The Bible and Unfulfilled Prophecy
Some Prophecies Have Not Yet Been Fulfilled.
THE HUMANIST'S CLAIMS: Examples of other unfulfilled Old Testament prophecies include the following: the Jews will occupy the land from the Nile to the Euphrates (Genesis 15:18); they shall never lose their land and shall be disturbed no more (II Samuel 7:10); King Davids throne and kingdom shall be established forever (II Samuel 7:16); no uncircumcised person will ever enter Jerusalem (Isaiah 52:1); and the waters of Egypt will dry up (Isaiah 19:5-7).
The humanist claim that some of the Old Testament prophecies have not been fulfilled... and they are right. After all, the end has not yet come. About 1/3 of the prophecies in the Bible are about our future. The book of Revelation, for example, is all about what is still future for us.
Let's look at each of the examples the humanists have listed:
On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, To your descendants I have given this land, from the river of Egypt as far as the great river, the
This prophecy will be fulfilled in the future.
Most Bible scholars say that this prophecy will be fulfilled when Jesus returns at the beginning of the Millennial Kingdom. My opinion is that it has been partially fulfilled. The land already belongs to the descendants of Abraham, but they have not yet fully taken possession.
If you own a rental property you may have had some experience with this situation. Once someone is living in your property (in some cases even if they are not paying rent), it can be very difficult to get them out. Laws vary by state, but in some states it can take years. They may be trashing your property, and still you can't get them out. That's the situation Israel is in. They own the property, but they cannot yet take possession
of the property. However, the time is coming when this prophecy will be 100% fulfilled.
2 Samuel 7:8-10
8 & 9: Now therefore, thus you shall say to My servant David, Thus says the Lord of hosts, I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep, to be ruler over My people Israel. I have been with you wherever you have gone and have cut off all your enemies from before you; and I will make you a great name, like the names of the
great men who are on the earth.
10: I will also appoint a place for My people Israel and will plant them, that they may live in their own place and not be disturbed again, nor will the wicked afflict them any more as formerly, I will also appoint a place for My people Israel and will plant them, that they may live in their own place and not be disturbed again, nor will the wicked afflict them any more as formerly,"
11: even from the day that I commanded judges to be over My people Israel; and I will give you rest from all your enemies. The Lord also declares to you that the Lord
will make a house for you. When your days are complete and you lie down with your fathers,
I have included verses 8-11 (and 12-16 below) so you can see the context. In these verses God is speaking to David through Nathan the prophet. This section of scripture is called "God's Covenant With David" or the "Davidic Covenant." This covenant is also summarized in 1 Chronicles 17:1114 and 2 Chronicles 6:16.
As with our look at 2 Chronicles 1:12, this is not a prophecy, but a promise. God, through the prophet Nathan, is telling David what He will do. However, we need to look at the humanists' accusation, because if God does not keep His promises to David, then we cannot trust anything God says.
God starts with some background. Verses 8 & 9 describe a little of what God has done in the past. The verse we are looking at, verse 10, is a reaffirmation of God's promise to Abraham in Genesis 15:18. So the answer is the same as for Genesis 15:18 above.
2 Samuel 7:16
12-16: I will raise up your descendant after you, who will come forth from you, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish
the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be a father to him and he will be a son to Me; when he commits iniquity, I will correct him with the rod of men and the strokes of the sons of men, but My lovingkindness shall not depart from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you. Your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever; your throne shall be established forever.
Verses 12 through 16 are a promise of a Messiah... a descendant of David who will establish His kingdom and rule forever. That is what Jesus Christ will do when He returns at the beginning of the Millennial Kingdom. The fulfillment of this promise is coming.
Clothe yourself in your strength, O Zion;
Clothe yourself in your beautiful garments,
O Jerusalem, the holy city;
For the uncircumcised and the unclean
Will no longer come into you.
This is part of a speech (prophecy) God gives to Israel that starts in verse 40. Throughout chapter 52 there are many imperatives, rhetorical questions, and allusions to what God said previously,
going all of the way back to chapter 40. The imperatives include calls to listen, to awake, to look, and to depart.
In verse 52:1 God is calling for the people pay attention... AWAKE!
Beginning in chapter 51, God is talking about Israel's transformation from desolation into a paradise. In 51:6 God talks about the heavens vanishing... and the earth growing old. This takes place during the seven year Tribulation... setting the stage for a renewed earth during the Millennial Kingdom. God's point is that the people of Israel have no need to despair.
But then, the last part of chapter 51 reflects on the unfaithfulness of Israel in the past; how they have experienced the Lord's anger; and that the city of Jerusalem has suffered. But all that will change...
Now the good news starting chapter 52... awake Israel! Put on your fine clothes of honor provided by the Lord... you will be safe and secure from invaders (the uncircumcised and unclean will no longer come into you).
As with the above, this is a prophecy about the coming Millennial Kingdom. A prophecy that will be fulfilled when Jesus Christ returns.
The waters from the sea will dry up,
And the river will be parched and dry.
The canals will emit a stench,
The streams of Egypt will thin out and dry up;
The reeds and rushes will rot away.
The bulrushes by the Nile, by the edge of the Nile
And all the sown fields by the Nile
Will become dry, be driven away, and be no more.
This is part of a section of scripture in which God is describing what will happen to various nations. Isaiah 19:1 through 20:6 talks about Egypt. This is an amazing prophecy. It describes what God will do, including inciting the Egyptians to fight against Egyptians. But, in the end Egypt will repent and convert, and through God's grace become a part of Israel. That's amazing!
This entire section of prophecy is still future. The humanists are right, it has not been fulfilled, but it will be as the return of Jesus Christ draws near.
The humanists are right. There are some prophecies in the Bible that have not been fulfilled... because they describe a time that is still in our future. The time when Jesus Christ will return and establish His kingdom forever.
New Testament Prophecies
In applying the Bibles test for identifying false prophets, the conclusion is inescapable that Jesus was one of them. For example, he was wrong in predicting the world would end within the lifetime of his followers.
At Matthew 16:28, Jesus tells his disciples: There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.
The people who were standing there all died eventually, and they never saw Jesus return to establish a kingdom.
Similarly, Jesus is depicted at Mark 13:24-30 as listing signs that shall accompany the end of the world. These include the sun becoming darkened, the moon not giving any light, the stars of heaven falling, the son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory, and angels gathering the elect. Then Jesus announces: Verily I say unto you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done. His generation passed away long ago without the predicted events occurring.
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