A Bible Study by Jack Kelley
“Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:20-21.)
What If You Were God?
If you were God trying to send a message to your people, how would you prove yourself to them? Well, since everyone wants to know the future why not predict it for them, so when it happens as you described it, that would authenticate your message.
That’s what God has done, over thousands of years, and with 100% accuracy. It’s called predictive prophecy. Within its pages the Bible contains thousands of predictive prophecies. The majority of these have already been fulfilled, while the rest are for a time still in our future. It’s is the proof God gives us to verify that He is who He claims to be and no one else is. Here’s how it works.
A Two Question Test
“This is what the Lord says–Israel’s King and Redeemer, the Lord Almighty: I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God. Who then is like me? Let him proclaim it. Let him declare and lay out before me what has happened since I established my ancient people, and what is yet to come– yes, let him foretell what will come.” (Isaiah 44:6-7)
Here’s the test. If you want people to accept you as their God, do these two things. First, tell them everything that’s ever happened in the past, and then tell them everything that ever will happen in the future, all with 100% accuracy. This is exactly what the Bible does for Israel and the Church, and as it impacts these two, for the world. No other so-called Holy Book authenticates itself like this. It’s been done through the writings of certain men and women, called by God to speak to the people for Him and to write down His Words, preserving them not only for their time but for all time. This explains Peter’s opening statement above.
There Will Be False Prophets Among You
From time to time some men have falsely claimed that they spoke for God, even though He had instituted a few safeguards. One is found in Deut 18:20-22. “A prophet who presumes to speak in my name anything I have not commanded him to say, or a prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, must be put to death. 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.
So if what the “prophet” predicted didn’t come true, every time, he was a false prophet. What he had said was to be ignored and he was to be executed. (Where would that leave Edgar Cayce, Jean Dixon, Nostradamus, Joseph Smith, Ellen White and all the other so-called prophets?)
The Partial Fulfillment
Some prophecies were given for a time far beyond the life of the prophet. In that case a partial fulfillment often took place during the life of the prophet to validate the ultimate fulfillment. Here’s one example.
Jesus said, “I come in my father’s name and you reject me. Another will come in his own name and him you will receive” (John 5:43). A little while later the people had Jesus condemned, and a murderer named Barabbas was released. Some day soon the world, having rejected Jesus, will receive the anti-Christ. Barabbas was the immediate partial fulfillment to validate the long term prophecy of the anti-Christ.
Isaiah 9:6 is another one.
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders And he will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
The child was born and the Son was given, but His government is yet to come. It will be instituted in the millennium. The birth of the child proves the millennium will come.
Another safeguard is found in Hebrews 1:1-2. “In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe.”
Jesus is the Prophet for our age. Every word spoken by Him in the name of God had to agree with what God had said before. Also, every word spoken in the name of God for the last 2000 years has to agree with what Jesus has said. Otherwise either God doesn’t really know the end from the beginning, or Jesus was a false prophet, or the one speaking in His Name is.
If It’s New It Can’t Be True
That’s the simple rule. If you hear someone say, “God is doing a new thing,” or preaching from some book other than the Bible, run the other way. Paul said, “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned!” (Galatians 1:8).
The Bible contains thousands of prophecies that validate it as the Word of God. They were part of the public record hundreds of years before the fact. Even a casual comparison of world history to Old Testament prophecy will lead you to the undeniable conclusion that this is so. In the New Testament accounts of the life of Jesus alone, there are hundreds of fulfilled prophecies from the Old Testament. A mere handful would be enough to defeat the laws of chance. By any standard available, the Bible can be proven reliable beyond reasonable doubt.
Psalm 14 says, “the fool has said in his heart, there is no God.” That’s because he can’t say it in his mind. Denying God isn’t something that can be rationally or logically done following examination of the evidence. It can only be done emotionally by one who rejects the evidence without examining it. The same is true of His Word.
My purpose in writing this is not to list all these prophecies and document their fulfillment. Rather I hope to convince you to do a study of your own, because in doing so you will develop an unshakable faith, something that can’t be developed any other way. But I warn you, a study like this will change you and it won’t take searching through all of them to do so. For me it only took the study of seven to convert me from a church goer to a born again believer and to ignite a passion for the study of God’s word that continues to this day. But that’s a story for another time.