Prophecy explained - not really.
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Up too early one morning last week, I did a little channel surfing to try and find some news. Instead, I found paid religious broadcasting.
I came across a program sponsored by the previously unknown (to me) Assemblies of Yahweh. Elder Meyer was talking about prophecy, and I listened for about a minute, enough for him to make two claims.
Bible prophecy is
- like a newspaper written thousands of years ago.
- like a watermark on fine paper - if you are looking for it, you can see it; if you are not, you can't.
Finding this nonsensical, I laughed, clicked channel up, and found the news I was looking for.
But let's consider the claims.
Bible prophecy is like a newspaper written thousands of years ago.
Now my daily newspaper has a date on it so I know precisely when the news it reports is relevant. When it reports on events that have happened, I have a high degree of assurance that the events did happen as reported at the time and place claimed. When it reports that events will happen, I can make plans based on those forecasts. For example, I have a very high degree of confidence as I write this, that the Vancouver Canucks beat the San Jose Sharks in California on Sunday, and that they will play them at home in Vancouver tonight (20 May, 2011), so I can plan on watching the game on TV.
Bible prophecy gives us none of this. It does not give us the date. On prophecies fulfilled, the relationship between actual events and prophesied events is unclear, and with respect to prophecies yet to be fulfilled, we lack all meaningful detail.
Bible prophecy is like a watermark on fine paper - if you are looking for it, you can see it; if you are not, you can't.
Now this is a really silly analogy. Perhaps people are less familiar with watermarked paper today than they were in a pre-email world. But I, as most children of my time did, discovered watermarks in paper before I knew what they were. You don't have to be looking for a watermark to find it. The other thing about watermarks is that if several people examine a watermark closely, they will reach agreement on what the design of the watermark is. It may be a company name, it may be a trademark, it may be an image - but it is identifiable, and reasonable people can agree on what it is. Such agreement is lacking in Bible prophecy.
Bible prophecy is nonsense, as is any attempt to explain its validity.
- In their statement of doctrine, they say "We affirm that as obedient children it is necessary to keep all the commandments, statutes, and judgments (except the ritual and animal sacrifice laws) which the Heavenly Father gave to Israel to make them a separate people." And then they go on to specify a select few Bible references, making a mockery of the meaning of the word "all." On the good side, this seems to mean they don't stone people.