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Fulfilled Prophesy Gives One Reason to Trust the Bible

by Gary C. Hampton

Only God could have known specific events years before they actually happened, involving at times nations that did not exist when the prophecy was written. For that reason, fulfilled prophecy can be considered one of the strongest proofs the Bible is from God and can be trusted.

George W. DeHoff, in his book Why We Believe the Bible, wrote that the criteria of true prophecy has been listed as the following: The event must be beyond the power of man to foresee; it must not be a vision of hope nor a result of fear; it must not be a scientific or political forecast. The prediction must be written before the event occurs and must be applicable to it. The language of the prophecy must be clear and the fulfillment plain.

When God's prophets challenged the false gods of the people around them, they used this very criteria. Isaiah, for example, wrote, "Show the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know that you are gods..." (Isaiah 41:23a). In contrast, the true God could say, "Remember the former things of old, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done, saying, 'My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure'" (Isaiah 46:9,10). God's ability to look into the future, thus proving He is God and the Bible is His Word, can be seen in numerous prophecies.

Isaiah's prophecy concerning Babylon (chapter 13) is one clear proof the Bible can be trusted. At the time Isaiah wrote, Babylon was still ruled by a viceroy appointed by the Assyrians. Such may account for Hezekiah's boastful approach to the embassy sent to him from Babylon in 704 B.C. (2 Kings 20:12-19; Isaiah 39). Israel suffered the painful reward of Hezekiah's pride when Nebuchadrezzar II conquered Jerusalem. During that time it was said Babylon had a wall around it wide enough to race three chariots abreast! The hanging gardens of Babylon were considered one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.

Yet, Isaiah's prophecy clearly looks well into the future to the time when a powerful Babylon would be thoroughly defeated by the Medes. He foretold the city would be destroyed like Sodom and Gomorrah and left uninhabited! Isaiah wrote around 700 B.C., Jerusalem was conquered in 587, and the Medes attacked Babylon in 539. As one writer has said, "So desolate did Babylon become that, when Alexander the Great later decided to restore it, he gave up the task as a hopeless one." Only God could know the details presented by His spokesman!

Though Judah's captivity was not accomplished until well after the time of Isaiah, he foretold the day when the people of Judah would be restored to the land of promise. Among other things, he wrote, "Who says of Cyrus, 'He is My shepherd, and he shall perform all My pleasure,' even saying to Jerusalem, 'You shall be built,' and to the temple, 'Your foundation shall be laid'" (Isaiah 44:28-45:7). This prophecy is particularly telling since Cyrus was called by name some 100 years before his birth and 150 years before he would release God's people!

The book of Nahum has an extensive prediction of the destruction of Nineveh. Bernard Ramm wrote, "Obadiah is a prophecy directed at the Edomites in which it is declared that (a) the heathen would conquer them, and (b) the Jews would conquer them. Both of these came to pass. Amos' prophecy was made around 755 B.C. God caused him to speak of the defeat of Damascus at the hands of Tiglath-Pilesar, which occurred in 732 B.C. He also prophesied the destruction of Gaza, Ashdod, and Ashkelon, which were accomplished by three separate kings, Hezekiah, Sennacherib, and Alexander the Great. Micah, who wrote about 730 B.C., predicted the destruction of Samaria (712 B.C.) and Jerusalem (587 B.C.). Concerning Samaria, God said, "Therefore I will make Samaria a heap of ruins in the field, places for planting a vineyard; I will pour down her stones into the valley, and I will uncover her foundation" (Micah 1:6). In 722 B.C., Sargon captured Samaria. Ramm says again, "Samaria was on a hill and the stones may be found today literally poured down the side of the mountain, and the foundations of the city will be found to be discovered, i.e., laid bare."

For the Jews, no prophecy may be more distasteful or unlikely than the one made in Malachi 1:11. "'For from the rising of the sun, even to its going down, My name shall be great among the Gentiles; in every place incense shall be offered to My name, and a pure offering; for My name shall be great among the nations,' says the Lord of hosts." The clear fulfillment of these words took place in the church after Jesus had broken down the middle wall of partition and Gentiles over the whole world offered acceptable worship to God.



"...upon this rock I will build My church..." Matt.16:18

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