2 Reasons Studying Bible Prophecy Is Important
Why should we study Bible prophecy? Scripture offers at least two essential reasons. The following excerpt from A Study on Bible Prophecy reveals the basis for these reasons.
Quantity: A Large Percentage of the Bible Consists of Prophecy
How many prophecies are in the Bible? Many are aware that there are prophecies in the Bible, but few realize that more than 27% of the 31,124 verses in the Bible are prophetic. The J. Barton Payne’s Encyclopedia of Biblical Prophecy notes that there are 1,239 prophecies in the Old Testament and 578 prophecies in the New Testament, for a total of 1,817. These encompass 8,352 verses. There are two schools of thought regarding how to count Bible prophecies.
General: Some record prophecies in a broad or general way – this is appropriate but does reduce the number of prophecies by about 50%.
The Bible records that Jesus was a descendant of David, who was a descendant of Jacob, Isaac, and Abraham. A general way to view the fulfillment of this prophecy is to acknowledge that Jesus was a descendant of Abraham—hence, one prophecy was fulfilled.
Specific: Most Bible scholars record prophecies in a more precise way—counting each part of the fulfillment of a general prophecy as an independent prophecy fulfillment. For example, the Bible notes that Jesus was a descendant of David, who was a descendant of Jacob, Isaac, and Abraham. Therefore, four prophecies (not one) are fulfilled—Jesus was a descendant of Abraham (1), and Isaac (2), and Jacob (3) and David (4).
Quality: The Precision of Bible Prophecy is 100 Percent
Most psychics today speak in very general terms and offer what I call ‘Fortune cookie-type counsel.’ It is important to note that Bible prophecies are specific and measurable. And though many have tried, no one has been able to prove a Bible prophecy to be in error. There are approximately 1000 general prophecies n the Bible; about 900 have come to pass, 895 have been verified to be true. Five are unverifiable at this time, but as they are unverifiable they cannot be used to prove the prophecies are false. Jesus fulfilled more than 120 specific prophecies.
Scholars note the probability of Jesus fulfilling just eight prophecies picked at random is approximately 1 in 10 followed by 157 zeros. These odds approximate the likelihood of blindly picking the one marked silver dollar mixed in with coins two feet deep in an area the size of Texas. Scholars have noted that the probability of Jesus fulfilling just 48 prophecies is 1 in 10 followed by 157 zeros! This is roughly the number of atoms in the universe.
It is not difficult to illustrate the precision of Bible prophecy. Ezekiel 4 provides one example. The prophet Ezekiel wrote at a time in history when his nation, Israel, had fallen to invaders. Many were forced to serve as slaves in Babylon. Ezekiel chapter 4 notes how long it would be before Israel would again be a sovereign and independent nation. Let’s take a look at this prophecy.
Ezekiel chapter 4 records that the prophet was bound on his left and right sides for a certain number of days. The number of days (430) prophetically point to the number of years it would take before Israel would be restored as a nation (Ezek. 4:4-6). To represent the duration of Israel’s and Judah’s judgment, respectively, Ezekiel was bound with cords and lay on his left side for 390 days, and on his right side for 40 days (Ezek. 4:4-8). Again, the 430 days (390 days for Israel plus 40 days for Judah) in Ezek. 4:6 represents 430 years. Jeremiah prophesied that the period of captivity would last exactly 70 years. Historians note that Babylon captured Israel (and took inhabitants away as slaves) in the spring of 606 B.C. and that exiles were allowed to return precisely 70 years later (just as foretold) in the spring of 536 BC.
The fulfillment of Jeremiah’s prophecy of 70 years of exile (Israel not being an independent nation) took place in 536 BC when exiles returned to Jerusalem. However, that still left 360 years of judgment to be served (430 - 70 years = 360 years). Though exiles were allowed to return to Israel, Israel would remain part of the Persian Empire for some years. One might ask: What happens 360 years later? Did Israel become an independent nation at that time (176 BC)?
The answer is no. In fact, when Jesus ministered on the earth, Israel still had not re-established as a nation. At the turn of the 20th century, Israel still had not become an independent nation, and this is why.
Leviticus 26:18 indicates that in the face of stubborn rebellion, the Lord “will punish you seven times more for your sins.” Many Hebrews returned to Israel, but most quickly fell away from true faith. Therefore, the 360 years noted were to be multiplied by seven, equaling a total of 2520 biblical years [360 day years]. To convert the 2,520 prophetic years into solar [365.25 day] years, one must multiply 2,520 by the 360 days in the prophetic/biblical year (907,200 days). The next step is to divide 907,200 days by 365.25 (the length of a solar year). The answer is 2,483 calendar years, 9 months, 21 days. Therefore, Ezekiel’s prophecy indicates that the end of Israel’s displacement/judgment would occur 2,483 calendar years, 9 months, 21 days after the end of the Babylonian exile (which took place on July 23, 537 B.C.). When one adds 2,483 calendar years, 9 months, 21 days to July 23, 537 BC (the year in which the Babylonian captivity ended), they arrive at May 14, 1948 (the precise day Israel regained their independence under UN Charter).
Both the quantity and quality of Bible prophecy offer important reasons to study it today. All Scripture is God-breathed and useful for today (2 Timothy 3:16-17), including the many prophecies of God’s Word.
[Adapted from A Study on Bible Prophecy by Gary Ray. Download the entire book free right now from https://iamawatchman.com/ebooks/.]
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