One realm of arguments for the believably of The Bible is called “Argument From Fulfilled Prophesy”. Several instances of biblical prophesy had been predicted well in advance of the events actually having come to pass. Christian Apologists argue that the odds of The Bible getting these predictions correct is very low under the assumption that the books of scripture are merely human fabrications. Skeptics often respond to fulfilled prophesy arguments by trying to argue that the books were written after the events come to pass, so that they’re not writing prophesy but history under the guise of prophesy. The problem is that not all of the prophesies can be explained away by that kind of reasoning (which presupposes that The Bible is false by the way).
Among these prophesies for which this argument does not work are the following;
1: Isaiah Predicted That Gentiles Would Worship Israel’s God
Isaiah 49:6 says, “I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.” (KJV)
Isaiah predicted that the messiah would bring the knowledge of God to the gentile peoples’ of the world. The Messiah, according to Isaiah, would lead gentiles (i.e non-Jews) into a knowledge and relationship with God. Of course, this was hundreds of years before the life of Jesus. No scholar in their right mind would try to date the book of Isaiah AFTER the life of Jesus, and the era of the early Christian church. It’s just so obvious that Isaiah was written prior to Jesus’ birth. One reason we know this is because of The Dead Sea Scrolls. The Dead Sea Scrolls were a group of scrolls found in the 1940s. They were discovered accidentally by a shepherd boy who was looking for his lost sheep. He thought his sheep might have gone into one of the nearby caves, so he tossed a rock into the cave to lure it out. That’s when he heard the sound of pottery breaking. He went and told some people, and they came back and went into the cave. They looked into the jars and found almost the entire Old Testament except the book of Esther, completely in tact, and worded in the same way our modern Old Testaments read today! Scientists dated the scrolls to approximately 400 years before the beginning of the first century.
Therefore, Isaiah couldn’t possibly have been written after this prophesy was fulfilled. It was clearly written before it was fulfilled. But in that case, one is pressed with the question of how this author could have predicted the widespread worship of the God of Israel. We know that today, billions of Gentiles follow the God of Israel and the Messiah of the Jews. If Isaiah is not divinely inspired, how was he able to so accurately predict what so many people throughout the course of history would do? How did the prophet Isaiah know that the Messiah would convert billions of Gentiles? I think the most likely explanation is that Isaiah was inspired by God, who has knowledge of future events (see Psalm 139:1-6).
2: Daniel Predicted That The Messiah Would Be Worshipped All Over The World.
The prophet Daniel prophesied about the messiah thusly; “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him.” – Daniel 7:13-14
Daniel predicted that the messiah would be worshipped by people all over the world! People of every tribe and tongue would worship the messiah! Jesus claimed this title for Himself many times (e.g Luke 5:17-26, Luke 21:27, Mark 14:61-64, John 3:13, John 6:62), which, as I pointed out in “The Self Understanding of Jesus”, is a claim to deity given that this Son Of Man figure is given authority, glory, and sovereign power over the entire world, and that people give him worship; something that is due only to God alone (see Exodus 20:3). Jesus’ claim to be The Son Of Man is a claim to be God for several other reasons as well.
You can see the fulfillment of this prophesy most beautifully in this video of people taking turns singing Revelation Song in their own language.
How could Daniel know that the messiah would be worshipped as God by people all over the world? He either got really lucky, or the book of Daniel was divinely inspired.
3: Daniel Predicted That The Messiah Would Die In The First Century, The Temple Would Be Destroyed, and that the Jews Would Stop Sacrificing To God
The book of Daniel says “Seventy ‘sevens’ are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the Most Holy Place. Know and understand this: From the time the word goes out to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven ‘sevens,’ and sixty-two ‘sevens.’ It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble. After the sixty-two ‘sevens,’ the Anointed One will be put to death and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed. He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’ In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And at the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.” – Daniel 9:24-27
Biblical scholars say that Seventy weeks - 1 week = 7 days, therefore 70 weeks = 490 days, 1 prophetic day = 1 literal year (Ezekiel 4:6, Numbers 14:34), thus 70 prophetic weeks = 490 literal years. Adding all of these up places the anticipated fulfillment of this prophesy in the first century A.D. What does Daniel predict will happen then? He predicts that the messiah (or “Annointed One”) would be killed (verse 26). Shortly after He is killed, the “people of the ruler” would come and “destroy the city and the sanctuary” (i.e the Jewish temple in addition to other houses and buildings in Jerusalem) (also in verse 26). After that, offering sacrifices to God would come to an end (verse 27). What’s also interesting is that Daniel says the end of offering sacrifices to God would occur “in the middle of the ‘seven’”
What do these depictions make you think of? It makes me think of Jesus’ death by crucifixion in 30. A.D (“the Anointed One will be put to death and will have nothing”) followed by the Romans attacking Jerusalem, destroying the temple, and killing many many Jews as recorded by the secular historian Flavius Josephus (“The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary”) which followed an end to sacrifices, one of the reasons being there was no longer a temple to offer them in (the reason the Jews didn’t do it), but also Jesus paid for our sins (the reason Christians didn’t do it).
These are truly remarkable predictions for a book that’s just a mere human fabrication! Again, remember; Daniel dates prior to any of these events occurring. One of the reasons we know this is because of the dating the scientists determined from The Dead Sea Scrolls. Daniel predicted that in the first century, the messiah would come and die, people would come to destroy the temple and Jerusalem, and that afterwards people would no longer sacrifice to God. Did Daniel just get extremely lucky or was the book he wrote divinely inspired?
4: Ezekiel Predicts That Egypt Would Never Rule Over Others Again.
In Ezekiel 29:15, the prophet says that Egypt would recover from a desolation (perhaps Babylon's attack about 2600 years ago), but that it would never again rule over other nations. Up until the time of Ezekiel, Egypt had become a ruler over many nations in its vicinity. Egypt came under the control of foreign powers during the past couple thousand years. The Romans, Ottomans, and Europeans would be a some examples of nations that ruled over Egypt. Egypt is an independent nation right now though. They're not under the dominion of another country at the time I'm writing this. In 1948, 1967 and 1973, Egypt tried to dominate Israel but was a failure at each attempt. This should be surprising considering that Egypt is a whole lot bigger than the nation of Israel. Ever since the days in which Ezekiel walked the Earth, Egypt has never been able to gain control over other nations. Lucky guess or divine inspiration?
5: Jesus Predicted That Many People Would Impersonate Him
In the Olivette Discourse, Jesus was telling His disciples all of the things that would happen prior to the end of the world (or the siege of Jerusalem if you think the preterist position is correct). Jesus predicted that false teachers would come to deceive people away from salvation by pretending to be Jesus Himself.
Jesus said "Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many." (Matthew 24:4-5) "At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you ahead of time. So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the wilderness,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man." - Matthew 24:23-27
We know this prophesy has certainly come to pass. Many cult leaders have fooled people into joining their cults, many of them claiming to be the messiah or saying that they're Jesus Christ. How did Jesus know that so many people would try impersonate him?
The Bible's predictive ability is truly amazing. We can see that just from these 5 instances alone. You can either write these off as mere coincidences if you want to, or you can believe that these writers accurately predicted the future because a God with foreknowledge was informing them. I find the latter explanation far more plausible than the former.