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The Role of Prophecy in Christian Apologetics


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Title: The Role of Prophecy in Christian Apologetics

The Role of Prophecy in Christian Apologetics
  • John Oakes, PhD
  • Apologetics Research Society
  • 9/6/08

  • Introduction to Prophecy as Apologetics
  • Prophecies of the Near Future
  • Old Testament Prophecies Fulfilled in the Old
  • Old Testament Prophecies Fulfilled Between the
  • 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.

I. Introduction to Prophecy as Apologetics
  • 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

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
  • 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

The Purpose of (Predictive) Prophecy
  • Warning
  • Jer 258-14, Deut 2845-48 Deut 2858f
  • Encouragement
  • Deut 301-5 Daniel 726-27 Isaiah 22-4
  • To demonstrate that God is in control God Rules
    the Nations
  • Daniel, Revelation
  • Evidence of new revelation from Godthat what is
    said is inspired by God.
  • Luke 2444 Daniel 246-47

Other Prophets?
  • Oracles of Delphi
  • Croesus
  • Alexander
  • Nostradamus Henry II
  • The great man will be struck down in the day by a
  • The evil deed predicted by the bearer of a
  • According to the prediction, another falls at
  • Conflict in Reims, London and pestilence in
    Tuscany (Century I Quatrain 27)
  • Jean Dixon JFK
  • The pattern Not terrifically surprising or very
  • Islam?

Does a Prophecy Have a Unique Application?
  • Isaiah 713-17 About Ahaz or Jesus?
  • Genesis 499-11 About Judah or Jesus?
  • Ezekiel 1116-20 About return from exile or the
  • Hosea 111 (Matthew 215) About Israel or about
  • Matthew 244-44 About AD 70 or the return of
  • Assignment Analyze Zechariah 14 How does it

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 2415 spoken through the prophet Daniel
  • Matthew 414-16 Land of Zebulun and land of
  • Matthew 26,15,17, 33 Bethlehem, Egypt, the
  • Matthew 1239-41 The sign of Jonah
  • Galatians 424 These things can be taken

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.7
Old Testament Apologetics Short Term Prophecy
  • Deuteronomy 1821-22
  • 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 131-3
  • 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
  • 1 Kings 2028..1 Kings 2029-30
  • 1 Kings 2036..1 Kings 2036
  • 1 Kings 2119..1 Kings 2237
  • 1 Kings 2123..2 Kings 932-37
  • 1 Kings 221-28...1 Kings 2231-36
  • 2 Kings 71-2...2 Kings 717-20
  • 2 Kings 195-7.2 Kings 1937
  • Is 3733-35, 2 Kings 1932-34..Is 3736-37, 2
    Kings 1935-36

Short Term Prophecy (cont.)
  • Jeremiah 271-11.2 Kings 251-7
  • Jeremiah 281-16.Jeremiah 2817
  • Jeremiah 326-8, 42-44 Once more fields will
    be bought
  • Daniel 424-27 You will be driven away from
    people... Daniel 428-37 All this
    happened to King Nebuchadnezzar.
  • Acts 1127-28 Agabus

Jesus and Short Term Prophecies
  • John 219 Destroy this temple and I will raise
    it in three days.
  • Matthew 2634 Before the rooster crows.
  • Acts 14-5 In a few days you will be baptized
    with the Holy Spirit.
  • Luke 2120-24 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, 35.)
  • "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

Old Testament Prophecies Being Fulfilled Today
  • Hmmm.. Cant think of any

OT Prophecies Fulfilled in the OT
  • Genesis 122-3,7
  • I will make you into a great nation. To
    your offspring I will give this land.
  • Genesis 154-5
  • count the stars so shall your offspring be
  • Genesis 175-8
  • 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

Genesis 49 (the whole thing!)
  • Genesis 498-11
  • Judah, your brothers will praise you
  • Your hand will be on the neck of your enemies
  • Your fathers sons will bow down to you
  • The scepter will not depart from Judah,
  • Nor the rulers 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
  • 2836-37 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.
  • 2849-57
  • Lamentations 410 With their own hands
    compassionate women have cooked their own
    children, who became their food when my people
    were destroyed.
  • 2864,68 The Lord will scatter you among all
    nations. The Lord will send you back in ships to
  • 303-5 The Lord will gather you again from
    all the nations where he scattered you.

  • Joshua 626 He who rebuilds Jericho will do so
    at the cost of his firstborn and his youngest
    son. . 1 Kings1634

Isaiah 393-7 and 2 Kings 2016-18 Fulfilled
in Daniel 13-7 Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and
  • Jeremiah 258-14
  • I will summon NebuchadnezzarI 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 298-14
  • 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 91-2
  • 605 BC to 536 BC Captives taken.Captives
  • 586 BC to 516 BC Temple destroyed..
    Temple rebuilt

Isaiah 4428-457, 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
  • I call you by name and bestow on you a title of
  • 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 3623 538 BC War of

The Cyrus Cyllinder Fulfilling Isaiah 4428
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 meto Marduk, my lord, may
they say thus Cyrus, the king who worships you
and Cambyses, his sonall of them I settled in a
peaceful place.
Old Testament Prophecies Fulfilled Between the
  • Ezekiel 263-14 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.

(No Transcript)
Site of Ancient Tyre Today
Secular historian Philip Myers in his history
  • 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 rocka
    place where the fishermen that still frequent the
    spot spread their nets to dry.

Daniel, Prophet to the Nations
(No Transcript)
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 (DSMA)
  • 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
  • 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
  • AD 2014 Jesus comes back to rule in Jerusalem

Babylonian Empire c. 1750 BC and c. 600 BC  
  Achaemenid Persian/Median Empire at its Height
c. 450 BC  
Alexander the Great Empire Nations c. 330 BC
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?
  • Appn Persecution of Diocletian

Daniel Chapter Two Nebuchadnezzars Vision of a
Great Statue
Part of the Statue Nation
Head of Gold Babylon
Chest of Silver Persia/Media (539 BC)
Belly of Bronze Greece (331 BC)
Legs of Iron Rome (31 BC)
Babylon Persia/Media Greece Rome A divided
Daniel 7 Ten Horns and a Little Horn
  The First Eleven Emperors of Rome
Domitian (c. 81-96 AD)
Daniel Chapter Eight A Ram and a Goat
Ancient Susa and the Ulai Canal
Alexander the Great
The Four Horns of Daniel Eight
Daniel 8 The Abomination of Desolation 
Daniel Chaper Nine The Messiah Comes to
  • Seventy sevens 490 years
  • The decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem
  • Ezra 713-16 458 BC
  • 458 - 490 AD 32
  • No (no zero BC) AD 33

Romans Taking Spoils of Jerusalem from the Arch
of Titus, Rome, c. 81 AD
    Roman General and Emperor Titus who destroyed
Jerusalem in AD 70  
The Kings of the South and the Kings of the North
in Daniel Eleven
  (v. 6) After some early, indecisive struggles,
the Ptolemaic kingdom and the Seleucid kingdom
will agree to share power peacefully. In order to
seal the deal, Ptolemy II
Daniel 1136-45The Final End of the Greek
Marc Antony (Museum of Fine Art, Budapest)
Bust of Octavian/Augustus as high priest. Museo
Nacional de Arte Romano,
  • http//

Cleopatra (Altes Museum, Berlin)
The Theme of Daniel Eleven
  • Those who are wise will instruct many, though for
    a time they will fall by the sword or be burned
    or captured or plundered. When they fall, they
    will receive a little help, and many who are not
    sincere will join them. Some of the wise will
    stumble, so that they may be refined, purified
    and made spotless until the time of the end, for
    it will come at the appointed time. 1133-35

Daniel Chapter Twelve The Time of the End
  • Those who are wise will shine like the brightness
    of the heavens, and those who lead many to
    righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever.
  • Daniel 123-4