The Old Testament prophets indeed spoke some amazing predictions, and we
will examine only a few of these in the following paragraphs.
Bible Prophecies Fulfilled in the Past
In Jeremiah 25:9-13ff, the prophet Jeremiah predicted that Judah (the
Southern Kingdom of Israel) would be conquered by Nebuchadnezzar of
Babylon. Furthermore, it was told that the land of Judah
would be desolate, Judah would be destroyed, and its inhabitants would
endure 70 years if Babylonian captivity. History has proven
that each of these events came to pass in the fourth and fifth centuries, B.C., just as predicted.
In 1 Kings 22, the prophet Micaiah predicted that Ahab (the king of
Israel, the Northern Kingdom of Israel) would be killed in
battle. Jehoshaphat (the king of Judah, the Southern Kingdom
of Israel) helped Ahab attack Assyria. 400 of Ahab's prophets said he
would win. Micaiah said they would lose, and Ahab that would
die, and that if these things did not happen, then he is a liar and not
a prophet. Israel lost, as Micaiah predicted, but Ahab tried
to trick Micaiah by disguising himself in Jehoshaphat's
clothes. A soldier shot a random arrow which struck Ahab
through a hole in his armor, and he died, as Micaiah had predicted.
In Isaiah 36, Hezekiah said that Senacharib would hear a rumor, return home, and be killed. Again, all of these events occurred.
In Isaiah 39:5-7, the Babylonian captivity was correctly predicted, 100 years in advance.
In Isaiah 12:19-21, 150 years in advance, Isaiah predicted that Babylon
would be conquered by the Medes, and that Babylon would never again
arise as a world power. This was in spite of Babylon's having a
tremendous civilization, including the hanging gardens, one of the
Seven Wonders of the World. Babylon also had running water,
paved streets, streetlights, and a 150-foot wall around the city which
was wide enough for three chariots to race side-by-side on it.
Jeremiah also predicted 70 years of captivity in Babylon, and that
Babylon would then fall, in spite of the protection offered by the
great Euphrates River. To penetrate this otherwise safe
fortress, the Medes devised a clever plan and diverted the river. They
conquered Babylon, and all of these prophecies were fulfilled.
In Isaiah 44:28-45:4 and Ezra 1:1-11, two separate prophets correctly predicted that Cyrus would rebuild Jerusalem.
Ezekiel 26:3-14, 19 offers a truly amazing and detailed
prophecy. The city of Tyre (also with 150-foot walls) would
fall, the wall would be broken down, the city would be scraped clean
like the top of a rock, and it would become a place for fishnets to
dry. Nebuchadnezzar destroyed it, but he didn't scrape it clean, so it
appeared that the prophecy had been wrong. However, the
survivors of the city people fled to an island one-half mile off shore,
called the new Tyre. When Alexander the Great set out to
conquer the world, he saw the new Tyre out in the sea. Although he couldn't access it, he was determined to conquer
it. He had his men throw the ruins of the old city into the
sea, scraping it clean, and building a bridge to the new Tyre, and then
he conquered it. On a map today, Tyre jets out into the sea.
Today, Tyre is a place where fishnets are dried.
Jonah predicted that Nineveh would be destroyed. It was
destroyed so completely that scientists refuted that there ever was a
city of Nineveh, until the 19th century when archaeologists dug it up.
There are also some 330 Biblical predictions about the coming of
Christ. In Micah 5:2, the prophet Micah predicted, 700 years
in advance, that Bethlehem would be His birthplace. The
fulfillment of this prophecy is found in Matthew 2:1, 5.
In Isaiah 35:4-6, Isaiah predicted, 700 years in advance, that Christ
would be a savior and a healer. Matthew 11:4-5 demonstrates
the fulfillment of this prophecy.
In Zechariah 9:9, the prophet Zechariah predicted, 500 years in
advance, that Christ would enter Jerusalem riding on a
donkey. This was fulfilled in Matthew 21:6-7, 9.
In Psalms 22, Christ's death by crucifixion was predicted, 1000 years
in advance. At the time of this prediction, crucifixion was a
yet unknown method of execution.
In Psalms 22:18, it was predicted that Christ's clothes would be the
prize for gamblers, and this was fulfilled in John 19:23-24.
In Psalms 22:1, Christ's words on the cross were predicted, as fulfilled in Matthew 27:46.
In Luke 19:43-44, Christ predicted His own death and resurrection, and
the destruction of Jerusalem, which occurred in 70 A.D. He even
correctly said that the Jews would ignore the prophecy, causing them to
Peter Stoner, an expert in statistical probabilities, performed a
statistical analysis of interest. These techniques are
commonly used by insurance companies in order to measure risk and set premiums.
Statistics tell us that, given two separate events, if the probability
of the first event coming true is X, and the probability of the second
event coming true is Y, then the probability of both events coming true
is X * Y. For example, if the probability that I will go to
work today is 1 in 2 (1/2), and the probability that my wife will go to
work today is 1 in 3 (1/3), then the probability that both my wife and
I will go to work today is 1 in 6 (1/6). Given this quick
review of statistics, we consider the odds of some of the Biblical
prophecies coming true, according to Stoner.
One of the most amazing prophecies is that of Tyre. Stoner
sets the probabilities of each of the pieces of this prophecy as follows:
- That Nebuchadnezzar would conquer Tyre: 1 in 2
- That other nations would help: 1 in 5
Therefore, the probability that Nebuchadnezzar would conquer Tyre with the help of other nations is 1 in 10.
Continuing with the rest of the pieces of this prophecy:
- That Tyre would be scraped clean: 1 in 2000
- That Tyre would be a place for nets to dry: 1 in 10
- That its stones would be thrown into the sea: 1 in
- That this would frighten other cities: 1 in 10
- That Tyre would never again be rebuilt: 1 in 20
Therefore, the probability all seven of these prophecies about Tyre
would be fulfilled is 1 in 400 million. Yet, each of these was fulfilled in minute detail.
Similarly, the probability that all of the prophecies about Babylon would be fulfilled was 1 in 100 billion.
Also, the probability that all the prophecies about Christ would be
fulfilled was 1 in 10 to the 32nd power (one, followed by 32 zeros).
For all of the Biblical prophecies that have already been fulfilled,
the probability that they would all be fulfilled was astronomical.
This is in stark contrast to the supposed psychics we see today. The
psychic Jean Dixon rose to fame because of her supposed prediction of
the assassination of JFK. As it turns out, her amazing
prediction was quite vague. She said that the man who would
be elected in 1960 would die in office, probably during his second
term. She didn't name the man, she did not specify death by
assassination, and she was wrong about during which term he would
die. Also, most of us didn't hear about these amazing
predictions until after JFK died. Psychics today make thousands of predictions each year, and they
rise to fame when only a couple of them are fulfilled. Although this would not have qualified for the 100% accuracy required
from the Old Testament prophets, she is held in high esteem because of these predictions.
I like the way that Zig Ziglar described it: If a pro
quarterback were to tell you that he was going to have a perfect season
by completing every pass he throws, you probably wouldn't believe
him. You would say that the odds are astronomically against
this. Suppose, however, that he completed 35 passes in 35
attempts during his first game. Then suppose that when the season was
75% complete, he had completed 400 out of 400 passes. How
would you set the odds of his next pass being a completion? This is
what the fulfilled Biblical prophecies teach us. Since they have been 100% accurate, then we can be sure that the
prophecies yet to be fulfilled in the future will surely come to pass as well.
Owen Weber 2009