Were the prophecies added after the event and tailored to describe events already past?
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It is somewhat of a paradox that Bible prophecies are so accurate that the theory that they must have been written after the event is suggested. There is no evidence to suggest that it was. It is a threadbare attempt to deny the obvious alternative; that they really were written by inspiration of God.
I can only give a few examples in the space of an answer, but many more could be cited.
Psalm 22, for example, depicts the events of the crucifixion.
Psalm 22:16 For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet. 17 I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me. 18 They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture.
John 19:23 Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments, and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also his coat: now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout. 24 They said therefore among themselves, Let us not rend it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be: that the scripture might be fulfilled, which saith, They parted my raiment among them, and for my vesture they did cast lots.
This appears also in the Septuagint (the Greek translation made about 200 BC). Is it to be supposed that additions were made by Christians to both the Hebrew Scriptures and the Greek translation after the crucifixion?
Isaiah 53 describes the work of Christ, the suffering servant.
Isaiah 53:1 Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? 2 For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. 3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. 8 He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. 9 And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.
The Ethiopian was reading Isaiah 53 and Philip preaches Christ and the gospel to him on the basis of it.
Acts 8:27 And he (Philip) arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship, 28 Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet. 29 Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot. 30 And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest? 31 And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him. 32 The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth: 33 In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth. 34 And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man? 35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus. 36 And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? 37 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. 38 And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. 39 And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.
Was Isaiah 53 added after the event?
This too appears in the Septuagint and also in the Dead Sea scroll of Isaiah. The Dead Sea scrolls are dated prior to Christ. It also appears in the Chaldee Paraphrase (an Aramaic Targum originating from the time Israel was in Babylon). Is it to be supposed that additions were made by Christians to the Hebrew Scriptures, the Greek translation, the Dead Sea scroll and the Chaldee Paraphrase of Isaiah after the crucifixion?
Was Jeremiah’s prophecy about the desolation of Babylon added after the event?
Jeremiah 50:13 Because of the wrath of the LORD it shall not be inhabited, but it shall be wholly desolate: every one that goeth by Babylon shall be astonished, and hiss at all her plagues.
The complete desolation of Babylon took place after New Testament times about 2 AD. Archaeologists began to dig there in about 1899. That the area was completely desolate became evident to all when Iraq was invaded and Saddam Hussein’s rebuilding work was shown on TV. There is nothing but ruins, half-covered by sand. Jeremiah 50:13 appears in the Septuagint and the Dead Sea scrolls.
The dispersion of the nation of Israel and their persecution amongst the nations was prophesied by Moses.
Deuteronomy 28:64 And the LORD shall scatter thee among all people, from the one end of the earth even unto the other; and there thou shalt serve other gods, which neither thou nor thy fathers have known, even wood and stone. 65 And among these nations shalt thou find no ease, neither shall the sole of thy foot have rest: but the LORD shall give thee there a trembling heart, and failing of eyes, and sorrow of mind: 66 And thy life shall hang in doubt before thee; and thou shalt fear day and night, and shalt have none assurance of thy life: 67 In the morning thou shalt say, Would God it were even! and at even thou shalt say, Would God it were morning! for the fear of thine heart wherewith thou shalt fear, and for the sight of thine eyes which thou shalt see.
This didn’t begin to happen until AD70 but history shows how the nations have treated the Jews, culminating in the holocaust. Do we take this as a lucky guess on the part of Moses?
Jesus prophesies concerning the Jews and Jerusalem
Luke 21:24 And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.
From this prophecy we see that there must be an end to the scattering of the Jews and the treading down of Jerusalem by non-Jews. In living memory the Jews went back to their land in 1948. They recaptured Jerusalem in 1967 and made it their capital in 1984.
There are numerous latter day prophecies that require this.
Compare Ezekiel 20, 26, 37 to 39. Amos 9:14. Obadiah 17-21. Zephaniah 3:20 Zechariah 12 to 14.
They can’t have been written after the event. Nor can they be seen as lucky guesses. The obligation rests with those who theorise that bible prophecy is just ‘post diction’ to produce proof for their assertion. This can then be set against the ample historical and Biblical proof to the contrary. It would not matter much if belief of the Bible as the inspired word of God was not essential to our opportunity of eternal life in the kingdom of God.
Jesus Christ is a fact of history. His death and resurrection is not mythology. We have adequate testimony to his teaching. The Old Testament prophesies of him. The New Testament shows how he fulfilled the promises that God made in the Old. There has been no collusion between Christians and Jews over the writings because the Jews (as prophesied) refused to accept Christ. The Jews were meticulous about the copying out of their scriptures. The agreement between the Old and New Testaments is such that it cannot have been organised by men with the intent to deceive.
The accuracy of prophecy is proof that the scriptures are what they claim to be – written by inspiration of God.
2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
Men have been burnt at the stake by an apostate Christianity simply because they translated the Hebrew and Greek scriptures into English, in order that we could read the word of God for ourselves. Now we can read it for ourselves and we see how accurate the prophecies are, men are foolish enough to claim that they must have been written after the event. Not that they have the slightest notion of why or how or when or by whom this was accomplished.
Jesus said to his own disciples after his resurrection:
Luke 24:25... O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: 26 Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? 27 And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.
We should avoid the opinions of others and take the opportunity to examine the scriptures for ourselves and understand what God is telling us concerning the salvation he offers on the basis of believing and obeying the gospel of his son.
We have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
I hope you have found this helpful.