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D.C. Collier: Fulfilled Prophecies Prove Bible’s Divine Inspiration

The doctrine of the divine inspiration of the scriptures is foundational to the Judeo-Christian worldview and, consequently, is the most violently opposed by its numerous critics.

Further, there is no more powerful proof of such divine inspiration than the many biblical prophecies that are interspersed across the Bible’s sacred pages. Over the past 2,000 years, biblical scholars on both sides of the argument have doggedly studied these many hundreds of predictions in a quest to verify (or refute) their literal fulfillment.

The stakes are high here; because of their specificity, there would be nowhere for defenders of the Bible to hide if indeed the prophecies were later proven to be false.

The basic defense of divine authority goes like this: In the actual time period that a particular biblical prophet was penning his predictions, only God could have known the details of the future events about which he was writing.

It’s one thing to be a Jeane Dixon1 or Nostradamus2 who predicted future events in such figuratively vague terms as to defy literal interpretation — hit a few, miss a few, who’s to know. It is another thing altogether to issue predictions that are so specific as to paint the prophet “into a corner” if a prophecy did not literally come true.

In his book, Is the Bible Really a Message from God?, author Ralph Muncaster wrote:

“Bible prophecies are of all types — information about events to occur, about how and when things will happen, and about specific people. Some prophecies were made about events that were imminent. Others were about events occurring hundreds of years later. ‘Prophets’ who were wrong in the short term were stoned, and their prophecies were not included in scripture.

“The Bible contains more than 1,000 prophecies: 668 are known to be fulfilled, with none ever proved false. There are three that have not yet been confirmed. Virtually all unfulfilled prophecies relate to the second coming of Christ and the ‘end times.’”3

Cryptic Old Testament Predictions Foretell a Coming Messiah/Deliverer

Unquestionably, one of the most remarkable and controversial subjects in the Bible relates to the identity of Jesus Christ as Israel’s Messiah. Today’s Orthodox Jews largely reject this characterization and hold to the belief that this mystery man has yet to appear and that Jesus was nothing more than one in a long line of Messianic imposters.

The very fact that Jesus Christ made the claim to being the Messiah was the primary reason he was put to death by the religious leaders of Israel in the first place. Of course, not all Jews held that belief — most of the early followers of Jesus were Jews, including Jesus himself.

In fact, eventually, one of the most prominent Jews of all, Saul of Tarsus, later named Paul, became a believer and ended up writing nearly two–thirds of the New Testament.

So, what was it that led these early Jewish (and later Gentile) followers to dare to believe that Jesus, of all the other hundreds of candidates, was the one and only Messiah? What would possess an ordinarily sane citizen of Israel to risk his or her life to defend a story that seemed admittedly outlandish and would put them at odds with every religious leader in the land?

Besides their personal witness of Christ’s words, miracles, wisdom, uncommon authority and unvarying holiness, they had their centuries-old scriptures, which contained ancient prophecies that painted a picture, stroke by stroke, of what this coming Messiah would look like. When connected end to end, these prophecies painted a remarkably detailed picture of this enigmatic savior/king.

Next week we will demonstrate how just 48 of the more than 300 Old Testament Messianic prophecies, when connected, paint a picture so unlikely that one biblical expert exclaimed:

“The estimated odds of just these 48 prophecies being fulfilled in the life of one man have been calculated as one in 10157. This would be equivalent to winning 22 lotteries in a row!”​4

Yet, fulfilled they were, folks! That’s one chance in 10 with 157 zeros after it!!

D.C. Collier is a Bible teacher, discipleship mentor and writer focused on Christian apologetics. A mechanical engineer and Internet entrepreneur, he is the author of My Origin, My Destiny, a book focused on Christianity’s basic “value proposition.” Click here for more information. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

1. John Allen Paulos, a mathematician at Temple University, coined the term 'the Jeane Dixon effect', which references a tendency to promote a few correct predictions while ignoring a larger number of incorrect predictions. Many of Dixon's predictions proved erroneous, such as her claims that a dispute over the offshore Chinese islands of Quemoy and Matsu would trigger the start of World War III in 1958, that American labor leader Walter Reuther would run for president of the United States in the 1964 presidential election, that the second child of Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau and his young wife Margaret would be a girl (it was a boy), and that the Soviets would be the first to put men on the moon. Source: Wikipedia

2. Skeptics such as James Randi suggest that his reputation as a prophet is largely manufactured by modern-day supporters who fit his words to events that have either already occurred or are so imminent as to be inevitable, a process sometimes known as "retroactive clairvoyance" (postdiction). Thus, no Nostradamus quatrain is known to have been interpreted as predicting a specific event before it occurred, other than in vague, general terms that could equally apply to any number of other events. Source: Wikipedia

3. Muncaster, Ralph O. Is the Bible Really a Message from God? Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 2000. Print.

4. Ibid

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