Discovering God's Fingerprints                                                           Dr. Robert C. Newman

Hershey Ev Free Ch, 20 Sept 1997                                                  Biblical Theol Seminary

 

                                        WORKSHOP ON FULFILLED PROPHECY

 

INTRODUCTION

 

            Many think Xy superstitious, blind faith; while atheism, humanism, etc. are reasonable, firmly grounded in evidence; but opposite is the case

            Look at one line of evidence for Xy: fulfilled prophecy

 

TIME OF MESSIAH: Daniel 9:25‑26

 

Dan 9:25 (NIV) "Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven `sevens,' and sixty-two `sevens.' It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble. 26 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.

 

Starting point 445 BC: 20 year of Artaxerxes 1 (Neh 2)

Unit of measurement: sabbatical cycle: 7 yrs beg in Oct

Standard Jewish counting method: include start & end units

After (7 +) 62 weeks = AD 28‑35

 

              445 BC                                          30 AD

                 v                                                     v

        449   442    435   428 BC AD 14    21    28    35

            |-------|-------|-------|--- . . . . -----|------|------|------|

              1st     2nd   3rd    4th    66th   67th  68th  69th

 

ISRAEL'S FUTURE: Hosea 3:4‑5

 

Hose 3:4 (NIV) For the Israelites will live many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred stones, without ephod or idol.5 Afterward the Israelites will return and seek the LORD their God and David their king. They will come trembling to the LORD and to his blessings in the last days.

 

Six unusual sociological features characterizing Israel for almost 2000 yrs

            King/prince: no king since 587 BC or AD 44; no prince from AD 70 to 1948

            Sacrifice/sacred pillar: no sacrifice since 70; app no pillar since c 500 BC

            Ephod/teraphim: no priesthood since 70, no teraphim since c 500 BC

 


TWIN CITIES: Various passages

 

            Good test to show that Bible really does make clear predictions that come true

            Like tests used in trying out a new medicine; use a control group which is paired with test group, but gets fake pills

           

The cities.

            Memphis & Thebes: capitals of ancient Egypt

            Tyre & Sidon: seaports of ancient Phoenicia (Lebanon)

            Ashkelon & Ekron: two of the Philistine cities

            Babylon & Nineveh: capitals of ancient empires

 

The prophecies fulfilled.

 

Memphis/Thebes:

 

            Prophecies (Ezk 30:13-16)

                        Memphis to have its idols destroyed

                        Thebes to have its masses of people cut off

 

            Fulfillment:

                        Memphis site became quarry for building Cairo

                                    by Muslims who hated idols

                        Thebes reduced from large capital city to a

                                    few small villages

 

            No good if names switched, as Memphis now suburb of Cairo,

                        and many idols found at Thebes

 

Tyre/Sidon:

 

            Prophecies:

                        Tyre (Ezk 26:1-14) to have its rubble thrown into sea, its site scraped clean, becoming a place for spreading fishnets, never to be rebuilt

                        Sidon (Ezk 28:20-23) to face war and disaster, but nothing said about being abandoned

 

            Fulfillment:

                        Tyre's mainland city destroyed about 600 BC by Nebuchadnezzar, but most people escaped to island offshore; almost 300 yrs later, Alexander besieged island, used rubble from old city to build road out to island; mainland site used for spreading nets today, never rebuilt

                        Sidon has often been besieged and conquered, but survives today as one of major ports of Lebanon

 

                        Again, no good if names switched, but perfect fit as is

 

Ashkelon/Ekron:

 

            Prophecies (Zeph 2:4-7):

                        Ashkelon was to be reduced to ruins, but later inhabited by a remnant of the Jews

                        Ekron was to be uprooted

 

            Fulfillment:

                        Both inhabited until Crusades, when both destroyed, and harbor of Ashkelon filled w/ stones

                        Since 1948, Jews rebuilt Ashkelon and cleared harbor, but location of Ekron still uncertain

 

Babylon/Nineveh:

           

            Prophecies:

                        Babylon to be deserted, without Arabs or shepherd, to be a home for wild animals (Isa 13:19-22), its stone not to be used as bldg stone again (Jer 51:26)

                        Nineveh (Zeph 2:13-15) to be destroyed and left desolate, but to become a place for grazing sheep

 

            Fulfillment:

                        Babylon has become deserted over the centuries, partly by conquest, partly by shift in river, leaving site without water; Arabs avoid site as haunted, soil too poor for grazing even sheep; native use site for clay bricks, but burn stone to make lime instead of building stone

                        Nineveh was destroyed suddenly and location forgotten for centuries; name of largest mound Quyunyiq means "many sheep"; long abandoned, tho recently suburbs of Mosul have grown out to reach site

 

Conclusions re/ cities.

 

            Striking fulfillment of numerous details about these cities

            Not just the sort of thing that one could say about any city

            In fact, if you trade names among the paired cities, the

                        fulfillments would not have come true!

            This shows us that the God of the Bible really does control history

            And He controls your history too!

 


LIGHT TO THE GENTILES: Isaiah 42:6; 49:6

 

Isa 42:6 (NIV) "I, the LORD, have called you in righteousness;

I will take hold of your hand.

I will keep you and will make you

to be a covenant for the people

and a light for the Gentiles,

 

Isa 49:6 (NIV) he says:

"It is too small a thing for you to be my servant

to restore the tribes of Jacob

and bring back those of Israel I have kept.

I will also make you a light for the Gentiles,

that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth."

 

            The "suffering servant" to be a light to the Gentiles, though despised by his own nation

            What other Messianic claimant has started a world religion?

 

CONCLUSIONS

 

            Need to pay serious attention to this evidence

            It shows us that God exists, and that he is the God of the Bible.

            Gospel: 

                        2 Great commandments

                        We are separated from God

                        What are we living for?

                        Jesus paid it all

                        Turn back to God

                        Share in His work

 


BIBLIOGRAPHY:

 

Books in Print:

 

Barfield, Kenny. The Prophet Motive:  Examining the Reliability of the Biblical Prophets.  Nashville, TN:  Gospel Advocate, 1995.  The most extensive prsentation to date of fulfilled prophecy in Scripture as an apologetic for the truth of Christianity.

Gronigen, Gerard Van.  Messianic Revelation in the Old Testament.  Grand Rapids, MI:  Baker, 1990.  A massive study of the Messiah-theme, emphasizing detailed interpretation of the passages in their textual and historical context.

Montgomery, John Warwick, ed.  Evidence for Faith:  Deciding the God Question.  Dallas, TX:  Probe/Word, 1991.  A general book on Christian evidences with several chapters on fulfilled prophecies, including the "twin cities" material.

Newman, Robert C., ed.  The Evidence of Prophecy:  Fulfilled Prediction as a Testimony to the Truth of Christianity.  Hatfield, PA:  Interdisciplinary Biblical Research Institute, 1988.  Detailed discussions of several fulfilled predictions concerning nations of the ancient near east, Israel, and the Messiah.  Includes material on the time of Messiah's first coming and the fulfillment of Hos 3:4-5 in Israel's history.

Payne, J. Barton.  The Encyclopedia of Biblical Prophecy.  New York:  Harper and Row, 1971.  A compendium of all the prophetic passages in the Bible, suggesting how and when each was or will be fulfilled.

 

Some Shorter Presentations:  these are currently in the process of being translated into French, German, Russian, and Spanish

 

Newman, Robert C.  "The Time of the Messiah."  IBRI Research Report 9 (1981, 1988). Looks at Daniel's 70 weeks, plus two other prophecies suggesting the time of the Messiah's first coming.

Newman, Robert C.  "The New Testament Model of the Messiah,"  IBRI Research Report 6 (1981, 1988).  A comparison of the success of various ancient models in explaining the paradoxical data of Old Testament Messianic prophecy.

 

Some Classic Works on Fulfilled Prophecy:

 

Keith, Alexander.  Evidence of the Truth of the Christian Religion Derived from the Literal Fulfillment of Prophecy.  36th ed.  Edinburgh:  William Whyte and Co., 1848.

Kellogg, Samuel H.  The Jews, or Prediction and Fulfillment:  an Argument for the Times.  New York:  Anson Randolph, 1887.

Newton, Thomas.  Dissertations on the Prophecies Which Have Been Remarkably Been Fulfilled, and at This time are Fulfilling in the World.  London:  J. F. Dove; Philadelphia:  Crissy and Markley, 1853.

Urquhart, John.  The Wonders of Prophecy.  Harrisburg, PA:  Christian Publications, n.d. [1st ed., 1887].