God-breathed error

Professor Ehrman makes a good point below. As a committed evangelical Christian I wrestled with the problem of Paul’s error for a very long time. But seriously folks he was just a man who got some things very wrong, and there is nothing odd or surprising about that. Unfortunately, his occasional letters to churches have acquired the status of inerrant Word of God, Holy Scripture, and for many Christians this inevitably creates a massive problem.

Ehrman published this on his Facebook page a few hours ago. And the spelling is pretty dodgy..

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Categories: Bible, Christianity, Quran

137 replies

  1. Just fallible human speculation which was later taken for God’s Word!

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  2. The apostle Paul got his teaching from Jesus Al Masih Himself.

    29 “But immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
    30 And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory.
    31 And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.
    Matthew 24:29-31

    Paul’s statement “the dead in Christ will rise first” is not difficult if you believe, as Muslims do, that Allah will resurrect people in their bodies, from their graves, for judgment day. Ehrman does not believe that; but you and all other Muslims do.

    Don’t you believe in God’s ability to do that?

    “we who are left alive, who remain until He comes” – just means all the believers that are still alive when Christ comes. Including himself in the “we” is no big deal. It is only error if he had said, “Jesus will return before I die”; but he can speak of “we” and “us” as a general idea of “all believers”. Jesus did not reveal the time of His second coming, which you also are obligated to believe in, as a Muslim.

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  3. Here is the passage in question:

    13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about those who have died, so that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have died. 15 For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will by no means precede those who have died. 16 For the Lord himself, with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call and with the sound of God’s trumpet, will descend from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up in the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the air; and so we will be with the Lord for ever. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.

    1 Thessalonians 4 NRSV

    Bart Ehrman, as any good historian would do, is reading Paul’s words in their historical context, interpreting it as an actual letter to the Thessalonian Christians.

    This is the sequence of events as Paul describes them:

    i) God will bring with him those who have died (v 14)

    ii) that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord (v 15)

    iii) will by no means precede those who have died (v 15)

    iv) For the Lord himself..will descend from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first (v16)

    v) Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up in the clouds (v 17)

    Clearly, historically, Paul included himself in the group who will be living at that time, see ii and v. Therefore he considers it will happen during his lifetime.

    Ken your view that it ‘just means all the believers that are still alive when Christ comes’ is implausible. Why? Because you would have Paul say that there will be believers alive at the second coming of Jesus, which is an odd thing to say and utterly trivial.

    In verse 8 Paul concludes ‘Therefore encourage one another with these words’ which does not fit with your banal and unhistorical reading.

    Lastly, you shoot yourself in foot by citing Matthew 24 which the author has Jesus say,

    “But immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory.”

    This was a mistaken prophesy as ‘immediately’ after the Temple was destroyed the second coming did not occur – obviously!

    Thanks for strengthening my argument!

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  4. Btw have you got Arab blood Ken? You keep referring to “Jesus Al Masih”!

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  5. Temple try to lure muslims into believing a imaginary graeco god-man “Jesus” a skewed version of Prophet of God “Isa Al -Masih”.

    His name in Aramaic is spelled yudh – sheen – waw -ein. http://www.v-a.com/bible/aramaic-jesus.html

    The yod or yudh (Aramaic) is pronounced as consonantal vocal “ee” in English, this correspond to Ayn-Yaa which the ayn, in my view serve as the Alif maqsura as well as the last ya in عیسَی

    So it is more likely as an Aramaic speaker himself “Jesus” called himself Eesho not helenized “Jesus” or more specifically “Eesa” since the Northern Palestinian Jews pronounced the letter “shin” as “seen” just like Quranic form “Eesa” / ʿĪsā. Not the Christian Arabic form يسوع‎

    So the Quranic description is more accurate.

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  6. A similar passage in the letter to the Corinthians demonstrates that Paul is familiar with using plural grammar without actual reference to himself.

    Thus, I find Erhman’s argument less than convincing.

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  7. Mark you offer absolutely no evidence for your claim, thus, I find your argument less than convincing.

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  8. For more in-depth answer to Paul B. Williams objections on Matthew 24 and 70 AD, and the second coming of Isa Al Christ عیسی المسیح

    https://apologeticsandagape.wordpress.com/2012/04/05/jesus-always-spoke-the-truth/

    Matthew 24 mixes 70 AD and the second coming; but 1 Thess. 4:13-18 is only about the 2nd coming of Jesus / Isa Al Masih.

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  9. Ken you have failed to answer this:

    1 Thessalonians 4 NRSV

    Bart Ehrman, as any good historian would do, is reading Paul’s words in their historical context, interpreting it as an actual letter to the Thessalonian Christians.

    This is the sequence of events as Paul describes them:

    i) God will bring with him those who have died (v 14)

    ii) that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord (v 15)

    iii) will by no means precede those who have died (v 15)

    iv) For the Lord himself..will descend from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first (v16)

    v) Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up in the clouds (v 17)

    Clearly, historically, Paul included himself in the group who will be living at that time, see ii and v. Therefore he considers it will happen during his lifetime.

    Ken your view that it ‘just means all the believers that are still alive when Christ comes’ is implausible. Why? Because you would have Paul say that there will be believers alive at the second coming of Jesus, which is an odd thing to say and utterly trivial.

    In verse 8 Paul concludes ‘Therefore encourage one another with these words’ which does not fit with your banal and unhistorical reading.

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  10. With the Name of Allah The Gracious the Merciful

    Thanks for posting this.

    To me, why Temple still believe this kind of clear apocalyptic error, show how twisted (american) hard core evangelical fundamentalism have their worldview. No wonder they (like Ken) have high level of (unsubstantiated) hatred and prejudices toward Islam.

    There are other ridiculous belief such as:

    The apocalyptic prophesy in the Book of Revelations that the Euphrates would dry up before the final battle was interpreted as justification for missionary work to convert the Muslims in the nineteenth century. However as all attempts (money and power) proved unsuccessful this tended to further confirm the prejudices against Islam. Now anti-Islamic sentiments grew even stronger. Now, the illegal invasion in Iraq is seen by many evangelicals as a sign of the approaching final WAR against Islam.

    Also more disgusting belief is they consider Prophet Muhammad (May peace and blessing of Allah upon him) is the Anti-Christ. Why because evangelicals believe one of the defining characteristics of the Anti-Christ is that he will be very popular (as the holy prophet is until now) “so as to deceive, if possible, even the elect”.

    In Saheeh Muslim 2365 c, Prophet Muhammad talked he is most close to prophet Isa- Al Masih

    أَنَا أَوْلَى النَّاسِ بِعِيسَى ابْنِ مَرْيَمَ فِي الأُولَى وَالآخِرَةِ ‏”‏ ‏.‏ قَالُوا كَيْفَ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ قَالَ ‏”‏ الأَنْبِيَاءُ إِخْوَةٌ مِنْ عَلاَّتٍ وَأُمَّهَاتُهُمْ شَتَّى وَدِينُهُمْ وَاحِدٌ فَلَيْسَ بَيْنَنَا نَبِيٌّ ‏”

    I AM MOST CLOSE TO JESUS, son of Mary, among the whole of mankind in this worldly life and the next life. They said: Allah’s Messenger how is it? Thereupon he said: Prophets are brothers in faith, having different mothers. Their religion is, however, one and there is no Apostle between us (between I and Jesus).

    Source: http://sunnah.com/muslim/43/190

    How can Prophet Muhammad be anti-Christ?? while he is most close to prophet Isa- Al Masih (The Christ)

    Even in the gospels prophet Isa talked about the coming of someone who is more SUPERIOR than him will take of him and will disclose it to people,
    Matthew 3:11 “I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry.…’
    John 16:13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. “He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you.

    This befit to prophet Muhammad (May peace and blessing of Allah upon him) as he brought to all people on Earth the fundamentals of what prophet Isa (AS) had taught:

    The Tawheed
    ############
    Quran 5: 72 ‘while the Jesus has said, “O Children of Israel-worship God, my Lord & your Lord’.
    Mark12: 29 ‘The most important commandment is this: Hear, O Israel; the Lord our God is one Lord.’

    The Prayer
    ############
    Quran 22:27 ‘O you who believe! Bow down & prostrate yourselves & worship your God…’
    Mathew 26:39 ‘He (Jesus) advanced a little & fell on his face prostrated & prayed, saying, ‘O my Father’

    The fasting:
    ############
    Quran 2:183 ‘O ye who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you…
    Mark 9:29 And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.

    Charity
    ############
    Quran 3: 92 ‘You will not attain righteousness till you spend in charity of the things you love’.
    1 Corinthians13:3 & though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, & though I give my body to be burned, & have not given charity, it profits me nothing.

    The pilgrimage
    ############
    Quran 2:196 ‘And perform properly, the hajj and ‘Umrah…’.
    Luke 2:41 ‘Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Passover festival’.
    Exodus 12:14 “This day will be one for you to remember. This is a permanent law for generations to come: You will celebrate this day as a pilgrimage festival in the LORD’s honor.

    The evangelicals idea that Prophet Muhammad as anti-Christ is as absurd as they imagination of “rapture”.

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  11. I thought Bilal was your Muslim and middle name. I mean no offense.

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  12. Dr Paul Woodbridge, Academic Dean at Oak Hill Theological College, London, and lecturer in New Testament

    “it appears quite possible to interpret these verses in a way other than that these passages indicate that Paul expected to be alive at the parousia. When the apostle used the first person plural to refer to believers, this does not necessarily mean he included himself. 1 Corinthians 6:14, 15 and 10:22 are examples of Paul classing himself with those he is describing without necessarily implying he is one of them. It also seems reasonable to say that in 1 Thessalonians 4:15, 17, where Paul is talking about two classes of believers (those asleep and those alive), as he was in the latter class when he wrote, it was natural for him to use the first person plural of himself and his fellow believers.”

    Why do you find a wooden and very literal translation compelling, Paul?

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  13. Salaam Eric.

    How. Can Muhammad be the closest to Jesus when they never met? When one was a Jew and the other an Arab? Different geography, language, culture, religion needless to mention the 600 year gap between them.

    What does that Hadith actually mean?

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  14. Hi Mark,

    I hope this is a sincere question.

    What the hadith actually is saying is clear that prophets are brothers , and most especially prophet Muhammad (saw) and Isa (as) is the closest in the series of major prophets there is no more prophets who were sent between those two. There are hadiths who informed us that Prophet Muhammad and Isa had miraculously met each other during the Night Journey and Ascension of prophet Muhammad and they prayed together.

    The term brother means somebody that resembles or is closely associated to another person. The jews and arab claim the same ancestry the same religion. The language is really close , and their culture can be grouped as a distinct middle eastern semitic group.

    In Islamic texts prophet Isa is as a human being and as righteous messenger of God as prophet Muhammad. Interestingly in the Quran it is told that prophet Isa (as) was a precursor to prophet Muhammad (as), and that he announced the latter’s coming:

    And remember, Jesus, the son of Mary, said: “O Children of Israel! I am the messenger of Allah (sent) to you, confirming the Law (which came) before me, and giving Glad Tidings of a Messenger to come after me, whose name shall be Ahmad.”, (Q 61:6)

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  15. Mark, you quoted this:

    ‘Dr Paul Woodbridge,

    “it appears quite possible to interpret these verses in a way other than that these passages indicate that Paul expected to be alive at the parousia. When the apostle used the first person plural to refer to believers, this does not necessarily mean he included himself. 1 Corinthians 6:14, 15 and 10:22 are examples of Paul classing himself with those he is describing without necessarily implying he is one of them. It also seems reasonable to say that in 1 Thessalonians 4:15, 17, where Paul is talking about two classes of believers (those asleep and those alive), as he was in the latter class when he wrote, it was natural for him to use the first person plural of himself and his fellow believers.”

    Why do you find a wooden and very literal translation compelling, Paul?’

    Thanks for your sarcastic question. Yes, I always prefer the most wooden and literalist readings of texts. They are much more fun.

    ——————————–

    Now to Woodbridge. He references the following verses:

    1 Corinthians 6:14-15 (NRSV)

    14 And God raised the Lord and will also raise us by his power. 15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Should I therefore take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never!

    1 Corinthians 10:22 (NRSV)

    Or are we provoking the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than he?

    I admit to being a little baffled by Woodbridges point, as the context of 6:14-15 suggests Paul includes himself in the discussion: in verse 14 Paul would obviously include himself among those who will be raised by “his power”. In verse 15 he answers his own rhetorical question in the negative concerning uniting his body with a prostitute.

    10:22. Paul asks if “we” are provoking the Lord and the implied answer is no. He asks if “we” are stronger than God. Obviously the implied answer is no.

    So when Woodridge asks ‘When the apostle used the first person plural to refer to believers, this does not necessarily mean he included himself’ he has not provided examples of his claim from Paul’s writings.

    In 1 Thessalonians 4:15, 17 the sequence of events as Paul describes them is clear:

    i) God will bring with him those who have died (v 14)

    ii) that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord (v 15)

    iii) will by no means precede those who have died (v 15)

    iv) For the Lord himself..will descend from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first (v16)

    v) Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up in the clouds (v 17)

    Paul included himself in the group who will be living at that time, see ii and v. Therefore he considers it will happen during his lifetime. That is what the text actually says.

    Woodbridge claims: “Paul is talking about two classes of believers (those asleep and those alive), as he was in the latter class when he wrote, it was natural for him to use the first person plural of himself and his fellow believers.”

    But if Paul meant that he was not of those who would be alive at the rapture he could have said this clearly and simply. I have amended Paul’s words to reflect this idea:

    ‘For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that those who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, they will by no means precede those who have died….Then those who are alive, who are left, will be caught up in the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the air; and so they will be with the Lord for ever.’

    Instead he included himself in the group of believers who would be alive at the rapture. Paul died 2000 years ago. The rapture tarries..

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  16. It is quite obvious that Paul really believed that the end would come within his lifetime, as the verses quoted by brother Paul Williams have shown. But I think there is an even clearer example from Paul’s own words which shows that he really did believe that the “end was near”. I discussed this issue in an article on my blog:

    “…in his letter to the Corinthians, Paul was clear that “the time is short”, when answering questions regarding the issue of marriage:

    “What I mean, brothers and sisters, is that the time is short. From now on those who have wives should live as if they do not; those who mourn, as if they did not; those who are happy, as if they were not; those who buy something, as if it were not theirs to keep; those who use the things of the world, as if not engrossed in them. For this world in its present form is passing away.” (1 Corinthians 7:29-31)

    It is clear from this passage that Paul was convinced that the end was near. His answer to the question of marriage was that Christians could get married, but that since “the time [was] short”, it was probably better not to. Why would he have said that if he was not convinced that the end was near? Surely, he was not speaking to Christians 2,000 years later, who are still waiting for the end to come!” (http://quranandbible.blogspot.com/2015/01/prophecies-in-holy-scriptures-word-of_15.html)

    Logically speaking, why would Paul have written this if he did not actually believe that “time was short”? Christians have to be honest and admit that this is clear evidence of Paul’s mistaken belief that the rapture would come in his lifetime.

    And Allah knows best.

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  17. good points Faiz. In fact the New Testament has many verses which suggest the End was expected in the lifetime of the writers – ie in the 1 century.

    The following passages are most relevant: Mk 9.1; 13.30; 14.61-62; 1 Thess 4.15-17; 1 Corinthians 1.7-8; 7.26, 29; 15.51-52; Romans 13.11-12; 1 Peter 4.7; Revelation 1.1-3; 3.11; 16.15; 22.6, 7, 10, 12, 20; Acts 2.14-17. Compare though 2 Peter 3.

    My favourite passage is this one in 1 Corinthians 15.51-52

    “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.”

    Paul seems to think that Jesus will come in his own generation. He was wrong.

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  18. Hi Paul.

    the point is this: can Paul and does he use plural indicators with exclusion? We know it is yes since the issues being addressed in chapters 6 and 10 are specific to Corinth. Paul wasn’t United to prostitutes, but we know some at Corinth were. Paul wasn’t causing division over food sacrificed to idols, but we know some in Corinth were. It’s pretty straight forward really. I’m surprised you are confused at the argument.

    Could you provide an scholarship that would understand those passages as you suggest?

    We also know that Paul wasn’t including himself in 1 thess 4 because within the context itself Paul teaches us that we do not know the time or hour. It seems nonsensical to say that Paul both knew and didn’t know when Christ was returning.

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  19. ‘Could you provide an scholarship that would understand those passages as you suggest?’

    er yes. Professor Bart Ehrman. If you read some NT commentaries (by which I mean non-evangelical ones) you’ll see most commentators recognize that Paul did indeed think the End was near in his own lifetime. This realisation has been a commonplace of New Testament scholarship since Albert Schweitzer’s The Quest of the Historical Jesus was first published in 1906.

    Have you read it?

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  20. Imagine the logic of what you are suggesting in other contexts, the rugby World Cup.

    When England was eliminated did you (or any other British folk), say, “damn, we have been knocked outta the cup”?

    It is so common within languages to use plural with exclusion that I’m surprised you are so adamant on the point.

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  21. Sorry, I was referring to the Corinthian passages

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  22. If you read some NT commentaries (by which I mean non-evangelical ones) you’ll see most commentators recognize that Paul did indeed think the End was near in his own lifetime. This realisation has been a commonplace of New Testament scholarship since Albert Schweitzer’s The Quest of the Historical Jesus was first published in 1906.

    Have you read it?

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  23. Mark,

    Can you explain why Paul would have said the following if he did not believe that the end was coming?

    “What I mean, brothers and sisters, is that the time is short. From now on those who have wives should live as if they do not; those who mourn, as if they did not; those who are happy, as if they were not; those who buy something, as if it were not theirs to keep; those who use the things of the world, as if not engrossed in them. For this world in its present form is passing away.” (1 Corinthians 7:29-31)

    Imagine the logic here:

    Christians ask Paul to comment on marriage. Paul responds by saying that it is better not to get married BECAUSE the “time is short”.

    Can you honestly say that Paul did not believe that the rapture was right around the corner? Paul’s statement regarding marriage only makes sense if he believed the end was coming very soon. It does not make sense if the end was supposed to come thousands of years later.

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  24. Mark, you claim,

    ‘We also know that Paul wasn’t including himself in 1 thess 4 because within the context itself Paul teaches us that we do not know the time or hour. It seems nonsensical to say that Paul both knew and didn’t know when Christ was returning.’

    I assume we are still talking of 1 Thessalonians 4? Nowhere there does he say he both knew and did not know the time of the End. What you fail to appreciate is the social context of the letter. You do not read it historically. This is probably because of certain undisclosed presuppositions.

    You need to exercise the historian’s capacity for historical reconstruction. Imagine you are a recipient of 1 Thessalonians. You are a Greek speaking Christian.

    Your hero Paul tells you this:

    ‘But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about those who have died, so that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have died. 15 For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will by no means precede those who have died. 16 For the Lord himself, with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call and with the sound of God’s trumpet, will descend from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up in the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the air; and so we will be with the Lord for ever. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.’

    Obviously Paul includes himself in the group of believers (along with you perhaps?) who would be alive at the rapture.

    In other letters Paul is absolutely certain (in his mistaken view) that the End will happen in his generation. Here is the proof. Remember: the trick is to read it historically, as if you were the original recipient, not as Holy Scripture speaking to you today.

    “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 Corinthians 15.51-52

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  25. Fiaz.

    You haven’t demonstrated why that phrase is equivalent to the rapture (which I don’t believe in btw). I’m not sure that phrase means what you think it does. Can you provide some scholarship on that? I have to go to work and don’t have the time right now to do the research.

    Paul

    I look forward to a new post denouncing tawheed since clearly when the Quran uses the plural for Allah it can only mean plurality in the godhead, right? That is, after all, where your wooden literalism must ultimately lead? Or do you allow for such in the Arabic Quran but disallow the same for Koine greek?

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  26. Mark thanks for cheap shots. You have yet to provide a refutation of why Paul was in error in thinking the world would End in the 1st century.

    “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 Corinthians 15.51-52

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  27. Mark,

    You missed the point. Whether you believe in the rapture or not, or whether Paul was specifically talking about the rapture or just the “end of the world”, the fact is that he specifically stated that it was better for Christians who were unmarried to remain so. Why? Because, in his view, the “present world is passing away”. What else could he have meant?

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  28. Mark explain to me what Paul meant when he wrote to the Corinthians “We will not all sleep…”

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  29. Good questions. I only know they can’t mean what you suggest because Paul teaches elsewhere that the hour is unknown.

    I think it is reasonable to assume that Paul lived and taught as if the world could end soon, but was never certain about exact times, much like most Christians and Muslims today. That approach allows for all the data without needlessly over reaching as I believe you both are doing

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  30. Logically Paul could say both that the exact hour is unknown and that it will happen within his lifetime. Or maybe Paul held contradictory beliefs which is possible.

    Could you explain what Paul meant when he wrote to the Corinthians

    “We will not all sleep…”

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  31. Mark,

    Paul could certainly have believed that the end would come in his lifetime, but be unsure as to exactly when. There is nothing unreasonable about that.

    It is also possible that Paul simply contradicted himself in later letters. He was just a human being, and he was also known to change his views when the situation called for it. See my article “Paul and the Evolution of Christianity” for other examples:

    http://quranandbible.blogspot.com/2015/03/paul-and-evolution-of-christianity.html

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  32. Anything is possible, but we are merely guessing on some things. At least we seem to agree that Paul need not be accused of getting his eschatology wrong, since there are viable alternatives, both grammatically (in 1 thess 4) and theologically.

    I have no problem reading Paul as if, a) he expected the imminent return of Jesus and, b) but he knew it may not happen.

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    • ‘At least we seem to agree that Paul need not be accused of getting his eschatology wrong..’

      Actually we do not agree since Faiz and I have demonstrated in sufficient detail that Paul erroneously believed the End would happen in his lifetime.

      “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 Corinthians 15.51-52

      Sleep is a metaphor for death. So Paul is in effect saying to his readers (in about 53-54 AD):

      “Listen folks we are not all going to die before the End, but we will all (alive and dead) be resurrected from the dead at the last trumpet … “

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  33. Paul, why don’t you tell me what you think it means first. Admittedly, that pericope is one of the more difficult from what I remember from my exegetical class on 1 Corinthians

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  34. Mark,

    I don’t know why you would think that “we seem to agree that Paul need not be accused of getting his eschatology wrong…” Paul did get
    “his eschatology wrong”. That’s exactly what I am saying.

    I also never said that Paul expected the imminent return of Jesus but knew that “it may not happen”. It is very obvious that he was convinced that it was imminent. What I did say was that Paul believed the end would come in his lifetime but he didn’t know exactly when. In other words, he didn’t know when in his lifetime it would come. But, he was convinced that he and many of his followers would live to see the second coming. That is why he told those who were not married to remain so.

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  35. Mark, both brother Paul and I have provided incontrovertible proof that Paul got “his eschatology wrong”. But he was not the only one to make that mistake. One of the few times the different books of the New Testament agree with each other is in the expectation that Jesus (peace be upon him) would return in the apostolic age. For example, the Gospel of Matthew quotes Jesus as saying:

    “When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another. Truly I tell you, you will not finish going through the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes” (Matthew 10:23).

    Now think about this verse. Who was Jesus talking to? Was it not his disciples?

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  36. As the distinguished New Testament scholar Professor C.K. Barrett wrote in his commentary on 1 Corinthians:

    ‘Paul expects that at the parousia he himself will not be among the dead (of whom he speaks in the third person), but among the living (of whom he speaks in the first person). He expected the parousia within his own lifetime.’

    First Epistle to the Corinthians by C.K. Barrett, commentary on verse 52, page 381.

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  37. Sad one apostate un believer leading another apostate un believer. As has already been stated by others. It’s only an error to those who do not believe

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  38. OK I want to believe, how do I do that?

    Please tell me..

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  39. Or put another way, it’s not an error to those who believe…

    In other words, the faithful Christian simply refuses to acknowledge the error because his faith does not allow him to do so.

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  40. let’s see what Fan suggests.

    If he suggests that I just have to believe in Jesus then that might not work.

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  41. Paul I would never suggest that you believe in Jesus as it is clear he has rejected and forbidden you. But others have already pointed out the obvious to you. You assume that when Paul writes ” we who are still alive,” that Paul is asserting that he believes the that time will come in his life time, and since it didn’t, Paul was in error. But what you fail, nay refuse to understand is that the focus in that sentence is not on Paul, but on those ” WHO ARE STILL ALIVE”.

    So at any time when he comes anyone “who is still alive” will be taken up with him. Doesn’t matter when or who is alive. But anyone that is still alive, can rest assured that they will be taken up with him. That is the focus of the passage.

    I know its a reading comprehension problem that seems to plague Muslims and other unbelievers. But that is your problem and not mine.

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  42. CF //So at any time when he comes anyone “who is still alive” will be taken up with him. Doesn’t matter when or who is alive. But anyone that is still alive, can rest assured that they will be taken up with him. That is the focus of the passage.//

    Lets check the passage again (bracket is mine)

    Paul said in anticipating the rapture:

    1 Thessalonians 4:15 (NIV)

    15 According to the Lord’s word, we tell you THAT WE WHO ARE STILL ALIVE, WHO ARE LEFT UNTIL THE COMING OF THE LORD, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep (ie DEAD).

    1 Corinthians 7:29-31(NIV)

    29 What I mean, brothers and sisters, is THAT THE TIME IS SHORT. From now on THOSE WHO HAVE WIVES SHOULD LIVE as if they do not; 30 those who mourn, as if they did not; those who are happy, as if they were not; those who buy something, as if it were not theirs to keep;31 those who use the things of the world, as if not engrossed in them. For this world in its present form is passing away.

    Does Paul still lives?, Do the Corinthians and the Thessalonians still live?, and all the believers since that time?.

    No. They all DIED , and no-one were “taken up” by the coming of the Lord.

    SO it really matters when or who is alive.

    I wonder who suffer from reading comprehension problem.

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  43. CFans is Robert wells, this guy uses many nicks.

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  44. Eric thanks for demonstrating that reading comprehension problem that all Muslims and un-believers suffer from. Well done sir well done.

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  45. //CFans is Robert wells, this guy uses many nicks.//

    Can we say Robert Wells is one what and many who’s

    In other words,

    Within the one being that is Robert Wells, there exists many co-equall persons, some of them, fatman, “radical moderate”, “cubs fan” ,”next year” and many other..

    That is to say,

    Each of the persons is fully Robert Wells,, possessing all his attributes. The persons are not parts of Robert Wells, as though one could act without the others acting along with him. “Robert Wells’s being presents an absolute numerical identity.” He is one “being,” not many; the many partake of one “essence”

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  46. “When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another. Truly I tell you, you will not finish going through the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes” (Matthew 10:23).

    Ad hominem attacks from “CubsFan/Robert Wells/Next Year/God knows who else” aside, the fact remains that the New Testament is consistent with itself (for once) on the belief that the “Son of Man” would return during the lifetime of his disciples. This is not a matter of “reading comprehension”. It is a matter of choosing either to acknowledge clear facts or to shut one’s eyes and ears and just say “la la la”.

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  47. Paul and Fiaz.

    I’ve tried to be reasonable and discuss the normality of plural exlusions within languages. Sadly, you both seem intent on a literalism that I am certain is inconsistent in your reading and your life in general. For example,

    “And it is Allah who sends the winds so that they stir up the clouds, and We drive them to a dead land and revive therewith the earth after its death. Such will be the resurrection (35:9)”

    If I took your approach to interpretation I would have to conclude that the Koran is in error here because of the grammatical shift to plural.

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    • ‘I don’t deny that many a scholar has claimed error toward Paul and his eschatology, as you quote by Barrett indicates. But a careful reading of all the literature would also demonstrate that this is by no means the only possibility.’

      I agree that some find other explanations plausible. I have looked at these alternative explanations closely over the years. I honestly do not find them convincing. We will have to agree to disagree about this Mark.

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  48. Paul,

    I don’t deny that many a scholar has claimed error toward Paul and his eschatology, as you quote by Barrett indicates. But a careful reading of all the literature would also demonstrate that this is by no means the only possibility.

    You seem intent on assuming that that is the scholarly consensus. Why is that? Why do you ignore the scholarship that offers meaningful counter interpretations? My observation is that you disallow nuance for the Bible

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  49. Mark,

    Red herrings don’t make your argument stronger. Also, it is precisely because you are being extremely UN-reasonable that no one finds your argument very persuasive. Regardless, there is no reason for you to get agitated.

    Where exactly in Matthew 10:23 and 1 Corinthians 7:29-31 can you find another “possibility” with regard to the belief in the second coming?

    You did not answer my previous question regarding Matthew 10:23. Who was Jesus talking to?

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  50. ‘You seem intent on assuming that that is the scholarly consensus. Why is that? Why do you ignore the scholarship that offers meaningful counter interpretations? My observation is that you disallow nuance for the Bible.’

    Mark, I ‘assume’ a consensus because my reading of the relevant NT scholarship suggests to me most scholars see that Jesus and his followers expected the imminent end of the world. Most scholarship that disagrees with this observation comes from conservative evangelical circles which are motivated to protect their doctrine of scripture – inerrancy.

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  51. Hi Paul

    “my reading of the NT scholarship suggests to me most scholars see that Jesus and his followers expected the imminent end of the world.”

    I think this raises an interesting question that I have always wondered regarding how Islam views Jesus as a Prophet and Messiah. Since NT scholars do indeed very strongly present this case, how then does one who regnosises this, yet nevertheless can hold Jesus in as high a regard as the Qu’ran clearly does?

    This is a genuine question from someone who actually warns to better understand Islam and the different positions Muslims may have on this very curious paradox

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  52. Patrice,

    The answer from the Muslim point of view is simple. We don’t actually regard the New Testament as an authoritative and trustworthy source on what Jesus (peace be upon him) actually said. Every prophet would have warned his people about the Day of Judgment, but none of them would have had the knowledge of when it would occur. Therefore, there is no way Jesus would have been able to tell his followers to expect his return within their lifetimes. He would not have known that! Furthermore, according to the Quran, Jesus foretold the coming of Muhammad (peace be upon them both), so there is no way he would have expected his second coming to occur before the coming of the last prophet.

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  53. Salam Patrice,

    You bring an interesting question.

    To my knowledge even modern NT scholarship can not ascertain that the gospels and other NT writings are attributed to Jesus (as) himself. Most muslim scholars agree that those are not the genuine Injil of Isa Alaihissalam, at best it is like the hadith narration but it is much weaker authority when it comes to what Jesus said and did, because it does not have chain of narration (the isnad) back to him nor the number of reporters involved in each stage of the isnad etc. in other words it was not carefully preserved and therefore no guarantee on the truthfulness of the contents.

    Now because the Qur’an tells us about the Injil of Isa (as), I am always intrigued by the possibility of finding genuine gospel of Jesus (as), and it must be (in my belief) in his native dialect of aramaic (but not the peshitta as it was the translation of the greeks writings)

    So even though the NT writings seem to suggest that he believed the end of the age would have happen immediately it does not necessarily mean what prophet Jesus (as) said himself. So from muslim position is we can not conclude that Jesus (as) had his apocalyptic eschatologies wrong just by relying on NT writings.

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  54. “Behold, the Lord is riding on a swift cloud and is about to come to Egypt;
    The idols of Egypt will tremble at His presence,
    And the heart of the Egyptians will melt within them.” Isaiah 19:1

    There are many “comings” of the LORD in the Bible. The LORD “came” in judgement on Israel was sending the Assyrians (722 BC), later the Babylonians (606-586 BC (destruction of Solomon’s temple, and exile to Babylon) to conquer and discipline the nation of Israel.

    In Isaiah 19:1, the prophet speaks of God’s judgement on the idols and paganism of Egypt. When Judah turned to Egypt for help from Assyria, God ordained that the Assyrians and Babylonians would conquer and judge Egypt also, for their paganism and evil.

    The LORD did not literally come to Egypt, nor did He literally ride on a cloud. It is metaphoric language for judgement on the idolatry and paganism of Egypt by sending foreign powers and wars, etc.

    In the same way, in the NT texts that you guys are mentioning, the LORD did “come” in judgement on Israel, by His sending the Romans to attack Jerusalem and destroy the temple in 70 AD. The Jewish Wars that Josephus records many details for us – 66-73 AD, with 70 in the middle, ending with the mass suicide of 400 Jews at Masada in 73 AD.

    This was a “coming in judgement” on Israel, who had rejected her Messiah.

    Jesus warned the church at Ephesus that He was coming to them and will remove the lamp stand if they don’t repent. (Revelation 2:4-5)

    “But I have this against you, that you have left your first love.
    5 Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lamp stand out of its place—unless you repent. ” Revelation 2:4-5

    Later the Goths destroyed Ephesus in 263 AD, then it was rebuilt, then earthquakes and malaria from the swampy change of the lagoon and silt built up and the area was abandoned, then much later, the Seljuk Turks from 1071 AD and the Ottomans in 1453 AD conquered and took over all of the area and today it is known as Turkey.

    But there is still a literal second coming, which no one can figure out. (Matthew 24:36; Acts 1:6-8; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 1 Corinthians 15:23-25; 15:51-53; 2 Peter chapter 3)

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  55. Ken,

    The problem is that you are comparing the Tanakh to the New Testament. They are two different books. For sure, the Tanakh talks about God “coming” upon sinful nations with promises of destruction, but this cannot be compared to the New Testament’s prophecies about the coming of the “Son of Man”.

    For example, I mentioned Matthew 10:23 which states that the “Son of Man” will come before the disciples have finished going through all the towns of Israel. From other uses of the “coming” of the “Son of Man” in the Gospel of Matthew (and other Gospels), it is clear that it is a reference to his literal “coming”, not a metaphorical “coming” in the form of some catastrophe such as the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans. For example, see Matthew 25:31ff:

    “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.”

    How can this be referring to the destruction of Jerusalem? Did all nations “gather before him”? Of course not. Therefore, it is obvious that the reference is to the literal second coming. See also Matthew 16:27-28 and Matthew 24:30-39.

    As for the verse from Revelation, the fact is that that later in the book, it is claimed that Jesus will literally descend on earth to destroy the Anti-Christ and his followers. So, the threat issued in Revelation 2 is in that context. Notice for example the threat made to the church at Pergamum:

    “Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth” (Revelation 2:16).

    The “sword of my mouth” is brought up again in Revelation 19, where it refers to the punishment meted out against the nations of the world.

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  56. I Corinthians 7:29-31 has to be interpreted in light of the whole chapter. I recommend you read the entire chapter, and see that the apostle promotes both marriage and singleness ( if they have the gift of singleness – (verse 7 – Greek: charismata – a grace gift of ability to be single). Also, verse 26 speaks of “the present distress”, which points to the persecution of Christians and their status in Roman and Greek society in the 50s-60s AD. Some say that there was an economic crisis going on then in Corinth or a famine of food. Since Paul also says, “get married” (7:2, 9, 38) and “if you marry, you have not sinned” (7:28) and “it is better to marry than to burn with lust” (7:9); and “he who marries does well, and he who does not marry does better” (7:38) “better” meaning able to devote “undistracted devotion to the Lord” (7:35 – as in Scripture study, prayer, works of charity, evangelism and missions – going to dangerous areas with the gospel and not worrying about taking care of a wife and children, etc.)

    7:31 – “the form of this world is passing away” is similar teaching to 1 John 2:15-16 – focus on spiritual things, not the things of this world, because there is a judgement day and there will be an eventual destruction of this world. John 17:15 – live in the world, be balanced, but don’t be “of this world” – don’t make this world your total focus of concentration – life is more than making money, getting married, pleasing your wife, having a home and cars, raising kids, etc. – spend time in the word of God and prayer also.

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  57. 1 Corinthians 7 does speak about “the present distress” or “necessity” depending on how you translate it, and that only further proves the apocalyptic mindset of the Christian community at that time. The “distress” was seen as the precursor to the second coming, as so many passages from the New Testament state (ex. Mark 13:19).

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  58. The problem is that you are comparing the Tanakh to the New Testament. They are two different books. For sure, the Tanakh talks about God “coming” upon sinful nations with promises of destruction, but this cannot be compared to the New Testament’s prophecies about the coming of the “Son of Man”.

    Your analysis is shallow; as the Tanakh is the background for the NT – there are so many quotes and allusions and the Tanakh is the foundation for the NT.

    That is why when John the Baptist and Jesus started preaching and they said, “repent for the kingdom of God is at hand” (Matthew 3:2; 4:17; Mark 1:14-15) the Jews knew that they were warning about the coming of the LORD in judgement in the OT. “The Day of the LORD” had many manifestations of judgement of nations coming in judgement.

    The judgement on Pergamum in Rev. 2:16 – the Lord did come with a sword and allowed Islam to conquer all of the area and eventually it became the Ottoman Empire, and today, Turkey. That is different than the end of time coming in Rev. 19:15.

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  59. Ken,

    Just because you say that the “Tanakh is the background for the NT”, does not mean it is. There are major differences between the two texts, whether you want to admit it or not.

    Claiming that the Revelation 2:16 was a prophecy about the Ottoman conquest of Turkey more than 1000 years later is a cop-out. First of all, it is a threat against a specific church (the church in Pergamum), not all of the churches in present-day Turkey. In fact, the author specifically praises the church in Smyrna (another city in Turkey) and urges its congregants to hang in there Second, it is a threat against the Pergamum church for specific sins its congregants were committing:

    “Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: There are some among you who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin so that they ate food sacrificed to idols and committed sexual immorality. 15 Likewise, you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans.”

    How does that apply to the Byzantine church which was conquered by the Ottomans? Did the Byzantines sacrifice food to idols? Did they commit “sexual immorality”? Did they “hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans”?

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  60. Also, Jesus quotes Isaiah 13:10 in Matthew 24:29, so the OT (Tanakh) background informs the NT meaning – there was a near-fulfillment in Isaiah 13 of Babylon coming to judge Israel; and there is a far fulfillment of the second coming of Messiah and judgment.

    The near fulfillment in the NT context was the coming of the Romans and 7 year war and destruction of the temple in 70 AD.

    The fact that the disciples added 2 more things to the destruction of the temple (Matthew 23:36-38; 24:1-2; verse 15 – pointing back to Daniel and the abomination of desolation who will destroyed the temple, after the Messiah is “cut off”, killed – Daniel 9:27) – in verse 3, the disciples add 2 things to 70 AD in their question, assuming that they are all together. “the sign of Your coming” and “the end of the age” – and Jesus answers in a way that mixes them together so that we have to study the passage deeply and see there are two (or more) comings – the coming in judgement on Israel in 70 AD and the literal second coming at the end, still future to us today.

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  61. Matthew 24 makes it clear that the “coming of the Son of Man” is not referring to the destruction of Jerusalem, but that the latter will be the immediate precursor to the former. Verse 15 warns that when “the abomination that causes desolation” stands in the temple, the people in Judea should flee to the mountains. Obviously, this is a reference to the destruction of Jerusalem. In fact, when the Romans conquered the city, they set-up an altar in the temple where they could make sacrifices. This is probably the “abomination that causes desolation”. But then, verse 29 states that “immediately after the distress of those days”, the “Son of Man” will appear:

    “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[c] will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory.[d] 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.”

    It seems pretty clear to me that the second coming was supposed to occur shortly after the destruction of Jerusalem.

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  62. Eventually, the churches in Asia minor all drifted from the Lord, –
    The Goths destroyed Ephesus in 263 AD, and later, earthquakes, and swampy conditions for malaria, etc.
    Pergamum is not that far from Ephesus ( or any of the other 7 churches of Rev. chapters 1-3), so eventually Islam conquered all of them, since they all “left their first love” by 1. drifting from the Bible and the Biblical doctrine of justification by faith alone, 2. adding traditions, like exalting Mary too much, and adding things like priests and icons and prayers to Mary, and saints, etc. (see more below)

    Pergamum had some of the same issues until Islam came later. The Arabs came in 717 AD to try and take Constantinople and sacked the city; then later the Seljuks conquered it from 1071 AD onward – same basic area as Ephesus.

    for example, in Muhammad’s day – the Byzantine churches, and western Catholics (which later develops into Roman Catholicism) were exalting Mary too much with icons, statues, prayers to Mary, etc. calling her “Mother of God” – God allowed Islam to come and judge those areas because they gave a wrong impression to the Muslims what Christianity really meant by “the Son of God” and the doctrine of the Trinity. Islam misunderstood these teachings – Surah 6:101 (Muhammad thought “son of God” means God has sex with a woman / Mary and procreates; seen in Surah 5:72-75 and 5:116 – Muhammad thinks the Trinity is God, Mary, and Jesus).

    The idolatry and false teaching of the Nicolatians was the context in first century Pergamum, but the same principle holds for later generations – if you drift from the bible and leave your first love and allow false teachings – the Lord will come and judge; and He did.

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  63. in Matthew 24 that you reference (verses 29-31), there are two “comings” – one in judgement in 70 AD; which symbolizes another future one, literal coming on the clouds. (Acts 1:8; 1 Thess. 4:13-18; Rev. 19-20)

    Because the disciples mixed in the second coming (verse 3) with the destruction of the temple; Jesus answers in a way that mixes both of them together.

    But in verse 36, when He says, “but of that day . . . ” Jesus is changing the subject to the end of time – Matthew 24:36 to the end and chapter 25 is about the literal second coming, but verses 29-31 include both 70 AD and the second coming. There will be another tribulation, it seems, right before the end, etc.

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  64. You keep trying to divert to the Islamic conquests and “misunderstandings”, when you only show your own misunderstandings of what Islam or what the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) taught. This is a red herring.

    If the Islamic conquest of Turkey was a fulfillment of the prophecy in Revelation 2 for the Byzantine church’s sin of praying to Mary, then why wasn’t the Catholic church also not conquered along with it? The seat of Catholic power was Rome, not Constantinople. Why wasn’t it also conquered?

    You are simply trying to reinterpret the text as referring to some future event 1000 years in the future because the alternative is unsavory for you. The context of the prophecies makes it clear that the threats of destruction were supposed to occur in that time, not 1000 years later.

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  65. “in Matthew 24 that you reference (verses 29-31), there are two “comings” – one in judgement in 70 AD; which symbolizes another future one, literal coming on the clouds. (Acts 1:8; 1 Thess. 4:13-18; Rev. 19-20)

    Because the disciples mixed in the second coming (verse 3) with the destruction of the temple; Jesus answers in a way that mixes both of them together.

    But in verse 36, when He says, “but of that day . . . ” Jesus is changing the subject to the end of time – Matthew 24:36 to the end and chapter 25 is about the literal second coming, but verses 29-31 include both 70 AD and the second coming. There will be another tribulation, it seems, right before the end, etc.”

    What are you basing this on? Is it because you know that the simple interpretation creates a problem for the New Testament?

    Let’s see the context again:

    “As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark…”

    Notice how its says “in the days before the flood”. Similarly, “in the days before” the second coming, Jesus is warning his disciples to stay vigilant because he will return when they least expect it. The word “days” means exactly what it is supposed to mean. It does not mean hundreds or thousands of years.

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  66. The Goths and other barbarians came before Islam and conquered many of these areas, including Asia Minor. I already mentioned that. (Goths, 263 AD, etc.) The Vandals in North Africa in the 400s-500s AD also came, destroyed, brought Arian doctrine (rejection of the eternal Deity of Jesus), therefore Islam was able to easily conquer in the 636 AD onward into 700s and onward.

    On Islam’s misunderstands – no, you are wrong. One of the clearest things is that Muhammad and the Arabs and the author of the Qur’an totally mis-understood the term “Son of God” (obvious in Surah 6:101; 112, 19:88-92, etc.) and they misunderstood the doctrine of the Trinity (5:116; 5:72-75).

    Even today, because of the statues and prayers and exalting Mary too much, most average Muslims still think that is what Christians teach, when Christianity has NEVER taught what Islam and the Qur’an thought it did.

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  67. Ken, I am not going to waste time discussing your red herrings about Islam. That is not the topic here, so stop trying to change the topic. That issue has been discussed ad nauseum by others.

    You have been unable to answer why Rome was never conquered by anyone, including the Muslims, even though it was the center of Catholic power. Catholicism continues to thrive even now in the present age, despite the fact that, according to you, it “left the first love” and “drifted from the Bible”.

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  68. At the time of Muhammad, Constantinople was a greater power than Rome. Rome was conquered by the western Germanic tribes – barbarians – Goths, Visi-goths, Lombards, etc. in the 400s, 500s – 700s AD. The Muslims tried to conquer Rome, but were unsuccessful. They conquered Sicily for a while, and later expelled.

    The Coptic church in Egypt survived better than the other N. African churches, because they held on to the true doctrines of the Deity of Christ and the Trinity.

    The Roman Catholic Church eventually became powerful in the west, yes –

    Only God know why He does not judge more – He is also merciful in holding things back.
    He also has other ways of judging western Europe – by liberal theology (lots of the same roots of the liberal scholarship that has evolved into the kinds of books that Paul Williams and Shabir Ally and others like to use to attack the Bible), abortion, homosexuality, Darwinian-Atheistic Evolution, nominalism.

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  69. Catholicism has remained strong and the Vatican has outlived the Byzantine empire by more than 600 years and continues to thrive in the present age. Your continued attempts at injecting red herrings (liberal theology, Paul Williams and Shabir Ally) do not strengthen your argument.

    And by the way, the Coptic church “survived better” under Muslim rule. Under the Byzantines, the Copts were persecuted because they were Monophysites (one nature of Jesus, whereas the Byzantines were Diphysites.

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  70. Rome was conquered by Germanic tribes in 400s -700s; and at the same time and later, added false doctrines and false traditions and morphed into unBiblical things and false doctrines. (exalting Mary, statues, prayers to dead saints, the bishop of Rome as the “bishop over all other bishops) (developed slowly from 400s onward, the east always disagreed and the Eastern Orthodox split in 1054 AD was manifestation of that); doctrine of purgatory ( 600s Ad and onward), Transubstantiation ( 800s – 1215 AD), Indulgences (Crusades time to Luther), formal rejection of justification by faith alone (council of Trent, 1545-1563); Immaculate Conception and Sinlessness of Mary ( 1854 AD), the Infallibility of the Pope (1870 AD), and the dogma of the bodily assumption of Mary ( 1950 AD).

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  71. They are not red herrings because Christianity interprets the texts you are talking about with the view of understanding how it all fits together with all of history. There are many judgements and “Jesus coming in judgment” between the first and second coming of Christ.

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  72. Roman Catholicism is not Biblical Christianity, as shown above, because it has added so many distortions and corruptions of doctrine. It is a strong outward shell of an organized religion, but it is not true to the Bible.

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  73. None of this changes the fact that Catholicism has remained strong. If Revelation 2 was a threat about future destruction because of false practices, then it was a spectacular failure. Your views on Catholicism and its supposed heresies are not the issue here. The issue is your contention that Revelation 2 was a prophecy about the barbarian conquests in the 4th and 5th centuries and the Islamic conquests 1000 years later.

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  74. Justinian (537-565 AD) and Heraclius 610-641 AD) and other Emperors tried to force the Copts and other Miaphysites (or Monophysites) to accept the Chalcedonian Creed of 451 AD, true. They sent and quartered troops in those areas; they were foreigners, and they built up resentment with the national people. That was wrong and sad and unBiblical. The complete unity of church and state is wrong and unbiblical and a violation of the NT.

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  75. According to the Christian apologetic website CARM, monophysitism is actually an “error”:

    https://carm.org/monophysitism

    So, from the point of view of “Biblical Christianity”, the Copts were actually no different than the Catholics, because they both had “drifted from the Bible”.

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  76. I think Catholicism has a much better claim to the title ‘Biblical Christianity’ than the much later 16th century theology Calvinism. That’s one insight I gained at university studying the early fathers. As John Henry Cardinal Newman once said, “To be deep in history is to cease to be Protestant.”

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  77. “I think Catholicism has a much better claim to the title ‘Biblical Christianity’ than the much later 16th century theology Calvinism. That’s one insight I gained at university studying the early fathers. As John Henry Cardinal Newman once said, “To be deep in history is to cease to be Protestant.”

    The whole idea of what “Biblical Christianity” is supposed to be is entirely subjective and based on the myriad number of interpretations that inevitably arise from reading the Bible. Every denomination has its own ideas of what “Biblical Christianity” is, and they can all find support for their views from the Bible itself. That shows how self-contradictory the Bible really is.

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  78. yes Faz, but later works in the NT such as the deutero-Paulines have been described showing tendencies towards ‘early catholicism’ by many scholars. The deutero-Pauline literature is representative of early Catholic thought.

    The identifying marks of such Christian documents include, according to a recent survey by John H. Elliott, traces of, or tendencies in the direction of the following:

    the organization of the Church according to hierarchical in contrast to charismatic
    ministry;

    the development of the monarchical episcopate;

    an objectification of the proclamation and an emphasis upon a strictly formulated rule of faith;

    a stress upon”orthodoxy” or “sound doctrine” in opposition to false teaching;
    moralization of the faith and conception of the gospel as new law;

    an understanding of faith in objective rather than subjective, in static rather than dynamic, terms, as fides quae creditur in contrast to
    fides qua creditur;

    a development of the principle of apostolic succession and transmitted authority;

    a distinction between laity and clergy; a conception of an authoritative interpretation of the scriptures;

    a trend toward “sacramentalism”; the formulation of a “natural theology”; a concern for ecclesiastical unity and consolidation; and an interest in
    the collecting of the apostolic writings.

    See the discussion in The Deutero-Pauline Hypothesis: An attempt at Clarification by Arthur G. Patzia http://biblicalstudies.org.uk/pdf/eq/1980-1_027.pdf

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  79. Good point, Paul. But that is precisely my point. You can find support for almost every denomination’s view in the NT. While the deutero-Paulines may provide support for Catholic views, other books of the NT do not and could thus be used by anti-Catholics to denounce the church.

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  80. indeed. The NT is a collection of disparate and diverse literature. Unfortunately fundamentalists like Ken can never admit this and denounce those that do as ‘liberals’ etc.

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  81. Paul,
    Does the NT have a church office of “priest”?
    Why doesn’t Peter mention his Papacy in 1 or 2 Peter? He calls himself “fellow-elder” in 1 Peter 5:1

    can you find any of these doctrines and/or practices (that I mentioned above with dates) in the early centuries?

    Did the early church (0-431 AD) exalt Mary too much?
    Even the title of “Theotokos” – the one who bears God” (431 AD, Council of Ephesus) was about the Deity of Jesus; it was NOT supposed to be about exalting Mary.

    After 431 AD, Marian devotion and exaltation became more prevalent, but even then, it was a slow development.

    Did the early church make statues and pray to Mary? or have a bishop over all other bishops who was the bishop of Rome?
    They had bishops over local areas and cities, yes; but they were considered equal and each one of them, if they held to the faith of Peter (“You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God” – Matthew 16:16-18), they were true bishops, according to 2nd -5th century practice.

    Cyprian, bishop of Carthage, and 85 other bishops from all over the Christian world rebuked bishop Stephen of Rome for his arrogant claim (that he was “bishop over all other bishops), around 257-258 AD)

    “. . . added false doctrines and false traditions and morphed into unBiblical things and false doctrines. (exalting Mary, statues, prayers to dead saints, the bishop of Rome as the “bishop over all other bishops) (developed slowly from 400s onward, the east always disagreed and the Eastern Orthodox split in 1054 AD was manifestation of that); doctrine of purgatory ( 600s Ad and onward), Transubstantiation ( 800s – 1215 AD), Indulgences (Crusades time to Luther), formal rejection of justification by faith alone (council of Trent, 1545-1563); Immaculate Conception and Sinlessness of Mary ( 1854 AD), the Infallibility of the Pope (1870 AD), and the dogma of the bodily assumption of Mary ( 1950 AD).”

    Newman’s theory of development was taking obscure statements in the early church and claiming they were “seeds” of later doctrinal development.

    The dates of 600 AD (Purgatory developed by Gregory 1, bishop of Rome) onward.
    1054 – eastern Orthodoxy breaks with Rome.
    1095-1299 – Indulgences taught to motivate people to fight Muslims in the Crusades.
    800s – 1215 – Transubstantiation
    1545-1563 – Council of Trent
    1854- Immaculate Conception of Mary Dogma
    1870- Infallibility of the Pope dogma
    1950- Bodily Assumption of Mary into heaven dogma

    These are very late developments that have no basis in the Bible, nor in the early centuries.

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  82. Ken that is a red-herring. Try and engage with what I actually wrote.

    An analysis of 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus (the deutero-Pauline literature) discloses that it is representative of early Catholic thought. The identifying marks of such Christian documents include, traces of, or tendencies in the direction of the following characteristically Catholic phenomenon:

    the organization of the Church according to hierarchical in contrast to charismatic
    ministry;

    the development of the monarchical episcopate;

    an objectification of the proclamation and an emphasis upon a strictly formulated rule of faith;

    a stress upon”orthodoxy” or “sound doctrine” in opposition to false teaching;
    moralization of the faith and conception of the gospel as new law;

    an understanding of faith in objective rather than subjective, in static rather than dynamic, terms, as fides quae creditur in contrast to
    fides qua creditur;

    a development of the principle of apostolic succession and transmitted authority;

    a distinction between laity and clergy; a conception of an authoritative interpretation of the scriptures;

    a trend toward “sacramentalism”; the formulation of a “natural theology”; a concern for ecclesiastical unity and consolidation; and an interest in
    the collecting of the apostolic writings.

    Contrast these Catholic marks with the authentic Pauline literature were such marks are absent.

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  83. You probably think Titus is “detero-Pauline”.
    Then why in Titus 1:5-7 does he use presbuteroi(elders) and episcopoi (overseers / bishops) interchangeably?

    Which agrees with Acts 14:23; Acts 20:17, 28; 1 Peter 5:1-4; Philippians 1:1, that the two offices are
    1. elders who oversee and lead and pastor/teach, and
    2. deacons who serve.

    And 1 Clement and the Didache and Shepherd of Hermas agree with this form of church government.

    Only later in Ignatius (117 AD) do we see the distinction of one bishop (mono-episcopate) over the college of elders.

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  84. 1-2 Tim. and Titus – there is no “mono-episcopate” – that only comes later with Ignatius.

    early books and letters speak of bishops / overseeing and church offices of elders – Acts 14:23 (about the churches in Galatia, where Paul wrote a very early letter, Galatians, around 49 AD – probably his earliest letter.

    Philippians 1:1 – overseers / bishops and deacons – 2 offices for each church. around 60-62 AD.

    Acts 20:17 – elders
    Acts 20:28 – continuing on from exhortations to the elders – they are to do the work of overseeing and pastoring / shepherding. This is an early period also.

    “sound doctrine” vs. false teaching was always around from the beginning. Jesus warned against the teaching of the Pharisees (Matthew 16:12) and the early church in Jerusalem was “devoted to the apostles’ teaching” (Acts 2:42).

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  85. an understanding of faith in objective rather than subjective, in static rather than dynamic, terms, as fides quae creditur in contrast to
    fides qua creditur;

    Using Latin for the Greek letters of 1 and 2 Tim. and Titus is anachronistic also.

    fides quae creditur – the faith which is believed – objective

    fides qua creditur – the faith by which is believed – subjective

    But the Greek is clear by context and grammar of subjective faith ( I believe) vs. objective content of doctrine (the faith). Even in early Pauline letters, like Galatians – see Galatians 1:23 (“the faith” – τὴν πίστιν) with later books 1 Timothy ( 3:9 – holding to the mystery of the faith), 1 Tim. 4:1 (in the last days people will fall away from “the faith”) and other later books like Jude, verse 3 (contend earnestly for “the faith).

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  86. a development of the principle of apostolic succession and transmitted authority;

    Even the pastoral epistles do not say anything about “apostolic succession” – especially not in the way centuries later Roman Catholicism sees that in a successor as a person/ person, rather than holding to the doctrines that they were taught.

    The early writings also exhort the churches to hold to sound doctrine, and don’t believe an angel or someone else who claims to be an apostle or have a revelation, if it does not agree with what Paul preached and taught. Galatians 1:6-9

    a distinction between laity and clergy; a conception of an authoritative interpretation of the scriptures;

    “Now there were at Antioch, in the church that was there, prophets and teachers: . . . ” Acts 13:1
    Early ministry
    Acts 14:23 – “appointed elders for each church” – shows elders are leaders, for each church (people, laity) Early – Galatians.

    a trend toward “sacramentalism”;

    I don’t see any trend toward sacramentalism in the pastoral epistles.

    a concern for ecclesiastical unity and consolidation;
    Early writings speak of unity and gifted preachers/ teachers – 1 Corinthians 1:10-12; chapter 3, 4:1-6)
    Ephesians 4:1-16 – “be diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit . . . until we all attain to the unity of the faith”

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  87. @Eric

    You made a comment that tickled my interest. Do you perhpas have some more information on the following comment you made as I do hear people try to insinuate the name ‘Eesa’ was unheard of before the Revelation of the Quran?

    Thanks

    You wrote:

    His name in Aramaic is spelled yudh – sheen – waw -ein. http://www.v-a.com/bible/aramaic-jesus.html

    The yod or yudh (Aramaic) is pronounced as consonantal vocal “ee” in English, this correspond to Ayn-Yaa which the ayn, in my view serve as the Alif maqsura as well as the last ya in عیسَی

    So it is more likely as an Aramaic speaker himself “Jesus” called himself Eesho not helenized “Jesus” or more specifically “Eesa” since the Northern Palestinian Jews pronounced the letter “shin” as “seen” just like Quranic form “Eesa” / ʿĪsā. Not the Christian Arabic form يسوع‎

    So the Quranic description is more accurate.

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  88. Salam Yahya,

    InsyaAllah I will elaborate more on this. At the momemt the weather is too great to miss my weekend cycling 😊

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  89. Faiz,

    I don’t feel compelled to answer your questions since even a cursory reading of exegetical commentary would demonstrate that your insistence of correct interpretation is unpersuasive, let alone helpful. Do you really feel qualified to comment on Paul’s eschatological view without humility for alternatives, given that this topic has and continues to plague some of the greatest theological minds?

    I cherish the day Muslim polemicists become consistent. You are free to think I have have committed red herrings, but I’ve introduced the grammar of the Quran to disprove the thesis of this post, namely, that the first person plural in Paul’s letter must indicate inclusion. Since this point remains unchallenged (and frankly, it can’t be) I will leave it here. It may help readers for you and Paul to concede this point, and instead try to persuade us with a contextual argument, not a grammatical one.

    If you and Paul wish to use these types of polemics, at least be willing to engage in the same argumentation for the Koran for the sake of consistency and honesty.

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  90. Ken,

    I think you’ve done a great job of demonstrating how New Testament eschatology needs to be understood with forethought for the OT background and the historical situation.

    A bit of theological and exegetical humility goes a long way.

    Well done

    Liked by 1 person

  91. With name of Allah the Gracious the Merciful

    With regard to br. Yahya Snow comment, below is my further information with the regards to the name of prophet of Allah ʿĪsā (peace be upon him), I hope the aramo-syriac character can be properly encoded so you have no problem viewing the characters. (if not, you can vew this better on https://panggilantauhid.wordpress.com/2015/10/24/%CA%BFisa-or-jesus-peace-be-upon-him/ )

    I strongly believe that the Qur’anic Arabic is the final medium for the preservation of divine revelation from ancient aramean the language of prophet Ibrahim to Aramaic the language of prophet ʿĪsā as.

    One prove of its divine origin is the linguistic term for the last of hebrew prophet which the Qur’an use does not follow with hellenised form named “Jesus” trinitarians use.

    In the holy Qur’an it is

    Eesa / ʿĪsā عیسَی

     

    In Qur’anic orthographic rule It is spelled: ayn ع – yaa ي- siin س – yaa ى

    But the yaa (dotless or with the dot) here do not carry consonontal signifincance only serve as the long vowel for [ee] and [aa] and this rule is called the limited alif or alif maqṣūrah ألف مقصورة.

    Now if we look at the Aramaic version of “Jesus”,

    it is ܝܫܘܥ

    It is spelled yudh ܝ, – shin ܫ – waw ܘ – ‘ein ܥ

    In Aramaic as well as in hebrew , the yudh (or yod in hebrew) the ܝ is sounded as the consonantal vocal “i” voiced as pharyngeal fricative (/ʕ/), or a similarly articulated consonant exactly like the Qur’anic ع.

    For example the hebrew term Ishmael יִשְׁמָעֵאל in hebrew bible use the yod יִ exactly cognate to إ in Qur’anic term for Ismā’īl إسماعيل not Yishmael, because the yod is a weak letter it is always not pronounced as a consonant at the beginning of a word when it is followed by the long diacritic [i] vowel hirik . Such words are pronounced as though they began with an Aleph.

    Also the letter waw ܘ this serves as an [o] vowel thus it does not carry consonontal signifincance. Similarly for the letter ‘ein ܥ it only provide the long vowel for the consonant shin which carry it.

    So the name ܝܫܘܥ is pronounced eeshoo and in Jesus dialect of Aramaic like the Northern Palestinian Jews and the melkites in Iraq which is it is pronounced Eesaa just like what is pronounced in the Qur’an.

    Here I have a video from the ancient city of Karamlish near Iraqi city of Mosul, a sermon delivered in Aramaic speaking church where the priest cleary refer to Jesus as Maran Eesaa Mseekha in the 0:54 – 56 marks on this video,

    Surely this ancient church (who proudly view themselves as the first Christian community, dating back to the time of the Apostles) predates the revelation of the Quran.

    As an Aramaic speaker himself “Jesus” had most likely called himself Eesa than the anglo-graeco “Jeezess” . The Quranic terminology proves more accurate it is indeed another prove of its divine origin.

    Now interestingly why modern arabic church use the term yasuu’a يسوع‎ not ʿĪsā عیسَی ?

    This is more likely because of theological reason, later christians adopt to the form yasuu’a يسوع‎ in order to sound like in modern Hebrew word יְשׁוּעָה (pronounced y’shu’ah) is the feminine noun meaning “salvation”. It was their attempts have made it to appear that “Jesus” imply salvation.

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  92. //I think you’ve done a great job of demonstrating how New Testament eschatology needs to be understood with forethought for the OT background and the historical situation.//

    I think what you are doing is just like many other christians did with failed prophecy : reinterpreting the prophet’s words.

    Even today, there are a multitude of various eschatological positions held by christians just like every failed doomsday cult sprung up in throughout church history.

    Liked by 1 person

  93. With the name of Allah

    Mark //but I’ve introduced the grammar of the Quran to disprove the thesis of this post, namely, that the first person plural in Paul’s letter must indicate inclusion. Since this point remains unchallenged (and frankly, it can’t be) I will leave it here. It may help readers for you and Paul to concede this point, and instead try to persuade us with a contextual argument, not a grammatical one.//

    I think the whole thesis of the post by Mr. Ehrman does not hinge solely on the use of particle “we” and also giving the Quranic use of God style of speech miss the point entirely.

    If you insist on the use of we in the Qur’an like in surah 35:9 fasuqNā-hu  فَسُقْنَاهُ , this style is used for purposes of respect or glorification and for this specific instance  (sending cloud to a dead land to give life) can also mean the great number of God troops and angels instructed to actually perform such actions. This  speaks about God power, majesty, glory, great deeds or when God speaks about His anger and wrath. But also we will find  the first person singular such as I or My is often used, when God speaks about His love, care and closeness and forgiveness for His servants.

    This is rather different rhetorical style with 1 Thessalonians 4:15, when Paul said ἡμεῖς οἱ ζῶντες  we  who are alive how can he meant that those who were alive need respects and glorification normally reserved for God ?

    It does not appear to make any sense.

     

    Now lets read again 1 Thes 4:13-18

    Paul reassured Thessalonians not no worry for those who have died. Jesus is coming back with party like sights and sounds accompanying him, and then those who were already dead will be taken up first. Those Thessalonians who are alive at that time will also be taken up to the clouds. Paul even concluded, the Thessalonians should encourage one another with these words.

    This letter was directed at Thessalonians believers who were still alive at the time and  that the believers  would be taken up to live eternal life. Those are the context. There is no room we can re-interpret Paul use of plural grammar in these passages without actually mean including to himself or telling the reader for a very distant future.

    1 Thess 5:1-11 also give additional context, Paul is writing to people to whom he has already preached these views. He goes on to tell the Thessalonians to remember the things that he taught them, and that the end of time  was going to come suddenly (..like a thief in the night).  The only possible meaning: it could happen any time now.

    Also  Paul told his readers to “keep awake“.  Clearly they don’t want to miss the big event and doing something they normally be doing ast could happen any time.

    Does Paul still lives?, Do the Corinthians and the Thessalonians still live?, and all the believers since that time?.

    No they all died and the event did not happen obviously this human author whoever wrote the passage has erred.

     

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  94. Faiz wrote,
    “For example, see Matthew 25:31ff:

    “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.”

    I totally agree that all of Matthew chapter 25 is about the literal and bodily second coming of Al Masih – Jesus the Christ; that is still future to us.
    I also agree that Matthew 24:36- 51 is about the second coming of Christ.

    Matthew 24:36 “but of that day and hour . . . ” – the “that” (Greek: εκεινης / ekeines) has changed the subject from “these things” ( ταυτα / tauta) (that are closer – 70 AD and events leading up to that, (Matthew 24:1-35, with some mixture of both 70 AD and the second coming, in from verse 3-31, because the disciples have mixed and added in “the sign of Your coming” and “the end of the age” in verse 3; they added those 2 things to the destruction of the temple and judgement on apostate Israel in Matthew 23:36-38 and 24:1-2 -they are clearly about the destruction of the temple and judgement on Israel. Jesus said, “do you see these buildings?” see also Mark 13:1-2)

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  95. “We” that Paul uses in those NT texts just means all true believers who are still alive at the time when Christ returns. It shows that the letters of 1 Thess and 1 Corinthians are still applicable to us to day, if Christ returns while we are still alive. The apostle Paul means “we who are believers in Jesus”, whoever is alive at that time and is also a true believer in Jesus Christ.

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  96. Mark,

    Your response is typical of standard Christian apologetics. You are very keen to accuse others of being “inconsistent”, but fail to acknowledge your own inconsistencies. This is the hallmark of Christian apologetics.

    When you talk about “exegetical commentary”, let’s be certain what you really mean. You are referring to conservative, Christian scholars. Other “exegetical commentary”, presented by non-Christian scholars is conveniently ignored by you. Talk about “inconsistency”.

    Your refusal to answer my questions is another hallmark of Christian apologetics. The unsavory and difficult questions are ignored because you would rather accept the Christian viewpoint, regardless of its weaknesses.

    Also, the “grammar” of the Quran is unrelated to this issue, because the meaning of “we” in the New Testament is not at all what I am emphasizing anyway. On a side note, the grammatical shift in the Quran is a legitimate technique that has been accepted even by western scholars, but that is a separate issue. Changing the subject is an example of a red herring, another hallmark of Christian apologetics. My emphasis has been on 1 Corinthians 7:29-31 and Matthew 10:23, both of which show the expectation of the early church that the second coming would occur in the apostolic age. Neither one of those passages has anything to do with the meaning of the word “we” and neither you nor Ken has offered anything substantive to refute what I have said, even if you want to pretend that you did.

    So in closing, your need to some introspection and look at yourself in the mirror before pointing at others. You need to be more consistent. I cherish the day when Christians will be honest with themselves and remove the mark of hypocrisy and bias from themselves. Once you are honest with yourself, you will have no trouble recognizing the fallible nature of the Bible. For now unfortunately, while I am trying to show you that an apple is really an apple, you are insisting that it is an orange. The day you are honest, you will realize that it is really an apple! InshaAllah, may that day come soon!

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  97. Ken, I have already shown by the context of Matthew 25:31ff that the second coming was supposed to occur immediately after the destruction of Jerusalem. Simply repeating your previous argument does nothing to refute this fact.

    Liked by 1 person

  98. Faiz,

    May I ask whether you have studied koine Greek?

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  99. Eric,

    That is a great explanation and proves my point.

    Paul (following Erhman) argued that the “we” can only be understood as if Paul included himself. We know that grammar isn’t this rigid, as your helpful comment shows. Further, we know that elsewhere in Paul he employs similar grammatical shifts. And finally, we know that Paul teaches in the very se pericope that he doesn’t know the time of Jesus’ return.

    So it is stubbornly naive to maintain such an irrational argument, all based in a wooden literalism that is no doubt not applied to the Quran (again as your comment shows)

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    • Mark,

      to consider only grammar and ignore the social/literary setting of the letter is why your exegesis fails. You do not take seriously the genre of the text.

      You ignore a central fact for interpretation: 1 Thessalonians and 1 Corinthians are occasional letters written to 1st century Greek speaking churches. When he writes “we” you must consider the social & literary context as key for correct interpretation.

      Paul was not writing timeless Sacred Scripture.

      Liked by 1 person

  100. Mark,

    Your question is just another attempt at diverting from the main issue, but the answer is no. I have not studied koine Greek, but I have studied scholarly discussions of the Greek text of the NT from both Christian (for example, Raymond Brown) and non-Christian scholars (for example, Bart Ehrman).

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  101. “to consider only grammar and ignore the social/literary setting of the letter is why your exegesis fails. You do not take seriously the genre of the text.

    You ignore a central fact for interpretation: 1 Thessalonians and 1 Corinthians are occasional letters written to 1st century Greek speaking churches. When he writes “we” you must consider the social & literary context as key for correct interpretation.

    Paul was not writing timeless Sacred Scripture.”

    Exactly! Well said.

    Liked by 1 person

  102. I also studied Koine NT Greek as part of my theology degree. (M. Div.)

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  103. Ken do you consider that the social setting & genre of Paul’s occasional letters is vital for good exegesis?

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  104. Ken Temple

    You said;
    I also studied Koine NT Greek as part of my theology degree. (M. Div.)

    I say;
    Masters of Divinity? Congratulations.

    You are well learned but I do not understand why you study from Sam Shamoun who does not have basic Christian certificate? He does not have basic Islamic certificate either. I brought Sam in because you have been using his materials.

    Muslims have so many masters of divinities who converted from Christianity to Islam i.e. Dr. Jerald Dirks, Dr. Lawrence Brown, Ingrid Matson etc. may be you will convert to Islam later in life, who knows. Only God knows.

    Thanks.

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  105. Ken do you consider that the social setting & genre of Paul’s occasional letters is vital for good exegesis?

    of course; but the word of God continues to application to Christians for all of history until Christ returns.

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  106. “For this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe.”

    1 Thessalonians 2:13

    the preaching of the apostles – the gospel message – was written down in letters – all the 27 books of the NT. (The True Injeel) Paul calls it “the word of God” here.

    the written word of God – the NT (and OT) continues to have application for Christians for all of history until Christ returns.

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  107. Ken Temple

    You said;
    the preaching of the apostles – the gospel message – was written down in letters – all the 27 books of the NT. (The True Injeel) Paul calls it “the word of God” here.

    I say;
    But the NT was not revealed by God but collected by the Church Fathers when they canonized the gospels and selected some word of God and rejected others including the epistle of Banabas, the Shepherd Hermas, other stories of Jesus circulating at that time including gnostic gospels, ending of Mathew gospel which Dr. James White will not preach in his Church and so many discrepancies in the Bible including Paul letters which are not word of God and somebody’s letters to other human beings cannot be the word of God.

    Roman Catholics and other Churches have different books, so which one is the true word of God? We discussed this over and over and you could not provide us with the original books but you speculate this Church Father said this, that etc. without bringing the evidence. so stay on topic here because the texts clearly said those who wrote the NT expect Jesus to come at their live them.

    Thanks

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  108. correction to the last sentence.

    at their life time.

    Thanks

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  109. the 27 NT books were inspired by God (God – breathed) as soon as they were written down, from around 45 AD – 96 AD, most of them being written before 70 AD.
    The church fathers did not decide them to be canon or make them “the standard” or canon (Greek: κανων (rule, standard, criterion, law, principle, measuring rod) – derived from the Hebrew קנה (reed, rod, measuring stick) – cognate with the Arabic, قانون (law, rule)

    The church fathers discerned, discovered, and witnesses to the true ones, based on evidence of being apostolic in content and doctrine and early first century. Those other books were discerned / judged to not be true, because they were not apostolic in authority or content and they were all written much later in the second century. Gnostic gospels are not true gospels.

    ending of Mathew gospel which Dr. James White will not preach in his Church

    You mean the ending of Mark – Mark 16:9-20. Not Matthew; the ending of Matthew is good and ancient and Dr. White preaches from the ending of Matthew.

    But Mark 16:1-8 clearly demonstrates the resurrection of Jesus and the empty tomb. Many of the main details of Mark 16:9-20 are in Matthew 28 and Luke 24. The only real problems with that text are the verses about picking up snakes and drinking deadly poison and condition of baptism for salvation.

    Ireneaus around 180-200 AD quoted Mark 16:19 about the ascension – (Against Heresies, 3:10:5) so it does seem that there may have been more after verse 8, and it was all the same doctrinal content as Matthew 28, Luke 24, and Acts chapter 1.

    We are honest about the manuscripts that have been found and the historical and archeological evidence, and the Christians did not have the power of the state to burn all copies and make one standard copy (as Uthman did with the Qur’an).

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  110. Temple, the oldest complete NT (Codex Sinaiticus) contains 2 additional books!! compared to your “inspired” canon.

    If God inspired the forged books – pseudepigraphies attributed to Paul – of the NT, God inspired the authors to lie.

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  111. Ken Temple

    You said;
    We are honest about the manuscripts that have been found and the historical and archeological evidence, and the Christians did not have the power of the state to burn all copies and make one standard copy (as Uthman did with the Qur’an).

    I say;
    The Quran is in the memory of all Muslims and therefore we use the Quranic verses in prayers from the time of our prophet till today and the Angel constantly recites the whole verses revealed to the prophet and the month of Ramadan is the month of everyday recitation apart from the constant recitation practice of Muslims from our prophet from the Angel to his disciples and from his disciples and wives to their disciples to their disciple until today till the end of the world and God has promised to preserve His word(the Quran) and has promised Muslims to keep reciting the Quran and He will reward them(Muslims) in the here after, and all this is the intelligence of preserving His word(the Quran) and so Muslims keeps reading the Quran from the time of our prophet till today and to the future by keep memorizing them.

    Every Muslim, including Paul Williams, an English man, Hussein Yee, a Chinese Buddhists but now a Muslim, Khalid Yasin, an African American, Shadid Lewis and African and Spanish American, Ingrid Matson a native Canadian and all the ethnics of this world has memorised the holy Quran and no one can change what they were able to memorise in front of them and they will not accept the change. Paul Williams will not accept the change of the little that he memorized, neither his English counter parts like Timothy Humble or Timothy Winter will accept the more they have memorized to be changed.

    This young British Muslim convert has memorized much of the Quran and will not allow any one to change any thing that he has memorized

    and that is why Caliph Othman cannot change anything in the Quran and the tradition started from God, the Angel, our prophet, his disciples, their disciples, their disciples, disciples till today. In the olden days, disciples travel from place to place to learn Islam and the tradition continues till today and Hamza Yusif, Yusuf Estes have to travel to North Africa, Middle East, America etc. to learn islam with addition to attending Islamic institutions like universities and all the Muslims scholars did that from the time of our prophet till today and Othman just ordered other copies of the written personal copies to be burnt but he did not burn them, because some one can decide not to give his copy because every one can have his copy.

    There was no official written copy of the Quran but official memorization of the Quran exist from the time of our prophet but the official written copy was made during Abubakar and was kept by the prophets wife and all agreed to that and it was used with other written witness and more memorizer witness to compile the others to be sent to the Muslim ruled areas. What is wrong with this rigorous written Quran.

    How about you Christians, can you recite the Lords prayers in Greek? or Aramaic? the language of Jesus? No Most of the Christians cannot even recite few lines of the Lords prayers in Greek or Aramaic, so the original gospel is lost and mixed with the current Bible that says God is One and God is immortal that is part of the original gospel.

    The son of man will come is not part of the original gospel.

    Thanks.

    Like

  112. Ken Temple

    You said;
    ending of Mathew gospel which Dr. James White will not preach in his Church

    You mean the ending of Mark – Mark 16:9-20. Not Matthew; the ending of Matthew is good and ancient and Dr. White preaches from the ending of Matthew.

    But Mark 16:1-8 clearly demonstrates the resurrection of Jesus and the empty tomb. Many of the main details of Mark 16:9-20 are in Matthew 28 and Luke 24. The only real problems with that text are the verses about picking up snakes and drinking deadly poison and condition of baptism for salvation.

    Ireneaus around 180-200 AD quoted Mark 16:19 about the ascension – (Against Heresies, 3:10:5) so it does seem that there may have been more after verse 8, and it was all the same doctrinal content as Matthew 28, Luke 24, and Acts chapter 1.

    I say;
    Sorry for that mistake I made. Dr. James White said he will not preach the ending of Mark to his Church, so the gospels cannot be God inspired since some part cannot be preached in Church and you Ken Temple admit a problem with the “picking of snakes” and that obviously means the NT is not God inspired but man inspired. That is what the Quran and Muslims keep arguing every day that the NT is not God breathed because the NT did not say it is God breathed but the Christians keep saying that but NT contains so many errors that cannot be preached in Church according to scholars and the verses are clear for non scholars to understand.

    The epistle of Banabas and the gospel of Shepherd Hermas was not included in the current NT so the Church Fathers did not make their selections well but left some including these and other gospels of Thomas, Mary, Judas etc. and some that were not found yet. We keep finding other gospels that were not in the current NT.

    Those who put the snake verses in the NT are not fools for they knew NT is composed of man made words and they also added their snake verses in in. The Trinitarian formula and other things were clearly added and those adding knew they can just add things.

    Thanks.

    Like

  113. Ken Temple

    You said;
    The church fathers discerned, discovered, and witnesses to the true ones, based on evidence of being apostolic in content and doctrine and early first century. Those other books were discerned / judged to not be true, because they were not apostolic in authority or content and they were all written much later in the second century. Gnostic gospels are not true gospels.

    I say;

    Was NT an eye witness or God inspired. Ken kept confusing us in that the NT is an eye witness account and he also said it was God breathed. The NT is not a properly documented document without telling us the important message of the full names, place of birth or where the writer came from, his relationship or discipleship of Jesus, when the document was written, where the document was written, which language it was written etc. If the writer is an eye witness they he must say so because he was able to write a story of God which is very important to humanity so he must clearly document it properly but not let Ken Temple to keep confusing us with the things he Ken does not know i.e. the Church Fathers who were not eye witness themselves and did not receive any inspiration to write of compile any word of God.

    An eye witness is an eye witness and does not necessarily need any breath from God to write his eye witness account because he is just writing what he witness unless he has forgotten his eye witness to need breath from God and he the writer must state so in his document to authenticate and verify his document but not the NT which does not have full names and the places of birth of the writers and whether they are eye witness God breathed or both.

    Thanks.

    Like

  114. Temple, the oldest complete NT (Codex Sinaiticus) contains 2 additional books!! compared to your “inspired” canon.

    The so called “Epistle of Barnabas” (it is a second century work and not written by the apostle Barnabas) and “Shepherd of Hermas” were attached because they were devotional reading and the skins were expensive, etc. It doesn’t mean they considered them “God-breathed” or inspired. It is like finding an ancient library where someone has the Bible and other devotional books. They are both clearly second century and not apostolic or canonical.

    Like

  115. Temple, the two additional books were not “attached”. They are integral parts of the Codex.

    Like

  116. The NT is not a properly documented document without telling us the important message of the full names, place of birth or where the writer came from, his relationship or discipleship of Jesus, when the document was written, where the document was written, which language it was written etc.

    The gospels tell us the names, and sometimes who their father was (John and James are “sons of Zebedee” and Peter is “Simon BarJonah” (son of Jonah), and sometimes of what city they are from, what their job was (fishermen, tax-collector, etc.) of Peter, John, James, Andrew, Matthew, etc. (in Matthew chapter 10; Mark chapter 3 and Luke chapter 6 and where they are from and their names, etc. Paul was from Tarsus – it is in the book of Acts. Acts 4:36 and other places tells us who Barnabas was and who John Mark (Acts 12-13, 15, end of 1 Peter, Colossians, 2 Tim.) was and who Luke was is in Colossians 4:14 – “the beloved physician”. (and 2 Tim. 4:11). John chapter 1 tells us about Andrew and Peter as brothers, how they first heard John the Baptist, etc.

    Like

  117. Hey Paul,

    I was trying to make some comments on some of the other posts but once I click on post comment, nothing happens. Any ideas what I am doing wrong?

    Like

  118. Those 2 books, coming after the book of Revelation, seem to be just attached as extra devotional reading.

    But some people and areas considered them Scripture; but eventually it was discerned that they were not inspired Scripture.

    but I remember F. F. Bruce showing how Tertullian viewed Hebrews as apostolic and written by the apostle Barnabas himself (On Modesty, 20) (also Acts calls Barnabas an apostle with Paul – Acts 14:4, 14:14), but Tertullian rejected the moral laxity of the Shepherd of Hermas. (F. F. Bruce, The Canon of Scripture, page 182-183)

    Like

  119. @ Br. Eric

    Thanks for that. It;s really interesting. I visited your site and have looked into this a little more. Muslims need to do more research into this. Perhpas your work will stimulate more interest in this area and get more Muslims to look into this and build on the research.

    Interestingly, whilst looking into your work I stumbled across an Arabic Christian making negative claims about the name ‘Esa’ so I did a quick vid using your article

    Like

  120. Salam br. Yahya,

    Yes, approaching the Qur’anic text and hebrew bible by using philological approach is always of my interest, I hope other brothers can follow , thats why I always give the outmost importance to study classical Arabic as well as other semitic language (notably hebrew) in order to understand better the authenticity, their original form, and the determination of their true meaning of religious text.

    My experience in dealing with arab christians I can say generally they are not eloquence at all compared to their muslim counterparts. Mostly because they have animosity toward arabic language and culture and consider themselves outside the Arabic-Islamic culture. Many of them are usually not keen to teach their children the proper Fusha (classical) Arabic language which is the oldest and purest form of Arabic and is the language of the Qur’an, sacred texts, poetry and religious literatures.; instead, they often rush to teach their children English or French in western affiliated schools. They can converse only in colloquial (‘Ammiyya) Arabic depending on the region they live.

    Btw the link you give dont work , can you perhaps fix it.

    Like

  121. Ken Temple

    You said;
    The gospels tell us the names, and sometimes who their father was (John and James are “sons of Zebedee” and Peter is “Simon BarJonah” (son of Jonah), and sometimes of what city they are from, what their job was (fishermen, tax-collector, etc.) of Peter, John, James, Andrew, Matthew, etc. (in Matthew chapter 10; Mark chapter 3 and Luke chapter 6 and where they are from and their names, etc. Paul was from Tarsus – it is in the book of Acts. Acts 4:36 and other places tells us who Barnabas was and who John Mark (Acts 12-13, 15, end of 1 Peter, Colossians, 2 Tim.) was and who Luke was is in Colossians 4:14 – “the beloved physician”. (and 2 Tim. 4:11). John chapter 1 tells us about Andrew and Peter as brothers, how they first heard John the Baptist, etc.

    I say;
    the tax collector, the beloved physician, fisherman, sons of Zebedee is a third person writer, writing about the disciples of Jesus but not the disciples themselves wrote it. It is just like me writing a book and in the book describe you as “Ken Temple is a good friend and we all learn our religions together at Paul Williams, a blogger’s bloggingtheology”. Without any documentation to show that I intellect(My full name and details) but only intellect, does not make you or Paul Williams the the writers of what of what I have written because your names were mentioned. What I mean is instead of the Gospel according to John, Mathew, Mark, Luke etc. it must be

    I John the son of Zebedee is writing this scripture under the inspiration of God and also an eye witness to the life of our God Jesus Christ the second person of the Trinity. I am writing the this scripture in my hometown at the………………

    You know the rest. Not story about the disciples written by someone and you struggle to get their names by speculation and someone job does not equal to the city he came from. That is not true and you are trying to make it up but what I mean is that these details about them is easy and simple for them to clearly specify at the beginning of their document because it is an important document to humanity and if they were able to write the contents of their gospel it is incumbent on them to specify clearly who they are like the Quran did, but not let Ken Temple keep speculating what is not there for them(NT writers).

    The Shepherd Hermas and Epistle of Banabas were considered canonical by early Church Fathers and it is not in Ken Temple Bible and it means the Church Fathers did not make their selection of the NT books very well and in the process left out some true stories about Jesus like the gospels of Thomas, Mary, Judas and others yet to be found hidden gospels.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Shepherd_of_Hermas

    There is no where it states that the shepherd of Hermas and Epistle of Banabas is not part of the NT and no one has memorized the NT in Aramaic or Greek to contest whether is part of NT or not-the text are part of the NT and nothing indicated it is not part of NT.

    Thanks

    Like

  122. Ken Temple

    You are trying to document the NT for the writers. The NT writers could have easily provided their details at the beginning of their document and the reasons for writing it but they did not. You are just trying to find some thing concerning the writers which someone has written about them but not themselves and that does not work Sir.

    Thanks.

    Like

  123. Walaikum salam Eric

    Sorry about that. I cannot edit my comment to add a working link. I have put a working link on my FB page with a link to your article.

    I was on Ali Ataie’s FB page once and he posted the Aramaic meaning of Yeshua – which is interesting considering Jesus p was saved from the crucifxion.

    Root Word (Etymology)
    For יְהוֹשׁוּעַ (H3091)
    Jeshua = “he is saved”
    n pr m

    Like

  124. Paul,

    Yes, I agree that the letter must be read in light of the social and occasional context..

    However, I fail to see why that would impact on my grammatical point? (Are you conceding it is an option?)

    I don’t understand Paul. I assume you accept the Quran as scripture despite the occasional nature of its revelation?

    Like

  125. Mark,

    The fact remains that you have been unable to show why we should assume that Paul and the other NT writers were talking about the second coming in the distant future and not in their lifetimes. There has been evidence presented to show that Paul was talking about himself and his followers, and that they were expecting Jesus’ return very shortly.

    Liked by 1 person

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