As Christians, we believe the Bible is the Word of God. In writing to his close friend and associate Timothy, the apostle Paul wrote: “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16–17).
I am aware that the claim of inspiration is not proof of inspiration. Other religions claim similar things about their writings. The question is: Whose claim is accurate? Is there some overriding proof that one is valid and the others are invalid? Yes, there is! The Bible not only claims to be the inspired Word of God, it also includes its own built-in proof. That proof is predictive prophecy. True prophecy is foretelling the future with 100 percent accuracy.
Through Isaiah the Lord said, “For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done” (46:9–10).” To truly predict the future is an ability that God alone possesses.
Prophecy is not pronouncing vague, generalized predictions, but giving specific details of things before they happen. This is exactly what we find in the Bible and that is how we know that the claim to divine inspiration is true. Let’s briefly consider some of the prophecies and their fulfillment.
Prophecy Concerning the Jewish People
In approximately AD 32, Jesus spoke of the future of Jerusalem and the Jewish people.
“But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near. … For these are the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. … For there will be great distress in the land and wrath upon this people. And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.” —Luke 21:20–24
Just as Jesus predicted, in AD 70, the Roman general Titus destroyed Jerusalem, slaughtered a million Jews, and led over 100,000 away into captivity. For nearly 2,000 years, the Jews were dispersed among the nations and Jerusalem was overrun by one foreign power after another. It wasn’t until 1948 that the Jews finally returned to their homeland.
Prophecies Concerning the Messiah
Jesus fulfilled hundreds of messianic prophecies. Here are just a few examples.
Seven hundred years before the birth of Christ, Micah wrote:
“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be Ruler in Israel, whose goings forth are from old, from everlasting.” —Micah 5:2
Luke records the fulfillment:
And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. … So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city. Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger. —Luke 2:1–7
Five hundred years before the time of Christ, Zechariah wrote:
Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, lowly and riding on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey. —Zechariah 9:9
Matthew records the fulfillment:
Now when they drew near Jerusalem, and … the Mount of Olives, … Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Loose them and bring them to Me.” … All this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: “Tell the daughter of Zion, ‘Behold, your King is coming to you, lowly, and sitting on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey.’” So the disciples went and did as Jesus commanded them. They brought the donkey and the colt, laid their clothes on them, and set Him on them. And a very great multitude spread their clothes on the road; others cut down branches from the trees and spread them on the road. Then the multitudes who went before and those who followed cried out, saying: “Hosanna [save now] to the Son of David! ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!’ Hosanna [save now] in the highest!” —Matthew 21:1–9
Lastly, 1,000 years before the time of Christ, David wrote:
“They pierced My hands and My feet; I can count all My bones. They look and stare at Me. They divide My garments among them, and for My clothing they cast lots.” —Psalm 22:16–18
Mark records the fulfillment:
And they brought Him to the place Golgotha, which is translated, Place of a Skull. Then they gave Him wine mingled with myrrh to drink, but He did not take it. And when they crucified Him [hands and feet pierced], they divided His garments, casting lots for them to determine what every man should take. —Mark 15:22–24
These are just a small sampling of the prophecies fulfilled by Jesus Christ. It is a mathematical impossibility that Jesus of Nazareth could have fulfilled all the prophecies He did and not be the promised Messiah.
Prophecy Concerning the End Times
Prophecies concerning the end times and the second coming of Christ also need to be mentioned. Without going into detail, these prophecies concern the restoration of the Jewish people to their homeland, Jerusalem as the center of world conflict, the resurrection of the Roman Empire, a one-world economy, a one-world religion, and the rise of a world dictator.
You don’t have to look far to see how the stage is being set for the fulfillment of these prophecies. The nation of Israel is back in the Promised Land. Jerusalem has become a burden to the surrounding nations. The European Union is uniting Europe in a way that has not been experienced since the days of the Roman Empire. Globalization is the goal of many world leaders, as seen in the activity and declarations of the United Nations. Now all that’s needed is someone to unite everyone together. That someone is coming to be sure—we commonly refer to him as the Antichrist.
All of these fulfilled prophecies, as well as those that are in the process of being fulfilled, are the proof that the Bible is not the work of men but of someone outside our space-time continuum, someone who knows, sees, and has told us the end from the beginning. That someone is of course God!
You can trust the Bible. You can trust what it says about man—his origin, purpose, and destiny. You can trust what it says about God—who He is, what He’s done, and what He’s going to do. You can trust it concerning Christ and His gospel. You can trust it from Genesis to Revelation. As the apostle Peter said, “We did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty. … we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts” (2 Peter 1:16, 19).