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
He [Joseph] arose and took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt, and was there until the death of Herod; that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, “Out of Egypt I called my son.” [Hosea 11:1]

The Old Testament passage Matthew was quoting came from the book of Hosea. But a quick look at the passage will show that it has nothing to do with a future event:

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.

This is certainly straining the idea of prophecy to the extreme. The passage refers to Israel as God’s son. The whole passage (Hosea 11:1-7) refers to an event in the past, the Exodus from Egypt, and to God’s intention to punish Israel for their lack of faith! Matthew has lifted his “prophecy” out of context from a passage that has nothing to do with the messiah.[2]

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References

1.Allegro, The Dead Sea Scrolls: p150-151
2.Bradlaugh, Humanity's Gain From Unbelief: p137
Miller, Born Divine: p113-115

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