One could easily write a book on the topic of Old Testament prophecies and their fulfilment in the New Testament, but I will attempt to keep it short by focusing on a few examples only.
The author of Matthew based most of his Gospel on the fulfilment of Old Testament prophecies. There is ample evidence that he simply searched the Old Testament (with which the gospel writers were obviously very familiar) for prophecies or texts that he could use as prophecies and then ‘fulfil’ them himself in his version of the Jesus story.
Jesus were to be born from a virgin (Isaiah 7:14 vs Mat 1:18-25)
The first fulfilled prophecy is the following:
Isa 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
Mat 1:22 Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,
Mat 1:23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
There are two major problems here. The first is obvious. The NT baby was called Jesus and not Immanuel as prophesised. The second was that the word ‘virgin’ in this context is a Septuagint mistranslation of the Hebrew word ‘almah’ meaning ‘young girl’ into the Greek word ‘parthenos’ which usually means ‘virgin’ (Isaiah 7:14). The Hebrew word for ‘virgin’ is ‘betulah’. This implies that the virgin birth of Jesus is founded on a mistranslation. I took this up with my pastor, who of course denied it at first. Later, after consulting a few of his thick black books, he confirmed it. He assured me, however, that it is immaterial as young girls are supposed to be virgins anyway. (*blush*) The author of Matthew used this prophecy of Isaiah and created a virgin birth for Jesus in Matthew in order to fulfil it. Mark, the earliest of the Gospels and John, the latest, make no mention of such an event.
The slaughter of the innocents. (Jer 31:15 vs Mat 2:18)
The weeping of the woman in Jer 31:15 was all but a prophecy. She was weeping for her children who were carried off into exile and there is absolutely no connection between that and the slaughter of the innocents.
The so-called prophecy:
Jer 31:15 Thus saith the LORD; A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, and bitter weeping; Rachel weeping for her children refused to be comforted for her children, because they were not.
Jer 31:16 Thus saith the LORD; Refrain thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears: for thy work shall be rewarded, saith the LORD; and they shall come again from the land of the enemy.
Jer 31:17 And there is hope in thine end, saith the LORD, that thy children shall come again to their own border. (Unlike the slaughtered innocents, these were expected to return to their land)
And its ‘fulfilment’:
Mat 2:17 Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying,
Mat 2:18 In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.
Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey. (Zac 9:9 vs Mat 21:1-11)
Here the author of Matthew made an embarrassing but amusing blunder. He was an educated Greek but his Hebrew was not always up to scratch. There is a word in OT Hebrew that means ‘and’ but could in some instances mean ‘even’ to emphasize a point. The text in Zac 9:9 contains such an instance.
Zec 9:9 ... He is righteous and being victorious, humble, and riding on an ass, even on a colt, the son of an ass. (Literal Translation of the Holy Bible)
Mat 21:5 Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass.
Mat 21:6 And the disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them,
Mat 21:7 And brought the ass, and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set him thereon. (KJV)
What was supposed to read ‘on an ass or even a colt, the foal of an ass’ was translated by the author to read ‘on an ass and a colt, the foal of an ass’. He made Jesus ride into Jerusalem on an ass and a colt, which is nothing short of a circus act! This is evidence that the author was not recording an actual event in Matthew but was simply copying/translating from Zachariah, which implies that the event never took place.
The payment of Judas. (Zac 11:12,13 vs Mat 26:15, Mat 27:3-10)
The payment that Judas received for his betrayal of Jesus is another reason to believe that the story was merely copied from the Old Testament and never actually happened. Judas received 30 shekels of silver for his vile deed. The weighing off of silver as a means of payment had been done away with approx. 300 years prior to this supposed event. The people of Jerusalem were using two types of coins – Romans coins (Roman currency) and Temple coins (Jewish currency). You will remember that Jesus overturned the tables of the money changers in the Temple. It was forbidden to buy items like lambs, chickens and doves for the Passover with Roman currency. The function of the money changers was to exchange the Roman coins for Temple coins.
More proof of the use of coins at the time can be found in Mat 22:19-21. Jesus was asked whether it was right to pay taxes to Rome. Jesus asked for a coin.
Mat 22:19 Shew me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny.
Mat 22:20 And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription?
Mat 22:21 They say unto him, Caesar's. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's.
The weighing off of silver was brought into the story simply to ‘fulfil’ another prophecy by copying OT texts.
Then the author of Matthew became so caught up in the OT texts, that he made another blunder. He ‘fulfils’ a prophecy which he said was made by Jeremiah,
Mat 27:9 Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying, And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him that was valued, whom they of the children of Israel did value
Mat 27:10 And gave them for the potter's field, as the Lord appointed me.
but then quotes Zechariah instead of Jeremiah:
Zec 11:12 And I said unto them, If ye think good, give me my price; and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver.
Zec 11:13 And the LORD said unto me, Cast it unto the potter: a goodly price that I was prised at of them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the LORD.
Judas is the most hated man in the New Testament. Reading the story, however, I fail to see what he did that was so very wrong. There are numerous problems with the story.
Jesus made it very clear at the Last Supper that Judas would betray him. This should already have been enough reason for Judas to back off.
He openly walked up to Jesus and kissed him in order to point him out to the people. He could have betrayed Jesus anonymously by pointing him out from behind a shrub or a tree. For anyone to betray someone publicly in the way the Judas supposedly did, is plain stupid!
The best proof that this story is fiction lies in the following:
Luk 22:52 Then Jesus said unto the chief priests, and captains of the temple, and the elders, which were come to him, Be ye come out, as against a thief, with swords and staves?
Luk 22:53 When I was daily with you in the temple, ye stretched forth no hands against me: but this is your hour, and the power of darkness.
The last verse sums it up. There was absolutely no need for a betrayal. Jesus and his persecutors knew each other well.
What does this make of the author of Matthew? A dishonest, deceitful fraudster? Not at all. I still firmly believe that the gospel stories were not really regarded as factual and certainly not intended to be recorded history. The main issue was, and still should be, the message the stories convey.
As for the unwavering, inerrant Word of God? You decide.
Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.