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 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.

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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:


2  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.

3  “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’.

4  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.

5 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

6  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.”

7  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.

8  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. ..

9  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".

10  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.

11  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.

12  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.

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