12 reasons to believe in the Bible
Bible Prophecy – world history foretold
In this second article we continue looking at how Bible prophecy foretells accurately the history of the world.
Why God uses prophecy
The prophets in the Bible were speaking prophecy. Prophecy is, in part, saying what will happen in the future. From the very beginning, God has had a plan for the earth and the human race and He will see it slowly but surely come to completion. God has used prophecy at various times in the past to tell us what will happen next in his plan – so that we can be prepared….and sometimes warned.
Prophecy is a remarkable way of proving the Bible to be true! Consider the following example.
The prophet Daniel gave a prophecy in the second chapter of his book which in the space of 49 verses gives an overview of world history. It predicts what will happen from 600 BC down to now and beyond. He gave this prophecy in about 600 BC.
A long time ago the Israelites had a large battle with the people from a land called Babylon. The battle lasted for quite a while but eventually the Babylonian armies won the battle and the Israelites, as a result, were taken to the land of Babylon. Once they arrived in Babylon the Israelites were held as prisoners there.
The man who had lead the Babylonian armies was a man called Nebuchadnezzar who was the King of Babylon. He was a dominant figure in the world at that time. He was seen as a great soldier because of the fact that in the past he had defeated the mighty peoples of Egypt as well as subduing all the smaller kingdoms of the Middle East. As well as being a great warrior, he was also a great builder and administrator. He practically rebuilt the city of Babylon making it one of the great wonders of the ancient world.
So we now see the Israelites living in this city as prisoners. One of the Israelites who was held captive in Babylon was a young man called Daniel. Daniel had three friends. They liked to talk about God and how He watched over them. One day Daniel and his three friends were chosen to go to the king's palace with some other young men, to be taught the wisdom, learning and language of the Babylonian people.
Over the next few years God blessed Daniel and his friends and He made them very wise. Daniel found that he was able to understand dreams. After three years, when they were taken to the king, the king found that Daniel and his three friends knew more than anyone else, so they were chosen to stay in the palace to help the king.
The dream of Nebuchadnezzar
One night King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream. Although it impressed him greatly, he could not recall it. He summoned his astrologers and magicians and demanded that they reveal to him the dream; and give him the interpretation of it.
The court magicians replied that they could only interpret the dream if the king revealed it. Because of this, the king became very angry and sentenced them to death, claiming that they were frauds. Daniel and his three friends were among those who were to die. It was at this time that Daniel informed the king that the God of Israel would make known by him both the dream and what it means.
Daniel and his friends prayed to God for guidance. As a result the dream was revealed to them. Daniel thanked God for the wisdom that had been given to him and then Daniel asked to be taken before the king. Once he stood before the king, Daniel took no credit for himself, he made it clear to Nebuchadnezzar that God in heaven had given him the interpretation. God wanted to make known to Nebuchadnezzar what would happen to his kingdom and also to subsequent kingdoms. God revealed this to him through the medium of a dream concerning a great image which was very bright and awesome. The image was in the shape of a man:
It had a head of gold, arms and breast of silver, thighs and belly of brass, iron legs and feet which were partly of iron and partly of clay.
All of these things represented something.
The head of gold stood for the Babylonian Empire of which Nebuchadnezzar was the king.
The arms and breast of silver represented the Medes and Persians, who some years later defeated Babylonia and became the chief world power in 538 B.C.
The thighs and belly of brass stood for Greece. The armies of Greece under Alexander defeated Persia and became a mighty empire in 336 B.C.
The iron legs stood for the Roman Empire which defeated the Greeks in 68 B.C. This was the fourth world empire.
The feet which were partly of iron and partly of clay represented the divided state of the nations today. These nations were formed after the Roman Empire was destroyed. The iron represents those nations that are strong and the clay represents those that are weak
What happens in the dream after the statue has been revealed is that a large stone comes down a hill and hits the image in the feet, which is the statues weakest point because of the feet being only made of iron and clay.
The statue falls and is ground into powder, which the wind then blows away. The stone will then grow and fill the whole earth. So what does this last bit with the stone represent?
The large stone represents the kingdom of God. So when we see the stone striking the statue we are being told that the kingdom of God will destroy the kingdoms of men. And when we see this stone grow in size so as to fill the whole earth, then we are being told that the kingdom of God will completely replace the kingdoms of men once it has destroyed them.
The glory and value of the metals representing the kingdoms of men decreased from top to bottom but the strength of the metal increases.
So there we have the dream of King Nebuchadnezzar and what Daniel said, so as to interpret that dream. King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished at what Daniel had said. He knew, however, that it was true. Nebuchadnezzar acknowledged that the God of Israel was the God of gods and the Lord of kings. He then rewarded Daniel and promoted him in his service.
So we see that Daniel had acted as a prophet when he interpreted Nebuchadnezzar's dream. He was telling Nebuchadnezzar what would happen in the future. And indeed we have seen that the first five parts of Daniel prophecy did indeed come true.
Babylon was taken over by the Medes and Persians. The Medes and Persians were then taken over by the Greeks. The Greeks were then taken over by the Romans. And the Roman Empire was ultimately destroyed and replaced with many nations which were a mixture of weak and strong nations.
So we have seen all these events take place in history. The only part we haven't seen take place is the stone, representing the kingdom of God, rolling down the hill and destroying once and for all these nations and kingdoms of men.
And indeed this is something that we should all look forward to. For when the stone destroys the kingdoms of men we will then see the setting up of the fifth world empire that will be ruled over by God's own son, The Lord Jesus Christ. Christ will come to this earth so as to bring all nations into subjection to God.
We now all await the return of Christ to set up the Kingdom of God, for we all know that it is a certainty that it will happen.
We have seen a few examples of where the prophets in the Bible predicted something would happen, and many years later it did happen. How did each of these predictions become so accurate? Clearly no man using his own thought processes could have known. The prophets only knew because they were told by God. It was God who knew what would happen in the future.
The conclusion from this is that we ought to treat the Bible seriously. For if it was proved so right in what it has said about events centuries before they happened, is it not highly likely to be right in its prophecies of events that have not yet come to pass ? Common sense would suggest that we would note carefully what more it has to say about the future of the earth and mankind.
If you want to read more about ancient prophecy that is coming to fulfillment right now then please look at Reason number 5 "The Jews: God’s people" and Reason number 6 "Modern Israel" in the twelve reasons to believe series.
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Last Updated: Thursday, 25 April 2013