Fulfilled Messianic prophecies form the main core of Biblical fulfillments. Yet there are numerous other fulfilled prophecies. They relate to cities, nations, international confederations, end-time discoveries, and trends. Events have consistently confirmed these fulfillments. Here are a few examples out of many.
1. TYRE and its fulfilled prophecies
The modern city is on the coast of Lebanon, but it was originally populated by Phoenicians, a famed maritime people whose king supplied timbers (from “the cedars of Lebanon”) to Solomon to build the first Temple. It was besieged by Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, and fell in 573 BC. However, the inhabitants moved everything of value to an island about one-half-mile off the coast. This part of Tyre continued until it fell to Alexander the Great about 332 BC, when he built a bridge over the causeway between the mainland and island by filling it with debris from ruins (see attached diagram). In Ezekiel 26:3-16; 28:1-9, written about 590 BC, we read: “Therefore thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I am against thee, O Tyrus, and will cause many nations to come up against thee, as the sea causeth his waves to come up. And they shall destroy the walls of Tyrus, and break down her towers. I will also scrape her dust from her, and make her like the top of a rock. It shall be a place for the spreading of nets…. For thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will bring upon Tyrus Nebuchadnezzar King of Babylon… and they shall lay thy stones and thy timber and thy dust in the midst of the water…. And I will make thee like the top of a rock; thou shalt be a place to spread nets upon; thou shalt be built no more, for I the Lord have spoken it, saith the Lord God…. Then all the princes of the sea shall come down from their thrones, and lay away their robes, and put off their broidered garments; they shall clothe themselves with trembling.”
The old city is now on a site, flat as the top of the rock, used as a popular place for fishermen spreading their nets. See attached diagram.
This prophecy predicts the destruction of Tyre and states seven definite things which shall take place:
1. Nebuchadnezzar shall take the city of Tyre.
2. Other nations are to participate in the fulfillment of the prophecy.
3. The city is to be made flat like the top of a rock.
4. It is to become a place for spreading of nets.
5. Its stones and timber are to be laid in the sea.
6. Other cities are to fear greatly at the fall of Tyre.
7. The old city of Tyre shall never be rebuilt.
Today visitors at the old city of Tyre find it is a very popular place for fishermen; they are spreading their nets on this very spot. Thus prediction 4 has been completely fulfilled: It is to become a place for spreading of nets. All other portions of Ezekiel’s prophecy concerning Tyre have also been completely fulfilled at every point.
2. SAMARIA and its fulfilled prophecies
1. Seat of idolatry (Isa. 4:4; Jer. 23:13-14; Ezek. 16:46-55; Amos 6:1, Micah 1:36)
2. Besieged (I Kings 20:1; II Kings 6:24-7:20)
3. Excavated by Harvard team 1908-1910, 1930-31, and Hebrew Unni 1935 by Kenyon Crawford and Sukenik.
4. Also discovered: Samaritan astraca dating to 8th cent. BCE. Names of women found in Bible, containing Yahu as element, plagues, and “ivories.”
“Therefore I will make Samaria as a heap of the field, and as plantings of a vineyard: and I will pour down the stones thereof into the valley, and I will discover the foundations thereof” (Micah 1:6 – written 750 BC).
This prophecy makes the following five predictions:
1. Samaria shall be destroyed.
2. It shall become as a heap of the field
3. Vineyards are to occupy its site.
4. Its stones shall be poured down the sides of the hill on which it stands.
5. Its foundation is to be dug up.
Samaria was still a prominent city 750 years later, in the time of Christ, and is often mentioned in the New Testament. The old city was finally destroyed and became a heap of stones and ruins. Gradually the hill has been cleared; the foundation stones and other rubbish taken to the edge of the hill and rolled down into the valley. It is now covered with gardens and vineyards.
Consider the following:
1. What chance had Micah of predicting the destruction of the great walled city of Samaria, which was greatly protected by its position on a
hill? The estimate was set at one in four.
2. What was the chance that it should then lie as a heap of the field, instead of being rebuilt? Many ancient cities are still just heaps of the
field, many others have been rebuilt, so the estimate was given as five in one.
3. What chance was there that it should become a garden spot, a place for vineyards? What is the chance that the old site of Samaria should be cleared for gardens when much untilled land lay all around? The estimate is set at one in one hundred.
4. What is the chance that the stones would be rolled down the side of the hill when the ground was cleared, instead of being piled in stacks on the hill, or used for other buildings? Estimate is one in ten.
5. What is the chance that while clearing the ground for the gardens, the workers would be industrious enough to dig down and remove the foundation stones, as well as the surface debris? The estimate is placed at one in two.
If Micah had considered the city of Samaria and made these five predictions regarding it in human wisdom, his chance of having them come true would thus be about 1 in 4 x 5 x 100 x 10 x 2. This is 1 in 40,000 x 104.
3. GAZA AND ASHKELON and their fulfilled prophecies
Gaza – Hebrew name is Azzah (Deut. 2:23, I. Kings 4:14, Jer. 25:20); capital of Philistines. Modern Gaza (Ghuzzeh) is the administrative center of the Gaza strip today, filled with refugees (cf Judges 16:1-3). Ashkelon – one of the five principle cities of Philistines, north of Gaza (Judges 14:1, Zeph. 2:4 and Zech. 9:5). Its foretold destruction is mentioned by David in lament over Jonathan (II Sam. 1:20). Birthplace of Herod the Great.
“And the remnant of the Philistines shall perish, saith the Lord God” (Amos 1:8 – written 787 BC).
“Baldness is come upon Gaza” (Jer. 47:5 – written 600 BC).
These prophecies predict four things:
1. The Philistines shall perish.
2. Gaza shall become bald.
3. Ashkelon shall become desolate.
4. The vicinity of Ashkelon shall become the dwelling place of shepherds with their sheep.
When these prophecies were made, the Philistines were the most powerful race in this country. Palestine means the land of the Philistines, but the Philistines have completely vanished.
A city of Gaza still exists, so for a long time the prophecy with respect to Gaza was thought to be an error. Finally a careful study was made of the location of Gaza, as described in the Bible, and it was found that the new city of Gaza was in the wrong location. A search was made for the old city and it was found buried under the sand dunes. It had indeed become bald. What better description could you give of a city buried under sand dunes than to say that it had become bald?
Ashkelon was one of the main cities of the ancient Philistines (Judges 14:1; Zeph. 2:4; Zech. 9:5) when the prophecies regarding it were written. It was a prosperous city in the days of Christ. Herod the Great beautifully embellished Ashkelon and established his summer resort there. But in AD 1270, Sultan Bibars destroyed it, and it has never been rebuilt. The seacoast in this vicinity has become the grazing place for many flocks of sheep. It is dotted with shepherds’ huts and sheepfolds.
The human probability of these four prophecies coming true would be 1 in 5 x 100 x 5 x 5 or 1.2 x 104.
4. JERICHO and its fulfilled prophecies
The ancient city is said by some to be “the oldest city of the world,” 20 miles above the Dead Sea. It is first mentioned in Numbers 22:1. The present city sits on and among the ruins of earlier ones. Joshua sent spies to Rahab there (Joshua 2:1-21) and cursed any attempt to rebuild it (6:1-7); but it was rebuilt at a later date. The walls of Jericho fell flat and were destroyed by fire (Joshua 6:24).
Excavations point to the destruction of the city by fire. Bible believers date this to the conquest by Joshua around 1400 BC. Bryant Wood analyzed the Canaanite pottery excavated by various expeditions there to fix this date (B.A.R. April 1990), thus countering the allegations of archaeologist Kathleen Kenyon, dating this to 1550. Other work supporting the 1400 BC date was done by John Garstang ( The Story of Jericho, 1940). Five layers were excavated in the successive rebuildings. The fourth layer (city D, dated 1400 BC) had walls showing evidence of violent destruction with ashes, charred timbers, blackened stones, and bricks consistent with Joshua 6.
5. THE GOLDEN GATE
Then he brought me back the way of the gate of the outward sanctuary which looketh toward the east; and it was shut. Then said the Lord unto me; this gate shall be shut, it shall not be opened; and no man shall enter in by it… therefore it shall be shut. It is for the prince...he shall sit in it to eat bread before the Lord; he shall enter by the way of the porch of that gate, and shall go out by the way of the same (Ezek. 44:1-3 – written 574 BC).
The famous Golden Gate as seen today from outside the ancient walled city of Jerusalem. Underneath are ruins of former Golden Gate to temple.
When this prophecy was written, the road from the KidronValley entered through this gate. It was in use at the time of Christ and is thought to be the gate through which He made His triumphal entry. In AD 1543, when the walls of Jerusalem were restored by Sultan Suleiman, the road to the Golden Gate was no longer in use. The Sultan, seeing no more use for the gate, ordered it closed. Instead of building the wall straight across the place where the gate had been, he restored the gate with its arches and ornaments, and walled up the gate’s openings themselves. Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany, in the early 20th century, planned to take Jerusalem and have the Golden Gate opened for his triumphal entry into the city. Apparently the Kaiser thought he could tamper with prophecy and forcibly violate it. This gate is waiting to be opened for the return of Christ, when it will be reopened and constitute His main entrance to the city. The gate is just beside the site of the present Temple.
What is the probability that this gate should continue to exist to the present time, and that it should be closed? Estimate, one in one thousand.
6. ZION PLOWED
Zion has a wide variety of uses as a word. In world events now, it is used by enemies of Israel to describe the government or the people generally as “Zionists.” It has been used to describe the movement to return Jews to their ancestral home in Israel, then called Palestine (after the extinct Philistines) under the British mandate. This began with Theodore Herzl in Europe.
It is used of David’s city Jerusalem, which he made the capital (I Chron. 11:5, Psalm 2:6, Isaiah 2:3). The outlines may be consulted on any map that supplies the city layout, which varied at different periods. It is used of the millennial, theocratic capital of the end times (Isaiah 1:27; 2:3; 4:1-6; Joel 3:16, Zechariah 1:16-17; 8:3-8, Romans 11:26). Amillennialists spiritualize this to be the Christian church. It is finally used of the HeavenlyCity (Heb. 12:22-24), the eternal city into which the church will go (Rev. 21-22). The above information is taken from Unger’s Bible Dictionary.
The expression that “ Zion will be blessed as a field” (Micah 3:12, written about 750 BC) has a specific prophecy relating to a particular part of Jerusalem.
From the writing of this prophecy to the present time, parts of Jerusalem have often been destroyed and rebuilt, but in 1543, when the walls of Jerusalem were rebuilt by Sultan Suleiman, that part known as Zion, the city of David, was left outside the walls. It was—and large parts of it still are—plowed and in grain and other crops. It is the only part of the old city that has ever been plowed.
What is the chance that this particular part of Jerusalem should revert to agriculture? It was the most desirable part of Jerusalem. Solomon’s palace was here. Estimate one in one hundred.
7. JERUSALEM ENLARGED
Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that the city shall be built to the Lord from the tower of Hananeel unto the gate of the corner. And the measuring line shall yet go forth over against it upon the hill Gareb, and shall compass about to Goath. And the whole valley of the dead bodies, and of the ashes, and all the fields unto the brook of Kidron, unto the corner of the horse gate toward the east, shall be holy unto the Lord; it shall not be plucked up, nor thrown down any more forever (Jer. 31:38-40 – written 600 BC).
The name is derived from the Philistines and is mentioned in Joel 3:4, Ex. 15:14, and Isa. 14:29, 31, the only three Biblical references. The historian Herodatus in the 5th century BC was apparently the first one to use the name although Egyptians called a western Syria by this name. The first occupants were various Canaanite tribes, recorded in Genesis 10:15-19, all ceasing to exist. None were Arabs who now claim it as their own. Arabs descend from Ishmael, and Arabia is only next to Palestine (Isaiah 21:13, Jeremiah 25:24, Ezekiel 27:21). They are called “the Arabians” in Isaiah 13:20). It is not a part of Palestine, nor associated with it. Arabs today have no ancient claims to Palestine as their land or to call themselves ethnically “Palestinians” (as does “the Palestine Liberation Organization” or P.L.O.). The entire land is widely excavated and identified everywhere with Biblical sites. Its future or end-time status is identified with Israel, yet Arabs reject this. The fact remains that the scattered Jewish people returned to their land after 2000 years and reestablished the state of Israel on May 14, 1948, which is now a member of the U.N. and a recognized power in Middle East events.
The prophecy of Lev. 26:31, written in the mid-15th century BC, says:
And I will make your cities waste, and bring your sanctuaries unto desolation…. And I will bring the land into desolation: and your enemies which dwell therein shall be astonished at it. And I will scatter you among the heathen, and will draw out a sword after you: and your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste.
Thus saith the Lord God; In the day that I shall have cleansed you from all your iniquities, I will also cause you to dwell in the cities, and the wastes shall be builded. And the desolate land shall be tilled (Ezek. 36:33-35 – written 587 BC).
These prophecies make seven predictions:
1. The cities of Palestine shall become waste.
2. The sanctuaries shall become desolate.
3. The land shall become desolate.
4. Enemies shall inhabit the land.
5. The Jews shall be scattered.
6. A sword shall go out after the Jews.
7. The Jews shall return to Palestine; the cities shall be rebuilt, and its land shall be tilled.
Let us consider these predictions in detail.
1. This prophecy was made soon after the Lord had led the children of Israel out of Egypt and into the promised land. It did not seem likely that He would again allow the cities to become waste. Estimate, one in ten.
2. The sanctuaries had been kept active all through the wilderness. What is the probability that they shall become desolate with the cities? Estimate, one in two.
3. Visitors to Palestine, before 1900, reported that very little of the land was tilled; the great mass of it was a total desolation. Probability estimate, one in ten.
4. Palestine became the stronghold of the Muslims, the enemies of the Jews; that they occupied the land cannot be doubted. The estimated probability of this condition was given as one in two.
5. Up to the time of the prophecy, the Jews, even in persecution, had always stayed together, whether in Egypt, Palestine, or Sinai. The probability that they would be scattered was estimated one in five.
6. The Jews have been persecuted as no other race on the face of the earth. Their persecution by Hitler, killing at least 6 million of them, is perhaps the cruelest persecution recorded in all history. Estimated probability was one in ten.
7. What is the probability that after being so scattered and persecuted, they would again return and reclaim their country? This reclamation has been accomplished in the last few years. We have all marveled at its speed and the military success of the Jews in retaking Palestine. Estimate, one in ten.
Thus for the fulfillment of the whole prophecy we have a probability of 1 in 2 x 105.
Note Leviticus 26:8: “And five of you shall chase one hundred, and one hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight: and your enemies shall fall before you by the sword.” This prophecy probably was not originally intended to refer to the 1967 six-day war between Israel and the Arabs. However, the prophecy is fulfilled in a very remarkable way by this war. The total population of Egypt, Jordan, and Syria is roughly twenty times the population of Israel, the same ratio as the five to one hundred in the prophecy. And perhaps no army in history has been more completely routed than was the Egyptian army in the Sinai Peninsula, when the soldiers fled on foot, in tanks, and in all types of conveyances, many of which piled up on top of each other trying to get through the mountain passes in their frantic attempted escape from the forces of Israel.
9. MOAB AND AMMON
The Ammonites descended from Lot’s youngest daughter. The Moabites descended from his eldest daughter (Genesis 19:30-38, although related, they were barred from “the assembly of the Lord” for reasons stated in Deut. 23:24).
And say unto the Ammonites…I will deliver thee to the men of the east for a possession, and they shall set their palaces in thee, and make their dwellings in thee: they shall eat thy fruit, and they shall drink thy milk…. Therefore, behold, I will open the side of Moab... unto the men of the east (Ezek. 25:3-10, written 600 BC). This was literally fulfilled and nothing but ruins of the ancient territory remain.
I will bring again the captivity of the children of Ammon, saith the Lord (Jer. 49:6 – written 600 BC).
Three things are predicted in these prophecies:
1. Moab and Ammon shall be taken by men of the east and they shall eat the fruits of the land.
2. The men from the east will build palaces in Ammon.
3. The Moabites and Ammonites will eventually be returned and given their land again.
The Arabs repeatedly raided these countries and took the fruits of the land. Eventually they drove out most of the inhabitants, but did little with the land. Palaces that the Arabs built in Ammon are still in use. The land is again being tilled and cities are growing at rates never before known in this land. “The captivity of Moab” will end in “the latter days” (Jeremiah 48:7, written 600 BC).
The estimates for the probable fulfillment of these items were given as: (1) one in five; (2) one in ten; (3) one in twenty.
The name means “red.” In Roman times it was called “Idumaea.” Herod the Great was an Idumaean. Edomites were descendants of Esau, the brother of Jacob ( Israel) (Gen. 25:22-26). At its base, Edom consists of low, rocky hills with striking colors. It was called “the hill country of Seir” (Gen. 36:8; 32:3). The capital was Petra (Greek word for rock), cut out of solid rock. The earlier capital was Sela (II Kings 14:7).
Jeremiah 49:16-18 says (written about 600 BC), “O thou that dwellest in the clefts of the rock… I will bring thee down from thence, saith the Lord. Also, Edom shall be a desolation: every one that goeth by it shall be astonished, and shall hiss at all the plagues thereof…. No man shall abide there, neither shall a son of man dwell in it.”
The predictions made in this prophecy are:
1. Edom shall be conquered.
2. Edom shall be desolate.
3. Edom shall not be reinhabited.
At the time of the writing of this prophecy, Edom was a very prosperous country. Its soil was considered among the richest in the world. It was on many great trade routes. It remained a prosperous city until long after Christ. It was taken by the Mohammedans in AD 636. From that day to this, it has lain desolate. A National Geographic Society expedition, in traveling through the country, reported that practically no people or animals were found.
The probabilities for the fulfillment of these different items were estimated as follows: (1) one in ten; (2) one in ten; (3) one in one hundred.
This gives a probability for the whole prophecy of 1 in 104.
And Babylon…shall never be inhabited, neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation: neither shall the Arabian pitch tent there; neither shall the shepherds make their fold there. But wild beasts of the desert shall lie there; and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures (Isaiah 13:19-21 – written 712 BC).
And they shall not take of thee a stone for a corner, nor a stone for foundations; but thou shall be desolate forever, saith the Lord…. Neither doth any son of man pass thereby (Jer. 51:26, 43 – written 600 BC).
These prophecies state that:
1. Babylon shall be destroyed.
2. It shall never be reinhabited.
3. The Arabs shall not pitch their tents there.
4. There shall be no sheepfolds there.
5. Wild beasts shall occupy the ruins.
6. The stones shall not be taken away for other buildings.
7. Men shall not pass by the ruins.
Babylon was conquered in 538 BC, having been one of the greatest cities, if not the greatest city of all times. Its walls were 90 feet thick and 300 feet high, with towers rising much higher. The length of the walls was about fourteen miles on each side of the city. A river flowed through the city guaranteeing its water supply. There was enough land within its walls to supply the city with food. It had no fear of a siege. “It shall never be inhabited again” (Isaiah 13:1; Jeremiah 50:24, 39). This is literally fulfilled. The site of ancient Babylon is in modern Iraq.
The probable fulfillment of each item was estimated as follows: (1) one in ten; (2) one in one hundred; (3) one in two hundred; (4) one in five; (5) one in five, (6) one in one hundred, (7) one in ten. This makes a probability for the whole prophecy of 1 in 5 x 109.
Listing the prophecies which we have considered and the probabilities of their fulfillment, we have:
1. Tyre: 1 in 7.5 x 107
2. Samaria: 1 in 4 x 104
3. Gaza and Ashkelon: 1 in 1.2 x 104
4. Jericho: 1 in 2 x 105
5. The Golden Gate: 1 in 103
6. Zion Plowed: 1 in 10
7. Jerusalem Enlarged: 1 in 8 x 1010
8. Palestine: 1 in 2 x 105
9. Moab and Ammon: 1 in 103
10. Edom: 1 in 104
11. Babylon: 1 in 5 x 109
The probability of these eleven prophecies coming true, if written in human wisdom, is now found by multiplying all of these probabilities together, and the result is 1 in 5.76 x 1059.
Relief of Sargon II
Sargon succeeded his brother Shalmaneser V as king of Assyria in 721 BC, and though in his annals he appears to claim that he conquered Samaria at the beginning of his reign, it is more likely that it was Shalmaneser V to whom this conquest is to be credited. His invasion and siege are referred to in 2 Kings 17:5; 18:9, and when the conquest is attributed to the “king of Assyria” in 2 Kings 17:6 and 18:10-11, sometime in 723 or 722 BC, this should be Shalmaneser. When the Assyrians succeeded in conquering a city, they consolidated the position by deporting the principal inhabitants. In the case of Samaria, the “king of Assyria,” probably Shalmaneser V, is said to have deported Israelites to Syria (River Habur), western Iran (Media), and probably north east Mesopotamia (Halahhu) (2 Kings 17:6).
Sargon’s apparent reference in his annals to the conquest of Samaria may refer to a campaign which he conducted to the west in 720 BC. He claims that he deported 27,280 Israelites to Assyria, and brought in people from other conquered territories to replace them. The Old Testament states that these new settlers, who included some from Cuthah in Babylonia, set up images of their own gods (2 Kings 17:30-31). These were the ancestors of the Samaritans of the New Testament, people held in contempt by the Jews, whose foreign origins are reflected for instance in the reference to them by Josephus as Khouthaioi, “Cuthaeans” ( Antiquities of the Jews. XI.88).
Sargon is mentioned only once in the Old Testament, in Isaiah 20:1, where he is said to have sent Tartan (see document 29) to attack Ashdod, an event which took place in 711 BC.
One of the great literary compositions of ancient Mesopotamia was the Epic of Gilgamesh, mainly known from copies of the seventh century BC found at Nineveh. The main theme is the search by the hero Gilgamesh for immortality. The author or authors of the basic version, who may have lived sometime in the eighteenth or seventeenth century BC, made use of existing literary material which he or they knitted together into a unified composition. The epic occupies eleven tables (a twelfth in the Assyrian version is clearly a later addition). The eleventh tablet contains the story told to Gilgamesh by Utnapishtim, a hero living in a distant land, of how he gained immortality. He narrates how the gods became angry at the nuisance caused on the earth by men and decided to destroy them with a flood. Utnapishtim was specially favoured by the god Ea, who warned him to build a ship and to bring into it all his family, his treasures, and living creatures of every kind. He does this and so escapes a prodigious storm leading to a flood, which destroys all the rest of mankind. The storm ends on the seventh day, and on the twelfth day land emerges from the waters. In due course the boat comes to rest on MountNisir (in Kurdistan) and Utnapishtim sends out in turn a dove, a swallow, and a raven, only the raven not returning. Finally Utnapishtim emerges from the boat, and offers a sacrifice to the gods.
This version, which made a tremendous stir in Victorian England when George Smith announced its discovery in 1872, supplies details about the resting place of the boat and the episode of the birds, which are missing in the Atrahasis Epic (Document 3). It is likely, however, that the author made use of the Atrahasis Epic in compiling his work and these elements probably formed part of the damaged third tablet of that composition.