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Evidences of the Supernatural Origin of Scripture:
Prophecies That Still Convince Me

Copyright 2011 - All rights retained by author
Written by: C. W. Booth

Evidence Not Proof

How many times has someone said, "I might believe in Jesus if you could just give me some concrete demonstration that the Bible has real and specific prophecies in it"? Such convincingly concrete and specific prophecies do exist, though even that does not guarantee anyone will believe.

It is often true that the enemy of faith is a lack of knowledge. This is a gap in knowledge about the Scriptures themselves, or sometimes a lack of knowledge about history. Moreover, many persons attempt to secure an impossibly high standard of absolute proof of the divine nature of sacred texts before they will put their faith in God.

Knowledge voids can be filled so long as the student is willing to receive it. Genuine knowledge can easily go unnoticed and become neglected if preconceptions and biases allow the student to willfully dismiss truth. Many students are able to overlook knowledge and truth without experiencing even a twinge of conscience because looking the other way is easier and more convenient than having personal assumptions challenged. It is my hope that anyone who has begun reading this is already determined to legitimately test the claim that genuine and compelling prophecies do exist and is therefore willing to test his or her own biases and doubts.

Further, an unbeliever should recognize that in virtually every other walk of life apart from spirituality faith is placed in devices and concepts for which the user has only evidences of their probable positive impact though absolute proof is absent. For example, we happily admire Abraham Lincoln based on the evidences of his existence without ever questioning his literal existence or demanding absolute proof by seeing his body. Similarly, we do not feed automobile antifreeze to our pets because of the evidence from the evening news which tells us it is poison, though few of us have absolute proof of this. Evidence is usually sufficient even though proof is not available. Invariably we act on evidence, not unconditional proof.

Below is a compilation of evidences that the Judeo-Christian Scriptures are of supernatural and divine origin rather than man invented mythology. These evidences will prove nothing. They will possibly fill a knowledge gap and provide support for belief, but they are not absolute proof. What any individual does with the evidences is between them and their deity.

The Insurmountable Prophetic Barrier

It is popular for those who reject the Bible's supernatural authorship to claim that the 1st Century A.D. (also known as the C.E., Common Era) Christian church added into the Hebrew sacred texts all the Messianic prophecies that foretold the coming of Jesus. Or, if that is deemed too outrageous an assertion even for hardcore conspiracy theorists, then the skeptic will deny that the prophecies in the Hebrew Bible were actually ever meant to be future-telling predictions at all and were only intended to refer people and human events at the time of their writing in the past.

To the notion that the 1st Century church redacted the ancient Hebrew sacred writings and added in to them faked prophecies of a coming Messiah, after Jesus had already died, that objection is itself an historical myth. There is virtually no extant evidence that such a 1st Century redaction ever occurred. It is a baseless theory born of imagination but which lacks evidences, much less proofs. More importantly, the historical evidences militate against the myth.

Assume, just for the moment, that the first of the Hebrew Scriptures were authored by Moses' hand at about 1400 B.C. and the last of them authored by Malachi about 400 B.C. This date range which begins with an earliest possible authorship date by Moses in 1400 B.C. is historically consistent when externally compared with the first known secular reference to the nation of Israel. Israel was known to already be in existence in 1300 B.C. (as mentioned in the victory stele of Egyptian Pharaoh Merneptah). This means that Moses could have written the first of the Scriptures while in Palestine (another ancient name for Israel) in 1400 B.C., though it does not prove he did so.

If the writing of Hebrew Scriptures began as early as 1400 B.C. and ended at 400 B.C. (the time of Malachi's death) it should be apparent that the 1st Century church would have had to have left behind significant textual evidences of their tampering and redactions of the Hebrew sacred texts since most copies of the Hebrew Bibles were well out of Christian influences. Jewish archives should be filled with Hebrew scrolls that lack the Messianic prophecies. However, virtually every extant copy of the Masoretic Hebrew Bible texts contains all the Messianic prophecies.

Also, the Septuagint, a translation of the entire Hebrew canon into Greek, was done by Jews for Jews between 300 B.C. and 100 B.C., gives the same verbal witness to the authenticity of the Messianic prophecies. Most extant Septuagint copies contain all the Messianic prophecies, though some more modern copies dated after 70 A.D. have omitted or modified some Messianic prophecies, perhaps due to Jewish hatred of Christians and Jesus. It is not merely improbable, but virtually impossible to conclude that the Christian church added prophecies to the Hebrew canon.

More weighty than the above evidence is the insurmountable barrier that protects the integrity of the ancient Hebrew Bible from aspersions of Christian tampering: the Qumran preservation. Hundreds of Hebrew texts were hidden from invading armies and preserved between 200 B.C. and 100 B.C. by conservative Jews in the Qumran cave complexes. These preserved texts contained almost all of the Hebrew Bible as it existed no later than 100 B.C. (page 3, Geza Vermes, The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English). These texts remained secure and hidden from every would-be defacer, including the Christian church, until their discovery and scrupulous translation beginning in the 1940's. These scrolls demonstrate that the Hebrew Bible contained the Messianic prophecies hundreds of years before the Christian church was born. The Christians did not redact into them any of the prophecies fulfilled through Jesus.

One young atheist whom I love dearly told me that the Dead Sea Scrolls (the Hebrew Bible texts hidden and preserved by the Jews in the Qumran caves) prove nothing with regard to the genuineness of prophecy. I beg to differ. The scrolls do prove that every Messianic prediction was already considered as part of Hebrew Scripture long before Jesus was conceived by His mother, centuries before He died, and ages before the institution of the Christian Church existed. Christians did not write these prophecies. This does not prove the prophecies were true; but it does prove that the prophecies are older than Jesus.

 

Were the Hebrew Messianic Prophecies Future-Telling of Jesus?

Skeptics who understand the significance of the archeological evidence from Qumran cannot allege that the church added in the Messianic prophecies, so they rely on a different claim. They assert that the Messianic prophecies in the Hebrew Bible were never actually meant to be prophetically future-telling in nature. It is claimed by skeptics that such passages of the Hebrew Bible only coincidently seem to be prophecies, but that the original authors only meant them to be poetic statements about the people alive during the time of their writing. They claim that the prophecies are not prophetic, are not supposed to be read as prophecies, do not apply to Jesus specifically, and are misused by the Christian church to say things the passages could not have meant at the time they were written.

This is a very valid area of investigation. Indeed, if the Hebrew Messianic prophecies are not future-telling devices, then they cannot speak of Jesus as the then-coming and then-anticipated Messiah.

However, the converse is also true. If the Hebrew Messianic prophecies are future-telling, and it can be demonstrated that they were intended by their authors to be future-telling glimpses of an anticipated Savior, then they become powerful evidences of the authenticity of the claim that the Judeo-Christian Scriptures are of supernatural origin.

 

"That, Detective, Is the Right Question"

Therefore, if those specific passages of Hebrew text are found to be ordinary and mundane descriptions of pre-Christ persons, places, and events, then individually or amalgamated the "prophetic" passages are meaningless (as alleged prophecies) because they never did point to any future person at all. In other words, there were no prophecies of any coming Messiah, much less of Jesus, because all such prophecies were the author's commentaries on his own times and places. Such authors never intended their poems to be understood in the future tense, as things yet to happen.

But what does it mean if these passages were genuinely intended to point into the future as predictions of things to come? And what does it mean if as an amalgamation they can only point to one historical personage? Also, is there any global implication if no person in this contemporary world or in the future of our planet can ever again be the target of those ancient Hebrew prophecies?

 

Amalgamation As A Concern

There is no one passage of prophetic Hebrew Bible text that says, "The coming Messiah will leave heaven and be born into humanity as a Jew in Bethlehem between 0 and 3 A.D., be named Jesus by His parents, will call Himself the Son of God, will claim to be the God YHWH, will be rejected as a heretic and rabble rouser, will be executed for His claims, will raise from His grave, and will be the focus of worship for a massive global church for the next couple of thousand years."

No, not one standalone passage of the Hebrew Bible foretells all of that. Does the Hebrew canon predict those same things piecemeal and individually, over time, and in aggregate? If so, does the separation of years between each individual prophecy diminish or enhance the evidence of supernatural origin?

What follows are an examination of what have historically been claimed as prophecies from the Hebrew Bible that authenticate Jesus as the predicted Savior. Among the most shocking is the claim that Daniel accurately predicted the very year in which the Messiah would die. These individual claims will be examined to determine if they were indeed intended at the time of their writing to apply to a then-current present situation, their own past, or whether they were truly meant as a future-telling prophecy.

 

 

God's Curse and Promise

Presumably written by Moses in 1400 B.C., Genesis 1-3 tells a story about humanity's past rebellion against the one and only law God had given at the time. As a result of that one sin God placed a curse on the planet, animals, Satan, and humanity. Yet, He also gave a promise to Satan regarding a future event.

Passage

Meaning

Future-Telling?

And I will put enmity Between you [Satan] and the woman,

And between your seed and her seed;

He shall bruise [or break] you on the head, and you shall bruise [or break] him on the heel."

(Genesis 3:15)

Hatred is endemic between demonic evil (Satan's seed) and the human race (Eve's seed)

A male human will one day mortally crush Satan, though Satan will temporarily injure the male

Yes, the promise of a coming male was meant to be taken in the future sense, a prediction. Passage cannot be referring to any male then present.

 

If it is argued that this passage does not refer to Satan but to snakes in general, it becomes hopelessly without meaning. Is God really telling the snake that all humans will hate all snakes, and more meaninglessly, will utterly break the heads of all snakes? Not even in the day of Moses leading Israel in the wilderness was this true. There has never been a snake extermination program, nor is there ever likely to be one. Moses must have meant something when he wrote this. It is far more consistent within the overall meaning and context of the story that this is a reference to the fight of humanity against evil rather than a comment about mankind fighting against snakes (see Genesis 3:22).

In all of the Hebrew Scriptures not one single male can be identified of whom it could be said that he mortally crushed Satan. That prophecy went unfulfilled when the Hebrew canon closed in 400 B.C.

Though this may be among the least persuasive of the prophetic evidences, it is interesting how early in the Hebrew Bible such "Messianic prophecies" begin.

 

Virgin Birth

Not all prophecies have only a single fulfillment. Many have one near-future fulfillment followed by a distant-future fulfillment. How does someone know if a future-distant fulfillment still remains? Common sense indicates that if the near-distant fulfillment did not accomplish all the predictions in the entire prophecy then something remains yet to be fulfilled in the distant future.

The book of Isaiah is not actually a contiguous story with a unified plot. It is a compilation of all of Isaiah's messages and stories from the start of his ministry until his execution. Below is his account of his encounter with Judah's King Ahaz.

Note: it helps to know that in Jewish history the newly founded nation of Israel was soon divided against itself into two nations. The rebels went north, turned from Judaism to idolatry, and called their kingdom, Israel. In the south the tribe of Judah ruled from Jerusalem and mostly remained loyal to Judaism. The kingdom in the south called itself Judah for obvious reasons. The two kingdoms, north and south, were constantly in conflict. Ahaz was a Judahan king in the south.

 

 

 

Passage

Meaning

Future-Telling?

Then the LORD spoke again to Ahaz, saying, "Ask a sign for yourself from the LORD your God; make it deep as Sheol or high as heaven." But Ahaz said, "I will not ask, nor will I test the LORD!" Then he said, "Listen now, O house of David! Is it too slight a thing for you to try the patience of men, that you will try the patience of my God as well? Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign:

Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel. He will eat curds and honey at the time He knows enough to refuse evil and choose good. For before the boy will know enough to refuse evil and choose good, the land whose two kings you dread will be forsaken.

(Isaiah 7:10-16)

 

Ahaz, king of the righteous southern kingdom called Judah, was being attacked by the alliance between Israel (the unrighteous northern kingdom of the fractured nation) and Aram.

Ahaz probably understood Isaiah to be predicting that in the time it would take for a theoretical virgin to conceive a child (if a virgin could actually become pregnant) and raise that child for several years (until it was old enough to know the difference between being good and bad), in that several year time period, the Aram-Israel alliance threatening Judah would be broken. This sign would prove that all else that Isaiah prophesied to Ahaz would also come true.

No real virgin was known to have become pregnant without benefit of marriage in that time. No male was recorded as being named Immanuel at that time.

Yes, Isaiah meant his words to be in the future tense.

As a sign to Ahaz that the Aram-Israel alliance would be broken in several years future, the prophecy was a near-term future-telling prediction that was fulfilled in Isaiah's lifetime.

Unfulfilled elements of the prophecy: a real virgin becoming pregnant and a real infant male named Immanuel being born--those things did not occur during Isaiah's lifetime.

 

Since the literal virgin birth and the male infant named Immanuel did not happen during Isaiah's lifetime, it is proper to say that the prophecy was left in a partially unfulfilled state. When Jesus was born to a literal virgin, and since His name, Jesus (the Lord saves), was functionally similar to Immanuel (the Lord is with us), that event mostly fulfills the prophecy. Also, as both Lord and a human, Jesus physically lived among His people, the Jews. This would make Him the "Immanuel," since the Lord lived with them.

This may still only represent a partial fulfillment of the prophecy, however. Why only "partially" fulfilled? Jesus died and left His people behind, and so is no longer "among us" or "with us." When Jesus returns the next time, He will live among his people forever, with a throne located on Mount Zion (the Temple Mount in Jerusalem). In that sense He will always be Immanuel.

Throughout Isaiah are numerous prophecies about many things. Some are about the far future end-of-time events, some are about the then-future return of Israel from exile in Babylon, and some are about a coming Immanuel-servant. All of Chapter 49 is about the coming servant.

Chapter 49 begins by Isaiah saying, "The LORD called Me from the womb; from the body of My mother He named Me" (Isaiah 49:1). Yet, Isaiah could not be talking of himself alone because as the chapter continues the Lord calls him "Israel" (a name not used for any individual person except Jacob and Jesus) and informs him that he will take salvation to the ends of the earth. Isaiah's name was never "Israel" and he did not take salvation to the ends of the earth, so he had to be talking about someone else who would do such things in the future.

 

Passage

Meaning

Future-Telling?

Isaiah 49:1-13 -- The Servant

Named while in the womb (v1)

Mouth is a sword (v2)

Labeled "servant" and "Israel" and "glory" of the Lord (v3)

Called the "Light to the Gentiles" and will take salvation to ends of the earth (v6)

Kings and princes will bow to him (v7)

Servant is himself "a covenant" (v8)

The servant cannot be Isaiah because Isaiah never had the princes and kings of the Gentiles bow to him. Also, it is unlikely that Isaiah acted as "a covenant" with Israel. These future-predicting labels all seem to apply solely to Jesus and to no one on earth during Isaiah's day.

Yes.

These labels become increasingly future-predictive:

salvation will reach the Gentiles, kings will bow down to Him, and the servant will become a covenant...

Isaiah 49:14-26 -- Future Restoration

Jerusalem feels "forgotten" but is not (v15)

Jerusalem's destroyers driven off (v17)

Dead children will be resurrected (v20)

Gentiles will come under God's rule (v22)

The purpose of the passage changes to the future restoration of Jerusalem. It is predicted to be utterly destroyed and devastated, then restored, and finally Jerusalem's dead will be restored. Then even the Gentiles will be ruled by God.

Yes. Near-future and far-future

Future kingdom destruction is predicted, then restoration is predicted.

 

It is easy to write off Isaiah's comments in 1-13 as self descriptive, self promotional, and self aggrandizing. However, Isaiah was not a fool, as he gave up his life to preach repentance in the midst of international warfare. Isaiah knew no kings and princes were going to bow to him, but only to God, because as Isaiah also wrote, "Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other...to Me every knee will bow, every tongue will swear allegiance" (Isaiah 45:22-23a). Either these verses in 1-13 were true future-telling prophecies about the coming servant-Messiah (in other words, truthful statements about God Himself) or they were false and contradictory future-telling prophecies about Isaiah that never came true.

Whatever else one my say about verses 14-26 being non-specific and useless as "evidence" for supernatural prophecy, it must be remembered that it would have been inconceivable to any Jew in Isaiah's day that Jerusalem would be devastated, destroyed, and abandoned. It eventually was by Babylon. Then it was rebuilt and repopulated, as Isaiah predicted. However, it was never the paradise that Isaiah predicted where even the dead babies were restored. After 70 A.D. Jerusalem was again destroyed and abandoned, and stayed that way for 1900 years. It has again been rebuilt by the Jews, as predicted in John's Revelation, but it has yet to become a paradise where even the dead are raised to life. That too is still future.

 

Judah Will Rule Until Shiloh Comes

One of the more interesting specific prophecies given in the Old Testament by any patriarch was given by the grandson of Abraham, Jacob (his name was also known as Israel and it was that name for whom the nation was later named). He called together all his twelve sons to bless them and to prophesy over them. When he got to son Judah he said,

The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, until Shiloh comes, and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples. He ties his foal to the vine, and his donkey's colt to the choice vine; he washes his garments in wine, and his robes in the blood of grapes. (Genesis 49:10-11)

The scepter is, of course, the ruler's scepter, the symbol of a king's reign. Jacob predicted that of his twelve sons Judah's family would rule over the others "until Shiloh comes," after which Judah would cease ruling and Shiloh would be given the people's obedience as king instead.

As we know from history, the tribe of Judah, the ultimate bloodline of King David, dominated in southern Palestine/Canaan, where Jerusalem stood on Mount Zion as capital of Judah. The Jews that rebelled went to the north and called themselves Israel. After the multiple invasions and exiles the once-divided nation reunited and eventually reestablished the capital of Jerusalem in Judah and the reunified nation called itself Israel once more, until the nation was destroyed in 70 A.D.

This "Shiloh" that was to come in the future, and who was to secure from Judah the obedience of the people, was described by Jacob as a male, "He ties his foal to the vine." Shiloh is clearly personified. The word Shiloh means both "tranquility" and "which belongs to him." So Judah would hold the scepter of ruling power only until Shiloh takes back the ruling authority "which belongs to Him." The scepter of authority came from YHWH, so only YHWH can take it back.

When Jesus (the God-among-us, the Prince of Peace, the son of David) came to Jerusalem the ruling scepter did indeed leave Judah, and the nation of Israel came to a 1900 year end. While Israel is today a modern nation, it is no longer a kingdom under Judah's rule. Moreover, Christianity has grown into a global religion which "gives its obedience" to Christ, the Shiloh, the one to which obedience always belonged. Also, just as Jesus' garments were drenched red in His own blood, Jacob said that Shiloh's robes would be drenched in the "blood of grapes," that is, drenched blood red.

Jacob had been renamed "Israel" by his God, YHWH. The unified nation was later called Israel in honor of Jacob, and is now named Israel again. Israel was known as the vine and the vineyard of the Lord (Isaiah 5:7, Jeremiah 6:9, Hosea 10:1). Jesus assumed for Himself the title "the true vine" by which He was calling Himself the true Israel (John 15:1). Paul repeats this truth in Ephesians 2:12 by stating that the Gentiles had been excluded from citizenship in Israel and its promises, which by definition meant they had been excluded from Christ, the true Israel (note: they were excluded until Jesus sent the apostles into all the world to proclaim the gospel).

How is this "evidence" that prophecies are supernatural? Jacob predicted that Judah would establish a kingdom; the prophecy having been made by Jacob long before that kingdom ever existed. Ironically, the kingdom he predicted would come would be named after him, Israel. Then Jacob predicted that God would come and transfer the people's obedience away from the kings of Judah back to Himself as the Shiloh. This very thing happened in real history when Jerusalem was destroyed (70 A.D.) and the majority of the world became obedient to Jesus under the mantle of Christianity.

 

Daniel: 483 Years Will Pass Until the Messiah Dies

No other prophet delivered more precise and testable prophecies than did Daniel. He named names and specified dates. Daniel predicted the coming of a Messiah and the actual year of the Messiah's death.

Qumran scholar and Hebrew professor Geza Vermes noted that the Qumran community preachers wrote commentaries on the Hebrew prophets between 200 B.C. and 100 B.C. They recorded their own interpretations of Daniel's still-future Messianic calculations, correctly noting that the world should expect about 483 years to pass between the Babylonian exile and the revelation of the future Messiah (page 71, Geza Vermes, The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls In Enlgish). The Qumran preachers used Daniel's prophecies to accurately predict that the Messiah would arrive in another 100 to 200 years in their own future.

 

Passage

Meaning

Future-Telling?

"So you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem

until Messiah the Prince there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks;

 

 

It [Jerusalem] will be built again, with plaza and moat, even in times of distress.

Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing,

 

 

 

 

 

and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. And its end will come

(Daniel 9:25-26a)

In 444 B.C. Nehemiah records the decrees from Artexerxes to rebuild Jerusalem and its walls.

7 x 7 = 49 years (Jewish cal.)

62 x 7 = 434 years (Jewish cal.)

----------------------

= 483 years total (Jewish cal.)

After the 444 B.C. rebuild decree 483 years will pass and the Messiah will be "cut off" or killed.

The ancient Jewish calendar had an average 360 days per year (see Walvoord, Every Prophecy of the Bible, page 254). 483 years is the equivalent of 476 years in the Gregorian calendar which contains 365 days per year.

Using 444 B.C. as a fixed starting date, Daniel forecast that the Messiah would die in about year 33 A.D. of the Gregorian calendar.

The armies of the Roman emperor Titus destroyed Jerusalem and the temple in 70 A.D.

Yes. Far-future.

This is the most hated of all Hebrew Scripture by skeptics and atheists.

Clearly the book of Daniel contained these prophetic calculations long before it was sealed into the Qumran caves (about 200 B.C.).

The date of the death of the Messiah was accurately predicted centuries before His birth.

 

There is nothing magic or tricky about seeing the phrase "seven weeks" (which is the more literal Hebrew rendering: "seven times seven") as meaning 49 years. Obviously 62 times 7 is 434 years, as even the Qumran preachers were able to recognize. Added together (because the text says "and") they amount to 483 years. So, 483 years were to pass from the decree of Artexerxes in 444 B.C. until the Messiah would die, about 33 A.D. Those 483 years are measured by the idealized ancient Hebrew calendar containing 360 days; this is the equivalent of 476 years in the Gregorian Calendar which contains 365 days in a year (see Walvoord, Every Prophecy of the Bible, page 254).

Only one historical figure was simultaneously called a Jewish Messiah and also died in 33 A.D. Obviously Daniel was not speaking about an event current to himself, but about an event almost five centuries in his future.


Timeline of Daniel's Prophecy of the Future Death of the Messiah


Some atheists misread and misquote the passage, whether intentionally so, or not, is unknown. They improperly identify the edict of Cyrus, which authorized the rebuilding of the temple in 538 B.C., as the starting date for Daniel's timing. They then improperly conclude that Daniel's timing is false, for it would not coincide with the death of Jesus. Of course, the biblical text actually says the starting date is the decree to rebuild the city of Jerusalem, not the temple. Only the decree of Artexerxes in 444 B.C. authorizing the rebuilding of the city and its perimeter defenses meets the requirements of the passage. So the correct starting point for Daniel's 483 years is 444 B.C. resulting in a 33 A.D. termination date.

Daniel never lived in Israel. He lived his entire life in Babylon as a Jewish exile. He became a government servant to the pagan king and wielded significant influence. There is no doubt that when he penned his prophetic book his fellow Babylonian magi (wise men) would have been very familiar with it. Being men of study (if not men of science in some sense) they would have easily been able to make the calculations themselves once Artexerxes gave the rebuild decree after Babylon was overthrown. It is likely the Babylonian magi knew this Jewish Messiah (king) would die 483 years later, and so knew he would be born in about 400 years (more or less) into their future. That they were on watch for a sign of Jesus' birth 450 years later is no surprise at all.

The problem for atheists and skeptics is how to explain away the rather straightforward prediction by Daniel that a Messiah would be born and die 483 years in the future. Late dating the book of Daniel from 530 B.C. to 200 B.C. (as most skeptics are desirous to do) helps not at all. Here is why. Pretend that Daniel did not actually write the book almost 100 years before Artexerxes issued the edict to rebuild Jerusalem (444 B.C.E.). Pretend that a fake-Daniel wrote the same book at 200 B.C.E., about 200 years after Artexerxes issued the rebuild edict. Even so, the fake Daniel still correctly predicted that 483 years would pass from Artexerxes (444 B.C.E.) until the Messiah would die in 33 A.D. That future death date, according to fake Daniel, was still 240 years in fake-Daniel's future. The key is that the prophecy's 483 year clock begins when Artexerxes issued the rebuild edict and has nothing to do with when Daniel was written.

Further it must be remembered that Daniel was one of those books preserved at Qumran and hidden in the ground sometime between 200 B.C.E and 50 B.C.E. This 483 year prophecy was also included in the Septuagint, the Greek version of the Hebrew Bible developed by Jewish scholars, which was originally put together between 285 B.C.E. and 50 B.C.E. In other words, Daniel could not have been written after Jesus was born, which means that the prophecy was genuinely made centuries before Jesus died. Does it really matter if the prophecy was made 500 years before Jesus died or only 200 years in advance, so long as the prophecy accurately predicted 33 A.D.? This student of the Bible thinks not.

A final often overlooked issue is the startling prediction by Daniel that the Messiah would be a mortal that could and would die, and whose death would be followed by the utter destruction of the temple and of the entire loss of the city of Jerusalem. How could a mere man like Daniel, or "fake Daniel," know that the Messiah was really coming, would be mortal, and would not be a conquering political hero? Truly this is supernatural foreknowledge and not something the church made up.

 

Other Prophecies That Were Future-Telling of the Messiah

By now the pattern is clear, the Hebrew Bible contained multiple Messianic prophecies. All of them were written before 100 B.C. and so were not the products of church zealots. Each prophecy, even at the time they were written, was intended to be understood by the speaker/writer as a future-telling prediction which could not be fulfilled by persons or events during the prophet's lifetime.

Some prophecies predicted the destruction of Jerusalem, some its reconstruction. Some predicted the loss of a human king in Israel in favor of God's new kingdom. Isaiah predicted that every knee would bow to this Servant of God. One prophet even predicted the actual date of the death of the Messiah as being 33 A.D.

This pattern of future-telling prophecies regarding a coming Messiah / Christ / Anointed Servant carries across many Hebrew biblical texts. Rather than analyze each one in depth as above, a consolidated and abbreviated list is provided below.

 

Passage

Summary

Isaiah 50:1-11

Though Isaiah was eventually executed the afflictions described here are not known to have happened to him: back struck, beard plucked, mocked, spat upon

Isaiah 53:1-12

Prophet says he and others (v.2) watched "someone" grow up, become despised, get stricken, smitten, and afflicted, pierced for others' sins, crushed for others' sins (remember the crushed heel of the male in Genesis 3:15), whipped for their sins, took on the sins of all Israel, killed for the people, given as a guilt sacrifice for the nation, and justified the sins of all

Note: unlike others, this passage has no overt future-telling tone to it, though it does not apply to any contemporary person of Isaiah

Isaiah 9:6-7

Some yet-to-born child will liberate the region of Galilee. This child will be born a son, he will rule the government, he will be commonly known as: a Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, and Prince of Peace. The child will never stop ruling the government and will be of the bloodline of David. From Isaiah on no such person has yet to fit this future-looking predictive description of a Galilean ruler, except Jesus.

Psalm 110:1-7

Most of this passage is overtly future-predictive. David describes the God of his God anointing his God to be a future king and eternal priest. The notion of "two Gods" was ordinarily abhorrent in Israel.

Micah 5:2-5

This is an overt future-telling prophecy. It predicts the birth of a ruler over Israel coming from Bethlehem, David's hometown; the ruler will be called Israel's "peace." No known human king has yet matched this prophecy.

Zechariah 11:12-13

This is a parable. In the parable the prophet states that the Lord utters the words, "Throw [the thirty pieces of silver] to the potter, that magnificent price at which I was valued by them." When was God ever valued at thirty pieces of silver except when Judas betrayed Jesus?

Note: unlike others, this passage has no overt future-telling tone to it, though it does not apply to any contemporary person of Zechariah. Also, no Jew would ever have valued YHWH at a mere 30 pieces of silver.

Psalm 22:1-31

This poem depicts a righteous man being afflicted; ostensibly it describes a crucifixion, yet, written by David in 1000 B.C., that mode of execution was still unknown since the Jews used stoning to execute criminals.

  • "My God why have You forsaken Me?" (v1)
  • Despised and reproached by Israelites (v6-7)
  • Mocked, "let God rescue Him" (v8)
  • Bones out of joint (v14)
  • Heart melted like wax (v14)
  • Thirsty (v15)
  • Surrounded by mockers and gawkers (v16)
  • Hands and feet pierced (v16)
  • Garments divided among evil men through gambling (v18)
  • This is not overtly future-telling. However, it cannot be applied to David, the author, since none of these things happened to him. Who then is David talking of?

     

     

     

     

    Conclusion

    A person can quite literally ignore all this evidence. For example, it is common to hear atheist scholars deny that historical figures such as King David ever existed at all. To do this they ignore evidence such as numerous Israeli religious artifacts, the testimony of the Hebrew Bible, and even secular artifacts like the 9th Century B.C. Jordanian Mesha Stele through which Moab's King Mesha boasted of having gained military victory over Israel's King "Omri," "the House of David," and "YHWH," the God of Israel (all of which are mentioned by name in the stele).

    In addition to ignoring evidence someone can simply give it a cursory review and dismiss it as not compelling. But can a person seriously look at the above evidence in whole, as an entire body of work, and not realize that the Hebrew Bible predicted thousands to hundreds of years in advance that the Son of God, YHWH Himself, would come as a man to die as the substitute for human sin? And who but Jesus ever matched the specifics of those combined prophecies?

    In 70 A.D. the city of Jerusalem was sacked by the Romans, and the temple was destroyed. Along with the temple all the genealogical records of Israel were also destroyed. It is no longer possible for any Jew to know or to prove which of the twelve tribes (if any) they are descended from. Since several of the Hebrew Bible prophecies state that the expected Messiah had to be from the bloodline of Judah and David, no person can ever be born now or in the future who can match those prophecies. There can be no Davidic Messiah expected to come any longer. Either Jesus was the Messiah or there never will be one.

    When Israel was devastated in the 1st Century it ceased to be a nation. It lost its theocratic government and ultimately the control of the land fell to foreigners for 1900 years. This was seen by Bible skeptics as proof that all the prophecies in the Judeo-Christian Bible were false, since many of the passages claimed that the great end-of-time events were to happen in Israel and to the Jews as a nation. Of course, the nation of Israel was restored to Jewish leadership in 1948, following the global Holocaust which almost exterminated Abraham's race from the planet. Though for 1900 years it appeared as though the explicit prophecies of the Bible would be thwarted by historical events, it now appears that historical reality validates the supernatural origin of the prophecies.

    Knowledge is good. What one does with knowledge is more important. Evidence is good, but it is not proof. What will you, the reader, do with the accrued evidences above? Will you trust Christ as the Messiah, calling on Him to take away your sin? What will you do with your knowledge?

     

     

    Addendum -- Skeptics Response Log

    Embedded below is your own personal response log. Use this to record your personal reactions, observations, or objections to each of the above Messianic passages. Afterwards, consider summing up your capstone conclusions, particularly with regard to whether you feel the amalgamated prophecies are persuasive of the proposition that the Bible is of supernatural origin. If you would like to engage in some discussion about this subject, consider emailing your responses to me at the address posted on the "Contact Us" page.

     

    Passage: Genesis 3:15

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    Passage: Isaiah 7:10-16

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    Passage: Isaiah 49:1-13

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    Passage: Isaiah 49:14-26

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    Passage: Genesis 49:10-11

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    Passage: Daniel 9:25-26a

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    Passage: Isaiah 53:1-12

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    Passage: Isaiah 9:6-7

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    Passage: Psalm 110:1-7

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    Passage: Micah 5:2-5

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    Passage: Zechariah 11:12-13

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    Passage: Psalm 22:1-31

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