Bible Prophecy - Foresight or Fraud?
Is Bible prophecy compelling evidence vindicating the Bible's claim that it is the truly inspired Word of God or is it nothing more than an elaborate hoax? How do Biblical prophecies stand up next to secular history? The Bible declares, "'Present your case,' says the LORD. 'Bring forth your strong reasons... Let them bring forth and show us what will happen... declare to us things to come. Show the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know that you are gods... Indeed you are nothing, and your work is nothing; He who chooses you is an abomination'" (Isaiah 41:21-24). How does the God of the Bible stand up to His own challenge?
Bible Prophecy - The Book of Daniel
The Book of Daniel is a stunning example of Bible prophecy. The book claims to have been written sometime in the 6th century BC, but because of the accuracy of its detailed predictions, Daniel's critics insist that it must have been written after the events described. They contend that it must have been written sometime after c.160 BC. Nevertheless, Flavius Josephus, court historian for three successive Roman Emperors, documents Alexander the Great receiving a copy of Daniel upon his annexation of Jerusalem in the autumn of 332 BC (Antiquities of the Jews XI, chapter viii, paragraphs 3-5). Furthermore, according to both the pseudo-aristeas account and Josephus (Antiquities of the Jews XII, chapter ii), Ptolemy Philadelphus (308-246 BC) commissioned the translation of the Septuagint (a.k.a. the LXX) from Hebrew into Greek in the 3rd century BC. Daniel is included in the LXX. Daniel is also included among the Dead Sea Scrolls (DSS) which date from about 200 BC (the oldest Daniel manuscript, 4Q114, dating from the late 2nd Century BC).
Bible Prophecy - Daniel 11
Having established the credibility of Daniel, let's compare Bible prophecy found in Chapter 11 of that book with accepted secular history. The book of Daniel describes with incredible accuracy the fate of the Grecian Empire; how upon Alexander's death his empire would be divided into four portions, the conflicts between two of these divisions, Egypt and Syria, and the affect which these wars would have upon the nation of Israel which was situated between the two. In fact, many of the conflicts were over the control of Palestine (Israel). The Syrian kings are referred to as the "kings of the North" (that is, north of Israel, the prophecy being given from Israel's perspective); the Egyptian kings are referred to as the "kings of the South" (south of Israel). Let's go through the first 20 verses to prove the point. Each passage is followed by secular history which is included in the brackets. There are several secular online encyclopedias if you're interested in looking up any of the following information for yourself.
Daniel 11:1-2: "In the first year of Darius the Mede, I arose to be an encouragement and a protection for him. And now I will tell you the truth. Behold, three more kings are going to arise in Persia. Then a fourth will gain far more riches than all of them; as soon as he becomes strong through his riches, he will arouse the whole empire against the realm of Greece."
[Darius the Mede was viceroy in Babylon during the reign of Cyrus II (a.k.a. Cyrus the Great, who ruled from c.550-530 BC; Note: the dates provided here and following represent a period of monarchial reign, not the ruler's actual life-span). The three kings which succeed Cyrus were Cambyses II (530-521 BC), Smerdis (521 BC) and Darius I (521-485 BC), son of Hystaspes. The fourth king, Xerxes (486-465 BC), excelling in wealth and power, launched an elaborate campaign against Greece.]
Daniel 11:3-4: "And a mighty king will arise, and he will rule with great authority and do as he pleases. But as soon as he has arisen, his kingdom will be broken up and parceled out toward the four points of the compass, though not to his own descendants, nor according to his authority which he wielded, for his sovereignty will be uprooted and given to others besides them."
[The "mighty king" was Alexander the Great (336-323 BC) who, shortly after conquering the Persian Empire, died abruptly at the age of 32. His empire was not bequeathed to his children (who were murdered) but instead was divided up amongst his generals (the Diadochi). Four lesser kingdoms emerged from the rubble of Alexander's empire: Greece, Asia Minor, Syria, and Egypt.]