About the Book
Table of Contents
Part III: Striking Fulfullments of
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.
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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
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.
Copyright © 1988 Evelyn White. All rights
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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.