Tom: In our ongoing discussion of Dave Hunt’s book, An Urgent Call to a Serious Faith, we’ve been addressing just what the title states—a serious faith. And serious faith has content. It’s neither wishful thinking nor a baseless hope, but rather trust, which is formed because of factual evidence, because of solid reasons that would motivate us to regard the object of our faith as trustworthy. And, of course, serious faith can only be placed in God, who alone is completely trustworthy.
So, how do we go about attaining a serious faith in God? Well, the way we highly recommend is to go straight to the Bible, which is unequivocal in claiming that it alone is the written Word of God and examine it to see if its claims hold up. The Bible declares itself to be God’s specific revelation to mankind about Himself, about His creation, how things began, where they are going—things we couldn’t figure out without His insights.
In previous programs we’ve discussed how the Bible is and must be absolutely accurate in all that it addresses, and we gave examples with regard to history, to archaeology, and to other areas. If the Bible is truly the Word of the all-knowing, all-powerful Creator, then you’d have every right to expect that the Bible reflect God’s supernatural qualities, and perfect accuracy is just one of them.
However, no supernatural aspect of the Bible is more obvious than fulfilled prophecy, which is the primary subject for this program.
Dave, I want to start off with some verses from the book of the prophet Isaiah. These verses make it as clear as can be that God is using prophecy to demonstrate that He alone is God. So, jump in when you feel like you want to make a comment on this.
Isaiah 41, starting with verse 22: “Let them bring them forth and show us what shall happen. Let them show the former things, what they be, that we may consider them and know the latter end of them, and declare us things for to come. Show the things that are to come hereafter that we may know that ye are gods.”
Dave: Yeah, well, God is saying if you believe in a lot of gods, you know, you’ve got some gods—well, have them tell us what’s going to happen before it happens. In Isaiah 48, for example, verse 5—flip over there real fast—He says, “I have even from the beginning declared it to thee, before it even came to pass, I showed it thee, lest thou should say, Mine idol hath done them and my graven image and my molten image hath commanded them.” God says, “Look, I tell you what’s going to happen. I’m not going to let you give credit to your phony gods, your graven images,” and so forth. “I’m telling you what’s going to happen before it happens.”
And the very next chapter, there, Tom—and this is so powerful, it is so tremendous, because prophecy is unique to the Bible.
Dave: It’s not in the Bhagavad-Gita, the Qur’an. Joseph Smith did a little prophesying and missed every time. Benny Hinn has tried it, and I’m sorry, I don’t want to offend any of his followers out there, but we can document you false prophecy after false prophecy after false prophecy by Benny Hinn. For example, he said the homosexual community would . . . God would destroy it by fire by ’93 or ’94 at the latest. Then he said there wouldn’t be a place in America in the mid-’90s that would be safe from earthquakes. I could go on and on.
So, God says one of the marks of a false prophet, Deuteronomy 18, “When they say something in the name of the Lord and it doesn’t come to pass, that is the very thing I didn’t say,” God says, because He doesn’t make any mistakes. So, in Isaiah:42:9, He says, “Behold, the former things are come to pass,” (that is, the things that He’s already told them about) “and new things do I declare. Before they spring forth, I tell you of them.”
I think you had in mind going over to Isaiah 46 . . .
Tom: Well, 45 as well. “Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? Who hath told it from that time? Have not I the Lord? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me.”
I mean, this is the mark of God, and He presents it as a challenge.
Dave: Over and over He says this is the proof that He is God. Isaiah:46:9-10: “Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring [now, He gives you the proof] . . . declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure.”
Of course, Tom, it raises a lot of other questions, which . . . I don’t know what you’ve planned for this program, but . . .
Tom: I plan to follow you wherever you go, Dave.
Dave: No, I’m following you wherever you go.
Tom: Then we’re in trouble [laughing].
Dave: Okay [laughing]
Tom: No, but . . .
Dave: But it does raise questions: Does man have any choice? I mean, if God can tell you what’s going to happen before it happens . . . or is God outside of time? He’s not part of time. In fact, we don’t even know what time is. Einstein tried to tell us a few things about time, but we don’t really know what time is. It seems to be part of this functioning universe that we have, and it is essential if you’re going to have movement. You’ve got to have some means of measuring it and so forth. But the Bible doesn’t really explain what time is. But maybe God is outside of time. I don’t know! But He is the only one who can do this! Maybe He can just observe it before it happens. I don’t believe that it means that if God tells me ahead of time what’s going to happen He makes me do that.
In other words, Tom, I can play that game a little bit, in my feeble way. I know that when this program is done, sometime, you’re going to walk out that door.
Tom: Well, Gary, our producer/engineer, he knows about time. He tells us about time . . . but that’s a different thing.
Dave: Yeah. So the fact that I know you’re going to walk out that door doesn’t mean that I have determined that you’re going to walk out that door. But anyway, from God’s standpoint, however He does it, He knows what it going to happen before it happens, and that is the mark that He says proves that He’s God. Now He challenges anybody else to do it [….] false gods, okay?
So, I think that’s a great start to the program here, Tom!
Tom: Well, . . .
Dave: Where are you going to take us now?
Tom: I want to back up just a little bit. The program, for our listeners, if maybe they’re first-time listeners, the program—the heart of the program is to encourage people to read God’s Word.
Dave: Amen. And the proof that it is God’s Word is just what we’re talking about.
Tom: That’s exactly right.
Dave: You will not find these prophecies anywhere else. And, Tom, I often say it, these are not cheap psychic predictions. These are actually . . . God has foretold events that have shaped history! And they have been observed by historians; we are observing them today. You cannot deny that this is God’s Word! These are the events that made history, foretold in advance, and there it is, laid out in the Bible—and nowhere else!
Tom: And that’s why . . . I hate to say that we exude confidence, but we are confident. We have read the book; we encourage people not to follow Dave Hunt or T. A. McMahon, but to at least take our encouragement to read the book, check it out for yourself. And see if it . . . It’s almost as if what we say about the book doesn’t do service to it. You’ve got to do it yourself. God himself will help you to understand the things that we’re talking about.
Dave: This is our standard, Tom. This is the guidepost. This is our anchor. This is everything. We go by the Bible. Now, that doesn’t mean that my interpretation is better than somebody else’s. We must each examine for ourselves—I think, generally, we should agree on the interpretation. There are some things hard to be understood, the Bible says, but in the final analysis, when we stand before the Lord, we can’t say, “Well, I took that interpretation because that’s what my concordance said,” or “that’s what my commentary said,” or “that’s what T. A. McMahon said,” or “Dave Hunt,” or “Billy Graham,” or the pope, or anybody. Each one of us is morally accountable to God—to understand the Word of God for ourselves. It’s the only way it can be for God to speak to me. He’s got to speak to me, and if He can only do it through someone else, who must then interpret what God says, I am not in touch with God at all! And now I have to rely on someone else? No! God had given us His Word. He’s given us proof. He’s given us evidence. And now we go to the Word itself, and that’s all we’re trying to do is search the Scriptures daily.
Tom: And the best that we can do is to just keep pointing and encouraging people to go there. This is a work of the Holy Spirit. If you know Christ, if you are a believer, true believer in God, He will demonstrate through helping you to understand—He’ll demonstrate it.
Well, Dave, in previous programs, we’ve talked about the accuracy of the Bible, from a scientific standpoint, in those areas where it just touches upon science; in terms of history, archaeology, certainly logic—but now we’re . . . I think we’re at the “big enchilada” here, which is prophecy.
Now, we’ve talked about these scriptures, in which God declares that He alone is the God of prophecy. Now let’s give them some examples. Specific scriptures that deal with . . .
Dave: Well, Tom, . . .
Tom: . . . things to come. Things, that is, historically. Things that have . . .
Dave: Well, we’ve given a lot of examples. I can’t remember what we’ve talked about, but I like some of the more obscure ones, to begin with. But also, if we have time, we need to come to Jerusalem, because this is big in the news right now. Exodus:12:14, God says that the Jews will keep the Passover forever! Do they keep it today? They do! Most of them. Thirty percent of Israelis claim to be atheist. The rest of them are New Agers. There are very few Orthodox. Very few who even believe in God, who even believe in the Bible—and yet, they keep the Passover! I think 99-point-something percent in Jerusalem kept the Passover—last Passover—96.4 percent down in Tel Aviv, or whatever. That’s amazing.
And you say, “Well, give me some comparisons.” Well, the prophets of the goddess Vesta in Rome—they said the sacred fires tended by the vestal virgins would never, ever, ever go out. They went out. The great prophets of the Zoroastrians said their sacred fires of Persia would never go out. The Muslims extinguished them in their invasion in the seventh century. But God said, “You’ll keep the Passover forever,” and they do, even though they don’t believe.
And then, well, maybe that’s a lucky hit. Did He ever say something wouldn’t happen? And we can track that. Yes! Hosea:3:4-5—God says Israel will be without a priesthood, without sacrificial system, without a king. Obviously they’re without a temple—for many, many years. You mean something would prevent the temple from being rebuilt? That’s amazing! And Jesus told us how long it would be. In Luke:21:24, Jesus said . . . well, He said that Jerusalem would be destroyed again; the people will be scattered to every nation on this earth. And then He said, “Jerusalem will be trodden down of the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.
Did it happen? It happened! I mean, UN Resolution 181, 1947, when they partitioned so-called Palestine. UN Resolution 181 says Jerusalem must never be under control of the Jews. It must be an international city. Theodor Herzl, founder of the Zionist movement—he records in 1904 in his diary. He asked Pope Pius X for help, for support, for the Zionist movement. Pope Pius X said, “We cannot prevent the Jews from returning to Jerusalem. We will never support it!”
And in 1919, Secretary of State Cardinal Gaspari said, “The thing that frightens us the most is the thought of the Jews returning to Jerusalem.” And you know that the UN today, the European Union—this is a big thing right now. Why did the peace talks break down in Camp David recently? Because the argument was over Jerusalem and the holy sites, and the whole world wants to have control of Jerusalem, and they do not want Israel to have authority over Jerusalem! It’s astonishing! And the holiest part of Jerusalem, the Temple Mount, is under the control of the PLO today! You can’t even pray up there. A Christian can’t pray up there. Isn’t that something!
God said . . . (we have a book about that, right out of the prophet Zechariah): “I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling, a burdensome stone around the necks of all the nations of this world.” Who could have foretold that? Twenty-five hundred years ago that prophecy was uttered. Jerusalem had been destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar, it lay in ruins, surrounded by wilderness. Today it’s a little nothing place. Why didn’t God say, “I’ll make Moscow . . . or New York or Paris . . . ”? He said Jerusalem will be the number one problem the world will face. And I think everybody in the world knows—if you don't solve that problem, you’ve got a nuclear holocaust on your hands.
Tom: Mm-hmm. Dave, I want to take our listeners all the way back. I want to go back to Genesis, because there are a lot of prophetic ministries out there. I think an occupational hazard with that is to sort of get into speculation. Well, my favorite aspect of prophecy has to do with the First Coming, and all of the prophecies that predicted the coming of the Messiah, the Christ. Because we could look at that and say, “Here are the prophecies. This is where the prophecies came. Here is where it was fulfilled. And with regard to what’s going to . . . prophecies that haven’t been fulfilled yet, hey! If you’re 100 percent so far, then you can put your confidence that the prophecies that are . . . that have been given . . .”
Dave: But see, the reason I mentioned Jerusalem is because it is an ongoing fulfillment of prophecy today! It has been for many years. What would keep the Temple from being rebuilt? That’s astonishing. The Jews wouldn’t have a sacrificial system, and so forth.
But, anyway, let’s get back to Genesis.
Tom: Well, let’s start with Genesis:3:15. I know we’ve been dealing with Genesis in the latter part of our program. We’ll keep doing that. That has to do with salvation and the gospel. But this is Genesis:3:15, where God declares that there will be conflict down through the ages between those who follow Satan, the one whose deception helped bring about the fall of mankind, and those who would follow the Messiah, the Christ of God. And although Jesus would be bruised by Satan, meaning our Lord’s suffering, leading up to the cross, ultimately His death in payment for the sins of mankind would fully destroy the works of Satan.
Now, this . . . do you know of a prophecy prior to this? This is the solution to the Fall.
Dave: No, this is the “seed of the woman,” also, which is the first promise of the virgin birth, the seed of the woman would bruise the serpent’s head—a deadly wound. The serpent would bruise His heel. And, as you know, you were a Catholic, you remember—and I don’t know whether we’ve talked about it, but Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal appeared to Catherine Laboure in 1830, supposedly, in Paris, with her heel upon the serpent’s head, mint in metal. Millions of Catholics still wear that medal today. I know that some of the older—particularly the older—Catholic Bibles didn’t say “the seed of the woman.” It said the woman would bruise the serpent’s head, which is not true.
Tom: Yeah, they say “she,” instead of . . .
Dave: Right. Right. But that is the first promise of a virgin-born Messiah who would destroy the works of the devil.
Tom: Then, as we go through the Old Testament, we find prophecy after prophecy—not only types . . . examples or types of the Messiah to come, but prophecies very specific. For example, you mentioned the virgin birth, Isaiah:7:14: “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold the virgin shall conceive and bear a son and shall call his name Emmanuel.” And then we have Luke:1:34-35, “Then Mary said to the angel, how can this be, since I do not know a man?” and the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the highest will overshadow you. Therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.”
Dave: Now, Tom, many of the seminaries today don't even believe this —“a virgin birth? Come on!” Part of their problem is they begin with the idea that . . . they approach the Bible with the idea that miracles can’t happen. Wait a minute! Miracles must happen for there to be salvation! I don’t know what god they believe in, but whatever god they believe in can’t do miracles. Yes, a virgin birth is a miracle! A virgin birth is a sign! And He must be virgin-born. Otherwise He would be an ordinary man, and an ordinary man couldn’t pay for the sins of the world. He would have to pay for his own sins, and Isaiah:9:6 very clearly says (and I hope that our Jewish listeners out there, if we have any, will just pay attention here—not to me but to what your prophet Isaiah said): “Unto us a child is born.” Now, that’s the babe born in Bethlehem. “Unto us a Son is given.” That’s the Son of God, the eternal Son of God, who comes and takes this body, becomes this Man. “The government shall be upon His shoulders.” You cannot deny them. This is the Messiah! Because the next verse says, “Of his kingdom and peace there will be no end!” But it says, “His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father!” So there’s a babe that is going to be born in Bethlehem who is the eternal Son, and He is the everlasting Father!
And when Jesus said, “I and my Father are one,” He didn’t mean “one in purpose, intent, meaning, and interests, and so forth,” like the popes teach. “One in essence,” and furthermore, right when we were reading in Isaiah, God says, “I am the only Savior. Beside Me there is no Savior.” Now, the Messiah cannot be the Savior unless He is God himself! So, we have to take what the Bible says, and here is the prophecy that God himself would become a man and pay for the sins of the world. Only He could do it!
Tom: We’ve got about a minute left. I want to quote from Romans. This is Romans:1:1-3: “Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God, which He promised before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures concerning His Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, who was born of the seed of David, according to the flesh.”
Dave: “Declared to be the Son of God, with power, by the resurrection from the dead.”
Tom: This is what, again, I shouldn’t use the phrase, “this is the big enchilada,” but prophecy is so important! It demonstrates so clearly the Book, the Bible, is supernatural. God is speaking to us!
Dave: And, Tom, this is why I can say with Paul, “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ.” Because this . . . we didn’t make this up. Paul didn’t make it up. He said, “This is the gospel of God that He promised by His prophets.” We can go there. We can prove that this is the truth, because the prophets foretold it. The gospel, the very gospel that we preach, they foretold. Praise God. That gives you confidence!