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The virgin birth prophecy: out of context

Discussion in 'Christian Apologetics' started by Nihilist Virus, Jun 14, 2017.

  1. 2PhiloVoid

    2PhiloVoid Fire for the Earth! (Luke 12:49) Supporter

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    As to verse (15)..........curds and honey (or milk and honey) is a phrase that provides a pattern of meaning indicating that God's providential care is with that person or nation....... as in "I promise to give you a land flowing with milk and honey."

    In Jesus' case, we see that God the Father, through the power of the Holy Spirit, providentially arranged for Jesus to be taken care of, fed, and physically secured with safety as an infant and well into adulthood. And how do we know this? We know this because prophetic patterning, like most of the patterning in the Bible, comes by way of encoding through inter-textual allusions. Jesus' birth and life reflect the "curds and honey" life.

    As to verse (16)....what do you think the underlying message is, NV? I know it is a challenge to understand it all. But, in this case, it was meant to be obscure; Isaiah is a prophetic book for goodness sake, not a history book.

    Peace,
    2PhiloVoid
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2017
  2. Nihilist Virus

    Nihilist Virus Infectious idea

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    Verse 16 is not cryptic. It definitively means that the prophecy would succeed or fail within the king's lifetime.
     
  3. Tree of Life

    Tree of Life Hide The Pain

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    Nothing in verse 16 requires King Ahaz to be alive at the time of the prophecy's fulfillment.
     
  4. JackRT

    JackRT OOPS!!! Supporter

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    Just that the threat to the kingdom would be gone. Unlike a great many other so-called prophesies, this prophesy was phrased very clearly with a specified time for fulfillment. To me, it seems to be desperately grasping at straws to suggest that it was fulfilled again centuries later.
     
  5. Tree of Life

    Tree of Life Hide The Pain

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    Verse 16 says that before Immanuel comes to maturity, Damascus and Samaria would fall. "The land whose kings you dread". The point of this information is to testify against Ahaz. Ahaz refuses to trust in Yahweh's deliverance and so will send to Assyria for help. But if he would only trust Yahweh, these two kingdoms would soon fall. As Yahweh says a few verses prior:

    thus says the Lord God:
    β€œ β€˜It shall not stand,
    and it shall not come to pass.
    8 For the head of Syria is Damascus,
    and the head of Damascus is Rezin.
    And within sixty-five years
    Ephraim will be shattered from being a people.
    9 And the head of Ephraim is Samaria,
    and the head of Samaria is the son of Remaliah.
    If you are not firm in faith,
    you will not be firm at all.’ ”

    So all verse 16 is saying is that these dreaded kingdoms will fall and Ahaz is a fool to dread them.

    This does not mean that Jesus is certainly the referent of Immanuel. But it does show that it is a possibility and that Matthew is therefore not a liar.
     
  6. 2PhiloVoid

    2PhiloVoid Fire for the Earth! (Luke 12:49) Supporter

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    ...and what does verse 16 mean to you, NV? I'm not asking as to whether or not you think it is real or true or relevant. I'm asking on a literary level. What do you think it was SUPPOSED to mean? And then, if you know what it was supposed to mean, how does that then tie into yet again the following verse (17). To me, it appears that the narrative flow and connotative meaning becomes disjointed, casting propositions "a little here, and a little there."

    I'm just wondering how your dad taught you to read biblically prophetic literature. Should I trust your dad (or former church), or should I go with someone like G.K. Beale (along with some of the other varied scholars that I study)? :cool:

    2PhiloVoid
     
  7. Nihilist Virus

    Nihilist Virus Infectious idea

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    Shifting the burden of proof fallacy.

    Then that meaning certainly precludes a time period in which Israel finds itself under the heel of the Roman Empire.

    No, it says that he refused to ask for one.

    You indicated in the past that you advocate authentic authorship of the gospels, so I infer that you believe Moses wrote the Torah despite the consensus being that it is a composite work. This is important because in the latter case, King Josiah's administration authored Deuteronomy well after Ahaz's time. But Mosaic authorship places Deuteronomy 6:16 well within the king's knowledge. In the case of composite authorship, I'd have to show that the idea laid out in Deuteronomy 6:16 was a tradition long before put on paper. I see no reason to bother showing that unless you forsake Mosaic authorship.

    Now, given your extensive knowledge of what is going on here in Isaiah, how could you not know about Deuteronomy 6:16? I reckon it is actually of more importance because it is describing a sin.

    So in summary, both of your sentences are 100% wrong, and you should be aware of that, and I reckon you actually are.

    As I've argued, the sign was not for Ahaz.

    Isaiah told the king to ask for a sign. Had the king obliged, the sign would have been for him. Right? But it's clear that Isaiah was intent on giving a sign anyway. You think you're onto something with the "House of David" thing, but you aren't. Nice try though. Jesus is the SEED of David and is never referred to as the HOUSE of David. Jesus is not in the House of David as a physical man. The human that is Jesus who was on this earth was not a king. It is not until he returns that he will be a king, but that Jesus will not be a man because otherwise we would surely kill him again.

    Ahaz rejected any sign from the Lord (Isaiah 7:12).

    Again, he refused to ASK and I've given good reason why.

    Now, I admit that my case against your first sentence is weaker than my case against your second sentence by virtue of the fact that the latter is airtight. I see no point in addressing the rest of your post until you acknowledge this.
     
  8. Nihilist Virus

    Nihilist Virus Infectious idea

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    Verse 17 is again more contemporary stuff. Or am I missing something? Did Assyria exist in Jesus' day? I don't know how I missed that.
     
  9. 2PhiloVoid

    2PhiloVoid Fire for the Earth! (Luke 12:49) Supporter

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    What do you think I meant earlier by "underlying patterns." Again, your response tells me that you're only looking at things with a linear expectation of literal, ipso facto, prima facie fulfillment. ** Patterns**, my dear Watson, are what you're looking for. Good grief, NV! o_O
     
  10. Tree of Life

    Tree of Life Hide The Pain

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    I'm not asking you to prove anything about this. I'm just saying that you don't know whether or not Jesus ate curds and honey. Either way this little line of debate is just distracting the both of us.

    Not necessarily. The main point is that Syria and Israel (northern kingdom) will be destroyed shortly and that Ahaz should not be in dread of them. I wouldn't press the language so far to insist that this means that Immanuel had to be born in a time of abundance with no oppressors. Or even that he literally must eat curds and honey. These verses are marshaled simply to say that Syria and Israel, though dreadful, will quickly pass away. And indeed further down in the passage the idea of curds and honey comes up again (Isaiah 7:22). But clarity is added here. The curds and honey are going to be eaten by the poor who are left in the land after the Assyrian invasion and the destruction of the land. So it does envision a future remnant people - the likes of which would fit first century Judea and Galilee.

    Well I do think Moses wrote Deut and so Ahaz, in theory, had knowledge of Deut. But that aside, there are two ways to read Ahaz's words here:
    1. Ahaz is truly pious and out of love and respect for God's Law is refusing to ask for a sign.
    2. Ahaz is giving a pious response but is truly a wicked king who has already made up his mind to send to Assyria for help. So he only appears to respond piously, when in reality his heart and motives are faithless.
    In light of everything else we know about Ahaz I think that option 2 is the most likely option. Ahaz "did not do what was right in the eyes of the Lord" and even burned his own son as an offering to pagan gods. He also made offerings on the pagan high places (2 Kings 16:2-4). We also know that he did indeed send to Assyria for help (2 Kings 16:7). He said to Tiglath-Pileser, king of Assyria, "I am your servant and your son. Come up and resscue me...". It should've been that Ahaz viewed himself as the servant and son of Yahweh but we see that he turns his heart to Assyria. Ahaz also built a false altar after the style of the altar at Damascus (2 Kings 16:10).

    So in light of all of that I think that Ahaz was merely offering lip service to Yahweh in a false show of piety by "refusing to test the Lord". In reality, he was rejecting any sign from the Lord and any help from the Lord.

    I'm not sure what you're referring to here.
     
  11. Nihilist Virus

    Nihilist Virus Infectious idea

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    You're moving the goalposts now. This is nothing like your initial contention. Why not say this initially? Why not just admit, "Yes, Matthew completely yanks Isaiah 7:14 out of context, but wait until you hear my excuse"? Instead you give me this song and dance and then wonder why I am ornery.

    Additionally, King Solomon did a lot of blasphemous things and yet he is remembered fondly. He erected false gods for his foreign wives. Was he just paying lip service to Yahweh also, despite having had direct conversations with him in his dreams? I reject your explanation as it is not only ad hoc and not only speculative but also goes against the precedent of what it means to be a good or evil king.
     
  12. Nihilist Virus

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    Here's a pattern: lots of ducking and dodging from apologists.
     
  13. 2PhiloVoid

    2PhiloVoid Fire for the Earth! (Luke 12:49) Supporter

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    ...and lots of ducking from engaging other perspectives offered to you, NV. Whatever you do, don't read that G.K. Beale book I suggested, or anything like it. That way, you won't have to think about anything in a different way than you already do. :cool:

    2PhiloVoid
     
  14. Tree of Life

    Tree of Life Hide The Pain

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    This is the same thing I've been saying since the beginning so I'm confused as to why you think this is a different message now. I'm not saying anything like "Matthew rips Isaiah 7:14 out of context" because I don't think that he does. There's clearly been some miscommunication. What are the different messages that you're reading from me?

    Solomon is remembered fondly and as a cautionary tale. He started out very well but declined. So he is celebrated for the good things he did (build the temple, ask for wisdom, bring Israel to its golden age), but he is seen in a very negative light for the bad things he did (build temples to Molech and Chemosh, cause the division of the kingdom).

    Ahaz is only ever seen in a negative light though. So...

    Well maybe I should have been more clear at the outset on my views of Ahaz but I did not think it's necessary because they're not controversial views. Read any major commentary, liberal or conservative, and they will understand Ahaz's words in the same light as I do. I'm not sure what you mean by going against "the precedent of what it means to be a good or evil king".
     
  15. Tree of Life

    Tree of Life Hide The Pain

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    Maybe the way I phrased option 2 on Ahaz was confusing. Let me rephrase:

    2. Ahaz make a false show of piety, but in truth has no intention of trusting Yahweh.
     
  16. Eryk

    Eryk Well-Known Member Supporter

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  17. Nihilist Virus

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    You initially said that "Ahaz rejected any sign from the Lord" and now you are saying that Ahaz refused to ask for a sign either out of piety or feigned piety.

    Those are two different things.
     
  18. Tree of Life

    Tree of Life Hide The Pain

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    Well let me clarify. Ahaz, in a show of false piety, refused to ask for a sign from the Lord - effectively rejecting a sign from the Lord and rejecting any help from the Lord. He had made up his mind that he would trust in Assyria rather than Yahweh.
     
  19. Nihilist Virus

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    Allow me to further clarify what I think your position is:

    1.) Isaiah 7 is a double prophecy, which means that the prophecy was fulfilled (for the first time) several hundreds of years before Christ. If you accept that the first fulfillment occurred in the next chapter, then it is certainly incorrect to take "virgin" from the text because the young lady is impregnated by Isaiah. And this nullifies the prophecy as far as Christ is concerned unless you feel that the vague word was deliberately chosen so that one meaning of the term would apply to one prophecy and another meaning would apply to another prophecy. Also, I am left wondering, assuming you reject Isaiah 8 as being relevant, when exactly the first fulfillment of the prophecy occurred.

    2.) God allows or intends for the author of Matthew, whom you believe to be Matthew for no legitimate reason whatsoever, to read the incorrectly translated Septuagint and take Isaiah 7:14 to definitively refer to an actual virgin.

    3.) In refusing to ask a sign, King Ahaz feigns loyalty to Jehovah for no apparent reason unless we infer that he values Isaiah's opinion of him. Perhaps because Isaiah was liked among the people? I need some explanation here because, as far as I know, kings only feign loyalty when bending the knee before a superior king. It's hard to come up with many reasons why a king would feel the need to carefully choose his words when talking to some that he is allowed to have executed for any reason. Failing an explanation on your part, all you're doing is psycho-analyzing a historical figure... I thought this is not allowed in historical analysis. But what do I know? I'm just a math guy.

    4.) Because the prophecy says that the enemies of King Ahaz will be defeated before the child is old enough to know right from wrong, it logically follows that a child born 500 years in the future satisfies this condition. I never did catch your response when I remarked that this was obviously not the intent of the passage, nor did I see your response when I said that an ultra-technical reading of the Bible would produce a parade of undeniable factual falsehoods.

    5.) You accept that there is absolutely zero evidence corroborating the virgin birth narrative. Please explain what the purpose was of the prophecy, then, since the prophecy does not guide anyone's actions, nor does it serve as a warning, nor does it serve as confirmation of anything since the prophesized event cannot be confirmed and was not even confirmed at the time (Mary gave no accounts of anything, firsthand or otherwise).

    Am I accurately representing your position? Please clarify either way.
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2017
  20. Tree of Life

    Tree of Life Hide The Pain

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    I don't accept this. I think Isaiah 7-9 refers to Jesus.

    I don't accept this.

    Well it's a good question. I don't exactly know why Ahaz felt the need to feign piety. But I still think this is the best explanation. Certainly better than the explanation that he was truly pious.

    Yes. The prophecy had immediate meaning for the current time - Syria and Israel would fall. But it also had meaning for time to come - a child would be born who would inherit Ahaz's mess and rule with faithfulness and equity. His kingdom would have no end.

    And what is "obviously" the intent of the passage is the very question that's being debated right now. To say that your view is the obvious view is to beg the question.

    Outside of the gospel accounts I don't know of evidence of the virgin birth. But I do take the gospel accounts to be corroborating evidence. The prophesy has, as far as I can see, two purposes. (1) It comforts God's people in the immediate setting by assuring them that Judah would survive the current crisis. And (2) it gives God's people a vision of future hope for a coming king who would rule in victory.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2017
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