top of page

Amazing Fulfilled Bible Prophecies

Amazing Fulfilled Bible Prophecies

The Bible is unique in that ¼ of it is prophetic; it contains about 1000 prophecies, 500 of which have not been fulfilled.[i] In fact, God uses prophecy to prove his deity and that other “gods” are not true deities. Isaiah 41:21-24 says:

“Present your argument,” says the Lord. “Produce your evidence,” says Jacob’s king. “Let them produce evidence! Let them tell us what will happen! Tell us about your earlier predictive oracles, so we may examine them and see how they were fulfilled. Or decree for us some future events! Predict how future events will turn out, so we might know you are gods. Yes, do something good or bad, so we might be frightened and in awe. Look, you are nothing, and your accomplishments are nonexistent; the one who chooses to worship you is disgusting.

God challenges other so called “gods” to declare the past or the future to prove their deity. He then declares those who worship these false gods are detestable. In Isaiah 42:8-9 and 48:3, God says this about himself:

I am the Lord! That is my name! I will not share my glory with anyone else, or the praise due me with idols. Look, my earlier predictive oracles have come to pass; now I announce new events. Before they begin to occur, I reveal them to you.”

“I announced events beforehand, I issued the decrees and made the predictions; suddenly I acted and they came to pass.

God declares prophecy as proof that he is the true God—he foretold things and they happened. Since prophecy is give as an evidence of God’s deity, these prophecies must be diligently studied to strengthen the faith of believers and used as an apologetic for nonbelievers. What are some of these prophetic evidences? First, we’ll consider fulfilled, past prophecies and then unfulfilled, future ones.

Unfulfilled Prophecies

Prophecies about King Cyrus and King Josiah

At times in Scripture, God gives names of prominent people and works they would accomplish even before they were born. In fact, after challenging the false gods to prove themselves by giving and fulfilling prophesies, God predicted that he would send Israel back from captivity through a man named Cyrus. Consider Isaiah 44:28 and 45:1-4:

who commissions Cyrus, the one I appointed as shepherd to carry out all my wishes and to decree concerning Jerusalem, ‘She will be rebuilt,’ and concerning the temple, ‘It will be reconstructed.’”

This is what the Lord says to his chosen one, to Cyrus, whose right hand I hold in order to subdue nations before him, and disarm kings, to open doors before him, so gates remain unclosed: “I will go before you and level mountains. Bronze doors I will shatter

and iron bars I will hack through. I will give you hidden treasures, riches stashed away in secret places, so you may recognize that I am the Lord, the one who calls you by name, the God of Israel. For the sake of my servant Jacob, Israel, my chosen one, I call you by name and give you a title of respect, even though you do not recognize me.

What makes this prophecy even more interesting is the fact Israel had not yet been exiled to Babylon. To the Israelites, Isaiah must have appeared crazy. The book of Isaiah was written between 739 -681 BC during Isaiah’s prophetic ministry to Judah.[ii] In Isaiah 39, Isaiah actually prophesied to Hezekiah that in a later generation Babylon would take Judah into exile. Then, he prophesied Persia would later send Israel back to their land to rebuild it through Cyrus, which happened 538 BC. Isaiah gave this prophecy approximately a 100 years before Cyrus was born and an almost 150 years before his rule.[iii]

Because of the difficulties of this prophecy, liberal scholars teach that Isaiah must not have written the book. They declare there must be two or three authors (Deutero-Isaiah or Trito-Isaiah) writing the book at different times.[iv] Since liberal scholars don’t accept the miraculous nature of prophecy and it would be impossible for Isaiah to live before Israel’s exile, through their exile and eventual return, the only conclusion for them is there is must be multiple authors. They speculate that one author must have written before the exile, another during the exile, and the final one after the exile. However, this does not correspond with the internal and external evidence of the book. In Isaiah 1:1, the author claims to have lived during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah—the kings of Judah. In addition, New Testament authors affirm Isaiah as the book’s author by their citations (cf. Matt 12:17, 15:7, etc.).[v]

Though the miracle of prophecy maybe hard to accept for some, God predicting the future and proving himself to be God is the exact point of the context. God essentially says, “False gods, perform a miracle! Predict the future to prove yourself!” and then God predicts the future to prove his deity to all. Again, Isaiah 41:21-24 says:

“Present your argument,” says the Lord. “Produce your evidence,” says Jacob’s king. “Let them produce evidence! Let them tell us what will happen! Tell us about your earlier predictive oracles, so we may examine them and see how they were fulfilled. Or decree for us some future events! Predict how future events will turn out, so we might know you are gods. Yes, do something good or bad, so we might be frightened and in awe. Look, you are nothing, and your accomplishments are nonexistent; the one who chooses to worship you is disgusting.

The fulfillment of the Cyrus prophecy happens in 2 Chronicles 36:22-23 (and Ezra 1:1-11), where Cyrus sends an edict and delegation to rebuild Israel. Second Chronicles 36:22-23 says:

In the first year of the reign of King Cyrus of Persia, in fulfillment of the promise he delivered through Jeremiah, the Lord moved King Cyrus of Persia to issue a written decree throughout his kingdom. It read: “This is what King Cyrus of Persia says: ‘The Lord God of the heavens has given to me all the kingdoms of the earth. He has appointed me to build for him a temple in Jerusalem in Judah. May the Lord your God energize you who belong to his people, so you may be able to go back there!”

Prophecy of King Josiah

Likewise, God also prophesied about King Josiah—calling him by name and telling of his future works, even before he was born. In 1 Kings 13:1-2, God predicted that a king named Josiah would arise and sacrifice the false priests on specific high places. First Kings 13:1-2 says:

Just then a prophet from Judah, sent by the Lord, arrived in Bethel, as Jeroboam was standing near the altar ready to offer a sacrifice. With the authority of the Lord he cried out against the altar, “O altar, altar! This is what the Lord says, ‘Look, a son named Josiah will be born to the Davidic dynasty. He will sacrifice on you the priests of the high places who offer sacrifices on you. Human bones will be burned on you.’”

This prophecy was fulfilled 300 years later in 2 Kings 23:14-20, as earlier prophesied.[vi] Second Kings 23:14-20 says:

He smashed the sacred pillars to bits, cut down the Asherah pole, and filled those shrines with human bones. He also tore down the altar in Bethel at the high place made by Jeroboam son of Nebat, who encouraged Israel to sin. He burned all the combustible items at that high place and crushed them to dust; including the Asherah pole. When Josiah turned around, he saw the tombs there on the hill. So he ordered the bones from the tombs to be brought; he burned them on the altar and defiled it. This fulfilled the Lord’s announcement made by the prophet while Jeroboam stood by the altar during a festival. King Josiah turned and saw the grave of the prophet who had foretold this. He asked, “What is this grave marker I see?” The men from the city replied, “It’s the grave of the prophet who came from Judah and foretold these very things you have done to the altar of Bethel.” The king said, “Leave it alone! No one must touch his bones.” So they left his bones undisturbed, as well as the bones of the Israelite prophet buried beside him. Josiah also removed all the shrines on the high places in the cities of Samaria. The kings of Israel had made them and angered the Lord. He did to them what he had done to the high place in Bethel. He sacrificed all the priests of the high places on the altars located there, and burned human bones on them. Then he returned to Jerusalem.

Prophecies Dating the Messiah and about Israel’s Future

What are some other major prophecies in Scripture? Daniel 9:24-27 is often called “God’s Prophetic Time Clock” and “The Backbone of Bible Prophecy.”[vii] The background is Daniel was praying about the future of Israel (Dan 9:1-3) when the angel, Gabriel, appears and shares with him about Israel’s future including the coming of the messiah. Consider verse 25:

So know and understand: From the issuing of the command to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until an anointed one, a prince arrives, there will be a period of seven weeks and sixty-two weeks. It will again be built, with plaza and moat, but in distressful times.

This prophecy gives not only information about Israel’s future but also the actual date that the messiah would be on the earth. “Weeks” can also be translated “sevens,” as in the NIV. The angel Gabriel said to Daniel, it would be seven sevens (49) plus sixty-two sevens (434) until the messiah comes. Altogether that equals 483 years (49 +483= 483). It could be referring to seven days or years.[viii] In this context, years makes the most sense, as it is dealing with Israel’s long-term future including the coming of the messiah and also because Daniel had already been thinking in terms of years (Israel’s seventy years of exile, Daniel 9:2). From the issuing of the decree to rebuild Jerusalem until the messiah came would be 483 years. Gabriel adds that Jerusalem would be rebuilt in “distressful times.” The book of Nehemiah tells us that while Nehemiah led Israel in rebuilding Jerusalem’s walls there was much persecution. In one scene, the Israelites did their work with one hand and a weapon in the other (Neh 4:17).

Though Israel was sent back to their land by Cyrus, the issuing of the decree to rebuild Israel was given by King Artaxerxes to Nehemiah in 444 B.C (Neh 2).[ix] When one takes into account that the Jewish calendar was 360 days and not 365 as ours is today, 483 years later would be 33 BC—right around the time of Christ’s death.[x]

Those who have actually counted the days say that the prophecy was fulfilled on Palm Sunday[xi]—the day when Jesus road into the streets of Jerusalem on a donkey, and the people shouted, “Hosanna! Hosanna!” as they recognized Jesus as the messiah. Consider what Jesus said about the city on that very day:

Now when Jesus approached and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, “If you had only known on this day, even you, the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For the days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and surround you and close in on you from every side. They will demolish you—you and your children within your walls—and they will not leave within you one stone on top of another, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation from God.”

Luke 19:41-44

Daniel 9:25 prophesies the exact day Christ would be on the earth, so Israel would be ready to accept their messiah. However, they failed to give attention to the prophecy and instead crucified the Son of God—bringing judgment upon themselves.

Prophecy of Israel’s History after Christ

Along with the time-period Christ would be on the earth, the prophecy also shares about Israel’s history. In Daniel 9:26 (ESV), the angel specifically describes Israel’s history after the 483 years, which has certainly come true as well. It says:

And after the sixty-two weeks, an anointed one shall be cut off and shall have nothing. And the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. Its end shall come with a flood, and to the end there shall be war. Desolations are decreed.

The angel prophesied that Christ would be killed, the city and temple would be destroyed, and Israel would continue in a state of war and desolation until the end. In AD 70, the Romans destroyed the temple and Jerusalem. But also, Israel’s history since then has proven true as well. The nation has constantly been in war and desolation, even until this day. Later, we will consider Israel’s future as prophesied in Daniel 9:27.

The Destruction of the City of Tyre

In Ezekiel 26-28, God predicted the destruction of a famous city named Tyre by nations, years before it began and over 250 years before it was ultimately completed.[xii] The name Tyre means “Rock.” It was an impregnable city—known for its sea commerce. Tyre had two parts: the mainland city on the coast of Lebanon and the island city off the coast of Lebanon. The city had a double wall around it that was 150 feet tall, with 25 feet of earth between. In 587 BC, Ezekiel wrote three long chapters about the city’s destruction, which ultimately was fulfilled.[xiii]

Why would it be destroyed?

The history was that Israel and Tyre were bitter trade-competitors until Babylon besieged and later conquered Israel in 586 BC. [xiv] Tyre had previously “dominated the sea routes, while Jerusalem controlled the caravan routes.”[xv] Without Jerusalem controlling the land routes, Tyre would be more prosperous. Therefore, when Babylon besieged Jerusalem, Tyre scoffed at the nation and boasted in its own future prosperity. This prompted God to prophecy judgment on Tyre—he promised to bring “many nations” against them. Ezekiel 26:2 says:

“Son of man, because Tyre has said about Jerusalem, ‘Aha, the gateway of the peoples is broken; it has swung open to me. I will become rich, now that she has been destroyed,’ therefore this is what the sovereign Lord says: Look, I am against you, O Tyre! I will bring up many nations against you, as the sea brings up its waves.

In Ezekiel 26:7-11, Ezekiel prophesied the demise of Tyre years before it began. The first nation to judge them would be Babylon. Verse 7-11 says:

“For this is what the sovereign Lord says: Take note that I am about to bring King Nebuchanezzar of Babylon, king of kings, against Tyre from the north, with horses, chariots, and horsemen, an army and hordes of people. He will kill your daughters in the field with the sword. He will build a siege wall against you, erect a siege ramp against you, and raise a great shield against you. He will direct the blows of his battering rams against your walls and tear down your towers with his weapons. He will cover you with the dust kicked up by his many horses. Your walls will shake from the noise of the horsemen, wheels, and chariots when he enters your gates like those who invade through a city’s broken walls. With his horses’ hoofs he will trample all your streets. He will kill your people with the sword, and your strong pillars will tumble down to the ground.

History says that Nebuchanezzar, the king of Babylon, conquered Israel in 586 BC, then headed north in 585 BC to besiege Tyre. The siege lasted for thirteen years until Tyre was defeated in 573 BC, as prophesied by verses 7-11.[xvi] After, Tyre never became as powerful again, but still existed. However, in verse 12, the prophecy considers the other nation which would conquer Tyre. Ezekiel changes from the pronoun “he”—referring to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon—to “they”—referring to Greece. Babylon started the destruction of Tyre, but Greece completed it. Ezekiel 26:12-14 says:

They will steal your wealth and loot your merchandise. They will tear down your walls and destroy your luxurious homes. Your stones, your trees, and your soil he will throw into the water. I will silence the noise of your songs; the sound of your harps will be heard no more. I will make you a bare rock; you will be a place where fishing nets are spread. You will never be built again, for I, the Lord, have spoken, declares the sovereign Lord.

In 332 BC, Alexander the Great destroyed the city after a seven-month siege.[xvii] To reach the island city, he had his soldiers throw the ruins of mainland city into the ocean to build a causeway to reach it—fulfilling the prophecy on the stones, soil, and trees being thrown into the sea (26:12).[xviii] After destroying the city, he left it a “bare rock” (26:14). The island city has never been rebuilt as God predicted (26:14). Ezekiel predicted this about 250 years before it happened.[xix]

William MacDonald, in the Believer’s Bible Commentary, said:

Over a hundred years ago a traveler described the ruins of Tyre as being exactly as predicted: The island, as such, is not more than a mile in length. The part which projects south beyond the isthmus is perhaps a quarter of a mile broad, and is rocky and uneven. It is now unoccupied except by fishermen, as “a place to spread nets upon.”[xx]

Currently, the island city of Tyre is just a bare rock, which has never been rebuilt, as Scripture predicted. However, the coastal mainland still exists, as they are currently part of Lebanon.

Consider that in Ezekiel 26, there are eight prophecies alone about Tyre:

  1. Many nations would come against Tyre (Ezekiel 26:3)

  2. The walls of Tyre would be broken down (Ez. 26:4)

  3. Dust would be scraped from her and she would be left like a bare rock (Ez. 26:4)

  4. Fishermen would spread their nets at Tyre (Ez. 26:5)

  5. King Nebuchanezzar would build a wall against Tyre (Ez. 26:8)

  6. King Nebuchanezzar would plunder the city (Ez. 26: 9-12)

  7. Nations would come to destroy the city and the stone ruins would be cast into the sea (Ez. 26:12)

  8. The city would never be rebuilt (Ezekiel 26:14)[xxi]

Mathematician Peter Stoner says the probability of all these prophecies happening as it did are 1 in 400 million.[xxii] Truly amazing!

Prophecies of Alexander the Great

What other major prophecies are there? In Daniel, there are some very detailed prophecies about the rise and fall of Alexander the Great—given almost 200 years before his birth.[xxiii] It should be mentioned, like Isaiah, Daniel is a liberal battle ground. The prophetic details are too accurate for someone with a naturalistic mindset. Therefore, they would deny the internal and external evidence and declare, “Somebody else had to have written the book of Daniel! It couldn’t have been written around 530 BC[xxiv] before the historical events happened! It is history! Not prophecy!” Mark Hitchcock shares a story which illustrates how ludicrous some of these attacks are:

A professor at a liberal theological seminary was teaching from the book of Daniel. At the beginning of one of his lectures he said, “Now I want you to know that Daniel was written during the Maccabean period in the second century B.C. The facts were written, as all history is, after the events took place.” One young man raised his hand and asked, “How can that be, sir, when Christ said in Matthew 24:15 that the book of Daniel was written by Daniel?” The professor paused for a moment, looked the student square in the eyes, and said, “Young man, I know more about the book of Daniel than Jesus did.”[xxv]

Daniel’s prophecies about Alexander the Great are most emphasized in Daniel 8 and 11. But, Greece is prophetically introduced in Daniel 2 and 7. In Daniel 2, Nebuchadnezzar had a dream of four, successive, nations that would rule the earth, which Daniel interprets. Initially, they are not all named, but eventually, they become clear by further prophecies in Daniel and through history. The nations are Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome. In Daniel 2:37-40, Daniel’s interpretation of the dream is given:

“You, O king, are the king of kings. The God of heaven has granted you sovereignty, power, strength, and honor. Wherever human beings, wild animals, and birds of the sky live—he has given them into your power. He has given you authority over them all. You are the head of gold. Now after you another kingdom will arise, one inferior to yours. Then a third kingdom, one of bronze, will rule in all the earth. Then there will be a fourth kingdom, one strong like iron. Just like iron breaks in pieces and shatters everything, and as iron breaks in pieces all of these metals, so it will break in pieces and crush the others.

In the dream, there was a statue with a gold head representing Babylon, a silver chest and arms representing Persia, a bronze belly and thighs representing Greece, and iron legs with feet made of clay and iron representing Rome (Dan 2:33-34). In Daniel 5:28-31, part of the prophecy is fulfilled as Persia eventually conquers Babylon. The prophecy of Greece, the kingdom of bronze, conquering Persia, the kingdom of silver, happens many years after Daniel’s writings. But the details of this conquering are seen in Daniel 7, 8, and 11. In Daniel 7, Daniel again prophecies about these four kingdoms using various beasts. In it, Greece was symbolized by a winged leopard. Daniel 7:6 says: “After these things, as I was watching, another beast like a leopard appeared, with four bird-like wings on its back. This beast had four heads, and ruling authority was given to it.” The leopard with wings represents the great speed and ferociousness of the nation’s conquering. Alexander Great, the king of Greece, left with his army in 334 BC at the age of twenty-two[xxvi] and essentially conquered the world in 323 BC by age thirty-three.[xxvii] The nation conquered ferociously and swiftly.

Specifics about Alexander are added to this prophecy in Daniel 8, as it described the battle between Persia and Greece (334-331 BC).[xxviii] Persia is symbolized by a ram with two horns with one longer than the other, and Greece is symbolized by a goat with a conspicuous horn (or “large horn,” NIV). Daniel 8:1-8 says:

In the third year of King Belshazzar’s reign, a vision appeared to me, Daniel, after the one that had appeared to me previously. In this vision I saw myself in Susa the citadel, which is located in the province of Elam. In the vision I saw myself at the Ulai Canal. I looked up and saw a ram with two horns standing at the canal. Its two horns were both long, but one was longer than the other. The longer one was coming up after the shorter one. I saw that the ram was butting westward, northward, and southward. No animal was able to stand before it, and there was none who could deliver from its power. It did as it pleased and acted arrogantly. While I was contemplating all this, a male goat was coming from the west over the surface of all the land without touching the ground. This goat had a conspicuous horn between its eyes. It came to the two-horned ram that I had seen standing beside the canal and rushed against it with raging strength. I saw it approaching the ram. It went into a fit of rage against the ram and struck it and broke off its two horns. The ram had no ability to resist it. The goat hurled the ram to the ground and trampled it. No one could deliver the ram from its power. The male goat acted even more arrogantly. But no sooner had the large horn become strong than it was broken, and there arose four conspicuous horns in its place, extending toward the four winds of the sky.

What does the ram with two horns, with one larger than the other, and the goat with one large horn represent? The ram with two horns represents Persia and the Medes, with Persia being the prominent horn. In 550 BC, Cyrus, the King of Persia, conquered the Medes[xxix] and then united the two tribes by putting officials from both kingdoms in charge of making a great army. This army eventually conquered Babylon in 539 BC.[xxx] Then Greece conquered Persia in 331 BC[xxxi], as symbolized by the goat with a prominent horn.

Though not explained in Daniel 8, the symbols of the ram and goat probably would have been understood by the ancient audience without further clarification. Harold Wilmington shared this: “Marcellius, a historian in the fourth century, states that the Persian ruler bore the head of a ram as he stood in front of his army.”[xxxii] Similarly, there are ancient drawings which depict Greek armies as a horned goat.[xxxiii] Using animals as national symbols was common in the ancient world, just like it is today.

The large horn on the goat clearly represents Alexander the Great, as clarified by Daniel 8:8. In describing him, it says: “The goat became very great, but at the height of his power his large horn was broken off, and in its place four prominent horns grew up toward the four winds of heaven.” This appears to represent how Alexander the Great dies at the young age of thirty-three, and his kingdom was divided in four. The “four horns” were his four generals: “Cassander over Macedon and Greece, Lysimichus over Thrace and Asia Minor, Seleucus over Syria and Babylon, Ptolemy over Egypt.”[xxxiv]

Daniel 11:2-4 further clarifies this prophecy, but without symbols, by just naming Persia and Greece and giving more detail about Alexander. It says:

Now I will tell you the truth. “Three more kings will arise for Persia. Then a fourth king will be unusually rich, more so than all who preceded him. When he has amassed power through his riches, he will stir up everyone against the kingdom of Greece. Then a powerful king will arise, exercising great authority and doing as he pleases. Shortly after his rise to power, his kingdom will be broken up and distributed toward the four winds of the sky—but not to his posterity or with the authority he exercised, for his kingdom will be uprooted and distributed to others besides these.

As shared in Daniel 11:4, when Alexander died at age thirty-three, his kingdom would not go to “his posterity” but to “others.” Alexander’s wife was pregnant with his only child when he died. Since no one knew the sex of the child, it caused dissension amongst his army about who would be king. After the son’s birth, he couldn’t make decisions, as he was baby. This led to the kingdom being divided amongst Alexander’s generals.[xxxv]

To further add to the wonder of these prophecies, Josephus, an ancient Jewish historian, shared a story about Alexander reaching Jerusalem during his military campaign. When he entered the city, he was met by Juddua, Israel’s high priest, who came dressed in a magnificent garb. The priest declared to him how Daniel predicted his defeat of the Persians hundreds of years earlier. After reading Daniel 8, King Alexander fell down and worshiped him.[xxxvi]

The accuracy of Biblical prophecy is clearly seen in Daniel’s prophecies of Persia conquering Babylon, and then Greece conquering Persia, and, even more specifically, the details about Alexander the Great—the large horn on the goat which breaks into four horns in Daniel 8 and the mighty king whose kingdom was broken up and distributed to the four winds in Daniel 11. Though liberal theologians try to deny that Daniel wrote these prophecies, internal evidence (what Daniel says about himself in the book) and external evidence (the NT authors’ beliefs and the writing of ancient Jews) support that Daniel wrote these amazing prophecies—some of them over 200 years before they happened. God’s Word is truly amazing!

Prophecies of the Syrian Wars and Antiochus Epiphanies

The next prophecy we are going to briefly consider has been called the “Battleground of Daniel.”[xxxvii] It is called this because again the prophecies are so accurate, people say they must be history, not prophecy. Instead of accepting the traditional dating of 530 BC, liberal scholars date it to around 165 BC. In Daniel 11:1-35, there are at least 100 prophecies, and maybe as many as 135.[xxxviii] John Walvoord said, “Probably no other portion of Scripture presents more minute prophecy than Daniel 11:1-35, and this has prompted the sharpest attack of critics seeking to discredit this prophetic portion.”[xxxix] John Phillips noted, “When Daniel 11 was written, they were not history but prophecy. We see them as history; Daniel saw them still ahead in the unborn ages. No other chapter in all of Scripture gives us such exhibition of God’s power to foretell the future.”[xl]

Daniel 11:1-35 covers three topics: the battle between Persia and Greece (v. 2-4), the Syrian Wars between Syria and Egypt (v. 5-35), and, specifically, the rise of a Syrian king named Antiochus Epiphanes who was a vicious enemy of the Jews (v. 21-35). In Scripture, he is used as a “type” of future Antichrist. In fact, verses 36-45 stop describing Antiochus and begin to describe the Antichrist, who will be an end-time figure who will hate God and persecute both Jews and Christians. Because the current focus is prophecies that have been fulfilled, only the basics of verses 1-35 will be covered.

Persia Versus Greece (v. 2-4)

Daniel 11:2-4 says,

Now I will tell you the truth. “Three more kings will arise for Persia. Then a fourth king will be unusually rich, more so than all who preceded him. When he has amassed power through his riches, he will stir up everyone against the kingdom of Greece. Then a powerful king will arise, exercising great authority and doing as he pleases. Shortly after his rise to power, his kingdom will be broken up and distributed toward the four winds of the sky—but not to his posterity or with the authority he exercised, for his kingdom will be uprooted and distributed to others besides these.

The first part of the prophecy is somewhat of a repetition. God had been giving Daniel visions of what was going to happen to Israel in the future, but each time more detail was added. Babylon had already been conquered by Persia, but now God was revealing more about the future conflict between Greece and Persia.

In verse 2, the angel said there would be four more kings who would rule in Persia and the fourth would be very wealthy and stir the nation up against Greece. As clearly seen from history: “Those four kings were Cambyses (530–522 B.C.), Pseudo-Smerdis (522–521), Darius I Hystaspes (521–486), and Xerxes (486–465).”[xli]

The fourth king, Xerxes, was the king who married Esther, a Jewish woman, and protected the Jews as detailed in the book of Esther. As mentioned, Xerxes led Persia to advance against Greece; the advance was unsuccessful—creating a bitter rivalry between the two kingdoms. Eventually, the “mighty king,” Alexander the Great, defeated Persia in 331 BC. When Alexander died, the kingdom did not go to his young son, but instead to his four generals who oversaw Egypt, Syria-Babylon, Asia Minor, and Macedon-Greece.[xlii] Again, the Bible predicted this over 200 years before it occurred.[xliii]

The Syrian Wars: Syria versus Egypt (v. 5-35)

Daniel 11:5-6 says:

“Then the king of the south and one of his subordinates will grow strong. His subordinate will resist him and will rule a kingdom greater than his. After some years have passed, they will form an alliance. Then the daughter of the king of the south will come to the king of the north to make an agreement, but she will not retain her power, nor will he continue in his strength. She, together with the one who brought her, her child, and her benefactor will all be delivered over at that time.

Verses 5-35 is an account of the relationship and battles between the Northern Kingdom, Assyria, and the Southern Kingdom, Egypt. The first king of the South was Ptolemy I, and the subordinate who would grow strong and rule a kingdom greater than his was his prince Seleucus I of Syria. These two were allies at first, but when Seleucus grew in power, he eventually took control of Syria and they became antagonists.[xliv] This was the beginning of 160 years of discord between Egypt and Syria[xlv]—the stronger kingdom always had control of Israel.[xlvi] After the initial split, the two kingdoms were eventually yoked by marriage. Antiochus II, king of Syria, married Berenice, the daughter of Ptolemy II, the king of Egypt.[xlvii] “Yet the agreement would not continue nor would Berenice retain her position of power, as Antiochus’s former wife Laodice would murder Antiochus, Berenice, and their child.”[xlviii] Daniel 11:5-35 chronicles the 160-year struggle between the two dynasties from approximately 323 BC to 164 BC.[xlix] This information was given to Daniel because it would greatly affect Israel. The rest of the prophecy describes these battles, but we will not consider all the minute detail.

Syrian Wars: Antiochus Epiphanes (v. 21-35)

Daniel 11:21-23 says:

“Then there will arise in his place a despicable person to whom the royal honor has not been rightfully conferred. He will come on the scene in a time of prosperity and will seize the kingdom through deceit. Armies will be suddenly swept away in defeat before him; both they and a covenant leader will be destroyed. After entering into an alliance with him, he will behave treacherously; he will ascend to power with only a small force.

Verses 21-35 highlight the rise of an infamous Syrian ruler named Antiochus Epiphanes. He was an enemy of the Jews and their religion. Verse 21 says that he was not royalty and that he actually seized the kingdom by deceit. Historically, he was the uncle of the rightful heir to Syria but seized control of it, since the heir, his nephew, was only a child. After, the prophecy details his war with the king of Egypt (v. 25) and his persecution of the Jews.

Daniel 11:31-34 says this about his attack on Israel:

His forces will rise up and profane the fortified sanctuary, stopping the daily sacrifice. In its place they will set up the abomination that causes desolation. Then with smooth words he will defile those who have rejected the covenant. But the people who are loyal to their God will act valiantly. These who are wise among the people will teach the masses. However, they will fall by the sword and by the flame, and they will be imprisoned and plundered for some time. When they stumble, they will be granted some help…

Antiochus stopped Jewish worship by abolishing the sacrificial system, setting up an altar of Zeus in the temple, destroying Jewish Bibles, forbidding circumcision, sacrificing a pig on the altar, and making the Jewish priests eat pig. According to David Guzik, Antiochus was also said “to have killed 80,000 Jews, taken 40,000 more as prisoners, and sold another 40,000 as slaves. He also plundered the temple, robbing it of approximately $1 billion by modern calculations.”[l]

In verse 31, the “abomination that causes desolation” was the idol of Zeus set up in the temple, which, according to Christ, was a foreshadowing of what the Antichrist will do during the end times. In Matthew 24:15-16, Jesus warned the Jews: “‘So when you see the abomination of desolation—spoken about by Daniel the prophet—standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), then those in Judea must flee to the mountains.” The initial abomination was just a foreshadowing of a later rebellion against God during the end times. Second Thessalonians 2:3-4 describes this:

Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not arrive until the rebellion comes and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction. He opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, and as a result he takes his seat in God’s temple, displaying himself as God.

Daniel 11:32, in describing Antiochus’ works, says a number of Jews rejected their covenant with God to follow Antiochus. Likewise, verse 33-35 describes how those loyal to God will “act valiantly” and teach many during that time period, but also suffer for their faith. Specifically, this describes the Maccabean brothers and the rebellion they inspired—eventually leading to Antiochus’ defeat. This story is more fully told in 1 and 2 Maccabees which is part of the Apocrypha. Today the Jews still celebrate this great victory. It is called the “Festival of Lights” or “Hanukkah.”

Purpose of the Daniel 11 Prophecy

We must ask ourselves, “Why did God give such minute detail about the Syrian Wars and the future of Israel in Daniel 11?” It was primarily so the Jews would not lose hope during those hard years, especially when they were persecuted by Antiochus. Also, as they experienced the fulfillment of prophecy, it would ultimately help them hope in the coming messiah and all of God’s promises in Scripture.

In verses 36-45, which we will not cover, there is a prophetic gap, as Daniel’s prophecy skips ahead to the Antichrist whom Antiochus ultimately foreshadowed. The descriptions in those verses were not fulfilled by Antiochus, which is clearly seen by them ending with the resurrection of the righteous and the unjust (12:2). It says, “Many of those who sleep in the dusty ground will awake— some to everlasting life, and others to shame and everlasting abhorrence.” The final prophecy focuses on the end times.

Similar to Antiochus, the Antichrist will greatly persecute the Jews (and Christians), as Revelation 12 and 13 describes. He will declare himself as God in the rebuilt Jewish temple, and the people of God will be tempted to fall away because of the great persecution. However, Daniel’s prophecy, as well as others, tell God’s people to not give up hope, as Christ will eventually return to reward his people and bring justice.

Though liberal scholars try to discount these prophecies, they are important to confirm the faith of God’s people, to help unbelievers come to know God, and to encourage God’s people to persevere in hard times. To reject or minimize them is to rob people of great blessings.

Reflection Questions

  1. Which prophecies stood out most to you and why?

  2. What makes God’s prophecy in Isaiah about King Cyrus and his work so spectacular?

  3. What are some fulfilled prophecies about Tyre, as mentioned by Ezekiel?

  4. Why do liberal scholars reject Isaiah and Daniel as the authors of their respective books? What are some evidences that Isaiah and Daniel were the actual authors of their books?

  5. What are some specific prophecies about Alexander the Great in Daniel?

  6. What chapter in Daniel is called “The Battleground of Daniel” and why? Approximately, how many fulfilled prophecies are given in that chapter?

  7. What other questions or applications did you take from the reading?

Prophecies Fulfilled in Jesus

The next major prophecies that will be considered are prophecies fulfilled in Christ. “Experts claim that there are about 300 Old Testament prophecies that were fulfilled just in the first coming of Christ. Thirty-three specific prophecies were fulfilled just in the final 24 hours of Jesus’ life on earth.”[li] In virtually every Bible book, one will find references to the messiah. Let’s consider a few.

1. The Old Testament prophesied the lineage of Christ.

Christ would come from Abraham (Gen 12:3), Isaac (Gen 21:12), Jacob (Gen 28:14), Judah (Gen 49:10) and finally David (2 Sam. 7:12-16). Matthew and Luke show the fulfillment by giving the genealogy of Christ from both the adopted father, Joseph, and Christ’s mother, Mary.

2. The Old Testament prophesied the birth place of Christ.

Micah predicts that Jesus would be born in Bethlehem over 700 years before Christ’s birth.[lii] There were two Bethlehem’s in Israel, and Micah even predicts the one in Judah. Micah 5:2 says: “As for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, seemingly insignificant among the clans of Judah—from you a king will emerge who will rule over Israel on my behalf, one whose origins are in the distant past.” Matthew 2:1-2, 5-6 gives the fulfillment:

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, in the time of King Herod, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem saying, “Where is the one who is born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” … “In Bethlehem of Judea,” they said, “for it is written this way by the prophet: And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are in no way least among the rulers of Judah, for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’”

3. The Old Testament gives thirty-three prophecies that were all fulfilled on the day of Christ’s death.

Let’s consider a few:

  • He would be betrayed by a friend (Ps 41:9).

  • The price of the betrayal would be thirty pieces of silver (Zech 11:12).

  • The money would be used to buy a potter’s field (Zech 11:13).

  • He would be forsaken and deserted by his disciples (Zech 13:7).

  • He would be accused by false witnesses (Psalm 35:11).

  • He would be silent before his witnesses (Isaiah 53:7).

  • He would be wounded and bruised (Isaiah 53:5).

  • He would be hated without cause (Psalm 69:4).

  • He would be struck and spit on (Isaiah 50:6).

  • He would be mocked, ridiculed, and rejected (Isaiah 53:3).

  • He would collapse in weakness (Psalm 109:24-25).

  • He would be taunted with specific words (Psalm 22:6-8).

  • People would shake their heads at him (Psalm 109:25).

  • He would be executed among sinners (Isaiah 53:12).

  • His hands and feet would be pierced (Psalm 22:16).

  • He would pray for his persecutors (Isaiah 53:12).

  • His friends and family would stand afar off (Psalm 38:11).

  • His garments would be divided and won by casting lots (Psalm 22:18).

  • He would be given gall and vinegar (Psalm 69:21).

  • His bones would be left unbroken (Psalm 34:20).

  • He would die for our sins (Isaiah 53: 4–6).

  • His side would be pierced (Zech 12:10).

  • He would be buried in a rich man’s tomb (Isaiah 53:9).

4. The Old Testament prophesied Christ’s resurrection.

In Psalm 16:10, David prophesied Christ’s resurrection when he said, “You will not abandon me to Sheol; you will not allow your faithful follower to see the Pit.” In considering David’s writing, Peter said it was fulfilled in Christ: “David by foreseeing this spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was neither abandoned to Hades, nor did his body experience decay. This Jesus God raised up, and we are all witnesses of it” (Acts 2:31-32). Isaiah seemingly prophesied it as well:

Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life an offering for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand

Isaiah 53:10 (NIV)

Now as we consider all these prophesies, certainly we must declare, “This is pretty convincing! If Jesus fulfilled all those prophecies, he must be the Son of God—he must be the seed that everybody was waiting for!”

What is the probability that a person would fulfill only eight of the Old Testament prophecies about Christ? Professor Peter W. Stoner states that the probability of just eight prophecies being fulfilled in one person is 1 x 10 17th. That is 100,000,000,000,000,000.

It has been illustrated like this: If you took 1 x 1017 silver dollars and placed them over Texas (the second largest US state), you would not only cover all of Texas but would have a coin pile two feet deep. If you blindfolded yourself, took one of the coins and threw it back into the pile, and walked from the beginning of Texas, stopping only once to find that coin, that is the chance that one person would fulfill only eight of these prophecies.[liii]

The prophetic evidence concerning Christ is simply amazing! Again, the Old Testament gives over 300 prophecies that were fulfilled in Christ’s first coming and thirty-three which were fulfilled on the day of Christ’s death. Each of these prophecies were written over 400 years before Christ’s birth—some of them thousands of years before his birth. God went to extraordinary lengths to make sure that the prophesied messiah was unmistakable to those who were genuinely looking.

Prophecies about Israel

“In a conversation about religion, Frederick II, king of Prussia (1740–1786), asked Hans Joachim von Zieten, a cavalry general, whom he esteemed highly as a Christian for his plain and uncompromised views, ‘Give me proof for the truth of the Bible in two words!’ To which Zieten replied, ‘Your majesty, the Jews!’”[liv] The general’s response demonstrates the great accuracy of Bible prophecy; the Bible’s prophetic accuracy can be clearly verified in the Jews—their past, present, and future. The Bible gives many unique prophecies about them.

When God brought Israel out of Egypt, he made a covenant with them. God would be their God, and they would be his servants. In fact, the book of Deuteronomy is written in the form of an ancient contract called a suzerain contract. This was a common contract that a nation would make with a great king for protection and blessing. It essentially said, if a particular nation would submit to a king and his commands, then he would protect and bless them. If not, he would curse and defeat them. In return for the king’s blessings and protection, the nation would be his servants—providing obedience, taxes, and reverence. That’s essentially the same type of contract God made with Israel. Throughout the contract are prophecies of blessings and curses based on Israel’s obedience or lack of it.

When considering Israel’s history, there are clear periods of blessing for obedience, such as when Joshua led Israel in conquering the promised land and when Israel was one of the more prosperous nations on earth during the reigns of David and Solomon. We also see times of cursing for disobedience, as seen during the times of Judges when Israel was continually ravaged by other nations and constantly needed deliverance and when God allowed Assyria and Babylon to conquer and exile Israel during the period of the divided monarchy. In fact, the prophetic books of the OT (such as Isaiah, Jeremiah, Hosea, etc.) are primarily prophecies telling Israel to repent or they will receive the curses of the covenant, and if they obeyed, they would receive blessings.

In Deuteronomy 28, the blessings and curses format is clear. Deuteronomy 28:15 says: “However, if you do not obey the LORD your God and do not carefully follow all his commands and decrees I am giving you today, all these curses will come upon you and overtake you.”

What are some of the curses promised for disobedience?

  • Israel would experience all nations being terrified at Jewish persecution.

“The Lord will allow you to be struck down before your enemies; you will attack them from one direction but flee from them in seven directions and will become an object of terror to all the kingdoms of the earth.

Deuteronomy 28:25

Certainly, the Jews experienced harassment, enslavement, and wars within biblical history. But, how about outside of biblical history and specifically ones which drew widespread attention? Let’s consider a few:

(1) The Jews were persecuted by the Syrian king, Antiochus Epiphanes.

As mentioned, in the intertestamental period, the Syrian king Antiochus killed 80,000 Jews, took 40,000 more as prisoners, and sold another 40,000 as slaves. He also abolished their sacrificial system, burned their Bibles, and made their priests drink pig blood.

(2) The Jews were persecuted during the Crusades in the Middles Ages.

During the crusades (1095-1291), there was great antisemitism. The crusades were a series of holy wars started by the Roman Catholic church in order to gain access to Jerusalem and the holy sites, which Muslims possessed. However, as the armies went out, they also persecuted the Jews for killing Christ. There were nine crusades over almost 200 years and at least 12,000 Jews were killed in the first crusade alone.[lv]

(3) The Jews were persecuted by Hitler during the Holocaust.

During the Holocaust (1933-1945), Nazis wiped out over six million Jews with the hope of extinguishing the ethnic group.[lvi]

Certainly, as promised in the covenant for disobedience, the Jews have been experienced extreme persecution at the hands of other nations—potentially in ways that have never happened to other nations. As Deuteronomy 28:25 said, because of their horrible experiences at the hand of enemies, they would “become an object of terror to all the kingdoms of the earth.”

What other curses would Israel experience for disobedience?

  • Israel would experience the deportation of their children.

Your sons and daughters will be given to another people while you look on in vain all day, and you will be powerless to do anything about it.

Deuteronomy 28:32

Their children would be deported from Israel to other nations. This happened in the Assyrian and Babylonian defeats, as Israel was exiled and their children were taken captive. Daniel and his Jewish friends were part of the children deported from Israel to serve in Babylon.

  • Israel would experience antisemitism in the nations of their exile.

The Lord will force you and your king whom you will appoint over you to go away to a people whom you and your ancestors have not known, and you will serve other gods of wood and stone there. You will become an occasion of horror, a proverb, and an object of ridicule to all the peoples to whom the Lord will drive you.

Deuteronomy 28:36-37

Certainly, this has happened in biblical history with Assyria, Babylon, and Persia but also outside of biblical history where ever Jews have lived (cf. Russia, Germany, America, Poland, etc.). Jews have always dealt with antisemitism.

  • Israel’s various experiences of destruction would be a sign and wonder to their descendants for generations.

All these curses will fall on you, pursuing and overtaking you until you are destroyed, because you would not obey the Lord your God by keeping his commandments and statutes that he has given you. These curses will be a perpetual sign and wonder with reference to you and your descendants.

Deuteronomy 28:45-46

Jews are very aware of their unfortunate history—the stories are passed down from generation to generation. Some of these events are remembered in their festivals, especially ones where God delivered them.

  • Israel would experience judgment by foreign nations—making Israel so desperate, they would resort to cannibalizing their young.

The Lord will raise up a distant nation against you, one from the other side of the earth as the eagle flies, a nation whose language you will not understand, a nation of stern appearance that will have no regard for the elderly or pity for the young. They will devour the offspring of your livestock and the produce of your soil until you are destroyed. They will not leave you with any grain, new wine, olive oil, calves of your herds, or lambs of your flocks until they have destroyed you. They will besiege all of your villages until all of your high and fortified walls collapse—those in which you put your confidence throughout the land. They will besiege all your villages throughout the land the Lord your God has given you. You will then eat your own offspring, the flesh of the sons and daughters the Lord your God has given you, because of the severity of the siege by which your enemies will constrict you.

Deuteronomy 28:49-53

Jewish history is filled with nations coming against them—creating desperate situations. In 2 Kings 6:26-31, when Syria besieged Israel, the women were so desperate, they resulted to eating their own children as Deuteronomy 28:53 foretold.

  • Israel would experience a scattering amongst other nations, and while there, they would stop worshipping God and instead worship false deities.

This is what will happen: Just as the Lord delighted to do good for you and make you numerous, he will take delight in destroying and decimating you. You will be uprooted from the land you are about to possess. The Lord will scatter you among all nations, from one end of the earth to the other. There you will worship other gods that neither you nor your ancestors have known, gods of wood and stone. Among those nations you will have no rest nor will there be a place of peaceful rest for the soles of your feet, for there the Lord will give you an anxious heart, failing eyesight, and a spirit of despair.

Deuteronomy 28:63-65

As mentioned, Jewish history is filled with their scattering throughout other nations. Even today, most Jews do not live in Israel but in various nations around the world. This is extremely unusual. For comparison, approximately seven million Koreans live outside of Korea while forty-nine million live in Korea. In fact, after the destruction of Israel by Rome in AD 70, less Jews have always lived inside the Israel than outside of it.

In addition, as Deuteronomy 28:64 prophesied, while in exile, these Jews would not worship God but the gods of other nations. Providing evidence for this, a 2012 Gallup poll showed that Jews were the least religious people in the world—54% considered themselves nonreligious and 2% consider themselves atheist.[lvii] A 2011 study of American Jews showed that half of all American Jews had doubts about God in comparison to 10-15% of other American groups.[lviii] Romans 11:7-8 and 25 says this about the Jews current religious state:

What then? What the people of Israel sought so earnestly they did not obtain. The elect among them did, but the others were hardened, as it is written: “God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes that could not see and ears that could not hear, to this very day.” … I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers and sisters, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in

Again, part of the covenant was that while in exile, the Jews would not worship the God of their fathers, which has proved true and in a unique way compared to other ethnic groups.

  • After being exiled, Israel would experience a restoration to the land when they returned to God.

“When you have experienced all these things, both the blessings and the curses I have set before you, you will reflect upon them in all the nations where the Lord your God has banished you. Then if you and your descendants turn to the Lord your God and obey him with your whole mind and being just as I am commanding you today, the Lord your God will reverse your captivity and have pity on you. He will turn and gather you from all the peoples among whom he has scattered you. Even if you