When a prophecy isn’t fulfilled within a given time, is it a false prophecy?


Clarify Share Report Asked December 28 2018 Mini Anonymous

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Mini Tim Maas Retired Quality Assurance Specialist with the U.S. Army
I realize that the Bible itself uses fulfillment of a prophecy as one of the means of determining whether or not the prophecy is authentic (as in Deuteronomy 18:22, for example), but it seems to me that that would not always be possible, since many of the prophecies in both the Old and New Testaments spoke of events that would not occur for hundreds of years, or that will not occur until the end times at the close of the age. 

If the prophecy itself contains a time frame, or conditions, or reference to a specific situation, for its fulfillment, I would say that it would be possible to use those to judge whether the prophecy was/is authentic. (Even at that, however, the wording of some Old Testament prophecies (such as Isaiah 7:14, for example) pertained to both a current situation and a future fulfillment.)

Also, if the prophecy involves actions by God or Christians that run counter to God's character or commandments, I would say that that would be an indication of its falsity. However, in the absence of such criteria, I would be hesitant to authoritatively regard or declare any prophecy as being, or having been, false.

December 29 2018 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Aurel Gheorghe
It would be safe to say that when someone makes a prediction and that prediction proved to be false, then yes, that particular prophecy and prophet cannot be trusted. 

Many have made many predictions claiming to be inspired by God. For example, Hal Lindsey, a well-known and prolific Christian writer, in his book “The 1980s: Countdown to Armageddon” predicted that pre-tribulational rapture will happen in 1981, and Jesus will return in either 1981 or 1988 – later on he revised his predictions saying that Christ will return sometime before the end of 2018. Harold Camping, another well-known author and evangelist, predicted the end of the world will take place in 2011. Obviously, these are all false prophesies. 

The Bible records many prophesies made by God’s prophets which proved to be extremely accurate as God’s Word never failed (Isaiah 55:11). Joseph was able to interpret Pharaoh's dreams (Gen 41) - Daniel also interpreted Nebuchadnezzar’s dream (Daniel 2) - both dealt with future events that happen just as they predicted. 

However, some prophesies are conditional – see Deuteronomy 28:1,2,15. 
Prophet Jonah was sent to predict the destruction of Nineveh (Jonah 3:4-10), but when people repented God had mercy on them. King Hezekiah’s life was also extended by 15 years (Isaiah 38:5). On occasions, God relents or changes His dealings with humanity according to his divine purpose. 

In Joel 2:28 and Acts 2:17, 18 we read that in the last days of earth's existence God will communicate His plans through men and women. Although we live in last days, we need to be very careful and investigate if these prophesies are God’s Word or something else (Isaiah 8:20).

January 02 2019 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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