Apocalypse When?

FEAR is a great tool to control, manipulate, and corrupt the crowds. Both in church and in society.

So many Senators are powered by fear nowadays, even if they have to compromise national security.

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Barry, patience!
Just a few more days!
(but those might be thousand year days. Or something…)

Those assured clemency look forward for judgment!

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The earliest Christian writings, those of Paul which make up half of the New Testament, seem to know nothing of a historical Jesus recently doing his thing in Galilee and Jerusalem. Paul’s Jesus is presented as having been a cosmic deity who descended through the layers of the heavens to the level of the daemons who killed him (in the cosmos) after which he was resurrected and rose back through the layers of the heavens back to the presence of Yahweh (compare this to a contemporary Jewish myth called “The Ascension of Isaiah”). No Galilean ministry, no preaching, no miracles, no cleaning of the temple, no crucifixion (either by Romans or Jews), no empty tomb, etc. If all we had were the epistles, the concept of a historical man named Jesus as we “know” from the gospels would not exist.

Decades later, someone wrote the Gospel of Mark creating a “biography” of a man named Jesus. His sources seemed to have been composite; Several characters known to history through Josephus (Jesus, the son of the high priest who predicted the destruction of the temple, the Egyptian who was dressed in royal robes, the preacher in the wilderness, Vespasian who worked a miracle using spittle, etc), Odysseus from Homer (see Dennis MacDonald), several pericopes from Isaiah and Zechariah, the Psalms, and even Julius Caesar. R.L. Price has recently shown Mark’s dependence on Paul’s teachings to help in creating several scenes. At some later time, the writers of the Gospels of Matthew and Luke used Mark’s narrative to greatly expand the legend, but in irreconcilable ways. The genealogies are completely different, the birth dates are off by many years, the birth stories are incompatible, their sayings are inserted into different points in Mark’s narrative, the details of the triumphal entry are off, Matthew creates his own zombie apocalypse with his night of the living dead on the Friday of the crucifixion, and both create irreconcilable resurrection narratives (something lacking in Mark). John’s gospel goes a step further and makes Jesus out to be Yahweh himself. Legends do tend to expand over time.

In short, the primitive Pauline cosmic Christ was given a life on earth, a biography, and a historical reason for the Christian supercession of Judaism. Of course not all “Christians” followed this current of thought. One searches in vain in other early Christian writings concerned with a historical Jesus. They sound more like a philosophical society concerned with ascetic ethics. Others, the gnostics, went in a totally mystical direction. We know which tradition won.

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Lots to consider here. Stories do change over time. In 19th and 20th century America at a time when science and other fields of knowledge were making astounding leaps, Adventists had Mrs. White holding up a very large Bible higher than the level of her pumping heart for an extended period of time. Myth making does happen and it may take a bit of detective work for scholars to determine what bits are historically accurate.

edit: Tim mentioned Bart Ehrman in his post above. As Tim alluded to, in some of Dr. Ehrman’s works his aim is to do this type of historical sleuthing. (involving New Testament writings, not Mrs. White’s)

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“Those who assure themselves clemency look forward for judgment.”

There. I fixed it for you :innocent:

Well, the universe is 14 billion years old and the planet is about 5 billion years old, so 176 years isn’t really that long, right? :slight_smile:

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It was pointed out to me in recent study that in the bible Jesus often seems to refer to himself and another, referred to in the third person as “the son of a man” or “the son of a human person”, which in some translations is printed with caps as if a title, “The Son of Man”.

But, when reading a transliteration from Greek, it seems that Jesus is referring to someone else, more so than in the translations that have been smoothed over to make the English seem natural.

Here’s what I mean:

What for does it profit a man to gain the world whole and to lose the soul of him? What for shall give a man an exchange for the soul of him? Whoever for if may be ashamed of me and my words in the generation this adulterous and sinful, also the son of a man will be ashamed of him when he shall come in the glory of the father of him, with the messengers holy. - Mark 8 36 - 38.

So, basically he says “Whoever is ashamed of me and my message, when the son of a man comes he will be ashamed of you!”

This pattern repeats over an over in the new testament, where Jesus first refers to himself in the first person “me”, and then in the same sentence or thought refers to “the son of a man”. And, we have been coached to think that is in this way still referring to himself.

It would be like me saying, “I think it’s important for you to eat well, and if you don’t Tim Teichman will make you pay one day.” It doesn’t make any sense, IMO, to say Jesus is talking about himself at these points.

So I’m wondering who Jesus was talking about…

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Well, I struggle with faith. The more I study the bible and Christianity, the more it seems like Christianity, though an outgrowth from Judaism, was tailor-made to appeal to the Pagans who made up the largest part of the early church, eventually to dominate. Christianity didn’t really appeal to Jews that much as they were not expecting the anointed one to in any way live the life (and death) that Jesus did.

Many aspects of Christianity, of the Jesus story now recorded in the bible (but transmitted orally at the time), were close enough to Pagan practices to appeal to the Pagans, who then converted. And then the reverse happened and Jesus became in many ways seen just as the Pagan demigods were seen. He was seen as conceived of a human woman and a god, and as coming to live among humans for a time and then returning to the heavens, just as the demigods did. He was seen as a savior, as an intercessor, just as the demigods were.

As much as these core teaching of Christianity appear to have a Pagan basis, many other trappings of the Church are also similar to Paganism. Saints, angels (human like creatures with wings), praying to beings other than the high God - including ancestors - among them. Also the idea that priests can intercede for us before God, and the idea that we should suffer in this world, should pay penance, for our sins.

When studying the new testament, it also becomes clear from reading the books in the order they were likely written and comparing them over time, that an increasingly high Christology is presented. Even when reading just the Gospels and comparing them, we can see Jesus being treated more and more like a god. This is true especially in John, the last of the Gospels written. The Gospel, the good news, got better and better over time.

In Mark, the earliest of the Gospels, there is no story of Jesus having any sort of special birth, no pregnancy caused by God. There is an empty grave, but not one that anyone ever finds out about.

Mark starts with Jesus baptism:
The beginning of the good news about Jesus the anointed one as it is written in Isaiah the prophet:…And so John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins…At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the wind descending on him like a dove. And a voice came out of the heavens: “You are my son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”

Mark ends with:
“Don’t be alarmed,” he [a young man in white robes] said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’” Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid."

Consider Mark by itself and you’d perhaps have a very different picture of the nature of Jesus. And yet even Mark was written decades after Jesus death by someone who never met him or heard him speak.

Do you think Jesus’ identity changed after the crucifixion, and especially after the resurrection. He came from the grave as the “first fruits” representing resurrected humanity.

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I don’t know. This was one of the competing views of Jesus in the early centuries, I think. Others thought he was transformed at his baptism, which may be why Mark starts there. Some held that he was not God (there is only one God, right?) but instead a sort of demi-god, a son of God in the literal sense.

This is where the Trinity confuses things as well. God is identified as Spirit (Jn4:24), to begin with; and then you have the Hoy Spirit, and Jesus as the Son of the spirit, God. The relationship Jesus sets up, God as Father, seems to be in context of the Hebrew culture surrounding authority. His message throughout his ministry was to reach individuals, demonstrated by his interactions with various people. His ultimate message is “the coming kingdom”; and how it has already come in the hearts and minds of God’s people - to be actualized in some future. The miracles were evidence of that kingdom making inroads in the present, indicating God’s kingdom is not of this present world.

J.B.Philips sees Jesus as the aperture through which we, humans, are able to see God (the spirit God). It’s difficult to identify with something as ambiguous as a SPIRIT -so, He came as human - spiritually. I say spiritually because Jesus obviously was made of flesh. So we’re dealing with spirituality, not holy flesh different from our flesh - a man.

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it truly is sad to see what the GOP is doing in the senate, after seeing what they did in the house…it does look like trump will be acquitted by this time next week…but this will only be a temporary reprieve, given what’s working it’s way through the courts…

SCOTUS will hear cases based on access to trump’s tax records in june…in fact arguments will start in march…hopefully chief justice roberts will be so disgusted by what he’s seeing in the senate, he’ll side with the liberals on the court and force trump to disclose what he’s been hiding for over 3 yrs…bombshell revelations involving russia’s hold on trump could very well be this yr’s october surprise…

of course if the dems take over the senate in november, while retaining the house, there is the real possibility of a second impeachment, assuming trump wins the presidential election, given the fact that the mcgahn case will likely be settled at some point before 2024…in this case, we could very well see the first removal of a president in the history of the country, which would be worth seeing…

whatever one thinks of trump, there’s no question his presidency has been riveting…it’s been a train wreck in the making that we just can’t keep our eyes from…

Grown men, imagine, scared, i mean TERRIFIED, quaking in their boots, over liberal fairy tales. I’m told there is some hope for such irrational fears, phobias, philias, though perhaps not here.

And off topic-way off topic, again.

Can’t you guys help yourselves-at ALL?

The @webEd admin doesn’t seem to enforce the “off topic” rules, apparently whenever they veer left.

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This has nothing to do with 176 being a very small fraction of 14 or 5 billion. None of us can comprehend time periods like 14 billion or 5 billion years. But we can all understand the meaning of “soon.” When I tell my teenage daughter to be home soon after 10 pm, we both have a good idea of what that means and what it doesn’t—be home by 10:30 pm; not by 3:00 am.

Various writers of letters in the New Testament promised to visit their readers “soon” or to send an associate to them “soon”, invited their readers to visit them “soon,” or anticipated their death “soon.” Surely, they all expected these things to take place within days, weeks, or months not dozens or hundreds of years later. (See 1 Cor 4:19; Phil 2:19, 23-24; 1 Tim 3:14; 2 Tim 4:9; Heb 13:19; 2 Pet 1:14; 3 Jn 14)

As an eschatological declaration, “soon” surely means within one’s lifetime. I reject the historicist interpretation of Revelation for many reasons, but one of them is the use of “soon” in the document. The text quotes Jesus promising to come “soon” (2:16; 3:11; 22: 7, 12, 20), and the writer refers to “what must soon take place” (1:1; 22:6). I contend that the writer expected his original readers to understand what he was writing. Therefore, “soon” in Revelation must be within the average lifetime of its readers. That fact that Jesus did not return within their lifetimes is merely further evidence of the prevailing New Testament failed contention that Jesus would return within the 1st century or the early 2nd century.

Likewise, “soon” today should also mean at least within one’s lifetime. The time since 1844 is two lifetimes. That fact alone destroys the credibility of the Adventist proclamation of the “soon” coming of Jesus.

Thanks, @waten.

You said:

As an eschatological declaration, “soon” surely means within one’s lifetime. … “Soon” today should also mean at least within one’s lifetime. The time since 1844 is two lifetimes. That fact alone destroys the credibility of the Adventist proclamation of the “soon” coming of Jesus.

In response:

If “the days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years” (Psalm 90:10), and if “the living know that they will die; But the dead know nothing” (Ecclesiasties 9:5), doesn’t this mean, effectively, cognitively, that every person is no more than 70-80 years from Christ’s return?

I would add:

I don’t think that people who are actively engaged in executing the Gospel Commission, and who see the size of this work against the brevity of their own lifetimes, think that God is taking a long time to return.

Indeed, I think the older one gets, the more one realizes that the amount of time they have been given feels woefully inadequate. What I’m saying, here, is just another expression of the common observation that, when one is very busy, time flies, but when one is unoccupied, it crawls.

I should further add:

I’m one of those people who agree with the late Dr. Desmond Ford that the last days began at the Resurrection. I also believe that the return of Christ is soon, but that it could happen 500 to 1,000 years from now, or even more; say, 2,000, or 10,000 years, for example.

As you say, “Be home soon after 10” implies a given understanding of the adverb soon that your teenager comprehends. But it would have a different meaning should, at her graduation from high school, you think, “Soon, she’ll probably be a mother.” Or, should she have children, and as you hold your grandson, you reflect on how fast your daughter’s life went by, and you think, “Soon, this little baby will be driving, then having babies of his own.”

Or, going back to the present, if you are, say, a planetary geologist, you might tell your teenage daughter, “Soon, the Earth cooled.”

Each of these scenarios applies the term soon in an appropriate way, but against widely varied timescales—from half an hour to 4 billion years.

So, the question is, to my thinking, “What was the truest, best way Christ could temporally characterize His return?” By this, I mean not only the way that would do the most human good, but the way that is most accurate, especially when considered against the time scales involved.

I’d hold that, given all of the above, that way is soon.

HA

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@Harry_Allen I’ve sometimes considered in my occasionally wildly unleashed imaginings that a God unconstrained by time, space, matter (or human imaginings/thought/reason) that perhaps we limit God by believing he will return at a single point in eschatological time as measured by human chronology. In the “instant forever” of kairos, we who are trapped in chronos cannot comprehend that such an unconstrained God may have already come-it is we who have to “come to him”.
Perhaps it is not until Satans impeachment of God is concluded and his character and governance found innocent that all of we mortals-living, and already dead and resurrected are concurrently cognitive of that. Consider the provocative thought, if the dead in Christ are already “with him” in kairos, what have they to do with those of us still in our three-score and ten (or twenty, or as my very fundamental father even 32) chronos of solar laps?

I’m not suggesting the anathematic thought that once a person dies he becomes aware of his translation, but what of that those not “dead in christ”? They never, apparently, have that unknown blind date with kairos…I’d suggest our current understanding is perhaps less “set in stone” than the epitaph “in the rolled stone” that HE IS RISEN! We have to be cautious when we “shut the door” on what TRUTH is-and how God deals with those of us deluded into untruth (by the father of lies)

I know-I’m rambling, where’d i put the leash this time?
Nevertheless, thank you for your thoughts-
and thank God for you sharing them!

PS to add:

BTW, does time even scale to infinity?

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I copy the following from some where. I can’t recall, but it seems like a good response to this article:

"God’s timing is not always easily understandable but it is always perfect to accomplish His will” (Andrews Study Bible pp. 594, 595). Moreover, one of the qualities He seeks to develop in His children is patience (see Rev. 14:12). Hence, what He is doing in us while we are waiting, is as important as what we are waiting for. Therefore, “Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, wait on the Lord. "

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Yes, with God there is no ‘time’ as we count it. Einstein changed our concept of time and space. Some science believe there is no past or future - everything is “now”; so, along with what you say, we have to catch up to the future as it already exists. “Christ slain from the foundation of the world”. Just a thought.

Fear did not work in Noah’s day. The antediluvians believed that a loving God would not hurt His creation until they realized that they should have had a little more fear when it came to heeding God’s waring.

I cringe whenever I hear one of my brothers or sisters speak as if they alone have an unconstrainable God in their tiny little denomination, church, book, version, school, op hands.
We do that with alarming alacrity-almost as fast as we “shut the door” in the face of some other “ism”.

I so agree with what your last statement implies.

@Hischild,

I thought of asking how you know what the pre-flood people thought of God, but then thought better of so doing when i comprehended what my present day cohorts (or myself) feel about God.