One of the more weighty Christian evidences for the inspiration of the Bible are prophecies, especially Old Testament prophecies about the coming of Christ.  However, these are vigorously challenged by Jews, atheists, people of Islam, and by Liberal Protestantism.  Since all these join in a coordinated attack on the New Testament and Christianity, this within itself represents a fulfillment of prophecy (see Luke 2:25-35).  Simeon said it this way:

34 And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, "Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed 35 (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed." Luke 2:34-35 (ESV)

Truly, Jesus always has been a sign to be opposed, yet those opposing him are fulfilling scriptural prophecy.

The opponents are desperate to disprove the Christian view of these prophecies because that would mean that the New Testament is true, that it is inspired, and that it is the Word of God.  The Jewish stand is well articulated in this quote:

Jews believe that no Messianic prophecy of Jewish scripture was fulfilled by Jesus.  Jews believe that the Jewish Bible is not prophetic about Jesus, and does not speak of Jesus at all; the prophecies claimed to speak about Jesus, were never considered prophecies about the Messiah by any Jewish community.1

Jews understandably feel this way because if the Messianic prophecies apply to Jesus, then the Messiah has come and they missed Him.  However, their statement that "...the prophecies claimed to speak about Jesus, were never considered prophecies about the Messiah by any Jewish community" does not appear to be correct.  Please consider Matthew's account of the visiting Magi and the effect this had on King Herod:

1 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, 2 saying, "Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him." 3 When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; 4 and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. 5 They told him, "In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet:
6  " 'And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.' "Matt 2:1-6 (ESV) (underlining mine)

Matthew, a Jew, understood that Herod had consulted "...all the chief priests and the scribes of the people...." about the birthplace of the Messiah.  These Jewish leaders understood that birthplace would be "Bethlehem," and they got that from Micah 5:2.  Therefore, the current Jewish opinion that the Jewish community in the first century never considered this prophecy to apply to the birth of the Messiah is incorrect.  The chief priests and the scribes certainly did consider it as such, and Herod acted on their interpretation.  In addition, Matthew, a Jew, clearly understood many prophecies in the Old Testament spoke of Christ since he cited so many.  It is evident that Matthew's Gospel was written for the Jews, so it is counter-intuitive to think that none of the Jews at the time of Christ understood that there were prophecies pointing forward to the Christ.  If so, Matthew would not have purposefully included so many in his Gospel if he wanted to persuade Jews.

In addition, Peter was a Jew, and he gave the first gospel sermon in Acts 2, which was based on the fact that Jesus had fulfilled prophecies in Joel 2:28-32; Ps 16:8-11; and Ps 110:1 (see these highlighted in Acts 2:17-21, 25-28, and 34-35).  If in fact "...the prophecies claimed to speak about Jesus, were never considered prophecies about the Messiah in any Jewish community" is correct, then why is it that 3000 Jews converted to Christianity on the Pentecost after Christ's death, burial, resurrection and ascension (Acts 2:41) on the basis of a sermon claiming such fulfillments of prophecy?  Yes, the Jews did believe in prophecies about the Messiah in the first century, and they recognized that Jesus fulfilled those prophecies.

Now going onto Liberal Protestantism, we see that these scholars quickly take the side of the unbelieving Jewish scholars so that they stand unified against the New Testament:

Most prophetic predictions announce events to occur in the near future.  The few proclamations of distant forthcoming events reassure the hearers that Yahweh controls nations and individuals throughout human history.  There is no unequivocal specific predictions of the coming of Jesus Christ and/or the church in the Old Testament.  New testament speakers reinterpreted and reapplied Old Testament texts to Christ and/or the church.2

The scholars of Liberal Protestantism have embraced Higher Criticism that proclaims that the prophets didn't actually write the books attributed to them.  For example, Daniel served Nebuchadnezzar (604 B.C.) down to Darius (522-486 B.C.), which would seem plausible if Daniel was the 6th century author.  However, because the prophecies in Daniel 9:24-27 and 11:1-45 regarding kingdoms stretching down at least until the death of Antiochus IV Epiphanes (died 164 B.C.), it is of greatest importance to Liberal Protestantism to make the author of Daniel, not Daniel, but a Jew living in second century B.C. instead of the 6th century B.C. as it is actually portrayed in the text.  That way they can say that the "prophecies" were not really prophecies since the author was not really the prophet.  Rather, the actual author wrote long after the events using retrospective "prophecies" as a teaching instrument only.

For example, Dr. Willis says concerning the author of Isaiah, "The book of Isaiah contains materials originating over 4 centuries."  He says the book was completed " the end of the fifth century BCE."3  So it would appear that he believes in multiple authors for Isaiah, just as those of Higher Criticism think.  However, there is no manuscript evidence for this view--all the manuscripts of Isaiah have all parts in it.  It should be noted that Dr. Willis was not always of this opinion and in an Isaiah commentary he wrote nearly 3 decades ago, he appears to have upheld that there was but one author,4 and that there was fulfillment in Christ.5  Why he changed his views over these last 30 years is unknown to me.

All of this discussion about prophecy has a very important ending.  You see, if prophecy isn't really prophecy, or if the Messianic prophecies were not really prophecies about Jesus, then Jesus was wrong and Jesus was a liar.  For He said,

25 And he said to them, "O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26  Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?" 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. Luke 24:25-27 (ESV)
44 Then he said to them, "These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled." 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46 and said to them, "Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, 47 and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48  You are witnesses of these things. Luke 24:44-48 (ESV)

This was not something that Jesus just dreamed up at the end of His ministry.  Rather, that He was fulfilling Scriptures was very clear to Him (Matt 26:54, 56; Mark 1:15; 14:49; Luke 4:21; 22:37; John 13:18; 15:25; 17:12), and He clearly identified external events as fulfilling prophecy (Matt 13:14-15).  Therefore, the choice is between the Son of God and what He taught His apostles, or the ones who accuse the Bible of error.  However, your decision will tell you what you think about Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God.  He said that the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms bore witness of Him.  What do you say?  Is Jesus a liar, or your Lord?

  2. Willis, JT. "Old Testament Prophecy" in The Transforming Word, MW Hamilton General editor, Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, TX, © 2009, p 66.
  3. Willis, JT. ibid., p 533.
  4. Willis, JT. Living Word Commentary, Isaiah. Sweet Publishing Company, Austin, TX, © 1980, p 31
  5. Willis, JT. Living Word Commentary, Isaiah. ibid., p 45-49.