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|The Bible----is it really inspired by God?|
*Read article the Dead Sea Scrolls, to confirm that the prophecies were given before events were fulfilled. No man can foretell the future except he be inspired by God, such were the prophets.
No man can foretell the future in detail. That is beyond human ability. However, the Creator of the universe possesses all the necessary facts and can even control events. Thus he can be spoken of as the One who is "telling from the beginning the finale, and from long ago the things that have not been done." ----Isaiah 46:10; 41:22,23.
The bible contains Hundreds of prophecies. Have they been accurately fulfilled until now? If so, it would be a telling indication of the Bible's being "inspired of God." (2 Timothy 3:16, 17) And it would create confidence in further prophecies regarding events yet to come. Hence, it will be useful to review some prophecies already fulfilled.
The fall of Tyre
Tyre was a prominent seaport of Phonecia that had dealt treacherously with ancient Israel, her southern neighbor that worshiped God. Through a prophet named Ezekiel, God foretold its complete destruction over 250 years before it happened. God declared: I will bring up against you many nations... And they will certainly bring the walls of Tyre to ruin and tear down her towers, and I will scrape her dust away from her and make her a shining, bare surface of a crag. A drying yard for dragnets is what she will become in the midst of the sea." Ezekiel also named in advance the first nation and its leader to besiege Tyre: "Here I am bringing against Tyre Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon"----Ezekiel 26:3-5,7.
As foretold, Nebuchadrezzar [Nebuchadnezzar] did later overthrow mainland Tyre, The Encyclopedia Britannica reporting "a 13-year siege...by Nebuchadrezzar." After the siege it was reported that he took no spoils: "As for wages, there proved to be none for him." (Ezekiel 29:18) Why not? Because part of Tyre was on an island across a narrow channel. Most of Tyre's treasures had been transferred from the mainland to that island part of the city, which was defeated.
But Nebuchadrezzar's conquest did not "scrape [Tyre's] dust away from her and make her a shining, bare surface" as Ezekiel had foretold. Nor was Zechariah's prophecy fulfilled, which said that Tyre would be pitched "into the sea." (Zecharia 9:4) Were these prophecies inaccurate? Not at all. Over 250 years after Ezekiel's prophecy and nearly 200 years after Zechariah's, Tyre was totally destroyed by Greek armies under Alexander the Great, in 332 B.C. "With the debris of the mainland portion of the city," explains the Encyclopedia Americana, "he built a huge [causeway] in 332 to join the island to the mainland. After a seven month's siege... he captured and destroyed Tyre."
Thus, as predicted by Ezekiel and Zechariah, Tyre's dust and debris did end up in the midst of the water. She was left a bare crag, "a place to spread nets upon," as a visitor to the site observed. So, prophecies spoken hundreds of years earlier were fulfilled in exact detail
Cyrus and the fall of Babylon
Also remarkable are the prophecies involving the Jews and Babylon. History records that Babylon took the Jews into captivity. Yet, about 40 years before this happened Jeremiah foretold it. Isaiah predicted it some 150 years before it happened. He also foretold that the Jews would return from captivity. So did Jeremiah, saying that they would be restored to their land 70 years. ----Isaiah 39;6, 7; 44:26; Jeremiah 25:8-12; 29:10.
This return was made possible by the overthrow of Babylon by the Medes and Persians in 539 B.C. It was foretold by Isaiah nearly 200 years before it happened, and by Jeremiah about 50 years before it occurred. Jeremiah said that the Babylonian soldiers would put up no fight. Both Isaiah and Jeremiah foretold that Babylon's protecting waters, the river Euphrates, "must be dried up." Isaiah even gave the name of the conquering Persian general, Cyrus, and said that before him "the gates [of Babylon] will not be shut."----Jeremiah 50:38; 51:11, 30; Isaiah 13:17-19; 44:27; 45:1.
The Greek historian Herodotus explained that Cyrus actually diverted the flow of the Euphrates and "the river sank to such an extent that the natural bed of the stream became fordable." Thus, during the night, enemy soldiers marched along the riverbed and entered the city through gates that had been carelessly left open. "Had the Babylonians been apprised of what Cyrus was about," Herodotus continued , "they would have made fast all the street-gates which [were] upon the river... But, as it was, the Persians came upon them by surprise and so took the city." Actually, the Babylonians were involved in drunken revelry, as the Bible explains, and as Herodotus confirms. (Daniel 5: 1-4, 30) Both Isaiah and Jeremiah foretold that Babylon would eventually become uninhabited ruins. And that is what happened. Today Babylon is a desolate heap of mounds.----Isaiah 13:20-22; Jeremiah 51:37, 41-43.
Cyrus also restored the Jews to their homeland. Over two centuries before, God had foretold of Cyrus: "All that I delight in he will completely carry out." (Isaiah 44:28) True to prophecy, after 70 years Cyrus returned the captives to their homeland, in 537 B.C. (Ezra 1: 1-4) An ancient Persian inscription, called the Cyrus Cylinder, has been found that clearly states the policy of Cyrus to return captives to their homelands. "As to the inhabitants of Babylon," Cyrus is recorded as having said, "I (also) gathered all their (former) inhabitants and returned (to them) their habitations."
Medo-Persia and Greece
While Babylon was still a world power the Bible foretold its conquest by a symbolic two-horned ram, representing "the kings of Media and Persia." (Daniel 8:20) As foretold, Medo-Persia became the next world power when it conquered Babylon in 539 B.C. In time however, "a male of the goats," identified as Greece, "proceeded to strike down the ram and to break its two horns." (Daniel 8:1-7) This was in 332 B.C. when Greece defeated Medo-Persia and became the new world power.
Note what was foretold to follow: "And the male of the goats, for its part, put on great airs to an extreme; but as soon as it became mighty, the great horn was broken, and there proceeded to come up conspicuously four instead of it." (Daniel 8:8) What does this mean? The Bible explains: "The hairy he-goat stands for the king of Greece; and as for the great horn that was between its eyes, it stands for the first king. And that one having been broken, so that there were four kingdoms from his nation that will stand up, but not with his power."----Daniel 8:21,22.
History shows that this "king of Greece" was Alexander the Great. But after his death in 323 B.C., his empire was eventually split up among four generals----Seleusus Nicator, Cassander, Ptolemy Lagus and Lysimachus. Just as the bible had foretold, "there were four that finally stood up instead." Yet, as also foretold, none of these ever had the power that Alexander had. Thus more than 200 years after this prophecy was recorded, it began to be fulfilled----another striking confirmation of the Bible's inspiration!
The destruction of Jerusalem
Jesus was God's greatest Prophet. First, note what he said would happen to Jerusalem: "Your enemies will build around you a fortification with pointed stakes and will encircle you and distress you from every side, and they will dash you and your children within you to the ground, and they will not leave a stone upon stone in you, because you did not discern the time of your being inspected." (Luke 19:43, 44) Jesus also said: "When you see Jerusalem surrounded by encamped armies, then know that the desolating of her has drawn near. Then let those in Judea begin fleeing to the mountains."----Luke 21:20, 21.
True to the prophecy, Roman armies under Cestious Gallus came against Jerusalem in 66 C.E. Strangely, however, he did not press the siege to its completion, but, as the first-century historian Flavius Josephus reported: "He retired from the city, without any reason in the world." With the siege unexpectedly lifted, opportunity was afforded to heed Jesus' instruction to flee Jerusalem. The historian Eusebius reported that it was the Christians who fled.
Less than four years later, in 70 C.E. Roman armies under general Titus returned and encircled Jerusalem. They cut down trees for miles around and built a city-encircling wall, "a fortification with pointed stakes." As a result, Josephus observed: "All hope of escaping was now cut off from the Jews." Josephus noted that after a siege of about five months, aside from three towers and a portion of a wall, what was left "was so thoroughly laid even with the ground... that there was left nothing to make those that came thither believe it had ever been inhabited."
About 1,100,00 died during the siege, and 97,000 were taken captive. To this day a testimony to the fulfillment of Jesus' prophecy can been seen in Rome. There the Arch of Titus stands, erected by the Romans in 81 C.E. to commemorate the successful capture of Jerusalem. That arch remains a silent reminder to the fact that failure to heed the warnings in Bible prophecy can lead to disaster.