25 April 2008

50 Answers to 50 Mormon Answers to 50 Anti-Mormon Questions (answer 5)

Tower To Truth question:

5. Since the Bible's test of determine whether someone is a true prophet of God is 100% accuracy in all his prophecies (Deut. 18:20-22), has the LDS Church ever reconsidered its teaching that Joseph Smith and Brigham Young were true prophets?

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FAIR Answer:

Believing Christians should be careful. Unless they want to be guilty of a double standard, they will end up condemning many Biblical prophets by this standard.

Learn more here: Joseph Smith and prophetic test in Deuteronomy 18

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My Response:

If you click on the link provided by FAIR, it will take you to a page where their understanding of the Bible (and their sheer hatred for it) becomes apparent. They focus on the words of men like Jonah, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Nathan and the angel who spoke to Samson's parents. Let's examine each of these and understand what's really going on (besides FAIR tryting to throw up a smokescreen to defelct criticism).

First, they mention Jonah's warning to Nineveh. "Forty days and Nineveh is overthrown!" (Jonah 3:4). These are the only words of the prophet we have, but we can see from the following verses that he said much more than that. Because in verse 5 it says the people of Nineveh believed God, proclaimed a fast &c. Besides, this was not a prophecy that Nineveh would be overthrown, as FAIR claims by saying

An example is found in the story of Jonah, who was told by God to prophecy to the people of Nineveh. Jonah prophesied that the people would be destroyed in 40 days (Jonah 3:4)—no loopholes were offered, just imminent doom. God changed things, however, when the people repented and He chose to spare them—much to the chagrin of that imperfect (yet still divinely called) prophet, Jonah.

But it never says Jonah was sent to prophesy against Nineveh--but to preach against it.

Next, they talk about the "failed prophecy" of Ezekiel, in ch. 26-28. However, this only gives further evidence of their hurried attempts to impugn the reputations of God's prophets. It would take far more space than I have here to show why this will not work, if one studies the words properly. Ezekiel 26:3 tells us that God said "many nations" will come up against Tyre. Also, Nebuchadnezzar was not just the commander of Babylon's army, but also the armies of those countries Babylon had conquered--those nations whose horses would be so abundant the people would be covered with the dust of their hooves (Eze. 26:10). While those who did the invading got the spoils, Nebuchadnezzar himself did not share in it, thus God gave him Egypt in chapter 29.

Next, they try to smear Jeremiah, by pointing out how he prophesied in ch. 34 that Zedekiah would die in peace, when ch. 52 says that he died in prison. According to many extra-biblical sources (Josephus, the Rabbins, Talmud) Zedekiah was indeed given a royal burial, thus fulfilling the prophecy God gave to Jeremiah.

Then comes Nathan. FAIR says:
Other examples include Nathan:

In 2_Sam. 7:5-17, we read that the prophet Nathan unequivocally prophesied to David that through his son Solomon the Davidic empire would be established "forever," that the children of Israel would dwell in the promised land "and move no more," and that the "children of wickedness" would no longer afflict them. These things are quite clearly stated. No conditions are attached to these promises, none whatsoever.[4]

Yet this prophecy clearly did not prove successful if it is interpreted literally.
And there they hit the nail on the head. This passage has Messianic implications. Of course, if you read Matthew's genealogy of Jesus, you find that Joseph was a direct descendant of Solomon, and the legal (though not by birth) father of Jesus. Thus, the davidic kingdom did indeed pass through Solomon. More sloppy work by a group that (ironically enough) calls itself "FAIR."

Finally, the angel who spoke to Samson. Again, FAIR says:

[In] Jud. 13:5, where it is recounted that an angel promised Samson's mother that Samson would "begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines." No matter how liberal or expansive one wants to be with the facts of Israelite history (as recorded in the Bible or elsewhere), there is no way it can reasonably be concluded that Samson fulfilled this prophecy.

Not only did Samson fail to even "begin" to free Israel from the Philistines, but (1) there were times when he consorted with Philistine women, (2) he married a Philistine, (3) he himself never even led any Israelite troops against the Philistines, and (4) the Philistines eventually humiliated him.

You're kidding me, right? They might want to read Judges 14:3-4--And Samson said to his father, "Get her [Delilah] for me, for she pleases me well." But his father and mother did not know that it was of the LORD--that He was seeking an occasion to move against the Philistines. Yes, Samson did begin to deliver Israel when he brought down the Philistne temple with all their princes in it (see Judges 16:25-30). The angel never said he would be the one to finish the job.

So, you can now see how fast and loose FAIR likes to play with their interpretations of biblical prophecies, just so long as it makes the true prophets look bad long enough to fool someone into thinking Joseph Smith was a true prophet (which he wasn't. That Civil War "prophecy" wasn't so grand once you examie it a little closer).

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