foretold the coming of the Messiah. Really?
This is a reply from Ann Broomhead to a Christian on the
E-Net. Previous to this the Christian had given a list of
prophecys fulfilled in the birth of Christ. Here is Ann's very
In .8 you gave a list of prophecies which you said foretold the
coming of the Messiah, whom you identified as Jesus Christ. I
have several problems with this list.
First, however, what is "typology"? I know what typography is,
and what topology is, but not that. (And I certainly hope that it
doesn't refer to the use of capitalization in the Old Testament.)
I suppose the best way to cover your list is in the order given.
1. He would become offspring of a woman
Charles, you do realize that this is not an astounding revelation,
don't you? Judaism is indeed patriarchal, but it is not devoid of
all sense on that account! Eve is the acknowledged mother of Cain
and Abel, but that doesn't make one of them the Messiah. King
Solomon is given as the son of Bathshua, and fulfills your
prophecies 3 through 8, but that doesn't make him the Messiah
Let me tell you a few things about the story of Eve and the
serpent. For one thing, the date 1450 bce is wrong. It is wrong
by about a thousand years. Genesis was one of the last books of
the Bible to be written down. Second, the image of the woman, the
tree, and the serpent is far older than the Bible; I have a
picture showing this combination that is dated to 2330-2150 bce.
The Bible version is a reworking of the elements to conform to the
worldview of the Jews. If you keep in mind that the enemies of
the Jews worshipped a Goddess who had a serpent for a consort, and
whose priestesses handled venomous snakes in their religious
rituals, you will easily grasp why the Jews wished to teach that
"good" women had nothing to do with serpents.
Now, the explanation you give for "he shall bruise your head and
you shall bruise his heel." is certainly ingenious, but it is
wrongheaded, and blatantly ex post facto. After all, when a
poisonous serpent fangs someone in the ankle (which is the only
way such a small creature could "bruise" a heel), that someone is
liable to die. Further, if a man clubs a snake over the head on
soft ground, it may well have no effect beyond bruising. Snakes
don't have much brain to scramble, after all.
But it does explain the byplay between the "Fat Broad" and the
snake in the "B.C." comic strip.
2. He would be born of a virgin and called Immanuel
The term "almah", which Christians persist in translating as
"virgin" means *only and always* "a young woman". "Bethulah"
means virgin. The prophecy is trying to convey the idea of, well,
"a nice Jewish girl"; i.e., a woman who is married young, and who
promptly produces a boy as her first offspring, with no false
starts. (This contrasts with Sarah, for example.)
Jesus isn't called Immanual. Nor is his name called Immanual.
(C.f., the name of the Hartford Science Fiction Society is called
Fred.) Immanual means "God is with us" but Jesus means "God is
salvation". It is not the same.
Now Jesus fulfills the first part of the prophecy begun in Isaiah
7:14, but so do a few zillion other people. But he does not
fulfill the second part of the same verse, nor the REST of the
prophecy, which is that before he is old enough to eat solid food,
"the land before whose two kings you are in dread will be
3. He would be a descendent of Abraham
It would be absolutely astonishing if the Savior of the Jews was
*not* a descendent of Abraham. This is not a prophecy; it is only
a truism. Also, the verse can (and should) be taken to refer to
the Jewish people, who, according to the Bible, were created to be
"a light unto the nations".
4. He would be a descendent of Isaac
Since Isaac is a descendent of Abraham, this subsumes 3.
5. He would come out of Jacob
Since Jacob is a descendent of Isaac, this subsumes 4.
6. He would belong to the clans of Judah and a descendent of Judah
Since Judah is a descendent of Isaac, this subsumes 5.
7. He would be a descendent of Jesse
Since Jesse is a descendent of Judah, this subsumes 6.
8. He would come out of David and be a descendent of David
Since David is a descendent of Jesse, this subsumes 7.
So let us look at the published ancestry of Jesus, and the
published descent of David:
According to Luke 3:31, we have ..."the son of Melea, the son of
Menna, the son of Mattatha, the son of Nathan, the son of
David"... and according to I Chronicles 3:1 "These are the sons of
David..." and in verse 5 "These were born to him in Jerusalem:
Shimea, Shobab, Nathan..." (The same as in II Samuel 5:14.)
So far so good. But it ends there. There is no indication that
Nathan had any children. (Nathan of Zobah had a son, Igal, but
that is a different Nathan (II Samuel 23:36). There was a Nathan
in the court of Solomon who had two sons, Azariel and Zabud, but
since Zabud was a priest, that means that Nathan was of a priestly
line, and not a son of David (I Kings 4:5).)
Looking to Luke 3:27, we read ..."the son of Joanan, the son of
Rhesa, the son of Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, the son of
Neri"... and to I Chronicles 3:17-19, we find references to both
Zerubbabel and Shealtiel, but Zerubbabel is the son of Pedaiah,
the younger brother of Shealtiel, and the father of Shealtiel is
Jeconiah, not Neri, and the sons of Zerubbabel do not include a
Rhesa. This is a strike out.
Let us try the alternative geneology in Matthew 1:2-16. This
matches up with I Chronicles 3:1-24, until we reach Matthew 1:8-9:
"... Joram the father of Uzziah, 9 and Uzziah the father of
Jotham..." In Chronicles, the only son of Joram listed is Ahaziah,
whose only listed son is Joash, whose only listed son is Amaziah,
whose only listed son is Azariah, whose only listed son is Jotham,
and now we are back on track -- after dropping three generations
of the royal family, and misstating one. In verse 11, we lose
Jehoiakim between Josiah and Jeconiah. In verse 12, Matthew makes
the same mistake about the relationship about Zerubbabel and
Shealtiel that Luke makes. In verse 13, we depart from the
geneology of Chronicles entirely.
Interestingly, Matthew shows only 10 generations from Zerubbabel
(born circa 570 bce) to Joseph, whereas Luke has 19 generations.
The two even disagree on the identity of Joseph's father; he is
Jacob to one and Heli to the other.
Lastly, since Christians claim that Joseph is *not* the father of
Jesus, his geneology is singularly unimportant to these prophetic
claims. Only that of Mary should be, and it isn't given.
9. He would be born in Bethlehem
Actually, since his parents lived in Nazareth before he was born,
and since he was raised in Nazareth, there is a school of thought
which holds that he was born in Nazareth.
Also, since Micah 5:2 refers to "Bethlehem Ephrathah, ... among
the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth..." it is referring
to the *lineage* of Bethlehem Ephrathah, not the *location*, and I
have already demonstrated that, taking Christian beliefs into
account, we know *nothing* about the lineage of Jesus.
10. Wise men or kings from the east will come to the child Christ
and present Him with gifts.
You point to a reference to "the kings of Seba and Sheba", which
are from the *south* of Judea and Israel, so kings from the *east*
would not fulfill the prophecy. Magi are usually priests of
Mithra, but the term can also be used to refer to healers, miracle
workers, and astrologers. (Also, see .9.) They are never kings,
so their putative presence does not fulfill any prophecy.
Let's look at the full verses: Psalms 72:10-11 is "May the kings
of Tarshish and of the isles render him tribute, may the kings of
Sheba and Seba bring gifts! May all kings fall down before him,
all nations serve him!" Tarshish? The isles? Their kings
weren't around at the birth of Jesus, were they? And what of the
use of the subjunctive "may"? This isn't a prophecy at all. It's
a wish, like "O King! live forever!"
Isaiah 60:6 says "A multitude of camels shall cover you, the young
camels of Midian and Ephah; all those from Sheba shall come. They
shall bring gold and frankincense, and shall proclaim the praise
of the Lord." Camels? I recall no miracle of well-behaved
camels. Proclaim? I don't recall the Magi doing that, either.
Jesus doesn't match this verse at all well. And there is the
matter of the myrrh.
There is no number 11.
12. He would come out of lowly background and be despised
This directly contradicts the direct descent from David, King of
Israel, doesn't it? Also, as a carpenter, raised as the son of a
carpenter, he had an upper-class background, and a skilled and
highly-respected profession. Carpenters didn't just slam boards
on posts, y'know, they were stonemasons, and decorative carvers
too. (This should make the reference to publicans and prostitutes
Also, since *any* prophet is without honor in his own land, anyone
claiming to be a prophet is going to be despised by someone; it
comes with the territory, and is more a truism than a prophecy.
13. He would be in Egypt before returning to Israel
If Jesus had been raised in Egypt, and only left there out of a
strong compulsion to return to his homeland, I might believe that
"out of Egypt I called my son" referred to him. As it is, it
clearly refers only to the Exodus.
14. Children will be slaughtered by Herod because of his fear of
the rise of another King.
The verse Jeremiah 31:15 says "... A voice is heard in Ramah...
Rachel is weeping for her children..." You say that Ramah is
between Bethlehem and Jerusalem. It is not. It is four miles
northwest of Anathoth, which in turn is north of Jerusalem, while
Bethlehem is south of Jerusalem. Ramah is between *Nazareth* and
Jerusalem, but so is just about everything else in Judea, since
Nazareth is so far north, and does nothing for an undocumented
massacre in Bethlehem.