Only God Reveals the Future in His Word

Isa 41:21-24

"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. NKJV  

This message was preached September 21, 2003 at FBC Toulon, by Albert Harmon. See it at ToulonBaptist.com

We have all gotten a kick out of the tabloids predictions for the coming year. Yes the best psychics have set down and revealed what will happen that year.

Sometimes a first grader could have made a few of the predictions, they are so obvious or so general in nature.

But what about God. If God is really God and He know the end from the beginning wouldn't that be a good way for God to show off, to show that He is really God.

I think that is what God is telling us in the text. God is claiming that He foretells the future. That He alone is infallible in predicting events that will take place hundreds or even thousands of years in advance.

As we continue in our series Has God Spoken this morning we want to look into this claim by God that He alone can tell the future.

When it comes to fulfilled prophecy we need to define our terms. The prophecies of others must be judged on the same par with those of God. The same rules must apply to all.

  1. What do we mean by fulfilled prophecy?
    1. Prophetic prophecy is a prediction concerning something future.
    2. These will fall into two different categories.
      1. Fulfilled
      2. Unfulfilled
    3. So then a fulfilled prophecy is one that has been partially or completely accomplished as it was foretold.
  2. What are the qualifications: what it is not.
    1. It must be specific enough to be easily understood once it has been fulfilled.
      1. Sometimes prophecy is not clearly understood before it is fulfilled.
        1. One of the greatest examples of this are the prophesies concerning the Messiah.
        2. Many of these prophesies were not seen to apply to the Messiah until after Jesus came and fulfilled them.
        3. Most of the time the problem is not in the prophecy but in our own preconceived notions of how things will be.
        4. The Jews of the first century did not understand how that the Messiah could die when it was prophesied that He would live forever.
        5. John 12:34 The people answered Him,"We have heard from the law that the Christ remains forever; and how can You say, 'The Son of Man must be lifted up'? Who is this Son of Man?" NKJV
      2. Other times prophecy is plain before the fulfilment and even expected.
    2. It must be far enough removed to disqualify it from fraud.
      1. In the Bible there are many prophecies that were uttered within days or hours of being fulfilled.
      2. Although these are true, we will not use this type to prove our point.
      3. Most of the prophesies we will refer to were made generations before they came to pass.
    3. It must be something that was not naturally foreseen.
      1. It is not like predicting the winner of the super bowl.
      2. It is like predicting in 1776 that there would be a super bowl and who would win it.
  3. Illustrated: Cyrus a perfect example.
    1. This is but one example
      1. In the following weeks we will bring to your attention dozens of prophecies that can only be explained as supernatural.
      2. This is an example that would not have fit into my other messages.
      3. This will also show that there are many more that we just do not have time to cover in this short time.
    2. Isa 44:28-45:3 Who says of Cyrus, 'He is My shepherd, And he shall perform all My pleasure, Saying to Jerusalem,"You shall be built," And to the temple, "Your foundation shall be laid."' "Thus says the LORD to His anointed, To Cyrus, whose right hand I have held -- To subdue nations before him And loose the armor of kings To open before him the double doors, So that the gates will not be shut: 'I will go before you And make the crooked places straight; I will break in pieces the gates of bronze And cut the bars of iron. I will give you the treasures of darkness And hidden riches of secret places, That you may know that I, the LORD, Who call you by your name, Am the God of Israel. NKJV
    3. I am aware of all the textual criticism concerning the later part of Isaiah.
      1. And I think the main reason people have problems with Isaiah is verses just like this.
      2. They do not want God's Word to be supernatural because they really do not believe in a supernatural God.
      3. But all that has not a place in such a short message as this.
    4. The prophecy
      1. Isaiah
        1. He was a prophet who lived until about 700 B.C.
        2. This was written then before 700 B.C.
      2. Cyrus
        1. The Medes and the Persians had united together and they kind of took turn ruling.
        2. Cyrus gave a decree to rebuild Jerusalem and the temple in about 536 B.C.
      3. A period of 170 years at least from the prophecy until it was fulfilled.
      4. God called the man by name, Cyrus.
      5. The two main things are fulfilled:
        1. Jerusalem is to be rebuilt
        2. The temple is to be rebuilt.
    5. Probabilities
      1. When Isaiah wrote the Assyrian empire was the threat of the day.
      2. Jerusalem along with its temple would not be destroyed for another 100 years.
      3. The Medo-Persian empire was not even thought of at this time.
      4. Who then could guess the name of a ruler of a kingdom that didn't even really exist for another 100 years.
      5. That would be akin to someone in England about 1700 telling everyone that Abraham Lincoln would be president of the United States one day and would set the slaves free before he would be shot.
  4. How is this possible?
    1. Ps 147:5 Great is our Lord, and mighty in power; His understanding is infinite. NKJV
    2. Isa 46:9-10 Remember the former things of old, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying,'My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure,' NKJV
    3. Acts 15:18 "Known to God from eternity are all His works. NKJV
  5. Herein the Bible is unique.
    1. No other religion claims this but the worshipers of Jehovah.
    2. No other writings does what the Bible does
    3. Heb 4:12-13 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account. NKJV
      1. God's Word is not like any other.
      2. You will be held accountable by God concerning His Word.
      3. We need to take heed to the word of God.
      4. God's Word can change your heart and make you the person you want to be.
      5. We need to get our children to read the Bible while they are young.
      6. It is a matter or eternal consequence.