What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled.1
It is remarkable how many prophecies of the Lord have already been fulfilled, in ancient as well as in modern times. Even more significant is the fact that every one of these prophecies has come to pass exactly as the Lord’s prophets have predicted. Even though the wicked scoffed at these prophecies when they first heard them, they soon learned differently. As destruction and chaos descended upon them, they saw for themselves that God is able to carry out His prophecies and purposes by the power of His almighty hand.
Noah’s 120-Year Mission to the Wicked
One of the most important prophecies recorded in the history of mankind occurred in the days of the prophet Noah. Because the people had become so wicked, the Lord called Noah on a special mission to preach repentance throughout the earth. This mission would last for 120 years.2 This calling was so important that the Lord Himself laid His hands upon the head of Noah to ordain him and set him apart for this missionary assignment.3 As Noah obediently went forth among the people, he warned them that they would be utterly destroyed by a great flood if they did not turn away from their corrupt lives of complete wickedness.4
Instead of hearkening to his message, the people rejected Noah. They mocked him as they reveled in their lives of debauchery.5 They even attempted to murder him, but “the power of the Lord was upon him”6 and Noah’s life was preserved. Finally, as Noah came to the conclusion of his mission, “the wickedness of men had become great in the earth; and every man was lifted up in the imagination of the thoughts of his heart, being only evil continually,”7 and the Lord knew that He had to intervene. He was no longer able to work spiritually with the people, for He told Noah that His “Spirit shall not always strive with man,”8 and that it was time for His physical intervention into the lives of the people whose wickedness had grown completely out of control.
Noah Receives an Unusual Commandment from the Lord
It was at this critical juncture that the Lord commanded Noah to immediately begin the construction of a large ship that would hold his family and several of each kind of animal upon the earth. Undoubtedly it seemed absolutely ludicrous to the people as Noah proceeded to build his ark high up in the mountains, many miles from any ocean or lake.9 But in spite of the mocking jeers from the wicked, Noah and his sons faithfully built their massive ship in preparation for the fulfillment of the word of the Lord.
Once the ark was completed, an unexpected miracle occurred. Previous to this time, animals from every corner of the earth had started to gather to the land of Noah. As they responded to the call of the priesthood, they arrived at the place where the ark had been built and quietly congregated there. Animals that would have normally eaten each other were unusually passive because they submitted humbly to the will of God.10 As Noah and his family watched this amazing spectacle, it must have caused them to wonder in awe. It took Noah and his family seven days to house all of the animals within the ark, and they were just finishing this gargantuan task when the rain clouds began to gather.11
The Word of the Lord Is Catastrophically Fulfilled
As the skies began to darken with clouds that contained trillions of gallons of water, and the fountains of the great deep were broken open,12 the people quickly realized that Noah was indeed a true prophet of God. The prophecies that he had received didn’t need to be doubted or questioned, they didn’t need to be explained away as “symbolic;” they literally came to pass as he had tried to warn the people.
As the flood waters came crashing in upon the cities of the wicked and they found themselves drowning in the tumultuous oceans, they learned for themselves that the Lord will fulfill His word to His prophets. Those who had not prepared themselves soon perished. Only Noah and his family were preserved. When the Lord God Jehovah comes forth in the fullness of His wrath in the latter days, the wicked are also certain to suffer severe retribution and catastrophic judgments in a similar manner.
The Weak and Humble Moses Receives a Startling Revelation
We can find another example of the power of the prophecies of God in the book of Exodus. When the Lord first spoke to Moses at the burning bush on Mount Sinai, He told Moses that he had been appointed to perform a mighty and sacred mission---to free the hosts of Israel from the bondage of Egypt.13
Moses was very distraught to learn that the Lord wanted him to do this, and he began to give the Lord a series of excuses as to why he felt incapable and unworthy. By asking Pharaoh to give up the slave labor of the Israelites, Moses was in danger of being accused of sedition and treason. He could be summarily executed.
He told the Lord that he felt small and powerless to change a mighty nation like Egypt.14 Patiently, the Lord strengthened Moses by promising him that He would go with him. The Lord also showed him the power of the priesthood through a series of astonishing miracles, including sickening his hand with acute leprosy and then immediately healing it.15 Eventually, Moses was convinced and he obediently began the long journey to Egypt.
The Immediate Fulfillment of the Word of the Lord to Moses
When Moses and Aaron arrived at the court of Pharaoh, they boldly proclaimed to Pharaoh, “Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, ‘Let my people go, that they may hold a feast unto me in the wilderness.’ And Pharaoh said, ‘Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the Lord, neither will I let Israel go.’”16 Because Pharaoh refused to comply with the Lord’s wishes, the Lord told Moses to afflict the Egyptians with a series of ten plagues.17
What was remarkable about these plagues was how quickly they were fulfilled. Prior to each plague, Moses prophetically warned Pharaoh of what would befall him and his people if they did not obey the voice of the Lord. In each case, Moses’ prophecies were fulfilled in less than 24 hours, and the Egyptians suffered the consequences of the predicted plague.18 It was readily apparent to all of the people that Moses was a true prophet of God, and those things that he spoke in the Lord’s name would literally come to pass.
Judea Is Attacked by Assyria
Many other amazing examples of the fulfillment of the prophetic word of the Lord are recorded in the pages of the Old Testament.
When the righteous King Hezekiah was ruling over the people of Judea in 701 B.C., the land was invaded by the armies of Assyria, which came sweeping down from the capital city of Nineveh. These desolating armies were headed by the Assyrian king, Sennacherib, and they quickly conquered the smaller towns of Judea. Sennacherib and his captains then began to plan their attack on the city of Jerusalem.19 In response, King Hezekiah prepared the people by strengthening their walls and defenses, and by stopping up the wells and other sources of water around Jerusalem so that the Assyrian army would suffer from thirst.20 Hezekiah also spoke to the people to strengthen them, and he told them to rely upon God in this crisis.21
Shortly after this, the Assyrian captains went up to Jerusalem and brashly told the people to prepare themselves to surrender, filling the air with blasphemous words.22 Assyria was well-known throughout the Middle East for its absolute brutality when it conquered a nation,23 and the people soon became very fearful of the threats from these Assyrian men. In the midst of this crisis, Hezekiah sent his servants to the prophet Isaiah to seek the Lord’s counsel in this dire emergency.24 When the prophet Isaiah inquired of the Lord, the message given to King Hezekiah was almost too fantastic to believe:
“Thus saith the Lord, ‘Be not afraid of the words which thou hast heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have blasphemed me. Behold, I will send a blast upon him, and he shall hear a rumour, and shall return to his own land; and I will cause him to fall by the sword in his own land.’”25
Though Hezekiah found great hope in this amazing message from the Lord,26 shortly after this prophecy was given, he received a threatening letter from Sennacherib, and he went to the temple to pray for additional faith and strength.27 His prayer was answered through the prophet Isaiah,28 who sent another prophecy to King Hezekiah:
“Therefore thus saith the Lord concerning the king of Assyria, ‘He shall not come into this city, nor shoot an arrow there, nor come before it with shield, nor cast a bank against it. By the way that he came, by the same shall he return, and shall not come into this city, saith the Lord. For I will defend this city, to save it, for mine own sake, and for my servant David’s sake’”.29
The Destruction of the Massive Army of Sennacherib
It was on the very night that King Hezekiah received this message from Isaiah that the hand of the Lord was revealed. While the troops of King Sennacherib were sleeping, they were summarily ushered into the spirit world. The Bible records:
“And it came to pass that night, that the angel of the Lord went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand; and when they [the few survivors] arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses.”30
The instantaneous death of these 185,000 troops immediately ended the military campaign of King Sennacherib, but this was not yet the final fulfillment of the prophecy given to Isaiah:
“So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed, and went and returned, and dwelt at Nineveh. And it came to pass, as he was worshipping in the house of Nisroch his god, that Adrammelech and Sharezer his sons smote him with the sword: and they escaped into the land of Armenia. And Esarhaddon his son reigned in his stead.”31
In the end, every word that was spoken through the prophet Isaiah was fulfilled. Even though his prophecy seemed absolutely impossible that the army would be “blasted” and suddenly drop dead in the middle of its military campaign, yet it came to pass. The sudden assassination of Sennacherib by his own sons was equally unexpected.
The Fall of Assyria and the Rise of Babylon
It was less than ninety years after this experience that the Assyrian nation was obliterated and destroyed. At the time of their strength when Assyria ruled the world, it was difficult to imagine the destruction of this mighty nation. Their capital city of Nineveh was an impenetrable fortress of military might. The city was so large that it took three days to walk across it. The walls surrounding the city were 100 feet high, and the walls were wide enough for three chariots to drive side-by-side across the top.32
In spite of the supposed strength and might of the Assyrian nation, the Lord told the prophets Isaiah, Nahum and Zephaniah that this wicked nation would be destroyed.33 Even though the Assyrians ruled from Egypt to Nineveh, the Lord predicted that they would be destroyed until the capital city of Nineveh was “empty, and void, and waste.”34 This prophecy was given to Isaiah and Nahum at the height of the Assyrian’s power, and at the time, it seemed unlikely that this prophecy could ever come to pass.35 But it was just a few decades later that the word of the Lord was fulfilled.
As the Assyrian nation began to lose its violent grip upon its territories in 630-620 B.C., the vassal kingdoms of Egypt, Media and Babylon began to demand their freedom and independence. Eventually the attacking armies of Babylon and Media surrounded the capital city in 612 B.C., and a sudden flood from the Tigris River caused a breach in the outer walls of Nineveh, as Nahum had prophesied.36 Babylonian and Median troops quickly entered the city and killed every living thing. Within a few years, nothing was left of the city but empty, crumbling ruins. In fact, its destruction was so complete that the existence of Nineveh was considered to be a myth for many centuries until it was rediscovered by archaeologists.37 Once again, the prophecies of the Lord, which seemed impossible at the time, were completely fulfilled.
The Rise and Fall of Babylon
After the Assyrian nation had been destroyed in 612 B.C., Babylon became the new center of power in the ancient world. It soon grew to fill the territory of Assyria, ruling the kingdoms of the Middle East with blood and terror. But this would not last for long. Both Isaiah and Jeremiah prophesied that the city of Babylon---which was also an impregnable fortress of military strength in its day---would fall to marauding armies in one night.38 The prophet Daniel had also prophesied of the fall of Babylon.39
Within a few decades the nations of the Medes and the Persians began to revolt against their Babylonian rulers. In 539 B.C., Cyrus, who was the king of the Persians, attacked and surrounded the city of Babylon. Using a brilliant military strategy, he commanded his troops to divert the waters of the Euphrates River that flowed through Babylon and underneath the massive city walls. With the water level reduced, his troops entered the city under the walls, and they captured Babylon in one night.40 The great and mighty Babylonian empire fell to the weaker nations of the Medes and the Persians, exactly as the prophets had predicted.
The Prophet Samuel Courageously Prophesies of
Jesus Christ’s Birth
Other examples of prophecies that were literally fulfilled can be found on the American continent. It was five years before the birth of Jesus Christ that the Nephite nation had descended to a level of deep wickedness. A plague of robbers and secret combinations had spread throughout the land, causing death and destruction.41 It was in these trying times that the Lord called Samuel, who was a Lamanite, to preach to the Nephites with a voice of warning. Samuel faithfully obeyed this call, going forth with courage to preach repentance unto the wicked Nephites for many days. Samuel’s message was rejected by the people and they violently cast him out of their cities, telling him to never come back.42
Samuel was dejectedly preparing to return to his own people when the voice of the Lord told him to go back to the degenerate capital city of Zarahemla. Since the people would not allow him to enter the city, he climbed to the top of its large wall and began to raise his voice to the people, telling them to repent and believe in Jesus Christ who should come.43
The Amazing Prophecies Given to Samuel
As Samuel’s heart and mind were filled with the words of God, he prophesied to the people of many events that would soon come to pass. He boldly stated that Jesus would be born in five years, and he gave them the sign of His coming, when there would be a night in which the sky would remain as blue and bright as if the sun were still shining. He also said that a new star would appear, and many other signs would be given in the heavens.44
The Lord protected Samuel as he delivered this important message, but the wrath of the Nephites was so strong that he eventually had to scramble down from the city wall and flee for his life.45 However, some of the people in Zarahemla were converted by Samuel’s preaching, and they soon joined the Church.46
As the five years of Samuel’s prophecy began to elapse, the wicked Nephites devised a plan to slay those who believed in the prophecy. But it was on the very night that the wicked were planning to murder the righteous that the sign of the birth of Christ was given. The word of the Lord was fulfilled. The emotional trauma of seeing a blue and bright sky in the middle of the night---a sign they were certain would never occur---caused the wicked to fall to the earth in shock and horror. This amazement soon spread throughout the land, and many of the people collapsed upon the ground as they realized that their agnostic lives of disbelief had completely led them astray.47
Prophecies of Death, Horror and Destruction
Samuel had also warned the people that there would be massive and catastrophic destruction throughout the American continent when the Savior was crucified, followed by three days of complete and utter darkness.48 Nephi had also seen this same destruction in a vision six hundred years before.49
When the time came for the fulfillment of these prophecies of destruction, the wicked were faced with a frustrating paradox. Since they had seen the fulfillment of the prophecies of Samuel just 33 years before, they knew that the prophecies of destruction at the Lord’s crucifixion might also come true. But if they truly believed in these things, it would have required them to face up to their evil deeds and repent. However, Satan had been able to convince them that the signs they had seen at Christ’s birth were merely coincidences or lucky guesses by the prophets. In this dual state of paralysis and apathy, the Lord’s judgments soon befell them. The Book of Mormon tells us:
“The people began to look with great earnestness for the sign which had been given by the prophet Samuel, the Lamanite, yea, for the time that there should be darkness for the space of three days over the face of the land. And there began to be great doubtings and disputations among the people, notwithstanding so many signs had been given.
“And it came to pass in the thirty and fourth year, in the first month, on the fourth day of the month, there arose a great storm, such an one as never had been known in all the land. And there was also a great and terrible tempest; and there was terrible thunder, insomuch that it did shake the whole earth as if it was about to divide asunder. And there were exceedingly sharp lightnings, such as never had been known in all the land. . . .
“And there was a great and terrible destruction in the land southward. But behold, there was a more great and terrible destruction in the land northward; for behold, the whole face of the land was changed, because of the tempest and the whirlwinds, and the thunderings and the lightnings, and the exceedingly great quaking of the whole earth; and the highways were broken up, and the level roads were spoiled, and many smooth places became rough.
“And many great and notable cities were sunk, and many were burned, and many were shaken till the buildings thereof had fallen to the earth, and the inhabitants thereof were slain, and the places were left desolate.”50
By the time the wicked realized that Samuel’s prophecies were true, it was too late. Eternally too late. They were quickly ushered into the spirit world, to suffer in spirit prison for their lives of wickedness.51
A Modern Prophet Predicts a Desolating War in America
Prophecies of the Lord have also been fulfilled in modern times. In 1832 a national crisis was brewing when the state of South Carolina threatened to secede from the United States if the national government attempted to enforce a new tariff that would have severely penalized the Southern states. However, South Carolina was surprised to then discover that none of the other Southern states supported them in this brash action of withdrawing from the Union, and they eventually backed down. A compromise tariff that was kinder to the South was passed by Congress in 1833.
Even though the clouds of war seemed to have dissipated, the Lord knew the true destiny of the nation. On Christmas day in 1832, twenty-eight years before the Civil War commenced, the Prophet Joseph Smith was told by the Lord that the state of South Carolina would some day rise up in rebellion. The other Southern states would join them in this revolt and the nation would soon be drenched in blood through the atrocities of a terrible civil war.52 The Lord not only predicted where the war would begin, but He also stated that the Southern states would ask for military help from Great Britain and other nations.53 All of these things were literally fulfilled, exactly as the Lord had warned.54
These are just a few examples of the fulfillment of the prophetic word of the Lord. There is no doubt that when the Lord speaks through His servants, His words will be fulfilled.
But why does the Lord tell His children of these future events? Why does He give prophetic visions to His faithful servants? Why not keep these secrets to Himself?
1 . D&C 1:38.
2 . W. Cleon Skousen, The First 2,000 Years, (Salt Lake City: Ensign Publishing, 1997), p. 161.
3 . Moses 8:19.
4 . Moses 8:17.
5 . Moses 8:20-21.
6 . Moses 8:18.
7 . Moses 8:22; emphasis added.
8 . Moses 8:17.
9 . Since it took 40 days for the waters to reach the ark, Noah must have built the ark high up in the mountains, far from any large body of water. See The First 2,000 Years, p. 171.
10 . The First 2,000 Years, p. 167.
11 . The First 2,000 Years, pp. 167-168.
12 . Genesis 7:11.
13 . Exodus 3:1-22.
14 . Exodus 3:11, 4:1.
15 . Exodus 4:1-17.
16 . Exodus 5:1-2.
17 . W. Cleon Skousen, The Third Thousand Years, (Salt Lake City: Ensign Publishing, 1997), pp. 192-206.
18 . Exodus, chapters 7-12.
19 . 2 Kings 18:13-17.
20 . 2 Chronicles 32:1-5.
21 . 2 Chronicles 32:6-8.
22 . 2 Kings 18:17-37.
23 . W. Cleon Skousen, The Fourth Thousand Years, (Salt Lake City: Ensign, 1997), pp. 378-379.
24 . 2 Kings 19:1-5.
25 . 2 Kings 19:6-7.
26 . 2 Kings 19:10.
27 . 2 Kings 19:9-19.
28 . 2 Kings 19:20-34.
29 . 2 Kings 19:32-34.
30 . 2 Kings 19:35.
31 . 2 Kings 19:36-37.
32 . The Fourth Thousand Years, p. 380.
33 . Isaiah, chapter 10; Nahum, chapters 1-3; Zephaniah 2:13-15.
34 . Nahum 2:10.
35 . The Fourth Thousand Years, pp. 542-543 and note.
36 . Nahum 2:6.
37 . The Fourth Thousand Years, pp. 471, 545-547.
38 . Isaiah 13:15-22, 14:4-6, 45:1-4; 47:9; Jeremiah, chapters 50 and 51.
39 . Daniel 2:39, 7:28-31.
40 . The Fourth Thousand Years, pp. 632-633.
41 . Helaman 11:32-37.
42 . Helaman 13:1-4.
43 . Helaman, chapters 13-15.
44 . Helaman 14:2-7.
45 . Helaman 16:2.
46 . Helaman 16:1.
47 . 3 Nephi 1:15-18.
48 . Helaman 14:20-31.
49 . 1 Nephi 12:4-5.
50 . 3 Nephi 8:3-7, 11-14; emphasis added.
51 . Alma 40:13-14.
52 . D&C 87:1.
53 . D&C 87:3.
54 . For an interesting discussion of the five political blunders that led to the Civil War, see Richard and Cleon Skousen, Brother Joseph---Seer of a New Dispensation, (Orem, Utah: Verity Publishing, 2005), pp. 402-407.