Is the New Testament Just a Pagan Corruption of the Old Testament?

by Diest 11 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • Diest

    I find myself asking that question more and more of late.

    My first reason is the claim of a Virgin Birth. All of the Jewish sources I read say that Isaiah 7:14 does not talk about a virgin birth, but rather a birth to a young maiden. It was only the Greek Septuagint that shifted this belief to a virgin birth that is similar to their Greek myths.

    I don’t see any legitimate reference to a trinity in the Old Testament. Deuteronomy 6:4 is very clear that YHWH is only one god. When I look at the New Testament there are a lot of scriptures that support a binity at the very least and possibly a trinity.

    These questions make it much easier for me to not believe that the bibl was inspired in any way.

    This is not a post to argue the trinity it is more about the possible thoughts and motivations for the change in theology while claiming Christianity was truly from Judaism.

  • Wonderment


    Perhaps, there is no need to take it that far.

    As you noted, the Hebrew text has "maiden" (ha-'almah') and the Septuagint has "virgin" (parthe'nos), but that could be explained either by inspiration or historical fulfillment. Matthew used the Septuagint word in connection with the virgin Mary.

    As to the Old Testament not teaching the Trinity and the suggestion that the New Testament does is questionable. It is generally accepted that the OT does not teach a "Trinity," and the NT does not as much teach it as it is "read" by people of a later era that assimilated the doctrine. Really, there is not one text in the NT that explicitly says anything remotely what the trinitarian supporters claim.

  • Rydor

    I used to believe that Old and New Testaments were one united work, but on closer examination it seems like in a lot of instances the NT writers drew on OT texts and then misapplied them (as JWs do) to events that were happening in their time.

    For example, in Matthew 2, Herod commands the slaughter of all male boys 2 years old and younger. The author then says that this event was in fulfillment of the words of Jeremiah, which read, "A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children; and she refused to be comforted, because they were no more." Here Jeremiah 31:15 is being quoted. However if you go to the actual verse in Jeremiah, and read the entire chapter, you will find that the context is different. Chapters 30 and 31 of Jeremiah are a song in which restoration and a delivery from captivity is promised for the people of Israel. The only "prophecy" is that the Israelites will be restored to their homeland. The very next verse (v. 16) reads, "Thus says the LORD, Restrain your voice from weeping, And your eyes from tears; For 'your work will be rewarded,' declares the LORD, And your children will return to their own territory."

    When we consider the verse in the original context, it becomes clear that the "children" spoken of are the Israelites themselves. There is absolutely nothing in the original context that hints that this verse has some sort of broader application, certainly nothing that indicates it refers to a literal slaughter of children hundreds of years in the future.

    I feel the same way about Isaiah chapter 7. Before deciding whether there is prophetic reference to Jesus or not, it's best to read the entire chapter and ask yourself "What's really being said here?"

    To summarize, two kings named Rezin and Pekah have waged war against Jerusalem. God tells Ahaz the king of Israel that he should not be worried; that those two kings will not overthrow Jerusalem. God then permits Ahaz to ask for sign, so that he will know for sure these things will come true. Ahaz refuses, but God provides one anyway:

    "Behold, a (hebrew: alma) will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel. He will eat curds and honey at the time He knows enough to refuse evil and choose good. For before the boy will know enough to refuse evil and choose good, the land whose two kings you dread will be forsaken"

    Notice then, that the important part of the prophecy is not the birth of the child itself, but rather the short time that would pass before the two invading kings were overthrown. I'm no expert on child psychology, but a child can distinguish between good and evil at....2 years? 3 years? In any event, this is basic thrust of the prophecy: "In just a few years these kings will no longer trouble you."

    If you read just verse 14 of this chapter (with the hebrew word alma translated as "virgin"), then I can see how that looks like a strong link to the story of Jesus. But when you understand the events that prompted this prophecy and then read about the child eating "curds" and "honey" and two kings being "forsaken" then the parallel starts to fall apart.

  • jam


  • Diest

    @Wonderment I agree that a trinity might be lacking but a binity seems very possible in the NT. I used to think the Trinity was total bunk based of the Trinity Brochure. Once I realized that half of the quotes were out of context, and misleading I had to give the issue a new look

    @Rydor I have to agree. The NT writers are a giant mish-mash of poor OT understanding. One funny thing about the 'Virgin' Mary is that nowhere does she mention getting knocked up by God. She is always amazed at the things Jesus is doing these miracles even though God impregnated her. If God had impregnated you would you really be surprised that your offspring is in the temple preaching at age 12.....there are children of non divine origins that can do that. Wouldn't Mary just say, 'Ooo he gets that from his father?"

    The more I read and think about the things I was taught as a kid the more foolish they seem.

  • cptkirk

    haha he gets that from his father. it's interesting to see where jefferson was on his biblical perspective. it's a very sensible approach. the only problem is once you turn it into a secular book of life lessons, there is no longer any need to raise nations against eachother in bloodshed. so what good is that!?!??!

  • NewChapter

    The OT is a Christian corruption of Paganism.


  • Diest

    I know it is terrible...without the bible how can we justify our wars...and NC i have no idea what you mean.

  • Sulla

    The task of the early Church was to re-interpret the OT in light of the resurrection. In some cases these were more or less legitimate expansions of OT insights, and in other cases the evidence is that they were working pretty hard at re-interpreting.

    The observation about Isaiah being misinterpreted is not new. As I recall, this exact issue was raised in the Dialogue with Trypho, in the early second century. In that case, Trypho, a Jew, was criticizing Justin Martyr on just this question. Getting into who is right in that argument requires digging around the questions of whether the LXX was, in some sense, an inspired improvement over the original texts and whether the LXX is actually more accurate than the texts in Hebrew, which have authenticity issues of their own, in some cases. In any event, we ultimately return to the event of the resurrection, which is the sort of thing that most people figure gives them writ to explain the event by whatever means are necessary.

    Something similar happened with references to the Trinity -- or at least the divinity of Christ -- in the OT. There was already a very old understanding of the appearances of the "Angel of YHWH" was, somehow, YHWH himself. This angel appears in lots of places in the early OT and makes a special appearance in the later writings of Zechariah, as well. These were re-interpreted as pre-incarnate appearances of the Logos, with considerable justification, I think. There was, at a very early stage in Judiasm, a feeling that the One God could be a little remote and that we required some sort of actual interaction. This is some evidence of a binitarian viewpoint, compelling or not, depending on your view.

    And, of course, we should remember the events at Mamre, where YHWH appears as "three men," and where "YHWH called down fire from YHWH in heaven." Again, taken to be early actions of the Trinity.

    It is true that the Jews -- those who didn't convert, anyhow -- figured all this was bunk. It is interesting to read Trypho's exasperation with Justin Martyr in the later chapters of the Dialogue; several quotes of the, 'I hope you see you are beside yourself, talking like this,' sort of thing. Really, the whole thing turns on the question of the resurrection; Christians really think it happened and that event justifies all their re-interpretation. Without that event, you really do have an unjustified bastardization of the Jewish scriptures.

  • AGuest

    Could it all be the underlying reason for the exclamation, "Woe to you... scribes..."?

    Peace to you all!

    A slave of Christ,


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