Wednesday, March 15, 2017

What Third-Day-Resurrection Prophecy?

The New Testament claims in two places,1 Cor 15:3-4 and Luke 24:45-46, that it was prophesied in the Old Testament that the Messiah would rise from the dead the third day. But no such scripture can be found in the OT.  From the Errancy Discussion list, 1-8-98

Hello Mr. Till,
I'm am enjoying reading your article about "Prophecies: Imaginary and 

Unfulfilled."  I find one of your points a little puzzling though.

" In two different places, then, New Testament writers claimed that the 

resurrection of the Messiah on the third day had been predicted in the 

scriptures. Try as they may, however, bibliolaters cannot produce an Old 

Testament passage that made this alleged third-day prediction. It simply 

doesn't exist."

Didn't Jesus supposedly indicate this referred to Jonah?

Mat 12:40  For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of 

a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in 

the heart of the earth.

Jonah 1:17

Doesn't this fit the criteria for a third day resurrection?

TILL
No, it doesn't.  Your mistake is in assuming that because the writer of
Matthew SAID that Jesus SAID what you have quoted above, this has to mean
that the writer of Jonah meant for the story of Jonah and the "great fish"
to be a prophecy of the third-day resurrection of the Messiah, but that is a
very flawed interpretation method.  The writer of Jonah meant what he meant,
and what someone living centuries later may have thought that he meant would
in no way affect the meaning of what was originally intended.  No matter how
much you may analyze the story of Jonah and the great fish, you will find nothing
in the text that even remotely suggests that the writer intended this to be
understood as a figurative prophecy of a distant resurrection.  So if there
is nothing at all in this story even to remotely imply that it was a
resurrection prophecy, it doesn't matter what application of the story was
made by someone who lived centuries later.

I have serious doubts about the historicity of Jesus of Nazareth, but for
the sake of argument, I will concede both that he existed and that he made
the statement in Matthew 12:40.  This would mean nothing more than that
Jesus used the story of Jonah as a basis for a simile.  I don't suppose you
would be willing to argue that the application of a simile to a historical
event would make the historical event a "prophecy," would you?  If so, let
me know, and I will show you how that just about any event claimed in the OT
could be made into a figurative prophecy.

My position remains the same.  Jesus said that it had been written that the
Christ would suffer and rise from the dead the third day.  He had to be
referring to the OT scriptures when he made this statement (if he did),
because no other scriptures existed at the time.  So if this statement was a
true statement, I'd like for someone to show me where it was written that
the Messiah would rise from the dead on the third day.  I'd like for someone
to show me where it was written even in the story of Jonah that the Messiah
would rise from the dead the third day.  It isn't there.  No such prophecy
existed.

Farrell Till

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