Examining Biblical Prophecy – pt. 7 – fourth prophecy

Examining Biblical Prophecy – pt. 7 – fourth prophecy April 20, 2016

Here we continue examining some Biblical prophecies (Index) – the crucifixion.

Some 400 years before crucifixion was invented, both Israel’s King David and the prophet Zechariah described the Messiah’s death in words that perfectly depict that mode of execution. Further, they said that the body would be pierced and that none of the bones would be broken, contrary to customary procedure in cases of crucifixion (Psalm 22 and 34:20; Zechariah 12:10). Again, historians and New Testament writers confirm the fulfillment: Jesus of Nazareth died on a Roman cross, and his extraordinarily quick death eliminated the need for the usual breaking of bones. A spear was thrust into his side to verify that he was, indeed, dead.

(Probability of chance fulfillment = 1 in 10^13.)

One of the tiring things about addressing articles like this, is that the same mistakes are made repeatedly. It’s like reading the book “What Darwin Didn’t Know” (Simmons 2004 – now available on Amazon paperback for 39 cents), addressing his fundamental misconceptions about transitional forms the first time they come up… then having to skip the other hundred times he re-makes the same mistakes.

If we look at Psalm 22:16-18 (ESV), we see:

16 For dogs encompass me;
a company of evildoers encircles me;
they have pierced my hands and feet[b]—
17 I can count all my bones—
they stare and gloat over me;
18 they divide my garments among them,
and for my clothing they cast lots.

That does sound consistent with the common depictions of Jesus’ crucifixion. That is, however, the only thing that’s consistent – once again, being a “perfect depiction” that’s based on a single phrase, plucked out of a passage of other things that didn’t come true.

And again, the only things we “know” about the specifics Jesus’s crucifixion, come from the Bible itself… falling once again into the circular arguments of fan fiction. We have no independent contemporary confirmation of the event. At best, we have independent corroboration of the general customs at the time.

I read Psalm 22, and it doesn’t seem to be specifically describing crucifixion. It could be any number of scenarios, where a person’s limbs are taken out of action to make him/her more vulnerable. That’s common. In fact, it makes much more sense within the context of dogs biting at you, when you’re surrounded, and you’re using your arms and legs for defense… and not being affixed to a structure.

Again, one cannot say (and maintain any semblance of intellectual integrity) that it describes something, when it’s not clear it’s even attempting to describe it at all.

You’d think, if it was attempting to describe a crucifixion, it might mention something about being propped up on a cross… you know, one of the major identifying aspects of crucifixion.

Why is God so bad at communicating?

Keep in mind, I’m not even sure whether Psalm 22:16-17 is what they’re saying represents the crucifixion process. I read through Psalm 22, and it was the closest thing I could find... so I’m assuming that’s what this article’s author is referring to. Psalm 34:20 just wasn’t that interesting towards crucifixions.

Looking at Zechariah 12:10:

And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn.

Again (again), we’re apparently relating these two book versus based on a single word “pierced”, which isn’t all that odd, when many people have spears and swords, to fight each other with. It’d be like saying in the modern U.S., that someone got “shot”. Most violent actions of the time will involve “piercing”.

Looking again at Psalm 22:16-17,

16 For dogs encompass me;
a company of evildoers encircles me;
they have pierced my hands and feet[b]—

Sure, we can interpret “dogs” to symbolize the Romans… but why would we (the author doesn’t assert this; it’s for the sake of argument, so I have something to actually address)? How do we know that was the author’s intention? Why would this prophecy be so very specific on the piercing of hands and feet, but suddenly the Romans are symbolized by “dogs”? Why the sentence-to-sentence inconsistency in level-of-symbolism? By what method are we determining, on a word-by-word basis, whether something is to be taken literally, versus symbolically? Why is “hands and feet” not symbolic for something else, like different Roman cities?

I keep making statements like “how do we know that was the author’s intent?” I’d like to briefly explain why this matters, but I’ll split it into the next post.

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