BIBLE AND PROPHECY

The idea of being able to look into the future has fascinated man in times past and is still a great allurement for people today. Many people make use of dubious methods (horoscopes, astrology, etc.) in order to get an insight into the future, but few know how precise biblical prophecies are. God Himself urges us to meditate upon His prophecies.

"Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done…" ISAIAH 46:9-10
"We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts… For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." 2 PETER 1:19-21

More than one third of the Bible is prophecy of which approximately 95% has already been fulfilled. In the following text, only a few examples out of many are mentioned, but these testify to the reliability of biblical prophecy.

TYRUS

One of the most exceptional prophecies of the Bible concerns the city of Tyrus, a Mediterranean merchant city 60km north of Nazareth. At the time Tyrus was the world's main harbour city, being at the height of its power, and could be compared to New York City. The 1,500-year-old city was so well fortified, that until then nobody had succeeded in conquering it. The prophet Ezekiel wrote this prophecy in the year 586 B.C.

EZEKIEL chapter 26, verses:

3: Many nations will march towards Tyrus like waves (meaning 'one after another') to attack the city.

4: The city shall be destroyed and totally razed.

7: Nebuchadnezzar will attack Tyrus.

9: He will destroy the city.

12: The whole city shall be razed and thrown into the sea.

14: The place will become a naked rock where fishermen spread their nets to dry; Tyrus shall never be built again.

21: The city shall never be found again.

Fulfilment:

Of 7,9: Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the city after a 13-year siege (585-573 B.C.) It was re-erected on an island 800m from the coast.

Of 4,12: During his campaign through Asia Alexander the Great ordered the rubble of the old Tyrus, which had been destroyed more than 200 years before, to be cast into the sea. Nothing was left behind but the barren rock. With this rubble he built a causeway to attack the “new city” of Tyrus (333 B.C.), which had been rebuilt on the island, thus enabling him to conquer it!

Of 3: After its destruction by Nebuchadnezzar and Alexander the Great, the city was besieged and repeatedly destroyed by Romans, Muslims and Crusaders throughout history, but was continually rebuilt.

Of 14: Even today native fishermen use this site for drying their nets. During the crusades Tyrus was finally razed to the ground by the Muslims and has never been rebuilt since 1290 AD.

Of 21: The destruction of Tyrus was so complete that almost no stone was found in its original place.

What are the chances that a human being could make these seven unlikely, contingent predictions and actually have them come to pass? The precision of all these prophecies was such that some historians claimed that the book of Ezekiel was written later than was first thought, but this has been disproved by archaeological evidence.

JERUSALEM AND THE TEMPLE

Jerusalem is one of the most ancient cities in the world. A few days before Jesus was crucified His disciples showed Him the huge buildings of the temple (It was being rebuilt and was only completed in 64 AD):

"And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? Verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down." MATTHEW 24:2
"And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto." LUKE 21:20-21

In 67-70 AD there was a Jewish Revolt. The Zealots (mostly Edomites) killed the pro-Roman citizens in Jerusalem. The Roman governor of Syria advanced towards Jerusalem, but stopped and turned back. The Christians in Jerusalem remembered Jesus Christ’s prophecy and fled Jerusalem as the Roman armies left. The Jewish historian Josephus writes that this temporary withdrawal happened “for no apparent reason”.

In those days it was hard to believe that the temple would be destroyed and the high priest used this statement as one of the excuses for crucifying Jesus (MATTHEW 26:60-66). However, less than 40 years later (70 AD), Jesus’ prophecy came true during the Roman occupation. Originally, the orders of the Roman supreme commander Titus, were that the temple was not to be destroyed. However, this order was withdrawn when a fire, caused by the carelessness of one of the guards, burnt out the temple. The gold in the dome was melted by the heat and filled up the gaps in the walls. In order to reach the gold Titus gave orders to demolish the temple by removing it stone by stone!

“AS BIRDS FLYING” – JERUSALEM, 1917

"As birds flying, so will the LORD of hosts defend Jerusalem; defending also he will deliver it; and passing over he will preserve it." ISAIAH 31:5

During the 9th-11th December 1917, one of the most amazing events of our times occurred! Jerusalem, the most famous city in the world was delivered from its centuries long domination by the Turks as British and Allied forces under the command of General Allenby liberated the city! It was one of the first times that planes were used in warfare and as the Turks saw these "birds flying" overhead they fled the city and it became the only city in WWI to be taken without a single shot being fired!

A 10 milliemes Eqyptian coin of 1917A 10 milliemes Egyptian coin of 1917
table of numberals

A 10 milliemes Egyptian coin of 1917. The date opposite 1917 shows the year in the Arabic calendar as 1335 – also shown in the table of numerals.

In 637 AD the Muslims had captured Jerusalem and built a mosque on the temple site (638 AD). In the year 639, Caliph Umar I created a lunar calendar starting on July 16, 622.

"Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days." DANIEL 12:12

In Bible prophecy, "a day" often represents a year (EZEKIEL 4:6). DANIEL chapter 9 records Daniel's prayer concerning his hometown Jerusalem, and his own people of Judah. The answer given him evidently indicated a 'blessing' for Jerusalem in 1335. Is it mere coincidence that Jerusalem was liberated in the year 1917 (1335 in the Arabic calendar)?

In LEVITICUS chapter 26 the Israelites were warned that if they rebelled against God they would be removed from their land and punished “seven times” for their sins. In the year 604 BC this occurred as the armies of the Babylonians conquered Jerusalem and took the Judahites captive.

"…and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled." LUKE 21:24

In Bible prophecy a "time" is 360 days or an equivalent 360 years (as above). Seven times 360 years is 2,520 years. In the Hebrew calendar the time span from 604 BC to 1917 AD is a staggering 2,520 years! God keeps His promises and delivered Jerusalem in the exact manner - "As birds flying"; in the exact year, 1917, and on the exact day given by HAGGAI 2:18-20 (24th Kislev, which fell on December 9th in 1917)!

Divine foreknowledge alone can account for these facts. There is another curious fact concerning this event, which emphasizes God's over-ruling power. The Turks had a saying that seems to remind us of the incident recorded in 2 KINGS 7:1-18, where the 'impossible' happened. In their boast that the sword of Islam should hold sway over the land, they used the words to imply the impossibility of overthrowing their domination, saying, "When the waters of the Nile flow into Palestine, then will a prophet of the Lord come and drive the Turks out of this land," signifying that as surely as it was impossible for the waters of the Nile to flow across the many miles of desert to Palestine, so it was impossible that men could drive them out.

The 'impossible' happened those centuries ago at the gate of Samaria and the 'impossible' happened again in this case. In order to supply the Allied troops crossing the desert, the waters of the Nile were brought by a pipeline, which they laid under the Suez Canal and across the desert. Not only this, but the great leader who drove the Turks out was named Allenby, which in its Arabic version became 'Allah-en-Nebi', or 'prophet of God'.

JESUS CHRIST

The Old Testament was written to prepare the people for the One who would save all mankind, the Messiah Jesus Christ. It describes the history of the Hebrew people with the events of their time, and throughout the Old Testament appear the prophecies and expectations of the great Redeemer, Who will reign and bless the world. The prophecies and premonitions of His coming are the most powerful evidence of the divine inspiration of the Bible. They are fulfilled in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, Who Himself says:

"Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill." MATTHEW 5:17

"Then Jesus answering said unto them, Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached." LUKE 7:22

This was the message Jesus gave to John the Baptist; John would know that by His miracles and preaching, Jesus was fulfilling the prophecy of the coming Messiah (ISAIAH 29:18). Only a few of the hundreds of prophecies which concern the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ are mentioned here.

Born in Bethlehem:

"But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, 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." MICAH 5:2

Fulfilment:

"Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea..." MATTHEW 2:1

Even Herod, the king of Judaea, knew that exact prophecies of the birth of the Messiah were found in the Old Testament (see DANIEL 9:24-27), and through the murder of the new-born he wanted to prevent the coming reign of Jesus Christ.

Crucifixion:

"But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all." ISAIAH 53:5,6

This prophecy had to be fulfilled so that man could be redeemed. At the same time it is an answer to the question, 'Why did the innocent Christ have to suffer the cruel death on the cross?'

Fulfilment:

"Then released he Barabbas unto them: and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified." MATTHEW 27:26

Resurrection:

"For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption." PSALM 16:10

Fulfilment:

"...And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep." 1 CORINTHIANS 15:4-6

Even the prophecies about his resurrection were fulfilled. All this was prophesied at least 400 years before it came to pass:

"...that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me." LUKE 24:44

A FINAL WORD

Some people tell us that one cannot prove the existence of God - one can only believe - but here we have accumulated evidence which demonstrates conclusively, not only the existence, but the omniscience and almighty power of God, as well as the truth and exactitude of His written Word, the Bible.

With the same accuracy with which over 95% of the prophecies have been fulfilled, the outstanding prophecies about World War 3, Christ’s return and reign and God’s judgment will also come to pass.

Jesus’ disciples asked Him:
"...what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world (this age)?" MATTHEW 24:3

Jesus answered:
"And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places." MATTHEW 24:6,7

It is a sad matter of fact that since the end of the Second World War in 1945 there have been over 250 major wars in which over 23 million people have been killed, tens of millions made homeless, and countless millions injured and bereaved. Yet worse is to come, as we also find prophecies describing a nuclear war and its after-effects, in the Bible.

"But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up." 2 PETER 3:10

These scriptures are warnings from God unto man, to seek after Him and to be converted unto Him before it is too late. When His Son, Jesus Christ, returns He will judge the world, and this includes you. God commands us to:

"Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." ACTS 2:38

Repentance, baptism and receiving the Holy Spirit are the biblical conditions set by God for every person to obtain eternal life. Repentance stands for the inner return unto God, and turning away from your old life; baptism, by full immersion, symbolises the burying of your old sinful life.

When a person receives the gift of the Holy Spirit, they receive Christ and eternal salvation, evidenced by the sign of speaking in other tongues. See also ACTS 2:4.

These steps of obedience towards God's Word seal the act of being born again as described in the Bible. Never forget that one day you will stand before the throne of God to give an account of your life. Every moment of your life will be brought to your remembrance, and will be taken into account. God wants to redeem you, and calls on you to repent and to obey His Word.

Some books about the subject:

  • ‘As Birds Flying’ by Andrew Adams
  • ’Great Tribulation’ by Alan Campbell B.A.

(April 2004)