Earlier we referred to the legend about Croesus’ being misled by the oracle of Delphi, which resulted in his defeat by the king of Persia. The Bible, on the other hand, contains a remarkable prophecy involving the king of Persia that was fulfilled in minute detail.
About 200 years in advance—long before the king was born—the Hebrew prophet Isaiah mentioned Cyrus by name and described how he would conquer the mighty city of Babylon.
Isaiah 44:24, 27, 28: “This is what Jehovah says, . . . ‘the One saying to the deep waters, “Be evaporated, and I will dry up all your rivers”; the One saying of Cyrus, “He is my shepherd, and he will completely carry out all my will”; the One saying of Jerusalem, “She will be rebuilt,” and of the temple, “Your foundation will be laid.”’”
According to the Greek historian Herodotus, the army of Cyrus diverted the waters of the Euphrates River, which flowed through the city of Babylon. Cyrus’ strategy enabled his troops to enter the city along the riverbed. After taking the city, Cyrus freed the Jews who had been captive in Babylon and allowed them to return and rebuild Jerusalem, which had been destroyed 70 years earlier.
Isaiah 45:1: “This is what Jehovah says to his anointed one, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have taken hold of to subdue nations before him, to disarm kings, to open before him the double doors, so that the gates will not be shut.”
The Persians entered the city through the massive two-leaved doors in the city wall, which had carelessly been left open. Had the Babylonians been aware of what Cyrus was planning, they could have shut all the gates that opened onto the river. But as it was, the city was defenseless.
This remarkable prophecy is but one of dozens found in the Bible that unerringly came true.* Unlike the predictions of men, often attributed to their false gods, Bible prophecies originate with the One who proclaimed: “From the beginning I foretell the outcome, and from long ago the things that have not yet been done.”—Isaiah 46:10.
Only the true God, whose name is Jehovah, can make such a claim. That name evidently means “He Causes to Become.” It points to his ability to know and shape future events in harmony with his will. It assures us that he is certain to bring about all that he has promised.
PROPHECIES BEING FULFILLED TODAY
Would you like to know what Bible prophecies have to say about our day? Some 2,000 years ago, the Bible foretold that “critical times hard to deal with” would come “in the last days.” Last days of what? Not of the earth or humankind, but of the strife, oppression, and suffering that have plagued mankind for millenniums. Let us examine just a few of the prophecies that earmark “the last days.”
2 Timothy 3:1-5: “In the last days . . . , men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, haughty, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, disloyal, having no natural affection, not open to any agreement, slanderers, without self-control, fierce, without love of goodness, betrayers, headstrong, puffed up with pride, lovers of pleasures rather than lovers of God, having an appearance of godliness but proving false to its power.”
Would you not agree that such behavior is increasingly evident in people today? Have you perceived that we are surrounded by people who adore themselves, love money, and are driven by pride? Have you not observed that people are more demanding and less willing to agree with others? Surely you notice that there is widespread disobedience to parents and that people in general love pleasures more than they love God. And things are getting worse by the day.
Matthew 24:6, 7: “You are going to hear of wars and reports of wars. . . . Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom.”
Some estimates place the total number of deaths in wars and armed conflicts since 1914 at well over 100 million, a figure that surpasses the entire population of many nations. Imagine the tears, grief, and suffering represented by that colossal statistic. Have the nations taken note and put an end to war?
Matthew 24:7: “There will be food shortages.”
The World Food Programme stated: “In a world where we produce enough food to feed everyone, 815 million people—one in nine—still go to bed on an empty stomach each night. Even more—one in three—suffer from some form of malnutrition.” It is estimated that each year some three million children die from hunger.
Luke 21:11: “There will be great earthquakes.”
Each year, some 50,000 earthquakes are large enough to be felt by humans. About 100 bring substantial damage to buildings, and one very great earthquake occurs about every year. According to one estimate, between 1975 and 2000, earthquakes claimed the lives of 471,000 people.
Matthew 24:14: “This good news of the Kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.”
Jehovah’s Witnesses, numbering more than eight million, have been preaching and bearing witness to the good news of God’s Kingdom throughout the earth in some 240 lands. They proclaim the good news in sprawling cities and remote villages, in jungles and on mountains. The prophecy foretells that when this work is completed to God’s satisfaction, “the end will come.” What will that mean? It will mean the end of human rule and the dawn of rule by God’s Kingdom. What promises will come true under God’s Kingdom? Read on to find out.
See the article “A Silent Witness to Accurate Prophecy.”