Question:  (a very long one!!!) 

The books of the Bible are written by people claiming inspiration from God.  Many people claim inspiration from God or supernatural forces. Muslims claim the Koran is divinely inspired, Mormons claim their Book of Mormon is divinely inspired, and I am sure many pagan sects say that their "book of truth" is divinely inspired.  Christian apologetic websites say that a good way to tell if a book is inspired by God is fulfilled prophesies.  I agree because only God can know the future.  First of all people must make guidelines for what type of prophesy would need to be inspired by God.  For example two countries might have extremely unfriendly relations and one might make a "prophesy" that two countries will be engulfed in war in the coming years.  However, just because it happened doesn’t make the "prophet" truly inspired by God; many things are inevitably bound to happen.  Prophesy is one reason why Christians say that the Book of Mormon is not divinely inspired.  Although the Civil War was correctly predicted the relations between the North and the South were already deteriorating anyways therefore no divine intervention was needed to fulfill that prophesy.  Then, later on in the same prophesy it states that the war would engulf all nations; this didn’t happen and God is not a liar therefore, no divine inspiration.  Christians say only the Bible’s prophesies are inspired by God so, there should be 100% accuracy in the Bible’s prophesies.  Most of the Bible’s prophesies contained in the later Old Testament have to do with God’s judgment on certain nations and their coming destruction.  Every one of these nations met its destruction, but so has every ancient nation no matter how incredible their military might was; it is one of those things that is bound to happen.  This doesn’t mean that the prophets that predicted these things were not divinely inspired it just suggests that these types of predictions didn’t need divine inspiration.  So in order to separate the inspired word of God from what people have made up
we must look at the details.  In Ezekiel 29 a prophesy about Egypt is given basically describing how God will punish it for its sins and it will no longer be powerful.at the end of the prophesy it states however: "The Sovereign Lord says: I am going to give Egypt to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and he will plunder the land as pay for his army.  I have given him Egypt as a reward for his efforts." (Ezekiel 29:19)  I have looked into history and although Babylon and Egypt were involved in a series of wars never was it recorded that Babylon actually controlled Egypt.  In Ezekiel 30:12 it states that God will dry up the Nile River; according to Geological and historical data that I have found this has never happed.  I have read of several other Bible prophesies that never materialized, but these were the ones that I could not find refuted by Christian apologetics (there seems to be very different history between Atheist, Christian, and secular sources). These seem like pretty specific prophesies and not metaphorical.  Is there any evidence these events happened?  Could they be metaphorical if so how? If not how are these any different than the Mormon prophesies (part correct and part wrong)?  If these prophesies are part right and part wrong how does that make the Bible any different?  Any religion can claim- Well God must have changed his mind.

Answer:

First of all, to compare supposed Mormon or Islamic "prophecies" to those in the Old Testament is to compare things which are completely different. Nowhere in the book of Mormon is there a specific prophecy of a future event which happened.  Not one.  The book of Mormon does not prophecy the Civil War.  There is absolutely nothing in either the Koran or the Book of Mormon which is a clear and obvious prediction of an event which actually happened.  I have read both of these books and there is nothing even remotely approaching the prophecies in Daniel or Messianic prophecies such as Psalms 22, Isaiah 53 and so forth.  The Bible is in a category so far by itself that it is not even reasonable to make comparisons.  I suggest you find the power point and notes on Prophecy and Christian Apologetics at the web site.  There are literaly hundreds of examples found in this power point you can use.  If you add to the literally hundreds of specific prophecies which were fulfilled the thousands of types, prefigures and foreshadows in the Old Testament which are fulfilled in the gospel the case for inspiration of the Bible is so overwhelming as to defy the rationality of unbelief.  (http://www.evidenceforchristianity.org/index.php?option=com_custom_content&task=view&id=4735&&Itemid=52)  My statement may sound like hyperbole, but I am absolutely serious. 

Now, you think you may have found an exception to this pattern of amazing historical prophecy and fulfillment.  Well, we need to look at these, but remember that no matter what, to compare biblical prophecy to the Koran or the Book of Mormon is not even a sensible thing.  Let us not consider that option.  You are certainly right that all the nations prophesied for destruction would have been overcome in the course of history eventually, but that does not change the fact that Tyre was destroyed in a means which strikingly matches the prediction of Ezekiel, of the fact that Babylon, Persia and Greece were overcome in fantastically dramatic agreement with the prophecies in Daniel (see the notes and power point referred to above for references.  It is not that these nations were eventually destroyed, but the way it happened.  About Babylon, it is true that Nebuchadnezzar imposed a stunning and devastating defeat on Egypt at the battle of Carchemish.  Although he did not occupy the entire nation of Egypt, his defeat of Egypt at Carchemish made him the major power in the Middle East, and Egypt was subject to him through tribute.  Then, much later in 568 BC Nebuchadnezzar did in fact actually invade Egypt proper.  A fragmentary historical document indicates that Nebuchadnezzar actually campaigned in Egypt, subjugating parts of the country during the rule of Amasis, about 568 BC.  Naturally, during this campaign, Nebuchadnezzar took massive booty, as predicted by Ezekiel.  Ezekiel never prephesied that Nebuchadnezzar would conquer all of Egypt.  It says that he will campaign there, taking land and plunder as his reward.  Ezekiel 29:19 was in fact fulfilled at that time to the letter.
As for Ezekiel 30:12, let me quote:  "They [the Babylonians under Nebuchadnezzar] will draw their swords against Egypt and fill the land with the slain.  I will make the streams dry and sell the land into the hands of evil men.  I will bring destruction on the land and everything in it by the hands of foreigners.  I, the Lord, have spoken."   Note that nowhere here does it say that the Nile River will run completely dry.  To be honest, this prophecy is really somewhat vague (unlike many other extremely precise and specific biblical prophecies).  It seems to describe a campaign in Egypt by Nebuchadnezzar–almost certainly the one which we know happened in 568 BC.  At the time it is prophesied that the streams will dry up.  Presumably this means that it will be a time of drought.  I do not see a reason to doubt that this prophecy was fulfilled, although I do not know of the actual rainfall pattern in Egypt that particular year.  Either way, I do not see the biblical 100% accuracy rate for historical prophecy challenged by this one.  I do not believe the prophecies you mention are metaphorical and I see absolutely no reason whatsoever to compare biblical prophecy to the Book of Mormon.
John Oakes, PhD


 

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