I'm struggling with God's existence -- and here is why.

by Morocco 24 Replies latest jw friends

  • Apostate Kate
    Apostate Kate

    Most mainstream theologians believe the passage in Mattew 24 has several different deminsions, here are some commentaries;

    In the prophecy of this chapter, there is a double reference: first, to the destruction of the temple, and as connected with this the overthrow of the Jewish state and nation; secondly, to the end of the world. Both these events are included in the question of the disciples, ver 3, who seem to have connected them as inseparable from each other. The providential coming of the Son of man to destroy the city and temple, which was to be fulfilled before that generation had passed away, shadows forth, therefore, his more awful and majestic personal coming at "the end of the world." So far as the outward form of the prophecy is concerned, the first part is more occupied with the nearer event; the later, with the more distant. But it was not our Lord's purpose to reveal distinctly the separation of the two by a vast interval of time. The signs of the approaching
    catastrophy--wars, famine, pestilence, earthquakes, persecution, false prophets, etc.--were all fulfilled, as the history of these times shows, in respect to its nearer fulfilment in the destruction of Jerusalem. Another fulfilment remains for the last days. The darkening of the sun, moon, and stars, ver. 29, was fulfilled symbolically at the overthrow of the Jewish temple and city, this
    being a well-known emblem of revolutions and the fall of nations. (Isa 13:10). But it shall be literally fulfilled when heaven and earth shall pass away. The temple; this temple was built by the Jews after their return from the Babylonish captivity, and greatly enlarged and beautified by Herod.~Family Bible Notes

    Mt 24:1
    Our blessed Saviour had often acquainted his disciples with his
    approaching death at Jerusalem. The Son of man must go up to
    Jerusalem to be crucified. Now in this chapter he acquaints them
    with the destruction that should come upon Jerusalem in general,
    and upon the temple in particular, for their putting him, the Son of
    God, to death. The disciples, looking upon the temple with wonder
    and admiration, were apt to think that the temple, in regard of its
    invincible strength, could not be destroyed; or, at the least, in regard
    of its incredible magnificence, it was great pity it should be
    destroyed; and accordingly they say to Christ, See what goodly
    buildings are here. As if they had said, Master, what great pity it
    is, that such a magnificent structure should become a ruinous heap!

    But hence we learn, 1. That sin brings cities and kingdoms, as well
    as particular and private persons to their end. There are no places so
    strong, but an Almighty God is able to destroy them, and sin is
    sufficient to lay them waste.

    Observe, 2. That the threatenings of God are to be feared, and shall
    be fulfilled, whatever appearing improbabilities there may be to the
    contrary. God had threatened Jerusalem with destruction for her sin,
    and now it is not all her strength that can oppose his power.

    Learn, 3. That notwithstanding magnificence and worldly glory doth
    mightily dazzle our eye, yet how little doth it affect Christ's heart.
    Even the temple itself, that most magnificent structure. Christ values
    no more than an heap of rubbish, when the impiety of the
    worshippers had devoted it to destruction.

    Not one stone, says Christ, shall be left upon another unthrown
    down. This threatening was fulfilled forty years after Christ's death,
    when Titus the Roman emperor destroyed the city and burnt the
    temple, and Turnus Rufus, the general of his army, ploughed up the
    very foundation upon which the temple stood. Thus was the
    threatening of God fulfilled, Zion shall be ploughed as a field, and
    Jerusalem shall become heaps. Jer 26:18.

    The truth and veracity, the faithfulness and fidelity of God, is as
    much concerned in the execution of his threatenings, as in the
    performance of his promises.~Burkett

    Mr 13:1

    SECOND COMING. ( = Mt 24:1-51; Lu 21:5-36).

    Jesus had uttered all His mind against the Jewish ecclesiastics,
    exposing their character with withering plainness, and denouncing,
    in language of awful severity, the judgments of God against them for
    that unfaithfulness to their trust which was bringing ruin upon the
    nation. He had closed this His last public discourse (Mt 23:1-39) by
    a passionate lamentation over Jerusalem, and a solemn farewell to
    the temple. "And," says Matthew (Mt 24:1), "Jesus went out and
    departed from the temple"--never more to re-enter its precincts, or
    open His mouth in public teaching. With this act ended His public
    ministry. As He withdrew, says OLSHAUSEN, the gracious presence
    of God left the sanctuary; and the temple, with all its service, and
    the whole theocratic constitution, was given over to destruction.
    What immediately followed is, as usual, most minutely and
    graphically described by our Evangelist.

    1. And as he went out of the temple, one of his disciples
    saith unto him--The other Evangelists are less definite. "As some
    spake," says Luke (Lu 21:5); "His disciples came to Him," says
    Matthew (Mt 24:2). Doubtless it was the speech of one, the
    mouthpiece, likely, of others.
    see what manner of stones and what buildings are
    here--wondering probably, how so massive a pile could be
    overthrown, as seemed implied in our Lord's last words regarding it.
    JOSEPHUS, who gives a minute account of the wonderful structure,
    speaks of stones forty cubits long [Wars of the Jews, 5.5.1.] and
    says the pillars supporting the porches were twenty-five cubits high,
    all of one stone, and that of the whitest marble [Wars of the Jews,
    5.5.2]. Six days' battering at the walls, during the siege, made no
    impression upon them [Wars of the Jews, 6.4.1]. Some of the
    under-building, yet remaining, and other works, are probably as old
    as the first temple.~
    Jamieson Faucette Brown

    Christ foretells the destruction of the temple. (Mt 24:1-3) The
    troubles before the destruction of Jerusalem. (Mt 24:4-28) Christ
    foretells other signs and miseries, to the end of the world. (Mt
    24:29-41) Exhortations to watchfulness. (Mt 24:42-51)

    Christ's preaching was mostly practical; but, in this chapter, we have a
    prophetical discourse, a prediction of things to come; such however as had a
    practical tendency, and was intended, not to gratify the curiosity of his disciples,
    but to guide their consciences and conversations, and it is therefore concluded
    with a practical application. The church has always had particular prophecies,
    besides general promises, both for direction and for encouragement to believers;
    but it is observable, Christ preached this prophetical sermon in the close of his
    ministry, as the Apocalypse is the last book of the New Testament, and the
    prophetical books of the Old Testament are placed last, to intimate to us, that we
    must be well grounded in plain truths and duties, and those must first be well
    digested, before we dive into those things that are dark and difficult; many run
    themselves into confusion by beginning their Bible at the wrong end. Now, in this
    chapter, we have, I. The occasion of this discourse, Mt 24:1-3. II. The discourse
    itself, in which we have, 1. The prophecy of divers events, especially referring to
    the destruction of Jerusalem, and the utter ruin of the Jewish church and nation,
    which were not hastening on, and were completed about forty years after; the
    prefaces to that destruction, the concomitants and consequences of it; yet looking
    further, to Christ's coming at the end of time, and the consummation of all things,
    of which that was a type and figure, Mt 24:4-31. 2. The practical application of
    this prophecy for the awakening and quickening of his disciples to prepare for
    these great and awful things, Mt 24:32-51.~Mathew Henry

    Mt 24:1
    The Judgments on the Jewish Nation

    SUMMARY OF MATTHEW 24: The Temple to Be Utterly Destroyed.
    The Questions Asked on the Mount of Olives. Wars and Rumors of
    Wars Predicted. False Prophets and Christs. The Sign for Flight
    from Jerusalem. The Great Tribulation. How the Son of Man Shall
    Come. The Sun Darkened. The Coming of the Son of Man. This
    Generation. The Time of Christ's Coming Unknown. Injunction to Be
    Always in Readiness.

    And Jesus went out of the temple. Immediately after the
    discourse in which he pronounced the woes upon the scribes and
    Pharisees, upon the temple and Jerusalem. This remarkable chapter
    is not one upon which commentators are agreed, and the
    conclusions that I have reached on the points of difference will not be
    found identical with those of any other writer. I believe, however, that
    they will be found harmonious with the Scripture. Compare Mr
    13:1-37; Lu 21:5-36.

    His disciples . . . shew him the buildings of the temple. He had
    just foreshadowed its destruction. With this in mind they point out
    its splendor, especially the amazing stones used in its construction.
    Compare Mr 13:1; Lu 21:5. The temple had been rebuilt in great
    splendor by Herod, and was not fully completed until about thirty
    years after the Savior's crucifixion.~People's New Testament Commentary

  • SixofNine
  • moshe

    Jesus said he believed in the flood of Noah's day,too. This does bother some scientifically minded Christians.

  • ROC

    Hi Morocco, You asked about this. Not to say that I am a bible scholar just a simple man. But I believe that Matt. 16:28 is fulfilled in Matt. 17 when some of those present heard Jesus and witnesses him in kingdom glory at his transfiguratiion.

    Luke 9:27, Mark 9:1, Matt. 16:28

    “I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God."

    Now in these scriptures Jesus is speaking of the people “standing here” or those listening to him speak. That's pretty hard to subject to a future tense. Perhaps, though, it could be understood in a different light. It said “before they see the kingdom”, maybe that was speaking about seeing it in a vision or having prophetic dreams. Perhaps it meant something other than seeing the kingdom coming to earth.

    Matthew 17

    The Transfiguration

    1 After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. 2 There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. 3 Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.

  • Cellist

    He also, apparently, believed that Lot's wife turned to a pillar of salt for looking back.

    Jesus seems to have a record similar to the WTS for prophecies coming true.


  • lovelylil



    Many people struggle with God's existance and with understanding the Bible. You will find that for some scriptures, there is really not one right way to interpret it. Or, it may be difficult for you to understand any of it sometimes. The Apostle Paul said that even he saw things "thru a hazy mirror". He was a Apostle and lived during early Christianity. If HE could not understand everything, I am sure WE, who live thousands of years in the future will understand everything.

    The important thing to remember is this: Jesus said the identifying mark of true Christianity was LOVE and not head knowledge or being able to fully understand every word and sentence in the Bible. Now, I love a good biblical debate don't get me wrong, but in the end I need to ask myself this question - even if my brother or sister in the faith sees an interpretation of scripture in a different way than I do, do I have enough LOVE in my heart to fully accept them as my spiritual family? Or is it more important for me to have the "right" understanding of everything? And I have to ask if my belief in God requires me to have the answers to all of my questions? I believe that at this time, we simply will not have all the answers. But most mainstream Christians understand that this is o.k. We are not expected to have all the answers nor to understand everything.

    If I could make a suggestion? You may be helped in your understanding of scripture if you buy a good study bible such as the New International Version. Make sure it says "study bible", because it has added notes for each text. I have this bible and I love it. I don't necessarily agree with all the interpretations in the notes section, but I like to have another view as apposed to mine. Also, I would suggest a good Bible Commentary such as the Nelson's Commentary. I have the compact one and have it handy at all times. I like it because where there are several interpretations theorized for a given scripture, this book gives you them all, and then you can decide which you agree with.

    Remember, head knowledge is not as important as LOVE. True Love will cover any disagreements or misunderstandings. Hope you find the anwers you are searching for. If you need to "talk" feel free to pm me. Maybe I can help with some of your questions about God's existance. Peace, Lilly

  • onacruse

    I am alive.

    Therefore, I get hungry, and food satisfies that hunger. I get sleepy, and taking a nap suffices. My butt itches, and scratching solves the problem.

    When God becomes a daily need to which I must attend, then God will mean something to me.

    Otherwise, God is just a useless word.

  • Leolaia

    The transfiguration interpretation is popular in apologetic and evangelical circles (as it avoids the difficulty otherwise posed by the text), but it is rejected by critical scholars who recognize the structure and eschatology of the passage. First of all, the chapter/verse division is misleading because Mark 9:1 really belongs with the preceding Way of the Cross pericope in 8:34-38, not with the Transfiguration narrative in 9:2-13. The preceding verse shows that this coming of the kingdom of God is the parousia: "Whoever is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation will the Son of Man also be ashamed of him, when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels" (8:38). The description of the parousia in Mark 13 is along the same lines:

    "At that time men will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. And he will send his angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens" (Mark 13:26-27).

    The eschatological discourse in ch. 13, given after the transfiguration, looks ahead to the future judgment (i.e. Judgment Day), and the language is based on Daniel 7 in which the Son of Man figure comes on the clouds to execute judgment on the nations. The same Son of Man language occurs in Mark 14:62, contextualized at Jesus' trial (after the transfiguration in the narrative) which similarly looks ahead to the future: "You will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven". Note also that dunamis "power" occurs in all three texts here, Mark 9:1, 13:26, 14:62, as accompanying the coming of the Son of Man. Third, the language in 9:1 is inappropriate for the transfiguration. It is most unlikely that someone would say with such a solemn expression as "Truly I say to you" that some people listening to him will actually be alive in six days' time. It is hardly unusual by any stretch of the imagination that people listening to Jesus would live longer than a week. Furthermore, the arrival of God's rule "with power" implies things that were not realized in the temporary vision of the glorified Jesus, particularly the judgment of the nations, as the source OT text implies: "He [the "Son of Man"] was given authority, glory and power, all peoples, nations, and men of every language worshipped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed" (Daniel 7:14). The reference to the kingdom of God coming with power is an allusion to this verse. Fourth, the use of Mark 8:38-9:1 by the author of Matthew follows the same understanding:

    "For the Son of Man is to come with the angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay every man for what he has done. Truly I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom" (Matthew 16:27-28).

    Notice how this parallel makes the parousia understanding more explicit. The addition of a clause referring explicitly to judgment links this passage to such eschatological texts as Matthew 8:11-12, 13:41-43, 18:9, 22:1-13, 24:45-51, 25:24-30, 25:31-46. We read in 13:41, for instance, that "The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil". This scenario is always played out in the judgment scene in 25:31-46. The language here is paralleled also in Revelation 22:12, which relates it to the coming parousia: "Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will repay everyone according to what he has done". The Matthean parallel to Mark 9:1 (i.e. Matthew 16:28), moreover, refers to the coming of the Son of Man in his kingdom, linking the two adjacent verses even closer together. Again, in no sense was there a judgment of humanity and delegation of reward and punishment (cf. Matthew 25:46) in the transfiguration.

  • lovelylil


    Since Jesus' comments regarding "this generation" was directed at fleshly Israel - some believe generation means "race". Thus idicating that Israel as a people will not cease to exist until God fulfills all his promises to them. Lilly

  • Morocco

    I'm going to have to take some time to read a few of the posts here as they are fairly heavy. Thanks to everyone for your responses.

    I have another comment tho. I really should have called this thread "I'm struggling with Christianity”. Because I named it “struggling with god” shows that I have a subconscious connection with Christianity being the only representative. That, I know, is dangerous to the way of fairness. I should really say that I am struggling with Christianity and its idea of God plus the existence of God in all other forms – but this particular thread is directed toward Christianity.

    Having said that let me add one more thing. The idea that Yahweh is trying to communicate through a book, to me, is again proving itself highly unlikely simply because the explanation or interpretation of the book is so difficult. These ancient documents are so full of errors that perhaps the miracle isn't that they are complete, true, or inerrant – but that anything from our past exists at all.

    If the Christian God wanted to use writing to aid us in the future, why did He give us the enormously incomplete hodgepodge of texts that we have to spend lifetimes to simply piece together and translate? And it's not the scholarly work to decipher the languages that is the problem – it's the fact that people that work with these documents, like Bart Erhman, say that there are more errors in the bible than there are words in the New Testament! If we don't even know some of the original words and placements of those words, how in the world are we supposed to trust that any interpretation is accurate? There shouldn't even be an interpretation if it's truth from God!

    The very fact that the book is so hard to understand, so incomplete, and that there are so many differing factions of Christianity is evidence, to me, that Yahweh either doesn't exist, has nothing to do with Christianity, or has failed at keeping the “message” true. We can go in circles all day long, but there is, and has never been, a clear answer. Because of that I can't help but feel that maybe we make our own answers and, at the very least, the Christian God (or maybe all others) just simply don't exist. And if they do, they can't or won't communicate with us.

Share this