Daniel, Fall 2006 Basic Idea: Our Father in Heaven challenges false religions to a decisive test. In the days of Elijah, it was fire from heaven. But in our days, miraculous signs will be done by false religionists. What challenge, then, stands Jehovah apart from false gods today? Fulfilled Prophecy.
Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God. And who, as I, shall call, and shall 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 shew unto them. Is 44:6-7 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: Is 46:9-10 Mathematically, though without anything like precision, we can address the probability of a very cunning man predicting the kind of future events predicted in scripture. These then-future events can be divided into several categories.
Events that not all classes of secular persons acknowledge as having happened.
Events not all classes of persons admit happened after the prophecy (ie, some argue that the prophecy was written after the event.
Events admitted by all and occurring after the completion of the Biblical record.
Besides these classes we might say that there are some more obscure prophecies that require diligent study even to understand. But we are concerned with concrete prophecies written in no uncertain way.
In the first category are the prophecies of Daniel that predicted the rise of Persia and Greece. Critics that existed before the time of Jesus argued that these must have been written at a date later than the events predicted.
But the very writing of the earliest of these critics proves that the book of Daniel was in existence long before the death of Jesus. And Jesus' death was predicted with precision. Yet that event falls into the second category, though most secular historians believe it did happen.
The third category removes all cause for misapprehension and makes the work of infidels seem irrational. The fulfillments of these prophecies defy Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Mormonism, and other world religions to give such evidence of their foreknowledge.
God predicted (through Daniel) that after Babylon there would only be three succeeding empires. And sure enough, no empire has ever succeeded into uniting the splintered remains of the Roman Empire.
God predicted (through Daniel) that these splintered remains would continue united until the end of the world. They splintered in the 5th century. Today, fifteen centuries later and several Hitler/Napoleon types later, they still exist splintered as they were then.
God predicted (through Daniel) that three of the original ten divisions of the Roman empire would become extinct. These three were to be pulled up in the presence of an eleventh religio-political power of great power and small size. The Heruli, Vandals, and Ostrogoths no longer exist. They were uprooted under the influence of the newly rising political power-broker, the pope of Rome.
God predicted (through Isaiah) that the man that would conquer the Babylonian empire would be named Cyrus. The prophecy even described the manner of the conquest more than a century prior to the birth of the Persian Ruler.
God predicted (through Jesus) that no stone would be left upon another in the temple of Jerusalem. When it was destroyed, forty years later, fires melted golden trimming that seeped between the gigantic granite blocks. This motivated Roman soldiers to dislodge every rock until not one was left upon another.
God predicted (through Ezekiel) that many nations would come against Tyre as a succession of plunderers. Tyre would be made as flat as a rock and the dust would be wiped off the rock and it would become a place for spreading fish nets and it would never be built again. More than two centuries later the last in the wave of conquerors, Alexander the Great, failed to reduce the men of Tyre to surrender. They retreated to an island fortress. He ordered the city to be plowed to the foundation and the rubble to be dumped in the sea to make a path to the fortress. As a final phase, the dust of the city was ordered swept up and dumped in the sea. Today, 2400 years later, Tyre is still a place for spreading nets and has never been rebuilt.
God predicted (through Isaiah) that Babylon would not only be destroyed, but would never be rebuilt. Today, 2500 years later, many have thought to rebuild that glorious city. When the wealthy and prosperous Saddam Hussein began actual work on the city, his work was halted by the Gulf War. The city still has not been rebuilt.
The length of the temporal power of the papacy (1260 years), its revival after a period of non-existence, and the church's world-wide influence—these were all accurately predicted. Numerous incidents of a more local nature and on a smaller scale have been matters of prophecy for years before become facts of history. The predictions described here and a host of others work together to set Jehovah apart from competitors for our devotion and trust. He who knows the future can alone be trusted to guide us safely.