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Study Resources :: Text Commentaries :: Don Stewart :: The Case for Christianity

Don Stewart :: Predictive Prophecy

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Chapter 9 – Predictive Prophecy

Jesus Fulfilled Prophecy and Made Predictions That Have Come True

One of the most powerful lines of evidence for the truthfulness of the Christian faith is predictive prophecy. In this chapter, we will discover two incredible truths: first, Jesus miraculously fulfilled prophecy when He came to the earth the first time and second, He Himself made predictions that were fulfilled. Thus, the evidence from predictive prophecy shows that Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies regarding the coming Messiah as well as making predictions which have come true.

This chapter is divided into three basic sections. First, we look at the subject of predictive prophecy. We find the requirements the Bible gives for someone to be called a prophet of God.

Next, we look at predictions Jesus fulfilled at His first coming. We discover that He was born in the right family line, in the right city, and at the right time in history. The evidence reveals Jesus to be the promised Messiah.

Finally, we look at a number of predictions which He made which we accurately fulfilled. He has made predictions that have come true.

Since only God knows the future, and only He can predict what will occur, fulfilled prophecy gives us evidence of His existence as well as His control of history. This is a comforting truth for the believer.

Part 1 – Introduction to Bible Prophecy: Only God Knows the Future

The first line of evidence for the truthfulness of the Christian faith consists of the miracles which Jesus performed. These miraculous signs demonstrated Jesus’ authority over every conceivable area.

The second line of evidence for the truthfulness of Jesus’ claims is one of the strongest anyone can imagine—predictive prophecy. As we shall see, this line of evidence sets Jesus apart from any other religious leader who has ever lived.

What Is a Biblical Prophet?

First, we must understand what we mean by the word “prophet.” The word translated “prophet” occurs over three hundred times in the Old Testament and over one hundred times in the New Testament. It comes from two Greek words—pro meaning “before,” or “in place of” and fayme meaning “to speak.” A prophet, therefore, is someone who speaks in the place of someone else. The Bible says Aaron was a prophet to Moses:

Then the LORD said to Moses...“your brother Aaron will be your prophet.” (Exodus 7:1 NIV)

Moses told God that his lack of eloquence prevented him from being His spokesman. God then told Moses that his brother Aaron could accompany him and be his spokesman, or prophet, to the people.

A Biblical Prophet Was a Spokesman for God

In the Bible a prophet is a spokesman for God. God sent and commissioned the prophet so that the words of the prophet are the words of God. As the priest represented the people to God, the prophet was God’s representative to the people. The Bible is clear that the words of the prophet were not the product of his own spirit, but came from a higher source—the One True God.

The Biblical Prophet Proclaimed God’s Word

The prophet’s message was the proclamation of the Word of God to the people. He was essentially a preacher and a teacher—a person who relays a message from God to humanity. The prophet Jeremiah recorded his prophetic calling. He wrote,

“Don’t say that,” the LORD replied, “for you must go wherever I send you and say whatever I tell you...Get up and get dressed. Go out, and tell them whatever I tell you to say. Do not be afraid of them, or I will make you look foolish in front of them.” (Jeremiah 1:7, 17 NLT)

Jeremiah the prophet was commissioned to speak the truth—no matter what the response of the people.

There Is Also a Predictive Element in Biblical Prophecy

There is also the predictive element in Bible prophecy. If the people did not receive the message of the prophet, then the prophet would predict future events. This would often involve judgment upon the nation Israel for their refusal to listen to the Lord.

The Biblical Prophet Spoke of Things to Come

Jesus said one of the ministries of the Holy Spirit was to show believers “things to come.” We read in John’s gospel the following words of Jesus:

“But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.” (John 16:13 NASB)

Bible prophecy, therefore, has both a local and future application. A biblical prophet was both a forthteller of local issues and foreteller of the future.

The Purpose of Bible Prophecy

Bible prophecy teaches us that there is a God who exists, and this God is in control of history. The purpose of prophecy is given to us in Scripture. We read the following in the Book of Isaiah:

“Remember the former things of old, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure.’” (Isaiah 46:9, 10 NKJV)

In another passage, the Lord said the following:

“I foretold the former things long ago, my mouth announced them and I made them known; then suddenly I acted, and they came to pass. For I knew how stubborn you were; the sinews of your neck were iron, your forehead was bronze. Therefore I told you these things long ago; before they happened I announced them to you so that you could not say, ‘My idols did them; my wooden image and metal god ordained them.’” (Isaiah 48:3-5 NIV)

From these passages we learn the following about Bible prophecy:

  1. There is only one God who exists.
  2. No creature anywhere in the universe is like God.
  3. The one God tells us what will happen before it occurs.
  4. Prophecy is given to fulfill His word.
  5. Thus we can know that God exists, and is in control of history, when His predictions come to pass.

Thus, according to Scripture, these are the various reasons for Bible prophecy.

The Prophets Gave Evidence of Authenticity

A practical question arises, “How would the people know if a prophet was sent by God? Could not anyone claim to be a spokesman for God?” God provided a simple method so that the people would know if this person was actually speaking for the Lord—the prophecies he gave must come to pass:

“I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers; I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him. If anyone does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name, I myself will call him to account. But a prophet who presumes to speak in my name anything I have not commanded him to say, or a prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, must be put to death.” You may say to yourselves, “How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the LORD?” If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the LORD does not take place or come true, that is a message the LORD has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously. Do not be afraid of him. (Deuteronomy 18:18-22 NIV)

The prophet had to give evidence of his prophetic calling.

The Biblical Prophet Encouraged People to Follow the Lord

From this passage we see that a prophet of God must speak in the name of the Lord. He shall not encourage the people to follow after false gods. No matter how correct a prophet may seem to be, if he does not encourage people to follow the Lord then he cannot be considered a prophet of God. Merely getting some future events correct is not enough to be considered a prophet of God.

The Biblical Prophet Was Always 100% Right

This is the biblical test for a true prophet. The person must be 100% right 100% of the time. A prophet of God could not even make one mistake. But what if someone predicted events that would only happen in the distant future? Everyone would be dead before it was known whether or not that person was a true prophet. How could the people immediately know if that person who claimed to be a prophet was, in actuality, sent from God?

The Prophet Had to Predict Something in Their Own Lifetime

God gave a simple test: his authenticity as a genuine prophet would be demonstrated by predicting something to happen in his own lifetime. Before he could be received as God’s prophet, he had to give clear evidence of his supernatural calling.

Isaiah Was a Genuine Prophet

For example, Isaiah the prophet spoke to King Hezekiah about the possible attack of the Assyrian army. He said the following:

“Therefore thus says the Lord concerning the king of Assyria: He shall not come into this city, shoot an arrow there, come before it with a shield, or cast up a siege ramp against it.” (Isaiah 37:33 NRSV)

The prophecy was clear. Although the city of Jerusalem was surrounded by the Assyrian army, there would be no destruction whatsoever. Furthermore, there would not even be one arrow shot into the city by the enemy. This prophecy was literally fulfilled as Isaiah records:

Then the angel of the Lord set out and struck down one hundred eighty-five thousand in the camp of the Assyrians; when morning dawned, they were all dead bodies. (Isaiah 37:36 NRSV)

As Isaiah the prophet predicted there was not even one arrow shot into the city. Therefore, we have an immediate fulfillment in the lifetime of the prophet Isaiah that demonstrates that he was speaking for God.

Jeremiah Gave Evidence He Was a Genuine Prophet

We also have an example from the life of Jeremiah. During his lifetime, there was a false prophet named Hananiah. Jeremiah pronounced judgment upon him. It is recorded as follows:

Then Jeremiah the prophet said to Hananiah, “Listen, Hananiah! The LORD has not sent you, but the people believe your lies. Therefore, the LORD says you must die. Your life will end this very year because you have rebelled against the LORD.” Two months later, Hananiah died. (Jeremiah 28:15-17 NLT)

Again, we have a prediction fulfilled in the lifetime of the prophet Jeremiah. The same test held true for other biblical prophets.

Summary to Bible Prophecy

We can summarize Bible prophecy in the following manner:

  1. A biblical prophet is a person who spoke for God to the people.
  2. The main idea behind Bible prophecy is proclamation of His Word.
  3. There is a difference between prophecy and predictive prophecy.
  4. If the message of the prophet was not received by the people, then judgment was often predicted upon them.
  5. Prophecy testifies that God not only exists, He is also in control of history.
  6. A prophet must give evidence in his own lifetime that he is a genuine prophet.

This summarizes what the Scripture says about Bible prophecy.

Part 2 – Prophecies Fulfilled by Jesus: Some Predictions Fulfilled at His First Coming

One of the major themes of the Old Testament is that God would send a Deliverer or Messiah (the Christ) to come into the world. He would eventually rule as king over Israel as well as rule over all the nations of the earth. A practical question arises, “How would the people know the identity of this promised Messiah when He arrived?” Theoretically, anyone could claim to be God’s anointed one.

This, however, was not the case. God narrowed it down in such a way that whoever claimed to be the Messiah would have to fulfill some very specific predictions. We will look at three specific areas that had to be fulfilled by anyone claiming to be the promised Messiah.

The Family Line of the Messiah Was Predicted

The first set of predictions, which we will consider, has to do with the Messiah’s genealogy, or family line. God narrowed down the family line of the Messiah in such a way that eliminated most of the people who have ever been born.

Prediction: He Will Come from the Family of Shem

The Bible says that the Messiah will be a descendant of one of Noah’s sons—Shem. We read about this in the Book of Genesis. It says,

Then Noah said, “May Shem be blessed by the LORD my God; and may Canaan be his servant. May God enlarge the territory of Japheth, and may he share the prosperity of Shem; and let Canaan be his servant.” (Genesis 9:26, 27 NLT)

Noah had three sons, Shem, Ham and Japeth. God eliminated two thirds of humanity when He said the Messiah would come through the line of Shem.

The Fulfillment Recorded

Luke lists the genealogy of Jesus in which he records Jesus was a descendant of Shem. It says,

...son of Cainan, son of Arphaxad, son of Shem... (Luke 3:36a HCSB)

Thus, Jesus was a descendant of Shem.

Prediction: The Christ Will Be a Descendant of Abraham

The Bible says that the Messiah will descend from Abraham. We read in the Book of Genesis the Lord saying the following:

Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go forth from your country, and from your relatives and from your father’s house, to the land which I will show you; and I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; and so you shall be a blessing; and I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.” (Genesis 12:1-3 NASB)

Now God eliminates all the families of the earth but one—the family of Abraham. Whoever claims to be the Messiah has to be a descendant of Abraham for God told Abraham that one of his descendants will bless all the earth.

The Fulfillment Recorded

In the first verse of Matthew’s gospel, he states that Jesus descended from Abraham. We read,

This is the list of ancestors of Jesus Christ, descendant of David and Abraham. (Matthew 1:1 God’s Word)

Jesus descended from Abraham. The promise to Abraham was literally fulfilled.

The Testimony of Paul

The Apostle Paul, in the New Testament, also emphasized that God specified one from Abraham’s line would be the Christ. He wrote to the Galatians,

God gave the promise to Abraham and his child. And notice that it doesn’t say the promise was to his children, as if it meant many descendants. But the promise was to his child—and that, of course, means Christ. (Galatians 3:16 NLT)

The Apostle Paul says that God uses the singular rather than the plural to emphasize it will be one particular descendant of Abraham who will bless the world—this one descendant was Jesus.

Prediction: He Will Be a Descendant of Isaac

Abraham had two sons, Isaac and Ishmael. God promised Isaac that the Messiah would be through his family line. We also read about this in Genesis:

“Stay in this land for a while, and I will be with you and will bless you. For to you and your descendants I will give all these lands and will confirm the oath I swore to your father Abraham. I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and will give them all these lands, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed...” (Genesis 26:3, 4 NIV)

Therefore, the Messiah would be born through the line of Isaac, not Ishmael, the other son of Abraham.

The Fulfillment Recorded

According to Matthew, Jesus was from Isaac’s line. He stated,

The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. To Abraham was born Isaac... (Matthew 1:1, 2a NASB)

The promise to Isaac was fulfilled.

Prediction: The Messiah Will Come from the Family of Jacob

Isaac had two sons, Jacob and Esau. Scripture says that the chosen line was through Jacob. This continues to narrow the possible candidates for the Messiah. It says in the Book of Genesis,

And God said to him, “I am God Almighty; be fruitful and increase in number. A nation and a community of nations will come from you, and kings will come from your body. The land I gave to Abraham and Isaac I also give to you, and I will give this land to your descendants after you.” (Genesis 35:11, 12 NIV)

Jacob, not Esau, would have the Messiah come through his line.

The Fulfillment Recorded

Jesus was also from the line of Jacob. Matthew records it as follows,

An account of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham. Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac was the father of Jacob... (Matthew 1:1, 2a NRSV)

The promise to Jacob was fulfilled.

Prediction: He Will Come from Tribe of Judah

Jacob had twelve sons. God eliminated 11/12 of the line of Jacob by saying the Messiah would come from the tribe of Judah:

“The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until tribute comes to him; and the obedience of the peoples is his.” (Genesis 49:10 NRSV)

Therefore, the line of the Messiah is narrowed even further.

The Fulfillment Recorded

Jesus descended from the line of Judah. Matthew records the following:

This is a record of the ancestors of Jesus the Messiah, a descendant of King David and of Abraham: Abraham was the father of Isaac. Isaac was the father of Jacob. Jacob was the father of Judah. (Matthew 1:1, 2 NLT)

The promise that the Lord made to Judah was literally fulfilled.

Prediction: The Messiah Will Be from Family Line of Jesse

There were many family lines in the tribe of Judah, but only through the family line of Jesse could the Messiah come. He is the Branch that will bear fruit according to the prophet Isaiah. He wrote,

Then a shoot will grow from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots will bear fruit. (Isaiah 11:1 HCSB)

The Bible says that Jesse would have a descendant who would be the Messiah.

The Fulfillment Recorded

Jesus was a descendant of Jesse. Matthew writes,

This is the list of ancestors of Jesus Christ, descendant of David and Abraham...Boaz and Ruth were the father and mother of Obed. Obed was the father of Jesse. (Matthew 1:1, 5 God’s Word)

Again, we find that God’s promise is fulfilled.

Prediction: He Will Descend from the House of David

God told David that the Messiah would be from His line. We read about this promise in Second Samuel. It says,

When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come forth from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. (2 Samuel 7:12 NRSV)

Jesse had at least eight sons. God eliminated 7/8 of the sons of Jesse when He said the Messiah would be through the line of David. Again, the list of potential candidates gets narrower and narrower.

The Fulfillment Recorded

The Bible records the fulfillment as follows:

This is a record of the ancestors of Jesus the Messiah, a descendant of King David and of Abraham. (Matthew 1:1 NLT)

The very first verse of the New Testament records the fulfillment of this prophecy.

When the angel appeared to Mary announcing Jesus’ birth he confirmed that Mary’s child would be a descendant of David. Luke writes,

And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. (Luke 1:31, 32 NRSV)

The Bible says that Jesus descended from David. Again, the promises of God come true.

Summary to the Genealogy of the Messiah

Whoever the promised Messiah would be, He would have to be a physical descendant of David the king. All other individuals would not qualify. Therefore, from the predictions with respect to the genealogy of the Messiah, the great majority of the people who have ever been born are eliminated from contention.

Jesus, however, fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies about the family line of the Messiah by being a descendant of David.

The Place of the Messiah’s Coming Was Predicted

In addition, the exact place of His birth was predicted.

Prediction: He Will Be Born In Bethlehem

God predicted, through the prophet Micah, the exact city where the Messiah would be born. He said the following:

But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times. (Micah 5:2 NIV)

Every city in the world was eliminated but one—Bethlehem of Judah or Judea. Thus if someone was a descendant of King David, yet was born in any other city than Bethlehem of Judea, he would not qualify as the promised Messiah.

What is interesting is that there was another city named Bethlehem in Israel at that time. However, this Bethlehem was not in the land of Judah. Thus, to fulfill the prophecy, the Messiah had to be born in Bethlehem of Judea, or Judah, not the other Bethlehem.

The Fulfillment Recorded

Jesus was not only born in the right family, He was also born at the right place; Bethlehem of Judea. Matthew records the following:

Jesus was born in the town of Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem. (Matthew 2:1 NLT)

Matthew records that Jesus was indeed born in the predicted city; the city of Bethlehem of Judea.

The Time of the Messiah’s Coming Was Predicted

Finally, we have the prediction with respect to the time in history of the Messiah’s coming.

Prediction: He Will Be Killed Before The Temple And The City Of Jerusalem Are Destroyed

The Old Testament predicts the death of the Messiah. This is found in the Book of Daniel. It reads,

After the sixty-two weeks, an anointed one shall be cut off and shall have nothing, and the troops of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. Its end shall come with a flood, and to the end there shall be war. Desolations are decreed. (Daniel 9:26 NRSV)

The New International Version puts it this way:

After the sixty-two ‘sevens,’ the Anointed One will be cut off 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. (Daniel 9:26 NIV)

We learn three things from this verse:

  1. The Messiah will come on the scene of history.
  2. He will be killed.
  3. After His death, the city of Jerusalem and the temple will be destroyed.
The Fulfillment Recorded

When Jesus came to the earth, the city of Jerusalem, and the temple, had not yet been destroyed. Teaching at the temple was an important part of Jesus’ ministry. The temple was destroyed in the year A.D. 70, along with the city of Jerusalem. This was forty years after His death and resurrection. Again, the predictions were literally fulfilled.

Summary to the Prophecies concerning the Messiah

Therefore, Jesus fulfilled certain prophecies about the coming Messiah. They include:

  1. He was born in the right family line—David’s.
  2. He was born at the right place—Bethlehem of Judea.
  3. He was born at the right time in history—before the city of Jerusalem and the temple were destroyed.

There Are Two Important Points to Consider

These three areas of prophecy we have looked at reveal two startling things. They are as follows.

First, the prophecies were fulfilled literally—exactly as they were written. Jesus was literally a descendant of King David, He was literally born in the city of Bethlehem, and He literally came upon the scene of history and was killed before the city of Jerusalem and the temple were destroyed. In other words, the prophecies were fulfilled exactly as they were written.

Second, these three lines of prophecy were all fulfilled without any human manipulation. There is no way Jesus could have deliberately fulfilled them, seeing they were all fulfilled by His birth. Before He gave any sermons, before He did anything miraculous, Jesus supernaturally fulfilled these prophecies. He was born in the right family, at the right place, and at the right time in history. Humanly speaking, there is no way Jesus could control these factors. Therefore, we find in the birth of Jesus Christ, miraculous fulfillment of Bible prophecy.

Part 3 – Prophecies Jesus Made That Have Been Fulfilled: A Look at Jesus the Prophet

Jesus not only fulfilled prophecy in His own life, He Himself predicted events that were to come to pass some time in the future. One of the ministries of Jesus was that of a prophet. As has been true with the prophecies fulfilled in His own life, His prophetic words have been literally and marvelously fulfilled.

We are going to look at ten specific predictions that Jesus made as well as their fulfillment. They include the following.

Prediction 1: His Words Would Be Everlasting

Jesus made the astounding prediction that heaven and earth would pass away but that His words would not pass away. He said,

Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. (Matthew 24:35 ESV)

He predicted that His words would be everlasting. We need to appreciate the amazing nature of this prophecy. Here was a man who lived in the first century A.D. with only a small group of followers, and His country was subject to the bondage of Rome. There was no modern means of mass communication or storage of the words of a person.

Yet Jesus made the statement that His words would be eternal—they will never pass away. Although it seemed improbable at the time, it has occurred exactly as He predicted. The words of Jesus are still with us today. They are read and believed by untold millions as they have been for the last two thousand years. It has happened just as He said.

Prediction 2: The Story of Mary of Bethany Will Be Continually Told

Mary of Bethany poured oil on the body of Jesus in anticipation of His coming death. The disciples rebuked her for wasting the oil, but Jesus said she had done a good thing. Matthew records the following words of Jesus:

For you always have the poor with you; but you do not always have Me. “For when she poured this perfume on My body, she did it to prepare Me for burial. Truly I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be spoken of in memory of her.” (Matthew 26:11-13 NASB)

Jesus predicted that her story would be told wherever the gospel was preached. As He predicted, the story of Mary of Bethany, and her anointing of Jesus before His death, is still told today wherever the gospel is preached. The fact that you are reading about it right now continues to fulfill Jesus’ prophecy.

Prediction 3: Jesus Gave Specific Details of His Own Betrayal and Death

The Bible says that Jesus predicted the circumstances surrounding His death. He said the following to His disciples:

From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day. (Matthew 16:21 NKJV)

Jesus also predicted His death would occur during the Passover celebration, and it would be by means of crucifixion. He said,

You know that the Passover takes place after two days, and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified. (Matthew 26:2 HCSB)

He also predicted that He would be betrayed by one of His own disciples. Matthew also writes,

While they were eating, He said, “I assure you: One of you will betray Me.” Deeply distressed, each one began to say to Him, “Surely not I, Lord?” (Matthew 26:21, 22 HCSB)

This occurred as predicted. Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus. Jesus suffered at the hands of the religious rulers and was crucified in the city of Jerusalem during the Passover. All these events occurred just as He had said.

The following points were literally fulfilled with respect to these predictions by Jesus:

  1. He suffered as a result of the religious rulers.
  2. He was betrayed by one of His own disciples.
  3. He died in Jerusalem.
  4. He died during the Passover celebration.
  5. He died by means of crucifixion.

Therefore, He fulfilled at least five specific predictions with respect to His betrayal and death.

Prediction 4: His Own Resurrection from the Dead Three Days after His Death

Jesus also predicted His resurrection from the dead. He said it would happen exactly three days after His death. We read in Matthew,

The next day, that is, after the day of Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate and said, “Sir, we remember what that impostor said while he was still alive, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ (Matthew 27:62, 63 NRSV)

The chief priests, and the teachers of the law, were the ones who arrested Jesus and brought Him to Pilate for execution. Yet, three days after His crucifixion, Jesus was alive again. The angel at His tomb on that first Easter made it clear to those who arrived:

He isn’t here! He has been raised from the dead, just as he said would happen. Come, see where his body was lying. (Matthew 28:6 NLT)

Jesus was crucified on Good Friday and came back from the dead on Easter Sunday morning—three days by Jewish reckoning. Again, His predictions were literally fulfilled.

Prediction 5: The Destruction of the City of Jerusalem

After Jesus was rejected by His people, He pronounced judgment upon them. Jesus predicted that the city of Jerusalem would be destroyed. Forty years before it occurred, Jesus gave specifics to its destruction:

For the days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you, surround you, and hem you in on every side. They will crush you and your children within you to the ground, and they will not leave one stone on another in you, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation. (Luke 19:43, 44 HCSB)

Jesus also said,

When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation has come near. (Luke 21:20 NRSV)

In A.D. 70, as Jesus had predicted, the city of Jerusalem was surrounded and destroyed by Titus the Roman. The reason Jesus gave for the fall of the city was the peoples’ rejection of Him as Messiah, “because you did not know the time of your visitation.”

Prediction 6: The Temple in Jerusalem Would Be Destroyed

Another prediction of Jesus that was literally fulfilled concerns the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem. Jesus specified the manner of its destruction. Matthew writes,

As Jesus was leaving the Temple grounds, his disciples pointed out to him the various Temple buildings. But he told them, “Do you see all these buildings? I assure you, they will be so completely demolished that not one stone will be left on top of another!” (Matthew 24:1, 2 NLT)

This happened exactly as predicted. When Titus the Roman destroyed the city of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, he also destroyed the temple.

Prediction 7: The Jewish People Would Be Scattered

When Jesus predicted the destruction of the city of Jerusalem and the temple, He made clear the fate that awaited the Jewish people. They will be scattered from their land and taken captive by other nations. He said,

And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and will be led captive into all the nations; and Jerusalem will be trampled under foot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. (Luke 21:24 NASB)

This occurred just as He had predicted. When the city and temple were destroyed, the people were scattered to the ends of the earth. Those who were not killed when the city was captured, were sold into slavery.

Prediction 8: The Holy Land Would Be Ruled by Gentiles

Jesus also predicted the nation Israel would be dominated for a long period of time by the Gentile (or non-Jewish) peoples:

And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and will be led captive into all the nations; and Jerusalem will be trampled under foot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. (Luke 21:24 NASB)

The land remained under Gentile domination for two thousand years. Except for a few short years in the second century the Jews had no rule over Jerusalem from A.D. 70 until 1967. The prediction that the nation would be subject to Gentile rule has been literally fulfilled.

Prediction 9: The Jewish People Would Be Persecuted

The people would not only be scattered, Jesus also predicted that the Jewish race would be persecuted. On His way to the cross He said,

Daughters of Jerusalem, don’t weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For the days are coming when they will say, ‘Fortunate indeed are the women who are childless, the wombs that have not borne a child and the breasts that have never nursed.’ People will beg the mountains to fall on them and the hills to bury them. (Luke 23:28-30 NLT)

History records that the Jewish people have gone through terrible persecution as Jesus predicted. From the ghettos of the Middle Ages, to the Holocaust of World War II, the Jews have been a persecuted race, like no other people in history.

Prediction 10: Though Persecuted, the Jewish Nation Will Survive

Though scattered and persecuted, Jesus also predicted the Jewish people would not perish. Though the nation was to suffer terribly, Jesus made it clear they would still survive. Again, we read the prediction in Luke’s gospel:

They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. (Luke 21:24 TNIV)

They would be persecuted until the times of the Gentiles would be fulfilled. Once this period of Gentile rule was over, the Jews would again have self-rule. This has only been fulfilled in modern times. On May 14, 1948, the modern state of Israel was reborn. Again, the words of Jesus have been literally fulfilled.

Summary to Predictions Made by Jesus

From the examples given, it is clear that Jesus had the ability to predict what was going to occur in the future. The historical evidence establishes that Jesus was a reliable prophet. The predictions of Jesus that have been fulfilled include the following:

  1. The Words of Jesus would be everlasting.
  2. The story of Mary of Bethany would be continually told.
  3. He would be betrayed by one of His disciples, suffer at the hands of the religious rulers, and die on the cross in the city of Jerusalem during the Passover.
  4. He would come back from the dead exactly three days later.
  5. The city of Jerusalem would be destroyed because they did not receive Him as their Messiah.
  6. The temple would also be destroyed because the people refused to accept Him as their Savior.
  7. The Jewish people would be scattered from their land.
  8. The Holy Land would be dominated by Gentile nations.
  9. The Jews would suffer terrible persecution.
  10. Though persecuted, the nation would survive.

These are merely some of the predictions that Jesus has made that have been fulfilled and continue to be fulfilled—there are many more than we have listed. Thus we have Jesus fulfilling prophecies in His own life as well as predicting things in the future that have come to pass.

So far we have seen two impressive lines of evidence for the claims of Jesus—miracles and fulfilled prophecy. We now move to our third line of evidence—the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

The Miracles of Jesus Christ ← Prior Section
The Resurrection of Jesus Christ Next Section →
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