Re: [asa] A theology question (imminent return of Christ)

From: Schwarzwald <>
Date: Wed Oct 22 2008 - 21:22:35 EDT

Hi Ed,

While I think Murray and others are handling this discourse better than I
likely could, I just want to say: You make reference to 'many scholars
pondering' the question about Christ's discourse for ages. That implies it's
been regarded as an unsolvable puzzle for as long. In truth, very reasonable
understandings and readings have been offered for about as long - with
disagreement among theologians at times, certainly, but such is human
understanding. Not to mention that 'inspired' and 'inerrant' are two
different categories. A perceived conflict may appear troublesome to an
inerrant view - hardly to an inspired view. The scholars have been arguing
rather than puzzling. :)

Though I'm disappointed Murray's questions were left largely unanswered. Ah

On Wed, Oct 22, 2008 at 9:03 PM, Edward T. Babinski <>wrote:

> Hi Murray,
> Thanks for your questions that I repeat below, followed by responses:
> Murray's 1st Question: Given the disciples didn't EXPECT Jesus death but
> considered that Messiah had ALREADY come - how could they understand his
> predictions about the destruction of the temple in terms of a "second
> coming"? Indeed, how could their question even relate to such a "second
> coming" at all?
> ANSWER: Some pre-Christian Dead Sea scrolls mention a human figure
> appointed by God to come and judge the world, the figure being based on an
> O.T. figure, Melchizedek. Some Dead Sea Scrolls also mentioned a final
> battle between the sons of light and darkness that would take place within a
> generation of whenever they were written, and the battle is depicted as
> involving all the peoples of the world and is centered round Jerusalem. If
> you haven't studied pre-Christian literature I suggest the book by British
> theologian Edward Adams. It is possible that Jesus did not see himself as
> the same "Son of Man" whom he predicts must come since some verses
> distinquish between the two. Theologians also point out that the phrase son
> of man could be understood in both the sense of an apocalyptic being coming
> on clouds, and as a phrase that could be used by anyone to refer to themself
> in a humble deferential fashion, and that the earliest N.T. Gospel which was
> composed
> 40 or more years after Jesus' day could have confused the phrases, and
> confused Jesus with the Son of Man apocalyptic figure whom he had predicted
> must come to justfiy him and his mission.
> Lastly, I do not know nor say whether the little apocalypse in Mark 13
> contains the verbatim words of the historical Jesus. They could have been
> composed by someone living nearer to the time of the actual destruction of
> Jerusalem or right after it. Josephus mentions a man in the streets of
> Jerusalem prophecying its destruction who lived quite near the time of the
> Jewish revolt and Rome's retaliation. And as we also know, some prophets in
> the O.T. also predicted Jerusalem's fall, so it was itself a possibly
> recurring theme, especially in times of great empires pressuring the city.
> There could have been lots of such "prophecies." One such "prophecy" found
> its way into Mark 13, and then was later edited by Matthew and Luke. But the
> point is that however it got there, whomever said it, they put the following
> words in this order:
> "And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great
> power and glory. And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather
> together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth
> to the uttermost part of heaven.
> "Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When her branch is yet tender, and
> putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is near: So ye in like manner,
> when ye shall see these things come to pass, know that it is nigh, even at
> the doors. Verily I say unto you, that this generation shall not pass, till
> all these things be done."
> That is the content and order of the passages in question. If you believe
> that chapter in the Bible was inspired, then you are left pondering -- as so
> many scholars have before you for ages -- why God allowed those words to get
> "mixed up" with the "destruction of Jerusalem" passages, and also why the
> words about the Son of man being "seen" coming with "great power and glory,"
> and "angels gathering the elect from all the earth," directly precede verses
> that speak about it "all" happening within a "generation."
> Look at how unmistakable the "coming of the Son of Man" was depicted as
> being: It would be ["as the lightning shines from the east to the west,
> lighting up the sky from one side to the other" Mat & Lk]. According to
> Matthew's little apocalypse [based on Mark, but with edits] Jesus added that
> "immediately" [Mat 24:29] after this time of tribulation "they will see the
> Son of Man coming;" and his angels would "gather the elect from the four
> winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven" [Luke adds, "when
> these things begin to take place (including Jerusalem's fall in 70 A.D.),
> look up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near"].
> Jesus then spoke of the fig tree (the budding of its leaves tells you summer
> is near), "when you see these things happening [Matthew says, 'all these
> things...'], recognize that He is near" [Luke substitutes, "recognize that
> the kingdom of God is near"]; Matthew & Mark add, " the door." Followed
> by
> the prediction:
> Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these
> things take place. [Mat 24:34 = Mk 13:30]
> Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all things
> take place. [Lk 21:32]
> ~~~~~~~~~
> Murray's 2nd Question: if Jesus' prophecies about his return at the time of
> the destruction of the temple "failed" are you saying that such sayings
> actually WERE prophecies spoken before the event? Or do you hold the view
> that these were written into the Gospel record AFTER the destruction of the
> temple? I think you ought to clarify this chronological relationship given
> its obvious importance to your entire argument.
> ANSWER: Please see above answer, where I admit I don't know, and why the
> questions raised by the text itself and it's plain words are more central.
> Thanks,
> Ed

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Received on Wed Oct 22 21:23:08 2008

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