>Jeremiah 46: 13-26, ” This is the message which the Lord spoke to
>Jeremiah the prophet about the coming of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon
>to smite the land of Egypt … verse 19: for Memphis will become a desolation;
>it will even be burned down and bereft of inhabitants … 24: the
>daughter of Egypt has been put to shame. Given over to people of the
>north … 26: and I shall give them over to the power of those seeking
>their lives, even into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and
>the hand of his officers ….”
>Apologetic: Still to be fulfilled.
>Rebuttal: Nebuchadnezzar is dead, and so is his empire; the prophecy
>cannot be fulfilled.
This prophecy you quoted has indeed been fulfilled. It was fulfilled around 586bc. In 1886 Sir Flinders Petrie discovered the ruins of a large castle. The front of this castle had a great open platform of prick work which matches Jeremiah’s claim in verse 8. This confirms Nebuchadnezzar’s annals which state that he did invade Egypt approximately 20 years after Jeremiah’s prophecy. Three inscriptions have been found near Tahpahnes confirming this as well.
I also researched Arabian historical archives and this statement referring to the deterioration of Pharaoh’s empire was taken directly from these archives:
Gradually, though, the power of the kingdom was eroded through invasion, ending ignominiously when Amasis, “the Drunkard”, was forced to depend on Greek forces to defend his Kingdom .
One mistake that people make is that they link separate prophecies and assume they will be fulfilled together. Nebuchadnezzar’s prophecy was fulfilled just as Jeremiah recorded. Nebuchadnezzar was only foretold as the one who will weaken the Egyptian defenses. The destruction of Egypt and the 40 year desolation was not concerning Nebuchadnezzar. It is unclear if the 40 year desolation ever took place. When placed inside of a historical perspective, forty years is not a long time range. It is possible that this also may have been fulfilled or it may be yet to come.
Let me give a clear example of prophecy that is assumed to be linked but is separate. In Isaiah 61 the coming of Christ is foretold:
1 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;
2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;
3 To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.
The rest of this chapter goes on to give the complete picture of all that the Messiah will fulfill including the day of vengeance and judgment upon the earth. But look at how Jesus read this prophecy in Luke 4:
17 And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written,
18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,
19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.
20 And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him.
21 And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.
Jesus only read what is now known as Isaiah 61 verses 1 and half of verse 2. His first coming was only to fulfill the grace of God and become salvation to those who recognize Him as Lord. The vengeance was not going to be fulfilled and the foretold earthly kingdom was not to be fulfilled until after His crucifixion and at a much later date at the promise of His return. The Jews wanted to make him king and each time they came with the idea to crown him, he deflated their ideas of making him king. The cross was essential for salvation. The earthly kingdom will be fulfilled upon His return. Both are clearly prophesied but the religious leader missed this plan because they were too busy trying to fit Christ into their prediction. They couldn’t see that God is not bound to our predictions about what He will do. When men predict wrong, they are the ones that are fallible, not God. The Bible is inspired, our predictions about how biblical prophecies will be fulfilled are not inspired but are almost always errant.