Does the Old Testament
Predict the Future?

Question?   -   Newsletter   -   New!
Does the Old Testament accurately predict the future? The prophet Isaiah gave his prophecies long before the Babylonian empire's King Nebuchadnezzar razed the city of Jerusalem in the year 586 B.C. The capital of the empire, Babylon, was predicted to fall through the prophet.

The city of Babylon is glorious and powerful, the pride of the nation. But it will be like the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah after I, the Lord, destroyed them. No one will live in Babylon. Even nomads won’t camp nearby, and shepherds won’t let their sheep rest there (Isaiah 13:19 - 20).

The city of Babylon took up an area of roughly 196 square miles. This prophecy would be like predicting the complete collapse of a modern metropolis like Tokyo, London or even New York City.


The Assyrian empire's capital city was Nineveh. Zephaniah, a little read prophet of the Old Testament, foretold the city's destruction more than a decade before it occurred in 612 B.C.

The Lord will reach to the north to crush Assyria and overthrow Nineveh (Zephaniah 2:13).

Semiramis Building Babylon
Semiramis Building Babylon
Edgar Degas, 1861

Nahum, considered one of the Old Testament's Minor Prophets, also accurately foretold of the demise of Nineveh (Nahum 2:10, 3:19) many years before it happened.

Tyre's Destruction

The leading seacoast cities of the Phoenicians were Sidon and Tyre. Tyre especially was noteworthy since part of the city existed on the mainland while another part occupied a small island about 1/2 mile away. Ezekiel the prophet not only, in the Old Testament, condemned those in Tyre but also prophecied about the city's total destruction.

I am the Lord God, and I am now your enemy! I will send nations to attack you, like waves crashing against the shore. They will tear down your city walls and defense towers. I will sweep away the ruins until all that’s left of you is a bare rock . . . (Ezekiel 26:3 - 4).

The fulfilling of this prophecy occurred in several phases. First, Babylon's Nebuchadnezzar warred against Tyre's mainland piece for 13 years (Ezekiel 26:7 - 11, 29:18). He was, however, robbed of the spoils of war when he overtook the city and found it riches and people had moved to Tyre's occupied island. Eventually the city made a peace agreement with Babylon. Babylon's king, however, fulfilled part of the prophecies of Ezekiel by destroying Tyre's mainland presence.

Philistine fate

One of ancient Israel's longstanding enemies, who were fought against by the likes of Samson and King David, was the Philistines. God, through the prophet Zephaniah, foretold of the destruction of no less than FOUR major Philistine coastal cities.

Gaza and Ashkelon will be deserted and left in ruins. Ashdod will be emptied in broad daylight, and Ekron uprooted. To you people of Philistia who live along the coast, the Lord has this to say: 'I am now your enemy, and I’ll wipe you out!'

Your seacoast will be changed into pastureland and sheep pens. The Lord God hasn’t forgotten those survivors in Judah, and he will help them — his people will take your land to use for pasture. And when evening comes, they will rest in houses at Ashkelon (Zephaniah 2:4 - 7).

As predicted by the prophet (and by Ezekiel in 25:15 - 17 of his book), the Philistine nation ultimately ceased to exist. The city of Ashkelon, however, remained inhabited until its destruction in 1270 when its harbor was rendered useless by it being filled with rocks. As predicted, the coastal city became a place for shepherds and sheep!

The fates of Thebes and Memphis

Egypt is one of the earth's very first empires. Memphis, a major city in Egypt, had its fate prophecied by the prophet Ezekiel.

All the idols and images you Egyptians worship in the city of Memphis will be smashed. No one will be left to rule your nation, and terror will fill the land. The city of Pathros will be left in ruins, and Zoan will be burned to the ground. Thebes, your capital city, will also be destroyed!

The fortress city of Pelusium will feel my fierce anger, and all the troops stationed at Thebes will be slaughtered. I will set fire to your nation of Egypt! The city of Pelusium will be in anguish. Thebes will fall, and the people of Memphis will live in constant fear (Ezekiel 30:13 - 16).

Although the Assyrians led by Esarhaddon and the Persians by Cambyses took Memphis, it soon recovered its glory after being captured. But the city's demise came with the Muslim invasion of Egypt in the 7th century A.D. The prophet Ezekiel boldly predicted Egypt's fall from power years before it occurred.

Then after those forty years have passed, I will bring your people back from the places where I scattered them. They will once again live in their homeland in southern Egypt. But they will be a weak kingdom 15 and won’t ever be strong enough to rule nations, as they did in the past (Ezekiel 29:13 - 14).

Since Ezekiel's time, others have repeatedly overcome Egypt, including the empires of Greece (Alexander the Great), Rome, Turkey (Ottoman Empire), etc. etc. Even Egypt today is insignificant as a major power.

Greeks over the Persians

Daniel, in the period around 605 - 536 B.C., prophecied Greece would overtake the mighty Persians. Persia's empire is considered the largest and most powerful of all ancient empires. the Persian Empire. Employing a goat to represent Greece, and a ram to symbolize Persia, Daniel wrote the following.

I kept on watching and saw a goat come from the west and charge across the entire earth, without even touching the ground. Between his eyes was a powerful horn, and with tremendous anger the goat started toward the ram that I had seen beside the river.

The goat was so fierce that its attack broke both horns of the ram, leaving him powerless. Then the goat stomped on the ram, and no one could do anything to help. After this, the goat became even more powerful. But at the peak of his power, his mighty horn was broken, and four other mighty horns took its place - one pointing to the north and one to the east, one to the south and one to the west.

The two horns of the ram are the kings of Media and Persia, the goat is the kingdom of Greece, and the powerful horn between his eyes is the first of its kings (Daniel 8:5 - 8, 20 - 21).

Some 200 years after the death of Daniel his God-inspired predictions proved correct. The undefeated Greek general Alexander the Great took the Persian empire around 334 - 330 B.C.

Skeptic challenge

Still more prophecies could be listed such as Jesus' prophecy that Jerusalem would be destroyed (Matthew 24:1 - 2). All the above (and more!) prophetic predictions are God's great challenge to both skeptics and unbelievers alike.

I am the Lord, the King of Israel! Come argue your case with me. Present your evidence. Come near me, you idols. Tell us about the past, and we will think about it. Tell us about the future, so we will know what is going to happen.

Prove that you are gods by making your predictions come true. Do something good or evil, so we can be amazed and terrified (Isaiah 41:21 - 23).

For a list of all the prophetic Old Testament world empires from Babylon to the Beast power in the End Time, see our article on World Empires.

Recommended Articles
Who Are the Minor Prophets?
Prophetic Events between the Testaments
Map of Alexander the Great's Empire
What Does the Name Rome Mean?
Persian (Achaemenid) Empire Map
Who Was Israel's Greatest Enemy?
Flow of Old Testament History Map
Where Was Thebes (No) Located?