Fulfilled Prophecy—Unexplored Country — Babylon— Nineveh—Tyre—Jerusalem—Egypt—The Jew.
I KNOW knothing that will upset an honest skeptic quicker than fulfilled prophecy. There are very few Christians who think of studying this subject. They say that prophecies are so mysterious, and there is question about their being fulfilled. Now the Bible does not say that prophecy is a dark subject, to be avoided; but rather that " we have a more sure word of prophecy, whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn and the daystar arise in your hearts." Prophecy is history unfulfilled, and history is prophecy fulfilled.
When I was a boy I was taught that all beyond the Mississippi river was the great American desert. But when the first pick-axe struck into the Cornstock lode, and they took out more than one hundred million dollars' worth of silver, the nation realized that there was no desert: and to-day that part of the country—Nevada, Colorado, Utah and other western states — is some of the most valuable we possess. Think of the busy cities and flourishing states that have sprung up among the mountains! So with many portions of the Bible: people never think of reading them. They are living on a few verses and chapters. The greater part of the Bible
was written by prophets, yet you never hear a sermon preached on prophecy.
Between five and six hundred Old Testament prophecies have been remarkably and literally fulfilled, and two hundred in regard to Jesus Christ alone. Not a thing happened to Jesus Christ that was not prophesied from seventeen hundred to four hundred years before He was born.
Take the four great cities that existed in the days when the Old Testament was written, and you will find that prophecies regarding them have been fulfilled to the letter. Let me call your attention to a few passages.
First regarding Babylon—"And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees' excellency, shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. It 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; and owls shall dwell there, and satyrs shall dance there. And the wild beasts of the islands shall cry in their desolate houses, and dragons in their pleasant palaces; and their time is near to come, and her days shall not be prolonged." And again: "The word that the Lord spake against Babylon and against the land of the Chaldeans by Jeremiah the Prophet. Declare ye among the nations, and publish and set up a standard; publish and conceal not; say, Babylon is taken, Bel is confounded, Merodach is broken in pieces; her idols
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are confounded, her images are broken in pieces. For out of the north there cometh a nation against her; which shall make her land desolate, and none shall dwell therein; they shall remove, they shall depart, both man and beast." "Because of the wrath of the Lord it shall not be inhabited, but it shall bt wholly desolate; every one that goeth by Babylon shall be astonished, and hiss at all her plagues." "How is the hammer of the whole earth cut asunder and broken! How is Babylon become a desolation among the nations! I have laid a snare for thee, and thou art taken, oh Babylon, and thou wast not aware; thou art found, and also caught, because thou hast striven against the Lord."
A hundred years before Nebucadnezzar ascended the throne, it was foretold how Babylon should be destroyed, and it came to pass. Scholars tell us that the city stood in the midst of a large and fruitful plain. It was enclosed by a wall four hundred and eighty furlongs square. Each side of the square had twenty gates of solid brass, and at every corner was a strong tower, ten feet higher than the wall. The wall was eighty-seven feet broad, and three hundred and fifty feet high. These figures give us an idea of the importance of Babylon. Yet nothing but ruins now remain to tell of its former grandeur. When Babylon was in its glory, the queen of the earth, prophets predicted that it would be destroyed; and how literally was it fulfilled!
A friend going through the valley of the Euphrates tried to get his dragoman to pitch his tent near the ruins, and failed. No Arabian pitches his tent there, no shepherd will dwell near the ruins.
NINEVEH. Now take Nineveh. "And I will cast abominable filth upon thee, and make thee vile, and will set thee as a gazingstock. And it shall come to pass, that all they that look upon thee shall flee from thee, and say, Nineveh is laid waste; who will bemoan her? Whence shall I seek comforters for thee?" Now, how are you going to cover the city up? "I will cast upon her abominable filth." How are you going to cast abominable filth upon the city? And yet for 2,500 years Nineveh was buried and an abominable filth lay upon her. But now they have dug up the ruins, and brought them to Paris and London, and you go into the British museum, and there is not a day except the Sabbath but what you can see men from all parts of the world gazing upon the ruins. It is just as the prophets prophesied. For 2,500 years Nineveh was buried, but it is no longer buried.
Then look at Tyre: "Therefore thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I am against thee, Oh 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 in the midst of the sea, for I have spoken it, saith the Lord God, and it shall become a spoil to the nations." Coffin, who was correspondent of the Boston Journal during the war, went round the world after the war was over in '68. One night he came to the site of old Tyre, and he said the sun was just going down, and he got
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his dragoman to pitch his tent right over by the ruins, where the rocks were scraped bare, and he took out his Bible and read where it says, " It shall be a place, for the spreading of nets." He said the fishermen had done fishing and were just spreading their nets on the rocks of Tyre, precisely as it was prophesied hundreds and hundreds of years before. Now mark you! When they prophesied against these great cities, they were like London, Paris and New York in their glory, but their glory has gone.
Now take the prophecy in regard to Jerusalem: "And when He was come near, He beheld the city, and wept over it saying, If thou hadst known, even thou at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace: But now they are hid from thine eyes. For the day shall come upon thee, that thy enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side." Didn't Titus do that? Did'nt the Roman Emperor do that very thing? "And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation."
I have read of two Rabbis going up to Jerusalem, and they saw a fox playing upon the wall; one began to weep when he thus looked at the desolation of Zion. The other smiled and rebuked him, saying that the spectacle was a proof that the Word of God was true, and that this was one of the prophecies which should be fulfilled—" Because of the mountain of Zion, which is desolate, the foxes walk upon it." It was also said that Jerusalem should be as a ploughed field. This prophecy has also been fulfilled. The modern city is so restricted that outside of the walls, where part of the old city stood, the plough has been used.
Now take the prophecies regarding Egypt: "It shall be the basest of the kingdoms; neither shall it exalt itself any more above the nations; for I will diminish them, that they shall no more rule over the nations." Now, mark you! Egypt was in its glory when this was prophesied. It was a great and mighty empire, but for centuries it has been the basest of all nations. They have not got a native prince or king to reign over them. The man that is reigning over them now is not an Egyptian, but he is some foreigner, and so it has been.
Then, again, the prophecy of Balaam with regard to the Jews has been already greatly fulfilled. "Lo, the people shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations. Who can count the dust of Jacob, and the number of the fourth part of Israel?" The Jews were not to be reckoned amongst the nations. There is something in this people's looks and habits that God continues to perpetuate, just, as I believe, to make them witnesses in every land of the truth of the Bible.
The race has remained all these centuries separate and distinct from other nations. In America there are all kinds of nationalities. Take an Irishman, and in a generation he will have forgotton his nationality. So, too, with the Germans, Italians, and 40 Fulfilled Prophecy.
French; but the Jew is as much a Jew as he was when he came over one hundred years ago. See how the race has been persecuted, yet the Jews control the finances of the world and can not be kept down. Egypt, Edom, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Rome, and all the leading nations of the earth have sought to crush out the Jews. Frederick the Great said, " Touch them not, for no one has done so and prospered." The people are the same now as they were in the days of Pharoah, when he tried to destroy all the male children. The prophecy is fulfilled— God has made the nation numerous and united. The time is coming when God will reinstate the Jew. "For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a King, and without a Prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ephod, and without teraphim." Are they not without a King, without a nation, and without a sacrifice? Are they not scattered among the nations of the earth, a separate and distinct people? and they do not bow down to idols. Their last King they crucified, and they will never have another until they restore Him. He was Jesus Christ, as inscribed upon His cross, "The King of the Jews."
We see how it was prophesied that Eli should suffer. He was God's own high priest, and the only thing against him was that he did not obey God's word faithfully and diligently. He was like a good many nowadays. He was one of these good-natured old men who don't want to make people uncomfortable by saying unpleasant things, so he let his two boys go on in neglect, and did not restrain them. He was just like some ministers. Oh! let every minister tell the truth, though he preach himself out of his pulpit. Everything went all right for twenty years, but then came fulfilment of the prophecy. God's ark was taken, the army of Israel was routed by the Philistines; Hophni and Phineas, old Eli's two sons, were killed, and when the old man heard of it, he fell back in his chair, broke his neck and died. So with King Ahab, taking the sinful advice of Jezebel. Naboth would not sell him that piece of land, so they got him out of the way. Three years afterwards the dogs licked Ahab's blood from his chariot in the very spot where Naboth's had been murderously shed.