God expects humankind to view the wonder of fulfilled prophecy as a definite proof of his existence and control of events over Time, as can be seen from his words in Isaiah 46:9-11
I am God and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times what is still to come. I say, “My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.”
Notice how God’s prophesied actions from the beginning line up with his long-term purpose. Prophecy is comparable to God’s stated purposes planned in Genesis for the Creation—to happen in Time in our Cosmos—that have and still do come to pass.
“Who, then, is like me? Let him proclaim it; let him declare… what is yet to come – yes, let them foretell what will come. Do not tremble, do not be afraid; did I not proclaim this and foretell it long ago? You are my witnesses. Is there any God besides me?” Isaiah 44:7,8
Christ’s life, death and resurrection were described in minute detail in over a hundred biblical prophecies centuries before he lived on Earth. The odds against this being just good guesswork are astronomical and trillions of times beyond the figure that statisticians regard as “absurd”.
No other religious leader has had God’s detailed prophetic seal of approval and purpose on his life: not Mohammed, not Buddha, not Gandhi, not Confucius, not Zoroaster, not Baha’u’llah… nor anyone else in all history, religious leader or not. Some of these leaders are on historical record as very good people and were doing their best—but only Jesus is written about as God’s planned personal pathway to forgiveness and acceptance.
It is significant that Jesus is the only founder of a religion that is regularly reported to meet with NDErs in the afterlife, and in hundreds of reports at that. This is usually a surprise to people of other faiths or none.
Secular writings tell us that even in his own day, Jesus was accepted as a prophet of God.
Jesus is also the only religious leader acknowledged in a spiritual capacity by all major religions to some degree. Jews ancient and modern typically accept that Jesus was a Rabbi and popular Teacher. Buddhists will say Jesus was as great Teacher, and the Dalai Lama lauded Jesus as the model of a “spiritually mature, good, and warm-hearted person.” The home I visited of an ardent Hindu had a picture of Jesus displayed centrally over the mantelpiece. Our Hindu hostess explained “Jesus is my Master”. Jesus (Isa) is mentioned directly 25 times and indirectly over 150 times in the Quran and Islam upholds him as a great prophet. Compare this to Mohammad who is only mentioned directly in the Quran a handful of times. Jesus is certainly unique in his mention in religious writings.
If Jesus is a prophet of God in different religions, we should at least consider very carefully what he prophesied for our planet and for our personal futures.
Now let’s link Time, Prophecy and Creation in a further example of God fulfilling his prophetic declarations. Consider the observation “when the set Time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law” (Galatians 4:4).
Since God the Father had previously determined when he would send us his son, Jesus came at precisely that Time, when the world was ready for him. For example, 1Peter 1:20 teaches:
He (Jesus) was chosen before the Creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake.
The choice of Jesus therefore preceded the Creation. This was a choice made in heavenly Time, before earthly Time began! Wow!
However, this is more than just a “Wow” factor. God reveals his planning because he wants us to recognise and respond to Jesus at a personal level.
Looking at the detailed fulfilment of prophecy should not leave the impression that personal responsibility is cancelled. For example, King Jeroboam was promised an enduring dynasty providing he kept God’s decrees and commands as King David had (1Kings 11:38). He had the choice and failed—therefore his dynasty failed too.
God’s dealings in our lives are similarly not all predetermined in detail. Outcomes depend at least partly on our choices, although we cannot know yet to what extent.
It is our reactions to life events that are most important. Our responses develop our character and relationship with God while we are still on Earth.
To God, our reactions are much more important than any actual events—and that includes sicknesses, failed relationships, family tragedies, business failures, becoming refugees, and other trials and tribulations.
We find this principle confirmed in scripture:
Romans 5:3,4 – “We also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.”
James 1:2-4 – “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
Although so much of life comes down to personal choice, please be encouraged in that God has prepared in advance the facility to forgive and forget our mistakes. This was dealt with by Jesus’ crucifixion.
Prophetic fulfilment reveals much about God and how he continues to achieve things on Earth, to this very day, including his progressive implementation of the Creation.
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