How do we know we have the Word of God? One way is to see how God writes history in advance.
Let’s look at the ancient kingdom of Edom. The kingdom of Edom was located southeast of the Dead Sea and was almost as large as the state of New Jersey. The people of Edom were the descendants of Esau. Edom was a constant enemy of Israel, and six different prophets spoke against it, with some very detailed predictions. We will look at just a few of these:
Jeremiah 49:18 reads: “No man shall abide there; neither shall a son of man dwell in it.”
Isaiah 34:13-15 states: “And thorns shall come up in her palaces, nettles and brambles in the fortresses thereof; and it shall be a habitation of dragons, and a court for owls. The wild beasts of the desert shall also meet with the wild beasts of the island, and the satyr shall cry to his fellow; the screech owl also shall rest there, and find for herself a place of rest. There shall the great owl make her nest, and lay, and hatch, and gather under her shadow; there shall the vultures also be gathered, every one with her mate.”
Isaiah 34:10 reads: “It shall not be quenched night nor day; the smoke thereof shall go up forever: from generation to generation it shall lie waste; none shall pass through it for ever and ever.”
Ezekiel 35:7 says: “Thus will I make mount Seir most desolate, and cut off from it him that passeth out and him that returneth.”
What was predicted about Edom?
It is predicted that:
Edom would be desolate.
Edom would become a habitation of wild animals.
No one would pass through there, which could also mean that commerce and trade would cease.
There is a specific reference to Mount Seir being desolate.
Some objections concerning Edom prophecies
“Now wait a minute,” the skeptic says. “Look at the verses above. Doesn’t it also predict that there shall be smoke going up from Edom forever? And in Isaiah 34:7 doesn’t it also say that ‘their land shall be soaked with blood, and their dust made fat with fatness’? And doesn’t Jeremiah 49:17, which you skipped, say that everyone who passes by it shall be astonished and hiss? If you go there, you better make sure and watch out for the smoke, and, of course, don’t forget to hiss or the prophecy won’t be fulfilled!”
Question: Are these false prophecies or just figurative language?
These are typical of the kinds of rebuttals and ridicule skeptics put forth against this type of Bible prophecy. They choose to ignore the fact that in Hebrew writing poetic and figurative language is used along with straightforward literal language. The idioms of “smoke going up from them forever” are used throughout the Old Testament as a word picture of the aftermath of violent destruction and desolation. And “hissing” simply meant that people would be making exclamations of astonishment that such an impregnable-looking kingdom could fall. The use of “everyone” is obviously not intended to be literal, but in general that will be people’s reaction, which is how we would use it today. And “land soaked with blood” is often used in and out of the Bible to describe a bloody war in the land, not every bit of land being covered with blood!
The use of these word pictures and figures of speech in no way negates the verses that make literal predictions such as “no man shall abide there” or “from generation to generation it shall be desolate,” or describing it as the habitation of wild animals, which could also be used as a metaphor. As we shall see nonetheless this was literally fulfilled.
What are the literal fulfillments about Edom?
Edom “disappears”: All the prophecies about Edom were completed around 570 B.C., the lower range for the dating of Ezekiel. Isaiah wrote in the 700s and Jeremiah from about 620–580 B.C. Sometime around 312 B.C. the Nabataeans conquered Edom and Petra, its fortified rock city. According to McDowell, the Jews also conquered Edom as related in the first book of Maccabees. Then Edom was attacked by John Hyrcanus. They became incorporated into the Jewish nation at the time of Christ and were known as Idumaea: “The Edomites were now incorporated with the Jewish nation, and the whole province was often termed by Greek and Roman writers Idumaea. Immediately before the siege of Jerusalem by Titus, 20,000 Idumaeans were admitted to the Holy City, which they filled with robbery and bloodshed. From this time, the Edomites, as separate people, disappear from the page of history.”
Edom made desolate: Petra, located in the land of Edom, which was a highly fortified rock city, existed for many centuries following. It was practically impregnable from the assault of an army, a city not very likely to become desolate or the habitation of only wild animals. Because it was located next to the mountains called Mount Seir, Petra was often referred to as “Mount Seir” by other nations and people, referring to its strength and high-up position. The city of Petra flourished until the Romans conquered Petra in 106 A.D. From that time it declined, becoming almost uninhabited from the seventh to twelfth centuries A.D. when it revived slightly. Afterward it declined again and has been basically desolate since then.
Edom a habitation for wild animals: In 1865 George Smith quoted various writers to describe what Petra was like in his day: “Captain Mangles, who visited these ruins, says that when surveying the scenery of Petra, ‘the screaming of the eagles, hawks, and owls, who were soaring over our heads in considerable numbers, seemingly annoyed at anyone approaching their lonely habitation, added much to the singularity of the scene.’. . .And Volney relates that the ‘Arabs, in general, avoid the ruins of the cities of Idumaea, on account of the enormous scorpions with which they swarm.’. . .As the term ‘satyr’ is known to be applied to a fabulous animal, the use of the name in the Scriptures has occasioned some surprise and inquiry. The word signifies ‘a rough hairy one’ and may well have been used to designate the wild goat, large herds of which are found on these mountains.”
Herbert Stewart describes it further: “The stone on which the traveler may sit is surrounded by nettles and thistles in what had been in the precincts of noble temples or palaces.”
So Petra and Edom were laid waste and were indeed a habitation for the kinds of animals described in the prophecies.
And Petra today? It was the site where “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” was filmed, the “temple” being a large tomb cut in the cliff. The area is still desolate.
No one to pass through Edom anymore: The Edomites themselves are gone as a people. Furthermore, the traffic and commerce that used to pass through that region is so reduced as to be almost negligible, as talked about by William G. Blaikie in his 1904 book A Manual of Bible History: “The objection that the prophecy has not been literally fulfilled, inasmuch as travelers have passed through Edom, is evidently frivolous. When the vast streams of traffic that used to pass through Edom have been so withdrawn that not a single caravan is ever seen on the route, the prophecy has surely been abundantly verified.”
So Indiana Jones was filming his exploits in a place that is a demonstration of fulfilled biblical prophecy!
 McDowell, Evidence That Demands a Verdict, 293.
Fulfilled Bible Prophecy Dealing with Nations, internet article, www.clarifyingchristianity.com.