How reliable are the T.N.Kh./ Old Testament prophecies, and how do we know?

Discussion in 'Religion' started by rakovsky, Feb 26, 2017.

  1. rakovsky Registered Member

    The Old Testament / Tanakh includes appealing prophecies like dating for Messiah's arrival (Daniel 9), descriptions of his death (According to Maimonides, this is the Servant's "crushing" in Isaiah 42; Christianity sees it in Isaiah 52-53), and the future resurrection of the dead (Isaiah 26). What makes those prophecies reliable, and how does the prophecy function?

    It seems that theoretically, there could objectively exist such a thing as a gift of prophecy, and that the Lord could guide the Biblical prophets into true predictions. But science seems skeptical about the reliability to perform foretelling supernaturally. And it seems that there are moral people whom God inspires in the world (like civil rights activists), but I don't know that their inspiration and morality means they become reliable precise oracles for the nation's political future, like giving a 30 year deadline for passing certain laws.

    The Catholic New Advent Encyclopedia distinguishes prophets' intuition and sense of prophecy and actual, certain prophecies:

    Maybe prophesying is not necessarily from God, even when the prophet is a moral, inspired believer like the ancient prophets were? In that case, it seems we have to evaluate whether foretelling is scientifically reliable. Otherwise, how do we know that the Biblical prophecies must be correct?

    The Encyclopedia also talks about nonChristian prophecy as sometimes being legitimate:
    And it even says that post-Biblical prophecies by even inspired Christian saints could be mistaken:
    If Christian saints' predictions could be mistaken, it makes me uncertain how reliable the Biblical ones must be.
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  3. rakovsky Registered Member

    The prophecy of Edward the Confessor given in the "New Advent" Encyclopedia is interesting:
    Prophecy of St. Edward the Confessor
    Ambrose Lisle Philipps in a letter to the Earl of Shrewsbury dated 28 October, 1850, in giving a sketch of English Catholic history, relates the following vision or prophecy made by St. Edward: "During the month of January, 1066, the holy King of England St. Edward the Confessor was confined to his bed by his last illness in his royal Westminster Palace. St. Ælred, Abbott of Rievaulx, in Yorkshire, relates that a short time before his happy death, this holy king was wrapt in ecstasy, when two pious Benedictine monks of Normandy, whom he had known in his youth, during his exile in that country, appeared to him, and revealed to him what was to happen to England in future centuries, and the cause of the terrible punishment. They said: 'The extreme corruption and wickedness of the English nation has provoked the just anger of God. When malice shall have reached the fullness of its measure, God will, in His wrath, send to the English people wicked spirits, who will punish and afflict them with great severity, by separating the green tree from its parent stem the length of three furlongs. But at last this same tree, through the compassionate mercy of God, and without any national (governmental) assistance, shall return to its original root, reflourish and bear abundant fruit.' After having heard these prophetic words, the saintly King Edward opened his eyes, returned to his senses, and the vision vanished. He immediately related all he had seen and heard to his virgin spouse, Edgitha, to Stigand, Archbishop of Canterbury, and to Harold, his successor to the throne, who were in his chamber praying around his bed." (See "Vita beati Edwardi regis et confessoris", from manuscript Selden 55 in Bodleian Library, Oxford.)

    The interpretation given to this prophecy is remarkable when applied to the events which have happened. The spirits mentioned in it were the Protestant innovators who pretended, in the sixteenth century, to reform the Catholic Church in England. The severance of the green tree from its trunk signifies the separation of the English Church from the root of the Catholic Church, from the Roman See. This tree, however, was to be separated from its life-giving root the distance of "three furlongs". These three furlongs are understood to signify three centuries, at the end of which England would again be reunited to the Catholic Church, and bring forth flowers of virtue and fruits of sanctity. The prophecy was quoted by Ambrose Lisle Philipps on the occasion of the reestablishment of the Catholic hierarchy in England by Pope Pius IX in 1850.
    That is, the English Catholic bishops were deposed by the English Queen Elizabeth in c. 1559, the last Catholic bishop appointed by Queen Mary died in 1585, and then about 300 years later in 1850, the Catholic Pope reestablished the Catholic Hierarchy of England. This passage in Wikipedia mentions how the bishops were deposed in the 16th c.:
    Soon after the accession of Queen Elizabeth I, in 1559, the bishops of England were forced to choose between taking the Oath of Supremacy, thus denying the authority of the Pope, and losing their episcopal sees. Those who chose to continue their allegiance to Rome were subsequently deposed and replaced in their sees by priests of the Church of England. Most of the deposed Bishops were imprisoned in various locations and died in captivity over a period of years, though some left the country and continued their work overseas. The last of the deposed bishops was Thomas Goldwell, Bishop of St Asaph, who died in Rome on April 3, 1585.
    From 1559 to 1850, it's not exactly 300 years, only 291.

    Sascha Vongehr writes on the Science 20 website about the scientific theoretical possibility of precognition:

    Next, he proposes that if quantum mechanics can have a real effect, evolution would bring that out and develop it in animals:
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  5. rakovsky Registered Member

    Next, S. Vongehr lists factors that improve scientific studies' precognitive finding results, and finds emotions to be a strong factor:
    Next, he explains what he means by the decline effect. He is theorizing that that one reason studies fail to show strong strong ESP results can be that repetitive testing wears down the factors that generate positive findings in the first place:
    What do you think of his explanation here, especially his idea that people who are awful guesses "never show up"?

    Supernatural Magazine has an interesting article:

    The Jewish Encyclopedia says that in Hebrew, the words for prophet mean either fore-speaker or seer:

    It also explains how Hosea reached his prophetic conclusions about Israel:
    One could conclude from this that Hosea's belief in the Israelites' resurrection (eg. in Hosea 6) comes from his belief in God's extreme love for Israel.

    The Jewish Encyclopedia also explains the views on Philo on how to understand the operation of prophecy:
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  7. Xelasnave.1947 Valued Senior Member

    Could the bible just be made up stuff and any parallel to reality simply an interesting coincidence.
  8. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

    The Jews wrote down their own story as it suited a succession of rulers, each in his own time and circumstances. Like most peoples, they fitted the ravings of holy men - real and fictitious - to the unfolding events, even if it meant having to post-date or pre-date a prophecy, or merge a couple of legends, even if one of them came from a different culture.

    The Catholics took all that stuff, plus whatever parchments were found in caves and monasteries scattered about the Roman Empire, picked out the ones they considered relevant, had those translated, more or less accurately, from sundry current and obscure languages, commissioned some chapters, or even books, that suited their propaganda requirements, saw that it was a good book, and put their archbishoply seals on it:
    There ya go: The Absolutely, Solemnly Official Version.
  9. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    Now that's just being far too reasonable, isn't it.

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  10. timojin Valued Senior Member

    Let's ask The burial of Abraham is it in Hebron ? and so Saharan his wife ? and so Jacob ? .
    Have we machtched the Assyrian Expansion into Egypt? or the conquering o Cambyses conquering of Egypt , with writing in the bible with those expansions . If you have done the you will give some credence to the to the Prophets , if not, then then you are a part continuity of questioning without of early ignorance.
  11. rakovsky Registered Member

    The Bible is not just made up stuff, because ancient Israel was a real nation with real kings.
    The Azekah inscription of 700 BC by the Assyrians narrates King Sennacherib's attack on the Biblical king Hezekiah of Judah.
  12. rakovsky Registered Member

    Is Sarkus an Armenian name?
    Saying the Bible is just made up is not far too reasonable, because some important people and events narrated in the Bible are confirmed by artefacts and non-Jewish writings.
    The Nebudchadnezzar Chronicle is an inscription discovered that narrates the Babylonian siege of Jerusalem.
    See also:
  13. rakovsky Registered Member

    The answer is apparently "Yes."
    The Bible says they were buried in Mahpelah, which is upon/over/above Mamre/Hebron:
    The Hebrew word "al", used in this passage, means above, upon, over:

    So the Bible appears to say that the field is in Hebron.

    It was quite natural that, after Cyrus had conquered the Middle East, Cambyses should undertake the conquest of Egypt, the only remaining independent state in that part of the world. The war took place in 525 BC, when Amasis II had just been succeeded by his son Psamtik III. Cambyses had prepared for the march through the desert by forming an alliance with Arabian chieftains, who brought a large supply of water to the stations. King Amasis had hoped that Egypt would be able to withstand the threatened Persian attack through his alliance with the Greeks.

    I don't understand what the part I put in bold means.
    If the Bible did not talk about those conquests, it does not mean there is a contradiction. The Bible was a history of Israel, not particularly of Egypt.

    To show a contradiction, you would need to have the Bible saying Assyria "never" attacked Egypt in 1500-300 BC, and then archeology proving that it did.
  14. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

    A nation's existence does not prevent its kings and priests writing down stuff that isn't true, nor people long afterwards, from writing lies about them.
    What, you found people buried in places where people died? Astonishing!
    Whom did you ask and how do you know they're the same people as the ones in the stories? You do understand that those are pretty common names, and not only among Hebrews.
    Lots of conquering and and expansion happened everywhere; few places more than in that highly contentious area.
    What's that got to do with prophets or prophecy? Anyone with any sense can tell you that a spreading empire is likely to engulf the surrounding smaller nations.... Not because they've been naughty in the sight of their little gods, but because it's what empires do.
    I'm not questioning the early ignorance: I'm quite sure of it. Late ignorance, too.
    But if you want pretty sound information on the Bible - though not up-to-date on archeology - read Isaac Asimov's Guide.[/QUOTE]
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2017
  15. Xelasnave.1947 Valued Senior Member

  16. Xelasnave.1947 Valued Senior Member

  17. Xelasnave.1947 Valued Senior Member

    I quote but the it does not show up and yet it appears.
    I dont know what is wrong but I cant edit.
    All I wanted to add was thebible gives a great account of creation.
    Who was the witness of creation?
    If there was no witness the account must be made up.
    A great start... Even the start of the story is made up.
  18. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

    It wasn't even the Hebrews' own creation myth. It was cribbed from earlier cultures - two different ones, which explains why the first two chapters of Genesis contradict each other.
    What's really funny is that Christian scribes through the centuries have revered the book too much to fix that little slip: "They will eat of the tree of life, also, and become like us."

    The most popular stories are repeated, too, in other books, with minor variation, attributed to different characters.
    My favourite is about Abram and Sara pulling the badger game on hospitable kings - the second time, the irresistible Sara is about 90 years old.
    Xelasnave.1947 likes this.
  19. timojin Valued Senior Member

    Chapter 1 gives you the creation and evolution. You must remember It says God created man and woman and the chapter one finished the creation and the seventh day the rest. The story of Adam starts with a special case, There can be a metaphor or a parable on how sin show itself as in form of disobedience . I speculate that Satan was a human from the evolution chain . and he seduced Eva , and Eva seduced Adam
    Then we see sons coming down down the line . The son Cain needed a woman but the woman was from out of the paradise , they had children and life wernt on from a different start to the present and there is were the Jewish calendar 5777 years from Adam to the present . In the bible you can see the names chronology.
  20. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

    Cute! He creates men and women - plural, in the same way as other animals - on Saturday afternoon, and then, next Monday morning, He wakes and says, "I think I'll get me some red clay and make a special little metaphor-man - and then had the afterthought of making the metaphor-wife out of his rib, and sticking these ignorant savages in the same garden where the gods had their most precious fruit trees. Then he doesn't even bother to keep an eye on them!
    And we're supposed to take this seriously?
    Sin had to be invented before it could be shown. You can only disobey if somebody gives orders. If somebody gives orders He knows you can't obey, disobedience is guaranteed: sin, death and perdition are guaranteed. None of these things could have been imagined by two innocent apes who didn't even know they were naked, because they hadn't eaten of the fruit of Tree of Knowledge yet; had no understanding of good and evil.
    Original Sin, as a concept, is kind of like sentencing a two-year-old to the electric chair for taking a candy off the coffee table after they'd been told not to - plus all the other babies not yet born. And the people who take this crap most seriously have a strict rule against abortion!
    How do you mean 'seduced'? All the regular humans were having sex, multiplying and filling the earth, according to God's instruction. These two hadn't worked it out yet.
    Yes, the Jews wrote themselves up a history, at some point. In fact, they were still nomadic herdsmen, long after the great civilizations of the middle east region (and Asia, that they never heard of) had been established. After sitting out the worst famine period in Egypt (Don't put too much store in their account of how that all went down!) they overpowered another small nation and took its land. Had to fight to keep it; had to fight for any advantage - pretty much all the time. But eventually they settled and became civilized enough to set down in writing their oral traditions, myths, legends, folklore, popular stories and prophecies - and, as you say, lists of names. (Making up that chronology must have been a creative challenge.)
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2017
    Xelasnave.1947 likes this.
  21. timojin Valued Senior Member

    I see your intent is to criticise/ I mentioned on how the Jews based their beginning 577 7 years ago.
    Nothing was said about other culture nor any name . Now if you want expand . In a way speaking the first Hebrew was Abraham. There were other cultures names before Hebrews, as some examples Urrait, Hittites,
    Sumerians , Akkadians, and many more.
  22. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    Not that I'm aware of.
    I didn't say that it is made up only that it's possible.
    Suggesting that something is made up, or fiction, is not to claim that every single bit of information within it is made up. "The Da Vinci Code", for example, details quite a bit of history and uses real place names... but it is still fiction.
  23. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

    That time-frame was based on the generations of names in their oral tradition. Only, some of those generations were way longer than any real humans ever live, while others are glossed over because so little is known about them, so the scribes' math it pretty screwy. That's not a criticism: every tribe makes up some screwy math and physics to explain its own origin.
    (I am, however, extremely critical of modern people who try to impose those ancient stories on other people who know better.)
    Where? In the Bible? Lots of nearby cultures are mentioned, but not in detail, since the Jews of that time didn't get close to any of the cultural centers. Probably, they got to the market at the edge of Damascus, Hebron, Tyre, Beersheeba, sold some bullocks, bought some fabric and olive oil, then moved on. They knew about Sumer, Egypt and Assyria, but not Greece or Rome, until they were conquered, and certainly not about India or China.
    If the much-storied Abraham invented a whole language, 1. To whom did he speak it ? 2. Why would he need it? and 3. Why doesn't the bible mention it?
    That's what i said. Some of the peoples in the region were like the Jews, more or less, while some were very far advanced beyond them.
    The bible doesn't talk much about them, because it was never meant to be the story of mankind. The early parts were meant to be the story of the Jews - as they liked to tell it, from their own perspective, for their own self-esteem. The collection, and later parts, were meant for European Christians, to give a background and authority to their religion, which the Roman priests were constructing.

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