How Prophecy Is Fulfilled

 •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 6
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Dr. Cyrus Hamlin tells the following story. While he was in Constantinople soon after the Crimean War, a colonel in the Turkish army called to see him, and said,
“I want to ask you one question. What proof can you give me that the Bible is what you claim it to be — the Word of God?”
Dr. Hamlin evaded the question, and drew him into conversation, during which he learned that his visitor had traveled a great deal, especially in the East in the region of the Euphrates.
“Were you ever in Babylon?” asked the doctor.
“Yes, and that reminds me of a curious experience I had there. I am very fond of sport, and having heard that the ruins of Babylon abound in game, I determined to go there for a week’s shooting. Knowing that it was not considered safe for a man to be there except in the company of several others — and money being no object to me — I engaged a sheik with his followers to accompany me for a large sum. We reached Babylon and pitched our tents. A little before sundown I took my gun and strolled out to have a look around. The holes and caverns among the mounds which cover the ruins are infested with game, which, however, is rarely seen except at night. I caught sight of one or two animals in the distance, and then turned my steps toward our encamp­ment, intending to begin my sport as soon as the sun had set. What was my surprise to find the men striking the tents! I went to the sheik and protested most strongly. I had engaged him for a week, and was pay­ing him handsomely, and here he was starting off before our contract had scarcely begun. Nothing I could say, however, would induce him to remain. ‘It isn’t safe,’ he said. ‘No mortal flesh dare stay here after sunset. In the dark ghosts, goblins, ghouls, and all sorts of things come out of the holes and caverns and whoever is found here is taken off by them and becomes one of them­selves.’ Finding that I could not persuade him, I said, ‘Well, as it is I’m paying you more than I ought to, but if you’ll stay I’ll double it.’ ‘No,’ he said, ‘I couldn’t stay for all the money in the world. No Arab has ever seen the sun go down on Babylon. But I want to do what is right by you. We’ll go off to a place about an hour distant and come back at daybreak.’ And go they did. And my sport had to be given up.”
“As soon as he had finished,” said Dr. Hamlin, “I took my Bible and read from it the 13th chapter of Isaiah: ‘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 her time is near to come, and her days shall not be prolonged.’”
“That’s it exactly,” said the Turk when I had fin­ished, “but that’s history you’ve been reading.”
“No,” answered Dr. Hamlin, “it’s prophecy. Come, you’re an educated man. You know that the Old Testa­ment was translated into Greek about three hundred years before Christ.” He acknowledged that it was. “And the Hebrew was given at least two hundred years before that?” “Yes.” “Well, wasn’t this written when Babylon was in its glory, and isn’t it prophecy?”
“I’m not prepared to give you an answer now,” he replied. “I must have time to think it over.”
“Very well,” Dr. Hamlin said, “Do so, and come back when you’re ready and give me your answer.”
From that day to this he had never seen him, but what an unexpected testimony to the truth of the Bible in regard to the fulfillment of prophecy did that Turkish officer give!