Where is the evidence? Isn’t the world exactly the same today as it was yesterday? Last year? Last decade? Last century?
Let me quote from a translation of a letter written over 1900 years ago. The author was one Simon Peter, who referred to himself as a servant and a disciple of Jesus Christ:
“First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, ‘Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.’” 2 Peter 3:3,4
How true has this statement become! It is almost as if Peter knew that these conditions would arise. Peter knew that Jesus would return. Peter, the apostle perhaps closest in friendship to Jesus, would have been present when the disciples saw Jesus ascend into heaven. Two men dressed in white (angels) looked upon the group and said to them:
“Men of Galilee, why do you stand here looking up into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.” Acts 1:11
Firstly then, do we believe the Bible? For much of our evidence must be drawn from the Bible, and if it is unreliable then we are seriously impeded in our investigation. Obviously, we cannot prove in a paragraph or two that the Bible is what it actually claims to be: the inspired Word of God. But allow me to give an example that you should ponder in the days ahead.
Israel is a nation in the Middle East. Though some would not recognise the nation for political reasons, it is acknowledged that the nation exists. What is odd about that? Well, several thousand years ago there existed a nation by the same name, Israel. It was the nation of the Jews, and existed until about 608 BC, when the inhabitants were progressively taken captive to Babylon. After seventy years (a period accurately predicted by the prophet Jeremiah), the people returned from their captivity and again settled in the land. Again, in coincidence with Bible prophecy, they again were subsequently dispersed, this time world-wide, in AD 70.
Let us quote from a Bible prophet who lived about the year 700 BC – about 100 years before the first dispersion. Isaiah was his name:
“In that day the Lord will reach out his hand a second time to reclaim the remnant that is left of his people ” Isaiah. 11:11
After the second dispersion (in AD 70) there appeared to be an end of the Jews in the Middle East. There was no fulfilment of Isaiah’s prophecy — until 1948, when Israel was once again established as a nation.
Was it simply coincidence, or had Isaiah been provided with the correct information?
We could quote other prophecies that have been accurately fulfilled; those concerning Tyre and Babylon are well known and authenticated.
These instances of fulfilled prophecy demonstrate that the Bible is more than just another book. It clearly anticipated events that happened long after the times of its various writers.
The early Jews had an expectation of a coming Messiah, and this is clearly expressed in the writings of the Old Testament. Consider, for example, the words of the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah:
“ ‘The days are coming’, declares the Lord,
‘when I will raise up to David a righteous Branch,
a King who will reign wisely
and do what is just and right in the land.
In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety.
This is the name by which he will be called:
The Lord Our Righteousness.’ ”