The Odd Blog

And when our cubs grow / We'll show you what war is good for

Why Should I Believe in Jesus? Part 2

Posted by That Other Mike on 11/11/2007

Fulfilment of Old Testament Prophecies

Did Jesus fulfill any OT prophecies? Even if you believe that the Gospels are accurate, he fell short. Interestingly, what many Christian Apologists refer to as references to Jesus in the OT are actually historical or allegorical. However, fundamentalists seldom seem to understand allegory, and lies, even about the god they claim to believe in, are commonplace.

Prophecies alleged to be about Jesus:

    Ezekiel, Ch. 37 v.24, v.26 – 27
    Isaiah Ch. 7 v.10 – 16
    Isaiah Ch. 42 v.1 – 4, Ch. 49 v.1 – 6, Ch. 50 v.1 – 9, Ch. 52 v.13 – Ch. 53 v.12
    Psalm 22 v.16

Ezekiel, Ch. 37 v.24, v.26 – 27

24…they shall all have one shepherd. They shall follow my ordinances and be careful to obey my statutes. […] 26 I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them; and I will bless them and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary among them for evermore. 27 My dwelling-place shall be with them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

This set of verses is also used to claim that Christianity will eventually be the sole world religion. However, the whole of verse 24 reads: My servant David shall be king over them; and they shall all have one shepherd. The whole Chapter, indeed, the whole third section of Ezekiel (Chapters 33-39), is actually talking about the return of the exiled Israelites to their homeland. The prophet was one of the captives deported to Babylonia in 597 BC, 11 years before the fall of Jerusalem. He predicts the restoration of Jerusalem and of the Temple, and he prophesies the return of God’s spirit, or presence. This is not a Messianic prophecy; it is a prophecy of the Jews regaining access to the Promised Land . Before Jerusalem fell to Babylon under Nebuchadnezzar II, Ezekiel was a prophet of doom; post-conquest, his role changed to that of an inspirational prophet.

The fourth section, (Chapters 40 – 48), envisions in all the future theocratic homeland of the Jews.

Isaiah Ch. 7 v.10 – 16 (this section from KJV)

10 Moreover the LORD spake again unto Ahaz, saying, 11 Ask thee a sign of the LORD thy God; ask it either in the depth, or in the height above. 12 But Ahaz said, I will not ask, neither will I tempt the LORD. 13 And he said, Hear ye now, O house of David; Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will ye weary my God also? 14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. 15 Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good. 16 For before the child shall know to refuse the evil, and choose the good, the land that thou abhorrest shall be forsaken of both her kings.

After examining Isaiah Ch. 7 v.10 – 16:
The child must be born as a sign to Ahaz. (7:10-14)
Jesus was (allegedly) born approximately 700 years after the time of Ahaz.

The child must be born of a virgin. (7:14)
In Hebrew, ha-almah means a young woman. The same word is translated in Exodus 21. 20 as a maid, and also in Proverbs 30.19. This passage of Isaiah reads in Hebrew as:

Hinneh ha-almah harah ve-yeldeth ben vekarath shem-o immanuel.

Bethulah, a word that appears nowhere in the above quotation, is the Hebrew for virgin, and is translated as such in Genesis Ch. 24 v.16, Leviticus Ch. 21 v.3, Ch. 21 v.14, Deuteronomy Ch. 22 v.19, Ch. 22 v.23, 2 Samuel Ch. 13 v.2, Isaiah Ch. 23 v.12, Ch. 37 v.22, Ch. 47 v.1, Jeremiah Ch. 14 v.7, Lamentations Ch. 1 v.15, Joel Ch. 1 v.8, and Amos Ch. 5 v.2.
Harah is the past tense, meaning conceived. The passage is more honestly translated in the NEB: A young woman is with child, and will bear a son, and will call him Immanuel.

This passage is frequently referenced to:

And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus […] Now, when all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, ‘Behold a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel’, which being interpreted is, ‘God is with us.’ Matthew 1.21-23 (KJV)

As the writer of the Gospel according to Matthew knew enough Hebrew to correctly translate the meaning of Immanuel, it follows that his mistranslation was a deliberate misrepresentation of the facts.

The historical context of the passage in Isaiah is that of an assurance by Isaiah to King Ahaz that within a short time his enemies, Aram and Israel, would lose to him in battle. Ahaz lost, as detailed in 2 Chronicles Ch. 28 v.5:

Therefore the LORD his God gave him into the hand of King Aram, who defeated him […] (NSRV)

So much for Isaiah’s fortune telling. God is credited with having given Ahaz to Aram because he apparently did not do what was right in the sight of the LORD (2 Chronicles Ch. 28 v.1). The fact that Ahaz may simply have been a bad general or not had very good troops would obviously have nothing to do with his lack of military success; clearly, tactics should be a religious matter, as only observant Jews have ever been successful generals and leaders.

The child will not know the difference between right and wrong. (7:16)
Jesus, allegedly a demi-god, not knowing right from wrong? Another aspect of the prophecy which fails miserably.

The land of the two kings you dread (From context: Syria and Israel) will be laid waste. (7:16)
Syria and Israel were not laid waste during the adolescence of Jesus. Some Christians point to the Roman occupation of Judaea or the destruction of the Temple as proof of this. However, conquest by the Romans under the general and statesman Pompey the Great in 63 BC resulted in no serious material disaster to the city. During a Jewish rebellion against Roman authority in 70 CE, Titus, son of the Roman emperor Vespasian, captured and razed the city.

Yes, Jerusalem has been laid waste, but pre- and post-Jesus. The Roman occupation was a time of great prosperity for most places, in general. The alleged life of Jesus took place under the rulership of the first two Emperors, Augustus and Tiberius, two of the most able Emperors, both of whom managed the Empire with great skill and ability.

Isaiah Ch. 42 v.1 – 4, Ch. 49 v.1 – 6, Ch. 50 v.1 – 9, Ch. 52 v.13 – Ch. 53 v.12
These passages of Deutero-Isaiah have been of special significance to both Christian and Jewish commentators ever since biblical times. These are the ‘Servant songs’, which Christians traditionally consider prophecies concerning the mission and the passion of Jesus Christ, but which most Jews traditionally interpret as a personification of postexilic Israel.

Contextually, it would seem that the Jews are right; Isaiah may be divided into three sections as a whole. Commentators frequently divide the Book of Isaiah into two sections, originating in different ages and marked by distinctly different theological outlooks and literary styles. The first 39 chapters date mainly from the time of the historical Isaiah, that is, roughly the latter half of the 8th century BC. The bulk of this section is therefore attributed to the historical prophet and is called First Isaiah. The second section of the book (Chapters 40-66) has been variously attributed and is often subdivided into Second Isaiah and Third Isaiah.2. From the second half as a whole, it can be divined that this is a Jewish work, referring to the events at hand – to whit, the Jewish exile in Babylon.

Psalm 22 v.16
They Pierced my hands and my Feet is usually quoted. However, this is taken out of context; the full verse from the NSRV reads:

For dogs are all around me; A company of evildoers encircles me. My hands and feet are shrivelled

And the meaning of the word given as shrivelled is admitted in a footnote as uncertain. If the word is uncertain, then it cannot be said to be a clear prophecy. Most importantly, this is not a prophecy; it is a Psalm! A Psalm is most closely equivalent to a hymn of praise: the Hebrew name for the Psalter is Tehillim, meaning Praises or Songs of Praise, and most Psalms are songs of praise. Other forms include requests of God and lamentations by individuals in times of woe or even on behalf of all the tribes. There are even a few which are essentially curses, such as Psalm 59, which asks for God to bring down.

Any attempt to represent the Psalter as a book of prophecies should be warily viewed; it is agreed by most modern scholars that the book was compiled from older independent collections and not written by David as attributed by Church sources. It is likely that Psalms 42 – 83, which use the term Elohim for God rather than the Tetragrammaton or Adonai belong to the northern traditions of Judaism, from the kingdom of Israel, rather than those of Judah, where the bulk of accepted canon comes from. Also, numerous literary forms appear in the Psalms, many of them patterned after 14th and 13th-century BCE Ugaritic poetry. Any claims of unified composition or authorship must therefore be treated as either lacking in necessary knowledge or mendacious.


2 Responses to “Why Should I Believe in Jesus? Part 2”

  1. jewwishes said

    Exactly. Why should I believe Jesus is my saviour?! Jesus was a human being, nothing more, nothing less, in my opinion.

    Your post is interesting and, hopefully, thought-provoking to many others.

  2. mek1980 said

    Thanks! Stay tuned for part 3: Were The Writers of The Gospels Apostles?

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: