Before you say, “I don’t believe.” Chapter 15

Can you explain how the Bible’s prophecies could be so accurately fulfilled?

If I am asked why I believe the Bible, I would point the questioner to the fulfilled prophecies of the Bible. As a student, I remember debating with the Humanist Association about the Bible, and it was the issue of Bible prophecies that I wanted to keep as the focus, with the question: how did they explain how hundreds of Bible prophecies concerning nations, cities, leaders, individuals and particularly Jesus, have been so accurately fulfilled and in such detail? Bible prophecies are not vague in a Nostradamus or horoscope kind of way, but very specific and detailed, so that statistically the probability for them all being fulfilled is beyond reasonable possibility. Let the atheists and sceptics explain how someone could write in the present what would happen in the future, and so consistently get things right, if there is no God who is bigger than time, and for whom the past, present and future are as one.

There are many examples of fulfilled Bible prophecies which I could use by way of example , but here are two which come with the question: how were these prophecies so accurate if there is not an all-knowing God?

First, both in Isaiah 13:19–21, written about 712BC, and in Jeremiah 51:24 – 26 & 41–43, written about 600BC, prophecies state that in judgement against the wickedness of Babylon:

• Babylon will be destroyed
• It shall never be re-inhabited
• Arab people will not pitch their tents there
• There shall be no sheepfolds there
• Wild animals shall occupy the ruins
• The stones will not be taken away to use in other buildings
• People will not pass by the ruins

Babylon was conquered in 583BC, having been maybe the greatest city of those times. Its walls were 30 metres thick and 100 metres high, with towers rising much higher. The length of the walls was about 14 miles on each side of the city. A river flowed through the city guaranteeing its water supply. There was enough land within its walls to supply the city with food. It had no fear of siege. And yet, exactly as prophesied, the city has never been rebuilt; the stones imported to Babylon at great cost remain unmoved, though rocks from a little further have been taken; Arabs will pitch in most places, but not here, and the city is inhabited by animals and jackals, but there are no sheepfolds.

Secondly, think of the prophecies concerning Christ. Long before Jesus’ birth we are given details of Jesus’ birth, life, death, resurrection and influence. Here is just a sample of what we are told centuries before His birth:

In Zechariah 11:12-13 the price laid on Jesus and what would happen to the money is prophesied in every detail

• He would be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14),
• He would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2),
• A messenger would prepare the way for His coming (Isaiah 40:3 & Malachi 3:1),
• Children would be killed at His birth (Jeremiah 31:15),
• Jesus would come out of Egypt (Numbers 24:8)
• He would perform miracles (Isaiah 35:5 & 6a)
• He would be sold for 30 pieces of silver (Zechariah 11:12)
• He would be forsaken by His disciples (Zechariah 13:7)
• He would be accused by false witnesses (Psalm 35:11)
• He would be silent before His accusers (Isaiah 53:7)
• He would be smitten and spat upon (Isaiah 50:6 & Micah 5:1)
• His hands and feet would be pierced (Psalm 22:16 & Zechariah 12:10)
• He would be crucified between thieves (Isaiah 53:12)
• He would be rejected by His own people (Isaiah 53:3)
• He would be hated without a cause (Psalm 69:4)
• His garments would be gambled for (Psalm 22:18)
• Not a bone of His body would be broken (Psalm 34:20)
• His side would be pierced (Zechariah 12:10)
• He would die a criminal’s death but be buried in a rich man’s tomb (Isaiah 53:9)
• He would rise from the dead (Psalm 16:10)

All these were fulfilled in the one life of Jesus. How does the atheist explain these prophecies, made hundreds of years before Jesus’ birth, if the Bible is not the word of God?

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