“The Most Embarrassing Verse in the Bible” – C.S. Lewis


Here is C.S. Lewis’s explanation of the problem:

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

“It is certainly the most embarrassing verse in the Bible.”

C.S. Lewis, The World’s Last Night: And Other Essays, p.97

Categories: Bible

38 replies

  1. You had that at one of your old blogs and I answered that back then. Jesus always spoke the truth.



    • Jesus spoke truth but he is portrayed as making a significant error about the date of the End – see Mark 13 and Matt 24.

      It is a commonplace of biblical scholarship that this is so. Even Christian scholars admit it.


    • No; that verse is about 70 AD, Jesus coming soon in judgment upon Jerusalem and the temple and the leaders of apostate Israel.


  2. Ken where is your evidence that Jesus always spoke the truth? Are you not simply begging the question?


  3. Jesus accurately predicted the destruction of the temple about 40 years before it happened. A proof of accurate prophesy.


  4. Spoken around 30 AD, a few days before He was crucified; and it came to pass in 70 AD. Matthew 24:1-3, verse 15. “the abomination of desolations” in the temple.


  5. The context of Matthew 24:1-3 and 15, starts in chapter 36 shows the judgement that is coming upon the Pharisees and leaders of Israel.

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

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

    Lament over Jerusalem
    37 “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling. 38 Behold, your house is being left to you desolate! 39 For I say to you, from now on you will not see Me until you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’”

    Jesus came out from the temple and was going away when His disciples came up to point out the temple buildings to Him. 2 And He said to them, “Do you not see all these things? Truly I say to you, not one stone here will be left upon another, which will not be torn down.”

    3 As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things happen, . . . ?

    . . .

    15 “Therefore when you see the abomination of desolation which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand),

    The disciples added “the sign of your coming and of the end of the age” (verse 3 b)

    so the answer is a mixture of events 40 years from that time ( 70 AD, destruction of the temple)

    events still future to us – the second coming of Christ.

    Originally there was not chapter division between Matthew 23-24.


  6. Matthew chapter 23 and 24


  7. “Matthew 24:36 – “but of that day” = the second coming. the subject changes. Matthew 24:36 ff and chapter 25 about second coming, judgment, and end of time.”

    Um no, because verse 30 says clearly that the “son of man” will appear and that all the people of the earth will see him. Compare this to Revelation 1:7, which is clearly talking about the 2nd coming and not the destruction of the temple:

    Matthew 24:30 – Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory.

    Revelation 1:7 – “Look, he is coming with the clouds,” and “every eye will see him, even those who pierced him”; and all peoples on earth “will mourn because of him.”

    Clearly, the 2nd coming was supposed to occur in the 1st century. There is no denying this. Give it up and grow up.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. The destruction of the temple is a parable of the end of the world. Jesus spoke in parables.


  9. What riddles are you talking about Patrice?

    I like solving riddles.

    What about the night journey? Plenty of riddles there methinks.


  10. Here is more evidence from the Bible that the 2nd coming was supposed to occur in the 1st century. The following is from my article on the Book of Revelation: http://quranandbible.blogspot.com/2015/05/the-book-of-revelation.html

    The myth of a revivified Nero coming to conquer Rome with Parthian support was commonly believed around the time Revelation was written. Thus, it is not surprising that Revelation contains a clear “prophecy” of armies from the east coming to fight for the beast:

    “The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up to prepare the way for the kings from the East.”[121]

    Commenting on this verse, Mounce states:

    “…the historical context of John’s imagery favors the interpretation of the kings as Parthian rulers.”[122]
    In fact, the myth of Nero leading an army from Parthia was widely known even to non-Romans and invariably found its way into Jewish and Christian circles as well. Scholars have long known that the myth of “Nero redivivus” is found in apocryphal works like the Sibylline Oracles and the Ascension of Isaiah.[123] As for the former, Mounce explains that (emphasis in the original):

    “The tradition that Nero, although dying by his own hand, would return from the East leading a great army of Parthian warriors is preserved in the Sibylline Oracles (4:115-39).”[124]

    Even if apologists could somehow prove that a Parthian army led by Nero was not what the author of Revelation had in mind, but rather some Russian or Middle Eastern (Islamic) army in modern times, they must still ask themselves some logical questions: what modern army would need the Euphrates River to dry up first before it could advance on the Holy Land? What modern army, using technology like helicopters and airplanes, would be held back because of a river, as the Book of Revelation claims? The fact is that when the Book of Revelation was written, the Euphrates River served to separate the Roman Empire from the Parthian Empire. It was a natural barrier which served to keep Rome safe from a Parthian invasion.[125] Hence, given that the first two clues provide strong evidence of the Nero myth in Revelation, there is little doubt that the author of Revelation had Nero in mind.


  11. Let’s put this in perspective.

    mohammed had not idea that the being he encountered in a cave was from god. He believed that an angel from god (supposedly) was actually a demon until his wife convinced him that this entity that she had not seen was an angel. He believes her, even though he later says that one woman’s testimony is suspect and you need two women to give good testimony.

    Then later, he tells his followers to worship two other pagan gods in addition to allah, then he changes his mind because he is told that those revelations came from satan.

    So, he can’t tell the difference between god’s creatures and satan’s and he can’t tell the difference between god’s word and satan’s.

    Christians are not the one’s who should be embarrassed. LOL!!


    • LOL!! Trying to deflect from your Bible’s embarrassing miscalculation? Bad doggie!! Why don’t you try to salvage your so-called “scripture”? Why couldn’t your god “inspire” the NT writers to know that the end would not come in their lifetimes? LOL!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Fido’s god has failed to stop silly Christians from “predicting” the end of the world. Virtually every decade, some charlatan comes along claiming to have figured out when the end will come and they are always wrong. Of course, we can’t blame them for their silliness. They are walking in the footsteps of their predecessors, like Paul, who were also convinced that the end would come in their lifetimes. Ouch!


  13. Radio silence once again from Christian land…LOL!!


  14. You are using the wrong interpretive method for the book of Revelation.

    William Hendriksen’s book “More than Conquerors” is excellent to show how Revelation should be correctly interpreted:

    Page 43

    “Proposition 6

    The seals, trumpets, bowls of wrath and similar symbols refer not to specific events, particular happenings, or details of history, but to principles…..of human conduct and of divine moral government……..that are operating throughout the history of the world, especially throughout the new dispensation”

    From an amillenialist viewpoint your article on Revelation is a non-sequitur.

    “34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.”

    “Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?”

    To answer the first question, when shall the destruction of the temple occur, Jesus could have had in mind the physical generation of his day.

    To answer the second question, when shall the end of the world occur, Jesus could have been thinking of the wicked unbelieving generation as a spiritual entity that would continue to exist until the end of time.

    In my view he is using the word generation in a double sense to answer both questions. Thus there is no failed prophecy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • LOL, of course now that it’s been shown that the prophecies in Revelation failed to come true, some Christians shift gears and claim that it’s all simply a metaphor. Perhaps you can explain why the author had to go to such elaborate lengths, describing earthquakes and plagues, when he could have just as easily said described the “principles of human conduct”. I mean, seriously…just be honest with yourself and admit that the author was simply mistaken instead of resorting to such ridiculous arguments.

      Why on earth would we assume that “generation” didn’t simply mean Jesus’ generation? Isn’t it strange that you conveniently assume that one question referred to the destruction of the temple, which you know already occurred, but the second question is somehow referring to the end of the world, which hasn’t occurred yet? Isn’t that a little too convenient?


    • Good job Madmanna.
      You are right.


  15. There is precedence for this figure of speech in the preaching of Jesus and the OT:

    Deuteronomy 1:35 “No one from this evil generation shall see the …

    “No one from this evil generation shall see the good
    land I swore to give your ancestors, …
    //biblehub.com/deuteronomy/1-35.htm – 17k

    Luke 11:29 As the crowds increased, Jesus said, “This is a wicked …

    … As the crowd pressed in on Jesus, he said, “This evil generation keeps asking
    me to show them a miraculous sign. But the only sign …
    //biblehub.com/luke/11-29.htm – 19k

    Matthew 12:45 Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits …

    … That will be the experience of this evil generation.” … …
    //biblehub.com/matthew/12-45.htm – 20k

    Matthew 12:39 He answered, “A wicked and adulterous generation …

    … But Jesus replied, “Only an evil, adulterous generation would demand a miraculous
    sign; but the only sign I will give them is the sign of the prophet Jonah. …
    //biblehub.com/matthew/12-39.htm – 18k


  16. ” Isn’t it strange that you conveniently assume that one question referred to the destruction of the temple, which you know already occurred, but the second question is somehow referring to the end of the world, which hasn’t occurred yet? Isn’t that a little too convenient”

    That’s what the text says doesn’t it?

    “Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?”

    If the destruction of the temple is itself the sign of the end of the world why are the disciples asking for the sign when they already have it?


    • What sign did they have? Jesus clearly said that after the abomination is set-up in the temple, he would come. The temple was destroyed in 70 CE, and the Romans set-up a pagan altar there. Yet, Jesus never came!

      Also, the question refers to both the sign of his coming and the end of the world. They are linked together. His coming would signal the end of the world. If they were referring to the temple being destroyed, why didn’t they just say that? Why say “when is thy coming”?


    • according to Matthew the destruction of the temple is followed “immediately” by the second coming of Jesus, see verse 29 of chapter 24.


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