The problem is that some of these prophecies aren't predictive, but typological fulfillments (as per Matthew's use of the OT). I'm not arguing against the use of predictive prophecy, but the conflation of typological use of the OT with predictive prophecy, and using them to boost the number of predictive prophecies in order to boost the odds. (I should have been clearer in what I said to avoid this confusion.)
I agree with Ken, Jesus had to show He was Israel at the start of His ministry to fulfill the prophecies in Isaiah that the Jews still interpret as Israel.
As an atheist that would seem cleverly contrived. To me it teaches that probably all prophecies everywhere have dual fulfillment (God has to be consistent or He leaves us blind).
It also teaches me that the revelation is unfolding from OT to NT because, apart from the OT personifying nations as men, you or I would have had almost zero chance of persuading any one that they were also prophecies about Jesus. That is why it says you have to have the Holy Spirit to (correctly) interpret prophecy - because unless an angel told you that a prophecy in Isaiah about Israel that reads like a prophecy about Israel was actually a dual fulfillment prophecy about Jesus, you would have no evidence to persuade anyone prior to its fulfillment, it ONLY works in hindsight.
It then becomes blatantly obvious to any honest minded person that the Jews are being punished/mocked for not recognizing the context and plan
of their Christs ministry including two comings/dual fulfillment when they had zero chance of it on any intellectual/eschatology level
, but ONLY if they had the Holy Spirit - Can everyone not PLAINLY see this is self evident? ...and just to boil that down to what it actually means in pain language, it means that if you lived in OT times you had practically zero chance of recognizing a prophecy about Israel as a prophecy about Jesus or that Messianic prophecies contradicting meant dual fulfillment unless an angel/your ministering angel either tells you or impresses this on your mind as you read the verse. No other way.
It is important we are honest with ourselves about that
So typological prophecies only look convincing in hindsight
and never before the event UNLESS you have the Holy Spirit/your ministering spirit actually tell you. I have said it before and I will say it again - can anyone say in all honesty they think they could have predicted Christs ministry as suffering servant when so many allude to conquering hero? Which is nationalistically desirable to believe? Yet if I said in OT times to you lot also in OT times, 'look fellas! the messiah must come twice as its the only way to explain why some prophecies see Him as triumphant King and others as downtrodden and despised' - would you have taken me that seriously? At best you would have thought it one of many interesting theories, but unlikely, or think it pure speculation? That is my point - you have to have the Holy Spirit to fully understand the Bible.
So no one is ever going to find a prophetic smoking gun because every prophecy is (intentionally) vague and on top of that
often has multiple fulfillments.
The reason Ken is right and these apologists claiming proof from prophecy are wrong, is obvious - Unambiguous and undeniable prophetic fulfillment that atheists could not deny would go too far toward destroying free will and autonomy
. So the prophecies in the Bible must also give some room for doubt
, there is no other way if you think about it.
For example, I believe my ministering angel/Holy Spirit has shown me that the seven thunders in Rev 10:3 are seven additional prophecies that we are to "prophesy again" Rev 10:11 after trumpet 6 was fulfilled in Historicist understanding - and that this is why the seven additional thunders/prophecies are delivered (after) trumpet 6 but (before) trumpet 7 which is the consummation of things. So they are now being fulfilled in our time and as John in Rev 10 was told not to write them down Rev 10:4, so they must already be written down or whats the point of even mentioning John is told them! The symbols and Johns actions of going to write them down PROVES they are seven additional prophecies. So seven of the prophecies John had already written down in the Revelation therefore have a dual fulfillment in our time. The fact there are seven links it back to a dual application of 6 trumpet prophecies and Revelation 13, as they are delivered before trumpet 7 is fulfilled.
I have attempted to persuade Christadelphians of some of this, such as mans worst ever (man made) disaster, Chernobyl as Wormwood, which a stand at the Chernobyl museum confirms. So it was a star (nuclear reactor) that literally killed many because of the waters (it rained heavily for 3 weeks over europe), Rev 8:10-11. But while the translation cannot be denied anymore, someone would say something like 'aha, yes a star is nuclear but it's fusion not fission' and therefore consider the prophecy debunked.
Yet is their a better natural symbol found in the Bible that God could have used to specifically identify fission from fusion? Obviously not, but a star/sun is still a nuclear reactor.
Now imagine you are in OT times and you had this wacky idea that the prophecies that spoke of the Messiah contradicted as to whether He would be mighty King or suffering servant for a reason, INTENTIONALLY because it was a dual fulfillment (a classic example of an intentional paradox to force a spiritual interpretation
) So would you really expect anyone to buy that idea as most likely explanation? I doubt it.
The truth is the skeptical will always find holes because holes or alternative possibilities have been designed into the prophecies to protect free will and autonomy
. Yet here we have the very nature of Christs ministry as suffering servant being the biggest reminder possible
of the dual fulfillment nature
of prophecy, yet when I bring as a gift from the Holy Spirit, the news and eschatological explanation of a dual fulfillment in our time, (which I am supposed to reveal to you in order to motivate you) to "prophesy again" the things so far revealed by this dual fulfillment which is (pollution, danger of nuclear proliferation and the mortal danger of celebrity worship in materialistically imbued 'consumer' societies). It is met with the same level of technical criticism that would also debunk just about all messianic prophecies.
We are also about to literally lose a third of the sea life due to pollution (Rev 8:9), just as an area roughly a third of the earth was affected by Chernobyl (Rev 8:11) and a third of all shipping was sunk during WW2 (Rev 8:9), something like 36000 from 105000 merchant shipping and during that war in Europe (the great mountain cast into the sea burning on fire), Nazi Germany (Rev 8:8).
So all this talk about prophecies being obvious in hindsight is nonsense. The reason the Jews look at messianic prophecies today and see something else is because they do not have the Holy Spirit telling them. The reason Christians without the Holy Spirit (i.e who have not requested angelic help) or asked for the Holy Spirt (luke 11:13), the reason they see Jesus is mainly cultural prejudice and bias, they are deluded to think they will ever be able to present a perfect prophetical fulfillment as irrefutable evidence.
I know that many Christadelphians believe the 1948 rebirth and subsequent events are the prophetic smoking gun, and it is certainly powerful testimony thatb history and so the Bible repeats and if I was an atheist I would be forced to acknowledge the wisdom of the Bible writers in knowing this, but it can never be the smoking gun whether it is right or wrong because there is another way of interpreting the prophecies of Israel in a method that can be demonstrated elsewhere.
Likewise, I believe their is a dual fulfillment of Rev 13 in which global consumerism/capitalism is seen as the prevailing obstacle and system of things prior to the Second Coming that are to be abolished for literally destroying the earth.
The fact we now have a global code or mark on everything we buy and sell which has been their for decades, right under our noses, identifying the final opposition at Christs coming as consumerism and the love of it the road to destruction. In which the creator of the Universal Product Code admits he used the two lines that correspond to a left number 6, for the three guard bars (the only part of the UPC that remains the same on every barcode world-wide). Even an atheist debater of high repute that I used to debate with could not believe this was coincidence. Why pick the two lines that correspond to a 6 for the guard bars? why not a 2,or a 5? and why 3 guard bars? He reasoned the UPC designer must have done it as a joke, until I showed him claims the designer was not conscious of intentionally doing so and it has been a PR disaster,the Russian Church lobbied government to prevent its use. But if a Christadelphian cannot accept this spectacular dual fulfillment they would say something like 'aha, but the computer does not read the guard bars as sixes', but how does that debunk the fact to the human eye the two lines, the weight and space apart correspond exactly to the left number 6 and the UPC designer admits this?
No one can prove prophecy to any other human unless both parties have the Holy Spirit, not even in hindsight. If this was not so then all these big gun prophecies like Deuteronomy 28-32, Jeremiah 30:11; Ezekiel 6:8 would convert atheists but they rarely do, because they are intentionally vague just enough to give them a get out of believing clause, they are not quite smoking guns - and it has to be that way.
The bottomline is we have to pray and ask for help to understand or even see the deep important spiritual things and I think my examples prove it.
There are a number of other examples. And yes, the odds of this happening by chance were remote.
That is the get out clause for atheists, your word 'remote'. You can make a case for likely probability that is very persuasive but others will see it in a different way. It is the HS that imbues prophetic certainty.
Edited by Mercia2, 16 July 2011 - 03:49 AM.