I happen to be a fan of an old British science-fiction television series called "Doctor Who." The show, which dates back to 1963, features an eccentric scientist who travels back and forth through time and space encountering various alien cultures.
These include malicious beings known as the Daleks, which look like giant salt-and-pepper shakers. In one of the earliest episodes, the Doctor is seen building a contraption which he calls a "time television." It allows him to view past or future events on a little TV screen and uses it to avoid a confrontation with the evil Daleks.
People are fascinated by the concept of seeing the future. The "Psychic Network" utilizing a phony network of people working from their homes to supposedly foretell the future via the telephone reportedly reached annual sales of $30 million. Many people have claimed to see the future. Nostradamus, Edward Cayce, and Jean Dixon--all frauds--became world famous because of their cleverly worded claims of prophecy. Annual "Prediction" issues of major pulp magazines continue to be among their best selling issues each year.
Only God knows the future. The Bible is the only book which contains accurate prophecies of future events. These are not few and far between. In fact 27 percent of all the verses in the entire Bible are prophecies! The Bible contains 1,817 individual predictions concerning 737 separate subjects found in 8,352 verses. This is one way God has placed His unique signature on the pages of scripture.
"This is what the LORD says--Israel's King and Redeemer, the LORD Almighty: I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God. Who then is like me? Let him proclaim it. Let him declare and lay out before me what has happened since I established my ancient people, and what is yet to come--yes, let him foretell what will come."
"Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure."
God uses these passages to declare that fulfilled prophecy is absolute proof that the Bible is inspired by God, because no one but He can possibly predict precise events in the future. No other religious holy book contains any detailed predictions about the future. Only God knows the future as well as the past, and has given us some samples of this ability to bring glory to Himself and to Jesus Christ.
One thing we must keep in mind is that the writers who penned these prophecies had no frame of reference for understanding the visual elements of the future events they were describing. For instance, the apostle John describes "something like a huge mountain, all ablaze" in Revelation 8:8. This may refer to a nuclear explosion, but John would have had no frame of reference to describe it any differently. He used the only visual reference he was familiar with. In our culture, we've grown up with images of nuclear explosions which do indeed look like huge mountains ablaze, though we know what they are while John did not.
Another thing we must keep in mind is that many prophecies might appear to us, reading them quickly in an English Bible and removed from the Jewish culture, as ordinary statements. For example, David's prophetic Psalm 22 describing in the first person being surrounded by enemies, spit at, and mocked. With a quick reading you may simply infer that David was writing about himself. Only by studying the passage thoroughly does it become clear that this is a Messianic prophecy. The Jews knew this was prophetic, as this passage and many others were referred to for centuries as Messianic predictions.