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Stevin wrote:

Hi, guys —

I have been searching for the answer to this question from catholic.com and even on this site but can't seem to find a direct response.

I am aware that Old Testament prophesies are supposed to be fulfilled at the Second Coming, but my problem is that many times when I look back at the Old Testament, like in the Book of Isaiah, I notice there are prophesies that the Catholic Church or Catholic organizations like yours point to in reference to Jesus Christ, however, just a verse later, it says something that Jesus did not do, and has yet to happen.

So basically my question is this:

  • How come in the Old Testament prophesies, there is one verse whose prophesy came true in Jesus Christ and all of the verses preceding and following it did not come true and have nothing to do with what Christ did?

Here is an example:

14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign; the young woman, pregnant and about to bear a son, shall name him Emmanuel. 15 Curds and honey he will eat so that he may learn to reject evil and choose good; 16 for before the child learns to reject evil and choose good, the land of those two kings whom you dread shall be deserted.

Isaiah 7:14-16 (New American Bible - Revised Edition)

  • Now, that all came true right?

But then a couple verses later, I'm totally lost because it says "on that day", meaning (at least to me, a fallible human being) that on the day Jesus Christ is born of the young woman
(our Immaculate and Blessed Virgin Mary), the following will happen (which never did happen):

20 On that day the Lord shall shave with the razor hired from across the River (the king of Assyria) the head, and the hair of the feet; it shall also shave off the beard. 21 On that day a man shall keep alive a young cow or a couple of sheep, 22 and from their abundant yield of milk he shall eat curds; curds and honey shall be the food of all who are left in the land. 23 On that day every place where there were a thousand vines worth a thousand pieces of silver shall become briers and thorns. 24 One shall have to go there with bow and arrows, for all the country shall be briers and thorns. 25 But as for all the hills which were hoed with a mattock, for fear of briers and thorns you will not go there; they shall become a place for cattle to roam and sheep to trample.

Isaiah 7:20-25

  • What do these verses have to do with Jesus Christ?

Don't worry if you do not know the answer. This is simply something that I did not understand and if you do not have an answer, hey!, that's not going to stop me from being a faithful Catholic,
it just confuses me.

One second there is a prophesy about Jesus Christ that came true, the next thing it's talking about something that Jesus Christ never did, nor did the people of today ever do.

This is just an example. It's probably not the best. I just misplaced the other example I had, but this is feasible.

Stevin

  { Why is the surrounding Scripture text from a fulfilled Old Testament prophecy meaningless? }

Mike replied:

Hi Stevin,

Thank for the question.

This is why serious Bible Study students need a good Biblical Commentary on the Scriptures from an approved source.

We can't approach Bible Studies with a Protestant mind set of picking one verse to prove one point, while excluding the surrounding biblical text. I have three suggestions for Bible Commentaries:

  • The Navarre Bible Commentaries (they stress the Early Church Fathers and Saints of the Church, which is good.)
  • I have a 1954 Commentary on the Scriptures that I got at a used, old book store but you might be able to get one on-line, used from Amazon, and
  • though Raymond Brown has been a controversial person in the Church, you can still consider the Jerome Biblical Commentary.

I don't know which Bible Commentary Scott Hahn would approve, but if he approves of one,
I believe all my colleagues would as well.

My colleagues may wish to add other suggestions but that's my two cents.

Finally, don't forget to read what the Catechism has to say on this issue, especially the senses of Scriptures:

Article 3 Sacred Scripture

Mike

John replied:

Stevin —

Many of the prophecies were also about Israel. The prophets often were speaking to situations that were immediately before them. Remember prophecy isn't foretelling the future. Prophets weren't fortune tellers.

They are just the opposite; because they spoke forth the Word of God, it came to pass. Prophets spoke to the situations in front of them, and often times, these prophecies were then fulfilled in the person of Christ.

John

Stevin replied:

Thank you : )

You didn't really address my question that well but regardless I'm happy with it and I'll definitely pick up a Bible Commentary some day.

Stevin

Mike replied:

Hi Stevin,

That's the point, we are not Biblical scholars and cannot possibly know the context of all the passages in all the books that make up the Scriptures.

That's why you need a Commentary.

Mike

Stevin replied:

And that's what I admire about your site.

You are humble enough to say:

"I don't know the answer to your question, but here is someone that does or some resource that can help."

Stevin

Please report any and all typos or grammatical errors.
Suggestions for this web page and the web site can be sent to Mike Humphrey
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