My Muslim friend says:  There were a number of oracles delivered by recognized prophets which did not come true. For example, Ezekiel predicted the destruction of Tyre by Nebuchadnezzar (Ezek. 26:7-14), but he himself later acknowledges that the king’s siege of the city was UNSUCCESSFUL (Ezek. 29:17-20). Both Haggai’s (2:21-23) & Zechariah’s (4:6-7) glorious anticipations and designs for Zerubbabel NEVER materialized. God might even seduce a true prophet to deliver a false message (Ezek. 14:9-11). It means prophets who prophesied about Messiah were FALSE & their writings were cherished by Jews as sacred.   What’s the Christian response?


First of all, Muslims do not have the benefit of prophecies which prove that their scripture is inspired.  There are literally hundreds of specific historical prophecies in both the Old and the New Testaments which are fulfilled in history, providing incontrovertible proof of the inspiration of the Bible.  Here are some examples:  Prophecies fulfilled notes   Like I said, Muslims are well aware that they do not have such evidence in the Qur’an.  This is why they seek to undermine the biblical case for inspiration based on this amazing evidence.  If the Bible is true then Muhammad is a false prophet, so there is a lot at stake here for the Muslim.

Second of all, given the hundreds of fulfilled prophecies (which the author of this question seems to acknowledge, by the way), the conclusion is already established.  All that remains is to understand the answer to this question about supposed exceptions.  So, here is my response.

On Ezekiel 26:7-14 this prophecy was fulfilled in part by the Babylonians, and in full by Alexander the Great.  Nebuchadnezzar put Tyre under a 13 year siege, followed by which the Tyrians submitted to Babylon upon agreement to a treaty.  Alexander completed the fulfillment in 333 BC when he utterly destroyed Tyre after a siege, upon which he scraped the remains of Tyre into the sea.  The original site was never reoccupied, in agreement with the prophecy.  Is this (that more than one nation was involved) consistent with the prophecy?  Yes it is.  Like Ezekiel said in 26:3, “I will bring many nations against you, like the sea casting up its waves.  There are many specific details of the sieges of Nebuchadnezzer and Alexander fulfilled by the details known to history.  This is a wonderful confirmation of the inspiration of the Bible.  To be honest, I am just a little bit surprised that a Muslim would use this example, as the nature of the fulfillment is well known to Jews and Christians.  By the way, the lack of complete victory of Nebuchadnezzar mentioned in Ezekiel 29:17-19 does nothing to undo the facts of history, which includes a 13 years siege, followed by the submission of Tyre to Nebuchadnezzar.  This passage definitely does not say that the siege was unsuccessful.

About Haggai 2:21-23 and Zechariah 4:6-7, this is a messianic prophecy.  In Haggai 2:21-23, Zerubbabel is a prefigure of the kingly Messiah who did indeed fulfill the details of Haggai 2:21-23.  The same is true for Zechariah 4:6-7.  Again, this is a messianic prophecy.  Jesus is called the “capstone” more than once, both in Old Testament prophecy and in New Testament fulfillment.

Ezekiel 14:9-11 is an interesting passage.  Unlike the false claims about Ezekiel 26, Haggai 2 and Zechariah 4, I will have to admit that this does seem to be a bit of a surprising statement in the Old Testament, and I can understand how a Muslim might not “get” what is going on here.  We need to understand the context of this passage, which is that, unlike the Muslims, who had no “prophets” other than Muhammad, the Jews had the office of prophet.  In addition to true prophets, whose prophecies are found in the Bible, there were many false prophets in Israel, as is shown by Jeremiah, Ezekiel and 1,2 Kings.  God allowed his people to be tested by their response to the false prophets.  It is surprising to read in the Bible that God allows false prophets   or can, in some cases, use false prophets to test his people.  2 Thessalonians 2:1-2 confirms that this is a real thing.  God allows those who rebel against him to hear false prophecies so that they can believe the lie.  I will agree with the Muslim that this fact is surprising and a bit counterintuitive that God would inspire his enemies to tempt those in rebellion against him, but this is confirmed several times in the Bible.  God gives us over to the things we seek so that we can  be judged in this life, with the hope that we will repent.  This is confirmed in Romans 1:24, 26, etc.  God gives us over to our sinful desires, and this is illustrated in Ezekiel 14:9-11.

But, the conclusion of the Muslim above is a false one.  The fact that there were false prophets in Israel, and even the fact that God allowed false prophets to tempt Israel does absolutely nothing to undo the hundreds of predictive prophecies contained in the Old Testament which were fulfilled, including the Ezekiel, Haggai and Zechariah prophecies.  The fact that there are bad people does not mean that there are no faithful people.  The fact that there were false prophets in Israel does not mean that there were not true prophets. The evidence speaks for itself.

John Oakes

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