Prophecies concerning Jesus’ crucifixion are all the more amazing when one considers that the Roman method of execution had not yet been invented when these passages were written. People were simply stoned to death in Old Testament times. Isaiah 53 alone foretells a dozen amazing details of the crucifixion of Christ. (For further reading see Norman Geisler. Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1999).
When I was younger, atheists tried to convince me that certain passages from the writings of Nostradamus surpassed the Bible in terms of predictive credibility. For example, the following passage by Nostradamus was said to be a reference to Adolf Hitler: “…Beasts mad with hunger will swim across rivers. Most of the army will be against the Lower Danube [Hister sera]. The great one shall be dragged in an iron cage when the child brother [de Germaine] will observe nothing.”
Years later, I learned that Nostradamus’ predictions were meaningless. Hister was a place, not a person like Hitler. De Germaine represented “near relative,” not the nation of Germany. It seems that the hunger to minimize the uniqueness of the Bible is eternally strong, but the evidence is eternally lacking.
As it stands, the Bible I read as a child stands alone as a document that has the support of prophets looking into the future and archeologists looking into the past. The Book of Mormon has neither.
I wish I could classify the fraud of The Book of Mormon as the thing that bothers me the most about Joseph Smith. But, unfortunately, it is not. And, unfortunately, an enumeration of my other problems with Joseph Smith will have to wait until next week’s column.