Prophecy: The Bible’s Track Record

In earlier posts we saw how the authors of Mark and Matthew’s gospels rooted around in the scriptures for anything that might be passed off as a prophecy. They then turned what they found into stories about Jesus.

What though about passages in scripture that actually declare themselves to be prophecy? How do these fair in the fulfilment stakes? As you might guess, not well. There are many failed prophecies in both Testaments; here I’ll take a select few, just to give you a flavour of how hopeless they are:

In Exodus 23:27, YHWH declares that all of Israel’s enemies will run from them:

I will send my terror ahead of you and throw into confusion every nation you encounter. I will make all your enemies turn their backs and run.

Oops! The scriptures themselves are replete with examples of the Israelites’ defeat at the hands of their enemies.

In Ezekiel 29:8-12, the Lord proclaims his intentions towards the hated Egyptians:

The Nile is mine; I made it, therefore I am against you and against your streams, and I will make the land of Egypt a ruin and a desolate waste from Migdol to Aswan, as far as the border of Cush. The foot of neither man nor beast will pass through it; no one will live there for forty years. I will make the land of Egypt desolate among devastated lands, and her cities will lie desolate forty years among ruined cities. And I will disperse the Egyptians among the nations and scatter them through the countries.

None of this ever happened.

Isaiah has it in for Egypt too. In 19:1-8 the Lord promises:

The waters of the river will dry up, and the riverbed will be parched and dry. The canals will stink; the streams of Egypt will dwindle and dry up. The reeds and rushes will wither, also the plants along the Nile, at the mouth of the river. Every sown field along the Nile will become parched, will blow away and be no more. The fishermen will groan and lament, all who cast hooks into the Nile; those who throw nets on the water will pine away.

The Nile has never dried up.

In 2 Samuel 7:13-16, the Lord promises that the descendants of David will rule forever:

(David) is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever… Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever.

The Davidic line ended with King Zedekiah in about 586BC. Much is made in the New Testament of Jesus’ descent from David on his father’s side (while also insisting he didn’t have a human father!) and this prophecy is altered in Acts 2:29-31 to make it fit Jesus’ supposed kingship. This is neither what it says nor means in its original context.

The deranged Zephaniah, writing in the 7th century BC, prophesies that the end of the world is imminent:

The great day of the Lord is near – near and coming quickly. The cry on the day of the Lord is bitter; the Mighty Warrior shouts his battle cry. That day will be a day of wrath – a day of distress and anguish, a day of trouble and ruin, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and blackness – a day of trumpet and battle cry against the fortified cities and against the corner towers.

Another failure, unless you’re prepared to consider 2600+ years and counting as being ‘near and coming quickly’.

The earliest prediction we have of the Christ’s appearance on Earth is from Paul, in 1 Thessalonians 1-8. You’ll note how he says how everything he describes will happen soon to the people he is writing to:

Now, brothers and sisters, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labour pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober… For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him.

Notch that up as another non-event.

How about the prediction in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4, thought to have been written circa AD50, that the Christ will not appear from heaven until ‘the man of lawlessness’ takes up residence in the Temple?

Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers and sisters, not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by the teaching allegedly from us – whether by a prophecy or by word of mouth or by letter – asserting that the day of the Lord has already come. Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.

The Temple was destroyed by the Romans in AD70 before the man of lawlessness could make his appearance. Unsurprisingly, not a single prophet foresaw the catastrophe. (No, not even Jesus. It is generally agreed that Mark’s gospel was written around AD70 and that Jesus’ ‘prophecy’ about the temple’s destruction was composed after it had happened.)

And then, finally, prophecies about the end times, whether from the scriptures or from Paul, are inserted into the synoptic gospels so, miraculously, they become the words of Jesus:

‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’ (a quote from Isaiah 13:10; 34:4.) At that time people will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And he will send his angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens. Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that it is near, right at the door. Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away (Mark 13.34).

And thus, Jesus is likewise made into a false prophet.

Then again, what other sort is there? Prophets are zealots who believe they’ve been granted special access to the Lord’s plans. There are still fantasists today who believe the Lord speaks to them with portents of future disaster. It would be generous to say that all of them – those in the Bible and their modern descendants – are wrong far more often than they are right. In fact, they are always wrong; it is impossible to know the future. Meanwhile, so-called interpreters of prophecy, like Matthew, Mark, Luke and their equivalents today, alter ‘prophecy’ and unrelated statements to suit their needs, shaping their stories to create the illusion they have been miraculously ‘fulfilled’.  

41 thoughts on “Prophecy: The Bible’s Track Record

  1. Great thoughts! The post I have scheduled for today talks about the end times claims of Jesus as well, isn’t that a funny coincidence? Very insightful sir, thank you for sharing!

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  2. No one foresaw the destruction of the temple? What about ““Truly I tell you, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.”

    What about the Old Testament prophecies? Such as Daniel 9. ” After the sixty-two ‘sevens,’ the Anointed One will be put to death and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed.”

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  3. Neil: Jesus is likewise made into a false prophet.

    What generation was Jesus talking about? Wasn’t it the generation that would see all these things? That generation was not the generation of Jesus’ day/

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    • What generation was Jesus talking about? That’s a very good question. And if anyone can come up with indisputable proof of the generation he was referring to, I’m sure others would be interested.

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      • Why not simply read the passage that Neil quoted?

        “33 Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it[e] is near, right at the door. 34 Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.”

        Now read the preceding piece to find out what these things are. I read: famines, earthquakes, conflicts between nations, false prophets and messiahs doing miracles, the stars falling, an image set up in the temple (as per Daniel), people falling away from the faith, betrayal by friends, etc. It sounds to me that these things must precede the generation that will see the parousia.

        I find the falling of the stars interesting. Everyone who has looked at the sky at night especially during certain seasons of the year has seen the stars fall, but this is different. It is with the darkening of the sun and moon. Today we are all very conscious of the many pieces of rock out there that intersect the orbit of the earth. Some of them are huge. We’ve even experienced the falling of big meteors. But this is still different. A comet might do what is described here. When that happens, as it is most certainly going to happen sometime, then I would say that generation will see the parousia of the Lord.

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      • You know that is exactly true, isn’t it, no matter what the passage plainly says. I have read more times than I can recall the very things that Neil is saying about Matthew 24 and only hear from atheists the conclusion he comes to. Everyone else whether Christian or one who is none of the above reads it plainly as I have done. So, I wonder why that is. So, now I know; you read it seeing what you want to see.

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      • You know, there are some places where my bias toward the supernatural and the consensus of biblical scholars of the historic tradition do push me toward a particular interpretation. This passage is not one of them.

        I taught reading in English classes for quite a few years. In the last decade in America the Common Core Standards have been very helpful in teaching good reading skills, and I as a teacher began to think critically about reading skills. One of those that should be intuitive but does ‘t seem to be for many people is “context.” In this case context rules the understanding of the passage.

        It simply is impossible to read “this generation” as limited to the generation of the disciples. Only by isolating the phrase from the context is it at all possible to interpret the passage the way Neil does. I am amazed that he, trained in English literature, could do so.

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      • It’s only “impossible” for believers.

        This is the thing, Don. Believers simply refuse to take the words of the Bible as they are written. Why? Because many (most) simply don’t fit into our world of today. So they “interpret,” explain, and occasionally manipulate various passages to make everything “make sense” for the current times. It’s just the way it is. And the arguments you have presented is a perfect example of this.

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      • Christians do this at times. We are children of our age, just as you are btw, and are captive to our culture and the ways culture manifests itself in relationships and values. Those who are serious about following the Lord try to filter out those out. It is really a large part of the preaching I hear. Serious followers of Jesus really do want to live as he lived in a culture just as alien to the values and ways of God as his was. That usually means we will be considered radical and “counter-culture,” which we are, and sometimes as dangerous because of our rejection of the culture around us and the perceived danger we are to that culture.

        But others compromise with the culture, even to the point of adopting the values of the culture and the ways of dealing with the things life throws at us the way the culture does. That is why we see some Christians taking up weapons and storming the US capitol or demonstrating against abortion et al. Gang mentality! Neither of those are anything Jesus would do.

        I have tried to avoid the kind of distortion caused by the current culture. I confess I am not always successful. I think Nietzche once said that Jesus was the only Christian.

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      • As I say in my post, Jesus’ prophecy of the temple’s destruction was made after it had already been destroyed. Prophecy after the event is no prophecy at all.

        The prophecy in Daniel is about the End Times. This is obvious even in the verses you quote. Did the End arrive when the Romans destroyed the temple in AD70? No, it didn’t, therefore this ‘prophecy’, taken as a whole instead of being cut in two as you’ve done to it, cannot be predicting the fall of the temple in AD70.

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      • How do you know that the prophecy was give after the fall of the temple? Even if the Gospels were written after 70 AD it doesn’t mean the prophecy originated then.

        The destruction of the temple is not the End. There follow wars and desolations. See: “War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed.”

        And that is exactly what Jesus foretold.

        The problem for those who haven’t considered prophecy deeply is that prophecy tends to compress things so that events widely separated in time are considered together. Just one example. Isaiah predicts the fall of Assyria in chapter 10 and immediately. That happened in 621 BC (almost one hundred years after Isaiah). And then he shifts with little transition to speak about Israel in the last days or at least a much more distant time. It certainly did not happen immediately. In fact, what immediately happened (in 601 BC and following) was that Babylonian attacked Judea and Jerusalem and destroyed the temple and carried the leaders away to Babylon for seventy years.

        Prophecy requires reading carefully, thinking, and matching the prophecy to history.

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      • Don: How do you know that the prophecy was give after the fall of the temple? Even if the Gospels were written after 70 AD it doesn’t mean the prophecy originated then.

        I know because the scholarly consensus says so. I know because no-one, not even 1st century itinerant preachers, can know the future. I know because of the Bible’s dreadful track record of fulfilled prophecies. I know because the only successful prophecies in the Bible are ones written afterwards. I know because other events* predicted in the temple prophecy failed to materialise. I know because I’m not gullible.

        Don: The destruction of the temple is not the End. There follow wars and desolations. See: “War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed.”

        *Yes, these events. I didn’t say the destruction of the temple was the End; Jesus is made to say, however, that it is the beginning of the End: ‘in those days after that tribulation…’ of course what you’re going to tell us is that what he really meant ‘in those days over 2000 years later.’

        You’re right though: prophecy requires highly selective cherry-picking and careful manipulation before being forced to apply to times and events to which it doesn’t refer. I trust I’m interpreting your words accurately here.

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      • So much wrong here, Don. In response, I refer you to some older posts which counter your unbiblical position that Jesus was talking to people thousands of years in the future and not, as he plainly states, those ‘of this generation’, ‘standing here’ in front of him.

        https://rejectingjesus.com/2017/06/01/whatever-happened-to-the-kingdom-of-god/

        https://rejectingjesus.com/2015/04/13/the-revolution-has-been-postponed/

        https://rejectingjesus.com/2020/06/04/the-many-and-varied-spirit-inspired-interpretations-of-the-kingdom-of-god/

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  4. Don,

    Tom Starks (a Christian, btw) in his book the “Human Faces of God” has an excellent chapter about Jesus and his false prophecy about his return.

    So you’re wrong, it’s not just Atheist and non-Christians who interpret the passages this way, as open minded and honest Christians more qualified than you, have also seen the plain meaning of the text without recourse to apologetical nonsense.

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    • I am not sure I would count Thom Starks a Christian any more than many here on this blog who claim to HAVE BEEN Christians. (Were they ever in any biblical sense?) Nevertheless, I need more than a reference to a book. Please present his opinion on the subject.

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      • Watch and learn, ladies and gentlemen, as we present Don’s Easy Way To ‘Win’ An Argument:

        Anyone who disagrees with whatever wackadoodle b/s he’s defending is –

        a) an atheist, and by definition atheists’ views count for nothing;

        b) not what Don defines as a Christian and therefore doesn’t hold valid views;

        c) someone who CANNOT HAVE BEEN (capitalised) a Christian in the first place, and consequently, has no right to criticise Christianity, or

        d) not as clever as Don thinks he is and is therefore in no position to comment.

        Don will dispute this, of course, but the evidence lies before you in the comments below.

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      • This has always been a problem for skeptics, critics and cynics and cultural Christians: What is a Christian or Who is a Christian.

        [Just to set it right, Darby Crash brought Thom Starks up, not me. And I SIMPLY ASKED FOR MORE INFORMATION about what he had written.]

        1) Everyone’s opinions count. But everyone’s opinion should be considered on its own merit, not whether he or she is an atheist, Hindu, Christian or Muslim.
        2) I don’t define what a Christian is, Jesus does. Educated in a Christiaan institution or being raised in the church or being a pastor is not the criteria.
        3) Anyone can and does criticize Christianity. But to criticize Christianity as an insider requires that one be an insider in the true sense of the word. There are plenty of Christians who criticize Christianity, I among them.
        4) Clever? Neil, I am a nobody. Lots of people are better educated and understand (not simply know) the Bible better than I. And many walk closer to the Lord. When I encounter the later, I bow before their wisdom.

        Now, Thom Stark. He is critical of inerrancy, according to what I’ve read. I am also. But it sounds like he is also critical of the Bible’s claim of TRUTH. A Christian might do that, but I consider that the opinion of one who has not gone deeply into the Word or walked closely with the Lord. I hope that in time Stark will reconsider. If he is a Christian, I believe he will.

        As for others, I go with what John said in 2 John 2: “Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.”

        Yeah, I know, old John could be tough.

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      • It shouldn’t be a problem to define what a Christian is though, should it, Don. If Christianity were truly of God, everyone would know what a Christian was: by their fruits shall you know them and all that. Instead, we have over 43,000 different versions of the faith, with Christians deciding that other Christians aren’t Christians at all because of some trivial difference in theology. It was a problem from the start, as your quote from 2 John makes clear.

        You’re not being honest in what you say here about Thom Starks and commenters on this blog: ‘I am not sure I would count Thom Starks a Christian any more than many here on this blog who claim to HAVE BEEN Christians’ is what you said. We can still see your earlier comments, you know. (BTW, try Googling ‘using italics in WordPress comments’; it’s relatively easy to do.)

        I didn’t say there weren’t cleverer people than you. I said you dismiss the views of those you regard as not being as clever as you think you are. Despite your faux humility, I think you’ll acknowledge this is a different point altogether.

        Finally, did you spot in the verses you quote from 2 John, that he too wrote about living in ‘the last hour’ before the anti-Christ and the final judgment (and, lest we forget, he was inspired to write this.) Thank you for reminding us that this was what the earliest Christians believed. I hope the foot you shot yourself in heals up real quick.

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      • The last hour or last days, if we consider all the scriptures Old Testament and New that deal with that subject, includes all the time from the resurrection and, the institution of the church to the new heavens and ne earth.

        It is similar to the kingdom of God – which I see you considered in a past blog post. The kingdom of God in the New Testament is present in Jesus and present in the in the lives of his followers but it is also future. The last days or the last hour is now and will continue until the end of this age and the beginning of the next.

        I will do a blog post on this subject since a full answer is too long for a comment.

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      • Neil: “We have over 40,000 different versions of the faith.”

        Don: That is precisely the error of those who think Christian is about doctrines. Christian is not about what you believe but who you believe. So, there may be differences among Christians, but the one defining issue is whether one is committed to the Lord and to following him. When that is true, there is a union with God which is called being born from above. Evangelicals say “born again,” but it does not matter what it is called. It is a new beginning that is animated by God. Without that one cannot say he is truly Christian.

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      • Arguing with you, Don, is like wrestling with a jellyfish. You’re convinced the responses you come up with are reasonable argument. They’re not; they’re fantasist twaddle.

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  5. You know, Don, comments like this are very irritating: I consider that the opinion of one who has not gone deeply into the Word or walked closely with the Lord.

    Essentially, this is what you have been expressing in pretty much in every comment you’ve made on Neil’s blog — discounting people because YOU don’t think they were a True Christian.™ I’m aware that some churches teach this doctrine, but it is in error. And I, for one, resent being discounted as having been a “fake” believer.

    As a matter of fact, I lived and breathed Christianity. But at some point (and no, it wasn’t just one event), I began to take a closer look. Of course it was difficult because the teachings are imbedded deep, deep within (on purpose), but over time, I came to the very clear conclusion that all was not as it seemed.

    Some never reach this point. But many do … and these are often the ones who “preach” the hardest against Christianity because they have (finally) been able to free themselves from the dogma.

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    • Your story is your story, Nan.

      I cannot know your heart, now or before. But I am interested in what your experience with the Lord was before. What do you mean by living and breathing Christianity?

      I look for people who are really Christians to talk not about Christianity but about their relationship with the Lord.

      I don’t doubt there have been Christians really but who have not grown deep in the Lord. Their experience was church. They may have lived and breathed Christianity, but they had not really gone deep in their relationship with the Lord. I know because that was me for some years in the past. They are vulnerable because their experience is shallow. I was for some years and experienced serious doubt at times. I have had friends who went through the same experience. One left the faith.

      But I know of no one who has developed that intimate relationship with the Lord who has turned away from him. Perhaps it happens and I am just not aware of it, though I would say it is very rare.

      That is not to say anyone is perfect. We all are subject to shifts in emotion. We all are challenged by the things you all speak of. But it is like marriage. We may have rough spots but love, his for us and ours for him, carry us through those.

      Perhaps you could give God a chance rather than Christianity.

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      • Perhaps it happens and I am just not aware of it.

        I think it would do you well to repeat that statement several times before you make accusations about other people’s experience with Jesus.

        Perhaps you could ask God to help you not to be so condescending.

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      • I see. So you dismiss our experience for being subjective but here you are supporting your position as just that.

        Love that ridiculously simple cliché at the end.

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  6. Exodus 23. I suppose you have heard of conditional clauses. If not here is one: “Behold, I send an angel before you, to keep you by the way, and to bring you into the place which I have prepared. 21 Pay attention to him, and listen to his voice. Don’t provoke him, for he will not pardon your disobedience, for my name is in him. 22 But if you indeed listen to his voice, and do all that I speak, then I will be an enemy to your enemies, and an adversary to your adversaries.”

    Neil, this should be embarrassing. Did you not read the actual passage? Are you just copying and pasting from some other source? If you did read, it maybe you missed the “if” clause. It tells us what the conditions of the prophecy was. A brief scanning of the history of the Hebrews during the exodus reveals that they did not meet the conditions.

    Now, maybe an apology is in order since it happens that the prophecy in fact came to pass just as promised. “21 Pay attention to him, and listen to his voice. Don’t provoke him, for he will not pardon your disobedience, for my name is in him.” And that is what happened.

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    • Actually, this is what is known as a ‘get-out clause’. Its function is to ensure that however events eventually unfold the prophecy can be said to be true! I humbly apologise for not spotting the get-out clause, Don, when I’m fully aware that many of the Bible’s prophecies have this either-way-we-win safeguard. Thank God you were on the ball and spotted it there.

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      • Promises SOMETIMES come with conditions, and that is what this is, a promise not a prophecy. But no prophecy can be understood if one just selects sound bytes. The whole must be read along with the context.

        My goodness, if you were to do that to any piece of literature you could make it say anything. In fact, that was a bit like the fad in literary criticism in the decade when I was in college, deconstructionism. As Richard Rorty wrote: “the term ‘deconstruction’ refers…to the way in which the ‘accidental’ features of a text can be seen as betraying, subverting, its purportedly ‘essential’ message.” And that is what you are doing with virtually all the prophetic texts. You take one small piece from them, lift it out of context, and make it say something that is actually contrary to the whole.

        As that was applied by some of my professors, that meant a text could mean anything you wanted it to mean. What the author actually meant could not be determined and in any event was meaningless. That seemed a bit crazy to me then and still does today.

        Thank God for the revival of close reading and the expectation that the author actually has something specific to say.

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      • Here’s one that has no either-way-we-win.

        Isaiah 13:20. [BABYLON] will never be inhabited
        or lived in through all generations;
        there no nomads will pitch their tents,
        there no shepherds will rest their flocks.

        Here’s the current condition of Babylon. “If you took a trip to Babylon today, located 55 miles (85 kilometers) south of Baghdad, you’d see a tacky recreation built by Saddam Hussein in the 1970s that’s been partially destroyed by decades of war. It’s a sad ending to such a fabled city.” https://history.howstuffworks.com/history-vs-myth/babylon.htm

        “Just a few short decades after Nebuchadnezzar’s death, Babylon was taken by the Persian conqueror Cyrus II, who reduced the city to just another outpost in his vast, Iran-based empire. Two centuries later, Alexander the Great planned to make Babylon the jewel of his Asian empire, but ended up dying in the city in 323 B.C.E. After a solid sacking by the Parthians in the second century C.E., Babylon never made a comeback.”

        Fascinating how God causes his word to be fulfilled.

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      • I hate to belabor the point, but here is another prophecy about Babylon that illustrates the long game in many prophecies.

        Isaiah 14:23. “I will turn [Babylon] into a place for owls
        and into swampland;
        I will sweep her with the broom of destruction,”
        declares the Lord Almighty.”

        Babylon is today a desert. But it is barely above sea level and the rising sea levels will accomplish in this century what Isaiah predicted.

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      • BTW how do you know whether a description or image in literature – particularly important in poetry – is a metaphor of some other trope rather than a realistic description?

        That was one of the things my students had the hardest time with. They could spot similes and personification or synecdoche, but metaphors and sometimes hyperbole seemed to be difficult. How did you explain it?

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      • In most literature, the context usually makes clear whether a description is literal or metaphorical. ‘The moon was a ghostly galleon’ is clearly metaphorical. The problem with much of the Bible. however, is that many descriptions, to use your term, appear to be metaphorical (e.g. God created ‘Adam’, literally meaning ‘man’, not an individual) but have had literal meanings forced upon them.

        Subsequently, it has become impossible to tell what the writer originally intended (the intentionalst fallacy notwithstanding) because of a) thousands of years of interpretation and b) a tendency of the church to impose a literal interpretation on what gives all the appearance of metaphor.

        Yet you claim you can make the distinction. You say you know when something is metaphorical and when it isn’t (and conversely that I don’t). It’s really you who should be answering the question you ask me: how do you know? What criteria do you use to determine whether a writer is using metaphor (more broadly ‘symbolism’) or intends the passage to be interpreted literally? There is no consistency to your determination, apart from if it suits you to interpret a passage literally that’s what you do. When it doesn’t suit your purposes you don’t; it’s to be considered metaphorical then.

        I note too you say I take things out of context, when you are happy to shove them into a context they didn’t originally have because of your underlying conviction that the Bible really only has one author, as we previously discussed. This ‘take the long view’ or ‘compare this passage with one written centuries later’ is very handy for ‘proving’ your point but it is not a legitimate way to analyse literature.

        Having said that, it’s reassuring to know you regard the Bible, for the most part, as fiction, applying rather poorly, the techniques of literary analysis to it.

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    • First, Don, I can’t comment on your blog-site; it won’t let me even when I click on ‘Comment’. Perhaps this is because my browser is now telling me your site is ‘ not secure’. You’ll have to manage with my response here.

      What you seem to be saying is ‘leave a selected prophecy long enough and eventually it’ll appear to come true’. Perhaps, but then, if you take any selection of predictions from any source you’ll find this to be the case. Why? Because:

      1) You’ll have cherry-picked from the start so only those ‘prophecies’ that are vague enough or appear to have been fulfilled already will make up the bulk of your selection.

      2) The vagueness of many that are chosen will make it relatively easy to scout around and alight on circumstances that seem to demonstrate some sort of fulfilment. You may even invent some that do, like the synoptic gospel writers do.

      3) Some prophecies will indeed come true, but at no greater rate than chance allows. A prophecy you cite may say a particular city state will fall and return to the wilderness from which it was built. To claim that when, centuries later, it does so is not a fulfilment of this prophecy; it is a happy coincidence (for you and your so-called prophet, not so much for the denizens of the city state.) Just look at the number of ancient cities to which this has happened, without there being a preceding ‘prophecy’. It just happens.

      4) You’ll ignore your own failure rate, or explain it away: i) discounting those prophecies that have never come to pass, even after millennia; ii) insisting ‘they could still occur! With God a day is like a thousand years!’; iii) reinterpreting them: ‘they’re metaphorical’ etc.

      5) You invoke the get-out clause; the god says ‘if you don’t do ‘x’ then I’ll make ‘y’ happen.’ “Well, praise the god, everyone did ‘x’ and the calamity was averted! It’s a miracle!” This then counts, somehow or other, as a win for the ‘prophecy’.

      These are your strategies, Don. You use them in combination to demonstrate the ‘fulfilment’ of biblical prophecy. You work really hard at nullifying your own cognitive dissonance, desperately attempting to demonstrate the truth of ancient fantasies. You conclude by saying Jesus will return as King soon. No, he won’t. You need to apply every one of your strategies to believe this will be the case.

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