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Jesus vs Nostradamus

We're looking at the book of Isaiah as a church at the moment. From chapter 41, it argues the case that God is unlike any other because he alone tells things that are going to happen before they do.

"I have stirred up one from the north, and he comes -

one from the rising sun who calls on my name...

Who told of this from the beginning, so that we could know,

or beforehand, so that we could say, 'He was right'?

No-one told of this,

no-one foretold it,

no-one heard any words from you.

I was the first..."

(Isaiah 41:25-26)

I was bothered by this argument - because I thought, 'Surely others have predicted the future?' I've heard people talk about the likes of Nostradamus (the chap in the picture), who predicted Hitler, 9/11, the death of Diana ... and basically most major world events you could think of. What's different about what God says?

Well, it doesn't take much study or brain-power to see the two are completely different. When God tells the future, he's precise and deliberate. For example:

(a) In these chapters of Isaiah, he specifically names the man who will set his people free from captivity in Babylon - Cyrus. Sure enough, the Persian king Cyrus set them free a century or two after Isaiah had died.

(b) In the Christmas story (Matthew 2:1-6), when the Magi ask king Herod where the king of the Jews is born, Herod's Bible boffins say 'Bethlehem' - and quote God's prophet Micah. Sure enough he's there.

With Nostro, there's nothing specifically stated. It's only with hindsight that people say, 'Oh look - that's what he said!'

So what?

[1] It's really annoying when people treat the Bible like a Nostradamus prophecy. In the first Gulf War, someone quoted Jeremiah about fast locusts coming from the north. Why not look at the plain meaning instead of looking for the hidden codes?! (Because then it's not all about us and our self-centred generation, I suppose.)

[2] If you answer the question in Isaiah, "Who [else] told of this?", you have to say the God of the Bible is unique. The Father of Jesus is the only true God. Not a popular view, but a proven fact on this evidence. We need to get in line with him.

[3] All God's promises are fulfilled in Jesus - that's what the Bible story's about. When someone's been right so many times, we'd better take his still-to-happen prophecies seriously: that Jesus will come back to judge the world, that he'll come when people are not expecting him, and that only those who trust in him and follow him will be saved through that.

Jesus vs Nostradamus? Sorry, Nostro: you lose. (Like your beard though.)