Knowing The Bible Is The Word Of God

If the Bible is the Word of God, we would expect it to be
  • Remarkable
    • In its Content
      • Its Perspective
      • Its Consistency
      • Its Emphases - What it Considers Important
    • Its Preservation and Propagation
      • In Ancient Times
      • In Modern Times
    • Its Effect on people
  • Accurate
    • About the Past
      • Historical Statements
    • About the Present
      • Scientific Statements
      • Human Nature
      • Spiritual Things
    • About the Future
I shall not examine all of these in this essay.

"Prophecy" in the Bible:
Let us look at some of the statements the Bible makes about the future. Such statements are called prophecy. Fully one sixth of the Bible is made up of statements about events which had not occurred when the statements were made.

Predicting the Future:
We humans like to know what lies in our future. Prediction of the future saves millions of dollars and millions of lives. Such predictions have limitations however. Using the latest satellite and computer technology, we can only predict the weather about 4 days in advance. Using the very best economic models can only give a rough idea of what things will be like in 12 months time. I doubt that even the most canny political commentator could say what the world will be like in even a decade or two. Certainly the last decade was full of surprises!

The work of man, or the Work of God?:
The Bible, however, often makes statements about events centuries in advance. We would expect that if the Bible were the work of men, it would be ridiculously inaccurate. However, if it were the work of God, we would expect the opposite to be the case. Note also that the statements the Bible makes are not vague. Most are quite specific.

A Small Sample:
We examine some of the prophecies the Bible makes

  • Statements About Individuals: In at least 5 places, the Bible predicts by name (3 cases) or by pseudonym (2 cases) an individual, stating quite clearly and in detail what the named individual will do, well before the individual is born. These individuals are named centuries before they appear. The people are as follows:
    • Josiah: 1 Kings 13:2; 2 Kings 23:16. An unnamed prophet predicted successfully about particular altar, that a man called Josiah would defile it and destroy it. The time between the prophecy and its fulfillment was about 300 years.
    • Cyrus: Isaiah 44:28; Ezra 1:1-3, 6:3. The prophet Isaiah predicted successfully not only that the nation Israel would be taken into exile, but that a man called Cyrus would command that Jerusalem, and the temple of the Lord, be rebuilt. This occurred in the time of Ezra, when Cyrus, king of Persia, gave exactly that command. This was an event unique in the history of the world - that a king should give money to slaves for them to build a city for themselves. What was the chance of Isaiah getting the prophecy right by accident? The time gap between the prophecy and its fulfillment was about 150 years.
    • "Immanuel": Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23. The prophet Isaiah predicted that a virgin would conceive and give birth to a son called Immanuel. Immanuel is Hebrew for "God With Us". Jesus Christ was born of a virgin, and is called God With Us. The time gap between the prophecy and its fulfillment is almost 700 years.
    • "Elijah": Malachi 4:5; Matthew 17:10-12. The prophet Malachi said that Elijah would come, and bring about great reconciliation, shortly before the return of the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus' statement in Matthew 17:11-12 seems to indicate that John the Baptist is a fulfillment of this prophecy, but that there is a "greater" fulfillment to come. It should be noted that John the Baptist denied being Elijah (John 1:21), and that Elijah did not actually die, but bodily lifted up to heaven (2 Kings 2:11). We shall have to wait until shortly before the return of Christ to see exactly how this prophecy will be fulfilled, whether Elijah will physically return from heaven, or whether a man of God will come &captain the spirit of Elijah". The time between the prophecy and its final fulfillment is at least 2400 years.
    • Gog, Prince of Rosh: Ezekiel 38-39; Revelations 20:7-9. The prophet Ezekiel goes into great detail, about a time when Israel dwells in peace and safety, how a man called Gog, would come to war against them. Particularly instructive is Ezekiel 38:10 - "Thoughts will arise in your mind, and you will make an evil plan" to attack the nation. He would bring a huge army with him (Ezekiel 38:16) and be utterly destroyed by the Lord. Since this prophecy was made, there has never been a time of peace and safety for Israel. The fulfillment of this prophecy, like that of the last, lies in the future. Revelations 20:1-9 tells us exactly when, for it explains that after the return of Christ, there will be a period of peace on earth, lasting 1000 years. At the end of this time, Satan would be released once more to deceive the nations. He would, specifically, deceive Gog, who would come to fight against Jerusalem (the beloved city) with a huge army, and be devoured by the fire of God. These events therefore happen 1000 years after the return of Christ, that is, at least 3500 years after Ezekiel's prophecy. Also, we realize that Ezekiel tells us some of what will happen at the end of the so-called Millennium.
    • Any More? If you can think of any more occasions in the Bible where a person was predicted by name well in advance of their birth, please let me know! There are many other occasions when the Bible predicted an individual before they were born, but did not give the person's name.
    • NEWS FLASH! Many of you will have heard of the so-called "Bible Code", where the names of many individuals are "encoded" in the Bible via so-called "equidistant letter sequences". Some of the claims made are that the names and deeds of dozens (hundreds?) of post-Biblical, and even modern individuals are encoded, along with many details about their lives. One contemporary example are an encoded statement about Yitzhak Rabin's assassination, including details such as the year and the name of the assassin. Some of the other claims are subjectable to stringent scientific analysis. As a mathematician, I have read through the article published in Statistical Science entitled Equidistant Letter Sequences in the Book of Genesis, by Witztuhm, et al, and I can find no fault with the methods used. My personal opinion (for what it is worth) is that the so-called codes do in fact exist, and can not reasonably be regarded as coincidental. I am looking forward to hearing of further developments.
  • Statements About Nations: The Bible makes dozens of prophetic statements about nations. It would make fascinating reading for a student of ancient Middle-Eastern history.
  • Statements About The "Messiah": The Bible tells, in a great many places, about a "Messiah" (Hebrew for "Anointed") who would come and rule the earth and bring peace to Israel. There is controversy amongst Jewish scholars because many of the prophecies about what the Messiah would do seem to be contradictory, for example it is undeniably taught that the Messiah would rule all nations forever, yet other passages predict His death (see for example the "seventy weeks" prophecy in the book of Daniel). Christians believe that Jesus Christ of Nazareth is the Messiah ("Christ" is Greek for "Messiah"), and that these problems are resolved by the fact that Jesus comes twice - once to proclaim His kingdom, and to suffer and die for the sins of all mankind (for the Jew first, and also for the Gentile), and once in power and glory to bring every nation to its knees before Him.
This Page is Under Construction. I will complete the "Statements about Nations" and the "Statements about the Messiah" sections shortly (I hope). Apologies for the delay!