Back in the 1980's, while stationed in England with the United States Air Force, I encountered two individuals who had an interest in knowing the future. One was a man who was excited about discovering a book containing the prophesies of Nostradamus. The other was a young woman who was seeing a fortune teller in London. Both were bright, educated USAF members serving in sensitive positions.
The man was fascinated by the supposed accuracy of Nostradamus and wondered if his predictions concerning the end of the world would actually come true. The woman, on the other hand, was more concerned about her immediate future and whether of not her boyfriend was going to marry her.
I told the man that I knew a book that was much older and far more accurate than Nostradamus. In fact, I said, every single prophecy that it made has come true, with the exception of those that are yet future. He was excited until he found out that I was talking about the Bible.
The woman, however, was much more receptive when I told her about the Bible's prophetic accuracy. In fact, she eventually stopped seeing the psychic and ended up trusting Jesus Christ as her Savior.
There is something in us that is fascinated with knowing the future. Bookstores are filled with books covering everything from horoscopes and palm reading to predicting stock markets and cattle futures. Think tanks and the U.S. government spend millions in an effort to anticipate and foresee world events. Even your favorite TV weather forecaster attempts to tell what the weather will be several days in advance.
Unfortunately, most efforts to discern the future are sadly lacking in accuracy. Just compare the five or eight day weather forecast, or the tabloid psychic predictions with what actually transpires. Better yet, listen to the financial gurus and try your hand in the stock or commodities markets.
Noted radio personality Paul Harvey once conducted an interesting experiment. He placed several supermarket tabloids - the ones containing the top psychic predictions for the coming year - in a safe deposit box. He also placed a number of forecasts made by listeners for the coming year based on conjecture and extrapolation of current events.
One year later he opened the box and compared the accuracy of the two groups of predictions on the air. The so-called top psychics got less than a third right. The listeners got over half right. (Remember that the next time you are standing in line at the grocery store check out looking at the latest vague or outrageous tabloid psychic predictions!) Nevertheless, we still have a fascination with attempts to predict the future.
Consequently, Bible prophecy is a fascinating subject to many, myself included. But Bible prophecy has a noble purpose. It's purpose is not to merely fuel our curiosity. It has a higher purpose. It is to authenticate the Word of God and give us a reasonable basis for our faith in Christ.
For example, in the Gospel of Matthew we encounter the phrase, "that it might be fulfilled which was spoken ... by the prophet(s)" no less than nine times in relation to the life of Christ. The following is a list of those verses and the corresponding prophecy, "which was spoken by the prophets":
These few prophesies, along with many more, give us a reasonable basis, as do the miracles of Christ, for believing that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name. (John 20:31)"
Of course, Bible prophecy does not deal exclusively with the person and work of Jesus Christ, it touches on the affairs of men and nations as well.
For instance, 326 years before the birth of King Josiah we read in 1 Kings 13:2-3: "And he cried against the altar in the word of the LORD, and said, O altar, altar, thus saith the LORD; Behold, a child shall be born unto the house of David, Josiah by name; and upon thee shall he offer the priests of the high places that burn incense upon thee, and men's bones shall be burnt upon thee. And he gave a sign the same day, saying, This is the sign which the LORD hath spoken; Behold, the altar shall be rent, and the ashes that are upon it shall be poured out."
The incredible, exact fulfillment is recorded in 2 Kings 23:15-16: "Moreover the altar that was at Bethel, and the high place which Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin, had made, both that altar and the high place he brake down, and burned the high place, and stamped it small to powder, and burned the grove. And as Josiah turned himself, he spied the sepulchres that were there in the mount, and sent, and took the bones out of the sepulchres, and burned them upon the altar, and polluted it, according to the word of the LORD which the man of God proclaimed, who proclaimed these words."
We can also see how Daniel's amazing prophetic revelations accurately recorded in advance the succession of world powers with pinpoint accuracy and incredible detail. Daniel chapters 2, 7, 8, & 9 show the succession of Babylon, Media-Persia, Greece, and Rome. The accuracy is so great that critics have tried - unsuccessfully - to argue that Daniel's prophesies were added after the fact.
When we consider the many prophesies that have been fulfilled in exacting detail, it is reasonable to believe that the Bible is what it claims to be. It is reasonable to believe that "...no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. (2 Peter 1:20-21)" It is reasonable to believe that "All scripture is given by inspiration of Godů (2 Timothy 3:16)"
And, if it is reasonable to believe that God gave us the Bible, it is also reasonable to believe that what God says about future events will come to pass just as surely as past prophesied events have. Especially when we can see them being fulfilled before our eyes.
For example, many scoffed at the notion that Israel would ever be regathered as a nation. Everyone except Bible believing Christians who read Ezekiel 11:17: "Therefore say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; I will even gather you from the people, and assemble you out of the countries where ye have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel."
Why then should we scoff at the idea that one day "...the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17)"?
For that matter, why should we doubt the Bible prophecies regarding the rebuilding of the Jewish temple, the revelation of the Antichrist, the coming seven-year tribulation period, the judgment seat of Christ and the marriage supper of the Lamb, the battle of Armageddon, the glorious second coming of Christ, the binding of Satan for a thousand years, the millennial reign of Christ, and the coming great white throne judgment?
Or, why should we doubt the more personal statements that "...the soul that sinneth, it shall die. (Ezra 18:4)" And, "...whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. (Romans 10:13)"
Without a doubt, the Bible gives us a reasonable basis for our faith. In fact, given the Bible's incredible 100% accurate track record, it is unreasonable not to believe it. The supermarket tabloid psychics don't even come close.