Thursday, February 21, 2013

Circular Fulfillment

There was once a novel infamous among Evangelical Christians for portraying the Nazarene and his disciples as orchestrating events to fulfill his messianic ambitions. I have not bothered reading it because its plot seems implausible and seemed to presume more historical accuracy to the Christian Bible than I am willing to concede. Needless to say Christians were not at all impressed with the suggestion that the Nazarene fulfillment of Messianic prophecies where contrived.

Nevertheless there is at least one instance where the Nazarene did just that, as recorded in the account of the Nazarene's "Triumphal Entry" which he did so specifically to fulfill the prophecy of Zechariah 9:9. This is despite there being no significance to the event other than symbolic. The sole purpose was to make the Nazarene appear to be fulfilling the role of Mashiach.

There is another way this concept is significant. Take a moment to reflect on a typical chart of "Messianic Prophecies Fulfilled by the Nazarene". On the left side is usually a column with verses from the T'nakh of "prophecies". What is on the right side to indicate how the Nazarene fulfilled them? Quotes cited from the Christian Bible! Absent are independent sources to provide evidence of fulfillment. And even a very liberal acceptance of the extra Christian sources which "prove" the Nazarene existence could only provide the most general support for less than a handful of the "hundreds" of Messianic prophecies cited by Christians.

The “New Testament” is not independent document; it is the document which defines Christianity. What we have is missionaries and apologists telling us that we should believe in Christianity because Christianity says the Nazarene fulfilled the Messianic prophecies, not because he is objectively shown to have fulfilled them. So supposedly Messiah was predicted to be born in Bethlehem, the Nazarene was born in Bethlehem! How do we know? Christianity tells us!

And it is not that we aren't without reason to be suspicious that the accounts of the Nazarene fulfillment are fabricated.  Take the example of Zechariah 9:9 mentioned earlier.  As we will look at when we examine this verse Luke has the Nazarene riding in on a donkey in accordance with this verse. However Matthew has him riding two donkeys!! Apparently Matthew misunderstood the verse and adjusted the story accordingly. Or consider the case of Jeremiah 31:14(15) which Matthew uses as a proof text for Herod’s murder of all the infants in the area around the birth of the Nazarene. Yet despite this claim of widespread massacre, the account is totally missing from non-Christian accounts of Herod written around the time (or before) the Christian Bible that are not otherwise lacking in their description of Herod's atrocities.

The Nazarene is therefore Messiah because Christianity claims he is, or so goes the Missionaries approach when you break it down to its essential logic. He can only be said to have fulfilled Messianic prophecies by accepting the accounts of his followers whose own accounts seem to be based on making the Nazarene fit their idea of the Messianic role rather than to relating historical fact. We then only have general information from non-Christian sources, lacking any evidence to support Christianity’s theological claims, and partisan accounts which have not so subtle traces of doctoring the record to assure the desired outcome. Since it is these "fulfilled" Messianic prophecies that are the main evidence for the Nazarene being Messiah, there is no reason to accept Christianity based on "facts" which are only known from the very document which defines Christianity.

1 comment:

in the vanguard said...

How does one TWO donkeys? That's like driving two cars.