Think about this for a moment: if God wanted to communicate with His creation through the written word, how could He do it? In other words, how could God certify His written message to prove that it was really from Him? After all, talk is cheap- anyone can write something and then claim that it is a “message from God” right? In fact, many people have done exactly that. So how could God demonstrate the authenticity of His written message to people?
Well, one of the ways that He could do it is by doing something that only God could do, and that is by predicting future events before they occur. The fulfillment of predictive prophecy is one of the ways that we can use to determine that the Bible is just what it says it is- the Word of God. We could spend a lot of of time detailing the fulfilled prophecies found within the Bible but here are just two examples- one from the Old Testament and one from the New Testament…
Cyrus And The Rebuilding Of Jerusalem
Beginning in Isaiah 44:28 and then continuing on into chapter 45, the prophet Isaiah wrote about a man named Cyrus who would build Jerusalem and lay the foundation of the Temple there. Isaiah received this message concerning Cyrus around 700 B.C. Now this prophecy may have sounded a bit ridiculous in Isaiah’s time. In Isaiah’s day both the city and the Temple were still standing without any apparent need to be rebuilt. Unfortunately, this was not to last very long. You see, the city and the Temple were eventually destroyed by the invading Babylonians lead by King Nebuchadnezzar sometime around 586 B.C.
With this information, let’s now jump ahead a little in time. About 50 years after they had taken over Jerusalem, the Babylonians in turn were conquered by the Persians. Some time after the Persians took control, the Persian king granted a royal decree authorizing the rebuilding of the Temple in the city. Do you know what that Persian king’s name was? You guessed it- Cyrus. Although it may have seemed ridiculous to predict such a thing at the time, the fulfillment of this prophecy came to pass over 150 years after God had spoken it through the prophet Isaiah. And it all happened just as God said it would.
The Destruction of the Temple
While we’re on the subject of the Temple, let’s now move ahead a few hundred years into the New Testament period. In Luke 21:5-6 we read this…
“Some of his disciples began talking about the beautiful stonework of the Temple and the memorial decorations on the walls. But Jesus said, ‘The time is coming when all these things you are admiring will be knocked down, and not one stone will be left on top of another; all will become one vast heap of rubble.'”
Let’s talk a little about this Temple which was known in Jesus’ day as “Herod’s Temple.” The Temple in Jesus’ day was built from stone and gold and required 10 years of construction just to complete the main building. The Temple Mount covered an area the size of 25-30 American football fields (about 2300-2700 meters). The retaining walls rose almost 10 stories above street level. The smallest stones used in it’s construction weighed from 2-5 tons (2000-5100 kg).
The Temple in Jerusalem was an incredibly elaborate structure. In fact, it was said that the sun shone off the temple so brightly that you could not look directly at it from a distance in the sunlight. Yet Jesus predicted that this magnificent structure would be totally and completely destroyed. With this in mind, let’s take a little history lesson and go back in time to the year AD 69 or roughly 40 years after Jesus’ death and resurrection.
Beginning in AD 69 and continuing on into AD 70, the Roman general Titus (who would later become Emperor) and his army marched on the city of Jerusalem. Titus had four Roman legions -an army of 30,000 soldiers- at his disposal and his mission was to eliminate any remaining resistance against the Roman Empire from the people in that area. Titus attacked the city of Jerusalem with his army for 5 months. During this time the Roman army burned the city to the ground and complete destroyed the Temple along with practically everything else within the city. Over 1 million men, women and children lost their lives in this military action.
As the Temple burned during this attack, the gold within it began to melt and run down into the stone walls and foundation. Later on, the Romans returned to retrieve the valuable gold that had melted there. To do this effectively, the Roman soldiers had to chip away whatever stone was left to get at the melted gold that had found it’s way there. In this way, the words of Jesus came to pass just as He had spoken- “no stone will be left upon another.”
So there you have two prophetic events that happened just as the Scriptures said they would. There are many other prophetic predictions within the Bible that have been fulfilled and The Doctor encourages you to seek them out and study them. Remember, God rewards the diligent student. These promised fulfillments help give us confidence that God will also fulfill those promises that have yet to be completed and the fulfillment of predictive prophecy is one of the ways that we can verify the supernatural origin of the Bible.