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PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2012 3:19 pm 
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The synoptic gospels are dated earlier than all other early Christian writings except the authentic Pauline epistles. How do we know? Basically, the gospels of Mark, Matthew and Luke each contain prophecies of an imminent global apocalypse.

Why is this relevant? Because an opinion popular among mythicists is that the myth of Jesus originated as something spiritual or divine, getting "historicized" only later in the myth. However, the evidence shows the contrary. The earlier texts portray Jesus as more human and more imminently apocalyptic, but the later texts portray Jesus as more divine and less imminently apocalyptic. The mythicist position is a position that is improbable on the face of the evidence. It isn't impossible, but I think it should be understandable that reasonable thinkers would disagree.

Two passages in Mark (derivatives also found in Matthew and Luke) quote Jesus as follows:

    Mark 9:1 - And he said to them, ‘Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see that the kingdom of God has come with power.’

    Mark 13:30 - Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place.

A counterpoint is that Jesus was actually talking about the destruction of the temple, not a full apocalypse, when he was quoted as saying these things. I have heard this argument more than once, and I can't help but think that the person who first made the argument forgot to read the passages in Mark.

Here is the context of Mark 9:1.

    31 Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 33But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, ‘Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.’

    34 He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, ‘If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 35For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. 36For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? 37Indeed, what can they give in return for their life? 38Those who are ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of them the Son of Man will also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.’ 91And he said to them, ‘Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see that the kingdom of God has come with power.’

And here is the context of Mark 13:30.

    13As he came out of the temple, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Look, Teacher, what large stones and what large buildings!’ 2Then Jesus asked him, ‘Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone will be left here upon another; all will be thrown down.’

    3 When he was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John, and Andrew asked him privately, 4‘Tell us, when will this be, and what will be the sign that all these things are about to be accomplished?’ 5Then Jesus began to say to them, ‘Beware that no one leads you astray. 6Many will come in my name and say, “I am he!” and they will lead many astray. 7When you hear of wars and rumours of wars, do not be alarmed; this must take place, but the end is still to come. 8For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be earthquakes in various places; there will be famines. This is but the beginning of the birth pangs.

    9 ‘As for yourselves, beware; for they will hand you over to councils; and you will be beaten in synagogues; and you will stand before governors and kings because of me, as a testimony to them. 10And the good news must first be proclaimed to all nations. 11When they bring you to trial and hand you over, do not worry beforehand about what you are to say; but say whatever is given you at that time, for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit. 12Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death; 13and you will be hated by all because of my name. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.

    14 ‘But when you see the desolating sacrilege set up where it ought not to be (let the reader understand), then those in Judea must flee to the mountains; 15someone on the housetop must not go down or enter the house to take anything away; 16someone in the field must not turn back to get a coat. 17Woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing infants in those days! 18Pray that it may not be in winter. 19For in those days there will be suffering, such as has not been from the beginning of the creation that God created until now, no, and never will be. 20And if the Lord had not cut short those days, no one would be saved; but for the sake of the elect, whom he chose, he has cut short those days. 21And if anyone says to you at that time, “Look! Here is the Messiah!” or “Look! There he is!”—do not believe it. 22False messiahs and false prophets will appear and produce signs and omens, to lead astray, if possible, the elect. 23But be alert; I have already told you everything.

    24 ‘But in those days, after that suffering,
    the sun will be darkened,
    and the moon will not give its light,
    25 and the stars will be falling from heaven,
    and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.
    26Then they will see “the Son of Man coming in clouds” with great power and glory. 27Then he will send out the angels, and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.

    28 ‘From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. 29So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near, at the very gates. 30Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. 31Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

    32 ‘But about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 33Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come. 34It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his slaves in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to be on the watch. 35Therefore, keep awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or at dawn, 36or else he may find you asleep when he comes suddenly. 37And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake.’

When Jesus said, "all these things," he was seemingly referring to the whole of his apocalyptic prophecies, including: "Then they will see 'the Son of Man coming in clouds' with great power and glory. Then he will send out the angels, and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven," spoken directly before the given deadline. It was not merely about the siege of Jerusalem and the fall of the temple.

This belief in an imminent apocalypse is echoed in two of the epistles of Paul (emphasis added).

    1 Corinthians 15:50-54 - 50 What I am saying, brothers and sisters,* is this: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51Listen, I will tell you a mystery! We will not all die, [fall asleep] but we will all be changed, 52in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53For this perishable body must put on imperishability, and this mortal body must put on immortality. 54When this perishable body puts on imperishability, and this mortal body puts on immortality, then the saying that is written will be fulfilled:
    ‘Death has been swallowed up in victory.’

    1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 - 13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about those who have died, so that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 14For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have died. 15For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will by no means precede those who have died. 16For the Lord himself, with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call and with the sound of God’s trumpet, will descend from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up in the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the air; and so we will be with the Lord for ever. 18Therefore encourage one another with these words.

If there is any doubt about this, then all doubt should be put to rest by two later passages in the New Testament. These are passages that were apparently written after the passing of the apocalyptic deadline, because they are each excuses for the failure of the prophecy. The prophecies were not fulfilled by the siege of Jerusalem and the fall of the temple, Christians knew it, and they did their darnedest to explain it. John 21:20-23 and 2 Peter 3:3-8 are as follows (emphasis added).

    John 21:20-23 - 20 Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them; he was the one who had reclined next to Jesus at the supper and had said, ‘Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?’ 21When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, ‘Lord, what about him?’ 22Jesus said to him, ‘If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? Follow me!’ 23So the rumour spread in the community that this disciple would not die. Yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but, ‘If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?’

    2 Peter 3:3-8 - 3First of all you must understand this, that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and indulging their own lusts 4and saying, ‘Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since our ancestors died, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation!’

    [...]

    8 But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like one day.

The earliest "Gnostic" text is the Gospel of Thomas, and it is in a similar vein. Verse 113 says:

    (113) His disciples said to him, "When will the kingdom come?"
    <Jesus said,> "It will not come by waiting for it. It will not be a matter of saying 'here it is' or 'there it is.' Rather, the kingdom of the father is spread out upon the earth, and men do not see it."


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2012 9:59 pm 
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Quote:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_testament
Dates of composition

The earliest works which came to be part of the New Testament are the letters of the Apostle Paul. The Gospel of Mark has been dated from as early as the 50s, although many scholars date between the range of 65 and 72.[60] Many scholars believe that Matthew and Luke were written after the composition of Mark as they make use of Mark's content. Therefore they are generally dated later than Mark, although the extent is debated. Matthew has been dated between 70 and 85. Luke has been placed within 80 to 95. However, a select few scholars date the Gospel of Luke much earlier, as Luke indicates in the book of Acts that he has already written the Gospel of Luke prior to writing the introduction to Acts.
The earliest of the books of the New Testament was First Thessalonians, an epistle of Paul, written probably in AD 51, or possibly Galatians in 49 according to one of two theories of its writing. Of the pseudepigraphical epistles, scholars tend to place them somewhere between 70 and 150, with Second Peter usually being the latest.[citation needed]
The earliest of the books of the New Testament was First Thessalonians, an epistle of Paul, written probably in AD 51

Now right away I have to wonder why you're both appealing to the standard idea of NT dating, where the Pauline letters pre-date the Gospels, including Mark, and then present a linear model starting with Mark and the extending into the Pauline epistles as if these Pauline epistles were written to cover up a false prophecy made by Jesus in Mark? It's the other way around actually, these Pauline texts were first and then Mark came later. So you're linear presentation of an evolving failed doomsday apology from Mark to the Pauline Epistles and beyond needs more clarification:
Quote:
Mark 9:1
Mark 13:30
This belief in an imminent apocalypse is echoed in two of the epistles of Paul (emphasis added).
1 Corinthians 15:50-54
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

How is something in Mark "echoed" into these Pauline letters when the opposite is true - when if anything these Pauline letters are "echoed" in Mark which came after right? I'm just trying to follow the reasoning here. This isn't a case of opening up the bible as it's ordered and reading along as if that is a correct linear progression from the Gospels to the Pauline Epistles and forward to Revelation. You have the supposed "oldest" book of 1Thessalonians last on your investigative progress that is suppose to be moving forward in time from an historical Jesus, to Mark, and then to these Pauline letters.

It would seem that you'd need to place everything into the accepted dating scheme and then see what we're looking at. All of Paul first, then the Gospels like Mark, then everything written after Mark. What does that look like?
Quote:
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 - 13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about those who have died, so that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 14For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have died. 15For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will by no means precede those who have died. 16For the Lord himself, with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call and with the sound of God’s trumpet, will descend from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up in the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the air; and so we will be with the Lord for ever. 18Therefore encourage one another with these words.

1 Corinthians 15:50-54 - 50 What I am saying, brothers and sisters,* is this: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51Listen, I will tell you a mystery! We will not all die, [fall asleep] but we will all be changed, 52in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53For this perishable body must put on imperishability, and this mortal body must put on immortality. 54When this perishable body puts on imperishability, and this mortal body puts on immortality, then the saying that is written will be fulfilled:
‘Death has been swallowed up in victory.’

Then, comes the mysterious writer of Mark - who you've agreed elsewhere in other discussions - is not an eye witness, or contemporary of Jesus.
Quote:
Mark 9:1 - And he said to them, ‘Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see that the kingdom of God has come with power.’

Mark 13:30 - Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place.

And then comes later works, and I'll have to take another look at the accepted dating of these as well (I'm of the opinion that the entire NT including the Pauline epistles was written during the second century).
Quote:
John 21:20-23 - 20 Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them; he was the one who had reclined next to Jesus at the supper and had said, ‘Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?’ 21When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, ‘Lord, what about him?’ 22Jesus said to him, ‘If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? Follow me!’ 23So the rumour spread in the community that this disciple would not die. Yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but, ‘If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?’

2 Peter 3:3-8 - 3First of all you must understand this, that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and indulging their own lusts 4and saying, ‘Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since our ancestors died, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation!’

[...]

8 But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like one day.

The earliest "Gnostic" text is the Gospel of Thomas, and it is in a similar vein. Verse 113 says:

(113) His disciples said to him, "When will the kingdom come?"
<Jesus said,> "It will not come by waiting for it. It will not be a matter of saying 'here it is' or 'there it is.' Rather, the kingdom of the father is spread out upon the earth, and men do not see it."

Mark appears to have come in to write behind Paul's letters and try to add to what is written in Paul.

_________________
The Jesus Mythicist Creed:
The "Jesus Christ" of the New Testament is a fictional composite of characters, real and mythical. A composite of multiple "people" is no one.

The celestial Origins of Religious Belief
ZG Part 1
Jesus: Hebrew Human or Mythical Messiah?


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2012 11:20 pm 
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I didn't mean to be misleading with respect to the dating of the Pauline epistles. I agree with the critical establishment concerning the dates of all books in the New Testament, and I place the authentic Pauline epistles in the 50s. The date is plausible given that Paul was a bitter rival of the immediate disciples (and brothers) of Jesus according to his own words in the Epistle to the Galatians, which no Christian would wish to forge (they would want the apostles to appear united behind a single set of doctrines, as in the book of Acts). The epistles are not central to my argument, either, but I include them for completion. They are part of a pattern of the shifting doctrines of apocalypticism in the early Christian writings, and the Pauline epistles are the earliest.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2012 12:26 am 
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We find the idea that flesh can not inherit the Kingdom of God:
Quote:
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 - 13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about those who have died, so that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 14For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have died. 15For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will by no means precede those who have died. 16For the Lord himself, with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call and with the sound of God’s trumpet, will descend from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up in the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the air; and so we will be with the Lord for ever. 18Therefore encourage one another with these words.

So this is all before Mark, and addresses Jesus' dying and rising and a second coming. And has to do with those still alive at the second coming.
Quote:
1 Corinthians 15:50-54 - 50 What I am saying, brothers and sisters,* is this: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51Listen, I will tell you a mystery! We will not all die, [fall asleep] but we will all be changed, 52in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.

This ties into the idea of a Gnostic anti-material world Paul. In this case Paul is saying that our bodies must be changed from ordinary matter as we are, into something else. So before Mark there's the death, resurrection, ascension and second coming which stems from an ascension and the belief that those alive at the time of Paul's writing will be transformed and go up to into the sky to meet Jesus in the air.

Why didn't Paul set forth the apocalyptic deadlines of Jesus about all of these things happening within the generation of early first century people, and then try and move on to apologize for these with the apologetic verses about the dead in Christ that we're analyzing which extend from the expected apocalypse?

Why do the apocalyptic deadlines from Jesus concerning the generation of early first century people not appear until the gospel of Mark?

And why doesn't Mark also add in these ready made apologies from Paul's epistles about the dead in Christ which excuse the apocalyptic deadlines found in Mark that had already failed by the time of Mark's gospel, a non-contemporary of Jesus and outside of the "this generation" of the early first century contemporaries of Jesus?

Quote:
30Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. 31Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

32 ‘But about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 33Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come.


And why is there a fixed method of the current generation, a deadline that can be used to have knowledge of the end because the last person of that generation would represent the end, but then go on to say on the next breathe that no one, not even the angels or Son, knows that day or hour? A method for deducing the end via a generation of people alive is given and then immediately contradicted by saying that it's impossible to know. But it isn't impossible to know when that generation will end, there's a way of deducing the longest possible point, a point in time that had basically already passed because this writer is not a contemporary of Jesus. So is it possible that verse 30 is mistranslated or something?

Further more, the Pauline epistles should establish a lot more about Jesus' life and teachings than they do because they are closer to the source, right? Why would we be looking to writings further away (Mark) from contemporary sources in order to try and establish a possible biography for Jesus as failed doomsday cult leader? This doomsday deadline scenario should all be detailed in Paul, right? Do explain....

_________________
The Jesus Mythicist Creed:
The "Jesus Christ" of the New Testament is a fictional composite of characters, real and mythical. A composite of multiple "people" is no one.

The celestial Origins of Religious Belief
ZG Part 1
Jesus: Hebrew Human or Mythical Messiah?


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2012 6:08 am 
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ApostateAbe wrote:
The synoptic gospels are dated earlier than all other early Christian writings except the authentic Pauline epistles. How do we know? Basically, the gospels of Mark, Matthew and Luke each contain prophecies of an imminent global apocalypse.

Why is this relevant? Because an opinion popular among mythicists is that the myth of Jesus originated as something spiritual or divine, getting "historicized" only later in the myth. However, the evidence shows the contrary. The earlier texts portray Jesus as more human and more imminently apocalyptic, but the later texts portray Jesus as more divine and less imminently apocalyptic. The mythicist position is a position that is improbable on the face of the evidence. It isn't impossible, but I think it should be understandable that reasonable thinkers would disagree.

Two passages in Mark (derivatives also found in Matthew and Luke) quote Jesus as follows:

    Mark 9:1 - And he said to them, ‘Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see that the kingdom of God has come with power.’

    Mark 13:30 - Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place.

A counterpoint is that Jesus was actually talking about the destruction of the temple, not a full apocalypse, when he was quoted as saying these things. I have heard this argument more than once, and I can't help but think that the person who first made the argument forgot to read the passages in Mark.


Nah, they had simply read the history of the times.

ApostateAbe wrote:
7When you hear of wars


Since the Jewish-Roman war that led to the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem was itself a war, this one goes without saying.

ApostateAbe wrote:
and rumours of wars,


Josephus Wars of the Jews 2, 10.1
"Now as to the Jews, some of them could not believe the stories that spoke of war, but those that did believe were in the utmost distress how to defend themselves, and the terror diffused itself presently through them all;"

Josephus Antiquities of the Jews 18, 5:3
“So Vitellius prepared to make war with Aretas, having with him two legions of armed men; he also took with him all those of light armature, and of the horsemen which belonged to them, and were drawn out of those kingdoms which were under the Romans, and made haste for Petra, and came to Ptolemais. But as he was marching very busily, and leading his army through Judea, the principal men met him, and desired that he would not thus march through their land; for that the laws of their country would not permit them to overlook those images which were brought into it, of which there were a great many in their ensigns; so he was persuaded by what they said, and changed that resolution of his which he had before taken in this matter. Whereupon he ordered the army to march along the great plain, while he himself, with Herod the tetrarch and his friends, went up to Jerusalem to offer sacrifice to God, an ancient festival of the Jews being then just approaching; and when he had been there, and been honorably entertained by the multitude of the Jews, he made a stay there for three days, within which time he deprived Jonathan of the high priesthood, and gave it to his brother Theophilus. But when on the fourth day letters came to him, which informed him of the death of Tiberius, he obliged the multitude to take an oath of fidelity to Caius; he also recalled his army, and made them every one go home, and take their winter quarters there, since, upon the devolution of the empire upon Caius, he had not the like authority of making this war which he had before. It was also reported, that when Aretas heard of the coming of Vitellius to fight him, he said, upon his consulting the diviners, that it was impossible that this army of Vitellius's could enter Petra; for that one of the rulers would die, either he that gave orders for the war, or he that was marching at the other's desire, in order to be subservient to his will, or else he against whom this army is prepared. So Vitellius truly retired to Antioch; but Agrippa, the son of Aristobulus, went up to Rome, a year before the death of Tiberius, in order to treat of some affairs with the emperor, if he might be permitted so to do. I have now a mind to describe Herod and his family, how it fared with them, partly because it is suitable to this history to speak of that matter, and partly because this thing is a demonstration of the interposition of Providence, how a multitude of children is of no advantage, no more than any other strength that mankind set their hearts upon, besides those acts of piety which are done towards God; for it happened, that, within the revolution of a hundred years, the posterity of Herod, which were a great many in number, were, excepting a few, utterly destroyed. One may well apply this for the instruction of mankind, and learn thence how unhappy they were: it will also show us the history of Agrippa, who, as he was a person most worthy of admiration, so was he from a private man, beyond all the expectation of those that knew him, advanced to great power and authority. I have said something of them formerly, but I shall now also speak accurately about them.”

ApostateAbe wrote:
do not be alarmed; this must take place, but the end is still to come. 8For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom;


Josephus Wars of the Jews 2, 18.1-2
"The Syrians destroyed not a less number of the Jews: so that the disorders all over Syria were terrible. For every city was divided into parties armed against each other; and the safety of the one depended upon the destruction of the other. The days were spent in slaughter, and the nights in terrors, which were the worst of the two."

Tacitus Histories 1.2a
"The history on which I am entering is that of a period rich in disasters, terrible with battles, torn by civil struggles, horrible even in peace. Four emperors fell by the sword; there were three civil wars, more foreign wars, and often both at the same time."

ApostateAbe wrote:
there will be earthquakes in various places;


Acts 16:26
"And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one's bands were loosed."

Seneca Selected Letter 91.9
"How often the cities of Asia and Achaea have fallen with one earth-tremor! How many cities in Syria and in Macedonia have been engulfed! How often this disaster has laid waste Cyprus! How often has Paphos collapsed on itself! The ruin of whole cities has often been announced to us,"

Josephus Wars of the Jews 4, 4.5
"But the shame that would attend them in case they returned without doing any thing at all, so far overcame that their repentance, that they lay all night before the wall, though in a very bad encampment; for there broke out a prodigious storm in the night, with the utmost violence, and very strong winds, with the largest showers of rain, with continual lightnings, terrible thunderings, and amazing concussions and bellowings of the earth that was in an earthquake. These things were a manifest indication that some destruction was coming upon men, when the system of the world was put into this disorder; and any one would guess that these wonders foreshewed some grand calamities that were coming."

Tacitus, Suetonius, and Philostratus also write of numerous other 1st century earthquakes as well.

ApostateAbe wrote:
there will be famines. This is but the beginning of the birth pangs.


Acts 11:28
"Then one of them, named Agabus, stood up and showed by the Spirit that there was going to be a great famine throughout all the world, which also happened in the days of Claudius Caesar.

Josephus Antiquities of the Jews 10, 2.5
"Now her coming was of very great advantage to the people of Jerusalem, for whereas a famine did oppress them at that time, and many people died for want of what was necessary to procure food withal, queen Helena sent some of her servants to Alexandria with money to buy a great quantity of corn, and others of them to Cyprus, to bring a cargo of dried figs. And as soon as they were come back, and had brought those provisions, which was done very quickly, she distributed food to those that were in want of it, and left an excellent memorial behind her of this benefaction, which she bestowed on our whole nation. And when her son Izates was informed of this famine, he sent great sums oi money to the principal men in Jerusalem. However, what favour! this king and queen conferred upon our city oi Jerusalem, shall be further related hereafter."

Josephus Wars of the Jews 5, 10.2-3; 6, 9.2-3
"The madness of the seditious did also Increase together with their famine, and both those miseries were every day inflamed more and more; for there was no corn which anywhere appeared publicly, but the robbers came running into, and searched men's private houses; and then, if they found any, they tormented them, because they had denied they had any; and if they found none, they tormented them worse, because they supposed they had more carefully concealed it. The indication they made use of whether they had any or not, was taken from the bodies of these miserable wretches; which, if they were in good case, they supposed they were in no want it all of food; but if they were wasted away, they walked off without searching any farther; nor did they think it proper to kill such as these, because they saw they would every one die of themselves for want of food. Many there were indeed who sold what they had for one measure; it was of wheat, if they were of the richer sort; but of barley, if they were poorer. When these had so done, they but themselves up in the inmost rooms of their houses, and ate the corn they had gotten; some did it without grinding it, by reason of the extremity of the want they were in, and others baked bread of it, according as necessity and fear dictated to them: a table was nowhere laid for a distinct meal, but they matched the bread out of the fire, half baked, and ate it very hastily.
It was now a miserable case, and a sight '.bat would justly bring tears into our eyes, how men stood as to their food, while the more powerful had more than enough, and the weaker were lamenting [for want of it]. But the famine was too hard for all other passions, and it is destructive to nothing so much as to modesty; for what was otherwise Worthy of reverence was in this case despised; insomuch that children pulled the very morsels that their fathers were eating out of their very mouths, and what was still more to be pitied, so did the mothers do as to their infants; and when those that were most dear were perishing under their hands, they were not ashamed to take from them the very last drops that might preserve their lives; and while they ate after this manner, yet were they not concealed in so doing; but the seditious everywhere came upon them immediately, and snatched away from them what they had gotten from others; for when they saw any house shut up, this was to them a signal that the
people within had gotten some food; where upon they broke open the doors, and ran in, and took pieces of what they were eating, almost up out of their very throats, and this by force: the old men, who held their food fast, were beaten; and if the women, hid what they had within their hands, their hair was torn for so doing; nor was there any commiseration shown either to the aged or to infants, but they lifted up children from the ground as they hung upon the morsels they had gotten, and shook them down upon the floor; but still were they more barbarously cruel to those that had prevented their coming in, and had actually swallowed down what they were going to seize upon, as if they had been unjustly defrauded of their right. They also invented terrible methods of torment to discover where any food was, and they were these: to stop up the passages of the privy parts of the miserable wretches, and to drive sharp stakes up their fundaments I and a man was forced to bear what it is terrible even to bear, in order to make him confess that he had but one loaf of bread, or that be might discover a handful of barley-meal that was concealed; and this was done when these tormentors were not themselves hungry; for the thing had been less barbarous had necessity forced them to it; but this was done to keep their madness in exercise, and as making preparation of provisions for themselves for the following days. These men went also to meet those that bad crept out of the city by night, as far as the Roman guards, to gather some plants and herbs that grew wild; and when those people thought they had got clear of the enemy, these snatched from them what they had brought with them, even while they had frequently entreated them, and that by calling upon the tremendous name of God, to give them back some part of what they had brought; though these would not give them the least crumb; and they were to be well contented that they were only spoiled, and not slain at the same time."
"Now during the days wherein Fronto was distinguishing these men, there perished, for want of food, eleven thousand; some of whom did not taste any food, through the hatred their guards bore to them; and others would not take in any when it was given them. The multitude also was so very great, that they were in want even of corn for their sustenance.
..., occasioned so great a straitness among them that there came a pestilential destruction upon them, and soon afterward such a famine, as destroyed them more suddenly"

Matthew 24:7 wrote:
"and there shall be famines, and pestilences"


Josephus Antiquities of the Jews 18, 9.8
"But on the sixth year, a pestilence came upon these at Babylon, which occasioned new removals of men's habitations out of that city; because they came to Seleucia,"

Tacitus Annals 16.13
"A year of shame and of so many evil deeds heaven also marked by storms and pestilence. Campania was devastated by a hurricane, which destroyed everywhere country-houses, plantations and crops, and carried its fury to the neighbourhood of Rome, where a terrible plague was sweeping away all classes of human beings without any such derangement of the atmosphere as to be visibly apparent. Yet the houses were filled with lifeless forms and the streets with funerals."

Suetonius The Twelve Caesars, Nero 39
"To these terrible and shameful calamities brought upon the people by their prince, were added some proceeding from misfortune. Such were a pestilence, by which within the space of one autumn, there died no less than thirty thousand persons,"

ApostateAbe wrote:
9 ‘As for yourselves, beware; for they will hand you over to councils; and you will be beaten in synagogues; and you will stand before governors and kings because of me, as a testimony to them.


Acts 4:1-4
"And as they spake unto the people, the priests, and the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees, came upon them,
Being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead.
And they laid hands on them, and put them in hold unto the next day: for it was now eventide."

Acts 5:17-18
"Then the high priest rose up, and all they that were with him, (which is the sect of the Sadducees,) and were filled with indignation,
And laid their hands on the apostles, and put them in the common prison."

Acts 6:8-13, 7:57-59
"And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people.
Then there arose certain of the synagogue, which is called the synagogue of the Libertines, and Cyrenians, and Alexandrians, and of them of Cilicia and of Asia, disputing with Stephen.
And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake.
Then they suborned men, which said, We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses, and against God.
And they stirred up the people, and the elders, and the scribes, and came upon him, and caught him, and brought him to the council,
And set up false witnesses, which said, This man ceaseth not to speak blasphemous words against this holy place, and the law:"
"Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord,
And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man's feet, whose name was Saul.
And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit."

Acts 8:1-3, 9:1-2
"And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles.
And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him.
As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison.
The apostles and other Christians suffered great persecution from both the Jewish leadership and the Roman authorities."
"And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest,
And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem."

Acts 12:1-5
"Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church.
And he killed James the brother of John with the sword.
And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also. (Then were the days of unleavened bread.)
And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people.
Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him."

Tacitus, Annals 15.44,
"Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular. Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind. Mockery of every sort was added to their deaths. Covered with the skins of beasts, they were torn by dogs and perished, or were nailed to crosses, or were doomed to the flames and burnt, to serve as a nightly illumination, when daylight had expired."

ApostateAbe wrote:
10And the good news must first be proclaimed to all nations.


Colossians 1:5-6
"For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel;
Which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth:"
Colossians 1:23
"If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;"
Romans 1:8
"First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world."
Romans 10:17-18
"So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world ."

ApostateAbe wrote:
14 ‘But when you see the desolating sacrilege set up where it ought not to be (let the reader understand),
Matthew 24:15 wrote:

"When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)
Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:


“AND now the Romans, upon the flight of the seditious into the city, and upon the burning of the holy house itself, and of all the buildings round about it, brought their ensigns to the temple and set them over against its eastern gate; and there did they offer sacrifices to them, and there did they make Titus imperator with the greatest acclamations of joy.” (Josephus – Wars 6.6.1)

Clement of Alexandria, Stromata 1.21
"We have still to add to our chronology the following, I mean the days which Daniel indicates from the desolation of jerusalem, the seven years and seven months of the reign of Vespasian. For the two years are added to the seventeen months and eighteen days of Otho, and Galba, and Vitellius; and the result is three years and six months, which is " the half of the week," as Daniel the prophet said. For he said that there were two thousand three hundred days from the time that the abomination of Nero stood in the holy city, till its destruction. For thus the declaration, which is subjoined, shows: "How long shall be the vision, the sacrifice taken away, the abomination of desolation, which is given, and the power and the holy place shall be trodden under foot? And he said to him, Till the evening and morning, two thousand three hundred days, and the holy place shall be taken away."

Eusebius, Church History 3.5
"But the number of calamities which every where fell upon the nation at that time; the extreme misfortunes to which the inhabitants of Judea were especially subjected, the thousands of men, as well as women and children, that perished by the sword, by famine, and by other forms of death innumerable,--all these things, as well as the many great sieges which were carried on against the cities of Judea, and the excessive. sufferings endured by those that fled to Jerusalem itself, as to a city of perfect safety, and finally the general course of the whole war, as well as its particular occurrences in detail, and how at last the abomination of desolation, proclaimed by the prophets, stood in the very temple of God, so celebrated of old, the temple which was now awaiting its total and final destruction by fire, all these things any one that wishes may find accurately described in the history written by Josephus."

Augustine, Epistle to Hesychius 80,
"Luke, to show that the abomination spoken of by Daniel will take place when Jerusalem is captured, recalls these words of the Lord in the same context: When you shall see Jerusalem compassed about with an army, then know that the desolation thereof is at hand. For Luke very clearly bears witness that the prophecy of Daniel was fulfilled when Jerusalem was overthrown."

John Chrysostom, Homilies on the Gospel of Saint Matthew, Homily LXXV, Matt. XXIV. 1-2, Homily LXXVI, Matt. XXIV. 16-18,
"For He brought in also a prophecy, to confirm their desolation, saying, 'But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation,spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place, let him that readeth understand.'(12) He referred them to Daniel. And by 'abomination' He meaneth the statue of him who then took the city, which he who desolated the city and the temple placed within the temple, wherefore Christ calleth it, 'of desolation.' Moreover, in order that they might learn that these things will be while some of them are alive, therefore He said, "When ye see the abomination of desolation."
"And see how He relates the war, by the things that seem to be small setting forth how intolerable it was to be. For, 'Then,' saith He, 'let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains.' Then, When? When these things should be, 'when the abomination of desolation should stand in the holy place.' Whence He seems to me to be speaking of the armies."

ApostateAbe wrote:
then those in Judea must flee to the mountains;


Josephus Wars of the Jews Book 2, 19.6-7
"It then happened that Cestius was not conscious either how the besieged despaired of success, nor how courageous the people were for him; and so he recalled his soldiers from the place, and by despairing of any expectation of taking it, without having received any disgrace, he retired from the city, without any reason in the world."

Eusebius Church History Book 3, 5.3 The Last Siege of the Jews after Christ.
"But the people of the church in Jerusalem had been commanded by a revelation, vouchsafed to approved men there before the war, to leave the city and to dwell in a certain town of Perea called Pella. And when those that believed in Christ had come there from Jerusalem, then, as if the royal city of the Jews and the whole land of Judea were entirely destitute of holy men, the judgment of God at length overtook those who had committed such outrages against Christ and his apostles, and totally destroyed that generation of impious men."

Athanasius Apology to the Emperor, Defense of His Flight 11
"And when He Who spake unto Moses, the Word of the Father, appeared in the end of the world, He also gave this commandment, saying, "But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another" [Matt. 10:23]; and shortly after He says, "When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place (whoso readeth, let him understand); then let them which be in Judea flee into the mountains: let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes". Knowing these things, the Saints regulated their conduct accordingly."

John Gill's Exposition of the Bible, Matthew 24:16
"Then let them which be in Judea,.... When this signal is given, let it be taken notice of and observed; let them that are in the city of Jerusalem, depart out of it; or who are in any other parts of Judea, in any of the towns, or cities thereof; let them not betake themselves to Jerusalem, imagining they may be safe there, in so strong and fortified a place, but let them flee elsewhere; see Luke 21:21 and accordingly it is observed, that many did flee about this time; and it is remarked by several interpreters, and which Josephus (a) takes notice of with surprise, that Cestius Gallus having advanced with his army to Jerusalem, and besieged it, on a sudden, without any cause, raised the siege, and withdrew his army, when the city might have been easily taken; by which means a signal was made; and an opportunity given to the Christians, to make their escape: which they accordingly did, and went over Jordan, as Eusebius says (b), to a place called Pella; so that when Titus came a few mouths after, there was not a Christian in the city, but they had fled as they are here bidden to flee into the mountains; or any places of shelter and refuge: these are mentioned particularly, because they are usually such; and design either the mountains in Judea, or in the adjacent countries. The Syriac and Persic versions read in the singular number, "into the mountain"; and it is reported that many of them did fly, particularly to Mount Libanus (c)."

ApostateAbe wrote:
‘Beware that no one leads you astray. 6Many will come in my name and say, “I am he!” and they will lead many astray.

ApostateAbe wrote:
21And if anyone says to you at that time, “Look! Here is the Messiah!” or “Look! There he is!”—do not believe it. 22False messiahs and false prophets will appear and produce signs and omens, to lead astray, if possible, the elect. 23But be alert; I have already told you everything.


Josephus Antiquities of the Jews 20, 8.5-6; Wars of the Jews 6, 5.2
“Now as for the affairs of the Jews, they grew worse and worse continually, for the country was again filled with robbers and impostors, who deluded the multitude… These works, that were done by the robbers, filled the city with all sorts of impiety. And now these impostors and deceivers persuaded the multitude to follow them into the wilderness, and pretended that they would exhibit manifest wonders and signs, that should be performed by the providence of God.”
"A false prophet was the occasion of these people's destruction, who had made a public proclamation in the city that very day, that God commanded them to get up upon the temple, and that there they should receive miraculous signs of their deliverance. Now, there was then a great number of false prophets suborned by the tyrants to impose upon the people, who denounced this to them, that they should wait for deliverance from God; and this was in order to keep them from deserting, and that they might be buoyed up above fear and care by such hopes. Now, a man that is in adversity does easily comply with such promises; for when such a seducer makes him believe that he shall be delivered from those miseries which oppress him, then it is that the patient is full of hopes of such deliverance."

1 John 2:18, 4:1
"Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.
...many false prophets are gone out into the world."

Acts 5:36-37, 8:9-10, 21:38
"For before these days rose up Theudas, boasting himself to be somebody; to whom a number of men, about four hundred, joined themselves: who was slain; and all, as many as obeyed him, were scattered, and brought to nought.
After this man rose up Judas of Galilee in the days of the taxing, and drew away much people after him: he also perished; and all, even as many as obeyed him, were dispersed"
"But there was a certain man, called Simon, which beforetime in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one:
To whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is the great power of God."
"Art not thou that Egyptian, which before these days madest an uproar, and leddest out into the wilderness four thousand men that were murderers?"

Eusebius Church History 2, 11.1-3; 13.1-4; 21.1-3
"Luke, in the Acts, introduces Gamaliel as saying, at the consultation which was held concerning the apostles, that at the time referred to, 'rose up Theudas boasting himself to be somebody; who was slain; and all, as many as obeyed him, were scattered." Acts 5:36 Let us therefore add the account of Josephus concerning this man. He records in the work mentioned just above, the following circumstances:
While Fadus was procurator of Judea a certain impostor called Theudas persuaded a very great multitude to take their possessions and follow him to the river Jordan. For he said that he was a prophet, and that the river should be divided at his command, and afford them an easy passage.
And with these words he deceived many. But Fadus did not permit them to enjoy their folly, but sent a troop of horsemen against them, who fell upon them unexpectedly and slew many of them and took many others alive, while they took Theudas himself captive, and cut off his head and carried it to Jerusalem'."
"But faith in our Saviour and Lord Jesus Christ having now been diffused among all men, the enemy of man's salvation contrived a plan for seizing the imperial city for himself. He conducted there the above-mentioned Simon, aided him in his deceitful arts, led many of the inhabitants of Rome astray, and thus brought them into his own power.
This is stated by Justin, one of our distinguished writers who lived not long after the time of the apostles. Concerning him I shall speak in the proper place. Take and read the work of this man, who in the first Apology which he addressed to Antonine in behalf of our religion writes as follows:
And after the ascension of the Lord into heaven the demons put forward certain men who said they were gods, and who were not only allowed by you to go unpersecuted, but were even deemed worthy of honors. One of them was Simon, a Samaritan of the village of Gitto, who in the reign of Claudius Cæsar performed in your imperial city some mighty acts of magic by the art of demons operating in him, and was considered a god, and as a god was honored by you with a statue, which was erected in the river Tiber, between the two bridges, and bore this inscription in the Latin tongue, Simoni Deo Sancto, that is, To Simon the Holy God.
And nearly all the Samaritans and a few even of other nations confess and worship him as the first God."
"After other matters he proceeds as follows: But the Jews were afflicted with a greater plague than these by the Egyptian false prophet. For there appeared in the land an impostor who aroused faith in himself as a prophet, and collected about thirty thousand of those whom he had deceived, and led them from the desert to the so-called Mount of Olives whence he was prepared to enter Jerusalem by force and to overpower the Roman garrison and seize the government of the people, using those who made the attack with him as body guards.
But Felix anticipated his attack, and went out to meet him with the Roman legionaries, and all the people joined in the defense, so that when the battle was fought the Egyptian fled with a few followers, but the most of them were destroyed or taken captive.
Josephus relates these events in the second book of his History. But it is worth while comparing the account of the Egyptian given here with that contained in the Acts of the Apostles. In the time of Felix it was said to Paul by the centurion in Jerusalem, when the multitude of the Jews raised a disturbance against the apostle, "Are you not he who before these days made an uproar, and led out into the wilderness four thousand men that were murderers?" Acts 21:38 These are the events which took place in the time of Felix."

Eusebius Church History 3, 26.1-4
"Menander, who succeeded Simon Magus, showed himself in his conduct another instrument of diabolical power, not inferior to the former. He also was a Samaritan and carried his sorceries to no less an extent than his teacher had done, and at the same time reveled in still more marvelous tales than he.
For he said that he was himself the Saviour, who had been sent down from invisible æons for the salvation of men; and he taught that no one could gain the mastery over the world-creating angels themselves unless he had first gone through the magical discipline imparted by him and had received baptism from him. Those who were deemed worthy of this would partake even in the present life of perpetual immortality, and would never die, but would remain here forever, and without growing old become immortal. These facts can be easily learned from the works of Irenæus.
And Justin, in the passage in which he mentions Simon, gives an account of this man also, in the following words: "And we know that a certain Menander, who was also a Samaritan, from the village of Capparattea, was a disciple of Simon, and that he also, being driven by the demons, came to Antioch and deceived many by his magical art. And he persuaded his followers that they should not die. And there are still some of them that assert this."
And it was indeed an artifice of the devil to endeavor, by means of such sorcerers, who assumed the name of Christians, to defame the great mystery of godliness by magic art, and through them to make ridiculous the doctrines of the Church concerning the immortality of the soul and the resurrection of the dead. But they that have chosen these men as their saviours have fallen away from the true hope."

ApostateAbe wrote:
24 ‘But in those days, after that suffering,
the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light,
25 and the stars will be falling from heaven,
and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.


Tacitus Annals 14.12
"There occurred too a thick succession of portents, which meant nothing. A woman gave birth to a snake, and another was killed by a thunderbolt in her husband's embrace. Then the sun was suddenly darkened and the fourteen districts of the city were struck by lightning. All this happened quite without any providential design; so much so, that for many subsequent years Nero prolonged his reign and his crimes."

At the Pentecost in Acts 2:14-24, Peter seems to indicate this sign had been fulfilled-
"But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words:
For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day.
But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;
And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:
And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:
And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke:
The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and notable day of the Lord come:
And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.
Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:
Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:
Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it."

The obvious allusion to the eclipse at the death of Jesus aside, this was a common place euphemism in apocalyptic literature, and one need look no further than the Old Testament.
(See Isaiah 13:1,10,13 for the fall of Babylon; Amos 8:2,9 for the fall of the Northern Kingdom of Israel; and Jeremiah 15:5,9 for the fall of Jerusalem.)
Although, this type of expression was not exclusive to the Judeo-Christian tradition either.
For example, Suetonius writes in his book on The Twelve Caesars, regarding the approaching assassination of Domitian- "On the day before Domitian's assassination someone brought him a present of apples. 'Serve them tomorrow,' he told the servants, adding: '- if only I am spared to eat them.' Then, turning to his companions he remarked: 'There will be blood on the Moon as she enters Aquarius, and a deed will be done for everyone to talk about throughout the enitre world.'"

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Matthew 24:30 wrote:
"And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven:"


What would such a sign of Jesus be? A cross perhaps?

Josephus Wars of the Jews 6, 5.3
"Thus were the miserable people persuaded by these deceivers, and such ss belied God himself; while they did not attend nor give credit to the signs that were so evident, and did so plainly foretell their future desolation, but like men infatuated, without either eyes to see or minds to consider, did not regard the de nunciations that God made to them. Thus there was a star resembling a sword which stood over the city, and a comet that continued a whole year. Thus alsu before the Jews' rebellion, and before those commotions which preceded the wai when the people were come in great crowds to the feast of unleavened bread, on the eighth day of the month Xanthicus, and at the ninth hour of the night so great a light shone round the altar and the holy house, that it appeared to be bright, daytime; which light lasted for half an hour."

A sword, eh? Given that Josephus was not a Christian, I can see why he might not have seen the resemblance to a cross, assuming there was one. Or rather, perhaps Christians reading about the event, anachronistically imposed an interpretation of a cross upon the star's shape.

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Matthew 24:27 wrote:
"For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be."
Tacitus Histories 5, 5.13 (Kenneth Wellesley translation)
"Prodigies had occurred, but their expiation by the offering of victims or solemn vows is held to be unlawful by a nation which is the slave of superstition and the enemy of true beliefs. In the sky appeared a vision of armies in conflict, of glittering armour. A sudden lightning flash from the clouds lit up the Temple. The doors of the holy place abruptly opened, a superhuman voice was heard to declare that the gods were leaving it, and in the same instant came the rushing tumult of their departure. Few people placed a sinister interpretation upon this. The majority were convinced that the ancient scriptures of their priests alluded to the present as the very time when the Orient would triumph and from Judaea would go forth men destined to rule the world."

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ApostateAbe wrote:
26Then they will see “the Son of Man coming in clouds” with great power and glory.
Sepher Yosippon: A Mediaeval History of Ancient Israel, Ch. 87 (Steven Bowman translation)
"For one year before Vespasian came, a single great star shining like unsheathed swords was seen over the Temple. And in those days when the sign was seen it was the holiday of Passover and during that entire night the Temple was lit up and illuminated like the light of day, and thus it was all seven days of the Passover. All the sages of Jerusalem knew that it was a malevolent sign, but the rest of the ignorant people said that it was a benevolent sign.
…Now it happened after this that there was seen from above over the Holy of Holies for the whole night the outline of a man's face, the like of whose beauty had never been seen in all the land, and his appearance was quite awesome."
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John Chrysostom, The Divine Liturgy
"Having in remembrance, therefore, this saving commandment and all those things which have come to pass for us: the Cross, the Grave, the Resurrection on the third day, the Ascension into heaven, the Sitting at the right hand, and the second and glorious Coming"

ApostateAbe wrote:
27Then he will send out the angels, and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.


Josephus Wars of the Jews 6, 5.3
"Besides these, a few days after that feast, on the one-and-twentieth day of the month Artemisius, a certain prodigious and incredible phenomenon appeared; I suppose the account of it would seem to be a fable, were it not related by those that saw it, and were not the events that followed it of so considerable a nature as to deserve such signals; for, before sun-setting, chariots and troops of soldiers in their armour were seen running about among the clouds, and surrounding of cities. Moreover, at that feast which we call Pentecost, as the priests were going by night into the inner temple, as their custom was, to perform their sacred ministrations, they said that, in the first place, they felt a quaking, and heard a great noise, and after that they heard a sound as of a great multitude, saying, 'Let us remove hence'."

Sepher Yosippon: A Mediaeval History of Ancient Israel, Ch. 87 (Steven Bowman translation)
"Moreover, in those days were seen chariots of fire and horsemen, a great force flying across the sky near to the ground coming against Jerusalem and all the land of Judah, all of them horses of fire and riders of fire. When the holiday of Shavu'oth came in those days, during the night the priests heard within the Temple something like the sound of men going and the sound of men marching in a multitude going into the Temple, and a terrible and mighty voice was heard speaking: 'Let's go and leave this house'."

ApostateAbe wrote:
16For the Lord himself, with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call and with the sound of God’s trumpet, will descend from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first.


This, just like the darkened sun & moon talk, smacks of more common place euphemism that was hardly exclusive to just Christianity, and was also even in use at around the same time as the seige of Jerusalem.
For example, concerning the eruption of Vesuvius in 79, which was also interpreted as an end of world event in its time, Dio Cassius described the following phenomenon in his 6th book on Rome, Ch.22-23:
"Such is Vesuvius, and these phenomena regularly occur there at least once a year. But all the other happenings that took place in former time, though they may have seemed great and unusual to those who on each occasion observed them, nevertheless would be reckoned as but slight in comparison with what now occurred even though they should all be rolled into one. This was what befell. Numbers of huge men quite surpassing any human stature, such creatures as giants are depicted to be, appeared now on the mountain, now in the country surrounding it, and again in the cities, wandering over the earth day and night and also traversing the air."

(Superhuman creatures flying through the air as a sign of an imminent apocalypse? Angels anyone?)

"After this fearful droughts and earthquakes sudden and violent occurred, so that all the level ground in that region undulated and the heights gave a great leap. Reverberations were frequent, some subterranean resembling thunder and some on the surface like bellowing."

(Sounds like Mark 13:8, Matthew 24:7, Luke 21:11, Revelation 6:12, 8:5, 11:13 & 19, and 16:18)

"The sea joined the roar and the sky resounded with it."

(Reminds me of Luke 21:25-26)

"The suddenly a portentous crash was heard, as if the mountains were tumbling in ruins.

(Sounds like Luke 23:30 and Revelation 6:15-16)

"And first there were belched forth stones of huge size that rose to the very summits before they fell;"

(Sounds like Mark 13:25, Matthew 24:29, and Revelation 6:13)

"after them came a deal of fire and smoke"

(Reminds me of Acts 2:19)

"in inexhaustible quantities so that the whole atmosphere was obscured and the whole sun was screened from view as if in an eclipse."

(Sounds like Mark 13:24, Matthew 24:29, Acts 21:20, Revelation 6:12, 8:12, and most of all 9:2- "And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit".)

"Thus night succeeded day and darkness light. Some thought the giants were rising in revolt (for even at this time many of their forms could be discerned in the smoke and moreover a kind of sound of trumpets was heard),"

(I'm reminded of some passages you cited elsewhere-
ApostateAbe wrote:
    1 Corinthians 15:50-54 - 50 ..., in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, ..., with the archangel’s call and with the sound of God’s trumpet,...
So it's a common motif for apocalyptic literature)

"while others believed that the whole world was disappearing in chaos or fire."

(2 Peter 3:12 anyone?)

"Therefore they fled, some from the houses into the streets, others from without into the house;"

(Reminds me of Mark 13:25 and Matthew 24:17)

"in their confusion, indeed, they hastened from the sea to the land or from the land to the sea, deeming any place at a distance from where they were safer than what was near by. While this was going on an inconceivable amount of ashes was blown out and covered the land and the sea everywhere and filled all the air. It did harm of all sorts, as chance dictated, to men and places and cattle, and the fish and the birds it utterly destroyed."

(Reminds me of Revelation 8:7-11)

"Moreover, it buried two whole cities, Herculaneum and Pompeii, whole the populace was seated in the theatre. The entire amount of dust was so great that some of it reached Africa and Syria and Egypt,"

(So this eruption would have effected the land of Judea as well.)

"and it also entered Rome, where it occupied all the air over the city and cast the sun into shadow. There, too, no little fear was felt for several days, since the people did not know and could not conjecture what had happened. They like the rest thought that everything was being turned upside down, that the sun was disappearing in the earth, and the earth was bounding up to the sky.

(Again, sounds like many of the verses cited earlier, and again, the victims thought it was the end of the world.)

"This ashes for the time being did them no great harm: later it bred among them a terrible pestilence."

(Sounds like Matthew Matthew 24:7 and Luke 21:11)

So this was without a doubt perceived by its victims as an end of the world apocaplyptic event, and like the apocalyptic events of the Bible, especially in the New Testament, this even shares much of the same imagery & descriptions as the Bible. And it happened in the 1st century, same time when the New Testament was being written, and it effected the land of Palestine, same as the Jewish war and fall of Jerusalem.

ApostateAbe wrote:
It was not merely about the siege of Jerusalem and the fall of the temple.


And yet so far I've seen no good reason to think that this is about anything else other than the siege of Jerusalem, save only a slight possibility of it concerning the eruption of Vesuvius as well, which happened in approximately the same time period, or in the same decade at least.

ApostateAbe wrote:
This belief in an imminent apocalypse is echoed in two of the epistles of Paul (emphasis added).

    1 Corinthians 15:50-54 - 50 What I am saying, brothers and sisters,* is this: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51Listen, I will tell you a mystery! We will not all die, [fall asleep] but we will all be changed, 52in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53For this perishable body must put on imperishability, and this mortal body must put on immortality. 54When this perishable body puts on imperishability, and this mortal body puts on immortality, then the saying that is written will be fulfilled:
    ‘Death has been swallowed up in victory.’

    1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 - 13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about those who have died, so that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 14For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have died. 15For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will by no means precede those who have died. 16For the Lord himself, with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call and with the sound of God’s trumpet, will descend from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up in the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the air; and so we will be with the Lord for ever. 18Therefore encourage one another with these words.


2 Timothy 2:16-18
"But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.
And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus;
Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some."

Now obviously the author here does not agree with Hymenaeus & Philetus, but this passage is significant because
1)The author never bothers to refute them, and
2)The very fact that they were able to convince people & "over throw the faith of some" shows that obviously they had a good argument and the expectations about the resurrection were not what modern orthodoxy has led us to believe.

The author doesn't react with anything along the lines of "how ridiculous, where's all the empty graves then" or "how come I didn't see any rapture, no bodies floating to heaven, no empty clothes lying on the streets, nothing!".

Because Hymenaeus & Philetus were already given leverage by two things.
1)The provision in 1 Corinthians 15:52 that the resurrection will take place in the "twinkling of an eye", meaning it will be too fast for anyone to see.
2)The provision in 1 Corinthians 15:25-58 that the dead would not be raised in their old bodies, but would instead be raised in new bodies that are spiritual bodies, for "flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God".

Hence this resurrection becomes something that is non-falsifiable.

So it would be quite easy for the authors of the New Testament books to be writing at time when it was believed the resurrection had already taken place, since it was a type of resurrection for which no evidence could ever be provided.

ApostateAbe wrote:
The earliest "Gnostic" text is the Gospel of Thomas, and it is in a similar vein. Verse 113 says:

    (113) His disciples said to him, "When will the kingdom come?"
    <Jesus said,> "It will not come by waiting for it. It will not be a matter of saying 'here it is' or 'there it is.' Rather, the kingdom of the father is spread out upon the earth, and men do not see it."


Jesus had already explained that in Luke 17:20-21, and it was not an eschatological thing. He was explaining that the kingdom is not a physical one that people can point to, but it is something spiritual inside of them.
"And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:
Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you."

There's so much more I could go into, but I've already more than sufficiently made my point.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2012 11:27 am 
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Quote:
15 For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will by no means precede those who have died. 16For the Lord himself, with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call and with the sound of God’s trumpet, will descend from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up in the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the air; and so we will be with the Lord for ever.

I may have gone too far with associating Paul's letters with a second coming of Jesus because of the above verse. I was just reflecting back on a video series that Vega posted on an older thread about the second coming of Jesus which goes into a more in-depth analysis of the texts and questions whether or not this was a first and only coming, and revelation, in the minds of early Christians:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=017Cn0JM ... re=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fmN9xCqX ... re=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?src_vid=af ... 3MLKB7vFGU
Now this video begins to narrow it down:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N46DEsq9 ... re=related
And continues here contrasting Paul's idea with what came later in the gospels..
http://www.youtube.com/watch?annotation ... NR5Uv2Z4yg
http://www.youtube.com/watch?src_vid=JN ... R3liALvyss

This goes on, but basically it's clear that Paul's Jesus was very different from what we get later in Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John. This series pretty much explains the Doherty idea of a heavenly Jesus in an easy to follow way by quoting the primary source evidence from the scriptures that "reveal" the intent.

He also addresses the exceptions that are usually raised in another series and goes through them one by one. This is starting point for the next series:


Basically this all ties in to CiE in that Philo's logos concept may have been merged with Pauls syro-gnostic savior and then spread around the "collegia" brotherhood network (constituting the churches Paul is addressing) spread around the empire resulting in the Gospel writings later. The focus in both the above series is Pauls syro-gnostic savior which was existing since before the creation of the world and was revealed via the scriptures. It seems that this effort to find the figure revealed in scripture caused a gold rush of sorts thereafter of people quote mining the OT looking for evidence of this savior figure in the prophets and elsewhere. And that is what essentially led to the historicizing of this ancient savior figure that we find in the Gospels. Ultimately it looks like Pauls letters were more Docetic in nature than anything else after going through this entire video series. And to try and analyze something like I Thessalonians without considering Paul's angle would seem doomed to error. It explains the reasoning behind people having to be transformed into new bodies in order to enter heaven and everything. Excellent series, really.

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The "Jesus Christ" of the New Testament is a fictional composite of characters, real and mythical. A composite of multiple "people" is no one.

The celestial Origins of Religious Belief
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Jesus: Hebrew Human or Mythical Messiah?


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2012 7:40 pm 
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After going over both of the series above I went on to watch the next series which is about dating the NT. And he takes aim at Mark now entering history after these Pauline letters that were just thoroughly analyzed:




And here he takes a pass at Mark's references to "this generation."



And from what I see this is all consistent with what Murdock had to say in CiE about the gospels started around the end of the first century and reworked different ways until they appear into the historical and literary record during the later half of the second century.

_________________
The Jesus Mythicist Creed:
The "Jesus Christ" of the New Testament is a fictional composite of characters, real and mythical. A composite of multiple "people" is no one.

The celestial Origins of Religious Belief
ZG Part 1
Jesus: Hebrew Human or Mythical Messiah?


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2012 7:57 pm 
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Tat Tvam Asi, I appreciate this discussion we are having, and I am happy to answer your questions.
Tat Tvam Asi wrote:
We find the idea that flesh can not inherit the Kingdom of God:
Quote:
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 - 13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about those who have died, so that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 14For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have died. 15For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will by no means precede those who have died. 16For the Lord himself, with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call and with the sound of God’s trumpet, will descend from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up in the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the air; and so we will be with the Lord for ever. 18Therefore encourage one another with these words.

So this is all before Mark, and addresses Jesus' dying and rising and a second coming. And has to do with those still alive at the second coming.

Yes, but that isn't all. When Paul says, "we who are alive," the Greek word for "we" accurately translates to "we," meaning the group of people including himself and his audience. He was assuming that members of that group would be alive when Jesus returns.
Tat Tvam Asi wrote:
Quote:
1 Corinthians 15:50-54 - 50 What I am saying, brothers and sisters,* is this: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51Listen, I will tell you a mystery! We will not all die, [fall asleep] but we will all be changed, 52in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.

This ties into the idea of a Gnostic anti-material world Paul. In this case Paul is saying that our bodies must be changed from ordinary matter as we are, into something else. So before Mark there's the death, resurrection, ascension and second coming which stems from an ascension and the belief that those alive at the time of Paul's writing will be transformed and go up to into the sky to meet Jesus in the air.

Whatever anti-Gnostic implications may be contained in this passage, that clearly isn't the central point. The best interpretation for any given passage is generally the interpretation that is directly on the face, because that is almost always the interpretation that is most plausible. This passage was meant to encourage Christians who were afraid that the Christians who have died would not make it into the coming kingdom. I take this interpretation to be obvious, but, just in case it isn't, I'll copy and paste the passage again, but this time I will offer rephrasings of each sentence.

But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about those who have died, so that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. - Do not grieve for dead Christians, because I can give you reason to feel better.

For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have died. - Just as Jesus died and rose from the dead, so also will those Christians rise from the dead.

For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will by no means precede those who have died. - Those of us who are dead will not be neglected in favor of those of us who are alive at the coming of Jesus.

For the Lord himself, with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call and with the sound of God’s trumpet, will descend from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first. - The first thing that will happen when Jesus comes back is that the dead Christians will resurrect.

Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up in the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the air; and so we will be with the Lord for ever. - The resurrected Christians will meet Jesus first, and we who are alive will join him next.

Therefore encourage one another with these words. - Therefore encourage one another with these words.
Tat Tvam Asi wrote:
Why didn't Paul set forth the apocalyptic deadlines of Jesus about all of these things happening within the generation of early first century people, and then try and move on to apologize for these with the apologetic verses about the dead in Christ that we're analyzing which extend from the expected apocalypse?

Why do the apocalyptic deadlines from Jesus concerning the generation of early first century people not appear until the gospel of Mark?

Both of these questions have the same answer: Paul wasn't writing for us. Paul was writing for Christians who already shared roughly the same apocalyptic beliefs as Paul, and an explicit repetition of those core beliefs was not necessary or relevant. Silences should be explained when we expect something else to be contained in the text. Otherwise, silences are generally explained with, "The author did not care about that."
Tat Tvam Asi wrote:
And why doesn't Mark also add in these ready made apologies from Paul's epistles about the dead in Christ which excuse the apocalyptic deadlines found in Mark that had already failed by the time of Mark's gospel, a non-contemporary of Jesus and outside of the "this generation" of the early first century contemporaries of Jesus?

A doctrine much like Paul's apology is included in Mark. The resurrection of dead Christians was something that Paul asserted as though it wasn't common knowledge among Christians. But, by the time of the gospel of Mark, the resurrection of dead Christians becomes an assumption. See Mark 12:18-27, where Jesus argues Sadducees about marriages after the resurrection. Mark 5 was written seemingly with the intent to prove that Jesus had the ability to resurrect.

The deadline of Mark was, "this generation will not pass away..." and the deadline would not have expired in the minds of the audience in 65-75 CE, because it could still be fathomed that some listeners of Jesus were by then old men. It is NOT as though we are talking about a 15- to 25-year time period after the ministry of Jesus. Yeah, that is the length of time of a generation, but the lifespans of members of two different generations overlap significantly. The accurate meaning is clarified by Mark 9:1: "...there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see that the kingdom of God has come with power." It was a deadline that would be about 50 years future of the ministry of Jesus, when all listeners of Jesus die of old age. The perceived deadline was yet to arrive at the writing of the gospel of Mark, and no apology was needed.

Tat Tvam Asi wrote:
Further more, the Pauline epistles should establish a lot more about Jesus' life and teachings than they do because they are closer to the source, right? Why would we be looking to writings further away (Mark) from contemporary sources in order to try and establish a possible biography for Jesus as failed doomsday cult leader? This doomsday deadline scenario should all be detailed in Paul, right? Do explain....

The gospels were written as though they were biographies about Jesus to evangelize for the Christian religion, and the epistles were written to churches for Paul to arbitrate disputes and solve problems of doctrine.

Thanks for your interest in my arguments and my point of view.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2012 8:31 pm 
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GodAlmighty, I am sorry to tell you this, but the giant wall of text was almost completely unnecessary. If you had merely stated that events much like almost every event of the apocalyptic prophecies of Jesus had occurred (either in myth or reality) at some point around the time of Jesus, then I would have agreed.

I would differ with your assertions only on the matter of “the Son of Man coming in clouds” and Sepher Yosippon (aka Josippon), someone from the middle ages who you think is an accurate testament to the myths of the first century, but we can leave that aside, because there is a bigger problem, because there is a big discrepancy in the scale between the spirit of Jesus' prophecies (a disastrous convergence of global calamities) and what actually occurred as you listed (normal regionally-isolated problems). The predictions of catastrophes were universal in scope--read this again: "And if the Lord had not cut short those days, no one would be saved; but for the sake of the elect, whom he chose, he has cut short those days."

That is why later Christian writings had to apologize for the apparently-failed prophecies. Again, read John 21:20-23 and 2 Peter 3:3-8. I have them at the end of the OP, but I will copy those passages again. John 21:20-23 and 2 Peter 3:3-8 are as follows (emphasis added).

    John 21:20-23 - 20 Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them; he was the one who had reclined next to Jesus at the supper and had said, ‘Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?’ 21When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, ‘Lord, what about him?’ 22Jesus said to him, ‘If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? Follow me!’ 23So the rumour spread in the community that this disciple would not die. Yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but, ‘If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?’

    2 Peter 3:3-8 - 3First of all you must understand this, that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and indulging their own lusts 4and saying, ‘Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since our ancestors died, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation!’

    [...]

    8 But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like one day.

Gospel of Thomas 113 follows in that same pattern--it respins the apocalyptic prophecies of Jesus into something else, as you said, something more spiritual, correcting the mistaken beliefs of the disciples, who were expecting something physical and waiting to happen.

    (113) His disciples said to him, "When will the kingdom come?"
    <Jesus said,> "It will not come by waiting for it. It will not be a matter of saying 'here it is' or 'there it is.' Rather, the kingdom of the father is spread out upon the earth, and men do not see it."


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2012 10:20 pm 
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ApostateAbe wrote:
because there is a bigger problem, because there is a big discrepancy in the scale between the spirit of Jesus' prophecies (a disastrous convergence of global calamities) and what actually occurred as you listed (normal regionally-isolated problems). The predictions of catastrophes were universal in scope--read this again: "And if the Lord had not cut short those days, no one would be saved; but for the sake of the elect, whom he chose, he has cut short those days."


--read the Bible again.

I HAVE read that again, Abe, again and again and again. You, like the many, many xians I went to church with when I was a xian, for some reason wish to make the Bible exempt from literary hyperbole.

Over & over & over again the Bible makes statements like that, in both Old & New Testaments, that are "regionally-isolated", as even admitted elsewhere in other verses, and yet are referred to as "universal in scope", and there stands no reason whatsoever to classify the few apocalyptic passage you've selected as exempt from this, when it's such a consistent occurrence in the Bible. A few of them I just quoted to you in my previous post(so apparently, yes, it was all necessary), i.e., where Paul said that the gospel had at that point been preached to EVERY creature(universal scope), would that include the Native Americans? The Australian Aboriginals? The Japanese?
Or when Paul said their faith had been spoken of in ALL the world, etc.

Did Paul or the gospel authors later make apologetic excuse for why Paul was mistaken?

No.

And why not?

Because that was hyperbole. Same as if today someone said "but everybody knows who Lady Gaga is".
It's not a lie. It's not an error that needs apologetics. It is hyperbole.

Just as when the Pharisees said of Jesus:
"The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, Perceive ye how ye prevail nothing? behold, the world is gone after him."

Really? Yet elsewhere we are told that not even all of Judea followed after him, let alone THE WORLD! WTF?

We know for a fact today that the kingdom of Babylon, even under Nebuchadnezzar, was "regionally-isolated" as opposed to "universal in scope". Yet Daniel ch. 4 says the following of Neb's kingdom:
"Nebuchadnezzar the king, unto ALL people, nations, and languages, that dwell in ALL the earth; Peace be multiplied unto you.
...
It is thou, O king, that art grown and become strong: for thy greatness is grown, and reacheth unto heaven, and thy dominion to the end of the earth."

The kingdom of Babylon was not over the whole earth, it wasn't even over the entire Middle East.

Same thing in Daniel 6 where it says:
"Then king Darius wrote unto ALL people, nations, and languages, that dwell in ALL the earth; Peace be multiplied unto you."

Seems kind of vain since most people couldn't even read. Does this include infants? Does it include the Native Americans?

I could go on and on, but since you believe my walls of text are written solely for your sake and are thus unnecessary, I will spare you the redundancy.

The examples of hyperbole in the Bible are overwhelming and cannot be denied. In light of this fact, Occam's Razor points towards those verses you cited with "universal scope" being no exception to this.

Hell, even writings outside the Bible reflect this use of hyperbole in regards to catastrophe and apocalypse, etc., as it is reflected in the description of Vesuvius I listed from Dio Cassius.

So since we're now back to square one, what else you got?


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2012 11:18 am 
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Abe wrote:
Yes, but that isn't all. When Paul says, "we who are alive," the Greek word for "we" accurately translates to "we," meaning the group of people including himself and his audience. He was assuming that members of that group would be alive when Jesus returns.

Hey Abe, I see that you responded before you saw my second post where I second guessed myself on Paul referring to a second coming of Jesus.
tat tvam asi wrote:
I may have gone too far with associating Paul's letters with a second coming of Jesus because of the above verse. I was just reflecting back on a video series that Vega posted on an older thread about the second coming of Jesus which goes into a more in-depth analysis of the texts and questions whether or not this was a first and only coming, and revelation, in the minds of early Christians:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=017Cn0JM ... re=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fmN9xCqX ... re=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?src_vid=af ... 3MLKB7vFGU
Now this video begins to really narrow it down:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N46DEsq9 ... re=related
And continues here contrasting Paul's Jesus idea with what came later in the gospels.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?annotation ... NR5Uv2Z4yg
http://www.youtube.com/watch?src_vid=JN ... R3liALvyss


Under closer analysis that actually seems to fall apart (see the videos I linked) because Paul is talking about something entirely different than what the Gospel writers were talking about. But, Paul is still anticipating something, and that something is the arrival of Jesus from up in the heavens. Material bodies were thought to be unable to enter those realms of the heavens and so that's where the bit about those alive having to be changed to go up and meet Jesus in the airs comes from. But in this instance Jesus is not a human doomsday prophet at all, but rather a primordial being who set the plan of salvation from before the creation of the world. Pauls letters are before the earth bound prophet thing evolved into the Gospels. It seems to have a basis in these older Christian beliefs though. It looks like it evolved in stages.

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Jesus: Hebrew Human or Mythical Messiah?


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2012 1:06 pm 
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GodAlmighty wrote:
ApostateAbe wrote:
because there is a bigger problem, because there is a big discrepancy in the scale between the spirit of Jesus' prophecies (a disastrous convergence of global calamities) and what actually occurred as you listed (normal regionally-isolated problems). The predictions of catastrophes were universal in scope--read this again: "And if the Lord had not cut short those days, no one would be saved; but for the sake of the elect, whom he chose, he has cut short those days."


--read the Bible again.

I HAVE read that again, Abe, again and again and again. You, like the many, many xians I went to church with when I was a xian, for some reason wish to make the Bible exempt from literary hyperbole.

Over & over & over again the Bible makes statements like that, in both Old & New Testaments, that are "regionally-isolated", as even admitted elsewhere in other verses, and yet are referred to as "universal in scope", and there stands no reason whatsoever to classify the few apocalyptic passage you've selected as exempt from this, when it's such a consistent occurrence in the Bible.A few of them I just quoted to you in my previous post(so apparently, yes, it was all necessary), i.e., where Paul said that the gospel had at that point been preached to EVERY creature(universal scope), would that include the Native Americans? The Australian Aboriginals? The Japanese?
Or when Paul said their faith had been spoken of in ALL the world, etc.

Did Paul or the gospel authors later make apologetic excuse for why Paul was mistaken?

No.

And why not?

Because that was hyperbole. Same as if today someone said "but everybody knows who Lady Gaga is".
It's not a lie. It's not an error that needs apologetics. It is hyperbole.

Just as when the Pharisees said of Jesus:
"The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, Perceive ye how ye prevail nothing? behold, the world is gone after him."

Really? Yet elsewhere we are told that not even all of Judea followed after him, let alone THE WORLD! WTF?

We know for a fact today that the kingdom of Babylon, even under Nebuchadnezzar, was "regionally-isolated" as opposed to "universal in scope". Yet Daniel ch. 4 says the following of the Neb's kingdom:
"Nebuchadnezzar the king, unto ALL people, nations, and languages, that dwell in ALL the earth; Peace be multiplied unto you.
...
It is thou, O king, that art grown and become strong: for thy greatness is grown, and reacheth unto heaven, and thy dominion to the end of the earth."

The kingdom of Babylon was not over the whole earth, it wasn't even over the entire Middle East.

Same thing in Daniel 6 where it says:
"Then king Darius wrote unto ALL people, nations, and languages, that dwell in ALL the earth; Peace be multiplied unto you."

Seems kind of vain since most people couldn't even read. Does this include infants? Does it include the Native Americans?

I could go on and on, but since you believe my walls of text are written solely for your sake and are thus unnecessary, I will spare you the redundancy.

The examples of hyperbole in the Bible are overwhelming and cannot be denied. In light of this fact, Occam's Razor points towards those verses you cited with "universal scope" being no exception to this.

Hell, even writings outside the Bible reflect this use of hyperbole in regards to catastrophe and apocalypse, etc., as it is reflected in the description of Vesuvius I listed from Dio Cassius.

So since we're now back to square one, what else you got?

Hyperbole is characteristic of exaggerations that go from greater to greatest. It is not characteristic of exaggerations that go from small to greatest. That would be considered falsehood, not hyperbole. If the prediction that "no one would be saved" is hyperbole, then it would mean that most people would die from the calamities. The prophecy was that global calamities were violent enough to be on course to wipe out everyone on Earth, but God would stop those calamities in time to save Christians. Didn't happen, the prophecy failed, and Christians after the deadline knew it. For the third time in a row, I refer you again to John 21:20-23 and 2 Peter 3:3-8. Please do not skip over this evidence a third time.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2012 4:37 pm 
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Speaking of hyperbole....

Now this is interesting Abe, because you were raising Luke's version as support for Jesus as a doomsday cult leader telling people that if they don't hate their relatives, then they can not be his disciples. This is a classic verse we call "Psycho Jesus" around here.

But the evolution from Mark to Matthew, and then to Luke is very telling. It didn't start out as this cult leader psycho bent on wrath and hatred that we find in Luke, it actually started out very different and the evolution is evident.

And considering that Paul was going on and on about trying to explain between the heavenly realm and earth, earth made man and heavenly man in the likeness of man who was killed for our sins BEFORE the creation of the world, and nowhere presents Jesus as a cult leader here on earth in the first century, you can actually start to see how the doomsday cult leader idea is actually late to arrive on the scene.

Paul does however seem to believe that this heavenly likeness of man will be arriving to the earth to take everyone up into the air to the heavenly realm though. To do that, the earthly flesh must be changed because it can not enter the heavenly realm, according to Paul. So there's an expectation of an end times event from the beginning, but the what that expectation is about seems to have evolved from Paul to the Gospels. And the more emphasis was put on the radical family hating cult leader concept later in the evolution of texts by way of conscious edition.

This is something that deserves close examination because I agree that the cult leader thing needs plausible explanation in both camps because it does appear at one point or another in the texts, although contradicting at times. The contradictions seem to point towards amalgamating different prophet types of the day and tossing many different ideas together when trying to carnalize the former celestial Christ myth. Mythicism has to address the cult leader characterists that did appear into the myth and for us it has to be analyzed against the progression and evolution of ideas that is evident between the main theme of Paul's letters and then Gospels.

_________________
The Jesus Mythicist Creed:
The "Jesus Christ" of the New Testament is a fictional composite of characters, real and mythical. A composite of multiple "people" is no one.

The celestial Origins of Religious Belief
ZG Part 1
Jesus: Hebrew Human or Mythical Messiah?


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2012 2:17 am 
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ApostateAbe wrote:
Hyperbole is characteristic of exaggerations that go from greater to greatest. It is not characteristic of exaggerations that go from small to greatest. That would be considered falsehood, not hyperbole. If the prediction that "no one would be saved" is hyperbole, then it would mean that most people would die from the calamities. The prophecy was that global calamities were violent enough to be on course to wipe out everyone on Earth, but God would stop those calamities in time to save Christians. Didn't happen, the prophecy failed, and Christians after the deadline knew it. For the third time in a row, I refer you again to John 21:20-23 and 2 Peter 3:3-8. Please do not skip over this evidence a third time.


Nothing's been skipped over Abe, it's just that, for the third time, those passages do not prove your thesis. They don't even point Occam's razor towards your thesis. They simply do not contradict your thesis.

Those passages do not demand that the synoptics were written early or prior to the fall of Jerusalem, or even prior to the death of all the apostles. And BTW, on that point, seeing as how our earliest sources claim that John lived even until the reign of Trajan, they still could have easily been written in the 2nd century and yet not after all the apostles had died. But that aside, as I said, those passages from John & Peter to not demand an early date for the synoptics. They simply indicate a late date for themselves, a date after the death of John for John's gospel, and a date after a generation or two at least had passed when Peter was written.

Your thesis only works on the presupposition that the synoptics were written early and that there was a uniform view of eschatology among all four gospels and Peter. As books such as Bart Ehrman's "Lost Christianities" have shown, there was everything BUT a uniform view of anything in the Christian community in its early days.
Hell, it's agreed that the gospels vary in their perspective on other issues and contain discrepencies with each other. Why in the world should eschatology be immune from that?

If the synoptic gospels are in fact preterist in their eschatological perspective, then for them, just as it was for John Chrysostom and other ancient xians, these was no failure of prophecy, and hence there is no demand that they be written prior to the time when it was supposed to have been fulfilled.
There doesn't need to be a LATER apologetic excuse offered on their behalf by John & Peter if they themselves had their own apologetic rationale to explain away the failure by way of preterism. And I have already more than adequately shown that one is well within his/her rights to conclude as much (though to be fair that hardly closes the case).

So to sum up what I'm saying, it doesn't need to be the case that the synoptics were written prior to the failure of the prophecies and then John & Peter were written after the failure and offer apologies for it on behalf of the synoptics. It may very well be the case that the synoptics were likewise written after the failure, but the authors simply accounted for the failure in a different way than John & Peter, by way of the preterist perspective of eschatology.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2012 11:09 am 
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BTW, I forgot to address, or rather, RE-address your comments on hyperbole. And your comments here show that you are either forgetful, or have not read my posts, and/or have skipped over them.

ApostateAbe wrote:
Hyperbole is characteristic of exaggerations that go from greater to greatest. It is not characteristic of exaggerations that go from small to greatest.


And why not? It seems to me that you are anachronistically applying more modernish rules of literary structure back to an ancient time when such rules clearly either did not exist and/or were of no consequence. The arbitrary parameter you just placed on hyperbole doesn't seem to have been in much use back then, even though the concept of hyperbole in general clearly was in use back then.

ApostateAbe wrote:
That would be considered falsehood, not hyperbole. If the prediction that "no one would be saved" is hyperbole, then it would mean that most people would die from the calamities.


No. Not necessarily. And this is demonstrated elsewhere in the Bible itself. For instance, in regards to the conquest of Israel & Judah, Lamentations 2:22 reads:
"In the day of the LORD’s anger no one escaped or survived; those I cared for and reared my enemy has destroyed."

Now, not only do we know historically that this did not happen, since we still have plenty of Jews today, and hell, not even MOST Jews died from that calamity, but historical facts aside, even this very same chapter, just 13 verses earlier it stated "Her gates have sunk into the ground; their bars he has broken and destroyed. Her king and her princes are exiled among the nations, the law is no more, and her prophets no longer find visions from the LORD."

So which is it? Did "NO ONE" survive? Or were there survivors who were then exiled among the gentile nations?

Well, we know historically that many survived and many were exiled.

So is the bit about "no one" surviving a "falsehood", as you say?

Doesn't seem likely, as the author said both of these seemingly contradictory statements within the same chapter. Did he already forget by verse 22 what he had just written a paltry 13 verses earlier? Did he think his readers wouldn't notice?
Of course not, that seems highly unlikely to me. The author doesn't come off as an idiot in that respect. It was clearly a case of hyperbole. Excuse him if he wasn't aware of arbitrary parameters on the usage of hyperbole that would be developed centuries down the road.

ApostateAbe wrote:
The prophecy was that global calamities were violent enough to be on course to wipe out everyone on Earth,


*facepalm*
Abe, Abe, Abe, you keep demanding this must be a literal "global" thing and infer that it can't be hyperbole, even though-

#1, I've already cited verses in my previous posts that show that "global" terminaology in the New Testament is clearly NOT literally global, such as the following statements from "Paul" claiming the gospel had already been preached "globally" to EVERY living creature.

Colossians 1:5-6
"For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel;
Which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth:"
Colossians 1:23
"If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;"
Romans 1:8
"First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world."
Romans 10:17-18
"So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world."

So again I ask, would this include the Native Americans? The Japanese? The Hawaiians? Etc.?

Of course not.

Was it a falsehood then? Did "Paul" think people couldn't investigate his claim and find out that in fact no, not EVERY creature had heard the gospel, not even EVERY creature in the Roman empire?

Again, that doesn't seem likely to me. The author here does not strike me as unintelligent, nor as one to underestimate his audience to such a degree.

He does strike me as one who would use hyperbole.

So if he can use it here, why would he or any of his fellow New Testament authors be forbidden from using it in "prophetic" passages?

#2, You also seem unaware that the words translated as "world" and "earth" in many of these passages can be, and sometimes are, also translated as "land" and "community", etc., and so does not always have "global" implications. Such as in the passage I quoted where the pharisees said the world had gone after Jesus, even though not even all of Judea had gone after him. Afterall, they themselves had not gone after him.

So not only was that one a hyperbole, but it wasn't even "global" in the first place. As the entry in Thayer's Lexicon @Blue Letter Bible states:
"with a predominant notion of space, in hyperbole, Jn. xxi. 25" - That's the one that says "Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written."

That's only for the entry for κόσμος, the word in the passage I just mentioned. Another word commonly translated as world is οἰκουμένη, such as in Acts 11:28 I cited earlier, or Romans 3:19 or 10:18, etc., for which the Strong's Concordance entry @ Blue Letter Bible states:
"1) the inhabited earth
a) the portion of the earth inhabited by the Greeks, in distinction from the lands of the barbarians
b) the Roman empire, all the subjects of the empire
c) the whole inhabited earth, the world
d) the inhabitants of the earth, men
2) the universe, the world"

And the Thayer's Lexicon entry on the same page states the same thing, more or less.

And another word, one translated as "earth", such as in Romans 10:18 I cited is γῆ, for which the Strong's entry states:
"1) arable land
2) the ground, the earth as a standing place
3) the main land as opposed to the sea or water
4) the earth as a whole
a) the earth as opposed to the heavens
b) the inhabited earth, the abode of men and animals
5) a country, land enclosed within fixed boundaries, a tract of land, territory, region"

Definition number 5 there fits the province of Judea perfectly. Hence "all the earth" could be destroyed and not even include "most" of the people "globally". In this instance it wouldn't even be a matter of hyperbole, it would simply be a matter of misnomer translation. Though hyperboles do abound in such passages, as I have adequately proven.

ApostateAbe wrote:
but God would stop those calamities in time to save Christians.


Which he "did", as I showed, Josephus and several early church fathers noted how Cestius withdrew his troops just long enough for the Christians(and whoever else) to escape the imminent calamity, which those early church fathers interpreted as the fulfillment of Christ's prophecy & warning to flee into the mountains, i.e., Cestius' withdrawal was God putting a "stop to those calamities in time to save Christians".

ApostateAbe wrote:
Didn't happen, the prophecy failed, and Christians after the deadline knew it.


We're agreed that the prophecy failed. We do not agree that the authors of the synoptics were aware that it failed. I think they believed it was fulfilled, hence they could still very well have written after these things took place. They didn't need an apologetic excuse to account for the failure like John & Peter did, since they didn't think there was a failure at all.


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