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Prophecies For Jesus


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Well, I've gone over these before, but I need some help here.

 

Can someone recap what prophecies are found in the OT for Jesus?

 

Then I think we need to refute them or prove them false.

 

I need to go through this information once more to reaffirm my skeptical position on them.

 

Hard request, I know, but I think I need some help here because I think I have to go over this information. I don't know if it changes anything, because I have a strong sense of independence, but still.

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There aren't any real prophecies that unambiguously point to Jesus. Many of them Matthew twisted out of context to make about Jesus. Like the prophecy of him coming from Bethlehem was really about a warrior coming from the clan of Bethlehem Ephraim and defeating the Assyrians.

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A good book to start with was "Examination of Prophesy" written by none other than Thomas Paine, one of our (US) founding fathers who also wrote "THE AGE OF REASON" and "COMMON SENSE". There are others that have been written in the 20th and 21st centuries, I believe people here can cite the names and authors. Good luck.               bill 

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Well, I've gone over these before, but I need some help here.

 

Can someone recap what prophecies are found in the OT for Jesus?

 

Then I think we need to refute them or prove them false.

 

I need to go through this information once more to reaffirm my skeptical position on them.

 

Hard request, I know, but I think I need some help here because I think I have to go over this information. I don't know if it changes anything, because I have a strong sense of independence, but still.

I think you'll find the search function useful in this regard.

Most of the so-called prophecies of Jesus have been discussed in depth at various times in this section and the Lion's Den.

In every case, the so-called prophecies are simply allusions where Christians read Jesus into the text.

However, if you can pick out a few that really trouble you (which can be found on just about any apologetics site) I'm sure people will go over them in detail.

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Here's a good resource I found. http://www.debunkingskeptics.com/DebunkingChristians/Page7.htm

 

This was partially damning:

 

http://www.infidels.org/library/magazines/tsr/1998/3/983front.html

“Another--and even more effective-- counterargument to use against those who claim that prophecy fulfillment proves the inspiration of the Bible requires sufficient knowledge of the Bible to show that many Old Testament prophecies obviously failed. Anyone who is willing to put the time into learning just a few of those failures will have no problems rebutting the prophecy-fulfillment claims of any biblicists he/she may encounter. The prophetic tirades of Isaiah (13-23) and Ezekiel (24-32) against the nations surrounding Israel provide a treasure house of unfulfilled prophecies. Ezekiel, for example, prophesied that Nebuchadnezzar would destroy Egypt and leave it utterly desolate for a period of 40 years, during which no foot of man or beast would pass through it (chapter 20), but history recorded no such desolation of Egypt during or after the reign of Nebuchadnezzar.

Ezekiel also prophesied that Nebuchadnezzar would destroy Tyre, which would never again be rebuilt (26:7-14, but Nebuchadnezzar's siege of Tyre failed to take the city, and Tyre still exists today. A curious thing about this prophecy against Tyre is that Isaiah also predicted that Tyre would be destroyed, but, whereas Ezekiel predicted that Tyre would be permanently destroyed and "nevermore have any being," Isaiah prophesied that it would be made desolate only for a period of 70 years. A comparison of these two prophecies is an easy way to show the silliness of claiming that prophecy fulfillment proves the inspiration of the Bible.

As noted in my exchanges with Matthew Hogan on Ezekiel's tirade against Tyre (September/October 1997; November/December 1997), Ezekiel clearly predicted that Tyre would be destroyed, become a bare rock and a place for spreading nets, and would be built no more forever (26:7-14, 21; 27:28; 28:19). As Ezekiel did, Isaiah in his prophecies of destruction against the nations around Israel also predicted the overthrow of Tyre. In 23:1, he said, "The burden of Tyre. Howl, you ships of Tarshish; for it is laid waste, so that there is no house, no entering in: from the land of Kittim it is revealed to them." The prophecy continued in typical fashion through the chapter, predicting waste and devastation, but beginning in verse 13, Isaiah indicated that the destruction of Tyre would be only temporary, not permanent:

 

Look at the land of the Chaldeans! This is the people; it was not Assyria. They destined Tyre for wild animals. They erected their siege towers, they tore down her palaces, they made her a ruin. Wail, O ships of Tarshish, for your fortress is destroyed. From that day Tyre will be forgotten for seventy years, the lifetime of one king. At the end of seventy years, it will happen to Tyre as in the song about the prostitute: Take a harp, go about the city, you forgotten prostitute! Make sweet melody, sing many songs, that you may be remembered. At the end of seventy years, Yahweh will visit Tyre, and she will return to her trade, and will prostitute herself with all the kingdoms of the world on the face of the earth. Her merchandise and her wages will be dedicated to Yahweh; her profits will not be stored or hoarded, but her merchandise will supply abundant food and fine clothing for those who live in the presence of Yahweh.

 

So Ezekiel predicted a permanent destruction of Tyre that would last forever, but Isaiah predicted just a temporary destruction that would last only 70 years or the estimated lifetime of one king. The fact is that neither prophecy was ever fulfilled. Nebuchadnezzar did not destroy Tyre forever, and it was never made desolate for a period of 70 years. Even when Alexander the Great succeeded in his campaign against Tyre in 332 B. C., the city was soon rebuilt (Wallace B. Fleming, The History of Tyre, Columbia University Press, p. 64) and has existed ever since. Matthew Hogan was objective enough in his consideration of the evidence to admit later that Ezekiel's prophecy against Tyre had failed ("From the Mailbag," TSR, March/ April 1997, p. 12), but regardless of whether this prophecy failed or succeeded, it was impossible for both Isaiah's and Ezekiel's prophecies against Tyre to succeed. At least one of them had to fail, and so proponents of biblical prophecy fulfillment have a problem that they must explain. If the Bible was really inspired by an omniscient, omnipotent deity, why would he have directed one prophet to predict a temporary destruction of Tyre and then later direct another prophet to predict that Tyre would be destroyed forever and never be rebuilt? A likely answer is that neither prophet was divinely inspired; they both simply blustered in the exaggerated rhetoric typical of biblical prophets and, working independently, contradicted each other.”

 

EDIT: Let's face it. We supposedly have a divinely inspired book where it purports that certain events are foretold. However, if you have to wiggle and search and search for the fulfilment of a prophecy, in a supposedly divinely inspired book, there's something majorly wrong. People claiming that "the old Tyre" was destroyed and the Tyre we have now is different is an example of wiggling. Having two conflicting prophecies is already evidence that something's wrong (Isaiah and Ezekiel prophecying the destruction of Tyre, for either 70 years or until the end of time.)

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It was actually the very issue of claims of prophetic fulfillment in the Bible that opened my eyes to the fact that Christianity is a farce. Below is a lengthy excerpt from a letter I wrote a few years ago explaining a lot of reasons why I no longer believe Christianity. The letter touches on several categories and can be downloaded in its entirety from post #13 in the link in my signature, but here are the sections dealing with prophecy:

 

 

FABRICATED PROPHETIC FULFILLMENTS

 

One of the most significant Christian claims is that Jesus fulfilled numerous Old Testament prophecies, and therefore he must be the Messiah. If Jesus had indeed fulfilled numerous prophecies specifically directed at him, then that would definitely be something to strongly consider. Many Christians assume, as I did for many years, that such is the case, and that there is no question that Jesus of Nazareth is the prophesied Savior. But did he really fulfill numerous prophecies? Let's take a look at some of those claims.

 

The Virgin Birth

 

After Matthew mentions Mary's virginal conception from the Holy Ghost and the angel visiting Joseph (Matt 1:18-21), we read, "Now 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 Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us" (Matt 1:22-23). So, Matthew quotes a prophecy and says that it was fulfilled in Mary and Jesus. But is this really a fulfilled prophecy?

 

Matthew was quoting Isaiah saying, "Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel" (Isaiah 7:14). But is this really the open-and-shut case that it may appear on the surface to be? Let's take a look at the context.

 

During the time when Israel had split into two, with Judah in the south and Israel in the north, Isaiah says that Aram and Israel (also referred to as "Ephraim") came against Judah during the reign of King Ahaz, and Ahaz and the people of Judah were afraid (Isaiah 7:1-2). So God sent Isaiah to comfort Ahaz, telling him that he will not be defeated by the other two kingdoms (Isaiah 7:3-9), and even gives a specific time-frame by saying, "Within threescore and five years shall Ephraim be broken" (Isaiah 7:8). Thus, Judah's enemy Ephraim is to be broken in no more than 65 years from the time of this prophecy.

 

Isaiah says that "the Lord" told Ahaz, "Ask thee a sign of the Lord thy God" (Isaiah 7:10-11). After that, Isaiah goes on to say, "Hear ye now, O house of David: Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will ye weary my God also? Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign" (Isaiah 7:13-14). Now, who is this "sign" supposed to be for? Isaiah is speaking to King Ahaz concerning the battle issues he was dealing with right then, hundreds of years before the time of Christ! King Ahaz would be long dead before Jesus would arrive on the scene, at which time it would be much later than the 65 year limit specified in the previous verses! Clearly, there is a problem here.

 

Let's go on. What is the "sign"? The description that follows says, "Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel" (Isaiah 7:14). Now, one thing that needs pointed out about the word "virgin" is that Jewish scholars say that the Hebrew term "almah" in Isaiah's account actually means "young woman" or "girl of marriageable age," with no necessary "virgin" connotation. The Hebrew term "bethuwlah" is the word that means "virgin," but it is not the word used in Isaiah 7:14. As such, they insist that the text should read the way the NRSV translates it: "Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel."

 

When the Hebrew for Isaiah 7:14 was translated into Greek, "almah" was rendered as "parthenos," a Greek term usually meaning "virgin." Many scholars believe that this is a mistranslation. In turn, the author of Matthew clearly used the Greek translation as his source, and therefore used "parthenos" when quoting Isaiah in Matthew 1:23. Thus, Matthew did use a word usually meaning "virgin," but it appears to be based on a faulty Greek translation of Isaiah. In turn, it appears that most modern Christian translators base their translation of Isaiah on the Greek translation and the quotation in Matthew.

 

On the other hand, many Christian commentators agree that the Hebrew term "almah" means "young woman," but insist that it does have a "virgin" connotation, and therefore it is accurate to translate it as such. However, could this insistence that it be translated "virgin" be fueled by the Christian's theological necessity for it to mean "virgin"? After all, they clearly have a motivation to justify the use of this prophecy in Matthew. Beyond that, I have already demonstrated that the contextual limits on the passage indicate that it could not be about Jesus hundreds of years later, so the meaning of "almah" is not the only problem here anyway.

 

What then can we make of this debate about "almah"? Let's continue to examine the context to see what Isaiah was talking about.

 

Isaiah continues with, "For before the child shall know to refuse evil, and choose good" (Isaiah 7:16). Here we see another problem with the Christian claim that the prophesied child is Jesus. According to Christian belief, Jesus was completely sinless (1 John 3:5), so how could there be a time when he wouldn't know to refuse evil and choose good?

 

Continuing on, Isaiah tells King Ahaz that during the prophesied son's early years, "the land that thou abhorrest shall be forsaken of both her kings" (Isaiah 7:16). This is consistent with what Isaiah said earlier in the chapter: "For the head of Syria is Damascus, and the head of Damascus is Rezin; and within threescore and five years shall Ephraim be broken, that it be not a people" (Isaiah 7:8-9a). It is interesting that Isaiah goes on talking about what it is supposed to be like "in that day" (Isaiah 7:18-25) and mentions the "king of Assyria" (Isaiah 7:20), and Assyria ceased to exist several centuries before the time of Jesus!

 

So, exactly who is the "son" that Isaiah was referring to? Perhaps his own! Take a look at what immediately follows this account. Isaiah says, "And I went unto the prophetess; and she conceived, and bare a son. Then said the Lord to me, Call his name Maher-shalal-hash-baz. For before the child shall have knowledge to cry, My father, and my mother, the riches of Damascus and the spoil of Samaria shall be taken away before the king of Assyria" (Isaiah 8:3-4). This is a direct parallel to the account in the previous chapter. Isaiah and his wife (the "prophetess") conceive a son, and shortly thereafter Damascus/Syria and Samaria/Ephraim are supposed to be attacked and plundered (Isaiah 7:8-14; 8:3-4). Following the child's birth there is even a poetic oracle from "the Lord" (Isaiah 8:5-10) in which the term "Immanuel" is reiterated (Isaiah 8:8; compare to 7:14).

 

Some try to get around this glaring problem by arguing that Isaiah 7:14 is a "dual prophecy," having an immediate fulfillment and then an ultimate fulfillment in the virginal conception of Jesus (assuming that "almah" means "virgin"). However, such an argument requires that there was another virginal conception before Mary's! Of course, Christians would refuse to consider that possibility. Also, there is absolutely nothing in the context of Isaiah's prophecy to suggest that it was meant as a "dual prophecy." That concept is forced onto the text by Christians in an attempt to make it be something that it clearly isn't.

 

Beyond that, from Isaiah's account of the child's conception, it is apparent that the child was conceived in the normal way, because Isaiah says that he "went unto the prophetess; and she conceived" (Isaiah 8:3). From this, it is quite clear that the prophecy in question (Isaiah 7:14) does not refer to a virginal conception. From this, we can conclude that either the Jews are correct in asserting that the Hebrew term "almah" does not mean "virgin," or, if the Christians are correct in asserting that it does connote "virgin," then Isaiah must have simply meant that she was a virgin at the time the prophecy was issued, but not at the time of conception.

 

From this, the obvious conclusion is that the story of Mary and Jesus simply is not a fulfillment of a prophecy of a virginal conception, because that is not what the prophecy was claiming, nor does the context of the prophecy allow it to be about Jesus!

 

So, what really happened is that Matthew's account took Isaiah's statement out of context and inaccurately included it as a fulfilled prophecy of Jesus' alleged virgin birth. The author of Matthew clearly misused the prophecy he relied on and fabricated a prophetic fulfillment.

 

Bethlehem as Jesus' Birthplace

           

Matthew says that when some "wise men" go to Jerusalem seeking the "King of the Jews" (Matthew 2:1-2), King Herod calls the "chief priests and scribes," demanding that they tell him "where Christ should be born" (Matt 2:3-4). They reply, "In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, art not the least among the princes of Judah: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel" (Matt 2:5-6). Afterwards, Herod sends them on their way, and they go and find Jesus in Bethlehem, just as the scribes and priests had indicated was prophesied (Matt 2:7-11; ref 2:1). So, we have another claim of fulfilled prophecy.

 

Matthew was loosely quoting from Micah 5:2, but can Jesus really be the fulfillment? In context, the "ruler" (Micah 5:2) is supposed to "deliver (Israel) from the Assyrian, when he cometh into our land, and when he treadeth within our borders" (Micah 5:6). Now, when did Jesus ever fight against and defeat Assyria? Not only was Jesus not depicted as a warrior in the gospels, but Assyria ceased to exist several centuries before the time in which Jesus allegedly lived! Not only that, but Jesus' kingdom is supposedly "not of this world" (John 18:36), so why would he be concerned about the "land" and "borders" (Micah 5:6) of Israel anyway?

 

Again, some allege that this is a "dual prophecy." Again, though, there is nothing in the context to suggest a dual prophecy. Some also try to get around the warrior aspect of Micah's prophecy by alleging that it refers to Jesus' second coming, when he's supposed to defeat the world. However, as already pointed out, the prophecy deals specifically with Assyria (Micah 5:5-6), which no longer exists to be defeated! Some argue that "Assyria" is meant figuratively. But, once again, there is nothing in the context to support the argument. Not only that, but there is nothing in Micah's prophecy to suggest two separate comings. Also, if the person being prophesied about was supposed to be identifiable by fulfilling the prophecy, then how can he be identified as the one when he has not fulfilled the whole prophecy?

 

These Christian arguments are forced onto the text, not gleaned from it, and are nothing more than attempts to get Micah's prophecy to fit with Matthew. As such, it looks like Matthew has once again taken a prophecy out of context in order to fabricate a fulfillment in Jesus of Nazareth.

 

Out of Egypt

 

Matthew goes on to describe an angel telling Joseph to protect Jesus from being killed by Herod by taking the family from Bethlehem to Egypt (Matt 2:13), where they stay "until the death of Herod" (Matt 2:15). Then we read, "That it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son" (Matt 2:15). Here we have another claim of fulfilled prophecy, but is it really?

 

Take a look at what Matthew was actually quoting from: "When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt" (Hosea 11:1). The alleged prophecy is not even about a future event at all, but a past event! Hosea is talking about the early years (relatively speaking) of "Israel," personifying the nation as a "child" and a "son," and referring to their release from bondage to Egypt (depicted in Exodus 12)! It has nothing whatsoever to do with a single individual hundreds of years later, but an entire nation hundreds of years before!

 

Not only that, but the context presents a huge problem if Jesus is to be identified with this passage about Israel. It goes on to say, "They sacrificed unto Baalim, and burned incense to graven images" (Hosea 11:2). Did Jesus turn away from God and sacrifice to idols?

 

So again, Matthew has taken an Old Testament text out of context in an attempt to make Jesus fulfill prophecy.

 

The Slaughtered Children

 

Matthew continues his story by telling that Herod "sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof" (Matt 2:16). Then we read, "Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not" (Matt 2:17-18). The use of this prophecy implies that the "children" being "not" is a reference to their deaths, and we have yet another claim of fulfilled prophecy, right?

 

Let's take a look at Jeremiah's context. After making the statement that Matthew quoted (Jeremiah 31:15), it goes on to say, "Thus saith the Lord; Refrain thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears: for thy work shall be rewarded, saith the Lord; and they shall come again from the land of the enemy. And there is hope in thine end, saith the Lord, that thy children shall come again to their own border" (Jer 31:16-17). It goes on to say, "Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; As yet they shall use this speech in the land of Judah and in the cities thereof, when I shall bring again (from) their captivity" (Jer 31:23).

 

At the time that this was written, the Israelites had supposedly been conquered and many of them taken into exile. When Jeremiah said that Rachel's "children... were not" (Jer 31:15), he was referring to Rachel's descendants being removed from their land. As such, the prophecy in question is referring to what had already happened, not a future event, and clearly indicated that they would return. So, was Jeremiah talking about a slaughter of infants and toddlers hundreds of years later, as Matthew claims? Obviously not.

 

So, we have yet another case of Matthew misusing an Old Testament text by taking it out of context in order to fabricate fulfilled prophecy.

 

The Chosen Servant

 

Later on in Matthew's gospel, we read an account in which "great multitudes followed" Jesus "and he healed them all," telling them that "they should not make him known" (Matt 12:15-16). Then we read, "That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my spirit upon him, and he shall show judgment to the Gentiles. He shall not strive, nor cry; neither shall any man hear his voice in the streets. A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory. And in his name shall the Gentiles trust" (Matt 12:17-21). So, here is another claim of fulfilled prophecy.

 

Let's take a closer look. Matthew quoted Isaiah 42:1-4, but what does the context indicate? Who is the "servant" that Isaiah was referring to? He clearly states in the preceding chapter, "But thou, Israel, art my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend. Thou whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called thee from the chief men thereof, and said unto thee, Thou art my servant; I have chosen thee, and have not cast thee away" (Isaiah 41:8-9). Clearly, then, the "servant" allegedly "chosen" by God is the nation of Israel, the descendants of Abraham, also referred to as Jacob.

 

This is reiterated in the following chapters as well. We read, "Yet now hear, O Jacob my servant: and Israel, whom I have chosen: Thus saith the Lord that made thee, and formed thee from the womb, which will help thee; Fear not, O Jacob, my servant; and thou, Jesurun, whom I have chosen" (Isaiah 44:1-2). Again, it's clear to see that the nation of Israel, also referred to as Jacob, is the servant ("Jesurun" means "the upright one" and is used as a symbolic name of Israel; also spelled "Jeshurun" and used in Deuteronomy 32:15; 33:5,26).

 

He continues, "Remember these, O Jacob and Israel; for thou art my servant: I have formed thee; thou art my servant: O Israel, thou shalt not be forgotten of me" (Isaiah 44:21). In addition, we read, "The Lord hath redeemed his servant Jacob" (Isaiah 48:20), and, "Thou art my servant, O Israel" (Isaiah 49:3).

 

While Isaiah repeatedly refers to Israel as God's "servant" and "chosen" one, he never once names anyone else as God's "servant"! In light of this, can there be any question at all about whom Isaiah is referring to as God's "servant," the "chosen" one?

 

But, once again, some argue for a "dual prophecy," in which Jesus is the final fulfillment. However, is that really supported by the text? Not only does Isaiah not mention a dual fulfillment, but does the Jesus of the gospels really fit the description of the "servant"? In the very same chapter of Isaiah that Matthew quoted we read, "Hear, ye deaf; and look, ye blind, that ye may see. Who is blind, but my servant? Or deaf, as my messenger that I sent? Who is blind as he that is perfect, and blind as the Lord's servant? Seeing many things, but thou observest not; opening the ears, but he heareth not" (Isaiah 42:18-20). Was the Jesus of the gospels blind and deaf to the word of God? Did the Jesus of the gospels pay no attention to his Master?

 

Clearly, then, Jesus was not a fulfillment of the "servant" in Isaiah. The "servant" was Israel, allegedly chosen by God, but rebellious against his ways. The servant that Isaiah claimed that God would make "a light to the Gentiles" (Isaiah 42:6) is the nation of Israel, as is seen throughout Isaiah.

 

So, once again, we have a case of Matthew misusing the Old Testament to fabricate a claim that Jesus fulfilled prophecy.

 

Ever Hearing, Never Understanding

 

Matthew says that the disciples asked Jesus why he taught in parables (Matt 13:10). In Jesus' reply he said, "Therefore I speak to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand" (Matt 13:13). Then Jesus claims, "And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them" (Matt 13:14-15). Here we have yet another claim of fulfilled prophecy.

 

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, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eye, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed" (Isaiah 6:9-10).

 

Isaiah continued by saying that he inquired, "Lord, how long?" (Isaiah 6:11), to which he was answered, "Until the cities be wasted without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the land be utterly desolate, And the Lord have removed men far away, and there be a great forsaking in the midst of the land. But yet in it shall be a tenth" (Isaiah 6:11-13). 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, we see that Matthew has taken Isaiah out of context in order to fabricate a fulfilled prophecy in his story of Jesus. This time is even more serious, though, in that Jesus was speaking in Matthew's text, and therefore the error is placed on the lips of Jesus himself!

 

Beyond that, the concept of trying to keep people from converting is quite the opposite of what evangelical Christianity claims! Indeed, it essentially contradicts the teaching that God wants "all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth" (1 Timothy 2:4).

 

Uttering Parables

 

After Matthew mentions that Jesus taught the crowd with parables (Matt 13:34), we read, "That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world'" (Matt 13:35). Once again, let's take a closer look at this claim of fulfilled prophecy.

 

The quotation comes from a psalm of Asaph, which starts out, "Give ear, O my people, to my law: incline your ears to the words of my mouth. I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old" (Psalm 78:1-2). Here Asaph claims that he himself is going to utter parables, and those parables are exactly what we find in the remainder of this very psalm, as Asaph recounts story after story about Israel's past (Psalm 78:5-72).

 

Asaph's psalm does not give any prophetic prediction whatsoever. From the context, then, it is quite clear that the comment in question (Psalm 78:2) was not a prophecy of Jesus telling parables!

So, once again, we have Matthew misusing an Old Testament text to make it appear as though Jesus fulfilled prophecy. It should also be pointed out that even if this had been a prophecy, the fact is that any mere mortal human could self-fulfill a prophecy about telling stories simply by telling stories, and thus there would be no miracle involved at all. But, of course, it wasn't really even a prophecy.

 

Shared Bread

 

John's gospel says that Jesus identified Judas as the one who would betray him (John 13:18-30) by giving him a "sop" (piece of bread) that he "dipped" (John 13:26). One of Jesus' statements during this scene was, "But that the scripture may be fulfilled, He that eateth bread with me hath lifted up his heel against me" (John 13:18). Again, let's take a closer look.

 

Jesus was quoting a psalm that said, "Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me" (Psalm 41:9). Throughout this psalm, David is describing the actions of his enemies, God's protection from them, and his own pleading for God's mercy. David is most certainly talking about himself and one of his own friends!

 

Again, though, some argue for a "dual fulfillment," saying that David was talking about himself and prophesying a future event with Jesus and Judas. However, there is absolutely nothing in the text to suggest any such second meaning. Beyond that, taking this passage as a prophecy of Jesus is extremely problematic, because it also says, "I said, Lord, be merciful unto me: heal my soul; for I have sinned against thee" (Psalm 41:4). When did the Jesus of the gospels sin against God?

 

So, we clearly have yet another Old Testament passage taken out of context and misused in order to fabricate a fulfilled prophecy. And, again, this one is placed on the lips of Jesus himself!

 

Hating Jesus Without Reason

 

John's gospel says that Jesus told his disciples that they would be hated by the world, just as he was allegedly hated by the world (John 15:18-24). Then Jesus claimed, "But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause" (John 15:25). So here we have another claim of fulfillment.

 

The quotation is of a phrase used in two psalms of David. In one we read, "They that hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of mine head: they that would destroy me, being mine enemies wrongfully, are mighty: then I restored that which I took not away" (Psalm 69:4). David is talking about himself in this psalm and gives no indication whatsoever of any future person meant to fulfill these words. Beyond that, if this is to be taken as referring to Jesus, then the very next statement is extremely problematic. It says, "O God, thou knowest my foolishness; and my sins are not hid from thee" (Psalm 69:5). Was Jesus guilty of foolishness and sin?

 

The other psalm using the phrase John quoted says, "Let not them that are mine enemies wrongfully rejoice over me: neither let them wink with the eye that hate me without a cause" (Psalm 35:19). Again, David is talking about himself, and once again the context proves problematic if this is to be taken as a reference to Jesus. The psalm starts out by saying, "Plead my cause, O Lord, with them that strive with me: fight against them that fight against me. Take hold of shield and buckler, and stand up for mine help. Draw out also the spear, and stop the way against them that persecute me: say unto my soul, I am thy salvation" (Psalm 35:1-3). When did Jesus pray for God to fight against those pursuing his life? When did he pray for God to draw the spear against them?

 

It goes on to say, "Rescue my soul from their destructions, my darling from the lions" (Psalm 35:17). For clarity of meaning, here is a different translation: "Rescue my life from their ravages, my precious life from these lions" (NIV). There is no mention whatsoever of submitting to a plan of God to be put to death, there is pleading for his life. How is this consistent with the Jesus of the gospels?

 

So, once again, we have Old Testament passages taken out of context and misconstrued as prophecies of Jesus.

 

No Bones Broken

 

John's gospel tells us that the solders broke the legs of those being crucified, but that since Jesus was already dead, they did not break his legs (John 19:31-33). John claims, "For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken" (John 19:36). Yet again, we have another claim of fulfilled prophecy.

 

The quotation is from a psalm of David. Once again, though, the context does not support the claim that it was a prophecy of Jesus. We read, "Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all. He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken" (Psalm 34:19-20). Did God deliver Jesus from the trouble of the cross or expect him to endure it? David is making a generalized statement about "the righteous" (see also verse 17) and implies that in life they will be protected, but Jesus was allegedly already dead, so what would be the point of protecting his bones then? Also, there is no hint whatsoever in David's words that he was envisioning a sacrifice of Jesus hundreds of years later in which no legs were broken.

 

So, again, we have a statement taken out of context and misused to fabricate a fulfilled prophecy of Jesus.

 

The One They Have Pierced

 

John says that when the soldiers didn't break Jesus' bones, they pierced him with a spear instead (John 19:33-34). John then claims that this was in fulfillment (John 19:36) of what "another scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they pierced'" (John 19:37). One more time, let's take a closer look.

 

This quotation comes from Zechariah, where we read, "And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn" (Zechariah 12:10). This is allegedly a quote from God (Zech 12:1), and is therefore a text cited by many Christians to claim that Jesus is God. But is this really talking about Jesus?

 

In context, Zechariah's prophecy is about God destroying Jerusalem's enemies (Zech 12:1ff). He specifically states, "And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem" (Zech 12:9). Did the Jesus of the gospels do that when the people looked upon his piercing? Of course not!

 

Once again, we see that John has taken a passage out of context in order to fabricate a fulfilled prophecy in Jesus.

 

Called a Nazarene

 

Another interesting one is the claim that Jesus "came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene" (Matthew 2:23). One more time, let's take a closer look.

 

The prophecy in question is found in... uh, it's found at... well, um, nowhere! The statement, "He shall be called a Nazarene" (Matt 2:23) does not exist anywhere in the Old Testament, nor is there any statement even resembling it! This "prophecy" is pulled out of thin air!

 

Of course, Christians have a couple ways of trying to get around this problem. One suggestion is that this is a loose reference to the Nazarite vow, in which "either man or woman shall separate themselves" and make "a vow of a Nazarite, to separate themselves unto the Lord" (Numbers 6:2). However, this in not a prediction at all, nor is it referring to where someone is from (i.e., Nazareth). "Nazarite" and "Nazarene" are simply two different things. In addition, the Nazarite text says, "He shall separate himself from wine and strong drink" (Numbers 6:3), but Jesus is said to have drunk wine (Luke 7:33-34). Thus, the Nazarite vow suggestion is simply taking the text completely out of context in order to try to make the Nazarene prophecy exist.

 

Another suggestion is that the prophecy is found in the words, "And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots" (Isaiah 11:1). The argument is that the Hebrew term for "branch" is "netser," which is similar to the Aramaic word for "Nazarene." But this argument also has problems. First, the words are not actually the same, just similar, and Isaiah does not say, "He shall be called a Nazarene" (Matt 2:23). Second, it is not talking about location at all, but is using the imagery of a rod and a branch growing out of a stem and roots. Third, the text says that this branch "shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked" (Isaiah 11:4), which Jesus of Nazareth did not do. Fourth, the New Testament authors used the Greek translation of the Old Testament, known as the Septuagint, which uses the Greek word "anthos" instead of the Hebrew word "netser" for the "branch" (Isaiah 11:1). So, once again we have a text being taken out of context in order to try to make the Nazarene prophecy exist.

 

As such, we are left with a New Testament claim of a fulfillment of a prophecy that doesn't exist in the Old Testament! It is yet another fabricated prophetic fulfillment.

 

Conclusion from the Fabricated Prophetic Fulfillments

 

I have just demonstrated several misuses of the Old Testament by New Testament authors fabricating prophetic fulfillments, and there are more.

 

How can the claim that Jesus is proven by fulfilled prophecy be believed when over and over and over again we see that the original writings have been misused and distorted? It sounds more and more like the gospel writers were making up a story, since they were misconstruing texts from the Hebrew Scriptures in order to fabricate prophetic fulfillments in the key character. After all, if they had a true story worth believing, then why would they need to resort to such underhanded tactics?

 

Christians assert that it was a miracle for Jesus to fulfill so many prophecies about him and that nobody could fulfill them all by chance, but that is nonsense. One could easily hand-pick statements from a vast work like the Old Testament, take them out of context and apply them to any number of individuals that the original authors never had in mind. It would be even easier if the character, or at least his story, is made up to begin with. In other words, all of these alleged prophetic fulfillments prove nothing about Jesus!

 

Christians often vilify Jews for rejecting their "Messiah." Indeed, I used to wonder how the Jews couldn't see that Jesus fulfilled the prophecies, but now that I have studied it closer I can understand why. The simple fact is that the Jews who take their religion seriously can clearly see how Christians have butchered the Hebrew Scriptures! They are not convinced that Jesus fulfilled prophecy because it is a simple fact that he didn't, as has been demonstrated.

 

 

OTHER PROPHETIC ISSUES

 

Having just looked at several examples of fabricated prophetic fulfillments, a few other prophetic issues could use some attention.

 

The Generation That Passed Away

 

When discussing end-times prophecy, Jesus allegedly said, "Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled" (Matthew 24:34; ref Mark 13:30; Luke 21:32). Yet here we are, a couple millennia after the generation that Jesus was speaking to, and the end has not come! Did Jesus not know what he was talking about?

 

One response Christians give is that "this generation" is not referring to the generation in which Jesus lived, but instead refers to the generation in which the end-times scenario begins to unfold. In other words, all the end-times events will happen within one generation. However, this argument is flawed, because Jesus specifically stated, "This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled" (Matt 24:34). What are "all these things" that Jesus had been talking about? The end-times teaching (Matt 24:4-44) was given in response to the disciples asking about "these things" (Matt 24:3) that Jesus had just mentioned regarding the temple, "Verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down" (Matt 24:1-2). The temple was destroyed in 70 AD, and the generation that lived then has long since passed. Therefore, this explanation does not work.

 

Another response is that "generation" could also be translated "race," and therefore Jesus was just saying that the Jewish race would not pass away until everything was fulfilled. However, if this was really true, then surely we would see modern translations reflecting that. Yet we don't see that; modern translations still use the word "generation" (NKJV, NIV, NASB, NLT, AMP, CEV) or an equivalent  such as "the people of this time" (NCV). While some Bibles do contain a footnote saying that the word for "generation" could also mean "race," if the context really warranted that translation, we would be seeing "race" used in the actual text. But we don't see that. In fact, The Amplified Bible (which attempts to amplify the meanings of the original words) specifies that it refers to "the whole multitude of people living at the same time, in a definite, given period." That correlates to a generation, not race. Clearly then, the text has Jesus specifying that the end-times would happen before his generation all passed away! But that didn't happen, did it?

 

And what do other Biblical authors have to say? The author of Hebrews wrote, "For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry" (Hebrews 10:37), indicating that he expected Jesus' return to happen soon and not be delayed. In writings attributed to Paul we read, "We shall not all sleep (die), but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump" (I Corinthians 15:51-52), where "we" clearly indicates Paul and the people he was writing to. Similarly, "And they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come" (I Cor 10:11), where "our" clearly indicates Paul and the people he was writing to. We also read that "the time is short" (I Cor 7:29), "The Lord is at hand" (Philippians 4:5), "we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord" (I Thesselonians 4:15) and "the day of Christ is at hand" (II Thes 2:2), all of which clearly indicate the thought that the end was near at the time he wrote.

 

From other authors we also read, "But the end of all things is at hand" (I Peter 4:7), "it is the last time" (I John 2:18), "the time is at hand" (Revelation 1:3; 22:10), and the end-times events are "things which must shortly be done" (Rev 22:6).

 

In addition, Jesus reportedly also said, "I come quickly" (Rev 3:11; 22:7,12,20). Some argue that this particular saying merely means that when Jesus returns, it will happen really fast. However, the Greek word used is "tachy," which means "quickly" in the sense of without delay. This is also easily understood from the context in which it was used in Revelation 22, because, as noted in the previous paragraph, that very chapter specifies that it is talking about "things which must shortly be done" (Rev 22:6), that "the time is at hand" (Rev 22:10). Indeed, some newer translations even clarify "I come quickly" by translating it as "I am coming soon" (NIV).

 

Can there be any doubt that the authors of the New Testament were saying that the end would happen in their generation, just as Jesus himself supposedly said?

 

In response, some point to Peter saying, "One day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering" (II Peter 3:8-9). The argument is that Peter knew it could be a long time. However, keep in mind that the previous letter attributed to Peter said that "the end of all things is at hand" (I Pet 4:7), clearly indicating an imminent event. It appears that after time passed and the end did not come, the author realized that they had been wrong, and thus altered his approach to the subject. Yet, if the Bible was divinely inspired, as many Christians insist, then would there be such flip-flopping? Would there have ever been an erroneous claim that the end would happen in their generation?

 

As such, what are we to make of this? The Bible has Jesus and New Testament authors saying that the end would happen in their generation. Yet that did not happen. Clearly, then, we have failed prophecies, thus undermining Biblical authority.

 

Jeconiah (Jechonias / Coniah)

 

Jeconiah is recorded as the king of Judah when the Babylonian captivity took place (Esther 2:6; Jeremiah 24:1). He is said to be the son of Jehoiakim (I Chronicles 3:16; Jer 24:1) and the father of Salathiel (I Chron 3:17). So, what is the significance of this? Let's take a look.

 

Jeremiah prophesied, "As I live, saith the Lord, though Coniah (Jeconiah) the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah were the signet upon my right hand, yet would I pluck thee thence; ...Is this man Coniah a despised broken idol? is he a vessel wherein is no pleasure? wherefore are they cast out, he and his seed, and are cast into a land which they know not? ...Thus saith the Lord, Write ye this man childless, a man that shall not prosper in his days: for no man of his seed shall prosper, sitting upon the throne of David, and ruling any more in Judah" (Jer 22:24,28,30). That's a pretty clear prophecy, isn't it? No descendant of Jeconiah will ever be permitted to ascend to the throne of David.

 

Yet we see that Matthew's version of Jesus' genealogy includes "Jechonias" at "the time they were brought to Babylon: And after they were brought to Babylon, Jechonias begat Salathiel" (Matt 1:11-12). Clearly, this is in reference to the Jeconiah/Coniah about whom Jeremiah made the prophecy, "No man of his seed shall prosper, sitting upon the throne of David"! Now, if Jesus is supposed to be given "the throne of his father David" (Luke 1:32), then we have a serious problem with Jeconiah being included in Jesus' genealogy!

 

Some may try to suggest that this is not meant to be the same Jeconiah, and they may even point to the fact that Matthew calls him the son of Josias instead of Jehoiakim (Matt 1:11). Yet these very same people who would want to point this out seem to have no problem whatsoever with the fact that the two genealogies of Jesus are loaded with different names and are seriously contradictory (as I discussed in the "Contradictions" section)! If they have no problem with different names being used, then they have no case here. In addition, the fact that Matthew does specify that it was at the time of the Babylonian captivity and lists Salathiel as Jochonias' son (Matt 1:11) is a very good indicator that it's meant to be the same Jeconiah. In addition, my KJV Bible's text note indicates that a few ancient manuscripts insert Jakim as Jechonias' father, and given that the texts are being translated from different languages, Jakim could be a reference to Jehoiakim. At any rate, the suggestion that this is not meant to be the same person is a weak argument.

 

Some may point to the fact that the genealogy in Matthew is traced through Joseph (Matt 1:16), who supposedly was not Jesus' physical father (Matt 1:18), thus arguing that Jesus isn't a descendant of Jeconiah. But then again, what's the point of the genealogy? The obvious intent in the genealogy was to give Jesus' lineage, tracing him through David in order to meet the requirements that Jesus be of "the seed of David" (ref Romans 1:3). With the break between Jesus and Joseph, the genealogy is thus rendered completely useless, since it does not establish Jesus as a physical descendant of David (as pointed out in the "Contradictions" section)!           

 

Another argument could be that Jesus didn't rule from Judah (Jer 22:30). While that is true, it misses the point that Jesus never physically took David's throne at all, even though he was supposedly given "the throne of his father David" (Luke 1:32). Christians take the throne of David as symbolic when referring to Jesus, in which case the reference to a physical Judah would not have any logical bearing on the matter. The fact is that the prophecy in Jeremiah says that no descendant of Jeconiah would be able to ascend to the throne of David, yet Jeconiah is included in a genealogy of Jesus, and therefore Jesus is forbidden from ascending to the throne of David!

 

Modern State of Israel

 

Here I want to turn my attention to the claim that prophecy was fulfilled when Jews returned to their homeland in 1948. While this particular issue doesn't directly pertain to my loss of faith, it is often cited as alleged "proof" that the Bible was inspired by God, and as such I think the matter deserves some attention.

 

We read, "And I will bring them out from the people, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land, and feed them upon the mountains of Israel by the rivers, and in all the inhabited places of the country" (Ezekiel 34:13). Further on we see, "Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land: And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all" (Eze 37:21-22). Passages like these are cited as having been fulfilled with the rebirth of Israel in 1948. But is this claim legitimate? Let's dig deeper.

Ezekiel goes on to say, "And David my servant shall be king over them" (Eze 37:24). Yet the new Israel does not have a king, it has a president. In addition, that president is not David, nor has he been established as a descendant of David (a fair interpretation of the prophecy). In fact, in Christianity it is Jesus who is supposedly given "the throne of his father David" (Luke 1:32), but is Jesus reigning in Israel now? Clearly, this is not fulfilled.

 

We also read, "And the heathen shall know that I the Lord do sanctify Israel" (Eze 37:28), yet what heathen knows such a thing? Unless we categorize Christians as heathens, this is also unfulfilled.

 

Ezekiel also says, "The word of the Lord came again unto me, saying, Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions: And join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand" (Eze 37:15-17). It goes on to explain, "Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him, even with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and hey shall be one in mine hand" (Eze 37:19).

 

There we see a clear reference to "the tribes of Israel," yet the tribes of Israel remain completely undefined in modern Israel. There is no traced lineage establishing all 12 tribes. In fact, it was the Jews who returned to Israel. The term "Jew" is ultimately derived from a Latin word that means "Judean," or "from the land of Judea." If those who returned to Israel really were Jews (literally "Judean"), then that would mean that what we have represented in Israel today is people of the southern kingdom of Judah, and not those of the northern (and larger) kingdom of Israel (after the original kingdom of Israel was split in two). Therefore, the prophecy of joining all the tribes of the two kingdoms back together remains unfulfilled.

 

Another interesting point is that modern Israel does not have all the land that was supposedly part of the kingdom of Israel during the reigns of David and Solomon, and therefore the nation has not been fully restored.

 

While I have not extensively studied the current State of Israel, these points alone are sufficient to demonstrate that what we have in modern Israel is not a fulfillment of the Biblical prophecy in Ezekiel. Those who believe that it is a fulfillment of divine prophecy are simply engaging in wishful thinking.

 

Conclusion from Other Prophetic Issues

 

Here I have demonstrated a few prophetic problems that undermine the concept of divine inspiration and undermine Jesus' right to the throne of David, and I have shown how the modern State of Israel is not a legitimate fulfillment of prophecy. From this, and especially when combined with the previous category of Fabricated Prophetic Fulfillments, we see that the whole concept of Biblical prophecy is seriously flawed.

 

One other point to consider, though, is that even if it could be demonstrated that something the Bible predicted came true, would that automatically prove that the Bible writers were divinely inspired? Keep in mind that there are a lot of predictions in the Bible, so on the basis of statistical probability alone, it would not be surprising if a few details came true. Consider the fact that modern "psychics" make a bunch of predictions, and then a few of them come true. Focusing only on the predictions that come true, one may think the psychics really have supernatural powers. However, when considering the volume of predictions that psychics make and the fact that the vast majority of their predictions do not come true, we can easily see that it is just a matter of statistical probability that some of their predictions actually do come true. There is nothing supernatural about that at all. In the same way, a few "fulfilled prophecies" of the Bible would not prove that the writers had been granted supernatural knowledge, especially when considering the plethora of predictions (and the vagueness of some of them) in the Bible and the serious problems that exist with many Bible prophecies (some of which I have addressed).

 

Another thing to consider concerning end-times prophecies is that virtually every generation for the past two millennia has interpreted the Bible's end-times prophecies as being about their generation. Indeed, as already noted, even Jesus reportedly said that the end would come during his generation! The fact is that Jesus and every subsequent generation has been wrong. In addition, when things are vague or when the context is ignored, one can make a text mean all sorts of things that the original author never envisioned. That is not fulfillment of prophecy! It is nothing simply manipulating the texts to suit one's own purposes, trying to force the events of a given generation onto texts that were not really referring to those events.

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It was actually the very issue of claims of prophetic fulfillment in the Bible that opened my eyes to the fact that Christianity is a farce. Below is a lengthy excerpt from a letter I wrote a few years ago explaining a lot of reasons why I no longer believe Christianity. The letter touches on several categories and can be downloaded in its entirety from post #13 in the link in my signature, but here are the sections dealing with prophecy:

 

 

FABRICATED PROPHETIC FULFILLMENTS

 

One of the most significant Christian claims is that Jesus fulfilled numerous Old Testament prophecies, and therefore he must be the Messiah. If Jesus had indeed fulfilled numerous prophecies specifically directed at him, then that would definitely be something to strongly consider. Many Christians assume, as I did for many years, that such is the case, and that there is no question that Jesus of Nazareth is the prophesied Savior. But did he really fulfill numerous prophecies? Let's take a look at some of those claims.

 

The Virgin Birth

 

After Matthew mentions Mary's virginal conception from the Holy Ghost and the angel visiting Joseph (Matt 1:18-21), we read, "Now 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 Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us" (Matt 1:22-23). So, Matthew quotes a prophecy and says that it was fulfilled in Mary and Jesus. But is this really a fulfilled prophecy?

 

Matthew was quoting Isaiah saying, "Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel" (Isaiah 7:14). But is this really the open-and-shut case that it may appear on the surface to be? Let's take a look at the context.

 

During the time when Israel had split into two, with Judah in the south and Israel in the north, Isaiah says that Aram and Israel (also referred to as "Ephraim") came against Judah during the reign of King Ahaz, and Ahaz and the people of Judah were afraid (Isaiah 7:1-2). So God sent Isaiah to comfort Ahaz, telling him that he will not be defeated by the other two kingdoms (Isaiah 7:3-9), and even gives a specific time-frame by saying, "Within threescore and five years shall Ephraim be broken" (Isaiah 7:8). Thus, Judah's enemy Ephraim is to be broken in no more than 65 years from the time of this prophecy.

 

Isaiah says that "the Lord" told Ahaz, "Ask thee a sign of the Lord thy God" (Isaiah 7:10-11). After that, Isaiah goes on to say, "Hear ye now, O house of David: Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will ye weary my God also? Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign" (Isaiah 7:13-14). Now, who is this "sign" supposed to be for? Isaiah is speaking to King Ahaz concerning the battle issues he was dealing with right then, hundreds of years before the time of Christ! King Ahaz would be long dead before Jesus would arrive on the scene, at which time it would be much later than the 65 year limit specified in the previous verses! Clearly, there is a problem here.

 

Let's go on. What is the "sign"? The description that follows says, "Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel" (Isaiah 7:14). Now, one thing that needs pointed out about the word "virgin" is that Jewish scholars say that the Hebrew term "almah" in Isaiah's account actually means "young woman" or "girl of marriageable age," with no necessary "virgin" connotation. The Hebrew term "bethuwlah" is the word that means "virgin," but it is not the word used in Isaiah 7:14. As such, they insist that the text should read the way the NRSV translates it: "Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel."

 

When the Hebrew for Isaiah 7:14 was translated into Greek, "almah" was rendered as "parthenos," a Greek term usually meaning "virgin." Many scholars believe that this is a mistranslation. In turn, the author of Matthew clearly used the Greek translation as his source, and therefore used "parthenos" when quoting Isaiah in Matthew 1:23. Thus, Matthew did use a word usually meaning "virgin," but it appears to be based on a faulty Greek translation of Isaiah. In turn, it appears that most modern Christian translators base their translation of Isaiah on the Greek translation and the quotation in Matthew.

 

On the other hand, many Christian commentators agree that the Hebrew term "almah" means "young woman," but insist that it does have a "virgin" connotation, and therefore it is accurate to translate it as such. However, could this insistence that it be translated "virgin" be fueled by the Christian's theological necessity for it to mean "virgin"? After all, they clearly have a motivation to justify the use of this prophecy in Matthew. Beyond that, I have already demonstrated that the contextual limits on the passage indicate that it could not be about Jesus hundreds of years later, so the meaning of "almah" is not the only problem here anyway.

 

What then can we make of this debate about "almah"? Let's continue to examine the context to see what Isaiah was talking about.

 

Isaiah continues with, "For before the child shall know to refuse evil, and choose good" (Isaiah 7:16). Here we see another problem with the Christian claim that the prophesied child is Jesus. According to Christian belief, Jesus was completely sinless (1 John 3:5), so how could there be a time when he wouldn't know to refuse evil and choose good?

 

Continuing on, Isaiah tells King Ahaz that during the prophesied son's early years, "the land that thou abhorrest shall be forsaken of both her kings" (Isaiah 7:16). This is consistent with what Isaiah said earlier in the chapter: "For the head of Syria is Damascus, and the head of Damascus is Rezin; and within threescore and five years shall Ephraim be broken, that it be not a people" (Isaiah 7:8-9a). It is interesting that Isaiah goes on talking about what it is supposed to be like "in that day" (Isaiah 7:18-25) and mentions the "king of Assyria" (Isaiah 7:20), and Assyria ceased to exist several centuries before the time of Jesus!

 

So, exactly who is the "son" that Isaiah was referring to? Perhaps his own! Take a look at what immediately follows this account. Isaiah says, "And I went unto the prophetess; and she conceived, and bare a son. Then said the Lord to me, Call his name Maher-shalal-hash-baz. For before the child shall have knowledge to cry, My father, and my mother, the riches of Damascus and the spoil of Samaria shall be taken away before the king of Assyria" (Isaiah 8:3-4). This is a direct parallel to the account in the previous chapter. Isaiah and his wife (the "prophetess") conceive a son, and shortly thereafter Damascus/Syria and Samaria/Ephraim are supposed to be attacked and plundered (Isaiah 7:8-14; 8:3-4). Following the child's birth there is even a poetic oracle from "the Lord" (Isaiah 8:5-10) in which the term "Immanuel" is reiterated (Isaiah 8:8; compare to 7:14).

 

Some try to get around this glaring problem by arguing that Isaiah 7:14 is a "dual prophecy," having an immediate fulfillment and then an ultimate fulfillment in the virginal conception of Jesus (assuming that "almah" means "virgin"). However, such an argument requires that there was another virginal conception before Mary's! Of course, Christians would refuse to consider that possibility. Also, there is absolutely nothing in the context of Isaiah's prophecy to suggest that it was meant as a "dual prophecy." That concept is forced onto the text by Christians in an attempt to make it be something that it clearly isn't.

 

Beyond that, from Isaiah's account of the child's conception, it is apparent that the child was conceived in the normal way, because Isaiah says that he "went unto the prophetess; and she conceived" (Isaiah 8:3). From this, it is quite clear that the prophecy in question (Isaiah 7:14) does not refer to a virginal conception. From this, we can conclude that either the Jews are correct in asserting that the Hebrew term "almah" does not mean "virgin," or, if the Christians are correct in asserting that it does connote "virgin," then Isaiah must have simply meant that she was a virgin at the time the prophecy was issued, but not at the time of conception.

 

From this, the obvious conclusion is that the story of Mary and Jesus simply is not a fulfillment of a prophecy of a virginal conception, because that is not what the prophecy was claiming, nor does the context of the prophecy allow it to be about Jesus!

 

So, what really happened is that Matthew's account took Isaiah's statement out of context and inaccurately included it as a fulfilled prophecy of Jesus' alleged virgin birth. The author of Matthew clearly misused the prophecy he relied on and fabricated a prophetic fulfillment.

 

Bethlehem as Jesus' Birthplace

           

Matthew says that when some "wise men" go to Jerusalem seeking the "King of the Jews" (Matthew 2:1-2), King Herod calls the "chief priests and scribes," demanding that they tell him "where Christ should be born" (Matt 2:3-4). They reply, "In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, art not the least among the princes of Judah: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel" (Matt 2:5-6). Afterwards, Herod sends them on their way, and they go and find Jesus in Bethlehem, just as the scribes and priests had indicated was prophesied (Matt 2:7-11; ref 2:1). So, we have another claim of fulfilled prophecy.

 

Matthew was loosely quoting from Micah 5:2, but can Jesus really be the fulfillment? In context, the "ruler" (Micah 5:2) is supposed to "deliver (Israel) from the Assyrian, when he cometh into our land, and when he treadeth within our borders" (Micah 5:6). Now, when did Jesus ever fight against and defeat Assyria? Not only was Jesus not depicted as a warrior in the gospels, but Assyria ceased to exist several centuries before the time in which Jesus allegedly lived! Not only that, but Jesus' kingdom is supposedly "not of this world" (John 18:36), so why would he be concerned about the "land" and "borders" (Micah 5:6) of Israel anyway?

 

Again, some allege that this is a "dual prophecy." Again, though, there is nothing in the context to suggest a dual prophecy. Some also try to get around the warrior aspect of Micah's prophecy by alleging that it refers to Jesus' second coming, when he's supposed to defeat the world. However, as already pointed out, the prophecy deals specifically with Assyria (Micah 5:5-6), which no longer exists to be defeated! Some argue that "Assyria" is meant figuratively. But, once again, there is nothing in the context to support the argument. Not only that, but there is nothing in Micah's prophecy to suggest two separate comings. Also, if the person being prophesied about was supposed to be identifiable by fulfilling the prophecy, then how can he be identified as the one when he has not fulfilled the whole prophecy?

 

These Christian arguments are forced onto the text, not gleaned from it, and are nothing more than attempts to get Micah's prophecy to fit with Matthew. As such, it looks like Matthew has once again taken a prophecy out of context in order to fabricate a fulfillment in Jesus of Nazareth.

 

Out of Egypt

 

Matthew goes on to describe an angel telling Joseph to protect Jesus from being killed by Herod by taking the family from Bethlehem to Egypt (Matt 2:13), where they stay "until the death of Herod" (Matt 2:15). Then we read, "That it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son" (Matt 2:15). Here we have another claim of fulfilled prophecy, but is it really?

 

Take a look at what Matthew was actually quoting from: "When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt" (Hosea 11:1). The alleged prophecy is not even about a future event at all, but a past event! Hosea is talking about the early years (relatively speaking) of "Israel," personifying the nation as a "child" and a "son," and referring to their release from bondage to Egypt (depicted in Exodus 12)! It has nothing whatsoever to do with a single individual hundreds of years later, but an entire nation hundreds of years before!

 

Not only that, but the context presents a huge problem if Jesus is to be identified with this passage about Israel. It goes on to say, "They sacrificed unto Baalim, and burned incense to graven images" (Hosea 11:2). Did Jesus turn away from God and sacrifice to idols?

 

So again, Matthew has taken an Old Testament text out of context in an attempt to make Jesus fulfill prophecy.

 

The Slaughtered Children

 

Matthew continues his story by telling that Herod "sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof" (Matt 2:16). Then we read, "Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not" (Matt 2:17-18). The use of this prophecy implies that the "children" being "not" is a reference to their deaths, and we have yet another claim of fulfilled prophecy, right?

 

Let's take a look at Jeremiah's context. After making the statement that Matthew quoted (Jeremiah 31:15), it goes on to say, "Thus saith the Lord; Refrain thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears: for thy work shall be rewarded, saith the Lord; and they shall come again from the land of the enemy. And there is hope in thine end, saith the Lord, that thy children shall come again to their own border" (Jer 31:16-17). It goes on to say, "Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; As yet they shall use this speech in the land of Judah and in the cities thereof, when I shall bring again (from) their captivity" (Jer 31:23).

 

At the time that this was written, the Israelites had supposedly been conquered and many of them taken into exile. When Jeremiah said that Rachel's "children... were not" (Jer 31:15), he was referring to Rachel's descendants being removed from their land. As such, the prophecy in question is referring to what had already happened, not a future event, and clearly indicated that they would return. So, was Jeremiah talking about a slaughter of infants and toddlers hundreds of years later, as Matthew claims? Obviously not.

 

So, we have yet another case of Matthew misusing an Old Testament text by taking it out of context in order to fabricate fulfilled prophecy.

 

The Chosen Servant

 

Later on in Matthew's gospel, we read an account in which "great multitudes followed" Jesus "and he healed them all," telling them that "they should not make him known" (Matt 12:15-16). Then we read, "That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my spirit upon him, and he shall show judgment to the Gentiles. He shall not strive, nor cry; neither shall any man hear his voice in the streets. A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory. And in his name shall the Gentiles trust" (Matt 12:17-21). So, here is another claim of fulfilled prophecy.

 

Let's take a closer look. Matthew quoted Isaiah 42:1-4, but what does the context indicate? Who is the "servant" that Isaiah was referring to? He clearly states in the preceding chapter, "But thou, Israel, art my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend. Thou whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called thee from the chief men thereof, and said unto thee, Thou art my servant; I have chosen thee, and have not cast thee away" (Isaiah 41:8-9). Clearly, then, the "servant" allegedly "chosen" by God is the nation of Israel, the descendants of Abraham, also referred to as Jacob.

 

This is reiterated in the following chapters as well. We read, "Yet now hear, O Jacob my servant: and Israel, whom I have chosen: Thus saith the Lord that made thee, and formed thee from the womb, which will help thee; Fear not, O Jacob, my servant; and thou, Jesurun, whom I have chosen" (Isaiah 44:1-2). Again, it's clear to see that the nation of Israel, also referred to as Jacob, is the servant ("Jesurun" means "the upright one" and is used as a symbolic name of Israel; also spelled "Jeshurun" and used in Deuteronomy 32:15; 33:5,26).

 

He continues, "Remember these, O Jacob and Israel; for thou art my servant: I have formed thee; thou art my servant: O Israel, thou shalt not be forgotten of me" (Isaiah 44:21). In addition, we read, "The Lord hath redeemed his servant Jacob" (Isaiah 48:20), and, "Thou art my servant, O Israel" (Isaiah 49:3).

 

While Isaiah repeatedly refers to Israel as God's "servant" and "chosen" one, he never once names anyone else as God's "servant"! In light of this, can there be any question at all about whom Isaiah is referring to as God's "servant," the "chosen" one?

 

But, once again, some argue for a "dual prophecy," in which Jesus is the final fulfillment. However, is that really supported by the text? Not only does Isaiah not mention a dual fulfillment, but does the Jesus of the gospels really fit the description of the "servant"? In the very same chapter of Isaiah that Matthew quoted we read, "Hear, ye deaf; and look, ye blind, that ye may see. Who is blind, but my servant? Or deaf, as my messenger that I sent? Who is blind as he that is perfect, and blind as the Lord's servant? Seeing many things, but thou observest not; opening the ears, but he heareth not" (Isaiah 42:18-20). Was the Jesus of the gospels blind and deaf to the word of God? Did the Jesus of the gospels pay no attention to his Master?

 

Clearly, then, Jesus was not a fulfillment of the "servant" in Isaiah. The "servant" was Israel, allegedly chosen by God, but rebellious against his ways. The servant that Isaiah claimed that God would make "a light to the Gentiles" (Isaiah 42:6) is the nation of Israel, as is seen throughout Isaiah.

 

So, once again, we have a case of Matthew misusing the Old Testament to fabricate a claim that Jesus fulfilled prophecy.

 

Ever Hearing, Never Understanding

 

Matthew says that the disciples asked Jesus why he taught in parables (Matt 13:10). In Jesus' reply he said, "Therefore I speak to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand" (Matt 13:13). Then Jesus claims, "And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them" (Matt 13:14-15). Here we have yet another claim of fulfilled prophecy.

 

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, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eye, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed" (Isaiah 6:9-10).

 

Isaiah continued by saying that he inquired, "Lord, how long?" (Isaiah 6:11), to which he was answered, "Until the cities be wasted without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the land be utterly desolate, And the Lord have removed men far away, and there be a great forsaking in the midst of the land. But yet in it shall be a tenth" (Isaiah 6:11-13). 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, we see that Matthew has taken Isaiah out of context in order to fabricate a fulfilled prophecy in his story of Jesus. This time is even more serious, though, in that Jesus was speaking in Matthew's text, and therefore the error is placed on the lips of Jesus himself!

 

Beyond that, the concept of trying to keep people from converting is quite the opposite of what evangelical Christianity claims! Indeed, it essentially contradicts the teaching that God wants "all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth" (1 Timothy 2:4).

 

Uttering Parables

 

After Matthew mentions that Jesus taught the crowd with parables (Matt 13:34), we read, "That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world'" (Matt 13:35). Once again, let's take a closer look at this claim of fulfilled prophecy.

 

The quotation comes from a psalm of Asaph, which starts out, "Give ear, O my people, to my law: incline your ears to the words of my mouth. I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old" (Psalm 78:1-2). Here Asaph claims that he himself is going to utter parables, and those parables are exactly what we find in the remainder of this very psalm, as Asaph recounts story after story about Israel's past (Psalm 78:5-72).

 

Asaph's psalm does not give any prophetic prediction whatsoever. From the context, then, it is quite clear that the comment in question (Psalm 78:2) was not a prophecy of Jesus telling parables!

So, once again, we have Matthew misusing an Old Testament text to make it appear as though Jesus fulfilled prophecy. It should also be pointed out that even if this had been a prophecy, the fact is that any mere mortal human could self-fulfill a prophecy about telling stories simply by telling stories, and thus there would be no miracle involved at all. But, of course, it wasn't really even a prophecy.

 

Shared Bread

 

John's gospel says that Jesus identified Judas as the one who would betray him (John 13:18-30) by giving him a "sop" (piece of bread) that he "dipped" (John 13:26). One of Jesus' statements during this scene was, "But that the scripture may be fulfilled, He that eateth bread with me hath lifted up his heel against me" (John 13:18). Again, let's take a closer look.

 

Jesus was quoting a psalm that said, "Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me" (Psalm 41:9). Throughout this psalm, David is describing the actions of his enemies, God's protection from them, and his own pleading for God's mercy. David is most certainly talking about himself and one of his own friends!

 

Again, though, some argue for a "dual fulfillment," saying that David was talking about himself and prophesying a future event with Jesus and Judas. However, there is absolutely nothing in the text to suggest any such second meaning. Beyond that, taking this passage as a prophecy of Jesus is extremely problematic, because it also says, "I said, Lord, be merciful unto me: heal my soul; for I have sinned against thee" (Psalm 41:4). When did the Jesus of the gospels sin against God?

 

So, we clearly have yet another Old Testament passage taken out of context and misused in order to fabricate a fulfilled prophecy. And, again, this one is placed on the lips of Jesus himself!

 

Hating Jesus Without Reason

 

John's gospel says that Jesus told his disciples that they would be hated by the world, just as he was allegedly hated by the world (John 15:18-24). Then Jesus claimed, "But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause" (John 15:25). So here we have another claim of fulfillment.

 

The quotation is of a phrase used in two psalms of David. In one we read, "They that hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of mine head: they that would destroy me, being mine enemies wrongfully, are mighty: then I restored that which I took not away" (Psalm 69:4). David is talking about himself in this psalm and gives no indication whatsoever of any future person meant to fulfill these words. Beyond that, if this is to be taken as referring to Jesus, then the very next statement is extremely problematic. It says, "O God, thou knowest my foolishness; and my sins are not hid from thee" (Psalm 69:5). Was Jesus guilty of foolishness and sin?

 

The other psalm using the phrase John quoted says, "Let not them that are mine enemies wrongfully rejoice over me: neither let them wink with the eye that hate me without a cause" (Psalm 35:19). Again, David is talking about himself, and once again the context proves problematic if this is to be taken as a reference to Jesus. The psalm starts out by saying, "Plead my cause, O Lord, with them that strive with me: fight against them that fight against me. Take hold of shield and buckler, and stand up for mine help. Draw out also the spear, and stop the way against them that persecute me: say unto my soul, I am thy salvation" (Psalm 35:1-3). When did Jesus pray for God to fight against those pursuing his life? When did he pray for God to draw the spear against them?

 

It goes on to say, "Rescue my soul from their destructions, my darling from the lions" (Psalm 35:17). For clarity of meaning, here is a different translation: "Rescue my life from their ravages, my precious life from these lions" (NIV). There is no mention whatsoever of submitting to a plan of God to be put to death, there is pleading for his life. How is this consistent with the Jesus of the gospels?

 

So, once again, we have Old Testament passages taken out of context and misconstrued as prophecies of Jesus.

 

No Bones Broken

 

John's gospel tells us that the solders broke the legs of those being crucified, but that since Jesus was already dead, they did not break his legs (John 19:31-33). John claims, "For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken" (John 19:36). Yet again, we have another claim of fulfilled prophecy.

 

The quotation is from a psalm of David. Once again, though, the context does not support the claim that it was a prophecy of Jesus. We read, "Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all. He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken" (Psalm 34:19-20). Did God deliver Jesus from the trouble of the cross or expect him to endure it? David is making a generalized statement about "the righteous" (see also verse 17) and implies that in life they will be protected, but Jesus was allegedly already dead, so what would be the point of protecting his bones then? Also, there is no hint whatsoever in David's words that he was envisioning a sacrifice of Jesus hundreds of years later in which no legs were broken.

 

So, again, we have a statement taken out of context and misused to fabricate a fulfilled prophecy of Jesus.

 

The One They Have Pierced

 

John says that when the soldiers didn't break Jesus' bones, they pierced him with a spear instead (John 19:33-34). John then claims that this was in fulfillment (John 19:36) of what "another scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they pierced'" (John 19:37). One more time, let's take a closer look.

 

This quotation comes from Zechariah, where we read, "And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn" (Zechariah 12:10). This is allegedly a quote from God (Zech 12:1), and is therefore a text cited by many Christians to claim that Jesus is God. But is this really talking about Jesus?

 

In context, Zechariah's prophecy is about God destroying Jerusalem's enemies (Zech 12:1ff). He specifically states, "And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem" (Zech 12:9). Did the Jesus of the gospels do that when the people looked upon his piercing? Of course not!

 

Once again, we see that John has taken a passage out of context in order to fabricate a fulfilled prophecy in Jesus.

 

Called a Nazarene

 

Another interesting one is the claim that Jesus "came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene" (Matthew 2:23). One more time, let's take a closer look.

 

The prophecy in question is found in... uh, it's found at... well, um, nowhere! The statement, "He shall be called a Nazarene" (Matt 2:23) does not exist anywhere in the Old Testament, nor is there any statement even resembling it! This "prophecy" is pulled out of thin air!

 

Of course, Christians have a couple ways of trying to get around this problem. One suggestion is that this is a loose reference to the Nazarite vow, in which "either man or woman shall separate themselves" and make "a vow of a Nazarite, to separate themselves unto the Lord" (Numbers 6:2). However, this in not a prediction at all, nor is it referring to where someone is from (i.e., Nazareth). "Nazarite" and "Nazarene" are simply two different things. In addition, the Nazarite text says, "He shall separate himself from wine and strong drink" (Numbers 6:3), but Jesus is said to have drunk wine (Luke 7:33-34). Thus, the Nazarite vow suggestion is simply taking the text completely out of context in order to try to make the Nazarene prophecy exist.

 

Another suggestion is that the prophecy is found in the words, "And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots" (Isaiah 11:1). The argument is that the Hebrew term for "branch" is "netser," which is similar to the Aramaic word for "Nazarene." But this argument also has problems. First, the words are not actually the same, just similar, and Isaiah does not say, "He shall be called a Nazarene" (Matt 2:23). Second, it is not talking about location at all, but is using the imagery of a rod and a branch growing out of a stem and roots. Third, the text says that this branch "shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked" (Isaiah 11:4), which Jesus of Nazareth did not do. Fourth, the New Testament authors used the Greek translation of the Old Testament, known as the Septuagint, which uses the Greek word "anthos" instead of the Hebrew word "netser" for the "branch" (Isaiah 11:1). So, once again we have a text being taken out of context in order to try to make the Nazarene prophecy exist.

 

As such, we are left with a New Testament claim of a fulfillment of a prophecy that doesn't exist in the Old Testament! It is yet another fabricated prophetic fulfillment.

 

Conclusion from the Fabricated Prophetic Fulfillments

 

I have just demonstrated several misuses of the Old Testament by New Testament authors fabricating prophetic fulfillments, and there are more.

 

How can the claim that Jesus is proven by fulfilled prophecy be believed when over and over and over again we see that the original writings have been misused and distorted? It sounds more and more like the gospel writers were making up a story, since they were misconstruing texts from the Hebrew Scriptures in order to fabricate prophetic fulfillments in the key character. After all, if they had a true story worth believing, then why would they need to resort to such underhanded tactics?

 

Christians assert that it was a miracle for Jesus to fulfill so many prophecies about him and that nobody could fulfill them all by chance, but that is nonsense. One could easily hand-pick statements from a vast work like the Old Testament, take them out of context and apply them to any number of individuals that the original authors never had in mind. It would be even easier if the character, or at least his story, is made up to begin with. In other words, all of these alleged prophetic fulfillments prove nothing about Jesus!

 

Christians often vilify Jews for rejecting their "Messiah." Indeed, I used to wonder how the Jews couldn't see that Jesus fulfilled the prophecies, but now that I have studied it closer I can understand why. The simple fact is that the Jews who take their religion seriously can clearly see how Christians have butchered the Hebrew Scriptures! They are not convinced that Jesus fulfilled prophecy because it is a simple fact that he didn't, as has been demonstrated.

 

 

OTHER PROPHETIC ISSUES

 

Having just looked at several examples of fabricated prophetic fulfillments, a few other prophetic issues could use some attention.

 

The Generation That Passed Away

 

When discussing end-times prophecy, Jesus allegedly said, "Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled" (Matthew 24:34; ref Mark 13:30; Luke 21:32). Yet here we are, a couple millennia after the generation that Jesus was speaking to, and the end has not come! Did Jesus not know what he was talking about?

 

One response Christians give is that "this generation" is not referring to the generation in which Jesus lived, but instead refers to the generation in which the end-times scenario begins to unfold. In other words, all the end-times events will happen within one generation. However, this argument is flawed, because Jesus specifically stated, "This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled" (Matt 24:34). What are "all these things" that Jesus had been talking about? The end-times teaching (Matt 24:4-44) was given in response to the disciples asking about "these things" (Matt 24:3) that Jesus had just mentioned regarding the temple, "Verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down" (Matt 24:1-2). The temple was destroyed in 70 AD, and the generation that lived then has long since passed. Therefore, this explanation does not work.

 

Another response is that "generation" could also be translated "race," and therefore Jesus was just saying that the Jewish race would not pass away until everything was fulfilled. However, if this was really true, then surely we would see modern translations reflecting that. Yet we don't see that; modern translations still use the word "generation" (NKJV, NIV, NASB, NLT, AMP, CEV) or an equivalent  such as "the people of this time" (NCV). While some Bibles do contain a footnote saying that the word for "generation" could also mean "race," if the context really warranted that translation, we would be seeing "race" used in the actual text. But we don't see that. In fact, The Amplified Bible (which attempts to amplify the meanings of the original words) specifies that it refers to "the whole multitude of people living at the same time, in a definite, given period." That correlates to a generation, not race. Clearly then, the text has Jesus specifying that the end-times would happen before his generation all passed away! But that didn't happen, did it?

 

And what do other Biblical authors have to say? The author of Hebrews wrote, "For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry" (Hebrews 10:37), indicating that he expected Jesus' return to happen soon and not be delayed. In writings attributed to Paul we read, "We shall not all sleep (die), but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump" (I Corinthians 15:51-52), where "we" clearly indicates Paul and the people he was writing to. Similarly, "And they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come" (I Cor 10:11), where "our" clearly indicates Paul and the people he was writing to. We also read that "the time is short" (I Cor 7:29), "The Lord is at hand" (Philippians 4:5), "we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord" (I Thesselonians 4:15) and "the day of Christ is at hand" (II Thes 2:2), all of which clearly indicate the thought that the end was near at the time he wrote.

 

From other authors we also read, "But the end of all things is at hand" (I Peter 4:7), "it is the last time" (I John 2:18), "the time is at hand" (Revelation 1:3; 22:10), and the end-times events are "things which must shortly be done" (Rev 22:6).

 

In addition, Jesus reportedly also said, "I come quickly" (Rev 3:11; 22:7,12,20). Some argue that this particular saying merely means that when Jesus returns, it will happen really fast. However, the Greek word used is "tachy," which means "quickly" in the sense of without delay. This is also easily understood from the context in which it was used in Revelation 22, because, as noted in the previous paragraph, that very chapter specifies that it is talking about "things which must shortly be done" (Rev 22:6), that "the time is at hand" (Rev 22:10). Indeed, some newer translations even clarify "I come quickly" by translating it as "I am coming soon" (NIV).

 

Can there be any doubt that the authors of the New Testament were saying that the end would happen in their generation, just as Jesus himself supposedly said?

 

In response, some point to Peter saying, "One day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering" (II Peter 3:8-9). The argument is that Peter knew it could be a long time. However, keep in mind that the previous letter attributed to Peter said that "the end of all things is at hand" (I Pet 4:7), clearly indicating an imminent event. It appears that after time passed and the end did not come, the author realized that they had been wrong, and thus altered his approach to the subject. Yet, if the Bible was divinely inspired, as many Christians insist, then would there be such flip-flopping? Would there have ever been an erroneous claim that the end would happen in their generation?

 

As such, what are we to make of this? The Bible has Jesus and New Testament authors saying that the end would happen in their generation. Yet that did not happen. Clearly, then, we have failed prophecies, thus undermining Biblical authority.

 

Jeconiah (Jechonias / Coniah)

 

Jeconiah is recorded as the king of Judah when the Babylonian captivity took place (Esther 2:6; Jeremiah 24:1). He is said to be the son of Jehoiakim (I Chronicles 3:16; Jer 24:1) and the father of Salathiel (I Chron 3:17). So, what is the significance of this? Let's take a look.

 

Jeremiah prophesied, "As I live, saith the Lord, though Coniah (Jeconiah) the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah were the signet upon my right hand, yet would I pluck thee thence; ...Is this man Coniah a despised broken idol? is he a vessel wherein is no pleasure? wherefore are they cast out, he and his seed, and are cast into a land which they know not? ...Thus saith the Lord, Write ye this man childless, a man that shall not prosper in his days: for no man of his seed shall prosper, sitting upon the throne of David, and ruling any more in Judah" (Jer 22:24,28,30). That's a pretty clear prophecy, isn't it? No descendant of Jeconiah will ever be permitted to ascend to the throne of David.

 

Yet we see that Matthew's version of Jesus' genealogy includes "Jechonias" at "the time they were brought to Babylon: And after they were brought to Babylon, Jechonias begat Salathiel" (Matt 1:11-12). Clearly, this is in reference to the Jeconiah/Coniah about whom Jeremiah made the prophecy, "No man of his seed shall prosper, sitting upon the throne of David"! Now, if Jesus is supposed to be given "the throne of his father David" (Luke 1:32), then we have a serious problem with Jeconiah being included in Jesus' genealogy!

 

Some may try to suggest that this is not meant to be the same Jeconiah, and they may even point to the fact that Matthew calls him the son of Josias instead of Jehoiakim (Matt 1:11). Yet these very same people who would want to point this out seem to have no problem whatsoever with the fact that the two genealogies of Jesus are loaded with different names and are seriously contradictory (as I discussed in the "Contradictions" section)! If they have no problem with different names being used, then they have no case here. In addition, the fact that Matthew does specify that it was at the time of the Babylonian captivity and lists Salathiel as Jochonias' son (Matt 1:11) is a very good indicator that it's meant to be the same Jeconiah. In addition, my KJV Bible's text note indicates that a few ancient manuscripts insert Jakim as Jechonias' father, and given that the texts are being translated from different languages, Jakim could be a reference to Jehoiakim. At any rate, the suggestion that this is not meant to be the same person is a weak argument.

 

Some may point to the fact that the genealogy in Matthew is traced through Joseph (Matt 1:16), who supposedly was not Jesus' physical father (Matt 1:18), thus arguing that Jesus isn't a descendant of Jeconiah. But then again, what's the point of the genealogy? The obvious intent in the genealogy was to give Jesus' lineage, tracing him through David in order to meet the requirements that Jesus be of "the seed of David" (ref Romans 1:3). With the break between Jesus and Joseph, the genealogy is thus rendered completely useless, since it does not establish Jesus as a physical descendant of David (as pointed out in the "Contradictions" section)!           

 

Another argument could be that Jesus didn't rule from Judah (Jer 22:30). While that is true, it misses the point that Jesus never physically took David's throne at all, even though he was supposedly given "the throne of his father David" (Luke 1:32). Christians take the throne of David as symbolic when referring to Jesus, in which case the reference to a physical Judah would not have any logical bearing on the matter. The fact is that the prophecy in Jeremiah says that no descendant of Jeconiah would be able to ascend to the throne of David, yet Jeconiah is included in a genealogy of Jesus, and therefore Jesus is forbidden from ascending to the throne of David!

 

Modern State of Israel

 

Here I want to turn my attention to the claim that prophecy was fulfilled when Jews returned to their homeland in 1948. While this particular issue doesn't directly pertain to my loss of faith, it is often cited as alleged "proof" that the Bible was inspired by God, and as such I think the matter deserves some attention.

 

We read, "And I will bring them out from the people, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land, and feed them upon the mountains of Israel by the rivers, and in all the inhabited places of the country" (Ezekiel 34:13). Further on we see, "Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land: And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all" (Eze 37:21-22). Passages like these are cited as having been fulfilled with the rebirth of Israel in 1948. But is this claim legitimate? Let's dig deeper.

Ezekiel goes on to say, "And David my servant shall be king over them" (Eze 37:24). Yet the new Israel does not have a king, it has a president. In addition, that president is not David, nor has he been established as a descendant of David (a fair interpretation of the prophecy). In fact, in Christianity it is Jesus who is supposedly given "the throne of his father David" (Luke 1:32), but is Jesus reigning in Israel now? Clearly, this is not fulfilled.

 

We also read, "And the heathen shall know that I the Lord do sanctify Israel" (Eze 37:28), yet what heathen knows such a thing? Unless we categorize Christians as heathens, this is also unfulfilled.

 

Ezekiel also says, "The word of the Lord came again unto me, saying, Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions: And join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand" (Eze 37:15-17). It goes on to explain, "Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him, even with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and hey shall be one in mine hand" (Eze 37:19).

 

There we see a clear reference to "the tribes of Israel," yet the tribes of Israel remain completely undefined in modern Israel. There is no traced lineage establishing all 12 tribes. In fact, it was the Jews who returned to Israel. The term "Jew" is ultimately derived from a Latin word that means "Judean," or "from the land of Judea." If those who returned to Israel really were Jews (literally "Judean"), then that would mean that what we have represented in Israel today is people of the southern kingdom of Judah, and not those of the northern (and larger) kingdom of Israel (after the original kingdom of Israel was split in two). Therefore, the prophecy of joining all the tribes of the two kingdoms back together remains unfulfilled.

 

Another interesting point is that modern Israel does not have all the land that was supposedly part of the kingdom of Israel during the reigns of David and Solomon, and therefore the nation has not been fully restored.

 

While I have not extensively studied the current State of Israel, these points alone are sufficient to demonstrate that what we have in modern Israel is not a fulfillment of the Biblical prophecy in Ezekiel. Those who believe that it is a fulfillment of divine prophecy are simply engaging in wishful thinking.

 

Conclusion from Other Prophetic Issues

 

Here I have demonstrated a few prophetic problems that undermine the concept of divine inspiration and undermine Jesus' right to the throne of David, and I have shown how the modern State of Israel is not a legitimate fulfillment of prophecy. From this, and especially when combined with the previous category of Fabricated Prophetic Fulfillments, we see that the whole concept of Biblical prophecy is seriously flawed.

 

One other point to consider, though, is that even if it could be demonstrated that something the Bible predicted came true, would that automatically prove that the Bible writers were divinely inspired? Keep in mind that there are a lot of predictions in the Bible, so on the basis of statistical probability alone, it would not be surprising if a few details came true. Consider the fact that modern "psychics" make a bunch of predictions, and then a few of them come true. Focusing only on the predictions that come true, one may think the psychics really have supernatural powers. However, when considering the volume of predictions that psychics make and the fact that the vast majority of their predictions do not come true, we can easily see that it is just a matter of statistical probability that some of their predictions actually do come true. There is nothing supernatural about that at all. In the same way, a few "fulfilled prophecies" of the Bible would not prove that the writers had been granted supernatural knowledge, especially when considering the plethora of predictions (and the vagueness of some of them) in the Bible and the serious problems that exist with many Bible prophecies (some of which I have addressed).

 

Another thing to consider concerning end-times prophecies is that virtually every generation for the past two millennia has interpreted the Bible's end-times prophecies as being about their generation. Indeed, as already noted, even Jesus reportedly said that the end would come during his generation! The fact is that Jesus and every subsequent generation has been wrong. In addition, when things are vague or when the context is ignored, one can make a text mean all sorts of things that the original author never envisioned. That is not fulfillment of prophecy! It is nothing simply manipulating the texts to suit one's own purposes, trying to force the events of a given generation onto texts that were not really referring to those events.

That my friend, was awesome. Thank you.

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That my friend, was awesome. Thank you.

 

 

You're welcome, and thank you. It was definitely a huge eye opener when I took a closer look at those texts! I hope this helps some, especially zuker12.

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