The Rejection of Pascal's Wager
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Matthew's Prophecy Fulfillment

Anyone who had read Matthew's nativity will note how often he tried to tie the events in Jesus' life to Old Testament's prophesies. But his veracity in quoting the Old Testament is not beyond reproach. Two examples:

These two serves as good reminders to believers. Sometimes the prophecies are tweaked to make them fit the tradition.

From "Little" to "By No Means Least"

Our first example is of Matthew citing an Old Testament text that supposedly prophesied Jesus' birth in Bethlehem:

Matthew 2:5-6
For it is written by the prophet: "And you, Bethlehem, the land of Judah, are by no means the least among the rulers of Judah, for from you shall come a ruler who will govern my people Israel."

Matthew was quoting from Micah. But note that the original passage was slightly different:

Micah 5:2
But you O Bethlehem Ephranath, who are little among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler of Israel

Note how the evangelist had tried to elevate the status of Bethlehem by changing Micah's "who are little among..." to "are by no means the least among". [1] This change is manifestedly a minor one, but it does show that Matthew had no qualms about twisting Old Testament passages to suit his theology.

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From Past Tense to Future Tense

Another example is taken from the episode on Joseph and his family's return from Egypt:

Matthew 2:14-15
And he [Joseph] rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfil what the Lord has spoken by the prophet, "Out of Egypt will I call my son."

The Old Testament passage Matthew was quoting came from the book of Hosea. Let us look at that passage in its context:

Hosea 11:1-2
When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son. The more I called them, the more they went from me; they kept sacrificing to the Baals and burning incense to idols.
It takes either a very gullible person, or someone who is bent on believing no matter what, to actually believe that the passage in Hosea above relates to Jesus.

  • In the first place the passage was in past tense ( "I called" as opposed to Matthew's "will I call").
  • And in the second place it is not even a prophecy at all. The whole passage talks about the calling out of the Israelites from Egypt as narrated in the Pentateuch. [2]

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1.Allegro, The Dead Sea Scrolls: p150-151
2.Bradlaugh, Humanity's Gain From Unbelief: p137

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