The Bible contains several fulfilled prophecies. Some of these successful predictions are listed below.
The First Coming of Jesus
Despite being written hundreds of years before He was born, the Old Testament contains numerous fulfilled predictions about the first coming of Jesus. Like Jesus said “Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms” (Luke 24:44).
About 4,000 years ago, God made a promise to a faithful man named Abraham. God told him “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you” (Genesis 12:2-3). God reaffirmed this promise to Abraham’s son Isaac (Genesis 26:1-5), and to Isaac’s son Jacob, whose name God changed to Israel (Genesis 35:10-12). The story of Israel is a symbolic reminder of how we’ve all walked away from God, but He doesn’t walk away from us.
After all, God told the Jewish people they would be scattered throughout the earth if they turned away from Him (Deuteronomy 28:64; Leviticus 26:33). Well, they turned away from Him. In 70 A.D., shortly after Israel rejected Jesus, the Romans destroyed the city of Jerusalem. The Jewish people were scattered throughout the earth. In these foreign lands, they were persecuted heavily, culminating with the Holocaust. Of course, God had also warned the Jewish people this would be the case (Deuteronomy 28:65-66; Leviticus 26:36). Still, despite persecution, God promised to preserve their identity as Jews (Isaiah 66:22; Jeremiah 30:11; Jeremiah 31:35-37). In fact, God didn’t just promise to preserve the Jews, He promised to bring them back to their homeland (Isaiah 11:10-12; Ezekiel 36:22-28). He most certainly kept His promise.
Indeed, outside of museums, you don’t see many Moabites these days. You can’t take a trip to Edom. Yet, you can hop a plane to Israel, and hang out with some Israelites. After the British issued the Balfour Declaration, which declared their intention to create a homeland for the Jewish people, Jews began to return to Israel. Obviously, the Holocaust increased Jewish settlement in the land. On May 14th, 1948, just as the Bible predicted, the nation of Israel was reborn in a single day with Israel’s formal declaration of independence (Isaiah 66:8).
Time hadn’t changed God’s love for the Jewish people. He disciplined them so they would understand their need for Him, and turn back to Him. Likewise, God loves us, despite our rebellion against Him. He blesses us out of love, but this often make us grow further from Him. To get our attention, God disciplines us. He allows us to experience the consequences of our sins, so that we focus less on ourselves and more on Him. Sadly, when things are going well, people ignore God. When things are going poorly, He gets the blame. Sure, many Jewish people have rejected God’s offer of mercy through Jesus. Like all people who reject the only way to have peace with God (John 14:6), they stand condemned (John 3:18). Yet, it is a testament to God’s love that the Jewish people and the nation of Israel exist at all.
After He was crucified, Jesus was buried in the tomb of a wealthy man named Joseph of Arimathea (Matthew 27:57-60; Luke 23:50-53; John 19:38-41). This fulfilled a prophecy made hundreds of years earlier (Isaiah 53:9). Of course, a more significant prophecy was about to be fulfilled. On several occasions, Jesus predicted He would rise again three days after His death (Matthew 16:21; John 2:18-22). As a result, the Jewish and Roman authorities made sure His followers wouldn’t steal His body and claim He rose (Matthew 27:62-66). Jesus’ tomb was guarded by several armed men, and they sealed the stone door shut (Matthew 27:65-66).
Well, three days later, Jesus rose from the dead (Matthew 28:6-7; Mark 16:6; Luke 24:34). Like He predicted, the tomb was empty (Matthew 28:1-6; Mark 16:1-7; Luke 24:1-12; John 20:1-12). How could a guarded tomb, sealed by a heavy stone, be empty? People who don’t want to believe Jesus rose from the dead have resorted to some pretty wild explanations.
For starters, some individuals think everyone got confused and went to the wrong tomb. Apparently, Joseph of Arimathea suddenly forget where his own tomb was at. Likewise, all of the guards supposedly forgot which tomb they had to guard. Finally, why didn’t the authorities find the correct tomb and assure everyone Jesus’ body was still there? Besides, even if everyone was confused about where the tomb was at, it doesn’t explain Jesus appearing to several people over a period of 40 days (Acts 1:3).
After all, the Bible says Jesus appeared to different groups on multiple occasions (Luke 24:36; John 20:26-29; John 21:1; Acts 1:3-11), including an appearance to more than 500 people at one time (1 Corinthians 15:5-8). Jesus’ appearances were also clearly physical (Luke 24:37-40). He even ate some broiled fish and taught them awhile (Luke 24:41-45). So, a lot of people think the followers of Jesus must’ve experienced a series of hallucinations too. Yet, are we to believe a bunch of individuals had shared hallucinations in different places and at different times? On top of that, did everyone “hallucinate” the empty tomb too? That would be more miraculous than the Resurrection!
In response, some people claim Jesus never died. They think He passed out and woke up three days later. Apparently, Jesus survived being beaten by Jewish leaders (Matthew 26:67-68), scourged by Roman soldiers (Matthew 27:26) and crucified. In addition, the Roman executioners were supposedly too incompetent to determine if someone was dead or not (John 19:33). Just for fun, however, let’s say Jesus did survive being beaten, whipped repeatedly and crucified. How did He survive three days in a cold tomb without food, water and medical attention?
Obviously, Jesus really died, and He really rose again. Even His enemies realized it, but they made up the story that His followers stole the body (Matthew 28:11–15). Now, it’s hard to believe Jesus’ disciples overpowered a group of armed guards and removed a heavy stone door to take His body. First off, they were hiding in fear after His death (John 20:19). Additionally, the Bible says His disciples didn’t understand He was going to rise from the grave (Mark 9:30-32). They were in mourning after His death, not awaiting His Resurrection (Luke 24:13-17). Finally, why would a group of frightened individuals turn into courageous preachers by stealing His body? Why did they risk their lives for a lie?
Indeed, before Jesus was crucified, a disciple named Peter denied he even knew Him (Matthew 26:69–75). After Jesus rose again, Peter preached about the Resurrection boldly (Acts 2:14-41). A follower of Jesus named Stephen delivered a powerful sermon to the very group of Jewish leaders who condemned Jesus to death (Acts 7:1-57). He was stoned to death (Acts 7:57-58). Saul of Tarsus, who relentlessly persecuted Christians (Acts 8:3), until Jesus appeared to Him (Acts 9:1-9). He became a Christian on the spot, and is known these days as the Apostle Paul. Thomas, another disciple of Jesus, said He wouldn’t believe the Resurrection unless He put His finger in Jesus’ nail marks (John 20:25)! When Jesus appeared to Thomas, He told him to go right on ahead (John 20:27). Thomas worshipfully responded “My LORD and my God” (John 20:28). The followers of Jesus risked their lives to proclaim that Jesus conquered death. Jesus’ death paid our sin debt in full; the Resurrection was the receipt saying “paid in full.”