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The Church Courtyard => Non-Catholic Discussion Subforum => Topic started by: Xavier on December 04, 2018, 07:24:33 AM

Title: Messianic prophesies: proof of God's foreknowledge and Providence.
Post by: Xavier on December 04, 2018, 07:24:33 AM
This is for Daniel and others doubting or enquiring into the Faith. It is a historical fact that the Patriarchs and Prophets awaited the pre-announced coming of the promised Messiah for 1000s and 1000s of years. God had already promised Christ would come one day, and the Prophets began to foretell more and more explicitly what Christ would accomplish and Who this Messiah would be. He would (1) be Himself the sacrificial Lamb atoning for all sin (2) He would be a light to all Gentile (non-Jewish) nations, though of the stock of David (3) He would be the Son of God, the Lord of David (4) He would institute a sacrificial Priesthood that would perpetuate His offering forever (5) He would even have to come at the fore-announced time, when the Temple was still standing (6) shortly after He came, animal sacrifice in Jerusalem would cease (7) He will establish a New Covenant; and much much more.

How do non-Christians explain this? Below are just some out of dozens of prophesies.

10. (Isaias 53:5, circa 700 B.C.) [Christ's Sacrifice, Death and Atonement]"[5] But he was wounded for our iniquities, he was bruised for our sins: the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and by his bruises we are healed ... He was offered because it was his own will, and he opened not his mouth: he shall be led as a sheep to the slaughter, and shall be dumb as a lamb before his shearer, and he shall not open his mouth." This prophesy, the fourth of the four Suffering Servant Prophesies in "the most evangelical of the Prophets", is a clear prophetic foretelling of the sacrificial death and atonement of the Messiah. He would be Himself the Paschal Lamb and offer Himself as the most perfect Sacrifice in atonement of all sin.

9. (Isa 49:6-7, circa 700 B.C.) [Christ as Light of the Gentiles/Universality of the Church] "[6] And he said: It is a small thing that thou shouldst be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to convert the dregs of Israel. Behold, I have given thee to be the light of the Gentiles, that thou mayst be my salvation even to the farthest part of the earth. [7] Thus saith the Lord the redeemer of Israel, his Holy One, to the soul that is despised, to the nation that is abhorred, to the servant of rulers: Kings shall see, and princes shall rise up, and adore for the Lord's sake, because he is faithful, and for the Holy One of Israel, who hath chosen thee." A self-evident description of the universal spread of the knowledge of God and of His Suffering Servant.

8. (Psa 109:1-4, circa 1000 B.C.) [Son of God is the Lord of David/Priest like Melchizedech] "[1] The Lord said to my Lord: Sit thou at my right hand: Until I make thy enemies thy footstool. [2] The Lord will send forth the sceptre of thy power out of Sion: rule thou in the midst of thy enemies. [3] With thee is the principality in the day of thy strength: in the brightness of the saints: from the womb before the day star I begot thee. [4] The Lord hath sworn, and he will not repent: Thou art a priest for ever according to the order of Melchisedech." The Lord proves from this prophesy that the Messiah is to be God, not a mere human king, but the Son of God and the Lord of David. Also, after His Sacrifice, we begin to see here that the Messiah will institute a new and exalted Priesthood, of the order of Melchizedech, Who long ago in Genesis had appeared to Abraham and offered a Sacrifice to God most High under the form of Bread and Wine. Abraham received this great King and Priest with utmost reverence, Who is a figure of Jesus Christ.

7. (Dan 7:13-15, circa 550 B.C.)[Son of Man receives universal dominion from the Father] [13] I beheld therefore in the vision of the night, and lo, one like the son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and he came even to the Ancient of days: and they presented him before him. [14] And he gave him power, and glory, and a kingdom: and all peoples, tribes and tongues shall serve him: his power is an everlasting power that shall not be taken away: and his kingdom that shall not be destroyed. [15]" Here the wise Prophet Daniel, loved and sought after by kings because of the powerful Spirit of prophesy in him, foretells that all authority in Heaven and on earth will be given to the Son of Man , and all peoples from every tribe and tongue will serve the Son of Man, Who has Power, and Glory (another practical proof of His Divinity and Incarnation), from the Ancient of Days.

6. (Dan 9:25-26, circa 550 B.C.)[Prophesied time of Messianic advent; destruction of Temple] [25] Know thou therefore, and take notice: that from the going forth of the word, to build up Jerusalem again, unto Christ the prince, there shall be seven weeks, and sixty-two weeks: and the street shall be built again, and the walls in straitness of times. [26] And after sixty-two weeks Christ shall be slain: and the people that shall deny him shall not be his. And a people with their leader that shall come, shall destroy the city and the sanctuary: and the end thereof shall be waste, and after the end of the war the appointed desolation. This prophesy is cited in the Christmas Liturgy, it requires a little familiarity with the Hebrew Scriptures which speak of 7 year periods as a week. It is mentioned by Josephus and others, and the Jews of Christ's time knew the fulfilment of the time spoken of by the Prophet Daniel was near. It means Christ would have come and been slain within about 483 years (69*7) after Artaxerxes' decree to rebuild Jerusalem, which was around 450 B.C. After this, the Temple would be destroyed, as the Lord also said, and which came about less than 40 years, after He was crucified in Jerusalem under Pontius Pilate. Josephus is also a witness to all these things, that John the Baptist was a Prophet, that St. James/Jacob was martyred out of hatred against Christ, and that also because of this, the Temple was finally destroyed in 70 A.D. at Roman hands.

These should be sufficient proofs, provided a person is seeking the truth and of good will, (1) to show any Jew that Jesus is the Jewish Messiah (2) to show any Muslim that Jesus the Christ is truly Divine, and was foretold as such by Prophets whom they accept (like Moses, Abraham, David, Solomon etc) (3) finally, to show any pagan whomsoever that Jesus could only have fulfilled these prophesies if He was truly divine (how could anyone have arranged for Himself to come at the right time, also to die in sacrifice publicly, then have those of every tribe serve Him etc if He were not God?)
Title: Re: Messianic prophesies: proof of God's foreknowledge and Providence.
Post by: Xavier on December 11, 2018, 07:51:15 AM
Continued from earlier ...

In Pope St. Pius X's Oath against Modernism, we read, "I accept and acknowledge the external proofs of revelation, that is, divine acts and especially miracles and prophecies as the surest signs of the divine origin of the Christian religion and I hold that these same proofs are well adapted to the understanding of all eras and all men, even of this time."

It is hoped that a prayerful consideration of the below will lead our non-Christian friends to see, that the Holy Father is right; and, Jesus Christ prepared the way for His own coming from Heaven, and so is True God.

5. (Dan 2:44-45, circa 550 B.C.) [Divine Origin/Indestructibility of the Catholic Church] "But in the days of those kingdoms, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never by destroyed, and his kingdom shall not be delivered up to another people: and it shall break in pieces, and shall consume all these kingdoms: and itself shall stand for ever. According as thou sawest, that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and broke in pieces the clay and the iron, and the brass, and the silver, and the gold, the great God hath shewn the king what shall come to pass hereafter, and the dream is true, and the interpretation thereof is faithful. This prophesy receives it fulfilment when Jesus Christ, the God of Heaven, gave the Keys of His Kingdom to St. Peter, to loose and bind on earth. "And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven." (Matt 16:18-19)

Let us recall the pagan king was so astonished at the powerful Spirit of prophesy in Daniel that he practically worshipped Daniel; because the Prophet did what none of the diviners of Babylon were able to do - he told the king both the dream itself (the king had refused to disclose the dream but asked for someone able to tell both the dream and the interpretation), "Then the Chaldeans answered before the king, and said: There is no man upon earth, that can accomplish thy word, O king; neither doth any king, though great and mighty, ask such a thing of any diviner, or wise man, or Chaldean." (verse 10) and finally, in the end, "Then king Nabuchodonosor fell on his face, and worshipped Daniel, and commanded that they should offer in sacrifice to him victims and incense. And the king spoke to Daniel, and said: Verily, your God is the God of gods, and Lord of kings, and a revealer of hidden things: seeing thou couldst discover this secret." (verse 47) The holy Prophet Daniel taught this pagan Nabuchodonosor, "The secret that the king desireth to know, none of the wise men, or the philosophers, or the diviners, or the soothsayers, can declare to the king. But there is a God in heaven that revealeth mysteries" and by degrees led him to believe in the One True God. Later on, the king would confess, "The most high God hath wrought signs and wonders towards me. It hath seemed good to me, therefore, to publish His signs, because they are great: and his wonders, because they are mighty: and his kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and his power to all generations." (3:99-100)

4. (Gen 49:10, circa 1700 B.C. by the Patriarch Jacob) [Messiah will come before Juda has lost all its authority] "The sceptre shall not be taken away from Juda, nor a ruler from his thigh, till he come that is to be sent, and he shall be the expectation of nations." This prophesy was made by the Patriarch Jacob, grandson of Abraham. Fr. Haydock gives an excellent summary of how both Jews and Christians have understood the Messiah's coming to be foretold in this passage, and we recall that at the time when Our Savior was to be put to death, the Pharisees said, " It is not lawful for us to put any man to death." (Jn 18:31); it is certain, then, that by this time when Pontius Pilate was ruler of Judea, as Tacitus and other Roman historians also record, that Juda had lost its power fully; therefore, it is certain that Messiah has come. That is also why many of the scribes of Jesus' time were eagerly anticipating and expecting at any time the coming of the Messiah. But they did not recall He was to be an atoning Sacrifice first before He came as conquering King; thus, they unfortunately failed to recognize Him; but, it is written, the Jewish Nation will return to Christ and believe in Him before the end.

3. [Gen 3:15, circa 5200 B.C., by God Himself in the Garden of Eden, the Woman by Her Seed will crush the Serpent's Head] "I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel." Here, a wondrous prophesy that the Messiah would be the Seed of the Woman, already implying He would be God, and born of a Virgin, as Isaias (7:14) and other Prophets would later more explicitly foretell. That by the Messiah and His Mother the serpent and its seed would be crushed and the curse of sin destroyed. Later, partial fulfilments of the same can also be seen in how the Mother of God crushed serpent-worship and infanticide in Guadalupe.

2. [Psa 15:10, 1000 B.C. The Holy One of the Lord will enter Hades, and return] "Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; nor wilt thou give thy holy one to see corruption." This prophesy was cited by St. Peter, Prince of the Apostles, in the New Testament, showing it was necessary for the Holy One of the Lord to descend into hell before ascending from the tomb into heaven; the deliverance of the patriarchs from limbo is also thus made known, for the souls of all will be assumed up after the coming of the Messiah to see God face to face. After these and several other exhortations, 3,000 Jews believed in Jesus and were baptized into the Church that first day of Pentecost by the Apostolic preaching. Later on, St. Paul and the other Apostles would adduce these and other proofs, on account of which very many leading Rabbis were converted; even Gamaliel became a Christian.

1. (Mal 1:11, circa 400 B.C.) [Institution of the Holy Sacrifice/Mass in the Universal Church] "For from the rising of the sun even to the going down, my name is great among the Gentiles, and in every place there is sacrifice, and there is offered to my name a clean oblation: for my name is great among the Gentiles, saith the Lord of hosts." An astonishing prophesy of a universal Sacrifice that has an even more astonishing fulfilment in the Catholic Church. The Fathers point out this Sacrifice (especially after the Temple fell in 70 A.D. and old testament animal sacrifices ceased) is manifestly fulfilled only in the Catholic Church. Fr. Lasance, writing about a 100 years ago, gives a wonderful commentary on this prophesy of Malachias.

There are beside these very simple prophesies in the New Testament, the Mother of God saying "behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed." (Luk 1:48). An amazing prophesy with a more amazing fulfilment in the Catholic Church. Any serious non-Christian or inquirer into Christianity should consider how Mary could have so confidently proclaimed this, and how it indeed it came true, if She were not truly the Virgin Mother of God. Similarly, and equally confidently, the Lord Jesus Christ declares His Gospel will be proclaimed in all the nations, while as yet it was believed in only by few. And that too has come true, as of course it would. "And this gospel of the kingdom, shall be preached in the whole world, for a testimony to all nations" (Mat 24:14)

Quote
“And when the Angelus bell is ringing at noon in New York, the unbloody Sacrifice is being offered up in the islands of the Pacific, where there are generous souls laboring for our dear Lord. And so the bells are ringing on, on, over the waters, and one taper after another catches the light of faith, making glad all the isles of the sea. At two the zealous missionaries of Australia are murmuring with haste, eager for the coming of Our Lords: “Introibo ad altare Dei.” And all the spicy islands of the East catch the sweet sounds, one after another, till at four in the afternoon China proves there are many souls who are worthy of the name of celestial by their rapt devotion at the early rite. Then in Tibet there is many a modest chapel where the missionary distributes the Bread of Life to a crowd of hungry souls.

“At six the altars of Hindustan, where St. Francis Xavier ministered, are arrayed with their flowers and lamps and the sacred vessels, and unwearied priests are hastening to fortify their souls before him Who is their life and their strength. At nine in Siberia, where many a poor Catholic exile from Poland has no other solace from his woes but the foot of the altar and the Bread of Heaven. During the hours when New York is gay with parties and balls and theatrical amusements, the holiest of rites is going on in the Indian Ocean and among the sable tribes of Africa, whose souls are so dear to the Saviour Who once died for all. At eleven in Jerusalem, the Holy City over which Jesus wept, where He wrought so many miracles, where He suffered and offered Himself a sacrifice for the whole world.

“When midnight sounds again in New York, the silver bells are tinkling again in every chancel in Rome. And so it goes on; the divine Host is constantly rising like the sun in its course around the earth. Thus are fulfilled the words of the prophet Malachias [1:11]: ‘From the rising of the sun even to the going down thereof, My name is great among the Gentiles; and in every place there is sacrifice, and there is offered to My name a clean oblation: for My name is great among the Gentiles, saith the Lord of hosts.’”

“Not an instant of time passes that Mass is not offered, and the Host not adored. Talk of an Empire on which the sun never sets, of the British reveille drum ever beating as our planet revolves on its axis and the day chases night around the globe; what is that to the unending oblation of the Catholic Church? What moment is not a priest’s voice uttering ‘Te igitur, clementissime Pater!’ What moment is not counted by the bell which announces the silent and invisible coming of their God to prostrate adorers in some quiet sanctuary, in Europe, or in Asia, or in America, in the Atlantic cities or in the woods of Oregon, in the Alps or on the Andes, on the vast terra firma all along the Meridians or on the scattered islands of the sea?”
Title: Re: Messianic prophesies: proof of God's foreknowledge and Providence.
Post by: Michael Wilson on December 11, 2018, 08:13:28 AM
Xavier,
 thanks for posting the above; very good.
Title: Re: Messianic prophesies: proof of God's foreknowledge and Providence.
Post by: Gardener on December 11, 2018, 09:33:09 AM
Don’t forget Wisdom 2.
Title: Re: Messianic prophesies: proof of God's foreknowledge and Providence.
Post by: Quaremerepulisti on December 11, 2018, 11:05:20 AM
You're simply taking Catholic doctrine, retrofitting it to vague Scriptural passages, calling it "prophecy", and then (circularly) claiming such prophecy "proves" Catholic doctrine.  Then, anyone who doesn't accept your arguments is clearly not seeking the truth or not of good will.

This isn't intellectually rigorous and hardly compelling for an unbeliever, no matter what St. Pius X may have thought about it, or what he strong-armed people into accepting.  You will only accept such passages as prophecy if you have already accepted the Catholic faith.

Title: Re: Messianic prophesies: proof of God's foreknowledge and Providence.
Post by: Xavier on December 12, 2018, 01:14:22 AM
Thanks, Gardener. Wisdom 2 is an amazing prophesy; our Protestant friends lack it. Thanks, Michael. It would be great if we could here on SD produce an article or a pdf ebook of some kind with about 100 of these Messianic prophesies, which in every age since the Apostles have helped millions of Jews and pagans to come to Christ.

St. Justin pointed out some of these things to Trypho, and as a result several Jews became Christians. "Tabory concludes, "An examination of the rabbinic evidence… seems to show that in Jerusalem the Jewish paschal lamb was offered in a manner which resembled a crucifixion" ... "For the lamb, which is roasted, is roasted and dressed up in the form of a cross. For one spit is transfixed right through from the lower parts up to the head, and one across the back, to which are attached the legs of the lamb. (Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho the Jew, 40). (Pitre, p. 63-4).https://qmbarque.com/2014/04/10/first-century-jews-and-the-paschal-sacrifice-why-lamb-of-god-should-mean-far-more-to-us/ The Lamb was sacrificed on a stake like a Cross! Oh wow!

Dr. Brant Pitre, Catholic convert, highlights other important things about the Paschal Lamb of Sacrifice; Almighty God taught the people of Israel that it is only blood that makes atonement for sin. He showed them by various types that the Lamb of God was one day to atone for sin by a perfect Sacrifice. This is closely related to the Melchizedech Priesthood, that perpetuates this sacrificial offering in every place.

Thus, we see Christ is truly the Paschal Lamb, Who was killed on a stake in a manner resembling crucifixion, and sacrificed on Nisan 14 or Passover, and had none of its bones broken; then, its flesh was given as food to the faithful, that they may have life. Thus Our Lord is Agnus Dei, the Lamb of God. The Messiah would be a great High Priest Whose Priests continue to offer the salvific Victim for all time.

Well, Quare, not everyone is favored with the grace of a mystical experience in order to come to Christ! Let us take just one prophesy to begin with, Isaiah 53.

I can show you Jewish Rabbis themselves that admit Isaiah 53 is a prophesy of the Messiah as Suffering Servant and Lamb of God. There are Four Suffering Servant Prophesies in the Prophet Isaiah and they describe King Messiah's teaching, mission, labors, suffering, death, sacrifice, atonement, intercession for sinners and final Triumph. Chapter 53 in particular has led to innumerable conversions. The Rabbis speak of Moshiach ben Yosef (The Messiah, Son of Joseph! - even the Patriarch Joseph in the old testament is considered a figure of the Messiah - he was thrown into a pit and left for dead, but miraculously raised up to the King's right Hand, and ruled from there as Sovereign equal to Pharoah); other Rabbis speak of Moshiach ben David, a second manifestation of the Messiah they don't fully understand. Sometimes, our friends who are Jews misunderstand that these are not two separate Messiahs but 2 manifestations of the One Messiah: The Suffering Servant Who becomes the Ruling King at the Right Hand of the Father, after He is Resurrected from the Dead.

1. 1st Century Rabbi Shimon Ben Yochai states: “The meaning of the words ‘bruised for our iniquities’ [Isaiah 53:5] is, that since the Messiah bears our iniquities, which produce the effect of his being bruised, it follows that whoso will not admit that the Messiah thus suffers for our iniquities, must endure and suffer them for them himself.“

2. 16th century Moshe Aschich declares, “[our] Rabbis with one voice, accept and affirm the opinion that the Prophet [Isaiah in 53] is speaking of king Messiah."

This can be read in Adolf Neubauer, The Fifty-Third Chapter of Isaiah: According to Jewish Interpreters (New York: KTAV Publishing House, 1969), p. xl.
and Rachmiel Frydland, What the Rabbis Know about the Messiah: A Study of Genealogy and Prophecy (Clarksville, MD: Messianic Jewish Resources International, 2002), p. 53. https://jewsforjesus.org/publications/issues/issues-v20-n01/rabbis-skeptics-and-the-suffering-messiah/

3. Twelfth-century Jewish scholar Ramban (Nachmanides) says the Redeemer is the Messiah:

“Yet he carried our sicknesses, being himself sick and distressed for the transgressions which should have caused sickness and distress in us, and bearing the pains which we ought to have experienced. But we, when we saw him weakened and prostrate, thought that he was stricken, smitten of God. The chastisement of our peace was upon him – for God will correct him; and by his stripes we were healed.“[3]

The mystical Zohar records:

4. “The children of the world are members one of another. When the Holy One desires to give healing to the world, he smites one just man amongst them, and for his sake heals all the rest. Whence do we learn this? From the saying, “‘He was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities“‘ (Isaiah 53:5)” (Numbers, Pinchus, 218a).

5. "The 17th century Jewish historian, Raphael Levi, admitted that long ago the rabbis used to read Isaiah 53 in synagogues, but after the chapter caused “arguments and great confusion” the rabbis decided that the simplest thing would be to just take that prophecy out of the Haftarah readings in synagogues. That’s why today when we read Isaiah 52, we stop in the middle of the chapter and the week after we jump straight to Isaiah 54 ...

https://www.oneforisrael.org/bible-based-teaching-from-israel/inescapable-truth-isaiah-53/

"The prayers for Yom Kippur, the ones we all know also relates Isaiah 53 to the Messiah. The prayer added for Yom Kippur by Rabbi Eliezer around the time of the seventh century: “Our righteous Messiah has turned away from us we have acted foolishly and there is no one to justify us. Our iniquities and the yoke of our transgressions he bears and he is pierced for our transgressions. He carries our sins on his shoulder, to find forgiveness for our iniquities. By his wounds we are healed.”
Title: Re: Messianic prophesies: proof of God's foreknowledge and Providence.
Post by: Lynne on December 12, 2018, 06:58:08 AM
I found this...

https://faculty.gordon.edu/hu/bi/ted_hildebrandt/OTeSources/23a-Prophets/Text/Books/Delitsch-MessianicProphecies/Delistch-MessianicProphecies.pdf (https://faculty.gordon.edu/hu/bi/ted_hildebrandt/OTeSources/23a-Prophets/Text/Books/Delitsch-MessianicProphecies/Delistch-MessianicProphecies.pdf)
Title: Re: Messianic prophesies: proof of God's foreknowledge and Providence.
Post by: Quaremerepulisti on December 12, 2018, 08:00:58 AM
Well, Quare, not everyone is favored with the grace of a mystical experience in order to come to Christ! Let us take just one prophesy to begin with, Isaiah 53.

I can show you Jewish Rabbis themselves that admit Isaiah 53 is a prophesy of the Messiah as Suffering Servant and Lamb of God.

I'm sure you can.  So what?
Title: Re: Messianic prophesies: proof of God's foreknowledge and Providence.
Post by: Michael Wilson on December 12, 2018, 08:14:47 AM
Quare,
 I once had a discussion with an agnostic about the Daniel prophecy; I don't recall him dismissing it as circular reasoning or stating that it wasn't significant; maybe he was on his way to the faith.
Title: Re: Messianic prophesies: proof of God's foreknowledge and Providence.
Post by: Quaremerepulisti on December 12, 2018, 01:43:58 PM
Quare,
 I once had a discussion with an agnostic about the Daniel prophecy; I don't recall him dismissing it as circular reasoning or stating that it wasn't significant; maybe he was on his way to the faith.

The coming of the Messiah was (and is) a Jewish belief.  Therefore it isn't surprising that some Jews would have written about it.

Attempting to use that as proof that the Messiah actually did come is ridiculous.
Title: Re: Messianic prophesies: proof of God's foreknowledge and Providence.
Post by: Michael Wilson on December 12, 2018, 01:56:16 PM
I don't follow your logic.  If someone admits that the Jewish prophecies are valid, then they are very useful to prove that the Messiah has actually come or not. In the case of the Daniel prophecy, the time fits pretty closely (depending on the date of Cyrus' reign) with the appearance of Our Lord. It can also be used to exclude a date latter than say a very short time span, within the first C.
The same for the prediction by one of the latter prophets, that the Messiah would walk in the second temple. this would exclude the arrival after the destruction of said temple in 70 A.D.
Title: Re: Messianic prophesies: proof of God's foreknowledge and Providence.
Post by: Quaremerepulisti on December 13, 2018, 09:14:43 AM
I don't follow your logic.  If someone admits that the Jewish prophecies are valid, then they are very useful to prove that the Messiah has actually come or not.

Yeah, but there's that "if".  One won't accept the Jewish prophecies as valid unless he first accepts that the Messiah has come, based on other things besides those prophecies.

The logic is that a proposed prophecy cannot be proof of something if knowledge of that very something is necessary to prove the validity of the prophecy.  One has to come epistemologically before the other.

Quote
In the case of the Daniel prophecy, the time fits pretty closely (depending on the date of Cyrus' reign) with the appearance of Our Lord. It can also be used to exclude a date latter than say a very short time span, within the first C.
The same for the prediction by one of the latter prophets, that the Messiah would walk in the second temple. this would exclude the arrival after the destruction of said temple in 70 A.D.

But note that you're already accepting Our Lord did appear at that time and using that to argue the validity of the prophecy.  There's nothing wrong with that.  I do the same.

As for the timeline, the unbeliever will say that of course the "Jesus myth" was concocted later on to match the timeline of the prophecies, and so the match of the timeline in the so-called "prophecies" proves nothing.  He will also point out that the Isaiah prophecy has it that "he will open not his mouth" when He clearly did speak.  You have to argue, based on other evidence besides the prophecies, that Jesus really is the Messiah.  Now, if other evidence is needed, the prophecies are not proof in and of themselves.
Title: Re: Messianic prophesies: proof of God's foreknowledge and Providence.
Post by: Michael Wilson on December 13, 2018, 03:13:12 PM
Quare,
true as far as the agnostic or atheist; but the Jew has an inextricable dilemma of explaining how the Jesus or somebody like the promised Messiah has not arrived already. From what I have read, this problem has lead most Jews to abandon the idea of a personal Messiah, and substituted it for a "Messianic era".
 
Title: Re: Messianic prophesies: proof of God's foreknowledge and Providence.
Post by: Kreuzritter on December 13, 2018, 05:45:37 PM
You're simply taking Catholic doctrine, retrofitting it to vague Scriptural passages, calling it "prophecy", and then (circularly) claiming such prophecy "proves" Catholic doctrine.  Then, anyone who doesn't accept your arguments is clearly not seeking the truth or not of good will.

This isn't intellectually rigorous and hardly compelling for an unbeliever, no matter what St. Pius X may have thought about it, or what he strong-armed people into accepting.  You will only accept such passages as prophecy if you have already accepted the Catholic faith.

...

Yeah, but there's that "if".  One won't accept the Jewish prophecies as valid unless he first accepts that the Messiah has come, based on other things besides those prophecies.

The logic is that a proposed prophecy cannot be proof of something if knowledge of that very something is necessary to prove the validity of the prophecy.  One has to come epistemologically before the other.

My, my, you sophist

You will only accept such passages as prophecy if you have already accepted the Catholic faith - you and whose crystal ball, Mr. armchair cognitive psychologist? I see you've mastered that, too, alongside your intensive studies in mechanics, chemistry, paleontology, genetics and theology. Did I miss any area of expertise?

One can accept the Jewish prophecies as accurate from the the conviction, based in a rational investigation and judgment, that the historical person Jesus of Nazareth existed and actually met their conditions after they had been written, provided one doesn't dismiss a priori the possibility of prophecy like a good little "metaphysical naturalist". Messianic arguments have, in fact, convinced Jews and others and springboarded conversions to at least the rudiments of the creeds, so you're simply wrong, and that's that. Unfortunately, fundamentalist Evangelicals seem to be better at it these days than Catholics, since they haven't embraced the pseudoscience of German Biblical criticism and dismissed supernaturalism as impolite for public conversation, like most Catholics.

Don't you have somewhere to be? Like a meeting at the local Humanist Society?



Title: Re: Messianic prophesies: proof of God's foreknowledge and Providence.
Post by: Xavier on December 15, 2018, 11:40:17 AM
As we prepare to celebrate Christmas, here's a reference to Daniel's prophesy in the Christmas Liturgy, "in the 65th week according to the prophecy of Daniel, in the 194th Olympiad, in the 752nd from the foundation of the city of Rome, in the 42nd year of the reign of the Emperor Octavian Augustus, in the 6th age of the world, while the whole earth was at peace, Jesus Christ, Himself Eternal God and Son of the Eternal Father, being pleased to hallow the world by His most gracious coming, having been conceived of the Holy Ghost, and when nine months were passed after His conception, [all kneel down] was born of the Virgin Mary at Bethlehem of Juda made Man, Our Lord Jesus Christ was born according to the flesh." https://sspx.org/en/news-events/news/spanning-east-and-west-christmas-liturgy

 There's another thread for the historical evidence that Kreuz and Quare are discussing. Josephus, Tacitus and many others confirm the Gospel biographies that tell us Jesus Christ was crucified under Pontius Pilate. Oxford scholars wrote an article a while ago dating the crucifixion, with historical and even astronomical evidence (Pilate's term was around 26 to 36 A.D. so that already narrows it down) to 33 A.D., Nisan 14 - or April 3rd in our Christian Calendar.

Prophesy, as was said, only presupposes two basic historical truths like (1) Jesus Christ was crucified under Pilate around A.D. 33 (A.D. 30 is the only other suggested date within Pilate's term, but it wouldn't matter here), and (2) the Old Testament prophecies were recorded well into the B.C. era long before Christ; these are two historical facts, they are almost universally admitted by historians, and they can be proved historically. If anyone wants to discuss that, please go to the "Secular testimonies that Jesus Christ was crucified under Pontius Pilate" thread. Great Roman historians like Tacitus, the official biographer of the Roman emperors, confirm that the leader of the Christians, Christus, was crucified under Pontius Pilate, when Tiberius was emperor. We know when Pilate was procurator and Tiberius was emperor and the rest is not that hard at all to date historically. Secularist historians have said, "That Jesus was crucified is as certain as anything historical can ever be". If therefore anything at all in history is certain, it is certain Jesus died under Pontius Pilate.

Jesus Himself cited the Psalm to the Pharisees and asked them why David called the Messiah Lord? They could not answer. St. Paul, a Pharisee as we know before his conversion, and learned in the law, used to always begin preaching in the Synagogues, from the Prophets. And no one was able to answer him, and very many converted. We have evidence Gamaliel himself became a Christian.

It's estimated something like 5/6ths of the Jews in the Roman empire became Christian in a few hundred years after Christ. The evidence from prophesy is very strong. Often, it even convinced pagans, that the God Who did these things had both sent the Prophets and become Incarnate in Our Lord Jesus Christ.

11. Wis 2:12-21 [Trials and Traps set for the Just Son of God; His betrayal, death and Final Vindication] "[12] Let us therefore lie in wait for the just, because he is not for our turn, and he is contrary to our doings, and upbraideth us with transgressions of the law, and divulgeth against us the sins of our way of life. [13] He boasteth that he hath the knowledge of God, and calleth himself the son of God. [14] He is become a censurer of our thoughts. [15] He is grievous unto us, even to behold: for his life is not like other men's, and his ways are very different.[16] We are esteemed by him as triflers, and he abstaineth from our ways as from filthiness, and he preferreth the latter end of the just, and glorieth that he hath God for his father. [17] Let us see then if his words be true, and let us prove what shall happen to him, and we shall know what his end shall be. [18] For if he be the true son of God, he will defend him, and will deliver him from the hands of his enemies. [19] Let us examine him by outrages and tortures, that we may know his meekness and try his patience. [20] Let us condemn him to a most shameful death: for there shall be respect had unto him by his words. [21] These things they thought, and were deceived: for their own malice blinded them.

12. Isa 59:19-21 (The Redeemer comes to Zion! Great Grace and forgiveness of sins in the New Covenant) "[19] And they from the west, shall fear the name of the Lord: and they from the rising of the sun, his glory: when he shall come as a violent stream, which the spirit of the Lord driveth on: [20] And there shall come a, redeemer to Sion, and to them that return from iniquity in Jacob, saith the Lord.[21] This is my covenant with them, saith the Lord: My spirit that is in thee, and my words that I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed's seed, saith the Lord, from henceforth and for ever." (This is cited in Vatican I, as proof of the perpetual guidance of the Holy Spirit promised to the Church - also confirmed expressly by Christ Our Lord; this promise proves the old law is not perpetual, but to be replaced by a new and everlasting covenant)

13. Jer 31:31-34 (God confirms His promise of a New Covenant, and abundant forgiveness of sins)[31] Behold the days shall come, saith the Lord, and I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Juda: [32] Not according to the covenant which I made with their fathers, in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt: the covenant which they made void, and I had dominion over them, saith the Lord. [33] But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel, after those days, saith the Lord: I will give my law in their bowels, and I will write it in their heart: and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. [34] And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying: Know the Lord: for all shall know me from the least of them even to the greatest, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.

14. Psa 44:7-8 (The Redeemer is true God, and annointed (the word for Christ literally means Annointed One) a Great King, Perfect in Beauty)  [7] Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of thy kingdom is a sceptre of uprightness. [8] Thou hast loved justice, and hated iniquity: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.

15. Mic 5:2 (Christ is God and will be born in Bethlehem) [2] AND THOU, BETHLEHEM Ephrata, art a little one among the thousands of Juda: out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be the ruler in Israel: and his going forth is from the beginning, from the days of eternity.

The odds of any individual other than Jesus Christ ever fulfilling even a few of these prophesies are vanishingly low. Someone who lived barely 50 years after or before Him would not have been able to. No mere man would willingly die on a Cross like a sacrificed lamb, and then hope to be worshiped as God by people of all nations, nor could that ever have come about. The “coincidences” are just too great – just like the “coincidences” in God’s fine-tuning and creation of the universe. And so, as the Church rightly teaches God’s existence is known and can be demonstrated from nature and creation, deduced from the effects visible, so also Christ’s divine acts, His miracles and His fulfilment of prophesy, and His own prophesies – of the destruction of Jerusalem and the universal spread of Christianity – can be known to be true through their effects, and therefore seen to be signs of His divine mission. The prophecies cited are like “fingerprints” of the Messiah. It would be almost impossible for anyone else to fulfil them. In fact, no one in recorded history ever has, or ever will. Only Jesus Christ has. He is the Son of God and the promised Saviour of the human race.
Title: Re: Messianic prophesies: proof of God's foreknowledge and Providence.
Post by: Gardener on December 15, 2018, 03:45:43 PM
Eucharistic prefigurements:

http://wiki.lighthousecatholicmedia.org/images/f/f6/Jesus_and_the_Jewish_Roots-_updated.pdf
Title: Re: Messianic prophesies: proof of God's foreknowledge and Providence.
Post by: Xavier on December 17, 2018, 10:20:34 AM
Thanks to Lynne and Gardener for the references.

16. Isa 40:3 (The Messiah is to be preceded by a Precursor – John the Baptist was not coincidental) "[3] The voice of one crying in the desert: Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the wilderness the paths of our God." : the scribes knew this prophesy well and St. John the Baptist - whose ministry is also recorded in Josephus and other historical sources - cited it to them to show them that the foretold time of the Messianic advent had come.

17. Mal 3:1 (The Lord Himself will come suddenly and unexpectedly as a Messenger to the Temple; to be read along with the passage in Isaiah, as the promise of the Precursor is here confirmed once more) "[1] Behold I send my angel, and he shall prepare the way before my face. And presently the Lord, whom you seek, and the angel of the testament, whom you desire, shall come to his temple. Behold he cometh, saith the Lord of hosts." The promise of a Precursor and the assurance that the time of the Messiah draws near.

18. Isa 7:14 (As a sign, Immanuel, i.e. God with us, will be born of a Virgin – the Incarnation of the Word is foretold) [14] Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign. Behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel. - this prophesy is cited by St. Matthew the Apostle, regarding the Virgin Birth of Christ to His Virgin Mother Mary. It was already pre-announced in Gen 3:15, which has been called the Proto-evangelium, since it implies God will be born as the Seed of the Woman without a human father; then the Messiah, by His Mother, would crush the Serpent's head. In Isa 66:7-8, the promise of a miraculous birth is confirmed, "[7] Before she was in labour, she brought forth; before her time came to be delivered, she brought forth a man child. [8] Who hath ever heard such a thing? and who hath seen the like to this?" in a prophetic figure referring to the mystical city of God, Who is our Immaculate Virgin Mother Mary.

19. (Isa 9:1-2) (The Light of Christ will shine forth from Galilee) At the first time the land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephtali was lightly touched: and at the last the way of the sea beyond the Jordan of the Galilee of the Gentiles was heavily loaded. [2] The people that walked in darkness, have seen a great light: to them that dwelt in the region of the shadow of death, light is risen. - the scribes of Jesus' day had clearly overlooked this prophesy, and looked down on Gentiles in general. They had forgotten that great things were promised for the Gentiles and to the land that had been in darkness, that a great Light would arise upon them. The Prophet Isaiah who foretells the gathering of the Gentiles by Christ also foretells a special promise to Galilee. Nazareth was a city of Galilee (Luc 1:26). The prophesy is mentioned by St. Matthew in the Gospel. (Mat 4:16)
 
20. Zech 13:1 (The fountain of regeneration that is Holy Baptism is here foretold in the Prophets) "On that day a fountain will be opened to the house of David and the residents of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and impurity."

As there are so many prophesies and prophetic foreshadowings of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and of the Eucharistic Presence in the Church, so Baptism and the other Sacraments were foretold. In the old covenant, it was very difficult to obtain forgiveness of sins; circumcision was necessary before Baptism was instituted. God foretells that in a fountain of water, all sins will be washed away. St. Paul seems to be citing this when he relates, “Rise up, and be baptized, and wash away your sins” (Acts 22:16), showing the power of the Sacraments left to the Church to remit sin, and regenerate the soul.

No mere man could have done and accomplished so much – a new Priesthood, new rites for forgiveness of sins, a new universal Sacrifice offered everywhere from dawn to dusk etc - certainly not any man who died on a Cross but remained dead. Jesus Christ did it because He is God and rose again.

In the Prophet Isaiah itself, God often says He fore-announces events well in advance, so that at least after those wondrous things have come to pass, no one may any longer waver in doubt, weakness, unbelief, and double-mindedness, but come to firm and constant faith and fidelity to Him.

In another thread, we saw St. Montfort mention that helping a sinner to come to God and receive Him is in a certain sense an infinite good, since it allows one who was perishing to receive the infinite God and be saved. It is hoped that by a study of these Messianic prophecies, (1) greater interest in studying the Scriptures in general will be kindled. (2) the Faith of Christians will be confirmed, strengthened and increased, and finally (3) serious non-Christians will study more carefully the life and Person of Jesus Christ, leading them to find eternal salvation and endless happiness in Him and in His Church. God bless.
Title: Re: Messianic prophesies: proof of God's foreknowledge and Providence.
Post by: Xavier on December 18, 2018, 05:15:22 AM
Quote from: Kreuzritter
One can accept the Jewish prophecies as accurate from the the conviction, based in a rational investigation and judgment, that the historical person Jesus of Nazareth existed and actually met their conditions after they had been written, provided one doesn't dismiss a priori the possibility of prophecy

Agreed, Kreuzritter. Thanks. St. Justin Martyr, an early Christian and Church Father, who was formerly a pagan philosopher, became a Christian largely for this reason. He explains some of it in the work cited earlier, "Dialogue with Trypho the Jew" http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0128.htm - From the study of philosophy, he (and others) had clearly come to the conclusion that there was one Supreme God; he recounts that he met an elderly Christian who told him that only the God Who spoke to Moses had revealed Himself as the One Supreme God, Who created all there is, and had done this centuries before the Greek philosophers arrived at the same conclusion; and that while the philosophers were only speculating, and had not seen or known God as He truly is, the Prophets had seen Him as He is and known Him by revelation. And, according to His promises, the God Who spoke to the Prophets had become Man and fulfilled all the promises made to the Patriarchs.

So, here, we have a path out of the errors of paganism to the Truth of Christianity (1) First, the fact that reason and philosophy proves clearly that God is One; this fact refutes all religions that deny God is one, and shows them to be false; and as a corollary, it is at the least a very strong indicator that the God Who spoke to Abraham, to Moses and the Prophets is the true God, for only this God taught and revealed the same Truth clearly, and emphasized it consistently; and all this many centuries before philosophy discovered it,(2) Second, St. Justin easily decided between Judaism and Christianity, which both teach there is one God, because of the Prophecies.

Similarly, Islamism too can be excluded, since the prophecies clearly show the Messiah will be divine. Islamism also denies the crucifixion, and that is both a historical fact and attested to by the Prophets.

Thus, Jews, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists and others who seek the Truth can easily come to Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the God Who from Heaven taught the Prophets that God was one. And Who became incarnate in the fullness of time, as both Priest and Sacrifice, to atone for and expiate all sin.

Beside the historical testimonies from even Jewish, pagan and secularist historians, the fact of the crucifixion and the sufferings of Christ are attested by many artifacts like the Shroud of Turin, the Sudarium Christi, and the Veil of Veronica, which are on display in various churches around the world.

21. Isa 50:6 (The Lord's Servant struck on His cheeks and body without cause) I have given my body to the strikers, and my cheeks to them that plucked them: I have not turned away my face from them that rebuked me, and spit upon me.

22. Lam 3:28-30 (He has taken it onto Himself to suffer for His people) "[28] Jod. He shall sit solitary, and hold his peace: because he hath taken it up upon himself. [29] Jod. He shall put his mouth in the dust, if so be there may be hope. [30] Jod. He shall give his cheek to him that striketh him, he shall be filled with reproaches."

23. Psa 21:7-10; 13-19 (The Lord’s annointed overwhelmed with sorrows; hated without cause) [7] But I am a worm, and no man: the reproach of men, and the outcast of the people. [8] All they that saw me have laughed me to scorn: they have spoken with the lips, and wagged the head. [9] He hoped in the Lord, let him deliver him: let him save him, seeing he delighteth in him. [10] ... Many calves have surrounded me: fat bulls have besieged me. [14] They have opened their mouths against me, as a lion ravening and roaring. [15] I am poured out like water; and all my bones are scattered. My heart is become like wax melting in the midst of my bowels. [16] My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue hath cleaved to my jaws: and thou hast brought me down into the dust of death. [17] For many dogs have encompassed me: the council of the malignant hath besieged me. They have dug my hands and feet. [18] They have numbered all my bones. And they have looked and stared upon me. [19] They parted my garments amongst them; and upon my vesture they cast lots.

24. Isa 52:6-7 (The Lord comes Himself to redeem the People; proclaiming Good News) Therefore my people shall know my name in that day: for I myself that spoke, behold I am here. [7] How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, and that preacheth peace: of him that sheweth forth good, that preacheth salvation, that saith to Sion: Thy God shall reign!

25. Isa 52:13-15 (The Servant’s Suffering and Exaltation) [13] Behold my servant shall understand, he shall be exalted, and extolled, and shall be exceeding high. [14] As many have been astonished at thee, so shall his visage be inglorious among men, and his form among the sons of men. [15] He shall sprinkle many nations, kings shall shut their mouth at him: for they to whom it was not told of him, have seen: and they that heard not, have beheld.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Messiah_ben_Joseph

In accordance with the expectation of a Suffering Messiah, called the Son of Joseph, we see that the Messiah is both exalted and suffering. He is the Suffering Servant Who first atones for and expiates all sin. Then, He is raised up in glory, so that seated at the Father’s right hand, the kings of the earth adore Him. No mere man would even attempt such a thing, for how can anybody control his own exaltation post-death? Only God could foresee and announce and Providently ensure such a thing. God did the same thing for the ancient Patriarch Joseph, thrown in a pit, but raised up to Pharoah’s right hand. He alone has ensured that His Messiah Who died on a Cross is worshiped by people from all nations.
Title: Re: Messianic prophesies: proof of God's foreknowledge and Providence.
Post by: Daniel on December 18, 2018, 10:27:38 AM
Is there any historical evidence to suggest that these various scriptural passages were ever regarded as explicit "prophecies" before the fact? I believe that at least some of them were (e.g. the Daniel prophecy, which I'm currently looking into; and the Isaias stuff which Xavier already pointed out)... but most of them just seem to be a case of Christians looking back into the Scriptures after the fact and then finding additional meaning in passages which were never regarded as prophecy to begin with. (In which case some of it might be typology, and some of it might be mere coincidence, but in either case it doesn't seem to be "prophecy".)
Title: Re: Messianic prophesies: proof of God's foreknowledge and Providence.
Post by: Pon de Replay on December 18, 2018, 10:45:59 AM
Is there any historical evidence to suggest that these various scriptural passages were ever regarded as explicit "prophecies" before the fact? I believe that at least some of them were (e.g. the Daniel prophecy, which I'm currently looking into; and the Isaias stuff which Xavier already pointed out)... but most of them just seem to be a case of Christians looking back into the Scriptures after the fact and then finding additional meaning in passages which were never regarded as prophecy to begin with. (In which case some of it might be typology, and some of it might be mere coincidence, but in either case it doesn't seem to be "prophecy".)

I was going to post a link earlier in the thread to an article on Bart Ehrman's blog that speaks to your concern.   It contains a glaring typo, however, so I decided against it.  But since you ask, his answer to your question is that the messianic prophecies were retro-fitted (https://ehrmanblog.org/jesus-and-the-messianic-prophecies/).  (Obviously, the first line of the fourth paragraph should read, "the so-called 'messianic prophecies' that are said to point to Jesus were never taken to be messianic prophecies by Jews," and I don't know why a published author of his stature can't get a proof-reader).

These disputes are as old as time and can only be resolved by attaining faith, so I don't think pointing to these prophecies really proves much to the agnostic.  I forget if it was Julian the Apostate or Celsus or Porphyry, but one of the Roman critics from antiquity quipped something like "after the crucifixion, every last mention of wood or even a tree branch in the Jewish scriptures was suddenly taken to be a reference to the cross."

Title: Re: Messianic prophesies: proof of God's foreknowledge and Providence.
Post by: Michael Wilson on December 18, 2018, 11:15:46 AM
Our Lord and the Apostles appealed to the prophecies as evidence of the truth of His person and mission; for example, when the wise come to Jerusalem, and Herod consults the Scribes, they tell him that the Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem according to the prophecy of Michheas 5.2:
Quote
[3] And king Herod hearing this, was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. [4] And assembling together all the chief priests and the scribes of the people, he inquired of them where Christ should be born. [5] But they said to him: In Bethlehem of Juda. For so it is written by the prophet:

[6] And thou Bethlehem the land of Juda art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come forth the captain that shall rule my people Israel.
Certainly the Scribes and Herod the Great took this prophecy seriously; and we know how Herod acted upon it. 
The fact that He was of the family of David was another important fact, that is again brought up when His right to claim the title of Christ is questioned for it was an accepted fact that the Messiah would be a descendant of David.
Title: Re: Messianic prophesies: proof of God's foreknowledge and Providence.
Post by: Daniel on December 19, 2018, 07:58:01 AM
Here's another: the 'star prophecy (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_Prophecy)' from Numbers 24:17. This passage was regarded as a messianic prophecy by anti-Roman Jews of the mid first-century A.D. I'm not sure whether it can be traced back any earlier than that though.
Title: Re: Messianic prophesies: proof of God's foreknowledge and Providence.
Post by: Xavier on December 19, 2018, 08:06:20 AM
Yes, Michael, it is astonishing that the Pharisees were not able to see the plain fact that the Messiah promised them was to be divine. Jesus clearly and forcefully, from the Psalms, proves to them that He is the Lord of David; the Son of God Who deigns to become the Son of Man in His Mercy. Mat 22:43 "He saith to them: How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying: 44The Lord said to my Lord, Sit on my right hand, until I make thy enemies thy footstool?45If David then call him Lord, how is he his son? 46And no man was able to answer him a word; neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions." (Mat 22:43-46 - Psa 109:1 is cited)

Daniel, did you see Isaiah 53? Beside the plain sense of the passage, which speaks of atonement for sin by a Man laying down His life like a Lamb of Sacrifice there are clear historical confirmation that this passage was always viewed as referring to the Messiah. Only around 1000 A.D., does one solitary view to the contrary from Rashi appear, and even that is rejected by Maimonides and others even among the Jews. One scholar said "our Rabbis with one voice tell us that the Prophet [in Isaiah 53] speaks of King Messiah". It is no coincidence that the Lamb of Sacrifice was offered on a stake like a cross, thus typifying the Sacrifice of the Lamb of God, Who would atone for all sin in His own blood.

Hi Pon. Would you like to comment on Daniel's (the Prophet's, not the poster's!) text regarding the Son of Man being given all Glory and Power by the Ancient of Days, while all nations worship Him? That is Chapter 7 as mentioned earlier. Don't you think this Messianic figure is both God and Man? :) or how do you interpret it? Historically speaking, this has a long Tradition. Even in the extra-canonical historical Book of Enoch, there are clear allusions to a divine Son of Man Who stands before the Lord of Hosts and Who is both divine and human.

Quote
[46.1-4] "And there I saw the One to Whom belongs the time before time, and His head was white like wool. With Him was another being, whose countenance had the appearance of a man, and his face was full of graciousness, like one of the holy angels. I asked the angel who went with me [...] concerning that son of and who he was, and whence he was, and why he went with the One to Whom belongs the time before time.

He answered and said to me: 'This is the son of man who has righteousness, with whom dwells righteousness, and who reveals all the treasures of that which is hidden, because the Lord of the spirits has chosen him, and whose lot has the pre-eminence before the Lord of the spirits in uprightness for ever. This son of man whom you have seen shall raise up the kings and the mighty from their seats and the strong from their thrones, and shall loosen the reins of the strong and break the teeth of the sinners.'

[48.2-10] And at that hour that Son of Man was named in the presence of the Lord of the spirits, and his name before the the One to Whom belongs the time before time. Yes, before the sun and the signs were created, before the stars of the heaven were made, his name was named before the Lord of the spirits. He shall be a staff to the righteous whereon to stay themselves and not fall, and he shall be the light of the gentiles and the hope of those who are troubled of heart. All who dwell on earth shall fall down and worship before him, and will praise and bless and celebrate with song the Lord of the spirits. For this reason has he been chosen and hidden before Him, before the creation of the world and for ever more. The wisdom of the Lord of the spirits has revealed him to the holy and righteous; for he has preserved the lot of the righteous, because they have hated and despised this world of unrighteousness, and have hated all its works and ways in the name of the Lord of the spirits: for in his name they are saved, and according to his good pleasure has it been in regard to their life."
http://www.livius.org/sources/content/1-enoch-the-son-of-man/
Title: Re: Messianic prophesies: proof of God's foreknowledge and Providence.
Post by: Pon de Replay on December 19, 2018, 09:46:39 AM
Hi Pon. Would you like to comment on Daniel's (the Prophet's, not the poster's!) text regarding the Son of Man being given all Glory and Power by the Ancient of Days, while all nations worship Him? That is Chapter 7 as mentioned earlier. Don't you think this Messianic figure is both God and Man? :) or how do you interpret it? Historically speaking, this has a long Tradition. Even in the extra-canonical historical Book of Enoch, there are clear allusions to a divine Son of Man Who stands before the Lord of Hosts and Who is both divine and human.

Hola, Xavier.  I have nothing against Daniel 7:13-15 as a messianic prophecy.  But to answer your question, no, I am not seeing how this passage definitively says that the messiah is both God and man.  I don't see that it rules out the Jewish interpretation (which is what it would have to do in order to be definitive).  The Hebrew will say this is the record of a mystical vision of an earthly figure who will be anointed and given power to rule by God; the Christian will say that since this action is taking place in Heaven, the figure is therefore divine.  Possessing neither the Jewish nor the Christian faith, I can only suspend my judgement.

What do you say to the fact that in this passage the messiah is being "given" power and glory from God after being "presented before him"?  This would seem to imply a separation between the two, and a transaction where the power and glory is bequeathed instead of being something already possessed from all eternity.  Even from a Christian perspective, this carries more of an Arian sense than an Athanasian one. 

In any event, the prophecy remains partially unfulfilled, since we do not at present see "all peoples, tribes, and tongues serving him."  Only a fourth of the earth's ≈8bn are Christian, and only half that are Catholic, most of which are Novus Ordo (which can hardly be anyone's idea of glorious), and of Catholics, a small percentage are actually traditional Catholics, themselves awash in sectarianism, with arguments being conducted on this very forum over whether Fatima is demonic and what Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus even means, and where one poster says "your God is a monster" with another firing back, "yours is a tantrum-throwing psychopath."  You have to wonder if these competing theological schools even worship the same god.  "My kingdom is not of this world" indeed—but until the heavens and the earth pass away and God ushers in the world to come, we are still in expectation of part of this prophecy, are we not?


Title: Re: Messianic prophesies: proof of God's foreknowledge and Providence.
Post by: Michael Wilson on December 19, 2018, 11:58:04 AM
Pon,
that the Messiah would receive Power and Glory from God after being presented to Him, is in reference to Christ's humanity being outwardly given said power and glory. Christ as man although united Hypostatically to the Word from the moment of His conception, came in lowliness and humility; but upon entering Heaven was presented with His glorious kingdom. The final exterior triumph of Christ will come at the End of the World when He will return in outward glory to judge mankind.
Title: Re: Messianic prophesies: proof of God's foreknowledge and Providence.
Post by: Pon de Replay on December 19, 2018, 01:10:34 PM
Pon,
that the Messiah would receive Power and Glory from God after being presented to Him, is in reference to Christ's humanity being outwardly given said power and glory. Christ as man although united Hypostatically to the Word from the moment of His conception, came in lowliness and humility; but upon entering Heaven was presented with His glorious kingdom. The final exterior triumph of Christ will come at the End of the World when He will return in outward glory to judge mankind.

Thank you, Michael.  Just to be clear, though: I don't say the passage excludes the Catholic reading in any way.  I only offer that it doesn't negate the Jewish interpretation.  It's possible to interpret it either way and, indeed, partisans on both sides do just that.

All I contend here is that the nature of the messiah is arguable in the passage (it could be Jewish, Trinitarian, or non-) and that since "the final exterior triumph of Christ" has not yet arrived, this prophecy has at best only a 50% fulfillment rate thus far.  I'm sure he was trying to be ecumenical rather than cheeky, but Pope Benedict XVI acknowledged this when he famously said, "the Jewish Messianic wait is not in vain."
Title: Re: Messianic prophesies: proof of God's foreknowledge and Providence.
Post by: Non Nobis on December 19, 2018, 10:06:03 PM
As a believing Catholic I think that, whatever some Jews and humanists want to think, the fact is that God planned the prophetic teaching of the Old Testament to foreshadow the coming of Christ.  Each sheds light on the other. As a believer, first becoming aware of the prophecies I gasp in awe ("Wow!") at the now readily apparent reflection. But we also know that some Jews have seen the amazing correspondence and been prompted to think that maybe there is more to this Christ than they had thought.

Probably for most people prophesies are not a matter of proof starting from  total disbelief. They are evidence that adds to other evidence to make people more open to accepting Christ.  If they are not at all open in the first place they will refuse to see any significance.

God works through signs not just airtight logical arguments.  Some stubbornly refuse to read the signs because "they don't have to be read that way". They need to pray to be open to what God really means.
Title: Re: Messianic prophesies: proof of God's foreknowledge and Providence.
Post by: Daniel on December 22, 2018, 07:58:09 PM
I was going to post a link earlier in the thread to an article on Bart Ehrman's blog that speaks to your concern.

Unrelated question...

In his blog post, Ehrman makes a second point where he alleges that some of the stuff in the New Testament was fabricated by Christians in order to falsify the historical record, such as to make it appear that Christ fulfilled certain Old Testament prophecies which he did not in fact fulfill. Now I am not all that familiar with Ehrman's views... but this doesn't seem to make much sense. If the early Christians knew that Christianity was a false religion, and if Christians at that time were being persecuted, then why did Christians make this stuff up? If they knew that Christ did not fulfill the prophecies then why would they have even remained Christian? Why wouldn't they have just admitted that Christ was not the messias?
Or does Ehrman hold that the persecutions themselves are non-historical, i.e. that later Christians fabricated the historical records such as to make it appear that the early Christians were persecuted and martyred when in fact they weren't?
Title: Re: Messianic prophesies: proof of God's foreknowledge and Providence.
Post by: Pon de Replay on December 23, 2018, 09:26:15 AM
In his blog post, Ehrman makes a second point where he alleges that some of the stuff in the New Testament was fabricated by Christians in order to falsify the historical record, such as to make it appear that Christ fulfilled certain Old Testament prophecies which he did not in fact fulfill. Now I am not all that familiar with Ehrman's views... but this doesn't seem to make much sense. If the early Christians knew that Christianity was a false religion, and if Christians at that time were being persecuted, then why did Christians make this stuff up?

His contention would be that everything followed from the Christians' core belief that Jesus was the Messiah.  They weren't so much making stuff up as they were making stuff fit.  Believing foremost in Jesus' messiaship, it logically followed for them that Jesus must have originally been from Bethlehem if the book of Micah predicted the messiah would come from there.  As to precisely how this might've been arrived at, Ehrman would argue that the account which ended up in Luke (the census of Quirinius (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Census_of_Quirinius)) was one explanation which made the rounds, even though it now appears to have gotten its dates mixed up, and been mistaken about people returning to their ancestral towns.  But because it fulfilled the prophecy, it was perfectly believable to anyone who already had faith in Jesus as the Messiah and who, in Luke's case, was compiling testimony for his gospel—or indeed, to anyone who was being evangelized and did not have the wherewithal to fact-check that gospel.  Anyway, whoever did come up with such an explanation in the first place was almost certainly not doing it in a cynical or deliberate fashion, since as you rightly point out, there was no earthly gain in being a Christian, only persecution.

You and I have witnessed something similar transpire in real time with our forum compatriot QMR and his peculiar beliefs about theistic evolution.  When it comes to sheer novelties like "evolution positively occurred, but Adam & Eve were specially created" or "the curse of the Fall was retroactively applied by God to ensure the sufferings of pre-lapsarian animals," it is clear (to me at least) that he is making this stuff up as he goes along—"pulling it out of his arse," as they say.  And yet at the same time I think he very sincerely believes these things to be absolutely true.  He has nothing much to gain from it except for the scorn of both his fellow traditional Catholics and his fellow evolutionists, but he finds himself intellectually convinced of evolution and 100% certain of Catholicism.  So when someone quotes Humani Generis at him and shows him that Catholics are de fide obliged to belief in a first pair, he develops a narrative that fits.  Professor Ehrman would say that this is what happened when the Christian belief in Jesus as the Messiah met up with questions early on as to how he fulfilled the prophecies.  People will believe that their own pious fictions are true; and that much requires only one person.  After that, every subsequent believer can take it on as gospel fact.


Title: Re: Messianic prophesies: proof of God's foreknowledge and Providence.
Post by: Sempronius on December 23, 2018, 11:49:11 AM
http://www.comereason.org/roman-census.asp (http://www.comereason.org/roman-census.asp)

Just to put in a antidote to Pon de replays poisonous remarks..
Title: Re: Messianic prophesies: proof of God's foreknowledge and Providence.
Post by: Daniel on December 23, 2018, 02:17:15 PM
http://www.comereason.org/roman-census.asp (http://www.comereason.org/roman-census.asp)

Just to put in a antidote to Pon de replays poisonous remarks..
Pon de Replay was only explaining Dr. Ehrman's line of reasoning (which I had asked about), not necessarily endorsing it.

But thanks for the link. I'll check it out.


And I'll also put out there, if anyone is interested in a good defense of the traditional view regarding the authorship of the gospels, I would recommend The Case for Jesus by Brant Pitre. Gardener gave me it a while back... it does a good job showing that the gospels were probably actually written by St. Matthew (eyewitness), St. Mark (student of eyewitness St. Peter), St. Luke (student of St. Paul), and St. John (eyewitness), all of whom knew the material inside and out... as opposed to the modern view / Dr. Ehrman's view which holds that the four gospels were written anonymously by early Christians who may or may not have been using reliable sources and who may or may not have had inside knowledge of the material. Nevertheless, Dr. Pitre's book does not have all of the answers, and, as far as I remember, it makes no real attempt to answer the question about the census.
Title: Re: Messianic prophesies: proof of God's foreknowledge and Providence.
Post by: Pon de Replay on December 23, 2018, 04:03:52 PM
In my defense, the link I posted does contain mention of the rebuttal to the mainstream scholarship: "some conservative scholars have argued that Quirinius may have had an earlier and historically unattested term as governor of Syria, or that he previously held other senior positions which may have led him to be involved in the affairs of Judea during Herod's reign, or that the passage should be interpreted in some other fashion."  Neither the Wikipedia entry nor the Come Reason Ministries article, however, offers an explanation of why everyone would've been made to physically return to their town of ancestral origin for the census, as Luke contends.

I am sympathetic to Professor Ehrman's stance, but I also find Marcion's excision of the Lucan infancy narrative interesting.  Marcion's gospel was either a judicious editing of Luke or a proto-Luke.  Marcionite Christianity is the form of Christianity I presently find most plausible.  However, it is also improbable, being a dead religion.  Of course the same might be said for orthodox Early Christianity.

A month or so ago I watched a movie called The Case for Christ (https://www.imdb.com/title/tt6113488/), which is a dramatization of Lee Strobel's apologetic book documenting his conversion from atheism to Evangelical Protestantism.  He makes some good points, but he also makes some bad ones, and even lets himself be convinced by poor explanations.  There's one scene where he calls up William Lane Craig and confronts him with the inconsistencies between the four gospels.  Dr. Craig tells him that it's like if you had four separate witnesses to a car accident, you would get four accounts that differed and even contradicted each other.  And that, he says, is how we can trust the gospel as eyewitness accounts.  Unfortunately, this seems like it would only work if the bible was purely a human record and not said to be divinely inspired and inerrant.  Yet in the movie, Lee Strobel accepted this explanation seemingly without issue.  It's available for streaming on Netflix.

Whether it's fulfilled prophecies or biblical inerrancy, it all ends up as a Rorschach test where people will see what they want to see.  Atheists working from the starting point of skepticism and hostility will see only discrepancies, and believers working from the starting point of inerrancy will see only the perfect elegance of the explanations that resolve these issues.  Then there is a middle ground of people who can be persuaded and / or attain faith.  There are Jews who convert to Christianity.  The number is surely smaller, but there are also Christians who convert to Judaism.  And Muslim converts to Christianity and vice versa, and so forth and so on.


Title: Re: Messianic prophesies: proof of God's foreknowledge and Providence.
Post by: Daniel on December 23, 2018, 06:21:48 PM
Neither the Wikipedia entry nor the Come Reason Ministries article, however, offers an explanation of why everyone would've been made to physically return to their town of ancestral origin for the census, as Luke contends.
Yeah, I don't know. Sounds kind of unusual. Though I'm not a historian.

Marcionite Christianity is the form of Christianity I presently find most plausible.  However, it is also improbable, being a dead religion.
I don't know the history of Marcionism, but isn't Marcionism just Marcion's personal attempt to syncretize/hybridize/reconcile Christianity with some form of Gnosticism? (I mean, as far as I know, Marcion did not claim that his teachings/canon was from Christ.) If that's the case, then it's clearly a man-made religion and almost certainly false.
Title: Re: Messianic prophesies: proof of God's foreknowledge and Providence.
Post by: Sempronius on December 24, 2018, 12:38:20 AM
Neither the Wikipedia entry nor the Come Reason Ministries article, however, offers an explanation of why everyone would've been made to physically return to their town of ancestral origin for the census, as Luke contends.
Yeah, I don't know. Sounds kind of unusual. Though I'm not a historian.


Some historians say that they had to take an oath of loyalty to Augustus.
Title: Re: Messianic prophesies: proof of God's foreknowledge and Providence.
Post by: Arvinger on December 24, 2018, 04:15:45 AM
The issue of census of Quirinus was beaten to death, but it is an interesting case demonstrating presuppositions and bias of non-believers when it comes to Christianity. It is alleged that St. Luke was mistaken, describing the census of Quirinus from year 6 AD and placed it in the time of Herod. The obvious question is - why is St. Luke's Gospel in itself not treated as evidence that another, earlier census actually occured in year 4 BC? You can reject it only if you presuppose that St. Luke's Gospel is not historical and cannot be treated as evidence that another census occured. Otherwise, the text is a historical document which in itself attests that earlier census, different from that of Quirinus in 6 AD, happened at the time of Herod. It is interesting that Quirinus' census from 6 AD is mentioned by St. Luke in Acts 5:37, so he was well-aware of it and distinguished the two. So, you have to a priori consider the Bible to be ahistorical in order to consider this an error.

There are also historical arguments from other sources - when St. Justin the Martyr in First Apology refers to Quirinus, he calls him procurator rather than a governor, indicating that at the time of first census Quirinus might not have been a governor of Syria yet. This is also consistent with St. Luke's Gospel, as the word used to describe Quirinus does not mean a governor, but is a generic word to describe a ruler.   
Title: Re: Messianic prophesies: proof of God's foreknowledge and Providence.
Post by: Xavier on December 24, 2018, 05:30:48 AM
Merry Christmas, everybody!  :cheeseheadbeer: Glory to God in the Highest and Peace on Earth to all people of good will. As the Angels sang that first Christmas day, as the Christ Child lay in the Manger, and Heaven and Earth rejoiced that God was born of a Virgin Mother and had become Man for our salvation. For God so loved the world that He gave His Only Begotten Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ: that whosoever believeth in Him may not perish but have everlasting life. Merry Christmas to all!
Title: Re: Messianic prophesies: proof of God's foreknowledge and Providence.
Post by: Daniel on December 24, 2018, 09:29:29 AM
Some historians say that they had to take an oath of loyalty to Augustus.
I suppose that's a possible motive for the census, but it still doesn't answer the question. Why would such a census require everyone (or, at least every adult male) to return to his family's town of origin, especially in a time when some of the Jews were already quite upset at the situation and were ready to start a rebellion? Why couldn't the census be conducted locally so as not to inconvenience the people any more than necessary? It also doesn't sound very efficient... are there any other historical examples of Roman censuses which required everyone to return to their families's towns of origin? Again, I'm not a historian so I'm in no real position to judge... but it sounds unusual to say the least.
Title: Re: Messianic prophesies: proof of God's foreknowledge and Providence.
Post by: Sempronius on December 24, 2018, 01:19:03 PM
Some historians say that they had to take an oath of loyalty to Augustus.
I suppose that's a possible motive for the census, but it still doesn't answer the question. Why would such a census require everyone (or, at least every adult male) to return to his family's town of origin, especially in a time when some of the Jews were already quite upset at the situation and were ready to start a rebellion? Why couldn't the census be conducted locally so as not to inconvenience the people any more than necessary? It also doesn't sound very efficient... are there any other historical examples of Roman censuses which required everyone to return to their families's towns of origin? Again, I'm not a historian so I'm in no real position to judge... but it sounds unusual to say the least.

In many articles that I found they have this:

"Gaius Vivius Maximus, Prefect of Egypt [says]: seeing that the time has come for the house to house census, it is necessary to compel all those who for any cause whatsoever are residing out of their provinces to return to their own homes, that they may both carry out the regular order of the census and may attend diligently to the cultivation of their allotments."

http://www.faithhelper.com/ntrel3.htm (http://www.faithhelper.com/ntrel3.htm)

Don't know about the source so maybe its spurious

This edict is from 104 AD

Title: Re: Messianic prophesies: proof of God's foreknowledge and Providence.
Post by: Pon de Replay on December 24, 2018, 01:50:10 PM
In many articles that I found they have this:

"Gaius Vivius Maximus, Prefect of Egypt [says]: seeing that the time has come for the house to house census, it is necessary to compel all those who for any cause whatsoever are residing out of their provinces to return to their own homes, that they may both carry out the regular order of the census and may attend diligently to the cultivation of their allotments."

http://www.faithhelper.com/ntrel3.htm (http://www.faithhelper.com/ntrel3.htm)

This Egyptian census makes sense, because it asks the citizens who are currently outside of their provinces to return to their own actual homes.  It's aiming for accuracy. 

The census mentioned in Luke, though, is asking people to leave the provinces where they dwell and return to the home of their ancestors.  Like Daniel, I must say that "I am no historian" but this scheme appears unusual and counterproductive in terms of taking a census.  It seems more like a genealogical survey of some sort, the undertaking of which would've hurt the regional economy: if people have to travel, they're not working.  I also don't know how they were determining one's "ancestral home."  How did they decide how far back to go?  One hundred years ago, my paternal-line ancestral home was New Jersey.  Five hundred, and it was East Anglia.  One thousand, and I don't even know.  But Joseph and King David were separated by a thousand years.


Title: Re: Messianic prophesies: proof of God's foreknowledge and Providence.
Post by: Sempronius on December 24, 2018, 02:36:15 PM
Wouldn’t Joseph be proud of being a descendent of David? Family pride. His father maybe said to him many times:”remember son, you are a descendent of David, so make sure you behave in school”

Title: Re: Messianic prophesies: proof of God's foreknowledge and Providence.
Post by: Pon de Replay on December 24, 2018, 02:55:34 PM
Wouldn’t Joseph be proud of being a descendent of David? Family pride. His father maybe said to him many times:”remember son, you are a descendent of David, so make sure you behave in school”

Surely he would.  But this has no bearing on why a Roman census would compel everyone to enroll at their ancestral home of a thousand years ago.  Not everyone is descended from a notable, and not everyone knows their family history going back a millennia.  It seems like it would be a logistical nightmare for the census-takers.  How did someone attest to their lineage of a thousand years hence?  Even a modern DNA test wasn't enough to be perfectly conclusive that the descendants of Sally Hemmings are descendants of Thomas Jefferson.  Presumably there would've been all kinds of familial disputations and false claims.  Why would the administrators want to get involved with all that?


Title: Re: Messianic prophesies: proof of God's foreknowledge and Providence.
Post by: Daniel on December 24, 2018, 03:06:26 PM
Wouldn’t Joseph be proud of being a descendent of David? Family pride. His father maybe said to him many times:”remember son, you are a descendent of David, so make sure you behave in school”

Surely he would.  But this has no bearing on why a Roman census would compel everyone to enroll at their ancestral home of a thousand years ago.  Not everyone is descended from a notable, and not everyone knows their family history going back a millennia.  It seems like it would be a logistical nightmare for the census-takers.  How did someone attest to their lineage of a thousand years hence?  Even a modern DNA test wasn't enough to be perfectly conclusive that the descendants of Sally Hemmings are descendants of Thomas Jefferson.  Presumably there would've been all kinds of familial disputations and false claims.  Why would the administrators want to get involved with all that?
Well, I did notice that St. Luke's gospel only says, "And all went to be enrolled, every one into his own city." Not "All went to be enrolled in the cities of their ancestors." So maybe the Roman government did not require it... maybe St. Joseph simply chose to enroll there rather than at his current residence. I don't know.
Title: Re: Messianic prophesies: proof of God's foreknowledge and Providence.
Post by: Pon de Replay on December 24, 2018, 03:45:49 PM
Well, I did notice that St. Luke's gospel only says, "And all went to be enrolled, every one into his own city." Not "All went to be enrolled in the cities of their ancestors." So maybe the Roman government did not require it... maybe St. Joseph simply chose to enroll there rather than at his current residence. I don't know.

That has to have been the case.  It would go this way: when they were betrothed, Mary lived in Nazareth and Joseph lived in Bethlehem.  When the census was ordered, Joseph was temporarily staying in Nazareth on account of his betrothal to Mary, and then they both left to be enrolled in Joseph's town of Bethlehem.  This resolves the nature of the census, but it returns us to the dispute over the dating:

It is alleged that St. Luke was mistaken, describing the census of Quirinus from year 6 AD and placed it in the time of Herod. The obvious question is - why is St. Luke's Gospel in itself not treated as evidence that another, earlier census actually occured in year 4 BC? You can reject it only if you presuppose that St. Luke's Gospel is not historical and cannot be treated as evidence that another census occured. Otherwise, the text is a historical document which in itself attests that earlier census, different from that of Quirinus in 6 AD, happened at the time of Herod. It is interesting that Quirinus' census from 6 AD is mentioned by St. Luke in Acts 5:37, so he was well-aware of it and distinguished the two. So, you have to a priori consider the Bible to be ahistorical in order to consider this an error.

As I understand the problem, it's not a matter of presuming Luke to be a priori ahistorical.  It's a matter of Judea not coming under direct Roman rule until 6 AD, and Quirinius not being governor of Syria until then.  The Douai-Rheims translation says "this enrolling was first made by Cyrinus, the governor of Syria."  Prior to his promotion to governor of Syria, Quirinius appears to have been a functionary in provinces in Asia Minor.  So if the census is alleged to have been taken earlier, I think it's a question of 1. why would a Roman administrator in Asia Minor be taking a census in a Jewish tetrarchy during the reign of Herod, and 2. why does Luke say it took place during his term as governor of Syria?  Luke is being considered a posteriori ahistorical, I think, because of the latter question.
Title: Re: Messianic prophesies: proof of God's foreknowledge and Providence.
Post by: Arvinger on December 24, 2018, 03:55:05 PM
As I understand the problem, it's not a matter of presuming Luke to be a priori ahistorical.  It's a matter of Judea not coming under direct Roman rule until 6 AD, and Quirinius not being governor of Syria until then.  The Douai-Rheims translation says "this enrolling was first made by Cyrinus, the governor of Syria."  Prior to his promotion to governor of Syria, Quirinius appears to have been a functionary in provinces in Asia Minor.  So if the census is alleged to have been taken earlier, I think it's a question of 1. why would a Roman administrator in Asia Minor be taking a census in a Jewish tetrarchy during the reign of Herod Antipas, and 2. why does Luke say it took place during his term as governor of Syria?  Luke is being considered a posteriori ahistorical, I think, because of the latter question.

That is another part of it, and I addressed that in later part of my post - apparently St. Luke does not explicitly call Quirinus a governor of Syria (he calls him hegemon rather than legatus, which was an official title for a Roman governor), while St. Justin the Martyr refers to him as a procurator, indicating that Quirinus was involved in Syria also in other position than a governor, which makes another census during the time when he occupied a different position than a governor (procurator according to St. Justin) possible. Now, some object that there is no evidence for the 4th BC census in historical sources - to which I point out that St. Luke's Gospel in itself is a historical source, so to reject it as evidence for another census is to consider Scripture to be ahistorical a priori.   
Title: Re: Messianic prophesies: proof of God's foreknowledge and Providence.
Post by: Pon de Replay on December 24, 2018, 03:55:23 PM
On second thought, if Joseph was returning to Bethlehem because it was his actual place of residence, why did they have to stay in a manger because "there was no room for them in the inn?"  I guess this is why Dr. Ehrman and co. maintain that Joseph appears to be going to Bethlehem out of some ancestral origin thing as mentioned in Luke 2:4, and not because it's where he lived.  I don't know.

 :-\
Title: Re: Messianic prophesies: proof of God's foreknowledge and Providence.
Post by: Arvinger on December 24, 2018, 04:32:11 PM
His contention would be that everything followed from the Christians' core belief that Jesus was the Messiah.  They weren't so much making stuff up as they were making stuff fit.  Believing foremost in Jesus' messiaship, it logically followed for them that Jesus must have originally been from Bethlehem if the book of Micah predicted the messiah would come from there.  As to precisely how this might've been arrived at, Ehrman would argue that the account which ended up in Luke (the census of Quirinius (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Census_of_Quirinius)) was one explanation which made the rounds, even though it now appears to have gotten its dates mixed up, and been mistaken about people returning to their ancestral towns.  But because it fulfilled the prophecy, it was perfectly believable to anyone who already had faith in Jesus as the Messiah and who, in Luke's case, was compiling testimony for his gospel—or indeed, to anyone who was being evangelized and did not have the wherewithal to fact-check that gospel.  Anyway, whoever did come up with such an explanation in the first place was almost certainly not doing it in a cynical or deliberate fashion, since as you rightly point out, there was no earthly gain in being a Christian, only persecution.

I'm sorry Pon, but this just does not hold together. I guess you could argue that this sort of confirmation bias could be applied to converts to Christianity who were faced with already existing Scriptures or were taught by first Christians and could not check the facts and sources, but I cannot possibilty see how could it be applied to the Apostles and Gospel writers. Why? If what you say is true, the Apostles were essentially making up a new religion, in full knowledge that they are inventing bollocks, to which - as you concede - they had no incentives at all, since being Christian all you gained was persecution. An idea that they were "retrofitting" things in good will while sincerily believing what they taught is extremely implausible, since (assuming for the sake of argument that what you say is true) they were not merely trying to explain away some difficulties regarding Old Testament prophecies to fit them to what Jesus did (that is within the boundaries of what could have been done in good will as a result of sincere confirmation bias) - they were literally inventing a new and complex theological system with doctrines which were absolute novelty in the ancient world, and were in stark contrast to Judaism and pagan religions alike. Many of the things that are taught in the New Testament cannot be found in the Old Testament, and not all of them are not even explicitly stated in the teachings of Jesus himself - for example, St. Peter at the Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15) makes a decision about not getting gentile converts to Christianity circumcized without any reference to the teachings of Jesus on this topic, Tradition or Old Testament.

In other words, what we are dealing with in the New Testament is not merely trying to explain Messianic prophecies from the Old Testament, which could be subject to confirmation bias. It is introduction of a new theological system, to which they were not forced by having to explain away Old Testament (so it is a different case than QMR, who is forced to make up his novel explanation of theistic evolution by Magisterial documents which explicitly teach existence of the first pair), which is not only opposed to paganism, but also finishes the whole system of Levitical sacrifices and seeks to convert Jews. When one introduces a new theological system with teaches thing that were never taught before, there are two main possibilities (barring cases of madness, etc.):

1) There is really a supernatural basis for this.

2) If there is none, that person knows full well that this is hogwash, because he is the one introducing this new system (the Apostles were not merely repeating what Jesus taught, St. Paul's epistles expand vastly beyond theology taught in the Gospels, addressing the issues which are not touched upon in the sayings of Jesus). That is the case with Muhammad - there is plenty of evidence in the hadith that Muhammad was shamelessly and cynically claiming to receive God's revelation to solve an immediate problem he faced (see the case of Zaynab bint Jahsh when Muhammad conveniently claimed that Allah revealed to him that the institution of adoption is abolished, so he could get away with marrying her). But the Apostles had no incentives to do that, and they certainly would have no incentives to die for something they knew to be a lie.     
Title: Re: Messianic prophesies: proof of God's foreknowledge and Providence.
Post by: Pon de Replay on December 24, 2018, 05:00:16 PM
That is another part of it, and I addressed that in later part of my post - apparently St. Luke does not explicitly call Quirinus a governor of Syria (he calls him hegemon rather than legatus, which was an official title for a Roman governor), while St. Justin the Martyr refers to him as a procurator, indicating that Quirinus was involved in Syria also in other position than a governor, which makes another census during the time when he occupied a different position than a governor (procurator according to St. Justin) possible. Now, some object that there is no evidence for the 4th BC census in historical sources - to which I point out that St. Luke's Gospel in itself is a historical source, so to reject it as evidence for another census is to consider Scripture to be ahistorical a priori.

Yes, but St. Justin refers to him as "your first procurator in Syria."  Prior to 6 AD, Syria and Judea were separate provinces.   Herod ruled Judea, his reign commenced in 37 BC, and the Roman conquest was in 63 BC.  Did the Romans not establish the position of procurator in Syria until fifty years after the conquest, when Quirinius was around, c. 12-2 BC?  Because that is the only way Quirinius would be the first.  Whereas he was, factually, the first governor of Syria when the Jewish tetrarchies were annexed in 6 AD.

As to what Professor Ehrman believes about the gospel writers and the messianic prophecies, he doesn't contend that they consciously made things up.  His position is that they truly believed Jesus was the Messiah and therefore they believed He must have fulfilled the messianic prophecies.  Ehrman is operating under the commonly-accepted dating of the gospel composition, so he would have Luke written at around 100 AD, having proto-gospels (and, prior to those, oral testimonies) as the source material, hence discrepancies and dating errors.  He doesn't say that anyone is making stuff up whole cloth; he seems to say that in the process of transmission, various things get retrofitted by people with the best of intentions (or taking their inspiration from visions and dreams).  He would say that we have no historical way of knowing the record of how everything ended up in the gospels, just that it did.  As a thought exercise, consider the non-canonical and Gnostic gospels.  Those were different traditions that evolved in the same manner.
Title: Re: Messianic prophesies: proof of God's foreknowledge and Providence.
Post by: Arvinger on December 24, 2018, 05:34:45 PM
As to what Professor Ehrman believes about the gospel writers and the messianic prophecies, he doesn't contend that they consciously made things up.  His position is that they truly believed Jesus was the Messiah and therefore they believed He must have fulfilled the messianic prophecies.  Ehrman is operating under the commonly-accepted dating of the gospel composition, so he would have Luke written at around 100 AD, having proto-gospels (and, prior to those, oral testimonies) as the source material, hence discrepancies and dating errors.  He doesn't say that anyone is making stuff up whole cloth; he seems to say that in the process of transmission, various things get retrofitted by people with the best of intentions (or taking their inspiration from visions and dreams).  He would say that we have no historical way of knowing the record of how everything ended up in the gospels, just that it did.  As a thought exercise, consider the non-canonical and Gnostic gospels.  Those were different traditions that evolved in the same manner.

That is highly problematic for a number of reasons, and there are excellent refutations of Ehrman from (unfortunately, mostly Protestant - hardly anybody in the Vatican II Church seems to be interested in this sort of stuff) apologists.

1) It depicts false way of transmitting the data and oral tradition in Early Christian community. What Ehrman suggests is a scenario of Chinese whispers were in relatively short time the oral accounts are changed and become unreliable. But that is not the case, as demonstrated quite clearly by Richard Bauckham in his book Jesus and the Eyewitnesses - he illustrates this on the example of Papias, bishop of Hierapolis, who was getting his information about the events of the life of Jesus from the disciples of John the Elder and Ariston, which means that people directly associated with Jesus and/or his disciples were still the principal people in Christian communities who were responsible for transmission of oral tradition at the end of the 1st century - it was not the case of mass anonymous transmission and Chinese whispers. There are also numerous other types of evidence which Bauckham presents which demonstrate that the Gospels were written on the basis of eyewitnesses' accounts.

2) The New Testament was transmitted freely, i.e. anyone could copy the texts and nobody had control over this process, therefore any attempts to tamper with the text would be visible in the manuscript tradition (which is why Dan Brown's claims about Constantine tampering with the Gospel texts and inserting deity of Christ are so ludicurous).

3) I would say that dating St. Luke's gospel at 100 AD is quite liberal, there is no shortage of conservative scholars who date it much earlier, and there is good evidence of it - for example, in 1 Timothy 5:18 St. Paul apparently quotes Luke 10:7, identifying it as Scripture. Of course, you could argue that St. Paul did not write 1 Timothy, but the arguments to support that revisionist claim are really poor.

4) As I explained above, we are not talking merely about backwards interpretation of Messianic prophecies, but about introducing entirely new doctrines by the Apostles - in that case there is no way around the conclusion that Apostles were indeed making stuff up and big time so, in full knowledge that their new teachings are hogwash, to which they had no incentives.

5) None of the Gnostic gospels was written in the 1st century, unlike canonical Gospels - there is a major difference in their chronology and historical reliability.
Title: Re: Messianic prophesies: proof of God's foreknowledge and Providence.
Post by: Pon de Replay on December 25, 2018, 11:04:43 AM
Greetings, Arvinger.  I need to make a retraction: Dr. Ehrman dates Luke at c. 85 AD, not 100 AD as I previously said.  I've learned a lot from watching his talks and debates on YouTube, but I apparently I misremembered that particular point—in talking about dating, he might've said something like "it could've been written as late as 100 AD."  So mea culpa.  I do like him, though.  Aside from his habit of wearing t-shirts with blazers (a casual "Miami Vice" look that somehow irritates me), I quite enjoy his presentation.  His voice has a tendency to get shrill and intense when he's making a point.  Had he not apostatized from his fundamentalist Evangelical Christianity and instead gone on to the ministry, it's a voice I could well imagine coming through on a weak-signal AM radio station, ranting about Tyre and Sidon, with a Southern grandmother in a rocking chair somewhere clucking quietly, "he is moved by the Spirit."

I agree with you that he requires some rebuttal; left to his own, he has a tendency to coast overmuch on his own suppositions (unfortunately, his opponents are often guilty of the same, and more so).  And you're right: in the Anglosphere at least, it is mostly Protestant biblical scholars who have made names for themselves in the field.  I suppose William Lane Craig would be considered the 800-lb. gorilla among them.  My favorite Ehrman debate is the one he and Craig had over the Resurrection (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MW5_nJYSKyk), where Professor Ehrman was basically stating Hume's case from improbability, with all the added acumen of a bible historian.  The Catholic who I would most like to see Ehrman debate is Gerry Matatics.

Anyway, we may be going far enough afield where we need a Bart D. Ehrman thread, but without misrepresenting him at all, I can affirm that he does indeed find the transmission of the gospels faulty (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b-cZncVmtIU).  He would say that the greatest evidence for this is the fact that there are four different canonical gospels themselves, containing variations, discrepancies, and contradictions.  He would then point to the existence of competing gospels which evolved alongside the orthodox ones.  As early as the letter to the Galatians (c. 40-50 AD), St. Paul mentions "another gospel" being preached, "perverting the gospel of Christ": "if any one preach to you a gospel besides that which you have received, let him be anathema."  This was a Judaizing / Ebionite sect, whereas there was also a Gnostic movement contemporaneous with Paul, the Simonians, whose bishop was the Simon Magus mentioned in Acts and attested to by Ss. Justin Martyr and Irenaeus.  Whenever you want to date the composition of the Gnostic gospels is fine (and some scholars date Thomas earlier than Matthew, Luke, and John), but I don't know how anyone denies that Ebionite and Gnostic oral traditions and proto-gospels preceded those gospels in the same way as oral traditions and proto-gospels preceded the canonical ones.  The canonical bible itself admits that these groups were already up and running, at the very least orally, at the same time St. Paul was.

As for the Apostles introducing new doctrines, I might be misunderstanding you, but I don't think Ehrman's claim about adding pious fictions necessarily implies that.  As long as you start with a core of belief, things can get added without them being deliberately invented.  In the first century, religious people of all kinds were highly attuned to what QMR calls "the mystical faculty."  Dreams, visions, and prophecies were very much the norm.  To use a modern example, consider The Poem of the Man-God by Maria Valtorta, which is almost a gospel unto itself.  For this discussion, it doesn't matter what we think of it—all we need to concede is that we wouldn't presume Maria Valtorta wasn't a sincere and believing Catholic.  Obviously she was.  She wasn't a swindler.  In terms of retrofitting the prophecies, Ehrman isn't ascribing malicious intent; you need only assume multiple Maria Valtortas having mini-revelations here and there which explained the fulfillment of this or that prophecy.  I'm not sure what necessitates anyone having "full knowledge that their new teachings are hogwash."  They would only have to add their own mystical intuitions into the oral stream.


Title: Re: Messianic prophesies: proof of God's foreknowledge and Providence.
Post by: Arvinger on December 25, 2018, 12:11:08 PM
As for the Apostles introducing new doctrines, I might be misunderstanding you, but I don't think Ehrman's claim about adding pious fictions necessarily implies that.  As long as you start with a core of belief, things can get added without them being deliberately invented.  In the first century, religious people of all kinds were highly attuned to what QMR calls "the mystical faculty."  Dreams, visions, and prophecies were very much the norm.  To use a modern example, consider The Poem of the Man-God by Maria Valtorta, which is almost a gospel unto itself.  For this discussion, it doesn't matter what we think of it—all we need to concede is that we wouldn't presume Maria Valtorta wasn't a sincere and believing Catholic.  Obviously she was.  She wasn't a swindler.  In terms of retrofitting the prophecies, Ehrman isn't ascribing malicious intent; you need only assume multiple Maria Valtortas having mini-revelations here and there which explained the fulfillment of this or that prophecy.  I'm not sure what necessitates anyone having "full knowledge that their new teachings are hogwash."  They would only have to add their own mystical intuitions into the oral stream.

I disagree. Ehrman's argumentation taken to its logical conclusion does necessarily mean that early Christians were making stuff up in full knowledge that they are inventing hogwash. For example, Ehrman believes that Jesus sayings from the Gospel of John in which He explicitly claims deity were not original sayings of Jesus and were invented later (see Ehrman vs. Justin Bass debate Did the historical Jesus claim to be divine). That means some early Christians made these quotes up at some point, going against teachings and purpose of the ministry of Jesus - whether these were the Gospel writers, Apostles or other early Christians. That cannot be explained away through retrofitting things in good faith. I agree that retrofitting stuff in good faith can indeed occur in some situations - but once a person starts literally making up quotes which were never said and which contradict what Jesus taught (Ehrman denies that Jesus claimed to be God), a barrier was crossed (conscious fabrication of evidence) after which it cannot be claimed he merely deluded himself in good faith. But, as you concede, early Christians had absolutely no incentives to do that.
Title: Re: Messianic prophesies: proof of God's foreknowledge and Providence.
Post by: Pon de Replay on December 25, 2018, 12:30:51 PM
Thank you for mentioning that debate, Arvinger; I haven't watched that one yet, but I did watch a presentation of his book, How Jesus Became God, so I know exactly the position of his you're referring to.  Now, Ehrman can no more know what Jesus originally taught than anyone else can; he can only make his best supposition based on the available evidence.  But granting for the sake of argument this position that Jesus did not identify himself as God, how does Ehrman's contention of later people telling a version where Jesus does identify himself as God differ from a Maria Valtorta or an Anna Catherine Emmerich relating episodes where Jesus speaks non-canonical dialogue?  We need not worry about whether Valtorta's or Emmerich's revelations are heterodox or not; it only suffices that they themselves believed them to be true.
Title: Re: Messianic prophesies: proof of God's foreknowledge and Providence.
Post by: Arvinger on December 25, 2018, 12:48:20 PM
Anyway, we may be going far enough afield where we need a Bart D. Ehrman thread, but without misrepresenting him at all, I can affirm that he does indeed find the transmission of the gospels faulty (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b-cZncVmtIU).  He would say that the greatest evidence for this is the fact that there are four different canonical gospels themselves, containing variations, discrepancies, and contradictions.

Except that this is gratutitous assertion - upon close examination the claims of so-called "contradictions" are based on logical fallacies. A classic example is a "contradiction" in regard to who found the empty tomb (different Gospels record different set of people). If I go to the restaurant with Pon de Replay, QMR and Michael Wilson and later write "I ate dinner in company of QMR and Michael Wilson", and later write "I ate dinner in company of Michael Wilson and Pon de Replay", is that a contradiction? Of course not - I just chose to highlight different people I spent time with. Other so called contradictions which I examined are based on logical fallacies as well.

Also, why would existence of four Gospels be a problem in terms of their transmission? They had a purpose - the Gospel of Matthew was written primarily for the Jewish audience (thus more events related to Mosaic Law and the Jews were recorded), while for example St. Luke's gospel was directed primarily towards Gentiles. They all had their audence and their purpose, the authors deliberately chose to emphasize different events from the life of Jesus. Ehrman's argument is like saying that information about terrorist attacks in Paris are unreliable because there are so many newspapers writing about it.

Quote from: Pon de Replay
He would then point to the existence of competing gospels which evolved alongside the orthodox ones.  As early as the letter to the Galatians (c. 40-50 AD), St. Paul mentions "another gospel" being preached, "perverting the gospel of Christ": "if any one preach to you a gospel besides that which you have received, let him be anathema."  This was a Judaizing / Ebionite sect, whereas there was also a Gnostic movement contemporaneous with Paul, the Simonians, whose bishop was the Simon Magus mentioned in Acts and attested to by Ss. Justin Martyr and Irenaeus.  Whenever you want to date the composition of the Gnostic gospels is fine (and some scholars date Thomas earlier than Matthew, Luke, and John), but I don't know how anyone denies that Ebionite and Gnostic oral traditions and proto-gospels preceded those gospels in the same way as oral traditions and proto-gospels preceded the canonical ones.  The canonical bible itself admits that these groups were already up and running, at the very least orally, at the same time St. Paul was.

Just because there are some groups which claim something does not automatically give each of those groups equal credence. There is no question that the Gnostic Gospels were written in the 2nd century, while the canonical Gospels are 1st century documents, much closer to the original events. Furthermore, contrary to the canonical Gospels, the Gnostic Gospels lack evidence for being based on accounts of eyewitnesses. Also, Gnostics had beliefs and have written things which Ehrman himself would reject as false - for example, the 2nd century Apocalypse of Peter denies crucifixion, which is an event attested also in historical sources outside the New Testament, as the Gnostic authors regarded physical sphere as evil and denied that Jesus had a physical body (and thus could not have been crucified). Even if such a claim has oral tradition which precedes the Gnostic Gospels themselves, there is no reason to give it credence, since these claims contradict not only Canonical Gospels, but also other historical records and views of Ehrman himself, and are based on Gnostic theology rather than historical accounts. Therefore, there are plenty of reasons to believe that canonical Gospels are more truthful and accurate than the later ones.


Thank you for mentioning that debate, Arvinger; I haven't watched that one yet, but I did watch a presentation of his book, How Jesus Became God, so I know exactly the position of his you're referring to.  Now, Ehrman can no more know what Jesus originally taught than anyone else can; he can only make his best supposition based on the available evidence.  But granting for the sake of argument this position that Jesus did not identify himself as God, how does Ehrman's contention of later people telling a version where Jesus does identify himself as God differ from a Maria Valtorta or an Anna Catherine Emmerich relating episodes where Jesus speaks non-canonical dialogue?  We need not worry about whether Valtorta's or Emmerich's revelations are heterodox or not; it only suffices that they themselves believed them to be true.

It does differ, because Valtorta and Anna Catherine Emmerich openly claim that what they saw was a vision (with all of its caveats - a vision can be false, but one can still sincerely believe it regardless), wheres the Gospels claim to accurately record real life events. Therefore, if Ehrman is correct, Christians who invented the quotes in which Jesus claimed deity made false claims about what actually happened - and these were most likely eyewitnesses (as Richard Bauckham demonstrates in his book Jesus and the Eyewitnesses - if you haven't read it yet, I highly recommed it to you Pon, Bauckham demonstrates wide variety of evidence, including those which regard to Gospel of St. John, indicating that they were written as direct recordings of eyewitnesses accounts). In that case you have eyewitnesses simply lying about what they saw or heard.
Title: Re: Messianic prophesies: proof of God's foreknowledge and Providence.
Post by: Pon de Replay on December 25, 2018, 02:49:34 PM
I will add the Richard Bauckham book to my reading list; I received an Amazon gift card for Christmas so maybe it will make the cut.  I think there's some confusion as to the Gnostic gospels, though.  The insistence isn't that they are more historically accurate.  It's simply to point out the fact that Jesus existed and he taught, and various competing sects afterwards lay claim to his teachings.  The stories about what Jesus taught got modified, improved, or corrupted—whether from private revelation, pious supposition, or duplicitous intent.  We can't know with certainty to what extent each tradition compromised the original teaching; a precise account of how the gospels got transmitted is lost to history.  We simply don't know.  The canonical gospels could be and very well are the most accurate record of Jesus' teachings.  But even being the most accurate does not make them entirely accurate.  All Ehrman is saying is that whatever the original teaching was, it was added to by varying degrees, whether doctrinal, prophesy-fulfilling, or otherwise.  The non-canonical and Gnostic gospels are merely a thought exercise to illustrate how.  It's a difference of degree, not kind.  The Romans didn't differentiate between which strain of Christianity was orthodox and which wasn't, so anybody making anything up had nothing more to gain by doing so.  Every sect believed that it was the true one.

By the way, I agree with you (in part) that some of Ehrman's claims of gospel discrepancies are spurious.  Others I find compelling, but I think we're getting off-track from the OP.  All I can say for myself is that it's plausible to me that the nativity account in Luke is mistaken in its dates and particulars, and in that respect it might've been a retrofitting attempt to resolve the problem of the Messiah being born in Bethlehem.  I don't claim this with certainty; just that Ehrman has a strong case here, perhaps the strongest.  So when Xavier asks, "why don't you see these prophecies as being fulfilled?," such is my answer.

It does differ, because Valtorta and Anna Catherine Emmerich openly claim that what they saw was a vision (with all of its caveats - a vision can be false, but one can still sincerely believe it regardless), wheres the Gospels claim to accurately record real life events.

Yes, that is what the gospels claim, but there's no way to know whether the record that made it into the gospels is true or embellished.  Maria Valtorta and Anna Catherine Emmerich had their revelations long after the Church declared public revelation closed.  But a first-century Maria Valtorta would not have had that barrier (you're right in this: they do differ.  An earlier visionary wouldn't be restricted by those same constraints.  She could quietly have a revelation and slip it into the stream).  When compiling from an oral tradition and copied MSS, anything can seep in, especially when the span between the events and the composition is decades long, geographically separated, and linguistically different.

Title: Re: Messianic prophesies: proof of God's foreknowledge and Providence.
Post by: St.Justin on December 25, 2018, 03:22:17 PM
One point I would like to question is whether or not when you say teaching a different Gospel do you mean a Gospel such as Luke or do you mean just oral teachings? You seem to be inter mixing the two and then arguing for the dating as if they are the same. Gnostic 2nd century Gospels are a fact just as there were Gnostic teachings before that but they are two different things. Also just to be clear there were Gnostic Jews before Christianity came to be
Title: Re: Messianic prophesies: proof of God's foreknowledge and Providence.
Post by: Arvinger on December 25, 2018, 04:46:04 PM
It's simply to point out the fact that Jesus existed and he taught, and various competing sects afterwards lay claim to his teachings.
Sure, but we can evaluate these claims on the basis of evidence for their historical reliability or lack of thereof, and thus reject some why accept others. 

Quote from: Pon de Replay
The stories about what Jesus taught got modified, improved, or corrupted—whether from private revelation, pious supposition, or duplicitous intent.  We can't know with certainty to what extent each tradition compromised the original teaching; a precise account of how the gospels got transmitted is lost to history.  We simply don't know.  The canonical gospels could be and very well are the most accurate record of Jesus' teachings.  But even being the most accurate does not make them entirely accurate.  All Ehrman is saying is that whatever the original teaching was, it was added to by varying degrees, whether doctrinal, prophesy-fulfilling, or otherwise.

You wrote that "being the most accurate does not make them entirely accurate" - except if these texts are indeed inspired by God who preserved them from error. It looks like you a priori decided that these texts are not inspired and cannot be entirely accurate. Which is precisely what Ehrman believes - he argued at least in one of his debates that historical research must be done from naturalistic standpoint. In other words, he rejects the possibility of supernatural, including inspiration and inerrancy of Scripture, a priori, thus begging the question. That is perhaps the greatest weakness of his argument - if the Gospels are indeed inspired and inerrant, Ehrman's a priori naturalism makes it impossible for him to arrive to truth.

Furthermore, how do you know that things were added to the original teaching? Is there any evidence for that, or is it another presupposition? Are there any examples of manuscripts of Gospel of St. John without Jesus' claiming divinity which prove these things were added later? Also, it seems to me that when talking about "transmission of Scripture" you mix up the reliability of the contents of Scripture and accurate transmission of the text. While you can argue against the former, the latter is robust and hardly questionable. Scripture was transmitted freely, which means there were multiple lines of manuscripts, which makes it impossible that the text was tampered with - nobody was physically able to gather and amend thousands of manuscripts circulating around Mediterranean. Any such attempt would stand out in manuscript tradition. Ehrman himself admitted that if you compare the most different manuscripts of the New Testament, there will be no doctrinal differences, you will get the same teaching.   

Quote from: Pon de Replay
The non-canonical and Gnostic gospels are merely a thought exercise to illustrate how.  It's a difference of degree, not kind.  The Romans didn't differentiate between which strain of Christianity was orthodox and which wasn't, so anybody making anything up had nothing more to gain by doing so.  Every sect believed that it was the true one.

How does the issue of Gnostic gospels influence reliability of canonical Gospels? The difference in historical and manuscript evidence supporting these two groups of texts is massive.

Quote from: Pon de Replay
Yes, that is what the gospels claim, but there's no way to know whether the record that made it into the gospels is true or embellished.

Are there any specific reasons to doubt it, other than naturalistic presuppositions excluding or doubting the possibility of supernatural a priori? It looks like hyperscepticism to me - you could as well say that there is no way to know whether the record that made it into Tacitus, Herodotus or Livy is true or not, but most historians accept these sources as reliable (and the earliest manuscripts of works of these historians are much, much later and much fewer than the earliest manuscripts of the New Testament - Ehrman himself admitted that the New Testament is the best attested work of antiquity in terms of transmission of the text). Ehrman's position taken to its logical conclusion means throwing away all ancient texts as unreliable.

Ehrman was once asked what it would take for him to believe that Gospe lof Mark was really written by Mark and is reliable as to transmission of the text - he answered something along the lines of "10 manuscript copies written no later than 6 months after the original manuscript, all signed by Mark". That is ludicurous and is outside of any meaningful standard of historical research.

Quote from: Pon de Replay
Maria Valtorta and Anna Catherine Emmerich had their revelations long after the Church declared public revelation closed.  But a first-century Maria Valtorta would not have had that barrier (you're right in this: they do differ.  An earlier visionary wouldn't be restricted by those same constraints.  She could quietly have a revelation and slip it into the stream).  When compiling from an oral tradition and copied MSS, anything can seep in, especially when the span between the events and the composition is decades long, geographically separated, and linguistically different.

Again, there is a difference between someone who claims to have a vision (a vision automatically carries all sort of possible difficulties) and someone who claims to be an eyewitness of a real-life event - the first one might believe a false vision in good faith (there are limited possibilities of verification of a vision), the latter who manufactures false quotes which were never said is just straight up lying. You can't manufacture false quotes and events in good will.

Also, once again you seem to imply the Chinese whispers scenario, which was simply not the case as evidenced by the example of Papias and his sources which I discussed earlier - as late as the end of the 1st century BC disciples of the apostles (perhaps even St. John himself, if Papias' John the Elder is Apostle John indeed) and people directly associated with them were still authorities responsible for maintaining oral tradition among Christians, it was not a mass anonymous transmition of oral tradition when anyone could add anything to it, as Ehrman implies.
Title: Re: Messianic prophesies: proof of God's foreknowledge and Providence.
Post by: Pon de Replay on December 25, 2018, 08:32:11 PM
One point I would like to question is whether or not when you say teaching a different Gospel do you mean a Gospel such as Luke or do you mean just oral teachings? You seem to be inter mixing the two and then arguing for the dating as if they are the same. Gnostic 2nd century Gospels are a fact just as there were Gnostic teachings before that but they are two different things. Also just to be clear there were Gnostic Jews before Christianity came to be

I don't know if Paul was referring to a written gospel or an oral gospel; I don't think anybody knows.  He only says that a false gospel was being preached.  In any case, he doesn't seem to be referring to Gnostics in Galatians, but rather Judaizers or proto-Ebionites, since the dispute in question centers around circumcision (and presumably, adherence to the Mosaic Law). 

That a form of Gnostic Christianity, on the other hand, existed contemporaneous to Paul is partially attested to in Acts, where the Simon Magus mentioned there is later said to be the same Simon who led the first-century sect carrying his name, the Simonians.  The earliest attestation for this comes from your namesake, St. Justin Martyr, so factor in a separation of fifty to sixty years.  It appears to have originated in some sort of "sex magick" cult between Simon and his girlfriend, and developed into the weird Gnostic movement called Simonians (this comes from later Church Fathers).  There are no extant gospels or texts from these people, but they nevertheless appear to have existed for a century or two if the Fathers are to be believed.  The extant Gnostic gospels are from a different strain of Gnosticism; as you indicate, this movement probably grew out of pre-Christian Jewish Gnosticism, and then grafted itself onto the Jesus narrative.  The Gospel of Thomas, if early, would stand as the first-century Gnostic gospel.  The dating there isn't resolved.
Title: Re: Messianic prophesies: proof of God's foreknowledge and Providence.
Post by: Pon de Replay on December 25, 2018, 08:45:31 PM
You wrote that "being the most accurate does not make them entirely accurate" - except if these texts are indeed inspired by God who preserved them from error. It looks like you a priori decided that these texts are not inspired and cannot be entirely accurate.

Peace be with you, Arvinger.  I did write that and I still believe it.  I honestly do not know if the gospels are "indeed inspired by God who preserved them from error."  I can't determine that a priori any more than I can determine whether the Quran or the Gita are.  A priori, I can only proceed not being sure if they are or aren't.  Apart from attaining faith once more, I don't know how I would make the determination.  All I can say is that if there is ever a restoration of the Catholic Church, Bart Ehrman better be among the first burned at the stake because to my lights he is most persuasive in, at the very least, inculcating doubt as to the question of inerrancy and divine inspiration.  I thank you for the book recommendation, the lead to the YouTube debate, and your patience; this has been an interesting Christmas exchange but at this point I'm going to politely "Michael Wilson it" and concede that I've said pretty much all I can say.  Paz.


Title: Re: Messianic prophesies: proof of God's foreknowledge and Providence.
Post by: Xavier on December 29, 2018, 01:45:18 AM
Sir William Ramsay was an Oxford educated archaeologist and former skeptic who lived about a century ago; after a lifetime of study and of discovery, he had a spiritual journey that led him to the Catholic Church. Since we are speaking of St. Luke, this is what he said after studying Luke-Acts for life, and being a pioneer in his field, "[Saint]Luke is a historian of the first rank. Not merely are his matter of fact statements trustworthy, but he is possessed of the true historic sense ... in short, this author ought to be placed with the very greatest of historians" https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Mitchell_Ramsay see

"Sir William Mitchell Ramsay, FBA (15 March 1851 – 20 April 1939) was a Scottish archaeologist and New Testament scholar. By his death in 1939 he had become the foremost authority of his day on the history of Asia Minor and a leading scholar in the study of the New Testament. Although Ramsay was educated in the Tübingen school of thought (founded by F. C. Baur) which doubted the reliability of the New Testament, his extensive archaeological and historical studies convinced him of the historical accuracy of the New Testament.[1]"

When he first went to Asia Minor, many of the cities mentioned in Acts had no known location and almost nothing was known of their detailed history or politics. The Acts of the Apostles was the only record and Ramsay, skeptical, fully expected his own research to prove the author of Acts hopelessly inaccurate since no man could possibly know the details of Asia Minor more than a hundred years after the event—this is, when Acts was then supposed to have been written. He therefore set out to put the writer of Acts on trial. He devoted his life to unearthing the ancient cities and documents of Asia Minor. After a lifetime of study, however, he concluded: 'Further study … showed that the book could bear the most minute scrutiny as an authority for the facts of the Aegean world, and that it was written with such judgment, skill, art and perception of truth as to be a model of historical statement' (The Bearing of Recent Discovery, p. 85). On page 89 of the same book, Ramsay accounted, 'I set out to look for truth on the borderland where Greece and Asia meet, and found it there [in Acts]. You may press the words of Luke in a degree beyond any other historian's and they stand the keenest scrutiny and the hardest treatment...'

See also the Catholic Encyclopedia 's articles on each of the Gospel accounts and their nature as eyewitness biographies. The one on St. Luke-Acts mention some of Ramsay's work. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09420a.htm

Evangelizing souls and their own spiritual journey leading them by the grace of God to come to Jesus Christ can sometimes be a life's work.

Evangelism/apologetics aimed at helping Jews or others come to Christ has its place, but above all it is the Holy Spirit and His Grace that brings souls to Christ, whether by these means or others known to Him only.

Anyway, since it's Christmas season, we remind ourselves that the prophecies have a happy ending. St. Paul the Apostle in Romans, and St. Cyril and the Fathers, tell us one day, after the Gospel is proclaimed in every Gentile nation, Jerusalem will one day return to Christ and have peace. The Jews will be converted and astonished at the riches they will find in Christ.

"Saint Cyril of Alexandria says this: “Towards the end of time, Our Lord Jesus Christ will effect the reconciliation of His former persecutor Israel with Himself. Everybody who knows Holy Scripture is aware that, in the course of time, this people will return to the love of Christ by the submission of faith…. Yes, one day, after the conversion of the Gentiles, Israel will be converted, and the Jews will be astonished at the treasure they will find in Christ” (Commentary on Genesis, Bk. 5). https://catholicism.org/ad-rem-no-310.html

In prophesies of the Saints and in private revelations, too, the King and Queen of Prophets seem to indicate that the time for this great event now draws near. Saintly Sr. Catherine Emmerich said, "The Jews will return to Israel, and become Christians toward the end of the world". Ven. Fr. Bartholomew Holzhauer, in his commentary on the seven churches of the Apocalypse, understands these to represent seven Church ages. The sixth Church age, which will be preceded by an apostasy and a figure of anti-Christ appearing, will finally begin with the conversion of the Jewish people to Christ, and a period of peace - as confirmed in Fatima as the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart.

In more recent locutions, Our Lady is reported to have said it will be a Pope's martyrdom for Christ, laying down his life in sacrifice for the Jews and for all people, that will finally bring the Jewish nation to enter the Church.

MARY: "A moment will come when I will take my beloved son, the Pope. I will walk with him to Jerusalem. For the second time I will go to Jerusalem to witness the death of a son.

When this happens the eyes of the Jewish people will see for the first time. They will see in the Pope’s death what the Catholic Church has done for them. There will be no mistake about which Church has blessed them, because it will have been done by the head of the Church and by the greatest of sacrifices. Israel will embrace the Catholic Church.

All Catholics will welcome Israel because all will have seen the decision of the Holy Father (the bishop dressed in white) to offer his life for Israel. The union between the Catholic Church and Israel will be a union of hearts brought about by the events that the whole world will have has seen and can never forget." https://maryrefugeofholylove.com/locutions-to-the-world/the-importance-of-jerusalem-prophecies/
Title: Re: Messianic prophesies: proof of God's foreknowledge and Providence.
Post by: Arvinger on January 06, 2019, 02:14:24 PM
Peace be with you, Arvinger.  I did write that and I still believe it.  I honestly do not know if the gospels are "indeed inspired by God who preserved them from error."  I can't determine that a priori any more than I can determine whether the Quran or the Gita are.  A priori, I can only proceed not being sure if they are or aren't.  Apart from attaining faith once more, I don't know how I would make the determination.

I understand and appreciate your position stated that way. I just wanted to point out the contrast between it and your earlier posts - you say that you don't know whether the Gospels are inspired or not), yet earlier you made an unqualified statement that "the stories about what Jesus taught got modified, improved, or corrupted—whether from private revelation, pious supposition, or duplicitous intent.". Well, if you don't know whether the Gospels are inspired or not, it follows that you don't know whether the stories about Jesus were modified, corrupted etc., for their inspiration (which you declare yourself agnostic about) would entail that they were not and the Gospels are indeed accurate. Therefore your judgment about corruption of stories about Jesus is inconsistent with your agnosticism on the issue of inspiration.

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I thank you for the book recommendation, the lead to the YouTube debate, and your patience; this has been an interesting Christmas exchange but at this point I'm going to politely "Michael Wilson it" and concede that I've said pretty much all I can say.  Paz.

Thank you for the exchange and greetings for you.
Title: Re: Messianic prophesies: proof of God's foreknowledge and Providence.
Post by: Pon de Replay on January 07, 2019, 03:51:49 PM
I just wanted to point out the contrast between it and your earlier posts - you say that you don't know whether the Gospels are inspired or not), yet earlier you made an unqualified statement that "the stories about what Jesus taught got modified, improved, or corrupted—whether from private revelation, pious supposition, or duplicitous intent.". Well, if you don't know whether the Gospels are inspired or not, it follows that you don't know whether the stories about Jesus were modified, corrupted etc., for their inspiration (which you declare yourself agnostic about) would entail that they were not and the Gospels are indeed accurate. Therefore your judgment about corruption of stories about Jesus is inconsistent with your agnosticism on the issue of inspiration.

Thank you, Arvinger.  Just to clarify, the statement about Jesus' teachings being "modified, improved, or corrupted" isn't inconsistent with agnosticism.  At the very least, you and I both agree that a changing of the Jesus story was certainly the case for the non-canonical and Gnostic gospels.  All one needs to find are variations of a narrative to know that the original story has been altered.  After that, the only thing to remain agnostic of is whether the original story has been faithfully transmitted, and if so, which account contains it.  Of course, we would respectfully differ where the canonical gospels are concerned.  Indeed, I'm agnostic there as to inspiration, and I do observe variations between the four.  Pax.