by Jeffrey W. Hamilton
Text: Deuteronomy 18:18-22
I. Throughout history there have been people claiming to know what others do not
A. They claim to know mind of God and the future
B. If you hint at questioning the truth of their claim, they get upset.
C. Yet, Moses told Israel that prophets were to be tested - Deuteronomy 18:20-22
D. John told Christian to put people to the test as well - I John 4:1
1. Just because a person makes a claim, it doesn’t mean it is true.
a. The person could be lying
b. The person could be self-deceived
E. God never expected people to just accept claims without proof - Isaiah 41:21-24
1. To be able to tell the future or the past accurately is a mark of God - Isaiah 43:9-13
2. No one else can do it - Isaiah 45:20-22
F. You will find people, who claim to be prophets, avoid the test
1. They will make statements so vague that just about anything could match
a. An example is the false prophets in I Kings 22:6
(1) The statement is vague.
(2) What will be delivered? The city? The Syrian army? The Israelite army?
(3) Into whose hands? Syria’s, Israel’s, or some other nation’s king?
b. Whatever happens in this battle, the false prophets are covered
2. They will make statements so far into the future that everyone is dead before you figure out that the person lying.
3. Or they are about events so close to the present that anyone could guess which way things were going.
II. The prophecies of Isaiah
A. Prophecies fulfilled during Isaiah’s life
1. Judah would be delivered from Syria and Israel - Isaiah 7:4-8
a. Pekah (II Kings 15:25) had a plan to put a puppet king on the throne in Jerusalem during the days of Ahaz.
b. God not only told Ahaz about the plot, but that it would not work and that in 65 years neither Israel or Syria would be around
2. Syria and Israel would be taken captive by Assyria - Isaiah 8:4
3. Assyria would invade Judah - Isaiah 8:7-8
4. Philistia would be destroyed by a nation to the north - Isaiah 14:28-31
5. Egypt and Ethiopia would be conquered by Assyria - Isaiah 20:4-6
a. These are two of the mightiest and oldest of the nations in the world
b. The thought of them falling would be almost unthinkable
6. Arabia would fall within a year - Isaiah 21:13-17
7. Hezekiah would live 15 more years - Isaiah 38:5
B. Notice that specific times and places are mentioned.
1. These events all happened with Isaiah lived. His reputation was on the line.
2. Some were short, within a year, some were longer
3. Some were about things unthinkable (the fall of Egypt), and some were about things unknowable (when Hezekiah would die).
C. Prophecies fulfilled after Isaiah’s life
1. The Babylonian captivity - Isaiah 39:5-7
2. Tyre would be destroyed and restored 70 years later - Isaiah 23:13-17
3. The Medes would destroy Babylon thoroughly - Isaiah 13:17-22
4. The conqueror would be named Cyrus and not be a follower of God - Isaiah 45:1-4
5. That Cyrus would order Jerusalem and the temple to be rebuilt - Isaiah 44:28
6. Cyrus would also release the captives - Isaiah 45:13
7. That Israel’s religion would be practiced in Egypt - Isaiah 19:18-21
a. A city was founded in Egypt called Alexandria that attracted many Jews.
b. The Septuagint translation was done there
c. A temple, modeled after the one in Jerusalem was built in Heliopolis in 149 B.C.
D. Again we notice specific places, times, and even names of people told hundreds of years in advance
1. Imagine naming what nation will destroy the United States and then naming the nation that will destroy that nation and even naming the ruler of that second destroying nation!
2. Imagine naming a superpower in trading, say Hong Kong or Singapore, saying that it would be completely wiped out, desolate, and then rebuilt seventy years later.
E. Prophecies about the Messiah
1. The prophet who would prepare the way - Isaiah 40:3-5
2. His virgin birth - Isaiah 7:14
3. His work in Galilee- Isaiah 9:1-2
4. His deity - Isaiah 9:6-7
5. His suffering and death - Isaiah 53
6. His rule would include the Gentiles - Isaiah 2:2-3; 42:6-7; 49:6; 60:3-5
7. His people called by a new name - Isaiah 62:2
F. We know Isaiah was written long before Jesus’ time. We have copies that date to 200 B.C.
1. Yet, the details are fulfilled accurately
2. It predicts things that the Jews would not accept – the saving of the Gentiles.
III. Periodically, someone will ask, “How can you know the Bible is from God?”
A. The book of Isaiah is evidence. It contains proof like no other.
B. In contrast, modern-day prophets are a sham