foretold the coming of the Messiah. Really?

        This is a reply from Ann Broomhead to a Christian on the
        E-Net. Previous to this the Christian had given a list of
        prophecys fulfilled in the birth of Christ. Here is Ann's very
        adept reply.

    In .8 you gave a list of prophecies which you said foretold the
    coming of the Messiah, whom you identified as Jesus Christ.  I
    have several problems with this list.

    First, however, what is "typology"?  I know what typography is,
    and what topology is, but not that.  (And I certainly hope that it
    doesn't refer to the use of capitalization in the Old Testament.)

    I suppose the best way to cover your list is in the order given.

    1. He would become offspring of a woman

    Charles, you do realize that this is not an astounding revelation,
    don't you?  Judaism is indeed patriarchal, but it is not devoid of
    all sense on that account!  Eve is the acknowledged mother of Cain
    and Abel, but that doesn't make one of them the Messiah. King
    Solomon is given as the son of Bathshua, and fulfills your
    prophecies 3 through 8, but that doesn't make him the Messiah

    Let me tell you a few things about the story of Eve and the
    serpent. For one thing, the date 1450 bce is wrong.  It is wrong
    by about a thousand years.  Genesis was one of the last books of
    the Bible to be written down.  Second, the image of the woman, the
    tree, and the serpent is far older than the Bible; I have a
    picture showing this combination that is dated to 2330-2150 bce.
    The Bible version is a reworking of the elements to conform to the
    worldview of the Jews.  If you keep in mind that the enemies of
    the Jews worshipped a Goddess who had a serpent for a consort, and
    whose priestesses handled venomous snakes in their religious
    rituals, you will easily grasp why the Jews wished to teach that
    "good" women had nothing to do with serpents.

    Now, the explanation you give for "he shall bruise your head and
    you shall bruise his heel." is certainly ingenious, but it is
    wrongheaded, and blatantly ex post facto.  After all, when a
    poisonous serpent fangs someone in the ankle (which is the only
    way such a small creature could "bruise" a heel), that someone is
    liable to die.  Further, if a man clubs a snake over the head on
    soft ground, it may well have no effect beyond bruising.  Snakes
    don't have much brain to scramble, after all.

    But it does explain the byplay between the "Fat Broad" and the
    snake in the "B.C." comic strip.

    2. He would be born of a virgin and called Immanuel

    The term "almah", which Christians persist in translating as
    "virgin" means *only and always* "a young woman".  "Bethulah"
    means virgin. The prophecy is trying to convey the idea of, well,
    "a nice Jewish girl"; i.e., a woman who is married young, and who
    promptly produces a boy as her first offspring, with no false
    starts.  (This contrasts with Sarah, for example.)

    Jesus isn't called Immanual.  Nor is his name called Immanual.
    (C.f., the name of the Hartford Science Fiction Society is called
    Fred.) Immanual means "God is with us" but Jesus means "God is
    salvation". It is not the same.

    Now Jesus fulfills the first part of the prophecy begun in Isaiah
    7:14, but so do a few zillion other people.  But he does not
    fulfill the second part of the same verse, nor the REST of the
    prophecy, which is that before he is old enough to eat solid food,
    "the land before whose two kings you are in dread will be

    3. He would be a descendent of Abraham

    It would be absolutely astonishing if the Savior of the Jews was
    *not* a descendent of Abraham.  This is not a prophecy; it is only
    a truism.  Also, the verse can (and should) be taken to refer to
    the Jewish people, who, according to the Bible, were created to be
    "a light unto the nations".

    4. He would be a descendent of Isaac

    Since Isaac is a descendent of Abraham, this subsumes 3.

    5. He would come out of Jacob

    Since Jacob is a descendent of Isaac, this subsumes 4.

    6. He would belong to the clans of Judah and a descendent of Judah

    Since Judah is a descendent of Isaac, this subsumes 5.

    7. He would be a descendent of Jesse

    Since Jesse is a descendent of Judah, this subsumes 6.

    8. He would come out of David and be a descendent of David

    Since David is a descendent of Jesse, this subsumes 7.

    So let us look at the published ancestry of Jesus, and the
    published descent of David:

    According to Luke 3:31, we have ..."the son of Melea, the son of
    Menna, the son of Mattatha, the son of Nathan, the son of
    David"... and according to I Chronicles 3:1 "These are the sons of
    David..." and  in verse 5 "These were born to him in Jerusalem:
    Shimea, Shobab, Nathan..."  (The same as in II Samuel 5:14.)

    So far so good.  But it ends there.  There is no indication that
    Nathan had any children.  (Nathan of Zobah had a son, Igal, but
    that is a different Nathan (II Samuel 23:36).  There was a Nathan
    in the court of Solomon who had two sons, Azariel and Zabud, but
    since Zabud was a priest, that means that Nathan was of a priestly
    line, and not a son of David (I Kings 4:5).)

    Looking to Luke 3:27, we read ..."the son of Joanan, the son of
    Rhesa, the son of Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, the son of
    Neri"... and to I Chronicles 3:17-19, we find references to both
    Zerubbabel and Shealtiel, but Zerubbabel is the son of Pedaiah,
    the younger brother of Shealtiel, and the father of Shealtiel is
    Jeconiah, not Neri, and the sons of Zerubbabel do not include a
    Rhesa.  This is a strike out.

    Let us try the alternative geneology in Matthew 1:2-16.  This
    matches up with I Chronicles 3:1-24, until we reach Matthew 1:8-9:
    "... Joram the father of Uzziah, 9 and Uzziah the father of
    Jotham..." In Chronicles, the only son of Joram listed is Ahaziah,
    whose only listed son is Joash, whose only listed son is Amaziah,
    whose only listed son is Azariah, whose only listed son is Jotham,
    and now we are back on track -- after dropping three generations
    of the royal family, and misstating one.  In verse 11, we lose
    Jehoiakim between Josiah and Jeconiah.  In verse 12, Matthew makes
    the same mistake about the relationship about Zerubbabel and
    Shealtiel that Luke makes.  In verse 13, we depart from the
    geneology of Chronicles entirely.

    Interestingly, Matthew shows only 10 generations from Zerubbabel
    (born circa 570 bce) to Joseph, whereas Luke has 19 generations.
    The two even disagree on the identity of Joseph's father; he is
    Jacob to one and Heli to the other.

    Lastly, since Christians claim that Joseph is *not* the father of
    Jesus, his geneology is singularly unimportant to these prophetic
    claims.  Only that of Mary should be, and it isn't given.

 9. He would be born in Bethlehem

    Actually, since his parents lived in Nazareth before he was born,
    and since he was raised in Nazareth, there is a school of thought
    which holds that he was born in Nazareth.

    Also, since Micah 5:2 refers to "Bethlehem Ephrathah, ... among
    the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth..." it is referring
    to the *lineage* of Bethlehem Ephrathah, not the *location*, and I
    have already demonstrated that, taking Christian beliefs into
    account, we know *nothing* about the lineage of Jesus.

    10. Wise men or kings from the east will come to the child Christ
    and present Him with gifts.

    You point to a reference to "the kings of Seba and Sheba", which
    are from the *south* of Judea and Israel, so kings from the *east*
    would not fulfill the prophecy.  Magi are usually priests of
    Mithra, but the term can also be used to refer to healers, miracle
    workers, and astrologers.  (Also, see .9.)  They are never kings,
    so their putative presence does not fulfill any prophecy.

    Let's look at the full verses:  Psalms 72:10-11 is  "May the kings
    of Tarshish and of the isles render him tribute, may the kings of
    Sheba and Seba bring gifts!  May all kings fall down before him,
    all nations serve him!"  Tarshish?  The isles?  Their kings
    weren't around at the birth of Jesus, were they?  And what of the
    use of the subjunctive "may"?  This isn't a prophecy at all.  It's
    a wish, like "O King!  live forever!"

    Isaiah 60:6 says "A multitude of camels shall cover you, the young
    camels of Midian and Ephah; all those from Sheba shall come.  They
    shall bring gold and frankincense, and shall proclaim the praise
    of the Lord."  Camels?  I recall no miracle of well-behaved
    camels. Proclaim?  I don't recall the Magi doing that, either.
    Jesus doesn't match this verse at all well.  And there is the
    matter of the myrrh.

    There is no number 11.

    12. He would come out of lowly background and be despised 

    This directly contradicts the direct descent from David, King of
    Israel, doesn't it?  Also, as a carpenter, raised as the son of a
    carpenter, he had an upper-class background, and a skilled and
    highly-respected profession.  Carpenters didn't just slam boards
    on posts, y'know, they were stonemasons, and decorative carvers
    too.  (This should make the reference to publicans and prostitutes
    more comprehensible.)

    Also, since *any* prophet is without honor in his own land, anyone
    claiming to be a prophet is going to be despised by someone; it
    comes with the territory, and is more a truism than a prophecy.

    13. He would be in Egypt before returning to Israel 

    If Jesus had been raised in Egypt, and only left there out of a
    strong compulsion to return to his homeland, I might believe that
    "out of Egypt I called my son" referred to him.  As it is, it
    clearly refers only to the Exodus.

    14. Children will be slaughtered by Herod because of his fear of
    the rise of another King.

    The verse Jeremiah 31:15 says "... A voice is heard in Ramah...
    Rachel is weeping for her children..."  You say that Ramah is
    between Bethlehem and Jerusalem.  It is not.  It is four miles
    northwest of Anathoth, which in turn is north of Jerusalem, while
    Bethlehem is south of Jerusalem.  Ramah is between *Nazareth* and
    Jerusalem, but so is just about everything else in Judea, since
    Nazareth is so far north, and does nothing for an undocumented
    massacre in Bethlehem.

    Ann Broomhead