Deuteronomy 11:25—Isn’t this a false prophecy?

Problem: Moses told the children of Israel that “No man shall be able to stand against you; the Lord your God will put the dread of you and the fear of you upon all the land where you tread, just as He has said to you.” But this seems clearly false both in the short view and in the long run. Even under Joshua, Israel lost some battles (Josh 7:4). And in the long run, they were overrun by the Assyrians (2 Kings 16:9) and the Babylonians (2 Kings 25:22).

Solution: This was not a false prophecy—it was a conditional promise. Notice it is prefaced by the condition “if you diligently obey My commandments which I command you” (v. 13), and “if you carefully keep all these commandments” (v. 22). In short, these were not categorical predictions, but conditional projections. When the people of Israel obeyed God, they were invincible against the most formidable foe (cf. Josh. 6). But when they did not obey Him, they fled in the face of the tiniest adversary (cf. Josh. 7).

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This excerpt is from When Critics Ask: A Popular Handbook on Bible Difficulties (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1992). © 2014 Norman Geisler and Thomas Howe. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Click here to purchase this book.