The NT authors manufactured prophecies about Jesus by twisting OT passages out of context to make them say things the original authors never intended. For e.g.

(1) The murder of children by King Herod was not prophesied in Jeremiah 31:15 because Jeremiah was describing the deportation of Israelites from Ramah a century before his own time.
(2) Matthew 2:23 fabricated a prophecy which is nowhere to be found in the OT.
(3) Jesus referred to a prophecy in John 7:38-39 but there is no such verse in the OT.
(4) Zechariah was talking about 30 pieces of silver that he had personally received & then thrown into the Temple treasury in his own life time, but Matthew 27:9-10 deceitfully attributed it to Jesus. Moreover, he erroneously named Jeremiah instead of Zechariah as author.   What’s your response?


I have answered the first two more than once at the web site.  I am copying and pasting a Q & A below on those two (in the reverse order).  I will do #3,4 here.

3. This is a prophecy by Jesus of what would happen in the fairly near future.  On the Day of Pentecost, 50 days after the Passover on which he was dead, the Holy Spirit fell on the apostles with great power, as the spoke in many different languages, there were flames and the earth shook.  Actually, this was prophesied many times in the Old Testament, for example in Joel 2:28-29, Ezekiel 36:24-28 and more.  However, in John 7:38-39, Jesus is not referring to these Old Testament prophecies about the Day of Pentecost.  he is making his own prophetic statement about the giving of the Holy Spirit.  Read this passage for yourself and you will see immediately that this Muslim critic is speaking falsely when he says that Jesus is referring to a prophecy.  He certainly is not doing that!

4. I do not know where this Muslim critic got his information that Zechariah received 30 pieces of silver and threw them into the temple. I have a feeling someone made that up out of their own imagination.  I am quite confident that this is sheer invention, but perhaps the person you are quoting can back up this claim!  Where is the deceit in Matthew 27:9-10?  Here Matthew says that Zechariah 11:12-13 is a prophecy about the betrayal of the Messiah.  Well, it is!!!  Jesus was indeed betrayed for 30 pieces of silver.  There is no evidence that this happened to Zechariah. None!! Even if it did (it did not!), it still could be a prophecy of what happened to Jesus.  Besides, look at the context of Zechariah 11:12-13.  Here God says, “the handsome price at which they priced me.”  This is a price for which God was betrayed.  Zechariah was not God!  Jesus is God.  Add to this, the comments about the money being given to the potter, when the fact is that the money used to betray Jesus was used to buy a potter’s field.  Did anything surrounding Zechariah fulfill this condition?  I think not.  The critic here is making up information and ignoring the rather clear parallel between Zechariah 11:12-13 and what happened to Jesus.  This is a REALLY weak criticism in my opinion.

By the way, there is the fact this person mentions that Matthew ascribes the prophecy to Jeremiah.  At first glance, this does appear to be a legitimate criticism.  Well, part of what was prophesied in Zechariah 11:12-13 was also prophesied in Jeremiah 19:1-13 and Jeremiah 32:6-9.  Matthew gives precedence to Jeremiah as the greater of the two prophets. I will admit that it is somewhat surprising that Matthew mentions Jeremiah when the fulfillment more clearly parallels Zechariah 11:12-13, but it is a normal thing for the Jews to give precedent to what we call the “major” prophets. To a Jewish person, the fact that Matthew mentions Jeremiah, not Zechariah would seem a perfectly normal thing.

John Oakes   (Q & A below)

How do you respond to claims that Matthew (2:15) takes Hosea 11:1 out of context? What about Matthew 2:18 (weeping in Ramah)?

First I would like to mention that I am a Christian and am very grateful for your “questions and answers” section. I catch myself spending hours reading your answers for fun. I have been reading the ” Jewish annotated” New Testament(2011) which is a composition of various Jewish research and commentary on the New Testament(NRSV edition) composed by Amy- Jill Levine. She is a reputable professor and scholar who is a self-described Orthodox Jew teaching at Vanderbilt University Divinity school. Although I can tell the commentary is trying to be unbiased, I get the sense that they do not accept NT as God’s inspired word compared to the the “Old” Testament as they have several questions on the validity of Matthew and Luke. Without being too comprehensive, I have written some of the citations on their claim that the gospel writers were not inspired. I will add Parenthesis around their comments. -Matthew’s quotation of Hosea 11:1 in Matt 2:15. ( The literary context of Hosea’s quote does not support Matthews use of the verse, but such contextualizing is typical of biblical interpretation in post biblical and rabbinic periods) – Matthew 2:18 ( Ramah is approximately six miles NORTH of Jerusalem)


This kind of argument is a classic example of people reading the New Testament, not to learn what it teaches, but in order to find “dirt.” It is definitely not unbiased scholarship. It is debatable to call this kind of approch scholarship at all. Each of these criticisms of the New Testament are easily explained. Anyone with a good heart and an open mind would not use such examples of “proof” the New Testament is not inspired. Let me deal with these criticisms one at a time.

First of all, there is Hosea 11:1. This is a prophecy/prefigure on many levels. “Out of Egypt I called my son.” Matthew sees this as a prophecy of the Messiah (Matthew 2:15). The propehcy is fulfilled several ways in the scripture. It is fulled as a type when God called his people out of slavery in Egypt. It was also fulfilled as an antitype when God brought Jesus out of Egypt. It is also fulfilled every time one of God’s children is called out of spiritual slavery in spiritual “Egypt” in baptism. In the Bible, being called out of Egypt is a prefigure and a symbol of being saved from slavery of any kind, including physical slavery and slavery to sin. God called Jesus “Out of Egypt” when he returned from Egypt with his parents. However, this prophecy was fulfilled in many ways, and Matthew is well aware. As Moses freed physical Israel from physical slavery, Jesus freed spiritual Israel (the church) from spiritual slavery to sin.

Matthew quotes Jeremiah in 2:18. Herod killed all the young male children in Bethlehem. I believe we can assume that the people living in the nearby village of Ramah were mourning when this happened. Ramah is 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) from Bethlehem. Rachel, the mother of Benjamin, in whose territory Ramah lay, was buried very close to Bethlehem (Genesis 35:18-20, Genesis 48:7). We cannot know for sure, but it is possible that the citizens of Ramah had a special affinity with Bethlehem, the burial place of their “mother.” Besides, if you go to Jeremiah 31:15, the comment about Rachel weeping for her children does not appear to fit all that well with the context of Jeremiah 31, but it fits well with the events which occurred in Matthew chapter 2. This is more reason to see it as a prophecy of the death of the children in Bethlehem.  It also had application to what happened to the citizens of Ramah in an earlier time, but this is a common Old Testament pattern, that the prophecy had an application to the present time, but also is a prophecy regarding the life of Jesus. What happened at Ramah had echoes in what happened at Bethlehem.

John Oakes

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