By: Mark Tabata (Evangelist)
Since moving to Hazard, I have been blessed to work with many people of various religious persuasions. Several I work with have espoused beliefs in non-Christian gods and goddesses. (In fact, a few of the ones I have been blessed to work with and baptize into Christ had come from a plethora of such belief systems).
I remember one night, years ago, I was having a Bible study with a young lady at the Huddle House restaurant in Hazard. While we were talking, I shared with her several reasons why I am a Christian. I am a Christian because of the evidences of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:1-8), because of the existence of the one true God as manifest throughout nature (Psalm 19:1; Romans 1:18-20), because of the evidences of the inspiration of the Bible (Isaiah 41:21-24), etc. When I asked her why she believed in her pagan religion, her answer was:
“Well, because my religion suits me.”
No evidence; no proof; merely the assertion that her religion suited her.
In my time with studying with various pagans around Hazard, Hindman, Hyden, Pikeville, and Corbin, I have found similar statements. Most of the individuals which I have studied with could not offer a shred of evidence that their religions were true; only instead a vague assertion that their religious belief somehow comforted or suited them.
In sharp contrast to these subjective claims, the God of the Bible calls people to “reason together” (Isaiah 1:18). He calls upon the gods and goddesses of the various religions to offer their proof, while showing His credentials. Indeed, throughout the Book of Isaiah, God demonstrates to the people His Godhood by showing incredible foreknowledge of future events and challenging their deities to provide similar evidence. Notice:
Isaiah 41:21-24-21 “Present your case,” says the LORD. “Bring forth your strong reasons,” says the King of Jacob. 22 “Let them bring forth and show us what will happen; Let them show the former things, what they were, That we may consider them, And know the latter end of them; Or declare to us things to come. 23 Show the things that are to come hereafter, That we may know that you are gods; Yes, do good or do evil, That we may be dismayed and see it together. 24 Indeed you are nothing, And your work is nothing; He who chooses you is an abomination.
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.”
Isaiah 44:6-7-6 “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. 7 And who can proclaim as I do? Then let him declare it and set 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.
Isaiah 45:21-Tell and bring forth your case; Yes, let them take counsel together. Who has declared this from ancient time? Who has told it from that time? Have not I, the LORD? And there is no other God besides Me, A just God and a Savior; There is none besides Me.
True prophecy, of course, must meet obvious standards. One author has described such:
“First, though, let us remind ourselves of several principles that govern the validity of genuine prophecy. (1) True prophecies are stated emphatically; they are not couched in the jargon of contingency (unless, of course, contextual evidence suggests that one is dealing with a conditional prophecy). (2) Generally, a significant time frame must lapse between the prophetic utterance and the fulfillment, so as to exclude the possibility of ‘educated speculation.’ (3) The prophecy must involve specific details, not vague generalities. (4) The predictive declarations must be fulfilled precisely and completely. No mere substantial percentage will suffice. One should recognize, though, that occasionally a prophecy may contain figurative terminology; this does not, however, militate against its evidential validity.” (Wayne Jackson, ‘Babylon: A Test Case In Prophecy,’ in Kyle Butt, Behold! The Word Of God, 1598-1604 (Kindle Edition); Montgomery, Alabama; Apologetics Press)
Now, with these things in mind, look at some of the incredible evidences of Bible prophecy which clearly demonstrate the uniqueness of the one true God!
In Genesis 49, Jacob declared:
Genesis 49:10-The scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor a lawgiver from between his feet, Until Shiloh comes; And to Him shall be the obedience of the people.
Here, Jacob declared that before “Shiloh” would come, the “scepter” would not depart from Judah. This “Shiloh” was an ancient designation for the Messiah (the word literally means “peace-maker”). The word “scepter” had reference to the power of a group to carry out capital punishment. So, the Messiah would come before the Jewish people lost the right to carry out the death penalty.
With that in mind, it is interesting that through all of their various captivities, the Jews retained the power of capital punishment. It was not until the time of the Roman Empire that the power to execute criminals was removed from the Hebrews. This happened around the year 7 A.D., and it greatly upset several of the Rabbis. We are told:
“Rabbi Rachmon says, “When the members of the Sanhedrin found themselves deprived of their right over life and death, a general consternation took possession of them; they covered their heads with ashes, and their bodies with sackcloth, exclaiming: ‘Woe unto us, for the scepter has departed from Judah, and the Messiah has not come!'” 21/28-30″ (Josh McDowell, Evidence That Demands A Verdict: Historical Evidences For The Christian Faith -Volume One, 168-169 (Kindle Edition); Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers)
Unknown to these Rabbis, the Messiah HAD come! He had been born in a manger in the town of Bethlehem a few years earlier (Micah 5:1-3; Matthew 1:18 ff.). This happened exactly as Jacob prophesied over fifteen hundred years earlier!
The Four Empires Of Daniel 7
In Daniel 7, the Prophet has a vision of four great worlds empires. In a dream of four great creatures, Daniel is shown the future of God’s people, especially as it deals with the fourth “beast” which is characterized by ten great horns which arise out of it and another “little horn” which arises from the ten and makes war against the saints. What does the vision mean?
Daniel is provided with three keys to help him understand the vision. First, beast = king (Daniel 7:17). Second, king = kingdom (Daniel 7:23). Third, horn = king = kingdom (Daniel 7:24). The first kingdom is identified as a lion with eagle’s wings (Daniel 7:4). The other Prophets used such symbolism to describe Babylon (cf. Isaiah 52:28-29; Jeremiah 4:7; Ezekiel 17:3; 28:2). Also, archaeologists who have excavated the city of Babylon have found evidences that this city’s national motto was a lion with eagles’ wings:
“Second, statues of winged lions, which are believed to have been representative of the empire, have been found in the ruins of Babylon, and lions adorned the famous Ishtar Gate. Although the text does not specifically interpret the rest of the verse, the meaning of the symbolism would naturally be expected to be found in the descriptions of Nebuchadnezzar (who embodied the Babylonian Empire) presented elsewhere in the book.” (Stephen R. Miller, The New American Commentary Volume 18: Daniel-An Exegetical And Theological Exposition Of Holy Scripture, 197 (Kindle Edition); Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing Group)
Following Babylon, the Medes and the Persians arose (the bear with three ribs in its’ mouth), again followed by Greece (the leopard with four heads and four wings). After this, another nation arose which was the most terrible nation on Earth that the church has ever encountered: the nation of Rome. As Daniel prophesied, this Empire launched a horrible campaign against the church (Daniel 7:7). Eventually, it was overcome and divided up into ten separate nations (just as Daniel foresaw-Daniel 7:8), and from among these nations a “little horn” arose (Daniel 7:8) before whom three of the other horns fell. The “little horn” was a religious power which arose from the ten-fold break up of the Roman Empire and it defeated three of the remnants of the Roman Empire that opposed it! This “little horn” is undoubtedly the Papcy of the Roman Catholic church, and history reveals the truthfulness of Daniel’s prophecy in every way:
““Shortly after A.D. 476, “three” of the “ten horns” resisted the growing political influence of the papacy, and one by one, they were systematically “plucked up by the roots” and destroyed. The Heruli were wiped out in A.D. 493, the Vandals in A.D. 534, and the Ostrogoths were eliminated in A.D. 538. No modern European nation can trace its roots back to these “three” powers. They’re gone. And so far, these historical clues (taken together) can apply to no other organization except the Roman Church.” (Steve Wohlberg, Decoding The Mark Of The Beast, 158 (Kindle Edition); Goldwater, MI; Remnant Publications)
Notice the incredible accuracy of the Bible Prophets!
The Prophecy Of Tyre
In Ezekiel 26, the Prophet Ezekiel describes the coming downfall of the nation of Tyre. This coastal city had an island fortress that would shelter the inhabitants of the mainland city whenever they were threatened. In Ezekiel 26, the Prophet describes how the people of Tyre would be besieged by king Nebuchadnezzar (Ezekiel 26:7). Yet it is also made plain that “other nations” will come against Tyre (Ezekiel 26:3), showing that king Nebuchadnezzar would not ultimately defeat the people. These “other nations” (i.e., “they”) would do something unusual: they would throw Tyre’s “timber, stones, and soil” into the midst of the water (Ezekiel 26:12).
When Nebuchadnezzar laid siege to mainland Tyre, the people fled to their island fortress. For several long years, he was unable to defeat them. Finally, he fled back to Babylon. The people of Tyre continued living in their island fortress, safe and secure, until the time of Alexander the Great. When the people refused to surrender to him and accede to his demands, Alexander did something that no one expected:
“Continuing through vv. 13–14, the specifics point very strikingly toward the later attack on the island city of Tyre that was successfully carried through by Alexander the Great (ca. 332 B.C.). History tells us that after Alexander’s naval forces proved incapable of storming the island (due to the determined resistance of the superior Tyrian fleet), he resorted to an ambitious engineering effort, consisting of a mile-long mole built out from shore to the east wall of the island. “In order to get material for this causeway, the Greek invaders used every movable piece of rock or stone to cast into the sea, until after several months of strenuous endeavor the wall was reached, broken through, and the city sacked.” (Gleason Archer, The New International Encyclopedia Of Difficulties, 72552 (Kindle Edition); Grand Rapids, Michigan; Zondervan)
Alexander the Great threw all of the “timber, stones, and dirt” into the water and created a causeway to the island. This all happened exactly as Ezekiel the Prophet declared centuries before!
Finally, notice what Ezekiel says would eventually happen to Tyre:
Ezekiel 26:19-For thus says the Lord GOD: ‘When I make you a desolate city, like cities that are not inhabited, when I bring the deep upon you, and great waters cover you,
Nearly a thousand years after this prophecy was made, the island fortress of Tyre was completely destroyed by tsunami and today its’ ruins are under the ocean. All exactly as Ezekiel declared would happen!
The Plowing Of Jerusalem
The Prophet Micah was commissioned by God to preach against both the wicked nations of Israel and of Judah, around the seventh to eighth centuries B.C. Within the pages of his Book, there is a fascinating prophecy made against the city of Jerusalem. Notice:
Micah 3:12-Therefore because of you Zion shall be plowed like a field, Jerusalem shall become heaps of ruins, And the mountain of the temple Like the bare hills of the forest.
The Prophet declares that because of the wickedness of the people, the city of Jerusalem would be destroyed. Please notice that this destruction would be complete, so that even the Temple would be destroyed; and that the city would be “plowed like a field.” The specifics of this prophecy are truly incredible, especially when we consider that Micah’s words came to pass, over seven hundred years later!
Describing the fulfillment of these things, Ken Johnson has written:
“Shortly before the Temple was destroyed, he became the next Caesar. Here are the signs that foretold the city’s desolation. 1. Seven years before the destruction, when all was at peace and Jews from all over came to celebrate the feast of Passover, a prophet called Jesus, son of Ananus, walked though the streets crying “woe to Jerusalem.” He continued this for seven years until he was slain. 2. The year before the Roman war, during the feast of Unleavened Bread, at 3:00 AM , a great light shown down on the Temple and the altar. It was as bright as day and lasted for half an hour. 3. A star appeared resembling a sword, along with a comet that could be seen every evening for a whole year. 4. The Eastern Gate of the inner court of the Temple opened by itself about 12:00 AM . This brass gate was so heavy it took 20 men to shut it! 5. On Iyar 20, 16 days before Pentecost, just before sunset, everyone could clearly see chariots and armored troops of soldiers in the clouds, not only above the city of Jerusalem but other cites as well. 6. During the festival of Pentecost there was an earthquake and a loud noise. Then the sound of a great multitude of voices cried, “Leave this place!”…With the Temple destroyed in AD 70, the Romans sought to create a new pagan city on the site of ancient Jerusalem . The very next year in AD 71, the Romans ran a plow through Jerusalem . The prophet Mic ah predicted this would happen almost 700 years before it took place! The destruction of the Temple occurred on the ninth of Av. It interesting to note that according to the Talmud, the ninth of Av is also when Jerusalem was plowed under by Turnus Rufus, a Roman officer ! “ Her leaders pronounce judgment for a bribe, h er priests instruct for a price , and her prophets divine for money . Yet they lean on the LORD saying, ‘ Is not the LORD in our midst? Calamity will not come upon us. ’ Therefore, on account of you , Zion will be plowed as a field, Jerusalem will become a heap of ruins, and the mountain of the temple will become high places of a forest. ” Micah 3:11- 12”. (Ken Johnson, Th.D., Ancient Prophecies Revealed: 500 Prophecies Listed In Order Of When They Were Fulfilled, 111 (Kindle Edition))
Notice several things with me about this prophecy of Micah.
First, the Prophet clearly described in explicit detail the fate of Jerusalem. There is found herein the language of exact description, not exclamations of vague generalities. This marks one of the differences between the Bible Prophets and the pagan prognosticators of the ancient world. Indeed, the famous pagan priests and prophets of the ancient world were well-known for using a combination of mind-altering drugs and techniques to deceive and ensnare the seekers of the gods;
“Using historical and archaeological data, researchers established several facts: (1) Inquirers visited the oracle at a complex underground location. (2) Before presenting an inquiry, visitors faced a month of mind-altering experiences. These included solitary confinement in a room plastered with dreadful pictorial representations of the underworld. (3) Visitors lived for a month in extremely cramped quarters, shut off from natural light. (4) The only light came from lamps probably burning hashish. The psychological setting, coupled with the inhalation of vast amounts of hashish, possible bathing in drugged water, and ingestion of drugs by various mechanisms, guaranteed vivid, strong, and repeated hallucinations.” (Kenny Barfield, The Prophet Motive: Examining The Reliability Of The Biblical Prophets, 195; Nashville, TN: Gospel Advocate Company)
The use of hallucinogenic drugs by the pagan prophets and priests is well attested:
“The cult of worshipping Pluto was probably imitated from the cults of Serapis in Egypt  . Strabon (Book XIV)  mentions three sites in Asia Minor where Pluto was worshipped. In the region of Nysa and Acharaka he describes a temple for Pluto and Kore, as well as a grotto (the Charonion). Somewhere in the vicinity is Limon (λειμ ν, the meadow), where similar rites were practiced  . As a third Plutonium, Strabo mentions the famous Hierapolis with its hot water ponds, its calcareous hot water falls (nowadays Pamukkale), and its Charonion (Strabon XIV). Pilgrims prayed for health and cure and/or asked for prophecies. Priests dealt with the gods of the underworld. The priests, rather than the patients, incubated, i.e. immersed themselves in the natural environmental phenomena of the site. The patients subsequently followed the recipes and cures that were prescribed according to the dreams of the priests during incubation. The prerequisites of prophecies and dreams were among other parameters (drugs, hallucinogenic plants, and mushrooms) attributed to the presence of geogenic gases. Lack of oxygen and an increase in carbon dioxide can cause hallucinogenic effects in humans (see also Ref.  ).” (Philip Wexler, History OF Toxicology And Enviromental Health: Toxicology In Antiquity, Volume I, 94-95 (Kindle Edition); Waltham, MA; Academic Press)
We can see the clear contrast between the inspired Prophets of God and the drug-enhanced demonic ramblings of the pagan prophets of old.
My friends, there are so many other examples of Bible prophecy that could be cited. But these are sufficient to show the specific detail, accuracy, and fulfillment of these events and to demonstrate that the God of the Bible is the one true God. Believers in the atoning death, burial, and resurrection of Christ in the third day (1 Corinthians 15:1-8) need today to turn to the Lord and be saved by repenting and being baptized into Christ (Acts 2:37-38). If you are a Christian who has left the Lord, please return to Him today in repentance and prayer (Acts 8:22; 1 John 1:9).
The grace of The Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.