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About the Book

Table of Contents

Part I

Part II

Part III

Part IV

Part V

Part VI

     

Part III: Striking Fulfullments of Prophecy

Chapter 1

On the Choice of Materials

     THIS PAPER is intended to serve as a miniature handbook for anyone who is provided with the opportunity of addressing a well-educated non-Christian audience on the subject of prophecy. The guiding principle in the choice of subject matter has been essentially this: that the body of the Paper shall contain examples of fulfilled prophecies which leave no shadow of doubt as to their validity. The validity involves two prime factors: (a) that the statement shall have been written long before the fulfillment of the event it foretells; and (b) that the fulfillment itself shall be so specific that its correspondence with the original prophetic statement is unquestionable.
     Incidental to these two requirements are several considerations of lesser importance, but important nevertheless. For example, the prophetic statement must not be of such a general nature that it might conceivably have been the result of foresight on the part of an individual who was very wise and well-acquainted with the course of history in the past. Daniel 12:4 might be a case in point. Another consideration is that the fulfillment was not the result of actions deliberately undertaken to guarantee it.
     The fulfilled prophecies chosen for inclusion are given as full treatment as possible within the compass of this Paper so that anyone who decides to use them for the purpose suggested may have some measure of confidence that they understand the historical background sufficiently to avoid the appearance of superficial knowledge. Maps, plans, and photographs are provided, some of which could be reproduced perhaps in slide form.
     A number of significant omissions will be observed, and this may be a source of some surprise. The factors governing our choice were such that a very large number of fulfilled prophecies had to be omitted. For

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example, unless the audience is willing to accept the Gospels as history, the extent to which the Lord Jesus Christ fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies concerning Him will carry no weight. We have no proof other than the Gospels (and of course the Epistles) that the events of the Lord's life and death so perfectly satisfied the prophetic visions of the Old Testament. The Christian has no doubt about these things: but assuming one is faced with a neutral audience, this kind of evidence begs the question. The messianic prophecies are completely convincing to the believer. To the unbeliever they are much less so, often because the fulfillment can only be considered such if the original prophecy is viewed out of context or is given a kind of dual interpretation. Hence, in view of the much more limited object of this Paper, they have been omitted from consideration -- except for the one case of the stones of the temple which were to be "thrown down," according to the Lord.
     Again, it would not be wise to refer to prophetic statements, the date of which could, according to higher critics, require them to be treated rather as hindsight than foresight -- the future prophesied after the event! There might be theologians in the audience, and an argument about higher criticism would defeat the whole purpose of the presentation. Certain of the prophecies of Daniel, for example, might well be challenged by such people in this way. They would argue they were written after the event.
    One further class of prophecies -- namely, those dealing with the general rebuilding of Palestine have also been omitted because it would be possible to argue that at least some of these promises of "restoration" have had minor and temporary fulfillments in the past (during the Crusades, for example). And it is still too soon to say with absolute certainty that the present events are an "ultimate" fulfillment even though I personally believe they are. The Jewish people have "returned" before this. . . .
     This would seem to narrow down the field drastically indeed. Yet I believe a strong argument is not made stronger by the addition of weak links. In order to gain some measure of assent from an audience, it is surely necessary to establish beyond a shadow of doubt that God is able to make prophetic statements giving details which could not possibly have been foreseen by human beings apart from revelation. Two or three dramatic illustrations establish the fact of prophecy as surely as two or three human footprints in the sand establish the fact a human being has passed that way. It is not the quantity of the evidence that counts, but the nature of it.
     And what if we gain some measure of assent? Then perhaps it would be appropriate to point out that God has prophesied that certain things will most assuredly happen in the life of any man who will commit his soul into God's hands in God's appointed way. This is where the church can indeed foretell the future with confidence.

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Copyright © 1988 Evelyn White. All rights reserved

 

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