Chap. XLII. — Prophecy Using the Past Tense.
But when the Spirit of prophecy speaks of things that are about to come to pass as if they had already taken place, — as may be observed even in the passages already cited by me, — that this circumstance may afford no excuse to readers [for misinterpreting them], we will make even this also quite plain. The things which He absolutely knows will take place, He predicts as if already they had taken place. And that the utterances must be thus received, you will perceive, if you give your attention to them. The words cited above, David uttered 1500 years before Christ became a man and was crucified; and no one of those who lived before Him, nor yet of His contemporaries, afforded joy to the Gentiles by being crucified. But our Jesus Christ, being crucified and dead, rose again, and having ascended to heaven, reigned; and by those things which were published in His name among all nations by the apostles, there is joy afforded to those who expect the immortality promised by Him.
~Justin Martyr, First Apology
It is interesting to note, as this passage I ran across in some recreational reading today reflects, that the Church Fathers often advanced an apologetic which was both Biblical and compelling precisely by pointing to the convergence of many manifest signs of Christianity’s truth, but these were seldom or never miracles or healings, but almost always prophetic. Craig S. Keener makes this point well in his two volume masterpiece on miracles, in which he observes that the Church Fathers seemed more-or-less embarrassed at miracles as far as their apologetic agendas were concerned, and yet were very keen on vindicating Jesus as the Messiah of God to the world by calling into evidence the story of Israel and the anticipatory prophesies which are apparently fulfilled in Christ. This can act as a reminder to us that a robust apologetic might not look so very different today, especially when Christianity must show its credentials to challengers such as the religion of Islam.