I often hear people say there’s no evidence for Christianity. “You just have to accept it on faith” is something I’ve heard a lot over the years. You’ve probably heard similar statements. But is this really true? Is the Bible a work you need to either accept or reject without any evidence of its supernatural origins?
I don’t think so. And I believe that anyone who actually studies the Bible with an open mind will agree. How can I be so sure?
Fulfilled Bible prophecy. That’s right. The Bible is unique among all the other texts in the world. And one of the reasons why is fulfilled prophecy. The Bible contains numerous detailed prophecies written hundreds and sometimes thousands of years in advance. In fact, by some estimates, 25% of the Bible was prophecy when written. In my mind, the existence of these prophecies verifies the claim that the Bible is the Word of God. Because no other book in the history of the world comes anywhere close to matching the Bible’s track record of fulfilled prophecy.
Need an example? Let’s take a look at a prophecy I like to call “483 years prophecy.”
The Bible tells us that while held captive in Babylon, a man named Daniel was visited by the angel Gabriel. During this visitation, Gabriel revealed that precisely 483 years would pass from the time the command is given to rebuild Jerusalem until “the Anointed One” comes (Daniel 9:25).
In other words, the Messiah (the Anointed One) would appear exactly 483 years after the command to rebuild Jerusalem. So, did this happen? To find out, we only need to count forward 483 years from the time of the command to rebuild Jerusalem.
The Command to Rebuild
In the year 457 B.C., the King of Persia, Artaxerxes, issued a decree instructing officials in the province west of the Euphrates to give Ezra “whatever he requests of you” in his efforts to rebuild Jerusalem, reinstitute the Temple services, appoint judges and magistrates, and teach the Law (Ezra 7:11-26). This is a historical fact recorded in the Book of Ezra long before the life and times of Jesus of Nazareth, and it reveals the starting point for the 483 year countdown.
The Messiah’s Arrival
Fast forward 483 years from 457 B.C., and you end up in the year A.D. 27 (note that the year zero doesn’t count as a year). According to Daniel, this is the time when Israel’s Messiah would appear. It’s also the year that marks the beginning of Jesus’ ministry (it’s generally accepted that His ministry lasted 3 to 3.5 years, and Jesus was crucified in spring of the year A.D. 31).
After the 483 Years
The book of Daniel also predicted that after the 483 years pass and the Messiah arrives, He will be killed “appearing to have accomplished nothing.” Then a ruler will come whose armies will destroy the Temple and the City (Daniel 9:26). So did this happen?
Yes. Jesus was killed, and His ministry appeared to have fallen short of its goals. Why? Because at the time of His arrival, the Israelites were looking for a Messiah who would conquer their Roman oppressors and rule the earth in righteousness forever. They were expecting fulfillment of the prophecies of the Messiah’s Second Coming, not realizing at the time that the Messiah would come twice – once as a “suffering” Messiah and the second time as a “conquering” Messiah. So the death of Jesus on the cross seemed to indicate (at least in the world’s eyes) that He was not the Messiah – that He had “accomplished nothing.”
Less than four decades after the crucifixion (A.D. 70), the Roman legions under the command of Titus destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple. To this day, the Arch of Titus stands in Rome as a monument to this event. So was Titus “a ruler whose armies will destroy the Temple and the City?” Yes. While Titus was, at the time, commander of the military campaign to put down the Jewish rebellion, he was also the son of the Emperor Vespasian. And Titus himself served as Emperor following his father’s death, making him “a ruler” in every sense of the word.
Fulfilled Bible Prophecy
Alone, the 483 years prophecy should provide enough evidence to at least spark the curiosity of an objective non-believer. But it’s just one many prophecies that point to Jesus as the Messiah. Here are a few additional examples:
• The Messiah will be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2).
• The Messiah will open the eyes of the blind (Isaiah 42:6-7).
• The Messiah will be betrayed for 30 pieces of silver (Zechariah 11:12).
• The Messiah’s hands and feet will be pierced (Psalm 22:16).
• Others will cast lots for the Messiah’s clothing (Psalm 22:17-18).
• The Messiah will be pierced in His side (Zechariah 12:10).
• The Messiah will be buried in a rich man’s tomb (Isaiah 53:9).
Just like the 483 years prophecy, these verses contain highly detailed and specific prophecies concerning the life and times of the Messiah. These prophecies were written centuries in advance of their fulfillment, and all of them were fulfilled in the life of one man—Jesus of Nazareth. Of course, these are just a few examples. The Bible contains dozens and dozens of additional Messianic prophecies not listed here. And those prophecies also confirm the identity of Jesus as the long-awaited Messiah foretold by Jewish prophets.
But the prophecies in the Bible aren’t limited to the Messiah’s arrival. There are many, many more. Far too many to mention in a single article. For example, did you know the Bible foretold the rise of the Greek Empire under Alexander the Great and its break-up into four kingdoms following his death (Daniel 8:5-22)? Did you know the Bible foretold the destruction of the Temple and the long, worldwide exile of the Jewish people (Luke 21:20-24)? The Bible even called out Cyrus the Great by name as the king who would give the command to rebuild Jerusalem and the Temple (Isaiah 44:28-45:13). And the Bible made every one of these prophecies centuries in advance of their fulfillment.
So What Should You Conclude?
The Bible aces the test where all others fail. No other book, psychic, or soothsayer even approaches the track record of the Bible when it comes to fulfilled prophecy. Those who contend the Bible is just a collection of ancient stories written by regular Joe’s need to explain its fulfilled prophecies. Outside of a supernatural explanation, I don’t see how they can.
The Bible is the one book which contains verifiable evidence of divine authorship. That’s right. Evidence. The Bible doesn’t require blind acceptance or intellectual capitulation in order to believe in its divine origins. It offers concrete evidence. No other book in the world can do this. Only the Bible—of all the books in the history of the world—has credibly predicted the future with 100% accuracy.
So if you haven’t already, take the time to examine the Bible’s prophecies for yourself. I firmly believe that if you objectively investigate them, you’ll draw the same conclusion I have: The Bible is the Word of God. And Jesus is the Messiah.