Summary: Prophets, to be legitimate, must stand the test of time.
(If it misses—it’s a lie)
Prophets, to be legitimate, must stand the test of time. If the prophet was not completely correct 100% of the time he is a false prophet. Prophecy, to be valid, must predate the event; must be precise enough so as to not be vague; must have enough events described to be beyond human ability to calculate or manipulate; in other words not be something that man could do, without God’s guidance.
Only God knows the future. He is able to "call the things that are not, as though they were" (Romans 4:17). He declares "the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done." (Isaiah 46:10; Acts 15:18).
There are about 1,000 prophecies altogether in the Bible --- some 800 in the Old Testament and about 200 in the New Testament.
Here is a short list of some of the fulfilled prophecies by none other than Jesus Christ. Notice that each prophecy is fulfilled LITERALLY. There are none that are vague, mystified, or spiritualized in their fulfillment:
>Born of a virgin—Isaiah 7:4 (fulfilled—Matthew 1:18, 24, 25)
>The seed of Abraham—Genesis 22:18(fulfilled—Luke 3:34)
>A teacher of parables—Psalm 78:2 (fulfilled—Matthew 13:34)
>Betrayed by a friend—Psalm 41:9 (fulfilled—Matthew 10:4)
>Silent before his accusers—Psalm 35:11 (fulfilled—Matthew 27:12)
>Wounded and bruised—Isaiah 53:5 fulfilled—Matthew 27:26)
Smitten and spit upon—Isaiah 50:6 (fulfilled—Matthew 26:67)
>Crucified with thieves—Isaiah 53:12 (fulfilled—Matthew 27:38)
>Hated without a cause—Psalm 69:4 (fulfilled—John 15:25)
>People shook their heads—Psalm 109:25 (fulfilled—Matthew 27:39)
>Garments parted and lots cast—Psalm 22:18 (fulfilled—John 19:23, 24)
>To suffer thirst—Psalm 22:15 (fulfilled—John 19:28)
Offered gall and vinegar—Psalm 69:21 (fulfilled—Matthew 27:34)
>Side was pierced—Zechariah 12:10 (fulfilled—John 19:34)
>Committed himself to God—Psalm 31:5 (fulfilled—Luke 23:46)
>Bones not broken—Psalm 34:20 (fulfilled—John 19:33)
>Buried in a rich man’s tomb—Isaiah 53:9 (fulfilled—Matthew 27:57-60)
>There was darkness over the land—Amos 8:9 (fulfilled—Matthew 27:45).
This is only a partial list of some 300 prophecies fulfilled in Jesus’ life on earth. How could all of these prophecies be so accurate? The Apostle Peter informs us that the writers of the Old Testament spoke as they were moved by the Spirit or power of God.
The most important of these end-time prophecies is the re-establishment of Israel as a nation in it’s ancient homeland. That a nation could be completely destroyed as an organized entity by an invading army (by the Romans in 70 AD), it’s people either slaughtered or scattered from one end of the world to the other, it’s lands occupied and ruled by aliens for over 1900 years. Yet Israel survived as a distinct nationality, and then finally regained its homeland and became recognized as a viable nation once more by the other nations of the world.
Seems impossible? Even so, it was predicted to happen many centuries before it happened. Jesus Himself predicted the fall of Jerusalem in Luke 19:43-44, "The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you."