Let’s test some predictions in the Bible. As you look at them you will notice that they are not groping generalizations put in vague language but are detailed descriptions of the future. Though many examples of prophecies could be cited, I will focus on some predictions about the life and death of Jesus Christ.
1. The prophet Micah predicted Jesus’ birthplace 700 years before Jesus was born. Micah did not say it would be in some little town somewhere in southern Palestine. He said it would occur in a town called Bethlehem (Micah 5:2). There is no way that anyone can say that someone wrote this prophecy in the name of Micah after it occurred, for when Herod asked the priests where Christ was to be born they quoted Micah’s prophecy as the answer (Matt. 2:6).
That this prediction would prove true was most unlikely, for during most of Mary’s pregnancy she and Joseph lived in Nazareth in northern Palestine, not in Bethlehem in southern Palestine. But a Roman tax decree brought them to Bethlehem during the last days of Mary’s pregnancy because Joseph was of the line of King David, and Bethlehem was David’s hometown. It is impossible that chance could have brought all these factors together at the right time. Only God could do it.
2. The prophet Malachi, 400 years before Christ, said that Christ would be announced by a “forerunner”. John the Baptist fulfilled this exactly as predicted (Mal. 3:1 and Matt. 3:1-3).
3. Many details of Christ’s ministry were predicted in the Old Testament. These details were fulfilled in Jesus’ ministry: Its location (predicted in Isa. 9:1-2 and reported as fulfilled in Matt. 4:13-16), its purpose (Isa. 61:1 and Lk. 4:16-18), its accompaniment by miracles (Isa. 35:5-6 and Matt. 11:4-5), its inclusion of Gentiles (Isa. 42:6 and Lk. 2:32), and its rejection (Isa. 53:1-5 and Jn. 1:11).
4. Heaped on top of these are many additional predictions about the death of Christ. It may be possible to predict the place and even the approximate time of the death of someone who is dying, but to predict accurately the death of someone who wouldn’t even be born until hundreds of years later is beyond human possibility. But that is exactly what occurred.
The prophets of the Old Testament predicted that Jesus would be scourged and spit on (Isa. 50:6 and the fulfillment in Matt. 26:67), that He would be given vinegar to drink (Psa. 69:21 and Matt. 27:34, 48), that His hands and feet would be pierced (Psa. 22:16 and Lk. 23:33), that He would agonize with thirst (Psa. 22:15 and Jn. 19:28), that His garments would be distributed when He died (Psa. 22:18 and Jn. 19:23, 24), that no bone would be broken (Psa. 34:20 and Jn. 19:33-36), and that He would be buried with the rich (Isa. 53:9 and Matt. 27:57-60).
5. Jesus claimed to be a prophet, and He was. To cite only one area, He predicted details of His own death specifically and accurately. He said that He would die in Jerusalem, that His death would be instigated by the leaders of the Jewish people (Matt. 16:21), that He would die by crucifixion, and that three days later He would come back to life (Matt. 20:19). No one could do this in such detail months before he actually died unless he was truly a prophet.
Could these predictions have happened by chance? If so, then they would not validate the Bible. If, however, they could not possibly happen by chance, then we ought to take notice of what the Bible says in other matters, since it has proved itself to be reliable to the testable area of fulfilled prophecies.
Extracted from A Challenge To Any Thinking Person by Dr. Charles C. Ryrie, PhD. You can read the whole article by clicking HERE.