The fulfillment of prophecies found in the Bible evidences its divine inspiration.
The Old and New Testaments include several prophecies about historical events and about the birth and life of Jesus that came true. None have gone unfulfilled.
The Old and New Testaments also include prophecies about future events that are currently unfolding.
The Old Testament includes many prophecies about the empires of Babylon, Phoenicia, Assyria, Egypt, and Persia that dominated the Middle East at various times, centuries before Jesus was born. Here are a few of them.
Around 740 BC, Isaiah foretold the collapse of the Babylonian empire. He said its capital, Babylon, which was located on the banks of the Euphrates River about fifty miles south of modern Baghdad, would be reduced to swampland. This occurred in 539 BC. Only the excavated ruins of Babylon exist today.
Sometime around 660 BC, Nahum prophesied that the Assyrian Empire would fall. He said its capital, Nineveh, would be hit by a flood, conquered, and burned to the ground. According to the Greek historian, Diodorus Siculus, these events occurred in 612 BC, when a coalition of Babylonians, Scythians, and Medes overran the city.
Around 586 BC, Ezekiel predicted the defeat of the Phoenician Empire. He said the stones and timber of its capital city, Tyre, would be tossed into the sea. This outcome materialized around 332 BC when the army of Alexander the Great destroyed the city and used the resulting rubble to build a land bridge to a nearby island.
Sometime between 593-571 BC, Ezekiel prophesied that Egypt would no longer dominate other nations, as it had for centuries. Egypt was subsequently controlled by various foreign powers, including the Romans, the Ottomans, and the British until it regained its independence in 1956. In 1948, 1967, and 1973, Egypt tried to conquer Israel and was defeated each time.
The Old Testament books of Jeremiah, Isaiah, Daniel, and Ezekiel contain many prophecies about the ebbs and flows of the ancient Persian empire. As Daniel predicted, it eventually collapsed and was ruled by others until 1501, when it regained its sovereignty and became known as Iran.
The Old Testament books of Daniel and Zechariah include prophecies about the rise of the Greek Empire that were fulfilled by Alexander the Great. Daniel predicted the Greek empire would be later split into four parts. This occurred after the death of Alexander.
The Old Testament includes over 300 prophecies about the birth, life, death, and resurrection of the Messiah. Jesus fulfilled them all.
Some of these prophecies are theological—e.g., he will be called Immanuel (Prophesied: Isaiah 7:14; Fulfilled: Matthew 1:23). Others could apply to almost anyone—e.g.; he will be mocked (Prophesied: Psalm 22:7-8; Fulfilled: Luke 23:35).
However, many Messianic prophecies are historically specific. Jesus could not have been engineered their fulfillment in adulthood to support his claim of deity.
Here are a few of the prophetic verses from the Old Testament, along with the corresponding New Testament verses describing their fulfillment by Jesus:
- From the tribe of Judah (Genesis 49:10; Luke 3:33)
- A descendant of David (2 Samuel 7:12–13; Matthew 1:6)
- Born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2; Matthew 2:4-6)
- Children would be slaughtered because of him (Jeremiah 31:15; Matthew 2:16-18)
- Spent time in Egypt as a child (Hosea 11:1; Matthew 2:14-15)
- Sold for 30 pieces of silver (Zechariah 11:12; Matthew 26:15)
- Death by crucifixion (Psalm 22:16; Matthew 27:38)
- Given vinegar and gall for thirst (Psalm 69:21; Matthew 27:34)
- His body would be pierced (Zechariah 12:10; John 20:25, 27)
- Lots cast for his clothes (Psalm 22:18; John 19:23-24)
- Would rise from the dead (Psalm 16:10; Matthew 28:5-9)
The Rebirth Of Israel
Jesus prophesied that Israel would be eradicated. This event occurred in 70 A.D, more than thirty years after his death.
The Old Testament prophesied that Israel would later reemerge as a sovereign nation. This occurred in 1948.
The reconstitution of Israel, more than eighteen centuries after its predicted demise, represents contemporary evidence that the Bible is divinely inspired.
Jesus said the generation that witnessed the rebirth of Israel would visibly see him return to earth, collect his living believers, and escort them to heaven. This event is commonly called the Rapture.
The exact timing of the Rapture is unclear because the Bible is vague about specific details, including the length of a generation and how much of its former territory Israel must control before the countdown starts.
The borders of ancient Israel fluctuated over time. The land God initially gave Abraham extended east from the Mediterranean Sea into present-day Iraq. Israel controls only a fraction of this territory in its current configuration.
These ambiguities underscore the Bible admonition that only God knows when Jesus will return to earth.
The Rapture marks the beginning of seven years called the Tribulation.
This period begins when a beguiling political leader, called the Antichrist, initiates a peace treaty between Israel and the major world powers.
The Tribulation ends with Israel being attacked by four armies representing Russia, China, a Middle Eastern military alliance headed by Iran, and a ten-nation European military confederacy.
God saves Israel from this onslaught by dramatically defeating these invaders at Armageddon, a place known today as the Jezreel Valley.
Jesus then returns to earth physically to begin a new 1,000-year era of world history that precedes the advent of heaven on earth.
The Bible describes particular events that will occur during the Tribulation and various aspects of life for the people left behind after the Rapture.
We can infer from these descriptions that certain developments will foreshadow the end times, in addition to the reconstitution of Israel. Here are a few of them.
- The technology to implement a universal identification system.
- The infrastructure to support a global, cashless payment system.
- The worldwide availability of devices that allow individuals to watch live events in real-time.
- A Russian military presence in the Middle East.
- The emergence of China as a global military force.
- The formation of a European military confederacy.
- The rise of Iranian leadership that is openly hostile toward Israel.
- Increases in war, famine, earthquakes, and floods.
- The political isolation of Israel.
Some of these precursors are already in place. Others are currently underway. Still others have yet to commence.
Their emergence, in aggregate, indirectly indicates that the end-time prophecies are accurate and that the Bible is divinely inspired.