Argument for the Resurrection: The Old Testament predicted the Messiah's Killing and Resurrection

rakovsky

Member
One of the main arguments that Christ resurrected is that the Old Testament predicted that the divine Messiah would be crucified in the 1st century and resurrect in 3 days. This was predicted for instance in Daniel 9, Psalms 16 and 22, Isaiah 26 and 53, Hosea 6, Zechariah 11-13, and Ezekiel 37. These predictions correspond to the Gospels' story.

One can see that the Old Testament makes these predictions because for instance
The rabbinical "Two Messiahs" concept points to a Messiah who is killed and resurrects

And there is a Rabbinical belief that the Messiah will be "crushed", die, bring redemption, and make a general resurrection, although the order is not explicitly clear. (https://forums.carm.org/threads/rab...rushed-die-bring-redemption-and-resurrect.375)

On the other hand, there are several Counterarguments to the idea that these Old Testament prophecies prove that Christ resurrected:
  1. It could have been a self-fulfilling prophecy. People expected the Messiah to come in that era, so Messianic contenders arose then, and were killed by the Romans.
    Response to the Counterargument: The coincidence between the prophecy and its fulfillment is still significant, since the OT predicted a Messianic figure who world spread the knowledge of Israel's God around the world, and Jesus in particular fulfilled the goal of the Tanakh's Messiah while also fulfilling the prediction about a crucified Messiah. And his reported Resurrection follows from the OT prediction as well.
  2. Just because the Old Testament narrates something arguably does not prove that it literally existed or occurred. For instance, the OT refers to the earth as a "disc" (ie. a flat round object) in Isaiah. The story of Genesis entails that Adam's descendants have only been on earth about 5000-6000 years if taken literally. The story of the Flood and Noah's Ark has lots of physical improbabilities like the issue of how the world's animals all got on the ark and then redispersed. It's not as if we have archaeology of the ancient Peruvian civilization of 3000 BC vanishing in the next several centuries and not coming back the way it was. The archeology shows the opposite.
    Responses to the Counterargument: When Isaiah called the earth a disc, he didn't mean it literally and didn't write about it long enough to make a reader think that he did. There are Creationists who take the stories of Genesis and Noah's Ark literally.
  3. Just because the Bible predicts something does not mean that it will necessarily occur. One factor for instance is the people's spiritual or moral status. On one hand, Jeremiah criticized a competing, false prophet who was promising blessings. Jeremiah said that prophecies of blessings don't serve as a test of the prophet's reliability because they may not occur if the people acts wrongly. He said that the only reliable prophecy was one of doom. In contrast, Jonah prophecied doom to Nineveh, but the doom did not come to pass due to the people's repentance. Further, you can find lists of failed Bible prophecies online.
    Response to the Counterargument: Jeremiah was criticizing blessings promised in false prophecies, not Biblical prophecies. Maybe Jeremiah's reasoning was that if the people continued in their bad ways, then you could see whether the prophecy of doom occurred or not. That would explain the failure of Jonah's prophecy to occur. There are Apologetics webpages dealing with the seemingly failed Bible prophecies.
Next, let's look for the underlying reasoning in this Argument that uses the Old Testament prophecies. The reasoning seems to be that if the Old Testament predicted a series of events, and one observed most of the events occurring in a remarkably similar way, then the rest of the events must occur as well. In the Christian interpretation, (A) the Old Testament says that the Messiah will bring the world's nations to Jehovah, (B) Psalm 22 describes His Crucifixion, (C) Psalm 22 describes His resurrection, and (D) Psalm 16 says that He will resurrect before the 4th day of His death when the body physically begins decomposing, because David's flesh rejoiced since God won't let His Holy One (David's flesh's physical offspring, the Messiah) to experience bodily corruption. So in this line of reasoning, if a person believes in A-C, that Jesus is the Messiah, was crucified, and the Old Testament predicted that He would resurrect, then the believer would also accept D, ie. that Jesus must have resurrected on Days 1-3 of His death. This line of reasoning seems to have the premise that the Old Testament is accurate, or at least that fulfillments of a line of Old Testament prophecies means that the rest of the events in that line of prophets must occur.

Now let's consider a weakness in this premise.
If you don't believe that the Old Testament is accurate or that the occurrence of most events in a line of its predictions means that the rest of the events in that line must occur, then this Argument doesn't seem strong. For instance, there is today alot of skepticism about the physical, scientific accuracy of the account of the Creation of the world in the Bible, the story of the Biblical Flood and Noah's ark, and the Bible's alleged depiction of a flat earth and Geocentric planetary system. If someone doesn't believe that those foundational Biblical world events are literally, physically, and factually, accurate, how would a person be led to believe that the Old Testament's eschatological predictions about the Messiah's third day resurrection must also occur in literal "real time"? In other words, are you stuck arguing that the Old Testament Biblical world events are literally true in order to argue for Christ's Resurrection?
 

rakovsky

Member
One of the arguments that I heard for the reliability of Old Testament prophecies was that the Israelites tested their prophets' reliability in their own era, and that false prophets were rejected.
I don't know how reliable this testing was, because for instance sometimes prophets predicted things that did not happened because God changed his mind due to people's repentance.
 
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