Case-Making 101: Does prophecy fulfillment support the reliability of the Bible?

Bible Prophecy with Bible and keys

Our evidence collection over the past few posts has been based on the question that many skeptics have posed: How do we know the Bible is the Word of God? In those posts we have gone over some of the available evidence that falls into the following categories:

  1. Physical Evidence: This includes historical and literary support for ancient documents; Jewish history; Scribal copying rules over the centuries; the massive amounts of early manuscripts in the original languages available for comparison; and the massive amount of archeology supporting the Biblical records.
  2. Eyewitness Evidence: Eyewitness accounts from both Christian sources inside and out of the Bible, and non-Christian sources that include historians and even hostile witnesses that support the Biblical record.

In light of all the available evidence that points towards the accurate transmission and reliability of the Biblical record over time, J. Warner Wallace would say it is like “death by 1000 paper cuts.”

In addition to the physical and eyewitness evidence we have fulfilled prophecy. This is one of the best lines of evidence because of the prophecy fulfilled in the Old Testament times and the massive amount of Messianic prophecies from the Old Testament fulfilled in New Testament times in the person of Jesus.

prophecy with God and human hands

Prophecy is the most compelling evidence for the accuracy, inerrancy and inspiration of the Bible. No other book or person has the amazing prophetic accuracy that the Bible has! Of the 26 other “so called” religious books not one has prophetic predictive accuracy.

  • The mark of true prophecy is 100% accuracy.
  • 27% of the Bible contains predictive prophecy.
  • The Bible’s prophecy has been 100% accurate.

Skeptics often say things like: “Couldn’t a group of Christians have just thought up these prophecies and then placed them in the Bible after the fact or, couldn’t Jesus have attempted on his own to fulfill these prophecies?”

Answer: NO WAY

  • Dead Sea Scrolls confirm the Old Testament prophecies are not made up.
    • The Dead Sea Scrolls contain a complete copy of Isaiah, dated between 200 and 100 BC, as well as all the other prophets and prophecy passages.
  • Jesus could not have planned prophecies concerning specific circumstances of his life…
    • Specific details of His birth
    • The time in which He lived
    • Specific details of His death

There are over 300 repeated, incidental and specific prophecies in the Old Testament, written hundreds of years before his birth, that were literally fulfilled in life and times of Jesus—how does that look mathematically?

If even 8 of these prophecies were fulfilled in Jesus it would be equivalent to 1 chance in 10 to the 17th

  • That is 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000!

For fulfillment of 48 prophecies it would be 1 in 10 to the 157th

  • That’s 1 in 10 with 157 0s after it!

Imagine the number that describes the fulfillment of all the rest!

message from God

Here are just a few examples of general prophecies fulfilled in the Old Testament:

Event Prophecy Fulfillment
The Promise (Jesus-Satan-Death-Redemption); the Abrahamic Covenant (A people, land and blessing) Genesis 3:15; 12:1-3; 13:14-17; 15; 17:7; 21:2; Deuteronomy 31:7-8; 32:45-52; Josh. 1:1-5, 10-11 Matthew 1:1, 17; Luke 3:34; Acts 3:25-26; Galatians 3:16; 4:4; Hebrews 2:14; 1 John 3:8
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 Chronicles 2nd 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: Ezra 1:2-2-4
Josiah named 300 years before his reign as the one who would sacrifice bones of pagan priests on the Jeroboam’s pagan alter 1 Kings 13:1-3 300 years later: 2 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: 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 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


The Messiah - prophecy fulfilled Christ in prophecy

Here are some examples of Messianic prophecies fulfilled in Jesus:

Event Prophecy Fulfillment
Seed of a women and virgin birth Genesis 3:15; Isaiah 7:14 Matthew 1:1; 18; 24-25; Luke 1:26-35
Seed of Abraham Genesis 22:18 Matthew 1:1; Galatians 3:16
Seed of Isaac Genesis 21:12 Luke 3:23, 34
From the line of Jacob/Israel Genesis 28:4; 13-15; Numbers 24:17 Luke 2:23, 34
Tribe of Judah Genesis 49:10 Luke 3:23, 33
Jesse’s line Isaiah 11:1 Luke 2:23, 32
Born in Bethlehem Micah 5:2 Matthew 1:18, 24-25; Luke 1:26-35
Preceded and announced by one like Elijah who would live in the wilderness Malachi 3:1; 4:5 Matthew 3:3; 11:10; John 1:23; Luke 1:17
Would be presented with gifts Psalm 72:10 Matthew 2:1
Children would be killed Jeremiah 31:15 Matthew 2:16
Ministry begins in Galilee Isaiah 9:1 Matthew 4:12-17
Ministry peaks in Jerusalem; Messiah rides in on a donkey and appears boldly in the Temple Daniel 9; Zechariah 9:9; Haggai 2:7; Malachi 3:1 Matthew 21:12; Luke 19:35-37
Will heal the blind, deaf, lame and raise the dead Isaiah 35:5-6 All though-out the Gospel records—especially answered in Luke 7:22-23
Will teach the people using parables Psalm 78:2 All though-out the Gospel records—John 5:5-9; 9:6-11; 11:43-47 etc.
He would have zeal for God’s house, the Temple Psalm 69:9 John 2:15-16
A Light to the Gentiles Isaiah 60:3 Acts 13:47-48
Rejected by His own people; will be a stumbling block Psalm 118:22 Romans 9:32-33; 1 Peter 2:7
He is the Son of God Psalm 2:7; 1 Chronicles 17:11-14; 2 Samuel 7:12-16 Matthew 3:17; 16:16; Mark 9:7; Luke 9:35; 22:70; Acts 13:30-33; John 1:24, 49
He pre-existed His birth Micah 5:2; Psalm 102:25; Proverbs 8:22-23; Isaiah 9:6-7; 41:4; 44:6; 48:12 John 1:1; 17:5, 24; Colossians 1:17; Revelation 1:1-2; 1:17; 2:8; 8:58; 22:13
He would be called Lord Psalm 110:1; Jeremiah 23:6 Matthew 22:43-45; Luke 2:11
He would be called Immanuel Isaiah 7:14 Matthew 1:23
He would be a Prophet Deuteronomy 18:18 Matthew 21:11
He would be a Priest Psalm 110:4 Hebrews 3:1
He would be a Judge Isaiah 33:22 John 5:30
He would be a King Psalm 2:6 Matthew 27:37
He would receive a special anointing by the Holy Spirit Isaiah 11:12 Matthew 3:16
Betrayed by friend for 30 pieces of silver that is thrown on the Temple floor and used to buy a Potter’s field Psalm 43:9; 55:12-14; Zechariah 11:12-14 Matthew 10:4; 27:3-10
Sheep (followers) struck and scattered; forsaken by His disciples Isaiah 53; Zechariah 13:7 Mark 14:50
Oppressed and falsely accused by malicious witnesses, but would not defend Himself Isaiah 53:7; Psalm 35:11; 38:13 Matthew 26:59-60
Hated by mankind, mocked, beaten, whipped and crushed for transgressions of mankind—He would bear and make intersession though He had done no wrong. Psalm 22:7-8; Isaiah 53:2-12 Matthew 26:67; 27: 26-29; John 19:11
Disrobed and had clothes gambled away Isaiah 53:12 Matthew 27:38; Mark 15:27
Executed with criminals Isaiah 52:12 Matthew 27:38; Mark 15:27
Hands and feet pierced for our transgression Isaiah 53:5; Psalm 22:16 Luke 23:33; John 20:25
Strength drained, extremely thirsty, heart broken with grief Psalm 22:14-15 John 19:28
He would be offered gall and vinegar Psalm 69:21 Matthew 27:24
Would plead for mercy for His accusers Isaiah 53:12 Luke 23:24
Friends would stand from far away Psalm 38:11 Luke 23:49
People would stare and shake their heads Psalm 109:25; Psalm 22:17 Matthew 27:39; Luke 23:35
Will ask God why He is forsaken Psalm 22:1 Matthew 27:46
Will commend Himself to God (give up His spirit) Psalm 31:5 Luke 23:46
His bones would not be broken Psalm 34:20 John 19:33
His side would be pierced Zechariah 12:10 John 19:34
Darkness will fall over the land Amos 8:9 Matthew 27:45
Would be with a rich man in His death Isaiah 53:9 Matthew 27:57-60
Would be resurrected from the dead Psalm 16:10; 30:3; 41:10;118:17; Hosea 6:2 Matthew 28:6; Acts 2:31
He would ascend Psalm 68:18 Acts 1:9
He would sit at the right hand of God Psalm 110:1 Mark 16:19; Acts 2:34-25; Hebrews 1:3


A lot of this information comes from David Limbaugh’s excellent book, Jesus on Trial.” Watch this 4 minute clip as he discusses his motivation for writing it.

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 (NASB)

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.  -”Matthew 5:17-18 (NIV)

And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star (Jesus, Messiah) rises in your hearts; knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.  –2 Peter 1:19-21

Join us next week as we continue our investigation for “A Case for the Bible”

You will not find this material in the public school curriculum even though it is based on solid evidence and grounded in research.  It is ironic that following the evidence to where it leads stops at the door of our public schools as they will not let a “Divine footprint” in!  Join us this year as we examine evidence for Christianity and learn how to become a thoughtful defender and ambassador of your faith.

Click into the resource page of this website to view many of the top Christian thinkers and apologists along with some of their work; connecting to these types of resources is essential in your Christian growth.

Please let me know what you think: Give feedback, ask questions or send concerns in the comment section of the blog.

Teri Dugan

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