A Case for the Bible, Part 12: Does Old Testament Prophecy Give Support for the Bible’s Reliability and Inspiration?
This blog is part of a series. You can start the series by going back to the September 1, 2014 Introduction called A Case for Christianity: Why do we need one?
When I was young I was extremely fascinated with horoscopes, fortune-tellers and those who seemed to be able to predict the future, like Nostradamus. I was even fascinated with things like the Ouija board and séances. Somehow it seemed that if a secret way into ‘the beyond’ could be found then this life would make sense; death would make sense. When the show “X-Files” came out in the 90’s I was fascinated with it. Not so much with the sci-fi aspect, but more with the premise: The Truth Is Out There. I loved that slogan so much that I’m even using it as a sub-title to my website. Now you might wonder, how did you get from there to here? This passion I had for wanting to know the truth about God, life, purpose, and destiny lead me to a heartfelt search that took quite some time. As of today I can tell you that I have found the answers to all of my questions. It lies within the Word of God. But, I first had to get answers concerning the Bible’s historicity and reliability because if the Bible could be validated so could what it contains.
So as I conclude this series on “A Case for the Bible” this final piece of evidence nails it for me and really answers the question: How do we know the Bible is the Word of God?
In the past eleven posts we have explored evidence for the Bible from a historical literary view, Jewish history, the early manuscripts, eyewitness testimony, non-Biblical historical confirmation, archeology, and earlier in the 2014 posts we even explored how science actually confirms the God of the Bible. What is really astonishing, in this last area of exploration, is the way prophecy from the Old Testament has been fulfilled in numerous instances and specific detail. This is off the charts because unlike the less than 50% reliability of people like Nostradamus and Jean Dixon, who have made generalized and veiled predictions, the Bible’s accuracy is at 100% and with specific details! No other book or person has this type of prophetic accuracy. Of the twenty-six other so-called religious books in the world not one has prophetic predictive accuracy.
Prophecy is the most compelling evidence for the accuracy, inerrancy and inspiration of the Bible!
However, skeptics often say things like: ‘A group of Christians just thought up these prophecies and then placed them in the Bible after the fact’; or, ‘Jesus made a conscious attempt to fulfill these prophecies during his lifetime.’
But here is the kicker, there is no way either of these statements could be true:
1. Dead Sea Scrolls confirm the Old Testament prophecies are not made up after the fact:
- The Dead Sea Scrolls are dated back to 150-200 years before the time of Jesus. They contain all of the Old Testament books (except Esther) and they completely match our Bible today. That’s 2000 years of consistency. Most important is they contain a well preserved copy of the entire book of Isaiah that has some of the most specific prophecies fulfilled in the person of Jesus.
2. Jesus did intentionally fulfill many of the prophecies as only he could and as only he was purposed to do, however he could not have controlled specific circumstances of his life from these prophecies because they have…
- Specific details of His birth
- The time in which He lived
- Specific details of His death
There are over 300 places where we find prophecy in the Old Testament that were literally fulfilled in life and person of Jesus—how does that look statistically speaking?
Let’s say only 8 of these prophecies were fulfilled in Jesus. The statistical probability would be equivalent to 1 chance in 10 to the 17th power.
That is 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000!
For fulfillment of 48 prophecies it would be 1 in 10 to the 157th power.
That is a 1 with 157 zeros behind it!
We could not even define the number that describes the fulfillment of all 300!
Next week I am going to give some examples of these profound prophecies pointing to the person of Jesus. However, this week I want to give just a few examples of where we can find some amazing prophecies that were fulfilled during the Old Testament times. These prophecies include things so specific that some even give the name of the person hundreds of years before they are born, as in the case of Cyrus and Josiah!
|Sojourners: Abraham’s heirs will be afflicted for 400 years; will return to land in the 4th generation||Genesis 25:7-8; 50:24-25||Exodus 7:14-12:29; 12:35-40; Hebrews 11:22|
|The fall of Israel and punishment of Assyria||Hosea 1:4-6; Isaiah 9:8-10:4; 10:10-19; 37:7; 2 Kings 19:7; Amos 3:11-12; Micah 3-7||Happened in 734-722 BC 2 Kings 15:29; 17:3-6; 19:35-37; Isaiah 37:36-38;|
|Destruction of Ninevah: Prophesied 100 years before it happened when they were described as a great nation that took the Northern tribe of Israel into captivity. Jonah 3:3; 4:11||Nahum 1-3; Ezekiel 32:22-23; Zephaniah 2:13-15; Zechariah 10:11; Isaiah 10:12-19; 14:24-25; 30:1-33||612 BC smashed and transformed into a pile of sand never to be rebuilt.|
|Judah to be exiled to Babylon; The rebuilding of Jerusalem and regathering of Israel as a nation (prophesied before Babylon even came into power)||Deuteronomy 28:64-68; Jeremiah 25:11-12; 29:10; 30:11; 31:38-40; Ezekiel 37:21-28; Isaiah 11:11-13; 44:24-28; Micah 4:9-10||Exile happened in 605 BC return happened the first time in 538 BC.Books of Ezra and Nehemiah. Secular sources: Josephus and Babylonian Chronicles2nd return happened 5/14/1948|
|Cyrus specifically named as the one who would allow the exiles of Judah to return and rebuild (150 years before he was born)||Isaiah 44:24-28; 45:1, 13||150 years later—Cyrus is the name of the Persian rulerEzra 1:2-2-4|
|Josiah named 300 years before his reign as the one who would sacrifice bones of pagan priests on Jeroboam’s pagan alter||1 Kings 13:1-3||300 years later—Josiah is the name of the King of Judah2 Kings 23:15-17|
|Joshua prophesied that the person who rebuilds Jericho would be cursed: 1st son to die at the foundation; youngest at the setting up of the gates.||Joshua 6:26||700 years later it happened: 1 Kings 16:34|
|The demise of Edom||Obadiah 2; 8; Jeremiah 49:15-20; Ezekiel 25:12-14||Disappeared after 70 AD and today is a bleak and desolate part of Jordan.|
|Destruction of Tyre||Ezekiel 26:3-4||332 BC Alexander the Great annihilated Tyre and is bare ground even today.|
|The Daniel Prophecies: Fall of Babylon; Interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s dreams; the four empires; 490 years—Messiah’s triumphal entry||6th century BC book of Daniel; Nehemiah 2:1-8||Confirmed in historical accounts; triumphal entry Matthew 21; Jesus confirms Daniel in Matthew 24:15.|
Messianic prophecies to follow next week…
For further reading I highly recommend: Jesus on Trial by David Limbaugh
Remember the former things long past, for I am God, and there is no other; “I am” God, and there is no one like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, ‘My purpose will be established and I will accomplish all My good pleasure; –Isaiah 46: 9-10
Join us next week, I will give more prophecy examples as they relate to the person of Jesus as we begin to examine a new topic called “A Case for Christ.”
Let me know what you think: How does prophecy confirm the authenticity of the Bible? Where are you with the truth aspect of the Bible’s reliability?
Over the next several blogs I am going to continue to present logical reasoning and sound scientific evidence not found in the public school textbooks.
Always be ready to give an answer for the hope that you have in Christ Jesus as Lord.
1 Peter 3:15