Did Jesus fulfil Hosea 11:1?

by scout575 12 Replies latest jw friends

  • scout575

    At Matthew 2:15, the writer quotes an extract from Hosea 11:1. His quote reads: "Out of Egypt have I called my son." Matthew applies this quotation to Jesus in connection with Jesus' return to Israel from Egypt, as an infant. Does the context of this extract from Hosea 11:1, and the tense in which it is written indicate that it is a Messianic prophecy? Is Matthew taking liberties with the text?

  • AlmostAtheist

    >>Does the context of this extract from Hosea 11:1, and the tense in which it is written indicate that it is a Messianic prophecy? Is Matthew taking liberties with the text?

    Hey Scout,

    Read over all of the alleged messianic prophecies with a critical eye and you'll see that they are all the result of taking liberties with the text. That was one of the things that helped me to see how I was able to get sucked into it in the first place. The Watchtower is just continuing that fine tradition by grabbing a verse hither and yon from Revelation and applying to their conventions or magazines or whatever.


  • jaffacake

    Another good question.

    Within Judaism there is a wide range of interpretations of who or what the Messiah is, from a political figure establishing the state if Israel to a supernatural figure who will miraculously intervene in history. Some see him as a symbol for the creation of a truly human, just and compassionate society under God.

    The Gospels do of course use Hebrew scripture texts to reinforce their claim that Jesus is the Messiah. All the things described in the OT are symbols, never literal. NT writers clearly believed Jesus was the Messiah and so he becomes the focal point for all the Biblical symbolism about the battle between good & evil.

    There is a problem applying OT Messianic symbols to Jesus, he did not overthrow the military Rome, nor become King of Israel, nor inspire the return of the 12 tribes to Jerusalem in triumph. He died accused of being a criminal, deserted even by his followers, and within 100 years the nation of Israel had ceased to exist. Not what some of his followers expected of a Messiah. After his crucifixion two disciples said 'we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel' (Luke 24:21). They still needed to learn that salvation had a different meaning and that his Kingship was not of this world (John 18:36).

    Kingship was not about liberation from Roman rule but the rule of God within the heart. There is the formation of a new Israel, a new covenant with God. Yes, there was still a historical dimension to the NT apocalypse - fall of Jerusalem etc in 70CE, rise of false Messianic claimants like Simeon Bar-Cochba, profanation of the temple etc. This all happened within one generation.

    Your questions about the validity of Christians claiming that Jesus fulfilled OT Messianic prophecies, seems to me to miss the whole point of what Christianity is, and the nature of symbolism in both the OT and NT. It appears to be a similar to the confusion of those two disciples in Luke's gospel, who were trying to match the Christ's accomplishments in some literalistic way with OT Messianic prophecies. In my view there is little point in trying to make such matches. That just perpetuates the fact that many of Christ's followers just did not 'get it' until later. It reminds me of Christ repeatedly being misunderstood during his life by even his closest fiollowers.

    I wonder whether these questions reflect to some degree the need for a JW-style literalistic interpretation of the Bible that is simply out of step with the very substance and form of scriptural revelation, and that misses completely the central meaning of scriptures.

  • aniron

    This is applying human thinking to God's Word. It was concerning Israel in Hosea 11:1 but what does Matthew 5:17 say? "I came to fulfill..." The Holy Spirit caused Matthew to use this of Christ. Whether you want to accept it or not this is not a discrepancy. Christ was called out of Egypt just as Israel - Christ fulfilled this just as He was to fulfill the Passover Lamb, the event that happened just before the exodux.


    Same answer as above.


    First please note it is "by the prophets" not ONE prophecy. True, nowhere does it actually use those words but, you will have noticed, that Matthew is at pains, to show to Hios Jewish readers, that this Christ is the promised ONE. The Jews would realise the significance of these references even if we as Gentiles do not see them at once.

    However, as you search through the Old Testament you find some very interesting verses referring to this issue. For instance Judges 13:5, where the angel, foretelling the birth of Samson, says, that no razor shall come upon his head; for the child shall be a Nazarite unto God from the womb. Showing what it means to be a Nazarite - seperated to God from before birth.

    Then Isaiah 11:1, "There shall come forth a rod from the stem of Jesse, and a Branch - Hebrew netser - which signifies either a branch, or the city of Nazareth ; in being denominated from that city, He is declared to be that Branch. That this refers to Christ, there is no doubt.


    It is more than inspiring. For instance the whole message of Salvation - Christ dying and rising again - just a story? But it is supported by texts without the Bible! Are they all wrong or do we need to make a decision over what we will do in our lives because Christ died for me? Why love your neighbour anyway? If there is no future judgement what does it matter what I do in this life. These 'inspiring' words only mean something if they are looking forward to a time when sin is finally dealt with and this is the way we will all live. The decision has to be now.

  • gumby

    I'd like to also ask....did he fulfill Isa 53:4,5 .

    Surely he took up our infirmities

    and carried our sorrows,

    yet we considered him stricken by God,

    smitten by him, and afflicted.

    5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,

    he was crushed for our iniquities;

    the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,

    and by his wounds we are healed.


  • Narkissos

    The case of Hosea 11:1 is even more obvious than the previous ones. There is no futuristic indication in the text -- it's all about the past history of Israel (a legendary history at that, but this is still another issue). That the deep logic behind the Matthew story is that Jesus fulfills the history of Israel is certainly true -- actually it is the true reason why the Jesus story is written as it is in the first place. Unfortunately Matthew does not say "as Israel in the past, Jesus had to go to Egypt" but suggests that a "prophecy" implied that he should do so.

    Same about the references or allusions to the Songs of the Servant in Deutero-Isaiah (Gumby). Notice the past tenses. How is that a "prophecy" (in the sense of futuristic prediction)?

  • scout575

    Hi Jaffa cake ( sorry about previously calling you Jedi Master - Oops ).

    Thanks for you reply. You say that its a mistake to try to: "Match the Christ's accomplishments in some literalistic way with O.T prophecies. In my view there is little point in trying to make such matches." It has to be said that N.T writers present a very different view. Notice, for instance how Matthew quotes the OT prophet Zechariah, saying: "And they took the thirty pieces of silver. the price of him that was valued. "( Matt 27:9 ) He also quotes from Psalm 22:18, saying: "They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture they cast lots." ( Matt 27:35 ) These are very literalistic matches between the O.T and Christ's acomplishments.

    You say that: "ALL the things described in the O.T are symbols, NEVER literal." Do Christians believe that Jesus was LITERALLY betrayed for thirty pieces of silver, or not? Do they believe that Jesus' garments were LITERALLY 'parted among them' or not. The Gospel writer didn't present these O.T verses as symbolic, but applied them in an all too literal way to Jesus.

    What we see at Matt 2:15 is another attempt by Matthew to literally match an O.T verse ( Hosea 11:1 ) to the life of Jesus. He felt that it was appropriate to apply a HISTORICAL verse about Israel's ( literal ) exodus from Egypt and apply it as a PROPHECY to Jesus' ( literal ) return from Egypt to Israel, as an infant. Its for each of us to judge whether or not that is a proper use of Scripture.

  • skyman

    Thanks I like that scripture.

  • jaffacake

    Hi Scout

    A fair point, never use the word never, there is a mix of everything in the OT and indeed the new, which of course includes some literalism. I was perhaps overstating the dangers of too much literalism that is the cause of so much mis interpretation of scriptures by relatively modern religions, including JWs. Just my opinion.

    Many thanks for the feedback.

  • gumby

    Narkmeister, Thanks again. I was hoping you'd come to the rescue on that one as it sounding interesting as far as paralling what the jesus story portrayed. A question though. Who would you say DID represent the one spoken of there? Who could carry away sins? The priest? Who was pierced for others? Only animal sacrafices for the most part were offered for the sins of the people(goat, bull)

    I know you won't see this till come mornin about 5-6 am my time, but I'll wait up anyway and twiddlew my thumbs and but not my dinger till you wake up.


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