Christian Prophesy Challenge!
And here it is:
Find any one prophesy in the Old Testament of the Bible in which the entire prophesy, considered in its own context, is an accurate depiction of Jesus and/or Christianity.
To the first person to find such a prophesy, I will send a $200 Walmart Gift Card! How can you be sure that I will? Well, I know you'll have difficulties trusting an atheist on this, but, believe me, $200 isn't going to break my bank and I'll be glad to send it to you. I've just become so very disheartened that every prophesy I read seems to be "wrong" for Jesus that I'll be happy to be wrong in this case!
Besides, what have you got to lose by studying the Bible more closely? ;-) It should be really easy! Right? There are so many prophesies directly referenced in the Gospels. You just have to play by these rules:
- No verse cherry-picking allowed. You have to use the entire prophesy. For example, if you reference Psalm 22:18 because the soldiers cast lots for Jesus' clothes (Matthew 27:35, Mark 15:24, Luke 23:34, John 19:23-24), then you have to consider all of Psalm 22. For example, in verses Psalm 22:19-25 if we consider this to be about Jesus, then Jesus was trying to bargain with God, saying that in exchange for God saving Jesus' life (not resurrecting it), he vowed to tell everyone about how great God is. But Jesus' life was not spared. Furthermore, Jesus knew it was essential for himself to die and knew that he would be resurrected, so pleading for God to save his life was unrealistic (John 12:27). So this does not exactly match up with Jesus. (There are other oddities about this particular Psalm as an entire prophesy, but we'll save that for another time.)
- There can't be any contradictory material. In other words, even if 95% of the prophesy seems to match, but one verse is not accurate, then the whole thing is considered to not match Jesus and/or Christianity. God should be perfect in His omniscient prophesies, right?
- Metaphorical language is subject to the context. If a literal interpretation of a verse or phrase works within the context of the prophesy, then it is unlikely to have been meant as a metaphor. This will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis, but such metaphors will probably not be accepted.
- The entire prophesy may be subject to the context of associated prophesies and contemporaneous events. Often, some language in prophesies is a little ambiguous, so we may need to turn elsewhere in Scripture to resolve its meaning; concentrating on other prophesies and events of the time for the appropriate context.
- The prophesy must be already fulfilled. [This is a late addition to the rules.] It is a bit difficult to say if a prophesy for the future is accurate, excepting when one prophesy for the future contradicts another prophesy for the future. So, in most cases we will have to limit ourselves to what was fulfilled through Jesus and what is fulfilled by subsequent Christianity in this great wait for the Second Coming.
- I will be the final judge for the contest, but... I recognize that I have biases. So if I don't feel as though my case is strong, or if I do feel like yours is, I'll try to bring in some extra council to help me come to a fair judgement. And if you feel I haven't fully considered your points of view, feel free to prod me into a second opinion.
By the way, here is a list of prophesies already addressed as inaccurate in my studies:
|Isaiah 7:14||Matthew 1:18-25||The Messiah would be born of a virgin and called Immanuel (God-With-Us).|
|Hosea 11:1||Matthew 2:14-15||God would call His son out of Egypt.|
|Jeremiah 31:15||Matthew 2:17-18||Rachel weeping for her children / the Massacre of the Innocents|
|N/A (Not in the Bible)||Matthew 2:23||The Messiah would be called a "Nazarene."|
|Malachi 3:1||Mark 1:2, Luke 7:26-27||God would send a messenger ahead of the Messiah to prepare the way. (See also this post about preparing the way.)|
|Isaiah 40:3-5||Matthew 3:3, Mark 1:3, Luke 3:4-6, John 1:23||A voice crying in the desert, making the path straight for God.|
|Exodus 12||Jesus' Sacrifice||The Passover was a foreshadowing of the atoning blood sacrifice of Jesus.|
|Isaiah 9:1-2||Matthew 4:15-1||Gentiles have seen a great light.|
|Isaiah 53:4||Matthew 8:17||The Messiah would take up infirmities and diseases. (See this detailed study on Isaiah 53.)|
|Isaiah's Suffering Servant||Jesus being mistreated, beaten, rejected, etc.||God has a Suffering Servant in Isaiah 42, Isaiah 49, Isaiah 50, and Isaiah 53.|
|Malachi 4:5||Matthew 11:13-14||The messenger to prepare the way for God would be Elijah, and John the Baptist was Elijah.|
|Isaiah 42:1-4||Matthew 12:18-21||Part of Isaiah's Servant prophesies. The Messiah will have God's spirit, will not shout or quarrel, nations will put their hope in him bringing justice, etc.|
|Isaiah 6:9-10||Mark 4:11-12, Luke 8:9-10||The Messiah would speak in parables.|
|Jonah||Matthew 12:39-40||The sign of Jonah.|
|Psalm 78:2||Matthew 13:34-35||The Messiah would speak in parables.|
|Isaiah 61:1-2||Luke 4:18-19||The Messiah would preach good news to the poor, free prisoners and the oppressed, proclaim the year of God's favor.|
|Isaiah 29:13||Matthew 15:7-9, Mark 7:6-8||Pharisees worshiping God only with their mouths, and following the rules of men instead of God's Law.|
|Daniel 9:24-26||Luke 12:54-56||The signs and times of God's Kingdom, the timing of the Messiah, and the Messiah's death.|
|Zechariah 9:9||Matthew 21:5, John 12:15||Israel's King would humbly ride to them on a donkey's colt.|
|Isaiah 56:7||Matthew 21:13, Mark 11:17, Luke 19:46||The Temple will be a house of prayer for all nations.|
|Psalm 69:9||John 2:17||Zeal for God would consume the Messiah.|
|Psalm 110:1||Matthew 21:42, Mark 12:10-11, Luke 20:17||A rejected Jesus would become the cornerstone in God's Kingdom.|