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Karhoof
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I'm familiar with the "almah" issue, but I see what you're saying now. Since I'm not ready to start the New Testament yet, I think I'll go back and re-read these two chapters.

The problem with the "almah" issue is that it's really not an issue depending on how you look at it.

 

If you look at it as if the gospel writers looked at the Hebrew Isaiah and knowingly misused the word, which seems to be the case with this argument, then it may be an issue.

 

But if you look at it as if the authors were using a Greek translation of Isaiah already, like the LXX, then someone else had already made this decision for them and they were simply picking out fragments for "prophecy." You'd need to locate the authors of the translations to find out why "almah" got translated the way it did (I doubt it was 72 guys either).

 

Anyhow, you may want to read the LXX translation of Isaiah just to compare. I think the LXX and MT texts are pretty close (other than that word but the translations are probably near identical, you may want to read the JPS version too).

 

mwc

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But the term in question doesn't necessarily mean "virgin" or "maiden." As noted in Strong's definition in a previous post, it can refer to a "young woman" who was "newly married." There's no reason to insist that it's referring to a virgin or maiden, because the term has a broader definition.

 

Also, as Midnight-mindwanderings mentions, the child in 7:3 could be from another mother. I don't know, it's been quite a while since I've read through Isaiah, and I don't know if it even says. Maybe I should crack it open and take a look again.

 

I am also a little curious about the book you referred to.

 

At any rate, though I can't say that it's an iron-clad case that the child in chapter 8 is meant as the fulfillment of the prophecy in chapter 7, I do have to wonder about a couple things:

 

(1) Why was the child in chapter 8 presented in a fashion that parallels the prophecy in chapter 7 if the child was not meant as the fulfillment of the prophecy?

(2) Why was the name "Immanuel" used in the oracle following his birth if the child was not meant as the fulfillment of the prophecy?

 

Do you see why I can't help but acknowledge the glaring appearance of fulfillment here? Again, I can't say it's iron-clad, but I also can't see how this child could not be the intended fulfillment.

I do see why you have (I don't want to call it a problem)... the view that you do. ;)

Most of what this author says is pretty dry, but he does have a few shining moments.

This topic is one of them.

 

I went ahead and typed up about 4 1/2 pages of it. This is the meat of what he's saying.

I could type another 3-4 pages, but mostly that just goes into the "waters overflowing Judah" stuff at the end of these chapters.

It may take a few posts, but I think I'll just post it here. It's good stuff. I think you'll like it.

 

 

Understanding the Old Testament

 

Bernhard W. Anderson

Professor of Old Testament Theology

Princeton Theological Seminary

 

ISBN 0139361537

 

 

(Pgs. 307 - 313)

The Syro-Israelite Alliance

 

Now it is appropriate to return to the prophetic memoirs found in chapters 7 & 8. A few years after Isaiah’s call, his wife, the “prophetess” referred to us in 8:3, gave birth to a boy, who was named Shear-yashub (7:3). Just as Hosea gave symbolic names to his children, so Isaiah’s child was a living sign from Yahweh, a visible confirmation of the message of the prophet. Literally, the name means, “A remnant shall return” (that is, “turn to God,” “repent” as in 6:10). Although in one sense this phrase carried a negative meaning (Only a remnant shall return,” as in 10:22-23), in another sense: it concealed a promise (“A remnant shall return”), just as doom and hope seem to be blended together in the concluding verses of chapter 6.

 

This child-sign figures prominently in a scene in the prophetic memoir found in chapter 7. The material in chapters 7 and 8 deals with the Syro-Israelite crisis that took place in 733-732 BC, although the crisis had been in the making for some time. Jotham, Uziah’s regent, who had become king in his own right after his father’s death had been succeeded on the throne by Ahaz (c. 735-715 BC). This youthful king was no match for the political troubles he inherited. A plot was afoot among the small western states to stop the advance of Assyria. Apparently, they hoped that by pooling their efforts they might duplicate the feat of the western allies more than a century earlier, when they temporarily turned back the Assyrian armies at Qarqar. This international conspiracy made the one-time enemies -- Isarel (the Northern Kingdom) and Syria -- political bedfellows for a very short time. Initially, the Assyrian king, Tiglath-pileser III, was recognized by the western nations. Therefore, in 738 BC, Menahem, king of Israel, joined with Rezin of Damascus to pay tribute to the Assyrian victor (II Kings 15:19-20). This capitulation to Assyria enabled Menahem and his son Pekahiah to stay in power, but it was highly unpopular, especially sinse the tribute was raised by heavy taxes on the rich. The time was ripe for revolution. An army captain, Pekah, the son of Remaliah, murdered Pekahiah in 737 BC and shortly thereafter, while Tiglath-pleser was occupied in the north, conspired with Rezin of Damascus to form an anti-Assyrian coalition. The two kingdoms joined in an attack on Judah in an attempt to replace Ahaz with a puppet king on the Judean throne (Is. 7:6).

 

Ahaz was in a tight spot, for he had come to the throne of Judah in one of the gravest crises of Judean history. From a purely political standpoint he deserves our sympathy, even though as a leader he was weak and vacillating. The presence of the invading armies on his soil filled him with panic: “his heart and the heart of his people shook as the trees of the forest shake before the wind.” Terror-stricken, he burned his son as an offering in the Valley of Hinnom just outside the city (II Kings 16:3), hoping by this pagan rite to assuage the divine wrath that had come upon the city (compare the action of the Moabite king, II Kings 3:26-27). The situation was desperate. As a responsible political leader, Ahaz had to choose between accepting defeat at the hands of the invaders or appealing for outside help. Thoughts like these must have been in his mind as he went out to inspect the city’s water supply, which was essential to Jerusalem’s ability to hold out during a siege. It was at that moment that Isaiah confronted Ahaz, accompanied by his little lad, “A remnant shall return”.

 

Harassed as he was, Ahaz must have regarded Isaiah’s council as an irrelevant interruption. But Isaiah’s message was simple, apparently too simple: “Trust in Yahweh; be quiet and keep calm”. The appropriate response to the crisis, he said, was faith, not feverish anxiety over the defenses of Jerusalem. Isaiah evidently was thinking of the weakness of the Syro-Israelite alliance, whose kings were: “two smoldering stumps of firebrands.” almost burned out; and he probably realized that for Judah to become involved in the international rivalries of the time would be suicidal, as subsequent events were to show in the case of the Northern Kingdom. But he viewed the crisis in a wider and deeper perspective than that of mere diplomacy and fortifications. For beyond the political schemes of men was the sovereign activity of God, whose purpose shapes the course of events. The head of Ephraim is Pekah, and the head of Damascus is Rezin; but these are men, not God! Their plan was to place a puppet king on Judah’s throne will fail unless Yahweh wills it. So Isaiah affirms that the greatest resource in times of trouble is faith -- absolute trust and dependence upon God (see Ps. 46:8-10). He underscores his message of faith with a play on words (7:9b), which may be paraphrased: “If your faith is not sure (ta’ aminu), your throne will not be secure (te’ amenu).” Abandon human alliance, exclaims Isaiah, and place your reliance on Yahweh, whose sovereign will controls human affairs! Such faith demands a complete and firm commitment of one’s whole being to God, in the confidence that he is the true King (see also Is. 28:16, 30:15).

 

Specifically, Isaiah’s advice in that political situation called for Ahaz to cancel his plan to ask for Assyrian intervention on behalf of besieged Judah. It was the prophets conviction that Yahweh would overthrow the Syro-Israelite alliance by bringing Assyria against those foolish nations. The word of faith, then, was politically relevant in that situation. But Ahaz could not believe this. So later on, when the king was mapping out a political strategy with his advisers, Isaiah came to him again with the offer of a “sign”.

 

 

The Sign of Immanuel

 

Here it is appropriate to call to mind our earlier discussion about the meaning of signs (see pp. 64 - 66 [previous chapters of this book] ). According to the Exodus tradition, Moses performed signs in the sight of Pharoh, and according to the New Testament Jesus performed signs (semeia). In the Bible a sign does not stand by itself; rather, it is closely linked to the prophetic word, as in Isaiah 7. The purpose of a sign is to make visible, to confirm dramatically, the truth and power of Yahweh’s word spoken by the prophet. The sign does not have to be a stupendous “miracle”, in our sense of the word, for its significance is not so much its unusual character as its power to confirm a prophetic word spoken in threat or promise. In other instances, Isaiah’s symbolic act of going naked and barefoot (Is. 20), or his children who were present with him (8:18), are called signs. The ability to see signs is an indication of something that we have found to be characteristic of Israel’s faith, a vivid sense of divine activity in the realm of human affairs. God is with us -- not aloof from the scene of history. Thus, not only can his word be heard through prophetic message, but his action can be seen in signs that the prophet points to or acts out.

 

Remember that Isaiah was commissioned to speak to a people who could neither hear Yahweh’s word nor see the signs of his activity (6:9). Ahaz had already failed to hear. So Isaiah said that Yahweh would confirm his word by any sign the king might choose. But evidently Ahaz had already decided to take another course of action, so he declined with a pretense of piety: he would not put Yahweh to the test. Exasperated by the king’s sacrifice of faith on the altar of political expedience, Isaiah tersely announced that “Yahweh himself will give you a sign” -- a sign that would confirm the prophetic word of doom upon the Syro-Israelite alliance.

 

The sign promised was the birth of a child whose name would be called Immanuel, which in Hebrew means “God [is] with us.” The language presupposes that the mother is already, or soon will be, pregnant; the child will be born in the near future. Even before he reaches the age of choosing between good and evil, the Syro-Israelite alliance will have been broken up and the king of Assyria will have wrought havoc upon Judah. At that ime Judah will be reduced to a primitive pastoral state in which the people will live on curds and honey. Yahweh will “shave” Judah with an Assyrian razor. In other words, Isaiah promised Ahaz that Yahweh would bring immediate relief from the Syro-Israelite threat, but announces that deliverance would be followed by even greater disaster for Judah (7:15 - 24).

 

A great deal of interest has been centered in the Immanuel prophesy of Isaiah 7:14. In the New Testament period it was believed that the prophesy was fulfilled in Jesus Christ, to whom was given the name “God is with us.” Moreover, in some circles the passage was appealed to in support of the Virgin Birth (Matt. 1:23). While it is beyond our purpose to consider the validity of this belief, we do want to understand what Isaiah meant in the concrete political situation we have been discussing. Let us consider briefly the meaning of Isaiah’s words.

 

First of all, the sign is the child himself -- not the manner of his birth. To be sure, the prophet has explicitly said that Ahaz could ask for anything -- “let it be deep as Sheol or as high as heaven” (7:11) -- on the assumption that all things are possible with God. Ahaz refused to ask, so Isaiah announced the timely birth of a child to a “young woman” of marriageable age (see the Revised Standard Version). The prophet, then, pointed to the advent of a child in the immediate future who would grow up among his people as a pledge that “God is with us.”

 

 

The Davidic Heir Apparent

 

Moreover, Isaiah apparently indicated that the child would come from a particular family. In the Hebrew text he uses the definite article, saying, “The woman shall conceive,” as though he was referring to a particular woman, already known to Ahaz. It has even been suggested that the woman was the queen and that the child was Hezekiah, destined to be the next king of Judah. Whether or not this is true, it seems that Isaiah was thinking of a son of the house of David, although surely the messianic implications of his prophesy were not fully developed until later in his ministry. The well known poem in 9:1-7 , perhaps written later in his career, clearly says that the wonder-child will sit upon the throne of David.

 

How then does the imminent birth of the Davidic child relate to the political crisis of the Syro-Israelite alliance? In contrast to Ahaz, the king who shows no faith, Isaiah pictures the advent of a child-king who in due time will faithfully exercise the task of government. Initially, the Immanuel child will live in a time of great woe, for before he is very old, the Assyrian invasion will sweep through the land converting it into a wilderness (7:16-17). And yet, to those who have eyes to see, his presence will be a sign, an assurance that God is leading his people through the fire of divine judgment to the dawn of a new day. The child will share his people’s sufferings, will live with them in the wilderness of destruction. But, as in the prophesy of Hosea, “wilderness” will have a double meaning. It will be both the time of judgment, and the opportunity for a new beginning. The fact that the child will eat milk and honey -- the food of Paradise which tradition associated with the Promised Land (“the land flowing with milk and honey”) -- suggests that he will be a sign of a promised future, which lies on the other side of the dark days ahead. For Yahweh’s purpose is not to destroy, but to refine and cleanse a remnant of the people. Once the Assyrian yoke is removed, the child will ascend the throne as the agent of God’s rule over his people. Then the meaning of his name, Immanuel, will be clearly understood.

 

So, although Isaiah was not looking into the distant future, it is difficult to resist the conclusion that he meant the child as a “messianic” figure, though it must be pointed out that in Isaiah’s time the word Messiah (“the Anointed One”) referred to the reigning king. If so, the messianic poem in 9:1-7 fits in with the theme of his prophesy (see also 11:1-9). Like his initial prophesy to Ahaz, this passage begins with a picture of doom and darkness, a reminiscence of the terrible destruction wrought by Tiglath-pileser in 733-32 BC. in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali (Galilee) when these tribal areas were incorporated into the Assyrian empire (II Kings 15:29). But the darkness is illuminated by a great light:

 

For to us a child is born,

to us a son is given;

And the government will be upon his shoulder,

and his name will be called,

“Wonderful Councelor, Mighty God,

Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

Is. 9:6

 

From Isaiah this prophesy passed into the stream of prophetic tradition and eventually was transposed into a higher key in the Christian gospel (see Matt. 4:15-16).

 

 

mwc, after looking at all of this, I know exactly what you mean. "Almah" is the least of the christian "prophesy" problems with these verses.

A mistranslation gives birth to a virgin theology.

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I finished the Old Testament the other day

 

Wow! Good job!

 

I'm still working through the first chapter of Genesis. I expect a couple books in by the end of the week that may help clarify the last couple of points I'm stuck on. And I haven't consulted my fundamentalist missionary friend yet.

 

I'm hoping future chapters are more straightforward, but it is what it is. Some bits will take longer, some shorter. :)

 

Phanta

I'm just giving this a straight read-through right now. I have a couple of pages of notes that I'll be looking at much closer when I read it again. Surprisingly, King James is fairly easy once you get into it and get a flow going.

I don't know that I could do what you're doing... studying every concept to get the complete meaning before moving on. You'll easily surpass my education in this excercise.

 

Happy studies! :grin:

 

 

It could be a different/ new wife conceiving the second son.

 

I have only read through all the prophets once many years ago and I don't remember much except that yeah they all seem a bit deranged.

I didn't see anything to indicate that he had more than just the one. Given the era, sure it's possible, but raving loon that he was, I think he was lucky to get the one. :HaHa:

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mwc, we were talking about the meaning of the text of Isaiah, in which case the original Hebrew is what is important, not a Greek translation. But you're right in that a discussion dealing with Matthew's author's reason for including the reference would make the Septuigent (however it's spelled) significant.

 

Karhoof, thanks for that text. It was interesting, and I'll have try to find some time eventually to read through Isaiah again and reread that text. The following is just my first impression, nothing final. On the surface, the information seems put together well, but it also seems to be suggesting that prophecies in later chapters are additional parts of the same prophecy. That may or may not be true, but we have to keep in mind that considerable time passes in 8:3, since the prophetess both conceives and gives birth. How much total time passes, I don't know, but it would seem that treatment of the different prophecies should at least deal with the time separation between them (since things said years apart don't automatically pertain to the same thing). He also completely ignores the child in 8 and the parallel in 7, as if he doesn't even notice it (if he had noticed it and considered it coincidental, then he could have at least shown why). But, again, I need to read this stuff again myself, because it's been a hell of a long time since I've read through it.

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mwc, we were talking about the meaning of the text of Isaiah, in which case the original Hebrew is what is important, not a Greek translation. But you're right in that a discussion dealing with Matthew's author's reason for including the reference would make the Septuigent (however it's spelled) significant.

It's easier to just use the common abbreviation "LXX." ;)

 

The reason I mentioned it was because the only time the the debate about "almah" in Isaiah ever comes about is in relation to the so-called prophecy which directly relates to the nativity story. Or is there another reason for this that I'm not aware of?

 

mwc

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It's easier to just use the common abbreviation "LXX." ;)

 

The reason I mentioned it was because the only time the the debate about "almah" in Isaiah ever comes about is in relation to the so-called prophecy which directly relates to the nativity story. Or is there another reason for this that I'm not aware of?

 

mwc

Like I said previously, when considering the intent of the original prophecy in Isaiah, the Hebrew is what matters. In other words, did Isaiah really say "virgin"? With regard to that issue, a mistranslation into Greek is of little importance.

 

Also, when considering whether or not the claim in Matthew is accurate, the original Hebrew is what matters. Like above, did Isaiah really say "virgin"? With regard to that issue, a mistranslation into Greek is of little importance.

 

When the Greek translation is of importance is when considering why the author of Matthew used the Isaiah prophecy and why the quote says "virgin," because that author would likely have been utilizing the Greek translation rather than the Hebrew. In that case, it may not have been a deliberate misquote by the author, but it still represents an error, since the Greek translation was apparently faulty (one would think that a divinely inspired author, as Christians claim that Matthew was, would not utilize a mistranslation like that). In addition, there are other contextual problems, which would be an issue in both the Hebrew and the Greek translation.

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Karhoof, thanks for that text. It was interesting, and I'll have try to find some time eventually to read through Isaiah again and reread that text. The following is just my first impression, nothing final. On the surface, the information seems put together well, but it also seems to be suggesting that prophecies in later chapters are additional parts of the same prophecy. That may or may not be true, but we have to keep in mind that considerable time passes in 8:3, since the prophetess both conceives and gives birth. How much total time passes, I don't know, but it would seem that treatment of the different prophecies should at least deal with the time separation between them (since things said years apart don't automatically pertain to the same thing). He also completely ignores the child in 8 and the parallel in 7, as if he doesn't even notice it (if he had noticed it and considered it coincidental, then he could have at least shown why). But, again, I need to read this stuff again myself, because it's been a hell of a long time since I've read through it.

I understand completely and largely agree. Like I'd said, this is just one man's view. I'd still like to see a few others before I'm done with this. I'd love to sit and talk with a Rabbi about Isaiah, but finding one of those in Southwest Virginia...

I'd have better luck talking to Jesus. :HaHa:

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Like I said previously, when considering the intent of the original prophecy in Isaiah, the Hebrew is what matters. In other words, did Isaiah really say "virgin"? With regard to that issue, a mistranslation into Greek is of little importance.

And I can agree. So read the JPS or the like and this debate never happens. I would think this passage is of much less importance to Jews than xians.

 

So we can leave the rest until he moves into the NT. ;) (Yeah, I'm just not in the mood to talk about it :P )

 

mwc

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And I agree with both of you.

Translating the Hebrew into Greek simply causes the same problems as translating into Chinese. The original texts weren't even meant for them.

 

After a little break, I'm in the New Testament now (mid Luke).

 

Among a page and a half of notes already, I though I'd toss out a couple of ideas for discussion.

 

 

Point 1

Luke 7:19

19And John calling unto him two of his disciples sent them to Jesus, saying, Art thou he that should come? or look we for another?

 

John the Baptist, after preaching the coming of the messiah, after baptizing him... after telling him that he (Jesus) should be baptizing him, sends two disciples to find out if he may have made a mistake.

Jesus is already well into his ministry and John just now realizes that he might be the one?!?!?!

 

 

Point 2

God/Jesus isn't interested in the simple minded or the dimwitted.

Matthew 13:13

13Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.

Mark 4:12

12That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.

Luke 8:10

10And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand.

 

If you're no good at riddles, you have absolutely no chance of getting into heaven.

... and given John's slow take on things, it doesn't look very good for him either.

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And I agree with both of you.

Translating the Hebrew into Greek simply causes the same problems as translating into Chinese. The original texts weren't even meant for them.

 

After a little break, I'm in the New Testament now (mid Luke).

 

Among a page and a half of notes already, I though I'd toss out a couple of ideas for discussion.

 

 

Point 1

Luke 7:19

19And John calling unto him two of his disciples sent them to Jesus, saying, Art thou he that should come? or look we for another?

 

John the Baptist, after preaching the coming of the messiah, after baptizing him... after telling him that he (Jesus) should be baptizing him, sends two disciples to find out if he may have made a mistake.

Jesus is already well into his ministry and John just now realizes that he might be the one?!?!?!

Didn't something really dramatic happen at the Baptism that proved that Jesus was God's annointed? Like a voice from the sky?

 

Maybe John the Baptist forgot.

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Point 2

God/Jesus isn't interested in the simple minded or the dimwitted.

Matthew 13:13

13Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.

Mark 4:12

12That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.

Luke 8:10

10And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand.

 

If you're no good at riddles, you have absolutely no chance of getting into heaven.

... and given John's slow take on things, it doesn't look very good for him either.

 

A few years ago a Christian friend inquired about why I was questioning the faith. I responded with a lengthy letter detailing a number of issues, and one category I included dealt with some of the fabricated prophetic fulfillments. The Matthew passage you mention is one that I addressed, which you may be interested in. Below is what I wrote (Bible quotes are NIV, since that's what he used).

 

Ever Hearing, Never Understanding (Matthew 13:14-15; Isaiah 6:9-10)

 

Matthew says that the disciples asked Jesus why he taught in parables (Matthew 13:10). Jesus responded with, "This is why I speak to them in parables: 'Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand'" (13:13).

 

Then Jesus, according to Matthew, claims, "In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: 'You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. For this people's heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them'" (Matthew 13:14-15). But, could the people of Jesus' time have been a fulfillment of the prophecy Jesus allegedly quoted?

 

Matthew was loosely quoting Isaiah, but the original was stated as a command, and not a prophecy of a future event. Isaiah said that he was told, "Go and tell this people: 'Be ever hearing, but never understanding; be ever seeing, but never perceiving.' Make the heart of this people calloused; make their ears dull and close their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed" (Isaiah 6:9-10).

 

Isaiah continued by saying that he inquired, "For how long, O Lord?" (Isaiah 6:11a), to which he was answered, "Until the cities lie ruined and without inhabitant, until the houses are left deserted and the fields ruined and ravaged, until the LORD has sent everyone far away and the land I utterly forsaken. And though a tenth remains in the land, it will again be laid waste" (6:11b-13a). Clearly, this describes Israel being taken captive in exile. It was "until" that time that Isaiah was supposed to issue the command.

 

As such, we have a command for Isaiah to issue until the time of the exile, and not a prophecy of people during Jesus' time!

 

Again, therefore, Matthew has taken Isaiah out of context in order to make it appear that prophecy had been fulfilled with his story of Jesus. This time is even more serious, though, in that the error is placed on the lips of Jesus himself!

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Point 1

Luke 7:19

19And John calling unto him two of his disciples sent them to Jesus, saying, Art thou he that should come? or look we for another?

 

John the Baptist, after preaching the coming of the messiah, after baptizing him... after telling him that he (Jesus) should be baptizing him, sends two disciples to find out if he may have made a mistake.

Jesus is already well into his ministry and John just now realizes that he might be the one?!?!?!

I actually think this gets a little worse if we actually assume that "jesus" and JtB truly are cousins and from before both their births their parents, especially their mothers, knew they were called to these positions by their god. I just can't imagine that they weren't "groomed" a bit over the years. "Now Johnny when you grow up you'll have the very important job of ushering in the new age your cousin Jesus will be responsible for. He's the son of god you know." JtB: "I know Ma. You say it all the time. Jesus this and Jesus that. Blah blah blah."

 

Then again Mary seemed very tight lipped on what she apparently knew about "jesus." Maybe she was hoping for a doctor?

 

mwc

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If you're no good at riddles, you have absolutely no chance of getting into heaven.

... and given John's slow take on things, it doesn't look very good for him either.

I'm reminded of in Julia Sweeney's Letting Go Of God, she talks about how later on Jesus started ranting about how nobody was understanding his parables and Sweeney was all, "why don't you say what you mean then, Jesus?!"
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<snip>

Great critique! With what I've read so far, Isaiah was not concerned with anything beyond his own immediate future (685 years or so before Jesus lore). I've been keeping an eye out for other extra-biblical refference books and grab them when I can.

 

I'm also interested in Phanta's take on this... when she gets there. :Doh:

I'm kidding! I'm kidding! :HaHa:

 

 

I just find it bordering on stupidity that John wouldn't know. Why would they include that in their narratives?

Didn't "Matthew" and "Luke" even bother to read what they had just wrote a few chapters earlier? It just throws a wrench into the story.

 

 

I'm reminded of in Julia Sweeney's Letting Go Of God, she talks about how later on Jesus started ranting about how nobody was understanding his parables and Sweeney was all, "why don't you say what you mean then, Jesus?!"

I know! :HaHa: As I read those passages, I saw Jesus rolling his eyes, saying that in a Monty Python tone. "How long must I suffer you whopping great heaps of dung?! Crucify me now, why don't you?! We'll just get right to it, shall we?"

 

 

 

On a whim, I looked up "generation" in a Greek lexicon (as in "Verily, I say to you, this generation shall not pass..." ). The word used is exactly the same as is used in other passages for the standard "generation" usage. (<-- if that makes any sense)

The next time anyone suggests that it means "age", "era", ... ad nauseum, or tries to say that, "A second is but a thousand years to god...", tell them to look it up. ;)

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Regarding the Isiah "prophecy" about the virgin birth. Towards the end of my Christian life, I had concluded that there was no prophecy about a virgin birth and the quotation was one of two things :

 

1) If that part is genuine (not edited) then the author is using it like a Jewish Midrash. I have encountered this style of writing in Jewish lit before where an author will quote form the Hebrew bible and the quote is obviously out of context, but the theme of that quote is what is being appealed to. E.g. LIKE this happened in the past by the hand of God, this will happen in similar way. The author of Matthew doesn't mean to say there is prophecy about the Messiah being born of a virgin, he is saying LIKE this child in Isaiah was a sign of salvation to Israel of that generation, so Jesus is a sign of salvation to the current Hebrew generation. I hold the Christians twisted it to fit their agenda.

2) A later addition by Roman Christians to make Jesus appear similar to the gods of Rome and gain converts. This is speculation on my part. I have not researched textual criticism for Matthew for how genuine the account of the virgin birth is in terms of being part of the original Text of Matthew. Though the virgin birth is not part of the gospel of Q.

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But then Jesus wasn't the only "god" to have been born of a virgin. Others had already come before.

The list of miracles attributed to Jesus compares far too closely to the miracles other gods had done long before he showed up.

That was one of the things that really caught me off guard when I looked into all of it. Virtually every one of Jesus' miracles was simply all the tales of other gods and their deeds gathered in one place (man).

 

Now for a little speculation on my part.

Before the Q document was put to paper, I see the tales of this new god as being told over and over with a little more added with each retelling. With a little bit of one upmanship thrown in.

"Well, my god can do X."

"Oh yeah? Well my god can do X and Y."

"Is that all? MY god can do X,Y and Z!"

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Nearly done now. Phew! Just starting I John.

I had to switch to RSV when I came to Paul's letters. Trying to decipher both his logic and KJV at the same time proved to be too much. I just kinda stuck with the RSV and will complete it with that. I do want to go back and reread it all in the KJV though.

 

Here's something I'd never heard from the pulpit,

Acts 19:11,12

11And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul:

12So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them.

Paul became a napkin dispenser. :HaHa:

"Oooo! THAT looks painful. Here ya go. *whoosh* Swab that twice a day and you'll be fine."

:lmao:

 

The cherry picking of OT verses throughout the NT is absolutely ASTOUNDING!

Verses that had NOTHING to do with any messiah at all, getting ripped from the mouths of OT prophets and twisted into this entirely new theology is just sickening.

It makes me want to do the same to show the validity of the claims of the FSM.

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Verses that had NOTHING to do with any messiah at all, getting ripped from the mouths of OT prophets and twisted into this entirely new theology is just sickening.

It makes me want to do the same to show the validity of the claims of the FSM.

I don't think it's so much as sickening as much as it is that the NT authors were carrying on a religious tradition that's been practiced since even before the pre-scripture days of the Isrealites and it's just more evidence to me that the biblical authors did not think of themselves as inerrant. I think the most amusing prophecy goof up was when one of the gospels was trying to tie in Jesus riding a donkey in town to a Hebrew prophecy by having Jesus ride into town on both a colt and a donkey at the same time. I would have loved to see that sight.
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I'm gonna do a little scripture borrowing of my own and say,

"It is done" (Rev. 21:6)

 

I finished it! Admittedly, I'm a little shell-shocked, but happily still quite insane. ;)

 

I'm gonna gather my thoughts a little before posting here (this thread) again. I've got a pretty long list of things to look at a lot closer. I wish I had a few spare months to put Paul under a microscope. ;)

Any comments are more than welcome and thanks to everybody who has chimed in.

 

 

 

I think the most amusing prophecy goof up was when one of the gospels was trying to tie in Jesus riding a donkey in town to a Hebrew prophecy by having Jesus ride into town on both a colt and a donkey at the same time. I would have loved to see that sight.

I know! :) The author of Matthew couldn't grasp that Zechariah was describing ONE animal that this military leader (who never showed up) was to ride, so he puts him on both.

Funnier still, I've seen christians explain that first he rode one and then the other.

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Funnier still, I've seen christians explain that first he rode one and then the other.

 

Yep, Jesus went out of his way to self-fulfill a nonexistent prophecy.

 

Uh-may-zing, huh? ;)

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