A dubious Christian prophecy
contrasted with the accuracy of Jesus

(Investigator 20, 1991 September)

Trying to mould common Bible numbers into a prophetic pattern is a risky business. Numbers often used to this end include 4, 7, 10, 12 and 40 and multiples of these numbers.

Today I want to discuss the failed predictions involving the 28th siege of Jerusalem.

Appendix 53 of THE COMPANION BIBLE lists 27 sieges of Jerusalem. The calculations 3x9 = 27 and 4x7 = 28 are claimed to be very significant. On that basis a 28th siege is predicted which will be interrupted by the returning Christ Jesus.

The information in Appendix 53 apparently originated before World War I since there is no mention of the British capture of Jerusalem in 1917 or of Israel becoming a nation in 1948.

There was, however, no siege in 1917. But there was a siege in 1948 which would be the 28th siege if the list in Appendix 53 is complete and accurate.

In 1948 Jewish forces were besieged for several weeks in Jerusalem. They were forced to surrender the Old City of Jerusalem but held onto the New City. There was no intervention by a Second Coming of Jesus. The prediction based on 4x7=28 sieges, therefore failed. This is typical of Christianity’s poor success rate when making specific predictions from Bible numbers.

I suppose the argument based on 4x7 could be amended by thinking up a reason for excluding one or more of the sieges from the calculation. Several sieges by the same enemy perhaps could be counted as one siege! Indeed, Appendix 53 omits mention of the siege in 66 A.D. and does not explain why.

Whatever adjustments are made, however, the result is still arbitrary because no statement in the Bible commands, suggests or implies such a calculation!

Jesus did better at prophesying than 20th-century Christians seem to. When a woman poured ointment over his head he said:

"Wherever the gospel is preached in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her." (Mark 14:3-9; Matthew 26:6-13)

When the Bible goes into new languages the book of Mark is among the first to be translated. What "she has done" is being told in almost 2000 languages!

To point out an action of an obscure, nameless person and predict (correctly) the whole world will hear about it is something skeptics might like to duplicate!


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