God can do what no one else can do. If you wanted to prove that you were God, you would probably prove it by accomplishing what ordinary mortals cannot do. Perhaps you would fly. Or disappear and reappear in a new location. Or raise someone from the dead. You might lift several trucks up in air and juggle them. Perhaps demonstrate invulnerability by diving into bubbling lava and walking out again. You could go to the nearest VA hospital and cause new limbs to grow.
In a secular culture, you might even submit to tests of all kinds so skeptical scientists could measure the results scientifically.
The Christian God was very careful to prove himself when he had the Bible written. He wanted to make sure you would recognize him as God when he set his plan of salvation into effect. He did this by accurately telling us what the future holds. No person on earth, no medium or psychic, can claim the accurate prediction rate of God. God gave times, people’s names, and place names so we could check out history and verify his work. He even gave us the name of a historical figure centuries before the fact!
Now if you wanted everyone to know that you, as God, was going to appear as a human being, you would explain what you would be like so you would be recognized. You could put in the city of your birth, where you grew up, what kinds of deeds you would do, your temperament, your purpose, even how you would die.
God did all that in the Old Testament. It was all in written form four hundred years before Jesus’ birth. The New Testament gospels follow Jesus and point out some of the places where He fulfilled the prophecies.
If you haven’t been exposed to biblical prophecy before, let me give you several examples.
Daniel recounts in chapter eleven of his book of having received knowledge of future events from God. Written in the 6th century B.C., Daniel gives us an accurate description of events winding down to 199-198 B.C. He foresaw Alexander the Great’s kingdom split up into four factions. The prophecy predicts details of the conflict between the Ptolemy and Seleucid dynasties. Skeptics cannot believe the account was written before 164 B.C. Unlike Nostradamus’ cryptic writings, Daniel chapter eleven describes plain schemes and conquests that are easily followed by the student of history.
Can you name the next president of the United States just two years ahead of time? Can you guess what name a friend will come up with for her new baby barely nine months into the future? No? Well, how about naming a king who will not appear for another 150 years, and name his nation? The prophet Isaiah did just that. In Isaiah 44:28-45:1 God tells us that Cyrus, king of Persia, will decree regarding Jerusalem, “You shall be built,” and regarding the temple, “Your foundation shall be laid.” In 2 Chronicles 36:22-23 and Ezra 1:1-3 we find that Cyrus did indeed come to power and called the Jews to return to Israel and rebuild Jerusalem, which had been destroyed earlier. Thus saith the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut;”
Can you predict when the Messiah (God’s chosen one) will appear in the world? Daniel 9:24-25 tells us that the Messiah would die 483 Hebrew years after ‘the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem.’ (Enemies of Israel had destroyed Jerusalem twice in Israel’s history.) Nehemiah 2:1-8 tells us that King Artaxerxes issued that decree (March 5, 444 B.C.). 483 prophetic years (360 days to a year in the calendar of the ancient world) and seven days later, Jesus the Messiah was crucified.
How could a prophet accurately predict the dismantling of a world empire hundreds of years beforehand? How could a prophet give us the name, nation, and decree over a hundred years prior to the king’s birth? How could a man foretell to the year the life and death of Jesus unless he really heard the voice of God? (I can’t even predict which shirt I’ll wear tomorrow.) These are only a small sample of prophecy in the Bible. One quarter of the Bible is prophecy. Several archaeological discoveries have verified these and many other accounts. God has proven his existence wonderfully.
What Do You Think?
a. Nearly a quarter of the Bible is prophecy. Do you believe that consistent, accurate reporting of facts with names, places, and events hundreds of years in advance demonstrates a God-like intelligence?
b. Most of us have no problem guessing or even gambling on various outcomes. In what ways do the prophecies mentioned above go beyond guessing?
c. The coming of Jesus Christ fulfilled around one hundred prophecies. Another one hundred or so prophecies yet remain regarding his Second Coming. How many prophecies must accurately be accomplished before someone should take God seriously?