Presentation on theme: " The literal sense is the meaning the human author intended to convey. It is not the same as ‘literalistic’. (e.g. what is the literal meaning of ‘my."— Presentation transcript:
The literal sense is the meaning the human author intended to convey. It is not the same as ‘literalistic’. (e.g. what is the literal meaning of ‘my heart is broken’). The spiritual sense: 3 aspects of allegorical, moral and anagogical If people deny the spiritual senses of Scripture they can’t really understand it.
“St Matthew misunderstood Isaiah’s prophecy: ‘a virgin will give birth’.” The word ‘virgin’ is the Greek translation (about 300 b.c) of the older Hebrew bible. The Hebrew word is ‘young woman’. So they would say the Church is mistaken about the Virgin Birth of Christ because Isaiah's original meaning says ‘young woman’.
Need to understand how the New Testament writer refers Old Testament. Jesus Christ is recognised as the fulfilment of the Old Testament. The apostles came to believe this, not because of the Virgin Birth, but because they saw the risen Christ. The risen Christ tells his disciples that Moses and all the prophets had written about himself.
Prophecy:SourceFulfillment The Messiah must... In the Old Testament in the New Testament Be the born in Bethlehem Micah 5:1 Matthew 2:1; Luke 2:4-7 Be adored by great persons Psalm 72:10-11Matthew 2:1-11 Be sold for 30 pieces of silver Zechariah 11:12Matthew 26:15
The New Testament writers uncovered what is hidden in the Old Testament. The deepest meanings only got to be recognised after the life, death and resurrection of Christ. Before these events it was not clear. People did not know what to expect. Even though things were written they could not come up with a list. E.g. "The Messiah will be born of a virgin, rejected by the chief priests, handed over to Gentiles, crucified with thieves, risen, ascended etc.”
The disciples did not see the crucifixion or the resurrection coming. Afterwards they realised that all these things were a fulfilment of the prophecies: when they thought about it and started piecing things together. The prophecies were not predictions. They were hidden signs. They pointed towards Jesus Christ. Old Testament writers themselves did not know what they were pointing toward. The early Church saw the Old Testament in relationship to Christ. Old Testament themes and events were like spokes on a wheel all connected to the Hub who is Christ.
Literal sense: There is a national crisis during the reign of Ahaz. The northern kingdom of Israel has formed an alliance with Syria against Ahaz’ southern kingdom of Judah. Isaiah tells Ahaz that God will take care of Judah. He says: "Behold the almah shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel [which means 'God with us']." Isaiah says that God will provide an immediate successor to Ahaz, who will carry on the line of David. This prophecy is fulfilled in an immediate sense, not by a virgin birth, but by the pregnancy of the wife of Ahaz and the birth of a son. ..
The Jews believed there were larger and second meanings in the Bible. Moses tells the Jewish nation to await a Prophet. Many prophets appear. The Jews do not see any of them as THE prophet: They see the Old Testament Prophets as dim foreshadows. That is why the Jews asked John the Baptist if he was "The Prophet".
Some passages are clear. They did not see in many other passages a reference to a Messiah until after Jesus of Nazareth's death and resurrection. Examples: Psalms 69 and 109: a prophecy of the Election of Matthias to the office vacated by Judas Unbroken bones of the Passover lamb as a prophetic image of Christ's unbroken bones Isaiah 53: describing the crucifixion and resurrection. They were only recognised after the fact of Christ and his Church. They fill out the picture in hindsight.
They did not read "Zeal for thy house will consume me" in Psalm 69 and decide "Let's believe Jesus cleansed the Temple because of this verse." Jesus cleanses the Temple first (John 2:13-16) and then they remembered the verse and realised it fitted the event. Jesus did things and events happened. Looking back they see an uncanny connection between what he did and the way in which it fits the Old Testament When Jesus is sold for 30 pieces of silver, his hands and feet are pierced on the Cross: They did not discover this by reading Zechariah or Psalm 22. It was after Jesus is raised, they remember that these things were written. The Old Testament is not the basis of their belief in these things, but the witness to these things before they happened in time.
The translators of the Septuagint did not make a "wrong" translation of "almah" (young woman) into "parthenos" (virgin). An unmarried young woman would be a virgin. They opted for the word ‘virgin’. Matthew did not derive his belief in Mary's virginity from Isaiah 7:14. He saw that Jesus did extraordinary things like rising from the dead and on inquiring found he was born of a virgin. So came the realisation that the text of Isaiah reflected this new event. Jesus had told them that the law and the prophets are, in their deepest sense, about him. The Church's faith in the virgin birth originates not in a textual misunderstanding, but on the basis the true story of Jesus Christ himself.