Monday, February 26, 2007

Another Installment in the Theodore Drange AFTB Series

Christological Genealogies
"(2) Jesus was claimed to be a (bodily or blood) descendant of David (Ro 1:3), but it is unclear how that could be. According to both Matthew and Luke, Mary's husband Joseph was a descendant of David (though they disagree about the exact genealogy, as discussed below). However, both Matthew and Luke deny that Joseph was Jesus's father, so their genealogies of Joseph (Mt 1:2-16, Lu 3:23-38) should not be regarded as genealogies of Jesus. Matthew erred when he called it that (Mt 1:1)." See my genealogy post.

Does "Almah" Mean "Virgin?"
"(1) The Hebrew word "almah" which is used in the Isaiah verse does not mean "virgin" but "young woman". It is correctly translated in the Tanakh, the Revised Standard Version, the Revised English Bible, and the New Jerusalem Bible, but is incorrectly translated by the King James Version, the New International Version, and the New American Bible. It is also incorrectly translated by Matthew, who probably relied upon the incorrect translation in the Septuagint. There is another H g ebrew word, "bethulah", which definitely means "virgin." Since a virgin birth is such an extraordinary event, presumably Isaiah would have used that other word if indeed he really meant to say that the woman is a virgin."
See here.

Immanuel Is The Messiah
(2) The sign mentioned in the Isaiah verse pertains to a specific woman, known to both speaker and listener (believed by many historians to be Isaiah's wife), who is already pregnant, not some unspecified woman who is to become pregnant. The correct translation (from the Tanakh) reads "Look, the young woman is with child and about to give birth to a son." It was a sign given to Ahaz, the king of Judah, in the eighth century B.C. regarding some events in what was then the immediate future. It had nothing to do with the Messiah or with events in the far distant future.
This was not about Isaiah's wife [Is 8:1-4]; neither did Ahaz's son have the characteristics of Immanuel. This was an expressly messianic prophecy [Is 9:6-7], and since Palestine = the land of Immanuel [Is 8:8] = the land of Yahweh [Is 14:2,25; 47:6; Hos 9:3; Jer 2:7; 12:14], Immanuel is God incarnate.

Is Immanuel the Proper Name of Jesus?
(3) Part of the sign to King Ahaz was that the child will be named "Immanuel." Since that name means "God with us", it was supposed to show Ahaz that God was on his side. But, despite Matthew's unreasonable claim that Jesus would be named "Immanuel" (Mt 1:23), Jesus was not named "Immanuel," but rather "Jesus" (as Matthew himself declared at 1:25).
Jesus is called Immanuel; it is His title, for He is "God with us" in the mystery of the Incarnation and His messianic role as a member of the house of David.
"(2) Matthew claims (27:9-10) that the purchase of the potter's field had been prophesied by Jeremiah, but there is absolutely nothing about that in the Book of Jeremiah, and that is why the passage from Zechariah is usually appealed to instead. It was perhaps a slip of the pen by Matthew.
(3) However, the translation of the relevant part of Zec 11:13 in the Tanakh just reads "I took the thirty shekels and deposited it in the treasury in the House of the Lord." There is no reference there to throwing the money, nor is there any reference to a potter or to a "potter's field". So the alleged prophecy in Matthew does not appear in Zechariah either. It seems to be a figment of Matthew's imagination."
See here.
10. Did Potiphar buy Joseph from Midianites? Ge 37:36 (From Ishmaelites) Ge 39:1
The two are interchangeable.
12. Were Levites to begin to serve at age 30? Nu 4:30 (Age 25) Nu 8:24
Nu 4 simply says to not count the ones under 30, not that younger ones didn't serve, perhaps because of a period apprenticeship.

How Did David Kill Goliath?
14. Did David kill Goliath with a sling + a stone? 1Sa 17:50 (With a sword) 1Sa 17:51
Young St. David mortally wounded Goliath with the sling and stone [1 Sa 17:50] and then decapitated him with a sword [1 Sa 17:51].
18. Did Saul enquire of God? 1Sa 28:6 1Ch 10:13-14
He did, but 1 Chr 10:13-14 means that he did so insincerely.

How Did Saul Die?
19. Did Saul die by his own hand? 1Sa 31:4-5 (By an Amalekite) 2Sa 1:4-10; (By Philistines) 2Sa 21:12; (By the Lord) 1Ch 10:14
Saul committed suicide [1 Sa 31:4-5] after being defeated in battle by Philistines [2 Sa 21:12]; an Amalekite lied that he killed Saul [2 Sa 1:4-10]; the Lord engineered Saul's death [1 Chr 10:14].
21. Did David take 700 horsemen from Hadadezer? 2Sa 8:4 (It was 7000.) 1Ch 18:4
22. Did David kill 700 Syrian charioteers? 2Sa 10:18 (It was 7000.) 1Ch 19:18
Scribal error.

How Many Horse Stalls?
28. Did he have 40,000 stalls for his horses? 1Ki 4:26 (Only 4000) 2Ch 9:25
Scribal error in 1 Ki; only 4000 stalls.

When Did Ahaziah Become King?
33. Did Ahaziah become king in the 12th year of Joram? 2Ki 8:25 (It was the 11th year.) 2Ki 9:29
He gained partial control in the 11th year but gained full control in the 12th year after Joram died from his illness.
37. Did 775 descendants of Arah return from exile? Ezra 2:5 (It was 652.) Ne 7:10
[Note: there are dozens of other discrepancies between the lists in Ezra 2 and Nehemiah 7. Yet it seems to be the very same census, since their totals agree (Ezra 2:64-65, Ne 7:66-67).]
This has to do with differences in date and other factors; see here and here.
38. Did Jesus descend from David through David's son Solomon and grandson Roboam? Mt 1:1-7 (Through David's son Nathan and grandson Mattatha) Lu 3:23,31
Already addressed in "Matthean and Lukan Genealogies."

Color of the Robe of Jesus
62. Did the soldiers clothe Jesus in scarlet (the color of royalty)? Mt 27:28 (It was purple, the symbol of infamy.) Mk 15:17
Purple was the type of dye [cf. Acts 16:14] which resulted in scarlet fabric.

Long Lives in Genesis
"(14) Chapter 5 of Genesis has humans living more than 800 or 900 years. But we know that humans do not live anywhere near that long." Anti-supernaturalistic bias.
St. Jonah in the Whale
"(26) According to Jonah 1:17, 2:10, a man lived for three days inside the belly of a fish (or a whale, according to Mt 12:40), but that is impossible." More anti-supernaturalistic bias - though Jonah did die and was resurrected.

Star of Bethlehem
"(27) According to Mt 2:9, a star moved in the sky until it was directly over the town of Bethlehem, but we know that that is impossible." It was neither a physical sun nor a comet, but the glorious local manifestation of YHWH's presence.

The Massacre of the Holy Innocents
"(28) According to Mt 2:16, Herod had every child in the region killed who was under three years old, but there is good historical evidence that such an event never occurred." See here.

Demonic Possession ≠ Mental Illness
"(29) According to the Bible, [20] the cause of mental illness and various infirmities is possession by devils. But today we know that mental illness and infirmities have a different cause." Lots of skeptics use this canard, but they fail to show that the incidents of demonic possession are mere mental illnesses. See here and here.


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