Why should I believe the Bible? (pt 7)

We have already looked at many reasons why we can believe the Bible. Yet, there are still many more. Here we briefly look at the Bible being trustworthy because it is… 

Prophetic

The Bible contains all sorts of fulfilled prophecies (see e.g. “The Prophecy of Daniel 8”), particularly about Jesus. These attest to the Bible’s uniqueness, truthfulness, and authority.

“Whatever one may think of the authority of and the message presented in the book we call the Bible, there is a world-wide agreement that in more ways than one it is the most remarkable volume that has ever been produced in these some five thousand years of writing on the part of the human race.

It is the only volume ever produced by man, or a group of men, in which is to be found a large body of prophecies relating to individual nations, to Israel, to all the peoples of the earth, to certain cities, and to the coming of One who was to be the Messiah. The ancient world had many different devices for determining the future, known as divination, but not in the entire gamut of Greek and Latin literature, even though they use the words prophet and prophecy, can we find any real specific prophecy of a great historic event to come in the distant future, nor any prophecy of a Savior to arise in the human race…”[1]

Here’s a sampling of some of the prophecies that were fulfilled by Jesus. Long before Jesus was on earth the Old Testament said Jesus the Messiah would…

  1. be the seed of the woman that would crush the serpent cf. Gen. 3:15/Is. 7:14/Matt. 1:23[2]
  2. be the Son of God cf. Ps. 2:7/Matt. 3:17 
  3. come from the house of David cf. 2 Sam. 7:12; Jer. 33:14-15/Luke 3:23, 31
  4. be born in Bethlehem cf. Micah 5:2/Matt. 2:1
  5. exist before all things cf. Micah 5:2/Col. 1: 17 
  6. be given gifts cf. Ps. 72:10/Matt. 2:1, 11
  7. be called Immanuel (God with Us) cf. Is. 7: 14/Matt. 1:23
  8. be preceded by a messenger cf. Is. 40:3/Matt. 3:1,2; Jn. 1:23
  9. have a ministry of miracles cf. Is. 35:5/Matt. 9:35; 11:4-5
  10. enter Jerusalem on a donkey cf. Zech. 9:9/Lk. 19:35-37; Matt. 21:7-9
  11. be silent before his accusers cf. Is. 53:7/Matt. 27:12
  12. have His hands and feet pierced cf. Ps 22:16/Lk. 23:33; Jn. 20:20
  13. be hated without reason cf. Ps. 69:4/Jn. 15:25
  14. be mocked cf. Ps. 109:25/Matt. 27:39
  15. have His garments divided and cast lots for cf. Ps. 22:18/Jn. 19:23-24
  16. not have His bones broken (unexpected for those who die of crucifixion) cf. Ps. 34:20/Jn. 19:33
  17. have His side pieced cf. Zech. 12:10/Jn. 19:34 
  18. experience darkness over the whole land cf. Amos 8:9/Matt. 27:45[3]
  19. be buried in a rich man’s tomb cf. Is. 53:9/Matt. 27:57-60
  20. be a light for the nations of the world cf. Is. 42:1-6/Matt. 12:15-18; Lk. 2:27-32
  21. be the Passover lamb cf. Ex. 12/Jn. 1:29, 36; 19:33, 36; 1 Cor. 5:7-8; 1 Pet. 1:19
  22. be lifted up cf. Num. 21:6-9/Jn. 3:14-18
  23. be a prophet like Moses cf. Deut. 18:15-19/Matt. 13:57; Jn. 6:14; 7:40; Acts 3:22
  24. be the object of a murderous plot cf. Jer. 31:15/Matt. 2:16-18
  25. be the son of man cf. Dan. 7:13-14/Matt. 9:6; 12: 8; 13:41; 16:27; Mk. 8:31; Lk. 9:22; Jn. 1:51; Acts 7:56

What explains all these (and many other) “coincidences”? I believe the supernatural authorship of the Bible explains how all these prophecies could be fulfilled. “Men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Pet. 1:21). 

_____________________

[1] Wilbur Smith, The Incomparable Book, 9-10. He goes on to say, Mohammedanism cannot point to any prophecies of the coming of Mohammed uttered hundreds of years before his birth. Neither can the founders of any cult in this country rightly identify any ancient text specifically foretelling their appearance.”

[2] This has significance beyond what is apparent though a quick reading. See for example “Who is the Serpent Crushing Offspring?”

[3] “Circa AD 52, Thallus wrote a history of the Eastern Mediterranean world from the Trojan War to his own time.  This work itself has been lost and only fragments of it exist in the citations of others.  One such scholar who knew and spoke of it was Julius Africanus, who wrote about AD 221.  In speaking of Jesus’ crucifixion and the darkness that covered the land during this event, Africanus found a reference in the writings of Thallus that dealt with this cosmic report.  Africanus asserts:  ‘On the whole world there pressed a most fearful darkness; and the rocks were rent by an earthquake, and many places in Judea and other districts were thrown down.  This darkness Thallus, in the third book of his History, calls, as appears to me without reason, an eclipse of the sun'” (Julius Africanus, Extant Writings, XVIII in The Ante–Nicene Fathers, ed. by Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1973), vol. VI, p. 130, as cited in Gary R. Habermas, The Historical Jesus: Ancient Evidence for the Life of Christ, (Joplin, MO: College Press Publishing Company), 1996).

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About Paul O'Brien

I am a lot of things; saint and sinner. I struggle and I strive. I am a husband and father of three. I have been in pastoral ministry for 9 years. I went to school at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary but most of my schooling has been at the School of Hard Knocks. I have worked various jobs, including pheasant farmer, toilet maker, construction worker, and I served in the military. My wife and I enjoy reading at coffee shops, taking walks, hanging out with friends and family, and watching our three kid's antics. :)

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