>> bible >> reliability
External Evidence Tests: Prophecy
The Essence of Prophecy
Is the Bible the word of the almighty God? Even if I believe that there is a great deal of historical accuracy - that Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt, and that David was King of Israel - why should I believe that it was not written by men? Aren't there many ways to find God? Can't my Higher Power be my God without the Bible? And even if I need the word of God, how do I know the Bible is it? There are many writings from people that claim to be divine. Of all categories of evidence, prophecy is by far the most compelling reason to trust the Bible as the word of God. Once we can trust the Bible as His word, then the other questions are easily answered within its pages.
"I declared the former things long ago and they went forth from My mouth, and I proclaimed them. Suddenly I acted, and they came to pass. Because I know that you are obstinate, and your neck is an iron sinew and your forehead bronze. Therefore I declared them to you long ago, before they took place I proclaimed them to you, so that you would not say, 'My idol has done them, and my graven image and my molten image have commanded them.' You have heard; look at all this. And you will you not declare it? I proclaim to you new things from this time, Even hidden things which you have not known. They are created now and not long ago; And before today you have not heard them, so that you will not say, 'Behold, I knew them.'" (Isaiah 48:3-7)
God has a purpose for prophecy - to confirm His word. He made declarations through His prophets before they took place, and then the things He said came to pass by His power - exactly as He told in advance. And He did this to be clear that no idol, graven image, molten image or any false prophet was in control and causing these things.
God does not ask us to have a blind faith, but one that is well grounded. He knew that there would be false prophets among us - the Bible is full of warnings to these unsavory characters, and to those who might be led astray. Therefore, God provided for His people a method of distinguishing the true prophet from the false.
"I will raise up a prophet from among their countrymen like you, and I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. It shall come about that whoever will not listen to My words which he shall speak in My name, I Myself will require it of him. But the prophet who speaks a word presumptuously in My name which I have not commanded him to speak, or which he speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die. You may say in your heart, 'How will we know the word which the LORD has not spoken?' When a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him." (Deuteronomy 18:18-22)
"Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world." (1 John 4:1)
God's word is packed with warnings about false prophets. For this very reason He has provided us with a way of knowing His word from the many imposters. I can test the spirits, examining those that say they are speaking from God and discerning the true from the false. This is an important passage to become familiar with... false prophets abound even today. Most of them make the occasional accurate prophecy and miss at other times. God never misses.