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Did Jesus Prophesy the Destruction of the Temple?

Judaism after the Temple | My Jewish Learning
The Roman destruction of the Jerusalem Temple in 70 CE

As Jesus came out of the temple and was going away, his disciples came to point out to him the buildings of the temple. Then he asked them, “You see all these, do you not? Truly I tell you, not one stone will be left here upon another; all will be thrown down.” –Matthew 27

Did Matthew the Apostle hear Jesus make this prophesy? The evidence is poor that he did. Even many evangelical Bible scholars (Richard Bauckham and NT Wright) doubt or at least question that Matthew the Apostle wrote the Gospel of Matthew, primarily because it would be odd for an eyewitness to copy so much of another author’s work (the Gospel of Mark) who was not an eyewitness (allegedly, John Mark). It is estimated that the author of Matthew incorporated over 90% of the Gospel of Mark into his Gospel, often copying Mark word for word. Why would he do such a thing if he had witnessed these events himself? That doesn’t make sense.

Bottom line, the authorship of ALL the Gospels is disputed, that is a fact. Even most Roman Catholic Bible scholars—who believe in the bodily resurrection of Jesus and in miracles—reject the apostolic authorship of the Gospels.

Let’s look at the first Gospel written, the first Gospel to contain the alleged prophecy in which Jesus predicts the future destruction of the Temple. The overwhelming majority of scholars date the writing of the Gospel of Mark to sometime between 65-75 CE. That means that it is possible that the prophecy about the destruction of the Temple occurred before the Temple was destroyed in 70 CE. If this is the case, then it is certainly possible that Jesus did make this prophesy. But, it is also possible that this prophecy was simply a lucky guess, either by Jesus or by the author of Mark. The author of Mark, if writing in 65-69 CE, knew that trouble was brewing between the Jews and the Romans as the Jewish-Roman Wars started at about that time, and predicting a Roman triumph, knew that the destruction of the Temple, the last place where Jewish authority had been allowed under Roman rule, would be the probable outcome of a failed Jewish revolt. If the Romans won the Jewish-Roman War, everyone knew the Temple was doomed.

So this “prophecy” has four possible explanations:

–Jesus did have fortune-telling powers
–Jesus made a lucky guess
–Jesus never said this, the author of Mark made a lucky guess and invented Jesus making a prophecy about the Temple before the Temple was destroyed in 70 CE.
–the author of Mark, writing after 70 CE and knowing all about the destruction of the Temple, invented the prophecy to make it look like Jesus had fortune-telling powers.

If we were talking about a prophesy from any another religion, I will bet that most Christians would assume that the correct answer is 2, 3, or 4. So why do they assume the answer is 1 for their religion? The chances are very high, based on the evidence, that this prophecy was an invention of the author of Mark.

I suggest the answer is: They have a bias; Christians WANT the prophecy to be real. You are not using good critical thinking skills, my Christian friends.

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If Jesus Prophecies Are So Good, Why Aren’t They in History Textbooks?

Bowie Apostolic Church - Day 11: A Virgin Shall Be With Child

I know I have posted on this topic before but it is a very important issue in the debate regarding the truth claims of Christianity. It is a topic which exposes the weakness of the Christian argument that there is good historical evidence for the claim that the first century peasant, Jesus of Nazareth, is the resurrected Creator God of the universe.

“Fulfilled prophecies!” This is one of the principal pieces of evidence that many Christians give for why we non-believers should believe in Jesus the Resurrected Corpse as our Lord and Master. (How ghoulish!)

Yet, if the alleged prophecies about Jesus were as amazing and as good as Christians say, shouldn’t we find these amazing predictions in the Guinness Book of World Records and in history textbooks?? But we don’t. Why? Christians will make up all kinds of silly rationalizations for why these amazing feats are not recorded in record books or textbooks, such as, “historians and record keepers have a bias against Christianity”. Baloney. If the Bible contained detailed, specific, accurate futuristic predictions, the whole world would know about them. The fact is that ALL the alleged prophecies about Jesus in the Christian holy book are contested and/or vague.

Here is an example of a good prophecy:

In 1932, an imam in Pakistan published a book in which he prophesied that on September 11, 2001, two airplanes will deliberately crash into the tallest skyscrapers of New York City bring them both crashing to the ground.

That is an example of a good prophecy! It is specific and detailed. (It is also pure fiction. It is my invention. No such prophecy was ever made.) Fortune-tellers, palm readers, mediums, and bible prophets (male mediums/sorcerers) never make specific, detailed prophecies!

Here is an example of a bad prophecy:

Again the Lord spoke to Ahaz: 11 “Ask aa sign of the Lord your6 God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven.” 12 But Ahaz said, “I will not ask, and I will not put the Lord to the test.” 13 And he7 said, “Hear then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to weary men, that you bweary my God also? 14 Therefore the cLord himself will give you a sign. dBehold, the evirgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name fImmanuel.8 15 He shall eat gcurds and honey when he knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good. 16 hFor before the boy knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land whose two kings you dread will be ideserted. 17 jThe Lord will bring upon you and upon your people and upon your father’s house such days as have not come since the day that kEphraim departed from Judah—the king of Assyria!”

Christians believe there is a prophecy in that passage that predicts that centuries after the death of King Ahaz, a Jewish virgin will give birth to God the Creator! How ridiculous. This alleged “Jesus prophecy” is vague and non-specific. It is a joke. Educated Christians should be ashamed to trot out this fortune telling nonsense as evidence for the historicity of their ancient tall tale!

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Dear Christian Apologist: How Old Were You When You First Believed in Jesus as Your Resurrected Lord And Savior?

Raising kids in Jesus - do they need to pray all the time? - Hands of God  Church Austin, Texas

This is one of my favorite questions when debating Christian apologists. It often throws them off guard. Some of them will even try to avoid answering it. Why? Because studies have shown that the overwhelming majority of evangelical Christians first believed in and committed their lives to Jesus the resurrected corpse as their “Lord and Savior” prior to the age of TWELVE!

Good god!

How can anyone claim to be “objective” if they have believed this ancient fairy tale as fact ever since they were a small child?

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Why Isn’t the Bible Listed in The Guinness Book of World Records for Most Accurate Prophecies?

Guinness World Records - Wikipedia

Christian: No other book ever written has the amazing accuracy of its prophecies as does the Bible. 

Gary: After subjective personal feelings and perceptions of the presence of Jesus of Nazareth in their hearts and in their lives, the second most frequently mentioned evidence given by Christians for the reliability of the Bible is the alleged “amazing” accuracy of Biblical prophecies about Jesus. But the odd fact is, the only people on earth who seem to believe that the Bible is amazingly accurate in its prophecies about Jesus are Christians! The overwhelming majority of Jewish Bible scholars don’t believe that the Old Testament has any prophecies about Jesus or about any messiah who is born of a virgin, who is crucified for the remission of sins for all mankind, or who comes back from the dead. Christians allege that Jewish Bible scholars are biased. Ok, let’s ignore the fact that thousands of Jewish Bible experts for the last 2,000 years have extensively studied the Hebrew Bible, in Hebrew, and have not found any prophecies about a virgin-born, dying and rising messiah, what about the rest of the world’s historians and scholars? Can anyone provide a public university textbook written by a non-Christian which states that the Bible is amazingly accurate in its predictions (prophecies)? Let me know if you find one, but I highly doubt that such a textbook exists.

Why do the world’s non-Christian, professional historians fail to mention in their books the fact that the Bible contains the most accurate predictions of the future (prophecies) than any book on the planet, including the writings of Nastradamus? A conspiracy against Christianity?? Well, once again, let’s ignore the fact that the world’s non-Christian professional historians for some reason never mention the Bible as being the most accurate collection of futuristic predictions (prophecies). Let’s look at another category of book authors.

What about books written by collectors of record breaking events? If the Bible’s futuristic predictions are as amazingly accurate as Christians believe, why is this amazing feat not listed in any secular record book such as The Guinness Book of World Records? Nope. I checked. Not listed!

The fact is, the only people on the planet who believe that the Bible contains amazingly accurate prophecies about Jesus are Christians. Does anyone detect the signs of…bias?

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Dear Christian: How Much Sleep Do You Lose Worrying About Waking Up in the Muslim Hell?

Does Islam Believe in Hell? - Owlcation

Christian: …You [atheists] don’t have to worry about God’s existence right now, or all the way to your last breath. You, like all others, who go to their grave in disbelief on such shabby grounds will one day see Him on His Throne, and judging you. After all, the thought of God does tend to interfere with living your life the way you want to live it, so the next best thing is to just live it up while you can, and then…you will find out if it was all true, which I wager it is because of personal experience that I have not the ability to transfer to you or anyone else. You have to embark on that journey yourself to find out if it’s true or not. After all, you’ve obviously never really done your homework well enough to find out if He’s real or not after living your life thus far in rejection of the evidence all around you that you still question, even now.

Gary: How much sleep do you lose worrying about dying and waking up in the Muslim hell?

Christian: Zero.

Gary: I will bet that the reason you spend zero time worrying about the Muslim hell is the same reason why I and other atheists spend zero time worrying about the Christian hell: Lack of good evidence for the existence of the god in question.

Like atheists, you reject the existence of the Muslim god, the Hindu gods, the ancient Greek gods, the ancient Roman gods, the snake god, the river god, the sun god, etc., etc.. You, like atheists, reject the existence of hundreds of gods. Our only difference is that we atheists reject one more imaginary god than you do!

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What Evidence Should We Require for Very Unusual Truth Claims?

Top 5 - MOST MYSTERIOUS INDIAN TEMPLES - Miracles still happen - YouTube

Christian reader of this blog: Good morning! When I am studying, I look at more than one translation; lately I especially like to see Young’s Literal Translation. Here is Luke 1:1-3:

Seeing that many did take in hand to set in order a narration of the matters that have been fully assured among us, 2 as they did deliver to us, who from the beginning became eye-witnesses, and officers of the Word, 3 it seemed good also to me, having followed from the first after all things exactly, to write to thee in order, most noble Theophilus.

Of course you could take that differently than I do… we all see things through our own world views. I have questioned literally everything about my Christian faith; with my educational background in science, I am trained to have a “high index of suspicion” so to speak. And I am still a Christian. I pray that you too will come home to Christ. Here is an interesting site on documentation of the words of Christ:

https://www.gospelevidence.com/about_me/
God bless you.

Gary: History records many, many instances of very sincere people claiming to have experienced very unusual, very extraordinary events. What criteria do you believe that we should use to determine which of these extraordinary claims are true and which are not?

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Is the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod a Cult?

LCMS | MESSIAH LUTHERAN CHURCH

Ted Luebkeman, a Christian reader of this blog:

You don’t know what you are talking about [in reference to my claim under a previous post that the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod is a cult]. A cult looks at itself as the only vehicle for salvation. This is not and has never been the position of the LCMS nor any other conservative, orthodox or traditional Christian denomination. The LCMS and other more conservative Lutheran groups are not “fundamentalist.” No Lutheran, conservative or not, can be “fundamentalist.”

Gary:

If you believe that others must believe like you or face eternal physical and/or mental torture for their unbelief, then you are a member of a cult. Period.

Conservative Lutheranism is simply a subset of the larger cult of conservative Christianity, a cult which teaches that those who reject Jesus of Nazareth, a delusional first century peasant, as their Lord and Master, are doomed to an eternity of some form of unpleasant punishment.

Eternal punishment for thought crimes! How disgusting.

Conservative Lutherans are fundamentalist in the sense that they believe that they alone possess the ultimate truth; that non-conservative Lutherans and all other Christians and non-Christians are not only wrong but sinful (evil, wicked) for their lack of proper belief; in need of repentance; deserving of divine punishment; and unworthy of “full fellowship”. When Muslims hold similar views the news media refers to them as “fundamentalists”. Therefore, when Christians, whether they be Protestant, Catholic, or Orthodox, hold similar views and behaviors regarding Christianity, they should likewise be referred to as “fundamentalists”.

I remember attending an LCMS service in which several former Presbyterians who wished to join my LCMS parish as members were made to undergo a ceremony in front of the entire congregation in which they were instructed to kneel before the Lutheran pastor and publicly repent of their “heretical” Reformed beliefs. In addition, teenagers undergoing confirmation in my LCMS church were required to pledge their loyalty to the Lutheran Church even under the threat of death.

That is a fundamentalist cult, folks!

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Randal Rauser Ruffling Feathers

Randal Rauser

If you are a regular follower of this blog you are familiar with Baptist theologian and apologist, Randal Rauser. As is the case with many Christian apologists who have obtained a PhD in philosophy, theology, or even in religious studies, Rauser is very proud of his credentials. And he frequently reminds you of his perceived educational superiority with condescension and sarcasm. This technique, pulling the “credentials card”, has become very popular with online apologists. In fact, some conservative Protestant colleges and seminaries are now offering a PhD in…apologetics! The “PhD” has become the ultimate weapon of the online Christian apologist. And I thought the most powerful weapon of Christianity was the power and conviction of the Holy Spirit! Silly me.

Here is a recent example of Rauser pulling the “credentials card” on an atheist skeptic: https://www.debunking-christianity.com/2021/08/the-amateurishness-and-toxicity-of.html

As many of you know, I too have tangled with Rauser and have been subjected to his condescending sarcasm. I have learned that the key to debating arrogant “credentialed” apologists like Rauser is to refuse to debate them regarding philosophical or theological concepts, but instead, repeatedly ask them this question: What objective evidence can you provide for your belief that an executed first century peasant lives in your heart, communicates with you in an inaudible manner, performs acts of magic for you (miracles), and has granted you immortality somewhere on the outer limits of the Cosmos?

Every time I asked Rauser this question, he refused to answer it, and eventually banned me from his blog.

Ignore the smoke screen of credentialing, dear skeptics. There is no such thing as a PhD in magic.

PsBattle: His magic trick is to pull a rabbit out of his hat:  photoshopbattles

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Nope. The Exodus Never Happened. So Why Did Jesus Think It Did?

Here is more evidence why no one who uses critical thinking skills should believe in the Resurrection of Jesus: There is overwhelming evidence that the Exodus from Egypt is fiction. It is a folktale. A legend. And this is a big problem for Christians because according to the New Testament, Jesus believed that Moses and the Exodus were historical! That means that Jesus was mistaken, which means that he was not the omniscient Creator God Christians claim him to be, which means that in all likelihood…Jesus is still dead!

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