Isaiah 45-48, Psalm 119:33-64
Prophecy is God's fingerprint on the Bible and sets it apart from every other book of antiquity and every other sacred book. Sometimes the effect of prophecy is lost on us since we see things retrospectively, having already occurred, concerning nations and individuals who mean little to us now. Many false prophets like to declare future events with large, ambiguous predictions, which can be twisted to be proven. However, the Bible gives dates, names, specific nations, etc. so that these very specific prophecies will either transpire or not. If God empowered me to make a prediction that the United States would be destroyed by the nation of Mexico in a hundred years. That Washington, D.C. would be rendered uninhabitable, utterly destroyed. Then stated 150 years from now, a man named Cyrus would be born and eventually lead the confederation of Central America to destroy Mexico in a single night. Then even though it did not benefit him at all, Cyrus then commissioned the Americans who were enslaved in Mexico to return to Washington D.C. to rebuild their nation, this would be a very specific, unimaginable prediction. If this came true 100% accurately, then people would realize how these predictions could not come about by the power of man, but by the power of God.
As we go through the prophets, we see amazing truths being foretold well before they actually occurred. This is what sets the Bible apart from every other book. Don't miss the amazing prophecy in Isaiah 44:28-45:13 of Cyrus, who was named 150 years before he was born and around 200 years before the events described were fulfilled. We read in Isaiah 44:28, "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." ' At the time that Isaiah wrote this the nation of Judah was still independent and the temple was present and functioning. We read in Isaiah 45:3-4,: "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." We read the fulfillment in 2 Chronicles 36:22-23, "Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and also put it in writing, saying, Thus says Cyrus king of Persia: All the kingdoms of the earth the Lord God of heaven has given me. And He has commanded me to build Him a house at Jerusalem which is in Judah. Who is among you of all His people? May the Lord his God be with him, and let him go up!" According to the historian, Josephus, The Jewish people showed Cyrus the scroll of Isaiah written 200 years before. So astounded was he, and amazed that God would actually call him by name, that he responded to the call and gave the decree to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem. In Isaiah 47:9, just as prophesied, Babylon, who was not even yet a formidable empire during the time of Isaiah, but over 100 years later represented the world empire was taken in a single day (Also described further in Daniel 5) by the armies of Cyrus.
In Isaiah 44:6-7, we read, "Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel, And his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts: 'I am the First and I am the Last; Besides Me there is no God. And who can proclaim as I do? Then let him declare it in order for Me, Since I appointed the ancient people. And the things that are coming and shall come, Let them show these to them." Again, we read in Isaiah 42:9, "Behold, the former things have come to pass, And new things I declare: Before they spring forth I tell you of them." The prophets themselves, were willing vessels who spoke forth the Word of God, not fully comprehending often what they were predicting, as we read in 1 Peter 1:10-12, "Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you,...To them it was revealed that, not to themselves, but to us they were ministering the things which now have been reported to you...". Though the Bible is our main guide, if we ever find ourselves reading and not understanding, there are so many commentaries that will give the historical background underlying the fulfillment of these pinpoint prophesies in addition to other parts of the Bible which reveals their fulfillment. The books of prophecy show the fingerprint of God on past events. Because of this we can look to the future and to end times and trust that He will also fulfill future prophecy with this same pinpoint accuracy. Concerning end times, Jesus described it as occurring like a thief in the night (Matthew 24:36-44). Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 5:3, concerning the future day of the Lord, "For when they say, "Peace and safety!" then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape." Knowing the surety of God's predictions, let us step out in faith and warn a world who is being lulled into complacency and stupor, before it's too late.
Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley: