Examination of the Prophecies
Examination of the Prophecies:Author's Preface
Examination of the Prophecies:The Book of Matthew
Examination of the Prophecies:The Book of Mark
Examination of the Prophecies:The Book of Luke
Examination of the Prophecies:The Book of John

Examination of the Prophecies:The Book of Luke
by Thomas Paine


There are no passages in Luke called prophecies, excepting those which relate to the passages I have already examined.

Luke speaks of Mary being espoused to Joseph, but he makes no reference to the passage in Isaiah, as Matthew does. He speaks also of Jesus riding into Jerusalem upon a colt, but he says nothing about a prophecy. He speaks of John the Baptist and refers to the passages in Isaiah, of which I have already spoken.

At chapter xiii, 31, 32, he says, "The same day there came certain of the Pharisees, saying unto him (Jesus), Get thee out and depart hence, for Herod will kill thee. And he said unto them, Go ye and tell that fox, Behold I cast out devils, and I do cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I shall be perfected."

Matthew makes Herod to die while Christ was a child in Egypt, and makes Joseph to return with the child on the news of Herod's death, who had sought to kill him. Luke makes Herod to be living, and to seek the life of Jesus after Jesus was thirty years of age: for he says (iii, 23), "And Jesus began to be about thirty years of age, being, as was supposed, the son of Joseph."

The obscurity in which the historical part of the New Testament is involved, with respect to Herod, may afford to priests and commentators a plea, which to some may appear plausible, but to none satisfactory, that the Herod of which Matthew speaks, and the Herod of which Luke speaks, were different persons.

Matthew calls Herod a king; and Luke (iii, 1) calls Herod, Tetrarch (that is, Governor) of Galilee. But there could be no such person as a King Herod, because the Jews and their country were then under the dominion of the Roman Emperors who governed then by tetrarchs, or governors.

Luke ii makes Jesus to be born when Cyrenius was Governor of Syria, to which government Judea was annexed; and according to this, Jesus was not born in the time of Herod. Luke says nothing about Herod seeking the life of Jesus when he was born; nor of his destroying the children under two years old; nor of Joseph fleeing with Jesus into Egypt; nor of his returning from thence. On the contrary, the book of Luke speaks as if the person it calls Christ had never been out of Judea, and that Herod sought his life after he commenced preaching, as is before stated.

I have already shown that Luke, in the book called the Acts of the Apostles (which commentators ascribe to Luke), contradicts the account in Matthew with respect to Judas and the thirty pieces of silver. Matthew says that Judas returned the money, and that the high priests bought with it a field to bury strangers in; Luke says that Judas kept the money, and bought a field with it for himself.

As it is impossible for the wisdom of God should err, so it is impossible those books should have been written by divine inspiration. Our belief in God and His unerring wisdom forbids us to believe it. As for myself, I feel religiously happy in the total disbelief of it.

There are no other passages called prophecies in Luke other than those I have spoken of. I pass on to the book of John.

Examination of the Prophecies:The Book of John

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