“Remember this, and be assured; recall it to mind, you transgressors. Remember the former things long past, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things which have not been done,….(Isaiah 46:8-10).
This passage of Scripture in Isaiah contains a truth unique to the Bible that a casual reader may overlook. God knows the future. Approximately twenty-five percent of the Bible, when it was originally penned, was prophetic, a record of future events. Of these pythonic texts, about ninety-five percent have come to pass. The remaining five percent of apocalyptic passages are the subject of that branch of theology known as eschatology. Eschatology is the study of “last things” or “last days.” It is the public’s curiosity about the future that makes books on the subject, such as Tim LaHaye’s Left Behind series, so marketable.
But this fatidic aspect of Scripture is what makes the Bible, and the God who inspired it, stand alone. No other religious work even attempts to foretell the future. Some claim to be prophetic, but a cursory review reveals they were written hundreds of years after the fact. Others record one of the characters as saying they are going to do something and then they do it. This sort of self-fulfilling act is no more prophetic than me saying I am going to ride up to Walmart and buy a bunch of bananas, and then I do it.
David, who was both a king and a prophet, wrote Psalm 22 about one thousand years before Jesus was born. That is ten centuries. This psalm contains a host of prophecies regarding the crucifixion of Christ, but I will just share two that are well known and are the most striking examples of the Bible’s prophetic insight.
In verse sixteen David writes, “…they pierced my hands and my feet.” Crucifixion as a means of capital punishment was popularized by the Roman Empire hundreds of years after David wrote these words. You can’t make an omelet without breaking some eggs, and you cannot crucify someone without piercing their hands and feet. Romans crucified those they conquered and who broke their laws. A miscreant left hanging on a cross to die a lingering and excruciating death was a gruesome but powerful reminder not to trifle with the might of Rome. They did not crucify people to accommodate David’s prophecy.
Then in verse eighteen David foretells, “…for my clothing they cast lots.” One of the most vivid portrayals of man’s callous indifference to life and spiritual matters is that of the Roman soldiers gambling for the last worldly possessions of Christ as he dies for their sins. There is no way humanly speaking that David could have foreseen such an act.
For those who scoff at the prophetic truths in the Bible, I would remind them that the prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah declared that Babylon, that grand city whose hanging gardens were one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, would be destroyed and forever remain uninhabited (Isaiah 13:19-20; Jeremiah 51:61-64). Ancient and modern history tells us that at least two men vowed to rebuild Babylon, Alexander the Great and Saddam Hussein. History also records what happened to both and that neither fulfilled his vow.
But for those who persist in their skepticism, and proclaim the Bible does not foretell the future, and would like to destroy the Scriptures credibility, there is a simple solution; rebuild Babylon.