One of the greatest proofs of the divine origin of the Bible and of Christianity itself is fulfilled Bible prophecy. The Bible is replete with prophecies from the beginning of the Book of Genesis to the end of the Book of Revelation. Hundreds of prophecies were uttered and, where there is enough evidence to make a solid judgement, all of them have perfectly come to pass just as was foretold, such that the skeptic cannot successfully assail them. Fulfilled prophecy is one of the thorns in the skeptic’s side.
It is natural that other people and other groups should want to emulate the Bible’s incredible accuracy and uniqueness in this field. But a comparison of the Bible’s prophecies with the so-called prophecies of other groups, religious and non-religious, demonstrates the Bible’s incomparable accuracy. The Bible’s prophecies are not draped in vague, veiled language that can be interpreted in multiple ways. The Bible’s prophecies are generally spot on and clear and accurate.
For instance, compare the prophecies concerning the coming of the Messiah. Isaiah prophesied eight centuries before that a virgin would conceive and bear a son (Is. 7:14). Micah prophesied that He would be born in Bethlehem of Judea (Mic. 5:2). Isaiah again foretold that He would be of the lineage and house of David (Is. 9:6,7). David foretold that He would be called the Son of God (Psalm 2:7). Isaiah once again foretold clearly of His rejection and suffering and death in great specificity (Is. 53). Over three hundred specific prophecies satisfactorily fulfilled in the life of Christ.
We also must remember that those who spoke these prophecies did not collaborate with one another and decide to produce an interesting book to read for entertainment. For the most part their prophecies were not collaborative and thy lived in different areas and in different times and were of various social and economic backgrounds. With the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, written at least three centuries before Christ, we can clearly see the preservation of the original text and proof that Jesus’ fulfillment of these prophecies were not manufactured after the fact. Yet all of these prophecies seamlessly coalesce into one, big, clear picture of the life of Jesus of Nazareth.
Other non-Messianic prophecies were equally clearl and amazingly fulfilled. Daniel described world history up to the time of Christ in four great kingdoms (Dan. 2:31-45). Daniel also prophesied exactly when the Messiah would appear (Dan. 9:20-27). There are many other such specific, clear prophecies but let me mention just one more. Cyrus the Great was mentioned in the prophecy of Isaiah (45:1-4). But when Isaiah prophesied of Cyrus, it was a century and a half before Cyrus was even born, yet Isaiah calls him by name! This is the kind of accuracy and specificity we find in Bible prophecies.
In contrast, so-called modern day prophets are far less impressive. Nostradamus is held up as one of the modern day prophets who is said to be very accurate. Those touting his prophetic abilities often say he accurately predicted Hitler’s rise. However, he did not say “Hitler” but used the expression “the Hister” (Century II:24). Historically, this was a well known allusion to the Danube river not to Hitler.
“The river was known to the ancient Greeks as the Istros (`iστρος) a borrowing from a Daco-Thracian name meaning strong, swift (akin to Sanskrit isiras “swift”). In Latin, the Danube was variously known as Danubius, Danuvius or as Ister. The Thraco-Phrygian name was Matoas, ‘the bringer of luck.” (Danube)
If Nostradamus was talking about Hitler, he mispronounced the name. Further, if he was talking about Hitler, it was not clear what he was saying for the “prophecy” is written in vague, cryptic language. But the truth is, he was referencing the Danube, not Hitler.
Consider Islamic prophecies as another example. One apologist for Islam gives the system modern day finger printing as a fulfillment of a prophecy in the Koran. Here is what is written:
Their skins will bear witness against them as to what they have been doing? (41:21)
The finger prints system at borders, criminal investigation cells and immigration centres prove the fulfillment of this Quranic prophecy.
Yet, the context of the text is not speaking of finger printing but of the islamic view of judgement. As another Islamic site states:
Putting the verse back into context, it is clearly talking about post “Judgment day” events, when we who did not believe in Allah will be in hell, and our skins will be telling Allah about ‘sins’. This interpretation is confirmed by the tafsir’s. This has nothing to do with fingerprinting. (wikiislam.net)
The one test the Bible gives for determining whether or not one should listen to a prophet is fulfillment (Deut. 18:22). If the prophecy is not fulfilled, then God did not speak through that “prophet.” The Bible is amazing by many standards but it’s incredible specificity and prophetic accuracy is another vital proof of it’s divine origin. No other book even comes close.
Eric L. Padgett