And so we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts. But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God. (NASB)
How can we determine if the Bible is reliable? Peter says in this passage that the prophecies are true. He wasn’t speaking of things that are still to come in the future, but things that were predicted and had already happened. One of the biggest keys to the reliability of the Bible is the fact that prophesies were recorded and history can document that they occurred as predicted. In Isa 42:9 God makes a clear declaration, “See, the former things have taken place, and new things I declare; before they spring into being I announce them to you." (NIV) God is never afraid to make a prediction because He is all-knowing and all-powerful. He knows what will happen and He has the power to ensure that it will take place as He foretold. Isa 46:10 I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please. (NIV)
God challenges anyone to be as accurate in their predictions as He is – 100% accurate. Isa 44:7 Who then is like me? Let him proclaim it. Let him declare and lay out before me what has happened since I established my ancient people, and what is yet to come — yes, let him foretell what will come. (NIV) It is easy for someone to say, “I told you so” when there is no documentation that he predicted it. However, it’s another matter to write down predictions and then let everyone scrutinize the results. The Bible does just that. God has made hundreds of prophesies and many have already come true and some are for the future.
I could document many of these predictions but other authors have done much better jobs. So I will only point out one of my favorites. Dan 9:25-26a "Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven 'sevens,' and sixty-two 'sevens.' It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble. After the sixty-two 'sevens,' the Anointed One will be cut off and will have nothing.” (NIV) You can do the math assuming that a “seven” is seven years and that each year uses the Jewish calendar of 360 days. The total number of “sevens” from the time that King Artaxerxes gave permission for Nehemiah to start rebuilding Jerusalem (see Neh 2:4-8) until Jesus, the Anointed One, would appear is 69 or 483 Jewish years. That would be 476.3836 of our years. Artaxerxes made the proclamation in 444 B.C. So that means that in 32.3836 A.D. the Messiah (which means Anointed One) should appear and make Himself known. That just happens to be the Palm Sunday when Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey.
Think about that. How could Daniel make such a precise prediction if God had not revealed it to Him? Of course, Jesus fulfilled many other prophesies made by many different people who wrote the Old Testament. I mentioned that Jesus rode on a donkey and that prophesy is found in Zech 9:9. Someone might argue that Jesus staged the whole thing because He knew the prophecies. However, how could he have staged the time and place of His birth? Micah 5:2 said the Messiah had to be born in Bethlehem. Since Jesus’ mother was living in Nazareth when she was pregnant, it took the decree of a Roman emperor to make sure she was in Bethlehem on the right day to have Jesus born there. Augustus didn’t know anything about the prophecies and certainly didn’t know that Mary was pregnant and about to give birth, yet God moved him to declare a census that required Mary and Joseph to go to Bethlehem at just the right time. See Luke 2:1-7.
What about the prophecies of His death? Surely no one would want to stage His own death just to fulfill a prophecy. Ps 22:7-8 All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads: "He trusts in the Lord; let the Lord rescue him. Let him deliver him, since he delights in him." (NIV) This described the attitude of those who crucified Jesus. See Mark 15:31. He couldn’t stage that. Ps 22:16-18 Dogs have surrounded me; a band of evil men has encircled me, they have pierced my hands and my feet. I can count all my bones; people stare and gloat over me. They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing. (NIV) What is remarkable is that Jesus knew that this was exactly what would be done to Him and yet He didn’t attempt to stop it. He knew that all the prophecies had to be fulfilled otherwise someone could go back and say God was a liar when He spoke through these prophets.
When a person embraces the fact that the Bible is accurate, it doesn’t take long before they find out who Jesus is and they need to surrender to Him. When that happens it is just like a lamp starts to shine in a dark place. That person is then born again and the Morning Star (Jesus) is in his heart. I know that for a fact. It happened to me.