Thursday, August 29, 2013

O.T. vs. N.T. parallels are not prophetic

And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?" (which means "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"). Mark 15:34

Most will recognize these to be the last words of Christ as he hung on the cross. But in reality this is actually taken from the Old Testament and put into the mouth of Christ in the narrative. Many Christians who haven't read the Bible in its entirety would be oblivious to this fact. Others who do know of it will reinterpret those Old Testaments texts as prophetic. While there are still others who will state that many of the things in the Old Testament as a type of what was to come (Christ). 

For the director of music. To the tune of "The Doe of the Morning." A psalm of David. My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from my cries of anguish? Psalm 22:1

As you can see those words are taken from Psalm 22 and it is a lamentation of David where he cries out to his God for help in troubling times. One thing to note is that the Old Testament was written in ancient Hebrew or Aramaic and that the New Testament was written for the most part in Greek Whenever there are portions of the O.T. used in the N.T. it has to be translated into the Greek. The New Testament for the most part uses the translation known as the Septauagint (LXX) which is a Greek translation of the O.T. Hebrew/Aramaic. 

"The Septuagint, from the Latin word septuaginta (meaning seventy), is a translation of the Hebrew Bible and some related texts into Koine Greek. The title and its Roman numeral acronym "LXX" refer to the legendary seventy Jewish scholars that completed the translation as early as the late 2nd century BC. Its contents comprise the Eastern Orthodox Old Testament for which reason it is sometimes called the "Greek Old Testament" ("Η μετάφραση των Εβδομήκοντα'"). This translation is quoted in the New Testament, particularly in the writings of Paul the Apostle, and also by the Apostolic Fathers and later Greek Church Fathers."

Incidentally, Psalm 22 also has elements within the texts that fundamentalists believers interpret as prophetic texts regarding the sufferings of Jesus during his crucifixion and subsequent execution at the hands of the Romans. The same can be said about Psalm 53 which if you did not bother to read the 52 chapter you would be oblivious to the fact that it is not referring to Christ but to the nation of Israel.

First let's define what a Psalm is not. It is not a prphecy of anything and should not be taken as such. Let's take a quick look at what a psalm is according to the Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary

1. (n.) A sacred song; a poetical composition for use in the praise or worship of God.
2. (n.) Especially, one of the hymns by David and others, collected into one book of the Old Testament, or a modern metrical version of such a hymn for public worship.

So a psalm is a song of worship and praise to God it's not to be taken as a prophecy. David in Psalm 22 was singing a song of praise to his God which started out with his lamentations and ended in praise. The introduction to this Psalm states this fact:"For the director of music. To the tune of "The Doe of the Morning." A psalm of David. In verse 25 David again reminds us that it is a song of praise.

"From you comes the theme of my praise in the great assembly;
before those who fear youf I will fulfill my vows." Psalm 22:25

Incidentally, in the psalm there are elements that like the first verse were taken from this very psalm that seem to describe details from the crucifixion of Christ. I will try to match them up to their so called fulfillment in the N.T. of which we will talk about afterwards. The first verse has already been illustrated and taken care of so we will skip it and point out some other similarities.

16Dogs surround me,
a pack of villains encircles me;
they pierce my hands and my feet.
17All my bones are on display;
people stare and gloat over me.
18They divide my clothes among them
and cast lots for my garment.  Psalm 22:16-18

In these three verses we have the crucifixion as it is described in the N.T. they pierced his hands and feet, the mocked him, and they cast lots for his garments. We are going to be using the gospel of Mark although all of these elements are spread out through all four gospels regarding the crucifixion of Christ. Mark is believed to be the first gospel narrative written and all the others are believed to have borrowed elements from it.

They pierced his hands and feet (crucified) 
25It was nine in the morning when they crucified him.

They mocked him
29Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “So! You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, 30come down from the cross and save yourself!” 31In the same way the chief priests and the teachers of the law mocked him among themselves. 

They cast lots (gambled) for his garments
24And they crucified him. Dividing up his clothes, they cast lots to see what each would get.

There are many instances in the New Testament where themes from the Old Testament are borrowed and taken out of context to refer to the life, death, and crucifixion of Christ. Another important factor to mention is that the word Christ is not a name but a title. Strongs Greek Lexicon defines it as thus:

Christos: the Anointed One, Messiah, Christ
Original Word: Χριστός, οῦ, ὁ
Part of Speech: Noun, Masculine
Transliteration: Christos
Phonetic Spelling: (khris-tos')
Short Definition: Anointed One, the Messiah, the Christ
Definition: Anointed One; the Messiah, the Christ.

It is my theory that Jesus Christ was a fictional figure derived from the Old Testament narratives regarding the hopes of a Messiah for the Hebrews. Once you realize this you can read those O.T. texts properly without trying to read into them what is not there or taking them out of context to conform to what you believe. 

Note: All biblical citations are taken from The New International Version of the scriptures. All other references have been hyperlinked.


  1. What are your thoughts on textual critics like Bart Erhman? I think he does a really good job explaining to non-scholarly audiences the problems in the Bible.

    1. I love textual critcs like Bart Erhman. I actually met him a few times when I worked at Oxford University Press and I used to pick his brain every chance I got. I only read books on the Bible that are written by scholars that specialize in higher criticism.

      My favorite authors are Robert M. Price, John Loftus, Dan Barker, Richard Carrier, etal. I don't waste my time with Christian apologetics books because I can spot their fallacious arguments right away and it annoys the hell out of me.

    2. We all have authors we prefer but is it not limiting to only read books that in reality, specialise in writing stuff that you agree with and avoid those that annoy the hell out of you?

      In my opinion it is always a bit out of sync when stabbing at certain pieces of Scripture to make a point. I have seen Christians open the Bible and random and point their finger at a verse and then think that the verse is God telling them 'something'.

      The Bible is not about you, me or anyone else. The Bible is not about God's Love, something else I have heard said. I don't even think its about history, rules or laws. I feel it is a book purely about God and about His difficulties with His family (us).

      Reading through the Bible is pretty hard. I find it at times to be awkward, boring, annoying, difficult and tricky. But then it was the same when I read The Origin of Species. Again here, many creationists will take bits of Darwins work and as soon as it is isolated from the book as a whole, various interpretaions are made that are always wrong.

  2. "We all have authors we prefer but is it not limiting to only read books that in reality, specialise in writing stuff that you agree with and avoid those that annoy the hell out of you?"

    I agree, but the problem with apologetics is that the arguments for God have not changed in over 2,000 years. And when those arguments and methodologies on how the author came to those conclusions are analyzed critically they all fall short and prove to be fallacious.

    I also agree that anything can be interpreted in any way by anyone when taken out of context. The Bible is a perfect example. I have also people as you stated take Charles Darwin's words and use them incorrectly to bolster an argument in their favor.

    The difference is that the Bible claims to be a revelation from God to man and also that it is the absolute "truth" a claim that science refrains from. Scientists are not as arrogant as to not say we don't know when they truly don't know. But believers say we know not based on evidence of any kind but because the Bible says so. A fallacious argument which has no basis in facts.

    1. Of course the Bible is portrayed as the absolute truth. Any Scripture from any religion would do the same. Scientists can say they don’t know because they are fallible. Believers don’t say that they know without any evidence. The evidence is that we are here; it is an argument of fact.

      What believers are guilty of is forgetting that they are human just like scientists, so they also “truly don’t know”. The real argument I suppose, is about how did we get here. Hawking suggests that it is impossible for us to exist despite the vastness of space. The only reason we are here is because a tiny corner of the Universe is equipped to allow for life (and then he spends pages on mathematical formula that only he understands). The Bible of course suggests the reason is God. Who is right? Only God knows (Or Steven Hawking)

    2. "The evidence is that we are here; it is an argument of fact."

      The fact that we exist is evidence that we exist that is all. It does not imply the how we came to exist and positing God is basically saying we don't know.

      Considering that all gods are the creations of the imaginations of men does not make one god more possible than the other. Also, if we say God did it then we must ask where did God come from how is it that he/she/it exists?

      "The Bible of course suggests the reason is God. Who is right? Only God knows (Or Steven Hawking)"

      The truth is that no one knows at this time. Trying to explain the unknown by resorting to ancient myths and superstitions does not solve the problem. I don't consider the Bible as the word of God. It is undeniable that it is a work of man and nothing more. The same can be said for all so called holy texts.

  3. Another thing is that the apologetics use terrible arguments, fallacious logic and present as facts things that simply aren't true. Calling those books scholarly is pretty much taking retarded shit and calling it ice cream.

  4. Haven't they taken your ass back to jail or the looney bin yet?

  5. ^ Note the above was to psychotic spammer David Mabus whose incoherent posts have been deleted.

  6. A few weeks ago I wrote a post critiquing WL Craig's 4 "facts" concerning the resurrection of Jesus. And one of his arguments is that "Jewish Messianic expectations included no idea of a Messiah who, instead of triumphing over Israel’s enemies, would be shamefully executed by them as a criminal." But another apologist, Phil Fernandes, asks on his website, "How do you explain David's graphic portrayal of Jesus' death by crucifixion (Psalm 22) 1000 years before Christ lived?"

    So theists want to have it both ways: on one hand they want to argue that there was no idea among the Jews that a messiah would die, and on the other hand they want to argue that the Jewish stories foretold of a messiah who would die by crucifixion.

    1. Psalm 22 as this post shows has nothing to do with Jesus. Christians take a lot of things from the O.T. and say it is a prophesy of Christ. But it's, not it does speak of a hope for a Messiah of Israel. The N.T. authors stole verses from the Old and invented the Jesus tale out of it. That is my theory.