Is The Bible The World’s Only Prophetic Book?

by brittgillette

I’ve recently received several emails in which people have expressed a belief that the fulfilled prophecies of the Bible are not exclusive – that other books have exhibited the same power to prophesy the future. This idea is advanced in such a way as to undercut the divine authority of the bible by categorizing its impeccable track record of fulfilled prophecy as something less than the astounding miracle it is.

Since humans can’t even predict the weekend weather with great accuracy, the issuance of detailed prophecies years in advance of their ultimate fulfillment is, and should be, viewed by most people as a sign of supernatural origin.

Almost every religious system devised by man has its own set of prophets who claim divine knowledge of God’s will. Despite the fact that few of these religious systems provide evidence of their supernatural origin by foretelling specific future events, the world experiences no shortage of religious adherents willing to claim they do.

Muslims claim the Koran is prophetic. Mormons claim the Book of Mormon is prophetic. Hindus claim the Vedic texts are prophetic, and a cult following of people from various religious backgrounds claim that the writings of Nostradamus and Edgar Cayce are prophetic. In addition, countless other supposedly prophetic works exist, a list so long that space limitations don’t allow me to mention them all here.

In addition to their prophetic claims, each of the aforementioned texts claims its fulfilled prophecies are sufficient evidence of divine and/or supernatural authorship.

So when someone like me claims that the Bible is the only book which accurately prophesies the future, and is therefore the Word of God, it doesn’t make much of an impression. After all, numerous books are prophetic – right?

Wrong.

Just because someone makes a claim, it doesn’t make that claim true. Evidence must first be presented to test the claim, especially a bold claim such as the ability to foretell future events. Yet, for some reason, many people are more than willing to let the false assertions of others go unchallenged. The reasons are varied – political correctness, fear, and/or a reluctance to hurt someone’s feelings – but none of these reasons is sufficient grounds for allowing the truth to be corrupted.

When the false notion of multiple prophetic and divine texts is allowed to fester, it leads many people to accept the words of false prophets and idolatrous religious systems. This separates people from God, rather than drawing them closer to Him. And God doesn’t want people to be confused. He wants them to come into a full and abundant knowledge of His truth.

So in this article, we’ll examine some of the evidence backing these claims of divine authorship. Doing so will reveal the authentic Word of God and expose the counterfeits for the imposters they are.

God’s Challenge

If you’re searching for truth in a world of darkness, how do you keep from being deceived? Many books, people, prophets, and religious organizations claim to speak on behalf of God, yet many of them contradict one another – so they can’t all be true. How, therefore, does one uncover the truth?

God Almighty, in His infinite wisdom, knew the people of this world would be faced with such a conundrum. In order to keep His Word from being crowded out by the false teachings of Satan, God branded it with a unique watermark, one impervious to counterfeiters. So what is this watermark which identifies the true Word of God?

It’s fulfilled prophecy.

Since God is not confined by time, He already knows the future. Not because the future is pre-ordained, but because He’s in the future. God Almighty is in the past, present, and future simultaneously. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last… As such, He can recount with absolute certainty the future of the human race. And, as logic would dictate, anyone who claims to be God should have no problem foretelling the future with one-hundred percent accuracy.

But don’t take my word for it. God Himself made the same declaration to the prophets of Israel:

“But you may wonder, ‘How will we know whether or not a prophecy is from the Lord?’ If the prophet speaks in the Lord’s name but his prediction does not happen or come true, you will know that the Lord did not give that message. That prophet has spoken without my authority and need not be feared.” Deuteronomy 18:21-22 (NLT)

The 66 books of the Bible were written by numerous prophets, each performing God’s work under direction of the Holy Spirit. In the more than 2,000 years since God revealed that a prophet must have a perfect track record in order to establish his credentials as a messenger of God, no one has uncovered a single false prophecy written by any these men. On the contrary, hundreds upon hundreds of specific and detailed prophecies – in some cases written hundreds of years in advance – have been fulfilled to the letter.

These fulfilled prophecies are God’s certificate of authentication, His personal signet proving His direct authorship of the Old and New Testaments. As the Lord states, He will not give His glory to anyone else. And only the Lord can tell the beginning from the end:

“I am the Lord; that is my name! I will not give my glory to anyone else, nor share my praise with carved idols. Everything I prophesied has come true, and now I will prophesy again. I will tell you the future before it happens.” Isaiah 42:8-9 (NLT)

For those who present alternative scriptures, who claim to have received divine revelation or a message from above, God issues the following challenge:

“‘Present the case for your idols,’ says the Lord. ‘Let them show what they can do,’ says the King of Israel. ‘Let them try to tell us what happened long ago so that we may consider the evidence. Or let them tell us what the future holds, so we can know what’s going to happen. Yes, tell us what will occur in the days ahead. Then we will know you are gods.’” Isaiah 41:21-23 (NLT)

According to this verse, God has laid down a bold challenge. “Tell us what will occur in the days ahead,” He says, and “then we will know you are gods.”

In other words, if a person or a book can foretell the future, then that person or book has established his/her/its divine credentials. Absent this ability, any person or book which claims divine authority is nothing but an imposter – and that person or book is not to be feared.

As evidence of His own divinity, only one person in human history has ever successfully taken on God’s challenge. His name was Jesus of Nazareth:

“I tell you this beforehand, so that when it happens you will believe that I am the Messiah.” John 13:19 (NLT)

The Son of God reiterated the Old Testament tenet that if one can tell the future beforehand, then it establishes his divine credentials. This unique ability to foretell future events is the fail proof identifier of the Bible’s divine authenticity as well as the divinity of Jesus Christ:

“This is what the Lord says – Israel’s King and Redeemer, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies: ‘I am the First and the Last; there is no other God. Who is like me? Let him step forward and prove to you his power. Let him do as I have done since ancient times when I established a people and explained its future.’” Isaiah 44:6-7 (NLT)

God has thrown down the gauntlet. He’s issued His challenge. Who is like Him? Let that person or text step forward and prove it. Let them prove it by foretelling the future in advance.

What Books Meet God’s Challenge?

An objective search for the truth will carefully examine each text or series of writings which claim to foretell the future, taking into account a number of variables. For instance, could a prophecy be easily fulfilled by a supporter who set out to fulfill it? Does evidence exist that a prophecy was made in advance of its fulfillment? Is the prophecy in question vague and indecipherable? Is it so general that it’s easily fulfilled? What are the odds of its fulfillment?

A healthy dose of skepticism will go a long way in helping a person to discern truth from fiction. Many of the earliest Christians didn’t simply accept the words of mere humans, but they searched through the scriptures diligently to find out the truth for themselves:

“And the people of Berea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, and they listened eagerly to Paul’s message. They searched the Scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth. As a result, many Jews believed, as did many of the prominent Greek women and men.” Acts 17:11-12 (NLT)

For instance, I unequivocally state that the Bible is the inspired Word of God Almighty, and the hundreds of fulfilled prophecies within it is one reason I believe as I do. No other book can claim such astounding and accurate insight into future events.

But instead of taking my word for it, let’s examine some prophecies from the Koran, Nostradamus, and the Bible. And when we’re finished, you can draw your own conclusion as to which, if any, of these sources meets God’s challenge.

The Koran

The Koran, dictated to Muhammad in a cave sometime in the late 7th Century, is heralded by over one billion Muslims as the divine word of god. The text is divided into 114 Suras (chapters), covering any number of subjects including, some claim, prophecies of future events. Yet, when presented with God’s challenge to foretell the future, the Koran falls short.

Proponents of the Koran’s ability to prophesy point to more than sixty passages which they claim are prophetic in nature, but most of these passages are vague, ambiguous, and sometimes not even prophecies at all. Given the space limitations of this article, only three of these supposed prophecies are featured here.

The first is said to be a prediction of genetic engineering:

“And most certainly I will lead them astray and excite in them vain desires, and bid them so that they shall slit the ears of the cattle, and most certainly I will bid them so that they shall alter Allah’s creation; and whoever takes the Shaitan for a guardian rather than Allah he indeed shall suffer a manifest loss.” Sura 4:119

It’s quite a stretch to say that slitting “the ears of cattle” and altering “Allah’s creation” are clear predictions of the human race engaging in genetic engineering. Like many purported prophecies, this verse is vague in its prediction (assuming it’s an attempted prediction at all).

Some adherents also claim the Koran foretold modern modes of transportation:

“And (He made) horses and mules and asses that you might ride upon them and as an ornament; and He creates what you do not know.” Sura 16:8

Again, the statement that “He creates what you do not know” isn’t exactly a detailed and specific prophecy of future events, much less a fulfilled prophecy of modern transportation. Yet, supporters of the Koran are more than willing to overlook this ambiguity in order to support their preconceived notions of the Koran’s divine origin.

In yet another example of creative interpretation, supporters claim the Koran foretold the pollution of the industrial age:

“Corruption has appeared in the land and the sea on account of what the hands of men have wrought, that He may make them taste a part of that which they have done, so that they may return.” Sura 30:41

Of course, corruption is a rather ambiguous term. Does it infer physical corruption? Spiritual corruption? This supposed prophecy is so vague, it can have a hundred different meanings to a hundred different people.

The above verses are indicative of the types of prophecies found in the Koran – imprecise and broad-based in nature. Nowhere in the Koran can one find a prophecy that names a specific year, time, season, or place in which an event will occur. Yet countless people continue to harp about its supposed predictive powers. Take the time to read the Koran, and you can find out for yourself.

Nostradamus

If the Koran is the most famous work people point to when arguing that another book approaches the prophetic significance of the Bible, then the writings of a 16th Century French doctor are a close second. Published in a book titled ‘The Prophecies,’ the predictions of Nostradamus are written in quatrains organized in several chapters known as ‘Centuries.’ Modern apologists make bold claims concerning the prophetic significance of these writings. Yet to believe in the prophetic power of Nostradamus requires an overt willingness to engage in recklessly broad and creative interpretations of his writing. It’s a stretch to proclaim even one fulfilled prophecy can be located in his work, much less an entire series of fulfilled prophecies. Yet, inexplicably, there’s no shortage of people willing to attribute prophetic power and supernatural significance to these writings.

To illustrate the absurdity of the Nostradamus prophecies, all one has to do is read one. Let’s examine his most famous, a quatrain heralded by proponents as proof positive of the seer’s keen insight into the future:

“Beasts wild with hunger will cross the rivers,
The greater part of the battlefield will be against Hister.
He will drag the leader in a cage of iron,
When the child of Germany observes no law.”

(Translation of Century II, Quatrain 24)

Of course, the key word in this quatrain is “Hister,” which proponents immediately translate as “Hitler.” However, some translations state the word as “Ister,” which is the Latin name for the Danube River in Germany. Even advocates of Nostradamus admit the original translation never directly names “Hitler.” It’s only through creative manipulation of the translation that people arrive at the name of Hitler. Of course, with enough creativity, any number of meanings can be attributed to these verses.

In addition, Nostradamus supposedly predicted the rise of Napoleon:

“An Emperor will be born near Italy,
Who will cost the Empire very dearly.
They will say, when they see his allies,
That he is less a prince than a butcher.”

(Translation of Century I, Quatrain 60)

Clearly, this quatrain predicts the rise of Napoleon. Right? Yes, it does – as well as the rise of any historical person fitting this description, of which there are many. For example, Italian dictator Benito Mussolini was born in Italy, cost the empire dearly, and was more of a butcher than a prince.

If any doubts lingered as to the authority of Nostradamus as some sort of divine prophet, they should have been put to rest in July 1999. For in one of the rare quatrains where Nostradamus actually predicts a date, he fails miserably. Apparently, some sort of great king of terror should have appeared from the sky in July 1999:

“In the year 1999 and seven months
From the sky will come the great King of Terror.
He will bring back to life the great king of the Mongols.
Before and after, war reigns happily.”

(Translation of Century X, Quatrain 72)

Again, let me reiterate God’s position:

“But you may wonder, ‘How will we know whether or not a prophecy is from the Lord?’ If the prophet speaks in the Lord’s name but his prediction does not happen or come true, you will know that the Lord did not give that message. That prophet has spoken without my authority and need not be feared.” Deuteronomy 18:21-22 (NLT)

July 1999 came and went, and no king of terror appeared from the sky. Yet, apologists for Nostradamus continue to push the idea that his obscure collection of ambiguous ramblings qualifies as serious prophecy. It’s nothing less than mind-boggling.

When a newspaper horoscope states “You will see someone you know today,” and then you see someone you know, this may in a technical sense qualify as a fulfilled prophecy. But would you ascribe supernatural inspiration to such an event? Of course you wouldn’t. No rational person would. But that’s exactly what has happened with the Nostradamus “prophecies.”

Those vague and ambiguous quatrains which can be linked in some way to a modern event are heralded throughout the media as fulfilled prophecies, while the same pundits get a case of selective memory when it comes to the hundreds of additional quatrains which can’t be linked to anything at all.

If you have any doubts concerning the legitimacy of the prophecies of Nostradamus, then I encourage you to find a translation of his work and read them. Don’t blindly accept the conclusions of others. Find out for yourself. Reading these quatrains firsthand, you’ll quickly conclude that the highly vaunted Nostradamus is nothing more than a man from a bygone era who recorded a mountain of gibberish.

The Bible

Although billions of people quote, read, and study the Bible every year, most of the world is ignorant of the staggering number of specific and detailed prophecies found in its pages. More than 25% of the Bible is prophecy. And each prophecy except those concerning the “last days” and the millennial kingdom that follows have been fulfilled with 100% accuracy. Some of these prophecies, such as Jeremiah’s claim that Israel would be taken into captivity for a period of 70 years by the Babylonians, were written decades before fulfillment. Others, such as Ezekiel’s forecast of the exact year in which Israel would be re-established as a nation, were written 2,500 years before fulfillment.

But regardless of the time frame in which they occur, the prophecies of the Bible are very specific in nature. Nevertheless, most people are simply unaware of them. Despite the fact that millions of people supposedly read the Bible, countless books have been written on the subject of bible prophecy, and some of these prophecies have been fulfilled in our time, the media trumpets Nostradamus while distancing itself from the prophecies of the Bible.

Below are a few instances of specific and detailed bible prophecies fulfilled in history:

The Messiah will be betrayed for 30 pieces of silver.

The Old Testament Prophecy:
“And I said to them, ‘If you like, give me my wages, whatever I am worth; but only if you want to.’ So they counted out for my wages thirty pieces of silver.” Zechariah 11:12 (NLT)

The New Testament Fulfillment:
“Then Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve disciples, went to the leading priests and asked, ‘How much will you pay me to betray Jesus to you?’ And they gave him thirty pieces of silver.” Matthew 26:14-15 (NLT)

The 30 pieces of silver will be thrown in the potter’s field.

The Old Testament Prophecy:
“And the Lord said to me, ‘Throw it to the potters’ – this magnificent sum at which they valued me! So I took the thirty coins and threw them to the potters in the Temple of the Lord.” Zechariah 11:13 (NLT)

The New Testament Fulfillment:
“When Judas, who had betrayed him, realized that Jesus had been condemned to die, he was filled with remorse. So he took the thirty pieces of silver back to the leading priests and other leaders. ‘I have sinned,’ he declared, ‘for I have betrayed an innocent man.’ ‘What do we care?’ they retorted. ‘That’s your problem.’ Then Judas threw the money onto the floor of the Temple and went out and hanged himself. The leading priests picked up the money. ‘We can’t put it in the Temple treasury,’ they said, ‘since it’s against the law to accept money paid for murder.’ After some discussion they finally decided to buy the potter’s field, and they made it into a cemetery for foreigners. That is why the field is still called the Field of Blood.” Matthew 27:3-8 (NLT)

The Messiah’s enemies will divide his clothes among themselves and cast dice for his garments.

The Old Testament Prophecy:
“My enemies stare at me and gloat. They divide my clothes among themselves and throw dice for my garments.” Psalm 22:17-18 (NLT)

The New Testament Fulfillment:
“When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they divided his clothes among the four of them. They also took his robe, but it was seamless, woven in one piece from the top. So they said, ‘Let’s not tear it but throw dice to see who gets it.’” John 19:23-24 (NLT)

That’s all well and good you may say, but you’re using the bible to verify the Bible!

Notwithstanding the widespread scholarly acceptance of the New Testament as an accurate and reliable historical record, the Bible has foretold events from our own time. Don’t believe it?

How about the re-gathering of the Jews in Israel? Despite nearly 2,000 years of dispersion and unspeakable persecution, the Jews remained a distinct race of people and returned to their land to reestablish Israel in 1948:

“‘Do not be afraid, for I am with you. I will gather you and your children from east and west and from north and south. I will bring my sons and daughters back to Israel from the distant corners of the earth. All who claim me as their God will come, for I have made them for my glory. It was I who created them.” Isaiah 43:5-7 (NLT)

“‘But the time is coming,’ says the Lord, ‘when people who are taking an oath will no longer say, ‘As surely as the Lord lives, who rescued the people of Israel from the land of Egypt.’ Instead, they will say, ‘As surely as the Lord lives, who brought the people of Israel back to their own land from the land of the north and from all the countries to which he had exiled them.’ For I will bring them back to this land that I gave their ancestors.” Jeremiah 16:14-15 (NLT)

“Therefore, give the exiles this message from the Sovereign Lord: Although I have scattered you in the countries of the world, I will be a sanctuary to you during your time in exile. I, the Sovereign Lord, will gather you back from the nations where you were scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel once again.” Ezekiel 11:16-17 (NLT)

The promise to restore Israel as a nation isn’t made just once in the Bible, but numerous times.

Still not convinced?

How about the exact day in which Israel would be reestablished as a nation?

How about the exact year in which the Messiah would arrive at the Temple and “appear to be killed.”?

The Bible harbors hundreds upon hundreds of specific and detailed prophecies just like these. They serve to authenticate the divine authority of the Bible and to serve as a warning and hope of things to come.

Conclusion

The Bible contains clear and detailed prophecies, many fulfilled in history and others to be fulfilled in the days to come. The fulfilled prophecies provide the world with clear evidence of the Bible’s heavenly inspiration. No other books of purported supernatural origin come anywhere close to answering God’s challenge – not the Koran, the Bhagavad Gita, the Vedic texts of Hinduism, the Book of Mormon, the writings of Nostradamus, the writings of Edgar Cayce, or any other work of human hands.

The answer is clear to the objective observer. The bible is the only text which meets God’s challenge of foretelling specific future events with 100% accuracy. According to God, when this happens, it is a sign that those words of prophecy have come from Him:

“Above all, you must realize that no prophecy in Scripture ever came from the prophet’s own understanding, or from human initiative. No, those prophets were moved by the Holy Spirit, and they spoke from God.” 2 Peter 1:20-21 (NLT)

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Published in: on May 6, 2008 at 1:50 pm  Comments (1)  
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  1. Great post.


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