Atheist's Attacks

Answering Humanist's Accusations Against the Bible

Christian Resources

The Bible and Supposed False Prophecy

How long was the Babylonian captivity?

THE HUMANIST'S CLAIM: Jeremiah 25:11 predicts the Jews would be captives in Babylon for 70 years, and II Chronicles 36:20-21 views the prophecy as fulfilled. But the Jews were taken into captivity by the Chaldeans when Jerusalem fell in 586 B.C.E. And Cyrus of Persia issued an order in 538 B.C.E. allowing them to return from Babylon to Judah. Thus, the Babylonian captivity lasted about 48 years.

What does the prophecy specifically say?

This whole land will be a desolation and a horror, and these nations will serve the king of Babylon seventy years. Then it will be when seventy years are completed I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation," declares the Lord, "for their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldeans; and I will make it an everlasting desolation. - Jeremiah 25:11-12

The prophecy is that the Jews (and the nations around them) will SERVE the king of Babylon seventy years. In other words, they will be under the rule of Babylon. For most of that time many Jews will be in captivity in Babylon. However, for part of the time a large number of Jews will remain in Jerusalem and Palestine under the rule of Babylon... serving the king of Babylon while still living in their homes.

So when did the land of Judah begin to serve the king of Babylon? It turns out the Jews are rather stubborn people and they did not like being ruled by Babylon, so the Babylonian armies had to return three times. Here is a brief time line:

607 BC* - King Jehoiakim becomes a servant of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon

604 BC - The Jews rebel. Nebuchadnezzar sends armies to defeat Jerusalem and he takes captives back to Babylon. This is when Daniel is taken captive.

597 BC - Jerusalem rebels again, Nebuchadnezzar sends another army, captures Jerusalem and deports many more Jews to Babylon

588-586 BC - Jerusalem rebels again, Nebuchadnezzar sends another army, lays siege to Jerusalem, totally destroys Jerusalem and deports just about everyone to Babylon, leaving a few of the very poorest Jews.

The humanists are saying the Jews became captives of Babylon when Jerusalem fell for the third time in about 586 BC. However, that is not when they began to serve the king of Babylon. That hap-pened in 607 BC and is described in 2 Kings 24:

In his days Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up, and Jehoiakim became his servant for three years; - 2 Kings 24:1

Jehoiakim began serving the king of Babylon in 607 BC. The time of servitude was 607 to 537 BC... a total of 70 years. This time period has come to be called the "Babylonian Captivity," implying all 70 years were spent as captives in Babylon. However, that is not what scripture says. For part of the time of "captivity”, many Jews were still in Jerusalem. If they had not rebelled against God and the Babylonians, they might have spent all of the "Babylonia captivity" in Jerusalem serving the king of Babylon there.


When we read what was written, that the Jews were to serve the king of Babylon for 70 years, the prophecy was perfectly and exactly fulfilled.

Next Prophecies:

Examples of other unfulfilled Old Testament prophecies include the following: the Jews will occupy the land from the Nile to the Euphrates (Genesis 15:18); they shall never lose their land and shall be disturbed no more (II Samuel 7:10); King David’s throne and kingdom shall be established forever (II Samuel 7:16); no uncircumcised person will ever enter Jerusalem (Isaiah 52:1); and the waters of Egypt will dry up (Isaiah 19:5-7).

Now they are just throwing out prophecies and hoping something will stick. We'll take a look at each one of these. Click here...

* Note: dates are +/- one year due to differences in calendars, and because specific months are not identified. When we convert dates to our current method of dating, we can not be 100% sure which exact year in our current dating system is the exact correct year.


The Good News

Before you get the good news, you need to know the bad news. It's about you. God says:

All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. - Romans 3:23

Sin means disobeying God, aka breaking God's law. God is perfect and perfection is required to enter heaven. It's a standard none of us can achieve. We all fall short. For example, compare yourself with just one of the Ten Commandments. Have you ever told a lie?

All liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death. - Revelation 21:8. Or what about:

Have you ever taken something that does not belong to you, no matter how small? Have you ever looked at another person with lust? In Matthew 5 Jesus said:

Everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.' Have you done that?

You have broken God's laws. You have sinned. There must be justice, and that means eternity in hell, the lake of fire, the second death. Unless...

Unless there was someone willing to pay that penalty on your behalf. Someone who will take on themselves the consequences you deserve. And there is. There is one person who can and will do that. That person is Jesus Christ. If you trust this is true (believe), and repent (turn away from disobeying God), Jesus' death is applied to your account and you are freed from the penalty of sin to be with God forever.