So, the virgin birth was NOT prohesied?

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panta dokimazete

Panting Donkey Machete
from:

http://www.apologetics.com/ubb/ultimatebb.php?/ubb/get_topic/f/3/t/000450.html

Mathetes - a user on Apologetics.com said:
I wrote my master's thesis on this very issue, after reading three books written by Jewish authors as handbooks for Jews who were trying to be converted by Christian missionaries.

And I concluded that these Jewish authors were right. In almost every case (there were a couple passages in which I disagreed with their conclusions), it is illegitimate to view these Tanakh passages as predictive prophecies of the Messiah.

In fact, after concluding this, I came close to converting to Judaism!!! However, I decided to do some research into first century Jewish hermeneutical practices, and found (what I believe to be) a solid alternative.

Matthew (and the rest) were not utilizing these Tanakh passages as predictive prophecy, but rather were using pesher exegesis. This was a common practice in the first century, primarily found in the Aramaic targums (if my memory serves me correctly). Instead of predictive prophecy (which states: "this passage is fulfilled in that historical event"), pesher exegesis states: "this passages is similar to that historical event."

It stemmed from the belief that God worked consistently throughout history; that one could see his fingerprints in various unrelated actions, in the way things happen in similar fashions.

Therefore, what was Matthew doing in the infancy narrative? He was not, contrary to many Christian scholars, claiming that the Tanakh PREDICTED specific elements which prove that Jesus was the Messiah. Rather, Matthew was arguing that events in the early life of Jesus were SIMILAR to that of events in the lives of previous messiahs.

Why? Most scholars believe that Matthew was writing to a Jewish audience. He thus needed to demonstrate that a guy who just died on a cross as a convicted criminal COULD actually be the long-awaited messiah. Not an easy task, to say the least! His "proofs" are going to be in the miracles and resurrection of Jesus. In the first two chapters, he is simply setting the stage to demonstrate that Jesus COULD have been the Messiah ... for events in his early life parallel that of previous messiahs.

For example, Matthew makes parallels to Hezekiah (Matt 1:23), to being born in Bethlehem (Matt 2:5), to Moses (Matt 2:15), to the people of Israel being cast into captivity (Matt 2:18), and possibly to Samson (Matt 2:23).

He makes 15-20 other similar references throughout his gospel, including to David (Matt 27:46).

If we understand the PURPOSE of Matthew, through the eyes of a first century scholar as opposed to a twenty-first century scholar, Matthew's line of argumentation becomes far clearer, In my humble opinion.

?

[Edited on 2-7-2005 by jdlongmire]

[Edited on 2-7-2005 by jdlongmire]
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
Even if they wanted to assume that it was not prophecied, they would still have to get around the fact that it happened.
Secondly, I have never been convinced that alma means "young maiden who has had sexual intercourse" rather than Virgin. I point out that every time the word is mentioned it is speaking of a lady who has her virginity.

I will get around to your specific question later, this is just food for thought for the moment.
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
JD,
Jacob is, of course, referring to the Isaiah 7:14 passage from which the reference in Matthew's gospel is taken. The natural reading of the term in the Hebrew is "maiden." In English, this term is seldom if ever used to describe a married (i.e. sexual woman). I know I've never heard it used to describe a non-virgin. A "maiden" is a young woman of marriagable age, character, and station. It is almost a perfect translation of "almah". A promiscuous woman has lost the right to truly be called a maiden. The term implies virginity.

But there's even more to it than that.

The the evidence is quite clear that the Hebrews were expecting a "virgin" birth. The quote from Matthew is directly out of the Septuagint, a translation of the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek around 250 BC. The translators evidently felt that the Greek term for "virgin" most accurately captured in the target language the force of the original. The earliest Christians apparently had no confusion whatever about this expectation. And Jesus' enemies, attempting to use the charge of bastardy agsinst him (John 8:41), are unable to besmirch him at all, because if they could have produced an earthly father, they could have easily discredited him, the Messiah being expected from a virgin. And of course they could not.

The mother of the Messiah was evidently expected to be unique. This much is indisputable. Isaiah's prophecy was well known and pondered. We find in Micah, his younger contemporary, in the passage on Bethlehem (5:1ff), alluding to it. With Isaiah's prophecy still fresh in the people's ears, Micah says to them, verse 3, "Therefore He will give them up until the time she who is in labor has born a child." For people familiar with Isaiah's recent deliverance, those words would have had immediate redoubling impact. Further we find Jeremiah 31:21-22 another reference to an astonishing woman. It would be more difficult to let this passage stand alone as a Messianic prophecy because it is somewhat cryptic, but standing as it does with the others, it provides additional evidence that a special woman/birth was expected. Add to these references the first evangel, Gen 3:15, and there is abundant testimony in the OT which points to a virgin birth.

Mary's own astonishment (Lk. 1:34) cannot be used effectively against said expectation. She accepts the angel's announcement and his explanation as confirmation. A few verses later, pious Elizabeth seems not to be phased in the least by this pregnancy, nor questioning at all of Mary's explanation, but rather rejoices. It is clear that the earliest believers accepted the miraculous birth as fully being within their Messianic expectations. Not a single other explanation of Jesus birth arose within the Christian community, no "alternate traditions" by those who found this "viring birth thing" an embarassing exageration.


As for the author of the excerpt above, I wish he was not so convinced early on that his most reliable exegetes of the OT were to found within the Pharisaic-rabinnic Judaism tradition. Would not the natural, Christian belief be that the Jewish disciples, in their writings (aka the NT) would be the most faithful expositers of the OT text?

As for "pesher" exegesis, all one can say is that to whatever degree different NT authors may have used both typical and a-typical methods of their day, the preserved conclusions of those methods are to be accepted by the faithful as accurate--no less the Word of God than anything that came beforehand.
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
JD,
Just use any material you like without any attribution to me. Say you learned it elsewhere if you want. I don't want to be an integral part of a "mediated" discussion with an unknown guy, if you know what I mean.

He'll doubtless answer you back with more of his scholarship. He's invested so much in his work, he's pretty proud of the fact that he was able to intellectually justify his Christian faith, even if it meant some modifications from his earlier beliefs. He didn't have to convert to Judaism because of his new interpretations. He doubtless heard the similar to the above before...

I'll try to help you understand any responses you get, if you need it. I took a look at the link and the discussion there, and I won't personally jump in. I have no credibility there, no bona fides. I see a whole bunch of intellectual compromising going on there, and I'm sure I personally would grate against the popular Christian guys in channel. If I "took on" one of their apologists with his comfortable compromise, it would get ugly fast. He'd want to know why I as a so-called brother was sabotaging the "progress" he thought he was making with these other "seekers".

The problem with such compromise is the questions it raises for honest believers like yourself. You may not have been shaken at all in faith, but your post shows that he's raising confusions of some kind. He sounds like a scholar who must know what he's talking about, saying that OT believers didn't really expect a virgin-born Messiah (even though the gospels clearly say they did). But he's OK with that. He's got a "simple" explanation for it--this is just Jesus presented for early Christians with 1st century superstitions. Dead OT believers and their genuine expectations are of little relevance, either to them, or even less to us. Ultimately this neo-orthodox type of apologetic will get nowhere.

[Edited on 2-8-2005 by Contra_Mundum]
 

panta dokimazete

Panting Donkey Machete
I heartily agree with you on every point.

No, he did not really raise any doubt in me, I was just curious by who/how this would be responded to here among a group that I am rapidly gaining respect for.

Aplogetics.com is an ostensibly reformed board, I just think it has been taken over by a group of over-intellectualized and liberal minded fellows...I actually have less "stress" participating on the Internet Infidels. There, at least, the lines are more clearly drawn...
 

TimV

Puritanboard Botanist
Bruce has two very important points. The context clearly has the event being unusual, and second, the Jews themselves translated almah to parthenos (spelling from memory) before Christ was every born. The Parthenon in Greece is named after one of Diana's praise names Diana the Virgin, so the word was a clear as clear could be to anyone reading it at that time.

I would add another point, that the Holy Spirit Himself translated the word the exact same way the authors of the Septuagint did. Check it out in the Greek from the Matthew passage. (It's in Isaiah 6 in the Sept)

On the other hand, the case for translating the Isaiah passage as young woman has the following as evidence:

1: Nothing
2: Nothing
3: Nothing
 

Juice

Inactive User
There is still the fact that this prophecy was fulfilled several chapters later in Isaiah. So the original quote from the 1st post is still the only hermeneutic that I can see Matthew using to relate this verse to Jesus. Of course, just because I can't think of another way doesn't mean there isn't one. :)
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
If you really wanted to answer the fool (liberal) according to his folly you could assume his position: say that it was fulfilled within Isaiah and Matthew used it to explain how a virgin had a Baby! :sing:
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
Juice,
I'd need to see an exegetical presentation of an intra-Isaianic fulfillment of the text. I don't think the virgin-birth prophecy has a pre-fulfillment, i.e. something that Jesus' birth then later makes more of. The Pharisees would have loved to expose Jesus' earthly father. Then Jesus could not have been the Messiah--because the Messiah had to be virgin-born, and they all knew it.
 

Juice

Inactive User
Jacob,

Isn't that what the original post quote is saying? It was fulfilled in Isaiah and it can be used to show God's working through Mary as a virgin in the same way?

Bruce,

Are you saying the the prophecy wasn't fulfilled in Isaiah? Wasn't it fulfilled in 8:3? I think most scholars, conservative and liberal, agree that the prophecy was fulfilled in 8:3.

I do agree with you that the fact that the Pharisees were expecting a virgin-born messiah is an argument in favor of Matthew's interpretation, but I believe the fact is that it was fulfilled (in a sense) in 8:3.

I'm more than open to being wrong. ;)

[Edited on 3-3-2005 by Juice]
 

TimV

Puritanboard Botanist
Are you saying the the prophecy wasn't fulfilled in Isaiah?

Of course not. It was fulfilled in Christ.

Have you read how the NT quotation reads in the Koine?

[Edited on 3-3-2005 by TimV]
 

Juice

Inactive User
Hmmmmmm. So are you saying that if the prophecy in Is. 7:14-16 is in any way fulfilled in Is. 8 then it implies that the Holy Spirit is lying? The vast majority of scholars agree that Is. 8 was, at least in some way, a fulfillment of Is. 7.

I'm just trying to get as close as possible to a consistent hermeneutic for how to interpret the OT. I think the best argument I've seen is the type/antitype way of interpreting this passage, but I don't think it is intellectually honest to say that it was in no way fulfilled in Isaiah's time.

I know that Matt. is quoting from the septuigent, and I agree with the previous posts inregards to the quote having a virgin in mind. I believe the woman was a virgin (before Isaiah knew her) and I believe that Mary was a virgin and since Jesus was the Son of God she was still a virgin after she gave birth to Jesus. So Isaiah's wife is the type, while Jesus was the antitype.

However, I don't think you can say that Isaiah 7:14-16 is speaking solely of Christ and is a prophecy in the sense of a single fulfillment in Christ alone, because it was fulfilled in a *sense* in (and by) Isaiah.
 

TimV

Puritanboard Botanist
I know that Matt. is quoting from the septuigent, and I agree with the previous posts inregards to the quote having a virgin in mind. I believe the woman was a virgin (before Isaiah knew her)

Friend, my wife was a virgin before I knew her. But unless you want to worship my kids, you'll want to concentrate on the passage a little more.

I don't think it is intellectually honest to say that it was in no way fulfilled in Isaiah's time.

If you want, I'll give you the bank account numbers of my kids, so you can tithe to them.

Even in my field of agriculture, parthenocarpic reproduction means "without recourse to a male".

Ask me to prove it.

Withholding regards, but hoping for something better,

Tim
 

Juice

Inactive User
Hi Tim,

I'm really confused about what you're saying, obviously. :)

I don't believe there is anything in the passage in Is. that speaks of worship is there? I know what a virgin is and I think I'm agreeing with you.

Maybe a more logical approach

1. Is. predicted a virgin would give birth to a son.
2. When he came together with his wife she was a virgin the moment before
3. She had a son

Matt. applies this passage to Jesus
1. Mary was a virgin up to and after the moment she became pregnant because she wasn't made pregant by a man but my God
2. Therefore she remained a virgin.

Do you disagree with what I've written above?

I'll ask the question again. If Is. prophecy is in *any* way fulfilled in Is. 8 then the Holy Spirit is a liar?

Better be sure, because it is fulfilled at least as a type.

I have to be honest and say that I've struggled over this issue and I'm not sure that your condescending tone really helps the conversation. I'm truly trying to better understand the hermeneutic of the NT writters.

I am a father of 3 and am aware of what a virgin is If you want to interact on the text that would be grand. :D

God bless

Justin
 

TimV

Puritanboard Botanist
Saying "Either my interpretation is correct or God is lying" is of course stupid, and I should have worded it differently.

But OK

Who was the sign supposed to go to?

Answer: The house of David. You can compare scripture and show it couldn't have been talking about the king as the age of son was such that it is clear he was already born at that time.

And why would a child born to Isaiah have been a sign to the house of David? Also

14Therefore the Lord Himself giveth to you a sign, Lo, the Virgin is conceiving, And is bringing forth a son, And hath called his name Immanuel,

How can a virgin bring forth a son? (BTW wasn't one of Isaiah's sons with him during his meeting with the king?)
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
OK. Let's all maintain a civil discourse.

Juice,
I'm not throwing rocks at you here. This is the place to put down arguments and defenses of a position that one holds. Thus, my rationale for asking you to explain why it is that you hold to the specific position that you hold. I don't mind if you use exegesis straight out of a commentary. But I do want to see more than "I think most scholars, conservative and liberal, agree that the prophecy was fulfilled in 8:3." What's the argument? (You could also mention someone by name that holds it.) That's what I'm looking for so I can evaluate it and perhaps be persuaded by it, or rebut it, or offer a different interpretation without a specific rebuttal.

It's not the case that all agree on such an interpretation. My view is nearly that of Calvin, and exactly that of Ussher. The interpretation of vv. 14-16 is not simple, by any means, but neither E.J. Young nor J.A. Alexander (both which I disagree) which commentaries I have here support a reference to 8:3.

I have to go. I have no time to expound my view. But TimV, I believe you are correct in bringing up verse 3, and the son Isaiah was explicitly directed to bring with him. I think his presence is key to the correct interpretation of the passage. In fact, without reference to him in vv. 14-16, his presence (which was commanded by the Lord) passes nearly without explanation, unless one extrapolates on his name, which receives no mention in the deliverance of the prophecy.
 

Bandguy

Puritan Board Sophomore
What of this?

Originally posted by Contra_Mundum
Juice,
I'd need to see an exegetical presentation of an intra-Isaianic fulfillment of the text. I don't think the virgin-birth prophecy has a pre-fulfillment, i.e. something that Jesus' birth then later makes more of. The Pharisees would have loved to expose Jesus' earthly father. Then Jesus could not have been the Messiah--because the Messiah had to be virgin-born, and they all knew it.


I kind of think that God was telling King Ahaz that he would be with him and to trust God to protect him from the invading countries. What do you think?

Also, consider what is written in Hosea 11. I have seen many claim that this is a prophecy of Jesus, but if we read it in context, we find that this cannot be true. I think context is important to understanding the message of Scripture. There are other passages where I think the context is stronger in support of a messianic prophecy, such as the suffering servant that is found later in Isaiah 53, and even stronger than that in Micah 5.

So, what do you guys think? Does the historical and textual context of the passage matter as to whether or not it is a messianic prediction, or is there something that I am missing?
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
Originally posted by BandguyI kind of think that God was telling King Ahaz that he would be with him and to trust God to protect him from the invading countries. What do you think?

Also, consider what is written in Hosea 11. I have seen many claim that this is a prophecy of Jesus, but if we read it in context, we find that this cannot be true. I think context is important to understanding the message of Scripture. There are other passages where I think the context is stronger in support of a messianic prophecy, such as the suffering servant that is found later in Isaiah 53, and even stronger than that in Micah 5.

So, what do you guys think? Does the historical and textual context of the passage matter as to whether or not it is a messianic prediction, or is there something that I am missing?
Bandguy,
To the first question (what do you think? regarding Ahaz), the answer is: certainly. Ahaz had an immediate concern over the survival of his kingship and nation, and Isaiah went there to instruct him to trust in Jehovah; God was not about to let his redemptive plan get derailed by Syrian hordes (allied to Ephraim). Faithless Ahaz wasn't even considering how God was the true defender of the nation, not Ahaz' pathetic little armies.

Secondly, to claim that Hosea 11 is not a prophecy concerning Christ, that "this cannot be true," sounds like a contradiction to Matt. 2:15, even if you don't mean to say it that strongly. Matthew tells us that Hos. 11:1 was "fulfilled." in Christ. The apostles recognized that every word in the OT ultimately pointed to Christ, some directly, some indirectly. Israel being called out of Egypt has several layers of meaning. Israel's slavery was a picture of the bondage to sin that even the elect of God find themselves in, originally.

But what God's people go through, Christ also went through--yet without sin. So, when Jesus goes down physically to Egypt, he is figuratively retracing ancient Israel's footsteps. Or, more accurately, his trip to Egypt is the anti-type, and Jacob's family's descent into Egypt is the type that points to Christ. So when Hosea says "out of Egypt I called my son," he may not even recognize that the Messiah must also go down to Egypt in order that his words might be filled up with meaning. On the other hand, we cannot say definitively that he did or did not see through the veil to fulfillment. Peter tells us that the prophets of old searched their own writings for truth, not always seeing the meaning clearly (1 Pet. 1:10-11).

Prophetic interpretation is not something that can be boiled down to a couple of diagrams, or keywords. It is a tremendously challenging hermeneutical task. The prophetic Word came to different men in different ways. Some in dreams, some in visions, some in direct address, some by dictation, etc. And material is often "mixed in together." One sentence may be focused on a specific moment in time, perhaps even cotemporaneous with the prophet. The very next verse could be an expansive vision of Messianic, heavenly triumph. Followed by another immediate reference to the prophet's first audience.

Context is vital, but we have a duty to not only the chapter or book context, or to redemptive-historical context (the context of historically prior revelation), but also to the context of the entire Scripture, for every part of it informs every other part of it at every moment in time. We don't want to forget the former, but there is the danger of artificially shortening our horizon by conceiving of the Bible as a purely historical series of revelations. It is ONE revelation, given in various parts (Heb. 1:1).

So Is. 53 and Mic. 5 are definite Messianic passages. But Matthew informs us that Hosea 11:1 and Is. 7:14 are also Messianic in a direct, as opposed to an indirect, way. If we don't right away see how that is true, then we need to make the issue one of serious inquiry until we do; in the meantime accepting the fact that what may be beyond our present understanding is to be accepted by faith until we see it more clearly.

This is an old thread, but what I was saying at the time with reference to Is. 7:14 is that Ahaz (an unbeliever) was being rebuked for his unbelief--not thinking that God would "save" his people, supernaturally if necessary, so that the Messiah should come in due time. In response to Ahaz' pretend piety (which was a contradiction to the Lord's command to ask for a sign), Isaiah bursts forth with a Messianic prophecy--an "impossible" miracle God would do to "save" his people, a sign Ahaz never could have thought of, much less asked for. In this case the reference is of course to salvation from the worst of enemies, far worse than Syria, namely SIN.

And, as if to underscore the promise of THAT redemption, Isaiah says in effect, "... and if you need proof that God will indeed bring about a Messianic salvation, see this infant boy here, my son-in-arms whom God told me to name, and whom he instructed to bring here with me today? Before he is old enough to stand for discipline {say about two-three years} God will obliterate those 2 kings you fear, and all your faithless worries will be for nothing. Have a good day, sir."

[Edited on 6-28-2006 by Contra_Mundum]
 

Bandguy

Puritan Board Sophomore
Rev. Buchanan,

So, did Matthew take Hosea 11:1 out of the context of the rest of the passage and then come up with a Messianic Prophecy? For example, verse two makes it clear that the one that was called was Israel, and that Israel was sinful and idolatrous. This is certainly not a picture of Christ. In verses 3 and 4, God says that Israel was set free from the yoke of sin by God and that God held them up. Jesus was without sin. In verse 5, God begins to discuss the punishment of Israel because of their refusal to repent. Jesus has nothing for which to repent because he was without sin. How do you harmonize the context of this passage with a messianic prophecy without ripping it out of its obvious textual context?
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
A number of OT prophetic statements can be resolved with fidelity to the divine nature of the Word by observing that Christ is the seed of Abraham. Hence He is the one to whom the promises to Israel properly belong. Matthew's Gospel heads in this direction from the start.
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
Hi Joseph,
What I'm saying is we have got to be tremendously careful about asserting that someone like Matthew, or the author of Hebrews for example (look at Heb. 1:5, and compare that with 2 Sam 7:14), are ripping the OT out of context. This is just indefensible, I think you'll agree. These men are inspired on the one hand, and we can harldy accuse them of abusing the text without impugning the HS as well. And, they have a non-"inspired" interpretive approach to the OT--one that was informed partly by their Jewish heritage, and partly by Jesus' own instruction to them; a paradigm that placed Jesus at the center of the redemptive purpose of God, a purpose that had been revealed in a historic and organic framework.

So, Hosea's statement is not contextless, no. First, there is the prophet's exhortation to the unbelievers of his own hour. In that sense there is an immediate context that we understand. Second, there is the whole OT context. Look at that statement in the first verse. God is speaking of the nation as a "child", as his "son" (see Ex. 4:22). He is calling on the Israelites of Hosea's day to consider the Fatherhood of God, from the days of the infancy of the nation. So, simple exegesis would have us thinking of the whole history of the people of God.

The Messiah is the embodiment of the Israelite ideal, in fact he is the true Israelite, the Prince with God. He is the righteous and blessed man of the Psalms. He is the Prophet, the Priest, the King. He is the Nazarene. He is the Temple. He is the Son of Promise. Those things that were noteworthy and exemplary of any one person in redemptive history, or regarding the ceremonies, the blessings, the deliverances, "All these things happened to them, by way of example, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the end of the ages is come" (1 Cor. 10:11).

So, the "Israel" who is called out of Egypt is FIRST of all, the ideal Israel, not the rebellious nation that acted like a petulant, willful baby. Only secondarily is "Israel" that willful, ungracious wayward son. The nation of mere men are the failures, the Adam's race that can never measure up to the Last Adam. Egypt is the "house of bondage." Christ goes down into Egypt as a child, the same way he came down into this sin-stricken world of bondage to sin, and he leads us out. He is what we are not. His righteousness becomes ours. Israel the nation is depraved. Israel the Son of God is not, but that he takes upon himself all the wrath for those rebellious sons. He becomes "sin" for us. All the "deceit of Ephraim" (Hos. 11:12) he takes the punishment for.


I hope, in some small way, I have been able to convey to you the richness of Messianic interpretation. There isn't anything fanciful about it. There isn't anything strictly "allegorical" about it, at least not in the sense of that the allegorical-exegetes school attempted.
 

Bandguy

Puritan Board Sophomore
Originally posted by Contra_Mundum
So, the "Israel" who is called out of Egypt is FIRST of all, the ideal Israel, not the rebellious nation that acted like a petulant, willful baby. Only secondarily is "Israel" that willful, ungracious wayward son. The nation of mere men are the failures, the Adam's race that can never measure up to the Last Adam. Egypt is the "house of bondage." Christ goes down into Egypt as a child, the same way he came down into this sin-stricken world of bondage to sin, and he leads us out. He is what we are not. His righteousness becomes ours. Israel the nation is depraved. Israel the Son of God is not, but that he takes upon himself all the wrath for those rebellious sons. He becomes "sin" for us. All the "deceit of Ephraim" (Hos. 11:12) he takes the punishment for.


I hope, in some small way, I have been able to convey to you the richness of Messianic interpretation. There isn't anything fanciful about it. There isn't anything strictly "allegorical" about it, at least not in the sense of that the allegorical-exegetes school attempted.

Rev. Buchanan,

I think I understand and even agree with you here. This sounds uch like an explanation I heard from an OT prof at Southwestern 11 years ago, If I remember correctly. Correct me if I am incorrect, but are you saying that in the original context of the Hosea 11 passage, Christ was not necessarily being foretold here, and in the Matthew passage, however, we see the picture of Christ as being the opposite of the totally depraved, sinful and rebellious Israel who was called out of Egypt and fullfills the will of the Father? If this is what you are saying, I have to say that this certainly makes sense. I wish, however, that I would hear more preachers discuss the contrast between the two instead of simply overlooking the original context of the passage.

Joseph Botwinick

[Edited on 6-29-2006 by Bandguy]
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
Originally posted by BandguyCorrect me if I am incorrect, but are you saying that in the original context of the Hosea 11 passage, Christ was not necessarily being foretold here, and in the Matthew passage, however, we see the picture of Christ as being the opposite of the totally depraved, sinful and rebellious Israel who was called out of Egypt and fullfills the will of the Father?
Joseph,
It's interesting that this interpretive subject should come up. Actually this subject (though not dealing with this passage) has been discussed in a couple other recent threads.

Here's what I would say:
1) Hosea is preaching to rebellious northerners (10-tribes Israel). Therefore, what he says is immediately relevant to them. They recognize in the reference to "Israel, my son" their own identity as covenant-sons, as decendants of the fathers who came out of Egypt, who were themselves the newborn Israel

2) This does not at all mean that Christ is not being foretold here. Matthew tells us that he most necessarily was. But that does not mean that it was immediately obvious to them, a) because of the veiled nature of predictive prophecy, b) because of the hardness of men's hearts.

3) Neither his hearers, nor Hosea himself may have immediately thought of the Messiah when they heard the words "out of Egypt I call my son." But they should, at some point, have reflected on the words in light of Ex. 4:22, in the light of the covenant, in the light of promise-fulfillment that would one day be realized in the Messiah. Consider and compare Heb. 1:5 with 2 Sam. 7:14. Then compare with Ps. 89:19-37. Ethan is writing in a post-Davidic day. But can you read what he wrote and not be awestruck at the depth of theological insight he had drawn from his own reflection on Sam. 7?

4) Would any of them (or subsequent readers) have concluded that an infant Messiah, born of a virgin, would be physically carried down to Egypt and back out in only a few months? Not necessarily. But I won't say how close some of them might have gotten. We just don't know. How did believers in the OT think?--not the Pharisees, but folks like Zechariah, Martha, virgin Mary, the disciples. Read Mary's "magnificat", Zeaharia's song, Martha's words of faith, Nathaniel's meditations under the fig tree. These were some serious students of the Bible!


If we say that Matthew merely appropriates Hosea, "borrows" him or from him, I think that's a mistake. What he does is show us, in the plainest language, what was there all the time. Maybe some of the earlier readers glimpsed the truth. It is only revealed in undiminished clarity after the fact. But then we say, "Wow, so that's what those words were pointing to in the truest sense. Not just back to the Exodus, but forward to the Messiah."
 
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