64. Did Jesus set a deadline for his return?

The end of all things is near.
— 1 Peter 4:7

“Say what you like,” we shall be told, “the apocalyptic beliefs of the first Christians have been proved to be false. It is clear from the New Testament that they all expected the Second Coming in their own lifetime. And, worse still, they had a reason, and one which you will find very embarrassing. Their Master had told them so. He shared, and indeed created, their delusion. He said in so many words, ‘this generation shall not pass till all these things be done.’ And he was wrong. He clearly knew no more about the end of the world than anyone else.” It is certainly the most embarrassing verse in the Bible.
— C.S. Lewis, The World’s Last Night: And Other Essays, p.97

Jesus and his FollowersThe late, great C.S. Lewis once confessed to believing that Jesus had made several “embarrassing” predictions about his return. While Lewis and others have invested a great deal of time in trying to absolve Jesus of this embarrassment, many Bible scholars and skeptics maintain that the best way to read the New Testament is with the understanding that Jesus and his followers believed they were living in the end times, and that Jesus’ return would occur within one generation.

But if Jesus really did set a deadline, it’s more than just “embarrassing,” it is possibly the strongest piece of evidence in the case against Christ, so let’s take a careful look a where this idea originates, and the Christian campaign to try and explain it away.

Apocalyptic origins

Ideas about an upcoming global apocalypse originate with Old Testament prophets like Isaiah, Daniel, Ezekiel, Joel, Jeremiah, Zephaniah, and Zechariah.

[ The End Times ] “At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then.
— Daniel 21:1

The great Day of the Lord is near, near and rapidly approaching. … I will bring distress on mankind, and they will walk like the blind because they have sinned against the LordTheir blood will be poured out like dust and their flesh like dung. … The whole earth will be consumed by the fire of His jealousy. For He will make a complete, yes, a horrifying end of all the inhabitants of the earth.
— Zeph. 1:14-18

The Lord is angry with all nationshis wrath is on all their armiesHe will totally destroy themhe will give them over to slaughter. Their slain will be thrown out, their dead bodies will stink; the mountains will be soaked with their blood. All the stars in the sky will be dissolved and the heavens rolled up like a scroll; all the starry host will fall like withered leaves from the vine, like shriveled figs from the fig tree.
— Isaiah 34:2-4

“In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever.”
— Daniel 2:44

These Old Testament prophets warned that at at time when the great prince arrived, there would be a time of great distress, and “a horrifying end” would come upon “all the inhabitants of the earth.” When would it come? “The great Day of the Lord” was “near and rapidly approaching.” 

John the Apocalyptic Baptist

Just as there are Christians today who believe the end is near, there were Jews 2,000 years ago who believed the same thing. John the Baptist was one of them, and we can see the influence of these Old Testament prophets in his words.

When John, who was in prison, heard about the deeds of the Messiah, he sent his disciples to ask him, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?”
— Matt. 11:2-3

But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? … The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.
— Matt 3:7-10

“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”
— Matt. 3:2

Taking his cues from Old Testament prophets, John believed an apocalypse was soon approaching. The “coming wrath” would be preceded by the arrival of “the one who is to come,” who would bring about the end and the establishment of God’s new kingdom.

Jesus the Apocalyptic Christ

At the beginning of his ministry, Jesus aligns himself with John the Baptist (as opposed to some other Jewish sect), which suggests he agrees with John’s apocalyptic views.

Jesus and the ApocalypseJesus later goes on to claim that he is indeed the promised messiah, and cites many of the same apocalyptic references. Jesus too warns that a time of “great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world” was coming soon (Matthew 24:21). Jesus’ disciples ask him, “What will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” And Jesus answered them:

29 Immediately after the distress of those days “‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the skyand the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’ 30 Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. 31 And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other. 32 “Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. 33 Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door. 34 Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. 35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. 36 But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”
— Matt. 24:27-36

While Jesus says he does not know the exact day or hour, he does claim to know the generation in which these events would occur. But which generation? Was Jesus referring to his own generation, or a future one?

Jesus appears to be speaking directly to his disciples when he says, “when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door” (as opposed to “when they see” or “when that generation sees”). Also, Jesus never asks his followers to write this message down for a future generation, so his words might be preserved for those who would witness these things.

An earlier chapter in Matthew seems to clarify what Jesus meant by “generation.”

For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done. “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.
— Matthew 16:27-28

Jesus appears to define a generation as the lifetime of those standing there with him.

Revelation 22:12 and Daniel 12:13 tell us that the rewards given to each person will be distributed at the Second Coming, or “at the end of the days.” This can only mean one thing: the generation standing there would “not taste death” before they witnessed Jesus rewarding “each person according to what they have done.” They would witness the Second coming and the end of days.

Luke tells a similar story:

32 “Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. … 34 “Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you suddenly like a trap.35 For it will come on all those who live on the face of the whole earth. 36 Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.”
— Luke 21:22-36

Again, Jesus appears to be speaking directly to the people of that generation, warning them to remain on guard, because of the events that were “about to happen” to “all those who live on the face of the whole earth.”

And the same goes for Mark:

29 Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that it is near, right at the door. 30 Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.
— Mark 13:29-30

(Interestingly, in the Book of John, the last gospel written, all mentions of a return in “this generation” are mysteriously missing. Why would John retell the same story, but omit a key detail that appears in all the other gospels? Could it be that the author wrote after that generation had already passed?)

Jesus seems much more interested in getting his message out to the present generation than preserving it for future a future one. He even tells his disciples:

 “Truly I tell you, you will not finish going through the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.”
— Mat. 10:23

Some believers claim this refers to his first coming, but Jesus makes a similar promise about the “coming” of the “Son of Man” to the high priest:

Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?” I am,” said Jesus. And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.
— Mark 14:61-62

Jesus before CaiaphasAgain, the “Son of Man” is said to be “coming,” and it’s clear that Jesus is referring to the Second Coming (which would be on the clouds). But the high priest never witnessed either event.

In this promise to the high priest, Jesus sets a deadline that is consistent with all the others: Jesus would return in one generation, before all of his followers had “tasted death,” before his message had reached all of Israel, and before the death of the high priest. Even the men who nailed Jesus to the cross were to witness his return (Rev. 1:7).

Other indirect evidence from the gospels

Jesus makes many other indirect statements about the coming judgement, his impending return, and the establishment of his new kingdom.

“The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”
— Mark 1:15

As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’
— Mat. 10:7

Jesus went on to say, “In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me.
— John 16:16

“If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”
— Mark 8:38

And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”
— Luke 18:7-8

But when you enter a town and are not welcomed, go into its streets and say, “Even the dust of your town we wipe from our feet as a warning to you. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God has come near.” I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town.
— Luke 10:10-12

And in speaking to the scribes and pharisees, Jesus says:

35 And so upon you will come all the righteous blood that has been shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Berekiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. 36 Truly I tell you, all this will come on this generation.
— Matt. 23:33-36

Judgement was coming to the towns and “adulterous and sinful” people of “this generation.” It would make little sense for God to pour out the punishments of Sodom upon these towns today, since they no longer contain the populations that rejected Jesus. It appears that Jesus believed he would leave for “a little while,” and then they would see him again, when he came to reward and judge these towns, and these people, in their own lifetimes.

The Apocalyptic Early Church

Even if we didn’t have the gospels, we could still establish what Jesus had promised his followers based on their beliefs.

James, John, Peter, Paul and others all indicated they believed they were living in the last days, and that God’s wrath and Jesus’ return were eminent.

“Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”
— Acts 1:11

 You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. … The Judge is standing at the door!
— James 5:8-9

Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming.
— 1 Peter 1:13

The RaptureHe was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake.
— 1 Peter 1:20

Live such good lives among the pagans that though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.
— 1 Peter 2:12

The end of all things is near.
— 1 Peter 4:7

You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.
— 2 Peter 3:11-12

The Lord is near.
— Phil. 4:5

When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
— Col. 3:45

God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels.
— 2 Thes. 1:6-7

Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him…
— 2 Thes. 2:1

Do not look for a wife … the time is short … this world in its present form is passing away.
— 1 Cor. 7:27-31

These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come.
— 1 Cor. 10:11

Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.
— 1 Cor. 15:51-52

In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son…
— Heb. 1:1-2

24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. … For, In just a little while, he who is coming will come and will not delay.
— Heb. 10:24-37

Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour.
— 1 John 2:18

16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.
— 1 Thes. 4:16-18

Why did all these men believe that “the end of all things” was at hand? Why did they believe they “would not all sleep” before Jesus returned to meet them “in the air”? Why did they believe that they should not marry, and that the “world in its present form” was “passing away”? Why did they believe they were living at “the culmination of the ages,” in “the last hour,” when Jesus would return in “just a little while”?

It was, as C.S. Lewis had observed, because “their Master had told them so.”

If Jesus wasn’t planning on returning right away, he certainly did nothing to clear up this confusion. When the Holy Spirit arrived at Pentecost, it said nothing; and when Jesus appeared to Paul, and later to John (in Revelation), he said nothing. To the contrary, Jesus continued to promote the idea that his return was imminent.

The Apocalyptic Book of Revelation

In the Book of Revelation, Jesus appears to John in a vision, and directs him to write to seven churches that existed at that time (Rev. 1:10-11).

Interestingly, Jesus doesn’t direct John to write to the churches of a future generation. Jesus does not bother to discuss the major schism that would eventually develop between Catholics and Protestants, or address the rise of Islam. Rather, Jesus’ concern is focused on the churches of that day.

Jesus tells them:

Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.
— Rev. 2:16

But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.
— Rev. 3:3

I am coming soon.”
— Rev. 3:11

John is then given a vision of the end times, and at the close of this lengthy vision, John is told something else of great interest.

When the Old Testament prophet Daniel was given his apocalyptic visions, God told him to seal up his scroll, because it was intended for a future time (Daniel 12:4). But when John was given his apocalyptic vision, he is told the opposite.

 Dead-Sea-scrollsThe angel said to me, “These words are trustworthy and true. The Lord, the God who inspires the prophets, sent his angel to show his servants the things that must soon take placeLook, I am coming soon!” … Then he told me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this scroll, because the time is near.” … “Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done.” … I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. … He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.”
— Rev. 22:6-20

John was not to seal up the scroll, because all these things “must soon take place.”

Not only does Jesus repeatedly stress that he is coming soon, he also states, “My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done.” As we saw in Matthew 16:27-28, Jesus promised those living with him that they would not taste death before they witnessed this event.

Apocalyptic thinking throughout

From the apocalyptic words of Old Testament prophets, to John the Baptist, to the promises of Jesus, to the words of his followers, to the book of Revelation, the Bible presents a consistent message throughout: repent, pack your bags, spend your children’s inheritance — the end is now!

If Jesus did set a deadline, and failed to satisfy it, it should spell “game over” for Jesus. But as you might imagine, many explanations have been developed to try and explain this situation. Let’s take a look at a few of the most popular explanations, to see if they provide a better explanation than what is otherwise so apparent.

Peter attempts to extend the deadline

One of the earliest known attempts to explain Jesus’ failure to return within one generation appears in 2 Peter:

Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.”
— 2 Peter 3:3-4

(Note that most non-Christian Bible scholars regard 2 Peter to be pseudepigraphical, and written in retrospect, after Peter’s death. Few, if any, excuses for Christ’s delay are found in earlier works.)

These verses suggest that people had begun asking why they should continue to believe in Jesus now that his generation had died off. Jesus had not returned as promised, the apocalypse did not occur, and life went on as it always had.

Interestingly, “Peter” doesn’t deny that Jesus promised a swift return, rather, he tries to water-down the problem by claiming God has a different perception of time:

But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.
— 2 Peter 3:8

But this is no excuse, because Jesus used earthly markers to denote his timeline for returning (e.g. one generation, the lives of those standing there, the lifetime of the high priest, the apostles visiting all of Israel, and so on). These markers all relate to the human perception of time, not God’s.

Next, Peter tries to claim that Jesus isn’t “slow” in returning, but rather he is exhibiting patience.

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
— 2 Peter 3:9

While this sounds nice, it too fails for several reasons.

  1. If Jesus was truly concerned that none should perish, he would’ve returned 2,000 years ago, before billions more could perish.
  2. Jesus never allowed for “patience” in any of the deadlines that he set. He did not say, “I’ll return before all of you are dead… unless I need to exhibit patience, in which case it may be longer.” To the contrary, verses like Hebrews 10:37 and Luke 18:7-8 promise that Jesus would not be delayed in his coming. So if Jesus has chosen to delay, then he still failed to predict this delay, and made false promises.
  3. At what point, exactly, does “everyone come to repentance”? With each new generation, there is a finite number of people who will repent, and that is the point when Jesus should return. If he allows another generation to exist, then even more will perish, and this could continue on indefinitely. (In Peter’s case, he appears to believe Jesus is delaying just long enough to pick off a few last souls, but will still return soon.)
  4. And finally, is God’s delay due to his perception of time, or patience? Peter appears to be throwing out multiple excuses, in homes that one will stick. If his delay is due to his own perception of time, then he is not exhibiting patience, he is right on schedule. But if it is due to patience, then his perception of time is completely irrelevant, and there is no need to even mention it.

Lewis, Futurists, and Preterists, oh my!

C.S. Lewis eventually went on to try and excuse Jesus’ statements by claiming that Jesus spoke out of ignorance, because he did not know the day nor the hour. In other words, Jesus thought his return would occur within one generation, but he was mistaken. But most modern apologists shy away from this explanation, because it’s not very God-like to make such extraordinary (and potentially false) claims while ignorant.

C.S. LewisBut it was clear to Lewis, as it still is to many others, that Jesus had promised a literal return within one generation. But accepting both these truths leads to the inevitable conclusion that Jesus failed, and therefore, Christians must choose which fact they’re going to embrace (literal return or one generation), and which they’re going to reinterpret. Because both facts are equally well supported, today’s Christians are still divided over how to resolve this matter.

Christians known as “futurists” believe that Jesus promised a literal return, but they deny that he set a deadline of one generation. Conversely, “preterists” believe Jesus set a deadline of one generation, but deny he promised a literal return.

(If you’re interested, you can watch both sides duke it out further, here.)

The Futurists

Futurism is the most popular view among U.S. Protestants, and was exemplified in the popular Left Behind series.

Since futurists accept a literal return, their challenge is to reinterpret every verse where Jesus appears to promise a return, or judgement, or apocalypse within one generation. The futurist must also play down all those pesky apocalyptic beliefs espoused by Jesus’ earliest followers.

Since Jesus’ words are considered the most authoritative (the followers may have just been “mistaken”), let’s focus on how the futurist interprets these.

“This generation” (Matt. 24:34; Mark 13:30; and Luke 21:32)

According to many futurists, when Jesus says, “This generation shall not pass,” Jesus is saying that the “Christian race” will not die out before his return.

While the word for “generation” can possibly be interpreted as “race,” this doesn’t align well with Jesus’ other similar statements, or the beliefs of the early church. He also doesn’t act as if his words must be preserved for this future generation. And if this was what Jesus was promising — that Christianity would not pass away before his return — then why did he ask, “When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8).

If it wasn’t Jesus’ generation that would witness his return, which generation will it be? Futurists say it will be the generation that witnesses events like the fig tree’s leaves emerging.

Unfortunately, understanding fig leaves is about as scientific as reading tea leaves, and this “last generation” has been misidentified many times.

According to Luke, the “time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written” began when Jerusalem was “surrounded by armies” (Luke 21:20-36) around 70 A.D. For Luke, the fig leaves had already begun to emerge, signaling the beginning of the end. But the end never came.

And according to 1 John 2:18, the early church knew they were living in the “last days” because “many antichrists” had come, just as Jesus had warned. But the end never came.

Fast-forward 2,000 years, and futurists were claiming that the fig leaves were emerging when the gentiles “stopped trampling Jerusalem” in 1948 (when Israel once again became a nation). However, that generation has also now come and gone, and the world did not end.

What good would it do for Jesus to warn a future generation, if it would be impossible to identify that generation?

“Some will not taste death”

For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done. “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”
— Matthew 16:27-28

Here, many futurists claim that Jesus was referring to the transfiguration, which always follows this pronouncement in the synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke). But Jesus associates the “coming in his kingdom” with rewarding each person, which does not occur at the transfiguration. We can only conclude that those who would “not taste death” were also those who would witness the assignment of rewards, which only happens at the Second Coming.

Jesus’ statements to the high priest

“And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.”
— Matt. 1:23

Here, futurists claim that Jesus didn’t mean the high priest would personally witness Jesus’ return, but rather, Jesus was just making a reference to the prophet Daniel, to indicate that he was the “Son of Man,” or the Messiah.

While Jesus does appear to be referencing this apocalyptic verse in Daniel, it doesn’t excuse the fact that Jesus also claims the high priest will witness these events. Jesus could’ve just as easily insisted he was the Son of Man without indicating that the high priest would witness his return.

Others futurists claim that the high priest might possibly witness this event from beyond the grave (citing Philippians 2:10-11). While this is a possibility, it seems more consistent to say that Jesus was repeating the same teaching he’d been giving all along: he was coming in one generation, before everyone died, before his message would reach all of Israel, and before the high priest died.

Futurists and the early church

Even if we accept all these futurist interpretations, we still must wrestle with the beliefs of the early church.

Here, futurists claim that words like “near” and “soon” are relative to God, and subjective enough to mean several thousand years. And when the early church speaks of his return for them, they are really speaking of Jesus’ return for Christians in general. And when that doesn’t work, the early church is said to have been a little confused, but they were only human.


Full-preterists take the opposing view, accepting that Jesus taught he would return within one literal generation, but they deny he would make a literal return.

The full-preterist isn’t burdened with having to deny all the apocalyptic statements of Jesus and his followers, but they still must find symbolic parallels for every end-time prophecy within one generation of Jesus’ life.

Luckily for preterists, symbolism is more art than science, and symbolism introduces so much ambiguity that just about anything can easily be said to have symbolized something else.

For example, when the second temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD, preterists claim that this was when Jesus’ returned in the clouds… in the Father’s glory… with a loud trumpet blast (all symbolically, of course).

To make their case, preterists mine the Old Testament for any verses that happen to mention both judgement and clouds, no matter how loosely (e.g. Psalm 97:2, Jer. 4:13-14, Nah. 1:3, and Zep. 1:15-17). They then claim that everyone in Jesus’ day understood that “coming in the clouds” was Jew-code for judgement.

Did anyone physically see Jesus coming in clouds? No. But the destruction of Jerusalem in 66-70 A.D. they did see. And that is what Jesus meant by people seeing Him come in clouds. He meant they would see His judgment. His destruction. Coming in clouds was simply synonymous with destruction and wrath of God, therefore they would see the destruction.
— MF Blume

Futurists, of course, reject this symbolism, pointing out that Jesus was to “come back in the same way” that he left, in physical form (Acts 1:11). They also point out that his followers were to be literally transformed and caught up in the air to meet him (1 Thes. 4:17).

From a more historical perspective, what happened in 68 AD was that Jews refused to pay taxes, so the Romans plundered their temple. This infuriated the Jews, and triggered an all-out rebellion against Rome. (Some Jews even believed this was when their new king/messiah would arise, to help them defeat their enemies.) Many Jews gathered in Jerusalem for protection, but infighting broke out between them, and they were soon defeated. The Romans then destroyed the temple to teach the Jews a lesson. JerusalemSiege

So… was this what Jesus meant when he said, “all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven”? That God would send some Romans to destroy the second temple? Over a tax dispute?

Full-preterists go on to claim that all prophecies were actually fulfilled by 70 AD. This is a bold claim, and futurists object, pointing out a number of inconsistencies with this interpretation. For example:

  • Jesus warned that devastating events would “come on all those who live on the face of the whole earth,” not just Israel.
  • In Matthew 24:21-22, Jesus says that this time of “great distress” would never be equaled again.” Was this really the worst distress the world has ever known?
  • Luke says that immediately after the distress of those days, the sun would be darkened, and the moon would not give its light, and the stars would fall from the sky. None of this happened (well, not literally, anyway).
  • Ezekiel 39:2-28 promises that God would bring every last Jew back to Israel, which still has not happened.

Full-preterists also claim that Revelation was written before 70 AD, and that all of its prophecies have already been fulfilled: Jesus has already come, Satan has already been bound, and the new heaven and new earth are already in place! (Somehow, I imagined the new world would have a lot more peace and far less porn… or more porn… I’m not really sure how much porn is supposed to exist in God’s new kingdom… perhaps we now have the perfect amount of porn?)

Futurists retort that we can’t possibly be living in God’s new kingdom, because Paul dismissed the idea of an early return 2,000 years ago (2 Tim. 2:14-18), and Revelation says there will be no more death in God’s new kingdom (Rev. 21:4).


Cognizant of the fact that both these explanations aren’t without huge problems, partial-preterists try to patch things up by opting for two separate returns, one figurative, one literal. (And just when you thought it couldn’t get any more complicated!)

These partial-preterists agree with full-preterists that some of Jesus’ predictions were fulfilled symbolically in the past (such as the destruction of the temple symbolizing his return), but they leave room for a literal Second Coming (though technically, I think that would make it his third coming, if we count the symbolic one).

But partial-preterism is nothing more than a marriage of convenience; a hybrid compromise cooked up to allow its adherents greater flexibility in picking and choosing which verses are symbolic, literal, past, or future. Ultimately, partial-preterism’s futurist leanings fail for the same reasons futurism does, and likewise for its full-preterist leanings.

But wait, there’s more!

The interpretations don’t end there. There are other explanations, such as historicism, which attempts to spread the prophetic fulfillments across the centuries, and idealism, which says, “Screw it, none of this makes sense, the whole thing must be one big spiritual metaphor.” But these are less popular.


While Christians have done their best to excuse and reinterpret Jesus’ promises, both the apocalyptic expectations of the Old and New Testament and the beliefs of the early church combine to amplify and clarify Jesus’ non-so-subtle statements about when he believed the Second Coming would occur: within one generation.

Honestly, I don’t know how much more explicit Jesus could’ve been, other than to say, “I will literally return in literal clouds within 70 literal years, to hand out literal rewards, before all of you are literally dead.”

Matthew 16:28

The futurists are correct in saying that Jesus and his followers believed in a literal return, and the preterists are correct in saying that Jesus and his followers believed in a literal deadline of one generation. They are also correct in their criticisms of the other. And ironically, in debating each other, futurists and preterists give us plenty of good reasons to believe that Jesus had promised both a literal return, and a return within one generation. Both of these ideas are clearly spelled out in the Bible and do not conflict. If futurists and preterists would only agree on both of these facts, they would have one of the most reasonable, comprehensive, consistent, and intellectually defensible positions possible. But they cannot, because this would mean admitting Jesus failed. But since when is failure not an option?

While one can never prove that Jesus walked on water, or healed the sick, or rose from the dead, I believe we can prove — with a high degree of confidence — that Jesus was an apocalyptic prophet who promised to return within one generation. And he failed.

But if I’m wrong, and I find myself standing before God and he asks, “Why didn’t you believe Jesus was my son?” I would honestly answer, “I wanted to! But Jesus and his followers clearly believed he would return within one generation, and he failed! A real Son of God would not have failed! A real Son of God would’ve kept his promises!” And if God replied, “But you misunderstood! Jesus never promised to return within one generation!” I would reply, “Then Jesus was a deceiver, for he knew his words were being misunderstood by his followers, and he never bothered to correct them. Even after his death, he continued to mislead John. I know that God is not the the author of confusion, and that Satan is the only deceiver of men. Thus, I knew Jesus could not have been your son.”

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38 Responses to 64. Did Jesus set a deadline for his return?

  1. D. B. Raines says:

    Oh wow, this a truly brilliant examination. Is this in a book?

  2. Jim says:

    Thanks for another great post. It has been too long, but well worth the wait. Thanks for all the effort you put into these.

  3. I’m afraid I’m going to fall into stalker mode on your blog!! Ha ha. I just recently found you and I am doing my best to not comment on every post, but every single one is so well written and researched.

    For myself, this is perfect timing. My dad, a very intelligent man, has fallen prey to all of these “end times” YouTube videos. My poor mom is a wreck because all of these apocalyptic things are going to happen where we (myself and my brothers live, South Alabama, South Georgia, and Florida ). So according to this bullshit, we are going to die from a tsunami…. And it’s going to happen by the end of Obama’s term. I’m to the point, if I’m not dead from a tsunami by the time we get a new president, I may sue for distress and anxiety lol.

    I try to calm things down in a loving way, that every generation has thought theirs was the last days. Your verses are spot on, Jesus said he would return in their generation…. Not over 2000 years later. I’m so so so damn tired of Christians thinking and happily waiting for the end times!!

    Thank you for the time you put into these posts and for the research!!!

    • That’s some pretty high-level crazy. Ask them if they’re willing to put their money where their mouth is. 😉

      As skeptic Michael Shermer points out in “Why People Believe Weird Things,” intelligent people are just as susceptible to believing weird things as everyone else, they’re just better at finding reasons to justify their thinking.

      There are lots of very intelligent people in many different religions, and each believe that their particular brand of faith is the most correct. But looking at this situation more critically, it’s clear that all these intelligent people cannot ALL be correct, and therefore, intelligence does not always help in determining truth. If you have something that you desperately WANT to believe, I think that can keep your mind from thinking too critically about it. I know that’s how it was with me. I had very few doubts about my faith, but I was still afraid to read anything might challenge it.

      By the way, Wikipedia has an interesting list of dates that were once associated with end-time predictions (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_dates_predicted_for_apocalyptic_events). The end, it seems, is always just around the corner. I still have my copy of “88 Reasons Why the Rapture will be in 1988.” I keep it around to remind me not to be so gullible in the future.


      • You’re so right. I know I felt guilty just thinking about my doubts, much less looking up opposing views or reading opposing views.

        It’s funny that you brought up 1988, my senior prom was the date that Israel was a nation for 40 years, so in my parents video I’m saying, ” well the rapture is coming today, so I’ll see yall around.” I was joking, but I did wonder if they were right about the date.

        • I totally felt guilty, especially at first. I now know why skeptics call themselves “free thinkers.” I don’t think I ever really felt “free” to question my beliefs (even in private), as if by thinking I might put myself at risk of eternal damnation. Frankly, I’m surprised anyone ever converts away from Christianity.

          • I’m a new de-convert, so I wonder if my doubt that I’m wrong about not believing Jesus is the son of God will ever go away. Have I been so indoctrinated that this will stick with me until I die.

            • It takes a long time for the brain to reprogram itself, especially when you’ve been indoctrinated for so long. I don’t think anyone just suddenly stops believing. It’s more like you go from 100% certainty, to 98%, to 85%, etc. Christianity is supported by a lot of seemly good reasons to believe, but as each of these falls away under more critical scrutiny, you gain more confidence in your conclusions. At least, that’s been my experience. At this point, I don’t think I could ever go back to just having faith and believing, unless I discovered some amazing new evidence. Otherwise, it would be like someone asking me to believe in Santa again.

              • I’m still a deist, and I don’t know if that’s because it is difficult to give up the notion of a God. But I do not ever see me believing in the judeo/Christian God or that Jesus was the son of God. The puzzle pieces do not fit together and the more I dig, the more I see how hard believers try to make them fit.

                I’m really glad I have this blog community because I’m all alone in my opinions and it can be very hard at times. Thank you!!!

  4. bbnewsab says:

    Reblogged this on Mass Delusions a.k.a. Magical & Religious Woo-Bullshit Thinking and commented:
    This post by “500 Questions” answers the question, Did Jesus set a deadline for his return? And the answer is, YES, he did!

    This brilliant article refers to verses in both the Old and New Testament. And those verses are all indicating that The Second Coming of Jesus/Messiah is just round the corner.

    Anyone who tries to interpret those verses in another way must be described as delusional.

    And as you all know (I hope), delusions are necessary to have, if you really want to believe in religious (also called magical) thinking.

    BTW, here’s a good site for those who want to learn more about magical & religious woo-bullshit thinking. I recommend you to visit that site.

  5. Highlander says:

    Well 500, you’ve done it again. So superbly researched, so brilliantly logical and extraordinarily fair. I would so love to share this article with my Brother and Sister in law, but it would make little difference to their strong faith. They have chosen to believe, chosen to be strong of faith, therefore reasoning is not an option. Reasoning and questioning is a demonstration of a lack of faith. We can’t have that now can we.

  6. veos knpos says:

    not many words needed… excellent

  7. Santa Cause says:

    Looks like a very good blog. I would just like to offer my two cents worth on the subject of the ‘return deadline’. First off, (Matt 24:36) Jesus doesn’t even know the hour or day of the Return, so neither will the Holy Spirit in those Christians who can discern His voice. But Matthew 24 does give us an indication of the time, or season, when we should be bracing for it. The difficulty in specifying an exact day or hour can be shown from where it says in Matthew 24:44 “Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.” So if you’re saying he IS coming on a certain date, you are also saying He ISN’T coming on each of the days leading up to that date. But on those days you’re saying He will not come, according to Matt 24:44, is when He WILL come. The point is to be ready to go.

  8. Bigfoot says:

    Okay, my two pence, if you will.

    Unless you understand who Jesus is, his statements would mean as much to you are Einstein Theory of Relativity would to native aborigines. So, you are like an aborigines arguing just how wrong Einstein was about gravity being an opportunistic force that does not in reality exists. Is it any wonder that when Bishop Berkeley claimed the immateriality of reality, one of his colleagues, by the name of Johnson retorted “I refute thus! “ And he kicked a stone?
    So, my friend, you are in good company!
    For starters, the Christ was not talking about the generation of the whole world, that existed during his time. He was talking about the generation of the House of Jacob, the Israelites, who were the second saviours of Man, who refused to listen to Yahweh.
    Please note very carefully, that when Jesus started his ministry, even up to its end, Jesus hardly ever sought to preach to the gentiles. Rather, he always addressed himself to the House of Jacob. Listen for example when he sends the Twelve Disciples;
    “These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give” Mathew 10:6-10
    So, Jesus from the very beginning, wanted to give the Judeans total opportunity so that they may have their final chance to make God known to the world. He was always reluctant to give the gentile an opportunity at the expense of the Judeans. Remember the Samarian Woman and the parable of the dogs? Remember the Centurion who told Jesus not to come but just say a word because he did not want to Jesus to create conflict with the Judeans by giving favours to gentiles?
    This tells you that you must understand who were the Israelites, and why were they so special? The Israelites were the Descendants of Adam, the first saviour of Man, who failed to listen to God, the Father, and was tricked by Satan. So when Adam failed the Father, the Knowledge of God the Father became lost to the World. God sought to reach out to Man, the Human Spirit as Yahweh. Yahweh, was the Spirit of God and the Spirit of Man, speaking together. He, Yahweh, was the Creatively Subjective Spirit, subjective to God and Man. He created, according to the will of God and Man, and took back to God and Man, the Image and Likeness of their own creation. That, is the reason Yahweh was always beseeching the Israelites to seek good, not evil so that He, Yahweh, may bring back to them, the image and likeness of their own creation, which was goodness, and blessings.

    Please note very carefully that Moses warned the Israelites that Yahweh, is a faithful God, who makes a person workout his own punishment in person! These Descendants, the linage of Adam, were to teach mankind about God, by obeying his laws, and thus, succeeding by protecting themselves from Yahweh, He, as the creatively Subjective Spirit, he creates good, and evil. So, Yahweh is the second nature of God the Trinity. He, was the Christ as Spirit. The Son of Man, seen by Daniel and Ezekiel in visions as The Son of Man, with burning eye, like torches. And feet like polished bronze.
    When Israelites failed to listen to the Christ as Spirit, the Christ manifested Himself in person of Jesus! He, is the Son of God, but since he has the flesh like human beings, he too, is the Son of Man! As the Son of God and the Son of Man, made manifest, the Christ if the Third nature of God the Trinity, who manifests the Trinity Godhead. He is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, together! As the Manifesting Word of God and the Word of Man, he assumed, now, a dual role for Man, and God. He does the Will of the Father, God and Man!
    That, should tell you that as the Image of God, Man, is a Trinity, just like God! He is the Father, the Son and the Spirit! Having now, manifested a Son with God who is the Christ, the this Son, had first, to fulfil for God and the Linage of Adam, before he addressed himself to the Gentiles! So, he came, and told the remnants of Israelites, the linage of Adam, the Judeans, that He had come to fulfil what they had failed, and therefor he had come to give them the last chance to do what their ancestors could not.
    But obviously, the Jews did not comprehend the Christ, nor his mystical role as the Son of God and the Son of Man. Therefore when Jesus was telling the Jews that “ This generation will not pass, before these things happen” he was not talking about the gentiles, but rather the Jews. And indeed, that generation did not pass before the things predicted by Jesus happened to the remnants of the House of Jacob! Jerusalem was burned down 70 AD. 40 years to the day, hundreds of thousands of Jews were murdered, the rest were scattered to the four winds, just as Ezekiel predicted! So, Jesus, when predicting his coming, does not predict his coming in person, rather, he is predicting his coming as the manifesting word of Man and God. He manifests as Judgement or as Salvation!
    Given that he now God with his people, having redeemed Man for God, as the Redeeming Trinity of Man from God, Jesus comes as The Manifesting Trinity for Man and God. This should tell you that, he is both personal, and also collective. He is in you, and he is in everybody. Jesus therefore come to you three times, and he comes to people three times. As a personal saviour for you, He comes when you accept him, he is with you if you keep his Word, and he will be with you at the last day. He redeems you as the Trinity of Man, and leads you towards your won salvation, which is unity with God!
    As a collective Redeemer of Man, Jesus is always coming to people who accept him, as their saviour. Given that he is the Alpha and the Omega, Jesus eventually will return, either as Judgement of the World for its sins, or the saviour of the World from its sins. He is the paradoxical Logos. The saviour, who is also the Judge. Sort yourself!

    • As detailed above, because Jesus failed to literally return within one generation, there have emerged two primary explanations that Christians use to excuse his failure: the first is to assume a metaphoric definition of “one generation,” and the second is to assume a metaphoric definition of the “return of the Son of man, coming in the clouds.”

      You have gone with the latter, and that’s fine, but realize there are hundreds of millions of Christians who would disagree with you. Shall we also assume these followers of Christ are as blind as I am? And that they do not “understand who Jesus is,” and “his statements would mean as much to them as “Einstein’s Theory of Relativity would to native aborigines”? Lucky for you, Jesus has chosen YOU to know the REAL truth!

      You’re certainly entitled to believe whatever you wish, but myself and all futurists Christians agree that what the Bible teaches is a literal and visible return. Not only are there many verses that make this abundantly clear, but there are many other companion ideas cannot be easily reinterpreted (even as metaphors) if Jesus’ return for his people meant nothing more than the destruction of Israel and the scattering of the Jews.

      Living at the time of Christ, upon hearing the words below, it is clear to the listener that Jesus physical return was expected soon:

      29 “Immediately after the distress of those days “‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’ 30 “Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. 31 And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other. — Matt. 24:27-31

      For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done. “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.” — Matthew 16:27-28

      “Truly I tell you, you will not finish going through the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.” — Mat. 10:23

      Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?” “I am,” said Jesus. “And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.” — Mark 14:61-62

      Jesus went on to say, “In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me.” — John 16:16

      “If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.” — Mark 8:38

      7 And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8 I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” — Luke 18:7-8

      “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.” — Acts 1:11

      Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. — 1 Peter 1:13

      Live such good lives among the pagans that though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. — 1 Peter 2:12

      When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. — Col. 3:45

      God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. — 2 Thes. 1:6-7

      Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him… — 2 Thes. 2:1

      Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. — 1 Cor. 15:51-52

      “In just a little while, he who is coming will come and will not delay.” — Heb. 10:37

      For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. — 1 Thes. 4:16

      “And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.” — Matt. 1:23

      You cannot take all these verses and simply say, “What they ACTUALLY meant was that God was going to allow for the destruction of the temple!” It’s abundantly clear that what Jesus meant, and his followers understood, was a physical return. But if you want to bury your head in the sand to maintain your self-delusion, that’s certainly your right.

      Honestly, it’s easy to apply metaphoric meanings to various passages in hindsight. But Christians don’t do this because it’s true, they do it because they have no choice, because these passages as they were originally understood would lead us to conclude Jesus failed (and we can’t have that now, can we?).


      • Santa Cause says:

        Its no secret that, as found in the bible, people thought the return was going to be sooner than predicted.
        In Matthew 24, however, Jesus answers his disciples’ questions related to the signs at the time of his return and of the end of the age, and one of the signs Jesus mentions is ‘earthquakes in different places’. Not just earthquakes, but earthquakes IN DIFFERENT PLACES. Today we can detect earthquakes in different places as well as measure their strength, and, most importantly, we are able to communicate this information quickly around the world. That was not possible at any other time in history until the age we live in now so, consequently, thinking the return was sooner than this earthquake and communication ability was an error in not taking into consideration what Jesus predicted. To say there was a failure to meet the predicted time of his return when that age is barely upon us now must also be considered an error.

        • I considered this possibility, but Jesus concludes this statement in Matthew 24 by saying, “Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.” This, then, raises the question, “Was Jesus referring to the CURRENT generation, or the generation witnessing these events?” And as I’ve shown above, there is far more evidence to suggest an early return than one thousands of years in the future.

          Jesus comments about earthquakes are similar to his comments (also in Matthew 24) about the sun being darkened and the stars falling from the sky. These were all part of the “great distress” that was coming, and many would not “taste death” before witnessing these events.


          • Santa Cause says:

            Jesus sets out to answer the question asked by his disciples, ‘when shall these things be’, and the generational time period context of your quote “This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled” is found in the verse just before it “So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors”.
            Jesus’ use of the word ‘ye’ is probably the source of this common generational time frame confusion. I’ve always taken ‘ye’ to mean the present day reader of those words.
            Its certainly not a fella from China named Yee. (Please forgive just a little levity in an otherwise serious discussion; humour was never my strong point.)
            The earthquakes, famine and disease ‘in different places’ never was a reality for the disciples hearing those words spoken by Jesus so I think its safe to conclude Jesus was referring to the age we are in now.
            As I understand it, modern telecommunications is another unspoken requirement of this prophesy because how would you know it was happening in ‘different places’ without the telecommunications of today, and then be able to be sure you have the time of its fulfillment correctly understood?
            “All these things” is key. Seeing some of ‘these things’ and not others is not going to give the correct answer to the disciples question, nor to the person, ‘ye’, reading those words at any time in history.
            The generation that ‘shall not taste of death’, in my opinion, refers to the generation that sees the beginnings of these signs of the end. This reference in Matt 24 also tells us that from the time you begin to see these events unfold until the return will not be thousands of years off in the future but more like a generation in time; imprecise a measurement of time as it is, it is still a narrowing of the time slot for the return.

      • BIGFOOT says:

        My Friend, I hope you are honest when you say that “Lucky for you, Jesus has chosen YOU to know the REAL truth!” But why do I feel like its in jest? Whatever.
        What I do with the bible is try to understand it in a way that make sense, at least to me. Now, as you say, “what the Bible teaches is a literal and visible return.” I do not, in anyway disagree with this statement. My interpretation is not metaphorical, but rather, quite literal. Now what I wish you to consider is this, how do we understand the return of Jesus?
        On one hand, Jesus claimed that he would return in some future time, unspecified. It just as you very well put it.
        “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.” — Acts 1:11
        But then, Jesus said that he will not leave his disciples alone, that he would return and be with them
        “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.” Joh 4:18-21
        Then he insisted that whoever loved him, the Father would love him too, and he, the Father, and Jesus would come and make home with the disciple who loves Jesus;
        “Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.” John 4:23-24
        Then again, Jesus, in the book of Revelation says that he is at the door knocking.
        “Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. Revelation 3:20-21
        So, the question is this, what then, do we understand by this future return of Jesus, and what do we make of these statement of Jesus coming, knocking at the door, and making home with his disciples?
        As I told you, Jesus comes Three times, because in Him, is the Trinity Godhead of the Most Holy Trinity. The return of Jesus has always been misinterpreted by many Christian, just as the way they have misinterpreted message of Salvation. Many Christian claim that Salvation comes only once, and it through Grace, and it is not earned. That human works are worthless to God, and hence the only thing that you need to do, is accept Jesus, and hence you are save. They continue to hold the lie by Martin Luther that “ The Just shall live by faith” They belittle good works. Well, I cannot prevent people from cherry-picking their way through the bible, but in the end, each will have to answer for his works.
        My point is that we need to understand the paradoxical nature of the Christ. Christ is fully God, and the Christ is fully Man. We also need to understand that God is a Trinity in Himself and Trinity differentiated as Spirit. We have the Spirit of God the Father, the source of all. We have the Spirit of Man, and we have the Spirit of Christ the Redeemer. So, in as much as the Christ accepted that he was the Son of God, the Christ also accepted that he was the Son of Man. So, the paradoxical nature of the Christ is that just as the Christ is God who have accepted that he is human (having the flesh of Man) it is incumbent on Man, to understand that he, Man, has now been made the True Image of God by the Christ, and through the Christ. Therefore, while it is true that Man does not earn salvation from God, since God have Man his Son, Man must of necessity understand that he has been purchased by the Redeemer. In that regard, the purchase of the Human Spirit by the Redeemer means that the Redeemer pays for Human experience! And that he does, by being Crucified by Human Sin! The horror of the whole story of the Redeemer, is that since the Christ was the Son of Man and the Son of God, whatever Man and God did to the Christ, that became a permanent sign that shows the nature of God and Man in the Christ. When you hear the Christ rebuking Paul “ Why are you persecuting me?” Paul was not persecuting the Christ, but rather his disciples. So, why did Jesus claim that Paul was persecuting Him? Precisely because, Christ has become the People! When we hurt others, we are hurting ourselves as the Christ. What does that mean? God, did not heal the Christ! The wounds of the Christ became a permanent sign of the nature of Man as a wicked, evil spirit. So, when the Christ tells us, “Whoever wants to be a follower of mine, let him take his cross and follow me” its because the Christ, while expressing Man correctly before God, the Christ does this while being crucified! He, as the Melchisedeck, the Righteous Ruler of Men, his power is perfected in what appears to man as weakness. A Holy God, who succumbs to suffering. He suffers with Man, and for Man!
        So, when the Christ talks about his coming, this coming is paradoxical. He comes, when Man accepts that he-Man, is also the Christ! He may come now, if you accept you are the Christ and live your life healing the Wound of your Son, or he will come in future, when you meet him on your last day. He comes to people is they accept they are the Christ and learn to love one another, of he will come on the last day, when the sin of the world has matured, and recoils back on Mankind!

  9. Santa Cause says:

    Jesus warned his disciples he would be crucified yet they were convinced that he perhaps was going to conquer Rome and throw out the Roman armies. His return was not the only thing misunderstood despite the clear prophetic words spoken.

    What about Lightning and Eagles heralding the Lord’s return? There are many explanations for this, but they can’t all be the correct one.

    Matt 24:27 “For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. 28 For wherever the carcass is, there the eagles will be gathered together.”

    Where I used to live, there was a river where, every spring, there were different runs of fish; first the smelts, then herring, spring salmon and coho. Bald-headed eagles feeding on those fish would circle high overhead, almost darkening the sky there were so many of them.

    Its an amazing natural wonder where one indicates the presence of the other.

    First Nations fishers hundreds of years ago probably made their way to the river’s edge knowing the fish were there even though they could not be seen under the water, and the fish never broke the surface of the water making it more impossible for a human, standing on the shore to spot them.

    First Nations fishers didn’t have to check the river to see if the fish were there, the eagles circling overhead indicated this by their presence. From their vantage point and with their ‘eagle eyes’ they could see them under the surface of the water, dive and scoop them up in their talons.

    And as I drove back and forth to work during that time when the fish were running, I noticed one particular eagle had gorged itself and parked in a tree for several days, and each day as I drove past this particular spot with the eagles circling overhead and that one still parked on the same branch, I thought of the words Jesus spoke ‘wherever the carcass is, there the eagles will be gathered together’, and then suddenly after days and days of traveling back and forth it made sense to me; I can’t see the fish in the water, but I can see the eagles so I know the fish are there.

    One indicates the presence of the other.

    And with the Matt 24 reference to lightning, you can’t time lightning with your watch but you know it is imminent when you see thunderheads, or cumulonimbus clouds building in the sky. One indicates the near proximity of the other, and when you see those signs of the end that Jesus is instructing his disciples to look for in answer to their question of ‘when’, you can then know that the end is very close if you see ‘all those things’ he mentions.

    The person ‘you’ mentioned in this Matt 24 passage was not meant to mean the persons he was talking to. When this was written, Jesus knew he would have disciples today who would read his words and look for those signs given such a long time ago.

  10. csulli122 says:

    Matthew 24:14
    14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

    Jesus had an awareness that the gospel needed to go everywhere throughout the world first. Near and soon are relative terms, especially to an infinite God. (2 Peter 3:8 But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.) Peter is referencing Psalm 90:4.

    The Bible gives no definitive time of when Jesus will come back, just that it will be soon, which is for God, a relative term.

    My apologies, I haven’t read your whole post and your full argument, please be mindful of that, but I wanted to just mention it.

    • DanD says:

      Please read the whole post then. The bible rather definitely does state a time when Jesus will come back, and it is within the lifespan of those living at the time of his preaching.

      “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”
      — Matthew 16:27-28

      It doesn’t give a number of days, it gives a specific event, the death of the last person in that crowd. Given that the youngest person who could be standing there is about 2, and the longest human life span on record is 122.5 years, we’re about 1800 years past due.

      • Santa Cause says:

        Some of Jesus’ comments relating to his return are referring to his resurrection, but his return is described by Jesus as being in a completely different time period, and, as he told his disciples in Matthew 24, only when we see certain signs could we then say his return is imminent.
        One of the signs mentioned as a triad, are the earthquakes, famine and disease. But the criteria for this, alone, to be capable of being fulfilled is when news of these events can be communicated so the reader will know they are taking “place in different places”.
        Because of modern telecommunications and seismographs, at no time in history has that been possible as much as it is today.
        But, as Jesus in Matthew 24 says, don’t set your watch in looking for his return when you see the signs because that will be as impossible as timing lightning when you see the most obvious sign of imminent lightning, cumulonimbus clouds, also called Thunderheads.

        • Me says:

          Santa, why do you insist that spreading the news of earthquakes in different places couldn’t have happened before modern telecommunication? People were able to comminuted across regions (using messengers, horses, boats, etc.) long before modern telecommunication came along.

          • Santa Cause says:

            I’m not saying it could not have happened before modern telecommunications, its just way better today than back then. Ancient means of global communications were just not as good as today’s. For one, no communications arrived from North America to Europe until after Columbus, so, ‘different places’ would be limited by that, unlike it is now. But, who knew? Also, I don’t think earthquakes would have been communicated unless there was substantial damage and death and what does history say about that? Smaller earthquakes would not have made this kind of ‘news highway’, but, today, they do, and today, seismic activity is posted on this site: http://ds.iris.edu/seismon/ And why would news about an earthquake, famine or disease be communicated anyway? There was no news media that supported messengers with advertising. I suppose you would not hear about these events unless you asked travellers or trade merchants such as those journeying the Silk Road.

  11. Jade says:

    Hello there.

    I started going through this blog a few days ago and all that you’ve written perfectly aligns with all the thoughts I couldn’t put into words, as you’ve done so beautifully. What you’ve written is logical and rational. Christians may go out of their way so as to rationalize, but to rational people like myself it’s all clear. The question that I loved the most was ‘Why Did God Create Satan?’. It doesn’t matter how christians try to rationalize why God (supposing that he exists) created Satan, the fact is God is, supposedly, omniscient, meaning, he is all-knowing, so he knew what Satan would do, but mindful of that he carried on making him.

    If he didn’t create Satan, then Adam and Eve wouldn’t have eaten from that tree, and so the fall wouldn’t have happened. Another thing, why did God put that tree there? So as to test them? Why test them knowing very well that they will fail the test? It’s illogical. So these two points sum it up for rational people, and we conclude that the bible is just another mythology book that shouldn’t be taken seriously. However, people do take it serious, and that’s due to the fact that most of them don’t do any kind of research to find out whether the book is genuine or reliable.

    Often people claim that God exists because he answers their prayers. You’ll hear a christian saying, “Praise be to God, I wouldn’t have gotten this award without him!” Yet at that same time, another devout christian is being raped to death and God is not doing anything to help this poor lady. Why should I worship a God who’s only interested in trivial things like, making sure Peter gets an award, John gets a Job, and Mary gets a man who’ll put a ring on her finger? Why should I? Isn’t that girl’s life more important than an award? A job? Marriage? To any sane human being it is.

    It was God’s will for her servant to die in that cruel manner? Why should I worship God who plans such for his servants? God would protect those who are his, he wouldn’t let any harm come their way, and GOD WOULDN’T BE CONCERNED ABOUT TRIVIAL THINGS, like making sure you get an award or a job, but surprsingly we see that happening, one of the reasons why I dropped christianity. The difference between me and God is that if I see a girl being raped I would do something. What good is it worshiping an entity who would let you walk into your death? What good? Eternal life? Why should I place my hope on something that can’t be proven? It’s illogical.

    Deuteronomy 22:28-29 “Suppose a man is caught raping a girl who is not engaged. He is to pay the girl’s father the bride price of fifthy pieces of silver, and she is to become his wife, because he forced her to have intercourse with him. He can never divorce her sa long as he lives.”

    Seriously? And christians worship this God.

    500Q I love your blog sir, when you get time go through this website, it’s amazing:



    • Hi Jade,

      Thanks. The one about Satan is one of my favorites also.

      I have yet to hit on prayer, but that’s a big reason why some people believe. Of course, if you have billions of people praying for trillions of things, a lot of those prayers are going to be “answered.” (Praise God!) For all the rest, God is just saying “No,” or “Not yet.” If we all prayed to Thor, I bet we’d get the same results. 😉


      • Santa Cause says:

        About that favorite of yours, 500Q, satan: you’ve certainly got satan’s side of things here with the dialogue in ‘Why did God Make Satan?’

        But, you know it would be the Son, not the father building satan, as this other version of your hypothetical conversation illustrates: “God: Hi Son.  What are you making?  Jesus: Oh, just a little something that will dumbfound 500Q when he realizes he made his final choice to believe this thing rather than you, Father.”

        500Q, you left out that making satan would also knowingly lead to the creator Son’s own gory crucifixion that he could not have managed without help from Dad, who was also in agony over it. All because of his love for you. Go figure.

        However, there are more things in play than you know about and you’re using logic to solve problems when rules of logic require more info and factual info at that.

        Granted, you’ve made some points in this judgement-of-God dialogue, however, there are two sides to every story, so, rather than take your word on it, and unlike Eve’s impulsive grab at the apple when she got what she thought was the truth from satan, (or rather, Lucifer, who, like a cow, was still a beast of the field, doomed to become a serpent – and if you don’t understand that, admit you, like me, don’t know too much about it either) I’ll keep waiting for the Holy Spirit on this.

        Have you ever personally heard what you know for sure to be from the Holy Spirit, 500Q?

        Bible ‘stuff’, no matter how profound, has not been the number one causative factor for me to remain Christian, but overwhelmingly, the Holy Spirit has. And some bible ‘stuff’, as you methodically point out, can be baffling and misleading, but my anchor has always been the voice of the Holy Spirit to my heart, which it seems unlikely to me that you are familiar with.

        For your sake, 500Q, I certainly hope that is the case.

        As an aside and along the lines of ‘bible stuff’, despite the miracles that convinced those whose hearts were open to God of the veracity of Jesus’ words, those whose hearts were far from God, the Pharisees and Judas, who saw the same miracles, the signs, were not convinced.

        His crucifixion was to be the only sign, Jesus said, that would be given to a doubtful and disputing people, predicted by King David, described as Jesus’ mortal ancestral father, in Psalm 22, the first verse of which, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” is recorded in Matthew as the last words that Jesus spoke from the cross.  If you read through this Psalm you will see that it is a coded encapsulation of the last few, painful hours of Jesus’ life on earth.

        Was it coincidence that this only sign given to doubters, the crucifixion, happened on the 6th day, coincident with the last day of the Genesis account of creation, also on the Passover where God’s own son would replace the lamb that replaced the son of Abraham?  And on the 7th day; Jesus was not resting on that Sabbath but carrying out the completion of creation (‘It is finished’) from the belly of the earth, ‘leading captivity captive’, and the end result was the only permanent creation of all he had made: The ‘Second Adam’.

        Everything else goes into the fire.

        In the process of that, its my conclusion that he used those who by their own free-will chose to believe satan rather than God and thereby were destined for eternal death, to bring life to those whose hearts were turned toward God.

        Those who had already decided to believe satan and not God next found their minds blinded in the process, echoing an oft-repeated concept in the bible of bringing life out of death.

        Answering this with such things as ‘the New Testament is all Paul’s concoction’, or that ‘bible transcribers made errors’, or, ‘500Q has a different view’ are all so similar to what satan told Eve, that God, basically, was a liar.

        She believed that lie and by so-doing became a subject in the realm of satan. It all depends on who you’re going to believe and even though they are both invisible to your eyes, your choice in this matter of whom to believe will determine which realm you will serve in. Eternally.

    • hawkenfox says:

      Let me try explaining to you in personal revelation terms that it may become clear to you that it requires much seeking to find answers from the bible. I have done it for years and are still seeking answers, prayers help before you read the bible as Holy spirit can guide your understand, or otherwise words may be shrouded from you. Bible will literally looks like jibberish of the ancient world. Whether or not you acknowledge there is a spiritual war going on around all of us which we do not see.

      Ok first Question: Why did God create Satan?
      Satan was called Lucifer. Meaning “Bringer of light”, Lucifer’s job before his fall was to be a worship leader standing before God and the angels like you see in a church where the worship leader is on stage. Lucifer became proud and decided that he should glorify himself above God so he rebelled, Pride was his issue. God created Lucifer and called him to be a worship leader.

      Second: If God is all knowing, Why did he create Satan.
      God is love. Love manifests only when there is freewill. Without freewill, there cannot be love. Imagine a robot, made to love you. The robot has buttons you would press on so that it performs the task that pleases you, but that’s not real love… it’s made to look like love. But real love requires the other party to make a choice. Ok, so the question is … did God love the angels Lucifer and all the angels he created? The answer: Yes! Because Satan clearly chose to rebel. Lucifer’s choice to rebel actually reflects the love of God for him.

      God for clearly all-knowing, still chose to love Lucifer and gave him free will. Hoping that he may not betray God’s love for him. Because God is love, his other nature is that he never gives up, hoping for the best outcome for Lucifer. But we know Lucifer did fall and chose poorly.

      Third: If God is so Powerful he did not Stop Adam and Eve … why?
      God had instructed Adam clearly. Again God is love, so he does not force anyone against his or her will to obey. What God did was warn them of the price that they may pay for eating the forbidden fruit. God must have been disappointed that in one day, 3 of his beloved created beings disobeyed and in turn cast a curse upon themselves. The curse that God may have placed on them were just as they, in fact, placed it on themselves and the rest of the humanity, as the price were clear from the beginning. God cannot lie and He must follow the words He has spoken.

      Fourth: Why is the Forbidden tree in such close proximity?
      God’s love is perfect, obedience to God seems to play major importance in the whole narrative of the bible. Perfect love demands perfect obedience, and God hopes with his perfect hope that Adam and Eve would observe perfect obedience since they don’t know what is bad, but the devil came to deceive. Satan seems to have knowledge of good and bad and have eaten the fruit himself. That is why satan got the worst punishment of all. He is condemned without hope and will never get out of hell.

      Obedience is a sign of surrendering your free-will. The Forbidden tree may have caused us the died, but it’s also known in the bible that God tries to redeem His creation after the fall of man. Also pay attention that although Adam and Eve who does not understand bad from good at first, was able to choose to sin. The ability to chose means that God’s love is perfect in them, they have free will.

      Fifth: Why would God be concern about your Job but not the Girl being raped?
      When Adam and Eve ate the fruit. They hid for nakedness was apparent to them shameful. God asked them why they hid and … the woman blames the serpent. Adam blames God saying “The woman who You gave me made me eat the fruit.” He blames God.

      Understand this, the free-will we have “inherited” because God loves us, has become a sort of hindrance to mankind after we ate the fruit of Good and Evil. Now man’s heart have to make his very own decision … to work or be lazy … to kill or to be merciful … to respect others or hurt them … to hate or to love. With free-will also comes responsibility, the word we all hate. How we wish we could get away with all things when we misbehave or tell a lie or hurt others intentionally. God is love and so he tries to set laws and rules so that they may not destroy themselves and their childrens.

      Rape, war, hatred, racism … problems after problems are the responsibilities of man who have chosen poorly, and the knowledge of Good and Bad further clouded their ability to chose without wisdom.

      Finally ask this question, Is God weeping for man for His love is perfect and He who is sitting on the throne work day and night like a servant with his angels to reconcile mankind to Himself. His son need not come to die on the cross but chose to Love because God is love and His love is perfect … indeed my personal revelation is.

      God paid the price to Love us in His perfect way. So that we know that His love will always be our confidence even in death God did not forsake us.

      I hope this answers your doubt and may you find peace in this very skeptical world with many views belonging to men. I leave you with a verse…

      God says …
      Isaiah 55:9
      “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.

      These revelations are personal so it may not touch your heart. Do seek out your revelation with the Lord through reading and prayer. I am sure if He for one, He will do for another. He is the one who never leaves anyone behind as long as they are willing to follow. Free-will is the key.

  12. BIGFOOT says:

    Why did God create Satan?

    This question can be answered by the other question;
    Who, is Satan?
    Think about this;
    For God so loved the World that he gave his only begotten Son……………….Only begotten Son………………..only begotten Son………………….
    So, before Jesus was made manifest, God did not have a Son. Therefore, Man, was not a son to God, because Jesus, was yet to be made manifest, was the ONLY BEGOTEN SON OF GOD.
    Jesus was the Son of Man, and also the Son of God…………………
    Who was Man………. Think about this;

    “Let us make Man, in our own image…………and our own likeness”
    Man, was like “US” the Trinity Majesty of God the Trinity………….

    So…………….Man, was………..is……………Trinity………….Man, was A SPIRIT……….TRINITY MAJESTY OF MAN………JUST LIKE GOD


  13. D Dennis says:

    Jesus never deceives anyone. The issue is fundamental in the fact that that which is born of the flesh “is flesh”. Now I can’t be the judge of whether you have been born from above and are being led away by your own carnal nature but this is my first instinct. There are those who try to climb up by some other way then simply believing the testimony of Jesus and there are those who have been born from above and then are now building with materials that will never be acceptable in heaven.
    Peter, James and John his brother were the “some standing here” in math. 16:28 when they saw him (Jesus) transfigured.

  14. Johan Nel says:

    What i do not get is that people like me with average IQ will never understand all this. Why does it have to be so complicated?

    • BIGFOOT says:

      It is not complicated. “What goes round, comes around” That, is the nature of God. Is that very complicated?

  15. hawkenfox says:

    Do not forget the verse Matt 24:36 “But about the day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the father.” So after the verse Matt 24:34-35 … Jesus says that he does not know the hour. Since we know that He is an unlikely liar , and if He did He would have just contradicted himself. Hence, my first instinct is that there must be some translation error within the passage. I did a search on YLT Young’s Literal Translation … the easiest bible for me to go to when I want to find out how Literal it may mean to the Young’s translator.

    Matt 24:34 reads “Verily I say to you, this generation may not pass away till all these may come to pass.”

    My take is that “will not” could also be translated as “may not”. Since Jesus claimed that he does not know the time is verse 36. The correct way to translate could be “may not” since he clearly have no idea when that time will come. As for Revelation, it’s clear that Jesus really did not know the matter as it’s indeed true that only Father in heaven knows, but Jesus is warning us to not fall asleep and be alert but not paranoid.

    I hope I can help a few stumbled ones to find their way. And for those who are finding their way to Christ not be obstructed. Peace to all and may the blessing of God be with all of you who are seeking.

    • Anonymous says:

      Well, briefly, there is no translation error in the Christs Message. Remember that in the book of Revelations, the Christ states;

      “Look, I am making the whole creation new. Write this, ‘What I am saying is trustworthy and will come true’ Then again he said, ‘It has already happened. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give water from the well of Life free to anybody who is thirsty; anyone who proves victorious will inherit these things; and I will be his God, and he will be my Son. Revelation 21:1-7.

      So, since the Christ who states this is the Resurrected Son of God, and this New Creation that he is making is the New Heaven and the New Earth, it means that the New creation that he is Making will last for ever, and therefore it will never end! There is no knowing the end of an everlasting world! Therefore, to the Father in Heaven and the angels, the World that they are aware of is the New World being created by the Resurrected Christ!
      But we have to also consider the hypostatic union of the Christ, as The Son of Man and The Son of God. In him, the Fullness of Man’s divinity has been completed. And in Him, the fullness of God’s humanity has also been completed.

      The Christ as the Son of God and the Son of Man, calls both God and Man “The Father” The Father who is Man in the Christ is Evil while The Father who is God in Christ is Holy. The Christ came to the World to show man the way back to God. Every Man who listens to the Christ is shown the way back to God and Heaven through Resurrections! So, because the Choice to listen to the Christ and follow him is free, the Salvation of the World is always in a state of super-positioning, until man finds out, on his last Day! So, The Father who will know, when the World will end, is Man, not God! As far as God is concerned, the Earth and Heaven are everlasting, because they are being made New by The Redeemer!

      In regard to his statement that “Verily I say to you, this generation may not pass away till all these may come to pass.” The Christ meant “The Destruction of Jerusalem and the dissipation of the Jews”

      In this statement, the Christ explains himself as the Manifesting Word of Man and God. He manifests to Man and God according to their wishes. Jesus prophesied this doom to the Jews and Jerusalem because they had “reached the full measure of their sin” and the full measure was this;

      “Your own evidence tells against you! You are the Sons of those who murdered the prophets! Very well then, finish off the work that your fathers begin. You serpents, brood of vipers, how can you escape being condemned to hell? This is why, -look- I am sending you prophets, and wise men and scribes, some you will slaughter and crucify, some you will scourge in your synagogues and hunt from town to town; and so, you will draw down on yourselves the blood of every upright person that has been shed on earth from the blood of Abel he holy, to the blood of Zachariah son of Barachiah whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar. In truth I tell, you, it will recoil on this generation. “ Mathew 23:30-35

      The Jews finished the sin of their Fathers by crucifying The Messiah and the recompense was the catastrophe of 70 AD. I hope that clears it up.

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