Fulfilled Prophecy as Evidence for the Bible's Divine Origin: An Outline
- 2,000 prophecies, including some 300 prophecies and implications about the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus (book by J. Barton Payne, Encyclopedia of Biblical Prophecy).
- There are no prophetic failures.
- While there are both obvious and subtle prophecies, most are very detailed and specific.
- No other religion has specific, repeated, and unfailing fulfillment of predictions many years in advance of contingent events over which the predictor had no control.
- Studies of psychics show only around 8% of their predictions come true and virtually all of these can be attributed to chance and a general knowledge of the circumstances.
- Mathematicians have calculated the odds of Jesus fulfilling only 8 of the Messianic prophecies as 1 out of 1017 (a 1 followed by 17 zeros). This is equivalent to covering the entire state of Texas with silver dollars 2 feet deep, marking one of them, mixing them all up and having a blindfolded person select the marked one at random the first time. For more on this, see What Are The Odds?
- Fulfilled prophecy is powerful evidence that the Bible is divine rather than human in origin.
- Objection: Jesus manipulated events to fulfill prophecy. Answer: (a) Many prophecies were out of his control (ancestry, place of birth, time of death). (b) His miracles confirmed Jesus to be the Messiah. (c) There is no evidence that Jesus was a deceiver. (d) In order to manipulate all the people (including his enemies) and even his disciples to make it appear that he was the Messiah, Jesus would have needed supernatural powers. If he had such powers, he must have been the Messiah he claimed to be.
Examples of Non-Messianic Prophecies
- The Succession of Great World Kingdoms (Daniel 2:37-42). Even negative critics agree that Daniel foretold the governments in order of Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome.
- Cyrus King of Persia (Isaiah 44:28-45:1). Since Isaiah lived between about 740 and 690 BC and Cyrus did not make his proclamation for Israel to return from exile until about 536 (Ezra 1), there would have been no human way for him to know what Cyrus would be named or what Cyrus would do.
- Israel to Be Returned to Its Land A Second Time (Isaiah 11:11-12). The first time God reclaimed a people was from Egypt through the Exodus; the second time is from the Babylonian Exile (Isaiah 51:9-11).
- The Closing of the Golden Gate (Ezekiel 44:2-3). The Golden Gate is the eastern gate of Jerusalem, through which Christ made his triumphal entry on Palm Sunday before the crucifixion (Matthew 21). Ezekiel predicted its closing and in 1543 Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent closed the gate and walled it up, not knowing he was fulfilling prophecy. It remains sealed to this day exactly as the Bible predicted.
- The Destruction of Tyre (Ezekiel 26:3-14). The prophecy was partly fulfilled when Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the city and left it in ruins. Alexander the Great later attacked the seemingly impregnable Island of Tyre by taking the stones, dust, and timber from the ruined mainland city to build a causeway to the Island. This prophecy is comparable to saying that Chicago will be destroyed and never rebuilt.
- The Doom of Edom (Petra) (Jeremiah 49:15-17). Given the virtually impregnable nature of the ancient city carved out of rock and protected by a narrow passageway, this was an incredible prediction. Yet, in 636 AD it was conquered by Muslims and today stands deserted but for tourists.
- Flourishing of the Desert in Palestine (Ezekiel 36:33-35). Since before the turn of the twentieth century, Israel has been renovated and Israel's agriculture is flourishing.
- Destruction of Jerusalem (Mark 13:1-2). Fulfilled literally when the Romans completely destroyed Jerusalem and the temple buildings. According to historian and eyewitness Josephus, some of the stones were 37 feet long, 12 feet high and 18 feet wide. Stones were even pried apart to collect the gold leaf that melted from the roof when the temple was set on fire.
Examples of Messianic Prophecies
|Topic||Old Testament||New Testament|
|Messiah to be the seed of the Woman||Genesis 3:15||Luke 2:5-7
|Messiah to be the seed of Abraham||Genesis 12:2-3, 18:18||Matthew 1:1-2
|Messiah to be of the tribe of Judah||Genesis 49:10||Matthew 1:1-2|
|Messiah to be of the seed of David||2 Samuel 7:16
Jeremiah 23:5, 33:15
|Matthew 1:6, 22:42-45
|Messiah to be born of a virgin||Isaiah 7:14||Matthew 1:18-25
|Messiah to be born in Bethlehem||Micah 5:2||Matthew 2:1-6
|Tribute paid to Messiah by great kings||Psalm 72:10-11||Matthew 2:1-11|
|Messiah to be heralded by a messenger||Isaiah 40:3
|Messiah to be the Son of God||Psalm 2:2,7||Matthew 3:17
|Messiah to be anointed by the Holy Spirit||Isaiah 11:2||Matthew 3:16-17|
|Galilee to be the first area of Messiah's ministry||Isaiah 9:1-7||Matthew 4:12-16|
|Messiah to be meek and mild||Isaiah 40:11, 42:2-3, 53:7||Matthew 12:18-20, 26:62-68|
|Messiah to minister to the Gentiles||Isaiah 42:1, 49:6-8||Matthew 12:21
|Messiah will perform miracles||Isaiah 35:5-6||Matthew 9:35, 11:3-6
|Messiah to be a prophet like Moses||Deuteronomy 18:15-19||Matthew 21:11, 24:1-35
John 1:45, 6:14
|Messiah to enter the temple with authority||Malachi 3:1-2||Matthew 21:12|
|Messiah will enter Jerusalem on a donkey||Zechariah 9:9-10||Matthew 21:1-11|
|Messiah to be betrayed by a friend||Psalm 41:9||John 13:18-21|
|Messiah to be forsaken by his disciples||Zechariah 13:7||Matthew 26:31, 56|
|Messiah will be smitten||Isaiah 50:6||Matthew 26:67, 27:26,30|
|Messiah to experience crucifixion (long before crucifixion was invented)||Psalm 22:15-17||Matthew 27:34-50
|Messiah will be pierced||Zechariah 12:10||John 19:34-37|
|Details of Messiah's suffering and death and resulting salvation (hundreds of years before Christ!)||Psalm 69:21
|Messiah to die in 33 AD||Daniel 9:24-26||33 AD is the widely accepted historical date of the crucifixion|
|Casting of lots for His garments||Psalm 22:18||John 19:23-24|
|Messiah to be raised from the dead||Psalm 16:10||Acts 2:25-31, 13:32-37, 17:2-3|
|Messiah's resurrection||Job 19:25
|Acts 2:30-31, 13:32-35, 17:2-3
1 Corinthians 15:20-22
|Messiah to ascend to heaven||Psalm 68:18||Luke 24:51
|Messiah to be at the right hand of God||Psalm 110:1||Matthew 26:64
|Messiah, the stone which the builders rejected, to become the head cornerstone||Psalm 118:22-23
Isaiah 8:14-15, 28:16
1 Peter 2:6-8