The Errors of Atheists, Regarding the Correct Meaning of Hebrew Prophecies

COPYRIGHT WARNING

It is important to acknowledge that a majority of Atheists, Agnostics, and skeptics of the Bible, are not qualified to make definitive conclusions, regarding the prophecies of the Old Testament. When this occurs, it is almost always an embarrassment to themselves, as well as their readers.

According to Atheist Bob Seidensticker of Patheos.com, he is a greater historical and literary scholar than experts who have examined the prophecies of the Messiah:

“Let’s ignore the fact that a character in a book about Israel was far likelier to be born in Bethlehem than in Bermuda, Brazil, or Borneo, so comparing Bethlehem against the rest of the world is unrealistic. Let’s also ignore that Stoner simply assumes that Jesus was divine. At least we have it on good authority that the Micah reference, “out of you [Bethlehem] will come … one who will be ruler over Israel,” actually refers to Jesus, because the gospel of Matthew says so (Matt. 2:6). Or do we? When you actually read Micah 5, it is clear that this ruler of Israel will be a warrior who will turn back the Assyrians, the empire that began conquering Israel piecemeal beginning in 740 BCE. “Your hand will be lifted up in triumph over your enemies, and all your foes will be destroyed” (Micah 5:9) doesn’t sound like any event in the life of Jesus.”[17]

According to Mr. Seidensticker, the prophecy of Micah was not written for the Messiah, and therefore cannot be applied to Jesus. This conclusion is not based on scholarly deduction, but on Mr. Seidensticker’s opinion. Why does he arrive at this conclusion? He is unqualified and has no credentials to make such statements. He is also an Atheist, who has chosen not to believe that God exists, nor that Jesus is the Messiah.

It is impossible to objectively examine and comment on any subject, when your mind has already determined the conclusion.

Micah 5:2a “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Though you are little among the thousands of Judah, Yet out of you shall come forth to Me The One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, From everlasting.

We notice that this prophecy, written for the Messiah, describes Him as one “coming from everlasting” (eternity). According to Mr. Seidensticker, this was simply a “warrior king who would turn back the Assyrians in 740 B.C.” Obviously any battle that was fought during 740 B.C., was not led by a man who was eternal, for this is a title given only to God. Clearly, as is the case in many Old Testament prophecies, Micah was writing an earlier prophecy for this event in 740 B.C., as well as a later prophecy which was written exclusively for the Messiah—to be fulfilled later, at Jesus birth. We understand this by the full context of the verse, which included the phrase: “Whose goings forth are from of old, From everlasting.” This is why it is important to have sufficient knowledge of the things we are speaking of—before we try to make ourselves an instant expert.

It is a common tactic of Atheists, Agnostics, and Skeptics of the Bible, to make statements such as this, without any scholarly evidence to support such deductions. It should also be noted that in many of these cases, the actual context of these scriptures are completely ignored (as in this case) and a single verse is removed from the entire body of scripture and used to make a invalid inference.

The reference used by Bob Seidensticker, from Micah 5:2, has been widely endorsed by Biblical Scholars as Messianic. These are men and women who have devoted their entire lives to the close examination and scrutiny of all Biblical text for accuracy; historical, and canonical authenticity, and have determined that this text from Micah 5:2 is describing the Messiah. We add to this the eye witnesses of the New Testament writers who saw Jesus and were fully aware that He was born in Bethlehem, and wrote that Jesus had fulfilled this prophecy from Micah 5:2.

Micah 5:2But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Though you are little among the thousands of Judah, Yet out of you shall come forth to Me The One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, From everlasting.

2 Samuel 5:2 Also, in time past, when Saul was king over us, you were the one who led Israel out and brought them in; and the LORD said to you, “You shall shepherd My people Israel, and be ruler over Israel.’ ”

Matthew combined two Old Testament references from Micah and 2 Samuel, into his one commentary authenticating Jesus fulfillment of Micah’s prophecy.

Matthew 2:1-6 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, 2 saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.” 3 When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. 5 So they said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet: 6 “But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, Are not the least among the rulers of Judah; For out of you shall come a Ruler Who will shepherd My people Israel.’ ”

Quoting from two different scriptures in one commentary is a common occurrence that often occurs, even to the present day. A teacher will quote from memory—a verse of scripture, without actually looking up the verse and include the text from another verse they are also thinking of. Many times I have taught before an audience and a verse of scripture came to my mind and I would quote that verse, including some text from another scripture—as a single commentary. This does not diminish Matthew’s narrative—in fact it lends greater authenticity to the text and confirms that this is a genuine event that actually took place. Those who would seek to fabricate a story, would look up the precise text and make certain that it matched the Old Testament reference. The fact that Matthew combined Micah 5:2 and 2 Samuel 5:2, is great evidence that the text we have recorded for our posterity—is authentic. Matthew was attributing the event of Jesus birth to an Old Testament prediction, in order to confirm His identity as the true Messiah.

In the Hebrew translation from Targum Jonathan, the text from Micah 5:2 reads:

And you, O Bethlehem Ephrath, you who were too small to be numbered among the thousands of the house of Judah, from you shall come forth before Me the Messiah, to exercise dominion over Israel, he whose name was mentioned from before, from the days of creation.”[18]

The Jewish translators of Micah 5:2 clearly believed that this verse was describing the Messiah, as he added the text: “the Messiah.” This is a secondary confirmation of Micah 5:2—in opposition to Mr. Seidensticker’s commentary that this is simply a reference to an event that took place 700 years before Jesus was born. This conclusion is incorrect, and without scholarly support.

Who do we trust?

The question that all thinking people should ask is, do we trust Bob Seidensticker, who has a clear bias against all Biblical text, Jesus, and Christianity, or do we trust the Scholars who have spent their lives gaining the necessary education to make valid conclusions about these texts? Mr. Seidensticker has provided for his readers, commentary which has no scholarly support from either Christian or Jewish scholars. Even amongst Jews who do not believe Jesus is the Messiah—they all support Micah 5:2 as a reference to the coming Messiah.

When Matthew makes reference to Jesus fulfilling the words of Micah 5:2 and 2 Samuel 5:2, we should trust his testimony.

We must remember in the study of Bible prophecy, that we are not simply speaking of a few isolated verses from the Old Testament—we are describing 365 detailed predictions which find their fulfillment in the New Testament. In Psalm 22 alone, David wrote 17 specific details which vividly describe the Messiah as pierced in His hands and feet and crucified.

When we view these specific prophecies, we are awestruck by the precise manner in which Jesus perfectly fulfilled Old Testament prophecy in the narrative of the New Testament.

He will be forsaken by God: Psalm 22:1 Prophecy 71

Psalms 22:1 “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? Why are You so far from helping Me, And from the words of My groaning?”

Matthew 27:46 “And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”

He will Die during the afternoon: Psalm 22:2 Prophecy 72

Psalms 22:2 “O My God, I cry in the daytime, but You do not hear; And in the night season, and am not silent…

Matthew 27:46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”

He will be despised: Psalm 22:6, Prophecy 73

Psalms 22:6 “But I am a worm, and no man; A reproach of men, and despised by the people.”

Matthew 27:28-31 “And they stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him.When they had twisted a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand. And they bowed the knee before Him and mocked Him, saying, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’ Then they spat on Him, and took the reed and struck Him on the head. And when they had mocked Him, they took the robe off Him, put His own clothes on Him, and led Him away to be crucified.”

Observers will express their disgust with Him: Psalm 22:7, Prophecy 74

Psalms 22:7 “All those who see Me ridicule Me; They shoot out the lip, they shake the head…”

Matthew 27:41-44 Likewise the chief priests also, mocking with the scribes and elders, said, “He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He is the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him. He trusted in God; let Him deliver Him now if He will have Him; for He said, ‘I am the Son of God.’ ” Even the robbers who were crucified with Him reviled Him with the same thing.

Observers will recite the precise words of this Psalm: Psalm 22:8, Prophecy 75

Psalms 22:8 “He trusted in the LORD, let Him rescue Him; Let Him deliver Him, since He delights in Him!”

Matthew 27:43 “He trusted in God; let Him deliver Him now if He will have Him; for He said, ‘I am the Son of God.’ ”

He will be Born to die: Psalm 22:9-10, Prophecy 76

Psalms 22:9-10 “But You are He who took Me out of the womb; You made Me trust while on My mother’s breasts. I was cast upon You from birth. From My mother’s womb You have been My God.”

Luke 2:10-11 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”

Acts 2:36 “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”

He will Die from a ruptured heart: Psalm 22:13-17, Prophecy 77

Psalms 22:14 … My heart is like wax; It has melted within Me.”

John 19:34 “But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out.”

He will thirst: Psalm 22:13-17, Prophecy 78

Psalms 22:15 …My strength is dried up like a potsherd, And My tongue clings to My jaws; You have brought Me to the dust of death.

John 19:28 After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, “I thirst!

He will be hated and mocked: Psalm 22:16, Prophecy 79

Psalms 22:16a “For dogs have surrounded Me; The congregation of the wicked has enclosed Me.”

Luke 23:35-36 “And the people stood looking on. But even the rulers with them sneered, saying, “He saved others; let Him save Himself if He is the Christ, the chosen of God.” The soldiers also mocked Him…”

His hands and feet will be pierced: Psalm 22:16, Prophecy 80

Psalm 22:16b “They pierced My hands and My feet…”

Matthew 27:35 Then they crucified Him

Note: Bob Seidensticker made a similar error in his commentary on this prophecy from Psalm 22:16b. See Prophecy 80, for information

He will be naked before the world: Psalm 22:17-18, Prophecy 81

Psalms 22:17 “I can count all My bones. They look and stare at Me.”

Luke 23:34 …And they divided His garments and cast lots.

His clothing gambled for: Psalm 22:18, Prophecy 82

Psalms 22:18 “They divide My garments among them, And for My clothing they cast lots.”

Mark 15:24 …they divided His garments, casting lots for them to determine what every man should take.

He will commit Himself to God: Psalm 22:19-21, Prophecy 83

Psalms 22:19 “But You, O LORD, do not be far from Me; O My Strength, hasten to help Me!”

Philippians 2:5-8 “…Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.”

He will destroy the works of the devil: Psalm 22:20-21, Prophecy 84

Psalms 22:20-21 “Deliver Me from the sword, My precious life from the power of the dog. Save Me from the lion’s mouth And from the horns of the wild oxen! You have answered Me.

1 John 3:8 “He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.”

The meaning of love will be defined in His sacrifice: Psalm 22:22, Prophecy 85

Psalms 22:22 “I will declare Your name to My brethren; In the midst of the assembly I will praise You.”

1 John 3:16 “By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us.

1 John 4:10 “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

His death will win Him rulership over all things: Psalm 22:27-29, Prophecy 86

Psalms 22:27-29 “All the ends of the world Shall remember and turn to the LORD, And all the families of the nations Shall worship before You. For the kingdom is the LORD’S, And He rules over the nations. All the prosperous of the earth Shall eat and worship; All those who go down to the dust Shall bow before Him, Even he who cannot keep himself alive.”

Revelation 19:15 “Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron…”

Hebrews 1:8 and 13 But to the Son He says: “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom.”

Eyewitnesses will record these events: Psalm 22:30-31, Prophecy 87

Psalms 22:30-31 “A posterity shall serve Him. It will be recounted of the Lord to the next generation, They will come and declare His righteousness to a people who will be born, That He has done this.”

Mark 16:15 And Jesus said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.”

John 17:20 (Jesus) “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word…”

These 17 prophecies from the 22nd Psalm, clearly describe the events surrounding the crucifixion of the Messiah. If Jesus is the only person in the history of the world that we could apply these prophecies to—what would be the odds that only He is the one to whom David wrote these prophecies?

According to various estimates for the total number of people who have lived on the earth since Adam—a conservative number would be 110 Billion.[1a]

Of this number, how many people have been Crucified during the history of the world?

  • Josephus, describes the destruction of Jerusalem, in which 1.1 million Jews were killed by the Roman soldiers under Titus leadership. Another 97,000 were taken as captives of war. Thousands more were sold as slaves, with million of Jews being dispersed all over the world. This entire event is recorded in Josephus’ record of Israel from that period of history called, The Wars of the Jews, Book 5 Chapter 22 Sections 1-3.[1b]
  • Alexander the Great is said to have crucified 2,000 people who survived his siege on Tyre.[2]
  • Over 6,000 of the followers of Spartacus were crucified under Crassus after the defeat of Spartacus in battle.[3]
  • In the early Meiji period of Japan (1865-1868), crucifixion is listed as the method of execution for the servant of his employer, during a robbery attempt.[4]
  • During the “Sengoku period” of Japan (1467-1573), the Japanese introduced crucifixion after Christianity was brought to the nation, (Known in Japanese as haritsuke (磔).[5]
  • In 1597, twenty-six Christians were crucified at Nagasaki, Japan (Paulo Miki, Philip of Jesus and Pedro Bautista, a Spanish Franciscan who had worked about ten years in the Philippines).
  • The Qur’an describes death by crucifixion on two occasions.[6]
  • Crucifixion was also widely used in Burma,[7] and Europe, during World War1.[8]

To the present day, crucifixion is still made use of in Muslim countries. Islamic law prescribes crucifixion under certain circumstances.[9]

In 2000, Burma crucified several people from the Karen villages in the Dooplaya District.[10]

Under the current radical Islamic government of Iran, crucifixion is listed as a punishment of Hadd.[11]

“In execution by hanging, the prisoner will be hung on a hanging truss which should look like a cross, while his (her) back is toward the cross, and (s)he faces the direction of Mecca [in Saudi Arabia], and his (her) legs are vertical and distant from the ground.”[12]

  • During the recent history of Saudi Arabia, many people have been beheaded and then crucified.[13]
  • The Muslim nations of the Sudan prescribe crucifixion as a method of execution, under its penal code, as it is interpreted by Shari’a law.[14]
  • In Syria, a Jihadist group carried out seven public crucifixions in May, 2014 in Raqqa.[15]

These points are made for the purpose of establishing crucifixion as a widely used and universally known, method of execution—for over 2,000 years.

The cumulative numbers of history, estimate a total of over 100,000 people may have been crucified during the past two thousand years—out of the one hundred and ten Billion, who have ever lived on the earth.

The mathematical probability that only Jesus is the object of David’s crucifixion narrative from Psalm 22–out of all those who have been crucified during the history of the world is: 10³⁶.[16]

1 in 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,00

Yet, Jesus perfectly fulfilled each of the 17 prophecies of the Cross that David penned, nearly 3,000 years ago.

There is no possibility that the events described by David and fulfilled by Jesus are happenstance or occurred by the schemes of men. The Lord orchestrated this crucifixion of His Son to secure our salvation and make certain that every part of David’s description of the death of the Messiah would be fulfilled by Jesus.

The 17 prophecies of Psalm 22 are clear and compelling evidence for Jesus as the Messiah. To this empirical evidence, we add the total of 365 prophecies that are the subject of this publication.

Based on the evidence, Jesus is the fulfillment of all 17 prophecies of Psalm 22 and He is the Messiah


NOTES:
[1a] 1.Haub, Carl (November–December 2002). “How Many People Have Ever Lived on Earth?” (PDF). Population Today (Population Reference Bureau) 30 (8): 3–4. http://www.prb.org/pdf/PT_novdec02.pdf
[1b] 1. Flavius Josephus. The Wars of the Jews or History of the Destruction of Jerusalem. Containing The Interval Of About Three Years. From The Taking Of Jerusalem By Titus To The Sedition At Cyrene. Book V Chapter 22, sections 1-3.
2. Flavius Josephus. The Wars of the Jews or History of the Destruction of Jerusalem. BOOK VI. Containing The Interval Of About One Month. From The Great Extremity To Which The Jews Were Reduced To The Taking Of Jerusalem By Titus.. Book VI. Chapter 1.1.
2.Haub, Carl (October 2011). “How Many People Have Ever Lived on Earth?”. Population Reference Bureau.
3.Kuhrt, A. (1995). The Ancient Near East, c. 3000–330 BC. Vol. 2. London: Routledge. p. 695.
[2] Quintus Curtius Rufus, History of Alexander the Great of Macedonia 4.4.21
[3] http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/Appian/Civil_Wars/1*.html#120
[4] Ewing, William A. (1994). The body: photographs of the human form. photograph by Felice Beato. Chronicle Books. p. 250. ISBN 0-8118-0762-2
[5] Moore, Charles Alexander; Aldyth V. Morris (1968). The Japanese mind: essentials of Japanese philosophy and culture. University of Hawaii (Honolulu): University of Hawaii Press. p. 145. ISBN 978-0-8248-0077-2. OCLC 10329518.
[6] 1.Surat Al-‘A’rāf (The Heights) Surah 7:124, Firaun (Arabic for Pharaoh)
2.Surat Yūsuf (Joseph) Surah 12:41 mentions Prophet Yusuf (Joseph) prophesying that the king (the current ruler of the land he was stranded in) would crucify one of his prisoners.
[7] Baptist Magazine (1815). The Baptist Magazine, Volume 7. London: Button&son. p. 67.
[8] 1.Bourke, Roger (2006). Prisoners of the Japanese: literary imagination and the prisoner-of-war experience. University of Queensland Press. p. 184 n.8. ISBN 978-0-7022-3564-1. OCLC 70257905.
2.”The Crucified Soldier”. Secret History. Season 9. Episode 5. 2002-07-04. Channel 4.
3.Max Hastings, Armageddon: the Battle for Germany 1944–45, ISBN 0-330-49062-1, ISBN 978-0-330-49062-7
[9] Rudolph Peters, Crime and Punishment in Islamic Law (Cambridge University Press 2005 ISBN 978-1-139-44534-4), pp. 37–38
[10] 1””Walking amongst sharp knives”. Karen Women Organization. February 2010.
2.”Regime’s human rights abuses go unpunished”. Bangkok Post. 28 March 2010
[11] 1.Iran’s Islamic Criminal Law, Article 195
2.The Sanctions of the Islamic Criminal Law
[12] Judicial Law on Retaliation, Stoning, Execution, Crucifixion, Hanging and Whipping, section 5, article 24
[13] AP (5 March 2013). “Saudi seven face crucifixion and firing squad for armed robbery”. The Guardian.
[14] Chicago Tribune (14 October 1988), “Moslem Code Looms in Sudan”, Amnesty International, Document AFR 54/21/91, Death Penalty Worldwide: Sudan
[15] 1.”Death and desecration in Syria: Jihadist group ‘crucifies’ bodies to send message”. CNN. Associated Press. May 2, 2014
2. “Syrian Islamists Stage Public Crucifixions”. Arutz Sheva. Associated Press. May 1, 2014.
[16] Using the mathematical formulas developed by Dr. Peter Stoner, Chairman of the Departments of Mathematics and Astronomy at Pasadena City College until 1953; Chairman of the science division, Westmont College, 1953-57; Professor Emeritus of Science, Westmont College; Professor Emeritus of Mathematics and Astronomy, Pasadena City College, and ROBERT C. NEWMAN, S.T.M., Ph.D., Ph.D. in Astrophysics, Cornell University, 1967; S.T.M., Biblical School of Theology, 1972; Associate Professor of Physics and Mathematics, Shelton College, 19689-71; Associate professor of New Testament, Biblical School of Theology, 1971-Science Speaks, by Peter W. Stoner. Copyright © 1958, 1963, 1968 by the Moody Bible Institute of Chicago. Manufactured in the United States of America. All rights reserved. Revised, 1976
[17] http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2012/08/probability-proves-bible-prophecy-or-not/#ixzz35IfaLJ9B
[18] Huckel, T. (1998). The Rabbinic Messiah (Mic 5:2) Philadelphia: Hananeel House.

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