Did some prophecies in the Bible go unfulfilled?
We live in a predominately LDS community. After six years we have had our first missionaries visit. We have asked them to come back and study, so I have been prepping. In doing so I have been studying Deuteronomy 18 about prophets and applying that to Joseph Smith's prophesies, but in doing so, I came across an LDS writer's rebuttal where he brings up up Matthew 10:23; II Samuel 7:5-7 and Judges 13:5 as being unfilled prophecy. Can you shed some light on these verses?
This passage comes from near the end of the instructions Jesus gives to his apostles as they prepare the towns in Judah prior to Jesus' visits. "These twelve Jesus sent out after instructing them: "Do not go in the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter any city of the Samaritans; but rather go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as you go, preach, saying, 'The kingdom of heaven is at hand.' Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. Freely you received, freely give"" (Matthew 10:5-8).
"Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. You will be hated by all because of My name, but it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved. But whenever they persecute you in one city, flee to the next; for truly I say to you, you will not finish going through the cities of Israel until the Son of Man comes" (Matthew 10:21-23).
Because of Jesus' authority (his name's sake), the messengers of Christ, the apostles, would be hated and persecuted. Still, Christ asks his apostles to endure because in enduring they will find salvation. This is a point that is repeated several times (Matthew 24:13; Mark 13:13). Despite the opposition, Jesus tells the apostles to move along the route of least resistance. Even then, they would not have time to cover all of Israel before Jesus comes.
The phrase "until the Son of Man comes" can refer to:
- Jesus coming to the cities as he follows behind them.
- Jesus coming in his kingdom; that is the establishment of the church (Matthew 16:28).
- Jesus coming in judgment on Israel when Jerusalem is destroyed (Matthew 24:30).
- Jesus coming to judge the world (II Thessalonians 1:9-10).
The latter would not apply as these are instructions to the apostles, who have long passed away. Even if someone wanted to extend it to all Christians, two thousand years is more than enough time to cover all the towns in Judea -- don't forget that this is a limited commission to Judea only.
The other three possible comings have been fulfilled. Therefore, the claim that the prophecy is unfulfilled is false.
II Samuel 7:5-7
"Go and say to My servant David, 'Thus says the LORD, "Are you the one who should build Me a house to dwell in? For I have not dwelt in a house since the day I brought up the sons of Israel from Egypt, even to this day; but I have been moving about in a tent, even in a tabernacle. Wherever I have gone with all the sons of Israel, did I speak a word with one of the tribes of Israel, which I commanded to shepherd My people Israel, saying, 'Why have you not built Me a house of cedar?'"'" (II Samuel 7:5-7).
David desired to replace the tabernacle (a tent) with a permanent place to worship God. God told him that he would not be allowed to build such a house. God never asked anyone to build Him a permanent house. Instead, God told David that He would build for David a permanent house (a lineage that would not end) -- a reference to Jesus coming as a descendant of David to rule a kingdom without end. But in regards to David's wish to build God a temple, his son would accomplish that task. "When your days are fulfilled and you rest with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever" (II Samuel 7:12-13). This was accomplished when Solomon built the first temple. Therefore, the claim that the prophecy was unfulfilled is false.
"For behold, you shall conceive and bear a son. And no razor shall come upon his head, for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb; and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines" (Judges 13:5).
This prophecy is referring to Samson. I suspect that the LDS author missed the word "begin". Samson did not totally drive out the Philistines. This was completed under David's reign. But Samson started the process of freeing Israel from the Philistines, especially when Samson killed three thousand of the leading Philistines in his death. Once again, the prophecy was fulfilled.