Chapter 4 Why Believe Bible Prophecy?
What is the Bible's track record? Unlike fanciful religious writings and fairy tales, the Bible speaks of the real world and its past and future events. The existence of ancient kings and kingdoms described in Scripture has been verified, time and again, by archaeological discoveries. In fact, archaeologists have long used the Bible as a guide, to help them know what to look for and where to dig for it. Is its prophetic track record equally reliable? Yes. Besides its 'end times' prophecies concerning Messiah's return, his coming Kingdom of God, and the end of the corrupt 'world' as we know it, the Bible also contains many prophecies that have already undergone fulfillment. If we look at these, and at their accurate fulfillment hundreds or thousands of years later, we will find convincing evidence that will enable us to put faith in what the Bible also predicts for the near future. Although we think of it as a single book, the Bible is actually a collection of more than sixty books written by some forty writers over the course of well over a thousand years. Some of the oldest prophetic passages were already considered 'ancient' writings by those who lived generations afterward, and who likewise heard from God and penned the more recent books of the Bible. They, along with secular historians outside Israel, recorded the events that took place as foretold by the earlier writers. Is there a chance that later writers 'fudged' these prophecies by writing them, or re-writing them, after the events occurred? No, because the ancient hand-written scrolls were copied and distributed far and wide. No one could possibly have collected all the copies, from Egypt to Babylon, to make such later modifications. And enough copies have been found, nestled among ancient artifacts unearthed during
archaelogical digs, to establish that they were written long before the events they accurately predicted. Prophecy that has already been fulfilled provides some of the strongest motivation to believe the other prophecies of Scripture that remain be fulfilled in the future. Fulfilled prophecy constitutes evidence proving the Bible's authenticity as a product of superhuman divine intelligence, although humans clearly were used as God's scribes to write it down. Fulfilled biblical prophecies are many in number, and some of them are relatively long and rather complex. That is because they are essentially history written in advance, and history can be long and complex. Have you ever studied the history of England with its violent mixing of Angles, Saxons, Celts and others, and its turbulent succession of kings and queens? Then you know what I am talking about when I refer to length and complexity. The history of ancient Israel and the surrounding empires that encroached on its territory at one time or another forms a tangled web as difficult to untangle as the history of Britain, or more so, and some of the prophecies are equally difficult to understand. For example, in the book of the Bible bearing his name the prophet Daniel uses symbolic language to predict a succession of world powers who would fight each other for supremacy over a period of hundreds and thousands of years, culminating in the coming of the Jewish Messiah and his eventual supplanting of human governments with the Kingdom of God. An adequate discussion of these prophecies and the world events that have fulfilled them, so far, would fill books -- and has, indeed, proved to be the subject of many books. So, we won't even start to look at them here. (Whew!) But there are two Bible prophecies in particular that are simple to understand, powerful in their impact, and impossible to deny. They fit within the scope of this web site. The first of these is the prediction that the God of