John 3:16 and the mystery of God's two sons
John 3:16 is arguably the most famous gospel verse, at least judging by the number of roadside signs I've seen. How one achieves any form of eternal life through faith defies every fact known to medical science; it's plainly impossible. Anyway, verse 16 says God has only one son while verses 13-14 and 17-21 make mention of a Son of man and a Son of God. What gives?
16For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
Verse 13 makes mention of ascending and descending from heaven, and the Son of man. That points to the stars which ascend and descend with mathematical precision every day. More specifically, the Son of man personifies Orion. This is the easiest constellation to recognize in the morning sky this time of the year. (As a side note, trace a line from the three stars in Orion's belt to the brightest star in the sky below it. That is Sirius, otherwise known in Matthew as the Star of Bethlehem.)
13No one has ascended into heaven but he who descended from heaven, the Son of man.
14And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted up,
15that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.” (John 3:13-14)
As to the second son, by changing son to sun, the passage demonstrates the association of light with goodness, and darkness with evil. Ancients had a fear that darkness contains evil spirits.
17For God sent the Son [sun] into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.
18He who believes in him is not condemned; he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son [sun] of God.
19And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
20For every one who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.
21But he who does what is true comes to the light, that it may be clearly seen that his deeds have been wrought in God. (John 3:17-21)
This goes all the way back to Genesis where God created light and called the light good. He didn’t call the darkness anything.
4 (Gen. 1:3-4)
Darkness represented the chaotic world of evil before God created order out of light.
2 (Gen. 1:1-2)
So in the final analyses, it is the sun that gives life. It is the sun that produces miraculous cures. The events of Jesus’ life personify the sun’s passage through the Zodiac. Despite the Christian belief in a a supernatural heaven, the gospel writers were aware of only one heaven. Oh, and how do we get from one son to two sons? They are one in the same; Orion is the sun's spirit. Though we see see them as distinctly different
The adultrous woman forgery
In Misquoting Jesus, Professor Ehrman tells us about John 8:2-8:12 which tells of one of the gospels' most memorable lines where Jesus defends an adultrous woman from stoning. He writes something with his finger on the ground, then says "Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her." It was a brilliant defense but it left scholars like Ehrman with some unanswered questions: What did he write? Jesus in Matthew 5:17 said he came to fulfill the Law of Moses, but the Law of Moses (Lev. 20:10) says that both the adulterer and adulterous shall be put to death? Where is the adulterer? Does he think sins should not be punished at all? But that is the least of it.
This passage cannot be found in any of the earliest gospels; it was added by later scribes. How do scholars know it is a forgery and not in the original lost version? Mainly because the writing style is different from the rest of John and because it includes too many words and phrases that are not found anywhere else.
We have to remember that the Bible was copied by hand until the 15th century with the invention of the printing press; no two handwritten Bibles are alike. If Bible publishers were truly concerned with the authentic word of God, they would update the texts to weed out certifiable mistakes and alterations. But they have a quandary. To change the texts would be akin to admitting that the Bible is not the canonized literal word of God; it is a tainted human document at minimum. Such a revelation risks undermining organized religion.
Early in the morning he came again to the temple; all the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them.
The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery.
Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such. What do you say about her?”
This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground.
And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.”
And once more he bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground.
But when they heard it, they went away, one by one, beginning with the eldest, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him.
Jesus looked up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and do not sin again.” (John 8:2-12)
The Markian Forgery
There are Christians who believe the Bible is the infallible word of God and there are those who believe that today's Bibles are an accurate replication of the original gospels. They could not be more wrong. In one case in Misquoting Jesus, Bart Ehrman reports that in the two oldest and best manuscripts, Mark stops at 16:8. Mary Magdalene and two other women upon seeing the empty tomb were told Jesus had risen. Though told to tell Peter and the disciples, they were too afraid to tell anyone.
And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe; and they were amazed.
And he said to them, “Do not be amazed; you seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen, he is not here; see the place where they laid him.
But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him, as he told you.” And they went out and fled from the tomb; for trembling and astonishment had come upon them; and they said nothing to any one, for they were afraid. (Mark 16:5-8)
Sometime during the Middle Ages, the last twelve verses were added. Jesus rose again to appear before Mary Magdalene and she goes to tell the weeping and mourning disciples. They refuse to believe her; so a second ghost appears before two of them who still refuse to believe. Then Jesus' ghost appears before the eleven disciples to scold them for not believing and to tell them to preach the gospel. Then he rose to heaven. Does this make any sense? if they didn't believe in him, why were they his disciples?
Now when he rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons.
She went out and told those who had been with him, as they mourned and wept.
But when they heard that he was alive and had been seen by her, they would not believe it.
After this he appeared in another form to two of them, as they were walking into the country.
And they went back and told the rest, but they did not believe them.
Afterward he appeared to the eleven themselves as they sat at table; and he upbraided them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen.
And he said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation.
He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.
And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues;
they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God.
And they went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by the signs that attended it. Amen. (Mark 16:9-20)
The reason for the forgery is clear: Mark undermines the ending of Matthew and Luke. Though it is entirely possible that the last page of the original gospel of Mark was lost, the forgery is not in harmony with the rest of Mark. This collection demonstrates how his disciples failed to understand his words. And on the occassions when he is understood, they are told to keep quiet.
And he said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables? (4:13)
he did not speak to them without a parable, but privately to his own disciples he explained everything. (4:34)
And they began to beg Jesus to depart from their neighborhood. (Mark 5:17)
And he strictly charged them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat. (5:43)
And Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor, except in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house.” (6:4)
And he got into the boat with them and the wind ceased. And they were utterly astounded,
for they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened. (6:51-52)
And he said to them, “Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a man from outside cannot defile him, (7:18)
And he sighed deeply in his spirit, and said, “Why does this generation seek a sign? Truly, I say to you, no sign shall be given to this generation.” (8:12)
And he said to them, “Do you not yet understand?” (8:21)
And he asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Christ.”
And he charged them to tell no one about him. (8:29-30)
So they kept the matter to themselves, questioning what the rising from the dead meant. (9:10)
They went on from there and passed through Galilee. And he would not have any one know it;
for he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, “The Son of man will be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him; and when he is killed, after three days he will rise.”
But they did not understand the saying, and they were afraid to ask him. (9:30-32)
So they answered Jesus, “We do not know.” And Jesus said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.” (11:33)
Alpha and Omega
Revelation describes the term as the beginning and the end. It has to do with the personification of darkness as evil and light with good.
I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” (Rev. 22:13)
The beginning is described in Genesis where on the first day, God created light before he created the sun, the moon and the stars. This light personifies the presence of God. But evil darkness remains.
Revelation describes heaven after the apocalypse as a place with no sun and no moon. God is the only source of light. There is no darkness.
And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine upon it, for the glory of God is its light, and its lamp is the Lamb. By its light shall the nations walk; and the kings of the earth shall bring their glory into it, and its gates shall never be shut by day—and there shall be no night there; (Rev. 21:22-25)
For an explanation of the personification of good with light and evil with darkness, see Light versus Dark
The problem of Gospel literary discrepencies
There is no plausible defense for the literacy discrepencies within the gospels. To make my point, let's examine the last hour from Jesus' last words in the chronological sequence the gospels were written.
Mark and Mathew agree on Jesus’ last words and about the bystanders’ mention of Elijah. Both agree about the curtain of the temple being torn in two. But Matthew adds that earth shook and that the saints came out of their tombs. Both agree that the centurion believed Jesus was the Son of God.
Luke has Jesus saying different last words; there was no temple split in two, no earthquake and no saints coming out of their tombs. The centurion merely believed Jesus was innocent.
John’s version is entirely different, relating how the soldiers refused to break Jesus’ legs, piercing his side instead.
The only thing they all agree on is that a man died on the cross. An apologist might argue that they are all true, different details from different witnesses. Not only is that an argument from silence but it doesn’t account for the range in Jesus’ last words, from a cry of being forsaken to complete willingness. Matthew's recounting of an earthquake and walking deadmen is too vivid for the others to ignore, not to mention its implausibility.
Keeping in mind that the story of Jesus was told and retold orally for roughly forty years before Mark, to sixty years before John, we can see the makings of a fish story—a story that gets embellished as it passes from person to person. I’m not being selective here; discrepancies like this permeate the gospels. If there was an historical Jesus, the best we can make of the gospels is that a charismatic Jew was crucified for sedition. The obscure details of his last days were embellished over the decades, turning him from a mortal man to a god-man.
And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”
And some of the bystanders hearing it said, “Behold, he is calling Elijah.”
And one ran and, filling a sponge full of vinegar, put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink, saying, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down.”
And Jesus uttered a loud cry, and breathed his last.
And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom.
And when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that he thus breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!” (Mark 15:34-39)
And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”
And some of the bystanders hearing it said, “This man is calling Elijah.”
And one of them at once ran and took a sponge, filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave it to him to drink.
But the others said, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him.”
And Jesus cried again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit.
And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom; and the earth shook, and the rocks were split;
the tombs also were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised,
and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many.
When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe, and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!” (Matt. 27:46-54)
Then Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, “Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit!” And having said this he breathed his last.
Now when the centurion saw what had taken place, he praised God, and said, “Certainly this man was innocent!”
And all the multitudes who assembled to see the sight, when they saw what had taken place, returned home beating their breasts. (Luke 23:46-48)
When Jesus had received the vinegar, he said, “It is finished”; and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
Since it was the day of Preparation, in order to prevent the bodies from remaining on the cross on the sabbath (for that sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.
So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first, and of the other who had been crucified with him;
but when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs.
But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water. (John 19:30-34)
Who are the four horsemen of the apocalypse?
And I saw, and behold, a white horse, and its rider had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer. (Rev. 6:2)
And out came another horse, bright red; its rider was permitted to take peace from the earth, so that men should slay one another; and he was given a great sword. (Rev. 6:4)
When he opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come!” And I saw, and behold, a black horse, and its rider had a balance in his hand; (Rev. 6:5)
And I saw, and behold, a pale horse, and its rider’s name was Death, and Hades followed him; and they were given power over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by wild beasts of the earth. (Rev. 6:8)
The Babylonians had colors for the planets which they called wanderers. The term "horse" has a similar meaning as fast moving objects compared to the slow moving stars. White symbolized the moon; red symbolized Mars, black symbolized Saturn, and pale (gray) symbolized Mercury.
The rider with a bow describes Sagittarus. The rider with the sword describe Perseus in Aries. The rider with the balance describes Libra. The rider with the name Death followed by Hades describes Gemini. The constellations represent four cardinal directions of the Zodiac. The planets with the shortest cycles are on opposing sides as are the planets with the longest cycles.
The cardinal image is an offshoot of Ezekiel's cheribum in Ezekiel 1:10 which describe a man, a lion, an ox and an eagle. Within that time, the constellation in the vernal equinox had shifted from Taurus to Aries.
This passage is one of evangelical Christian's favorites in support of their belief in the rapture. It's a good model for illustrating how Christians read into text what is not there, and ignore what doesn't fit their presuppositions.
Paul did not believe in a tribulation (violent end), only of a time when Jesus returns for the faithful. The idea of a tribulation follwing a rapture came centuries later by mixing it with the Book of Revelation as if each was part of a timeline. Common to the thinking of that time, Paul and the Jews imagined a universe built on three levels—the realm of the dead below, the living on the ground surface and the realm of God and his angels above. They did not know that there is no up and down in our universe.
Paul anticipates the end of the age to come within his lifetime. He tells the Thessalonians that Christ will descend from heaven, first to the underworld for the dead, then to the surface for the living. Together they will ascend to a physical heaven where their bodies will be reconstituted so as to live forever.
(1 Thess. 4:14-17)
Paul's idea of a bodily resurrection is reinforced in his letter to the Corinthians where he strongly objects to those who find the idea ridiculus. For Paul, we all live in bodies, but they will be perfected bodies, no longer subject fo pain and death.
But some one will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?” You foolish man! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. And what you sow is not the body which is to be, but a bare kernel, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain. But God gives it a body as he has chosen, and to each kind of seed its own body. For not all flesh is alike, but there is one kind for men, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish. There are celestial bodies and there are terrestrial bodies; but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory. (1 Cor. 15:35-41)
As any realist would expect, the Bible reflects the ignorance of the time when it was written. With the advent of astronomy and science, Christian theology had to reinvent itself by moving God from a physical heaven to a supernatural heaven, from a physical resurrection to a spiritual resurrection.
Jesus came to save who?
Christians are taught that Jesus was sent by the Father to save gentiles, yet he insisted he came to save Jews. Not only was there was no Christian religion then, Jesus showed no inclination to starting a new religion. Worse, the Jewis didn't accept him. They wanted a king to lead them back to the Promised Land. A martyr was no good to them.
Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And preach as you go, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ (Matt. 10:5-6)
I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. (Matt. 15:24)
You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. (John 4:22)
Yes he did instruct his disciples to make disciples of nations, but his personal behavior went contrary to what he preached.
All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, (Matt. 28:18-19)
In practice he avoided those who didn't have faith, even showing contempt at times.
On the way to Jerusalem he was passing along between Samaria and Galilee. (Luke 17:11)
And he did not do many mighty works there, because of their unbelief. (Matt. 13:58)
Do not give dogs what is holy; and do not throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under foot and turn to attack you. (Matt. 7:6)
How old was Jesus?
How can the gospels be of any historical value when they suffer so many literary contradictions? The gospels can't even agree on when Jesus was born and how old he was. Matthew says Jesus was born during the time of King Herod while Luke says it was duing the time of Quirinius. The problem is, according to historical records, both men are separated by ten years or more. Herod died in 4 BCE, and there was a local census under Quirinius in 6 CE, not a world census. Neither was there a slaughter of innocents under Herod as told in Matthew 2:13-14.
Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, (Matt. 2:1)
In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be enrolled. This was the first enrollment, when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be enrolled, each to his own city. (Luke 2:1-3)
Just as bad, Jesus' age differs by almost twenty years. Luke says he started his ministery at thirty. John says Jesus was approaching fifty. Mark mentions one Passover since Jesus was baptized (14:12). John mentions three Passovers during Jesus ministery (2:23, 11:55, 18:28). So the length of ministery of one to three years can't straddle the difference. Yes they can't even agree on the length of his ministery.
Jesus, when he began his ministry, was about thirty years of age, (Luke 3:23)
The Jews then said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?” (John 8:57)
To harmonize these discrepencies, one would have to cherry pick. That is exactly what true believing Christians do when they assert the Bible is the word of God. Alas, only humans make mistakes like this. If they were scribing the word of God, they were poor listeners. See Jesus Nativity Legends
Famous last words 4/16
Once again we will look at the gospels in their historical sequence —Mark written about 40 years after Jesus' time, Matthew and Luke, about ten years after Mark, and John, another ten years. These writings are too far from the time of events to have any historical accuracy.
Mark and Matthew have Jesus crying out about being forsaken. How can that be if he came to die for the sins of man? Answer: the idea of Jesus purposely coming do die for the sins of man came later.
And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34, Matt. 27:46)
In Luke and John, we see a complete about face of a man satisfied with the completion of his mission.
Then Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, “Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit!” (Luke 23:46)
When Jesus had received the vinegar, he said, “It is finished”; and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. (John 19:30)
The concept of killing one's son to atone for the errors of the guilty turns any reasonable notion of justice on its head. True believing Christians cannot bring themselves to come to terms with the thought that their god is vicious and uncaring.
Why was Jesus baptized?
There is no mystery about baptism; its theological purpose is to repent for sins. If Jesus was born free of sin, wouldn't it seem senseless for him to be baptized? Yet he was. When we carefully follow the gospels in their historical sequence, we can get a sense of how the story got exaggerated. How Jesus went from a man to a god within a few decades. Mark was written about 40 years after Jesus died; Matthew and Luke another ten years later, and John follows by another ten years.
In Mark, Jesus has a standard baptism. There is no mention of a virgin birth because Jesus was assumed to be a man, perhaps a star pupil; John comes across as a mentor who initiated his career.
John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And he preached, saying, “After me comes he who is mightier than I, the thong of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” (Mark 1:4, 7-8)
It is not until Jesus is baptized that God recognizes him as a Son.
and a voice came from heaven, “Thou art my beloved Son; with thee I am well pleased.” (Mark 1:11)
When Mathew intoduces the virgin birth, he has to invent a reason to explain this awkard detail. So he has John be reluctant. Jesus consents anyway, not as a sinner, but as a divine requirement. The reasoning is not explained, and to the best of my knowledge, ignored by apologists. Nor are we told how John knew in advance.
Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now; for thus it is fitting for us to fulfil all righteousness.” Then he consented. (Matt. 3:13-15)
Luke had the same problem as Matthew. So he has John recognize Jesus as someone mightier than him. Again, no explanation how John could meet Jesus for the first time and recognize him as someone mightier.
John answered them all, “I baptize you with water; but he who is mightier than I is coming, the thong of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. (Luke 3:16)
In John, Jesus is neither a man or an innocent man; he is a god-man, the Lamb of God who came to take away the sin of the world. John the author, solves the problem of identity by having the baptist see a vision. John does not baptize him, because he is already pure.
The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks before me, for he was before me.’ I myself did not know him; but for this I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel.” And John bore witness, “I saw the Spirit descend as a dove from heaven, and it remained on him. I myself did not know him; but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ (John 1:29-33)
The dating of the first gospel tellus us it was orally transmitted countless times for 40 years. There may have been a holy man who was tried and crucified. Apart from that, the story grew to legendary proportions.
The most popular verse among Christians is arguably John 3:16. Since the Book of John is the last written gospel, it would do well to compare it to the earliest written gospel, the Book of Mark. That they were written about 30 years apart shows a substantial change in thinking between the authors. In this passage, Jesus warns of a coming day of judgment when the Son of Man will come down from heaven and destroy all opposed to God and reward the faithful.
“But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And 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. (Mk. 13:24-27)
John is not apocalyptic. The Son of Man is not coming; he is already here as the Son of God. He did not come to condemn the world; he came to save it. It is here where we can see the idea of a permanent hell emerging.
For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. He who believes in him is not condemned; he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. (John 3:16-18)
Who is going to do the saving? In Mark, Jesus talks of the Son of Man as some kind of a cosmic judge other than himself. In John, Jesus refers to himself in the third person as the Son of God.
Jesus a backslider? 2/28
Would a God-man change his mind? Or was his character a composite of many men? Mark was written about 70 CE, 40 years after Jesus. This is fictional narrative. According to Jesus in Mark, the cosmic Son of Man was to come to earth in clouds with power to rid it of evil.
“But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of man coming in clouds with great power and glory. (Mk. 13:24-26)
Matthew and Luke were written more then ten years after Mark. With no Son of Man with power in sight, they did some creative revising. By leaving out “come with power,” they have Jesus say some will “see the kingdom.” As subtle as the change seems, this is a tremendous shift in emphasis. The disciples do see the kingdom, but not coming in power. It's kind of passing by.
Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.” (Matt. 16:28)
But I tell you truly, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:27)
The Book of John was written more than ten years after Matthew and Luke. With no Kingdom of God in sight, it was time for editing. So rather than have believers live to see the Kingdom, a believer has to die to see the Kingdom. It was foolproof. Dead men don't tell.
“I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live,
and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die. (John 11:25-26)
Jesus was an apocalyptic
Predictions of the end of the world like this are sprinkled throughout the synoptic gospels. How could a god-man have been so wrong unless he was a mortal man. Typically, fundamentlists read passages like this as if they were written yesterday.
“But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of man coming in clouds with great power and glory. (Mk. 13:24-26)
The law or not 2/5
The earliest Christian texts which can be seen in the Bible, are a confusion of contradictions. It is so bad, that it took hundreds of years for the orthodox view to prevail among dozens of others. Case in point. Matthew takes a Jewish point of view, so the writer has the voice of a human Jesus emphasize law.
“Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfil them. For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. (Matt. 5:17-20)
And behold, one came up to him, saying, “Teacher, what good deed must I do, to have eternal life?” And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? One there is who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.” He said to him, “Which?” And Jesus said, “You shall not kill, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” The young man said to him, “All these I have observed; what do I still lack?” Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” (Matt. 19:16-21)
John and the letters of Paul take the view that Jesus was a divine apparition, so they emphasize faith.
“I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also; henceforth you know him and have seen him.” (John 14:6-7)
He who believes in him is not condemned; he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. (John 3:18)
For no other foundation can any one lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. (1 Cor. 3:11)
Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. (Rom. 5:1)
Which is it? It was a compromise settlement that ignored Old Testament law except for the Ten Commandments. Jesus was both divine and human. When matters of difference are decided by popular consensus, there are no tangible standards of truth. This is what separates science from religion.
The world's worst kept secret 1/30
By scholarly accounts, Mark was the first of the gospels. Matthew used about 90 percent of Mark, Luke about 50 percent and John only followed the basic story line. Mark gives reason to believe that he saw Christianity as a mystery cult, a secret knowledge given only to the elect. I found seven verses—yes, the magic number seven— which allude to Jesus' messiahship being kept secret. Of course, if they remained secret there would have been no Christianity. Moreover, if these events really happened, there were no witnesses to record them.
Mark was written about 40 years after Jesus supposedly died. If he did exist, the events were told and retold countless times until someone wrote them down—the apostles were illiterate. This is how legends are made.
To a leper after he was healed.
“See that you say nothing to any one; but go, show yourself to the priest, and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, for a proof to the people.” (Mk. 1:44)
To evil spirits who recognized him as the son of God.
And whenever the unclean spirits beheld him, they fell down before him and cried out, “You are the Son of God.” And he strictly ordered them not to make him known. (Mk. 3:11-12)
He told parables so not to be understood by outsiders.
“To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside everything is in parables; so that they may indeed see but not perceive, and may indeed hear but not understand; lest they should turn again, and be forgiven.” (Mk. 4:11-12)
He charged his disciples to tell no one he is the Christ.
And he asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Christ.” And he charged them to tell no one about him. (Mk. 8: 29-30)
After his transfiguration—when his body and clothes turned white.
And as they were coming down the mountain, he charged them to tell no one what they had seen, until the Son of man should have risen from the dead. (Mk. 9:9)
After casting a demon out of a boy.
They went on from there and passed through Galilee. And he would not have any one know it; (Mk. 9:32)
Only three women witnessed Jesus' empty tomb, but out of fear, they said nothing.
And they went out and fled from the tomb; for trembling and astonishment had come upon them; and they said nothing to any one, for they were afraid. (Mk. 16:8)
Here is where it gets sticky. According to scholarly sources, the oldest and best manuscripts end here at Mark 16:8. After 16:8, the direction of the narrative in later texts goes in the opposite direction by having Jesus tell his apostles to go into the world and preach the gospel. The world, mind you. A very suspicious ambitious propitious forgery indeed.
Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation. (Mk. 16:15)
Book of Revelation outdated
To a modern reader, the Book of Revelation reads like the author is having hallucinations. To be fair, they are symbolic visions. He sees a woman who is seated on a wild beast that's made of scarlet—a scarlet beast. The beast has seven heads and 10 horns. (There is a similar vision in Daniel 7.) On her forehead is written a name of mystery: "Babylon the great, mother of harlots and of earth's abominations."
I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast which was full of blasphemous names, and it had seven heads and ten horns. The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and bedecked with gold and jewels and pearls, holding in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the impurities of her fornication; and on her forehead was written a name of mystery: “Babylon the great, mother of harlots and of earth’s abominations.” (Rev. 17: 3-5)
The phrase, "The woman drunk with blood of saints and the blood of the martyrs of Jesus," refers to Nero's persecutions.
And I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints and the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. (Rev. 17:6)
The mystery of the woman and the beast is explained by an angel. They represent a city with seven mountains and five fallen kings. The mountains represent the seven hills of Rome. The five fallen kings are: Caesar, Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula and Claudius. "One is": Nero. "The other has not yet come." That places the text at 54-68 CE, the reign of Nero or slightly after.
But the angel said to me, “Why marvel? I will tell you the mystery of the woman, and of the beast with seven heads and ten horns that carries her. The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is to ascend from the bottomless pit and go to perdition; and the dwellers on earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, will marvel to behold the beast, because it was and is not and is to come. This calls for a mind with wisdom: the seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman is seated; they are also seven kings, five of whom have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come, and when he comes he must remain only a little while. (Rev. 17:7-10)
Again, "the great city which has dominion over the kings of the earth" refers to Rome.
And the woman that you saw is the great city which has dominion over the kings of the earth. (Rev.17:18)
Now that we've establish that the subject of our inquiry is about ancient Rome, we move on to its prediction: Judgment will come in one hour. The great city shall be thrown down with violence and shall be found no more.
they will stand far off, in fear of her torment, and say, “Alas! alas! thou great city,
thou mighty city, Babylon!
In one hour has thy judgment come.
Then a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying, “So shall Babylon the great city be thrown down with violence, and shall be found no more; (Rev. 18: 10, 21)
Rome wasn't sacked until 455 and stands today as the capitol city of the Catholic Church. And yet, Fundamentalists continue to treat Revelation with reverence as relevent to current events. If Rome ever does fall again, the Catholic Church is going with it.
The main passage comes from Paul's letter to his congregation in Thessalonica. While "rapture" does not appear in the Bible, the word comes from Paul's "caught up" in the underlined sentence, from its Greek and Latin roots.
(1 Thess. 4:13-17)
To an objective reader, this is what Paul said to contemporaries who have long since died. Christ never returned on a cloud. The End Times never came. Our presence proves that every such prophecy has been wrong. But to Evangelists, the Bible is the timeless word of God like the forces of Nature. 2,000 years of being wrong doesn't discourage them. 1/15