Which makes me wonder: doesn't any new religion actually start, not from its so-called founder (saint-guru-prophet etc.), but from the first reinterpretations of his/her alleged teachings?
Is this prophecy by Jesus trustworthy?
There are clinics that deal with this issue of coming quickly
I was gunna say, ask Mary Magdalene (sp)
Quick and the dead....
Oh no another joke coming....Must stop self!!!
Carmel: Your Mr.Sears has an interesting interpretation of Rev 3:12. He applies the words: "He that overcometh" in the sense of Christians 'overcoming' their 'preconceived ideas, prejudices and former things.' Does anything in the context suggest that Mr. Sears' interpretation is sound? Verse 10 suggests that the 'overcoming' is in the sense of not succumbing to the 'hour of temptation.' Verse 11 suggests that the 'overcoming' is in the sense of resisting those who would 'take their crown.' No suggestion here that Mr.Sears' interpretation has any basis at all.
It could also be asked: Where did the early Christians get their 'preconceived ideas, prejudices and former things'? Was it not from the Bible and from letters that eventually became part of the Bible? If these 'former things' were wrong and needed to be replaced with the new understandings that Mr.Sears refers to, might not the 'new things' also turn out to be wrong and need to be replaced at some point?
Star Moore: Could it be that Mr. Baker is trying to 'spin' his way out of an unfulfilled Bible prophecy? There is nothing in the context of the above verses to suggest that his interpretation is correct. In verse 6 it says: "( God ) sent his angel to shew unto his servants the things which must SHORTLY be done." - Does that also mean 'SHORTLY' after the presence of Christ has begun? Would the first readers of Revelation have understood it in the way that Mr. Baker favours? Did they need to wait for him to 'put them right' as to the correct understanding?
There are other verses in the NT that show that early Christians believed that Jesus was 'coming quickly' ( in an 'unspun' understanding of those words ): 1Thess 4:17, Matt 10:23, 16:28.
A good question to ask is: How would the Christians in the first century have understood Jesus' words? ..........The early Christians would have understood Jesus words to mean that soon ( in their lifetime ) Jesus would return and reward them with eternal life and destroy their oppressors...... This is the understanding that Paul had, as shown at 1Thess 4:17: "Then WE which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them and meet the Lord in the air.
But I'm afraid I don't think that's a good question to ask at all. Why on earth would the people of 2,000 years ago have a clearer understanding than the generations who would follow them? Jesus disciples repeatedly failed to understand & missed the point. They were only human, like JWs, catholics & others - not infallible.
Of course the first Christians were millennialist. Clearly Paul was millennialist when he wrote to the Thessalonians (believed to be his earliest letter). Like all millennialists he believed that Christ's return was imminent and there would be terror and destruction, with only a very small group of elect to be saved and taken directly to heaven.
But Paul changed his mind on these things. By probably his last letter, to the Romans, he wrote 'Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the final number of the gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved' (Rom 11:25-26). The imminence of Christ's return was already being reinterpreted within the canon of the NT.
The whole bible resounds with change and reinterpretation, including from OT to NT and within the NT itself. Jesus words "you have heard that it is written.....but I am telling you...", more change.
Of course I would not wish to be stuck with the same understandings of those to whom Jesus addressed his words, and I'm not sure why you suggest their understanding as being so importantl? They all had different pespectives anyway - no one truth but 4 gospels. The fact that they often failed to understand his messages is so clear, but that is admitted within the NT, and so what? I'm not aware of any teaching that suggests 'understanding' is a requirement of salvation - what an anti-Christian teaching that would be.
In Matthew's gospel, in the sermon on the mount, and its preface, the Torah is to be kept in every detail (613 commands) until the end of time. Jesus was a totally orthodox jew and a legalist. But the actual Torah did not remain in force until the end of time, but perhaps it symbolically illustrates the degree of force & commitment to God's law. But what is God's law? The actual 613 rules were abandoned presumably some time after the death of Jesus who had said "the entire law is summed up in a single command - love your neighbour as yourself' Gal 5:14. I believe the apostles that knew Jesus continued to keep the full Torah until they died, so is their way right?
I don't hang on every scriptural word as if it comes from God as if by magic. The bible is not magic, nor do I believe it to be the only inspired scriptures. In fact, outside the JW world, not that many 'believers' believe in magic, ready to be devastated by a so called prophecy that doesn't come true in the way some folks thought it would.
I agree with much of what you wrote.
I'd just like to point out that from this perspective there is no such thing as authority -- not even yours. Just the endless drift of interpretation. Interpretation of interpretations. And the letter of the text (already a texture of interwoven interpretations, transpassing the borders of any given book or canon) calling us back, ever and ever, to read again and interpret again.
Thanks Jaffacake. You say that by the time Paul writes Romans he is changing his mind about the imminence of the 'end'. However, what does he say at Romans 16:20? "The God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet SHORTLY." Not much change of mind there. Clearly he's wrong in making that prediction. It does make me wonder: What else of what he said was wrong? When he says in Romans 5:8: "Christ died for us." maybe thats wrong too? When the Bible says: "God is love." ( 1John 4:8 ) maybe thats also wrong. Maybe the reality is: "God ISN'T love."? Or to be less facetious, maybe the reality is: "God is love, but he isn't very good at showing it." Looking at the countless tragedies of history over the last 2000 years, many would choose to re-interpret the Bible in that way. Why should people be expected to accept 1John 4:8 as being true, if they're not expected to accept Romans 16:20 as being true?
Narkissos Thanks for comments...I accept your point, up to a point. Scout, To me there is clear evidence that Paul's millennialistic beliefs were indeed changing, and not just about the timing, but about who would be saved etc. I hope you can recognise that. It is the degree of literalism, for example in respect of the timetable, that I suggest was changing. You actually help to make my argument by quoting Romans 16:20? "The God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet SHORTLY." I would argue that reinterpretation had begun that led to a more spiritual understanding, and for example to the imminent making present of Christ in bread and wine, a sacramental interpretation. A change of mind, albeit gradual. But wrong predictions?...I just don't see how you still see predictions. Why does it tend to be only modern dogmatic religious leaders who would agree with your view of the nature of the bible? I don't really think it is a question of right or wrong in respect of specific texts, more about greater enlightenment or deeper understanding of the whole. I am not qualified to answer your questions about which scriptures to accept as truth and which error. With respect we seem poles apart in how we see the bible and God. You seem to suggest God could or should intervene to prevent tragedies in history. To me that is absurd, as a result of a very strange view of scriptures. Its just a book - no magic! I hope you don't think I consider I am right about all this. I have no better claim to truth and understanding than you or anyone else on this board. You may well be right in your (presumably atheist) beliefs than I might be wrong in mine. Strangely I suppose our positions on God were probably reversed several years ago. But I am sure we are both closer to the truth than JWs or fundamentalist Christians. I truly feel closer to atheism than to a reading of the bible you seem to suggest - as if it contained predictions, timetables and the like. My sole purpose for posting is to show a more sensible interpretation of the bible than the version you find it so easy to set up to knock down. I would post just the same if I were an athiest. If you really want answers about how to make reasonable judgements about what the bible really teaches, I would refer you to the works of any decent good bible scholars, masters in Hebrew & Greek who have read the ancient texts in their original languages, and who have published research work in peer-review journals, and who know what other good bible scholars have said and which bible commentaries give a fair range of plausible interpretations. They might not all agree, but I believe your questions would make many of them smile.