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Jesus - Propehcy Fullfilled...or Not?


PaulS
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There is much biblical scholarship today that demonstrates most, if not all, so called references to Jesus 'fulfilling' prophecy described in the Hebrew Bible, are actually no such prophecy of Jesus, but are statements/stories relating to other definitive events/people.

 

Does anybody know of any Hebrew Bible texts that do refer explicitly to a Messiah, and not somebody/something else, which Christians do/can use to demonstrate the fulfilling of prophecy by the birth & existence of Jesus of Nazareth?

 

Cheers

Paul

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Wish I was smarter on this Paul...I used to have a KJV bible that placed a star next to verses that it was believed fulfilled OT prophecy. As my memory serves me...in some cases a link COULD be made, however in others I remember it being way off base. What my study has revealed to me is that at the time of writing, the biblical authors were struggling to establish the legitimacy of Christ as the Messiah and might have purposely placed such references in the NT text to accomplish just that. At the time it was a Jewish book, written by Jews, for a primarily Jewish audience and these references would have been critical in establishing legitimacy for this audience. An internet search will most likely revel the more popular tables that cross-reference NT text to OT prophesies, they are pretty popular, I am just not sure how to attach an example to this post.

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I was being a tad lazy - didn't want to have to troll through all the pro-"fulfilment of prophecy" sites to find the one or two that may represent an unbiased point of view! :)

 

I understand the references to Jesus as prophecy fulfilled, pretty much the same as you - scripture used to try and connect Jesus to ancient Judaism, not a literal fulfilment in actuality.

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  • 3 months later...

The post about a reference in the Hebrew Scriptures that refer explicitly to the Messiah (moshiach) is interesting. Let's ignore Christianity for a second. There is a variety of views on the Messiah in contemporary Judaism- the orthodox, the Hasidic, the Conservative, and the Reform-Reconstructionist.

 

With respect to ancient israel there are references to an anointed one, what he will do, what will be done when he reigns (he is from the line of King David) and what his requirements are. These can he found in Isaiah, 1 and 2Chronicles,Zechariah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Amos and Psalms.

 

If you look for Jewish Messianism on Wikipedia that is a good place to start.

 

Now my understanding is that Jesus' disciples and the disciples' disviples (the Church Fathers) reinterpreted these scriptures in the light if Jesus. Jesus may or May not have referred to himself (which is part of the whole debate).

 

I think further inquiry on Judaism and its history with respect to messianism is a good foundation about what they mean by the messiah.

 

There is a conflict also between how the Hebrew Scriptures were initially translated into Greek.

 

Gosh imagine if it all boils down to a mistranslation!

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Having converted to Judaism, I feel confident in answering this question, Paul

 

Basically, the Tanakh says that Moschiac (Messiah) will:

 

1. Rebuild the Temple (Ezekiel 37:26-28).

2. Gather all Jews back to the Land of Israel (Isaiah 43:5-6).

3. Usher in an era of world peace, end all hatred, oppression, suffering and disease: "Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall man learn war anymore." (Isaiah 2:4)

4. Spread universal knowledge of the G-d of Israel, which will unite humanity as one. As it says: "G-d will be King over all the world ― on that day, G-d will be One and His Name will be One" (Zechariah 14:9).

 

Jesus did NONE of these things, therefore, is NOT the Messiah according to scripture.

 

Furthermore, The Messiah must be descended on his father's side from King David (see Genesis 49:10, Isaiah 11:1, Jeremiah 23:5, 33:17; Ezekiel 34:23-24).

 

According to the Christian Testament, Jesus traces his ancestry from his mother (with no earthly father - according to modern Christianity).

 

Most of the Jewish folks I know and hang with allow Rabbi Maimonides speak for them concerning Jesus in regards to the Christian claim:

 

Laws of Kings, Laws 11:10-12 (Capach Edition):
“…Can there be a greater stumbling block than this (Christianity)?
That all the prophets spoke that the Messiah will redeem Israel and save them,
and gather their dispersed and strengthen their Mitzvot, and this (one, i.e.,
Jesus) caused the Jews to be destroyed by the sword, and scattered their
remnants and humbled them, and exchanged the Torah, and caused the majority of
the world to err to serve a god other than the Lord. [11] Nevertheless, the
thoughts of the Creator of the world are not within the power of man to reach
them, ‘for our ways are not His ways, nor are our thoughts His thoughts.’ And
all these matters of Jesus of Nazareth and that of the Ishmaelite who arose
after him are only to straighten the way of the king Messiah and to fix the
entire world, to serve God as one, as it is stated (Zephaniah 3:9), "For
then I will turn to the peoples (into) clear speech, to all call in the name of
G-d and serve Him unanimously. [12] How (will this come about)? The entire
world has already become filled with the mention of the Messiah, with words of
Torah and words of mitzvos and these matters have spread to the furthermost
isles, to many nations of uncircumcised hearts, and they discuss these matters
and the mitzvot of the Torah. Some say: "These mitzvoth are true, but were
already nullified in the present age and are not applicable for all time."
Others say: "Hidden matters are in them (mitzvos) and they are not to be
taken literally, and the messiah has already come and revealed their hidden
(meanings). And when the true Messiah stands, and he is successful and is
raised and exalted, immediately they all will retract and will know that
fallacy they inherited from their fathers, and that their prophets and fathers
caused them to err.”

 

FWIW, Maimonides also taught that it is considered a sin to criticize Christians for believing in Jesus as their G-d. The above criticism is leveled at Jewish people who converted to Christianity (mostly out of fear of persecution).

 

NORM

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Thanks Norm. The only texts that I am familiar with from traditional Christianity that seek to confirm Christ's messianic authenticity do seem to be those that are clearly intended for a purpose other than Jesus. The ones that you point out were clearly not fulfilled by Jesus , yet - as some fundies seem to rely upon, so they seem to be once inlay put aside.

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I understand that there was a movement headed by people like Thomas Martyr to crawl through the OT to find stuff that supported Jesus as the Messiah. In doing so they changed much of the original meaning of the text and Isaiah got a particular rework over. Things like Isaiah 9 and Isaiah 53 which is about the people of Israel and not even about a Messiah got a refit to Christianity.

I think this guy explains Isaiah 53 and the Messiah pretty well. I admit he is long winded and the video over an hour. I am sorry about that but I found it worth a look.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_TeOtzTaAco

 

Messiah means Anointed one and I feel Jesus was anointed by the Holy Spirit but he was not the messiah that the Jews were expecting. That said there was a number of messiahs/anointed ones in the OT but when we refer to the Messiah the Jews were expecting who was going to put everything right for the Jews and rebuild the Temple then having looked at differing sources Jesus does not fulfill the bill. Many Priests and Kings were also anointed. None of this does means Jesus has no credibility in his own right, but just not the person that prophesy was about (IMO).

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I don't that there was a conspiracy going on. I believe with all their flaws the early Christians reinterpreted scripture in the light of their experience with Jesus and bathe historical context in which they lived. I think if you want to bash people who want to believe (not you Paul but those who express that sentiment) are a bit myopic in their view. They may read the history but I don't think they discriminate enough to let the past be what it is. Sure there is a tension between tradition and the present, and there do many theories of the meaning.

 

At the core if all of it there is a hope that a people will endure and abide. I for one look at scripture as a deep ocean to be explored or an onion with many layers. That is how I see the universe with many many layers.

 

I think the prophecies attributed to Jesus are more than whether or not they were fulfilled. I think they desk with an embodiment of spirit that we as a species can or cannot use to give meaning to our lives.

 

By the way I think this is true of all spiritual texts and traditions. There are prophecies in Buddhism and Hinduism which give their followers hope in endurance.

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History is what brings us to where we are. I was unaware I was bashing anyone. Just pointing out that there were many opinions in the early church and each tried to justify their faith according to how they saw it. The Paulian school won through because they had the power of Rome behind them since they were backed by Constantine from 325 AD but that still does not mean that they were the only voice or that they were the closest to Jesus and his disciples.

The early disciples were Jewish and they saw Jesus' teaching through Jewish eyes and Jesus was a Jew and a follower of Judaism. History is History and it could of been very different if a Gnostic or an Ebonite had been there to interpret Constantine's vision of the cross in the sky.

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Constantine is an incredibly interesting period which Christians tend to gloss over. He was an Arian, which was eventually considered to be a heresy but which was very popular throughout the Roman world. He may have done some good in telling all the various factions of the faith cut the bs and get their story straight. Yes the early followers were Jewish, but matters got someone complicated when Paul and others I presume tried to make the gospel more inclusive to GentilesI (which basically meant the rest of the world if you weren't Jewish). I am sure the matter wasn't made clearer when the Temple was destroyed in 70 a.d. I can only presume but I think Christianity was more born out of the early church fathers whose supposed teachers were the disciples. These guys really caught the brunt of the persecution and had to work out a religion in order to get people on board.

 

I still feel sometimes that early Christian is not so much a rejection of this or that form, but a synthesis to some extent. I am not a scholar so I cannot prove that.

 

I didn't mean to imply you were bashing anyone. I just have come to the realization that there are people on the boards here who will jump in to bash this or that. I did exempt you from that general statement.

 

Here is a link to a scholar whose podcasts (if you can access a podcast) gives a informative and unbiased (to me at least) overview ofd the historical and cultural period and how Christian and Jewish though evolved. I don't know how to post a direct link.

 

http://www.philipharland.com/

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I think that part of the problem with "interpreting" the Messiah, is that Christians and Jewish people look to the Messiah for different things.

 

Christians are seeking salvation from original sin and eternal damnation / punishment (concepts not supported in Judaism).

 

Jewish folks are looking to redeem the world (the physical earth, people and animals). According to Jewish teaching, Moshiach is a human being (not divine) - a descendent of David - imbued with insight from G-d with which to usher in a time of reconciliation and peace on Earth.

 

NORM

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It seems that for some Jews the messiah will be the figure who will restore their people ans make Israel what is is supposed to be. Judaism seems grounded in the here and now and when one loos at Kabbalah there is thus sense that there is the spiritual world and the material are interconnected.

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That's correct, matteoam. Jewish people are focused on the here and now.

 

Kabbalism within Judaism is viewed, by the way, the same way Pentecostalism is viewed among Protestant Christians and Opus Dei is among Catholic Christians. Children under the age of 12 are discouraged from reading Kabbalistic writings in Shul, because they are so esoteric, and can cause confusion.

 

NORM

 

 

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Constantine is an incredibly interesting period which Christians tend to gloss over. He was an Arian, which was eventually considered to be a heresy but which was very popular throughout the Roman world. He may have done some good in telling all the various factions of the faith cut the bs and get their story straight. Yes the early followers were Jewish, but matters got someone complicated when Paul and others I presume tried to make the gospel more inclusive to GentilesI (which basically meant the rest of the world if you weren't Jewish). I am sure the matter wasn't made clearer when the Temple was destroyed in 70 a.d. I can only presume but I think Christianity was more born out of the early church fathers whose supposed teachers were the disciples. These guys really caught the brunt of the persecution and had to work out a religion in order to get people on board.

 

I still feel sometimes that early Christian is not so much a rejection of this or that form, but a synthesis to some extent. I am not a scholar so I cannot prove that.

 

I didn't mean to imply you were bashing anyone. I just have come to the realization that there are people on the boards here who will jump in to bash this or that. I did exempt you from that general statement.

 

Here is a link to a scholar whose podcasts (if you can access a podcast) gives a informative and unbiased (to me at least) overview ofd the historical and cultural period and how Christian and Jewish though evolved. I don't know how to post a direct link.

 

http://www.philipharland.com/

As I understood things Constantine was a Pagan who only got baptized on his death bed. The thing that mattered to Constantine was the unity of the Empire and the creed was more or less a direct challenge to Arius to prevent his teachings from dividing it. I would also say that much of the later Gospel writers tried to appeal to Rome and the gentiles. I mean the idea of pontius pilate being forced into washing his hands of the killing of a Jew is for me an incredible PR exercise. This man was brutal and often started trouble just to kill a few more Jews. He was also one of the few Roman leaders who was recalled to Rome for being too cruel to the Jews.

I would say that the start of Christianity started with Paul and without Paul the Jesus followers would have been a Judaic sect. Paul influenced the Gospel writers and I see the Gospel of John especially shared many of those ideas and together they split the followers between Jewish and Gentile Christianity. The church Fathers just progressed the Paulian line of teachings with their own thoughts (IMO).

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Constantine's mother Helena was instrumental in the period and famous for her piety. She is considered a saint by the Orthodox Church, as well as Lutheran and Anglican churches. Agree with Constantine or not but he lived up to being "the Great." He was baptized as as Arian Christian on his deathbed which I heard somewhere was a popular thing to do back then. Do was he a Christian or not? By whose standards? Does it matter? I don't think so.

 

I still think Christianity really started with the church fathers as Paul tried to broaden the base by including Gentiles. Is there antisemitism in Paul?

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Judging by Paul's view of the Torah I would say yes.

As for Constantine, I think it matters because what is often seen as Christianity today is a development from Paul and I doubt it had anything to do with the message that Jesus taught. Constantine endorsed that selected development and so today we have fundamentalism saying they have the only true position on the faith.

I have spent a long time before I could free myself from what I thought were the essential dictates of the faith only to find they just developments of opinions from back then and not the only ones around. I thank people like Bishop Spong for giving me the freedom to make up my own mind. Its not about bashing fundamentalism so much as stating that they are not the only ones with a right to an opinion and their take on things was just one among many that started from the early years. Hence, I see things differently now and have moved on from my fundamentalist roots and I am grateful for people like Bishop Spong and others who put out the challenges because it allowed me to think over things that previously I would of been made to feel guilty/sinful to think or challenge in my own beliefs.

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Pete I think you're making a generalization connecting Constantine to fundamentalism as it is known today. History is not that simple.

 

When I think of fundamentalism, I think of it as a movement in Christianity that "started in the 19th century and early 20th century British and American Protestant denominations among evangelicals who reacted energetically against theological and cultural modernism." thanks Wikipedia. One can argue too that those beginnings differ from today's fundamentalists.

 

The church at the time of Constantine were catholic (small "c") and at the time did what they had to do in terms of labeling some as heresy (Arianism for example) because it was a matter of survival. Something no one here can relate to. They were not yet divided into the Roman Catholic (Latin) and Eastern Church (Byzantine/Orthodox). The first schisms occurred in 431 and 451. That being said, the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church are not fundamentalist nor should they be associated with fundamentalism. Ask any Roman Catholic or Orthodox theologian and they will clearly point out the differences between some Protestant evangelicals. I think people use the terms "conservative", "traditional", "orthodox", and "fundamentalist" synonymously but they are not the same.

 

Also to generalize about what fundamentalism means that "saying they have the only true position on the faith" is not accurate either because that would include Progressive Christianity too.

 

I also think it is too much of a generalization to say that doctrine and dogma is just a matter of opinion. Yes, humans are involved and it is always flawed, but what we criticize as doctrine and dogma of the RC and the Orthodox churches for example were rigorously argued, meditated on, theorized, and even experienced in mystical or subjective way and very much with serious discernment. I cannot say that God wasn't involved since I believe God is in everyone, all the time, doing what work needs to be done in everyone, all the time.

 

Bishop Spong is to me an essential part in the evolution of the tradition as can be seen from his own evolution by his experience of God and Christ. As Americans we think that is all that it is about. Opinions. Wrong or right, with "us" having the "right" opinion and "them" having the "wrong" opinion.

 

I believe that it is all about something much more significant and deeper on a spiritual level. Something we are not even conscious of. It may be destructive or constructive but God, or Spirit, or whatever, is still at work in all of these folks who are all working out their karma. I'm not making an apologia for them and I don't want to diminish your journey, but reducing their beliefs to "opinions" is not even polite despite all the justifiable feelings we have when we react to them.

 

God is working in you as much as God is working in any fundamentalist Christian you disagree with is what I am getting at.

 

So, I really say all this in peace and love. Seriously. None of it is meant as an attack on you. I hear you when you speak about your experience and it pains me to even imagine, which is all I can do, about what you have experienced.

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I am aware of what Wiki says. It maybe that church survival may of been an issue in the very early days but I see it more about power after this. It is my understanding that prior to Constantine Christianity was a very varied group with differing voices like the Paulian school, the Gnostic, Mystics, Ebonites etc. After Constantine produced the creeds then there was a repression on followers to agree with the Empires view or get out. It is the creed and John's Gospel that establishes Jesus as God in the faith. Something that Jesus' following groups who wrote the Didache never claimed. It was Constantine that gave power to the church to claim orthodoxy to their viewpoint. It was a progression of this body with power that defined what should go into the bible and to later in 398AD to say that this was scripture. It was this same body who insisted in the addition of 2 Timothy into the collection of books we now call the bible despite many recognising it as not of Paul and which in 3:16 declares that all scripture is the word of God. It is that body which elevated the mother of Jesus to be ever virgin. It was this body that supported the notion of original sin and Paul's view of Jesus being the only sacrifice for sin.

I agree that conservatism was about being party to the church of Rome and within its power at one time and it is now seen more as those who promote fundamentalism.

 

I am not saying that the RCC is a fundamentalist body, it is not, but it is conservative about its place in the faith and its influence is every where.

 

Wiki goes onto say that fundamentalism promotes the five fundamentals and this was born in to the last hundred years :-

Yet, what they claim and was built on was nothing that had not been previously claimed by followers and along notions synthesized and built on beliefs held (although not with the same emphasis) by the church of the Rome and the Empire.

 

As for fundamentalism talking about recognizing progressive and liberal Christians, this was never my experience. It is my understanding and experience of fundamentalism that if one does not see the bible as God's literal words and its idea of salvation then you were not really a Christian. I am also sure others will testify how hard it has been for them to break out of fundamentalist teachings and the difficulties they experienced in having a differing opinion in these fundamentalist churches. Me, I was isolated and ousted for challenging the bible and the fundamentalist view on condemning gay people and it was not a great experience. It was books written by Bishop Spong, Robert Van Weyer, Matthew Fox, and others that helped find me a place in the faith. I will ever be grateful to their voices and I thank God for them standing up and saying "Well we have a differing opinion". Call Bishop Spong a bible basher or a knocker of fundamentalist churches but for me he was water in an oasis.

Edited by Pete
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I love Spong, Fox and Van Weyer. They affirmed my commitment to being a Christian. I have no issues with them or their work. I do have issues with the notion that things have to be "predictable" and "tested" for it to be true. I find the modernist critique helpful in proving only one thing - that humans are flawed receptors of the Divine. I do believe myths are real and genuine and point the way to something we cannot imagine. The meaning of various events in scripture are more important to me than their historicity.

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Ah! now we speak a similar language. Meaning is for me much more important than whether a thing actually happened as said. I think also you hit upon one of the things I personally support you on and that is the modern notion of testing the notion of God with the logic of physics or materialism when all is from a spiritual concept. I am not arguing with your beliefs here, but I personally do not believe the miracles happened but I do believe Jesus and his teachings left an impact upon those he met. The miracles are for me is a 2000 year old way of putting emphasis on the experience of Jesus and saying he was not just an ordinary person and he moved and inspired people spiritually towards the divine. I give for example the story of the Good Samaritan. It has impact on me and whether it was just a parable or it actually happened is way down on my priorities.

I can respect a person's beliefs but when as I find in many fundamentalist schools of thought one is presented with the statement. you must believe this as it is the only truth and you must believe it or hell and damnation will come your way then I think one is forgiven for asking them to justify such as statement and the bible does not justify that for me.

Beliefs are important for me. It is what makes us human. We have had beliefs since and perhaps before humankind first walked the earth. Spiritual meaning has played a major role.

I do not believe God speaks in the language as we do but in that still small voice within. Meaning is one of the things that stirs that voice within me.

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I also like the story of the woman found in adultery. I know it was not found in the earliest copies of John's gospel, but for me I still love it. For me it reflects the love that is there. One can follow rules and laws but if one is not human and with compassion when doing so then one can be so wrong. It is possible to be so right that one is wrong (IMO).

It also is a lesson (IMO) on not judging people but trying to understand them and ourselves.

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