Question about the Prophecies


When addressing the topic of the prophecies, some people claim some of them didnt came true. Obviously they get this idea from sites that are aimed into discrediting the Bible, but it got me into wondering.

Does every prophecy from the Old Testament has to come true in the New Testament, or we are still waiting for some?
Also, for a prophecy to be considered fulfilled, does have to match any New Testament registry?

For instance the nile drying up, I dont think the New Testament mentions this anywhere. We are still waiting for it? Or it may have happened already, but theres no need to be record from in the New Testament?


It’s even weirder than that. Sometimes they have come true, are coming true now, and still have yet to come true. Very weird, but God is beyond time.

That said… don’t worry about it.

“We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.” - 2 Peter 1:19-20


So all those sites can be denied that easily? I really feel thats way to generic, I mean, there is a clear differentiation between the prophecies of the old testament and, say, the ones in the book of revelations. Those are the ones yet to come true.
But the ones mentioned in the old testament should have all been fulfilled by now, right?


It is not necessary to hold a futurist view of Revelation. As I said: prophecies have been fulfilled, are being fulfilled now, and still are yet to be fulfilled.

Consider the great whore in Revelation, which is pagan Rome. Well pagan Rome can hardly be in the future, can it? On the other hand, Christ has not yet returned, so the book can hardly have been fulfilled in its entirety.

So you see, totally convoluted and confusing. Some fire breathing backwoods preachers sure as shooting do not have a true interpretation. Neither did Darby with his nonsense about a rapture, which has crept into evangelical “thought” since Darby invented it in the 1830’s.

As to Old Testament prophecies, same thing. Some fulfilled, some being fulfilled, some yet to be fulfilled, and some all three at once.

Also… it’s really a giant distraction from our mission as Christians, to go into all the world making disciples of all men, and baptizing in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. The great commission and the works of love and charity are what we should be focusing on, not esoteric eschatological theories.

Save the apocalypse and destruction for heavy metal songs where it belongs.


I am not aware of any place where Scripture or Tradition requires that all Old Testament prophecies come true within a specific time frame. But I imagine there ought to be one, because there is a statement in the Old Testament that you can tell a false prophet because his prophecies won’t come true. Now, if he could just keep putting off the fulfillment indefinitely, that would seem to be a moot point. Therefore, it seems that prophecies must not be able to be put off indefinitely. But I don’t know how long is a reasonable space of time. It probably depends on the prophecy.

Also, for a prophecy to be considered fulfilled, does have to match any New Testament registry?

I am not aware of any such requirement. I believe there is a prophecy in Daniel that the city of Jerusalem will be destroyed shortly after the Messiah, but I don’t think the destruction of the city is mentioned in any New Testament text. (The destruction of the Temple is, though, in a New Testament prophecy.)

For instance the nile drying up, I dont think the New Testament mentions this anywhere. We are still waiting for it?

It is my understanding that the Nile River is greatly diminished during the dry season, and there is evidence that it has occasionally dried up in the past. For example, archeologists have discovered large jars in Egypt for long-term storage of large amounts of water, presumably for the dry season, and these would be unnecessary if the drying up of the river was unthinkable. Therefore, I think it is quite possible that the Nile dried up soon after the prophecy was made about the Nile drying up, and nobody made a big deal about it because it’s not unheard of for the Nile to do that. Does that make sense?

Re: other claims of failed prophecy, see this thread, where I answer some of them to the best of my knowledge:


[accidental double post]]


So if these apply, why are people claiming prophecies that “failed” maybe they will be fulfilled in a thousand years


Why do you think the book of Revelation was written, then? There is as much to understand from it as from Nostradamus: i.e. next to nothing.


When you say that the Nile has dried up in the past, how far back are we talking about?

Is it still in what historians would consider the modern era? Or is it further back than that?

Also, what is the source for this information?


I don’t go around looking for arguments, so I don’t know what failed prophecies these people are looking at. But, you’re right, they deserve an answer.

What I haven’t heard mentioned so far is the whole issue of how a prophecy is fulfilled.

Maybe they don’t recognize that a prophecy has been fulfilled. I know a book called “Why the Jews Rejected Jesus” that goes into this sort of thing, arguing both points, that the prophecies have been fulfilled in the past and that the claims of Christianity are therefore untrue.

But, I couldn’t finish reading that book, because I thought it was wrong on so many points that I didn’t have to read it to the end.

I don’t think that peripheral prophecies about the Nile drying up are very important. I don’t recall reading that one. There are different style of writing in the Old Testament. Today, with the aid of a Jewish commentary, I realized how King David made a sarcastic reply to a woman named Michal. Sarcasm in the Bible? You bet. Quite a bit more than you might think.

The big prophecy is that of the coming of the Messiah, the anointed one, who would re-establish the monarchy and reign forever and build the third temple. Christians see that as fulfilled IN Jesus. Jesus is the new Temple. That Jewish book dismisses statements like this, complaining that Christians have spiritualized everything. Well, that’s how it turned out! Things were spiritual in the first place. Read Jeremiah 7:21 and down a few verses. God wanted a change of heart in the Israelites, not a spirit-less cult of obscure rituals.

The Pontifical Biblical Commission wrote a lengthy introduction to this subject of the relation of the Old and New Testaments, which I link here and to which I refer you for a high level discussion


Sometimes the Jewish commentaries come so close to the truth, and then they seem to veer off the path into forced and polemical conclusions.

One such commentary had a lengthy discussion of how Abraham was called by God to sacrifice his son Isaac. Then, reflecting on how God sent an angel to stop Abraham – the commentary argues this is a proof text that God does not want human sacrifice of any kind, and extrapolates that to the Christian argument that Jesus was the Son of God.

Ironically, they’re right. God didn’t want a human sacrifice. Only Jesus the incarnate God was able to make expiation for sins by his death on the cross. But, they like to terminate the argument when they feel they are ahead in the discussion. In my opinion, they rely too much on their intellect instead of being more open to the Word of God.


It depends really on whether you expect a physical drying up of the Nile or whether it means something greater. The Nile drying up means the power of Egypt is going to recede. Most prophecies about the fall of nations for instance are referring to their conversion to Christianity. And some favorite ones such as the wolf lie down with the lamb are a prophesy of Jew and Gentile together in the Kingdom of God and was fulfilled in Acts 10.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit