Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:( Isaiah 46:9-10)
Approximately 30 percent of the Bible is prophecy. In the passage above, the God of the Bible challenges humanity, to believe in Him, who alone “declares the End from the beginning” and whose counsel always stands.
How did Peter, Paul and the Apostles of the New Testament often preach Christ? They started in the Synagogues, and shewed their fellow Jews that all of the prophecies of their scripture, had been fulfilled in Jesus.
The Apostles learned this method of Evangelism from Jesus himself, when He evangelized two of his distraught disciples after the crucifixion, on the road to Emmaus.
He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.( Luke 24:25-27)
What a Bible Study! What an evangelistic encounter! They later said among themselves, ” Didn’t our hearts burn within ourselves as He read those passages?”. Jesus took these disciples through the Law and the Prophets and simply showed himself as the fulfillment of these predictions.
We see this method used all through the book of the Acts of the Apostles.
Peter stood up on Pentecost and preached Jesus from the Psalms, and the book of Joel.
Phillip witnessed to an Ethiopian Eunich who happened to be reading Isiah 53,
Paul would go into the synagogues and expound the Prophets, to show that Jesus was the fulfillment of their words,
And when they had fulfilled all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree, and laid him in a sepulchre.But God raised him from the dead:And he was seen many days of them which came up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are his witnesses unto the people. And we declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers,God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.( Acts 13:29-33)
Notice that Paul preaches that the cross was the fulfillment of scripture, ( He could have cited the 22nd Psalm, Isaiah 53, and numerous other passages.), then HE goes on to proclaim Jesus as the fulfillment of the second Psalm, as well as the 16th Psalm. His hearers, having been raised on these scripture were clearly touched, some in acceptance and others rejection of Jesus.
Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews:And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures,Opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ.( Acts 17:1-3)
Christ had to suffer and die, all according to the scripture.
Much of the preaching in the book of Acts is of this nature, Prophecy and fulfillment. The coming of the Messiah is a major subject of the prophecies, as well as his suffering, death and resurrection. In the last week of Jesus ‘earthly life, God fulfilled hundreds of prophecies and typological predictions alone.
There are precise time oriented prophecies, such as Daniel’s prediction from 530 BC , marking the very day that Jesus would arrive in Jerusalem, present himself to the people of Israel and die as a substitute for them.
In this day and age of cynicism and unbelief, it is wonderful to assure people that they need not check their minds in at the door, in order to believe in Jesus. The Prophecies are God’s calling card to verify the Truth of the scriptures.
There are three major categories of prophecies which we can point people to in evangelism, in order to call on them to repent and believe;
- The First coming of Jesus the Messiah-
- Israel and her experience to this very day
- the Second coming of Jesus to the earth.
I find it amazing that one of the signature prophecy fulfillment of the modern day, largely is ignored; I speak of the resurrection of the nation of Israel. I point to it in witnessing to unbelievers, for it is a bill board sized sign and wonder performed before the eyes of the whole earth. God is calling upon the earth to take notice, to be warned and even to repent!
Consider this history- Israel was an ancient nation, well known throughout the Mediterranean world, which had a national polity, a temple, Kings and national borders.
But Moses, Hosea and other prophets predicted that she would be removed from her land and scattered and would have no nation for a season of time, as punishment for her persistent idolatry.
For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ephod, and without teraphim: Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the Lord their God, and David their king; and shall fear the Lord and his goodness in the latter days.( Hosea 3:4-5)
History tells us that this happened, when the Romans razed the temple in Jerusalem, slaughtered hundreds of thousands of Jews and then glutted the world’s slave markets with Jewish captives, and renamed the Holy Land of Israel, Provinca Syria Palestina, thus wiping out the name and nation of Israel as a polity.
This happened in the Roman/Jewish wars between 70 Ad to 120 Ad. Thus for almost two millennia, the nation of Israel didn’t exist, the Jews were scattered across the globe, and the prophecies of Moses, Hosea and others were fulfilled. There hadn’t been a nation of Israel until 1948 !
But the Prophets predicted that Israel would be resurrected (Ezekiel 37) , that the nation would be repopulated with Jews, and that they would come back to their land in unbelief, but then God would arrange the events called the great tribulation to eventually bring them back to faith in Him!
Behold, I will bring them from the north country, and gather them from the coasts of the earth, and with them the blind and the lame, the woman with child and her that travaileth with child together: a great company shall return thither. They shall come with weeping, and with supplications will I lead them: I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble: for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn. Hear the word of the Lord, O ye nations, and declare it in the isles afar off, and say, He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd doth his flock. For the Lord hath redeemed Jacob, and ransomed him from the hand of him that was stronger than he.( Jeremiah 31:9-11)
Why wouldn’t we proclaim these wonderful deeds of the LORD to this cynical and weary generation? Prophecy is evangelism, it is history written in advance and is a wonderful sign to the reality of God. What other nation was obliterated, scattered, assimilated, but then reconstituted after two thousand years, and brought back to their ancestral lands?
Show whoever will listen the uniqueness of Jesus, how He was prophesied centuries before in detail, how even his death was related in detail, and his resurrection, then tell them that the same prophets of the Bible predicted that he would come again, (in just such a time as this). Tell others of the marvel of Israel, of her punishment and now the beginnings of her re-instatement. Tell them that this portends the second coming of Jesus and the final judgment of the earth.