In Matthew 2:23 it is written that Joseph was told in a dream to go to Galilee and live in the town of Nazareth just as the prophets said that he will be called a Nazarene. I have heard that this is clear evidence of an error in the New Testament. Can you give any OT reference to this as my Bible does not have footnotes regarding this reference?
Answer:It is common for critics of the Bible to claim that Matthew was making a clear error in Matthew 2:23 when he said that Jesus fuifilled a prophecy in the Old Testament that the Messiah would come from Nazareth. This is not evidence of an error in the Bible but rather it is evidence that such critics are not doing a good job of researching their claim. There are multiple messianic prophecies that a "branch" will come who will save Israel. These passages include Isaiah 11:1, Jeremiah 23:5, Jeremiah 33:15, and Zechariah 3:8 and 6:12. In each of these passages, they are clearly messianic. The Messiah will be a "branch" of Jesse, the father of David.
Why would these prophets call the Messiah the "branch" of Jesse rather than the more obvious son of David? The answer is that the Hebrew word for "branch" is nazer. The name of the city Jesus was raised in is, literally, Branch City. It is great evidence for the inspiration of the Bible that Jesus was literally the "son" of Jesse by descent and also that he was raised in a town known as branch. Jesus lived in branch. He was known as the Nazarene and his followers were known as Nazarenes. They were branches and Jesus was known as the Branch. The intricacy of this double prophecy (his lineage from Jesse and his coming from a town known as Branch) is truly astounding. Who could have thought this up?
What makes this prophecy even more amazing is that it was made at a time when the future home town of Jesus, Nazareth (branch) did not even exist. There is a pattern which is well-illustrated by this example, which is that the critic's supposed contradictions and errors in the Bible are actually inevitably incorrect and that they actually provide really great evidence in support of the very thing they are seeking to disprove, which is the inspiration and reliability of the Old and the New Testament.