Open Theism

Is prophecy ever wrong?

Jeremiah 28:9 As for the prophet who prophesies peace, when the word [NIV: prediction] of that prophet comes to pass, then it will be known that the Lord has truly sent the prophet.

This is quite clear, if it does not happen, the Lord did not say it…

And they certainly were aware of the distinction of detailed fulfillment:

Genesis 41:13  And things turned out exactly as he interpreted them to us…

1 Kings 8:56  Not one word has failed of all the good promises he gave through his servant Moses.

So this the test of a false prophet, when what they said doesn’t happen:

Deuteronomy 18:22  If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the Lord does not take place or come true, that is a message the Lord has not spoken.

Isaiah 44:25  … who foils the signs of false prophets and makes fools of diviners…

Isaiah 44:26  … who carries out the words of his servants and fulfills the predictions of his messengers …

There is a difference here, the difference is just this, whether the prophesied event happens or not. Really happens, that is, yet the Open View says prophecy can sometimes fail, and not because of an unfulfilled condition laid down by God.

And there are important implications here, if a prophecy can really go wrong, if God cannot (for example) remove people from the island of Tyre, then how can he defeat the devil? The second problem here would certainly seem more challenging than the first.

Isaiah 38:1  Isaiah 38:1 In those days Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz went to him and said, “This is what the Lord says: Put your house in order, because you are going to die; you will not recover.”

God meant “die” in two senses, physical death, or dying to self, as in this verse:

Romans 8:13  For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live…

It’s “one or the other,” though Hezekiah may have only understood physical death.

Genesis 2:17 “… for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

And there may well be two senses here: Die physically later on, and die spiritually, immediately.

John 11:25-26 He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.

Now “live, even though he dies” would be referring to physical death, and “never die” would seem primarily to refer to, or at least include, spiritual death. Thus death in the story of Hezekiah could have meant “It will be physical death, or death like this”:

Galatians 2:19 For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God.

Isaiah 38:16 “O Lord, by these things men live; And in all these is the life of my spirit; O restore me to health, and let me live!

Life in two different senses here! “My spirit lives,” “let me live [physically]”.

Deuteronomy 9:3 “Know therefore today that it is the Lord your God who is crossing over before you as a consuming fire. He will destroy them and He will subdue them before you, so that you may drive them out and destroy them quickly, just as the Lord has spoken to you.”

But if we do not know what the Lord is referring to as what he “has spoken to you,” we can’t know if this is conditional. And the Septuagint doesn’t even have “quickly,” so this word “quickly” is not absolutely certain here.

And in the translation above indeed, it seems there is a condition, “so that you may drive them out,” not “so that you will drive them out.”

But here there an unconditional promise made about driving them out:

Joshua 3:10 This is how you will know that the living God is among you and that he will certainly drive out before you the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites and Jebusites.

It is God who will do it, most certainly! And he did, those nations are not there any more.

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