Did the prophecy in Jeremiah 46 fail?

Atheist argument:
>Jeremiah 46: 13-26, ” This is the message which the Lord spoke to
>Jeremiah the prophet about the coming of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon
>to smite the land of Egypt … verse 19: for Memphis will become a desolation;
>it will even be burned down and bereft of inhabitants … 24: the
>daughter of Egypt has been put to shame. Given over to people of the
>north … 26: and I shall give them over to the power of those seeking
>their lives, even into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and
>the hand of his officers ….”
>
>Apologetic: Still to be fulfilled.
>Rebuttal: Nebuchadnezzar is dead, and so is his empire; the prophecy
>cannot be fulfilled.
>

This prophecy you quoted has indeed been fulfilled. It was fulfilled around 586bc. In 1886 Sir Flinders Petrie discovered the ruins of a large castle. The front of this castle had a great open platform of prick work which matches Jeremiah’s claim in verse 8. This confirms Nebuchadnezzar’s annals which state that he did invade Egypt approximately 20 years after Jeremiah’s prophecy. Three inscriptions have been found near Tahpahnes confirming this as well.

I also researched Arabian historical archives and this statement referring to the deterioration of Pharaoh’s empire was taken directly from these archives:

Gradually, though, the power of the kingdom was eroded through invasion, ending ignominiously when Amasis, “the Drunkard”, was forced to depend on Greek forces to defend his Kingdom .

One mistake that people make is that they link separate prophecies and assume they will be fulfilled together. Nebuchadnezzar’s prophecy was fulfilled just as Jeremiah recorded. Nebuchadnezzar was only foretold as the one who will weaken the Egyptian defenses. The destruction of Egypt and the 40 year desolation was not concerning Nebuchadnezzar. It is unclear if the 40 year desolation ever took place. When placed inside of a historical perspective, forty years is not a long time range. It is possible that this also may have been fulfilled or it may be yet to come.

Let me give a clear example of prophecy that is assumed to be linked but is separate. In Isaiah 61 the coming of Christ is foretold:

1 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;
2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;
3 To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.

The rest of this chapter goes on to give the complete picture of all that the Messiah will fulfill including the day of vengeance and judgment upon the earth. But look at how Jesus read this prophecy in Luke 4:
17 And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written,
18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,
19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.
20 And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him.
21 And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.

Jesus only read what is now known as Isaiah 61 verses 1 and half of verse 2. His first coming was only to fulfill the grace of God and become salvation to those who recognize Him as Lord. The vengeance was not going to be fulfilled and the foretold earthly kingdom was not to be fulfilled until after His crucifixion and at a much later date at the promise of His return. The Jews wanted to make him king and each time they came with the idea to crown him, he deflated their ideas of making him king. The cross was essential for salvation. The earthly kingdom will be fulfilled upon His return. Both are clearly prophesied but the religious leader missed this plan because they were too busy trying to fit Christ into their prediction. They couldn’t see that God is not bound to our predictions about what He will do. When men predict wrong, they are the ones that are fallible, not God. The Bible is inspired, our predictions about how biblical prophecies will be fulfilled are not inspired but are almost always errant.

Eddie Snipes
1999

Did the prophecy in Ezekiel 26 fail?

Atheistic argument:

>Ezekiel 26:3-36 explains at length that
>Nebuchadnezzar will lay siege to Tyre and destroy it, that he will take its
>money and goods, that the city will “be built no more” and “be no more.”
>Any history book about the period will explain that Nebuchadnezzar’s
>thirteen year siege was unsuccessful. The city was later conquered by
>Alexander the Great, but it was rebuilt and is currently inhabited

Answer
Atheist frequently quote this passage as evidence so let’s dispel this myth. This argument uses half-truths to back up the atheists claim of unfulfilled prophecy. I have seen this on several atheist websites and newsgroup postings. The real tragedy with atheism is that they take as truth what is hear only from these sources and never validate these claims to find out if they are true. I have done a little research and here is the historical evidence about the fulfillment of Ezekiel’s prophecy:

Indeed Ezekiel did prophecy that Nebuchadnezzar shall lay siege and destroy Tyre. Verse 3 of the passage you cited also says that more nations will also be involved in the destruction of Tyre. Now here is the half-truth that atheist love to quote. Actually it is a series of half-truths. They claim Tyre was not destroyed – it was. They also claim that because Nebuchadnezzar didn’t finish the job, Ezekiel was wrong. Most atheist argue that Ezekiel was wrong because Alexander the Great defeated Tyre when Ezekiel 26:7-9 gives Nebuchadnezzar as the defeating leader. The half-truth is that indeed Nebuchadnezzar did defeat Tyre and fulfill exactly what the Bible says he will do. Alexander fulfilled the Bible’s claim that the timber, stones and soil would be thrown into the sea leaving Tyre as a bare rock. The Bible does not call the leader by name who would fulfill this part of the prophecy, but it clearly specifies other nations would be involved.

When Nebuchadnezzar defeated Tyre, the people fled to an island. Alexander came and these same people resisted his conquering empire. To get to the island, Alexander the Great used the remains of the city in which Nebuchadnezzar had laid siege to build a bridge to the island and thus completely destroyed the remaining city of Tyre and completely fulfilled the prophecy of Ezekiel to the letter. Ezekiel 26 verse 12 says, “they will break down your walls and destroy your pleasant houses; they will lay your stones, your timber, and your soil in the midst of the water.”

It is very important to notice Nebuchadnezzar was called by name and when he is addressed in verse 7-8 the prophecy is addressed as ‘he’…i.e., “He will slay…He will direct his battering rams…”. In verse 12 the prophecy is addressed as ‘they’, i.e., “they will plunder…they will break…they will lay your stones, timber and soul in the midst of the water”. Clearly this prophecy was not addressed to Nebuchadnezzar but rather to those who would follow.

This ‘inaccuracy’ is not as the atheist claims, but rather this prophecy was fulfilled to the exact letter proving that no one but God could have known before hand these events separated by so many years. If Nebuchadnezzar had fulfilled it all, it would have been said that he saw this prophecy and self-fulfilled it or that Ezekiel knew of Nebuchadnezzar’s plans and he prophesied accordingly. But when you see that God foretold that Nebuchadnezzar would not be able to complete the job but nations would wipe Tyre clean and when you see Nebuchadnezzar’s defeat of the city, Tyre’s flight to the island and Alexander’s bridge to the island, you can’t explain it any other way except that this Bible was inspired by God.

One important principle about biblical prophecy is that you cannot purposefully fulfill it nor can you use it to predict God. Prophecy is written so that we are prepared and so we can have confidence in God and when we see these things fulfilled we know God’s word is true and that God is in control. There are over 300 prophecies concerning Christ and many seemed contradictory thus making it impossible to self-fulfill. For example, Jesus’ parents lived outside of Bethlehem but they were forced by the Roman Empire to go to Bethlehem to register for a census and to be taxed, Jesus was born there, they fled to Egypt to escape Herod’s order to kill male children 2 years and younger, moved back and settled in Nazareth. This action fulfilled seemingly contradictory prophecies that said that Christ would be born in Bethlehem, God would call His son out of Egypt and the Christ would be called a Nazarine. This is just a sampling but proves an important point. God inspires prophecy and interweaves them with events making it completely impossible for anyone to design a self-fulfilling plan in order to fulfill by forgery. Therefore when you see these things fulfilled – such as Ezekiel’s prophecy – you know that surely, only God could have known beforehand.

Eddie Snipes
1999