Matthew's big blunder - and what we can learn fro it

godsandmen

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Christians believe that Jesus "fulfilled" OT prophecy. But in fact it's not prophecy fulfilled but prophecy historicized after the fact. The "fulfilled prophecies" were retrojected into the gospel writers' stories in order to flesh out the Jesus character who they knew so little about. After all, these writers wrote decades after Jesus died, and knew almost nothing about him. In their zeal to prove that Jesus was the Messiah, they searched the Old Testament for anything (sometimes just phrases) that could possibly be construed as messianic prophecies, and then created or modified events in Jesus' life to fulfill those so-called prophecies.

How do we know that? How do we know that the stories weren't actual records of actual fulfillment of prophecy? Well, lots of reasons, but one, in particular, stands out, at least to me. It's sometimes referred to as "Matthew's big blunder", and this blunder, I'm afraid, gives the game away.

In the story of the triumphal entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem, Mark, Luke and John all say that Jesus entered the city riding on a donkey. But Matthew has Jesus enter the city straddling TWO animals, not one - a donkey AND a colt! Here's the passage in Matthew:

Matthew 21:1-7
Now when they drew near Jerusalem, and came to Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, AND a colt with her. Loose THEM and bring THEM to Me. And if anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord has need of THEM,’ and immediately he will send THEM.”

All this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet [Zechariah], saying:

“Tell the daughter of Zion,
‘Behold, your King is coming to you,
Lowly, and sitting on a donkey,
A colt, the foal of a donkey.’”

So the disciples went and did as Jesus commanded them. They brought the donkey AND the colt, laid THEIR clothes on THEM, and set Him on THEM.


The reason Matthew has Jesus on TWO animals instead of one is that he misunderstood the prophecy (quoted above) to refer to two animals. But this is an error on his part [yes, an error. You can throw out any belief in “inerrancy” right here!] This is a common occurrence in the OT of something called a parallelism, where the same idea is stated twice with slightly different wording, but actually means the same thing. In this case the passage in Zechariah is NOT referring to two animals. The donkey and the colt represent the same animal, and the other gospel writers all understood this, which is why they had Jesus enter the city on a lone donkey. Matthew didn't get it though. He thought the Zechariah passage literally meant TWO animals, so that's what he put in his story. It’s rather comical when you to try to picture Jesus straddling two animals!

Stunt rider Jesus to the rescue!

What does this tell us? What conclusions can we draw from this?

Here’s what we can conclude:

1) Whoever wrote the gospel of Matthew could not possibly have been an eyewitness. If he was, he would have known that Jesus entered the city on just one donkey, as he would have seen it with his own eyes.

2) Not only was the author not a witness, but he did not get his information from anyone else who was a witness, for the same reason as above.

3) Since he was neither a witness nor an acquaintance of a witness, there is only one way he could have gotten his information – from his own imagination – with the help of the Old Testament! Of course, he got the story from Mark, but then he changed Mark’s version of the story in order to reflect what he thought it should say in order to make the prophecy come true. It is a conscious act of fraud in order to make the text fit his own personal opinion about what must have happened. It is prophecy fulfillment invented, not recorded, and this is most likely how all of the gospels were written.

There’s an old story that goes like this: “While traveling through a forest, a person noticed a circle marked on a tree with an arrow shot perfectly into the center. A few yards away he noticed several more targets, each with arrows in the center. Later, he met the talented archer and he asked him, "How did you become such an expert that you always get your arrows into the center of the bullseye?" "It's not difficult," responded the archer, "First I shoot the arrow and then I draw the circle."”


That’s how the gospels were written!


And Matthew's blunder, among other things, gives the game away.
 
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fncceo

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I personally have no belief in the scriptures of the 'so-called' New Testament but why can't you just let them have it?

Let people believe what they want to believe.
 

shimon

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Very good eye Godsandmen and that is just one of the reasons we refer to Jesus as the double “ ASSED” Lord ...Now you must realize that if you bring up logical arguments like this you will get the well known circular reasoning of Jesus followers...I have seen it many many times...If the circular reasons fail they will fall back on other tried and true methods and if that fails then they will just choose to ignore what you said because of bruised egos...What did Jesus and Pinocchio have in common... They both had supposed fathers named Joseph, both were created beings and both were tall tales ... The only real difference is that when Pinocchio told a lie his nose grew longer and Jesus nose cannot get any longer because he didn’t have one to begin with accept the one the writers or scribes of the New Testament gave him when they created his persona which was perfect and unblemished... At least in the Pinocchio tale he became a little boy while in the Jesus tale he not only made an ass of himself but that of his followers as well by their mistaken beliefs in what he did or did not do....
 
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godsandmen

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Very good eye Godsandmen and that is just one of the reasons we refer to Jesus as the double “ ASSED” Lord ...Now you must realize that if you bring up logical arguments like this you will get the well known circular reasoning of Jesus followers...I have seen it many many times...If the circular reasons fail they will fall back on other tried and true methods and if that fails then they will just choose to ignore what you said because of bruised egos...What did Jesus and Pinocchio have in common... They both had supposed fathers named Joseph, both were created beings and both were tall tales ... The only real difference is that when Pinocchio told a lie his nose grew longer and Jesus nose cannot get any longer because he didn’t have one to begin with accept the one the writers or scribes of the New Testament gave him when they created his persona which was perfect and unblemished... At least in the Pinocchio tale he became a little boy while in the Jesus tale he not only made an ass of himself but that of his followers as well by their mistaken beliefs in what he did or did not do....
I've never heard of that double-assed Jesus references before. Who says that, and where did it come from? As to the circular reasoning responses, believe me, I am well aware! That certainly won't take me by surprise.
 

JakeStarkey

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I don't mind atheists and theists generally, but far right religious crazies and hateful antiGodists really don't have anything to offer than "I believe".

No one has the ability to disprove the existence of deity.
 

JoeB131

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The Gospel of Matthew was written with an eye to preaching to the Jews, as opposed to the Gospel of John, which concluded that the Jews were the enemy and they get the blame for killing Jesus.

So you get a whole lot of sloppy writing in Matthew, starting with the "Slaughter of the innocents" by Herod, a story plagiarized from Exodus and recorded nowhere else in history. And it just goes down from there with his misquoting of Hebrew scripture in order to make the case that Jesus was the Messiah.
 
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godsandmen

godsandmen

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The Gospel of Matthew was written with an eye to preaching to the Jews, as opposed to the Gospel of John, which concluded that the Jews were the enemy and they get the blame for killing Jesus.

So you get a whole lot of sloppy writing in Matthew, starting with the "Slaughter of the innocents" by Herod, a story plagiarized from Exodus and recorded nowhere else in history. And it just goes down from there with his misquoting of Hebrew scripture in order to make the case that Jesus was the Messiah.

No kidding! It's weird that the gospel of John has always been my favorite gospel, probably because of it's being the most "spiritual" of all the gospels, and yet it is so antisemitic that wars have been at least partially justified by it. Its attitude towards Jews is as bad as it gets anywhere in the NT. It's the best and the worst, all in one gospel! I have a serious love/hate relationship with that gospel, and I hope to one day get to the bottom of what was going on behind the scenes when that gospel was written.
 

Meriweather

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Christians believe that Jesus "fulfilled" OT prophecy. But in fact it's not prophecy fulfilled but prophecy historicized after the fact. The "fulfilled prophecies" were retrojected into the gospel writers' stories in order to flesh out the Jesus character who they knew so little about. After all, these writers wrote decades after Jesus died, and knew almost nothing about him. In their zeal to prove that Jesus was the Messiah, they searched the Old Testament for anything (sometimes just phrases) that could possibly be construed as messianic prophecies, and then created or modified events in Jesus' life to fulfill those so-called prophecies.

How do we know that? How do we know that the stories weren't actual records of actual fulfillment of prophecy? Well, lots of reasons, but one, in particular, stands out, at least to me. It's sometimes referred to as "Matthew's big blunder", and this blunder, I'm afraid, gives the game away.

In the story of the triumphal entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem, Mark, Luke and John all say that Jesus entered the city riding on a donkey. But Matthew has Jesus enter the city straddling TWO animals, not one - a donkey AND a colt! Here's the passage in Matthew:

Matthew 21:1-7
Now when they drew near Jerusalem, and came to Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, AND a colt with her. Loose THEM and bring THEM to Me. And if anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord has need of THEM,’ and immediately he will send THEM.”

All this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet [Zechariah], saying:

“Tell the daughter of Zion,
‘Behold, your King is coming to you,
Lowly, and sitting on a donkey,
A colt, the foal of a donkey.’”

So the disciples went and did as Jesus commanded them. They brought the donkey AND the colt, laid THEIR clothes on THEM, and set Him on THEM.


The reason Matthew has Jesus on TWO animals instead of one is that he misunderstood the prophecy (quoted above) to refer to two animals. But this is an error on his part [yes, an error. You can throw out any belief in “inerrancy” right here!] This is a common occurrence in the OT of something called a parallelism, where the same idea is stated twice with slightly different wording, but actually means the same thing. In this case the passage in Zechariah is NOT referring to two animals. The donkey and the colt represent the same animal, and the other gospel writers all understood this, which is why they had Jesus enter the city on a lone donkey. Matthew didn't get it though. He thought the Zechariah passage literally meant TWO animals, so that's what he put in his story. It’s rather comical when you to try to picture Jesus straddling two animals!

Stunt rider Jesus to the rescue!

What does this tell us? What conclusions can we draw from this?

Here’s what we can conclude:

1) Whoever wrote the gospel of Matthew could not possibly have been an eyewitness. If he was, he would have known that Jesus entered the city on just one donkey, as he would have seen it with his own eyes.

2) Not only was the author not a witness, but he did not get his information from anyone else who was a witness, for the same reason as above.

3) Since he was neither a witness nor an acquaintance of a witness, there is only one way he could have gotten his information – from his own imagination – with the help of the Old Testament! Of course, he got the story from Mark, but then he changed Mark’s version of the story in order to reflect what he thought it should say in order to make the prophecy come true. It is a conscious act of fraud in order to make the text fit his own personal opinion about what must have happened. It is prophecy fulfillment invented, not recorded, and this is most likely how all of the gospels were written.

There’s an old story that goes like this: “While traveling through a forest, a person noticed a circle marked on a tree with an arrow shot perfectly into the center. A few yards away he noticed several more targets, each with arrows in the center. Later, he met the talented archer and he asked him, "How did you become such an expert that you always get your arrows into the center of the bullseye?" "It's not difficult," responded the archer, "First I shoot the arrow and then I draw the circle."”


That’s how the gospels were written!


And Matthew's blunder, among other things, gives the game away.
The first issue that needs to be addressed is that of inerrancy. Yes, those Fundamentalist and those who say every story in the Bible is literally true, claim the Bible is inerrant in all matters. Atheists pick up on this small, but vocal group, and jump to the conclusion that EVERYONE argues for this "inerrancy" of the Bible. I believe these Fundamentalists, instead of bringing people into the Kingdom of God are instead pushing more and more people into atheism because these Fundamentalists are fundamentally afraid of truth.

So, from the perspective most believers have (that the Bible is inerrant when it comes to matters of faith), here is how we view Matthew's Gospel. Matthew used the literary device known as foreshadowing.

Matthew saw the Old Testament as a foreshadowing of Jesus and the life of Jesus. In Matthew's eyes, the Old Testament pointed to Christ and Christ reflected the Old Testament. From today's Jewish perspective some of Matthew's foreshadowings seem a little contrived. I see their point, but by definition no foreshadowing is exact. Overall, Matthew did an impressive job at what he set out to do.

The Catholic Study Bible states that Matthew was not an Apostles or an eye witness for Jesus. It is most likely that this Gospel was written in Antioch sometime after 70 A.D. It is also seen as a compilation of material that is found in Mark and in the source known as Q. Antioch at that time was a mixture of early Jewish Christians and Gentile Christians. They did not always get along. Matthew could well have been a Gentile Christian, but he also shows a working knowledge of Judaism, which he may have gained from an early Christian community made up of both Jews and Gentiles.
 

JoeB131

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No kidding! It's weird that the gospel of John has always been my favorite gospel, probably because of it's being the most "spiritual" of all the gospels, and yet it is so antisemitic that wars have been at least partially justified by it. Its attitude towards Jews is as bad as it gets anywhere in the NT. It's the best and the worst, all in one gospel! I have a serious love/hate relationship with that gospel, and I hope to one day get to the bottom of what was going on behind the scenes when that gospel was written.
looking at this from an Atheist point of view - not believing in sky pixies or that Jesus even existed.

When Matthew wrote his Gospel, Christianity was just a reform movement in Judaism. John's Gospel was a more advanced theology, where it was really it's own religion, and therefore they had to renounce the Jews for not accepting him.

The first issue that needs to be addressed is that of inerrancy. Yes, those Fundamentalist and those who say every story in the Bible is literally true, claim the Bible is inerrant in all matters. Atheists pick up on this small, but vocal group, and jump to the conclusion that EVERYONE argues for this "inerrancy" of the Bible. I believe these Fundamentalists, instead of bringing people into the Kingdom of God are instead pushing more and more people into atheism because these Fundamentalists are fundamentally afraid of truth.
Hmmmm.... here's the problem with that. IT's not just about the inconsistencies between the four gospels they picked out of hundreds available. If the Gospels and the Bible itself are the inspired word of God, they shouldn't have these contradiction like when Jesus was born or such.

Matthew also has a lot of crazy stories, like Herod killing all the babies (Not recorded in any history or other gospel) or the Zombies that were walking around after the crucifixion.

The Catholic Study Bible states that Matthew was not an Apostles or an eye witness for Jesus. It is most likely that this Gospel was written in Antioch sometime after 70 A.D. It is also seen as a compilation of material that is found in Mark and in the source known as Q. Antioch at that time was a mixture of early Jewish Christians and Gentile Christians. They did not always get along. Matthew could well have been a Gentile Christian, but he also shows a working knowledge of Judaism, which he may have gained from an early Christian community made up of both Jews and Gentiles.
So all the tap-dancing aside- He just made shit up. He borrowed from Mark and Q, and there's no evidence that they knew Jesus personally, either. SO we have hearsay on top of hearsay with the stories becoming more fantastical with each retelling.

for instance, only ONE Miracle is recorded in all four Gospels. = that is the feeding of the multitudes. Some of them are unique to only one gospel.

A List of All The Miracles of Jesus

As a rule, if a miracle was in Mark, it got repeated in Matthew and Luke, but if a miracle was only in Luke or Matthew, it wasn't repeated in the other. IN short, they were making stuff up on the fly.
 

Meriweather

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Hmmmm.... here's the problem with that. IT's not just about the inconsistencies between the four gospels they picked out of hundreds available. If the Gospels and the Bible itself are the inspired word of God, they shouldn't have these contradiction like when Jesus was born or such.
People who witness the same event do not tell the exact same story. In fact, when stories are exactly the same, witnesses are suspect and investigated for collaboration after-the-fact. People see things from different angles and different perspectives. What may strike or impress one person may go unnoticed by another.
 

JoeB131

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People who witness the same event do not tell the exact same story. In fact, when stories are exactly the same, witnesses are suspect and investigated for collaboration after-the-fact. People see things from different angles and different perspectives. What may strike or impress one person may go unnoticed by another.
Except by your church's own admission, none of the Gospels were written by 'witnesses'.

True, Tradition holds Matt and John were written by the Apostles of the same name, but most scholars admit they weren't.

More to the point, there is a difference between remembering different details or seeing things that contradict each other.

Matthew says that Jesus was born when Herod the Great was kind of Judea. (4 BCE)

Luke says Jesus was born when Quirrinius was governor of Syria and Judea had been annexed by Rome. (He also talks about an Empire Wide census that didn't happen)

Now, if you look at these OUTRIGHT CONTRADICTIONS in the "Guys just making shit up" view, it makes sense.

A pre-requisite of the Messiah was that he had to be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:1-5), but Jesus was from Nazareth. so they both had to come up with convincing stories as to why Jesus would be born there.

Matthew takes the simpler one. Jesus was born in Bethlehem, but had to flee from Herod.

Luke comes up with a more convoluted one about Joseph having to go back to Bethlehem for a census, even though the Romans didn't count people that way, and there was no room at the inn.
 

Meriweather

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So all the tap-dancing aside- He just made shit up. He borrowed from Mark and Q, and there's no evidence that they knew Jesus personally, either. SO we have hearsay on top of hearsay with the stories becoming more fantastical with each retelling.
Ever read different news articles about the exact same event? Some parts are precisely the same because different reporters read the same written report or spoke with the same witness or spokesman for the event. Other parts of the articles will be different as reporters interview different people. Some reporters will delve into history. Others will try to talk to friends and family of those involved to get their perspectives.

Sure, call it "Hearsay" since that suits your purpose. Due to the exorbitant cost of writing materials at that time, not a lot was written down. People relied on word of mouth. Was it accurate? Everyone can make an individual call on that.
 

Meriweather

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Except by your church's own admission, none of the Gospels were written by 'witnesses'.

True, Tradition holds Matt and John were written by the Apostles of the same name, but most scholars admit they weren't.

More to the point, there is a difference between remembering different details or seeing things that contradict each other.

Matthew says that Jesus was born when Herod the Great was kind of Judea. (4 BCE)

Luke says Jesus was born when Quirrinius was governor of Syria and Judea had been annexed by Rome. (He also talks about an Empire Wide census that didn't happen)

Now, if you look at these OUTRIGHT CONTRADICTIONS in the "Guys just making shit up" view, it makes sense.

A pre-requisite of the Messiah was that he had to be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:1-5), but Jesus was from Nazareth. so they both had to come up with convincing stories as to why Jesus would be born there.

Matthew takes the simpler one. Jesus was born in Bethlehem, but had to flee from Herod.

Luke comes up with a more convoluted one about Joseph having to go back to Bethlehem for a census, even though the Romans didn't count people that way, and there was no room at the inn.
What is your point?
 

JoeB131

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What is your point?
That if they had to OUTRIGHT lie to make Jesus meet the requirements of being the Messiah, doesn't that make Jesus' claim to be the Messiah dubious?

Considering Christians have been killing and torturing Jews for 2000 years over this point, it's not a minor quibble.

It's okay, though, we can all hang out at the InterFaith Pancake Breakfast and have good laugh about it.
 

JakeStarkey

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Meriweather clearly routs the antiGodists.
 

JoeB131

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So all the tap-dancing aside- He just made shit up. He borrowed from Mark and Q, and there's no evidence that they knew Jesus personally, either. SO we have hearsay on top of hearsay with the stories becoming more fantastical with each retelling.
Ever read different news articles about the exact same event? Some parts are precisely the same because different reporters read the same written report or spoke with the same witness or spokesman for the event. Other parts of the articles will be different as reporters interview different people. Some reporters will delve into history. Others will try to talk to friends and family of those involved to get their perspectives.

Sure, call it "Hearsay" since that suits your purpose. Due to the exorbitant cost of writing materials at that time, not a lot was written down. People relied on word of mouth. Was it accurate? Everyone can make an individual call on that.
first, reporters don't claim to be the inspired word of God, and when they make a mistake, there's usually a retraction printed.

Second, writing materials weren't all that uncommon in the day. In fact, there were well over 200 versions of the Gospel that were floating around by 300 AD before the Church decided that only the four we see were "Canon".

List of Gospels - Wikipedia
 

JakeStarkey

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So all the tap-dancing aside- He just made shit up. He borrowed from Mark and Q, and there's no evidence that they knew Jesus personally, either. SO we have hearsay on top of hearsay with the stories becoming more fantastical with each retelling.
Ever read different news articles about the exact same event? Some parts are precisely the same because different reporters read the same written report or spoke with the same witness or spokesman for the event. Other parts of the articles will be different as reporters interview different people. Some reporters will delve into history. Others will try to talk to friends and family of those involved to get their perspectives.

Sure, call it "Hearsay" since that suits your purpose. Due to the exorbitant cost of writing materials at that time, not a lot was written down. People relied on word of mouth. Was it accurate? Everyone can make an individual call on that.
first, reporters don't claim to be the inspired word of God, and when they make a mistake, there's usually a retraction printed.

Second, writing materials weren't all that uncommon in the day. In fact, there were well over 200 versions of the Gospel that were floating around by 300 AD before the Church decided that only the four we see were "Canon".

List of Gospels - Wikipedia
None of which supports the claim that Christ was not the risen God.
 

Meriweather

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That if they had to OUTRIGHT lie to make Jesus meet the requirements of being the Messiah, doesn't that make Jesus' claim to be the Messiah dubious?

Considering Christians have been killing and torturing Jews for 2000 years over this point, it's not a minor quibble.
First, what is the most recent date Christians tortured or killed a Jew over Jesus being the Messiah?

Matthew and Luke include stories of Jesus birth and birthplace. Uncorroborated stories don't make them outright lies, it simply makes them uncorroborated accounts that you are now (two thousand years later) labeling as "lies".

While the Gospels do relate accounts of Jesus saying he was sent (anointed) by God, he also seems to make it clear he was not the type of Messiah Jews were dreaming of. But let's go with Jesus confirming he was the Messiah sent by God.

Do we have any account of Jesus saying he was born in Bethlehem? Do we have any account of Jesus saying he lived in a town called Nazareth? In other words, even if you believe that the birth accounts written by Matthew and Luke are intentional lies, not just uncorroborated stories, how do "lies" about his birth, written decades after Jesus confirmed he is the Messiah sent by God, make the original claim dubious?
 

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