“Almost all evangelical Christians believe that the writing of the Bible was divinely inspired and represents God’s main revelation to humanity. They also believe that the Bible contains special features which constitute evidence of its divine inspiration. This would be a use of the Bible to prove God’s existence within natural theology rather than within revealed theology, since the book’s features are supposed to be evident even to (open-minded) skeptics. Furthermore, since a divinely inspired work must be true, those features are thereby also evidence of the Bible’s truth, and thus can be used in support of Christianity as the one true religion. When expressed that way, the reasoning can be construed as an argument both for God’s existence and for the truth of the gospel message from the alleged special features of the Bible. We may refer to it as ‘the Argument from the Bible.'”
An essay on alleged messianic prophecies.
The prophecies of the book of Daniel have fascinated readers and created controversy for the past two thousand years. Evangelical Christians believe that the prophet Daniel, an official in the courts of Near-Eastern emperors in the sixth century BC, foretold the future of the world from his own time to the end of the age. Actually, the book was written in Palestine in the mid-second century BC by an author who expected God to set up his everlasting kingdom in his own near future. The failure of his prediction refutes evangelical claims that the Bible is inerrant and prophecy proves its divine inspiration.
Innumerable claims to being a prophet or messiah should raise suspicions even among believers that a great many claimants have been false prophets. Nonbelievers go even further: all prophets are false. Among those that believe that some prophets are the real deal, one might think that picking out the genuine article would be a straightforward matter: just wait and see whether a prophet’s predictions come true. Historically, however, within the three Abrahamic religions there are accounts where a prophecy came true, yet its author was declared false, or where a failed prophecy did not disqualify a prophet from being regarded as genuine. And in each of these major religions, those who deviated from orthodoxy threatened the security of those in power and were met with ridicule, censorship, persecution, or ruin. Such responses illustrate a kind of need dominance that is (a) a common reaction to being faced by stubborn opposition and is (b) directed against anyone who opposes any need.
For two millennia in Christendom, every generation has been the last generation. Babinski explains the delay.
Carrier summarizes the debate over whether Isaiah in 7:14 meant ‘virgin’ in what is taken by Christians to be a prophecy of the messiah’s birth. He concludes that whatever the case Isaiah probably did not mean a virgin would conceive in any supernatural sense.
Revealing Daniel (1998) (Off Site) by Curt van den Heuvel
“While an interesting book in its own right, the book of Daniel is not a record of the future. It is, in fact, a testament to the time that inspired it, the terrible persecutions of the Jews under Antiochus in the late second century BCE. To cast it as a prophecy of days to come, divorced of its historical context, is to miss its real meaning.”
Christianity has elevated John’s Revelation into a “sacred text” by including it in the New Testament canon. This has afforded divine legitimation to the cruelties contained within it, frequently cultivating a callous indifference towards (and often an outright enthusiasm for) the sufferings of “out-group” members everywhere whilst lumbering us with a tyrannical warrior god–a powerful “record keeper” desirous of unceasing worship.
For defenses and criticisms of numerous prophecy claims, see the many volumes and issues of The Skeptical Review.