Rebuttal of Chapter 9: Prophecies That Came True
This is a commentary on the Watchtower Society's 1989 book The Bible: God's Word or Man's?, Chapter 9: "Prophecies That Came True".
It should be noted at the outset that this chapter of the gm book is not actually addressing the question of whether the Bible is inspired. In a sense, it is the introductory chapter to 'the rest' of the book, which is no longer primarily concerned with establishing the Bible as God's word. This is in line with what was stated in the introductory chapter of the book. From Chapter 1:
17 We encourage you to examine carefully the evidence presented in this book. Some of its chapters will discuss often-heard criticisms of the Bible. Is the Bible unscientific? Does it contradict itself? Does it contain real history or just myth? Did the miracles recorded in the Bible really happen? Logical evidence is presented to answer these questions. After this, powerful demonstrations of the Bible's divine inspiration are discussed: its prophecies, its deep wisdom, and the remarkable effect it has on people's lives. Finally, we will see what effect the Bible can have on your life.
The Society obviously feels that at this point the Bible has been vindicated as God's word, and that the remaining chapters are simply the 'icing on the cake.' Personally speaking, I don't think the evidence presented to this point proves any more than a) the Bible is a really old book, which is occasionally accurate historically and scientifically, and b) lots and lots of people believe it's God's word, even to the point of dying for it. As far as I'm concerned (and as Seeker has already pointed out), this can be said about the Vedas and the Koran (even the Book of Mormon, come to that). But as far as evidence goes, that's your lot, so you shouldn't really be surprised at the outrageous statements made in the introduction and first paragraph.
Prophecies That Came True
Humans cannot foretell the future with any certainty. Time and again their efforts at prediction fail miserably. So a book of prophecies that did come true has to attract our attention. The Bible is such a book.
MANY Bible prophecies have come true in such detail that critics claim they were written after the fulfillment. But such claims are untrue. God, being almighty, is fully capable of prophesying. (Isaiah 41:21-26; 42:8, 9; 46:8-10) Biblical prophecies that came true are evidence of divine inspiration, not of late authorship. We will look now at some outstanding prophecies that came true -- providing additional proof that the Bible is God's word, not just man's.
As you can see, this chapter will not even attempt to prove that the 'prophecies' in the Bible are just that. Instead, it is simply asserted that the Bible is a book that contains prophecies that came true, and that any claims that they were written post facto are just lies. This speaks eloquently of the Society's insecurity in this area, and, in all probability, an acknowledgement that the examples of 'fulfilled' prophecies would not meet any 'serious' criteria for establishing claims of prophecy fulfillment. One such set of criteria was proposed by Farrell Till in a series of articles in his magazine The Skeptical Review. The criteria suggested are that the claimants should establish.
- 1. that they are properly interpreting whatever text they are basing their claim on,
- 2. that the prophecy was made before and not after the event that allegedly fulfills the prophecy,
- 3. that the prophecy was made far enough in advance of the fulfilling event to make educated guesswork impossible,
- 4. that the event that allegedly fulfilled the prophecy did in fact happen, and,
- 5. that the fulfilling event must not be one that could have been deliberately contrived in an attempt to bring about fulfillment.
In the examples that follow, the Society will simply ignore the second criterion, making the last phrase of their first paragraph a nonsense -- talk about begging the question! Anyone interested in a serious discussion of the actual issues surrounding prophecy might as well stop reading the chapter now.
In fact, when I first sat down to write this rebuttal, I found myself wanting to stop at this point since I didn't see much point continuing. However, there are some problems with the examples that the Society trots out, and some additional material which may be of interest to H2O regulars, so I will continue.
The Exile in Babylon
2 Hezekiah was king in Jerusalem for about 30 years. In 740 B.C.E. he witnessed the destruction of his northern neighbor Israel at the hands of Assyria. In 732 B.C.E. he experienced God's saving power, when the Assyrian attempt to conquer Jerusalem had failed, with catastrophic results to the invader. -- Isaiah 37:33-38.
3 Now, Hezekiah is receiving a delegation from Merodach-baladan, king of Babylon. On the surface, the ambassadors are there to congratulate Hezekiah on his recovery from a severe illness. Likely, though, Merodach-baladan sees Hezekiah as a possible ally against the world power of Assyria. Hezekiah does nothing to dispel such an idea when he shows the visiting Babylonians all the wealth of his house and dominion. Perhaps he, too, wants allies against a possible return of the Assyrians. -- Isaiah 39:1, 2.
4 Isaiah is the outstanding prophet of that time, and he quickly discerns Hezekiah's indiscretion. He knows that Hezekiah's surest defense is Jehovah, not Babylon, and tells him that his act of showing the Babylonians his wealth will lead to tragedy. "Days are coming," says Isaiah, "and all that is in your own house and that your forefathers have stored up down to this day will actually be carried to Babylon." Jehovah decreed: "Nothing will be left." -- Isaiah 39:5, 6.
I know it won't cut any ice with the Society, but I thought it worthwhile to quote exactly what scholars think about the dating of Isaiah;
Chapters 1-39 consist of numerous sayings and reports of Isaiah along with several narratives about the prophet that are attributed to his disciples. The growth of the book (1-39) was a gradual process, its final form dating from perhaps as late as the 5th century BC, a date suggested by the arrangement of the materials and the late additions. ("Isaiah, Book of", Britannica Online)
Note that the late date is not suggested because of problems with any so-called prophecies. A longer article in Britannica Online suggests a late date for chapters 36-39 of Isaiah because they appear to draw on 2 Kings 18 and 19, and even the Society dates this book after Jerusalem's destruction. (see "Biblical Literature and Its Critical Interpretation: Old Testament literature: THE NEVI'IM (THE PROPHETS): Isaiah.", Britannica Online)
5 Back in the eighth century B.C.E., it may have seemed unlikely for that prophecy to be fulfilled. One hundred years later, however, the situation changed. Babylon replaced Assyria as the dominant world power, while Judah became so degraded, religiously speaking, that God withdrew his blessing. Now, another prophet, Jeremiah, was inspired to repeat Isaiah's warning. Jeremiah proclaimed: "I will bring [the Babylonians] against this land and against its inhabitants ... And all this land must become a devastated place, an object of astonishment, and these nations will have to serve the king of Babylon seventy years." -- Jeremiah 25:9, 11.
It's unfortunate for the Society that they go on to use Jeremiah as an example here, as this book is one that shows much evidence of alteration, particularly with respect to prophecy 'fulfillment'. The problem is underlined by the fact that two versions of Jeremiah exist, one (the Masoretic) much shorter than the other (the Septuagint). The shorter version appears to be the older, although both versions are attested to by fragments at Qumran. Interestingly, the verses of Jeremiah's prophecy quoted in the paragraph are among those that differ in the two versions. This is how Jeremiah 25:9, 11 appear in the NWT;
9 here I am sending and I will take all the families of the north," is the utterance of Jehovah, "even [sending] to Neb·u·chad·rez'zar the king of Babylon, my servant, and I will bring them against this land and against its inhabitants and against all these nations round about; and I will devote them to destruction and make them an object of astonishment and something to whistle at and places devastated to time indefinite.
11 And all this land must become a devastated place, an object of astonishment, and these nations will have to serve the king of Babylon seventy years."'
and this is how it appears in the Septuagint (Brenton's translation);
behold, I will send and take a family from the north, and will bring them against this land, and against the inhabitants of it, and against all the nations round about it, and I will make them utterly waste, and make them a desolation, and a hissing, and an everlasting reproach.
And all the land shall be a desolation; and they shall serve among the Gentiles seventy years.
Hmmmm. Notice any additions in the Masoretic? How about the words Babylon and Nebuchadrezzar? Since the earliest manuscripts we have of Jeremiah do not agree on how specific Jeremiah actually was, this does not look like a good basis for claiming prophecy fulfillment. No wonder the Society didn't want to tackle the issue of post facto additions / alterations to 'prophetic' books.
[Note: I took the Septuagint verses from a longer quote in one of Farrell Till's articles in The Skeptical Review. I have not had the opportunity to verify it with an English translation of the Septuagint. If anyone could do this, or let me know whether the Brenton translation is considered 'respectable' and that it is correctly quoted here, I'd be grateful. I don't want to add to some of the misquotation problems that have plagued the board recently.]
6 About four years after Jeremiah uttered that prophecy, the Babylonians made Judah part of their empire. Three years after that, they took some Jewish captives, along with some of the wealth of the temple at Jerusalem, to Babylon. Eight years later, Judah revolted and was again invaded by the Babylonian king, Nebuchadnezzar. This time, the city and its temple were destroyed. All its wealth, and the Jews themselves, were carried off to distant Babylon, just as Isaiah and Jeremiah had foretold. -- 2 Chronicles 36:6, 7, 12, 13, 17-21.
7 The Archaeological Encyclopedia of the Holy Land notes that when the Babylonian onslaught was over, "the destruction of the city [Jerusalem] was a total one." Archaeologist W. F. Albright states: "Excavation and surface exploration in Judah have proved that the towns of Judah were not only completely destroyed by the Chaldeans in their two invasions, but were not reoccupied for generations -- often never again in history." Thus, archaeology confirms the shocking fulfillment of this prophecy.
The Society uncontroversially note the fact that Jerusalem was destroyed. Not surprisingly, they do not mention a feature of Jeremiah's prophecy that was not fulfilled. Was the King of Babylon really brought to account 'when seventy years have been fulfilled?' (Jeremiah 25:12) Not even if you accept the decidedly unorthodox Watchtower chronology -- Seventy years from 607 brings you to 537, but Babylon was overthrown in 539.
The Fate of Tyre
8 Ezekiel was another ancient writer who recorded divinely inspired prophecies. He prophesied from the end of the seventh century B.C.E. on into the sixth -- that is, during the years leading up to the destruction of Jerusalem and then during the first decades of the Jews' exile in Babylon. Even some modern critics agree that the book was written at approximately this time.
Divinely inspired prophecies? How about this one;
Ezekiel 16:55 (NWT) "And your own sisters, Sod'om and her dependent towns, will return to their former state, and Sa·mar'i·a and her dependent towns will return to their former state, and you yourself and your own dependent towns will return to YOUR former state."
And unsurprisingly we are not told who these 'modern critics are'.
9 Ezekiel recorded a striking prophecy about the destruction of Israel's northern neighbor Tyre, which had gone from a position of friendship with God's people to one of enmity. (1 Kings 5:1-9; Psalm 83:2-8) He wrote: "This is what the Sovereign Lord Jehovah has said, 'Here I am against you, O Tyre, and I will bring up against you many nations, just as the sea brings up its waves. And they will certainly bring the walls of Tyre to ruin and tear down her towers, and I will scrape her dust away from her and make her a shining, bare surface of a crag.... And your stones and your woodwork and your dust they will place in the very midst of the water.'" -- Ezekiel 26:3, 4, 12.
Worth noting is a feature of this prophecy that is not cited;
Ezekiel 26:15 (NWT, bold added) "And I will make you a shining, bare surface of a crag. A drying yard for dragnets is what you will become. Never will you be rebuilt; for I myself, Jehovah, have spoken,' is the utterance of the Sovereign Lord Jehovah."
This verse is as much a part of the prophecy as any other, so it's only fair to ask whether it was fulfilled. This question will be answered in my comments on paragraph 13. I'm not going to quote paragraphs 10-12, as they simply recount the historical destruction of Tyre. It's worth noting in passing though, that there is a lot of room for discussion about whether Ezekiel was really prophesying a 'two phase' destruction as the Society interprets it.
13 A 19th-century traveler commented on what was left of ancient Tyre in his day, saying: "Of the original Tyre known to Solomon and the prophets of Israel, not a vestige remains except in its rock-cut sepulchres on the mountain sides, and in foundation walls ... Even the island, which Alexander the Great, in his siege of the city, converted into a cape by filling up the water between it and the mainland, contains no distinguishable relics of an earlier period than that of the Crusades. The modern town, all of which is comparatively new, occupies the northern half of what was once the island, while nearly all the remainder of the surface is covered with undistinguishable ruins."
Despite what J. W. McGarvey wrote in 1880, it's fairly straightforward to show that Tyre was later rebuilt and re-inhabited, in contradiction to Ezekiel 26:15;
Mark 3:7, 8 (NWT) "But Jesus with his disciples withdrew to the sea; and a great multitude from Galilee and from Judea followed him. Even from Jerusalem and from Idumea and from across the Jordan and around Tyre and Sidon, a great multitude, on hearing of how many things he was doing, came to him."
Acts 21:3-4 (NWT, bold added) "After coming in sight of the island of Cyprus we left it behind on the left side and sailed on to Syria, and landed at Tyre, for there the boat was to unload [its] cargo. 4 By a search we found the disciples and remained here seven days. But through the spirit they repeatedly told Paul not to set foot in Jerusalem."
Need any more be said?
14 Back in the eighth century B.C.E., Isaiah, the prophet who warned the Jews of their coming subjugation by Babylon, also foretold something astounding: the total annihilation of Babylon itself. He foretold this in graphic detail: "Here I am arousing against them the Medes ... And Babylon, the decoration of kingdoms, the beauty of the pride of the Chaldeans, must become as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. She will never be inhabited, nor will she reside for generation after generation." -- Isaiah 13:17-20.
Conveniently, the rest of verse 20 (although you'd never guess there was more the way the Society quotes it) has been omitted. I say conveniently, as it makes a nonsense of some of the comments in paragraph 19. Here's the rest of verse 20;
Isaiah 13:20b (NWT) "And there the Arab will not pitch his tent, and no shepherds will let [their flocks] lie down there."
15 The prophet Jeremiah also foretold the fall of Babylon, which would take place many years later. And he included an interesting detail: "There is a devastation upon her waters, and they must be dried up.... The mighty men of Babylon have ceased to fight. They have kept sitting in the strong places. Their mightiness has run dry." -- Jeremiah 50:38; 51:30.
The society does some more partial quotation with Jeremiah;
Jeremiah 50:39 (NWT, bold added) "Therefore the haunters of waterless regions will dwell with the howling animals, and in her the ostriches must dwell; and she will nevermore be dwelt in, nor will she reside for generation after generation."
Jeremiah 51:29 (NWT, bold added) "And let the earth rock and be in severe pain, for against Babylon the thoughts of Jehovah have risen up to make the land of Babylon an object of astonishment, without an inhabitant."
Jeremiah 51:43 (NWT, bold added) "Her cities have become an object of astonishment, a waterless land and a desert plain. As a land, in them no man will dwell, and through them no son of mankind will pass."
Note that Jeremiah prophesies that the land of Babylon (not just the city) will not have an inhabitant. Where is the land of Babylon today? Well, paragraph 19 tells us it's Iraq (I'm omitting 16-18 for the same reasons I left out 10-12). Is Iraq inhabited? Can it be said that 'no son of mankind' passes through it?
19 What about the forecast that Babylon would "never be inhabited" again? That was not fulfilled immediately in 539 B.C.E. But unerringly the prophecy came true. After her fall, Babylon was the center of a number of rebellions, until 478 B.C.E. when she was destroyed by Xerxes. At the end of the fourth century, Alexander the Great planned to restore her, but he died before the work had progressed very far. From then on, the city just declined. There were still people living there in the first century of our Common Era, but today all that is left of ancient Babylon is a heap of ruins in Iraq. Even if her ruins should be partially restored, Babylon would be just a tourist showpiece, not a living, vibrant city. Her desolate site bears witness to the final fulfillment of the inspired prophecies against her.
Wow, what a climactic 'fulfillment' of Isaiah and Jeremiah's dramatic denouncements! Over the course of 600-plus years, Babylon eventually winds down. And the Society's pre-emptive argument against Iraq's plans to rebuild Babylon hide the real issue. Jeremiah (or Jehovah, if you will) never said that Babylon would never again be 'a living, vibrant city'. He said that it would never be inhabited. Isaiah added that no Arab would pitch their tent there. And we're not just talking about Babylon, but "the land of Babylon". I'd be surprised if the many archaeologists who've done excavations at Babylon didn't use Arab labour. I wonder where the Society thinks they slept? Or where the many constructors who've been rebuilding Babylon for the last few years lived? I dread to think what the Society will say if Saddam Hussein does finally manage to rebuild Babylon... I guess we'll have found the next King of the North.
In conclusion, I can only say that even with the 'best' prophetic examples that the Society (and other apologists) come out with, there are problems. The Society does not even attempt to show that they fulfill the second of Farrell Till's criteria above, and the first criterion is debatable on a couple. There are several examples of so-called 'prophecies' in the Bible that don't meet the fourth criteria, in that they have not been (and cannot be) fulfilled. I will discuss some of these, along with the rest of this chapter in part 2.
Since the majority of the material is about Daniel, there are abundant sources available to those who want to dig beneath the Society's glib assurances. I will try to point out where the most obvious 'problems' exist in the material, and make a few suggestions as to where open-minded readers might start digging for more details.
The March of World Powers
20 In the sixth century B.C.E., during the Jewish exile in Babylon, another prophet, Daniel, was inspired to record some remarkable visions foretelling the future course of world events. In one, Daniel describes a number of symbolic animals that displace one another on the world scene. An angel explains that these animals foreshadow the march of world powers from that time onward. Speaking of the final two beasts, he says: "The ram that you saw possessing the two horns stands for the kings of Media and Persia. And the hairy he-goat stands for the king of Greece; and as for the great horn that was between its eyes, it stands for the first king. And that one having been broken, so that there were four that finally stood up instead of it, there are four kingdoms from his nation that will stand up, but not with his power." -- Daniel 8:20-22.
Here we go again. I have already discussed at length (in part 1, and in further dialogue with Friend) why I think the Society is ducking the most important issue on the question of prophecy. The Society simply refuses to deal with the question of dating, and expects the reader to take the prophecies at face value. It hardly seems worth enumerating the several reasons why scholars date Daniel to the second century BCE (specifically 168-165BCE), but since I hope that there are at least some open-minded readers out there, here are a few of them.
Daniel knows Greek history better than Babylonian. For example, you would think that a sixth century prophet would know that Nebuchadnezzar was not the father of Belshazzar (Dan 5:1, 2), but that Nabonidus was instead. Or that Xerxes was the son of Darius, not the father (Dan 9:1). Or that Darius was a Persian, not a Mede etc. On the other hand, Daniel's accounts of Greek history, written in the form of prophecy, are so accurate that the Society feel the need to repeatedly assert that they were written before the event (see § 26ff).
Daniel uses Persian loan words, not available in the seventh century BCE.
Daniel, along with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego is mentioned in the list of Jewish heroes in 1 Maccabees 2:59-60 (ca. 100 BCE), whereas the similar list by Ben Sira (ca. 180 BCE) does not mention them at all.
For further information on the dating of Daniel, there are several good sources, including Old Testament Life and Literature by Gerald A. Larue and The Interpreters Bible.
21 This prophetic foreview was fulfilled exactly. The Babylonian Empire was overthrown by Medo-Persia, which, 200 years later, gave way to the Greek world power. The Greek Empire was spearheaded by Alexander the Great, "the great horn." However, after Alexander's death, his generals fought among themselves for power, and eventually the far-flung empire broke into four smaller empires, "four kingdoms."
Of course, this exact fulfillment is only remarkable if the prophecy was written before the event.
22 In Daniel chapter 7, a somewhat similar vision also looked far into the future. The Babylonian world power was pictured by a lion, the Persian by a bear, and the Greek by a leopard with four wings on its back and four heads. Then, Daniel sees another wild beast, "fearsome and terrible and unusually strong ... , and it had ten horns." (Daniel 7:2-7) This fourth wild beast prefigured the powerful Roman Empire, which began to develop about three centuries after Daniel recorded this prophecy.
In part one, I listed five suggested criteria that would be met by a successful claim for prophecy fulfillment. The first of these was that the claimant should show that the prophecy is being properly interpreted. Since the Society doesn't go into any detail about why Rome should be identified as the fourth beast, there's not much basis for such a claim here. Of course this won't stop the chapter from going to great lengths to tie this and other Daniel 'prophecies' to Rome and, even further into the future, the 'Anglo-American world power'. Unfortunately for the Society, other commentators have given Daniel 7 a rather more likely interpretation, with the horn 'speaking grandiose things' being Antiochus IV Epiphanes.
[Paragraphs 23-25 snipped.]
More fanciful speculation about who Daniel might have been prophesying about. With the recent posts on Judge Rutherford's twisting of prophecy to justify his own personal grievances, it should not be too hard to accept the idea that the Society are going out on a limb here. However, Daniel's prophecies are so vague that several interpretations are possible, among them the rather more down to earth suggestions that Daniel was simply commentating on contemporary events, leading up to the Maccabbean uprising.
Daniel's Prophecies -- After the Fact?
26 The Bible indicates that the book of Daniel was written during the sixth century B.C.E. However, the fulfillments of its prophecies are so exact that critics claim it must have been written about 165 B.C.E., when a number of the prophecies had already been fulfilled. Despite the fact that the only real reason for making this claim is that Daniel's prophecies were fulfilled, this late date for the writing of Daniel is presented as an established fact in many reference works.
'The Bible indicates' is an example of circular reasoning. Since the conclusion the book expects the reader to draw is that the Bible is inspired, it can hardly use the Bible's inspiration (as is implied here) as a premise for establishing the date of Daniel (which in turn 'supports' claims of inspiration). I hope I have shown that Daniel's accurate knowledge of Greek history is not 'the only real reason for' for claiming late authorship, so the Society is being disingenuous here, at best.
27 Against such a theory, though, we must weigh the following facts. First, the book was alluded to in Jewish works produced during the second century B.C.E., such as the first book of Maccabees. Also, it was included in the Greek Septuagint version, the translation of which began in the third century B.C.E. Third, fragments of copies of Daniel were among the more frequently found works in the Dead Sea Scrolls -- and these fragments are believed to date to about 100 B.C.E. Clearly, soon after Daniel was supposedly written, it was already widely known and respected: strong evidence that it was produced long before critics say it was.
1 Maccabbees was written in the same cultural milieu as Daniel, but later, in the latter half of the second century BCE. As for the inclusion of Daniel in the Septuagint, the extant Septuagint versions of Daniel includes stories which now form part of the Apocrypha, for example 'Bel and the Dragon'. These stories could not have been written at the time the Society claims Daniel was written, since they include puns which only work in Greek. Therefore, the Septuagint cannot be used to show that Daniel was written before the second century.
28 Further, Daniel contains historical details that would have been unknown to a second-century writer. Outstanding is the case of Belshazzar, the ruler of Babylon who was killed when Babylon fell in 539 B.C.E. The major non-Biblical sources of our knowledge of the fall of Babylon are Herodotus (fifth century), Xenophon (fifth and fourth centuries), and Berossus (third century). None of these knew about Belshazzar. How unlikely that a second-century writer would have had information that had been unavailable to these earlier authors! The record concerning Belshazzar in Daniel chapter 5 is a strong argument that Daniel wrote his book before these other writers wrote theirs.
When anyone else argues from lack of evidence, the Society is (rightly) indignant. Imagine what the response would be if I said that Daniel couldn't have been written in the sixth century because Daniel failed to mention the kings that ruled between Nebuchadnezzar and Nabonidus; Amel-Marduk, Neriglissar, and Labashi-Marduk. 'Not fair!' would cry the inerrantists, and for once they'd be right. But that doesn't stop the Society from pulling the same stunt here. Surprisingly absent from the list of 'major non-Biblical sources' who don't mention Belshazzar is Josephus, who according to one reference (Oxford Companion to the Bible, eds. Metzger, Coogan, Oxford University Press 1993, p. 76) does mention him! Strange that the Society would miss that... Another second century writer (i.e. as well as 'Daniel'), the author of the non-canonical book of Baruch also mentions him (Bar 1:11, 12).
29 Finally, there are a number of prophecies in Daniel that were fulfilled long after 165 B.C.E. One of these was the prophecy about the Roman Empire, mentioned earlier. Another is a remarkable prophecy foretelling the arrival of Jesus, the Messiah.
Of course, 'mentioned' is the operative word here.
The Coming of the Anointed One
30 This prophecy is recorded in Daniel, chapter 9, and reads as follows: "Seventy weeks [of years, or four hundred and ninety years] are decreed upon your people and upon your holy city." (Daniel 9:24, The Amplified Bible) What was to happen during these 490 years? We read: "From the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem until [the coming of] the anointed one, a prince, shall be seven weeks [of years], and sixty-two weeks [of years]." (Daniel 9:25, AB) So this is a prophecy about the time of the coming of "the anointed one," the Messiah. How was it fulfilled?
The Society's exegesis of Daniel 9 is too complex a subject to go into here. Perhaps I will attempt to tackle 'present truth' concerning the 'seventy weeks' in a later article. Suffice to say that the Society does nothing in this or the following snipped paragraphs to support its interpretation of these verses, hence failing the first criteria for a prophecy fulfillment claim.
[Paragraphs 31-34 snipped.]
Prophecy That Was Inspired
35 In this way, Daniel's prophecy of the 70 weeks was fulfilled in a remarkably exact manner. Indeed, many of the prophecies recorded in the Hebrew Scriptures were fulfilled during the first century, and a number of these had to do with Jesus. The place of Jesus' birth, his zeal for God's house, his preaching activity, his betrayal for 30 pieces of silver, the manner of his death, the fact that lots were cast for his garments -- all these details were prophesied in the Hebrew Scriptures. Their fulfillment proved without a doubt that Jesus was the Messiah, and it demonstrated again that the prophecies were inspired. -- Micah 5:2; Luke 2:1-7; Zechariah 11:12; 12:10; Matthew 26:15; 27:35; Psalm 22:18; 34:20; John 19:33-37.
I leave it to the reader to evaluate the list of prophecy fulfillment claims made by the Society here, using some sensible criteria like the ones I listed in the beginning of this rebuttal.
36 In fact, all the Bible's prophecies that were due to be fulfilled have come true. Things have happened exactly in the way the Bible said they would. This is strong evidence that the Bible is God's Word. There must have been more than human wisdom behind those prophetic utterances for them to have been so accurate.
After all this bluster, and despite the fact that barely any evidence is offered to support any of the prophecy claims, we are now treated to the claim that all this 'is strong evidence that the Bible is God's Word'. What's sad for me is that I used to believe all this.
37 But there are other predictions in the Bible that were not fulfilled in those times. Why? Because they were due to be fulfilled in our own day, and even in our future. The reliability of those ancient prophecies makes us confident that these other predictions will without fail come true. As we will see in the next chapter, this is indeed the case.
I leave it to someone with a bit more time on their hands to see if 'this is indeed the case'. However, even without a rebuttal, anyone reading Jan's several articles on the so-called 'sign of the times' should find enough material to provide a reality check to counter-balance chapter 10.