Fulfilled Prophecy

Fulfilled Prophecy

 

Isaiah affirms it.  “I am God, and there is none like me.  I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times what is still to come” (Isa. 46:9,10).  God can announce beforehand becuase he has the power to bring his purposes to pass.  This, says Isaiah, is one thing which sets God apart from idols (41:21-24; 45:20-21; 46:8-11; 48:5-7).

This affirmation ushers us into the realm of prophecy:  predictions made before the events they foretell happen.

Anti-supernaturalists have challenged the idea of fulfilled prophecy.  Celsus, in the second century A.D., denied that Daniel could have written during the Babylonian era.  His detailed description of succeeding world kingdoms, including the conquests of Alexander the Great, either prove the supernatural origin of the prophet’s words or were written after the events occurred!  18th century critics also denied that Isaiah wrote chapters 40-66 of his book.  How could he have known beforehand that Babylon would fall to Media-Persia?  Especially, how could he have named, a hundred years before the man’s birth, the very individual who would decree the rebuilding of Jerusalem (Cyrus: see Isa. 44:24-28)?

But there are fulfilled prophecies which cannot be denied simply by changing their date of writing.  The youngest book in the OT was written hundreds of years before Christ.  The dozens of prophecies which focus on the person of Jesus unquestionably were written long before the events described!  Yet the OT foretells Jesus’ birth of David’s line (Isa. 9:6-7; 11:1), birth by a virgin (Isa. 7:14) in Bethlehem (Mic. 5:2).  It tells of his early life in Galilee (Isa. 9:1-2) at Nazareth (Isa. 11:1).  The OT tells of Jesus’ rejection by his people (Isa. 6:10; 53:1-3), his triumphal entry into Jerusalem (Zech. 9:9), his betrayal by a friend (Zech. 11:12-13), his death with criminals (Isa. 53:9, 12) and burial with the rich (Isa. 53:9), all reported in the Gospels as history.  Even the details of his death were foretold: the lots cast for his clothing (Ps. 22:18), vinegar offered him to drink (Ps. 69:21), his dying words (Ps. 22:1; 31:5), and the fact that while no bone would be broken (Ps. 34:20) his side would be pierced (Zech. 12:10; Ps. 22:16).

This stunning array of fulfilled prophecies – and there are many more – communicates to us the same assurance that Isaiah’s words communicated to the Hebrew people long before Christ or the critics.  God is in charge of history!  What he promises, he will perform, for his words are reliable and sure.  What God’s word fortells does, in a literal and historical way, actually come to pass!