[Excerpt from Chapter 8: Objections to Prophecy]
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Some people wonder if these Old Testament prophecies were truly written before the time of Christ. However, as you’ll see, even critics of the Bible agree that the Old Testament was written long before Jesus ever walked the Earth.
The entire Old Testament
The Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible) was written sometime between 250 and 132 B.C.E. We even have existing portions of the Septuagint that date back to 150 B.C.E. Therefore, if a translation was being done at this time, then the original Hebrew text must date even earlier.
The Dead Sea Scrolls (a collection of fragments and full books of the Old Testament) are also dated before the time of Christ. Here, we have quotations of all the Old Testament books (except Esther), and the Jews viewed these books as divinely inspired. Moreover, when we reach the first century, Josephus (a Jewish historian) claimed that he had all of the Old Testament books that we have in our current Bible. He writes,
For we have not an innumerable multitude of books among us, disagreeing from and contradicting one another (as the Greeks have), but only twenty-two books, which contain the records of all the past times; which are justly believed to be divine… From Artexerxes to our own time the complete history has been written but has not been deemed worthy of equal credit with the earlier records because of the failure of the exact succession of the prophets. We have given practical proof of our reverence for our own scriptures. For, although such long ages have now passed, no one has ventured to add, or to remove, or to alter anything, and it is an instinct with every Jew, from the day of his birth, to regard them as decrees of God.
In addition to Josephus, the New Testament authors quote from the Old Testament roughly 600 times, which supports the notion that these books were written before then. Now that we have a concept for the overall dating of the entire Old Testament, let’s consider our manuscript evidence for each individual book.
The Essenes had a commentary on Daniel 9, dating to 146 B.C.E.—found in the Testament of Levi and the Pseudo-Ezekiel Document. The Melchizedek Fragment (dated 50 B.C.E.) states, “And the messenger is [the ano]inted of the spirit about whom Dan[iel] spoke.” Critical scholar James VanderKam believes that this is a reference to the “anointed prince” of Daniel 9:25. Of course, both of these interpretations predate Christ.
In addition to these commentaries on Daniel 9, we also have eight manuscripts of the book of Daniel in the Dead Sea Scrolls, which date as early as 100 B.C.E. Scholar Peter Flint writes, “We may conclude that seven scrolls originally contained the entire book of Daniel in a form very much found in the received text.” Elsewhere, Flint and VanderKam write, “All eight scrolls reveal no major disagreements against the Masoretic Text.” In other words, these copies of the book of Daniel—though incomplete—are almost identical to the copies after the time of Christ. That is, they weren’t doctored or tampered with in any way. Since virtually all scholars admit that the Essenes didn’t write the book of Daniel, this means that the book must predate them. Therefore, Daniel 9 must predate the time of Christ by several hundred years.
The book of Isaiah was probably one of the best discoveries in the Dead Sea Scrolls. In Cave One of Qumran, archaeologists found a complete 24-foot-long scroll of Isaiah, which contained all 66 chapters of the book. Scholars date the scroll of Isaiah to at least 150 years before Jesus ever walked the face of the Earth.
We have copies of Psalm 22 that predate the time of Christ, as well. In fact, there are two manuscripts of Psalm 22: one from the Dead Sea Scrolls (4Q88) and one from another site in the Judean Desert (Seiyal 4). Both of these documents date at least 50 years before the time of Christ.
For these reasons, even skeptic Jim Lippard admits, “Prophetic statements do not post-date the events being predicted. In the case of the Old Testament prophecies… we have documents (e.g., the Dead Sea Scrolls) which do predate the time at which the historical Jesus is believed to have lived.” Apologist Norman Geisler asks, “What difference does it make if a prophecy is given only two hundred years in advance rather than six hundred years? Can one with less than divine power make predictions like these four hundred years in advance but not six hundred years ahead?” Even if we accept the critical dating for these Old Testament books, they still predate Jesus by several hundred years.
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 Harris notes that the 250 B.C.E. date is inferred from tradition—a translation done under Ptolemy Philadelphus. The 132 B.C.E. date comes from the prologue of Ecclesiasticus in the apocrypha, which refers to the OT being dressed in Greek. Harris, R. Laird. Inspiration and Canonicity of the Scriptures. Greenville, SC, 1995. 76.
 We find the Septuagintal translation of Deuteronomy 23-28 in the Rylands Papyrus 458. Archer, Gleason L. A Survey of Old Testament Introduction: Revised and Expanded. Chicago, IL: Moody, 2007. 42.
 Harris, R. Laird. Inspiration and Canonicity of the Scriptures. Greenville, SC, 1995. 141-142.
 Josephus’ canon contained the same books, but it contained a different number of books. This is because he combined Jeremiah and Lamentations, Judges and Ruth, 1 and 2 Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles, Ezra and Nehemiah, and the 12 minor prophets.
 Emphasis mine. Flavius Josephus, Against Apion, book 1, paragraph 8.
 Harris writes, “There are more than 600 allusions and about 250 strict quotations. He lists no strict quotations in the books of Judges-Ruth, Chronicles, Ezra-Nehemiah, Esther, Esslesiastes, Song of Solomon, and Lamentations. Also there are none from Obadiah, Nahum and Zephaniah, but these books were counted as part of the ‘Book of the Twelve,’ the Minor Prophets, which is quoted many times.” Harris, R. Laird. Inspiration and Canonicity of the Scriptures. Greenville, SC, 1995. 316.
 See 4 Q 384-390. Tanner, J. Paul. “Is Daniel’s Seventy-Weeks Prophecy Messianic (pt.1)?” Bibliotheca Sacra. Volume 166. April-June, 2009: 182-183.
 Dr. VanderKam considers himself to be a “moderate” scholar (which I ascertained from an email correspondence with him). However, I label him as a critical scholar above (hopefully not in a pejorative way) because he believes that the authorship of Daniel is “pseudepigraphic,” dating the book of Daniel to 165 B.C.E. VanderKam, James C., and Peter W. Flint. The Meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls: Their Significance for Understanding the Bible, Judaism, Jesus, and Christianity. San Francisco, CA: HarperSanFrancisco, 2002. 202; 138.
 Collins, John Joseph, and Robert A. Kugler. Religion in the Dead Sea Scrolls. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, 2000. 117-118.
 Flint and VanderKam write, “A total of eight Daniel scrolls were discovered at Qumran.” VanderKam, James C., and Peter W. Flint. The Meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls: Their Significance for Understanding the Bible, Judaism, Jesus, and Christianity. San Francisco, CA: HarperSanFrancisco, 2002. 137.
 Collins, John Joseph, and Robert A. Kugler. Religion in the Dead Sea Scrolls. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, 2000. 116.
 Evans, Craig A., and Peter W. Flint. Eschatology, Messianism, and the Dead Sea Scrolls. Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans, 1997. 43.
 VanderKam, James C., and Peter W. Flint. The Meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls: Their Significance for Understanding the Bible, Judaism, Jesus, and Christianity. San Francisco, CA: HarperSanFrancisco, 2002. 138.
 Archer writes, “1QIsa. The complete copy of all sixty-six chapters of Isaiah, dating from about 150 b.c. (the St. Mark’s Monastery Isaiah Scroll)” Archer, Gleason L. A Survey of Old Testament Introduction. Third Edition. Chicago, IL: Moody, 1998. 557.
 VanderKam, James C., and Peter W. Flint. The Meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls: Their Significance for Understanding the Bible, Judaism, Jesus, and Christianity. San Francisco, CA: HarperSanFrancisco, 2002. 122.
 Flint, Peter W. The Dead Sea Psalms Scrolls and the Book of Psalms. Leiden: Brill, 1997. 252; 266.
 Jim Lippard “The Fabulous Prophecies of the Messiah” (1993) http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/jim_lippard/fabulous-prophecies.html.
 Geisler, Norman L. Christian Apologetics. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1976. 341.