From the secular viewpoint, prophecy isn’t real. If you don’t belief in God or the supernatural, there’s no room for prophecy as well. Often times when I attempt to use prophecy as a means of justifying the Bible’s supernatural origins, one of the common rebuttals I get is that other religions also have their own prophecies which makes Bible prophecy not as “unique”.
Prophecy in other Religions
The purpose for using prophecies in other religions as an argument against Bible prophecy is to show that Bible prophecy isn’t unique after all. However, from the biblical viewpoint, this isn’t a strong argument. It shows a lack of knowledge on what the Bible says about the world we live in. The Bible makes it clear in both Old and New Testaments about the supernatural nature of the world we live in and the dangers of being deceived. Let’s take a look at several verses that touch on this:
- “Thus saith the Lord of hosts, Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you: they make you vain: they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the Lord.” (Jeremiah 23:16)
- “And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you…And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many…For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before.” (Matthew 24:4, 11, 24-25)
- “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.” (1 John 4:1-3)
- “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.” (Galatians 1:8-9)
- “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.” (2 Corinthians 11:13-15)
- “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. ” (Ephesians 6:12)
The Bible makes it clear that deception is very possible and isn’t anything new. Ephesians 6:12 tells us that the true battle humanity faces in this life isn’t against other human beings but against satan, the angels that fell with him, and demonic entities that will stop at nothing to deceive and destroy mankind. In 1 John 4:1-3, we’re told not to believe every spirit and test prophecy given by prophets because 2 Corinthians 11 and Matthew 24 shows us the reality of false prophets who are out to deceive and cause division and confusion. Galatians 1:8-9 and 2 Corinthians 11:13-15 is especially telling; Paul strongly rebukes any messages given by humans or angels that contradict the gospel and he warns that satan as well as those who follow him, can transform as agents of light; they can appear good but abhor sinister intent. He says this because it’s a simple reality of the world we live in according to the Bible.
Based on the above verses, we can see that the existence of prophecy within other religions isn’t an argument against bible prophecy but is in fact an argument for bible prophecy and the biblical world view. The existence of prophecy within differing religions actually aligns with what the bible says about the nature of the world we live in. Unlike other religions however, the bible is unique in that it doesn’t shy away from giving specific details about future events, a great example being the 2 witnesses in Revelation 11.
At the end of the day, bible prophecy can and should be tested based on history, archaeology, and extra-biblical sources in order to verify its claims. Dismissing it based on a simple rebutall doesn’t do much but to stay ignorant of what is actually written. My hope is to have you to better understand where this argument is coming from and what it actually means from a biblical perspective.