The Difficulty of
Making Accurate Predictions
An Evidence of the Divine Inspiration of the Scriptures
I. The Total Accuracy of God’s Predictions
God knows the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10). He has a complete knowledge of all future events. We would expect, therefore, that all of God’s predictions would be totally accurate and would come to pass exactly as predicted.
Here are just a few examples of God’s predictions and their precise fulfillment:
1) God predicted that the temple in Jerusalem would be totally destroyed (Matthew 24:2). About 40 years later this was literally fulfilled as the Romans destroyed the temple under Titus.
2) God predicted to Abraham that his descendants would be slaves in a foreign land for 400 years (Genesis 15:13). Several generations later, following the death of Joseph, this was literally fulfilled (Exodus 1).
3) God through Daniel predicted the coming world empires of Persia, Greece and Rome (Daniel 2, Daniel 7, etc.) with such accuracy that unbelieving scholars have insisted that the book of Daniel must have been written at a much later time because no one living in Daniel’s day could have known about these future kingdoms!
4) In 1 Kings 13:2 God predicted that a man would be born in the line of David by the name of Josiah. The book of 1 Kings was written three centuries before Josiah’s birth!
5) In Isaiah 44:28 and 45:1 God predicted that a future Persian king would come on the scene by the name of Cyrus. Yet Isaiah wrote this more than 100 years before Cyrus was even born! This is one reason why unbelieving Bible scholars insist that Isaiah could not have written these chapters, because no one in Isaiah’s day could have known about this future ruler. But God knows!
Countless other examples of fulfilled prophecy could be given, including all of the prophecies about the Lord Jesus Christ’s first coming which were literally fulfilled. For example, Micah, writing 700 years before His birth, predicted that God’s King would be born in an insignificant town called Bethlehem (Micah 5:2)! This would be analogous to a man living 200 years before Columbus predicting what town President Bush would be born in!
The Argument: The Scriptures contain predictions of future events uttered long before they transpired, events that no mere human sagacity or foresight could have anticipated. These predictions are so detailed, minute and specific as to exclude the possibility that they were mere guesses. The only sane explanation for them is that the predictions came from God who knows all future events and who is never wrong in His predictions.
[Note: The test of a false prophet was very simple. If his prediction did not come to pass then he did not speak for God and he was to be put to death–see Deuteronomy 18:20-22].
II. The Obvious Inaccuracy of Man’ Predictions
How accurate is man at predicting the future? We’re going to take one test case to demonstrate how men, unaided by God, have no real clue as to what the future holds.
In 1970 (over 30 years ago) a believer in Christ named Salem Kirban wrote a book called I Predict. On the front cover of the book it said, “The next 10 years will witness what may now appear to be UNBELIEVABLE events–but they are events, nevertheless, that will occur.” The author then offers numerous predictions about what he thought would occur in the near future (in the next ten years or so).
Before giving some examples of his predictions, the following needs to be understood: 1) Salem Kirban was not some wild psychic or crystal ball gazer. He did not claim to be a prophet, nor a seer, nor to have any special message. 2) He was a serious student of prophecy who understood the Bible correctly (he was premillennial and pretribulational, etc.). 3) He was a student of current events who sifted through thousands upon thousands of newspaper and magazine articles so that he might understand what was going on in the world. 4) He recognized and stated clearly that his predictions were not like Bible predictions and were not inspired by God. He said that his predictions were “based on human judgment and may or may not come true.”
With these things in mind, let us consider some of his predictions. Keep in mind that these were made in 1970, with a view towards what he thought would happen in the next ten years (which would have been from around 1970 to1980 or thereabouts):
1. Because of pollution people will carry oxygen rejuvenation kits in their purse and pockets.
2. About 10,000 people will die in one metropolitan area of the United States, which will be
inundated by a cloud of pollution.
3. Sea levels will rise at least 4 feet.
4. The frenzy whipped up by rock music and drugs will trigger a mob of ½ million or more
young people that will threaten to overcome the present form of government.
5. The work week will be reduced to 4 days. . .then 3 days a week.
6. The present interest rate of 8.5% will zoom to a new high of 12%.
7. The penny will be discontinued.
8. Marijuana will be legalized by the government.
9. The Capitol of the United States will move from Washington D.C.
10. The guillotine will be introduced in America in an effort to scare criminals.
11. New York City will be laid waste by an earthquake or hurricane. Over one million will die.
12. Major cities on the East and West coast will suffer several power blackouts. They will last for
13. The Aswan Dam will cause the Mediterranean to flood a significant part of Egypt.
14. The amount of sunlight reaching earth will be reduced by one half.
15. The singing of Christmas carols will not be permitted.
16. Food rationing will be instituted in the United States.
17. Fresh fruits and vegetables will all but disappear.
18. The Mosque of Omar will be destroyed in an Arab-Israeli conflict.
19. The U.S. government will control all medical facilities.
20. A head transplant will be undertaken successfully on a well-known personality.
21. Automobiles will be banned in the cities.
22. Missionaries will be banned from all of Africa.
23. Queen Elizabeth will step down from her throne.
24. The U.S. space team will land on Mars.
It should be noted that some of Kirban’s predictions did come to pass. One example: “China will develop complete nuclear capability, including a modern delivery system.” [Due to some national security breakdowns, this technology was tragically transferred to China during the Clinton years.]
The Argument: Salem Kirban, a student of prophecy and a student of current events, tried to predict what the world would be like in ten years. Thirty years later we are now able to look back on these predictions and clearly see that most of his predictions were totally inaccurate. This serves to illustrate the fact that man, by himself, is totally unable to predict future events.
The Conclusion: The Bible predicts events not just ten years but hundreds of years before their fulfillment and the fulfillment is precise and accurate. Since man, unaided by God, has no clue to the future, we must conclude that the Bible writers were inspired by God (2 Timothy 3:16 and 2 Peter 1:21).
A Note of Interest: Bible believing students of prophecy of the early 20th century predicted that there would be a nation of Israel. [For documentation, see articles in Our Hope magazine from 1909-1912, Arno Gaebelein editor]. They said this in a day when the nation Israel was non-existent and there were no indications that statehood would become a reality. But they made this prediction based on the Scriptures, and it came to pass. When we make predictions based on the clear statements of the Bible we are safe. When we go beyond what the Bible says, it is mere human speculation and time will, in most cases, prove us wrong.