Monday, November 30, 2009

The Nature Of Biblical Prophecy Fulfillment

Prophecy fulfillment is an apologetic issue that often comes up during the Christmas season. Critics of Christianity often focus on the typological nature of much of the purported prophecy fulfillment in the New Testament and neglect the non-typological prophecies. Much will be made of a passage like Matthew 2:15, sometimes with the suggestion that the gospel is being dishonest about Hosea 11:1, since that passage isn't about the Messiah leaving Egypt. But such typological use of the Old Testament was common in ancient Israel, and no deception was involved. It's not as though Matthew's audience had never read Hosea 11 and depended on Matthew for their knowledge of the passage. Such typological prophecy fulfillment does carry less evidential weight than non-typological fulfillment, but objecting to the presence of less weighty evidence doesn't explain the more weighty evidence. Critics have to do more than just complain about passages like Matthew 2:15.

Some of the prophecies Jesus allegedly fulfilled not only are non-typological, but also were widely accepted as Messianic prophecies among ancient non-Christian Jews. John Dominic Crossan gives an example:

"The Davidic Messiah as a warrior king is not, therefore, just one option among many messianic understandings and expectations. It is rather the basic one." (in James Beilby and Paul Eddy, edd., The Historical Jesus: Five Views [Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 2009], p. 119)

On Jesus' Davidic ancestry, see here and here.

Regarding some other Christmas-related prophecies, see here and here. On prophecy fulfillment in general, see my summarizing post here and our archive of prophecy posts here.

1 comment:

  1. In the second audio file of noted Messianic Jew Arnold Fruchtenbaum, he points out that the New Testament cites the OT in a common jewish way. He names them

    1. literal prophecy with a litral fulfillment,
    2. typological/typology,
    3. application,
    4. summary/summation.

    He points out that they correspond to the Jewish method of interpretation with the acronym Pardes/PARDES/PaRDeS