The Bible vs. Other Religious Books Part 2 – Fulfilled Prophecy

In Part 1 we saw that God Himself claimed that the Bible we have is His written word to us. We saw some of the things He said about the Bible which show it is not like other religious books.

Now, in Part 2 we will concentrate on the prophecies in the Bible. In their book Ready With An Answer, Drs. Ankerberg and Weldon explain, “A central purpose of biblical prophecy is to show men and women who the one true God is ‘so that all the people of the earth may know that the Lord is God and that there is no other’” (1 Kings 8:60; cf. vs. 1-59).”[1]

God (the Author of the Bible) even challenges the gods of other religions when He declares:

“‘Present your case,’ says the Lord. ‘Set forth your arguments,’ says Jacob’s King. ‘Tell us, you idols, what is going to happen. Tell us what the former things were, so that we may consider them and know their final outcome. Or declare to us the things to come, tell us what the future holds, so we may know that you are gods. Do something, whether good or bad, so that we will be dismayed and filled with fear.’” Isaiah 40:21-23; cf. vs. 24-29)

Scholars have estimated that roughly 27% of the Bible is prophetic in nature. Why would God spend so much time declaring things that are yet to come? J. Barton Payne explains:

“…the fact of predictive prophecy brings, first of all, glory to God; for each prediction testifies to its Author’s wisdom and sovereignty over the future. As Isaiah spoke forth to the Israelites of his day, ‘Who hath declared it from the beginning, that we may say, “He is right?”’” …. Predictions point up His powers, as contrasted with those of any conceivable rivals;…[2]

Now, other religious books also contain prophecies, so we must look at the characteristics of biblical prophecy. Deuteronomy 18 tells us how to distinguish true from false prophecies:

“But a prophet who presumes to speak in my name anything I have not commanded, or a prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, is to 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, so do not be alarmed.” (Deuteronomy 18:20-22, emphasis added)

So, a true prophecy that comes from God must come to pass—it must be fulfilled. Ankerberg and Weldon explain:

“God does claim in the Bible that He accurately predicts the future. His predictions are to be judged on the basis of their accuracy and He emphasizes that His accuracy will be nothing less than 100% for He is a ‘God who does not lie’ (Titus 1:2)—indeed this is impossible for Him (Hebrews 6:18; cf. 1 John 2:21). Therefore, God tells us the prophet is ‘recognized as one truly sent by the Lord only if his prediction comes true’ (Jeremiah 28:9) because ‘whatever I say will be fulfilled, declares the Lord’” (Ezekiel 12:28).[3]

Still, other religious texts do contain predictive material, and sometimes those predictions are fulfilled. So how can you tell if a fulfilled prophecy is from God? Deuteronomy 13 has that answer. God told His people,

“If a prophet, or one who foretells by dreams, appears among you and announces to you a sign or wonder, and if the sign or wonder spoken of takes place, and the prophet says, ‘Let us follow other gods’ (gods you have not known) ‘and let us worship them,’ you must not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer. The Lord your God is testing you to find out whether you love him with all your heart and with all your soul.” (Deuteronomy 13:1-3)

In other words, the source of these predictions is not God, but rather lying spirits which the Bible calls demons. If the prophecy or its fulfillment leads you away from what God has taught you, then it is not from God. Do not follow that prophet!

Finally, some of the most amazing, fulfilled prophecies in the Bible have to do with the Messiah God promised. In his book, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, Alfred Edersheim lists an astonishing 456 prophecies in the Old Testament that refer to the coming Messiah.[4]

Many years ago, Peter Stoner, then Professor Emeritus of Science at Westmont College, calculated the probability of any one man fulfilling all the major prophecies concerning the Messiah. After consulting with colleagues, and adjusting his list to arrive at an estimate that allowed “unanimous agreement even among the most skeptical students,” Stoner calculated that the conservative odds of one man fulfilling just eight Messianic prophecies was one in 1017![5] Stoner concluded, “The fulfillment of these eight prophecies alone proves that God inspired the writing of those prophecies to a definiteness which lacks only one chance in 1017 of being absolute.”[6]

That’s pretty amazing, especially when you consider that this is based on just eight of the 450-plus prophecies that he could have considered! Just think of what adding another eight, or another 20, or another 50 would do to the odds of one man fulfilling all of them, especially when many involved what others would do to him, over which he had no control. 

With that in mind, we will list below just a few of the hundreds of prophecies that were literally fulfilled by Jesus Christ. Can any other religion say the same about their leader, or their holy book? 

A Sampling of Jesus’ Fulfillment of Messianic Prophecies

  • He will be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14; see Matthew 1:23)
  • He would be heralded by the Lord’s special messenger, John the Baptist (Isaiah 40:3; Malachi 3:1; see Matthew 3:1-2)
  • He would be rejected by the Jews, His own people (Psalm 118:22; see 1 Peter 2:7)
  • He would be the Shepherd struck with the sword, resulting in the sheep being scattered (Zechariah 13:7; see Matthew 26:31, 56; Mark 14:27, 49-50)
  • He would be betrayed by a friend for 30 pieces of silver (Zechariah 11:12-13; see Matthew 27:9-10)
  • He would die a humiliating death (Psalm 22; Isaiah 53) including:
    • Silence before His accusers (Isaiah 53:7; Matthew 27:12-19)
    • Being mocked (Psalm 22:7-8; Matthew 27:31)
    • Piercing His hands and feet (Psalm 22:16; Luke 23:33)
    • Being crucified with thieves (Isaiah 53:12; Matthew 27:38)
  • Piercing His side (Zechariah 12:10; John 19:34)
  • Buried in a rich man’s tomb (Isaiah 53:9; Matthew 27:57-60)
  • He would rise from the dead (Psalm 16:10; Mark 16:6; Acts 2:31)
  • He would ascend into heaven (Psalm 68:18; Acts 1:9)
  • He would sit down at God’s right hand (Psalm 110:1; Hebrews1:3) and in the future He will be presented with dominion over all peoples, nations, and men of every language (Daniel 7:13-14; see Revelation 11:15).[7]

Of course, the second part of this last prophecy refers to the future, and thus has not has not yet been fulfilled. But, given the overwhelming evidence of fulfilled prophecy we have in the Bible, is there any doubt that we will see the time when the Messiah will have dominion over all people, nations, and men of every language? I think not!

  1. John Ankerberg, John Weldon, Ready With an Answer For the Tough Questions About God (ATRI Publishing. Kindle Edition), p. 206.
  2. J. Barton Payne, Encyclopedia of Biblical Prophecy (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1989), p. 13, quoted in Ankerberg and Weldon, Ready, p. 206. 
  3. Ankerberg and Weldon, Ready, p. 208.
  4. Alfred Edersheim, Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah (Lume Books. Kindle Edition) Appendix IX. 
  5. John Ankerberg, Walter C. Kaiser, Jr., John Weldon, The Case for Jesus the Messiah (ATRI Publishing, 2014), p. 25.
  6. Ibid., p. 26.
  7. Adapted from Norman Geisler, Ron Brooks, When Skeptics Ask: A Handbook of Christian Evidences (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1990), p. 114-15.

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