The Apologetics of Prophecy-These historical events can be verified OUTISDE, repeat OUTSIDE THE BIBLE. That is the point of a prophecy.
A full undertaking of this issue can be read here: http://www.blueletterbible.org/commentaries/comm_view.cfm?AuthorID=16&contentID=4546&commInfo=20&topic=The%20Fundamentals
, yet I would like to draw the readers' attention to four prophetic fulfillments from the most horrifying Book in the Bible for atheists: The Book of Daniel:
1. Daniel’s prophecy of the coming world powers in the interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream is an exact description of the centuries following his prophecy. Daniel 2: 31 “You, O king, were looking and behold, there was a single great statue; that statue, which was large and of extraordinary splendor, was standing in front of you, and its appearance was awesome. 32 [First Division] The head of that statue was made of fine gold, [Second Division] its breast and its arms of silver, [Third Division] its belly and its thighs of bronze, 33 [Fourth Division] its legs of iron, [Fifth Division] its feet partly of iron and partly of clay. 34 You continued looking until a stone was cut out without hands, and it struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and crushed them. 35 Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were crushed all at the same time and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away so that not a trace of them was found. But the stone that struck the statue became a great mountain and filled the whole earth. 36 “This was the dream; now we will tell its interpretation before the king. 37 You, O king, are the king of kings, to whom the God of heaven has given the kingdom, the power, the strength and the glory; 38 and wherever the sons of men dwell, or the beasts of the field, or the birds of the sky, He has given them into your hand and has caused you to rule over them all. You are the head of gold [Babylon-First Division]. 39 After you there will arise another kingdom inferior to you [Second Division- Medo-Persia], then another third kingdom of bronze [Third Division-Greece], which will rule over all the earth. 40 Then there will be a fourth kingdom as strong as iron; inasmuch as iron crushes and shatters all things, so, like iron that breaks in pieces, it will crush and break all these in pieces. [Fourth Division-Rome] 41 In that you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter’s clay and partly of iron, it will be a divided kingdom; but it will have in it the toughness of iron, inasmuch as you saw the iron mixed with common clay. 42 As the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of pottery, so some of the kingdom will be strong and part of it will be brittle. 43 And in that you saw the iron mixed with common clay, they will combine with one another in the seed of men; but they will not adhere to one another, even as iron does not combine with pottery. 44 In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, and that kingdom will not be left for another people; it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever. [The Church of Christ] 45 Inasmuch as you saw that a stone was cut out of the mountain without hands and that it crushed the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold, the great God has made known to the king what will take place in the future; so the dream is true and its interpretation is trustworthy.”
Daniel 7:1 In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon Daniel saw a dream and visions in his mind as he lay on his bed; then he wrote the dream down and related the following summary of it. 2 Daniel said, “I was looking in my vision by night, and behold, the four winds of heaven were stirring up the great sea. 3 And four great beasts were coming up from the sea, different from one another. 4 The first was like a lion and had the wings of an eagle. I kept looking until its wings were plucked, and it was lifted up from the ground and made to stand on two feet like a man; a human mind also was given to it. 5 And behold, another beast, a second one, resembling a bear. And it was raised up on one side, and three ribs were in its mouth between its teeth; and thus they said to it, ‘Arise, devour much meat!’ 6 After this I kept looking, and behold, another one, like a leopard, which had on its back four wings of a bird; the beast also had four heads, and dominion was given to it. 7 After this I kept looking in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, dreadful and terrifying and extremely strong; and it had large iron teeth. It devoured and crushed and trampled down the remainder with its feet; and it was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns. 8 While I was contemplating the horns, behold, another horn, a little one, came up among them, and three of the first horns were pulled out by the roots before it; and behold, this horn possessed eyes like the eyes of a man and a mouth uttering great boasts…Daniel 7:15 “As for me, Daniel, my spirit was distressed within me, and the visions in my mind kept alarming me. 16 I approached one of those who were standing by and began asking him the exact meaning of all this. So he told me and made known to me the interpretation of these things: 17 ‘These great beasts, which are four in number, are four kings who will arise from the earth. 18 But the saints of the Highest One will receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, for all ages to come.’ 19 “Then I desired to know the exact meaning of the fourth beast, which was different from all the others, exceedingly dreadful, with its teeth of iron and its claws of bronze, and which devoured, crushed and trampled down the remainder with its feet, 20 and the meaning of the ten horns that were on its head and the other horn which came up, and before which three of them fell, namely, that horn which had eyes and a mouth uttering great boasts and which was larger in appearance than its associates. 21 I kept looking, and that horn was waging war with the saints and overpowering them 22 until the Ancient of Days came and judgment was passed in favor of the saints of the Highest One, and the time arrived when the saints took possession of the kingdom. 23 “Thus he said: ‘The fourth beast will be a fourth kingdom on the earth, which will be different from all the other kingdoms and will devour the whole earth and tread it down and crush it. 24 As for the ten horns, out of this kingdom ten kings will arise; and another will arise after them, and he will be different from the previous ones and will subdue three kings. 25 He will speak out against the Most High and wear down the saints of the Highest One, and he will intend to make alterations in times and in law; and they will be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time. 26 But the court will sit for judgment, and his dominion will be taken away, annihilated and destroyed forever. 27 Then the sovereignty, the dominion and the greatness of all the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be given to the people of the saints of the Highest One; His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all the dominions will serve and obey Him.’ 28 “At this point the revelation ended. As for me, Daniel, my thoughts were greatly alarming me and my face grew pale, but I kept the matter to myself.”
“Nebuchadnezzar's Great Dream
The great dream of Nebuchadnezzar is recorded in the second chapter of the Book of Daniel. Nebuchadnezzar who had been constituted by Jehovah a great monarch over the earth (Jeremiah 27:5-9) desired to know the future. All his astrologers and soothsayers, his magicians and mediums, could not do that. Their predictions left him still in doubt (Daniel 2:29). God gave him then a dream which contained a most remarkable revelation. The great man-image the king beheld is the symbol of the great world empires Which were to follow the Babylonian empire. The image had a head of gold; the chest and arms were of silver; the trunk and the thighs were of brass; the two legs of iron, and the two feet were composed of iron mixed with clay. The Lord made known through the prophet the meaning of this dream.
Nebuchadnezzar and the empire over which he ruled is symbolized by the golden head. An inferior kingdom was to come after the Babylonian Empire; its symbol is silver. This kingdom was to be followed by a third kingdom of brass to bear rule over all the earth. The fourth kingdom was to be strong as iron and was to subdue all things. Exactly three great world powers came after the Babylonian Empire, the Medo-Persian, the Graeco-Macedonian and the Roman. Interesting it is to learn, from the different metals of which the image was composed, the process of deterioration which was to characterize the successive monarchies. The fourth empire, the Roman world power, is seen in its historic division, indicated by the two legs. The empire consisted of two parts, the East and West Roman sections. Then the division of the Empire into kingdoms in which iron (monarchical form of government) and the clay (the rule of the people) should be present is also predicted. How all this has come to pass is too well known to need any further demonstration. These empires have come and gone and the territory of the old Roman Empire presents today the very condition as predicted in Nebuchadnezzar's dream. Monarchies and republics are in existence upon that territory...
Daniel's Great Vision of the World Powers
In the seventh chapter Daniel relates his first great vision. The four beasts he saw rising out of the sea, the type of nations, are symbolical of the same world powers. The lion with eagle's wings is Babylonia. Jeremiah also pictured Nebuchadnezzar as a lion. "The lion has come up from his thicket and the destroyer of the Gentiles is on his way" (Jeremiah 4:7). Ezekiel speaks of him as a great eagle. (Ezekiel 17:3). The Medo- Persian Empire is seen as a bear raised up on one side and having three ribs in its mouth. The one side appeared stronger because this second world empire had Persia for its stronger element. The three ribs the bear holds as prey predict the conquests of that empire. Medo-Persia conquered exactly three great provinces, Susiana, Lydia and Asia Minor. The leopard with four wings and four heads is the picture of the Graeco-Macedonian Empire. The four wings denote its swiftness and rapid advance so abundantly fulfilled in the conquests of Alexander the Great. The four heads of the leopard predict the partition of this empire into the kingdoms of Syria, Egypt, Macedonia and Asia Minor. The fourth beast, the great nondescript, with its ten horns, and the little horn, still to come, is the Roman Empire. These are wonderful things. Be it remembered that the prophet received the vision when the Babylonian Empire still existed. Here also the character of these empires typified by ferocious beasts is revealed. The great nations of Christendom which occupy the ground of the Roman Empire testify unconsciously to the truth of this great prophecy. The emblems of these nations are not doves, little lambs or other harmless creatures. They have chosen the lion, the bear, the unicorn, the eagle and the double-headed eagle.”
2. Alexander the Great’s campaign was predicted by Daniel.
Daniel 8: 1 In the third year of the reign of Belshazzar the king a vision appeared to me, Daniel, subsequent to the one which appeared to me previously. 2 I looked in the vision, and while I was looking I was in the citadel of Susa, which is in the province of Elam; and I looked in the vision and I myself was beside the Ulai Canal. 3 Then I lifted my eyes and looked, and behold, a ram which had two horns was standing in front of the canal. Now the two horns were long, but one was longer than the other, with the longer one coming up last. 4 I saw the ram butting westward, northward, and southward, and no other beasts could stand before him nor was there anyone to rescue from his power, but he did as he pleased and magnified himself.
5 While I was observing, behold, a male goat was coming from the west over the surface of the whole earth without touching the ground; and the goat had a conspicuous horn between his eyes. 6 He came up to the ram that had the two horns, which I had seen standing in front of the canal, and rushed at him in his mighty wrath. 7 I saw him come beside the ram, and he was enraged at him; and he struck the ram and shattered his two horns, and the ram had no strength to withstand him. So he hurled him to the ground and trampled on him, and there was none to rescue the ram from his power. 8 Then the male goat magnified himself exceedingly. But as soon as he was mighty, the large horn was broken; and in its place there came up four conspicuous horns toward the four winds of heaven… 15 When I, Daniel, had seen the vision, I sought to understand it; and behold, standing before me was one who looked like a man. 16 And I heard the voice of a man between the banks of Ulai, and he called out and said, “Gabriel, give this man an understanding of the vision.” 17 So he came near to where I was standing, and when he came I was frightened and fell on my face; but he said to me, “Son of man, understand that the vision pertains to the time of the end.”18 Now while he was talking with me, I sank into a deep sleep with my face to the ground; but he touched me and made me stand upright. 19 He said, “Behold, I am going to let you know what will occur at the final period of the indignation, for it pertains to the appointed time of the end.20 The ram which you saw with the two horns represents the kings of Media and Persia. 21 The shaggy goat represents the kingdom of Greece, and the large horn that is between his eyes is the first king
[As considered a world empire-DS] . 22 The broken horn and the four horns that arose in its place represent four kingdoms which will arise from his nation, although not with his power.
“The he-goat which Daniel sees coming from the west with a great rush is the type of the leopard empire, the Graeco-Macedonian. The same swiftness as revealed in the leopard with four wings is seen here again. The notable horn upon the he-goat, symbolizing the Macedonian Empire, is Alexander the Great. Josephus tells us that Alexander was greatly moved when the Jewish high priest Jaddua acquainted him with the meaning of this prophecy written over two hundred years before. And how was it fulfilled, what is predicted in Daniel 8:5-8? 334 B.C. the notable horn, Alexander, in goat-like fashion, leaped across the Hellespont and fought successful battles, then pushed on to the banks of the Indus and the Nile and from there to Shushan. The great battles of the Granicus (334 B.C.), Issus (333 B.C.), and Arbella (331 B.C.) were fought, and with irresistible force he stamped the power of Persia and its king, Darius Codomannus, to the ground. He conquered rapidly Syria, Phoenicia, Cyprus, Pyre, Gaza, Egypt, Babylonia, Persia. In 329 he conquered Bactria, crossed the Oxus and Jaxaitis and defeated the Scythians. And thus he stamped upon the ram after having broken its horns. But when the he-goat had waxed very great, the great horn was broken. This predicted the early and sudden death of Alexander the Great. He died after a reign of 12 years and eight months, after a career of drunkenness and debauchery in 323 B.C. He died when he was but 32 years old. Then four notable ones sprang up in the place of the broken horn. This too has been fulfilled, for the empire of Alexander was divided into four parts. Four of the great generals of Alexander made the division, namely, Cassander, Lysimachus, Seleucus and Ptolemy. The four great divisions were Syria, Egypt, Macedonia, and Asia Minor.”
3. Christ’s crucifixion was predicted about 600 years before it happened to the exact week.Daniel 9:24 “Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy place. 25 So you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; it will be built again, with plaza and moat, even in times of distress. 26 Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. And its end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined. 27 And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.”
“The greatest prophecy in the Book of Daniel is contained in the ninth chapter, the prophecy concerning the 70 weeks, transmitted from heaven through Gabriel. (Daniel 9:24-27). To many readers of the Book of Daniel it is not quite clear what the expression "seventy weeks" means, and when it is stated that each week represents a period of seven years, many Christians do not know why such is the case. A brief word of explanation may therefore be in order. The literal translation of the term "seventy weeks" is "seventy sevens." Now this word "sevens" translated "weeks" may mean "days" and it may mean "years." What then is meant here, seventy times seven days or seventy times seven years? It is evident that the "sevens" mean year weeks, seven years to each prophetic week. Daniel was occupied in reading the books and in prayer with the seventy years of the Babylonian captivity. And now Gabriel is going to reveal to him something which will take place in "seventy sevens," which means seventy times seven years. The proof that such is the case is furnished by the fulfillment of the prophecy itself.
First we notice in the prophecy that these 70 year-weeks are divided in three parts. Seven times seven (49 years) are to go by till the commanded rebuilding and restoration of Jerusalem should be accomplished. In the twentieth year of Artaxerxes the command was given to rebuild Jerusalem. It was in the year 445 B.C., exactly 49 years after the wall of Jerusalem and the city had been rebuilt. Then 62 weeks are given as the time when Messiah should be cut off and have nothing. This gives us 434 years (62 times 7). Here is a prediction concerning the death of Christ. Has it been fulfilled? Chronology shows that exactly 483 years after Artaxerxes gave the command to restore Jerusalem (445 B. C.), 434 years after the city had been restored, the death of our Lord Jesus Christ took place.
To be more exact, on the day on which our Lord Jesus Christ entered Jerusalem for the last time, the number of years announced by Gabriel expired and the Lord was crucified that week. The proof of it is perfect.
But there is more to be said. As a result of the cutting off of Messiah something el