One of the most convincing pieces of evidence of the supernatural origin of the Bible comes in the form of prophecies included in the text. In my own spiritual journey, it was these prophecies given by God, and their ultimate fulfillment, that ultimately convinced me that Bible was inspired by God and was accurate and reliable. Due to that, the prophecy of the Bible holds a special place for me.
Let’s look at some background information this week. John F. Walvoord, in The Prophecy Knowledge Handbook, explains that there are 1,013 prophecies in the Bible including 574 in the Old Testament and 439 in the New Testament. 342 of those prophecies have not yet come true because they deal with heaven or the second coming of Christ. Of the remaining 671, 668 of those prophecies were historically fulfilled. The other 3, while not proven wrong, cannot be historically verified. That means that not one of the hundreds of prophecies written throughout the Bible has proven to be incorrect. While the exact count of prophecies in the Bible sometimes varies, the fact of the matter is that not one of them has proven incorrect, and this is strong (I would argue) irrefutable proof of the supernatural origin of the Bible.
Now, when you talk about prophecy, many people think of Jean Dixon or Nostradamus and types of predictions they make. To the contrary, the prophecies of the Bible are oftentimes very specific and even include detailed explanations hundreds of years before events unfolded in history. For anyone to predict the future with 100% accuracy requires supernatural revelation. It is no wonder then that the Bible uses prophecy as a test for whether or not something comes from God.
The book of Deuteronomy explains the punishment and test for false prophets:
But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in my name that I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die.’ And if you say in your heart, ‘How may we know the word that the LORD has not spoken?’– when a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word that the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You need not be afraid of him. [Deuteronomy 18:20-22 ESV]
God is clear that only he can predict the future:
remember the former things of old; for 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 not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,’ [Isaiah 46:9-10 ESV]
Nest week, we will look at some of the individual prophecies which God included in the Bible to allow us, the readers, to test its origins.