The Role of Prophecy in Christian Apologetics John Oakes, PhD Apologetics Research Society 9/6/08
Outline • Introduction to Prophecy as Apologetics • Prophecies of the Near Future • Old Testament Prophecies Fulfilled in the Old Testament • Old Testament Prophecies Fulfilled Between the Testaments • Daniel!!! • Messianic Prophecies • Prophecies of the Kingdom • Types, Prefigures and Foreshadows
Required Reading • Reasons For Belief chapters 4,5 • Daniel, Prophet to the Nations chapters 1,7-13 • From Shadow to Reality • Extra Credit (on approval)
Grading (if you are getting credit) • The Reading 30% • Quiz 10% • Exam 30% • Paper 30% A research paper of 5 or more pages on a special topic of your choice.
Defending the Faith History and Archaeology How We Got the Bible (including response to form criticism, etc.) Science Contradictions in the Bible Creating Faith World View Prophecy Miracles/Resurrection Claims of Jesus I. Introduction to Prophecy as Apologetics
Prophecy as Apologetics • Outline of Gospel Sermons in Acts: • Jesus fulfilled the OT prophecies of the coming Messiah: He is the Messiah. • Jesus worked undeniable public miracles: He is the Son of God. • Jesus willingly died on the cross for OUR sins: He is savior. • Jesus was raised from the dead: Judgment is coming. • Repent and be baptized.
The Biblical Prophet • One who announces the righteousness, the justice and the love of God. He or she calls people into a relationship with God through a call to repentance. Their message was doom for the unrepentant and grace and blessing for those who act justly and repent of their sin. • A forth-teller; thus says the Lord • Aaron was Moses’ prophet. • For us: a fore-teller; a predictor of future events. Historical prophecy. Predictive prophecy.
The Purpose of (Predictive) Prophecy • Warning • Jer 25:8-14, Deut 28:45-48 Deut 28:58f • Encouragement • Deut 30:1-5 Daniel 7:26-27 Isaiah 2:2-4 • To demonstrate that God is in control: God Rules the Nations • Daniel, Revelation • Evidence of new revelation from God—that what is said is inspired by God. • Luke 24:44 Daniel 2:46-47
Other Prophets? • Oracles of Delphi • Croesus • Alexander • Nostradamus Henry II The great man will be struck down in the day by a thunderbolt, The evil deed predicted by the bearer of a petition: According to the prediction, another falls at night, Conflict in Reims, London and pestilence in Tuscany (Century I Quatrain 27) • Jean Dixon JFK • The pattern: Not terrifically surprising or very vague • Islam?
Does a Prophecy Have a Unique Application? • Isaiah 7:13-17 About Ahaz or Jesus? • Genesis 49:9-11 About Judah or Jesus? • Ezekiel 11:16-20 About return from exile or the church? • Hosea 11:1 (Matthew 2:15) About Israel or about Jesus? • Matthew 24:4-44 About AD 70 or the return of Jesus? • Assignment: Analyze Zechariah 14 How does it apply?
How to Interpret Prophecy? • Let History do that for us. After the fact • The ten toes in Daniel 2 are not the 10 countries of the EU • Let the Bible do it for us. • Matthew 24:15 “spoken through the prophet Daniel” • Matthew 4:14-16 “Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali” • Matthew 2:6,15,17, 3:3 Bethlehem, Egypt, the desert • Matthew 12:39-41 The sign of Jonah • Galatians 4:24 “These things can be taken figuratively”
Sir Isaac Newton The folly of interpreters has been, to foretell times and things, by this Prophecy, as if God designed to make them Prophets. By this rashness they have not only exposed themselves, but brought the Prophecy also into contempt. The design of God was much otherwise. He gave this and the Prophecies of the Old Testaments, not to gratify men's curiosities by enabling them to foreknow things, but that after they were fulfilled they might be interpreted by the event; and his own Providence, not the interpreters, be then manifested thereby to the world. For the event of things predicted many ages before, will then be a convincing argument that the world is governed by providence.
Old Testament Apologetics: Short Term Prophecy • Deuteronomy 18:21-22 • “You may say to yourselves, ‘How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the Lord?’ If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the Lord does not take place or come true, that is a message the Lord has not spoken. That prophet spoke presumptuously. Do not be afraid of him. • But…. Deuteronomy 13:1-3 • …if the sign or wonder of which he spoke takes place, and he says “Let us follow other gods…” you must not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer.
Short Term Prophecy: Proof of a Prophet • Presumably, most short term prophecies are NOT recorded. • 1 Kings 20:28………..1 Kings 20:29-30 • 1 Kings 20:36………..1 Kings 20:36 • 1 Kings 21:19………..1 Kings 22:37 • 1 Kings 21:23………..2 Kings 9:32-37 • 1 Kings 22:1-28……...1 Kings 22:31-36 • 2 Kings 7:1-2………...2 Kings 7:17-20 • 2 Kings 19:5-7……….2 Kings 19:37 • Is 37:33-35, 2 Kings 19:32-34…..Is 37:36-37, 2 Kings 19:35-36
Short Term Prophecy (cont.) • Jeremiah 27:1-11……….2 Kings 25:1-7 • Jeremiah 28:1-16……….Jeremiah 28:17 • Jeremiah 32:6-8, 42-44 Once more fields will be bought • Daniel 4:24-27 You will be driven away from people... Daniel 4:28-37 All this happened to King Nebuchadnezzar. • Acts 11:27-28 Agabus
Jesus and Short Term Prophecies • John 2:19 “Destroy this temple and I will raise it in three days.” • Matthew 26:34 Before the rooster crows…. Matthew26:74 • Acts 1:4-5 “In a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit. • Luke 21:20-24 “When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near.”
The Flight to Pella • "The whole body, however, of the church at Jerusalem, having been commanded by a divine revelation, given to men of approved piety there before the war, removed from the city, and dwelt at a certain town beyond the Jordan, called Pella. Here those that believed in Christ, having removed from Jerusalem, as if holy men had entirely abandoned the royal city itself, and the whole land of Judea; the divine justice, for their crimes against Christ and his apostles finally overtook them, totally destroying the whole generation of these evildoers form the earth. (Eusebius, 3:5.) • "Now this sect of Nazarenes exists in Beroea in Coele-Syria, and in Decapolis in the district of Pella, and in Kochaba of Basanitis-- called Kohoraba in Hebrew. For thence it originated after the migration from Jerusalem of all the disciples who resided at Pella, Christ having instructed them to leave Jerusalem and retire from it on account of the impending siege. It was owing to this counsel that they went away, as I have said, to reside for a while at Pella" (Haer 29:7).
Old Testament Prophecies Being Fulfilled Today • Hmmm….. Can’t think of any
OT Prophecies Fulfilled in the OT • Genesis 12:2-3,7 • “I will make you into a great nation.” “To your offspring I will give this land.” • Genesis 15:4-5 • “… count the stars… so shall your offspring be” • Genesis 17:5-8 • “Father of many nations” Arabs [Ishmael], Edom [Esau], Israel • “I will establish an everlasting covenant between me and you” • “The whole land of Canaan… as an everlasting possession.
Genesis 49 (the whole thing!) • Genesis 49:8-11 Judah, your brothers will praise you; Your hand will be on the neck of your enemies; Your father’s sons will bow down to you The scepter will not depart from Judah, Nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, Until he comes to whom it belongs And the obedience of the nations is his. He will tether his donkey to a vine, His colt to the choicest branch He will wash his garments in wine, His robes in the blood of grapes.
Deuteronomy 28, 30 • 28:36-37 “The Lord will drive you and the king you set over you to a nation unknown to you or your fathers. There you will worship other gods, gods of wood and stone. You will become a thing of horror and an object of scorn and ridicule to all the nations where the Lord will drive you.” • 28:49-57 • Lamentations 4:10 With their own hands compassionate women have cooked their own children, who became their food when my people were destroyed. • 28:64,68 The Lord will scatter you among all nations. The Lord will send you back in ships to Egypt • 30:3-5 The Lord will… gather you again from all the nations where he scattered you.
Joshua 6:26 He who rebuilds Jericho will do so at the cost of his firstborn and his youngest son. ……. 1 Kings16:34
Isaiah 39:3-7 and 2 Kings 20:16-18 • Fulfilled in Daniel 1:3-7 Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego
Jeremiah 25:8-14 • “I will summon Nebuchadnezzar…I will banish from them the sounds of joy… This whole country…. will serve the king of Babylon seventy years. But when the seventy years are fulfilled, I will punish the king of Babylon. • Daniel 5 • Jeremiah 29:8-14 • When 70 years are completed for Babylon… I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you. • 70 years Daniel 9:1-2 • 605 BC to 536 BC Captives taken….Captives return • 586 BC to 516 BC Temple destroyed….. Temple rebuilt
Isaiah 44:28-45:7, 13 About 730 BC Who says of Cyrus, ‘He is my shepherd… He will say to Jerusalem, “Let it be rebuilt.” And of the temple, “Let its foundations be laid.” This is what the Lord says to his annointed to Cyrus, whose right hand I take hold of to subdue nations before him… to open doors before him so that gates will not shut… …I call you by name and bestow on you a title of honor though you do not acknowledge me…. I will raise up Cyrus in my righteousness I will make all his ways straight He will rebuild my city and set my exiles free. • Fulfilled in 2 Chron 36:23 538 BC War of 1812
The Cyrus Cyllinder: Fulfilling Isaiah 44:28 …I returned to [these] sacred cities on the other side of the Tigris, the sanctuaries of which have been in ruins for a long time, the images which [used] to live therein and established for them permanent sanctuaries. I [also] gathered all their [former] inhabitants and returned [to them] their habitations. Furthermore, I resettled upon the command of Marduk the great lord, all the gods of Sumer and Akkad whom Nabonidus has brought into Babylon to the anger of the lord of the gods, unharmed, in their [former] chapels, the places which made them happy. May all the gods whom I have resettled in their sacred cities ask daily Bel and Nebo for long life for me and may they recommend me…to Marduk, my lord, may they say thus: Cyrus, the king who worships you and Cambyses, his son…all of them I settled in a peaceful place.
Old Testament Prophecies Fulfilled Between the Testaments • Ezekiel 26:3-14 Tyre. • v. 3 I will bring many nations against you • v. 4 I will scrape away her rubble and make her a bare rock. • v. 5 She will become a place to spread fishnets. • v. 6 Her settlements on the mainland will be ravaged by the sword. • v. 7 (specifically) Nebuchadnezzar will do this. • v. 12 They will… throw your stones, timber and rubble into the sea. • v. 14 It will never be rebuilt
Fulfillment of Ezekiel 26 • Nebuchadnezzar takes mainland Tyre only after a siege of 13 years 586-573 BC • Alexander attacks Tyre in 332 BC, building a causeway to the island of Tyre using the rubble from Old Tyre. • Tyre attached again and again by Seleucids, Romans, Arabs, Crusaders, finally ceasing to exist as a city on the original site.
Secular historian Philip Myers in his history textbook: • “Alexander the Great reduced it [Tyre] to ruins. She recovered in a measure from this blow, but never regained the place she had previously held in the world. The larger part of the site of the once great city is no bare as the top of a rock—a place where the fishermen that still frequent the spot spread their nets to dry.”
Theme of Daniel: • God Rules the Nations: Do Not Fear! Message of Daniel: • Stay Righteous in an Unrighteous World • God is in Control!
Very Brief Outline of Daniel • Practical examples in the lives of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego: how to remain righteous in an unrighteous world. Ch 1, 3-6 • Prophecies of the future: God Rules the Nations Ch 2, 7-12
Historical Background • 722 BC Northern Kingdom Destroyed by Assyria • 605 BC Nubuchadnezzar (Bablyon) enters Judah, taking tribute and hostages (DSM&A) • 586 BC Zedekiah rebels, Nebuchadnezar destroys Jerusalem and the temple • 538 BC Cyrus takes Babylon, Persians/Medes take control of Babylon and Judea. • 536 BC Captives return to Judea and Jerusalem. • 334-332 BC Alexander destroys and conquers Persian Empire • 185-163 BC Antiochus Epiphanes, Seleucid Emperor, rules over Jerusalem. Great persecutions. • 167 BC Temple desecrated • 164 BC Temple rededicated by Macabeean leaders.
Historical Background (cont.) • Battle of Actium 31 BC Ptolemaic Greek power destroyed • 6 BC Birth of Jesus • AD 30 Crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus • AD 70 Destruction of Jerusalem by Titus • AD 81-96 Domitian, emperor of Rome • AD 395 Final division of Rome into East and West • AD 476 Last emperor of Western Rome • AD 1453 Byzantium (Eastern Rome) taken by Ottomans • AD 2014 Jesus comes back to rule in Jerusalem
Daniel Chapter Three • Righteousness in a religious context: Standing up for God and for the truth • The fires of persecution. • “I will bow my head, but not my heart.” • What would you have done? • App’n: Persecution of Diocletian
Daniel Chapter Two: Nebuchadnezzar’s Vision of a Great Statue
Babylon Persia/Media Greece Rome: A divided kingdom
Emperor Dates of Rule Significance to Biblical Events Augustus 27 BC-14 AD Birth of Christ Tiberius 14 AD-37 AD Crucifixion of Christ Gaius (Caligula) 37 AD-41 AD Claudius 41 AD-54 AD Jews Exiled from Rome Nero 54 AD-68 AD First persecutions, Execution of Paul and Peter Galba 68 AD-69 AD One of the three overcome by Vespasian Otho 69 AD-70 AD One of the three… Vitellius 69 AD-70 AD One of the three… Vespasian 69 AD-79 AD Attack on Jerusalem Titus 79 AD-81 AD The general who destroyed Jerusalem Domitian 81 AD-96 AD First Systematic Persecutor of the Church The First Eleven Emperors of Rome
Daniel Chapter Eight: A Ram and a Goat Ancient Susa and the Ulai Canal
Horn (King) Territory Ruled Antigonus The East. From Syria to India. Cassander The West. Macedonia and Greece. Lysimachus The North. Thrace and Asia Minor. Ptolemy The South. Egypt and Palestine. The Four Horns of Daniel Eight