Pat Robertson Prophecy Redux
[Update: Pat's 2007 Predictions commented on here]
This past spring I wrote a post regarding Pat Robertson's insane prediction of the Earth having weather:
"If I heard the Lord right about 2006, the coasts of America will be lashed by storms," Robertson said May 8. On Wednesday, he added, "There well may be something as bad as a tsunami in the Pacific Northwest." [Link here.]
It's now November, and how has the hurricane/tsunami weather situation progressed? Any day now, I expect Pat to come out and say that he did, in fact, hear the Lord wrong. My guess (prediction??) is, he will say something like, "Oops. No harm, no foul. All that Democrat electin' didn't arouse God's anger after all...." Although, in all fairness, Pat never did say when "God's Tsunami" would actually strike the great Northwest. So all you Seattleans keep your eyes peeled..
But I digress. My real reason for bringing this back up is that I just today received an anonymous comment regarding this very post. As it is anon, I have no qualms about bringing it out to the forefront and picking it apart for all (all 2 of you out there that is) to see.
I see your point. But where in Jesus' statement does he say that Jonas' experience was prophecy? He simply says that, just as Jonas was 3 days and 3 nights in the belly of the fish, so he would be that long in the grave. I could likewise say that, just as Martin Luther was born on November 10, I was also born on November 10. I wouldn't be implying that ML's birth date was prophetic of my own, just citing a similarity.If anyone cannot see the glaring logical flaw in this line of argumentation, then I do not know what to say. First let me requote Matthew 12:40 here:
"For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth" [NKJV]
Notice how Jesus is saying something about his future, not his past. That makes this a prediction. Now, I do recognize that we are mixing apples and oranges here; that Jesus' words are a prophesy, but that does not suggest that Jonah's events were a prophecy. The problem here is how one (a Christian) goes about using statements from the bible as prophecies. There have been many fundamental Christians who claim (as Matthew did in the first chapter of his gospel) that Old Testament passages were really prophecies of Jesus. So your beef, dear anonymous reader, is not with me, but with other fundamental Christians. Take that issue up with them. I am more than happy to wrote off all biblical prophesy as utter nonsense and totally unfulfilled.
The second part of your rebuttal is even more off the mark. To make any sort of comparison to this situation of Jesus in Matthew, you would need to draw a comparison to the death date of Martin Luther, and your (presumably future -- you are still alive I take it) death date. To call it a prophesy that you were born on the same day as someone means nothing, it has just as much value as saying you were not born on the same day as Charles Darwin. But to say that you will die on the same day as Martin Luther, is a very clear sign of prophesy.
Now, as to whether Jesus actually said that, I guess the question is whether you believe that Matthew was a liar. I don't. He was a Levite and a scribe, and I believe that he probably even took notes when Jesus spoke. And, as was the scribal tradition among Jews of his day, he would have been careful to be accurate. Or maybe you're one of those people who doesn't believe Matthew wrote his gospel at all. But then you'd be substituting the guesswork of "scholars" in the 18th century, who second-guessed the witness of history. I personally believe Irenaeus, who wrote at a time when people died for their faith, who studied under a disciple of John's, who had literally a life and death reason to ascertain the source and reliability of these testaments. And he wrote that Matthew wrote his gospel, Mark wrote the gospel taught by Peter, Luke wrote his, after careful investigation, and John, the last, wrote his while imprisoned at Patmos. I believe the scriptures contain internal evidence to that effect, and I seriously question the reliability of later "scholarship" by open skeptics bent on making a name for themselves by tearing down the faith.Anon, drifts quite a bit here, into territory not addressed by my original post. I made no arguments for or against the scholarship of Matthew, or relating to any other theologian's views regarding it (I merely pointed out that it was written decades after the fact). The reason is clear, it makes no difference at all whether I believe there really was a Jesus who said these things or not. What does matter (and in fact, all that matters here) is that Christians do believe this. They do believe that Jesus was real and did say these things. Or else they would not be Christian (in the conservative sense of the meaning of "Christian" not the liberal sense -- Mormons consider themselves Christian, as do Seventh Day Adventists and Jehovah's Witnesses, but fundamental/evangelical Christians do not consider them Christian at all). But let us go ahead and address his concerns anyway, just for the entertainment value.
He claims Matthew was a scribe. He then goes on to state his personal belief, that "[Matthew] probably even took notes when Jesus spoke" Fine. Where is even one shred of proof. I could retort to Anon by saying that I believe the Flying Spaghetti Monster personally guided the hand of Matthew to write such falsehoods. Whose claim has more validation in evidence? To anyone with any faculties of reason, they would say neither.
Further, my opinions on who wrote Matthew and when add nothing to the debate. For I am merely agruing from what is actually written in the bible. I simply use what is present in the bible, and believed by fundamental Christians as the foundation for our common discourse. It is a seperate debate altogether who wrote the Bible and when. To say nothing about the use and value of prophesy in the New Testament.
His next claim is, "I personally believe Irenaeus". Here is some information on who Irenaeus was, and when he lived (from the Catholic Encyclopedia online)
Information as to his life is scarce, and in some measure inexact. He was born in Proconsular Asia, or at least in some province bordering thereon, in the first half of the second century; the exact date is controverted, between the years 115 and 125, according to some, or, according to others, between 130 and 142. It is certain that, while still very young, Irenaeus had seen and heard the holy Bishop Polycarp (d. 155) at Smyrna. During the persecution of Marcus Aurelius, Irenaeus was a priest of the Church of Lyons. The clergy of that city, many of whom were suffering imprisonment for the Faith, sent him (177 or 178) to Rome with a letter to Pope Eleutherius concerning Montanism, and on that occasion bore emphatic testimony to his merits.
Notice the very first sentence, little is known of him, and his time of birth was sometime around 115 to 125. This puts hims roughly 100 years after the time of Jesus (taking into account the time to become old enough to study and write on the subject). To put this into modern context. This would be the equivalent of me going around saying that Joe Blow personally witnessed Joseph Smith's receipt of the golden texts from the angel Moroni, therefore, Mormonisn is indeniably true. In other words, Irenaeus offers us exactly zero proof of the validity of Matthew's claims. (Also please take strong notice once again that this claim is thoroughly pinned to Anon's own personal beliefs, not any actual evidence.)
Anon's final comment, though, is the most outrageous (even over and above all this, thus far):
Finally, if you are a Christian, then you must believe Jesus is deity incarnate. Why wouldn't he know what was about to happen? To doubt that would be rather silly, IMO.Two words, Jesus Seminar.
Silly. Funny, that is the very word I would use as well. I guess, it takes on a whole new meaning for the unknowing Christian masses, than it does for those who study up on the material all easily at hand.
Postscript: Let's reexamine Matthew 12:40. Jonas was in the fish's belly for "three days and three nights." How about Jesus? How long was he in the "heart" of the Earth? He died Friday morning, spent Friday day, Friday night, Saturday day, Saturday night, and Sunday morning in the grave. Is that three days and three nights? Add it up yourself. You will see for yourself that even the all-knowing deity Jesus couldn't count and was flat out wrong.