Also supporting that not all the Bible is the word of God is the fact that it contains prophecies that have proved to be false. The nonoccurrence of biblically prophesied events constitutes clear proof that the Bible is not inerrant.
The Bible itself sets forth a test for determining whether a prophecy was inspired by God. Deuteronomy 18:22 states: "When a prophet speaketh in the name of the Lord, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him." In applying that test to the Bible, we are led to the conclusion that the book contains statements which were not inspired by God.
At Genesis 2:17, the Lord is said to have warned Adam and Eve regarding the fruit contained on the tree of knowledge: "[I]n the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." Yet in Genesis chapter 3, we are informed that Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit and did not die on the day that they did so.
Genesis 35:10 tells us that God said to Jacob: "[T]hy name shall not be called any more Jacob, but Israel shall be thy name..." However, eleven chapters later, at Genesis 46:2, the statement is made that: "...God spake unto Israel in the visions of the night, and said, Jacob, Jacob. And he said, Here am I."
II Chronicles 1:12 alleges that God said to Solomon: "Wisdom and knowledge is granted unto thee; and I will give thee riches, and wealth, and honour, such as none of the kings have had that have been before thee, neither shall there any after thee have the like." As the great American agnostic Robert Ingersoll said the nineteenth century, there were several kings in Solomon's day who could have thrown away the value of Palestine without missing the amount. It may be added that the wealth of Solomon is small by today's standards and has been exceeded by many kings who ruled subsequent to him.
Some examples of other unfulfilled prophecies in the Old Testament include the following: the Jews will occupy the land from the Nile to the Euphrates (Gen. 15:18); they shall never lose their land and shall be disturbed no more (II Sam. 7:10); King David's throne and kingdom shall be established forever (II Sam. 7:16); no uncircumcised person will ever enter into Jerusalem (Isaiah 52:1); Damascus will be reduced to a heap of ruins (Isaiah 17:1); and the waters of Egypt will dry up (Isaiah 19: 5-7).
By applying to the New Testament the Bible's test for identifying false prophets, we are forced to conclude that Jesus made statements that were not inspired by God. For instance, Jesus' prophecies concerning the time at which the world would end are clearly incorrect. At Matthew 16:28, Jesus states to his disciples: "...There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom." Obviously, the persons who were standing there have all died, and they never saw Jesus return to establish a kingdom.
In addition, at Mark 13:24-30 Jesus is depicted as listing a number of signs that shall accompany the end of the world, including the sun becoming darkened, the moon not giving any light, the stars of heaven falling, the son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory, and angels gathering the elect. Then Jesus states, at verse 30: "Verily I say unto you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done." Clearly, that generation passed away long ago and the predicted occurrences never happened.
Analysis of the New Testament also reveals that Jesus was incorrect in his prediction concerning the amount of time that he would be in the tomb. At Matthew 12:40, Jesus states: "For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth." However, Mark 15:42-45 shows that Jesus died on the afternoon of the day before the sabbath (i.e., on Friday afternoon), while Mark 16:9 and Matthew 28:1 tell us that Jesus left the tomb sometime on Saturday night or Sunday morning. There is no way that a period from Friday afternoon until, at the latest, Sunday morning, can be made to equal three days and three nights.
To give one more example from the New Testament, Jesus states at John 14:13-14 that: "[W]hatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye ask any thing in my name, I will do it." There have been millions of instances in which requests have been made in Jesus' name, and Jesus failed to perform on his promise to deliver.
As an example of such an unanswered request, we may recall the assassination of Senator Robert F. Kennedy. During the hours immediately following the shooting, millions of persons prayed in Jesus' name for the recovery of Senator Kennedy. If there ever was a test for the power of Christian prayer, this was it.
We all know the result of that test. Contrary to the promise contained in the fourteenth chapter of the book of John, Jesus did not respond to the pleas for the fallen senator's recovery and, tragically, Kennedy died. The same failure of Christian prayers to produce any effect occurs over and over each day.
As is the case with other types of false statements in the Bible, the existence of incorrect prophecies casts doubt on the veracity of all biblical teachings. If one verse in the Bible is wrong, it is possible for many verses to be wrong.