prophecies depended on the actions of His executioners, the Roman soldiers who crucified Him, men who did not have the remotest idea that they were fulfilling prophecy. All told the Bible says:

  • He was to be born:
  1. of the seed of Abraham (Genesis 21:12; Galatians 3:16) AND HE WAS!
  2. of the tribe of Judah (Genesis 49:8-10; Revelation 5:5 ) AND HE WAS!
  3. of the line of David (2 Samuel 7:12-13; Jeremiah 23:5; Acts 13:23; Romans 1:3-4) AND HE WAS!
  4. of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1: 18-21) AND HE WAS!
  5. in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2; Matthew 2:1) AND HE WAS!
  1. Announced by a herald (Malachi 4:5-6; Mark 1: 1-8; Matthew 11:13-14)
  2. Anointed with the Holy Spirit (Psalm 45:7; Isaiah 1 1:2; 61:1; Matthew 3:16; Luke 4:18-19)
  3. His ministry was to commence in Galilee (Isaiah 9:1; Matthew 4:12-13,16,23).
  4. He was to preach the gospel (Isaiah 61:1-2; Luke 4:16-19).
  5. His ministry was to be accompanied by tenderness, compassion, and transparency (Isaiah 40:11; 42:3; 53:9; Matthew 12:18-21; 1 Peter 2:21-23).
  6. He was to be rejectedby His relatives (Psalm 69:8; John 7:2-5);by His nation (Psalm 69:4; 118:22; Matthew 21:42-46)
  7. He was to ride in triumph into Jerusalem (Zechariah 9:9; Matthew 21:1-11).
  8. He was to be betrayed for thirty pieces of silver (Zechariah 11:12; Matthew 26:14-16) and the blood money subsequently used to buy a potter's field (Zechariah 11:13; Matthew 27:3-10) at the hands of a friend (Psalm 41:9; John 13:18-2 1); in fact all His friends would forsake Him (Zechariah 13:7; Matthew 26:56)
  9. After His death, He was to: be buried with the rich (Isaiah 53:9; John 19:38-42) be raised from the dead (Psalm 16:10; Acts 2:23-32); ascend into Heaven (Psalm 68:18; Luke 24:51); take His place at God's right hand in Heaven (Psalm 110:1); Hebrews 1:3); exercise a priestly office in Heaven (Zechariah 6:13; Romans 8:34)

C. What does all this mean? But how about you and me? How has the Bible impacted your course?

  • Have you met the Author? Do you know Him personally today? John 17:3 "And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent." (NKJV)
  • Do you see the unshakable conviction of those 40 men who wrote down God's words? Do you have an unshakable conviction about YOUR life, its purpose, direction? How about death? Are you ready? Your ticket is only obtainable in person, by you before you go. There are no illegal immigrants in heaven!
  • Do you follow that unique message of the Kingdom? Have you bowed to the King? Are you glorifying God in every way you know how?
  • Do you see its Divine Endurance and greatness? Nothing but truth, containing all truth and more than all combined? Is it your daily and only guide?
  • And its history - God's story. He is the author and director. He has a great ending for those who follow Him. Where do you fit? Where will you go when God looks at you? Matthew 7:20-23 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. 21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. (KJV)

In Part 6 of this series, we will look at: FIVE EVENTS GOD DIRECTED AND FORETOLD THAT CHANGED THE COURSE OF THE WORLD!


1.  Scroggie says that the Gospels total 3,779 verses. The words of Christ total 1,934 of them. Jesus quotes the Old Testament 180x so just under 10% of His recorded words are Old Testament quotes!

2. San Diego Union-Tribune, 11/5/93.

3. MacArthur, John F., The MacArthur New Testament Commentary , (Chicago: Moody Press) 1983.

4. Faith for the Family, 11/77, p.29.

5. Focus on Family Citizen, 1/20/92, pp. 13-15.

6. How old is the Universe, USN&WR, 5/20/96, pp.60-61.

7. 11/21/80, pp883-87.

8. 2/78, pp. 19-30.

9. MacArthur, John F., The MacArthur New Testament Commentary, (Chicago: Moody Press) 1983.

10. World that Perished, foreword.

11. MacArthur, John F., The MacArthur New Testament Commentary, (Chicago: Moody Press) 1983.


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