Do we prevent somebody being hurt by superstition or faith by rejecting and challenging those things? 

Is it mistaken to support organised religion in membership or donations?

If people do good because they are human, not because God prompts them then is it right to risk giving God any credit when they alone own their good?

 


JERUSALEM AND THE END AND MARK’S AGE

In Mark, Jesus predicted that Jerusalem would fall (13). This happened in 70 AD. So was Mark written after this event? Some say it could have been written before it because one did not need to be a prophet to foretell this for it was as inevitable as the shameful fall of Napoleon. Some say that since the account does not give a lot of detail and is not sensationalist that it is too sober to have been written following the event. But
 
Mark likes to be short and sweet anyway so that argument is junk.

Some say that the gospel of Mark must have been early because its prediction that the end of the world and the return of Jesus would come with the destruction Jerusalem proved wrong. But it only linked the end of the world with the fall of Jerusalem. It does say that the end would not be far off after that and that the fall would be a sign it was coming but it does not say when. Christians could still have regarded the prophecy as correct and expected the end say any time up to forty years afterwards. The prophecy might have been corrected after the event if it was thought to have failed. Why would anybody write a gospel in the late sixties AD if the world were to end soon in 70AD?  And many put that date on Mark. It is a known fact that all the false Messiahs of the first century before 70 AD believed that the time of destruction had come and that a Messiah would come to vanquish the Romans (page 71, Jesus Hypotheses). Jesus never actually said that he would come back to do that but he said he would come back after the destruction of Jerusalem.

The claim that Mark and the other two synoptic gospels Luke and Matthew were written prior to 70 AD when they say Jesus predicted the destruction of Jerusalem and do not say that Jesus’ word was fulfilled is a lame one and never fails to make it into most apologetic books. This is one of the circumstances in which an argument from silence is no good. First, they had no need to say Jesus’ prophecy was fulfilled for their readership would have been able to see that for themselves. Second, there were lots of things people think should have been said in the gospels and which went unmentioned. There’s no pleasing everybody. For example, in the resurrection accounts is there a bibliography and a library mentioned where one can go to see the affidavits of independent witnesses to check the gospels out? There is nothing at all which is why the accounts are a complete insult to the intelligence. They judge Jesus as a good teacher full of wisdom and truth. But they would have to be experts in ethical philosophy for that to be the case. Where are the academic records that Jesus was a leading light in human and divine wisdom? If the gospels had been written before 70 AD it would be very likely that they would warn the Jews to convert before the destruction of the Holy Land. I know the gospels stressed repentance anyway but when they make so much of this attack on Jerusalem and dread it you would expect them to put in a warning in the account of what was to come. A Christian webpage http://www.bible.ca/false.maphttp for which the homepage is WWW.BIBLE.CA gives a chunk from The Wars of the Jews by Josephus which was written in 75AD to prove that Matthew 24 which says that signs would be reported in the skies and several other things all happened in 70AD.

Jesus tells the disciples that they will be thrown out of the synagogues. He did not need to be a prophet to foresee that either. The Jews did not like his most dedicated followers.

In the prophecy, Jesus says that one stone of the temple will not be on another when Jerusalem falls. The wailing wall disproves this. The author of Mark did not know that it was still standing for he would not have written such a literalistic prophecy. His Jesus wouldn’t speak metaphorically in such a grave and solemn discourse. The author could not find out if the whole Temple was gone which indicates that his prophecy was invented a long time after the event. The nearer you are in time to the event the more facts you will have.

The gospel says we won’t know when Jesus comes back and it reveals things like that the gospel must be preached to all nations first (Mark 13). The only way to reconcile the two is if the worldwide preaching had been thought to have taken place. This could not have been thought to have happened until near the end of or after the first century.

Jesus' prophecy of destruction and the overthrow of worldly kingdoms proves that the gospel was written after 70 AD because if it had been written before that time the Romans would have understood the prophecy of destruction as a threat to their power. They knew there was a danger that some might try to arrange the fulfilment of the prophecy so zealots could be incited to rebel because of it. The Romans did not like anybody predicting destruction and world war for that made citizens less keen on working to advance their power. This tells us that the gospel was certainly written after 70 AD at a time when there was widespread war and dissension through the empire when it did no harm to make prophecies like that.

Some feel that when Jesus said some around him will see the coming of the son of man that the gospel was written when at least some of the apostles were still alive.  The Jesus Papyrus claims that Mark 9:1 where Jesus prophesies that there are some standing around him who would not die before they see the kingdom of God coming in power means the transfiguration and not the second coming (page 50). That is odd for the resurrection appearances would be a better candidate. And since Mark never says that the transfiguration was supernatural – it could have been a divinely inspired illusion and not an obvious miracle – the transfiguration is out. Some accepting the second coming interpretation argue that this statement of Jesus indicates that the gospel was written before the generation that Jesus lived with died for Mark would not present Jesus as being a false prophet. But that is assuming that Mark thought that prophets had to be always right when they predict in the name of God. The assumption is just an assumption so Mark 9:1 gives no indication of the date of Mark.

If you think Mark put in the prophecy that they would see Jesus coming on the clouds to take over the world in glory then ask yourself this.  Did he not care or realise that he was showing Jesus was far from infallible and possibly a religious fanatic?  Maybe he didn't care.  He did describe Jesus being racist to a woman, rude to his family, telling a man off for calling him good.  It would not be the first time a flawed hero was promoted deliberately as a flawed hero.  Mark might have ended  his gospel at 16:8 where we read the tomb is found empty and there are no appearances of Jesus mentioned.  All we have is men in white saying Jesus rose as he said he would.  Is that a cliff-hanger?  Are we left to wonder if he really rose as he said he would?  If so the gospel reads like something intended to be a sort of fictional novel as opposed to infallible scripture.  In that case, the dating question may not even matter.

The stress on bearing trials from God in the gospel allegedly points to its being written in times of persecution, specifically between 60 and 70 AD when the antichristian Roman Emperor Nero was in action, But there is doubt if Nero seriously persecuted Christians. The New Testament says that the Christians were victimised lots of times from the start. The mere anticipation of persecution could suffice to explain the texts. Before 70 AD the Christians acted as if Jesus were about to come on the clouds of Heaven any minute. Christians then could not tell their suffering brethren that they were suffering for a good purpose. This gospel does so it was written long after 70AD.

Page 71 of Reasons for Hope says that no New Testament book looked on the destruction of Jerusalem as a past event and on this basis dates them all prior to that disaster which is a dreadfully weak argument – how could the gospels admit that they wrote a prophecy by Jesus after the event? It says that the anti-Jewish John would have used it to prove that God was against the Jews. First of all we have only a few out of the many documents we could have had in the New Testament. Second the Church was out to proclaim Jesus and not just to destroy Judaism. The John writer might not have known of the prophecy or perhaps he doubted that it was a prophecy. There are many possibilities but Christians select the ones that suit their preconceived ideas. Apologists are never honest.

The time of the Bar Kochba revolution makes a good candidate for the composition of Mark. At that time the Romans were confident that they stood under no more danger from Jewish zealots.

Since Mark was the first gospel this tells us that the other ones were much later. The reason this tells us that the gospel was written late rather than written early and hidden is that leaks are always possible so it was safer to write it late. Perhaps it is possible the author never let anybody see the manuscript.

BOOKS CONSULTED

ANSWERS TO TOUGH QUESTIONS, Josh McDowell and Don Stewart, Scripture Press, Bucks, 1988
CHRISTIANITY FOR THE TOUGH-MINDED, Editor John Warwick Montgomery, Bethany Fellowship Inc, Minneapolis, 1973
Conspiracies and the Cross, Timothy Paul Jones, Front Line, A Strang Company, Florida, 2008
CONTROVERSY, Hector Hawton, Pemberton Books, London, 1971
DICTIONARY OF SECTS, HERESIES, ECCLESIASTICAL PARTIES AND SCHOOLS OF RELIGIOUS THOUGHT, by Blunt, Gale Research Company, Book Tower, Detroit, undated
DEAD SEA SCROLLS, Kenneth Hanson, Ph.D, Council Oak Books, Tulsa, Oklahoma, 1997
EARLY CHRISTIAN WRITINGS, Editor Maxwell Staniforth, Penguin, London, 1988
EVIDENCE THAT DEMANDS A VERDICT, VOLUME 1, Josh McDowell, Alpha, Scripture Press Foundation, Bucks, 1995
JESUS AND EARLY CHRISTIANITY IN THE GOSPELS, Daniel J Grolin, George Ronald, Oxford, 2002
JESUS AND THE FOUR GOSPELS, John Drane, Lion, Herts, 1984
JESUS HYPOTHESES, V Messori, St Paul Publications, Slough, 1977
JESUS LIFE OR LEGEND Carsten Thiede, Lion, Oxford, 1990
JESUS ONE HUNDRED YEARS BEFORE CHRIST, Professor Alvar Ellegard, Century, London, 1999
JESUS THE EVIDENCE, Ian Wilson, Pan, London, 1985
JESUS, A N Wilson, Flamingo, London, 1993
PUTTING AWAY CHILDISH THINGS, Uta Ranke-Heinemann, HarperCollins, San Francisco, 1994
REASONS FOR HOPE, Editor Jeffrey A Mirus, Christendom College Press, Virginia, 1982
REKINDLING THE WORD: IN SEARCH OF THE GOSPEL, Carsten Peter Thied,e Valley Forge, Trinity Press, 1995
THE CANON OF SCRIPTURE, FF Bruce, Chapter House, Glasgow, 1988
THE CONCISE DICTIONARY OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH, Editor Elizabeth Livingstone, Omega Books, London, 1988
THE HISTORY OF THE CHURCH, Eusebius, Penguin, London, 1989
THE HOLY BLOOD AND THE HOLY GRAIL, Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh & Henry Lincoln, Corgi, London, 1982
THE JESUS EVENT AND OUR RESPONSE, Martin R Tripole SJ, Alba House, New York 1980
THE JESUS MYSTERIES, Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy, Thorsons, London, 1999
THE JESUS PAPYRUS, Carsten Peter Thiede and Matthew D’Ancona, Phoenix, London, 1997
THE MESSIANIC LEGACY, Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh & Henry Lincoln, Corgi, London, 1987
THE ORIGINAL JESUS, Tom Wright, Lion, Oxford, 1996
THE PASSOVER PLOT, Hugh Schonfield, Element Books, Dorset, 1996
THE TRUTH OF CHRISTIANITY, WH Turton, Wells Gardner, Darton & Co Ltd, London, 1905
THE UNAUTHORISED VERSION, Robin Lane Fox, Middlesex, 1992
WHY BELIEVE? A Rendle Short, The Intervarsity Fellowship, London, 1938
WILLIAM NEIL’S ONE VOLUME BIBLE COMMENTARY, Hodder & Stoughton, London, 1962

THE WEB

THE JESUS PAPYRUS – FIVE YEARS ON Professor JK Elliott
www.bowness.demon.co.uk/thiede.htm
This informs us that Thiede ignored the main objections Elliott made to his silly theories in a response added to The Jesus Papyrus. Thiede uses the work of scholars that does not support his conclusions at all and twists them and misquotes them to make it look like it does.

THE CASE FOR CHRISTIANITY EXAMINED (THE PROVENANCE OF THE NEW TESTAMENT
 www.askwhy.co.uk/truth/040ChristianCase.html

MARK: FIRST GOSPEL OR PIOUS FORGERY? Dr M Magee
www.askwhy.co.uk/Christianity/080TheGospels4.html

SEVEN GREEK FRAGMENTS OF THE EPISTLE OF ENOCH FROM QUMRAN CAVE SEVEN
www.breadofangels.com/7quenoch/article2.html

HIGHER CRITICAL REVIEW, By Daryl D Schmidt
www.depts.drew.edu/jhc/thiede.html

THE JESUS PAPYRUS: EYEWITNESS TO JESUS?
www.askwhy.co.uk/awstruth/Thiede.html#TheJesusPapyrus:EyewitnesstoJesus?

THE GOSPEL OF MARCION AND THE GOSPEL OF LUKE COMPARED, CHARLES B WAITE
 www.geocities.com/Athens/Ithaca/3827/wait2.htm

CHALLENGING THE VERDICT by Earl Doherty
A Cross-Examination of Lee Strobel’s The Case for Christ

http://humanists.net/jesuspuzzle/CTVExcerptsThree.htm

7Q5: THE EARLIEST NT PAPYRUS? Daniel Wallace Ph.D
www.bible.org/docs/soapbox/7q5.htm