From the Errancy Discussion list, 1-19-98:
At 09:55 PM 1/18/98 EST, ITS786 wrote: >Dear Farrell Till, >Assalam Alaikum, >A Christian wrote to me saying that his Faith is true because many prophecies >have come true; I know that there is an answer to these; can you send them to >me. Thank you; Jazakullah.
>THE HEIR TO THE THRONE OF DAVID > >Prophecy: "Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. >He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and >upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever." >(Isaiah 9:7) >Fulfillment: "A record of the geneology of Jesus Christ the son of David, the >son of Abraham." (Mathew 1:1, 6) > TILL As we continue to look at the prophecy fulfillment claims of Stevan's Christian friend, we should keep in mind that his/her method of argumentation is merely to cite an OT passage and then a NT passage as "proof" that the OT prophecy was fulfilled. In neither case, does the Christian offer any kind of textual or corroborating evidence to support his position. For example, the prophecy fulfillment claim above doesn't even attempt to show that Isaiah meant that the kingdom of David would be established forever only in a spiritual or figurative sense, and neither does he present any kind of evidence to show that Matthew's genealogy of Jesus was accurate in the listings that showed Jesus to be a descendant of David. I will discuss these two points separately to show that they both pose serious problems to Christian claims that the kingdom of David would be established forever. Did Isaiah have Jesus (a person who wouldn't even be born for seven more centuries) in mind in the passage cited above? Well, let's notice first of all that this text doesn't even stipulate that this person would be a descendant of David. It merely says that whoever this was would establish the throne of David forever, so it would be possible for someone who was not a descendant of David to establish his throne. However, since other OT prophecies did predict that a descendant of David would establish his throne forever, we will grant to Stevan's Christian friend that descent from David would have been a requirement to fulfill this prophecy. The prophecy claim is still in serious trouble because of the following problems. 1. The context of the statement clearly shows that it was intended to have an immediate application or fulfillment rather than one that wouldn't happen until centuries later. The verse just before the one cited as a prophecy shows that it had reference to the time in which Isaiah lived: "For unto US a child IS born, unto US a son IS given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to establish it, and to uphold it with justice and righteousness FROM HENCEFORTH EVEN FOREVER" (9:6-7). Notice the tense of the verbs in verse six. Isaiah said, "(U)nto us, a child IS born, unto us a son IS given," so this was not something that was going to happen seven centuries later but something that had already happened to "US." The promise or prophecy in this verse is like the one two chapters earlier (7:14) that Christians have twisted and distorted into a prophecy of the virgin birth of Jesus, but just as Isaiah had said in chapter 7 that the birth of a child to a maiden (not virgin) who was at that time with child would be a "sign" that the military alliance of Syria and Israel would not succeed against Judah, so in chapter 9, he was making another prophetic statement to "US," the people living at that time. That Isaiah so intended the prophecy in 9:7 to have immediate application is clearly indicated by the phase that ends verse 7 (which I have typed in uppercase letters above). In other words, this child who was born to "us" at that time would establish the throne and kingdom of David FROM HENCEFORTH EVEN FOREVER. Anyone who knows both Jewish history and the meaning of the word "henceforth" should be able to see that rather than this being an amazing example of prophecy fulfillment, it is a clear case of prophecy failure. "Henceforth" means "from this time forth" or "from now on." So Isaiah was saying that a child IS born unto US and that he would establish the kingdom and throne of David "from this time forth" or "from now on." Obviously, this didn't happen, because after king Zedekiah was taken to Babylon (2 Kings 25), no other king has sat upon David's throne, and certainly David's throne and kingdom were not established "from HENCEFORTH even forever." Even if one is going to claim that Jesus sits on the throne of David (something impossible to prove), he/she would have to explain the six-century gap from Zedekiah to Jesus when no one sat on David's throne, when Isaiah had clearly said that the kingdom of David would be established HENCEFORTH even forever. Biblicists will, of course, contend that the promise to establish David's throne forever was intended only in a figurative sense, but it is easy to show that OT writers clearly intended their readers to understand that the establishment of the literal throne of David was supposed to happen. That can be shown by looking at Psalm 132:11-12: "Yahweh has sworn in truth to David: He will not turn from it: 'I will set upon your throne the fruit of your body. If your SONS (plural) will keep My covenant and My testimony which I shall teach them, THEIR SONS also shall sit upon your throne forevermore." So the promise wasn't that A SON (only one) would sit on David's throne but that his sons and their sons (plural) would sit on the throne forever. Clearly, OT writers ethnocentrically believed that Yahweh would establish the literal kingdom of David forever in that descendants of David would always literally reign in Jerusalem. I could examine many OT passages to show that this was the clear intent of the Davidic prophecies, but to keep the posting reasonably short, I will look at just one other. >Jeremiah 33:14 The days are surely coming, says Yahweh, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. >15 In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David; and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. >16 In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. And this is the name by which it will be called: "Yahweh is our righteousness." >17 For thus says Yahweh: David shall never lack a man to sit on the throne of the house of Israel, >18 and the levitical priests shall never lack a man in my presence to offer burnt offerings, to make grain offerings, and to make sacrifices for all time. > Notice that Jeremiah said that when the time came that he was speaking about "Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety," so he was clearly speaking about something that would happen to secure the safety of Judah and Jerusalem. Whenever this happened, Jeremiah claimed (v:17) that "David shall never lack a man to sit on the throne of the house of Israel." So once again, we have a prophet promising that David's throne would be established forever. If biblicists contend (as they will) that all of this is to be understood figuratively and that it is only in a figurative sense that Judah and Jerusalem have lived in safety since Jesus was resurrected to sit on David throne, then they will have to explain the very last verse in my quotation from Jeremiah (above). Jeremiah said not only that David would never lack a man to sit on the throne of the house of Israel but that "the levitical priests shall never lack a man in my presence to offer burnt offerings, to make grain offerings, and to make sacrifices FOR ALL TIME." Jeremiah was clearly predicting the establishment of BOTH the kingdom of David and the OT levitical system forever, so biblicists can find no support for their "figurative" interpretation of the Davidic prophecies in this passage from Jeremiah. To the contrary, it shows that their figurative interpretation is merely a dodge to try to get around a clear prophecy failure. 2. The second point that Christians must prove is that Jesus was a descendant of David. Stevan's Christian friend obviously thinks that he has accomplished that just by quoting from Matthew's genealogy, where it was claimed that Jesus was the "son of David." What Christians must prove is that Matthew was accurate in making that statement. I understand that by the first century A. D., the lines of descent were so obscured that it wasn't possible to determine what tribe individual Jews had descended from, so what evidence do Christians have to show that Jesus really was a descendant of David? We demand more than Matthew's mere word. What evidence did Matthew have that enabled him to know this? I won't even raise the issue of the Christian claim that Matthew's genealogy is only a genealogy of Joseph and not a genealogy of Jesus, who wasn't fathered by Joseph. I'll wait to see what Christians on the list may have to say about this point before I say any more about it. I suspect that inerrantists who were on the list when the conflict between Matthew's and Luke's genealogies was discussed will choose to remain mum on this subject. There is much more that I could write about the failure of the Davidic prophecies, but I will wait to see if Stevan's Christian friend even attempts to reply to what I have already said. Farrell Till