Minute Prediction And Modern Doubt -- By: Andrew W. Archibald

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 049:196 (Oct 1892)
Article: Minute Prediction And Modern Doubt
Author: Andrew W. Archibald


Minute Prediction And Modern Doubt

Rev. Andrew W. Archibald

SOME one has said that while miracles were originally designed to assist in the establishing of Christianity, they are to-day a great obstacle to faith. The same may be said of the prophecies, and is in a sense being said of them even by some biblical scholars. Of course so destructive a critic as Canon Cheyne of, Oxford belittles and rejects what he terms “a circumstantial fulfilment” of prophecy. That much more conservative fellow-Oxonian of his, Professor Driver, while rightly emphasizing the fact that “the prophet speaks primarily to his contemporaries,” and while admitting that the visions of the seers are “independent of time” and can properly be projected “upon the shifting future,” yet cautions against “a too literal interpretation of prophetic imagery,” and against the idea of a “detailed and definite description of the circumstances of a distant age,” and affirms with reference to Isaiah’s prophecy concerning Tyre, “there is no evidence that it was fulfilled, either at once or subsequently, in accordance with the details of his description,” but only “in its main conception,” the details being “unessential.” A leading Yale professor, a Congregational pastor formerly, who has written a book on “What is the Bible?” speaks disparagingly of those finding “remarkable minute correspondences between old-time prognostications and new-time events,” and Dr. Ladd says expressly that the Hebrew prophet was not “an announcer of definite future

events,” though what he would do with such passages as the beginning of the tenth chapter of First Samuel is not exactly clear. Professor Briggs, of Union Seminary, who has produced a work on “Messianic Prophecy,” in the Inaugural Address upon his induction into the chair of Biblical Theology in that Presbyterian school of the prophets, names, as one of the “barriers” to be swept away, “Minute Prediction.”

Now this is something which must be determined by evidence, for it is a matter of observation as to whether or not prophetic forecasts have become historic facts. In the writer’s “The Bible Verified,” he thinks he has shown, to the extent of five chapters, how the Word of God has been minutely verified in the cities of Babylon and Tyre and Jerusalem, and in the whole unique history of the peculiar Jews. Not to traverse this ground again, he will in this paper confine himself to what was foretold about Christ, and he will write not as a theologian, but from the standpoint of an average pastor. The late Canon Liddon gave three hundred and thirty-three particulars prophesied about Jesus and fulfilled in his Person. Edersheim, in his “Pr...

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