How Some Atheistic Scholars Suppress Biblical Prophecies

Around 700 years prior to Jesus’ birth, the prophet Isaiah stated that He would come from a stem of Jesse (11:1) in the line of King David and the tribe of Judah. He would be born of a virgin (7:14) and would be called Immanuel (God with us). Daniel (9) predicted the precise time of His arrival and that He would be “cut off.” Alluding to the Trinity, we learn in Isaiah that our Savior would be an everlasting Father, a wonderful counselor, and a Prince of Peace (9:6). Micah (5:2) prophesied that He would be born in Bethlehem, while Hosea (11:1) revealed that out of Egypt, God called His son. Malachi (3:1) predicted He would appear in the 2nd Temple, which was destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D. Isaiah (53) further predicted that He would be pierced for our transgressions and crushed for our iniquities. Zechariah (12:10) highlighted the pain we would feel for the piercing of a first-born son. Psalm 22 emphasized the way the hands and feet of our Savior would be pierced as He was encircled by strong bulls of Bashan who divided His clothes and mocked Him. All of these came true.

The First Jewish Temple stood during Isaiah’s time (769 – 686 B.C.), yet Isaiah prophesied about its destruction, which happened in 586 B.C., and the call to rebuild it, which occurred around 537 B.C. He even named the person whom God ordained to issue the decree to rebuild decades later: Cyrus!

…”who says of Cyrus, ‘He is my shepherd, and he shall fulfill all my purpose’; saying of Jerusalem, ‘She shall be built,’ and of the temple, ‘Your foundation shall be laid.’”[1]

Many prophecies were fulfilled in the Bible, which provides us with evidence of its validity and divine inspiration as the Word of God and the Word of God.  

Therein lies the problem for the atheist who believes divine inspiration isn’t possible. Since the 1800s, Bible scholars in western universities have addressed this uncomfortable truth by weaving complex webs that have attempted to change “consensus views in scholarship” on the authorship and timing of books in the Bible. All of their propositions are based upon the same underlying presupposition: prophecies are impossible. Accordingly, they claim Isaiah couldn’t have written the prophecy of Cyrus over a hundred of years in advance (even though the 1st century Jewish historian Josephus affirmed this prophecy). Someone else must have written that prophecy during Cyrus’ reign! This example of one of many.

Here are a few examples. These scholars claim the Gospels couldn’t have been written prior to 70 A.D. since Jesus predicted the fall of the Second Temple, which occurred in 70 A.D.; Moses couldn’t have written Deuteronomy 28 and Leviticus 26 about the Hebrew exiles and punishments since he lived before they happened; Daniel couldn’t have predicted the four kingdoms of Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome or the abomination of desolation in 165 A.D. by Antiochus Epiphanes;[2]  since he lived well before they happened; and surely Isaiah couldn’t have written about King Cyrus of Persia conquering Babylon way before Cyrus was born or Babylon came to power.  

They’re trying to burn our Bible and its credibility, but thankfully, we can trust the truth, light, and love of Jesus to always emerge from the ashes of such nonsense. We’ve seen that in the past and will certainly enjoy it in the future.

Thank you for your time.

SJ Thomason is a business professor and Christian who loves sharing Jesus’ messages of hope, love, kindness, forgiveness, and gratitude. This is a passage from a new book she’s working on that will dig deeply into the book of Isaiah.

[1] Isaiah 44:28

[2] While Porphyry posited that the abomination of desolation referenced in Daniel corresponded to the destruction heaped upon the Hebrews by Antiochus Epiphanes during the Maccabean period, I don’t personally subscribe to the belief that Daniel’s prophecy was of this event.

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