Monday, January 29, 2018
Does God Exist? Only God tells the Future, part 1
Prophecy, smophecy! Who cares about prophecy? I hear that a lot from Christians. But let me tell you that I, for one, do care! Immensely. Why? Because prophecy is what first opened my spiritual eyes to God's existence! I mean, who else knows the future with 100% accuracy? Only God, our Creator.
Remember the former things of old, For I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning,
And from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand,And I will do all My pleasure,’ Isaiah 46:9-10
Did you know that one-third of the Bible is prophetic? Yup. And for every prophecy about the Lord's first coming, there are FIVE regarding His second. Yet, you'll hardly ever hear a pastor preach on prophecy, past, present, or future. For some reason many don't think it's important. Blows my mind because if we can prove that the Bible was written by God, certainly that will get people to pay more attention to what it says. That's how it worked for me. Once I realized that the Bible was true, everything changed for me.
So what I'm planning on doing over the next several weeks is posting each Monday about a different prophecy that has been already been fulfilled. Then, if time permits, I'll end with a list of those yet to be fulfilled. If you have unbelieving friends or family, point them my way!
I'm going to start with the prophecy that convinced me that God exists. It is the prophecy that God gives to Ezekiel in Ezekiel 36. Some of you may remember from my testimony that I was in a very low point in my life and had decided to read through the Bible to see if there was anything there that could help me. I had made it all the way to Ezekiel, not really enjoying parts of what I had read and enjoying others but not really finding God.
Then I came across this passage below, which is God speaking to Ezekiel, in which he tells the prophet that because the Jewish people were so sinful, He intended to scatter them among the nations. Up to that point in Ezekiel's time, they had been conquered a few times, by Assyria and then Babylon, but there was always a Jewish presense in Israel and Jerusalem.
The prophecy came true in 70AD when Rome marched against Jerusalem, took over the city, butchered the people, and burned the temple to the ground. After the Jewish people were driven off,, many of them as slaves, the land of Israel lay desolate for many many centuries. It was such a wasteland that the famous author Mark Twain, when visiting it in 1872 who called it "this wasteland of Palestine".
Therefore I poured out My fury on them for the blood they had shed on the land, and for their idols with which they had defiled it. So I scattered them among the nations, and they were dispersed throughout the countries; I judged them according to their ways and their deeds. Ezekiel 36:18-19
Now God says He will bring them back to Israel
For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land. v 24
Below we see God saying he will make the land of Israel like the garden of Eden again. Anyone who knows anything about modern Israel, knows how highly prosperous it is, how productive are its farms and industries.
Thus says the Lord God: “On the day that I cleanse you from all your iniquities, I will also enable you to dwell in the cities, and the ruins shall be rebuilt. The desolate land shall be tilled instead of lying desolate in the sight of all who pass by. So they will say, ‘This land that was desolate has become like the garden of Eden; and the wasted, desolate, and ruined cities are now fortified and inhabited. V 33-35
Another interesting prophecy in Ezekiel related to this is that God will make the Jewish people ONE nation again. Prior to their dispersion in 70AD, they existed as two nations. Israel and Judah. Today, they are all united under the nation Israel.
Then say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Surely I will take the children of Israel from among the nations, wherever they have gone, and will gather them from every side and bring them into their own land; and I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king over them all; they shall no longer be two nations, nor shall they ever be divided into two kingdoms again. Ezekiel 37:21-22
I challenge you to look through all of human history and find a nation that was conquered and its people scattered to the far corners of the earth for over a thousand years. (The Jewish people went into every nation, even the US and Canada. ) And their land was left desolate and fought over for centuries, their language disappeared, their customs and religion gone. BUT then after 1800 years, they came back and restarted their nation again with the Hebrew language intact, their customs, and religion. It has NEVER happened. When a nation gets conquered and its people scattered, they normally melt into the culture of the nation in which they have moved. It may take a generation of two, but sooner or later, all their descendants will be indistinguishable from the citizens of that nation. Go ahead, look back through history. You won't find any other examples.
Only God could have accomplished this. That's what stopped me that one lonely night as I held my Bible to the table lamp beside my bed. I was familiar with Jewish history because they were in the news a lot at that time. I remember feeling completely stunned, like I'd been struck by lightning! And I had been... Holy Spirit lightning!
God's accuracy with this prophecy is astounding.
Naysayers will say that Ezekiel must have been written after the fact, after 1948 when Israel became a nation. Or it was changed, altered by people to make us believe God prophesied it.
Are these naysayers Biblical Scholars who have made it their life's work to study the extant manuscripts of the Bible and date them? I've done a little study on the incredible amount of evidence we have that the Bible is as old as believed and that it has not been altered over the years in any way that would affect it's basic message. (Maybe I should do a post on that)
If that weren't enough, remember the Dead Sea Scrolls found in 1946 in a cave on The West Bank of the Jordan?
This is from a Biblical Archaeology site
The oldest known texts of Ezekiel are from the Dead Sea Scrolls. The Dead Sea Scroll Bible states, Small fragments from six manuscripts of Ezekiel were found at Qumran and another atop Masada. All of them and the traditional Masoretic Text fairly uniformly attest the same textual tradition.
In other words the pieces they found of Ezekiel match what we have in our Bibles today.
Next week, Daniel's prophecies of coming Kingdoms
Folks, only God can tell the future with such accuracy. If you don't know Him and want to find out how to enter His Kingdom and be saved for the life to come, Click Here