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2019
-- As of January 20, 2017
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Saturday, October 10, 2009

Psalm 22, They pierced My hands and My feet. Answering an objection.

Counter-missionaries that deny Jesus as the Christ of Israel, tend to raise objections based on a traditional prejudice combined with high emotion. Christianity has well over one hundred verses from the Old Testament that Jesus has fulfilled in his First Coming. In one of those verses, Psalm 22:16, the counter-missionaries raise two objections. They claim that firstly, that Psalm 22:16 isn't quoted in the New Testament itself; and secondly, that the verse reads "they exterminated my hands and my feet", rather than “they pierced my hands and my feet".
I will show that this is simply semantics on their part.


Objection 1. The NT never cites this verse (Psalm 22:16).

John's approach to Scripture is often a subsumation of OT Scripture into the ministry of Jesus, as with the woman caught in the act of adultery showing he is YHVeH through the application of Jeremiah 17:13 (cf. Jer. 2:13), by direct inference. John does not ned to quote Jeremiah 17:13 in order to show that Jesus fulfilled it. Nor do we need to know that Jesus wrote Sheqar {Falsehood] in the earth {denoting a temporary ruling or instruction as if to children}, and then the names of the 23 Sanhedrin Katan members from oldest to youngest, because those in 57 A.D. reading or hearing the Gospel account less than 30 years after that very event would have already been familiar with scripture by memorization and regular readings, customs, and inference, in ways lost upon us today.

But in all fairness, tradition says that the account was actually in Paul's Gospel, (but therefore confirmed by John and as many as 4 other apostolic witnesses as accurate, being accepted by him) the account being that scribed by Luke and later called the book "to the Hebrews", which was delivered to John at Ephesus (probably by Mark) a month or so prior to the writing of John's Gospel. But the effect is the same. Those of John's Churches in Asia were thoroughly versed in Jerusalem Temple and Mosaic practices, as John himself still sacrificed Passover and performed his role in Priestly garb until he died (perhaps as late as early 98 A.D.).

Psalm 22 may be described as representing David (or any other who celebrated Pesach) as looking at a Pesach lamb on a crucified spit, and singing in a prophetical manner or way about it.

We can also cite other verses of fulfillment that were obvious to the Old Testament Biblically literate religious folk of the New Testament Era. For example, Psalm 107:29-30
"He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still. Then are they glad because they be quiet; so He bringeth them to their desired haven."
is found clearly as a fulfillment in Mathew 8:23-27, Mark 4:35-41, and Luke 8:22-25...yet, not once do they say, "as it is written in the Psalms", or "as it is written". There is no need.


Objection 2. The Hebrew word in question for Ps. 22:16, doesn't exist in the Hebrew as "pierced", but is "claimed" as allegedly being "exterminated".

This whole issue is over whether or not there was or was not a yod or a vav in the stroke of the Masoretic pen.

Gleason Archer,Jr. was an editor and contributor to two Bible translations (NASV and NIV) and the two volume Theological Wordbook of the O.T., and author of an Old Testament Survey: Introduction. He was a Harvard, etc., educator and knowledgeable in the ancient languages of Hebrew, Ugaritic, Akkadian, Arabic, etc., being articulate in almost 30 languages. He writes:

“The reading which best explains all the variants is to be preferred. For example, Ps. 22:16 (Mat. 22:17) reads KR’Y YDY WRGLY, which as pointed by the Masoretes (Ka’ aRiY), means “like a lion my hands and my feet” (“they have pierced my hands and my feet,” KJV). The Hebrew column in the Complutensian Polyglot reads K’RW vocalized as Ka’RuW, which means “they have bored through.” Which reading best explains the variants (in the case, the reading in the versions)? Probably the second reading, for the LXX, the Peshitta, the Vulgate, even Jerome’s Hebrew Psalter all read, “They have dug through” or “pierced”. Symmachus rendered it as “seeking to bind” (which does not clearly favor either K’RY or K’RW)."

Archer, Gleason L., Jr.
“A Survey of the Old Testament Introduction, expanded and revised (paperback)
Chicago: Moody Press, © 1964, 1985, 1994; p.65.

In regard to Psalm 22:16 -

The root word of the verb under discussion (or contention in Psalm 22:16), is the verb KaRaH (Kaf-Rosh-He): to dig, excavate, or dig through.


But let us approach it as if it were a yod and not a vav.

“In Proverbs 16:27, it [the verb KaRaH] is used figuratively for trapping a person with an evil plot or stratagem (Proverbs 16:27). In the Niphal it means ‘be dug’ (Psalm 94:13).

There is a different root, kara, meaning ‘to trade in’ ( a commodity), do business in; buy (Job 6:27 with ‘al, with dir. Acc., Deuteronomy 2:6, Hosea 3:2).”

Gleason Archer,
Professor of Old Testament and Semitic Languages
Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament
Chicago: Moody, © 1980, Vol. I , p. 454

Proverbs 16:27 - “A worthless man digs up [Kaf-Rosh-He] evil.”
Psalm 94:13 – until is dug [Yod-Kaf-Rosh-He] the pit….”

Further, we find that the Dead Sea Scroll 5/6HevPs supports the Christian copies of the Hebrew, and the "pierced" translation.

In 2 Chronicles 7:18, and Jeremiah 24:13, it is a Covenant that also means that which was “cut asunder” [Kaf-Rosh-Tav-Yod). That is, it refers to “the sacrifice that was exterminated and cut in two”. The word picture goes back to that kind of everlasting covenant made between G-D and Abraham in Genesis 15:10, and passed through the sacrifices and covenanted with Abraham (vv.17-18).

In regard to these verses from Jeremiah and Chronicles:
Jeremiah 24:13 speaks of the Mosaic Covenant with Israel the nation…
while 2 Chronicles 7:18 is specific, and separately done with David, and his lineage.

That is, any Davidic Covenant or Messianic passage is forbidden by G-D Himself, in His words to Solomon, from being applied to the whole House of Israel as some wrongly may attempt to do with later prophets, such Isaiah, if they contend unity and consistency in interpreting OT passages .

In Tertullian’s “Answer to the Jews”, twice he responds (in chapters 10 and 13) with the fact that the “yod” was present one of the families of manuscripts in the word being challenged in this verse, according to Tertullian's wording. He quotes Psalm 22:16 as saying:
“They exterminated my hands and my feet”

In other words, it was clear that “bored through”, “dug through”, even “cut asunder” or “exterminated” was the intent of the verse.

In the crucifixion, the main nerve of the wrist is bored through and there is often little to no circulation to the hands, on top of permanent paralysis. The ankles are also bored through, and beside nerve damage to the feet, circulation (by piercing the arteries) may also cease.

Hence, even accepting “they exterminated my hands and my feet”, it may also stand as even a further testimony that these items (in regard to Jesus) gave the appearance of dead appendages during the crucifixion, (from having lost blood circulation) while also fulfilling Psalm 22:16's prophecy.

So, even if you wish to have Jesus' hands "bound" like a lion or what have you, the "passion" march from Gabbatha to Calvary and the practice of tying in conjunction with the crucifixion piercings of wrists and ankles, takes in that slant as well. In either case, bound or pierced, Jesus still FULFILLS the prophecy. And knowing Psalm 22 as a Pesach / Passover Lamb Psalm, it is clear that a master rabbi like Jesus / Yeshua absolutely knew he would be crucified.

Jesus said,
Ye know that after two days is the feast of the Passover, and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified. (Matthew 26:2)

So why did Jesus know that he was destined to die in regard to Passover, and that it must be crucifixion? Because fulfilling verses out of Psalm 22 required it.


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