Accuracy of Bible Prophecy
By Rod Nichols (Rod@RodNichols.com)
Unless you’ve been living in a cave, I’m sure that you’ve noticed that we live in a crazy world. Many people are wondering how much longer our world will last. At times it seems like we are very close to another world war – only this one will involve nuclear weapons and have the potential for worldwide destruction. The media often covers the devastation that disease is causing throughout the world. Plus, we are hearing about volcanic eruptions, massive earthquakes, killer hurricanes, and a rapid elevation of deadly crime.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could know the future? The September issue of the Sun (you’ll find it at the grocery counter with all the other rags) indicated that the End Times began on September 16th at 4:42. Well, with a reputable publication like the Sun indicating that we are in the end times, surely we must be . However, maybe (for the first time ever) they are right! That is exactly what we are going to explore in this eight part series.
This first installment is going to introduce you to the most reliable way of knowing the future – Bible prophecy. Now, many people don’t believe in the Bible and would not give it any credibility, but when you are done with this article your belief will be strengthened and you will have the ammo to go after the naysayers. So, let’s get started.
Before we jump into Bible prophecy, let’s look at some of the ways that mankind has used to predict future events:
Astrology – this is a positional study of the stars and planets to predict future events. After substantial research on the subject, the best case scenario seems to be 8% accuracy. That means that 92 out of 100 times, the prediction will be wrong.
Numerology – this is the study of numbers to predict future events. I could find no documented accuracy.
Horoscopes – the use of vague and general information that will fit the majority of people, giving it the appearance of accuracy. I could find no documented accuracy, however one web site claimed 100% accuracy, but if they were wrong, they would do it over.
Tarot Cards – used for years to predict future events, however again I could find no documented accuracy.
Psychics – many claim 50% to 75% accuracy, but none could provide documented evidence of accuracy.
Channeling – this is supposedly communication with the dead who have access to future information. Again, lot’s of personal testimonials, but no documented accuracy.
Fortune Tellers/Cookies – much like horoscopes, they use vague and general information that will fit the majority of people, so as to appear accurate. However, there is no documented accuracy.
Magic 8 Ball – remember the black 8 ball that you turned over and it told your future. Lot’s of fun, but no documented accuracy.
Dice – Sara Zen wrote the book “Predicting the Future with Dice.” However, when I tried to find the book the only place that had it listed was Out of Stock.com and they listed it as out of stock. It’s pretty bad when a book is out of stock at outofstock.com! Seems like Sara could have used her dice and predicted the future of her book and done something different.
Computers – using statistical information, computers can predict future events. For example if you program a computer with crime information over the last ten years and it shows us that the increase has been 5% per year, we can fairly accurately predict that crime will increase 5% in the next year. However, we have to have the statistical information in order to make this work.
History – much like with the computer, we can look at historical life cycles and predict with some level of accuracy future events – stock market, real estate market, interest rates, etc. Again, we have to have historical information in order to attempt to predict a future event.
Nostradamus – many people claim that his writings predict the future, however after extensive research many experts say that out of the 1000 quatrains (many of which contained more than one prediction), only a handful seem to vaguely represent an event that has occurred and most of those were based on Bible prophecy.
I’m sure there are many people who would stake their lives on the accuracy of one or more of these methods, however I would ask them to show me the documented accuracy of predicting major future events over the last 3,400 years and they would falter.
After exhaustive research, I have only found one method of accurately predicting future events and that is the Bible. However, I don’t want you to take my word for it, let’s look at the evidence.
The Bible contains approximately 1,000 prophecies, of which about two-thirds have already been fulfilled. The remaining pertains to what the Bible refers to as the “end times.” Let’s look at a few of these prophecies that have been fulfilled:
Leviticus 26:32, which was written around 1400 BC by Moses, predicted that the land of Israel would be inhabited by enemies.
Let’s read the scripture:
“I will lay waste the land, so that your enemies who live there will be appalled.” (NIV)
This is God telling the Israelites that he would destroy the land and that enemies would live there. Remember that the Bible claimed the Israelites to be God’s chosen people and He had performed many miracles in order to get them to the “promised land.” It was unimaginable at that time that anyone but the Israelites would inhabit that land.
Yet history reports that the Israelites were forced from their homelands by the Assyrians, Babylonians, and Romans. Still today, their land is occupied by their enemies the Arabs. This prophecy has been accurate for over 3,400 years!
Deuteronomy 4:25-26, which was also written around 1400 BC by Moses, predicted the worldwide persecution and scattering of the Jews.
Let’s read the scripture:
“After you have had children and grandchildren and have lived in the land a long time-if you then become corrupt and make any kind of idol, doing evil in the eyes of the LORD your God and provoking him to anger, I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you this day that you will quickly perish from the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess. You will not live there long but will certainly be destroyed.” (NIV)
Again, remember that God had instructed Moses to lead the Jews out of bondage in Egypt and take them to the Promised Land. They were all together and God had claimed them. There was no reason to believe that they would again be persecuted or scattered.
However, in 722 BC the Jews were deported from the land by the Assyrians and again in 602 BC by the Babylonians, and again in 135 and 90 AD by the Romans. In 1492 the Jews were banned from Spain. The rise of the Nazi empire included killing and scattering millions of Jews. Today, about five million Jews live in Israel and around 15 million live scattered throughout the rest of the world.
Isaiah 43:5-6, which was written somewhere between 701 and 681 BC by the prophet Isaiah, foretold of the worldwide return of the Jews to Israel.
Here is the scripture:
“Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west. I will say to the north, 'Give them up!' and to the south, 'Do not hold them back.' Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth.” (NIV)
Now, look at the incredible accuracy of this prophecy from around 2700 years ago:
Jews living in the East (Middle East) began moving back into Israel in the early 1900’s and Israel reclaimed independence in 1948.
Jews living in the West (Europe and the U.S.) began mass migration back into Israel in the mid 1900’s.
Jews living in the North (former Soviet Union) began moving back in the 1980’s.
Jews living in the South (Ethiopia) began moving back in the 1980’s. 14,500 Ethiopian Jews were airlifted to Israel on May 25th, 1991.
Isaiah’s prophecy was incredibly accurate in that he foretold of the Jews returning from the East, West, North, South and the ends of the earth.
Micah 1:6, which was written about 750 BC by the prophet Micah, predicts the destruction of Samaria.
Let’s read the scripture:
“Therefore I will make Samaria a heap of rubble, a place for planting vineyards. I will pour her stones into the valley and lay bare her foundations.”(NIV)
You’ll notice four key points – Samaria will be turned into a heap of rubble, the stones will be poured down into a valley, the foundation will be scraped bare, vineyards will be planted there.
Now, Samaria was a thriving city when Jesus walked the earth and is often mentioned in the New Testament and other historical writings of that time. However, history tells us that the city was destroyed and became a literal heap of stones and debris. Later, the spot was cleared by rolling the stones down a hill into a valley and the land was plowed bare, so that vineyards could be planted. Today you will find several vineyards in the place where Samaria once stood.
Ezekiel 26:3-16, which was written around 590 BC by the prophet Ezekiel, foretold of the destruction of the city of Tyre. Tyre was a city on the Northern coast of Palestine and was inhabited by the Phoenicians.
Here is the very long scripture, but it is packed with prophecy:
“therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am against you, O Tyre, and I will bring many nations against you, like the sea casting up its waves. They will destroy the walls of Tyre and pull down her towers; I will scrape away her rubble and make her a bare rock. Out in the sea she will become a place to spread fishnets, for I have spoken, declares the Sovereign LORD. She will become plunder for the nations, and her settlements on the mainland will be ravaged by the sword. Then they will know that I am the LORD.
"For this is what the Sovereign LORD says: From the north I am going to bring against Tyre Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, king of kings, with horses and chariots, with horsemen and a great army. He will ravage your settlements on the mainland with the sword; he will set up siege works against you, build a ramp up to your walls and raise his shields against you. He will direct the blows of his battering rams against your walls and demolish your towers with his weapons. His horses will be so many that they will cover you with dust. Your walls will tremble at the noise of the war horses, wagons and chariots when he enters your gates as men enter a city whose walls have been broken through. The hoofs of his horses will trample all your streets; he will kill your people with the sword, and your strong pillars will fall to the ground. They will plunder your wealth and loot your merchandise; they will break down your walls and demolish your fine houses and throw your stones, timber and rubble into the sea. I will put an end to your noisy songs, and the music of your harps will be heard no more. I will make you a bare rock, and you will become a place to spread fishnets. You will never be rebuilt, for I the LORD have spoken, declares the Sovereign LORD. "This is what the Sovereign LORD says to Tyre: Will not the coastlands tremble at the sound of your fall, when the wounded groan and the slaughter takes place in you? Then all the princes of the coast will step down from their thrones and lay aside their robes and take off their embroidered garments. Clothed with terror, they will sit on the ground, trembling every moment, appalled at you.”
Four years later, in 586 BC, Nebuchadnezzar laid siege on the heavily fortified city of Tyre. It took 13 years but Nebuchadnezzar finally destroyed the walls and overtook the city in 573 BC. Many of the Phoenicians escaped to a nearby island and built a new city.
In 332 BC Alexander the Great gathered other nations in the area and assaulted Tyre again. After the city was defeated he dismantled the walls of the great city and threw them into the sea to build a bridge out to the island where the Phoenicians still lived. He literally scraped the ground bare in order to have enough building material for the bridge. After seven months of land and sea attack, Alexander finally conquered the Phoenicians. The neighboring cities were so frightened of Alexander and his army that they opened their gates to him without opposition. Although there is a city called Tyre in the Middle East, it is not located in the same place as the original Tyre and that location has never been rebuilt. The large flat rocks that remain are now used by local fishermen to lay out their nets to dry.
So, how accurate is Bible prophecy?
Let’s look at some statistical odds that these last two prophecies would be fulfilled:
The probabilities that we are going to discuss are calculated using basic college algebra. For example, when figuring total probability or odds, the calculations are made this way. If it is determined that 1 in 10 men are bald and 1 in 100 men have lost a finger, the probability or odds of finding a man that is both bald and has lost a finger would be 1 in 1,000 (10 x 100).
In each example, we will look at the statistical probability (as determined by a mathematician).
Since each of the Bible prophecies contains several predictions, each will be identified and given a statistical probability.
Destruction of Samaria:
Samaria will be destroyed 1 in 4
Will become a heap in the field 1 in 5
Vineyards will occupy the site 1 in 100
Stones poured down the hill 1 in 10
Foundation dug up 1 in 2
Total odds of all 5 being accurate:
1 in 40,000
Destruction of Tyre:
Nebuchadnezzar would take city 1 in 3
Other nations involved 1 in 5
City made flat like bare rock 1 in 500
Place to spread fish nets 1 in 10
Stones laid in the sea 1 in 10
Other cities fear greatly 1 in 5
City never rebuilt 1 in 20
Total odds of all 7 being accurate:
1 in 75,000,000
Is it becoming very clear that Bible prophecy is very accurate?
Well we’re not done yet; let’s look at a few more that refer to the Messiah, Jesus Christ:
Bible experts have determined that the man named Jesus, son of Mary and Joseph, fulfilled over 300 Bible prophecies. Here are just a few:
1. Messiah born of a virgin – Isaiah 7:14 (NASB) “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel (God with us).”
Fulfillment: Luke 1:26-31 (NASB) “Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee called Nazareth, 27 to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the descendants of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. 28 And coming in, he said to her, "Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you." 29 But she was very perplexed at this statement, and kept pondering what kind of salutation this was. 30 The angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. 31 "And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus..”
2. Messiah will be of the house of David – Isaiah 9:6-7 (NIV) “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.”
Fulfillment: Matthew 1:6-16 (NIV) (genealogy from Jesse the father of David through Joseph, father of Jesus. “Jacob was the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, by whom Jesus was born, who is called the Messiah.”
3. Messiah will be born in Bethlehem – Micah 5:2 (NASB) “But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah (Efra thath), Too little to be among the clans of Judah, From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, From the days of eternity.” In the Old Testament, the town of Bethlehem was known as Ephrathah.
Fulfillment: Matthew 2:1 (NIV) “Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem”
4. The Messiah shall be a priest. Psalms 110:4 (NASB) “The LORD has sworn and will not change His mind, "You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.”
Fulfillment: Hebrews 3:1 (NASB) “Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession.” Hebrews 5:7-10 designates Jesus as a priest in the order of Melchizedek.”
5. The Messiah’s ministry will include miracles. Isaiah 35:5-6 (NASB) “Then the eyes of the blind will be opened and the ears of the deaf will be unstopped. Then the lame will leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute will shout for joy.”
Fulfillment: Matthew 11:5 (NIV) “The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor.”
6. The Messiah will be a teacher of parables. Psalm 78:1-2 (NIV) “O my people, hear my teaching; listen to the words of my mouth. 2 I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter hidden things, things from of old.” This is a prophet word spoken by God through the prophet Asaph.
Fulfillment: Matthew 13:34-35 (NIV), “Jesus spoke all these things to the crowd in parables; he did not say anything to them without using a parable. 35So was fulfilled what was spoken through the prophet: I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter things hidden since the creation of the world.”
7. The Messiah will be betrayed by a friend for thirty pieces of silver. Psalm 41:9 (NASB) “Even my close friend, in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted his heal against me.” Zechariah 11:12 (NASB) “If it is good in your sight, give me my wages; but if not, never mind! So they weighed out thirty shekels of silver as my wages.”
Fulfillment: John 13:18-21 NIV “I am not referring to all of you; I know those I have chosen. But this is to fulfill the scripture: He who shares my bread has lifted up his heel against me. 19I am telling you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe that I am He. 20I tell you the truth, whoever accepts anyone I send accepts me; and whoever accepts me accepts the one who sent me. 21After he had said this, Jesus was troubled in spirit and testified, I tell you the truth, one of you is going to betray me.”
Matthew 26:14-16 (NIV) “Then one of the Twelve--the one called Judas Iscariot--went to the chief priests 15and asked, "What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?" So they counted out for him thirty silver coins. 16From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him over.”
8. The Messiah’s hands and feet will be pierced. Psalm 22:16 (NIV) “Dogs have surrounded me; a band of evil men has encircled me, they have pierced my hands and my feet.”
Fulfillment: Luke 23:33 “When they came to the place called the Skull, there they crucified him, along with the criminals--one on his right, the other on his left.” The interesting thing is that the psalmist wrote the prophetic message over 1000 years before crucifixion was made common by the Romans.
These are just eight of the 300 Bible prophecies fulfilled by Jesus. In 1963, scientist and mathematician Peter Stoner analyzed 48 of the 300 Messianic prophecies in his book “Science Speaks.” He determined that the odds of one man fulfilling just 8 of the prophecies were 1 in 10 to the 17th power.
Now, I don’t know about you, but I have a hard time wrapping my brain around a number that big, so let’s do it this way. If we were to take 10 to the 17th power in silver dollars and spread them evenly across the surface of Texas, it would cover the state two feet deep. Before spreading them across the state, we secretly mark one of them with a black mark. Then we ask a blind folded person to pick up just one silver dollar and it must be the one with the black mark.
What are the chances that he/she would pick the right one? 10 to the 17th power. The same odds as Jesus fulfilling the eight prophecies we just discussed.
Stoner went on to calculate the odds of Jesus fulfilling 48 of the 300 prophecies already fulfilled and determined it to be 10 to the 157th power. The estimated number of electrons in the entire universe is 10 to the 79th power.
Would you agree that it’s not very likely that Jesus fulfilled these prophecies by accident?
However, skeptics say that it’s the Bible proving the Bible, so let’s take a look at some other sources that corroborate the Bible:
1. Historical Writers:
Flavius Josephus, a first century Jewish historian (and not a follower of Jesus) wrote often about Jesus and his followers. Josephus documented many of his miracles, the crucifixion of Christ and his resurrection.
The Babylonian Talmud mentions Jesus several times and documents his crucifixion.
Other historical writers of that time, including Tacitus, Suetonius, Phlegon, Thallus, Pliny the Younger, and Justin Martyr all wrote about Jesus and his various activities including miracles, confrontations with the Romans and Jews, crucifixion, and resurrection.
The last 100 years have yielded more artifacts and inscriptions that support the Bible than in the last 6000 years of recorded history.
The Dead Sea Scrolls discovered in 1947 contain many non-biblical writings that corroborate the writings in the Bible.
However, the most amazing archaeological find to date was in October of 2001 when the “James ossuary box” was discovered. Inscription on this box, which is believed to have once contain the bones of James (the brother of Jesus and author of the book of James in the Bible), reads “James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus. Experts have dated the box to 63 AD, just 33 years after the crucifixion of Jesus. This documents that both Jesus and James existed, that they were the sons of Joseph, and that Jesus was a famous person, or he would not have been mentioned on the box.
Even science supports the Bible. Did you know that:
The Bible said the earth was round 1600 years before man figured it out. (Isaiah 40:22)
The Bible said the earth was suspended in space 3600 years before man discovered it. (Job 26:7)
The Bible said that blood sustains life 3300 years before man would agree. (Lev. 17:11)
The Bible said that stars produce sound 4000 years before man found out. (Job 38:7)
The Bible said that man is made from the same materials as the earth 3200 years before man discovered it. (Gen 2:8)
The Bible is most definitely supported by science – it is totally accurate and has often demonstrated God’s knowledge of Science is much greater than man’s. This makes sense, since God is the one who created science.
The Bible is the most accurate prophetic method in the history of mankind. Now that we have established its tremendous accuracy at predicting future events, we will move on into the future predictions the Bible makes. In the next installment I will show you what the Bible says about the time we are living in and the signs we can recognize and be watching for that will show us the season of the end times and the end of earth as we know it.
Rod Nichols is an Associate Pastor at Truth and Grace Foursquare Church in Tacoma, WA. He is also a published author and accomplished public speaker and teacher. Rod’s latest articles and books can be found at www.RodNichols.com. Rod is married with five children. He and his wife Karen live in beautiful Washington State. Rod is available as a freelance writer. If you'd like to hire him, e-mail Rod@RodNichols.com.
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