History and Prophecy

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The Annals of the Joseon Dynasty meticulously document the 472-year reign of the Joseon Dynasty, spanning from the inaugural monarch, King Taejo, to the twenty-fifth ruler, King Cheoljong. Comprising over 1,800 volumes, these annals offer a comprehensive and objective account of Joseon’s politics, diplomacy, education, economy, industry, military affairs, religion, transportation, art, and cultural practices. Authored by dedicated officials who maintained constant vigilance over the monarch, the annals chronicle every facet of royal activity with painstaking detail.

In a testament to their cultural significance, UNESCO recognized the Annals of the Joseon Dynasty in 1997, enlisting them in the prestigious Memory of the World Programme. Such historical treasures, including these annals, hold immeasurable value as they encapsulate centuries of invaluable historical insights.

The Bible is renowned as a historical tome chronicling the saga of Israel. Yet, it stands apart from conventional historical texts. While typical history books solely document past events, the Bible transcends this boundary by incorporating prophecies alongside historical accounts. Thus, the Bible serves as both a record of the past and a guide to the future, fulfilling the dual roles of history and prophecy.

Two thousand years ago, Jesus’ disciples meticulously recorded His teachings and exemplary deeds during His earthly ministry as the Christ. The four Gospels vividly portray Jesus enduring the anguish of Roman scourging and ridicule, culminating in His ultimate sacrifice on the cross.

“Then he released Barabbas to them. But he had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified. Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him. They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand and knelt in front of him and mocked him. ‘Hail, king of the Jews!’ they said. They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again. After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.” Mt 27:26–31

“Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water.” Jn 19:34

Surprisingly, this history recorded by the disciples had already been prophesied hundreds of years ago.

“He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.” Isa 53:3–5

The book of Isaiah, penned some seven centuries before the earthly advent of Jesus, remarkably anticipated the detailed suffering that awaited Him in the future. This prophecy extends beyond mere anticipation of suffering; it also encompasses the circumstances surrounding His birth. True to prophecy, Jesus was born of a virgin in Bethlehem, a humble village—a fulfillment realized through the conception of the virgin Mary (Isa 7:14; Mic 5:2; Mt 1:18-23; Mt 2:1–6). The meticulous fulfillment of these prophecies attests to their divine origin.

“For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” 2 Pe 1:21

The Bible stands as the embodiment of God’s will. While many can document past events, the ability to accurately forecast the future is a divine prerogative. Only God possesses the omniscience required to perceive what lies ahead, making Him the sole authority capable of such prophecy.

“ ‘This is what the LORD says—the Holy One of Israel, and its Maker: Concerning things to come, do you question me . . .?’ ” Isa 45:11

Countless prophecies documented in the Bible have been meticulously fulfilled over millennia in human history. Furthermore, the Scriptures continue to contain prophecies concerning future events that will impact us.

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. . . . ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.’ ” Rev 21:1–4

The final prophecy in the Bible depicts the kingdom of heaven as a new heaven and a new earth. When this prophecy is realized, all the predictions within the Bible will come to fruition. The kingdom of heaven, devoid of death, pain, and tears, is not a mere figment of imagination or a fantastical realm from fiction. Rather, it is a tangible reality affirmed by the Bible, God’s word, promising our eventual journey to its eternal bliss.