“For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” (Revelation 19:10)
In Isaiah 41:21-24, God makes a challenge to all alleged gods and to those who believe in them, and he says:
“‘Present your case,’ says the LORD. ‘Set forth your arguments,’ says Jacob’s King. Bring in your idols to tell us 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. But you are less than nothing and your works are utterly worthless; he who chooses you is detestable.’”
God challenges these alleged gods to accurately prophesy about the future, for no man can do this, but only God. In order to demonstrate his existence and to confirm to us the divine inspiration of the Bible (2 Peter 1:20-21), God filled it with hundreds of prophecies about various nations, people and events, some of which are quite complicated and detailed. About one third of the Bible is prophetic, and amazingly, the Bible has a 100% accuracy record in fulfilled prophecy. Even more amazing is that a number of these prophecies have been confirmed through extra-Biblical historical texts and archaeological discoveries. The Bible stands alone, for no other religious book or alleged prophet has accurately fulfilled so many prophecies.
One example is the book of Daniel. It contains remarkably detailed and accurate prophecies about the rise and fall of the Babylonian, Medo-Persian, Greek and Roman empires as well as Nebuchadnezzar, Alexander the Great and the Ptolemy and Seleucid dynasties.
Perhaps the most remarkable prophecy in Daniel (and arguably in the entire Bible) is when he predicted, 600 years prior to its fulfillment, the exact year the Messiah (Christ) would come and be hailed as the King and Messiah and afterwards be “cut off” (killed) (Daniel 9:25-26). Christians commemorate this event as “Palm Sunday”. Archaeological discoveries have validated the correct dates of the fulfillment of this prophecy.
With impeccable accuracy, Biblical prophecies have been given hundreds or even thousands of years before they were fulfilled. While there are so many amazing passages I could mention, I want to focus on just one.
The following prophetic passage below was spoken by the prophet Isaiah (740-680 BC) approximately 700 years before its fulfillment. The prophecies are about the “Messiah” (Greek: “Christ”, meaning “Anointed One”). The Messiah was the person God promised to send to save us from our sins. (See “Message“).
In fact, seven times (the Biblical number for completeness) in this passage it is prophesied that the Messiah will die in order to pay the punishment for our sins.
For those who are familiar with the New Testament gospel accounts of Jesus’ life (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John), this passage in Isaiah speaks loudly and clearly of Jesus Christ, particularly the circumstances surrounding his death and resurrection.
Compare the following prophecies made in Isaiah 52:13-53:12 with their New Testament fulfillment in Jesus Christ:
–Jesus would be physically brutalized (through abuse, flogging and crucifixion) beyond human recognition. Prophesied: Isaiah 52:14. Fulfilled: Matthew 26:67-68; 27:26, 28-30, 35.
–Jesus would be rejected by the people (particularly the religious leaders). Prophesied: Isaiah 53:1-3. Fulfilled: John 1:11, 9:22, 11:45-47; Luke 7:30.
–Jesus, though sinless, would take our sins upon himself and bear the punishment for them. Prophesied: Isaiah 53:4-6, 10-12. Fulfilled: Mark 10:45; John 1:29, 3:14-18.
–Jesus would be put to death by being pierced (crucifixion). Prophesied: Isaiah 53:5. Fulfilled: Mark 15:24.
–Jesus, when he stood on trial, would be silent before his accusers and would not defend himself. Prophesied: Isaiah 53:7. Fulfilled: Matthew 26:62-63; John 19:8-10.
–Jesus would be falsely accused, condemned and executed. Prophesied: Isaiah 53:8. Fulfilled: Matthew 26:59-61; 27:1-4.
–Jesus, though sinless, would die as a ‘criminal’. Prophesied: Isaiah 53:9. Fulfilled: Matthew 27:38.
–Jesus would be buried in a rich man’s tomb. Prophesied: Isaiah 53:9. Fulfilled: Matthew 27:57-63.
–Jesus would surrender to God’s will to die for our sins. Prophesied: Isaiah 53:10-12. Fulfilled: Matthew 26:36-46; John 12:23-33.
–Jesus would be resurrected. Prophesied: Isaiah 53:11. Fulfilled: Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, John 20-21.
Read the passage for yourself:
“See, my servant will act wisely; he will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted. Just as there were many who were appalled at him–his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man and his form marred beyond human likeness–so will he sprinkle many nations, and kings will shut their mouths because of him. For what they were not told, they will see, and what they have not heard, they will understand.
Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised and we esteemed him not.
Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. By oppression and judgment he was taken away. And who can speak of his descendants? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was stricken. He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.
Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand. After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities. Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”
Although this is one of the most direct and lengthy prophetic passages about the Messiah, it is estimated that the Bible actually contains over 300 Messianic prophecies! (Some of these prophecies are duplicated in different books by different prophets; however, nearly 200 of these are distinctly different prophecies).
And Jesus fulfilled every single one of them!
So what are the statistical odds of one person fulfilling all 300+ Biblical prophecies?
Please see: Can You See Jesus Fulfilled Biblical Prophecies? (Signs of The Times Series) to find out.
For more questions and answers about God, please see: Is God Real?
For more information on Bible Prophecy, please see:
A short article about Messianic prophecies:
A fairly in-depth three-part article about Messianic prophecies:
A couple of short articles about Bible prophecy:
A short article that provides a long list of many Biblical references containing Messianic prophecies:
A short, well-rounded look at Messianic prophecies by experts (5:49)