If you are a Christian, you have probably heard that Jesus fulfilled dozens of prophecies predicted long before He came to this earth. I personally believe that these prophecies prove that He is the Savior of the world. But there have been a few times in my life when those Messianic prophecies were just not enough for the skeptics I was trying to convince. That is why over the years, through research, I have discovered two significant prophecies in the Old Testament which help prove the supernatural aspect of the Bible. These two prophecies help my mind and heart believe that the word of the Bible are truly God-breathed.
Fulfilled prophecy is the greatest reason to believe that the Bible is trustworthy. The Bible contains precise fulfilled prophecies. The Bible has to be reliable about the things of this earth if we are to believe it about the things of heaven. Some biblical prophecies are so specific, so unambiguous, and so accurate that we must conclude that the writers were inspired by God. Biblical prophecy names places, events, and even people in great detail. We might wonder the when and why, but when we read it, it is in plain language. I would like to present two significant prophecies that can be used to help convince any skeptic that the Bible might just be a supernatural book.
Prediction #1: King Cyrus of Persia. How would you like to predict who will be the president of the United States 150 years from now? And at the same time, describe what will be his most important foreign policy decision? Isaiah does so in Isaiah 44. Read the words of Isaiah with me.
It is I who says of Jerusalem, “She shall be inhabited!” And of the cities of Judah, “They shall be built.” And I will raise up her ruins again…It is I who says of Cyrus, “He is My shepherd! And he will perform all My desire.” (Isaiah 44:26-28)
Cyrus is mentioned as the man who will let the Jews return to their land and rebuild Jerusalem. Isaiah has more to say:
Thus says the Lord to Cyrus His anointed, whom I have taken by the right hand…so that you may know that it is I, the Lord, the God of Israel, who calls you by your name. (Isaiah 45:1-3)
Ezra records the fulfillment of the prediction:
Now in the 1st year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so he sent a proclamation throughout all his kingdom. (Ezra 1:1)
Understanding the timeline is important here in this passage. Isaiah was written approximately 700 B.C., while Cyrus began his reign in 559 B.C. Also, King Cyrus sent the Jews back to Jerusalem in 538 B.C. Isaiah named Cyrus and predicted that he would send the Jews back to Jerusalem 141 years before he became king! God put His own reputation on the line by naming Cyrus!
This is a big deal. Now, if you don’t believe that the Bible is true, then you can’t really get too much out of this prophecy. But I think that this is one of the greatest prophecies in the entire Bible because God (through Isaiah) names a man/king before he is even born. For me, this deepens my faith.
This would be like predicting that Barack Obama was going to be president, but you predicted it in the 1860s. Just think about how hard it would be to predict who will be the next president in 2016. Maybe it will be a Democrat, but it could be a Republican. Or maybe an independent. And this is only two years away. Or, how would you like to predict who will be the president of the United States 150 years from now? In 2164, you are able to state the name of the next president, and at the same time, describe what will be his most important foreign policy decision. Very impressive, you might be thinking.
Prediction #2: The four kingdoms. Daniel predicted the rise and fall of the Babylonian, Medo-Persian, Greek, and Roman Empires in such detail that even honest skeptics must admit that he received his visions from God. Nebuchadnezzar had a dream, and Daniel was the only man who knew what it was about. God gave Daniel a vision of the dream. In his first vision, he saw a statue of a man:
The gold head represented Babylon.
The silver breast/arms represented Medo-Persia.
The bronze belly/thighs represented Greece.
The iron legs represented Rome.
After telling the king what he had dreamed, Daniel interpreted it for him:
You, O king, are the king of kings, to whom the God of heaven has given the kingdom, the power, the strength, and the glory…You are the head of gold. And after you there will arise another kingdom inferior to you, then another third kingdom of bronze, which will rule over all the earth. Then there will be a fourth kingdom as strong as iron. (Daniel 2:37-40)
If you have any doubt about the kingdoms predicted, they are actually identified in Daniel 8 by name:
The two-horned ram that you saw represents the kings of Media and Persia (8:20).
The shaggy goat is the king of Greece, and the large horn between its eyes is the first king (8:21).
Before these kingdoms even existed, they were named by God! What is most startling is that Daniel gave vivid details of the rise of Alexander the Great and that after his death his kingdom would be divided among 4 rulers:
A mighty king will arise, and he will rule with great authority and do as he pleases. But as soon as he has arisen, his kingdom will be broken up and parceled out toward the four points of the compass, though not to his own descendants, nor according to his authority which he exercises, for his sovereignty will be uprooted and given to others beside them. (Dan. 11:3-4).
Well over 200 years after Daniel wrote, Alexander, who had no heirs, arose. After his death, Alexander’s kingdom was divided among his four generals.
Next time you are talking with someone who doubts that this ancient book is trustworthy, ask him or her about these two prophecies. A few years back, I sat down with a self-proclaimed skeptic who did not believe that the Bible was worth reading. So I took him through these passages. His eyes lit up when he saw the name Cyrus on the page in the Bible decades before he breathed his first breath and he just shook his head when he saw the Medo-Persian and Greek Empires listed in the Bible before they even existed. But even with that evidence, he still would not believe. It is because head knowledge must become heart knowledge. It is when we believe in our hearts that God raised Jesus Christ from the grave that we are saved. So, while it is great to prove that the Bible is true, we must remember that a skeptic’s mind is blinded to truth and he or she will not experience that “light bulb” moment until he or she surrenders their heart to God. But remember, sharing these two prophecies with them might bring them a step closer to believing someday, and that is exactly what God asks us to do.