One kind of information which is not accessible to human beings is a detailed knowledge of the future. However, the Bible contains many predictions of the future.Some of these predictions are of events yet future. These future predictions are generally events which are to do with the return of Jesus and the ensuing Kingdom of God. Many of the predictions, however, are about events which are now passed. These fulfilled prophecies are a witness to the Bible’s tremendous accuracy in predicting the future.
The number of predictions in the Bible is large. One authority estimates that 27% of the Bible consists of predictions of future events, and lists 1,817 individual prophecies.
Example – The Future of Israel
The Old Testament mainly concerns the history of the Israelite nation from the time of the Patriarchs to the present day and beyond. The earliest predictions are from the Law of Moses, and the clearest of these is in Deuteronomy 28 and 30. Deuteronomy 28 contains a prediction of a blessing and a curse. The blessing (verses 1-14) was to come on Israel if they were faithful, and the curse (verses 15-68) if they were unfaithful. Deuteronomy 30 tells us that both the blessing and the curse were to come on Israel at different times.
The prediction of peace and plenty for Israel came to pass in Old Testament times. However, later on Israel suffered the curse.This includes the following words:-
And the LORD will scatter you among all peoples, from one end of the earth to the other, and there you shall serve other gods of wood and stone, which neither you nor your fathers have known. And among these nations you shall find no respite, and there shall be no resting place for the sole of your foot, but the LORD will give you there a trembling heart and failing eyes and a languishing soul. Your life shall hang in doubt before you. Night and day you shall be in dread and have no assurance of your life. (Deuteronomy 28:64-66)
This prediction was fulfilled in the dreadful treatment of Jews after their defeats in 70 and 135 AD and their dispersion throughout the Roman Empire (which has become worldwide). In their wanderings the Jews were persecuted shamelessly by virtually every other nation. These persecutions reached a climax with the Nazi holocaust when over 6 million Jews were killed in concentration camps.
The predictions in the book of Deuteronomy were made in about 1400BC (some critics claim only 600BC). However, the fulfilment has lasted until the 20th century and maybe later.
Example – Nations near Israel.
Besides a very detailed prediction of the future history of Israel, the Bible predicted histories of many of the nations in the area around Israel. These nations include:-
Egypt -was to lose its superpower status and become an ordinary nation like the rest. (Ezekiel 29:14,15)
Edom – was to be cut off and cease to exist (Obadiah 1:10)
The Philistines – were to perish from the world (Amos 1:8).
Moab – was to cease to exist. (Zephaniah 2:9)
Babylon – was to become an uninhabited ruin.
Israel – was to be scattered throughout the nation but was to re-settle in the land of Canaan after a long time (Jeremiah 30:11; Isaiah 11:11ff)
These prophecies have all been fulfilled. Notice that the prophecies are different for the different nations; it is not merely a question of predicting destruction for all nations and then waiting. Notice also that the prophecies are long term. They were all fulfilled long after the time that they were given.
What it means
Prediction of the future is not within the power of ordinary human beings. The fact that the Bible contains predictions which are clear, unambiguous and precise, and which have been fulfilled, often long after they were given, shows that there is more to the Bible than one might be led to believe.