OceanSide church of Christ
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Part of the series: THE BIBLE IS THE WORD OF GOD
THE WORD OF GOD (2)
Predictive Prophecy Proves the Bible’s Inspiration
Victor M. Eskew
A. The Bible claims to be the inspired Word of God (II Tim. 3:16-17).
1. To merely accept the claim is not enough.
2. We must establish the truthfulness of the claim.
a. The Unity of the Bible
b. The Historicity of the Bible
c. The Scientific Accuracy of the Bible
B. Tonight, we want to examine one more “proof” of inspiration. This proof involves Bible prophecy.
1. There is a sense in which all the Bible is prophecy (II Pet. 1:20-21).
Knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation. 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.
a. The word “prophecy” can mean simply “to speak forth” a message from God.
b. In this sense, all the Bible is prophecy.
2. Thus, we are more specific about Bible prophecy when we say, “predictive prophecy.” This refers to the prediction of future events.
C. Man does not have the ability to predict the future, but God does.
1. (Isa. 46:9-10a).
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…
2. If man ever does prophecy, it is because God has inspired him to be able to do this. It is God speaking through him.
D. The Bible is full of predictive prophecies. As we enter into this study, three charac-teristics of Bible prophecy need to be kept in mind.
1. Remote: the prophecy as made long before its fulfillment occurred.
2. Detailed: the prophecy consists of specifics and not of vague generalities
3. Accurate: every detail of the prophecy is fulfilled; nothing is left undone
I. THE PROPHECY OF CYRUS
A. Background of Cyrus
1. Cyrus came to the throne in Persia in 559 B.C.
2. In 539 B.C., the Persian army met the forces of Babylon at Opis and defeated them. Persia became the world power.
3. The Jews who had been taken captive by Babylon were now under the reign of the Persians.
4. In 536 B.C., Cyrus made a decree that allowed the Jews to return to their homeland the rebuild the temple (II Chron. 36:23).
Thus said Cyrus king of Persia, All kingdoms of the earth hath the Lord God given me: and he hath charged me to build him a house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Who is there among you of his people? The Lord his God be with him, and let him go up.
B. The prophet Isaiah had predicted this event, even to the point of naming the king (Isa. 44:28).
That saith of Cyrus, He is my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid.
1. The prophecy was remote.
a. It was made about 150 years before its fulfillment.
b. Israel had not been taken captive.
c. Jerusalem and the temple had not been laid waste.
d. Babylon was not the world power.
2. The prophecy was detailed.
a. Cyrus is named.
b. His actions were clearly stated.
1) Allow the Jews to rebuild Jerusalem.
2) Allow the Jews to rebuild the temple.
3. The prophecy was accurate: The Persian king named Cyrus decreed that the Israelites could return to Jerusalem to rebuild the city and to lay the foundation of the temple.
II. THE PROPHECY OF THE FALL OF TYRE
A. Background of Tyre
1. Tyre was founded about 2750 B.C.
2. It had two parts: the mainland city and the island city, ¼ mile off shore.
3. It was a heavily fortified city, having walls 150’ high.
4. It had two ports, one in the north and one in the south.
5. Its inhabitants were the first merchants to sail upon the Mediterranean Sea.
6. It produced a purpose dye from the murex shellfish used to dye the clothing and robes of royalty.
B. Ezekiel predicted the demise of Tyre (Ezek. 26:1-21).
1. Ezekiel 26:3a
Therefore saith the Lord God; Behold, I am against thee, O Tyrus.
2. Numerous elements of this prophecy:
a. Many nations to come against thee (v. 3)
b. Scrape her dust from her and make her like the top of a rock (v. 4).
c. It shall be the place for the spreading of nets in the midst of the sea (v. 5).
d. I will bring upon Tyrus Nebudchadnezzar king of Babylon (v. 7).
e. They shall lay thy stones and thy timbers and they dust in the midst of the sea (v. 12).
f. Thou shalt be built no more (v. 14).
C. The prophecy was fulfilled.
1. It was remote.
a. Ezekiel prophesied during the sixth century B.C. (Ezek. 1:1; 8:1; 33:1; 40:1-4).
b. Nebuchadnezzar would lay siege to the city a few months after the prophecy.
c. Alexander the Great, however, would not come against the city until 332 B.C., over 100 years after the prophecy was made.
2. The list provided above show that the prophecy was detailed.
3. It was accurate.
a. A study of Tyre’s history shows that Babylon, Syria, Egypt, Rome, Greece, Armenia, and Persia all played a part in Tyre’s fall.
b. Nebuchadnezzar came against the city and fought her for 13 long years. His siege destroyed the mainland city. The inhabitants, however, moved out to the island city of Tyre.
c. When Alexander the Great came against the city, he had to scrape the mainland city bear, casting the stones and timber and dust into the sea creating a causeway out to the island Tyre.
d. For years, it was the place for the spreading of nets.
e. The ruins of that old city do not exist. They are under the sea. They will never be rebuilt.
III. MESSIANIC PROPHECIES
A. A messianic prophecy is a prophecy about the coming Messiah (anointed one) predicted by the prophets.
1. Prophets, priests, and kings were anointed to their offices.
2. The Messiah would be all of these.
3. Jesus Christ fulfills these prophecies to the letter.
B. These prophecies are extremely valuable because they are all remote. The Old Testament was completed long before the birth of Jesus Christ.
C. There are over 300 Messianic prophecies in the Old Testament. Let’s consider just six of them. These will prove that the prophecies were very detailed.
1. When the angel Gabriel appears to Mary to tell her she would bear a son, she asked a very interesting question. Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? (Luke 1:34). Mary acknowledged that she was a virgin. Long before, the prophet Isaiah had made such a prediction (Isa. 7:14).
Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign: Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
2. Joseph and Mary resided in an insignificant town in Galilee named Nazareth. How was it then that Mary gave birth to Jesus in Bethlehem? It was due to a decree of Cesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed (Luke 2:1-7). Joseph had to go to the city of his birth, Bethlehem of Judaea. It is interesting that the prophet Micah had made this prediction long before it happened (Mic. 5:2).
But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, Though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.
3. The name Judas is very well known. He was one of the twelve apostles. He was the one who went unto the chief priests, to betray him unto them (Mark 14:20). David had predicted this years before in one of his psalms (Ps. 41:9).
Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me.
4. The price given to Judas for betraying the Christ was thirty pieces of silver (Matt. 26:16). Zechariah looked down the corridors of time and prophesied of this long before it happened (Zech. 11:12b).
So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver.
5. In the gospels, the punishment of Jesus is set forth with four words: And they crucified him (Mark 15:25). This was a Roman form of punishment, not a Jewish form. However, in the long ago, the Jewish prophet had predicted that the Messiah would have his hands and feet pierced (Ps. 22:16).
For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet.
6. Jesus was crucified between two thieves (Luke 23:33). After He drew His last breath, a rich man named Joseph of Arimathaea craved His body and buried Him in his personal tomb (Matt. 27:57-60). We might wonder how Isaiah knew this would happen, but he did (Isa. 53:9).
And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death.
D. Detailed prophecies that were accurately fulfilled. These are only six prophecies. There are over 300 that were fulfilled.
1. A mathematical impossibility
a. If there were only 100 prophecies about the Messiah
b. If each prophecy had a one in two probability of coming to pass
c. The chance of all being fulfilled would be 1 in 1.2 nonillion. This is 1.2 with 29 zeroes following it.
2. How do we account for all 300+ prophecies being fulfilled? The only answer is the inspiration of God. Holy men of God were being born along by the Holy Spirit (II Pet. 1:20-21).
A. Jeremiah 28:9
The prophet which prophesieth peace, when the word of the prophet shall come to pass, then shall the prophet be known, that the Lord hath truly sent him.
B. The words of Jeremiah can be applied to the Bible. The Bible has spoken prophecy. These words have come to pass. It is known that the Bible is truly sent from God!