The following is my response to a vile Muhammadan troll that sought to refute Christian apologist and blogger Ken Temple’s defense (https://bloggingtheology2.com/2018/12/04/paul-and-the-depths-of-jewish-hermeneutics/#comment-237) of the following statement from Matthew:
“And he went and lived in a city called Nazareth, that what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled, ‘He shall be called a Nazarene.’” Matthew 2:23
The claim is made that Matthew was in error since there isn’t a single OT text which prophesies that the Messiah would be a Nazarene.
Ken sought to demonstrate that Matthew wasn’t quoting a specific prophecy, but was referring to a theme found throughout the Hebrew Bible, hence the plural “spoken by the PROPHETS,” not prophet (singular). He noted that one of the verses that Matthew may have had in mind was Isaiah 11:1, where the prophet spoke of the Branch of Jesse, David’s father, arising to rule the nations in justice. Ken noted that the Hebrew term is Netzer, and Matthew may have intended Nazarene to be a play on or allusion to that word.
Not surprisingly, the Muhammadan took umbrage to Ken’s response. I, therefore, decided to chime in and give this vile blogger a taste of his own medicine. I have slightly edited my comments to make for smoother reading.
Let me further help you refute the Muslim commenter who pretended to be responding to your points by simply stating the obvious, i.e., we do not know for certain what Matthew was referring to since the wording “what was SPOKEN by the PROPHETS,” indicates he didn’t have a single prophecy in mind, but what the prophets taught as a whole. I will do so by obliterating the following claim:
Zacharias also admits that if “Matthew” had Isaiah 11:1 in mind, then he was simply “making a play” on the word “netser”. Based on this, he also admits that:
“[in] this regard, Isa 11:1 as the origin suffers from the same pitfall as all of the other options – there is no one-to-one correspondence.”
So, this brings us back to the main point which I raised in my previous response to Ruhl. There is simply no such “prophecy” about the Messiah being called “Nazarene” anywhere in the Tanakh. Appealing to the author’s “wordplay” only shows that he was appealing to the “theme” (as Ruhl also admitted), but there is no evidence that Isaiah had the same theme in mind! Ruhl will be hard-pressed to prove that Isaiah was speaking about the town of Nazareth when prophesying about the “branch” from the line of Jesse!
Let’s have fun at this Muslim’s expense shall we?
He claims that Isaiah did not have the same “theme” in mind, which I take to mean that the prophet didn’t view the Messiah’s being rejected and looked down upon by others due to what appeared to be his unassuming and humble circumstances, which is the point you were making about Jesus being a Nazarene, namely, that the people could not accept Jesus as the long awaited Messiah because of his background and upbringing. Let’s see if this is the case.
In the first place, we are told that the Branch of Isaiah is from the line of Jesse, a clear Messianic prophecy since this connects him with the promises given to David:
“And there shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots. THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD SHALL REST UPON HIM, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD.He shall delight in the fear of the LORD, and he shall not judge by what his eyes see, nor reprove by what his ears hear; BUT WITH RIGHTEOUSNESS HE SHALL JUDGE the poor, and REPROVE WITH FAIRNESS for the meek of the earth. He shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked. Righteousness shall be the belt of his loins, and faithfulness the belt about his waist. The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze; their young ones shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play by the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand in the viper’s den. They shall not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain, for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea. In that day there shall be a ROOT (sheresh) of Jesse, who shall stand as a banner to the peoples. For him shall the nations seek. And his rest shall be glorious. In that day the Lord shall set His hand again the second time to recover the remnant of His people, who shall be left, from Assyria, from Egypt, from Pathros, from Cush, from Elam, from Shinar, from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea.” Isaiah 11:1-10
Therefore, in order to properly understand the promises of Isaiah 11 we need to connect it with all that Isaiah says about the Davidic heir:
“Nevertheless there shall be no more gloom for her who was in anguish. In the former time He contemptuously treated the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time He shall make it glorious, by the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, in Galilee of the nations. The people who walked in darkness have seen A GREAT LIGHT; those who dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them THE LIGHT HAS SHINED… For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulder. And his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, UPON THE THRONE OF DAVID AND OVER HIS KINGDOM, to order it and to establish it with justice and with righteousness, from now until forever. The zeal of the LORD of Hosts will perform this.” Isaiah 9:1-2, 6-7
“In mercy THE THRONE shall be established; and one who judges and seeks justice and is diligent in righteousness shall sit on it in truth IN THE TABERNACLE OF DAVID, judging.” Isaiah 16:5
“Ho! Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat. Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to Me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in abundance. Incline your ear, and come to Me. Listen, so that your soul may live, and I will make an EVERLASTING COVENANT with you, EVEN THE SURE MERCIES OF DAVID. See, I have given HIM AS A WITNESS TO THE PEOPLE, A LEADER AND COMMANDER TO THE PEOPLE. Surely you shall call a nation that you do not know, and nations that did not know you SHALL RUN TO YOU because of the LORD your God, even the Holy One of Israel; for He has GLORIFIED YOU. Seek the LORD while He may be found, call you upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to the LORD, and He will have mercy upon him, and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.” Isaiah 55:1-7
So far what we see is that the Root of Jesse is the child who is born and the son given to reign over David’s throne forever as the Mighty God, being the great light that shines forth from Galilee, the One whom the nations are to enter into a covenant with in order to experience salvation.
Secondly, Isaiah identifies the Davidic heir as the Root (sheresh), a word which connects this same King with the Arm/Servant of the Lord of Isaiah 53. We’ll start with 52:13 for context:
“See, MY SERVANT shall deal prudently; he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high. Just as many were astonished at you, HIS VUSAGE WAS SO MARRED, MORE THAN ANY MAN, AND HIS FORM MORE THAN THE SONS OF MEN; so he shall sprinkle many nations. Kings shall shut their mouths at him; for that which had not been told them they shall see, and that which they had not heard they shall consider. Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? For he grew up before Him as a tender plant and as A ROOT (sheresh) out of a dry ground. HE HAS NO FORM OR MAJESTY THAT WE SHOULD LOOK UPON HIM NOR APPEARANCE THAT WE SHOULD DESIRE HIM. HE WAS DESPISED AND REJECTED OF MEN, A MAN OF SORROWS AND ACQUAINTED WITH GRIEF. AND AS WE HID, AS IT WERE, OUR FSACES FROM HIM; HE WAS DESPISED, AND WE DID NOT ESTEEM HIM. Surely he has borne our grief and carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and by his stripes we are healed. All of us like sheep have gone astray; each of us has turned to his own way, but the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; he was brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth. By oppression and judgment he was taken away, and who shall declare his generation? For he was cut off out of the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was struck. His grave was assigned with the wicked, yet with the rich in his death, because he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; He has put him to grief. If he made himself as an offering for sin, he shall see his offspring, he shall prolong his days, and the good pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the anguish of his soul and be satisfied. By his knowledge MY RIGHTEOUS SERVANT shall justify the many, for he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore, I will divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul to death, and he was numbered with the transgressors, thus he bore the sin of many and made intercession for the transgressors.” Isaiah 52:13-53:12
Did you catch it? The Branch of Isaiah 11, the Root of Jesse, is the same Arm/Root whom Isaiah says had no beauty that attracted him to the people, but was one who was despised and acquainted with sorrows, deemed to be God-stricken and forsaken by those that saw him. Sure sounds like Isaiah had the same theme that Matthew had in view!
There are further ties between the Davidic heir and Isaiah’s Servant. Recall that Isaiah said that the child born to rule over David’s throne was to be the great light that shines upon those living in darkness in 9:1-2, and the One through whom God establishes his everlasting covenant in 55:1-7. Compare that with the following texts:
“Here is MY SERVANT, whom I uphold, My chosen one, in whom My soul delights. I have put MY SPIRIT UPON HIM; he shall bring forth justice to the nations. He shall not cry out, nor lift up his voice, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street. A bruised reed he shall not break, and the smoking flax he shall not quench; HE SHALL BRING FORTH JUSTICE FAITHFULLY. He shall not be disheartened nor be discouraged, UNTIL HE HAS SET JUSTICE IN THE EARTH; and the coastlands shall wait for his law. Thus says God the LORD, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread forth the earth and that which comes out of it, who gives breath to the people on it, and spirit to those who walk in it: I the LORD have called You in righteousness, and will hold Your hand, and will keep You and appoint You FOR A COVENANT OF THE PEOPLE, FOR A LIGHT OF THE NATIONS, to open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, AND THOSE WHO SIT IN DARKNESS out of the prison house.” Isaiah 42:1-7
“Listen to me, O coastlands, and pay attention, you peoples from afar. The LORD called me from the womb; from the body of my mother He named me. He has made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of His hand He has hidden me and made me a select arrow; in His quiver He has hidden me. He said to me, ‘You are MY SERVANT, Israel, in whom I will be glorified.’ Then I said, ‘I have labored in vain; I have spent my strength for nothing and vanity, yet surely the justice due to me is with the LORD, and my reward with my God.’ Now says the LORD, who formed me from the womb to be HIS SERVANT, to bring Jacob back to Him, so that Israel might be gathered to Him (yet I am honored in the eyes of the LORD, and my God is my strength), He says, ‘It is a light thing that you should be MY SERVANT to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also make you A LIGHT TO THE NATIONS SO THAT MY SALVATION MAY REACH TO THE ENDS OF THE EARTH.’ Thus says the LORD, the Redeemer of Israel, and his Holy One, TO THE DESPISED ONE, TO THE ONE WHOM THE NATIONS ABHORS, to the servant of rulers: ‘Kings shall see and arise, princes also shall worship, because of the LORD who is faithful and the Holy One of Israel who has chosen you.’ Thus says the LORD: In an acceptable time I have heard you, and in a day of salvation I have helped you; and I will preserve you, and give you as A COVENANT OF THE PEOPLE, TO RESTORE THE EARTH, to make them inherit the desolate heritages, saying to the prisoners, ‘Go forth,’ to those WHO ARE IN DARKNESS, ‘Show yourselves.’ They shall feed along the paths, and their pastures shall be in all desolate heights; they shall not hunger nor thirst, neither shall the heat nor sun strike them; for He who has mercy on them shall lead them, even by the springs of water He shall guide them.” Isaiah 49:1-10
Note the theme of the Servant being despised and abhorred again.
Now compare this with the following:
“The people who walked IN DARKNESS have seen A GREAT LIGHT; those who dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them THE LIGHT HAS SHINED.” Isaiah 9:2
“… In that day there shall be a ROOT (sheresh) of Jesse, who shall stand as a banner to THE PEOPLES. FOR HIM SHALL THE NATIONS SEEK. And his rest shall be glorious. ” Isaiah 11:10
So the Branch of Jesse who is endowed with God’s Spirit, just like the Servant in 42:1, and the child born is the light that draws in the Gentiles to a saving knowledge of God, thereby connecting him with the Servant of Isaiah.
We, therefore, have Isaiah identifying the Branch as the Servant of Jehovah who is the child born to rule on David’s throne as the Mighty God, that is first despised and rejected by men, beaten beyond human semblance, and killed for the sins of mankind, and then raised and exalted by God to reign forever.
If you ask me this sure sounds exactly like what Matthew had in mind, and yet none of this agrees with Muhammad. In fact, Matthew even quotes Isaiah 53:4 and 42:1-4 in the following verses:
“When the evening came, they brought to Him many who were possessed with demons. And He cast out the spirits with His word, and healed all who were sick, to fulfill what was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, ‘He Himself took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses.’” Matthew 8:16-17
“But when Jesus knew it, He withdrew from there. And great crowds followed Him, and He healed them all, and warned them that they should not make Him known, to fulfill what was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: ‘Here is My Servant, whom I have chosen, My Beloved, in whom My soul is well pleased; I will put My Spirit upon Him, and He will render judgment to the Gentiles. He shall not struggle nor cry out, nor will anyone hear His voice in the streets. A bruised reed He will not break, and a smoldering wick He will not quench, until He renders judgment unto victory; and in His name will the Gentiles trust.’” Matthew 12:15-21
Therefore, the testimony of Isaiah and Matthew condemns Muhammad as a false prophet and antichrist.
So what do you think?
TURNING THE TABLES
As you said , your post obviously fell on deaf ears since nothing in the alleged “response” to you even came close to refuting your point. This is the problem with debates on comments sections. It allows the charlatan to get away with fluff.
However, let’s help keep these Muslims honest and consistent, shall we? We will do so by insisting that they employ equal weights and measures in their criticisms.
According to the Quran, there is a prophesy about an unlettered prophet, i.e. one ignorant and unlearned about the previous Scriptures, that is referred to in the Torah and the Gospel which was in the possession of the Jews and Christians at the time of Muhammad:
those who follow the Messenger, ‘the Prophet of the common folk, whom they find written down WITH THEM IN THE TORAH AND THE GOSPEL, bidding them to honour, and forbidding them dishonour, making lawful for them the good things and making unlawful for them the corrupt things, and relieving them of their loads, and the fetters that were upon them. Those who believe in him and succour him and help him, and follow the light that has been sent down with him — they are the prosperers.’ S. 7:157
Since on historical, textual and archaeological grounds we know for a fact that the Scriptures that the Jews and Christians had were basically identical to what we possess today, this means that it is not hard to find such a prophesy in our modern day Bibles. However, since these Muslims keep insisting that the Torah is not identical to the OT, or even with the Pentateuch, and the Gospel is not identical to the fourfold Gospels of the NT, this means that they cannot appeal to these sources to show us where such a prophesy is to be found.
Therefore, please have them answer the following questions for us.
1. Show us a single verse in the Quran which says the Torah was given to Moses.
2. Show us what the Torah and the Gospel were at the time of Muhammad, which the Jews and Christians had with them, as the verse claims, and do so by pointing to the historical, textual and/or archaeological data to prove your point.
3. If you concede that the Torah and the Gospel refer to the Pentateuch and the fourfold Gospels, or at least to material found therein, then please quote the verses from the Pentateuch and the fourfold Gospels that do not simply mention a prophet like Moses or the Comforter whom Jesus was going to send. Rather you must show verses from both the Pentateuch and the fourfold Gospels which explicitly mention an illiterate, unlettered prophet/apostle that would be sent after Moses and Jesus.
4. If you claim that these prophecies were removed then please point to the pre-Islamic biblical manuscripts where such a prophesy appears in the Pentateuch and fourfold Gospels. After all, no Jew or Christian would have thought to remove such passages prior to the coming of Muhammad since they would have no reason to do so, especially when they didn’t even know that Muhammad would arise to challenge them and contradict their Scriptures.
Now watch the tap dance that is about to take place.