What’s Wrong With: Biblical Prophecy?

The End is Not NearReligious believers, especially of the Christian persuasion, tend to think their Bible contains “prophecy” or predictions of the future. Over the centuries they’ve distilled out of the Bible many different predictions they claim it makes, especially about “the End of the World.” In particular, the last 19 chapters of the book of Revelation constitute one long prediction of how the world will end. The Bible contains enough text that it’s relatively trivial to sift through it, collect snippets, interpret them metaphorically or gather up numbers from them, and boil those cherry-picked selections down to some specific date.

Obviously, all of the many predictions of “the End” which have been made, have failed to come true. It would be easy to say that all such predictions are bullshit, solely due to this dismal, 100%-wrong track record.

But that alone isn’t why I say that all Biblical prophecies are bullshit. Not at all. That people have rendered bullshit out of the Bible and it’s proven wrong, is almost beside the point!

No, the reason I say that all Biblical prophecy is bullshit, is because most of the specific predictions made in the pages of the New Testament — which are not believers’ distillations, but actual words, on the page — have shown themselves demonstrably and irrefutably false. This may sound hard to believe, but it’s true. Allow me to explain.

Failed Prophecies in the Epistles

In 1 Thessalonians, the apostle Paul describes Jesus’ return, including a timeframe for when it would occur (emphasis in this and all other quotations is mine):

For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. (1 Th 4:15-17)

Clearly Paul expected that he, and at least some of his readers in Thessalonica, would be alive when Jesus returned. Unfortunately, he and his readers have been dead for well over 1,900 years — yet Jesus has never returned. Thus, his prediction failed. Utterly.

Two other epistles (i.e. the epistle to the Hebrews, and the epistle of James) are much less specific, yet they contain similar statements that Jesus would return very soon:

For yet in a very little while, he who is coming will come, and will not delay. (Heb 10:37)

You too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near. (Jas 5:8)

End-times apologists argue that the phrases “in a very little while” and “the coming of the Lord is near” may well be true, from God’s perspective (since scripturally, a day for him is 1,000 years for us as stated in 2 Pt 3:8). This rationale probably satisfies the religious mind, but it ignores the consideration that these epistles had originally been written to first-century Christians; it would have made no sense at all to have told them that Jesus would return “soon,” and that he “would not delay,” if his plan had always been to wait over two millennia to return.

Jesus’ Own Prophecies

But much worse than Paul’s prediction failing, and Jesus choosing not to return “soon,” Jesus Christ — the founder of Christianity himself, and according to nearly all Christians, the living God in the flesh — made predictions which plainly turned out not to come true.

Among the best-known gospel passages in which Jesus describes the future in some detail, is chapter 24 of the gospel according to Matthew. He explains what will happen in the days leading up to his own return. Jesus concludes his warnings as follows:

“Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.” (Mt 24:34)

He was, therefore, telling his listeners that they would live to see his return. Reinforcing this, later in the same gospel, Jesus tells the high priest, Caiaphas, that he too will live to see him return in glory:

Jesus said to him, “You have said it yourself; nevertheless I tell you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.” (Mt 26:64)

The very same point is repeated just a short while earlier in Matthew, and in an abbreviated version of Matthew 24 that’s found in the gospel according to Luke:

“Truly I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.” (Mt 23:36)

“Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all things take place.” (Lk 21:32)

It would seem fairly clear that Jesus was telling the people in front of him — i.e. others living in the Levant in the early 1st century CE — that he would return in their own lifetimes. Now … some “End Times” apologists often say that, well sure … all those people will see Jesus return; they’ll be dead, and watch him as ghosts (or something), but they will nonetheless see him return. They also point out that, when Jesus was talking about “this generation” seeing his return, he was actually referring to the generation that happens to be alive at the time he returns, not the generation of people standing in front of him while he was talking.

As with the “divine time” objection I mentioned previously, these tend to work on religious people prone to believe such things. But as it turns out, the Bible contains an absolute, unequivocal refutation of both these points, which is also found in Matthew:

“Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.” (Mt 16:28)

This same verse is confirmed in both Mark and Luke:

And Jesus was saying to them, “Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God after it has come with power.” (Mk 9:1)

“But I say to you truthfully, there are some of those standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God.” (Lk 9:27)

Thus, people standing right in front of Jesus at the time he was alive — not some future generation — would not die prior to his return, meaning they would not watch him come back as ghosts, but rather as living, breathing people.

Again, therefore, we have several clear instances of Jesus predicting something which quite obviously never came to pass in the timeframe he said it would.

The Value of “Biblical Prophecy”

Given that explicit, plain predictions found within the pages of the Bible have demonstrably proven false, I can’t help but wonder why people like William Miller, Edgar Whisenant, and Harold Camping — to name just a few — think they can possibly have any credibility by taking Biblical metaphors and interpreting dates for Armageddon out of it. The credibility of the Bible as a predictor of the future, is clearly non-existent. Continuing to treat it as though it has any predictive credibility is just plain foolish.

There’s no other logical conclusion one can reach, then, that all Biblical prophecy is just plain bullshit. Period. End of story.

Scripture quotations from the New American Standard Bible.

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  • bobo

    You may be putting a little too much stock in the word "generation" …

    Looking the online bible you link to (biblegateway.com) it's footnoted that "generation" here also means "race".

    • I used Biblegateway as a link to the words of the Bible so that people could verify my quotation and also read their contexts, not as a learning aid for studying Greek. I did not link to any of their linguistic materials, just to the Bible texts. No one will acquire a working knowledge of classical Greek from that site.

      I'm sure that millions of literalist Christians would love to believe what you said. Unfortunately, they don't know Greek, can't read it, and have no idea of the etymology of the Greek word γενεα (or genea) which is the word in question. Semantically it refers to "birth," and therefore is a very close, if not precise, equivalent of the English "generation." Besides, the context of those verses shows very clearly that Jesus was speaking of "those born and living now" and was not referring to "nations."

      As a matter of fact, Mt 16:28 and Lk 9:27 are rather clear and specific on this matter. Neither contains the word γενεα (or genea) so this objection does not even apply to them. As noted, in both of these, Jesus says "those who are standing here who will not taste death" until the future events he describes are to take place. He absolutely is NOT referring, in either of those verses, to races, nations, or anything of the sort. He said "those who are standing here."

      Again, that was "those who are standing here."

      Nice try at a clever dodge. Unfortunately I'm way ahead of you, and nowhere near stupid enough to fall for something like that. Please, do yourself a favor and never assume I'm an idiot, or that I am not aware of what the Bible actually says. OK?

      • Shane Turner

        In the last days, all are without excuse, itching ears will hear what they want to hear, my thoughts and ways are than yours, and the wisdom of the world is foolish in God's eyes etc. are all in the buybull. Nothing but master manipulated bullshit used to control people's minds. A lot of things are predicted in the buybull of what happens to people by using psychology when you threaten people with the idea of eternal torment or the rapture. It will cause utter contempt in most people towards the idea of such dogma. There is no credible evidence to even suggest any of this bullshit is even true.

    • Rohger

      Bobo,I have studied a bit of eschatology for the last five years.No way can you slice it or dice it…Jesus was to return in the first century. Every explanation in the world has been thought of to negate the real meaning of those “return” scriptures.

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  • Elliot Roland

    You're an idiot.

    • Wow, what an incredibly enlightening comment! I’m truly impressed.

      • Robert

        The Argumentum Ad Hominem is the rhetorical H-bomb. Once tossed, the debate (if there ever really was any) is OVER. When two opponents are in a sealed concrete room, each holding an AAH-bomb, the first to toss his AAH-bomb WINS the argument/discussion. Give it up. You have been defeated.

        • Re: "Give it up. You have been defeated."

          Wrong, YOU were defeated. You were defeated centuries ago, when Mt 16:28, Mk 9:1, and Lk 9:27 failed to come to pass as Jesus stated. Grow up already.

  • Jeff Lange

    That prophecy is not "failed," it's just misread. Paul is not referring only to Thessalonian believers, but all believers. He's saying that some of us believers will be alive when Jesus returns, and therefore will not need to be raised from the dead. For example, if Jesus returned today, believers today would not need to be raised, however, Paul and the others will, of course, need to be raised. 1Cor 15 has similar wording on the same topic, "We [i.e. believers] shall not all sleep [i.e. be dead] but we shall be changed [i.e. given new bodies; cp. Philip 3:21]."

    Most of your arguments about a generation not passing away can be explained by realizing that these NT prophecies are not referring to Jesus' return. Much of the prophecy from Mt. Olivet is prophesying the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. Seeing that Jesus made that prophecy sometime around AD 33, it was certainly true that that generation wouldn't pass away until his words had taken place.

    As for the words in Matt 16 that some would not taste death until they had "seen the Son of Man coming in his Kingdom," this did take place as well. In the very next chapter, three of the disciples, Peter, James, and John, are blessed with the opportunity to see the transfiguration of Christ–a glimpse at the glory and power he will come in when he returns to set up the Kingdom.

    I like your critical thinking, and I think you raised some good discussion points. Nevertheless, the passages brought up are, as demonstrated, very explainable.

    • Re: "That prophecy is not failed,' it's just misread."

      Ah. Sort of like the old "that was taken out of context" objection. Sorry but no. Paul's prediction failed to come true as written. Period.

      Re: "Paul is not referring only to Thessalonian believers, but all believers."

      Correct. But that doesn't change the fact that Paul's prediction failed to come true as written.

      Re: "He's saying that some of us believers will be alive when Jesus returns, and therefore will not need to be raised from the dead."

      Ah, but the salient point is that he included himself among those who would still be alive. That part of his prediction was something I put in bold in my quotation so that it wouldn't be missed. Apparently you missed it. Sorry about that … but you definitely missed it.

      Re: "For example, if Jesus returned today, believers today would not need to be raised, however, Paul and the others will, of course, need to be raised."

      Unfortunately for you, that's not actually what he said. He didn't include himself among those who would be raised. He said very clearly that he would be "alive" and among "those who remain." Not that he would be dead and raised up.

      Re: "1Cor 15 has similar wording on the same topic, 'We [i.e. believers] shall not all sleep [i.e. be dead] but we shall be changed [i.e. given new bodies; cp. Philip 3:21].'"

      Too bad neither of those other verses changes the fact that the specific prediction in 1 Th 4 failed to come true as written.

      Re: "Most of your arguments about a generation not passing away can be explained by realizing that these NT prophecies are not referring to Jesus' return."

      Uh, no, Jesus doesn't mention Jerusalem until after his lament about what will happen to the scribes and Pharisees and assorted other characters he loathes. In any event, he doesn't explicitly predict Jerusalem's destruction there. He just says, "Behold, your house is being left to you desolate!" (v. 38). Desolation can mean abandonment rather than destruction.

      Re: "Seeing that Jesus made that prophecy sometime around AD 33, it was certainly true that that generation wouldn't pass away until his words had taken place."

      Except that he didn't predict Jerusalem's destruction there. At best he mentioned it being "desolate." Which could, I suppose, allude to "destruction," but the two aren't the same in spite of any overlap they might have.

      Re: "As for the words in Matt 16 that some would not taste death until they had "seen the Son of Man coming in his Kingdom," this did take place as well."

      Except that the Transfiguration was a vision, and doesn't coincide with what Jesus says in v. 27 (emphasis mine): "For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and will then repay every man according to his deeds." The Transfiguration didn't include a judgement by Jesus of "every man according to his deeds."

      Re: "I like your critical thinking, and I think you raised some good discussion points. Nevertheless, the passages brought up are, as demonstrated, very explainable."

      Not "explainable," but "rationalizable," perhaps. I mean, if one is determined to paint them in the best-possible light so as to make them appear plausible, one can certainly do that. However, as a critical thinker, I know that details matter. If Paul includes himself among those who will be alive to see Jesus return in 1 Th 4, it doesn't matter that you can find some way to make any of the rest of it make sense. That it fails in that one detail, means his prediction failed. Likewise, to say the Transfiguration represented "the Son of Man coming into his glory," conveniently leaves out that he didn't judge all humanity at the Transfiguration.

      I'll grant you a certain amount of cleverness. However, as I've said so often, I'm way ahead of you guys. And there's a reason for that: I was once one of you. I know all the rhetoric, the logical twists, the semantic games, and the glossing over of details. I get it. I've been there. You can't pull the wool over my eyes … and you can't make the words on the page mean something other than what they mean. It just doesn't work.

      I suppose what I don't get is why people can't simply accept this reality. Would it really hurt you or your religion to admit these predictions didn't actually come true as written? Would it harm you that much to have to make that admission? Is this Wizard of Oz game of "pay no attention to that man behind the curtain" really worth all that much to you?

  • Robert

    "Would it really hurt you … to admit these predictions didn't actually come true as written?"
    No. Not at all.
    "Would it really hurt … your religion to admit these predictions didn't actually come true as written?"
    Yes. Any provable or demonstrable fault and the entire foundation is swept away. Being that all other religions are false, that would be the end of religion as far as I am concerned. From then on it would be "Eat, drink, be merry, marry and give in marriage, for tomorrow we die." (a compilation)
    As naturalism, which would be all that would be left, appears to predict that the earth is but an infinitesimal speck of dust in an apparently infinite cosmos, and that it is materialistically totally meaningless, along with all of us and all our works, and will be blown to muons, gravitons or something when the sun, an insignificant little glowing ball of gases, explodes, flares out, or goes "poof!" and conks out, nothing materialistic matters.
    Arguing about this sort of thing is a total waste of time, as if that matters.

    "Would it harm you that much to have to make that admission?"
    No. Not at all.

    • Re: "'Would it really hurt … your religion to admit these predictions didn't actually come true as written?' Yes. Any provable or demonstrable fault and the entire foundation is swept away."

      Well, consider it done. The supposed power of the Christian Bible as a prediction engine was utterly been destroyed back in the 1st century when Jesus' own predictions, in Mt 16:28, Mk 9:1 and Lk 9:27 failed to come true as he stated them. So consider yourself harmed, already, and long ago.

      Re: "Being that all other religions are false, that would be the end of religion as far as I am concerned."

      They are? I'm sure that's news to the billions of people who follow non-Christians religions. Please, by all means, I invite you to prove this to them.

      Re: "As naturalism, which would be all that would be left, appears to predict that the earth is but an infinitesimal speck of dust in an apparently infinite cosmos, and that it is materialistically totally meaningless, along with all of us and all our works, and will be blown to muons, gravitons or something when the sun, an insignificant little glowing ball of gases, explodes, flares out, or goes "poof!" and conks out, nothing materialistic matters."

      And all of this would be bad, because … hmm … uh … what was that again? Because it angers you to think it's true? Too fucking bad. It doesn't matter that something makes you mad. All that matters is whether or not it's true.

  • Ahsan

    Paul was a false apostle.
    Deuteronomy 18 verses 1 -20 is referencing the continuation of prophethood, one who speaks boldly fearlessly and prophecizes arrogantly and it DOES come to pass is a true prophet, one who's predictions don't, dont.
    The Bible today is NOT the message of Jesus,
    The Gospel of Jesus has been lost
    Deut 18:18 God tells Moses that he will raise up a prophet like him (meaning this prophet like Moses would be accepted by his people, would be born naturally, die naturally, be married, have children, lead an army, be a law giver, migrate from his own city,)
    but from the brethren of the Jews.

    Abraham had 2 sons, Isac and Ismael.
    Isaacs progeny turns into the Jews
    Ismaels turns into the sons of Kedar becoming the Arabs.
    The brethren of the Jews are the Arabs.
    The only person in History that fits the prophecy told by God through Moses is Muhammad.

    Also check out song of solomon chapter 5 verse 14-20
    it says his face will be like lebanon
    his hair locks will be wavy
    and black as a raven
    he shall be altogether lovely (but if you look at that verse 15 where it says altogether lovely, it is translated from Hebrew "Muhammadim" "im" is a suffix for respected. Lilke for Alai, Alohim (the "im" is the royal plural, respected, not plural) So the verse doesnt mean multiple muhammads. But the respected Muhammad, which has been translated, you can't translate someon'es name.

    Also the book of ISaiah prophecizes that when the book is given to him who is not learned and told to read by the angel Gabriel and he replies that I cannot read i am not learned….
    Prophet Muhammad according to Islamic faith received revelation at the age of 40, (just like Moses) in a cave with the Angel Gabriel telling him to read, and he could not read or write and said I cannot read, I am not learned.

    • Thanks for your comment. It’s a terrific example of how easy it is to go cherry-picking through the Bible texts, creatively interpreting (and re-interpreting) those snippets so that one can say it supports virtually any contention one wishes to support.

      As for "the only person in History that fits the prophecy told by God" being Mohammad, that’s not clear at all. The word in question in Song 5:16 actually contains different Hebrew consonants than are found in his Arabic name. So technically, he’s not named there. The thing about the -im being a token of respect rather than an actual plural (meaning more than one person is mentioned) is also not clear at all. The "royal plural" was used at times in ancient Near Eastern languages, but not all instances of it can safely be assumed not to refer to multiple persons. The context matters, and in this case it could go either way. The word may well also be an adjective rather than a noun (which is how it’s translated nearly all of the time).

      In any event, as I explained at the end of my original post, the notion that the Bible contains accurate "prophecy" is belied by the fact that it contains overt predictions which not only have failed to come true, but which cannot possibly ever come true. Nothing you’ve said here refutes that.

      Please, by all means, Muslims, Christians and Jews should continue sifting through these texts, sifting out snippets they want, ignoring others, and arguing with one another over it the supposed "predictions" those snippets make. Sometimes you even come to blows over it. Keep it up! We outside observers find it all very amusing. Just leave us out of it, OK?

      • PWan

        LOL LOL. PsiCop takes bad biblical exposition by a Muslim as proof that you can “cherry pick” and make the Bible say what it wants. Of course you can make the Bible say what it wants (if you have no methodology and no scruples). I heard someone give an exposition on Ezekiel 1-3 proving that it describes a UFO. LOL Sounds like your kind of interpretation….down the rabbit hole. As for Muslim scripture it is based on Rabbinic Judaism (read Abraham Geiger and other scholars on this) —that is the difference between real prophecy and a wanabee like Joseph Smith (book of Mormon) or Koran. Anyone can claim to be a prophet or receive a revelation —but note that they all copy the OT and NT and neither wanabee has any merit (unlike the Bible).

  • Dina

    Thanks.

  • Real Bible prophecy is exactly that REAL – leave your doubts for a moment and check out http://www.thesecondadam.com

    • Sorry to say, this is not about "doubts." "Doubts" are irrelevant. Disparaging what I say as mere "doubts" don't make what I say unimportant or insignificant, either (I'll give you credit for trying, though!).No, this is about demonstrable fact. And as I explained in this page, it is a demonstrable fact that Jesus' reported prediction — recorded in Mt 16:28, Mk 9:1, and Lk 9:27 — not only has failed to come true as stated, but it cannot possibly ever come true as stated.When explicit, verbatim predictions made in the Bible fail this utterly, nothing else in it can be treated as credible "prophecy." That's really all there is to say — and no amount of believers' protests to the contrary can ever change that.

      • PWan

        Again straw-man argument two passages quoted refer to TRANSFIGURATION and are conflated with another passage that you clearly do not understand.

        Well, you are certainly not a bible student. You spoil your analysis by taking valid observations (about the early expected return) and spoil it because of your confirmation bias. LOL

  • Eddie Lim

    The bible was written long after Jesus was gone…one version said he never died on the cross but fled to India and died there.

    The bible is a collection of books. There were dozens and compiled longer after Jesus was gone. It took a major Church council to decide which book to be included. Not sure what is so “Holy” about the bible when it was not written by Jesus nor by any of the pre-Jesus prophets.

    Even the Four Gospels have contradictions. Why four Gospels? Why not have one Gospel?

    Best not to believe everything in the Bible.

    • Re: “It took a major Church council to decide which book to be included.”

      You’re correct that the content of the Bible was arbitrarily decided, but the first Council to address the matter head-on (among many other topics) was the Council of Trent, which met in the 16th century and only applied to the Roman Catholic Church. The content of the Bible had, effectively, been decided centuries prior. The canon was also discussed at some localized councils (e.g. the Carthage synod of 397) but none of these carried authority outside certain regions.

      How the Biblical canon developed is actually a complex story. It was a long-term, dynamic process which moved in fits and starts. Along the way, some books gained favor, and ended up being included despite early resistance to doing so (e.g. Revelation), while other books which had been widely revered ended up on the cutting-room floor (e.g. the Shepherd of Hermas).

      As for the “Jesus in India” thing, that was supposedly recorded on manuscripts or scrolls seen by a 19th century Russian reporter who later admitted he’d made it all up.

  • Eddie Lim

    Last year in Sept, a fervent Christian wrote to tell me about the super Shemitah and that disaster is coming upon the world. It would last another additional year to Sept 2016 as I was the Super Shemitah. Well, we have another week and I want see the End of the World. Amen.

    Then I see several Youtubes that forecasts end of the world, collapse of world economy in Sept 2016. It was the same in 2015, 2014… There will be yearly forecasts of doom and end of the world till 2100 and beyond. It is just a big bullshit…selling books, trying to frighten the naïve, getting people to donate their tithing to the church, etc.

  • PWan

    Very perceptive investigation. You ask all the right questions but provide the wrong answers. There is no doubt that first century Christians expected an early return. Even Revelation expected events to happen soon. The thing is these events did transpire (but not as first century Christians expected). What was meant to happen was judgment of Israel (punishment), repentance (of the nation) and the visible physical presence of Jesus. Unfortunately the nation did not repent and only received destruction and the “times of the Gentiles” commenced. The nation was dispersed and the gospel was preached world wide. In other words, the prophetic program was INTERRUPTED because of faithlessness and first century events formed a pattern (or prism) through which to view the end. This is how prophecy ALWAYS works –initial immediate fulfillment (already) followed by distant future fulfillment (not yet). The reason for immediate fulfillment is so that the veracity of the prophet could be tested. Jesus was proven correct because he “came” in Judgement and destroyed Jerusalem and the generation that heard his prophecy saw “heaven and earth” (the Jewish cult) pass away. The “prophetic clock” has recently started ticking again because the Jews (after 2,000 years) have returned to the land. That means that the Olivet prophecy is now (once again) relevant to the end. This particular view of Revelation is known as Partial Preterism (that some, but not all was fulfilled in the past). Further, your quotes about not seeing death etc refer to the transfiguration on the mount when the apostles were transported ecstatically into the future and spoke with the risen Moses and Elijah. Whether you believe this numinous event was a vision, a hallucination or time travel (or non sense) is up to you –but it is not a prophetic announcement as such. So your problem is one of incorrect interpretation – but asking the right questions (with an open mind) means that you are half way there.

    • Re: “Very perceptive investigation.”

      Gee, that’s nice of you to say … but then you go and immediately lie about me:

      Re: “You ask all the right questions but provide the wrong answers.”

      Not one thing I’ve said is factually wrong.

      Re: “The thing is these events did transpire (but not as first century Christians expected).”

      Actually, no, they did NOT transpire. At all! The Son of Man never returned in his glory, and the kingdom of God never came with his power.

      Re: “What was meant to happen was judgment of Israel …”

      “What was meant” is irrelevant and of no account. What the gospels actually said is all that matters. The words on the page are as follows:

      “Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.” (Mt 16:28)

      And Jesus was saying to them, “Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God after it has come with power.” (Mk 9:1)

      “But I say to you truthfully, there are some of those standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God.” (Lk 9:27)

      If your Jesus had “meant” to say only that Israel would be “punished,” then why was he not reported to have said so? Why was he said to have talked about “the Son of Man coming in his kingdom” and “the kingdom of God” coming “with power”? Why did he reportedly speak words he never intended to say?

      Re: “This is how prophecy ALWAYS works …”

      Yeah. Exactly. It doesn’t work … at all! I explained this already, and none of your crap about “what was meant to happen” has the slightest bearing on the subject. It’s just your way of swerving out of the way of the clear meaning of the words on the page.

      Re: “Jesus was proven correct because he ‘came’ in Judgement and destroyed Jerusalem …”

      Except Jesus never destroyed Jerusalem. Emperor Titus and his legions did that. Jesus never returned, and never “judged” anyone at all.

      Re: “That means that the Olivet prophecy …”

      … has zero credibility, having been reportedly uttered by a man whose other predictions have failed to come true, and cannot ever possibly come true.

      Re: “So your problem is one of incorrect interpretation …”

      No, the “interpretation” problems are created by you and your fellow Christians, reading crap into the texts so you can feel better about clinging to them. The whole bit that you offered, about “what was meant to happen” is nothing but “interpretation” on your part … and you’re effectively adding in stuff that wasn’t there to begin with. I’d like to remind you that your scriptures frown on that practice:

      I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book. (Rev 22:18-19)

      Look, I get it. Honestly, I do. Really. Truly. I was once a fundie like you and I bought into the same stuff myself. I understand what you want to do, which is to hold onto the notion that all the words of the Bible are literally and absolutely true. And I understand the problem you have, which is that your Bible contains predictions Jesus reportedly made which have failed to come true and which cannot ever possibly come true. I get it. I do.

      But even though I get it … and I understand the compulsion that forces you to add stuff into your Bible that’s not there, in an effort to rationalize the problem away … I simply don’t care. The words of the Bible are what they are. They can’t magically be converted, in a snap, into different words that you’d have preferred were there, in their place. The facts are all that matter to me, and factually, Jesus made predictions that turned out to be wrong, and cannot ever come true in the future. There’s no way around it except to say — as you did — that Jesus said something other than what he’d intended to say.

      • PWan

        You are conflating interpretation with “adding” to the bible. Nearly all prophecy has already/not yet fulfillment, particularly Messianic allusion/echo/typology. Titus was merely the instrument of destruction –you are setting up a weak straw-man argument so you can knock it down. Early Christians did expect an early return –that much is obvious –but there is such a thing as freewill. The Jewish nation chose to reject the gospel and therefore the full outworking was delayed. in the same manner as when they were in the wilderness :Numbers 14:34 After the number of the days in which ye searched the land, even forty days, each day for a year, shall ye bear your iniquities, even forty years, and ye shall know MY BREACH of promise. The early Christians (and Jews) were warned of this:Hebrews 4:3 For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. AND Hebrews 4:6 6 Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief.

        Jesus’ predictions did not prove wrong…..but they were not fully implemented (in the first century) because of unbelief. Instead the Jewish nation was destroyed and Christians vindicated.

        The time of the gentiles is almost ended: Revelation 10:7 But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets.

        All the instability in the middle east is a precursor to what is about to happen and the full outworking of all prophecy.

        Revelation 10:6-7 And sware by him that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer: 7 But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets.

        So, you carry on with your unbelief and call God a liar (let God be true and every man a liar Rom.3.4) and see where that gets you.

        The time is short, and you may live to see with your own eyes….but for you it will be too late.

        • Re: “You are conflating interpretation with ‘adding” to the bible.'”

          Yes, I am, because that’s what you’re doing. You claim that, when Jesus spoke about “the Son of Man coming in his kingdom” and “the kingdom of God returning in his power,” Jesus actually “meant” to speak of a different event (i.e. the destruction of Jerusalem). The destruction of Jerusalem is not mentioned in those verses, therefore you’re clearly adding this in.

          Re: “Titus was merely the instrument of destruction –you are setting up a weak straw-man argument so you can knock it down.”

          There is nothing in scripture which says Titus had been your deity’s agent of destruction. Moreover, as I said, in those verses, Jesus never brought up the destruction of Jerusalem at all.

          Re: “Early Christians did expect an early return –that much is obvious –but there is such a thing as freewill.”

          That’s the second time you’ve conceded I’m correct on one point … but then you clutter it up with yet another addition to your scripture: Your Bible does not mention “free will.” It certainly doesn’t describe it as something that could, conceivably, delay Jesus’ return. On that score, too, you’re violating Rev 22’s injunction against adding to your Bible.

          Re: “The Jewish nation chose to reject the gospel …”

          Irrelevant. We’re talking about Jesus’ failed prediction. Stay on point, please.

          Re: “Jesus’ predictions did not prove wrong …”

          Yes they did. I explained how … twice, now. If you’re having trouble with reading comprehension, there’s little I can do for you except suggest you go back to first grade and start your education over.

          Re: “All the instability in the middle east is a precursor to what is about to happen and the full outworking of all prophecy.”

          “The instability in the Middle East” is the product of it having a large, and old (since it’s the birthplace of civilization), population, coupled with environmental and societal factors that incentivize instability. It’s not the product of “prophecy.” If you knew anything about history, you’d understand this. I have a degree in the subject, though, and know better.

          Re: “So, you carry on with your unbelief and call God a liar (let God be true and every man a liar Rom.3.4) and see where that gets you.”

          Hmm. That sounds vaguely like a threat.

          Re: “The time is short, and you may live to see with your own eyes….but for you it will be too late.”

          OK, so your threat above just became more clear. Is that all you’ve got left … threats of eternal perdition? If that’s all you — or your deity — can resort to, then neither of you has anything at all. I have no intention of knuckling under to some megalomaniac sky-tyrant who somehow feels the need to threaten people into worshipping him/her/it. And I have even less intention of knuckling under to you because you’re sicking your deity on me.

          When you — and your deity — grow up for once and can move beyond threats of eternal damnation, let me know, and then we might be able to have a fruitful discussion. Until then I have no interest in anything you say, backed up by your threat.

      • PWan

        Just noticed that you again quoted passages that reference the TRANSFIGURATION. I already explained that the passages reference the vision-experience of Peter, James and John on the mount. Another false straw-man argument. If you pick and mix passages like this disregarding the context no wonder you can’t make sense of it. I already explained these passages. They have nothing to do with the return of Jesus or the destruction of Jerusalem or the Olivet prophecy.

        False straw-man argument.

        • Re: “Just noticed that you again quoted passages that reference the TRANSFIGURATION.”

          No, I’m not. Nothing in them mentions anything like the transfiguration. Nice try adding stuff to your Bible … but I’m nowhere near stupid enough to swallow anything so ridiculous as that. You’ll have to try swindling someone else.

          • PWan

            Full passage below. But that won’t matter to you as you like to take verses out of context (note the word transfiguration in v.2). Therefore you are not “adding” you are “removing” LOL exactly what you accuse others of doing…..dishonest….. I have no respect for your deliberate manipulation as you say “swindling”…..although you made some good points you lost the argument when you became dishonest

            Mark 9:1-13 KJV Mark 9:1 And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power. 2 And after six days Jesus taketh with him Peter, and James, and John, and leadeth them up into an high mountain apart by themselves: and he was transfigured before them. 3 And his raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them. 4 And there appeared unto them Elias with Moses: and they were talking with Jesus. 5 And Peter answered and said to Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. 6 For he wist not what to say; for they were sore afraid. 7 And there was a cloud that overshadowed them: and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him. 8 And suddenly, when they had looked round about, they saw no man any more, save Jesus only with themselves. 9 And as they came down from the mountain, he charged them that they should tell no man what things they had seen, till the Son of man were risen from the dead. 10 And they kept that saying with themselves, questioning one with another what the rising from the dead should mean. 11 And they asked him, saying, Why say the scribes that Elias must first come? 12 And he answered and told them, Elias verily cometh first, and restoreth all things; and how it is written of the Son of man, that he must suffer many things, and be set at nought. 13 But I say unto you, That Elias is indeed come, and they have done unto him whatsoever they listed, as it is written of him.

          • How nice of you to quote scripture at me as though I don’t know what it is, or as though I’m trying to hide other parts of it from my reader. (How, exactly, do you think I’m doing that, if I not only provide exact citations for reader reference, but also provide Web links that will allow the reader to read any part of the Bible online if they wish to? Where, exactly, do you get off telling me I’m trying to obfuscate anything? I can’t. When it comes to Bible quotations, the full texts are out there. Anyone and everyone can get their hands on them at any time.)

            Also, you say that I quote your Bible “out of context,” but did you notice there’s a break in the narrative between verses 1 and 2 of Mark 9? Specifically, there are six intervening days. Jesus wasn’t talking about “the kingdom of God come with power” and then immediately leapt into the Transfiguration. The “context” is broken between those two verses.

            Note: That they’re shown as part of a single chapter in a gospel is anachronistic. Like all the rest of the Bible books, the gospels, Mark included, wasn’t originally written with chapter designations or verses. They were written simply as one long string of text, with no breaks of any kind. Not even punctuation! To assume Mark 9 constitutes an organic whole makes no sense. You’d understand that, if you had any knowledge of the New Testament texts in their original form (and in κοινη Greek, too) … but like the vast majority of American fundies who cling so desperately to their Bibles, you have no idea about any of that.

            What’s more, the Transfiguration was a vision. That’s all, just a vision. It wasn’t “the kingdom of God [actually] come with power.” You can tell me repeatedly until you’re blue in the face that the Transfiguration equalled “the kingdom of God come with power,” but no amount of repetition can ever magically make that claim come true. It was always false, it is false now, and it will remain false for all eternity. (And why is that? It’s because argumentum ad nauseam is a fallacy. That’s why.)

            Come back to me when you actually know what you’re talking about. OK?

          • PWan

            I thought the bible was written in English! LOL I have been doing statistical analysis on Greek Function Words….using PCA (Principle Component Analysis) LDA (Linear Discriminant Analysis) and different types of Clustering (Kmeans, EM etc) including machine learning algorithms to establish dating ranges etc. I am busy making an indexed Scripture Analyzer program in the original Greek text with Strong’s numbers and English text. I have applied intertextuality to the text as well as rhetorical, form and source criticism and have produced peer reviewed articles on numerous biblical (both OT and NT) subjects. I have studied comparative religion and am widely read on the subject and the fact is that you are simply wrong and refuse to admit it. This is not an “appeal to authority” simply a statement of my qualifications. What are your qualifications? You can read? (badly). Grow up or get another hobby instead of trying to undermine Christian faith with your silly comments and bad exposition. You think it is all hokum? Nobody cares what you think when you mishandle scriptures so poorly to “prove” your point. You are simply wrong. Suck it up.

          • Re: ” I have applied intertextuality to the text …”

            … yet you still confuse a mere vision with “the kingdom of God returning with his power.” Nice! What an intellectual achievement that was!

            Re: “I have studied comparative religion and am widely read on the subject and the fact is that you are simply wrong and refuse to admit it.”

            No, I am not wrong. Nothing I have said is factually incorrect. You, on the other hand, have invented stuff, such as what Jesus “meant” to say, as opposed to what he actually said. I will not admit error, because I have made none here. You have.

            Are you mature enough to admit it? Why do I doubt it?

            Re: “What are your qualifications? You can read? (badly).”

            I’ve got a dual degree in history and linguistics. What more would you like? What more would be sufficient for you? If all you want is for me to collapse, capitulate to you entirely, and join your bizarre, laughable cult … well, no, that’s not going to happen. So I suspect there are no qualifications I could ever possess which would meet your own subjective standards.

            Re: “Grow up or get another hobby instead of trying to undermine Christian faith with your silly comments and bad exposition.”

            Grow up, yourself! Stop telling other people what to do. Stop saying I shouldn’t be permitted to say what I want. If you don’t like me pointing out Christianity’s absurdities, there’s an easy solution to that problem: Remove the absurdity! Until you do, I plan to critique Christianity to the degree it deserves. I plan to expose its irrationality and illogic at every step. I will not shut up merely because you’ve demanded I do so.

            Re: “Nobody cares what you think when you mishandle scriptures so poorly to ‘prove’ your point.”

            First, I have proven my point. You haven’t even come close to a refutation. Second, it’s just you and your fundie ilk who cares what I say … but (oddly enough) I really don’t care that you don’t care.

            Re: “You are simply wrong.”

            No I am not. You are.

            Re: “Suck it up.”

            You should. So why won’t you? You’re not mature enough to admit your religiosity is founded on bullshit and lies? If so, that’s not my problem. Your own immaturity is yours to deal with.

    • PWan

      PS. Reading comprehension and context help with interpretation. Can you delineate the three separate questions in the passage below?

      Matthew 24:3 3 And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?

      You conflate all of the questions asked by the disciples to set up your straw-man argument. Please be honest. You don’t want to believe? That is fine by me but stop setting up false arguments…greater minds than yours have accepted Christianity including perhaps the finest scientist of all time, Sir Isaac Newton. You need to learn to differentiate between ALREADY and NOT YET that is how prophecy works. The veracity of the prophet was tested against the short term fulfillment lending credence to the longer term application. This acts as a template or prism through which to view the end….patterns….and more patterns (types/allusions).

      I understand that you don’t get it, I really do. You need to justify your unbelief. Do you feel better now? (See, I can be patronizing just like you).

      • Re: “You conflate all of the questions asked by the disciples to set up your straw-man argument.”

        There’s no “straw man” here. I’m showing the words on the page and how they constitute a prediction which has failed to come true and cannot ever come true at any time in the future. You’re the one complicating the scenario by adding in crap that Jesus had, somehow, “meant” to say, but never actually spoke of at that time.

        Re: “Please be honest. You don’t want to believe?”

        It’s not a matter of “want.” It’s a matter of “can’t,” because the words on the page fall short, and don’t compel belief on my part.

        Re: ” That is fine by me but stop setting up false arguments …”

        … says the Christian who’s clearly lying about what Jesus said, and also lying about me. Well done!

        Re: “… greater minds than yours have accepted Christianity including perhaps the finest scientist of all time, Sir Isaac Newton.”

        That’s called an “appeal to authority,” and is fallacious. I’m under no mandate to believe merely because Newton did and he was a smart man. It’s illogical for you to demand that of me.

        Re: “You need to learn to differentiate between ALREADY and NOT YET that is how prophecy works.”

        You need to read the words on the page, not other words you’d prefer had been there in their place.

        Re: “The veracity of the prophet was tested …”

        … and proven false. That’s really all that needs to be said.

        Re: “I understand that you don’t get it, I really do. You need to justify your unbelief.”

        No, I don’t. I don’t have to justify anything to you. For you to presume that I somehow think it’s my job to justify not believing in your deity, is to assume I have an obligation to believe as you do. But I don’t. No such obligation exists. I don’t have to believe as you do … and I don’t have to justify that refusal, either.

        • PWan

          Deleted due to display error

          • PWan

            Your arguments are becoming more strident and less amenable to reason
            but I suppose that is to be expected. Not nice to have your reality
            challenged and your straw -man arguments demolished. Doubling down on
            your confirmation bias and deliberately misinterpreting what I am saying
            and what Jesus is saying will not help you. Everyone of your arguments
            has been demonstrated to be wrong.

            Re: “You conflate all of the questions asked by the disciples to set up your straw-man argument.”

            There’s
            no “straw man” here. I’m showing the words on the page and how they
            constitute a prediction which has failed to come true and cannot ever
            come true at any time in the future. You’re the one complicating the
            scenario by adding in crap that Jesus had, somehow, “meant” to say, but
            never actually spoke of at that time.

            **You did not answer the problem I posed regarding the three questions in Matt.24.3. you cannot answer because an honest answer disproves your theory, instead you attacked me….deflection and obfuscation.**

            Re: “Please be honest. You don’t want to believe?”

            It’s not a matter of “want.” It’s a matter of “can’t,” because the words on
            the page fall short, and don’t compel belief on my part.

            **it is not the words that fall short it is your deliberate misinterpretation…you are doing what you accuse Christians of….confirmation=”” bias….you deliberately misread and take out of context so it is YOU THAT FALLS SHORT AND NOT THE TEXT**

            Re: ” That is fine by me but stop setting up false arguments …”

            … says the Christian who’s clearly lying about what Jesus said, and also lying about me. Well done!

            **Clearly you do not like getting caught misquoting and taking out of context such as your TRANSFIGURATION TEXT which is such an elementary interpretive mistake and blatant error that it is quite funny and makes you look foolish (LOL) or desperate or both**

            Re: “… greater minds than yours have accepted Christianity including perhaps the finest scientist of all time, Sir Isaac Newton.”

            That’s called an “appeal to authority,” and is fallacious. I’m under no mandate to believe merely because Newton did and he was a smart man. It’s illogical for you to demand that of me.

            **WRONG AGAIN, not an appeal to authority as I think Newton got
            much of his interpretation (of Revelation) incorrect although he offered astute observations on other biblical subjects. I am simply demonstrating that belief in Jesus is not unreasonable or irrational…even for someone who is critical and scientifically minded. Newton saw no contradiction or unfulfilled prophecies. All that I “demand of you” is that you are open minded which you are clearly not….SO WRONG AGAIN**

            Re: “You need to learn to differentiate between ALREADY and NOT YET that is how prophecy works.”

            You need to read the words on the page, not other words you’d prefer had been there in their place.

            **Now you clearly demonstrate that you actually know nothing about how
            prophecy works. The words in Matt 24.3 (on the page) clearly delineate
            different time-frames. You ignore them. Rather pathetic….WRONG
            AGAIN**

            Re: “The veracity of the prophet was tested …”

            … and proven false. That’s really all that needs to be said.

            **The only thing that has been proven is that you are not open minded and you are so desperate to make Jesus a false prophet and liar that you are dishonest….that’s really all that needs to be said…SO SAD**

            Re: “I understand that you don’t get it, I really do. You need to justify your unbelief.”

            No,
            I don’t. I don’t have to justify anything to you. For you to presume
            that I somehow think it’s my job to justify not believing in your deity,
            is to assume I have an obligation to believe as you do. But I don’t. No
            such obligation exists. I don’t have to believe as you do … and I
            don’t have to justify that refusal, either.

            **Well for someone who wants to demonstrate how deluded all
            Christians are and TROLLS SCRIPTURE (your cut and paste approach is not interpretation but trolling) to “prove” your point, me thinks thou
            doest protest too much. Why not just go quietly into that dark night? No, you want to point out how Jesus lied and how wrong and
            stupid Christians are. LOL Pathetic. You are obviously not susceptible to reason and blinded by bias. I have better things to do with
            my time perhaps I should take the advice of my Lord (who is not a liar): Matthew 7:6 Give not that which is holy unto the dogs,neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn
            again and rend you.**

          • Re: “Your arguments are becoming more strident and less amenable to reason …”

            You just described your own.

            Re: “Not nice to have your reality challenged and your straw -man arguments demolished.”

            Yes it is. You’ve obviously been shaken by my critique of “Biblical prophecy” and are reacting childishly to it, mainly by launching personal attacks on me. As for my having used a “straw man,” you keep using that phrase, but haven’t shown that I’ve used one. I don’t think you know what it means.

            Re: “Doubling down on your confirmation bias and deliberately misinterpreting what I am saying and what Jesus is saying will not help you.”

            “Confirmation bias” is also another phrase I doubt you understand, you’re just hurling it at me because you have nothing left. Also, as for “deliberately misinterpreting … what Jesus is saying,” I haven’t done that. YOU, on the other hand, have. Remember when you said that, when Jesus spoke about “the Son of Man coming in his kingdom” and “the kingdom of God returning in his power,” he had actually “meant” to speak of a different event (i.e. the destruction of Jerusalem). That’s your “interpretation” of his words … which have no basis in fact. As I said, the destruction of Jerusalem is not mentioned in those verses, therefore you’re clearly adding this in.

            Re: “**it is not the words that fall short it is your deliberate misinterpretation…you are doing what you accuse Christians of….confirmation=”” bias….you deliberately misread and take out of context so it is YOU THAT FALLS SHORT AND NOT THE TEXT**

            I don’t know what this gibberish is about, except that you’re again accusing me of adding things to the Bible and “taking things out of context” when it’s YOU who’ve done both (and I have done neither). Hypocrite much? Stop accusing me of what YOU are doing. Again, I have put forth the actual words of the Bible rather than what “they meant” (which can be anything).

            Re: “**Well for someone who wants to demonstrate how deluded all Christians are and TROLLS SCRIPTURE (your cut and paste approach is not interpretation but trolling) to “prove” your point, me thinks thou doest protest too much.”

            Yes, Christians are deluded. Absolutely! And that is my point. I am not justifying my non-belief. I am critiquing yours. Yes, I am allowed to do that, and no, that does not make me a “troll,” people have been doing that for a couple centuries. I’m not sure what it is you think I copied-&-pasted, other than the Bible quotations; if you’re accusing me of plagiarism, go ahead and show who and what I copied without attribution.

            Re: “Why not just go quietly into that dark night?”

            Why don’t you? Why are you here, laughably telling me what Jesus “meant” and demanding that I swallow your bullshit, rather than talking about the actual words he reportedly said?

            Re: “No, you want to point out how Jesus lied and how wrong and
            stupid Christians are.”

            To be clear: I don’t even know if there ever was a Jesus, and if there was, I have no idea what he did or didn’t say. So no, my point isn’t that “Jesus lied.” It is, instead, all about what early Christians reported he said, and about what Christians think he said, based on those reports (i.e. the gospels). It’s also about the consequences of deciding that the Bible is “prophecy” when there are passages in it in which explicit predictions were made, but which never came true and now cannot ever possibly come true in the future. My point is about the hilarious absurdity of what Christians — and more specifically, fundamentalists like yourself — have done with their own religion.

            Re: “You are obviously not susceptible to reason and blinded by bias.”

            Ah, the “bias” accusation. To paraphrase Isaac Asimov, that’s the last refuge of the intellectually bankrupt.

            Re: “I have better things to do with my time …”

            Good. I suggest you get to them, then.

            Re: “… perhaps I should take the advice of my Lord (who is not a liar): Matthew 7:6 Give not that which is holy unto the dogs,neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn
            again and rend you.**”

            So you’re calling me a dog. How nice of you! Why, that’s obviously the best way to convince me of the truth of everything you say. It’s also a wonderful way of being an ambassador of your faith.

            Thank you for living down to all my expectations of fundie Christians. You are one of the reasons I’m glad to have left that all behind.