Think for a minute back to the first century.? What do you think the typical
gospel sermon was like? Do you think the early evangelists principally made
an appeal to the emotions of their hearers?? Were they a diatribe against the
pagan religion of the day?? The book of Acts is the most reliable source available
for the very early history of the Christian church.? A brief survey of a number
of the sermons recorded in Acts will yield an outline something like this;
1.? Jesus Christ fulfilled the prophecies of the Messiah found in the Scriptures.?
(The Old Testament, of course, being the only ?Scriptures?).
2.? Jesus proved himself to be the Son of God by the miracles he worked, and
especially by being raised from the dead.
3.? Through the death of Jesus on the cross, God provides a way for your sins
to be forgiven.
4.? Therefore, put your faith in him, repent and be baptized.
It is interesting to consider that the earliest evangelists stressed evidence
for faith in Jesus Christ in their public sermons.? They did so much more than
is typically done today.? Why might that be?
A common misconception of many people is that the average person in the time
of Christ was extremely emotional and superstitious?much more so than today.?
Some skeptics would even argue that the extreme tendency toward superstition
of the ancient peoples would explain how the early church was able to pull off convincing
people Jesus was raised from the dead.? It is interesting to note that the early
gospel preachers relied more strongly on reason and evidence in their evangelistic
appeals than their counterparts in the twenty-first century.? Perhaps we need to
reconsider our stereotype that the people in the ancient world, especially in
the time of Rome were more prone to emotional, superstition-laden argument than
we are.? In fact, given the influence of Greek culture, with its emphasis on
reason and logic, perhaps the shoe should really be on the other foot.? Do the
facts bear out a claim that the earliest believers in Jesus Christ were gullible
and easily convinced?? The answer, in general, is no.
What about those to whom the Old Testament writings were originally addressed??
Were they an extremely emotional and superstitious lot?easily believing in whatever
crackpot came along with a new religious theory?? If one is talking about the
cultures in the Near East before the influence of the Greeks, with their emphasis
on logic and rhetoric, the answer may be yes, up to a point.? It is interesting,
however, that in reading the Old Testament, one finds a picture of God being
careful to provide solid evidence to his people regarding the reliability of the
revelations he was bringing to them.
Consider, for example, Deuteronomy 18:21, 22;
You may say to yourselves, ?How can we know when a
?message has not been spoken by the Lord??? If what a prophet
?proclaims in the name of the Lord does not take place, or come
?true, that is a message the Lord has not spoken.? That prophet
?has spoken presumptuously.? Do not be afraid of him.
In this passage God is telling his people, through Moses, that the test of the
message of a prophet is whether the things he predicts actually come to pass.?
Evidently, the Jews were expected to consider carefully the validity of whatever
message they heard:? whether it was from God or not.? Although describing future
events was not the primary role of the prophets of Israel, it was apparently
something they would do on occasion?partly to prepare God?s people for future
events, but also to provide evidence to support the fact that the prophet was speaking
for God.? The near-term predictions of the Old Testament prophets were usually
not recorded in the Bible, but those who were to be accepted as true prophets
of God had to pass a very rigorous test.? One hundred per cent of their short-term
predictions had to come true for them to be accepted as true messengers of God.?
If they predicted rain and instead a drought occurred, or if they predicted
military victory and a defeat ensued, the supposed prophet was to be ignored.?
Surely none of the supposed modern-day prophets would be able to pass this test!
? ???????????In this chapter, we will be looking at a number of prophetic passages
in both the Old and the New Testament.? These will be prophecies of things not
directly related to the coming of the Messiah, as messianic prophecies have
already been covered in the previous section.? Some will be prophecies of the distant
future, while others will be of things fulfilled within one generation of the
message.? Some of these will meet the rigorous standards described in the previous
chapter (definitely written hundreds of years before, certainly prophetic, confirmed
by historical account outside the Bible), while others will be rely on events
recorded in the Bible.? All will contribute to a growing conviction that the
entire Bible is the inspired Word of God.
I OLD TESTAMENT PROPHECIES WHICH WERE FULFILLED DURING OLD TESTAMENT TIMES.
??????????? A number of books of Christian apologetics cover prophecies of the
Messiah.? Few cover Old Testament prophecies which were fulfilled during Old
Testament times.? This is partly because? messianic prophecies provide such
compelling evidence.? Another factor is that prophecies of the Messiah involve
historical events with? which most readers are already at least somewhat familiar.?
The prophecies included in this section may well involve historical events about
which the reader is less familiar.? Nevertheless, they provide further convincing evidence
for the inspiration of the Bible.? In addition, they offer helpful insight into
how the Jewish readers of the Old Testament were convinced that certain writings
were inspired by God.
?Although we do not have access to the conversations in which the ancient Hebrew
scholars discussed what writings to include in their Bible (the Old Testament),
it is easy to imagine them taking note in their discussions of some of the fulfilled
prophecies to be mentioned here.? Almost certainly those who discussed what writings
were to be considered inspired by God kept the standard of Deuteronomy 18:21,
22 in mind.? Did all the predictions of this prophet come true, as far as we
a new page here
THE DESTRUCTION OF ISRAEL AND JERUSALEM
In the book of Deuteronomy, one can find stern warnings to the Israelites against
turning away from the one true God and turning toward idols.? In chapter twenty-eight
of Deuteronomy, God warns his people that if they are disobedient to the law
handed to them by Moses;
??????????????????????? The Lord will drive you and the king you set over you
?to a nation unknown to you or your fathers. There you will
?worship other gods, gods of wood, and stone.? You will
?become a thing of horror and an object of scorn and ridicule to
?all the nations where the Lord will drive you (Deuteronomy
God, through Moses then lists a number of consequences of disobedience,? Further
down, he continues;
??????????????????????? The Lord will bring a nation against you from far
away, from the ends of the earth, like an eagle swooping down,
?a nation whose language you will not understand, a fierce-
looking nation without respect for the old or pity for the
?young.? They will devour the young of your livestock and the
?crops of your land until you are destroyed.? They will leave
you no grain, new wine, or oil, nor any calves of your herds or
?lambs of your flocks until you are? ruined. They will lay siege
?to all the cities throughout your land until the high fortified
?walls in which you trust fall down.? They will besiege all the
?cities throughout the land the Lord your God is giving you.
??????????? Because of the suffering that your enemy will inflict
?on you during the siege, you will eat the fruit of the womb, the
?flesh of the sons and daughters the Lord your God has given
?you (Deuteronomy 28:49-53).
??????????? The Lord will send you back to Egypt on a journey I said you
?should never make again.? There you will offer yourselves for
?sale to your enemies as male and female slaves, but no one
?will buy you (Deuteronomy 28:68)
??????????? The fulfillment in history of Moses? prophetic words are a familiar
thing to those who are well-versed in Old Testament biblical history.? For some,
the fact that these words of Moses were fulfilled to the letter is so familiar
that they may easily miss the astounding nature of the prophecy and its exact
fulfillment.? For those less knowledgeable of the relevant Near Eastern history,
a little background information will be helpful.
??????????? The events recorded in Deuteronomy occurred around 1400 BC.? We
depend for the details of the story on the record in the Bible, but at least
the broad outline of the events surrounding the Hebrews entering and conquering
significant parts of Palestine are confirmed by archaeological record (see chapter
seven for more on this).? After entering the Promised Land, the Hebrew people
were not politically unified.? They were organized primarily along the lines
of the twelve tribes, with occasional periods of at least partial unity under
the judges.? However, as prophesied by Moses, the Israelites eventually set
a king over themselves. The first king was Saul the Benjamite.? Upon his death,
King David came to power, establishing a dynasty which lasted for over four hundred
years.? David built a powerful nation, over which he ruled personally from about
1040 to 1000 BC.? Political and spiritual unity proved to be short-lived.? By
the reign of David?s grandson Rehoboam, political and spiritual corruption led to the
division of the kingdom into the Northern Kingdom (known as Israel, Samaria
or Ephraim) with its capital at Samaria, under King Jeroboam and his successors,
and the Southern Kingdom (Judah), with its capital at Jerusalem, under the Davidic
??????????? The Northern Kingdom was spiritually more corrupt than the Southern.?
It never fully accepted worship of Jehovah, but rather mixed worship of Jehovah
God with obeisance to Baal and other pagan gods.? For this reason (at least
from the biblical perspective), the Northern Kingdom was completely destroyed in 722
BC by the Assyrian armies under Shalmanezer.? Samaria was leveled, and thousands
of captives were taken as slaves and scattered to various points in the vast
Assyrian Empire.? These events are recorded in 2 Kings 17.? They are confirmed by
archaeological finds in Nineveh, the capital of Assyria.
???????????? Although idolatry was a major problem in Judah as well, the Southern
Kingdom kept at least the form of correct worship generally much more faithfully
than did Ephraim.? Nevertheless, as the Jews in Judah slipped further into idolatry,
they were finally conquered by the Babylonians under King Nebuchadnezzar.? Jerusalem
was defeated in 605 BC and many were carried as slaves into captivity.? At that
point, Jerusalem began paying tribute to Babylon.? However, in 597 BC, the king
rebelled and the city was again attacked and put under siege by Nebuchadnezzar.?
This time, the king was taken into captivity along with thousands of Israelites.?
A puppet king was left in his place.? When this king rebelled, Nebuchadnezzar
attacked again.? This time, the temple was destroyed and Jerusalem was finally
leveled in 586 BC.
? ??????????Nevertheless, a small remnant of Jews remained behind under a governor
who was not of the Davidic dynasty.? Foolishly, a minority of the remnant rebelled
even against this authority as established by Nebuchadnezzar.? Out of fear of
the returning armies, the majority of the remnant fled in the opposite direction, into
Egypt in hopes of find safe haven there.? These events are recorded in 2 Kings
25 and Jeremiah 52.? Again, separate Babylonian records substantially confirm
the biblical record.
??????????? Imagine one of the Israelite refugees in Egypt pulling out a manuscript
including what we now call Deuteronomy 28 and considering the fate of Israel.?
Imagine him or her thinking ?if only we had listened to the warnings of Moses.??
The prophecy of Deuteronomy 28 had been fulfilled in exact detail.? As prophesied,
the Israelites put a king over themselves (?and the king you set over you,?
v. 36).? In addition, exactly as prophesied, God sent them and their king into
exile in a country they were not even familiar with.? At the time of the conquest
of Palestine under Joshua, the Israelites were very familiar with Egypt, but
at that time the Assyrian Empire did not yet even exist, and Babylon was a distant
and at least temporarily insignificant city.? Later, however, the name Assyria became synonymous
with ferocity and cruelty (?a fierce looking nation without respect for the
old or pity for the young.?)? Both the Assyrians and Babylonians conquered Israel
by a strategy of laying siege to the major cities (?They will besiege all the
cities throughout the land the Lord your God is giving you.?)? During the siege
of Samaria, the famine became so extreme, that some of the Jews actually resorted
to cannibalism of their own children.? This gruesome fact is recorded in 2 Kings
6:24-31 (?Because of the suffering that your enemy will inflict on you during
the siege, you will eat the fruit of the womb, the flesh of the sons and daughters
the Lord your God has given you.?).? Perhaps most astonishingly of all, Moses accurately
prophesied the part about the last remnant fleeing into Egypt (?The Lord will
send you back in ships to Egypt on a journey I said you should never make again.?).
??????????? Fortunately for Israel, and for God?s plan to bless his people,
the prophecy did not end with Deuteronomy 28:68.
??????????????????????? When all these blessings and curses I have set before
?you come upon you and you take them to heart wherever the
?Lord your God disperses you among the nations, and when
?you and your children return to the Lord your God and obey
?him with all your heart and with all your soul according to
?everything I command you today, then the Lord your God will
?restore your fortunes and h
ave compassion on you and gather
?you again from all the nations where he scattered you.? Even if
?you have been banished to the most distant land under the
?heavens, from there the Lord your God will gather you and
?bring you back.? He will bring you to the land that belonged to
?your fathers, and you will take possession of it.
Of course, God?s prophetic promise of blessing to his people upon their repentance
was fulfilled as well, even after they had been scattered across the Near East.?
After a seventy-year period of exile for God?s people under the Babylonians,
God allowed the Persian general Cyrus to conquer Babylon.? Almost immediately
after his victories, Cyrus decreed a general return of the Jews to their homeland
in order to rebuild their nation (see Ezra 1:2-4 for an excerpt from that decree).?
The prophecy was fulfilled to the letter.? As one scans the spectrum of human history,
are there any other examples of a people who was conquered and totally scattered,
but who later returned in numbers to their original homeland under the protection
of a new conquering power?? I cannot think of any.? The prophecy in Deuteronomy
30 is very specific.? It is also very unlikely by the standard of human history,
but God brought it to pass.? Good job, God.? It is worth bearing in mind that
approximately 900 years separated the prophecy in Deuteronomy 28-30 and the complete
fulfillment.? That would be equivalent to a prediction made somewhere around
1100 AD being fulfilled today.
??????????? There is another interesting Old Testament prophecy which can be
found in the book of Joshua.? This prophecy may not have had such a great impact
on the stage of world history, but it is an amazing example of specific prophetic
fulfillment.? At the time of the destruction of Jericho, the leader of God?s
people, Joshua, made the following statement;
??????????? ?Cursed before the Lord is the man who undertakes to rebuild
??????????? this city, Jericho:
???????? ????????????????At the cost of his firstborn son
??????????????????????????????????? will he lay its foundations;
??????????????????????? at the cost of his youngest
??????????????????????????????????? will he set up its gates.? (Joshua 6:26)
One might read the book of Joshua and pass through this prophecy without paying
it great notice.? Unfortunately, a few hundred years later, an Israelite made
the same mistake.? In I Kings 16:26 there is a record of a man named Hiel of
Bethel who, in the time of king Ahab (abound 860 BC), rebuilt the city of Jericho.?
This was somewhere around five hundred years after the prophecy of Joshua.?
Perhaps Heil was unaware of the prophecy, or perhaps he figured that five hundred
years was long enough for God to forget the warning he had made through Joshua.?
Whatever the reason for Heil not taking heed of the solemn oath from Joshua,
the Bible records that at the time of laying the foundation of Jericho, the
unfortunate man lost his first-born son Abiram.? Despite this tragic loss, Heil continued
to build Jericho, ?and he set up its gates at the cost of his youngest son Segub.?
(I Kings 16:26).? Will we make the same mistake as Hiel, or will we take heed
to the Word of God?
THE GREATNESS OF BABYLON
?? ?????????Another very interesting prophecy which was both recorded and fulfilled
during Old Testament times is found in the book of Isaiah, chapter 39.? Here
one finds recorded the visit of an envoy from the city of Babylon to king Hezekiah
in Jerusalem.? Hezekiah reigned in Jerusalem from 716 to 687 BC.? At the time of the
envoy?s visit, Babylon was a major city, but it had no independent political
power at all.? It was subject to the mighty Assyrian Empire.? Hezekiah took
the envoys on a tour of his palace, showing them his storehouse of gold, silver,
spices and other treasures.? Despite the fact that Babylon was politically powerless
at the time, Isaiah made what must have seemed an amazing prophecy to Hezekiah
at that time;
???????????????? ???????Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, ?Hear the word of the
Lord Almighty: The time will surely come when everything in
?your palace, and all that your fathers have stored up until this
?day, will be carried off to Babylon.? Nothing will be left, says
?the Lord.? And some of your descendants, your own flesh and
?blood who will be born to you, will be taken away, and they
?will become eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.
??????????? This prophecy/prediction of Isaiah would be roughly equivalent in
the modern context to someone predicting that sometime around a hundred years
from now, the city of Houston and the state of Texas will rise up and rebel
against the United States, form its own independent power, and conquer Mexico.?
Would anyone believe a prediction like this?? Yet, this is essentially what
happened.? Sure enough, in the year 612 BC, about one hundred years after the
prophetic statement of Isaiah, Nabopolassar, a Babylonian general, along with Cyaxares, the
leader of the Medes, rose in rebellion against Assyria and destroyed its capital
of Nineveh. Seven years later Nabopolassar?s successor, Nebuchadnezzar, conquered
Judah, taking off to Babylon the treasure which had been so proudly displayed
??????????? There is more to the specific fulfillment of this prophecy.? Remember
that Isaiah had said that some of Hezekiah?s own flesh and blood descendants
would be taken away and become eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.?
Unfortunately, this is exactly what happened.? In 605 BC, king Jehoiakim, Hezekiah?s
great grandson, payed tribute, and a number of captives/hostages were taken
to Babylon.? Later, Jehoiakim rebelled against Babylon.? Soon after, he died
and was succeeded by his son, Hezekiah?s great, great grandson, Jehoiachin.? Nebuchadnezzar
returned and put Jerusalem under siege.? The wall of the city was breached,
Jehoachin fled and was captured.? He and many of his family and palace eunuchs
were carred into captivity in Babylon.? This tragedy occurred in 598 BC in dramatic
and specific fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah.? These events are recorded
in 2 Kings 24, 25 as well as in 2 Chronicles 36.
??????????? Isaiah wrote down his prophecy of these events one hundred years
before they happened.? To add to the illustration above, This would be like
a modern day prophet adding to his or her prediction for Texas that at the time
Texas conquers Mexico, the great, great grandson of Vincente Fox (the current president
of Mexico) will be in power, and that he will be taken to Houston and kept in
captivity there, along with his family.? Let us face the facts here.? This amazing
prophecy shows that God spoke through Isaiah.
70 YEARS OF CAPTIVITY
??????????? The prophet Isaiah foretold the destruction of Jerusalem.? His successor
Jeremiah lived through those tragic events.? God gave Jeremiah the unenviable
task of prophesying the destruction of Jerusalem while the city was surrounded
by Nebuchadnezzar?s troops.? To say the least, the leaders of Jerusalem were not pleased
when Jeremiah advised the people to give up and surrender to their hated enemies,
the Babylonians.? T
hey threw him down to the bottom of a deep well and left
him for dead in order to shut him up.
Jeremiah prophesied doom to Jerusalem, saying ?thus says the Lord.?? Actually,
it would not have required a miraculous prophetic ability for Jeremiah to predict
that the end was near for Jerusalem when the city was surrounded by a seemingly
insurmountable army.? Probably even Jean Dixon could have gotten that one right.? However,
during this crisis, Jeremiah was able to prophesy a return to greatness for
??????????????????????? Therefore the Lord says this:? ?Because you have not
?listened to my words, I will summon all the peoples of the
?north and my servant Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon,?
?declares the Lord, ?and I will bring them against this land and
?its inhabitants and against all the surrounding nations.? I will
?completely destroy them and make them an object of horror
?and scorn, and an everlasting ruin.? I will banish from them the
?sounds of jay and gladness, the voices of bride and
?bridegroom, the sound of millstones and the light of the lamp.
?This whole country will become a desolate wasteland, and
?these nations will serve the king of Babylon seventy years.
??????????? ?But when the seventy years are fulfilled, I will
?punish the king of Babylon and his nation, the land of the
?Babylonians, for their guilt,? declares the Lord (Jeremiah
?25:8-12, emphasis added)
God caused this prophecy to be fulfilled to the letter.? In the year 605 BC
the first part of Jeremiah?s prophecy was realized (during Jeremiah?s lifetime)
as Nebuchadnezzar surrounded the city and Jehoakim was forced to surrender.?
The seventy years of captivity had begun.? Almost seventy years later, while reading
Jeremiah in the city of Babylon, Daniel, one of the original captives taken
in 605 BC, read this passage.? He stood in the city which had been captured
by the Persian general Cyrus just that year.? He did a little math, and realized
that the restoration of Israel was immanent.? Daniel began to pray.
??????????? Sure enough, just as Isaiah had prophesied, seventy years after
the captivity, and later the destruction of Jerusalem, the Babylonian Empire
was destroyed, and Cyrus decreed the return of the Jews to Jerusalem.? Daniel
read from Jeremiah ?In the first year of Darius,? which is the first year after
the capture of Babylon, or around 538 BC.? This was the year Cyrus issued his
decree, allowing the Jews to return to Jerusalem (Ezra 1:2-4).? The Jewish remnant
probably arrived in Jerusalem in the year 536 or 535 BC, seventy years after the
captivity in 605 BC.
??? ?????????How did Jeremiah know such an overwhelming force as that of the
mighty Babylonian Empire would only last for seventy years?? And how did he
know that the Jewish remnant would return to Jerusalem seventy years after the
captivity had begun?? The answer is plain to see.
CYRUS THE SAVIOR OF ISRAEL
??????????? If Daniel had read Isaiah carefully, he could even have known ahead
of time who it was that would conquer Babylon.? Arguably, Isaiah 44:28-45:2
and 45:13 are the most specific of all Old Testament prophecies.
??????????? ?who says of Cyrus, ?He is my shepherd
?and will accomplish all that I please;
he will say of Jerusalem, ?Let it be rebuilt,?
and of the temple, ?Let its foundations be laid.?
?This is what the Lord says to his anointed,
to Cyrus, whose right hand I take hold of
to subdue nations before him
?and to strip kings of their armor,
to open doors before him
so that gates will not be shut:
I will go before you and will level the mountains;
I will break down gates of bronze
and cut through bars of iron.
I will give you the treasures of darkness,
riches stored in secret places,
so that you may know that I am the Lord,
the God if Israel, who calls you by name.
For the sake of Jacob my servant,
?of Israel my chosen,
?I call you by name
?and bestow on you a title of honor,
?though you do not acknowledge me.
?I will raise up Cyrus in my righteousness:
I will make all his ways straight.
He will rebuild my city
and set my exiles free,
but not for a price or reward,
says the Lord Almighty.? (Isaiah 44:28-45:4 and 45:13).
Cyrus, later known as Cyrus ?The Great?, completed his meteoric rise to power
as the head of the great Persian/Mede Empire in 550 BC.? It was not until 539
BC that he was able, with the help of his Median allies, to conquer the city
of Babylon, ultimately freeing the Jews from their captivity there.? How did Isaiah
know the name of Israel?s deliverer in about 700 BC?? For Isaiah to correctly
guess in about 700 BC that the politically powerless Babylonians would rise
to power and destroy Assyria was pretty awesome.? When he then went on to predict
that God?s people would be delivered from captivity after seventy years, that
was right up there on the amazement level scale. But when Isaiah got the name
of the still-unborn general who would conquer Babylon and release God?s people from
enslavement over one hundred and fifty years before it happened, well, what
can one say about that?
The skeptic has only one conceivable fall-back in this situation which is to
claim that Isaiah 44 and 45 is a later insertion after the fact.? Of course,
they have no reliable evidence to support their claim.? The main thing they
have in support is their conviction that the Bible must be the work of man.?
A more reasonable explanation of the facts is that this amazing prophecy of
Isaiah was part of the reason that the book ultimately became an accepted part
of the Hebrew scripture.? God virtually forced the hand of the scribes and teachers.
That Isaiah was inspired by God must have been obvious to anyone reading it
from the time of the restoration of Israel onward.
There are actually a few details in Isaiah?s prophecy besides the simple naming
of Cyrus as the deliverer of Israel.? This passage specifically says that Cyrus
will say of Jerusalem, ?Let it be rebuilt,? and ?Let its foundation be laid.?
The historically unique fact that Cyrus carried out a policy of returning exiles to
their homelands to rebuild their nations has already been mentioned.? In 2 Chronicles
36:23 one can find one of Cyrus? decrees;
The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of
?the earth and he has appointed me to build a temple for him at
?Jerusalem in Judah.? Anyone of his people among you?may
?the Lord his God be with him, and let him go up.
Perhaps by this time Cyrus had been shown a copy of Isaiah!? In fact Cyrus,
as well as his successors, actually offered significant amounts of money from
their treasuries to support the rebuilding of the Temple and of the city of
The prophecy also states that Cyrus will subdue nations and open doors before
him so that gates will not be shut.? It so happens that when Cyrus conquered
Babylon, he had his armies divert the Euphrates River.? Once the river bed ran
nearly dry, his armies marched right into the city and opened its gates almost without
God, through Isaiah, also predicted in 45:4 th
at he would call Cyrus by name
(he certainly did that), and that he give him a title of honor, even though
he would not acknowledge the name of Jehovah.? In Isaiah 45:13, God specifically
declares that Cyrus will ?rebuild my city? (ie. Jerusalem), and ?set my exiles
free, but not for a price or reward.?? Cyrus did indeed set the exiles free,
for no obvious financial or even political reward.? This seldom-mentioned prophecy
is surely one of the most amazing in all of scripture.
An almost unlimited number of other Old Testament prophecies fulfilled during
the time of the Old Testament could be cited, but the examples used here should
provide plenty of evidence for the inspiration of the Bible.? Besides, they
may give insight into how the Old Testament books were selected in the first place.?
These writings all passed the test of Deuteronomy 18:22, 23.
a new page
II? OLD TESTAMENT PROPHECIES FULFILLED ?BETWEEN THE TESTAMENTS.?
There are also a number of prophecies found in the Old Testament whose fulfillment
are found, not in the Bible, but rather in the pages of history.? This is especially
true of those Old Testament prophecies which were fulfilled in the period ?between
With the completion of the book of Malachi, somewhere around 435 BC, a period
of biblical silence reigned for over four hundred and fifty years.? This was
certainly not a period in which God was not working?far from it.? However, for
a period of several centuries, no new revelation from God in the form of Scripture
was revealed.? The time of the prophets appeared to have ceased.? Of course,
the situation changed when, in the most dramatic fashion, John the Baptist appeared
to Israel out of the desert wearing clothes of camel?s hair.? But that is another
For what must have seemed an extremely long time to the Jews, prophecy ceased.?
Many must have felt the glory days were over forever.? However, God had not
ceased speaking to his people.? He spoke to them through the amazingly specific
historical prophecies which were fulfilled year after year.? Despite the lack of new
revelation from God, these fulfilled prophecies provided a steady stream of
proof to faithful Israel that the God who spoke through the prophets was definitely
still at work in the world.? The Bible student could watch as empire rose and
fell, as kings came and went, as times of peace and of persecution passed exactly
as predicted by the prophets, including stunningly exact details which showed
the sure finger print of God.
?As the Jews could see prophecy fulfilled in their day, proving God?s working
in their world, so we can see marvelous evidence of the inspiration of God?s
word.? Although we do not have the immediate impact of seeing God?s words fulfilled
in specific events of our day, we do have the advantage of historical perspective,
allowing us to study the facts of history in light of Biblical prophecy from
a distance which allows us to get the big picture of how God works through people
and events and the movements of history.
There are dozens of Old Testament prophecies which were fulfilled in the time
between the Testaments.? For the sake of simplicity and clearness of presentation,
we will focus only on those found in the book of Daniel.? For a wider description
of prophecies from Jeremiah, Isaiah, Ezekiel and other books which were fulfilled during
this time, the book Evidence That Demands a Verdict is recommended.
The book of Daniel has a theme similar to that of its New Testament equivalent?Revelation.
It was written to provide encouragement to God?s people to remain faithful no
matter what the pressure from the world to conform to its ungodly standard of
behavior.? Most specifically, Daniel was written to encourage the Jews in the time
between the Testaments who were to undergo an unprecedented level of persecution,
especially under the infamous ruler Antiochus Epiphanes.? Of course, Daniel
contains actual events in the life of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego
which are a great encouragement to remain faithful despite persecution.? However,
it is the predictive prophecies and visions of Daniel which are relevant to
Put simply, the visions of Daniel provide a detailed record of the political
history of the Near East for the six hundred years after the death of Daniel.?
There is no other writing in the history of mankind which is even remotely like
Daniel.? It is in a literary genre by itself:? history books of the future!
In fact, we have already looked at two examples.? We have already seen that
Daniel predicted the fact that Jesus would come to Jerusalem during the time
of the Roman influence in Palestine.? He even predicted the year that Jesus
Christ would be killed, almost six hundred years before it happened.? That is
pretty good, but there is more.
Consider, for example, Nebuchadnezzar?s dream as interpreted by Daniel in the
second chapter of his book.? We have already glanced at this chapter in the
context of discussing messianic prophecy,.? We will look at it in more detail
at this point.? Daniel two is an account of Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon and
conqueror of Jerusalem.? In the second year of his reign (ie. about 603 BC),
Neb had an extremely vivid dream which disturbed him greatly.? He called upon
his astrologers and various mystics to interpret his dream on pain of death.?
Apparently, he did not trust his own ?seers,? because he refused to tell them
the dream itself.? Under threat of death, Daniel prayed to God for help in interpreting
the dream, and God answered his prayer.? With God?s help, Daniel told Nebuchadnezzar
in specific detail the dream he had had, and provided an interpretation of the
??????????? ?You looked, O king, and there before you stood a
?large statue?an enormous, dazzling statue, awesome in
?appearance. The head of the statue was made of pure gold, its
?chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, its legs of
?iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of baked clay.? While you
?were watching, a rock was cut out, but not by human hands.? It
?struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and smashed them.
?Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were
?broken to pieces?
??????????? ?This was the dream, and now we will interpret it to the
?king?.? You are the head of gold.
??????????? ?After you, another kingdom will rise, inferior to yours.? Next,
?a third kingdom, one of bronze, will rule over the whole earth.
?Finally, there will be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron?for iron
?breaks and smashes everything?and as iron breaks things to
?pieces, so it will crush and break all the others.? Just as you saw
?that the feet and toes were partly of baked clay and partly of iron,
?so this will be a divided kingdom; yet it will have some of the
?strength of iron in it, even as you saw iron mixed with clay.? A