On Prophecy: Volume II
Before going through the topics and their subsequent talking points, it is necessary to lay some groundwork. First and foremost, when discussing the Holy Bible, this author means it to include both the Old and New Testaments. True Christianity understands the Scriptures to be “God-breathed,” (or God-inspired) to 40 different human authors, over a period of roughly 1,600 years, beginning roughly in the 15-14th Century BC and ending in the 1st Century AD.
If the book of Job (the first book of the Bible written) was penned near Job’s life (as many believe), the Bible’s penmanship would be extended to a period of over 2,000 years. Consequently, the Bible predates every major literary work that has come to impact our world. These works are, but not limited to: the United States Constitution (1776), the Magna Carta (1215), the Koran (610-633AD), writings/teachings of Buddha (5th-4th Century BC), and the Hindu Vedas (1200-1000 BC). Furthermore, the Bible is the best surviving literary work of antiquity of any kind, surviving by multiplicity (many copies- LXX, Masoretic, Latin Vulgate, Dead Sea Scrolls, etc.). Not only has it survived, but it has also been validated by the recent archeological discoveries (Dead Sea Scrolls: 1946-57, 2021) proving without a doubt, the modern translations have remained true to form over the past four millennia.
Secondly, although many religions have their own version of the world’s ending, the Bible is unique amongst all the world religious texts, in its unequivocal declaration and accuracy of future events (i.e., future to when written). These future forecasts are commonly referred to as Bible Prophecy. Prophecy that is speaking exclusively to the last days, is known as Eschatology, which is Greek for the study of last things. As for the literary breakdown of subjects in the Bible (for which there are many),
"J Barton Payne’s Encyclopedia of Biblical Prophecy, lists 1,239 prophecies in the Old Testament, and 578 prophecies in the New Testament, for a total of 1,817. These encompass
8,352 verses. Since there are 31,124 verses in the Bible, the 8,352 verses that contain prophecy constitute 26.8% of the Bible’s volume." Source
Third, the Bible maintains an “all or nothing” approach with regards to the accuracy of its predictions. Moses, the Hebrew author of the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Old Testament) laid the gauntlet down in Deuteronomy 18:22 by saying (paraphrased here), if a prophet speaks a prophecy and it doesn’t come to pass, that prophet was not from God. Accordingly, God gives Himself a 100% requirement to accurately predict things.
Furthermore, the Bible does not adhere to the “Nostradamus” approach of using cryptic, nonsensical shotgun-blast approaches to predictions. Bible prophecy is accurate and specific. Although the Bible does use symbolism in certain places (Ezekiel 37, Revelation) that symbolism is always consistent and can be interpreted from the Bible itself. In other words, the most consistent way to interpret scripture is to take a literal, historical, and grammatical approach to scripture. This has come to be known as the “Golden Rule of Interpretation.”
“When the plain sense of Scripture makes common sense, seek no other sense; therefore,
take every word at its primary, ordinary, usual, literal meaning unless the facts of the immediate context, studied in the light of related passages and axiomatic and fundamental truths, indicate clearly otherwise.”–Dr. David L. Cooper (1886-1965) founder of The Biblical Research Society
Lastly, Bible prophecy, in terms of geographic positioning, is Israel-centric in nature. What this means is that any cardinal directions used (i.e., north, south, east, and west) are given from the geographic perspective of Israel. Any attempts to apply specific prophecies in Scripture to modern states by location (i.e., from the north, or east) and superimpose this over say, the United States, is already flawed. When Scripture speaks of other nations, it almost always does so by referring to "the nations" or to the "sea" (as in the sea of nations and peoples).
Overall, the Bible speaks primarily to three major people groups; Gentiles, Jews (Hebrews/ Israelites), and the Church (Greek- ekklesia). Genesis 1-11, speaks to mankind writ large. Genesis 12 through Acts 2, speaks to/about the Jewish people and only mentions the Gentiles (non-Jewish mankind) in how they relate to the Jews. The Bible does not mention the Church (as a separate entity) until Matthew 16 when Jesus states He will build His Church (Matthew 16:18-19). Once the Church comes into focus (the Acts through Revelation), Jews and Gentiles are then only mentioned in how they relate/interact with the Church.
The Bible foretells very specific details of events, people, nations, and actions that will transpire at the times they are specified to happen. Below are listed some fulfilled geopolitical prophecies that can be quantified and validated (all dates are close estimates) by a cursory understanding of basic history:
§ 1445-1405BC-Moses predicts the scattering of Israel across the world, and global regathering in the last days. The Jews were scattered by the Romans in AD70, as well as 135AD, and endured a 1,878 years diaspora, that was, until 1948. (Deuteronomy 32)
§ 1000BC- David predicts how the Messiah would be killed. King David describes death by crucifixion, over 500 years before crucifixion was even invented by the Persians around the 5th century BC. (Psalm 22)
§ 750BC- Amos predicts Israel would be reborn a nation a second time never “uprooted again” from their land. They were uprooted the first time by two subsequent invasions- Assyrians to the north in Israel, and the Babylonians in the south in Judah. They were regathered in the 5th century under Medo-Persian King Cyrus and allowed to go back to their homes through King Artaxerxes II. They were conquered again by the Romans and scattered a second time, and did not regather until 1948. (Nehemiah 2, Amos 9:14-15)
§ 740BC- Isaiah predicts how Jesus would be born (of a virgin) and why He would come-i.e., to be a sacrificial lamb to take away the sins of the people. (Isaiah 7:14, 53)
§ 740BC- Isaiah predicts the nation of Israel would be born in a day. This happened on May 14, 1948. President Harry Truman was the first foreign leader to recognize their independence. (Isa. 66:8)
§ 730BC- Isaiah names the Persian King (Cyrus) 150 years before he was born, and that he would set the Jews in Babylonian captivity, free (Isa. 44:28, 45:1)
§ 540BC- Daniel (Hebrew captive under Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar) interprets the king’s dreams, detailing the four subsequent kingdoms which would come after Babylon- Persia, Greece, Rome, and a revived Rome. (Dan. 2)
§ 580BC- Ezekiel (Hebrew captive in Babylon) predicts the rebirth of the nation of a united Israel in the last days. Israel had split into two kingdoms three centuries earlier Israel (in the north) and Judah (in the south) (Ezekiel 36-37)
§ 540BC- Daniel was given the 70 Weeks Prophecy, which predicted to the day, the arrival of the Jewish Messiah, also His death, and the seven remaining prophetic years for national Israel (Daniel 9:24-27)
§ 500BC- Zechariah predicts Jerusalem would be an unmovable stone that causes distress amongst all the nations. This has certainly been the case since 1967. (Zechariah 12:1-9)
§ 32AD- Jesus foretells the coming destruction of Jerusalem and her Temple, and the subsequent Jewish diaspora and her return. (Luke 19:44-45, 21:5-24)
§ 95AD- People from all over the world will have the technology to see the bodies of the Two Witnesses lying dead in the streets of Jerusalem during the yet future, seven-year Tribulation. While this event has not yet happened, the technology necessary for it to take place has. (Revelation 11:8-9)
…and they (the Jews) will fall by the edge of the sword, and will be led captive into all the nations; and Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. Luke 21:24 (note added for context)
“There are known knowns, things we know that we know; and there are known unknowns, things that we know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns, things we do not know we don't know.” Former Defense Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, 2002
The unknowable future is the final domain mankind has yet been able to crack the code on, despite all of man's technology and his best attempts. From a military perspective, the future is filled with known unknowns. They'll admit to a certain level of ambiguity when it comes to predicting the future. However, because of their spiritual blindspot, what they are really facing, is a future filled with unknown unknowns. This is why Paul writes in 1 Thessalonians 5:3, "While they are saying, Peace and safety! then sudden destruction will come upon them like labor pains upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape."
As the Bible's prophetic claims have been proven accurate beyond a shadow of a doubt, no other religious beliefs or ideologies can even come close to the volume, accuracy, and veracity of biblical Christianity. It stands to reason Christianity is either extremely lucky (the odds are astronomical), or Christianity is true. If true, then this means, due to the exclusive claims made by God in both the Old and New Testaments, and by all other objective measures (archeology, historical and modern reality, etc.), all other religions are false. What this really means, is that a large percentage of the world outside of Christianity is working with both false assumptions and conclusions that will leave them stumbling into a dark, unknowable future.
Christianity, Judaism, and Islam are monotheistic in nature. This means, there is only one God in their belief systems who exist apart from their creation. Yet, even these are far too different for each to be true. Contrasting this, Hinduism is polytheistic (many gods) in nature. As logic dictates, monotheism and polytheism cannot both be true. Furthermore, pantheistic belief systems (god is in everything) also disagree considerably with both monotheism and polytheism. The bottom line though is that even though all religions could be wrong, they cannot all be right. They are each far too different in their constructs to simply “coexist” as the popular bumper sticker states naively.
Amongst the major monotheistic beliefs, Judaism predates Christianity by at least two thousand years. Both Judaism and Christianity predate Islam by at a minimum, six centuries (Saudi Arabia was largely pagan until the 6th century AD). Christianity views itself as a continuation of Judaism, often likening itself as fulfilled Judaism, through the person of Jesus Christ. Judaism denies the divinity claim of Jesus and is still awaiting their messiah (Hebrew- Mashiach). Islam is also awaiting their messiah (the Mahdi), yet claim relational kinship to Jesus (Isa in the Koran). Like Judaism, Islam also denies Jesus' claims of divinity, likening Him only to that of a prophet. The bottom line is that both Judaism and Islam deny the divine claims Jesus made of Himself, whereas Christianity accepts it. (Mark 14:61-64, John 6:38, 8:58, etc.)
This puts Islam in a precarious situation- if they deny the divinity claims Jesus makes of Himself in Scripture (which our Bible is the only way they even know who He was), then they nullify His ability to be a prophet of God. If He was not God come in the flesh, then He was either a liar or a lunatic, but He certainly couldn't be God's prophet. However, if He was who He said He was, then, Islam is wrong. They cannot have it both ways.
Judaism, also rejecting Jesus' claims, are equally in a precarious situation. This means they would have to deny the strict criteria their Bible (the Old Testament for us) sets for their Messiah. Their Messiah would have had to already have come (Daniel 9:24-26) at a specific time, be killed for a specific reason (Isaiah 53), and die in a certain way (Psalm 22). However, as Paul also states in Romans 11:25, For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.
Spiritual blindness is akin to the precarious situation of operating in the unknown unknown.
There is one final issue neither Judaism nor Islam can deny; Jesus was a real historical figure, who was crucified o/a the year 32AD by both the Jewish leadership and the Roman military authorities in Judaea. Imagine the outcry from the Muslim world today if scholars attempted to debunk the life of Mohammed? Of course, they would never do it for fear of their lives and also because it goes against the satanic narrative alive on planet earth today. How about the life of Siddhartha Gautama (the Buddha)? There is far less information about either of these two men than there is about Jesus, yet, no one seems intent on questioning whether or not they actually existed. Thus, despite the overwhelming evidence, even apart from the Bible (Josephus, Tacitus, Pliny the Elder, etc.), we must conclude the historicity surrounding the personhood of Jesus Christ is unlike any other.
“There is no serious historian who doubts the existence of Jesus. There are a lot of people who want to write sensational books claiming that Jesus didn’t exist, but I don’t know any serious scholar who doubts the existence of Jesus.” Respected historian and professed agnostic, Dr. Bart Ehrman, December 30th, 2011 while interviewed on Atheist Radio. (Source)
Moreover, the fact Jesus actually existed, must then be contrasted with the supernatural message He carried with Him. The fact that 11 of His 12 disciples chose martyrdom over betraying their faith in Him (John died of natural causes after the year 100AD). This does not even include the deaths of all the disciples of the Apostles, and other Early Church Fathers, who chose death over denying their faith in Christ. One could argue that many have died for their faiths, from all faiths. Yet, there is a world of difference between dying for a lie, while being deceived, and dying for the truth, because you have been delivered from deception. The fact that Jesus' message is as relevant today, as it was 2,000 years ago, speaks to the timeless wisdom and truth Jesus came to share with humanity. Even more than that, this truth would set man free from the bondage of sin, death, and blindness.
“I know men, and I tell you Jesus Christ was no mere man. Superficial minds see a resemblance between Christ and the founders of empires and the gods of other religions. That resemblance does not exist. There is between Christianity and other religions the distance of infinity...Alexander, Cæsar, Charlemagne, and myself founded empires. But upon what did we rest the creations of our genius? Upon force. Jesus Christ alone founded his empire upon love; and at this hour millions of men would die for him." Napoleon Bonaparte, Sainte Helena
Author's note: The quote actually compiles two different statements by Bonaparte in his final discussions at Saint Helena. These were first published in 1823.