Christianity as a Catalogue of Prophecy and Miracles

The Gospels and Acts quote the prophets often and with gusto.  Phrases like, “This happened that it might be fulfilled ….” dot its literary landscape.  Luke’s prologue to his Gospel says “Epeidaeper polloi epecheiraesan anataxasthai diagaesin peri ton peplaeraophoraemenon en haemin …”  [Roughly — “In the same way as many others have taken in hand to set forth in order an account of the things [prophecies] fulfilled in our [the Jewish people] midst …” ].

This indicates that “Set in order” means according to a specific and well-known “master-list” of prophecies that would characterize the Messiah’s arrival.  He was “the one who was to come into the world” (Ho erchomenos).  But when he arrived, how would we know who he was?  The prophets, taken selectively and carefully, provide a list of prophecies that all (or nearly all) the Rabbis had agreed would together create what we would today call a “biographical profile” of the Messiah.  For all Israel was “in expectation” (Luke 2) of the Messiah — see also Nathaniel.  To be a righteous Jew you had to be on the lookout for the Messiah (in expectation of the Messiah). Luke uses the same language of Elizabeth’s pregnancy.

This shows us what the Gospels are — prophetic and Messianic profiles fulfilled in one person.  This would be proof to the Jewish people only if this profile had been well-known among the Jewish people prior to AD 70.  Just as the sayings of Jesus not found in Mark that are both found in Matthew and Luke comprise “Q” — the [sayings] source document — so also the periscopes of the Gospels can be used to create a reversion text of the prophetic texts behind each NT “periscope” that called it into existence, since it was demanded now by this, or now by that prophecy from the master-list (“P”).

In other words, Jesus speaks in parables because the prophets require this — both in the Psalms and in Isaiah.  See the book of Hebrews for a use of the Psalms “as prophecies” fulfilled.  In fact, the NT uses almost every aspect of the OT as prophecy fulfilled, either in the more literal and typical way, or else by announcing an event-periscope of the OT a “typology” (e.g. Jude’s handling of Sodom and Gomorrah account of Genesis).  The entire OT  – for the NT — is a prophetic catalogue. And even the sayings of Jesus in parable are fulfillments of prophecy, just as the Lukan prologue indicates — peplaerophoraemenon en haemin.

The other predominant feature of the NT is the miraculous.

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