I find Isaiah, Jeremiah to be difficult to grasp. I understand they are prophesies about those times but when I read say Isaiah, the verses that Christianity always seems to point to as prophesies of Jesus seem to vague in the larger text. For example " a young woman will give birth and he shall be named Immanuel. Okay well Jesus wasn’t named Immanuel. The one that says he will be everlasting father, prince of peace seems too, but I feel like what is being written about doesn’t have to do anything with it. Like those prophesies are in chapters about God saving Israel from Egypt and Assyria. Idk I am Catholic but I find reading these books gives me a feeling like early Christians cherry picked the prophetic books to make Jesus the messiah. Does anyone else ever have this feeling or am I reading to much into it?
The term “Immanuel” means “God is with us” and in Christ’s case this was the truth. He didn’t have the literal name “Immanuel”, but the prophecy still took place - in Christ, “God was with us”.
The first Christians were all Jews to a man and woman, and they would have understood the import of the Old Testament prophecies in a way which we would not. When Christ met the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, and explained the Scriptures to them, He made it clear the prophecies of the OT referred to Him, insofar as He was the Messiah, and that He had to suffer.
25 He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.
He shall be “called” not he shall be “named”…quite different.
Sounds like your feelings are the result of your own cherry picking a few passages rather than having a perspective from the entirety of the OT narrative. There are many, many OT passages that relate directly to the mission of Jesus. Picking a few in isolation and observing that they don’t fit exactly to specification seems somewhat unfair.
It isn’t that you are reading too much into it – you haven’t read anywhere near enough into it.
Take, for example, where Abraham is to sacrifice his beloved son Isaac on Mt. Moriah. In the end, Abraham observes that God himself will provide a lamb. The story goes on that Abraham and Issac find a ram – not a lamb – in the thicket and sacrifice it, leaving entirely open to fulfillment Abraham’s words regarding the lamb. Now, take note that Mt. Moriah later became part of Jerusalem where Jesus (the lamb of God) was crucified.
Another little coincidence is that lambs at the time of Jesus were prepared for sacrifice at Passover by being splayed on small wooden crosses. Jesus was indeed the lamb prepared by God, as prophesied by Abraham, for sacrifice.
These little connections were not stated obviously in the writings and require in-depth study of the texts – but there are hundreds, if not thousands, of them throughout Scripture. The early Church Fathers were very good at seeing the connections. The fact that so many exist pointing forward to Jesus means these could not have been “cherry-picked” but are, rather, small strokes in a portrait that becomes visible only when viewed in totality with eyes that can see them together in unity. Just the opposite of “cherry-picking,” actually.
Isaiah and all are not the easiest books to grasp. First, you need a solid foundation in rest of scripture. Then to understand the nature of prophecy (that’s not a recipe literal book, often applies to multiple things, and highly symbolic). Third, if you run into a reference you don’t understand, look it up. Isaiah is not meant to be rushed, and a single chapter will take you hours to study.
A good study aide might be of great value to you (though I’m personally a fan of going 1-on-1 with Isaiah myself).
I was struggling with it until i set up my Verbum app with Collegeville Commentary side by side. Much easier than reading notes at the bottom of the book. Yes Collegeville is not the
Best but the alternative is a Navarre bible is much better commentary. Between jobs right now, but on my wish list. I am in Diocease Scripture school and 3rd year starts with prophets. May want to look at Amos first. Not to bad. However, if you have not read Kings and Judges in a while it would be good read first.
Peter Plato said something I wanted to say: You haven’t read enough!
The prophets, from the time of King David on, were looking forward to a Messiah, besides declaring the word of God.
Also, try to think of it this way: The O.T. has many foreshadowings of Christ, for isntance the story of Abraham’s sacrifice which Peter Plato brings up. It is a foreshadowing of Christ’s sacrifice - God sacrificing His only son. Isaac, the little son, asks Abraham, But where is the lamb for the burnt offering? And Abraham, his father answers, God will provide Himself for the lamb. Beautiful. See Genesis 22:1-12
Also the passover story is a foreshadowing of Christ. Exodus 12
Many passages in Isaiah are referring to David or Solomon but it is clear that Jesus fulfills these promises. Have you read Isaiah 52 and 53?
So what you are really asking is:
Did the N.T. writers make the story so that Jesus SEEMED to fulfill the prophesies, like for instance Joseph and Mary going to Bethlehem for the census so He would be born there to fulfill Micah 5:2 -
“But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah … from you one will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel.”
Yes. The thought has crossed my miind. For two seconds! This is impossible because of the number of prophecies Jesus fulfilled. There had been other “messiahs”. Anyone could fulfill one prophecy, maybe even two, or almost impossible, three. But Jesus fulfilled hundreds.
I can’t make a list for you, just google prophecies fulfilled by Jesus. Would you agree that it’s impossible for one person to fulfill so many prophecies? It’s mathematically impossible.
Just a few, I have my bible here:
Gen 3:15 Gen 12:3 Gen 17:;19 Num 24:17 Is 9:7 Ps 45:6,7 Mic 5.2
Dan 9:25 Is 7:14 Jer 31:15 (from which we get the New Covenant) Hos 11:1
Is 40:3-5 Mal 3:1 Mal 4:5-6 Deut 18:15 Is 53:3 Zech 9:9 Is 53:1 (all of 53)
The list goes on and on.
So think of the O.T. foreshadowing the new, and the N.T. fulfilling the Old. The writers of the N.T. didn’t dwell on details because they knew (especially Mathew in his gospel) that the readers (hebrews) knew their scriptures (O.T.) well and would automatically understand.
God bless you