3: Section 2
role of prophecy
is often too narrowly defined. It actually has a twofold
telling - which means speaking out, and
- which means speaking of future events.
we speak of forth telling, we include a whole group
of prophets and prophecies that do not deal with the
future at all. These are those, like Moses, who on many
occasions mainly delivered the law or judgements of
God. They did not speak of the future at all in some
of the future its relevance to us
serves to confirm the certainty of God’s plan.
is extremely helpful to have prophecy in Scripture which
is known to have been written well before the predicted
events and which came true with accuracy beyond doubt.
is not for the purpose of satisfying idle curiosity
about future events, but to assist believers to act
in faith, and put total trust in God and His Word.
Bible makes it quite clear where we should look for
the best example of prophecy to kindle or strengthen
our faith in God and His Word.
Isaiah 43 v 1 and 10
whole chapter, but these verses in particular, makes
it quite clear that the nation of Israel is God’s prime
witness of His existence and purpose.
now want to look at how remarkable the predictions of
the Bible are in relation to the nation of Israel, also
called the Jews or God’s people. We will have to look
briefly at the history of the nation of Israel.
unusual Jewish history
we may think about the Jews, we cannot deny that they
exist, and that they have a very long and a very strange
the days of Jesus Christ there was a thriving Jewish
nation in the land of Israel. Hundreds of years earlier
the nation had been independent, but before Jesus was
born it became a part of the Roman Empire.
Jews did not take kindly to being ruled by foreigners.
For many years the country seethed with discontent and
A.D. 66 and A.D. 135 the Jews fought three fierce wars
of independence. But each time they were defeated, and
by A.D. 135 the Romans had had enough trouble. They
were determined to stop these revolts once and for all.
Romans destroyed Jerusalem and plundered the Temple
in A.D. 70. The scene is pictured on the triumphal
Arch of Titus in Rome. The seven - branched candlestick
was taken from the Temple.
typical Roman thoroughness they utterly destroyed Jerusalem
and ploughed up its site. Then they erased its name
from their maps, and scattered all the inhabitants of
Judea (the main part of the land of Israel) around the
that, thought the Romans, was that.
they were wrong. For century after century the Jews
survived as a nation without a country. Wherever they
went they were hated, treated as an inferior race, and
made to live in ghettos. For seventeen centuries, on
and off, the exiled Jews were persecuted, massacred,
or made to flee for their lives from one country to
another. Yet somehow they survived it all.
at the end of the 19th century, nearly eighteen
hundred years after their ancestors were exiled from
it, a few Jews began to trickle back to their homeland.
Within the twentieth century the Jewish population of
the land of Israel has risen from a few thousand to
several million. By 1948 the Jews there felt sufficiently
powerful to proclaim their independence. The following
year the sovereign State of Israel was admitted to membership
of the United Nations.
written in advance
this brief summary of Jewish history in mind, look at
what the Old Testament said would happen to the Jews.
As you read the following passages, ask yourself: “Are
these prophecies vaguely worded, or are they clear and
plain? And have they been fulfilled, or not?”
The Jews would be scattered all over the world, hated,
persecuted, and driven from country to country.
Deuteronomy 28 v 37 and 64 to 66
Meanwhile, their land, once so fruitful, would lie desolate.
Leviticus 26 v 33 and 34
They would survive all these troubles, and would actually
outlive their persecutors.
Jeremiah 30 v 11
and Hosea 3 v 4 and 5
Eventually, while still disobeying God, they would go
back to their own land again.
Ezekiel 11 v17, 36 v 22 to 24 and
Jeremiah 30 v 7 to 10
seven extracts, taken from five different books, are
typical of all Old Testament teaching about the future
of Israel. Everyone, believer and unbeliever alike,
agrees that the Old Testament was written before the
time of Christ. Consequently, it is absolutely certain
that these prophecies about the Jews were written hundreds
of years before they were fulfilled.
prophecies about the exile of the Jews were not fulfilled
until the second century after Christ. The prophecies
about their wanderings were fulfilled continuously from
the second to the nineteenth centuries. And the prophecies
about the return of the Jews to their homeland were
not fulfilled until the twentieth century.
prophets had two main roles:
about the future are useful as a confirmation of faith.
are many predictions about the nation of Israel.
give God's message
give predictions about the future.
object of this assignment is to encourage you to consider
a little more deeply the prophecies you have already
looked at and show you some more remarkable prophecies.
again at the “History written in advance” section and
write exactly what is predicted in the references we
people say that predictions like these were clever guesses.
But if you think about it, you will realise that this
cannot be the case. If people want to predict the future,
they use past experience of similar things. When these
predictions were made there was no other nation that
had a similar history, so there was no reason to suggest
that these things might happen to the Israelites. In
fact, all down the ages no other nation has had a similar
are predictions about other nations contemporary with
the prophets. Have a look at Ezekiel 25. This chapter
predicts the end of four of Israel’s neighbours. Isaiah
13 v 19 and 20 and Jeremiah 51 v 36 and 37 predict the
end of the superpower of the day, Babylon. Not only
that, they predict that Babylon would never be lived
details of these prophecies about the nations of Ammon,
Moab, Edom, Philistia and Babylon to your list of those
about Israel. From what we have said, and if you look
in the relevant history books, you will see that every
detail has happened as predicted.
are many more equally remarkable prophecies. Ask via
the e-mail request
form and we can show you some of them.