Some Christians, when you ask them why they believe what they believe, will mention "fulfilled prophecy." They will claim that something was predicted in the Bible, and then it later happened.
We should look into this claim.
Let's imagine that it's 1961. You and I are sitting watching a black-and-white television. A young man is making a speech, and sitting behind him are Lyndon Johnson and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. The speaker says: "Let the word go forth from this time and place to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans ..." It is John F. Kennedy making his inaugural address.
I turn to you and say, "That man will be in downtown Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963. A sniper will shoot him in the back of his head. He will be pronounced dead at 1:00 pm."
You give me a weird look. "Josh, you are one weird fucker."
A few years later, you are again watching TV, and the news stories are all about the Kennedy assassination. It has happened exactly as I predicted.
You are impressed with my prophetic powers.
So I say, "Let me do that again. Let me make a prophecy." I close my eyes and drift off into a trance state. "I see December 26, 2004 ... Indonesia ... tectonic plates ... on the ocean floor ... 300,000 people die from tsunamis."
You look at me in awe. "Josh, there's no way you could know something like that ..."
But it happens ... just as I predicted.
"Prophecy" can be very SPECIFIC or it can be very GENERAL. "Biblical prophecy" tends to be along the lines of, "And a king shall arise out of the uttermost north, and shall smite Israel, and the land shall be laid waste ..."
(A comedian once said, "For thousands of years, if you wanted to be a Biblical prophet, all you had to say was, 'Israel is going to get its ass kicked.'")
So-called "Biblical prophecy" is not very impressive.
Nobody in history has ever used the Bible to predict anything. Never. Not even once.
It's always retroactive.
It's always, "Look! Look at this headline! This was predicted long ago by the Bible ... I think. Here, let me do some research, I think there's a passage somewhere ..."
People thought that World War I was the apocalyptic battle predicted in Revelation. Twenty years later, they thought World War II was "Armageddon." They thought that Hitler was the antichrist. They said that the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948 started a prophetic clock ticking -- only one generation left!!! -- but they were wrong. Totally, completely, 100% wrong.
Josh McDowell is one who likes to point out that Jesus fulfilled prophecies about the Messiah, and then he plays with numbers (don't let this guy bullshit you) and says that the odds are one on 14 quadrillion of this happening by chance, or some such nonsense.
I'm still waiting for an explanation about the prophecy that the son of the virgin will be called Immanuel (Isa. 7:14) - this "prophecy" was NOT fulfilled by Jesus.
I myself am convinced that "Jesus" is a collection of legends and cautionary tales - all made up - and created to look like a certain rendering of the Messiah that could be cobbled together by a misinterpretation of Old Testament prophecies. For a larger treatment of this idea, read Nailed! by David Fitzgerald.
And ask yourself why modern-day Jews - who are the true experts on Old Testament prophecy - reject Jesus as the Messiah.