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The Big Picture

'Have you ever heard of Plato, Aristotle, Socrates? Morons.' -- Vizzini from "The Princess Bride"

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Post Christmas mockery of Rapture Ready

I have written about RaptureReady.com before. ButI have to admit, that this particular article takes the cake. Britt Gillette writes how Jesus' birth was an actual fulfillment of Old Testament prophesy. He gives 10 examples. The obvious problem is that they are either wrong flat out, or refer to something totally unrelated to Jesus. This is the classic example of midrash, the retelling of an old story to remake it into something new. Use an out-of-context Bible verse to make it mean something it has no possibility of meaning. And this is done by biblical literalists? Irony, it seems, has no limit.

This is the list of Ten prophecies:
1. The Messiah will be born in Bethlehem.
2. The Messiah will be a descendant of Judah.
3. Great kings will pay homage and tribute to the Messiah.
4. The Messiah will be a descendant of David.
5. The Messiah will be born of a virgin.
6. Children will be killed in an effort to kill the Messiah.
7. The Messiah will be taken to Egypt.
8. The Messiah will be the Son of God.
9. The Messiah will be anointed by the Holy Spirit.
10. The Messiah will bring light to Galilee.

Just looking at this list, does anything jump out at you? Anything at all? If I only looked at this list, I would say that an ironclad picture of a very specific person was depicted. I mean, THE Son of God, will be born of a virgin, be the descendant of Judah and David (even though Judad is a place and David is a person) in Bethlehem, be honored by kings who travelled far, go to Egypt to escape the massacre of ALL male children, only to return and be consecrated by the holy spirit and be the light of Galilee. That certainly seems very specific, don't you think?

I would have to say that it only refers to exactly one person, and that person is described in the Gospels as Jesus of Nazareth; Jesus Christ.

Here is another narrative. What if I were a writer in the first century, trying to propagate my new religion. I had a wealth of knowledge and lore at my fingertips in the holy writings of the Hebrews, and I was myself a Hebrew fighting for the freedom of my own people. I could easily fabricate a hero that fit all that, and write about him in a manner that would inspire my fellow Hebrews.

So which is correct?

Well, so much has been written about these so-called prophesies, that it makes little sense to repeat it all here. Dan Barker has written about this is in concise way in his book "Losing Faith in Faith"

I have debated within my mind how best to show just how flawed this entire prophesy story really is. The truth is that the Bible itself proves this whole prophesy wrong, all ten points. But I ask you, I ask all believing Christians, just how many of these prophecies must be shown to be wrong, before the story of Jesus is demonstrated to be nothing more than a made-up retelling and recycling of old biblical passages? Britt seems to think that ten is enough to prove that the story of Jesus is real. So is refuting these ten enough?

I hope so:
1: Britt writes: "The Messiah will be born in Bethlehem". This seems like a clear enough prophesy. And clearly when you read the Gospels it is fulfilled. But look at Britt's citation. He uses the NLT (New Living Translation) a modern language translation (rather like the bible claiming Jesus actually said to his disciples, "hey, dudes, listen to your bra... I know what I'm talking about") Britt's quote:

“But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, are only a small village in Judah. Yet a
ruler of Israel will come from you, one whose origins are from the distant
Micah 5:2 (NLT) [actual link to NLT added by me]

Here it is in the KJV:

But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting [Micah 5:2 KJV]

Notice the difference? We went from thousands of Judah in the KJV to a "small village" in the NLT. Now do you really think that there were thousands of small villages in Judah? Certainly thousands of people makes more sense. And Bethlehem Ephratah was a person in the Old Testament, not a place. He is listed in the Chronology of Kings even. So how does a person in the Old Testament become a town after the time of Jesus, and this be considered prophesy?

2: "“The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from his descendants, until the coming of the one to whom it belongs, the one whom all nations will obey.” Genesis 49:10 (NLT)" [Again I add the link to the NLT because Britt fails to do so]. So what about KJV?

The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people [Gen 49:10 KJV]
Shiloh? Why is King James talking about a specific person, Shiloh, and not Jesus? Only by removing the specific reference to a very specific person, not Jesus, can this verse be made into a prophesy of Jesus. I guess here we have proof that lying for the benefit of Jesus is good and holy.
For if the truth of God hath more abounded through my lie unto his glory; why yet am I also judged as a sinner? [Rom 3:7 KJV]

Paul says that lying for the sake of God is good. Here we see that ignoring that this was a specific passage written about a specific person, Shiloh, is twisted and recast as a prophesy of Jesus. Maybe Jesus' middle name didn't start with the initial 'H' and was actually 'Shiloh'.

3. Even Britt's quote for this shows him to be wrong:

“The western kings of Tarshish and the islands will bring him tribute. The
eastern kings of Sheba and Seba will bring him gifts.” Psalm 72:10-11 (NLT)
[again, I added the link]

Does the Gospel mention anyone from the west bringing gifts? No. Only from the east.
Wrong is wrong, and if the west did not bring gifts then it is wrong. I don't even need to show why the quote is skewed and how it talks of something specific other than the Son of God. And I don't need to show the KJV quote either. This one speaks for itself as to its flaw. (Post Script: see Matthew 2:1-2) If east and west actually means east, then anything can mean anything: atheist means God-worshipper and Christian means Satanist. Sorry but making this fit the story is simply a lie, plain and simple.

4: “He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!” Luke 1:32-33 (NLT) [Again I add the missing link...]

Who knew that Israel calls Jesus Christ the king of Israel? (oh, and here is KJV of that passage)

5. The Messiah will be born of a virgin.
“All right then, the Lord himself will choose the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel – ‘God is with us.’” Isaiah 7:14 (NLT)
And KJV:
Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

Unfortunately, this was fulfilled in Isaiah's time, by Isaiah himself. At least according to him.

6. Children will be killed in an effort to kill the Messiah.
“This is what the Lord says: ‘A cry of anguish is heard in Ramah – mourning and weeping unrestrained. Rachel weeps for her children, refusing to be comforted – for her children are dead.” Jeremiah 31:15 (NLT) [I added the link, surprised?]

This passage is a bit different. It clearly refers to something in its current time period. But more importantly, in the time of Jesus, nothing outside the Gospel is ever mentioned of any killing of Hebrew children, not in any historical source at all, be it Roman, Jewish, or Christian.

If even the early Christians ignore this as significant, then what value can it have as historical proof of prophecy? Especially given that the original Old Testament passage refers to a specific event that transpired.

7: “When Israel was a child, I loved him as a son, and I called my son out of Egypt.” Hosea 11:1 (NLT) [The obvious, I produced the link]

I guess the fact that this passage refers to Moses and the exodus means nothing. The fact that only Matthew mentions Jesus being in Egypt and all the other New Testament writers ignoring this seemingly important fact also means nothing. Funny how a reference to a specific thing can much later be picked up by a lone writer and reinterpreted to not be about what it was specifically written about, but actually be about something that no one else guessed it was about, and that makes it factual and real.

Amazing. Amazing how prophecy works. I guess Isaac Newton when he wrote about gravity, was actually prophesying about the current Iraq war. He was a great seer after all.

I don't even need to go to other translations to show how wrong this is.

8. The Messiah will be the Son of God.
The second psalm, recorded approximately 1,000 years before Jesus, prophesied that the Messiah would be the Son of God:
“The king proclaims the Lord’s decree: ‘The Lord said to me, ‘You are my son. Today, I have become your Father. Only ask, and I will give you the nations as your inheritance, the ends of the earth as your possession.”
Psalm 2:7-8 (NLT) [surprise! I gave the link]

King James again makes it a bit clearer:
7I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.
8Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.

Apparently, Jesus only became the inheritor at this point in time, and before this he wasnot in possession of all. But I guess then agian, it is entirely logical for a god to be all-powerful and the source of creation, but yet not actually possess that which he created. But as I am not a theologian, I guess that explains why I cannot understand how one can be perfect and all-powerful at the same time as not even possessing one's own creation.

9. The Messiah will be anointed by the Holy Spirit.
“And the Spirit of the Lord will rest on him – the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and fear of the Lord.” Isaiah 11:2 (NLT) [my link really]

Notice any changes?:
2And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD; [KJV]

First I linked to the entire chapter of Isaiah. But more importantly notice how "spirit" is not capitalized? Isn't it odd that the third "person" of the Trinity is not even honored with having His (Its?) name capitalized? After all, the LORD is completely capitalized.

Secondly, the entire chapter speaks of something other than the life and times of Jesus. Since all those other things did not happen, then what can be said about this lone "prophecy" in verse 2? Not to mention that if I were one third of the Most Holy Trinity of The Godhead, the Holy Spirit, I would want at least the first letter of my name capitalized. Then again, the Holy Ghost was always the most unassuming member of the Trinity, not appearing in the story until the New Testament.

10. The Messiah will bring light to Galilee.
“Nevertheless, that time of darkness and despair will not go on forever. The land of Zebulun and Naphtali will soon be humbled, but there will be a time in the future when Galilee of the Gentiles, which lies along the road that runs between the Jordan and the sea, will be filled with glory. The people who walk in darkness will see a great light – a light that will shine on all who live in the land where death casts its shadow.” Isaiah 9:1-2 (NLT) [You guessed it]
This one is probably the most egregarious. The light of Galilee? What does Jesus himself say in the gospels?:
But Jesus, said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house. [Mark 6:4 KJV]
Double negative aside, Jesus is saying that a prophet is shunned in his own countryside, Galilee. So what sense does it make to say that Jesus was the light of Galilee and was shunned by Galilee?

The two passages are congruent, they both speak of light. But they diverge critically. With Jesus, they see the light and reject it. But in Isaiah, they see the light and... multiply.

6For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

7Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and
with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.

I just wonder, is Israel a Christian Nation? If not, then Jesus is not promised ruler of Israel. But I suppose I am not looking at the bigger picture; that Jesus was not intended to be the ruler of Israel, but the ruler of the the world, and only in the sense that He was to be the Ruler of Christendom. I guess that puts me into the failed company of all the Old Testament Prophets who called for a new King of Israel.

No matter how you spin it. No matter what translation you claim. No matter how much you lie for Jesus. The truth always bears you out. And the truth is simple. There was nothing which prophesied Jesus before his time. Rewriting and midrash do not make a fictional story true after the fact.

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At January 10, 2008 11:32 AM, Anonymous slashnull said...

The differences between the two bibles is really quite telling. It's amazing how much changes when you translate an old text with a pre-existing idea of what it's meant to say.

At January 25, 2008 8:12 PM, Blogger The Rev. Jenner J. Hull said...

Anything from the OT that's puported to offer "prophecy" is, essentially, contemporary commentary on the issues the writer faced AT THAT TIME.

The "prophets" of the OT weren't soothsayers or fortune tellers with a window to the future. They were men who told parables and stories that related to, exclusively, the people within their own lifetimes or slightly thereafter. They offered social commentary and nothing more.

More specifically, not a single OT writer was talking about Jesus, or Christians, or America, or anything within the last two thousand plus years.

What's sad is that any honest, respectable Biblical scholar will tell you exactly what I've said. Only the ignorant fundies and bullshit evangelicals will tell you different.

At January 31, 2012 2:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe people had better do some fact finding before agreeing with what this scholar says. Even rudimentary reading of greek and hebrew words and meaning shows how little you and anyone who agrees with you knows. And your terrible display of taking verses out of context shows the beginning of how cults begin.

It's sad that Christians are accused of being ignorant when by the sounds of it neither you or the readers who like your post, even understand what your reading. Yet you speak as if you have knowledge.

Make no mistake I don't defend rapture ready, that site is a cult. And serves as an example of what happens when people use Christ for there own egos. But I do want to point out your limited knowledge. I would post the errors but I've found it better to let the reader who wants to learn find it for themselves, there are those who don't want to learn so why waste the time.

If you do want to research this for yourself I suggest Strong's Concordance with Hebrew and Greek Lexicon. Or my favorite the Complete WordStudy dictionary.


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