Monday, February 11, 2013
When Christians cite a verse that is actually Messianic they often run into a problem. All though there is a particular part that they want to apply to the Nazarene, there is usually another part that the Nazarene clearly hasn't fulfilled. This is usually likened by them to one who sees the top of two mountains but is unable to see the valley in between.
Beyond the natural difficulty in a unsupported span of two thousand plus years appearing out of nowhere in the middle of a verse one must note another difficulty. Michael Brown (in his appendix to Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus, vol. 3) likens this to prophecies of the ingathering of the exiles which began with the return from Babylon, continues today, and will have ultimate fulfillment in the Messianic era. Though I’m not certain that we could suggest another clear prophecy which lends itself to such a notion of continued fulfillment, nor am I certain that we can locate verses which truly speak of the return from exile in such broad terms to include both the Babylonian Exile and our current exile, there remains still another difficultly with incompletely fulfilled Messianic prophecies. While we supposedly see individual verses which describe the "first" and "second" coming in one verse, we do not see those which describe the "suffering Messiah" and the "victorious Messiah" in a single prediction. When part of a prophecy clearly applies to a Messianic era not yet realized, the “fulfilled” part is consistently of secondary importance such as the Messiah’s tribal affiliation or so forth (see also Vague).
The point is this. Regarding the unfulfilled Messianic prophecies Christians explain that they refer to the second coming when the Nazarene will come as King. But in his first coming Messiah was supposed to suffer, and those concerning the "first coming" are the ones he fulfilled. But although we have "first coming" prophecies supposedly mixed in with King Messiah prophecies we never see predictions of suffering mixed in with the description of the Mashiach gathering the Exiles and rebuilding the Beith HaMikdash (Jerusalem Temple) and so forth. I also suspect that we will find that it is difficult to reconcile the fulfillment of these prophecies with the apocalyptic picture of the future presented in the Book of Revelation and other portions of the Christian Bible, making it doubtful that these will be truly fulfilled according to Christianity. A “Partially Fulfilled” prophecy remains an unfulfilled prophecy.