|Of the four canonized Gospels, it is my opinion that the Gospel
of Matthew is the most reliable and accurate, describing Jesus as a
Although one item stands out when compared to the remainder of
the Bible. This is Matthew's "over attempt".
What is meant by "over attempt" is that the Gospel of Matthew
tries to hard to make Jesus appear to be the Prophet which is
predicted in the Old Testament. As a result, we see additions of
events surrounding Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew.
While these additions do make Jesus appear to be the "Prophet
like Moses" predicted in the Old Testament, (Deuteronomy 18:18) the
negative result of these additions is that it makes the other three
canonized Gospels (Mark, Luke, and John) appear as if they are
Here we will list examples of Matthew's attempts to match Jesus
to prophecies in the Bible.
The first example is the purchase of the potter's field with the
thirty pieces of silver that Judas cast back to the chief priests
and elders which is claimed to have fulfilled a prophecy made by
"Then was fulfilled that which was spoken through Jeremiah the
prophet, saying, And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the
price of him that was priced, whom certain of the children of Israel
did price; and they gave them for the potter's field as the Lord
appointed me" (Matthew 27:9-10).
The issue here is that Jeremiah never made such a statement. Some
scholars have suggested that Matthew was quoting "loosely" a
statement that was actually written by Zechariah (11:12-13) rather
Another example is in Matthew's second chapter, when Joseph took
his family to Nazareth upon their return from Egypt, Matthew said
that he did so "that it might be fulfilled which was spoken through
the prophets, that he should be called a Nazarene"(Matthew 2:23). No
one has been able to find any statement that any prophet ever made
that this could be a reference to.
The Old Testament prophets never referred to Nazareth, the word
Nazareth, as well as Nazarene, was never even mentioned in the Old
The second chapter of Matthew is often looked upon as a prophecy
fulfillment in (Deuteronomy 18:18). As Pharaoh kills all the
children while Moses escapes, so does Matthew place Jesus in a
identical scenario. King Herod (Jesus's Pharaoh) killed all children
under the age of two in attempt to stop Jesus, while Jesus and his
family (Joseph and Mary) escape to Egypt. (Matthew 2:16).
The only perplexity is that none of the other Gospel writers
mentioned it. There is support from both historians and the
remaining Gospels that such a event did not take place. The Jewish
historian Josephus chronicled the reign of Herod in Book 18 of
Antiquities of the Jews. In doing so, he made no apparent attempt to
whitewash Herod's character.
He related, for example, Herod's execution of John the Baptist,
an event related by three of the gospel writers, but he said nothing
about the massacre of the children at Bethlehem, which would have
undoubtedly been the most heinous crime that Herod committed.
Furthermore, the Gospel of (Luke 2:22-40 ) says that following
the birth of Jesus, Joseph and Mary remained in the area of
Jerusalem for the Presentation (about forty days) and then return to
Nazareth without ever going to Egypt. There is no slaughter of the
The Gospel of Luke also says that Jesus was born during the
Syrian governorship of Quirinius, who was not even appointed to the
position until 6 A. D. (Luke 2:2). Matthew said that Jesus was born
in the reign of Herod, who died in 4 B. C. (Matthew 2:1).
In his attempts for prophecy fulfillments, no event was too
trivial for Matthew. A sample of one of his smaller insertions is in
the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem shortly before his betrayal and
The story is recorded by three of the Gospel writers, but
Matthew's account differs significantly from Mark's and Luke's. Mark
and Luke simply had Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a colt to the
cheers and hosannas of the multitudes (Mark 11:1-10; Luke 19:28-40).
Matthew however, trys to build it into a prophecy-fulfillment:
This took place to fulfill what had been spoken through the
prophet, saying, "Tell the daughter of Zion, Look, your king is
coming to you, humble, mounted on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal
of a donkey."
The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them; they
brought the donkey and the colt, and put their cloaks on them, and
he sat on them (Matthew 21:1-7).
The major difference in Matthew's version of this event and
Mark's and Luke's: (1) Matthew had Jesus riding both a donkey and
her colt; Mark and Luke had Jesus riding only a colt, and (2)
Matthew saw it as fulfillment of a prophecy; Mark and Luke said
nothing at all about prophecy fulfillment being involved.
We also see Matthew's over attempt in (Matthew1:23) where it was
claimed that an angel's announcement to Joseph that his betrothed
wife Mary would give birth to a child conceived by the Holy Spirit
was done to fulfill a prophecy spoken by Isaiah:
"Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they
shall call his name Immanuel."
In the original context, however, Isaiah made this statement as a
sign to Ahaz, king of Judah, that an alliance recently formed
against him by Rezin, the king of Syria, and Pekah, the king of
Israel, would not succeed in defeating him.
Finally, Isaiah said to him, "Hear now, O house of David! Is it a
small thing for you to weary men, but will you weary my God also?
Therefore Yahweh Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin
shall conceive, and bear a Son, and shall call his name Immanuel"
Hence, the context clearly shows that this so-called prophecy was
made not to foretell the birth of Jesus some 700 years later but the
birth of a child to that time and that situation.
Luke, Mark and John, in fact, were completely silent about the
birth. Doesn't it seem strange, then, that this remarkable "prophecy
fulfillment" would have been treated with silence by three of the
four "inspired" writers who recorded the life of Jesus?
Secondly, no record exists of Jesus ever having been called
Immanuel by his contemporaries.
Besides trying to match the Old Testament prophecies, Matthew
also makes some of his own predictions which also demonstrate
inconsistencies. When Matthew wrote; "twelve apostles to be
rewarded" he gave a prediction which was ignoring the 12th apostle
who betrayed Jesus (Judas).
When Peter asked Jesus what reward the apostles could expect for
forsaking all to follow him Jesus said, "Assuredly I say to you,
that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of
His glory, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones,
judging the twelve tribes of Israel" (Matthew 19:28).
Also the prediction of Jesus's second coming: Jesus prophesied
that his second coming would occur during the lifetime of his
generation. Upon leaving the temple in Jerusalem, he predicted in
the Gospel of Matthew about the temple's destruction to his
disciples, saying that "not one stone shall be left here upon
another" (Matthew. 24:2).
When they reached the Mount of Olives, his disciples said to him,
"Tell us, when will these things be?
And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the
age (Matthew 24:3). In reply, Jesus describes some details of the
day of Judgement and than said; "Assuredly, I say to you, this
generation will not pass away till all these things take place
This concludes that both the past and future prophecies utilized
by Matthew were a good effort but land short of being accurate.
Here is a further short critique of the Gospel of Matthew
compared to the other 3 Gospels;
Matthew wrote that the centurion went in person to ask Jesus to
heal his servant who was near death (8:5-13). Luke said that the
centurion stayed at home and sent elders of the Jews to ask Jesus to
heal the servant (7:2-10).
Matthew said that Jairus reported his daughter dead when asking
Jesus to go heal her (9:18-25). Both Mark (5:23) and Luke (8:42)
said that she was still alive but dying.
We also see the Gospel of Matthew writing about Matthew,
suggesting the original Matthew did not write the Gospel; (9:9) "And
Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man named Matthew, sitting
at the receipt of custom; and he said unto him; Follow me. And he
arose, and followed him." As confimed in the (Jamieson, Fausset and
Brown's Bible Commentary)
Thus we end with a quote from the "Ecumenical Translation of the
Bible" which says the Gospel of Matthew was written to show "Jesus
fulfilled the history of Israel."