Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Messianic Prophecy - Part 2

In Chapter 3 of Science Speaks, Peter Stoner focuses on eight alleged messianic prophecies, which he claims were fulfilled by Jesus.

You can read this chapter for yourself on the web:

Stoner's conclusion:

Now these prophecies were either given by inspiration of God or the prophets just wrote them as they thought they should be. In such a case the prophets had just one chance in 1017 of having them come true in any man, but they all came true in Christ.

This means that the fulfillment of these eight prophecies alone proves that God inspired the writing of those prophecies to a definiteness which lacks only one chance in 1017 of being absolute.

Stoner uses these messianic prophecies as an argument for the inspiration of the Bible, but if he is correct, then these prophecies can also be used as an argument for the conclusion that Jesus was sent by God to be the Messiah or the Christ. Stoner also draws a conclusion about Jesus:

Sometimes we weigh our chances in the business world, and say if an investment has nine chances in ten of being profitable, and only one chance in ten of being a failure, it is safe enough for us to make the investment. Whoever heard of an investment that had only one chance in 1017 of failure? The business world has no conception of such an investment. Yet we are offered this investment by God. By the acceptance of Jesus Christ as our Savior we know, from only these eight prophecies which lack only 1 chance in 1017 of being an absolute proof, that that investment will yield the wonderful dividend of eternal life with Christ.

What Stoner does not realize is that it only takes one instance of a messianic prophecy failing to apply to Jesus to prove that Jesus is NOT the Messiah. According to the Bible, when a prophet has been inspired by God, the predictions he makes as a prophet or messenger of God will be 100% reliable. God does not make mistakes, even when predicting minute details about people and events hundreds of years into the future. Thus, every additional alleged messianic prophecy is yet one more opportunity for a skeptic, like myself, to prove that Jesus was not the Messiah.

A review of the eight messianic prophecies put forward by Stoner shows that, contrary to Stoner's claims, Jesus does NOT fulfill all eight prophecies, and therefore Stoner has actually provided evidence showing that Jesus was NOT the Messiah.

Stoner sometimes uses bad translations of some of the OT passages that he claims make predictions about the Messiah, and sometimes Stoner provides mistaken interpretations of the passage, even though the translation is OK. Sometimes the relevant passage is just too unclear to be taken as a specific prediction, either because the Hebrew text is problematic, or because the expression of the ideas is vague or unclear. In some cases Stoner fails to take into account how the fulfilment of one prediction impacts the probability of the fulfilment of some other prediction, and thus messes up the probability calculation.

In this series of posts, I will walk through Stoner's interpretations and calculations, and argue that Jesus is disqualified from being the Messiah on the basis of some of the predictions Stoner claims to have been made by inspired prophets in the Old Testament, and that Jesus is disqualified from being the Messiah on the basis of some of the predictions made by those OT prophets, given a proper translation and interpretation of the passages quoted by Stoner.