The Prophetic Word

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We have made it to the New Testament. We are going to look at a few verses in the first three chapters in Matthew. See if you can figure out the link between them.
Matthew 1:22–23 CSB
22 Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: 23 See, the virgin will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and they will name him Immanuel, which is translated “God is with us.”
Matthew 2:5–6 CSB
5 “In Bethlehem of Judea,” they told him, “because this is what was written by the prophet: 6 And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah: Because out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.
Matthew 2:14–15 CSB
14 So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night, and escaped to Egypt. 15 He stayed there until Herod’s death, so that what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet might be fulfilled: Out of Egypt I called my Son.
Matthew 2:16–18 CSB
16 Then Herod, when he realized that he had been outwitted by the wise men, flew into a rage. He gave orders to massacre all the boys in and around Bethlehem who were two years old and under, in keeping with the time he had learned from the wise men. 17 Then what was spoken through Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled: 18 A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children; and she refused to be consoled, because they are no more.
Matthew 2:23 CSB
23 Then he went and settled in a town called Nazareth to fulfill what was spoken through the prophets, that he would be called a Nazarene.
Matthew 3:1–3 CSB
1 In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea 2 and saying, “Repent, because the kingdom of heaven has come near!” 3 For he is the one spoken of through the prophet Isaiah, who said: A voice of one crying out in the wilderness: Prepare the way for the Lord; make his paths straight!
Prophecy — One of the many reasons we can have so much confidence in the Holy Scriptures.
We’ve talked before about the qualifications to be a prophet -
must have a 100% success rate in predictions
Deuteronomy 18:15–22 CSB
15 “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own brothers. You must listen to him. 16 This is what you requested from the Lord your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly when you said, ‘Let us not continue to hear the voice of the Lord our God or see this great fire any longer, so that we will not die!’ 17 Then the Lord said to me, ‘They have spoken well. 18 I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him. 19 I will hold accountable whoever does not listen to my words that he speaks in my name. 20 But the prophet who presumes to speak a message in my name that I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods—that prophet must die.’ 21 You may say to yourself, ‘How can we recognize a message the Lord has not spoken?’ 22 When a prophet speaks in the Lord’s name, and the message does not come true or is not fulfilled, that is a message the Lord has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously. Do not be afraid of him.
These people spoke God’s words and they were written and collected and studied as their Scriptures.
The same Jewish collection of Scriptures, known today as the Hebrew Bible, is the same collection of writings that make up our Old Testament. No more, no less. If you are interested in non-canonical books like the apocryphal books and the gnostic gospels we can talk about those as well.
These were the collected words of recognized prophets, who were recognized as prophets, in their lifetime, whose words came true, who earned the respect of the people as true prophets, and whose words continued to come true after their deaths, who all prophesied about a single coming Messiah. Let’s look at Samuel
1 Samuel 3:20 CSB
20 All Israel from Dan to Beer-sheba knew that Samuel was a confirmed prophet of the Lord.
This is what it was like to meet Samuel. This is the prophet Samuel talking to Saul...
1 Samuel 10:2–7 CSB
2 Today when you leave me, you’ll find two men at Rachel’s Grave at Zelzah in the territory of Benjamin. They will say to you, ‘The donkeys you went looking for have been found, and now your father has stopped being concerned about the donkeys and is worried about you, asking: What should I do about my son?’ 3 “You will proceed from there until you come to the oak of Tabor. Three men going up to God at Bethel will meet you there, one bringing three goats, one bringing three loaves of bread, and one bringing a clay jar of wine. 4 They will ask how you are and give you two loaves of bread, which you will accept from them. 5 “After that you will come to Gibeah of God where there are Philistine garrisons. When you arrive at the city, you will meet a group of prophets coming down from the high place prophesying. They will be preceded by harps, tambourines, flutes, and lyres. 6 The Spirit of the Lord will come powerfully on you, you will prophesy with them, and you will be transformed. 7 When these signs have happened to you, do whatever your circumstances require because God is with you.
What about Elijah and Elisha?
Elijah —
1 Kings 17:1–6 CSB
1 Now Elijah the Tishbite, from the Gilead settlers, said to Ahab, “As the Lord God of Israel lives, in whose presence I stand, there will be no dew or rain during these years except by my command!” 2 Then the word of the Lord came to him: 3 “Leave here, turn eastward, and hide at the Wadi Cherith where it enters the Jordan. 4 You are to drink from the wadi. I have commanded the ravens to provide for you there.” 5 So he proceeded to do what the Lord commanded. Elijah left and lived at the Wadi Cherith where it enters the Jordan. 6 The ravens kept bringing him bread and meat in the morning and in the evening, and he would drink from the wadi.
1 Kings 17:10–16 CSB
10 So Elijah got up and went to Zarephath. When he arrived at the city gate, there was a widow gathering wood. Elijah called to her and said, “Please bring me a little water in a cup and let me drink.” 11 As she went to get it, he called to her and said, “Please bring me a piece of bread in your hand.” 12 But she said, “As the Lord your God lives, I don’t have anything baked—only a handful of flour in the jar and a bit of oil in the jug. Just now, I am gathering a couple of sticks in order to go prepare it for myself and my son so we can eat it and die.” 13 Then Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid; go and do as you have said. But first make me a small loaf from it and bring it out to me. Afterward, you may make some for yourself and your son, 14 for this is what the Lord God of Israel says, ‘The flour jar will not become empty and the oil jug will not run dry until the day the Lord sends rain on the surface of the land.’ ” 15 So she proceeded to do according to the word of Elijah. Then the woman, Elijah, and her household ate for many days. 16 The flour jar did not become empty, and the oil jug did not run dry, according to the word of the Lord he had spoken through Elijah.
Elisha —
2 Kings 5:8–10 CSB
8 When Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his clothes, he sent a message to the king, “Why have you torn your clothes? Have him come to me, and he will know there is a prophet in Israel.” 9 So Naaman came with his horses and chariots and stood at the door of Elisha’s house. 10 Then Elisha sent him a messenger, who said, “Go wash seven times in the Jordan and your skin will be restored and you will be clean.”
2 Kings 6:4–7 CSB
4 So he went with them, and when they came to the Jordan, they cut down trees. 5 As one of them was cutting down a tree, the iron ax head fell into the water, and he cried out, “Oh, my master, it was borrowed!” 6 Then the man of God asked, “Where did it fall?” When he showed him the place, the man of God cut a piece of wood, threw it there, and made the iron float. 7 Then he said, “Pick it up.” So he reached out and took it.
one of my favorites
2 Kings 6:12–20 CSB
12 One of his servants said, “No one, my lord the king. Elisha, the prophet in Israel, tells the king of Israel even the words you speak in your bedroom.” 13 So the king said, “Go and see where he is, so I can send men to capture him.” When he was told, “Elisha is in Dothan,” 14 he sent horses, chariots, and a massive army there. They went by night and surrounded the city. 15 When the servant of the man of God got up early and went out, he discovered an army with horses and chariots surrounding the city. So he asked Elisha, “Oh, my master, what are we to do?” 16 Elisha said, “Don’t be afraid, for those who are with us outnumber those who are with them.” 17 Then Elisha prayed, “Lord, please open his eyes and let him see.” So the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he saw that the mountain was covered with horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. 18 When the Arameans came against him, Elisha prayed to the Lord, “Please strike this nation with blindness.” So he struck them with blindness, according to Elisha’s word. 19 Then Elisha said to them, “This is not the way, and this is not the city. Follow me, and I will take you to the man you’re looking for.” And he led them to Samaria. 20 When they entered Samaria, Elisha said, “Lord, open these men’s eyes and let them see.” So the Lord opened their eyes, and they saw that they were in the middle of Samaria.
Then of course you have Moses, who God chose to perform miracle after miracle by, and then you have the prophets like David, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephania, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi.
They all spoke prophecies and everyone pointed directly or indirectly to the coming Messiah and to the cross.
Let me read to you a paragraph from “Evidence That Demands a Verdict” by Josh and Sean McDowell.
They mention that J. Barton Payne lists 191 distinct predictions that were literally fulfilled in Christ. Floyd Hamilton lists 332, but let’s go with the much smaller list of 191 for arguments sake.
Then they talk about Peter Stoner, who wrote the book “Science Speaks” that “examines the mathematical probabilities that apply to the fulfillment of these predictions. They note that in the foreword, H. Harold Hartzler, of the American Scientific Affiliation, Goshen College, wrote, “The manuscript for Science Speaks has been carefully reviewed by a committee of the American Scientific Affiliation members and by the Executive Council of the same group and has been found, in general, to be dependable and accurate in regard to the scientific material presented. The mathematical analysis included is based upon principles of probability which are thoroughly sound and Professor Stoner has applied these principles in a proper and convincing way.”
All that to say, the statistics, I’m about to give you have been reviewed by mathematicians and confirmed to be accurate.
Now before we get started let me put this in perspective for us who live in GA
Texas — 268,597 sq.miles
59,425 — Georgia
65,755 — Florida — 125,180
52,419 — Alabama — 177,599
32,020 — South Carolina — 209,619
53,819 — North Carolina — 263,438
With that said how many prophecies are we going with to say that the prophets made that were fulfilled in Jesus? 191, now let’s just look at 8.
“The Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem. He would be preceded by a messenger. He was to enter Jerusalem on a donkey. He would be betrayed by a friend and his hands and feet pierced. His betrayer would be given thirty pieces of silver. The betrayal money would be thrown into the house of God and used to buy a potter’s field. He would be silent before his accusers. His hands and feet would be pierced and he would die accounted among criminals.”
“Stoner writes:
We find that the chance that any man might have lived down to the present time and fulfilled all eight prophecies is one in 10^17 (10 to the 17th power.) That would be one in 100,000,000,000,000,000 [17 zeros after the one.] In order to help us comprehend the staggering possibility, stoner illustrates it by supposing that we take 10^17 silver dollars and lay them on the face of Texas. They will cover all of the state 2 feet deep. Now Mark one of the silver dollars and stir the whole mass thoroughly, all over the state. Blindfold a man and tell him that he can travel as far as he wishes, but he must pick up one Silver dollar and say that this is the right one. What chance would he have of getting the right one? Just the same chance that the prophets would have had of writing these eight prophecies and having them all come true in any one man, from their day to the present time, providing they wrote them according to their own wisdom. Now these prophecies were either given by inspiration of God or the prophets just wrote them as they thought they should be. In such a case the prophets had just one chance in 10^17 of having them come true in any man, but they all came true in Christ. This means that the fulfillment of these eight prophecies alone proves that God inspired the writings of these prophecies to a definiteness which lacks only one chance in 10^17 of being absolute.
Stoner then considers a group of 48 of the prophecies and reports:
We find a chance that any one man fulfilled all 48 prophecies to be one in 10^157. This is really a large number and it represents an extremely small chance. Let us try to visualize it. The Silver dollar, which we have been using, is entirely too large. We must select a smaller object. The electron is about a small an object as we know of. It is so small that it will take 2.5 times 10^15 of them laid side-by-side to make a line, single file, 1 inch long. If we were going to count the electrons in this line 1 inch long, and counted 250 each minute, and if we counted day and night, it would take us 19 million years to count just the 1 inch line of electrons. If we had a cubic inch of these electrons and we tried to count them it would take us, counting steadily 250 each minute, 19,000,000×19,000,000×19,000,000 years or 6.9×10^21 years. With this introduction let us go back to our chance of one in 10 to the 157. Let us suppose that we are taking this number of electrons marking one and thoroughly stirring it into the whole mass then blindfolding a man and letting him try to find the right one what chance has he ever finding the right one?
Such is the chance of any individual fulfilling those 48 prophecies.”
Peter said this to us:
2 Peter 1:16–21 CSB
16 For we did not follow cleverly contrived myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ; instead, we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 For he received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased!” 18 We ourselves heard this voice when it came from heaven while we were with him on the holy mountain. 19 We also have the prophetic word strongly confirmed, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. 20 Above all, you know this: No prophecy of Scripture comes from the prophet’s own interpretation, 21 because no prophecy ever came by the will of man; instead, men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
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