The CruciFICTION Series: Part 3 – What the Prophets of Old Foretold

The CruciFICTION Series: Part 3 – What the Prophets of Old Foretold

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بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْم

“…But they did not kill him, nor crucify him… Rather God raised him up towards Himself. God has always been the Ultimate Authority and the Source of all Wisdom.” (4:157- 4:158) 

Contention 3: There are no prophecies that foretell the Crucifixion

Now that it’s been effectively demonstrated the lack of any reliable testimony concerning the crucifixion incident (see parts 1 and 2 here) and thus its historicity can be doubted, we now move onto the spiritual side of this topic. At the end of the day, we accept the supernatural out of faith and so if God says something will happen it will. If He says something didn’t happen then it didn’t. So the question arises: “Are there any foretellings about the Messiah being crucified?” Despite the Church’s claim that the crucifixion fulfilled ‘dozens of prophecies’, the reality is that there are three ‘explicit’ prophecies of the Crucifixion in the entirety of the Hebrew Bible that is claimed to be fulfilled through this event. Isaiah 53, Psalm 22 and Zechariah 12:13 with the individual verses in the passages being split up to pad the number of ‘prophecies’. What makes this analysis especially interesting is we will see NONE of these alleged prophecies about the Crucifixion are even Messianic, to begin with. They were later said to be Messianic by the Church to defend their concept of a crucified Messiah. So what we will do now is analyze these missionary claims for ourselves. As a note, we won’t be talking about implicit references like the 30 pieces of silver because these events could have happened according to Islam (it just wouldn’t necessarily result in Jesus’s death). What our study will be is the direct prophecies that being crucified and killed allegedly fulfills so with that disclaimer, let’s begin:

1. Isaiah 53
Without a doubt the most commonly quoted passage for the prophecy about crucifixion is Isaiah 53 which reads (emphasis mine):

“Who has believed what we have heard? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or comeliness that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows,  and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows;  yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions,  he was bruised for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that made us whole, and with his stripes we are healed. We all, like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,  yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth. By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people? And they made his grave with the wicked  and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth. Yet it was the will of the Lord to bruise him; he has put him to grief; when he makes himself  an offering for sin,  he shall see his offspring, he shall prolong his days; the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand; he shall see the fruit of the travail of his soul and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant,  make many to be accounted righteous; and he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore I will divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he poured out his soul to death, and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” [1]

So Christians contend that all the places I highlighted above in the chapter are prophecies the crucifixion fulfilled. To those unfamiliar with this chapter, it may seem that way at its initial glance. However, when we look into the context issues arrive with this interpretation as noted by the HarperCollins Study Bible:

“The early church identified the servant in this passage [Isaiah 52:13-53:12] with Jesus… In the original historical context, however, the servant appears to have been exiled Israel.” [2]

But first a quick background about the chapter:

Isaiah 53 sometimes called “the Suffering Servant” is one of the four “Servant Songs” in which the author of Isaiah describes the period of world history when the Messiah will arrive and the Jewish people become ‘humanity’s spiritual leaders’. It describes the world leader’s reaction at seeing how good the nation of Israel really is and the reasons they really oppressed and harbored hatred for the Jews.  So keeping this background in mind let’s breakdown the 12 verses in their proper context:

Who has believed what we have heard? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or comeliness that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. (Isaiah 53:1-2)

The world leaders are talking about how shocked they are about Israel being saved. The ‘arm of the Lord being revealed’ mentioned in the verse is used as a metaphor for the Jews being delivered from persecution. Examples from the Hebrew Bible include: Exodus 3:20, Exodus 6:6, Exodus 14:31, Exodus 15:6; Deut. 4:34, Deut. 7:19; 26:8 Isaiah 51:9, Isaiah 52:10, Isaiah 62:8, Isaiah 63:12; Jeremiah 21:5, 27:5; Ezekiel 20:33; Psalms 44:3, Psalms 89:11, Psalms 98:1 and Psalms 136:12.

This metaphor of a tiny plant growing in the desert is meant to represent Israel as it struggles in the diaspora. No one will ‘want or desire’ this plant because it will obviously die in this environment. Examples of this metaphor being used for the nation of Israel in the Hebrew Bible are: Isaiah 60:21, Ezekiel 19:13, Hosea 14:6-7 and Amos 9:15

He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows,  and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.  (Isaiah 53:3)

This verse describes how the nation of Israel is hated and rejected. Similar imagery is used in: Isaiah 49:7, Isaiah 60:15; Psalms 44:14 and Nehemiah 3:36.

This also brings us to the first reason why this alleged prophecy can’t apply to Jesus (peace be upon him). According to the New Testament Jesus was popular and his crowds of followers begged him to be their king: Matthew 4:25, Mark 3:7-9, Luke 2:52 and Luke 4:14-15

Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows;  yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. (Isaiah 53:4)

Beginning with these verses, until the chapter’s end, the leaders are now confessing how they used the Jewish people as scapegoats and that they assumed that God hated them. A similar image is used in Jeremiah 50:7.

The next reason this verse can’t apply to Jesus (peace be upon him) is it says he was considered ‘stricken by God’. There are no sources including the New Testament where anyone claims that the crucifixion of Jesus was a sign that he was stricken or punished by God.

But he was wounded for our transgressions,  he was bruised for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that made us whole, and with his stripes we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5)

The highlight when talking about this passage. ‘The Servant’ suffered because of other people’s actions– not to atone for people’s actions. The reason this matters is this verse describes how the world leaders (who keep in mind are the ones talking) confess that the Jews suffered because they hated them.

We all, like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,  yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth. (Isaiah 53:6-7)

The leaders compare themselves to sheep because they realize that their lack of leadership (i.e. ‘a  shepherd’) caused them to treat the Jews with hatred and that through the Jew’s suffering, punishments that should have befallen them stopped. The Hebrew Bible frequently uses the metaphor of “sheep led to the slaughter” for the nation of Israel.  For example:

“You give us as sheep to be eaten and have scattered us among the nations… we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered” [3]

This now brings to the next reason this can’t apply to Jesus. According to the gospel accounts, he clearly defends himself at his trial with Pilate [4] and said on the cross: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” [5] 

By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people? (Isaiah 53:8)

The next major point here is the Hebrew at the end of this verse is לָֽמוֹ (la mow) which is:

“ לָֽמו the plural for…to him, or, on him..”  [6]

This means the verse is talking about a group of people, not an individual and so it should be translated like how it was in the Complete Jewish Bible:

“From imprisonment and from judgment he is taken, and his generation who shall tell? For he was cut off from the land of the living; because of the transgression of my people, a plague befell them.” [7]

Furthermore, this verse’s context is that the world leaders are shocked that the Jews are returning back to the Holy Land, and are basically saying: “They were taken away oppressed and because of the evils of my nation, they were hurt.” The phrase, “cut off out of the land of the living” does not mean being killed, it means being exiled from Israel.  For example from Christian commentary when talking about Ezekial 26:20 where the phrase is also used:

“…and I shall set glory in the land of the living; in the land of Israel; so the Targum; and it is interpreted by the Jewish expositors and others the same way; and which may be called “the land of the living”; because the living God was worshipped in it; living men in a spiritual sense dwelt there, who offered up living sacrifices unto God, and who had the promise and pledge of eternal life; and which was the “glory” of all lands.”[8] 

“The land of the living; the land of Judea, called land of the living, because a land where God will bless and give life by his word, ordinances, and Spirit: thus different shall Tryre’s captivity and Jerusalem’s be.” [9]

Another passage in Ezekial explains:

Then He said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. Look, they are saying, ‘Our bones are dried up, and our hope has perished; we are cut off.’ Therefore prophesy and tell them that this is what the Lord GOD says: ‘O My people, I will open your graves and bring you up from them, and I will bring you back to the land of Israel. Then you, My people, will know that I am the LORD, when I open your graves and bring you up from them. I will put My Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I, the LORD, have spoken, and I will do it, declares the LORD.’” [10]

Even ignoring these clear problems there is an even bigger one in Christian theology. Let’s pretend for argument’s sake that the verse was talking about an individual; it still wouldn’t apply to Jesus (peace be upon him) as it states he was “…stricken for the transgression of my people…”  According to official doctrine, it is supposed to be Adam’s (peace be upon him) inherited sin that needs to be atoned for and has nothing to do with the Jew’s crimes.

And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth. Yet it was the will of the Lord to bruise him; he has put him to grief; when he makes himself  an offering for sin, he shall see his offspring, he shall prolong his days; the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand; (Isaiah 53:9-10)

Like the previous verse, the plural is used again in the word qaber בְּמֹתָ֑יו . So the meaning is “in their deaths” (literally “tombs”) and not “in his death”. The writer is using parallelism and this can be easily seen:

For the transgression of my people they were stricken (53:8)

And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in their deaths (53:9)

This is not an accident. The passage “they made his grave with the wicked and rich man in his death(s) though he had done no violence and there was no deceit in his mouth” refers to the Jews who were martyred rather than become pagans as well as the Jews killed so that their wealth could be taken in exile. There was “no deceit in his mouth” because they chose death rather than renounce their faith and so these Jews were buried with pagans.

Again lets for argument sake say it was still an individual, then the prophecy just straight up failed. If one pays attention it says his grave is with the wicked, and his death(s) is with the rich. According to the NT the opposite actually happened, Jesus (peace be upon him) died with the wicked (the two thieves) [11], but his grave was provided by a rich man. 

Another reason this can’t apply to Jesus is it  says “The Servant” will do no violence and have no deceit in his mouth, but the biblical Jesus:

  1. Does acts of violence
  • Attacked people with a whip in the Temple [12]
  • Said in a parable, “Those enemies of mine who didn’t want me to rule over them, bring them here and slay them in my presence.” [13]
  1. Lies
  • Told his brother he was not going to the festival, then goes anyways [14]
  • Says that he has taught everything openly [15] but then says he speaks in riddles so people will not understand. [16] [17] [18]

If one attempts to argue “righteous anger” or the sort, then they are denying the clear words of the “prophecy” and simply trying to force an interpretation. The argument is not if someone is correct in committing violence the discussion is the alleged prophecy says the servant will not commit violence period.

“…Yet it was the will of the Lord to bruise him…” means God allowed this to purify and strengthen them. If they returned to doing what is right they would see their “offspring and live long days.” 

This passage now brings us to the next major issue of this passage in relation to Jesus which is as far as we know, Jesus had no children (and I doubt most  missionaries would like to say there are little children that are part God running around). To get around this obvious problem missionaries claim that the verse is speaking metaphorically and that Christians are his ‘children’. There are some issues with this. The word for “offspring” in this verse is zera – זֶרַעwhich when means actual descendants and is literally used to refer to semen. The word banim (בנים), is usually used to refer to spiritual descendants. A passage that shows a good example of these words being used together is in Genesis when Abraham (peace be upon him) is complaining about his lack of children and says his servant will be his heir:

But Abram replied, “O Lord GOD, what can You give me, since I remain childless, and the heir (ben) of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” Abram continued, “Behold, You have given me no offspring (zerah), so a servant (ben) in my household will be my heir.” Then the word of the LORD came to him, saying, “This one will not be your heir, but one who comes from your own body will be your heir.” [19]

Another passage to show this is ironically the one Christian apologists sometimes try to use to refute this argument which is in Isaiah 57:3-4: 

“But you–come here, you children (bene) of a sorceress, you offspring (zerah) of adulterers and prostitutes! Whom are you mocking? At whom do you snarl and stick out your tongue? Are you not children of transgression, offspring (zerah) of deceit [20]

Notice when mentioning a ‘sorceress’ the word ‘bene’ (sons) is used because they were her followers. When referring to those sins that their parents did, the word zerah is used, since they were the physical children of people whose parents did those sins. So as one can see Isaiah 53 is being quite literal when it says “The Servant” will see his descendants (zerah).

The even bigger problem though is God can’t follow what He sent and “live long days”. The Hebrew word in the verse is ‘ki’, which according to Brown-Driver-Briggs means:

“when, if, though (with a concessive force)” [21]

Which makes this is conditional: “if you do this, you will get this” implying there is a choice. Would God not make the choice to obey Himself? Also, it says ‘it was the will of the Lord to bruise him’. If Jesus (peace be upon him) is part of this ‘godhead’ it should have said, “it was his will to bruise Himself” or something like that. The verse is implying that the servant was not happy about the situation but it was God’s decree.

Now some might try to run to this alleged “human/divine nature” of Jesus (peace be upon him), but it’s quite frankly irrelevant. If we say this refers to Jesus’ human side, he according to Christianity, died quite young. According to Frier’s Life Table for the Roman Empire, once a person reached the age of 30 in the ancient Roman empire, their average life expectancy was 59.[22]

Age Projected

Life Expectancy

Approximate

Percent of Population

in Age Group

Rough Chance

of Being Dead

by the End

of the Year

0 21 4% 36%
1 33 10% 24%
5 42 11% 6%
10 44 11% 5%
15 46 10% 7%
20 48 9% 8%
25 51 8% 9%
30 53 8% 11%
35 56 7% 12%
40 58 6% 14%
45 61 5% 17%
50 63 4% 21%
55 66 3% 25%
60 69 2% 33%
65 72 1% 41%
70 76 0.8% 53%
75 80 0.3% 68%
80 84 1 in 1000 > 99%

Even if we ignore the statistics for a moment, many early Christian writers lived long lives, even by today’s standards. Polycarp was over 85, Justin Martyr died at 65, Origen was 69 and Tertullian made it past 75. So this can’t apply to the ‘human’ side that is supposed to have died at 33. To say Jesus getting crucified is the reason his divine side was given a long life makes no sense either because according to Trinitarian doctrine Jesus (peace be upon him) is alleged to be God and requires no outside force to make himself eternal. So he clearly did not fulfill any of this.

He shall see the fruit of the travail of his soul and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous; and he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore I will divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he poured out his soul to death, and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. (Isaiah 53:11-12)

Verse 11 says that he will teach people to be righteous. According to modern Christendom, it was not Jesus’s (peace be upon him) knowledge that made man right with God but his suffering, death and blood on the cross. This also can’t refer to his followers as the one doing the action here is the servant himself. Furthermore, how did he fulfill verse 12, which says that he will “divide the spoil”? This word “shalal” is used for war booty like:

“The enemy boasted, ‘I will pursue, I will overtake them. I will divide the spoils (shalal); I will gorge myself on them. I will draw my sword and my hand will destroy them.'”[23]

They took all the plunder and spoils (shalal), including the people and animals, and brought the captives, spoils (shalal) and plunder to Moses and Eleazar the priest and the Israelite assembly at their camp on the plains of Moab, by the Jordan across from Jericho. [24]

As for the women, the children, the livestock and everything else in the city, you may take these as plunder (shalalah) for yourselves. And you may use the plunder the LORD your God gives you from your enemies. [25]

The real meaning of this passage is how God raised up Israel to be an example for the world. [26] and that Jews, who remained faithful to God, will be rewarded. Regarding the “intercession for the transgressors” this has nothing to do with the crucifixion; it is part of the command for the Jews always pray for the nations they are exiled to. [27]

To conclude on this alleged prophecy there is actually another theological issue for Trinitarians to deal with when they claim Jesus is the servant. In verse 11 we see the words “’my servant’:

  1. The ‘my’ here is referring to God. So no amount of theological gymnastics will ever change the fact that God can’t be a servant to Himself
  2. A servant is always inferior to a Master. A servant has to listen to their Master but a Master does not have to listen to the servant. So therefore, the Father and Son cannot be co-equals according to standard Christendom.
  3. Who could He intercede to? Since he is a part of the godhead there is no one to intercede with. He himself should be the one to forgive. This shows that the servant is not God.

Now even though I believe the case for Israel has been thoroughly made by any objective reader, there is one last thing that has to be discussed regarding this passage. Missionaries claim that the interpretation of “the Suffering Servant” being the nation of Israel was a reinterpretation created by Rashi (1040-1105CE) and later rabbis. This is simply not true, the interpretation of the nation of Israel was an old view way before Rashi as seen in the famous Christian Church Father Origen (184 – 253CE) discussing his debate with some Jews:

Now I remember that, on one occasion, at a disputation held with certain Jews, who were reckoned wise men, I quoted these prophecies; to which my Jewish opponent replied, that these predictions bore reference to the whole people, regarded as one individual, and as being in a state of dispersion and suffering, in order that many proselytes might be gained, on account of the dispersion of the Jews among numerous heathen nations. [28]

  1. Zechariah 12:10

And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son. [29]

The first issue about this alleged prophecy is consistency. According to ‘John’, Zechariah’s prophecy was fulfilled at the time that the Roman soldiers pierced the side of Jesus. The problem is the Romans didn’t fulfill it because they never mourned for this. More importantly, this passage was talking to the Jews and it was not the Jews who ‘pierced’ Jesus it was the Romans and again Jerusalem did not mourn over it. But there’s an important peculiarity to the text for the astute reader:

…They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child…

Now where things get interesting is when we compare the two verses in John and Zechariah side by side:

John 19:37

“And they shall look upon Me whom they have pierced…”

Zechariah 12:10

“But one of the soldiers had pierced His side with a spear, and immediately water and blood had come out….And …scripture says, ‘They shall look upon Him Whom they pierced’…” [30]

As can be seen, the author of John changed a pronoun in the sentence and there’s a reason for that. Grammatically God is the “Me” in the verse, while the “him” is referring to a different person. So what’s going on here? Let’s again read the background to this passage:

Zechariah is speaking of the future when the nations of the world will be gathered against Jerusalem to destroy it [31]. On that day, God will defend Jerusalem and destroy all of its enemies [32]. God will then “pour out a spirit of grace and supplication toward the Jews”. This “new spirit” will motivate the Jews to look towards God concerning those Jews who have been killed in battle prior to God helping and they will cry over them. This can be shown because the next verse reads “like the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the Valley of Megiddo.” This verse is talking about the death of King Josiah who was killed in battle with Pharaoh Neco [33]. After his death all of Judah and Jerusalem mourned for him [34]. In the same way that the Jews mourned over King Josiah who died in battle, so will the Jewish people in the future mourn over their dead from that war.

  1. Psalm 22:16

The final alleged prophecy for the crucifixion is:

Dogs surround me, a pack of villains encircles me; they pierce my hands and my feet. [35].

To begin this text is not a prophecy, nor does it even speak of any future event. This entire Psalm is David’s prayer to God.  Furthermore, there is a bigger problem in the chapter:

“My God, my God, why have You forsaken me? Why are You so far from helping me, and from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry in the daytime, but You do not hear; and in the night season, and am not silent.”

Why would Jesus, whom Trinitarians claim is God, complain that “God is so far from helping me?” Who was he supposed to be complaining to? Also notice it says “my God” and not only that in the same Psalm you have passages such as:

“From birth, I was cast on you; from my mother’s womb you have been my God.”

Anyways this passage causes many issues because it all depends on if one translates the word kaari (כָּאֲרִי) as either “pierced” or “like a lion”.

For dogs have compassed me, the assembly of the wicked have enclosed me; they pierced my hands and my feet.

For dogs have encompassed me; a company of evildoers have enclosed me; like a lion, they are at my hands and my feet.

The Septuagint (LXX), is a Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible before the Common Era. In this version of the Hebrew Bible it has written ωρυξαν χειράς μου και πόδας (“they have dug my hands and feet”), which Christian commentators argue could be understood as “pierced”. While the Masoretic Text has: כארי ידי ורגלי, which reads literally “like a lion my hands and my feet”. Jewish commentators argue the rhetorical device ellipsis (the omission of words) is being employed to express the stress that the author feels so they can only express the most important part of the sentence. (Basically one reads it: “Like a lion . . . my hands and my feet!”) So which one is correct?  

From a context, standpoint “like a lion” is stronger because of the usage of animal imagery (which are metaphors for enemies) throughout Psalm 22. There is actually a mention of dogs and lions before and after the disputed passage:

Many bulls surround me; strong bulls of Bashan encircle me. They open their jaws against me like lions that roar and maul… 

  1. For dogs have encompassed me; a company of evildoers have enclosed me; like a lion, they are at my hands and my feet.

or

2.  For dogs have compassed me, the assembly of the wicked have enclosed me; they pierced my hands and my feet.

 But You, O LORD, be not far off; O my strength, come quickly to help. Deliver my soul from the sword, my precious life from the power of wild dogs. Save me from the mouth of the lion; at the horns of the wild oxen You have answered Me! [36]

So the mentioning of “like a lion” keeps up this theme while “dug/pierced hands and feet” throws off the imagery the author is using. 

From a grammar standpoint,  those translating the text as ‘pierced ‘ are arguing that the Hebrew word’s root is “krh” which means “to dig”. Even if this is conceded for argument’s sake, ” dig,” does not mean “pierce.” Karah generally refers to digging dirt [37] [38] [39] [40] [41] [42] not stabbing something.  If the author wanted to use that imagery more appropriate words exist in the Bible then they dug my hands like “nakar”:

Look, I know you are depending on Egypt, that splintered reed of a staff, which pierces (nakar) the hand of anyone who leans on it… [43] 

Finally from a consistency standpoint, every translation of the Bible including the King James Version translates the Hebrew word כָּאֲרִי (kaari) in Isaiah 38:13 as, “like a lion”.

I have considered until morning— Like a lion, So He breaks all my bones; From day until night You make an end of me.

Yet translates the exact same word as “pierced” in Psalm 22:16-17 even though it’s using similar imagery:

For dogs have encompassed me; a company of evildoers have enclosed me; like a lion, they are at my hands and my feet. I can count all my bones; they stare and gloat over me. 

So while these above arguments make it pretty conclusive the obvious reading is “like a lion” in an effort to save the pierced reading some missionaries will attempt to bring up the Dead Sea Scrolls that they claim looks like “they dig my hands”

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Ignoring the modern vowels in the Masoretic what is being argued is that the DSS clearly had its last letter longer and so “dig” is the correct reading because it’s the oldest. For argument’s sake, let’s say it does read כארו (ka’aru), the first problem is in Hebrew, the word כארו (ka’aru) doesn’t exist. To make the word “dig” as they are arguing one would also have to drop the letter א (aleph).

Hebrew Transliteration Meaning Notes
כארי Kaari Like a lion Used in the Masoretic
כארו Kaaru Does not exist in the Hebrew language This is the word being claimed to support the meaning of pierced.
כרו Karu Dig This word is used many times and does not mean piercing flesh but to dig up the ground

The easiest explanation for this ‘anomaly’ is the scribe’s poor handwriting or spelling. Literally in the same verse after the word in question, the scribe mispelled ידי (yadai) which means “my hands” as ידיה (yadehah) which means “her hands”. Even as one can see from the pic above it looks like they wrote the letter vav too long. So this argument is flawed from multiple fronts.

Alright now that we’ve taken care of the explicit prophecies let’s examine the more ‘subtle’ alleged prophecies of the Crucifixion.

  1. John 19:36

These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken,”  [44] 

While a fellow author has done an excellent analysis of this alleged prophecy (see here), I will make a few personal observations as well. John 19:33 says that during Jesus’ crucifixion, the soldiers didn’t break his legs because he was already dead. John 19:36 claims that this fulfilled a prophecy: “Not a bone of him shall be broken.”. First up is this ‘prophecy’  straight up doesn’t exist which is enough to end the discussion. However, some apologist in an attempt to save this, claim that the prophecy is in Exodus, Numbers or Psalms:

“It must be eaten inside the house; take none of the meat outside the house. Do not break any of the bones.”[45]

They must not leave any of it till morning or break any of its bones. When they celebrate the Passover, they must follow all the regulations. [46]

Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the LORD delivers him out of them all. He keeps all his bones, not one of them is broken. [47]

As can be clearly seen, none of these are even remotely the same as what the authors of John quoted. Two of these aren’t even prophecies, they’re commands. Don’t break the bones of the Passover lamb, and that’s all there is to it. While the last one is a reference to just righteous people in general and is not foretelling a future event about a specific person. Just looking at it, one can see a plural is used. 

  1. Genesis 3:15

“I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; they shall strike at your head, and you shall strike at their heel.” [48] 

And now for our final verse, known as the protevangelium.  The alleged meaning is that God will rectify man’s original sin by using another Adam.

The simplest counter to this is that not one author of the New Testament connects this with the crucifixion. This is simply a forced later interpretation by the Church, and the text of Genesis itself doesn’t lend any credence to it: 

“Unlike some later Jewish and Christian literature, Genesis does not identify the talking snake with Satan or any other demonic being.” [49]

In fact, the context of this passage in Genesis is a creation myth regarding the snake (yes an actual snake):

 “Now the serpent was the shrewdest of all the wild beasts that the LORD God had made.” [50]

According to this creation myth, after the serpent had deceived Adam and Eve, God cursed it. This is again made more clear when the verse says: “he [man] shall strike at your head, and you shall strike at his heel”, referencing the fact that humans kill a snake by crushing its head by their feet, while snakes inflict injury and death on humans by biting us. Some may try to deny this given the “the grave nature of the context, the fall of man, this passage describes more than just a man stepping on a snake’s head.” [51] However again simply reading the chapter shows it’s a creation myth, for example:

“Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and every beast of the field! On your belly will you go, and dust you will eat, all the days of your life.” [52]

“To the woman He said: “I will sharply increase your pain in childbirth; in pain you will bring forth children…” [53]

And to Adam He said: “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat, cursed is the ground because of you; through toil you will eat of it all the days of your life…By the sweat of your brow you will eat your bread [54]

We clearly see that this passage from Genesis identifies the serpent as an animal, and does not explicitly state that it is a symbol for Satan or any other demonic being. The latter is simply an interpretation of some later Jews and Christians that I need to again emphasize no author of the New testament connected with Jesus’s (peace be upon him) alleged crucifixion.

Contention 4: There are prophecies and allusions that the Messiah would be saved and lifted up (aka “exalted”)

What has been demonstrated so far is that Christian authors tried to fit Jesus into various texts from the Hebrew Bible due to mistranslation and stripping passages from their context. If we look at the Qur’an verse in the beginning of this article about Jesus and the crucifixion it says:

….But they did not kill him, nor crucify him… Rather God raised him up towards Himself…

A careful reading of the Biblical text shows a similar phenomenon. The first thing many don’t realize is that Jesus is recorded in the New Testament as praying for God to save him. 


“And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” [55] [56] [57]

If we look at similar passages beyond the Christian theology we will see this theme of being saved and lifted (i.e exalted), in the New Testament:

Then the devil led Him to Jerusalem and set Him on the pinnacle of the temple. “If You are the Son of God,” he said, “throw Yourself down from here. For it is written:

‘He will command His angels concerning You to guard You carefully; and they will lift You up in their hands, so that You will not strike Your foot against a stone. ”

But Jesus answered, “It also says, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.”

When the devil had finished every temptation, he left Him until an opportune time.[58] 

Notice Jesus (peace be upon him) in the text didn’t deny this prophecy is about him, he simply answered you don’t try God. What Satan is said to have quoted was from Psalms:

For He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. They will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. You will tread on the lion and cobra; you will trample the young lion and serpent. “Because he loves Me, I will deliver him; because he knows My name, I will protect him. When he calls out to Me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble. I will deliver and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him My salvation.” [59] 

Very interesting, now in another passage Mark says:

He answered, “It is one of the Twelve—the one who is dipping his bread into the bowl with Me. The Son of Man will go just as it is written about Him, but woe to that man by whom He is betrayed! It would be better for him if he had not been born.” [60]

In this verse Jesus appears to be alluding to Psalm 41 so let’s read:

Blessed is he who cares for the poor; the LORD will deliver him in the day of trouble. The LORD will protect and preserve him; He will bless him in the land and refuse to surrender him to the will of his foes. The LORD will sustain him on his bed of illness and restore him from his bed of sickness. I said, “O LORD, be gracious to me; heal me, for I have sinned against You.” My enemies say with malice: “When will he die and be forgotten?” My visitor speaks falsehood; he gathers slander in his heart; he goes out and spreads it abroad. All who hate me whisper against me; they imagine the worst for me: “A vile disease has been poured into him; he will never get up from where he lies!” Even my close friend whom I trusted, the one who shared my bread, has lifted his heel against me. But You, O LORD, be gracious to me and raise me up, that I may repay them. By this I know that You delight in me, for my enemy does not triumph over me. In my integrity You uphold me and set me in Your presence forever. Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. [61]

Now, do we have any more passages such as this? Why yes we do. You see throughout the Psalms which is what Jesus (peace be upon him) is said to have been quoting, there is a theme of God saving his Messiah (or Anointed). Back when the Children of Israel had a kingdom they would pour oil on their kings as part of the ruler’s coronation ceremony, and because Jesus(peace be upon him) is THEE Messiah (Anointed) and a descendant of David according to the Bible we should theoretically be able to apply all the passages to him:

He brings great salvation to His king. He shows loving devotion to His anointed, to David and his descendants forever. [62] 

The Pulpit Commentary says about this verse:

“Now obviously  David is intended, both by the “king” of the first clause, and by the “anointed” of the second; but the combination of the two, and the immediate mention of the “seed” which is to reign “for ever,” carry the passage beyond the psalmist individually, and give to the conclusion of the psalm, at any rate, a semi-Messianic character. As Hengstenberg says, “Psalms of this kind are distinguished from those which may more strictly be called Messianic, only by this – that in the latter the Messiah exclusively is brought into view, while here he is presented to our notice only as a member of the seed of David” [63]

So as Christian commentary has let us know it’s not far fetched to apply this passage to Jesus. Also about this passage Barnes notes:

“Great deliverance giveth he to his king – To David, as king. The word in the original, which is rendered “deliverance,” means properly salvations, and is here in the plural number. It refers not to one act of divine interposition, but to the many acts (referred to in the psalm) in which God had interposed to save him from danger and from death. The phrase “to his king” refers to the fact that God had appointed him to reign, and to administer the government for him. He did not reign on his own account, but he reigned for God, and with a view to do his will…  There is an undoubted reference here to the promises made to David in regard to his successors on the throne.[64] 

As noted by Barnes, the word for “salvation” or “deliverance”  in the verse is יְשׁוּעָה (yĕshuw`ah) which according to Strong’s Dictionary means:

“Feminine passive participle of yasha’; something saved, i.e. (abstractly) deliverance; hence, aid, victory, prosperity — deliverance, health, help(-ing), salvation, save, saving (health), welfare.” [65]

Every passage that David mentions the ‘Messiah’ (himself) in the Psalms carries the theme of being saved from his enemies:

Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together, against the LORD and against His Anointed One: “Let us break their chains and throw off their shackles.” The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord taunts them. Then He rebukes them in His anger, and terrifies them in His fury [66] 

An interesting Psalm discussing the rulers plotting against the Messiah. Reading again from Christian commentary:

Psalm 2:2. The kings of the earth — So called by way of contempt, and to show their madness in opposing the God of heaven. Herod the Great, Herod the Tetrarch, Pilate and other princes and magistrates, with or after them, are chiefly intended…David’s enemies urged and instigated each other in their opposition to him; and the Jewish priests, elders, and council instigated false witnesses to accuse the Messiah, Pilate to condemn him, and the people to clamour for his crucifixion; the people also instigated Pilate to release Barabbas, and crucify Jesus; and the devil instigated them all to perpetrate this impious murder: as he afterward instigated kings and nations to persecute, imprison, torture, and put to death, in a variety of ways, his apostles, evangelists, and other followers. [67]

Such kings as Herod the Great, Herod Agrippa, Nero, Galerius, Diocletian, Julian the Apostate, etc. There is always a warfare between the world and the Church, in which kings are apt to take a part, most often on the worldly side. And the rulers take counsel together. “Rulers” are persons having authority, but below the rank of kings such were the ethnarchs and tetrarchs of the first century, the governors of provinces under the Roman emperor, the members of the Jewish Sanhedrin, and the like. These last frequently “took counsel against the Lord” [68]

And yet again in another verse:

Now know that the LORD saves his anointed; he will answer him from his holy heaven with the saving might of his right hand. [69] 

Now this passage is a military one, evidently intended for soldiers going to war against a powerful, well-equipped enemy. The Lord will protect His Messiah and answer him when he prays to Him.

The LORD is their strength, and he is the saving strength of his anointed. Save your people, and bless your inheritance: feed them also, and lift them up forever. [70]

Couple interesting things here, the verse speaks of saving the righteous, feeding them and lifting them up. This corresponds well with Jesus(peace be upon him) in the Quran as he was saved and fed the people in Surah Maidah [71] and lifted up.

Coming out of the Psalms now and into the first mention of the Messiah in the Hebrew Bible it says:

The adversaries of the LORD shall be broken to pieces; out of heaven shall he thunder on them: the LORD shall judge the ends of the earth; and he shall give strength to his king, and exalt the horn of his anointed. [72] 

(10) His king . . . of his anointed.—A Lapide, quoted by Wordsworth, wrote here…all these things have regard to Christ.” Jewish expositors, too, have generally interpreted these words as a prophecy of King Messiah. The words received a partial fulfilment in the splendid reigns of David and Solomon; but the pious Jew looked on the golden halo which surrounded these great reigns as but a pale reflection of the glory which would accompany King Messiah when He should appear… [73] 

Now while this would require further research one can clearly see as opposed to the misquotes given by the NT authors the Bible, the Messiah (peace be upon him) is recorded as saying he will not be harmed by his enemies as is the allusion throughout the Hebrew Bible. What makes this all the more amazing is the Quran went against the tide of what people believed truly showing its divine origin. If the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was lying it would’ve been easier to just say Jesus (peace be upon him) was killed at the hands of his enemies and either reject him as a false prophet as the Jews do or reinterpret the event to mean something else.


References

* All translations of the Quran are the author’s personal

[1] Isaiah 53:1-12

[2] The HarperCollins Study Bible, p. 1089.

[3] Psalms 44:11-23

[4]  John 18:36

[5] Matthew 27:46

[6] Analecta Hebraica: With Critical Notes and Tables of Paradigms of the Conjugation of the Regular and Irregular Verbs

https://books.google.com/books?id=0glMAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA163&lpg=PA163&dq=%D7%9C%D6%B8%D6%BD%D7%9E%D7%95%D6%B9+plural&source=bl&ots=dk9_wbeDsN&sig=ACfU3U1-Hl5oNXhw2r6U2kshWE2nqGQauw&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwit-qOT5rnoAhUcAp0JHXoOBwsQ6AEwAXoECAoQAQ#v=onepage&q=%D7%9C%D6%B8%D6%BD%D7%9E%D7%95%D6%B9%20plural&f=false

[7] https://www.biblestudytools.com/cjb/isaiah/53.html

[8] Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible

[9] Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

[10] Ezekiel 37:11-14

[11] Luke 23:39-43

[12] John 2:15

[13] Luke 19:27

[14] John 7:6-9

[15] John 18:20

[16] Mark 4:10-12

[17] Matthew 16:20 

[18]  Luke 8:56

[19] Genesis 15:2-4

[20] Isaiah 57:3-4

[21] https://www.studylight.org/lexicons/hebrew/3588.html

[22] Adapted from “Frier’s Life Table for the Roman Empire,” p.144 of T.G. Parkin, Demography and Roman Society (1992) (fr. Bruce Frier’s Landlords and Tenants in Imperial Rome, 1980); cf. Coale & Demeny, Regional Model Life Tables and Stable Populations, 2nd ed. (1983).

https://www.richardcarrier.info/lifetbl.html

[23] Exodus 15:9

[24] Numbers 31:11-12

[25] Deuteronomy 20:14

[26] Deut. 4:5-8 

[27] Jeremiah 29:7

[28] Origen, Contra Celsum, Book 1.Chapter 55

[29] Zechariah 12:10

[30] John 19:34-37

[31] Zec 12:3

[32] Zec 12:4-9

[33] 2 Kings 23:29-30

[34] 2 Chron 35:22-25

[35] Psalm 22:16

[36] Psalm 22:12-22

[37] Genesis 26:25

[38] Exodus 21:33

[39] Numbers 21:18

[40] Jeremiah 18:20-22

[41] Psalms 7:16

[42] Psalms 57:7

[43] Kings 18:21.

[44[ John 19:36

[45] Exodus 12:46

[46] Numbers 9:12

[47] Psalm 34:19-20

[48] Genesis 3:15

[49] Jewish Study Bible; p. 16

[50] Genesis 3:2

[51] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protevangelium

[52] Genesis 3:15

[53] Genesis 3:16

[54] Genesis 3:17

[55] Matthew 26:39

[56] Mark 14:36

[57] Luke 22:42

[58] Luke 4:9-13

[59] Psalm 91:11-16

[60] Mark 14:20-21

[61] Psalm 41

[62] Psalms 18:50

[63] Pulpit Commentary

[64] Barnes’ Notes on the Bible

[65] Strong’s Concordance with Hebrew and Greek Lexicon 3444. yeshuah

https://biblehub.com/hebrew/3444.htm

[66] Psalm 2:1-5

[67] Benson Commentary

[68] Pulpit Commentary

[69] Psalm 20:6

[70] Psalm 28:8-9

[71] Quran 5:114-115

[72] 1 Samuel 2:10

[73] Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers

2 thoughts on “The CruciFICTION Series: Part 3 – What the Prophets of Old Foretold

  1. stewjo004

    This post was dedicated to Ken Temple…

    Also, an interesting thing I couldn’t bring up the article is the Psalms I quote in Contention 4 actually have a “rhythm” to it like the Quran unlike the rest of the Bible:

    Psalm 2

    Psalm 18

    Psalm 20

    Psalm 28

    Psalm 41

    Psalm 91

    Liked by 1 person

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