David Wood destroyed by Bart Ehrman

More importantly, Ehrman demolishes the widespread fundamentalist view of the Bible as inerrant and textually uncorrupt.

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Categories: Bible, History

27 replies

  1. David wood’s smug smile that is always plastered to his face just pisses me off

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  2. If you think Ehrman is right; then you have also destroyed Islam, because:
    1. The Qur’an affirms the Injeel, the Torah, Zobur, at the time of Muhammad (570-632 AD). (Surah 5:46-47; 5:68; 10:94; 2:136; 29:46; 3:3-4; 6:34; 6:115-116; 10:64-65; 18:27)
    2. The Qur’an says the disciples of Jesus became uppermost and victorious (Surah 3:55; 61:14)

    so your argument fails.

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    • “so your argument fails.” LOL! you are funny Ken. This post is about the Bible not any other religion.

      Ken I do think Bart is right. Why don’t you? And I am still waiting for the good historical evidence that Jesus’ disciple Matthew actually wrote ‘Matthew’..

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  3. Paul, how do you explain the facts that:
    1. The author of the Qur’an writes as if the Injeel and Torah are not corrupted at the time of the Qur’an. (all those verses above)
    2. The author of the Qur’an says the disciples of Jesus were true believers, trustworthy and became the uppermost and victories and manifest. (Surah 3:55; 61:14)

    How do you explain that?

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    • Ken I do not explain that. It is irrelevant. You have hijacked this post with your usual agenda. Any more off topic comments will be deleted.

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  4. Paul,
    Now who is unwilling to read other view-points?

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  5. Ken do me a favour and instead of asking me to read very long essays just tell me in your own words what the evidence is.

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  6. Paul,
    It is all there at the beginning of the article; one does not have to read the whole article.
    Basically, we have
    Papias (around 135 AD)
    Irenaeus ( 180 AD)
    affirming that it was Matthew who wrote a gospel.

    Dan Wallace asks, “why Matthew and not some other apostle? (if he is making this up)

    “One final comment about external evidence should be added. Although there is always the possibility of a vested interest on the part of patristic writers to seek apostolic authorship for the anonymous books of the NT, this does not explain why Matthew and no other apostle was ever suggested for the first gospel. Indeed, not only was Matthew by no means the most prominent of the apostles, but he also would not seem to be as qualified as some others to write to Jewish Christians, in light of his former occupation. Would not Andrew or Philip or Bartholomew have been more likely candidates if an apostolic author were merely a figment of the early church? None of them had the stigma of having been in league with the Romans, and all figured more prominently in the gospel narratives. What is especially impressive is that Matthew and Matthew alone was suggested as the author of the first gospel.” Dan Wallace

    Then Dr. Wallace list seven points of internal evidence that point to Matthew the tax – collector as the author of the Gospel according to Matthew.
    Below are the last 3. the first 4 point to him also, but these 3 are even more powerful:

    “E. FREQUENT USE OF NUMBERS

    The author’s frequent use of numbers would be natural for a tax-collector. He divides things into three parts: the genealogy, the trilogies of miracles in chapters 8-9; five parts: five great sermons of Jesus, all with the same closing formula (7:28; 11:1; 13:53; 19:1; 26:1); six corrections on the misuse of the Law (in chapter 5); seven woes, parables (ch. 13); etc. Again, not much can be made of this argument, else one would have to say that a tax-collector wrote the Apocalypse! But at least it is consistent with who Matthew was.

    F. HIS MENTION OF MONEY

    A more weighty argument is the author’s frequent reference to money—more frequent than the other gospel writers in fact. He uses unique monetary terms (drachma in 17:24; stater in 17:25; talent in 18:24, 25); he alone of the synoptists speaks of gold and silver; Matthew contains the only two parables on talents (chs. 18, 25); and he uses tax-collector-type terminology (“debts” in 6:12 where the Lukan parallel has “sins”); “bankers” (25:27), etc. Especially when one compares the synoptic parallels, Matthew’s use of monetary terms seems significant. The most reasonable hypothesis for this is that the author was quite familiar with money.

    G. THE CALLING OF LEVI

    Both Mark 2:14 and Luke 5:27-28 speak of the calling of “Levi” while Matthew 9:9 calls him “Matthew.” But all the lists of the apostles refer to him as Matthew (Matt 10, Mark 3, Luke 6, Acts 1).16 Yet, what is remarkable is that only in the first gospel is Matthew called “the tax-collector” in the list of apostles. It may well be that the author is showing humility in this reference. In the least, however, Matthew’s Gospel is the only one which identifies the tax-collector whom Jesus called with Matthew the apostle. The most logical reason that the writer felt such liberty with his Markan source was because he knew of the identification personally.

    Thus he could either be Matthew himself or an associate who later compiled the work. Against the compiler theory is Matt 9:9, which records the calling of Matthew: “it is significant that it is more self-deprecating than Luke’s account, which says that Matthew ‘left everything’ and followed Jesus”17 while Matthew simply says that he got up and followed Jesus. If the first gospel were not by Matthew, one would be at a loss to explain why the author seemed to deprecate Matthew in such subtle ways. A later compiler who knew and respected Matthew (probably a disciple of his), or worse, a “school of St. Matthew,” simply does not fit the bill.18

    In sum, each piece of evidence is hardly weighty on its own. But taken together, there is a cumulative impression made on the reader that a bilingual Palestinian Jew, well acquainted with money, wrote this gospel. External testimony has already suggested Matthew as the author; the internal evidence does nothing to shake this impression. There is, therefore, little reason to doubt Matthean authorship.” Dan Wallace

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  7. About Papias on Matthew and Mark

    (reblogged from Barts Blog)

    In my previous two posts I showed why Papias is not a reliable source when it comes to the authorship of Matthew and Mark. If you haven’t read those posts and are personally inclined to think that his testimony about Matthew and Mark are accurate, I suggest you read them (the posts) before reading this one.

    In this post I want to argue that what he actually says about Matthew and Mark are not true of our Matthew and Mark, and so either he is talking about *other* Gospels that he knows about (or has heard about) called Matthew and Mark, that do not correspond to our Matthew and Mark, or he simply is wrong.

    I’ll reverse the order in which his comments are given, and deal with Matthew first.

    In the quotation of the fourth century historian Eusebius, we read this:

    And this is what [Papias] says about Matthew:

    “And so Matthew composed the sayings in the Hebrew tongue, and each one interpreted [Or: translated] them to the best of his ability.”

    The problems here are obvious. Our Gospel of Matthew is not (simply) a collection of the sayings of Jesus, and it was not written in Hebrew. Matthew of course does contain some of Jesus’ teachings – as do all of our early Gospels, both inside and outside the New Testament. But it is much more than that. In fact, the “sayings” of Jesus do not make up even the majority of the Gospel. Not even close. No one would describe Matthew as principally a collection of sayings.

    And Matthew was not written in Hebrew, despite the widespread tradition/legend in the early church that it was (starting with Papias?). Matthew must have been composed in Greek. There are lots of reasons for thinking so, but I’ll just give you two. Mark’s Gospel was the source for the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. Mark must have been written in Greek originally (linguists have shown this). In any event, Matthew and Luke must have used a Greek version as the source for (so many of) their stories, because in many, many places they agree, word-for-word- with Mark precisely in the Greek. If one or both of them was composing in Aramaic, or were copying stories from an Aramaic source and copying it by translating it themselves in Greek, they couldn’t be word-for-word the same (take any two English translations of a French or Russian novel, say Madame Bovary or Anna Karenina, and see if you repeatedly have entire sentences that are word-for-word the same!). The second reason is closely related: Matthew and Luke agree in passages, in Greek, that are not from Mark but must come from the Q source, itself originally written in Greek (since if it was written in Aramaic, again, they couldn’t agree verbatim in giving it).

    Matthew was written in Greek. There’s not much debate about this among scholars. And it is not simply a collection of Jesus’ sayings. It is not therefore the Gospel that Papias is referring to. Or if he *is* referring to our Matthew, he simply doesn’t know what he’s talking about, possibly because he has been misled by something else he heard or read. I’m not sure which option is better. Most recently I’ve preferred the former option: he’s referring to some other book, a collection of Jesus’ sayings allegedly written by Matthew in Hebrew. But possibly the other is right.

    Remember, this is the only reference to a Gospel being written by Matthew prior to Irenaeus in 180 CE. Given the enormous problems posed by what Papias says, I don’t think it can be used as evidence that our Matthew was written by Matthew. To repeat: either Papias is talking about something else or, if he is talking about our Matthew, he is no more reliable than he is when he says that Judas Iscariot’s head bloated up so much that it would not fit into a street that a wagon could easily pass through….

    The other of Papias’s comments refers to Mark. If he’s not talking about our Matthew, is he talking about our Mark? Here’s what he says:

    ‘When Mark was the interpreter [Or: translator] of Peter, he wrote down accurately everything that he recalled of the Lord’s words and deeds — but not in order. For he neither heard the Lord nor accompanied him; but later, as I indicated, he accompanied Peter, who used to adapt his teachings for the needs at hand, not arranging, as it were, an orderly composition of the Lord’s sayings. And so Mark did nothing wrong by writing some of the matters as he remembered them. For he was intent on just one purpose: to leave out nothing that he heard or to include any falsehood among them.’”

    One could imagine that Papias here is indeed talking about our Mark; if so, he’s defending it against charges that it is disorganized (“not in order” “not…an orderly composition”). And one thing that he says simply cannot be true. If Mark was intent in particular “to leave out nothing that he heard” in all of his time with Peter as Peter proclaimed the things Jesus said and did – well, that can’t be said of our Gospel of Mark. This Gospel is remarkably sparse. You can read the whole thing aloud in two hours. Mark spent all those years with Peter and all he heard about Jesus was two-hours worth of material?

    Either Papias has a different Gospel in mind and later storytellers latched onto his claim and suggested that what is now the second Gospel was the one he was referring to. Or he is referring to our Gospel of Mark and cannot be trusted to be giving a correct version of how it came to be.

    There are other reasons for thinking so. Of all the books and articles I’ve read about Mark in the past thirty years, and of all the scholars of Mark that I’ve known and talked with, I can’t think of a single one who thinks that Mark’s Gospel is in fact a Greek transcript of Peter’s preaching in Aramaic. It is, in fact, a Greek composition that records traditions that had been circulating widely on the oral level for decades.

    I should add that despite attempts by interpreters over many years, there is absolutely nothing in Mark’s Gospel that would make you think it was an account based on Peter’s testimony in particular. Scholars who have wanted to credit Papias’s point have simply dug through Mark’s account to find “evidence” for what they wanted to believe in the first place. If you weren’t looking for that evidence, you certainly wouldn’t notice it. Principally because it’s not there.

    So here’s the short story: Papias is not reliable evidence concerning who wrote the Gospels. He never mentions Luke or John. Or rather, perhaps it’s better to say that whatever he *said* about Luke and John was not quoted by Eusebius. One might wonder why that would be. Were his comments so outlandish that not even Eusebius could buy them? It’s hard for me to think of any other reason.

    The first account of the authors of our Gospels, as a result, is the comment made by Irenaeus in 180 CE. Prior to that, so far as we know, our Gospels were circulating anonymously.

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  8. What a funny defence! Must have to admit Daniel Wallace in spite of his brilliance missed it this time.
    Wanted writing a reply by appealing to parallel instances in the other gospels as well as other possible rational explanations that could act as reasons for the occurences you listed.Found out (to my dismay) it well could be a waste of effort.Wouldnt hence even attempt it.
    As a muslim,my message to you would be: TRY NOT USING THESE POINTS IN A DEBATE.YOU SURELY WILL GET TROUNCED.

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  9. Dan Wallace took those points that Ehrman makes seriously and still come to the opposite conclusion. Papias knew that Matthew wrote a gospel. Because it has so many quotes from the OT and the Jewish character of it, many early church fathers assumed it was first written in Aramaic – Hebrew, but I agree with scholars who show it was written in Greek. As for the “sayings” logia, Matthew’s gospel includes them and is in fact organized around 5 long speeches of sayings (1. Sermon on the Mount – chapters 5-7; 2. sending out the 12 – chapter 10; 3. parables of the kingdom – chapters 12-13; 4. On forgiveness and church discipline – chapter 18; 5. Olivet Discorse – chapters 24-25.

    Overall, Wallace’s points outweigh Ehrman’s.

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  10. “but I agree with scholars who show it was written in Greek.”

    Really? Which scholars are you referring to?

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  11. Every scholar I have read agrees that Matthew was originally written in Greek – Dan Wallace(in the intro I linked to), D.A. Carson (page 12, Commentary on Matthew, Expositors Bible Commentary, volume 8, Zondervan), and Bart Ehrman (in the articles that Paul Williams provided), to name 3 off the top of my head.

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  12. I agree it was written in Greek. But the disciple Matthew and Jesus spoke Aramaic, and the former was almost certainly illiterate.

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  13. “But there was one skill that tax collectors did possess. They could read and write.

    Tax collectors were, in fact, known to carry pinakes, hinged wooden tablets with a think wax coating on each panel. Tax collectors used styluses of metal or bone to etch notes in the wax- notes that, in most cases, were later translated and rewritten on papyrus. Papyri from Egypt prove that tax collectors also wrote receipts and registers for citizens in their villages.

    Despite Ehrman’s disdainful description of the first disciples as “uneducated, lower-class, illiterate,” a tax collector such as Matthew could not have fit such a description. The daily tasks of a Galilean tax collector required him to collect, copy and record information, probably in multiple languages.” [3]” footnote 3 – Timothy Luke Jones, Misquoting Truth, page 115. At this blog by Chad —

    http://truthbomb.blogspot.com/2010/12/common-objection-14-jesus-disciples.html

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    • I find all that rather implausible Ken. But I am pleased you have finally come round to actually discussing the evidence rather than Bible-thumping, which is your usual MO.

      Most scholars date Mathew’s gospel to 80-85 C.E. It is anonymous. That is, it does not tell us who the author is. I would expect Matthew to identify himself in 9:9, but he does not and the whole gospel is written in the third person (not the first person as you would expect of an eye-witness account). Clearly he must have been a Greek speaking Christian, probably from outside Palestine. He is also highly educated being able to read and write sophisticated Greek, and read the Septuagint fluently. These rare skills are not those of your average tax-collector, but belong to the educated elite of the Roman Empire.

      You write of ‘Ehrman’s disdainful description of the first disciples as “uneducated, lower-class, illiterate,”’

      Actually Ehrman is quite accurate, in terms of their social class, educational opportunities (virtually zero). Note also the fact that ‘When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.’ Acts 4:13. NIV

      New Revised Standard Version,

      13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John and realized that they were uneducated and ordinary men, they were amazed and recognized them as companions of Jesus.

      New American Standard Bible,

      13 Now as they observed the confidence of Peter and John and understood that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed, and began to recognize them as having been with Jesus.

      English Standard Version,

      13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus.

      The Message

      13-14 They couldn’t take their eyes off them—Peter and John standing there so confident, so sure of themselves! Their fascination deepened when they realized these two were laymen with no training in Scripture or formal education. They recognized them as companions of Jesus, but with the man right before them, seeing him standing there so upright—so healed!—what could they say against that?

      King James Version

      13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.

      It is highly likely that ‘Matthew’ used the gospel of Mark (editing, adding and correcting it in numerous places). Matthew also utilised Q and his unique source M. Why then would someone who had spent so much time with Jesus rely on another author (Mark) for nearly two-thirds of his stories, even repeating them word for word (including 9:9-13)? Surely he would wish to authenticate his account by stating he himself had seen these things take place?

      So I conclude that there are just too many questions that can be raised against the traditional authorship for us to accept it uncritically. These considerations suggest to me it is unlikely Matthew (the disciple of Jesus) wrote the first gospel.

      Most New Testament scholars have come to the same conclusion.

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  14. “The problem is we do not have the original copy of the” Quran …”we have copies of copies of copies” of the Quran. Hmm so Paul Williams exposes himself.

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  15. Rag Tag

    You said;
    “The problem is we do not have the original copy of the” Quran …”we have copies of copies of copies” of the Quran. Hmm so Paul Williams exposes himself.

    I say;
    The evidences are there in Hadiths and history that, when the Prophet of Islam receives any revelation from God, he will order his disciples to write it down and to memorise it. Zaid Ibn Thabit is the favourite or chief scribe or writer of our prophet among others. He is also the chief of the committee that Caliph Othman tasked to standardize the current dialect of the Quraish we are using now.

    The tradition goes on from our prophet till today, where there is constant recitation of the whole Quran in memory taught to our prophet by Angel Gabriel. Muslims will not waste time just to start reading the whole Quran either in memory or from the kitab under the instruction of God Almighty to preserve His final scripture the Quran.

    Enter any mosque and pray that the Imam goes wrong in his recitations of the Quran, and you will see the power and glory of Almighty Allah, there will be corrections being fired at all angles of the mosque including kids.

    Some Islamic scholars like Hafiz Chuck O’ Connors has memorised and know all the dialects and can recite all of them to you.

    We do not have problem of the original Quran, as it came direct from the prophet to his disciples.

    Christians have problem, they do not have any memorization tradition and not direct history of the word of God coming from Prophet Jesus himself, except through anonymous writers who speak in third and fourth persons and are not eye witness but “gospel according to”.

    I will not write book and signed it “book according to intellect” to make it a third person book but I will sign it as “book by intellect” to give it a good and true authentication, authorization and verification.

    Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. All that typing and still no original copy of the quran. Just copies of copies of copies of according to according to according to.

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  17. I believe Intellect has already addressed that point.

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  18. Matthew was more likely written between 50-65 AD. The ONLY real reason for dating Matthew in 80-85 AD, as you have written, is that those are liberal scholars who a-priori rule out supernatural prohesy and prediction – who don’t believe in supernatural prophesy of Jesus’ prediction and prophesy of the destruction of the temple in Matthew 23:36 – Matthew 24:1-3, 15 – spoken of by Jesus around 30 AD, a week or so before being crucified, and fulfilled in 70 AD.

    There are plenty of conservative scholars who believe Matthew was written between 50-65 AD. (and even one such as John A. T. Robinson, (Redating the New Testament) who understood that Matthew was written between 50-65 AD, who is liberal himself, but he admitted the weight of evidence is just too great to not write something of what happened at 70 AD and afterward and write, “in order to fulfill the word of the Lord, it happened just as Jesus predicted”, etc. ) The problem with “most”, is that the western world is filled with scholars who are unbelievers or who don’t really even believe in the full inspiration, infallibility, inerrancy of the Scriptures. The western worldview is crazy-mad, for example the whole transgender movement (like the recent thing with Bruce Jenner mutilating his body to look like a woman.) It is rebellion against God and the way He created us, and polytheism and paganism and atheism says that we can remold matter however we want to – like the boast of the pride at the Tower of Babel – “we will reach up to the heavens and be like god”, so to speak. You are using that atheistic materialistic worldview to denigrate Matthew and the NT, but it is inconsistent with the worldview of the Qur’an and Islam.

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    • I see you have lots of axes to grind Ken – bizarrely conflating Bruce Jenner, polytheism, and my alleged denigration of the NT. I think you need to lie down and have a rest before you burst a blood vessel lol.

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  19. Matthew 23:29-39
    29 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous,
    30 and say, ‘If we had been living in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partners with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’
    31 So you testify against yourselves, that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets.
    32 Fill up, then, the measure of the guilt of your fathers. 33 You serpents, you brood of vipers, how will you escape the sentence of hell?

    34 “Therefore, behold, I am sending you prophets and wise men and scribes; some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city,
    35 so that upon you may fall the guilt of all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar.

    36 Truly I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.

    37 “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling.

    38 Behold, your house is being left to you desolate!
    39 For I say to you, from now on you will not see Me until you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’”

    Matthew 24:1-3
    Jesus came out from the temple and was going away when His disciples came up to point out the temple buildings to Him.

    2 And He said to them, “Do you not see all these things? Truly I say to you, not one stone here will be left upon another, which will not be torn down.”

    3 As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”

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    • According to Matthew Jesus made a false prediction in Matthew 24. Shame that your religious dogma will not permit you to be honest about this. That’s why I no longer follow your religion Ken. My God-given integrity prevented me..

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  20. Hi Paul,

    My point was the same pagan / secular / atheistic / anti-supernatural presuppositions and worldview that doubts that Matthew was written between 50-65 AD – you are using the same pagan / secular worldview – and that is inconsistent with Islam. There is no good reason for scholars to say Matthew was written that late, except they cannot except Jesus’ prophesy that He spoke around 30 AD, a week before His crucifixion, that the temple would be destroyed – Matthew 23:36-39; Matthew 24:1-3; 15. It truly happened in 70 AD, and there is no mention of that – there is nothing that then said, at the end, “after Jesus rose from the dead, His prediction came true, and the Romans destroyed the temple in 70 AD, and this was to fulfill the word of Jesus in 24:3 and 24:15” – if it was written so late, 80-90, it strains credulity for Matthew (and Luke, since the liberals also say Luke was written around 80-90 AD ) to not mention this. Especially given that is one of the great themes of the book of Matthew, “this was written in order to fulfill the words of the prophet”, etc.

    Jesus prediction came true with stunning accuracy – the temple was destroyed, just as He said. 40 years later. 40 years is a generation.
    Matthew 24:34 – “this generation will not pass away until all these things take place”

    Matthew 24:36 – “but of that day . . . ” – the second coming, that is not until later at the end of time. The disciples added that in to the destruction of the temple in verse 3, so Jesus answers by mixing events of 70 Ad in with the second coming, but showing that 70 AD happened, and the second coming is future to us even now.

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