Fulfilled Prophecy – Proof of Bible’s Divine Inspiration?

New thread courtesy of J.D. – he writes:
Christians claim that the Bible has hundreds of fulfilled prophecies, and is proof of its divine inspiration. In actuality, these so called fulfilled prophecies failed, were false or weren’t prophecies at all. Many of these prophecies are so vague, they can be attributed to different events. It’s also a fact that the Bible was written 100’s, even 1000’s of years after these presumed prophecies and their “fulfillment” took place. It’s also fair to mention that nowhere in the Bible will you find countries such as theUnited States,Russia,China,Korea,Great Britainprophesied. Oh Christians will tell you that they are, if you know how to interpret the Bible.

Genesis 26:4 And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.

Here God tells Isaac that his descendents (Hebrews) will be as numerous as the stars. Considering the number of stars there are in the universe, that would have to be on the order of 10 to the power of 20 Jewish people.
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Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

Christians say that this verse is a prophecy of Jesus’ birth to a virgin. There are a couple problems with this prophecy…First, virgin in this verse is a mistranslation of the Hebrew word “almah”, which actually means “young woman”. A young woman is not necessarily a virgin. “Bethulah” would have been the correct word to use if the author meant virgin. Second, nowhere in the New Testament is Jesus referred to as Immanuel.
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Isaiah 17:1 The burden ofDamascus. Behold,Damascusis taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap.

Damascusis still inhabited today with over a million people, and hardly a ruinous heap.
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Isaiah 19:4-5 And the Egyptians will I give over into the hand of a cruel lord; and a fierce king shall rule over them, saith the Lord, the LORD of hosts. And the waters shall fail from the sea, and the river shall be wasted and dried up.

The river mentioned here is the Nile. The Nile is still one of Egypt’s greatest natural resource.
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Isaiah 19:18 In that day shall five cities in thelandofEgyptspeak the language ofCanaan, and swear to the LORD of hosts; one shall be called, The city of destruction.

The Canaanite language has never been spoken in Egypt, and is now an extinct.
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Isaiah 52:1 Awake, awake; put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city: for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean.

There are uncircumcised people living in Jerusalemeven today.
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Ezekiel 29:10-11 Behold, therefore I am against thee, and against thy rivers, and I will make the land of Egypt utterly waste and desolate, from the tower of Syene even unto the border of Ethiopia. No foot of man shall pass through it, nor foot of beast shall pass through it, neither shall it be inhabited forty years.

Never in its long history has Egyptever been uninhabited for forty years.
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Amos 9:15 And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the LORD thy God.

Many times, Jews have been pulled up out of their land. The ownership of their land is still being fought for.
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Jonah 3:4 And Jonah began to enter into the city a day’s journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, andNinevehshall be overthrown.

Ninevehwas never overthrown. Why? Because God changed his mind in verse 3:10, despite what Malachi 3:6, Numbers 23:19 and Ezekiel 24:14 says about God never changing his mind.

Jonah 3:10 And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.

(another note on this one:so god did evil huh? sinned? not so perfect?)
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Zechariah 11:12 And I said unto them, If ye think good, give me my price; and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver.

Christians say that this prophecy is was fulfilled when Judas received 30 pieces of silver for betraying Jesus. Matthew 27:9 recites this verse, but incorrectly credits Jeremiah with the prophecy.
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Matthew 1:22-23 Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

Again, Jesus is never referred to as Emmanuel (Immanuel).
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Matthew 2:23 And he came and dwelt in a city calledNazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene.

Nowhere in the Old Testament is such a prophecy found, so how could such a one be fulfilled?
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Matthew 12:5 Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless?

There is no passage in the Old Testament that can be attributed to what Jesus is saying here.
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Matthew 24:34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.

Jesus states that all the signs marking the end of the world in Matthew 24 would be fulfilled before his generation ended. That generation ended 2000 years ago, and the world has not come to an end, neither has all those signs been fulfilled.
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Matthew 27:9 Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him that was valued, whom they of the children ofIsraeldid value.

This prophecy was never spoken by Jeremiah.
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Matthew 26:64 Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.

Jesus tells the high priest that he would see his second coming. The high priest is long dead, and Jesus hasn’t returned yet.
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Throughout the New Testament, the end of the world is prophesied as being very near, at hand, to be witnessed by those living at the time. Paul often told the people he preached to that they would be witnesses to Jesus’ second coming. They are all long gone.

45 Responses to “Fulfilled Prophecy – Proof of Bible’s Divine Inspiration?”

Douglawrence wrote an interesting post today . Here’s a quick excerpt Christians claim that the Bible has hundreds of fulfilled prophecies, and is proof of its divine inspiration. In actuality, these so called fulfilled prophecies failed, were false or weren’t prophecies at all. Many of these prophecies … […]

I think the fact that in most instances, the “prophesies” were recorded after the “fulfillment” is the most damning of all since it invalidates even prophecies that seem like they could have been fulfilled. Then of course, there are the prophesies that were never fulfilled.

I agree that the prophesies as interpreted by Christians are unfulfilled, but consider this: if the prophesies were written after the fact (and most, but not all were), then I would expect that they would have been written in such a way as to make contemporary events, which were in recent memory at that time, appear as the fulfillment of the prophecy. That being the case, it would be interesting to understand how the prophecy would have appeared fulfilled to ancient readers.

The other case, when prophecy was written in anticipation of events, occurred in dire times when the prophets wanted their contemporary readers to hold out hope that their suffering was just part of the prophecy and that they should not despair.

Here are just a few thoughts on a few of the particular prophesies:

Genesis 26:4 And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.

‘Numerous as the stars’ could simply be an idiom, but I don’t know for a fact that it is. The part that says “thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed” would be hard to justify if we follow the Israelites through history and up to present day.

Isaiah 19:18 …The Canaanite language has never been spoken in Egypt, and is now an extinct.

Technically, Hebrew is a Canaanite language and it was not predominant in Egypt, but it was spoken there. That’s clearly not what the prophecy meant though.

Matthew 1:22-23 …Jesus is never referred to as Emmanuel (Immanuel).

This one is forgivable, although there is no evidence of prophecy fulfillment. The reason is the the name, “Immanuel,” is a translation of Hebrew: “Imanu El” – Imanu is the 1st-person plural form of “with”, so it is literally “with us;” and “El” is one of the names for God in the Hebrew Bible. So one could make the case that believing that Jesus was God who came to live among men is tantamount to calling him Immanuel.

Matthew 2:23 Nowhere in the Old Testament is such a prophecy found, so how could such a one be fulfilled?

It gets worse: archaeologists have actually found the city of Nazareth, but the city had not yet been built by the early part of the first century.

I should have made clear that this is if you take the bible literally that is part of my basis for this. If you only take part of the bible literally, and others as idioms, then you are only doing your religion harm. Because there is no way to distinguish one from the other in the case of the bible. Exception: when they say, “this is a story, this is a parable,” etc.

Other than that I agree with you.

I view biblical prophecies the same way I view the prophecies of Nostradamus, Jeanne Dixon and Jimmie the Greek. Although, with Jimmie, he used statistics and made specific predictions. But he still got it wrong.

This makes me think of the jewish state of Israel. From what I understand the conservative christians support a jewish state because, according to biblical prophecy, the messiah’s return depends on it’s existence. I say such support would actually taint the prophecy and make it self-fulfilling, thereby rendering the biblical prophecy null and void.

I see what you mean – the prophesies are vague enough so that they could be (and have been!) interpreted in quite a wide variety of way.

I don’t know that much about Nostradamus’ prophesies, other than some casual reading on the web and a few TV shows. But off the cuff, I think the majority of prophesies in the Hebrew Bible are different than the Nostradamus’ prophesies in an important way: the majority of prophesies in the Hebrew Bible were written after the prophesied event. So the motive of those prophecies seems to be to reinterpret tragic events as a punishment of God, or to reinterpret fortunate events as a reward from God. The motivation was not to foretell the future.

Other prophesies, like the ones in the 2nd part of Isaiah, were made during distressful times (e.g., the exile) as a promise that God would intervene on behalf of the Israelites in times of distress. These took the form of threats to the Israelite’s oppressors, or promises of salvation (physical, not spiritual as in the New Testament) for the Israelites. These prophesies were intended to foretell the future. Possibly these are most like the prophesies of Nostradamus?

We absolutely DO call Him Emmanuel, as did Mary and Joseph who knew who He was. So did His followers who believed He was indeed God. This doesn’t mean that was meant to be His proper name.

‘Call His name’ simply means ‘call Him’, doesn’t mean Emmanuel becomes His official name. It’s just like another passage of Isaiah – ‘and His name will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace’. These clearly are meant to be titles and not His proper name.

by “they would be witnessed to Jesus second coming didn’t mean they were going to be alive on earth. They did die on earth. but not “long gone”. They are also waiting for Jesus’s second coming. Which they will witness

Something that you need to realize also is the bible has been revised so that we can better understand it. And many words have been changed throught out the years for our better understanding; so when it says that God repented of what was gonna be done to niniveh…. Its obvious that “repent” is not the correct word. Because God does not repent. The new translations of the bible have placed that word there but it is not what should be there. That is why you don’t put too much emphasis on one word.

About the damascus prophecy. It was already fulfilled.The burden of Damascus refers to the capital city of Syria. Along with Isaiah 7, it predicts the downfall of the coalition between Syria and Ephraim. Tiglath- pileser of Assyria destroyed Damascus in 732 B.C…this was the fulfillment of that prophecy.

The prophecy mentioned in Isaiah 52 has not been fulfilled because it is will come to pass in the millenium (the 1000 years). The millenium will occur after the 7 years of tribulation. This is after his 2nd coming. Which has not yet occured.

Daughter of a King,Thanks for stopping by to comment!We absolutely DO call Him Emmanuel… I agree with you here. Here’s what I posted earlier (above) in response to the claim of this failed prophesy: “he reason is the the name, “Immanuel,” is a translation of Hebrew: “Imanu El” – Imanu is the 1st-person plural form of “with”, so it is literally “with us;” and “El” is one of the names for God in the Hebrew Bible. So one could make the case that believing that Jesus was God who came to live among men is tantamount to calling him Immanuel.”

by “they would be witnessed to Jesus second coming didn’t mean they were going to be alive on earth.

I think the 2nd-coming prophesy did mean that the witnesses would still be alive on earth. In Mat 24, Mar 30, and Luke 21, when Jesus is telling the disciples when He will return, He says in verse 34: “I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.”Something that you need to realize also is the bible has been revised so that we can better understand it. Who do you believed revised the Bible, and how can you tell that their purpose for the revisions were to help us better understand?Its obvious that “repent” is not the correct word. Because God does not repent. How can you tell that the verses that say that God repented are not the correct verses, and the verses that say that God does not repent are the incorrect verses?

Tiglath- pileser of Assyria destroyedDamascusin 732 B.C…this was the fulfillment of that prophecy.

Then given the chronology, do you agree that this “prophesy” may have been written after the destruction ofDamascus? If not, how do you know that it was written earlier?

The prophecy mentioned in Isaiah 52 has not been fulfilled because it is will come to pass in the millenium (the 1000 years).

Deutero-Isaiah (chapters 40 – 55) was written during the exile in Assyria and this prophesy echoed the hopes that the Israelites held forJerusaleminJudah(which was a refuge for some who fled from theNorthern Kingdomduring the exile). The time for this prophesy’s fulfillment is long since passed.

a bout the “God repenting” well God does not contradict himself this is why I say it was incorrectly interpreted. And it was King James who revised the “king James” Version… and well the bible has been revised so many times and the words made simpler and simpler each time. For exaple, If i were to write “Your irrelevant comment about the spheric apple was unnecessary in the argument between Luis and Ana”…and somebody trying to translate it into a different language or the same one but with simpler words with a more understandable vocabulary…….and it looked something like this:……”When you talked you said the wrong thing about the round apple in Luis and Ana’s fight”……… Same kinda thing but little words such as fight… and round…and “saying the wrong thing”….. can give the reader other conclusions about the phrase… they get the same idea but you know what I mean? cuz i have a teen bible and the words are made so much simpler for me to understand that I feel a lot of important details are missing. So when the bible was interpreted from the original language they used that word… to interpret it but it really doesn’t go there. You know what i mean?

are you aware of what the millenium is though? thats the time its talking about.. and yes issaiah was written then, but it was prohesizing about the millenium

a bout the “God repenting” well God does not contradict himself this is why I say it was incorrectly interpreted.

Even if we were to agree that “God does not contradict himself”, how can you be certain that it’s not the other way around? Could it be that the verses that are the correct ones are the verses that say that God repents, and the incorrect verses are the ones that indicate that God does not repent?

and well the bible has been revised so many times and the words made simpler and simpler each time.

Are you aware that we have ancient Hebrew and Greek manuscripts which are presumably much closer the the original wording than the kind of simplification-by-translation that you are describing? We don’t have to depend on these simplified translations you speak of for our understanding of what the original manuscripts might have said. So when some verses say that God repents and others say that he does not, we can look at the most ancient manuscripts we have (which are in the original language – not translations) to verify that those verses indeed say that God repents.

Because that is what a prophecy is lol.. thats how i know it was before. and well those prophecies tha are full of promises to Israel have not been fulfilled yet… they will in the millenium….. again have you read about the millenium?

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