Part 2 Prophecy

(Investigator 131, 2010 March)

Truthful prophecy, attested to be such by its fulfillment, is one of the main proofs of the truth of the Christian religion.

Every ancient system of religion had its prophecies and seers who professed to be able to foresee the future. But we find little or no proof of these powers. There have been successes and failures in predictions.

Modern spiritualism is the same. Hit or miss, with more missing than hitting.

Jewish prophecies not fulfilled, almost all have failed.

Prophecies do not require divine assistance, although it is claimed. Many with observant minds can anticipate events or happenings in advance quite accurately.

The Bible itself is a witness that truthful prophecy can do nothing towards authenticating a religion or towards proving the prophet divinely inspired. It is not necessary to be a Jew or a Christian or a believer or even a moral man to be able to foresee or foretell future important events. This does not prove the truth or divine acceptance of the religion of the Bible, or its superiority over any heathen or oriental religion known to history, as they all present the same evidence, the ability to prophesy.

The ability to foretell events is not restricted to the Bible, to any nation, religion or faith, to any belief or to any moral or religious qualification. It does nothing at all towards establishing the exalted claims of Christianity or proving its superiority over other religions.

Brian de Kretser
Institute for Research into Religions
Darwin, N.T. Australia




(Investigator 132, 2010 May)

The Bible has prophecies so accurately fulfilled that atheists have not duplicated them.

De Kretser (#131), however, claims "almost all have failed". He accounts for any successes with: "Many with observant minds can anticipate events or happenings in advance quite accurately."

Let us consider.

Galatians 4:27 implies that Christians would outnumber the Jews. Christians, at the time, numbered perhaps 10,000 and Jews 4 million. To correctly foretell that an obscure group will outnumber another group internationally prominent and 400 times bigger is impressive. If, however, enough skeptics were to make enough guesses along similar lines, someone might score a "hit". But the Bible has scored many times:

According to Luke, Jesus' mother Mary said: "Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed for the Mighty One has done great things for me…" (Luke 1:48)

Centuries later this obscure woman was called "blessed" by ever more people and ever more nations. Of the 100 million women alive, worldwide, 2000 years ago the Bible picked one, and implied all generations will know her. And she became history's most mentioned woman! No "observant mind" of any Bible critic has ever duplicated this prediction.

Luke explains that Mary is "blessed" because she became mother to "the Messiah the Lord". (Luke 2:11) That a "Messiah-King" would come and change the world is clear from the Old Testament:
Look, your king is coming to you! He comes triumphant and victorious, but humble and riding on a donkey… Your king will make peace among the nations; he will rule from sea to sea, from the river to the ends of the earth. (Zechariah 9:9-10)
The New Testament identifies the Messiah-King as Jesus and foretold that he'll be preached "to the ends of the earth." (Acts 1:8) Historians for centuries afterwards barely mentioned Jesus despite their supposed "observant minds" that "anticipate events". Nowadays, however, many call Jesus "the centre of history."

There's another woman, so obscure she's not even named, but she put ointment on Jesus, and Jesus subsequently 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 often first to be translated. What "she has done" is being told in print in about 2500 languages!

In the 1950s many diseases were in retreat due to antibiotics, vaccinations, better food and improved hygiene. Universities scaled down their research into disease-causing micro-organisms. Epidemiology seemed a dead-end profession. Bryan Appleyard wrote: "In the 1960s the surgeon-general of the United States announced that infectious disease was conquered." (The Australian Magazine, June 3-4, 2000)

The US surgeon-general was in conflict with Jesus who, when describing future history until his return, said: Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom; there will be great earthquakes…famines and pestilences… (Luke 21:10-11)

Medical optimism was an illusion. Bacteria and viruses mutate under environmental stress (including antibiotics) and produce new resistant varieties. Appleyard noted: "Increasing resistance to antibiotics has bred new strains of killer bacteria." Epidemiology again became a major research area.

We've considered a few Bible predictions out of many. They're so accurate over such long time periods that critics with "observant minds" have not duplicated them.