Some have speculated that the 10 kings referred to in this prophecy will be leaders of 10 regions of the EU that will redraw the boundaries of Europe, ending the present nation-states. The Bible is not clear on exactly which 10 regions or nations will configure the final revival of the militaristic Roman superpower—only that this new superpower will indeed emerge just before Christ's return.
However, it wasn't until the 10th nation, Greece, was admitted in that any conceivable fulfillment of this prophecy was even possible. The 12 tribes of Israel were descended from his 12 sons. These tribes later formed a united kingdom.
It's been almost 3, years since the kingdom of Israel was split in two. The Bible continued to refer to these 10 tribes as Israel while the other two tribes Judah and Benjamin that remained loyal to David's descendants were known as the kingdom of Judah or simply Judah.
Sometimes Israel is referred to as the northern kingdom and Judah as the southern kingdom. Dominant among the northern tribes were to be the descendants of Jacob's son Joseph through his sons Ephraim and Manasseh—prophesied by Jacob to be the chief nations of the world in the last days Genesis Genesis And Jacob called to his sons, and said, Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the last days.
About years after the kingdom split, the northern tribes of Israel fell to Assyria and were deported by the Assyrians to the northern parts of their empire. Often referred to now as the lost tribes, they later migrated northwest across Europe, eventually settling in new homelands far from the Middle East.
The kingdom of Judah fell to Babylon more than a century after Israel's deportation, but its people were not lost to history. We know them today as the Jews. The name Ephraim is sometimes used representatively in Scripture for the entire northern kingdom, though it can also refer solely to the descendants of Joseph's son of that name—prophesied to become a "multitude of nations" Genesis Genesis And his father refused, and said, I know it, my son, I know it: he also shall become a people, and he also shall be great: but truly his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his seed shall become a multitude of nations.
Remarkably, this promise to Ephraim was fulfilled in the British Empire and Commonwealth. Ephraim's older brother Manasseh was also prophesied to become a great nation same verseseparating himself from the multitude of nations.
This prophecy would be fulfilled in the formation, growth and dominance of the United States of America. In a revealing prophecy regarding the United States and Britain, Jacob Israel said, "Let my name be named upon them" Genesis Genesis The Angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads; and let my name be named on them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the middle of the earth.
References to " Israel" in end-time prophecy often refer to the United States or the English-speaking countries of the British Empire or both. Sometimes " Israel" can mean all 12 tribes, Prophecy Must Fulfil - Delroy Wilson - Prophecy Must Fulfil (Vinyl). We have to look at specific verses in their context to see which is meant.
We must also understand that the modern nation called Israel is really Judah, made up of Jews. Understanding this critical part of biblical history will help us more fully comprehend a passage of Scripture in the book of Hosea, which is a prophecy about Ephraim the multitude of nations—Great Britain and some of those nations that came out of her. It warns of destruction to follow the end-time ascendancy of the Israelite nations.
In Hosea 5 we read a prophecy that mentions Israel, Ephraim and Judah: "The pride of Israel testifies to his face; therefore Israel and Ephraim stumble in their iniquity; Judah also stumbles with them" Hosea Hosea And the pride of Israel does testify to his face: therefore shall Israel and Ephraim fall in their iniquity: Judah also shall fall with them. The prophecy continues: "With their flocks and herds they shall go to seek the Lord, but they will not find Him; He has withdrawn Himself from them.
They have dealt treacherously with the Lord, for they have begotten pagan children. Now a New Moon shall devour them and their heritage" Hosea Hosea  They shall go with their flocks and with their herds to seek the LORD; but they shall not find him; he has withdrawn himself from them. New moons occur a month apart. A new moon "devouring" them would seem to mean that Israel, Ephraim and Judah will all fall within one month.
This prophecy was not fulfilled in ancient times. As already mentioned, ancient Judah fell to Babylon more than a century after Israel fell to Assyria. Yet in the end it appears they will fall together—within one month of each other. This prophecy remains to be fulfilled. Remember that Israel gave his name to Ephraim and Manasseh, the ancestors in turn of the British and American peoples.
As Ephraim is mentioned separately in this prophecy, the reference to " Israel" must apply to the United States, which is now the more dominant of the two nations. For two centuries prior to World War II, the roles were reversed with the multitude of nations—the British Empire—a greater power than the single nation, the United States. But today America is the greater. According to this prophecy, it appears that all three will fall within the span of a month. Hosea Hosea They shall go with their flocks and with their herds to seek the LORD; but they shall not find him; he has withdrawn himself from them.
Because of their sins, He will let them suffer defeat and collapse. This prophecy could not have been fulfilled until after the rise of Britain and the United States as world powers in the 19th century and the formation of the Jewish state of Israel in the 20th.
Lest the idea seem outlandish, consider that Israel and the United States are perhaps the most maligned and criticized nations on earth. In His major end-time prophecy, Jesus answers the question posed by the disciples: "When will these things be? After listing a number of signs of the nearness of His coming, He reveals that "this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come" Matthew Matthew And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness to all nations; and then shall the end come.
The gospel is the good news of the coming Kingdom of God. This message could not be preached around the world without the Bible and freedom of religion.
Both came gradually with the ascendancy of the English-speaking peoples from the 16th century until the present day. However, it was only with the technological advances of television and radio and other means of mass communication after World War II and their widespread acceptance that it became possible to reach hundreds of millions of human beings with the message of the Bible.
The gospel of the Kingdom of God will continue to be preached to all nations as long as we have the freedom to continue The Good News magazine and our other media efforts.
Even so, during the last 50 years it has not been possible to reach all countries. The former communist nations did not allow freedom of religion. China, with one quarter of the world's people, still does not. Other nations also try to suppress the publication of biblical truth and even the Bible itself. Many Islamic nations do not allow religious freedom.
In some countries people risk the death penalty for changing religion. But the Internet is changing everything.
It is much harder for governments to control. The gospel message of the coming Kingdom of God is still going out to the world. It will finish when God has decided that His work is completed and the time is right for the final end-time events to take place. Another end-time Bible prophecy could not be fulfilled until this era of instant worldwide communications. In His major end-time prophecy of Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21, Jesus gave an outline of disasters that would occur on the world scene with increasing frequency and magnitude—to the point where people would be shaken with fear Luke Luke Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.
Discerning an increase in the scale of these events and reacting to them requires knowing about them. At the time this prophecy was given, it could be many months or years before people heard about various disasters—and many they would never hear about at all, much less be able to put together the fact that catastrophes were on some kind of global increase.
Only with the proliferation of newspapers and other forms of mass communications did this become remotely possible. Yet the level of awareness and consequent fear in many that Christ speaks of implies an even greater availability of information—possible only since the development of rapid electronic communications. In any case, only with the technological advances of the last few years has it become possible for the events in Revelation 11 to occur—for people around the world to see the fate of God's final two witnesses.
When they finish their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit will make war against them, overcome them and kill them. Mark never mentioned the amount, nor do Luke or John. From what source has Matthew obtained this inside information?
Answer: the prophets. Later in the story Judas, overwhelmed by guilt, flings the money back at the priests and then commits suicide Matt —5. When the priests use the money to buy some land, Matthew informs us that this fulfills a prophecy of Jeremiah about thirty pieces of silver Matt — The prophecy in question is actually from Zechariah, not Jeremiah.
Matthew's mistake shows that here, at least, he is quoting from memory and not from a text. A close comparison of Zech —13 and Matt —10 a scene unique to Matthew's gospel also reveals where Matthew discovered that Judas had returned the money and had done so by throwing it into the temple. To position Jesus as fulfiller of prophecy, Matthew chooses descriptive details from Isaiah and crafts them into elaborations on the reports and clues that he found in Mark. The reason Jesus' movements match the words of prophecy so closely—though not exactly—is that Matthew has derived Jesus' itinerary from those very words.
Matthew creates a ludicrous scene: Jesus stunt-rides two animals into Jerusalem. The only possible purpose Matthew could have had in changing Mark's straightforward narrative into such a spectacle is to demonstrate that Jesus fulfilled prophecy to the letter.
Obviously, Matthew's Jesus can fulfill this prophecy in this odd manner only because once again Matthew rigs the story with details cribbed from the "fulfilled" prophecy. This bizarre scene shows us to what extremes Matthew was prepared to go to portray Jesus as the fulfiller of prophecy.
It should also raise a serious question about Matthew's competence as an interpreter of Hebrew scripture. With the thirty silver coins, Matthew yet again inserts details from a prophecy into a story that he borrowed from Mark. A chapter later, Matthew relies on the readers' memory of that detail to confirm that that prophecy was fulfilled to the letter. Matthew's specification of thirty silver pieces, and his report that Judas returned the money, are small but lucid examples of how Matthew uses the Old Testament as a source of information for the story of Jesus.
It is not the case that Matthew knew a factually accurate account of the life of Jesus and then realized, from his knowledge of scripture, that the life of Jesus fulfilled prophecy.
Rather, the process worked in the opposite direction. Matthew started with the conviction that Jesus' life must have fulfilled scripture, and then went back to read or remember the Old Testament with the intention of finding out more about what had happened in Jesus' life.
That is how he, alone out of the four evangelists, "knows," for example, that Jesus rode two animals into Jerusalem and that Judas was paid thirty silver pieces. From our perspective it is obvious that Matthew was reading Jesus into the prophecies he quoted. When we examine those prophecies in their own contexts, it is clear, for example, that Zechariah had no foreknowledge of Judas when he spoke about the thirty silver coins, and that Isaiah was not thinking about the birth of Jesus when he challenged King Ahaz with the news that "the young woman is pregnant and will have a son and will name him Immanuel" Isaquoted in Matt The woman in question was someone Isaiah and Ahaz knew note that she is "the young woman"almost certainly one of Ahaz's wives.
Respect for the Bible requires us to understand the prophets as speaking to their own times, with messages that they and their audiences understood in relation to their situations centuries before the time of Jesus. Respect for the Bible also requires us to understand Matthew on his own terms.
Matthew, like all Jews of his time, treated the words of the prophets as coded messages having significance beyond the prophets' own understanding. This view of prophecy was absorbed into Judaism during the Hellenistic period, having originated among the ancient Greeks, who believed that their prophets spoke under the influence of a "spirit of prophecy" that overrode the speaker's own rational capacities.
As a result, sometimes neither the prophets nor their audiences could understand the true significance of their words, and thus the real meaning of some of those pagan prophecies could be discerned only after the predicted events had already occurred.
First-century Jews applied these Greek beliefs about prophecy to the biblical prophets, and so came to believe that God had planted throughout their writings cryptic clues about his plans for the future. Many Christians hold this same belief today.
They think that prophets such as Isaiah and Ezekiel, as well as New Testament authors such as Paul, Peter, and John, unwittingly wrote about events happening in our own time or about to happen in the near future. Today you can find books in the "End Times Prophecy" sections of Christian bookstores that claim to understand the prophets better than the prophets understood themselves.
Inevitably, these books explain that we are living in the last generation, a time of unparalleled evil from which only a few will be saved. Rather than pursue this issue further, I will ask only that you to pause for a moment to consider three interrelated premises of that view of prophecy:. That is how most Christians understand the term "Old Testament prophecy," and Matthew's gospel has been instrumental in fostering that notion.
Matthew's method of quoting specific prophecies and pointing out how they were fulfilled gives the impression that it should have been fairly clear to people who knew the scriptures that Jesus was the long-awaited messiah.
So effective has Matthew's gospel been in this regard, that Christianity has long puzzled over why the Jews of Jesus' time "rejected" him. Matthew gives the impression that the Jewish leaders knew or at least should have known that Jesus was the messiah but opposed him because of their hypocrisy and hard-heartedness.
At the very end of the gospel, Matthew makes his accusation explicit: these authorities knew that Jesus had risen from the dead but conspired to deceive their own people about the truth of his resurrection — First-century Jews applied Greek beliefs about prophecy to the biblical prophets, and so came to believe that God had planted throughout their writings cryptic clues about his plans for the future.
We should take a moment to examine this brief story, because Matthew's attitude toward the Jewish leaders bears directly on his proof-from-prophecy theme. The first thing to be said about Matt —15 is that there is not a shred of historical evidence for the conspiracy Matthew describes. Besides, if it had happened the way Matthew says it did, he could not have known about it: if the soldiers really "took the money and did as they had been instructed" Mattno one could have known about the alleged bribery and the lying.
It isn't difficult to conclude that Matthew made this story up. It is fiction. Now the gospels contain many fictions that express truth—stories that while not historically true communicate truths that are more important than historical facts. Jesus' parables and the stories that he multiplied bread and fish are good examples. But the story about Jewish leaders who covered up Jesus' resurrection is not like those benign fictions. It is a malicious lie.
That Matthew told it to counteract the accusation that the disciples stole Jesus' body helps us understand the motivation for the lie, but does not excuse it. Matthew's proof-from-prophecy argument is intertwined with his polemic against official Judaism.
Mark, however, said that Jesus allowed them to take staffs Matthew said that the women present at Jesus's crucifixion beheld him "from afar" John disagreed in some particulars with the identities of these women and said that they stood " by the cross of Jesus" Matthew disagreed with all the other writers in many details concerning the resurrection: who exactly went to the tomb, the time that they went, what they found upon their arrival, when and where Jesus was first seen after his revivification, and a host of other conflicting details.
This widespread disagreement among the gospel writers in effect discredits them all, but the only matter we need be concerned with at this point is that the discrepancies most assuredly give us reason to question Matthew's reliability as a chronicler. Someone--or possibly even all four of them--was wrong in the way the gospel story was told, and as far as we know, without any reliable evidence to Prophecy Must Fulfil - Delroy Wilson - Prophecy Must Fulfil (Vinyl) him, it could have been Matthew as easily as any of the others.
How then can we be sure that Matthew was right in saying that the birth of Jesus fulfilled Isaiah's famous Immanuel prophecy?
All we have is the word of an imaginative zealot who at best had a questionable knowledge of Old Testament scriptures. Even the law of Moses, as brutal and demanding as it was at times, required agreement between at least two witnesses before prosecutable offenses could be established Deut. With reference to the fulfillment of Isaiah's virgin-birth "prophecy," however, we don't even have the agreement of two witnesses.
We have only Matthew's unconfirmed word, and we don't even know if he was really the one who wrote the gospel story that bears his name. This is hardly compelling evidence. Even if we concede the personal honesty and integrity of Matthew, we would still have to reject his testimony in the matter of the virgin birth, because it is at best hearsay. The only person who could have possibly known that Jesus was born of a virgin would have been Mary herself, but we have no personal testimony from her.
She wrote no books--at least not any that Christians consider "canonical"--and left no affidavits, so we have exactly nothing by way of evidence from the only person who was in a position really to know whether she was a virgin at the time of Jesus's birth. By all recognized rules of evidence, then, Matthew's testimony can carry no logical weight because of its hearsay nature.
More damaging than all of these holes in Matthew's claim, however, is clear textual evidence that Isaiah did not consider his statement in to be a prophecy of some distant event. As noted earlier, so that Ahaz would have a sign that the Syrian-Israelite alliance would fail, Isaiah predicted the birth of a child who would be named Immanuel. For this to have been a "sign" in the biblical sense of the word, it would have had to have had some application to contemporary events.
Jewish scholars who read the Tanach Hebrew Bible in the original language have had no difficulty recognizing that contemporary application. Shmuel Golding, editor of Biblical Polemicspublished by the Jerusalem Institute of Biblical Polemics, has explained that verb-tense problems alone in this passage make it impossible for people who are knowledgeable in Hebrew to accept it as a prophecy of a distantly future event:.
That Isaiah did have in mind a child who would be born to a contemporary mother is made plain by a statement that followed on the heels of the birth prediction: "Curds and honey He shall eat, that He may know to refuse the evil and choose the good. For before the Child shall know to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land that you dread will be forsaken by both her kings" vv: To say that this statement had reference to a child who would be born years later reduces everything the prophet said to nonsense, for what possible consolation could it have been to Ahaz to know that years after he was dead the land whose two kings he hated Syria and Israel would be forsaken?
Furthermore, Isaiah did not say that the birth would be a miraculous event, as Matthew's application of the statement would require it to be. If, then, Isaiah had meant to imply that the child in his prophecy would be miraculously conceived, he would have surely used the Hebrew word that unequivocally meant virgin. Viewed in these linguistic perspectives, the prophecy loses much of the mystique that has traditionally surrounded it, because there would have been nothing particularly amazing about an unmarried female giving birth to a child.
It happens all the time. But it loses even more of its resplendence when we consider textual indications that Isaiah intentionally arranged circumstances to guarantee a birth that could be seen as "fulfillment" of his prophecy. Isaiah tells how Yahweh intended to take "faithful witnesses," Uriah, the priest, and Zechariah, the son of Jeberechiah, to record as Isaiah went in to a prophetess who conceived and bore a son.
In effect, he was covering all of his bases. He had predicted the birth of a child to an unmarried female, so now he was making sure that one would be born. And it was in this type of duplicity that Matthew saw divine involvement!
As incredible as it may seem, there is even more to question in this wonderful virgin-birth prophecy. After saying in his prophecy that the child to be born would be called Immanuel, Isaiah named the son borne by the prophetess not Immanuel, as he had predicted, but Maher-shalal-hash-baz It was as if he wanted both to fulfill and to invalidate the prophecy!
The fact that this child was given a name other than Immanuel has led some Bible apologists to argue that he was not the one predicted in Isaiah's prophecy. But even if they could unequivocally prove this argument true, which they cannot, that would do very little to restore Isaiah's credibility as a prophet, because Jesus, who presumably fulfilled the prophecy in at least a secondary sense, was not named Immanuel either.
No record exists of Jesus ever having been called Immanuel by his contemporaries. Those who in later times applied the name to him, and still continue to, have done so only in labored attempts to make Matthew's statement a valid interpretation of prophecy. So of what value is a "double-sided" prophecy that has been shown to have serious flaws on both sides? The argument of bibliolaters not withstanding, there is convincing evidence that Isaiah did intend his son born of the prophetess to be seen as fulfillment of his prophecy.
First, Isaiah, although naming his son Maher-shalal-hash-baz, did after the child's birth refer to him as Immanuel while warning that the Assyrian king in overthrowing Syria and Samaria would also subdue Judah and "fill the breadth of Your land, O Immanuel" So at least once the child of that generation was called Immanuel, and, as previously noted, that is once more than Jesus, in his lifetime, was ever called by the name.
As a matter of fact, the name was used only three times in the entire Bible, twice as just noted in Isaiah and the third time when Matthew quoted Isaiah's "prophecy. Further proof that Isaiah considered his son Maher-shalal-hash-baz to be the fulfillment of his prophecy is seen in a close examination of context. When he made the prophecy to Ahaz as a sign that the Syrian-Israelite alliance would not prevailhe also promised that "before the Child shall know to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land that you dread Syria and Samaria will be forsaken by both her kings" Both statements are identical in substance; both show also that Isaiah intended his prophecy to apply to a political situation of his day rather than to some event in the far-flung future.
And, more important for the moment, the context of the passage gives sufficient reason to believe that the child who was named Maher-shalal-hash-baz instead of Immanuel was contemporarily considered a fulfillment of the prophecy. Why Isaiah did not name the child Immanuel is a mystery, but stranger mysteries than that are recorded in the Bible. With reference to what was said about the period before the child would know "to refuse the evil and choose the good" Is.
If this was indeed a reference to the son who would one day be born to the virgin Mary, does this mean that there was a time in the childhood of Jesus when he didn't know the difference in good and evil? And if so, then how could this be? Jesus was the incarnate "Word of God" Jn. If all of this is true, how could there have been a time in the life of Jesus when he didn't know "to refuse the evil and choose the good"? On the subject of strange things, what could be stranger than this?
Isaiah made the prophecy to assure King Ahaz that the Syrian-Israelite alliance would not prevail against him, yet the Bible record shows that the alliance not only succeeded but did so overwhelmingly. Second Chronicles 28 reports that Ahaz's idolatrous practices caused "Yahweh his God" to deliver him "into the hand of the king of Syria" v This king was the Rezin of Isaiah The Syrians "carried away of his a great multitude of captives" and took them to Damascus v Simultaneously, the Israelites attacked Judah under the leadership of Pekah the same Pekah of Isaiahand in one day"valiant men" in Judah were killed and"women, sons, and daughters" were "carried away captive" vv The battle casualties included Maaseiah, Ahaz's son; Azrikam, the governor of the house; and Elkanah, who was "next to the king" v If these results were Isaiah's idea of Syrian and Samarian failure, one wonders what kind of drubbing the alliance would have inflicted had Isaiah prophesied its success.
Furthermore, Isaiah's assurance that Assyria would be Yahweh's instrument in defeating the alliance Isaiah failed to materialize too. When the Edomites Samarians struck Judah a second time and "carried away captives," Ahaz sent "to the kings of Assyria to help him" 2 Chron. In response, Tilgath-Pilneser, king of Assyria, "came to him, and distressed him, but strengthened him not" v As a prophet, then, Isaiah seems to have struck out all the way around.
In fairness to him, however, it should be noted that Assyria's role in the conflict was reported with different results in 2 Kings 16, where Ahaz also fared a little better than reported in 2 Chronicles Nevertheless, these discrepancies in the two accounts are more of an embarrassment to bibliolaters than a benefit, because such variations in the Bible record place on inerrancy believers the added burden of trying to explain why "inspired writers" would give contradictory reports of the same events.
There is yet a final absurdity to notice in this wonderful Messianic prophecy. Prophecy Must Fulfil - Delroy Wilson - Prophecy Must Fulfil (Vinyl) the Syrian-Israelite alliance posing a threat to Judah, Isaiah was sent to Ahaz to prophesy that the alliance would fail.
After doing so, he said in his very next breath that Yahweh would bring the king of Assyria against Judah and that he would desolate the land Imagine, if you can, the absolute absurdity of this. The prophet came, in effect, to say, "Don't worry; Syria and Samaria will not defeat you. Assyria will. It was as if in our day the people of our country, fearing an attack from Russia, should be told by a prophet, "Fear not; Russia will not defeat you.
China will. In reality, the only remarkable thing about it is that so many intelligent people could have been duped into believing that it was remarkable. As noted earlier, no event was too trivial for Matthew to see prophecy fulfillment in it, and one of his silliest prophecy-fulfillment claims concerned the so-called triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem shortly before his betrayal and crucifixion.
The story was related by all three synoptic-gospel writers, but Matthew's version differs significantly from Mark's and Luke's. Mark and Luke simply had Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a colt to the cheers and hosannas of the multitudes Mark ; Luke Matthew, however, had to build it into a dramatic prophecy-fulfillment:.
The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them; they brought the donkey and the coltand put their cloaks on themand he sat on themNRSV. There are two conspicuous points of difference in Matthew's version of this event and Mark's and Luke's: 1 Matthew had Jesus riding BOTH a donkey and her colt; Mark and Luke had Jesus riding only a colt, and 2 Matthew saw it as fulfillment of a prophecy; Mark and Luke said nothing at all about prophecy fulfillment being involved.
I won't address the familiar fundamentalist "explanation" of the numerical inconsistency that says, "Well, if there were two donkeys, then there had to be one. Did the gospel writers appear to disagree on the number of people who went to the tomb on the morning of the resurrection? Well, no problem! If, however, there were several who went, as Luke indicated, then there is no error, because if there were several, then there was one, exactly as John said, and there were two, exactly as Matthew said, etc.
Although this argument apparently satisfies diehard fundamentalists who are going to believe in Bible inerrancy regardless of what evidence to the contrary may exist, it offers no sensible explanation as to why the omniscient, omnipotent Holy Spirit would inspire John to write an infallibly perfect account of the visit to the tomb that mentions only one person, but on different occasions the same omniscient, omnipotent Holy Spirit would inspire Matthew, Mark, and Luke to write infallibly perfect accounts of the same story that all differ in the matter of who went to the tomb.
After the first "perfect" gospel story had been written, what could have been going through the Holy Spirit's mind on these subsequent occasions that made him decide that this point had to be changed, not just once but three times? That is a confusing matter, to say the least. As I said, however, my purpose is not to analyze quibbles that fundamentalists resort to in their frantic efforts to preserve the inerrancy doctrine, but to expose flaws in their prophecy-fulfillment argument, and there are plenty of them in Matthew's claim that Jesus's alleged act of riding two donkeys into Jerusalem fulfilled prophecy.
As to Matthew's reference to two donkeys rather than just the one that Mark and Luke mentioned, I will simply ask how Jesus managed to ride two donkeys. Was this a type of stunt riding like we see in circuses and rodeos where the rider stands with one foot on separate horses? If so, what was the purpose of the theatrics? Was it to demonstrate that he could perform not just miracles but feats of physical dexterity too?
In my oral debate with H. However, this doesn't seem to be what Matthew meant. He clearly said that the disciples brought the donkey and her colt to Jesus, "laid their clothes on themand set Him [Jesus] on them " v So Matthew was obviously saying that in some way the disciples set Jesus on both of the animals.
There is a far more sensible explanation for the discrepancy in Matthew's version of this story and the other synoptic accounts than the far-fetched, how-it-could-have-been scenarios that Bible inerrantists resort to.
Unfamiliar with the structure of Hebrew poetry, Matthew simply misunderstood the parallelism in the original statement of Zechariah, so this resulted in a misquotation:. Parallel emphasis was used extensively in Hebrew literature, and that was all that Zechariah was doing in this text. The ass was a colt, the foal of an ass, and this was all that Zechariah meant.
Certainly, he did not mean for his readers to understand that this king whoever he was would ride on both an ass and her colt, as Matthew interpreted the statement to mean. Incidentally, this mistake constitutes implied proof that whoever wrote the gospel of Matthew was non-Jewish and therefore unfamiliar with a Hebraic literary form that the real apostle Matthew would probably have known had he been the actual writer.
The misinterpretation resulted in an absurdity that is missing from Mark's and Luke's versions of the story, because they correctly understood the original statement. There are far too many examples of parallel emphasis in the Old Testament to look at all of them, but a few will illustrate how ridiculous it is to attribute divine inspiration to a writer who was unable to recognize how it was used.
Zechariah himself used it frequently. Obviously, the ninth month was Chislev, and Chislev was the ninth month; the two were the same. Their own place was Jerusalem, and Jerusalem was their own place. The two were the same. This technique was by no means stylistically unique to Zechariah; it occurred throughout the Old Testament. Here are just a few of many examples that could be cited:. Yahweh hath rent the kingdom out of thy hand, and given it to thy neighbor, even to David 1 Sam.
Thou also, son of man, take thee a tile, and lay it before thee, and portray upon it a city, even Jerusalemand lay siege against it Ezek. In each case, it is easy to see that the statement introduced with "even" is parallel to the statement before it. The two are the same. It was simply a Hebraic literary device employed to emphasize.
Had the Greek author of "Matthew" understood this, he would not have misinterpreted Zechariah's statement and put Jesus into the absurd posture of riding into Jerusalem on two donkeys. The fact that Matthew made this error and the fact that neither Mark nor Luke in telling the same story claimed that the event fulfilled prophecy are sufficient to discredit the claim that this was a prophecy fulfillment.
After all, both Mark and Luke also attributed prophecy fulfillment to certain events in the life of Jesus, as well as Matthew did, so if the triumphal entry was indeed a fulfillment of something a prophet had predicted, wouldn't they, writing by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, have known this and so informed their readers?
Wouldn't they have been just as interested as Matthew in letting their readers know that Jesus had fulfilled the Messianic prophecies of the Old Testaent? To say no in answer to these questions would be to say that Mark and Luke and the Holy Spirit lacked common sense.
Besides all these problems with Matthew's claim that the "triumphal entry" fulfilled prophecy, there is the contextual one. When Zechariah's statement is examined in context, it becomes evident that Matthew, as he did in so many other instances, ignored original intention and pulled an Old Testament verse out of context to make it appear that an event in the life of Jesus fulfilled prophecy. As noted in a verse from Zechariah quoted above, the prophet claimed that inspiration from Yahweh had come to him in the "fourth year of king Darius.
Much of what Zechariah wrote was intended to inspire confidence in the people who had set themselves to completing a difficult task. The chapter in which Zechariah wrote of a king riding on an ass, even a colt, the foal of an ass, predicted a general humiliation of the surrounding nations who were traditionally hostile to Israel. The prophet predicted that Yahweh would destroy Tyre and that she would be "devoured by fire" v The Philistine strongholds of Ekron, Ashkelon, and Ashdod would be cut off and become uninhabited vv Through the prophet, Yahweh promised to "camp around [his] house" v:8 so that armies could no more pass through v It was within this context that Zechariah spoke of Zion's king who would come riding on an ass, even a colt, the foal of an ass, because, quite naturally, in times of oppression and adversity a Hebrew prophet would predict the coming of a deliverer to save Yahweh's people.
So this statement was made to instill confidence in the people of that generation, to assure them that they would succeed in their task and that Yahweh would protect them from their adversaries. To apply this to a man who would not live until five centuries later is to misapply it as flagrantly as did Matthew in twisting Isaiah to make it appear that it was speaking of a woman who would bear a son years in the future.
Such was the desperation that New Testament writers were driven to in their attempts to prove that Jesus was the Messiah the prophets had spoken about. On several occasions prophetic statements were made in the Pentateuch about the land that Yahweh, the tribal god of the Israelites, had promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. These were clearly stated promises that Yahweh would give the land of the Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites to the seed of Abraham.
In Deuteronomyfor example, Yahweh presumably made this emphatic promise:. The substance of this prophecy was repeated in such places as Exodus ; Deuteronomy, and In some of these passages, the names of the "seven nations greater and and mightier than you" to be driven out of the land were also specified as they were above: the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites, the Hittites, the Hivites, the Jebusites, and the Perizzites.
When Joshua assumed the leadership of Israel after the death of Moses, the land promise was renewed in very specific terms:.
There were no ambiguity problems in these land promises. The language was about as detailed and specific as any prophecy could be: Yahweh would drive out all the inhabitants of the land of Canaan and give it to the Israelites to fulfill his promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
To stress the emphatic nature of parts of the land promises that Yahweh made to Israel, I have emphasized in italics and bold print certain statements. So when all of the passages I have quoted and listed are considered, we see that the prophecies included all of the following:. No man among these people would be able to stand before the Israelites all the days of their lives. The Israelites would drive out the nations possessing the land and utterly destroy them and the memory of their name under heaven.
They were to make no covenants with the nations in this land or show mercy to them Deut. Every place that the sole of their feet would tread upon, God would give to them. Their empire would stretch from the Red Sea unto the river Euphrates and from the great sea Mediterranean to the going down of the sun.
To circumvent obvious contradictions that result when Yahweh's promises are compared to biblical history recorded later, inerrantists contend that the land promises made to the Israelites were conditional on their good behavior, but there is no support in the Bible for that dodge.
In Deuteronomyanother prophetic passage relating to the land promise, specific notice was taken of the fact that the Israelites of that generation were undeserving of the land but that it would be given to them anyway for the sake of the promises made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob:.
So here is another clear statement. God was not giving the land to the Israelites because of their righteousness; in fact, he considered them a stiffnecked, undeserving people. See also Exodus He was giving the land to them because of the unconditional promise that he had made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Unless he did this, he would have reneged on a promise made to the patriarchs with no strings attached Gen.
So time and time again, it was specifically said that the Israelites would be given the land of Canaan, regardless of their own conductso that Yahweh could fulfill the promise that he made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Inerrantists who deny this are denying biblical statements worded just as plainly as anything ever said on the subject of creation, the resurrection, baptism, final judgment, and other important Christian doctrines.
As proof that the land promise was dependent on the good behavior of the Israelites, inerrantists like to cite Exodus where a conditional suggestion was attached to the promise: "But if you indeed obey His voice and do all that I speak, then I will be an enemy to your enemies and an adversary to your adversaries. If Yahweh said that he would fulfill the promises made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob regardless of the wickedness of the generation that went in to possess the land, he could not turn around later and say that he would make good his promise only if the people were obedient.
That would put a contradiction into the scriptures that the inerrantists would have to explain, because the land promise could not have been both conditional and unconditional at the same time.
And clearly the passages cited earlier were unconditional in promising the land to the Israelites. So after Yahweh had unconditionally promised to the Israelites that they would be given the land beyond the Jordan, under Joshua's leadership they went in to possess it, and initially the Bible claims that they succeeded. The claim, in fact, was that Joshua thoroughly and completely subdued the land:. In places, the Bible is almost boringly repetitious, but this writing characteristic of the "inspired" spokesmen of God often works to the advantage of those who seek to debunk the myth that God verbally inspired the writing of the Bible.
In this case, it makes it easy to establish that a complete, unqualified fulfillment of the land promises was claimed by the "inspired" men who wrote the Old Testament. Consider, for example, the clearly stated claim of the following passages:. So Joshua turned back at that time and took Hazor, and struck its king with the sword: for Hazor was formerly the head of all those kingdoms.
And they struck all the people who Prophecy Must Fulfil - Delroy Wilson - Prophecy Must Fulfil (Vinyl) in it with the edge of the sword, utterly destroying them. Then he burned Hazor with fire. So all the cities of those kings, and all their kings, Joshua took and struck with the edge of the sword. But as for the cities that stood on their mounds, Israel burned none of them, except Hazor only, which Joshua burned.
And all the spoil of these cities and the livestock, the children of Israel took as booty for themselves; but they struck every man with the edge of the sword until they had destroyed them, and they left none breathing. He left nothing undone of all that Yahweh had commanded Moses.
He captured all their kings, and struck them down and killed them Josh. Then the land rested from war Josh. So Yahweh gave to Israel ALL the land of which he had sworn to give to their fathers ; and they took possession of it and dwelt in it.
Yahweh gave them rest all around, according to all that He had sworn to their fathers. These statements are fully as clear as passages that proclaim the virgin birth, the resurrection, the final judgment and other important doctrines of Christianity.
Yahweh gave unto Israel ALL the land that he swore to give to their fathers, and the dimensions of that land were clearly laid out in such passages as Exodus and Joshua Its borders extended from the Red Sea to the sea of the Philistines, from the wilderness, to Lebanon, and to the great river Euphrates.
Furthermore, the fulfillment claims state that the Israelites left none alive to breathe and that not a man of all their enemies stood against them. Who were those enemies? Time and time again, they were named in the land prophecies: the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites, the Hittites, the Hivites, the Jebusites, and the Perizzites.
Yet after audaciously claiming in the passages noted above that every aspect of Yahweh's land promise had been fulfilled, the writer s turned around and brazenly admitted that some parts of the land were not conquered and some of the peoples in these lands were not driven out:.
This statement flatly contradicts the claim in Joshua that Joshua "took the whole land, according to all that Yahweh had spoken to Moses " so that the land had rest from war. All of the territorial regions singled out in this passage as land that remained to be possessed lay within the boundaries that were laid out in Joshua to specify the scope of the land that Yahweh would give to the Israelites.
So if Joshua had indeed taken "the whole land, according to all that Yahweh had spoken to Moses," as claimed in Joshuahow could it be said later that "very much land" remained to be possessed?
Perhaps some inerrantist reader s can answer this question. They are good at coming up with far-fetched, how-it-could- have-been scenarios to "explain" obvious contradictions in the Bible. Most of the rest of the book of Joshua and the better part of Judges contradict all of the fulfillment claims that I have noted above. Joshua says, "As for the Jebusitesthe inhabitants of Jerusalem, the children of Judah could not drive them out ; but the Jebusites dwell with the children of Judah at Jerusalem to this day.
Joshua says, "And they did not drive out the Canaanites who dwelt in Gezer; but the Canaanites dwell among the Ephraimites to this day and have become forced laborers. Joshua says, "Yet the children of Manasseh could not drive out the inhabitants of those cities, but the Canaanites were determined to dwell in that land. And it happened, when the children of Israel grew strong, that they put the Canaanites to forced labor, but did not utterly drive them out.
Making servants of them can hardly be considered fulfillment of a prophecy declaring that they would be "utterly driven out. In Joshua ; ; Judges ; ; ; ; and many other places, references are made to the people that the Israelites could not drive out of the land, and many of these were specific references to people from the "seven nations greater and mightier than you" that Yahweh promised to drive out without fail.
But he didn't, and so the inerrancy champions have some serious explaining to do. If "Yahweh gave to Israel all the land of which He had sworn to give to their fathers" Joshua and if "they took possession of it the land and dwelt in it" Ibid. Bibliolaters who boast that prophecy fulfillment proves the divine inspiration of the Bible have a lot of explaining to do in the matter of Yahweh's failed land promises.
Another glaring prophecy failure happened in the case of Yahweh's promise to establish David's throne forever in an everlasting kingdom that would never be destroyed. This, like the land prophecy just discussed, was an unconditional promise stated in specific language.
Repeated several times in the Old Testament, it was first made in 2 Samuel Inerrantists will insist that this prophecy was fulfilled in Christ, who in a figurative sense now sits on the throne of David, but that interpretation presents too many problems. For one thing, if this was a prophecy concerning Christ, why did Yahweh say, "If he commits iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men and with blows of the sons of men"?
A cardinal doctrine of the New Testament is that Jesus was completely sinless. Obviously, then, the statement referred to the literal kingdom of David and to the descendants of David who would be capable of committing iniquity. In the same way that modern day zealots think that God is on the side of America, the prophets of Israel naively believed that God would see that the kingdom of Israel endured forever.
Bible fundamentalists like to point to "Messianic" prophecies like JeremiahProphecy Must Fulfil - Delroy Wilson - Prophecy Must Fulfil (Vinyl), where it was asserted that "David shall never lack a man to sit on the throne of the house of Israel," and insist that this prophecy was fulfilled in Jesus, a descendant of David who now sits upon the spiritual throne of David.
However, the very next verse in this passage says, " N or shall the priests, the Levites, lack a man to offer burnt offerings before Me [Yahweh], to kindle grain offerings, and to sacrifice continually. If so, in what sense? Certainly there are no Levitical priests standing before the temple altar today to offer burnt-offerings and meal-offerings to Yahweh continually, and there haven't been for centuries.
This whole passage, which incidentally is in a section that was not in the Septuagint translation, the version that the Holy Spirit presumably directed New Testament writers to rely on see "The Jeremiah Dilemma," The Skeptical ReviewAutumnpp. That the promise to establish David's throne forever was understood by the Old Testament writers in a strictly literal sense is clearly indicated in such passages as 1 Kings Prophecy Must Fulfil - Delroy Wilson - Prophecy Must Fulfil (Vinyl) time for the "fulfillment" of this statement came and the impending division of the kingdom was announced to Jeroboam by Ahijah the prophet, Yahweh again made it clear that at least part of the kingdom had to be preserved in order to keep his promise to David:.
Of the reign of Abijam in the southern kingdom of Judah after the division, it was said, "In the eighteenth year of King Jeroboam the son of Nebat, Abijam became king over Judah. He reigned three years in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Maachah the granddaughter of Abishalom. And he walked in all the sins of his father, which he had done before him; his heart was not loyal to Yahweh his God, as was the heart of his father David.
Nevertheless for David's sake Yahweh his God gave him a lamp in Jerusalem, by setting up his son after him and by establishing Jerusalem ; because David did what was right in the eyes of Yahweh, and had not turned aside from anything that He commanded him all the days of his life, except in the matter of Uriah the Hittite" 1 Kings Later, in the reign of Jehoram, a king of Judah in the days of Elisha the prophet, it was said that "he walked in the way of the kings of Israel, just as the house of Ahab had done So did Yahweh take the kingdom away from Judah because of Jehoram's iniquity?
No, the claim was that Yahweh could not do this because of the promise to David. Presumably, Yahweh delivered Jerusalem from a siege by the Assyrian king Sennacherib "for my servant David's sake" 2 Kings This statement was repeated in 2 Kings
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