The Proof of Prophecy
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The Proof of Prophecy
How can you prove the Bible is the genuine Word of God? You can compare its prophecies with exact historical fulfillment.
Do you wonder if the Bible really is the Word of God? Can you prove it?
Perhaps you are uncertain as a believer? You'd like evidence to verify that the Bible is truly God's Word. And you're right to expect more proof than, "Well, it is because it says so." You need something solid to back up your belief.
So how do you start? Where can you find evidence to confirm the Bible is genuine?
There is a source that can answer that uncertainty. Stay tuned to Beyond Today as we examine: The Proof of Prophecy.
Why should you believe that God inspired the Bible? Do you have to take Scripture by faith alone or is there evidence somewhere to help you prove it? If you could be clearly shown that the Bible is accurate, would you believe it?
Did you know that there is unmistakable proof found in Bible prophecy? Now, that may sound like circular reasoning, but it's not, so stay with us and let me explain.
First, let's define the issue. What is Bible prophecy? Well prophecy is something predicted to happen in the future. It's history given in advance. In fact, you could say, it's the news of tomorrow given today.
Now in order to prove the Bible's believability, a fair test would be to determine whether or not prophecies have actually taken place. A pretty simple step is to ask the question, "Have Bible prophecies been fulfilled?" In other words, did God predict something that actually came about?
Let's look at an example, then, study a prophecy and take a look at it. Now, just any prophecy might not be the most convincing proof. Prophecies, perhaps that were only fulfilled a few years after they were given, might not be persuasive enough. So let's take it a step further.
What prophecy would be a good gauge to test whether to believe the Bible or not? Well, it seems that it would have to be one that was fulfilled long after it was recorded.
Think of it. The Bible predicts people, places, and events, hundreds of years before their occurrence. Now that's pretty convincing! You'd have to admit that the Bible is too precise, too exact, too detailed to dismiss it as merely a "good guess." Or in other words, if you can verify that the Bible contains in-depth examples of fulfilled prophecy, then Scripture itself reveals the truth of your Bible and how great God really is.
Did you know that God Himself tells you how to reflect on past prophecy? He inspired the Apostle Peter to say, "All of this makes us even more certain that what the prophets said is true. So you should pay close attention to their message, as you would to a lamp shining in some dark place." (2 Peter 1:19 CEV)
So, are you willing to pay close attention to prophecy? God boldly tell us: "Remember the things I have done in the past. For I alone am God! I am God, and there is none like me. Only I can tell you the future before it even happens. Everything I plan will come to pass, for I do whatever I wish." (Isaiah 46:9-10 NLT)
God challenges anyone to do what He does: Predict the future and then make it come to pass!
So let's put the Bible to the test and see if God's Word is really true. Now there's an amazing example in the book of Daniel. You're probably familiar with the story of Daniel in the lion's den. It's that very same Daniel.
In chapter 2, we find ancient Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar had a disturbing dream that none of his counselors could explain. Babylonians placed considerable emphasis on dreams, and Nebuchadnezzar was convinced that this one was very important. But no one could explain it.
The prophet Daniel didn't know what the dream was about either, yet with God's inspiration, he was able to explain every detail of the dream to the king.
"You looked, O king, and there before you stood a large statue--an enormous, dazzling statue, awesome in appearance. The head of the statue was made of pure gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of baked clay." (Daniel 2:31-33 NIV)
Daniel told the king that the head of gold represented his own empire, his own Babylon. When you look into the history books, they'll tell you that this empire of gold ruled the known world around 600 B.C.
Now, it's one thing to say that the head of gold was Babylon. That would be like Daniel working for USA Today and just reporting the news of the day, but that's not what Daniel was doing. He was also predicting what was to come. What the future would hold.
The silver, the bronze, the iron--those sections of the statue--represented future powerful empires that were to come to power after mighty Babylon. Now we'll talk about that in more detail in just a moment.
But imagine, this dream inspired by God provided an astounding preview of history. History in advance; that's one of our definitions of prophecy. God said what Daniel could count on. It was a sure thing. Now, what about you?
Do you live in a world of uncertainty? Do you wonder about your future? Your job? The economy? Retirement? It makes you wonder if anything is predictable! But, there is a source of information to tell you where this world is headed. The answers are in Bible prophecy.
It can be difficult though, to know where to start. So we have something to help. It's our free booklet, You Can Understand Bible Prophecy. It will help you realize the true extent of prophecy; how it links the past, present, to the future.
So request your copy today! Go online to BeyondToday.tv to download, read it, or order your free copy of, You Can Understand Bible Prophecy. Call us toll free: 1-888-886-8632. And as always, we provide all of our publications free of charge, as an educational service.
Knowledge of prophecy can be interesting. It can be exciting! But it also provides you with the details of God's wonderful plan for all. This booklet will help you to truly begin to grasp those prophecies.
Now while you're on the Web, remember to follow us on Twitter and join our Beyond Today Facebook page. Leave us a comment, ask a question, or suggest a topic for a future program.
Now let's get back to that old king, Nebuchadnezzar, and his dream. As much as one third of the Bible is said to concern prophecy, so God obviously considers it important. In the book of Daniel prophesied many events that were fulfilled many centuries ago, but also major events that are yet to come. It reveals history written in advance.
Now we know that that statue in the dream represented a series of great empires that would dominate the civilized world for centuries. Now with that said, many would argue, "How do you know that this statue really represents specific kingdoms?"
Well look what Daniel said to the king. He said, "After you, another kingdom will rise, inferior to yours. Next, a third kingdom, one of bronze, will rule over the whole earth. Finally, there will be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron--for iron breaks and smashes everything--and as iron breaks things to pieces, so it will crush and break all the others." (Daniel 2:39-43)
This dream concludes as a stone struck the image on its feet of iron mixed with clay, shattering them. The rest of the statue crumbled and blew away, leaving no trace, while the stone grew into a great mountain, filling the whole earth.
Now, by speaking these words in the sixth century B.C., Daniel has given us a way to test the Bible's validity.
Notice the descriptions of these kingdoms and how accurately this was fulfilled: The silver empire was to be Medo-Persia, which began with Cyrus the Great, who conquered Babylon in 539 B.C. This silver empire did come about and was the superpower of the Mideast for about two centuries.
Then bronze empire overtook them; the Greco-Macedonian Empire established by that mighty warrior Alexander the Great. It came like a flood, conquering the known world and ruling for some 300 years before the fourth kingdom of iron overcame it.
Of course, iron signifies toughness and ruthlessness and it describes the Roman Empire, ruling and conquering with an iron fist.
Now if you were to search the Internet, you'll find that history definitely records this specific sequence of kingdoms. God is challenging anyone to do what He does--predict the future and then make it come to pass!
Now would you say: That's plenty of evidence for me. That's enough information to make the point. Is it possible that Daniel just made a lucky guess? Some would say that; a stab in the dark that just happened to play out.
Well let's notice another prophetic dream that adds additional important detail. Very specific qualities of these world-ruling empires was revealed to Daniel in a later dream.
If we go over to chapter 7, instead of a statue, these same four empires are represented by four wild animals. Daniel prophesied that, "…four great beasts are four kingdoms that will rise from the earth." (Verse17 NIV)
"The first was like a lion, and had eagle's wings. I watched till [the] wings were plucked off." (Daniel 7:4) You see, Lions were a symbol of Babylon's might. That beast that Daniel sees is humbled and then defeated right before his eyes, like proud Babylon, the statue's head of gold.
"And suddenly another beast, a second, like a bear. It was raised up on one side, and had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth. And they said thus to it: ‘Arise, [and] devour much flesh!'" (Daniel 7:5).
You see, conquering the Babylonians was the Medo-Persian Empire. It was an uneven coalition of two peoples, the Medes and the Persians. That silver torso of the statue, that we read about earlier, is shown in this vision to be a bear who stood unevenly. And it had these ribs in its mouth. In fact, interestingly, three ribs. And, amazingly enough, history verifies that the Persian Empire had three major military victories: against the Lydians, the Babylonians and the Egyptians.
Now Daniel goes on, "After this I looked, and there was another, like a leopard, which had on its back four wings of a bird. The beast also had four heads, and dominion was given to it." (Daniel 7:6).
Of course this compares to the kingdom led by Alexander the Great, the Greeks. They took the world by storm, conquering it in four years. And that was an amazing accomplishment. The speed, the ferocity, could only be described, "like a leopard." Of course, it didn't last very long. Upon Alexander's death, do you know what happened to his empire? It was divided into four sections, the four heads and wings of the leopard, and it was divided up among his four generals. History proves that out.
It was left easy prey then for "...a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, exceedingly strong. It had huge iron teeth; it was devouring, breaking in pieces, and trampling the residue with its feet. It was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns." (Daniel 7:8) You see, that represented the Roman Empire, yet to come. And the Romans rose to power; next known for its powerful war machine, decimating any that got in its way.
So when we put these prophecies together, prophecies of chapter 2 and chapter 7, it brings us to a crucial question. When? When did Daniel predict that these things would come about? Did God inspire this prophecy one year ahead of time? 10 years ahead of time? Well here's the amazing thing, it was about five decades. That's 50 years before the Persian Empire, 270 years before Alexander's Greco-Macedonian Empire and over four centuries, 400 years, before the Romans dominated the world.
These prophecies were unfailingly fulfilled long after they were given. They are verified by history. They are specific. They are so precise. It only leaves one viable explanation. Daniel received the information from a source that could see the future, from God.
In fact, because these prophecies are so accurate, some modern scholars reject them. They say that they must have been recorded after the fact. They say, "Well, whoever wrote the book of Daniel was looking back on events that already happened." But even though the book has been attacked in modern times, a thorough study of the external and the internal evidence shows Daniel wrote down these prophecies before they happened. They're genuine. If you'd like more details about the authenticity of the book of Daniel, be sure and go on our website and check it out.
These are certainly fantastic, remarkable prophecies that span hundreds of years, four kingdoms, many rulers and the amazing part is that they precisely came to pass. The probability of this prediction actually occurring is impossible, and yet God prophesied it, and it came to pass.
The solid evidence of fulfilled Bible prophecy is impressive, but you know, it shouldn't stop there. Will you believe the proof God gives? In fact, how will you respond to it?
God challenges anyone to do what He does--to predict the future and then bring it about.
Now, in addition to these predictions fulfilled so long ago, are the ones yet to happen. Now remember Nebuchadnezzar's dream? It also included feet of iron and clay, and a stone that shatters those feet, destroys the statue and then it grows into a mountain that fills the world. Now, that hasn't happened yet. What does that prophecy mean?
The Bible is describing God's plan. He set it in motion long ago. Piece by piece, His plan is coming about and an incredible future is on the horizon--The Kingdom of God, it's drawing near!
The pieces of the puzzle seem to be falling into place for many astonishing prophecies to be fulfilled in our lifetime. As our world propels itself to the brink of self-extermination, now is your chance to understand what lies ahead for you and the rest of humanity. Don't ignore the Word of God. He tells us, "What I have said, that will I bring about; what I have planned, that will I do." (Isaiah 46:11 NIV).
Now there's much more to discuss on this topic. But first, I have a special offer for you. It's The Good News magazine. This magazine is designed to help you. It contains articles to help you understand Bible prophecy and also brings insight into what the Bible really teaches and how you can make sense of it.
That's why you should order your free subscription to The Good News. The call is free: 1-888-886-8632. And remember, all of our publications are provided free of charge, as an educational service.
Now you can also order your free subscription on the Web at BeyondToday.tv
If you're fascinated by Bible prophecy, be sure to check out our website for hundreds of articles on prophecy.
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Now we've just scratched the surface when it comes to the Proof of Prophecy. Can you believe Bible prophecy? What prophecies lie ahead? What should you do about it? Now to discuss this further, we're joined by fellow Beyond Today hosts, Darris McNeely and Gary Petty.
Now as we talk about prophecies, I think our viewers would like to have a deeper understanding of some of the Bible prophecies that have been fulfilled. Can you give us an example?
You know, I think one of the greatest proofs of biblical prophecy has to do with the Messianic prophecies. If you go to the Old Testament, there are hundreds of prophecies that begin in Genesis, go all the way through the Old Testament--what is called the Minor Prophets at the end--and they all contain prophecies about a coming of a Messiah. Not one time, but twice. When you go to the New Testament--you read Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, you read the book of Acts--what you see is the fulfillment of about half of those prophecies, the ones about his first coming. So it's one of the greatest proofs of prophecy in the Bible, prophecies about the Messiah in the Old Testament and then the continuity right into the New Testament about Jesus Christ.
So those would be the prophecies of Christ that were predicting His birth. They were predicting His ministry.
His sacrifice and His resurrection.
And there are more prophecies about that particular event than any other subject within the Bible. But when you zero in, Steve, on the Messiah's prophecies, there is one aspect that's also a very important proof. Moses said that God would raise up a prophet like unto me to the Israelites. And when you read in Acts 3:22, where that scripture is quoted, and it is applied to Jesus Christ. That also is one of the most compelling proofs of prophetic fulfillment from the Old Testament regarding Jesus Christ. Because when you look at the teachings of Jesus Christ, you see that indeed God did raise up a prophet that was greater than Moses. Look at the Sermon on the Mount for instance, which takes the teaching of the law and shows the spiritual application of that law, the spiritual intent of that law. Far from doing away with the law, it shows how deeply it is to be applied in one's life. The Sermon on the Mount is the application of the law for a New Testament, New Covenant Christian.
And kind of fulfilling those prophecies of those, the law being written in your heart rather than just on a tablet.
Shows how it's to be done and indeed God did raise up a prophet greater than Moses and added to and really expanded on what Moses did. It fulfilled that prophecy. In and of itself, it is one of the most compelling proofs of prophecy in the Bible.
Now the interesting part that so many are intrigued with, these prophecies of the future. You mentioned those of Christ that were fulfilled in His first coming, but there were many that are still left out, it seems, that are hanging there.
Now what about future prophecy? Can you give us an example of future prophecies. End time prophecies that are out there on the horizon?
When you look at a prophecy, you'll find certain template prophecies; ones that others build off of. Deuteronomy, the one about the Prophet, referring to Jesus Christ as one of them. Daniel 2, you mentioned that. That's another one because we get an overall framework. But Jesus' Olivet Prophecy--Matthew 24, Matthew 25--there we see a template of the events that are going to happen and lead up to His second coming. And when you look at that template, you see times when the world has become so filled with chaos and violence that it's going to be on the edge. Humanity is going to be on the edge of self-destruction. But Jesus Christ is going to return to save humanity. Which is the whole point of prophecy, that humanity is going to be saved. So Matthew 24, very important starting point in understanding the future and even in interpreting the book of Revelation.
And when you look at what Christ mentioned there in Matthew 24, He talked about wars. He gave four basic signs that were later repeated in Revelation chapter 6. He talked about false religion. He talked about war. He talked about famine and pestilence. Those point to the future as events that have been with mankind that are going to accelerate toward the end of the age.
But probably the one compelling and interesting statement Jesus made at the beginning of Matthew 24, was where he said as he looked at the buildings of the temple, He said, "not one stone will be left upon another."
And that particular statement which in itself is a prophecy that has been, you know, is in a sense, yet to be filled, because there are stones over in Jerusalem of that temple structure and compound that are still there.
The Western Wall was a good example.
Part of the Western Wall, part of the Southern Wall. They are still there; the very compound that Jesus talked about. Not the temple itself, but the part of the actual buildings of the temple that He actually pointed to. They are still there, but no one has built on that. It's not God's intent.
In fact, there is a story from history, in the fourth century, of one of the Roman Emperors who wanted to rebuild a temple on that spot, and the story is that there was fire that came out from the actual point where the temple was and prevented builders from doing that. God's prophecies, Christ's prophecies there, stand the test of time on down into our age today and give us, not only a template, but a means of understanding where we are in the process of events leading to the time of the end.
Prophecy is not just something that is intriguing or just out there for us to try to figure out all these things, but that He's given us prophecy so that we can have an understanding that He has a plan and that it involves bringing His Kingdom to this earth.
Prophecy tells us that God is the God of history and the future. And that we're not left here to work this out for ourselves. We'd just mess it up. He saves us. He saves humanity.
I wonder if people don't think then: How does that matter to be personally? How does that affect me? Does it really matter if I have any understanding of prophecy at all?
It does matter. But it matters as to how we apply prophecy as much as understanding the elements of prophecy and some of the specific prophecies. One of the things people get too focused on, is when is Christ going to return; trying to set dates about certain prophecies, trying to even put faces to certain names of prophetic figures within the New Testament. Those inevitably end up as mistakes because they are dead end streets for anyone to go down. Really the key Steve, to understanding the purpose for prophecy, is to make us change. Bring us to a point where we actually make changes in our life to conform to God's law, God's teaching. To make us better people. In 2 Peter, chapter 3, Peter said, "after considering all these matters," he says, "what manner of person should we be?" That's really the key: What type of person should we become? If a person can use prophecy to be motivated to change for the good, to clean up their life, to get closer to God, to obey God, then you are really understanding the full purpose of prophecy and coming closer to the biblical intent than any other manifestation one could have.
People get all caught up in knowing all the details, what does the Bible say there?
What's going to happen next?
That's right. What happens is, they forget what the Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians, when he said, that if I understand all prophecy but I don't have agape, if I don't have the love of God, if I'm not living as the child of God, He says, it doesn't mean anything.
Prophecy is to get us zeroed in and understanding what God is doing, so that we live our lives preparing for what God is doing; that we become the very work of God. So, prophecies that help us live godly lives. It isn't so that we have some secret knowledge that makes us better than other people.
Prophecy should be a motivation to us then. It's not just knowing but it's also the doing part. There is so much to understanding Biblical prophecy. We hope you'll remember out free offers today. They are designed to help you prove the truth of prophecy in the Bible. You can understand Bible prophecy. It's written to help you get the facts about prophecy and what the Bible really teaches and why you should believe it. And of course, don't forget your free subscription to The Good News magazine. It will help you understand Bible topics and how the Bible applies to your life. What is going on in our world, it will help you to understand. So call us toll free: 1-888-886-8632. Or go online to BeyondToday.tv
Don't forget to look us up on our Beyond Today Facebook page. Get more information by following us on Twitter as well. You can also set that DVR and record Beyond Today, show it to your friends, watch us at your convenience.
We hope that you will take the prophecy challenge. Compare history to prove what your Bible says. You can't help but see numerous Bible prophecies that have precisely come to pass, showing the Bible to be the genuine Word of God.
Since God fulfilled His prophecies and events in the past, you can count on the fact that He will bring about His prophecies of events that are still in the future. God forecasts difficult times ahead: wars and famine, pestilence, disease. That will be unbelievably difficult times. But, what lies ahead is undoubtedly going to affect your life. God tells you to be ready, be watchful, repent of your sins. Now we don't know the exact timing, but we know that fulfilled past prophecy shows us that future prophecies will come about. Thankfully, God predicts the ultimate result will be good news.
Will you take it to heart? Believe God? Do something about it! Learn from the past and keep His Word, because you can believe Bible prophecy.
That's our program for today. If you missed some of it, go online and catch the whole program and many others at BeyondToday.tv. Don't forget our free offers and be sure and join us next time.
For Beyond Today, I'm Steve Myers. Thanks for watching.