The Bible and Prophecy
Prophecy is defined as “a prediction of the future, made under divine inspiration.” Prophecy constitutes a large part of the Bible. According to the Encyclopedia of Biblical Prophecy, 27 % of the Bible deals with prophecy. Prophecy uniquely extinguished the Bible from other religious books like the Hindu Vedas and the Quran, which don’t stress predictive prophecy.
Bible prophecy confirms its the divine source – the Creator God, who knows the beginning from the end. For He declares, “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” (Isaiah 46:9,10). “Prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:21). The Bible presents: historical prophecies, Messianic prophecies, end-time prophecies, and general prophecies. In this short article, we will only focus on just a few of these prophecies:
The Old Testament predictions of the Messiah were so specific and so clearly fulfilled by Jesus Christ to prove that He was the Messiah. There are more than 125 of these prophecies. Here are just 12 of them:
|Prophecy||Old Testament Prediction||New Testament Fulfillment|
|1.||Born in Bethlehem||Micah 5:2||Matthew 2:1|
|2.||Born of a virgin||Isaiah 7:14||Matthew 1:18-23|
|3.||David’s lineage||Jeremiah 23:5||Revelation 22:16|
|4.||Target of murder attempt||Jeremiah 31:15||Matthew 2:16-18|
|5.||Betrayed by a friend||Psalms 41:9||John 13:18, 19, 26|
|6.||Sold for 30 silver coins||Zechariah 11:12||Matthew 26:14-16|
|7.||Crucified||Zechariah 12:10||John 19:16-18, 37|
|8.||Lots cast for His clothes||Psalms 22:18||Matthew 27:35|
|9.||No bones broken||Psalms 34:20||John 19:31-36|
|10.||Buried in a rich man’s tomb||Isaiah 53:9||Matthew 27:57-60|
|11.||Year, day, hour of His death||Daniel 9:26, 27; Exodus 12:6||Matthew 27:45-50|
|12.||Raised the third day||Hosea 6:2||Acts 10:38-40|
What are the odds that Jesus could have fulfilled just eight of these prophecies by mere chance? Dr. Peter Stoner, former chairman of the departments of mathematics, astronomy, and engineering at Pasadena College in California, applied the principle of probability to this question.
He calculated the odds of just eight being fulfilled by one man as one in
One of the most amazing prophecies in the Bible gives the exact time of Christ’s baptism and crucifixion. This prophecy was given by the angel Gabriel to Daniel many centuries before Christ. “Seventy weeks,” said the angel, “are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most holy” (Daniel 9:24).
A day in prophecy stands for a year (Numbers 14:34; Ezekiel 4:6). The seventy weeks, or four hundred and ninety days, represent four hundred and ninety years. A starting point for this period is given: “Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks” (Daniel 9:25).
Sixty-nine weeks represent four hundred and eighty-three years. The commandment to restore and build Jerusalem, as completed by the decree of Artaxerxes Longimanus, went into effect in the autumn of 457 BC (Ezra 6:14; 7:1, 9).
From this time four hundred and eighty-three years extend to the autumn of AD 27. According to the prophecy, this period was to reach to the Messiah, the Anointed One. In AD 27, Jesus at His baptism received the anointing of the Holy Spirit and soon afterward began His ministry. Then the message was proclaimed, “The time is fulfilled” (Mark 1:15).
Then, said the angel, “And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week [seven years]…”(Daniel 9:27). For seven years after the Savior entered on His ministry, the gospel was to be preached especially to the Jews; for three and a half years by Christ Himself, and afterward by the apostles. “…in the midst of the week He shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease” (Daniel 9:27). In the spring of AD 31, Christ, the true Sacrifice, was offered on Calvary. Then the veil of the temple was rent in twain, showing that the sacredness and significance of the sacrificial service had departed. The time had come for the earthly sacrifice and oblation to cease.
The one week – seven years – ended in AD 34. Then by the stoning of Stephen the Jews finally sealed their rejection of the gospel; the disciples who were scattered abroad by persecution “went everywhere preaching the word” (Acts 8:4); and shortly after, Saul the persecutor was converted and became Paul the apostle to the Gentiles.
For a review of the major Bible prophecies, check section (VI).
In Hi service,