Theist and Atheist misunderstand the Jewish Notion of Prophecy

‘In writings against Open Theism “Michael Battle” cites what he considers a fulfilled prophecy in Judas:

Consider for a moment the Biblical record of the betrayal of Jesus by Judas, which was foretold hundreds of years before Judas was born.

Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me. ~ Psalm 41:9

Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them. I speak not of you all: I know whom I have chosen: but that the scripture may be fulfilled, He that eateth bread with me hath lifted up his heel against me. ~ John 13:16-18

Reading the context of Psalms 41 will leave anyone wondering where the prophecy is. King David is talking about his personal issues. There is no reference to the future, but everything is applicable only to King David without a hint of double meaning. Atheist George H Smith comments:

These are only two examples out of many similar cases. Time and again, Old Testament passages are distorted, misinterpreted and quoted out of context in the attempt to manufacture prophecies for Jesus.

Christians sometimes counter these objections by arguing that the cited Old Testament passages have a double meaning: one for the time in which they were written and another long-range, esoteric meaning. But this ruse is obviously a feeble attempt to escape critical evaluation. If, when we object to an alleged prophecy, the Christian replies that the New Testament writer knew what he was doing even if we do not, we then leave the realm of reason and enter the domain of faith. The Christian asks us to accept the legitimacy of these prophecies on faith, on the testimony of the person who uses them as prophecies. This permits the New Testament writers to extract any Old Testament passage at will, distort it beyond recognition, and then claim the sanction of divine inspiration. In this event, prophecy is reduced to arbitrary decree and thus loses its argumentative impact.

Smith, George H.. Atheism: The Case Against God (The Skeptic’s Bookshelf) (p. 209). Prometheus Books. Kindle Edition.

George H Smith is correct. The reference in John does look like a fake and manufactured prophecy. The only problem is that not even John believes it is a prophecy. Instead, this is the Jewish notion of cyclical events. Past events mirror current events. This is not a Nostradamus prophecy of the future. Rather this is John looking into the Old Testament to find precedence for the current situation.

Michael Battle is just wrong in claiming this as any evidence for foresight of the future. He presented no evidence anyone understood it as such.’

source: Christopher Fisher, “Apologetics Thursday – michaelbattle on prophecy” (godisopen).


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