Gary: Welcome to Search the Scriptures 24/7, a radio ministry of The Berean Call. I’m Gary Carmichael. Thanks for tuning in. In today’s program, we continue a series of classics from our Search the Scriptures Daily archives with the late founder of The Berean Call Dave Hunt and TBC executive director Tom McMahon. This week they address the question: Why Is Prophecy a More Sure Word? And now, here’s Tom.
Tom: Thanks, Gary. You’re listening to Search the Scriptures Daily, a program in which we encourage everyone who desires to know God’s truth to look to God’s Word for all that is essential for salvation and living one’s life in a way that is pleasing to Him. In this first segment of our program, we’ve been going through Dave Hunt’s book Seeking and Finding God, subtitled: In Search of the True Faith. Now, it’s a small book; it’s about 150 pages, and Dave, we haven’t done this for a while but I think it might be informative for many in our audience who missed it or haven’t been following the program very long. Would you give them the reason why you wrote Seeking and Finding God?
Dave: Well, Tom, the main reason would be because I meet so many people, mainly on airplanes, often in cabs and what not, back and forth from the airport. I find many of them the Lord brings on my path are thinking, and they are eager to understand why are they here? What is this life all about? and what happens when it ends? And we know it ends for everybody. I have the opportunity to talk to them, and those that I find are really interested - interested enough to say "Yeah" (I don’t carry this with me) — to say, "Yeah, Seeking and Finding God? That sounds like a book I’d like to read." Then I get their name and address, and I send it to them.
In other words, Tom, it’s a kind of a follow-up to take a person to the next step if they are really interested. You can lead a horse to water, as the old saying goes, [but] you can’t make them drink. We can’t force someone to believe anything. But the Lord is working in many hearts, and this book has been helpful to many.
Tom: Well, I know, Dave, without a doubt it’s one of our most popular books, and it’s unique because it’s only 150 pages, Dave. That’s unique with regard to the books that you write. Last week, as you remember, we focused on prophecy as absolutely irrefutable proof that the Bible is not a concoction of man, but rather it is, as it claims to be, the words of the Creator of the universe, His specific communication to mankind. We know His creation speaks about His general - well, about His qualities, some of His attributes, but not specific knowledge about who He is, His plan for man, the state of our heart, things that we can’t come to know or really understand without His input.
Dave: Tom, there are many arguments you could use…many people are arguing, “Does God exist? Does He not exist? Is the Bible His Word?” They can tell you that not all of the manuscripts are accurate and the gospels were not written until centuries afterwards – that’s all baloney, and we can give them factual proof about that. But they just generally brush it off. I’ve mentioned this before: even when you read the creationists’ writings, listen to their talks, they are arguing back and forth with the evolutionists, the atheists, from science. They don’t get anywhere: “Well, this is my science, yeah, that’s your science, that’s your interpretation,” and so forth.
Now when we come to prophecy, you cannot argue, and I challenge anyone - there might be some obscure prophecies that you wouldn’t understand. Okay, forget it, we don’t need those. It takes some deeper insight into the Scriptures to understand that, but there are some that are so plain, no one can deny them.
Tom: Right, and history supports it; certainly the Scriptures – we have the prophecy given and then in some cases, 4,000 years later – last week we talked about Genesis:3:15 (we’re going to go back to that in a minute), but let me give you some Scriptures that really make the claim. Let’s go to 2 Peter:1:19-21: “We have also a more sure word of prophecy…”
Dave: Let me interrupt that, Tom.
Tom: Oh, sure, go ahead.
Dave: Does that mean, “Oh, we’ve got some prophecies that are more sure than others?” No, prophecy is the more sure Word.
Tom: Well, Peter is writing this, and he’s relating it to his experience on the Mount of Transfiguration. Now, so he goes through this incredible experience, but then he says, “Wait a minute! We have also a more sure word of prophecy, where unto ye do well that we take heed.” In other words, he’s pointing to the Word as opposed to his experience, although his experience is a matter of Scripture.
Dave: Let me give an example. John the Baptist is a perfect example. He was filled with the Holy Ghost, it says, from his mother’s womb. He was given signs, “He who sent me to baptize with water said, Upon whom you see the Spirit descending like a dove, the same is He; and I saw and bear witness this is the Son of God.” He had many other witnesses that he knew in his heart, “This is the Son of God!” He had proof like nobody else could want, and yet he was imprisoned; he sent two of his disciples to Jesus (this is in Luke 7), he’s asked them to ask Jesus, “Art thou He that should come, or look we for another?” So even…what Peter is saying, “Look, you want to match experiences with me? I mean, we were on the Mount, we heard God speak with an audible voice, we saw Jesus transformed before us like He would be after the resurrection! Here comes Moses and Elijah talking with Him! You want to try to match that?” But there is something more sure, because people could say, you’re hallucinating, you know, it was a mistake…”
Tom: “…something you had for dinner the night before.”
Dave: Right, but you cannot argue with prophecy! That’s the point we’re trying to make here, Tom.
Tom: Yeah, continue the verse: 2 Peter:1:19-21: “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts.” Verse 20:“Knowing this first: that no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”
Tom: Amen. And, of course, we all know – hopefully, most of our viewers, listeners, know 2 Timothy:3:16: “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God.” It’s God-breathed.
Dave: I can just hear the atheists – I could hear Christopher Hitchins, for example. He attacks the Bible: “Oh it was written centuries later…”, so forth and so on. I mean, I can give you one that he attacks: “This occurred that it might be fulfilled, which was written in the prophets, “I have called my Son out of Egypt.” Well, Matthew tells you when Jesus was brought back as a baby. “Well, but wait a minute – I mean, that’s not…there’s some other translations,” and so forth.
Okay, I will tell you, Tom, I have read their stuff, and I have never heard them attack – maybe we mentioned this last week; it wouldn’t hurt to mention it again. Our members ought to remember it and use it themselves. You can’t argue with Jeremiah:23:7! God says (this is in Jeremiah’s days), “The day is coming when they will no longer say, Blessed by the Lord who brought His people out of Egypt, but blessed be the Lord who brought His people back from all the nations whither He had scattered them.” Now they hadn’t even been scattered when Jeremiah wrote that! They certainly hadn’t been brought back. Nobody could say, “Oh, this was written after the fact.” Too much historical evidence when Jeremiah was written. Okay, now explain that one, Christopher Hitchins! I don’t find these things in his books because you can’t argue with this. This is not some obscure event, this is not some iffy fulfillment of a prophecy. And there are some that are more difficult to understand.
Dave: But some are so plain, no one can argue with this.
Tom: And Dave, we’re not talking about a handful of prophecies. As you mentioned last week, 28 percent of the Bible has to do with prophecy – that is, declaring future events in specific details. Now the time span – I sort of alluded to it before – well, it can vary from thousands of years to hundreds of years previous to the fulfillment. Last week we mentioned Genesis:3:15 – I want to go to that later, but let me give some more verses with regard to God himself declaring how important this is: Isaiah:46:9-10, it says: “I am God, and there is no other. I am God, and there is none like , declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things that are not yet done saying, My counsel shall stand and I will do all my pleasure.” And, of course, we have His challenge to those who, at the time, were turning to idols. Isaiah:41:22-23, it says, “Let them (that is, the idols of the nations) 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; or declare us things for to come. Show the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know that ye are gods: yea, do good, or do evil, that we may be dismayed, and behold it together.”
Obviously, these are dumb idols. Even though, Dave, I find it really interesting that Satan, God’s adversary in this, through things like mediums and fortune telling and all of that, there definitely has been down through history an attempt to undermine the God of prophecy.
Dave: Well, let me explain Satan’s prophetic abilities. He cannot prophesy anything that he doesn’t cause to happen. For example, Sirhan B. Sirhan – the police were astonished: in his room, and in his private , they found, “RFK must die!” and it gave the date! This was automatic writing! How did it occur? Well, Sirhan B. Sirhan did the deed himself.
And I knew some of these guys. For example, Rosie Greer – I mean, huge professional football player – and Rayford Johnson was with him.
Tom: Decathlon champion.
Dave: Right, and they said this guy had a glazed look in his eye. They couldn’t handle him! They needed help to handle this little guy because he was obviously demon possessed. He was fulfilling…
Tom: Right, like the demoniac who was chained and broke his chains.
Dave: Right, and he was fulfilling the prophecy that Satan gave through him.
So, Satan can give you prophecy like that, and then he causes it to be fulfilled.
Tom: And Dave, also he has a knowledge of things. I mean, he has his minions running to and fro and so on. I’ll give you one other example: I grew up in Southern Ohio, and there was an incredible bridge collapse that some of the psychics had predicted. And you say, “Well, how could that happen? They surely must know the future.” Well, when they analyze what happened, the main stays of the bridge were just lower than where the cars would travel past. And, of course, in Southern Ohio they used rock salt to break up the ice. Well, for years they discovered that this rock salt had been spilling over onto these cables and the cables deteriorated That’s what caused the bridge [to collapse]. Now, could Satan figure that out? Could his minions understand that? Now that’s on the one hand…
Dave: Of course they could.
Tom: Yeah, but they don’t know when.
Dave: They are observing.
Tom: Right, but here’s the point…
Dave: Well, they can watch it and see it’s about ready to go.
Tom: Right. Now, let’s talk about accuracy. Dave, for all of these prophecies, there are more than 300 dealing with the coming of the Messiah and things that Jesus fulfilled, now what if one of them is wrong? I mean, these guys, what’s the average for the psychics, okay?
Dave: They hardly get anything right.
Tom: Yeah, right, every once in a while they do, and people get excited about it. But suppose one prophecy is wrong, one biblical prophecy, what would that mean?
Dave: It would mean that all of them are wrong. It’s not from God.
Tom: Exactly. Let me quote Deuteronomy:18:22, it says: “When a prophet speaketh in the name of the Lord, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.” In other words there are false prophets out there, obviously. So accuracy is the key isn’t it?
Dave: Well, that’s one of the keys, but they can, as you were mentioning, make true prophecies. But the Scripture says in Deuteronomy 13, I think it is, if he gives a sign and it comes to pass, but he leads you astray after other gods, this is another sign of a false prophet. And these people follow other gods.
Tom: Right. And, Dave, here’s a really good quote from a Bible scholar Dr. A.T. Pearson. He says: “Predictive prophecy is the foremost proof to which the Word of God appeals on its own behalf.”
Tom: “It was the standing miracle by which God challenged faith in His inspired Word, defying all the worshipers of other gods and their sages and seers to produce any such proofs that their gods were worthy of worship, or their prophets true representatives of a divine religion.”
Dave: Amen. This is the proof God gives. He says I’ll tell you what’s going to happen before it happens. No one else can do it.
Tom: Dave, along this line, we mentioned earlier before we started the program, you know, again, prophecy – somebody could just say, “Well, it just kind of happened by chance, you know. It was like a good guess here or a good guess there, and so on. Now, Peter Stoner – this was back in the 60s – in Science Speaks (this is a Moody Press book), he says: “Applying probability to eight prophecies, we quote (I’m quoting him), “We find that the chance that any man might have lived down to the present time and fulfilled all eight prophecies is one in 10 to the 17thth power, or 1 followed by 17 zeros.”
Now he uses an example, an illustration of that. He says, “If we take 10 to the 17thth power silver dollars and lay them on the face of Texas, it would cover all the state two feet deep. Okay? Now, if you would mark one of the silver dollars and stir the whole mass thoroughly over the state, and then [take] a blind-folded man and tell them to go as he can, travel wherever he wishes, but he must pick up one silver dollar and say that this is the right one.
“Well, what chance would he have of getting the right one? Just the same chance that the prophets would have had of writing these eight prophecies and having them all come true in any one man. Stoner says that the probability for forty-eight prophecies being fulfilled coincidentally by any one man would be 1 in 10 to the 157thh power.
Now, Dave, he points out that the estimated number of electrons in the universe is around 10 to the 79thh power. So, I mean, you can’t even go there with – well, it could have happened by chance, and maybe there was…
Dave: Well, let’s put it like this, Tom. I like to do it this way. Now he says electron, doesn’t he?
Tom: Yeah, electrons in the universe – there’s around 10 to the 79thh power.
Dave: Right. I thought it was 10 to the 80th, but anyway…
Tom: Close enough, Dave.
Dave: Yeah, okay. So let’s say, Tom, we are zooming through the universe at hyper-speed and I reach out and I got an electron that has your initials on it: T.A.M! Wow! So, that’s one chance in 1 with – I’ll have to stick to my statistics.
Dave: One chance in 1 with 80 zeros after it. All right, well, let’s make – out of every electron, we’ll make another universe. Now we’re zooming through all of these universes! What are the odds that you will reach out and by chance pick out the same electron? Well, the math kids out there know that when you multiply, you add integers, and an integer is a 10ththth up there, or whatever the power is. So, it would be 1 to the 160th power. It would be one chance in 1 with 160 zeros after it. Now that’s not going to happen.
Tom: Well, Dave, just before you – let me just underscore something here. We went from eight prophecies to forty-eight prophecies, but there are more than 300 prophecies related to, well, that Jesus fulfilled. Now, the question is – or, not the question is, but the point I’m trying to make here, and (you help me with this) – when does science throw in the towel and say, “Hey, this is beyond chance, I mean, there’s no way this could possibly happen”? It’s not something with 157 zeros, it’s not something with 80 zeros. When do they throw the towel in and say this couldn’t happen by chance?
Dave: The atheist will not throw in the towel.
Dave: Yeah, unless the Lord speaks to their hearts.
Tom: Right. Well, Dave, I know that, and there are going to be those who dig their heels in and so on. But I’m talking about a reasonable scientist. What number would they say “This could not possibly happen; the possibility is zero?”
Dave: Well, let me give you an example, Tom.
Dave: We know the law of biogenesis: Life only comes from life, okay?
Tom: There’s never been an example where it happened otherwise.
Dave: Well, Pasteur proved that, that’s why we pasteurize milk. That has been a law accepted by science, and here is George Wald, Nobel prize winner, Harvard University professor, and he says, “Well, we know that life only comes from life, and we know spontaneous generation couldn’t happen; it’s impossible. But if you don’t accept that, the only other alternative is a creative act by God, and we will not believe in God! So, well, here we are, I guess, by spontaneous generation.” You can’t deal with this! They are not rational, they are not reasonable, because they have already… “Don’t confuse me with facts, Tom. My mind is made up – this is what they are saying.
Tom: Dave, a number of years ago I was at JPL Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and I was talking to the number-two guy at the Royal Planetary Society, which was Carl Sagan’s organization, and I asked him: “You know, we’re got a search for extraterrestrials and all this stuff that you are involved in. What would be the basis for it?”
He said, “Well, there are, you know (as Carl Sagan says), billions and billions and billions of stars,” so the probability of there being life on another planet was really great in his mind. Now, you know, I was afraid to ask him the next question because I would have been thrown out of there. “Well, what’s the probability of life being formed by chance?” Zero. Absolute zero!
Dave: What is life? They don’t know.
Tom: Dave, again, we’ll close this with the point that Jesus fulfilled more than 300 Messianic prophecies right down to the letter, perfect in every way, and the prophecies that are to come – and we already had 1948, the restoration of Israel, the rebirth of Israel, and so on. But if it’s 100 percent accurate up to this point, you can put your faith in that all the other prophecies will be fulfilled.
Dave: And you had better believe what else it says about the judgment to come: “It’s appointed unto man once to die, and after this the judgment.”
Gary: You’ve been listening to a special edition of Search the Scriptures 24/7 with Dave Hunt and T.A. McMahon, a radio ministry of The Berean Call. The complete radio discussion of Dave’s Seeking and Finding God is available from The Berean Call. We offer a wide variety of resources to help you in your study of God’s Word. For a complete list of materials and a free subscription to our monthly newsletter, contact us at PO Box 7019 Bend, Oregon 97708. Call us at 800-937-6638, or visit our website at thebereancall.org. I’m Gary Carmichael. Thanks for joining us, and we hope you can be here again next week. Until then, we encourage you to Search the Scriptures 24/7.