Biblical Prophecy, Part 2

Intro: If the Bible is truly God’s word, what evidences could you expect to find in its pages? Certainly we could rightfully expect that there would be no historical errors that are common in the writings of men. We would rightfully expect all of the predictions of the Bible to be accurate and true.

  • Last week we discussed the important place of fulfilled prophecy in establishing the veracity and authenticity of the Bible. We noticed that the Bible itself provides the only acceptable standard for judging true prophecy. A true prophet does not miss. His predictions are 100% accurate, 100% of the time.
  • Unger’s Bible Dictionary says… Scripture plainly presents prediction as a manifestation of God’s power glorifying His Person, exalting His redemptive work in Christ, and setting forth the divine character of His revealed Word.  (from The New Unger’s Bible Dictionary)
  • Consider some prominent Bible prophecies that build our confidence in the words of the scripture.

I.  The Rebuilding of Jericho: Sometimes the words of the original prophecy are connected with its fulfillment in the pages of the scripture itself. Immediately following the miraculous victory of Israel in overthrowing the city of Jericho, Joshua made an amazing prediction. Joshua 6:26 – 26 Then Joshua charged them at that time, saying, “Cursed be the man before the Lord who rises up and builds this city Jericho; he shall lay its foundation with his firstborn, and with his youngest he shall set up its gates.” Worded in the form of a curse, Joshua’s words become a divine prediction. This was probably to keep the ruins of Jericho as a standing monument to God’s power and sovereignty.

A.  Although Jericho did exist as an inhabited city prior to the fulfillment of this prediction, the curse referred specifically to the building and fortification of the walls. (lay its foundation, set up its gates1 Kings 16:3434 In his days Hiel of Bethel built Jericho. He laid its foundation with Abiram his firstborn, and with his youngest son Segub he set up its gates, according to the word of the Lord, which He had spoken through Joshua the son of Nun.

II. the destruction of Jeroboam’s altar Jeroboam built altars and led the northern tribes of Israel to worship golden calves. A prophet predicted a descendant of David named Josiah would burn men’s bones on that altar, and the altar would split and the ashes be poured out. The king who would do this was named generations before he was born!

  • 1 Kings 12:26-3026 And Jeroboam said in his heart, “Now the kingdom may return to the house of David: 27 If these people go up to offer sacrifices in the house of the Lord at Jerusalem, then the heart of this people will turn back to their lord, Rehoboam king of Judah, and they will kill me and go back to Rehoboam king of Judah.”   28 Therefore the king asked advice, made two calves of gold, and said to the people, “It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. Here are your gods, O Israel, which brought you up from the land of Egypt!” 29 And he set up one in Bethel, and the other he put in Dan. 30 Now this thing became a sin, for the people went to worship before the one as far as Dan.

  • The Man of God cries out against the sin of Jeroboam: 1 Kings 13:1-3 – 13 And behold, a man of God went from Judah to Bethel by the word of the Lord, and Jeroboam stood by the altar to burn incense. 2 Then he cried out against the altar by the word of the Lord, and said, “O altar, altar! Thus says the Lord: ‘Behold, a child, Josiah by name, shall be born to the house of David; and on you he shall sacrifice the priests of the high places who burn incense on you, and men’s bones shall be burned on you.'” 3 And he gave a sign the same day, saying, “This is the sign which the Lord has spoken: Surely the altar shall split apart, and the ashes on it shall be poured out.”

  • The fulfillment: 2 Kings 23:15-16 – 15 Moreover the altar that was at Bethel, and the high place which Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel sin, had made, both that altar and the high place he broke down; and he burned the high place and crushed it to powder, and burned the wooden image. 16 As Josiah turned, he saw the tombs that were there on the mountain. And he sent and took the bones out of the tombs and burned them on the altar, and defiled it according to the word of the Lord which the man of God proclaimed, who proclaimed these words.

  • A specific fulfillment (name included) 326 years after the event.

Burton Coffman makes these observations:   Josiah was totally unaware of the fulfillment of the prophecy in 1 Kings 13:3 which his defilement of the altar of Bethel had accomplished, but the citizens of the place, who remembered it well, told him about it. “Josiah did not act as he did to fulfill the prophecy, but in thus acting he unconsciously fulfilled it.” It is of very great significance that the prophecy of 1 Kings 13:2 f gives the very name of the king of Judah who would defile the altar of Bethel. The passage reads: “O altar, altar, thus saith Jehovah: Behold a man shall be born unto the house of David, Josiah by name; and upon thee shall he sacrifice the priests of the high places that burn incense upon thee, and men’s bones shall they burn upon thee.” Thus, we have another prophecy comparable to that of Isaiah who prophesied the name of the king who would terminate the captivity of Israel, namely Cyrus (Isa 44:28-45:1). Note also that Josiah’s father Amon was a pagan and that he, in no sense, would have named a son as indicated in the prophecy, if he had been aware of it. Radical and unbelieving critics can have a fit about such prophecies as these, but the ingenuity of all the infidels on earth can not get either one of them out of the Bible. There they are!

(from Coffman’s Bible Commentary, Copyright © 1971-1993 by ACU Press, Abilene Christian University. All rights reserved.)

III. Tyre – This is one of the most fascinating OT prophecies to consider. Tyre was a popular port city of Phoenicia in the OT. The prophecy of Ezekiel was written about 593-571 B.C.

  • Ezekiel 26:3-53 “Therefore thus says the Lord God: ‘Behold, I am against you, O Tyre, and will cause many nations to come up against you, as the sea causes its waves to come up. 4 And they shall destroy the walls of Tyre and break down her towers; I will also scrape her dust from her, and make her like the top of a rock. 5 It shall be a place for spreading nets in the midst of the sea, for I have spoken,’ says the Lord God; ‘it shall become plunder for the nations.
  • Ezekiel 26:7-97 “For thus says the Lord God: ‘Behold, I will bring against Tyre from the north Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, king of kings, with horses, with chariots, and with horsemen, and an army with many people. 8 He will slay with the sword your daughter villages in the fields; he will heap up a siege mound against you, build a wall against you, and raise a defense against you. 9 He will direct his battering rams against your walls, and with his axes he will break down your towers.
  • Ezekiel 26:12-1412 They will plunder your riches and pillage your merchandise; they will break down your walls and destroy your pleasant houses; they will lay your stones, your timber, and your soil in the midst of the water. 13 I will put an end to the sound of your songs, and the sound of your harps shall be heard no more. 14 I will make you like the top of a rock; you shall be a place for spreading nets, and you shall never be rebuilt, for I the Lord have spoken,’ says the Lord God.

A.  Summarize the predictions:

  • Nebuchadnezzar to lay siege and destroy the city
  • Many nations will come against her in waves
  • All the debris from the city will be thrown into the sea.
  • Becomes a bare rock for the spreading of nets.
  • Never be rebuilt
  • To be consumed by fire
  • Citizens to be sold into slavery

Ezekiel lived 250 years before these things were fulfilled. ( comparatively it would be like someone living 30 years before the revolutionary war predicting the events of today.

B.   What happened to Tyre? – about 10 years after Babylon’s rise to power, it laid siege to Tyre.

1.  For 13 years Nebuchadnezzar attempted to capture the city. When he finally reached the city he found that the Tyrians had loaded all their goods and moved to an island 1/2 mile offshore.

2.  He destroyed the inland city, and it was never rebuilt.

But what of the rest of Ezekiel’s prophecy?

3.   In 332 B.C. Alexander the Great attempted to capture Tyre. But he was faced with the problem of the Tyrian’s superior navy. How do you span that 1/2 mile moat in front of the city?

You build a causeway.

“The second stage of Ezekiel’s prophecy was fulfilled in 332 B.C., when Alexander the Great besieged the island city of Tyre for seven months. He finally captured it when he built a causeway from the mainland to the island. Hauling cedars from the mountains of Lebanon, he drove them as piles into the floor of the sea between the mainland and the island. Then he used the debris and timber of the ruined mainland city as solid material for the causeway. Hence, the remarkable prophecy of Ezekiel was completely fulfilled. (from Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Copyright © 1986, Thomas Nelson Publishers)

  • The remains of the city was cast into the sea – scraped down to the bare rock;
  • More than one nation was involved in her downfall;
  • the Tyrians were sold as slaves,
  • The mainland city was never rebuilt,
  • the site of the original city is used for the drying of nets.

Conclusion: Do you believe what the scriptures teach ? What would God have todo to convince you?