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Series 3 - The Great Teachings of the Bible and What They Mean for You: Bible Prophecy and You

Hi friends! Welcome to the fifth lesson in the "Bible Prophecy and You" series.

With this lesson, we hope to whet your appetite for a subject not only exciting but very profitable spiritually. It will strengthen your faith in God and your faith in the Bible as the infallible revelation of God! As you learn how Bible prophecies of events that are now in the past were fulfilled in exact detail, you will come to fully trust and believe in the prophecies of yet future events!

The mission of God's prophets was more about preaching repentance and obedience than about predicting future events. They defined good and evil and explained the consequences of good and evil. But their predictions and how they were fulfilled are truly inspiring.

Every fulfilled prophecy exalts and glorifies God! He is the almighty, all-powerful Creator of the universe who has a master plan, who determines future events and then brings them to pass—exactly in every detail, and exactly on time!

Lesson 5: Some Amazing Examples of Prophecies Already Fulfilled!

All fulfilled prophecies are amazing. Only God can truly predict the future because only He has the power to make His predictions come to pass (Isaiah 46:9-11).

Bible prophecy begins with the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.

In the midst of the beautiful garden stood two trees. God had warned Adam not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. But the devil, speaking through a snake, convinced Eve that God was lying and withholding good things from them.

"'You won't die!' the serpent hissed. 'God knows that your eyes will be opened when you eat it. You will become just like God, knowing everything, both good and evil'" (Genesis 3:4-5, New Living Translation).

Eve believed the lie. She and Adam both chose to disobey their Creator, so God took away the idyllic blessings of life in the Garden of Eden and their opportunity to partake of the tree representing eternal life. God also foretold that they—and all mankind after them—would have much more difficulty in this life with their relationships, childbearing, farming, earning a livelihood and many related problems (Genesis 3:16-19, 22-24). All mankind shares in these curses because "all have sinned" (Romans 3:23).

However, even in His comments to Satan God prophesied His plan for the "restoration of all things" (Acts 3:19-21). He told the serpent, "I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed [Jesus Christ]; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel" (Genesis 3:15). Bruising Jesus Christ's heel was metaphorical of His crucifixion and death, which could not hold Him. After just three days and three nights He was raised from the dead. Christ's sacrifice provided the way to remove the penalties of sin, and after Christ's second coming, He will remove these curses from the earth.

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A Sampling of Prophecies Already Fulfilled

No human being can "see" the future. The best anybody can do is to make an educated guess. God's prophets (sometimes called "seers") never "saw" into the future on their own. They were merely messengers who spoke or wrote what God revealed. Fulfilled prophecies therefore prove the supreme divinity of God and the absolute veracity and validity of the Bible.

Bible prophecies predict the details of the two greatest world events, one in the past and one in the future. Those "events" are the first coming of Christ and the second coming of Christ! We will focus on them in future lessons in this series.

This lesson contains a very small sample of the hundreds of fulfilled prophecies of other events now in the past.

Did God foretell a flood that would destroy the entire earth?

Genesis 6:5-8, 17-18
Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. So the Lord said, "I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them." But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord…
"And behold, I Myself am bringing floodwaters on the earth, to destroy from under heaven all flesh in which is the breath of life; everything that is on the earth shall die. But I will establish My covenant with you; and you shall go into the ark—you, your sons, your wife, and your sons' wives with you."

Because of the extreme evil that pervaded the earth, God used a worldwide flood (as described in Genesis 7) to destroy every human being except Noah and his family. God called Noah to build an ark and at the same time to be a "preacher of righteousness," warning the people to repent of their sins (2 Peter 2:5). Genesis 6:3 apparently indicates God announced His plan 120 years before the Flood, which means that Noah had 120 years to warn the people. This is a remarkable example of how God is merciful and "longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9).

One proof of the Flood is that Jesus Christ, the prophets and the apostles referred to Noah and the Flood as facts of history. Abundant geological evidence also testifies of a worldwide flood. (For more information, see "Noah's Flood: Did It Really Happen?") There are great spiritual lessons to be learned from this series of events including one that Jesus explained in Matthew 24:37-39.

Did God foretell enormous blessings for the descendants of Abraham?

Genesis 12:1-3
Now the Lord had said to Abram: "Get out of your country, from your family and from your father's house, to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed."

Genesis 15:4-5
And behold, the word of the Lord came to him, saying, "This one shall not be your heir, but one who will come from your own body shall be your heir." Then He brought him outside and said, "Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them." And He said to him, "So shall your descendants be."

Genesis 17:1-8
When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, "I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless. And I will make My covenant between Me and you, and will multiply you exceedingly."
Then Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying: "As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations. No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you a father of many nations.
"I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you. And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you. Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God."

Genesis 22:15-18
Then the Angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time out of heaven, and said: "By Myself I have sworn, says the Lord, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son—blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice."

God foretold that Abraham would have a son in his old age and his descendants would be as numerous as the stars of heaven and that he would "be a father of many nations." The fulfillment of the many promises given to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is a big and exciting subject in itself. For a full explanation, please download or request our free booklet The United States and Britain in Bible Prophecy. And the subject of the identity of nations in Bible prophecy will be addressed in a future lesson.

God also gave a vital spiritual promise to Abraham. When God said in Genesis 22:18 and 26:4 that "in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed," He was primarily giving a prophecy of the blessings to come through one descendant—the singular "Seed," Jesus Christ—who would be the "Savior of the world" (Galatians 3:16; 1 John 4:14). God gave this prophecy almost 1,900 years before the birth of Jesus!

Did God tell Abraham that over the course of 400 years his descendants would be sojourners and later enslaved in a foreign land and then liberated to "come out with great possessions"?

Genesis 15:13-14
Then He said to Abram: "Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them, and they will afflict them four hundred years. And also the nation whom they serve I will judge; afterward they shall come out with great possessions."

This amazing prophecy undoubtedly triggered many big questions in the mind of Abram (whose name was later changed to Abraham). Why and how will they get enslaved? How will God deliver them? How will they be able to come out of slavery with great possessions? The prophecy was fulfilled by Abraham's descendants migrating to Egypt, later becoming enslaved there, and eventually being delivered by God under the leadership of Moses. The liberation of the Israelites is described in Exodus 1 through 12 (see especially Exodus 3:20-22).

Did God tell Moses that He would use many mighty miracles to bring Israel out of Egypt and give them a wonderful Promised Land?

Exodus 3:7-8, 19-20
And the Lord said: "I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows. So I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and large land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites and the Hittites and the Amorites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites…
"But I am sure that the king of Egypt will not let you go, no, not even by a mighty hand. So I will stretch out My hand and strike Egypt with all My wonders which I will do in its midst; and after that he will let you go."

Exodus 10:1-2
Now the Lord said to Moses, "Go in to Pharaoh; for I have hardened his heart and the hearts of his servants, that I may show these signs of Mine before him, and that you may tell in the hearing of your son and your son's son the mighty things I have done in Egypt, and My signs which I have done among them, that you may know that I am the Lord."

Yes, and He did all that He promised to do! He crushed the mighty power of Egypt, liberated the Israelites and led them out of Egypt. He provided for the Israelites in a desolate wilderness for 40 years and then helped them conquer the land of Canaan. These are the most miraculous and spectacular set of events in all history except for the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ!

The books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy and Joshua are largely devoted to these events, and they are referred to frequently throughout the Old and New Testaments. Exactly according to God's purpose and plan, He used innumerable miracles to show that great national and military power is nothing compared to God's supreme power.

Did God foretell that the house of Israel would be conquered and its people deported because of their sins?

1 Kings 14:15-16
"For the Lord will strike Israel, as a reed is shaken in the water. He will uproot Israel from this good land which He gave to their fathers, and will scatter them beyond the River, because they have made their wooden images, provoking the Lord to anger. And He will give Israel up because of the sins of Jeroboam, who sinned and who made Israel sin."

After 10 Israelite tribes broke away to form the house of Israel, their king Jeroboam led the new nation away from God's laws into all kinds of pagan idolatry. Therefore God inspired the prophet Ahijah to foretell that God would "uproot Israel" and "scatter them beyond the River [Euphrates]." In the region east of the Euphrates, Assyria was rising in power, and Assyria would be God's instrument for punishing Israel.

God "testified against Israel and against Judah, by all of His prophets, every seer, saying, 'Turn from your evil ways'" (2 Kings 17:13). After God's prophets warned Israel for about 200 years, the king of Assyria besieged Israel's capital city Samaria for three years, conquered it in 722 B.C. and "carried Israel away to Assyria" where they were scattered among other people (2 Kings 17:5-7, 23). Most of the world today considers them the "Lost Ten Tribes." They are not "lost" as you will learn from our booklet The United States and Britain in Bible Prophecy.

Did God foretell that the house of Judah would be conquered by Nebuchadnezzar and carried into captivity in Babylon for 70 years because of their sins, but then they would be freed to return to their homeland?

Jeremiah 25:8-12
"Therefore thus says the Lord of hosts: 'Because you have not heard My words, behold, I will send and take all the families of the north,' says the Lord, 'and Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, My servant, and will bring them against this land, against its inhabitants, and against these nations all around, and will utterly destroy them, and make them an astonishment, a hissing, and perpetual desolations. Moreover I will take from them the voice of mirth and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the sound of the millstones and the light of the lamp. And this whole land shall be a desolation and an astonishment, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years.
"'Then it will come to pass, when seventy years are completed, that I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation, the land of the Chaldeans, for their iniquity,' says the Lord; 'and I will make it a perpetual desolation.'"

Jeremiah 29:10
For thus says the Lord: After seventy years are completed at Babylon, I will visit you and perform My good word toward you, and cause you to return to this place.

These amazingly specific prophecies were indeed fulfilled precisely. For over 300 years, God sent prophets to warn Judah about her sins, but those warnings were mostly ignored. The 70-year span refers to two things: a 70-year duration of the Babylonian Empire and a 70-year punishment of Judah. These two spans are not the same 70 years, but they greatly overlap. The fulfillment is explained very well in the Bible commentary Seventy Years; Judgment on the Nations.

The fall of Babylon will be addressed by the last question in this lesson. The proclamation that freed the Jewish captives is described in 2 Chronicles 36:20-23.

Did God use Nebuchadnezzar's dream to foretell four successive world-ruling empires and then the Kingdom of God on earth?

Daniel 2:36-45
"This is the dream. Now we will tell the interpretation of it before the king. You, O king, are a king of kings. For the God of heaven has given you a kingdom, power, strength, and glory; and wherever the children of men dwell, or the beasts of the field and the birds of the heaven, He has given them into your hand, and has made you ruler over them all—you are this head of gold.
"But after you shall arise another kingdom inferior to yours; then another, a third kingdom of bronze, which shall rule over all the earth. And the fourth kingdom shall be as strong as iron, inasmuch as iron breaks in pieces and shatters everything; and like iron that crushes, that kingdom will break in pieces and crush all the others.
"Whereas you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter's clay and partly of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; yet the strength of the iron shall be in it, just as you saw the iron mixed with ceramic clay. And as the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly fragile. As you saw iron mixed with ceramic clay, they will mingle with the seed of men; but they will not adhere to one another, just as iron does not mix with clay.
"And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever. Inasmuch as you saw that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold—the great God has made known to the king what will come to pass after this. The dream is certain, and its interpretation is sure."

Please read the entire second chapter of Daniel to get the full context. God inspired Daniel to correctly interpret Nebuchadnezzar's dream about a great image. Daniel told the king "you are this head of gold" (verse 38), so Babylon was the first empire in the sequence. Then during the reign of the Babylonian King Belshazzar, Daniel had a vision that revealed that the next two world-ruling empires would be the kingdom of "Media and Persia" and then the kingdom of "Greece," which would split into four divisions (Daniel 8:1-8, 20-22).

The next great empire in history was the Roman Empire with its successive revivals. Most Bible scholars agree with this interpretation of the four parts of the image, as a comparison with history makes it rather obvious.

The really exciting part of the prophecy is that all these human kingdoms will be replaced someday when "the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed" (Daniel 2:44-45). It's awesome that in this one chapter God gave an outline of the next 2,500+ years down to the second coming of Christ to establish God's Kingdom!

Did God foretell about 150 years in advance who by name would conquer Babylon, set the Jewish captives free and even enable them to rebuild Jerusalem and the temple?

Isaiah 44:26-28
"Who confirms the word of His servant, and performs the counsel of His messengers; who says to Jerusalem, 'You shall be inhabited,' to the cities of Judah, 'You shall be built,' and I will raise up her waste places; who says to the deep, 'Be dry! And I will dry up your rivers'; who says of Cyrus, 'He is My shepherd, and he shall perform all My pleasure, saying to Jerusalem, "You shall be built," and to the temple, "Your foundation shall be laid."'"

Isaiah 45:1-6, 13
"Thus says the Lord to His anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have held—to subdue nations before him and loose the armor of kings, to open before him the double doors, so that the gates will not be shut: 'I will go before you and make the crooked places straight; I will break in pieces the gates of bronze and cut the bars of iron. I will give you the treasures of darkness and hidden riches of secret places, that you may know that I, the Lord, who call you by your name, am the God of Israel.
"'For Jacob My servant's sake, and Israel My elect, I have even called you by your name; I have named you, though you have not known Me. I am the Lord, and there is no other; there is no God besides Me. I will gird you, though you have not known Me, that they may know from the rising of the sun to its setting that there is none besides Me. I am the Lord, and there is no other...'
"I have raised him up in righteousness, and I will direct all his ways; he shall build My city and let My exiles go free, not for price nor reward," says the Lord of hosts.

Isaiah records God foretelling the rebuilding of Jerusalem and the temple before they were even destroyed! He foretold the freeing of the Jewish captives before they were taken into captivity! He foretold the name of Cyrus long before he was even born! He said, "I will dry up your rivers" (44:27), a prophecy of Cyrus's strategy—to divert the waters of the Euphrates so his soldiers could wade up the riverbed into the city of Babylon. God even foretold that someone would unlock the "double doors" or "gates" facing the river on that night (45:1). Part of the fulfillment of God's prophecies was Cyrus's proclamation to rebuild God's temple (Ezra 1:1-4).

The fulfillment and significance of these prophecies is described in the Bible commentary Prophecy of Cyrus—Past and Future Fulfillment. The significance of these prophecies is also described in some of the related resources cited below.

The theme of chapters 40 through 48 of Isaiah is that predictive prophecy is a major proof of God's unique and supreme power. The detailed predictions regarding Cyrus show how God has absolute dominion over His creation! God sums this up well in the prophecy of Cyrus in Isaiah 46:11—"Indeed I have spoken it; I will also bring it to pass. I have purposed it; I will also do it."


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Write down three spiritual lessons you learned from these prophecies and their fulfillments. As a result, this lesson will have an even deeper effect on you and will be a more lasting blessing for your life.

Next Lesson: Christ's First Coming—Prophesied in Detail!

Questions about this lesson? Feedback about this lesson?

Related Resources:

The Fundamentals of Bible Prophecy

The United States and Britain in Bible Prophecy

Keys to Unlocking Understanding of the Bible

Beyond Today video: The Book Nobody Knows

The Book of Revelation: Is It Relevant Today?