The Bible and False Prophecy
About New Testament Prophecies?
HUMANIST'S CLAIMS: Jesus also erred in predicting the amount of time
he would be in the tomb. At Matthew 12:40 he teaches: For as Jonas was three
days and three nights in the whales belly; so shall the Son of man be three
days and three nights in the heart of the earth. Mark 15:42-45 shows that
Jesus died on a Friday afternoon. But Mark 16:9 and Matthew 28:1 tell us he left
the tomb sometime on Saturday night or Sunday morning. Either way, the amount
of time was less than three nights.
This is considered the most difficult
of the supposed failed prophecies in the Bible. Not because it is actually a contradiction,
but because of cultural differences that affect how we think about time. Our Euro-American
culture is very linear and precise when it comes to time. However, if you've traveled
you can't help but notice that, even today, time has different levels of importance
in other parts of the world and not everybody thinks about time the same way.
Was A Day?
For Jews in Jerusalem, a day began at sunset. So each day
was 24 hours, beginning at sunset.
How Were Days Counted?
were counted as 1, 2, 3... etc. BUT... as we do today, they used idioms when talking
about periods of time... and were much more liberal in accounting for time than
we are today.
If you drive to a National Park and start a hike on Friday
afternoon, then hike all day Saturday, and finish your hike and return to your
car on Sunday morning, what is that called? A three day hike. You don't need to
hike for all 24 hours of all three days for it to be called a three day hike.
charge by the night. If you arrive at your hotel at 5:30 PM, and check out at
3:15 PM the next day, how many nights do you get charged for? You stayed less
than 24 hours, but you left after the 11:00 AM checkout time. So you will be charged
for two nights.
Are these contradictions? No. It's just that our
normal language can be somewhat "loose" when talking about time. But,
we understand what is being said based on the context. And it was the same in
Jesus' day... except that time was less important than it is in our American culture
today, so they were somewhat looser in their language of time.
saying "three days and three nights" was a common idiom similar to the
present-day example of a three day hike.
Here are some examples from
scripture provided by Apologetics
When Queen Esther was about
to risk her life by going before the king uninvited, she instructed her fellow
Jews to follow her example by not eating for three days, night or day
(Esther 4:16). The text goes on to tell us that Esther went in unto the king on
the third day
When Israel asked King Rehoboam
to lighten their burdens, he wanted time to contemplate their request, so he instructed
Jeroboam and the people of Israel to return after three days (2 Chronicles
10:5, emp. added). Verse 12, however, indicates that Jeroboam and the people of
Israel came to Rehoboam on the third day, as the king had directed, saying,
Come back to me the third day). Fascinating, is it not, that
even though Rehoboam instructed his people to return after three days,
they understood this to mean on the third day.
In The Belly of the Big Fish
To wrap up, what would have had to have
happened to Jonah if we take "For as Jonas
was three days and three nights in the whales belly;" (KJV)
strictly and literally... when did Jonah enter the whale's belly and when did
he leave? (Assuming at new day starts at sunset, 6:00 PM.) Jonah would have had
to enter the whale's belly at exactly 6:00 PM to start the night of the first
24 hour day. He would then have to leave the whale's belly at exactly 5:59:59
PM 72 hours later. If he entered and left the whale's belly at any other time,
he'd have been there for a partial day/night. And then we could not say he was
in the belly of a whale for three days and three nights.
doesn't it. That's not how we normally speak. If a man was swallowed by a giant
fish on sometime Friday afternoon, and came out at noon Sunday morning... the
news would correctly report, "Man Spends Three Days In The Belly of A Giant
The Bible was written using the ordinary
way people spoke at the time. There is no error here.
significant false prophecy is at John 14:13-14. Jesus promises: Whatsoever
ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the
Son. If ye ask any thing in my name, I will do it. Everyone knows there
have been millions of instances where Jesus failed to respond to Christians who
asked for things in his name. And the graveyards are full of people who prayed
to him for health.
As is the case with other
incorrect statements in the Bible, false prophecies cast doubt on all biblical
claims. If one verse in the Bible is wrong, its possible for many verses
to be wrong.
What did Jesus actually mean when He said this? Should we take
the time to find out? Click here...