Question:

Is the claimed Bible contradiction about Matthew 21 at the web site below true? How would you respond? [Editor’s note: the supposed contradiction involves whether Jesus rode into Jerusalem on one or on two donkeys and the prophecy in Zechariah 9:9]

Answer:

It is worth being aware that the author at this web site has a world view which does not accept the supernatural.  In other words, this author is assuming, up front, that the Bible is not inspired by God and that inspired prophecy is not possible because the Bible is not inspired by God.  I believe that this filter is acting strongly on his interpretation of Matthew 21 and Zechariah 9.  This person is looking for reasons to dismiss Matthew and/or Zechariah as merely the words of human beings–perhaps nice religious talk, but certainly not the inspired writing of a Holy Spirit-inspired writer, carried along by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:21).  This person wants you to look at the trees, but not look at the forest.  In this case, the forest is the fact that the Bible is inspired by God and  the trees are whether the preposition in Zechariah 9:9 is “and” or “even.”
What this author fails to do is to notice the big picture, which is that Zechariah 9:9 is a prophecy of the Messiah coming into Jerusalem as a king on a donkey, and the fact that, 550 years later Jesus did in fact ride into Jerusalem as a king on a donkey.  This is the same Jesus who was born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:1-2), the one who was crucified (Psalm 22:16), the one who was silent when accused and pierced (Isaiah 53:4-7), who was from Galilee (Isaiah 9:1-2) and who was betrayed for 30 pieces of silver (Zechariah 11:12-13).
We can debate whether Zechariah 9:9 is talking about both an adult and a young donkey or whether it is talking about only one donkey.  Arguments about parallelism are legitimate arguments.  We can also argue about whether the original of Matthew 21:2 had two donkeys: one old and one young.  It is more likely that there was a mother and a daughter donkey than that there was just one donkey.  But does this really matter?  The big picture is that Jesus fulfilled all of the prophecies of the Messiah, including those I listed above.  The big picture is that Zechariah 9:9 is another of these prophecies that Jesus fulfilled, whether the prophecy involves two donkeys or one is not material to the fact that Jesus walked on water, raised the dead, turned water into wine, was crucified and rode into Jerusalem on a donkey.
The people at this web site are trying to muddy the waters when the waters are clear.  Why they are failing to see the forest because of looking at the trees is something for you to think about.  Perphaps it is as I suggest. Perhaps it is because their worldview denies the reality of Jesus as Lord and Messiah.  Perhaps it is because their worldview denies what I believe to be quite obvious, which is that the Bible is inspired by God.  It is Satan’s plan that we not see the big picture, which is that Jesus is the Messiah–the one God planned to send from the creation of the world, and the one he prophesied about in the Bible many ways, including a prophecy about him riding into Jerusalem on a donkey.  Satan cannot destroy the big picture, so his plan is to pick at each prophecy through minor details, one at a time, and hope that you never step back and look at the big picture.
The big picture? Jesus fulfilled the prophecy concerning coming into Jerusalem, not on a horse, not in a chariot, but humbly, riding on a donkey.  Does it matter whether there was one donkey or whether it was a mother donkey and her foal?  Jesus believed he fulfilled this prophecy.  The early church believed he fulfilled this prophecy.  Their understanding of what actually happened fit their understanding of the prophecy in Zechariah 9:9.  That is good enough for me.
So, which is it?  Is Zechariah 9:9 talking about a single donkey, but using parallelism, or is Zechariah 9:9 talking about an adult donkey and her colt?   Or might Zechariah only be talking about one donkey, but simply not mentioning that the donkey in the prophecy would be accompanied by her colt?  Or (much less likely), might the early church have changed the original of Matthew, interpolating “with her colt by her” into the original of Matthew?  Or might Matthew simply be wrong, as these authors imply?  I say that, given the big picture, which is that the Bible is inspired by God and that Jesus had a great habit of actually and literally fulfilling all of the prophecies, that the last option (Matthew was just plain wrong) is the least likely possibility.  Naturally, because of their (incorrect) worldview that the Bible cannot be inspired, we know what conclusion that these authors are going to reach.  We should be aware of such bias.
By the way, you may see some bias on my part here. Yes?  The difference is that I am aware of my bias, and I believe that the authors in question are not.  My bias comes from the belief that God is real, that Jesus really is Lord, and that the Bible is inspired by God.  I have a veritable TON of evidence to support this belief, and I believe it is a correct belief.  I believe that the Bible really is inspired and that Jesus really did rise from the dead. If I happen to have a correct belief from which I am viewing the facts in this case, it increases the probability that the conclusion I reach from my biased perspective is correct.  In other words, reading a situation through a “bias” that happens to be correct is better than reading a situation through a bias which is not true (ie that God does not exist and Jesus is not the Son of God and the Bible is not inspired).  Of course, you will decide for yourself.
John Oakes

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