Jesus fulfilled prophecy
There are literally hundreds of claimed instances where Jesus fulfilled prophecies. This page is intended to contain a list of claims of fulfilled prophecy and responses. The vast majority of which can be disregarded as non-evidence simply due to their very nature.
Criteria for a fulfilled prophecy
- The prophecy must be properly interpreted.
- The prophecy must be made before the event it fulfills.
- The prophecy must be far enough in advance of the event to make educated guesswork impossible.
- The event which fulfills the prophecy must have actually happened.
- The prophecy must not be fulfilled as a direct consequence of the prophecy itself existing.
- The prophecy must not be fulfilled by mere probability, or by sheer number of guesses: with enough shots in the dark, one will be bound to come close to the mark.
No Biblical prophecy passes such a criteria, in fact, given this criteria much of Biblical prophecy doesn't even rise to the level of being prophecy. Even a much weaker criteria inevitably must disregard much of prophecy as unproven, vague, misinterpreted, and unfulfilled.
Some prophecies are simply unprovable. For example one prophecy says that the messiah existed before the rest of creation. This would obviously be impossible to prove or disprove. You would first have to prove that Jesus preexisted everything in order to assert that he fulfilled this prophecy.
Since there is no extra-biblical contemporary evidence for a historical Jesus the only evidence for any prophecies fulfilled by him or his existence are all Biblical. Thus no prophecies can be demonstrated as fulfilled.
Written For the Purpose
The Gospels may have been written as a fulfillment of the Old Testament. In much the same way the Left Behind series fulfills Christian prophecy, the New Testament fulfills Jewish prophecy. If true, the work itself was written specifically because the prophecies exist, not because independent events met the criteria.
The Gospels go to great lengths to provide evidence for fulfilled prophecy for example, Matthew 1 and Luke 3 each give Joseph's genealogy back to David (neither genealogy agrees with each other) in order to fulfill prophecy that the Messiah would be of David's line. Luke 1-2 go to great lengths to show that the Messiah was born of a virgin making the genealogy given in Luke 3 completely moot anyway, in order to fulfill a misreading of the prophecy in Isaiah 7:14 which some translations read as 'virgin' while others translate as 'woman'.
Matthew 27:9 claims that Judas betraying Jesus for 30 pieces of silver is a fulfillment of a prophecy in Jeremiah showing that the writer had knowledge of the prophecies the gospel was reportedly fulfilling. The prophecy in question appears in Zechariah 11:13 (Matthew says it's Jeremiah and is completely wrong) And the LORD said unto me, Cast it unto the potter: a goodly price that I was prised at of them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the LORD.
Parts of the gospels go to great lengths to prove that they fulfill Old Testament prophecy about the messiah, sometimes stretching and misinterpreting what the Old Testament actually says, but nonetheless fulfilling these stretches and misinterpretations. Such as the claim in Matthew 2:15 And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son. that it fulfills the prophecy of Hosea 11:1 which isn't a prophecy at all but a simple reference to Exodus When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt.
All of which goes to support the idea that the Gospels are simply written to fulfill prophecy, not that they happened and fulfilled prophecy.
Also, most of the Messiah prophecies require us to accept what the Bible says at face value. So therefore they would only be convincing if you ALREADY accepted the Bible as true. This is an example of circular reasoning:
- We know the Bible is true because the prophecies in it were fulfilled. We know the prophecies in the Bible were fulfilled because it says that they were.
About his birth
Genesis 3:15 Supposedly means that the messiah would be born of a human woman. However the only alternatives are that he would be born of a man, some form of animal, grew from a plant, or simply poofed into existence on earth. All of which would have been much more amazing. It would take a miracle for this one NOT to have come true.
Isaiah 7:14 14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. It is said that this verse is prophesying that the messiah would be born of a virgin. But whether his mother was actually a virgin at the time cannot be proven. After all she was dating at the time. We are just supposed to believe that she was actually a virgin because the Bible, or more specifically, Matthew says so. Plus nobody called Jesus 'Immanuel' except one time when Matthew was referencing this very scripture, almost like an afterthought.
Genesis 22:18 In this verse god is promising Abraham that in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed. Apologists claim that this means that the messiah would be one of Abraham's descendants. That's not what god said. And even if it is, then it's not true anyway. The genealogies recorded in Matthew and Luke are based on his fathers line. If Mary was really a virgin when she gave birth to Jesus, then Jesus was not Joseph's son. So if that's what god meant when talking to Abraham, then we have to believe that the genealogies recorded in the gospels are accurate, even though they both conflict with each other.
Micah 5:2 2 But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting. Apologists say that this means that the messiah would be born in Bethlehem, which according to the Gospel is where Jesus was born.
But Jesus did not become the ruler of Israel. Plus that's hardly a convincing prophecy anyway. It's more like a requirement then a prediction, since nobody from anywhere else would have been considered.
Jeremiah 31:15 15 Thus saith the LORD; A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, and bitter weeping; Rahel weeping for her children refused to be comforted for her children, because they were not. According to Matthew, this was actually a prophecy about king Herod killing the children of Bethlehem.
But taken in context this scripture is nothing like a prophecy. It's a documentation of events that already happened to Rahel, followed by comfort because her children will return. Plus Ramah is over 20 miles from Bethlehem. It's worth mentioning, that Matthew is the only record of this slaughter even taking place. If all the young children in that area were murdered by the king, you'd think there would be a whole bunch of poems, songs, stories and records of that event. Not to mention the angry mobs demanding revenge.