History Proves the Accuracy of Bible Prophecy

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History Proves the Accuracy of Bible Prophecy

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Can you believe Bible prophecy? The history of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah is a powerful testimony to the accuracy and precision of Bible prophecy. Consider, for example, God’s prophecies of the fate of Israel if the Israelites rebelled against Him.

The story begins with Israel’s split into two kingdoms, Israel and Judah, around 931 B.C., soon after Solomon’s death. Jeroboam, king of Israel (ca. 931-910), instituted idolatry as part of his kingdom’s worship (1 Kings 12:26-33 1 Kings 12:26-33 26 And Jeroboam said in his heart, Now shall the kingdom return to the house of David: 27 If this people go up to do sacrifice in the house of the LORD at Jerusalem, then shall the heart of this people turn again to their lord, even to Rehoboam king of Judah, and they shall kill me, and go again to Rehoboam king of Judah. 28 Whereupon the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold, and said to them, It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem: behold your gods, O Israel, which brought you up out of the land of Egypt. 29 And he set the one in Bethel, and the other put he in Dan. 30 And this thing became a sin: for the people went to worship before the one, even to Dan. 31 And he made an house of high places, and made priests of the lowest of the people, which were not of the sons of Levi. 32 And Jeroboam ordained a feast in the eighth month, on the fifteenth day of the month, like to the feast that is in Judah, and he offered on the altar. So did he in Bethel, sacrificing to the calves that he had made: and he placed in Bethel the priests of the high places which he had made. 33 So he offered on the altar which he had made in Bethel the fifteenth day of the eighth month, even in the month which he had devised of his own heart; and ordained a feast to the children of Israel: and he offered on the altar, and burnt incense.
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God warned Jeroboam’s wife of the consequences of his, and the kingdom’s, idolatry: “For the Lord will strike Israel . . . He will uproot Israel from this good land which He gave to their fathers, and will scatter them beyond the River [the Euphrates], because they have made their wooden images, provoking the Lord to anger” (1 Kings 14:15 1 Kings 14:15For the LORD shall smite Israel, as a reed is shaken in the water, and he shall root up Israel out of this good land, which he gave to their fathers, and shall scatter them beyond the river, because they have made their groves, provoking the LORD to anger.
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God continued, through His prophets, to warn of the punishment sure to come if the Israelites would not turn from their sinful ways. He waited, patiently and mercifully, for a repentance that never came.

One such prophet was Micah (mid to late 700s B.C.), author of the biblical book that bears his name. “The word of the Lord that came to Micah…which he saw concerning Samaria [Israel’s capital] and Jerusalem…I will make Samaria a heap of ruins in the field, places for planting a vineyard; I will pour down her stones into the valley, and I will uncover her foundations” (Micah 1:1-6 Micah 1:1-6 1 The word of the LORD that came to Micah the Morasthite in the days of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, which he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem. 2 Hear, all you people; listen, O earth, and all that therein is: and let the Lord GOD be witness against you, the LORD from his holy temple. 3 For, behold, the LORD comes forth out of his place, and will come down, and tread on the high places of the earth. 4 And the mountains shall be molten under him, and the valleys shall be cleft, as wax before the fire, and as the waters that are poured down a steep place. 5 For the transgression of Jacob is all this, and for the sins of the house of Israel. What is the transgression of Jacob? is it not Samaria? and what are the high places of Judah? are they not Jerusalem? 6 Therefore I will make Samaria as an heap of the field, and as plantings of a vineyard: and I will pour down the stones thereof into the valley, and I will discover the foundations thereof.
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Finally, after successive invasions, the Assyrian Empire devastated Israel and took most of its population captive (722 B.C.).

“Now the king of Assyria went throughout all the land, and went up to Samaria and besieged it for three years. In the ninth year of Hoshea, the king of Assyria took Samaria and carried Israel away to Assyria…For so it was that the children of Israel had sinned against the Lord their God…And they rejected His statutes and His covenant that He had made with their fathers, and His testimonies which He had testified against them; they followed idols, became idolaters, and went after the nations who were all around them, concerning whom the Lord had charged them that they should not do like them” (2 Kings 17:5-15 2 Kings 17:5-15 5 Then the king of Assyria came up throughout all the land, and went up to Samaria, and besieged it three years. 6 In the ninth year of Hoshea the king of Assyria took Samaria, and carried Israel away into Assyria, and placed them in Halah and in Habor by the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes. 7 For so it was, that the children of Israel had sinned against the LORD their God, which had brought them up out of the land of Egypt, from under the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and had feared other gods, 8 And walked in the statutes of the heathen, whom the LORD cast out from before the children of Israel, and of the kings of Israel, which they had made. 9 And the children of Israel did secretly those things that were not right against the LORD their God, and they built them high places in all their cities, from the tower of the watchmen to the fenced city. 10 And they set them up images and groves in every high hill, and under every green tree: 11 And there they burnt incense in all the high places, as did the heathen whom the LORD carried away before them; and worked wicked things to provoke the LORD to anger: 12 For they served idols, whereof the LORD had said to them, You shall not do this thing. 13 Yet the LORD testified against Israel, and against Judah, by all the prophets, and by all the seers, saying, Turn you from your evil ways, and keep my commandments and my statutes, according to all the law which I commanded your fathers, and which I sent to you by my servants the prophets. 14 Notwithstanding they would not hear, but hardened their necks, like to the neck of their fathers, that did not believe in the LORD their God. 15 And they rejected his statutes, and his covenant that he made with their fathers, and his testimonies which he testified against them; and they followed vanity, and became vain, and went after the heathen that were round about them, concerning whom the LORD had charged them, that they should not do like them.
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As noted above, God had prophesied almost 200 years earlier that He would “uproot Israel from this good land which He gave to their fathers, and…scatter them beyond the [Euphrates] River…” This and many other details of the prophecies and historical account of the Assyrian invasions and resultant Israelite captivity are verified by Assyrian records and other archaeological discoveries.

Judah fails to learn a lesson

Even after witnessing the downfall of the kingdom of Israel, citizens of the kingdom of Judah themselves drifted into idolatry and disobedience. God sent prophets to warn them of their fate if they failed to repent.

Through the prophet Jeremiah (late 600s through 500s B.C.), God delivered a remarkable prophecy of Judah’s future:

“The Lord has sent to you all His servants the prophets, rising early and sending them, but you have not listened nor inclined your ear to hear. They said, ‘Repent now everyone of his evil way and his evil doings, and dwell in the land that the Lord has given to you and your fathers forever and ever. Do not go after other gods to serve them and worship them, and do not provoke Me to anger with the works of your hands; and I will not harm you.’

“ ‘Yet you have not listened to Me…Because you have not heard My words, behold, I will send and take all the families of the north,’ says the Lord, ‘and Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, My servant, and will bring them against this land, against its inhabitants, and against these nations all around, and will utterly destroy them…And this whole land shall be a desolation and an astonishment, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years.

“ ‘Then it will come to pass, when seventy years are completed, that I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation, the land of the Chaldeans, for their iniquity,’ says the Lord; ‘and I will make it a perpetual desolation’ ” (Jeremiah 25:4-12 Jeremiah 25:4-12 4 And the LORD has sent to you all his servants the prophets, rising early and sending them; but you have not listened, nor inclined your ear to hear. 5 They said, Turn you again now every one from his evil way, and from the evil of your doings, and dwell in the land that the LORD has given to you and to your fathers for ever and ever: 6 And go not after other gods to serve them, and to worship them, and provoke me not to anger with the works of your hands; and I will do you no hurt. 7 Yet you have not listened to me, said the LORD; that you might provoke me to anger with the works of your hands to your own hurt. 8 Therefore thus said the LORD of hosts; Because you have not heard my words, 9 Behold, I will send and take all the families of the north, said the LORD, and Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon, my servant, and will bring them against this land, and against the inhabitants thereof, and against all these nations round about, and will utterly destroy them, and make them an astonishment, and an hissing, and perpetual desolations. 10 Moreover I will take from them the voice of mirth, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride, the sound of the millstones, and the light of the candle. 11 And this whole land shall be a desolation, and an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years. 12 And it shall come to pass, when seventy years are accomplished, that I will punish the king of Babylon, and that nation, said the LORD, for their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldeans, and will make it perpetual desolations.
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Judah would fall to the Babylonians, God warned, and would go into captivity in Babylon for 70 years. At the end of the 70 years God would, in turn, punish Babylon. In another astonishing prophecy, God revealed through Isaiah the name of the ruler—Cyrus, king of Persia—who would, a century and a half after Isaiah wrote, permit the Jews’ return (Isaiah 44:28 Isaiah 44:28That said of Cyrus, He is my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem, You shall be built; and to the temple, Your foundation shall be laid.
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; Isaiah 45:1-4 Isaiah 45:1-4 1 Thus said the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have held, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut; 2 I will go before you, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron: 3 And I will give you the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that you may know that I, the LORD, which call you by your name, am the God of Israel. 4 For Jacob my servant’s sake, and Israel my elect, I have even called you by your name: I have surnamed you, though you have not known me.
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Jeremiah’s prophecy came to pass. After several invasions, Judah fell to the Babylonians.

God fulfills His promise

The 70 years in exile passed. Daniel 5 records that the Babylonian monarch Belshazzar held a great and blasphemous feast at which he and his guests drank wine from gold and silver vessels looted from the Jerusalem temple years before by Nebuchadnezzar. The king watched as a ghostly hand appeared and wrote a mysterious message on the wall. The king “was so frightened that his knees knocked together and his legs gave way” (Daniel 5:6 Daniel 5:6Then the king’s countenance was changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his loins were loosed, and his knees smote one against another.
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The prophet Daniel revealed that this original handwriting on the wall signified God’s judgment that Babylon’s dominance had come to an end. He told the king, “ ‘Your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians’…[and] that very night Belshazzar, king of the Babylonians, was slain” (Daniel 5:28-30 Daniel 5:28-30 28 PERES; Your kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians. 29 Then commanded Belshazzar, and they clothed Daniel with scarlet, and put a chain of gold about his neck, and made a proclamation concerning him, that he should be the third ruler in the kingdom. 30 In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain.
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A century later the Greek historian Herodotus (484-420) confirmed Daniel’s account of the fall of Babylon: “The Persians, drawing off the river [Euphrates] by a canal into the lake, which was till now a marsh, he [Cyrus] made the stream to sink till its former channel could be forded. When this happened, the Persians who were posted with this intent made their way into Babylon by the channel of the Euphrates, which had now sunk to about the height of the middle of a man’s thigh…The Persians thus entered the city…and the inhabitants who lived in the central part of Babylon were unaware of the enemies’ presence due to the great size of the city and since they were celebrating a festival. They continued dancing and exchanging gifts until they were suddenly told of their sad fate. In this manner was Babylon conquered” ( History, book 1, paragraphs 191-192).

Daniel’s prediction, along with the prophecies of other prophets of God about the downfall of Babylon, was suddenly and dramatically fulfilled.

Jeremiah’s prophecy of a 70-year captivity and Isaiah’s prophecy of Cyrus allowing the Jews to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar were also fulfilled down to the last detail. The books of Ezra and Nehemiah record the Jews’ return from exile.

Fulfilled prophecy’s meaning for us

A series of remarkable prophecies spanning hundreds of years, five kingdoms and many prophets and rulers precisely came to pass. As God had said through Isaiah when He foretold Judah’s downfall at the hands of the Babylonians: “I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure’… Indeed I have spoken it; I will also bring it to pass. I have purposed it; I will also do it” (Isaiah 46:9-11 Isaiah 46:9-11 9 Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, 10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure: 11 Calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executes my counsel from a far country: yes, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it.
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God alone has the power to prophesy events and then bring them to pass. He will yet bring to pass the many other unfulfilled prophecies recorded in His Word.

For additional proof that the Bible is indeed God’s inspired Word, be sure to download or request your free copy of Is the Bible True?