The Bible is unlike all other “sacred books” in that it bases its “Authenticity” and “Authority” on PROPHECY.
All other “sacred books” contain no predictions as to the future. If their authors had attempted to foretell future events, their no-fulfillment would, long ere this, have discredited their writings. Fulfilled prophecy is stronger evidence for the “Inspiration” and “Authenticity” of the Scripture than miracles. Prophecy is not a “haphazard guess,” nor a “probability” made up on uncertain data live our “Weather Probabilities.” Prophecy is
or, as another had said-“Prophecy is the MOLD OF HISTORY.”
The importance of the study of the Prophetic Scriptures is seen when we recall that two-thirds of the Scriptures are Prophetic, either in type, symbol, or direct statement; and more than one-half of the Old Testament prophecies, and nearly all of the New Testament, point to events yet future. Then this is a “Dark World,” and men need the “SURE WORD OF PROPHECY” to LIGHT them over the stormy “Sea of Time.” 2Pet. 1:19. When men see that God has a “Plan and Purpose” in the “Ages” they take heart, and have something to pin their faith to. It was because the religious leaders of Christ’s day were not students of the Prophetic Scriptures that they failed to recognize Him when He came, and if the religious leaders of our day despise and reject the study of Prophecy, they will not be ready for Christ’s Second Coming.
There are “Four Prophetic Periods” clearly outlined in the Scriptures.
- PATRIARCHAL-B.C. 1921-1491
- MOSAIC-B.C. 1491-1370
- JEWISH-Post Exilic-B.C. 500-400
- Exilic-B.C. 600-500
- Pre Exilic-B.C. 900-600
- APOSTOLIC-A.D. 27-100
These Prophecies divide themselves into three grand divisions:
- PAST-Fulfilled Prophecy.
- PRESENT-Fulfilling Prophecy—These are the prophecies that refer to the Jews, the Nations, and the moral and religious character of the times.
- FUTURE-Unfulfilled Prophecy.
The “Requirements” of a Genuine Prediction are five in number:
- It must have been made known PRIOR to its fulfillment.
- It must be beyond all HUMAN FORESIGHT.
- It must give DETAILS.
- A SUFFICIENT TIME MUST ELAPSE BETWEEN ITS PUBLICATION AND FULFILMENT TO EXCLUDE THE PROPHET, OR ANY INTERESTED PARTY, FORM FULFILLING IT.
- There must be a CLEAR AND EVIDENT FULFILMENT OF THE PROPHECY.
The value of the argument for the “Inspiration of the Scriptures” from Prophecy is evident when we study the Law of
If I were to predict an earthquake in Philadelphia next year the chance would be 1 in 2 that it would occur. If I should add another prediction, that it would be on the Fourth of July, the chance is decreased to 1 in 4. And if I add another detail, that it will be in the daytime, the chance then becomes 1 in 8. And if I should add a fourth detail the chance would be 1 in 32. And if the details were 10 in number, the chance would be 1 in 10234.
Now there 25 specific predictions made by the Old Testament Prophets bearing on the betrayal, trial, death and burial of Jesus. There were uttered by different prophets during the period from B.C 1000 to B.C. 500, yet they were all literally fulfilled in 24 hours in one person. According to the Law of “Compound Probabilities” there was one chance in 33,554,432 that these 25 predictions would be fulfilled as prophesied. If one prophet should make several predictions as to some one event, he might by collusion with others bring it to pass, but when a number of prophets, distributed over several centuries, give detailed and specific predictions as to some event, the charge of collusion cannot be sustained. It is a fact that there were 109 predictions literally fulfilled at Christ’s First Advent in the flesh. Apply the Law of “Compound Probabilities” to this number, and the chance was only one in BILLIONS that they would be fulfilled in one person.
The argument that Jesus employed to convince those two mourning disciples walking to Emmaus that He was “The Messiah,” was the appeal to “Prophecy.” “And beginning at Moses and ALL THE PROPHETS, He expounded unto them in ALL THE SCRIPTURES(O.T. Scriptures), the things concerning Himself.” Luke 24:27 It would be intensely interesting reading, and amazingly helpful, if we only had in Luke’s Gospel a full report of that afternoon’s conversation. The two disciples were familiar with the things that had occurred the previous week at the arrest, trial, crucifixion and burial of Jesus, as well as the rumors of His resurrection. It was not difficult therefore for Jesus to take those things and by quoting from the Old Testament Scriptures show that they were just what the prophets had foretold would happen to the Messiah when He came. He reminded them that the prophet had said that the Messiah should be sold for 30 pieces of silver (Zech. 11:1-12), be betrayed by a friend (Psa. 41:9), forsaken by His disciples (Zech. 13:7), accused by false witnesses (Psa. 35:11), be dumb before His accusers (Isa. 53:7), be scourged (Isa. 50:6), His garments parted (Psa. 22:18), mocked by His enemies (Psa. 22:7-8), be given gall and vinegar to drink (Psa. 69:21), not a bone of His body broken (Psa. 34:20), die with malefactors (Isa. 53:12), that the price of His betrayal should be used to purchase a “Potter’s Field” (Zech. 11:13), and that He should be buried in a rich man’s tomb. Isa. 53:9.
But Jesus doubtless did not stop with simply proving that the crucified Christ fulfilled all the requirements of prophecy. It was a long walk they had. Jesus doubtless joined them soon after they left Jerusalem for Emmaus, which was some 6 miles away, and so had ample time in which to outline the “Prophetic Portrait” of the Messiah. Turning to Gen. 22:7-8, He pictured Isaac as a “Type” of Christ, and that God spared Abraham’s son, but did not spare His own Son. He then called attention to the institution of “The Passover,” and recalled the fact that in preparing the lamb for roasting, two spits were used, one thrust lengthwise through the body for support over the fire, and the other across the shoulders for turning, thus symbolizing the Cross on which the Lamb of God was suspended. He then reminded them that Jesus had said in one of His discourses-“And I, if I be LIFTED UP, will draw all men unto me.” John 12:32. And having thus refreshed their memory, He took them back to that incident in the history of the Children of Israel of “The Brazen Serpent,” and pointed out that that was a type of how men are bitten with the serpents of sin, and need a Saviour, and how Jesus by being lifted up took the place of the “Brazen Serpent,” and that all that look to Him in faith shall be delivered from the results of sin. Then Jesus spoke of the Prophet Jonah, and what befell him, and recalled His own prophecy, which doubtless they had three nights in the whale’s belly, so shall the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Matt. 2:40), thus showing them that they should not have been surprised at the report they had heard that morning, that Jesus had RISEN FROM THE DEAD.
Is it any wonder that as Jesus thus went on outlining the “Prophetic Christ” and comparing Him with the “Historic Christ” they had known and loved, that their heart ‘BURNED WITHIN THEM” as He talked with them by the way, and opened up to them the Scriptures.Luke 24:32 How easy a conundrum seems when we know the answer, and how simple the Scriptures become when we see Christ in them, for “the TESTIMONY OF JESUS’ is the “SPIRIT OF PROPHECY.” Rev. 19:10. That is, the Spirit and purpose of all Prophecy is to testify of Jesus. How important then is the study of Prophecy.
Now we have seen that there were 109 predictions of the Old Testament Prophets literally fulfilled at Christ’s First Advent, but there are 845 quotations from the Old Testament in the New Testament, and 333 of these refer to Christ. They vary from types and figures, that seem meaningless unless you place Christ in them, to exact predictions that at times descend to the minutest details. The only books of the Old Testament not quoted in the New Testament are Ruth, Ezra, Nehemiah, Songs of Solomon and Obadiah.
The Old Testament Scriptures bear a “double witness” to Jesus. They point out both His “FIRST” and “SECOND” Comings. And the same Prophet in referring to the “Two Comings” did not always name them in the proper order. This was confusing to the Bible students and religious leaders of Christ’s day. In fact they did not know that there were to be “Two Comings.” Therefore they are not to be too harshly judged because they rejected Christ, because He did not at once set up an “Earthly Kingdom.” They did not separate the prophecies that foretold His “SUFFERINGS” from the prophecies that foretold His “GLORY.” 1Pet. 1:10-12 They believed that all the prophecies that referred to the Messiah (Christ) were to be fulfilled at His First Coming. This accounts for why the people of Christ’s day looked for Him to set up an Earthly Kingdom. They did not see that this “Present Dispensation,” or “CHURCH AGE,” was to intervene between the “SUFFERINGS” (the CROSS) and the “GLORY” (the CROWN). But we stand on this side of Calvary and can readily separate the fulfilled prophecies of the “First Advent” from the unfulfilledprophecies of the “Second Advent.” This is clearly brought out on the Chart of the “Mountain Peaks of Prophecy.”
The Old Testament prophet saw the future as separate peaks of one mountain. He did not see that these peaks assembled themselves groups, with a valley, the “VALLEY OF THE CHURCH,” between. In the first group is the “Birth of Jesus,” “Calvary,” and “Pentecost.” In the second group is “Antichrist,” the “Revelation of Christ,” and the “Kingship of Christ.” The Prophet Isaiah (Isa. 61:1-2) did not see that “comma” in the second verse, that separated between the statements-“THE ACCEPTABLE YEAR OF THE LORD,” and “THE DAY OF VENGEANCE OF OUR GOD,” was to span a period covering the whole of this “Present Dispensation,” and already over 1900 years long. Likewise the Prophet Jeremiah (Jer. 23:5-6) separates with a “comma” the First and Second Advents, or between “THE RIGHTEOUS BRANCH,” and the “KING WHO SHALL REIGN AND PROSPER.” The Prophets saw the “Prophetic” and “Kingly” work of Christ, but they did not see the “PRIESTLY.” They saw the “Altar” (Sacrificial), and the “Throne,” but they did not see the “TABLE” (the Lord’s Table) that was to come in between.
As shown on the Chart the Prophet saw in a direct line along the “Peaks of Prophecy,” and did not see the “valley” of “The Church” in between. Our viewpoint is from the side. We face the “Valley” with the “First Advent” (the CROSS) to our left, and the “Second Advent” (the CROWN) to our right. All we have to do is to separate the prophecies of the “First Advent” from the prophetic references to Christ in the Old Testament, and apply the balance to His “Second Advent.” This simplifies the study of Prophecy.
Isaiah’s prophecies have mainly to do with the Messiah and Israel. Jeremiah is the Prophet of Israel’s return to their own land. Ezekiel had to do with the Restoration of Israel to their own land, and with the Millennial Land, Restored Temple, and the form of Worship.Daniel is the Prophet of the Gentiles and their final great Leader-ANTICHRIST. Zechariah is most concerned about the events that shall happen at the Second Coming of Christ, as-
- ANTICHRIST (the Idol Shepherd). Zech. 11:15-17.
- ARMAGEDDON Zech. 14:1-3
- CONVERSION OF ISRAEL. Zech. 12:9-14.
- CHRIST’S RETURN TO OLIVET. Zech. 15:4-11.
- OLD AGE IN JERUSALEM. Zech. 8:3-8.
- FEAST OF TABERNACLES. Zech. 14:16-21.
Notice that Zechariah does not see these events in their chronological order. All the Major Prophets, and 9 of the Minor Prophets, emphasize the “Kingship of Christ,” and it was this that confused the Religious Leaders of Christ’s day.
THE PERSPECTIVE OF PROPHECY
The Chart on “The Perspective of Prophecy” shows what each of the prophets foresaw of future events from the Birth of Christ on down to the New Heavens and the New Earth. A careful study of the Chart will show that the Prophet Nahum saw nothing beyond his time, while the Prophet Isaiah saw more and the farthest of all the prophets.
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