Day 7: The World’s Most Prophetic Book – Part 3a

The evidence you never heard.

Bible References (NIV)

Devotional

Have you ever had a déjà vu experience, where you felt you’d been somewhere before when you hadn’t? I remember a dream about getting my first bicycle, and I feel convinced this happened the day before my dad bought me that very bike. Strange things happen in life — but proving them can be difficult.

The Bible is a unique book, and not only in terms of how widely read and printed it is or in its historic reliability. It’s also unique in the way it includes a myriad of predictions that can be verified.

Some in our culture suggest all religious books like the Bible contain prophecy. This is an assumption usually made by Westerners — who because the Bible which they do know a little bit about does have prophecy, assume this must be true of all religions. So you are aware, this simply isn’t the case. The predictions are unique.

The Bible’s many hundreds of predictions are also very bold. With 5000 years of Bible history behind us, we can investigate to see whether the predictions came true. What we are, therefore, given is a way of testing whether the Bible does have the Divine hand of God behind it! As Timothy wrote, ‘all Scripture is God-breathed’. While the Bible accounts were written by human hands, Scripture claims this writing also took place with Divine inspiration. The prophecies give us a way to test this!

Your Bible readings today included chapter 53 of the Book of Isaiah. Most Jews in history have believed this chapter to be a prediction of the coming Messiah — even while all religious Jews today must deny Jesus fulfilled the predictions in it (because they’d be ‘Messianic Jews’ / Christian otherwise). The parallels to Jesus are, however, clear to most. They are so clear that sceptics of the Christian faith have been caused to question whether the chapter might somehow have been faked. Well, that can be answered! A copy of the book of Isaiah pre-dating Jesus was found amongst the Qumran scrolls discovered in 1947. Additionally, the Hebrew Scriptures (‘Old Testament’) were translated into Greek in 250 BC Many ancient copies of that translation (called the Septuagint) still exist. There is no question that the Book of Isaiah was written well before the time of Jesus.

I’ll leave it to you to watch the video clip, and then to look at Isaiah 53 again. It’s a great place to start a conversation about the amazing and unique miracle of Biblical prophecy. We’ll look at other examples in the next two devotions. This all goes toward explaining why so many Christians have concluded that the substance of this faith is objectively true.

Video clip: The World’s Most Prophetic Book – Part 3a — 6:40mins

Reflection questions

  • What is the wider significance or message of fulfilled prophecies in the Bible? What can they uniquely show?
  • Can it be proven that a text like Isaiah 53 existed prior to the time of Jesus, and why is verifying a detail like this important?
  • From your reading of Isaiah 53, what do you think? Does it match what you know of Jesus from the accounts of his life written by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John?

For prayer

“Thank you, God, for doing the unexpected, inspiring your prophets to write predictions that we who live many years later can now investigate to test the truth of your book. You have done so much to help us believe. Thank you.”

related topics

coming up in our next devotion

Day 8: The World’s Most Prophetic Book – Part 3b

How well do you think you could predict five unusual things that would happen in the coming week? Studies on the work of psychics have shown that it’s possible to achieve about an 8% accuracy rate through some intelligent guessing while also speaking in generalisations...

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