If indeed the Bible very clearly predicted something, and later that event actually happened, then that would indeed be truly fascinating. The claim that this is indeed the case is commonly made, but if we dig down and examine it what will we find?
As a quick bit of background, this posting is part of an ongoing dialog between myself and another writer. The posting that I am responding to is titled “Fulfilled Prophesy and the Atheist — Part 1 of 2 — BCWorldview”. Within this there are three specific items to consider:
- The Micah prophecy
- The Psalm 22:16–18 reference
- The general observation that there are lots more
Before I briefly cover each in turn I should add one rather important clarification. I’m not religious and I also do not honestly find such claims to be robust. The author of the linked posting holds a different view. We are not attacking each other. Instead, we are laying out our thoughts. The goal is to reach a better understanding. Neither of us anticipates changing the mind of the other.
OK, so let’s move on. I’ll lay out my thoughts on the examples of prophecy provided.
The Micah prophecy
The posting I refer to above accidently leaves out the actual Micah reference and quote. That is simply a typo. The reference itself is well known and is this:
Micah 5:2: “But thou, Bethlehem Ephrathah, which art little to be among the thousands of Judah, out of thee shall one come forth unto Me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth are from of old, from ancient days.”
This specific verse has been commonly interpreted as a prophecy that the Messiah would be born in Bethleham. As validation of that belief, we read within the Gospel of John that the Pharisees were skeptical when faced with Jesus. To paraphrase John 7:42 — “This guy is from Galilee, so how can he possibly be the Messiah”.
The evidence of fulfilment is that both Matthew and also Luke identify Bethleham as the birthplace of Jesus. Beyond those gospel references there is no other source to verify this, that is all we have.