Predictive prophecy is one of the greatest indicators of the validity of Scripture. It is amazing to see the detail that is intertwined with the prophecies that run throughout the Bible. For instance, a day came when Jesus was talking with a crowd of people (which included His disciples), and as He did so, He mourned over Jerusalem. Shortly after He mourned in public over the state of the chosen city, He turned to His disciples along the way in private and told them of the destruction that was to beset Jerusalem.
As Jesus left the temple, His disciples turned to Him to point out the buildings of the temple. At that point, Jesus told them of the destruction that was to come upon the city for which He recently mourned. He said, “… See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down” (KJV, Matt. 24:2). This predictive prophecy was riddled with detail. He pointed out the specific city of Jerusalem and the temple itself. Jesus also told of the way in which the stones (foundations) would be pulled out of the earth.
In A.D. 70, Titus the Roman came into Jerusalem and destroyed the city. When he did, his army was responsible for pulling out the foundations of the buildings that were within Jerusalem. Here we see an example of a detailed prophecy found within the Bible. Many more of these can be seen. It is important to recognize the reliability that comes with the fulfillment of detailed prophecies.
As an example, there are ways to masquerade as a prophet and mislead people rather easily. If someone were to say he was a prophet and then sought to test out his “prophetic powers,” he could most likely fool some naïve people. He could say, “I believe that you are facing some challenges in your life.” Upon hearing these words, a person may think to himself, “How could he know this about me?” However, everyone is facing a challenge in their life; the Bible makes it clear that this will be the case when people live in a fallen world. What if the “prophet” said, “You have been thinking through something recently that you find yourself returning to often in your mind.” Once again, if someone is not careful, he could be carried away by such a statement.
What’s the problem?
What’s the problem with the “prophecies” listed above? The problem is that they are too vague, and as a result, find an application in the life of everyone. If the Bible was full of this type of prophecy, one should be concerned about the Bible’s reliability. However, that is not what we see. Rather, we see very detailed, specific prophecies (such as what occurs in the example of Jesus’ telling His disciples that Jerusalem will be destroyed and the foundations will be ripped from the earth) all throughout Scripture.
As we look upon the resurrected Christ this Easter, it is important to note the prophetic fulfillment in the resurrection itself. Look at the following Scriptures and stand amazed.
“For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption” (Ps. 16:10).
In this psalm, David speaks of his confidence in God’s raising him from the grave. David knew that one day, his time would come and he would cease to exist on this earth. Nevertheless, David was assured of the fact that God would not allow David to remain in the grave.
The astonishing fact that David addresses is that of the Holy One not seeing corruption. The corruption that is spoken of is the decay of a dead body. As a body lies in a tomb, it begins to rot until all that is left are bones. Even the bones themselves will begin to decay, although they would do so at a slower rate than flesh. While this may be common knowledge, it should nevertheless be pondered upon as one thinks of the resurrection of Christ and the details found within David’s prophecy.
Jesus Christ was the Father’s “Holy One.” Jesus Christ also died and was buried in a tomb. It would not have taken long for Jesus’ body to begin to experience rot and infestation from insects. However, the triune God had other plans. These plans were foretold long before Jesus lay in that tomb.
In great detail, the prophecy listed above found its fulfillment. Jesus rose from the dead, and His body did not decay in the tomb. Paul was so confident of this fact that he could say, “And as concerning that he raised him up from the dead, now no more to return to corruption, he said on the wise, I will give you the sure mercies of David. Wherefore he saith also in another psalm, Thou shalt not suffer thine Holy One to see corruption” (Acts 13:34-35). This Easter, rejoice in the fact that God did not let the body of Christ see corruption, and that this prophecy has been fulfilled in great detail. Allow this to bolster your faith and comfort your soul.
“Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead” (Is. 26:19).
What an interesting portion of Scripture. While it appears somewhat different in the different translations, the same basic principles apply. At the outset, it can be seen that after death, there is life. Death does not actually bring the end of life, but in a sense, it starts a new one. Life will always be. This thought should spur people on to live a life for the Lord, but often it does nothing of the sort. Heaven is real, as is hell. One is not more real than the other. Trying not to think about it will not do away with its reality. Nor will the staunch atheist be able to say on the Day of Judgment, “You didn’t give me enough reasons to believe.” Even the atheist finds himself taking God’s name in vain, despite the fact that he says he does not believe. Sin will be punished; justice will be served.
Nevertheless, God has given us a reason to hope. Jesus came into this world not to condemn, but to seek and to save the lost. Jesus came that man might have life and have it abundantly. He came that He might bear the sins of many upon the tree. When man dies, then comes the judgment. But for all who are “in Christ,” as Paul so often put it, they will also be raised with Christ. “Dead men shall live,” the Scriptures tell us. There is no better place to see the reality of these words than in the life of Jesus Christ.
Scripture goes on to tell us, “…together with my dead body they shall rise.” This portion of the verse gains different interpretations within the various translations. Regardless of this fact, it can be seen that in the book of Isaiah, it was foretold that the dead would rise. Thus, the prophetic application is that Christ would rise.
God showed the world in a tangible way through the resurrection of Jesus that there is life after death. It would have been simple for those who wrote the Bible to say that Jesus would rise in spirit. If that was said, there would be little-to-no proof for the resurrection.
Instead, the message was that Jesus rose from the dead and that He did so in bodily form. His body did not remain in the grave, and it did not see corruption.
As the Scripture says, “Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust.” The resurrection of Christ is a reason to rejoice. God has made it clear that death will not end life. There will be life everlasting. “Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust.”
Father, I thank You for the fulfillment of prophecy. I thank You that I can look to Your Word and be encouraged in my faith. Teach me to see the truth of Your Word more each day. In Jesus’ name, Amen.