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Featured Resurrection of Christ - What's the evidence for and against a literal resurrection

Discussion in 'Scriptural Debates' started by adrian009, Jan 6, 2018.

  1. adrian009

    adrian009 Well-Known Member
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    Do come back and post further. There is an interesting discussion to be had around the gospels and of course including which of the three synoptic gospels, Mark, Matthew and Luke were. The majority of scholars think Mark who of course wasn't an eye witness.

    The major problem I have with the resurrection is not disbelief that God could bring someone back from the dead. He could. I have no doubt that Jesus is the Messiah the Jews were expecting. The problem for me is the ascension of Christ into the stratosphere (heavens) that fits with the cosmology at the time but not today.
     
  2. Rough Beast Sloucher

    Rough Beast Sloucher Well-Known Member
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    In Mark’s resurrection narrative, the stone is already rolled away and a young man dressed in white is sitting in the tomb. The young man says that Jesus rose from the dead and went to Galilee. The disciples should meet him there. Mark 16:4-7

    That is the end of Mark’s original narrative. The remainder (Mark 16:9-20) is a pastiche of bits and pieces from other later Gospels and does not appear in the earliest manuscripts. It also does not sound like Mark.

    Mark’s narrative sounds very much like the body was stolen and someone in on the plot told a story about it. Matthew goes to great lengths to enhance the story to cover up its suspicious nature

    Mark has the stone simply already rolled back. Matthew has an angel come down from heaven to roll back the stone, accompanied by a dramatic earthquake. Mark’s young man in a white robe has become an angel looking like lightning in clothes as white as snow. Matthew 28:2-4

    Since the angel rolls back the stone in the presence of the women, suspicions about grave robbery are reduced. Mark’s young man might be a conspirator, not so an angel from heaven. Nevertheless the suspicions are not totally eliminated since the tomb is already empty. The body might have been stolen and the stone put back.

    Matthew’s narrative has guards put in place to prevent the body being stolen and a resurrection myth started. Matthew 27:62-66 When the tomb is opened and there is no body, the guards are bribed to say that the disciples of Jesus stole the body. And this is the story that got told about the incident. Matthew 28:11-15 Does this strike you as just a little too pat?

    In Mark the young man says to go to Galilee to see the risen Jesus. End of story. What? No Jesus? Hmmm… Matthew has the angel say that also but Jesus then immediately appears to the women. Matthew 28:5-10 Didn’t he go to Galilee? Regardless, Matthew has Jesus really risen and not just a story from a stranger with clean clothes.

    Mark has the young man say that the disciples should go to Galilee but does not talk about anyone going. Neither is it obvious where in Galilee they should go. In Matthew they do go to Galilee to a place Jesus said to go. This is followed by a brief episode that seems like a farewell although that is not certain. Matthew 28:16-20

    Matthew saw the suspicious shortcomings of Mark’s account and rewrote it to cover them over.
     
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  3. Rough Beast Sloucher

    Rough Beast Sloucher Well-Known Member
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    Jesus ascending in the clouds in Acts is a reference to the future return of Jesus as the Son of Man in the clouds

    Acts 1
    6 Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”
    7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
    9 After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.
    10 They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. 11 “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”


    In Mark, and similar passages in Matthew and Luke, the future return of the Son of Man is prophesied.
    Mark 13:26 “At that time people will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory.

    This refers back to Daniel’s Night Vision.
    Daniel 7:13 “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven.

    The passage in Acts reiterates the promise of the return of Jesus. Having Jesus ascend into the clouds is a link to Jesus returning in the clouds like the Son of Man prophecy. The angels, as we presume they are, even say that Jesus will come back in the same way as he left, in the clouds.That passage also reroutes short term expectations to Jesus coming back very soon to the business of an ongoing church. Jesus said that they will receive the Holy Spirit. This is Pentecost, commonly considered the birth of the church.

    As I have said in other threads, my interest is in what the writers meant to be understood and how they go about conveying it. To me, what did or did not literally happen is secondary to that.
     
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  4. adrian009

    adrian009 Well-Known Member
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    Matthew 28 appears to make use of an apocalyptic style of writing similar to that used when he records the words ascribed to Christ throughout the Olivet discourse (Matthew 24). Other examples of this style are throughout the book of Revelation and Daniel. The language used is full of symbolism IMHO and should not to be taken literally anymore than we should take the Olivet discourse or book of revelation literally. The language therefore invites us to see a much more powerful message in regards this brief historic period that has profound spiritual implications. I do not believe the author of Matthew is either trying to mislead his audience or to give an historic account of events.
     
  5. KenS

    KenS Well-Known Member

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    :oops: did I say something?

    It we get the upgraded version,with the New Standard interpretation, as viewed by the intellectual higher secular echelon as quoted by our chameleon Christian, the famous Bart E. -- it simply means he came in second :rolleyes:
     
    #125 KenS, Jan 10, 2018
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  6. adrian009

    adrian009 Well-Known Member
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    Clouds signify:
    (1) Loftiness or heavenly. Jesus came from the realm heaven (close to God) and returned to heaven.

    (2) Obscurity. Christ's return as with His brief Mission confounded those that were outwardly the most learned but only the pure in heart could gain a glimpse of His Divinity. It was if their knowledge and learning became a barrier (like a cloud) between themselves and what they sought.

    Once again, this is not literally the clouds in the sky.

    The disciples lost their Faith after Jesus was crucified and even Peter denied Him thrice. It was as if the body of Christ (the community of His faithful believers) had died, but after three days they were transformed by a Power from another world that enabled them to spread the gospel far and wide. This process reached a climax at Pentecost.
     
  7. Rough Beast Sloucher

    Rough Beast Sloucher Well-Known Member
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    Symbols stand for other things. I do not see symbolism as such in Matthew 28. If you do, what are the symbols and what do they stand for? As I said I see Matthew 28 as anything other than a dramatic dressing up of Mark to close the loopholes. While the several accounts of the Olivet Discourse are intentionally apocalyptic, I do not see that in Matthew 28. The ending phrases "go and teach all nations" "I am with you always" strike me as the opposite of apocalyptic.

    Matthew and Luke incorporate Mark's apocalyptic sentiments but ameliorate them to a degree. John and Acts are mostly unconcerned with it.

    Revelation is a collection of many scriptural references to the end of days, OT, NT and Apocrypha, melded into an elaborate scary story to make sure that people do not forget about the future end of days.
     
  8. adrian009

    adrian009 Well-Known Member
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    The most obvious symbol is that of the empty tomb with the message that Christ is not dead. Of course He didn't die but I doubt if a literal resurrection is intended. It is an example of confusing allegory for historic fact IMHO. The literal resurrection being a core belief to many Christians over the millennia there is a great deal of emotional investment to it being true. It doesn't really bother me one way or the other, and as you say we are trying to best understand the intention of the authors of the gospels and the message they are trying to convey.

    Apocalyptic writing is dramatic and used to embellish the story. In that way the apocalyptic and standard narrative are interwoven. Matthew 24 doesn't start apocalyptic. I appreciate you see it differently.

    Luke is the likely author of Acts so I do think there are apocalyptic embellishments there as are present in Matthew 28. The last half of John is concerned with the last week of Christ's life so the Spirit that inspires the writing simply has a different feel to it compared to the synoptic gospels. Its a profoundly spiritual book rich with symbolism and metaphor right from the start John 1:1-3 introduces as we explore the Divine nature of The Christ.

    That is true. The vision has come from God though, as did Daniel's vision, and the book is at the end of the NT for good reason. I don't see too many Christians with a pragmatic and insightful approach to Revelations. That's my bias view of scripture, anyhow.
     
    #128 adrian009, Jan 10, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2018
  9. Rough Beast Sloucher

    Rough Beast Sloucher Well-Known Member
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    I was thinking of the word ‘symbol’ in a strict sense which you did not intend. Metaphor, allegory, meaning, whatever. No need to quibble about words.

    The message I see in the resurrection story is as Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15 that resurrection is possible and that those who follow Jesus will be resurrected. People die but that is not the end. A righteous life will be rewarded in the next life. An actual physical resurrection is the proof of the pudding. Having Jesus only symbolically or spiritually raised is not going to make the grade. Jesus came from heaven, according to Paul. Going back to heaven after a sojourn on earth is nothing remarkable. But it has no bearing on the fate of those naturally earthbound. A physical resurrection is necessary to really sell the point.


    Saying that the Temple will be utterly destroyed is an attention-grabbing lead in to the apocalyptic story. Mark, who started the Oliver Discourse narrative, surely wrote in the 70s, after the siege of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple. Having the reader recognize the prophecy as a real recent event is going to get him ready to believe the rest of the story. And the rest of the story is about the coming apocalypse. Matthew 24, or Mark 13, or Luke 21 go from ordinary circumstances, looking at the impressive Temple, to a detailed prophecy of the end of days. This makes it feel real.


    I see dramatic embellishments in Matthew 28, but not apocalyptic ones. Can you point to particular verses?

    Acts was surely written by the same person who wrote the Gospel of Luke. The only apocalyptic reference in Acts is in the first chapter and it really directs attention away from the end of days.

    John intentionally wrote a different narrative from the Synoptic Gospels. He was saying new things not previously presented, specifically a coherent Christology. At the same time, he harks back to Paul in many ways, sort of tying the Jesus story in a single package. As with Acts, John is not concerned with any apocalypse. Acts gives a history of the newborn church. John gives the theology that empowers it.


    Few people take the time and effort to understand Revelation. To most it is just a crazy story probably coming out of a bad mushroom trip.
     
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  10. siti

    siti Well-Known Member

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    Oh I see! So is your objection here on the grounds that heaven is not really 'up' so because the accounts talk about Jesus ascending through the clouds (or whatever) he could not have been resurrected? I wonder if this is a psycho-geographical complex - I mean from where you live heaven would have to be down wouldn't it?

    I have a different theory (more of a guess really) about how the Gospel accounts developed. It is pretty obvious that whoever compiled them was fairly well-versed in OT prophecy - and since everyone knew that the Messiah was destined to fulfill OT prophecy, all this stuff must really have happened - right? Any objections anyone? Nah! OK - that's it then - anyone remember anything that this guy actually said? No! OK - what was that stuff one of the old chaps was wittering on about the other day? If you're hungry and you're happy clap your hands...something like that...put that in the sermon in the field, or was it on a mountain or somewhere? Pencil it in anyway - we can always fill in the details later...

    ...huh! He has to be greater than the Prophets? Didn't Elisha do a couple of resurrections? OK give Jesus a handful - let him do one in Nain - there's nobody around from there, nobody will know any better...

    ..."your dead ones will rise"...heck that's a bit more of a problem...a general resurrection - how the heck is he gonna do that when already he's dead himself? OK - we'll have to do a workaround on that one...anything in Isaiah? Or Daniel - I know most people think its bunkum but it definitely gives us a bit more scope...

    ...and thus the "Word of God" came to the disciples after Jesus' death.
     
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  11. oldbadger

    oldbadger Skanky Old Mongrel!

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    I think he was...... at least a partial witness.
    He was most probably there at the arrest and his account suggests this quite strongly.
     
  12. siti

    siti Well-Known Member

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    Yes - the old psilocybin theory - that's my take on Revelation - not really but not far off.
     
  13. adrian009

    adrian009 Well-Known Member
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    There are at least three different but related topics in regards the resurrection:
    (1) The life of the soul after physical death. Specifically through the Teachings of Christ we can have eternal life.
    (2) Those that are animated by the Holy Spirit and are the saints and hero of their faith. That is the are resurrected spiritually from the death of unbelief.
    (3) The resurrection of Christ.

    To be clear, I believe in all three, but the resurrection of Christ is linked to (1) and (2) and not literal.

    its interesting you refer to 1 Corinthians 15 as Paul encountered Jesus on the road to Damascus and throughout his life. Paul's experience or encounter with Jesus was long after the 40 days of so called resurrection appearances leading up to Pentecost. If he did talk to the literally resurrected Jesus, there is no record of it in the NT. How many of those NT books did Paul write?

    Jesus as well as being the Son of God, prophecised the destruction of the temple and provided clear instructions to His disciples to flee Judea before the 'adomination that leadeth to desolation'. Jerusalem and the temple as we know were destroyed during 70 AD and there was a period beforehand that the Romans pulled back enabling anyone who heeded Christ's warning to escape. It was the end of the world or era for the Jewish people coinciding with the rise of the Christain faith albeit amidst trials and tribulations. It was an apocalypse of sorts for both Jews and Christians.

    Jesus then moves to the very distant future when there will be the end of the Christian era and the rise of a new era based on the Teachings of the Returned Christ (Christos being Greek for Messiah). All events are real, but the stars do not fall to earth literally, anymore than Jesus rose to heaven literally.

    Perhaps Apocalyptic is not the best word as it refers to end times, but the use of dramatic imagery with hidden meaning better.

    And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.
    His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow:
    And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men.

    Matthew 28:2-4

    The earthquake represents upheavel and the foundations of belief being shaken and upturned. Note that earthquakes are part of the tribulations in Matthew 24.
    Lightning represents God's power through the New Covenant of Christ. (Jeremiah 31:31). Lightning appears in Matthew flashing from East to West.

    Acts 2 has similarities:
    And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
    And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.
    And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.
    And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.


    Do you really want to interpret those verses literally?

    Although we often think of the apocalypse as associated with the end times, the period between the crucifixion of Christ and the destruction of the temple, was also the end times for the Jews that led to an apocalypse. The great flood accompanying Noah's ark is another example.

    I agree that Acts for the most part continues the Christian story from the resurrection leading up to Paul's martyrdom.

    John offers a portrait of Christ and His mission to compliment the synoptic gospels. There are important prophetic aspects though, for example when Jesus is talking about the comforter (John 14:26-31).

    lol. That is true.

    To understand the book of revelations we first need to understand Daniel. For example, how does Daniel's prophecy (Daniel 9:24-27) relate to Christ?
     
    #133 adrian009, Jan 11, 2018
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  14. adrian009

    adrian009 Well-Known Member
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    Perhaps, but we would both agree the author wasn't a close companion of Christ like the disciples.
     
  15. adrian009

    adrian009 Well-Known Member
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    So how did you feel about it during your JW days? The JWs have quite a story.
     
  16. oldbadger

    oldbadger Skanky Old Mongrel!

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    Just a sec'....!
    Are you even daring to suggest that a bunch of folks took this story of a campaigning demonstrating insurrectionist and then twisted, manipulated and garbled the whole thing so that they could reverse it into age old prophecies to prove fulfillment of all and build a worldwide power that could auto-control the hearts minds and actions of billions of suckers?

    Surely not. I mean, there's just no historical evidence of humans ever deceiving masses like that.......... is there? Is there?

    There is? ......................!

    Wow!
     
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  17. oldbadger

    oldbadger Skanky Old Mongrel!

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    Just a sec...... your post said 'of course not', but now you have moved your position to 'Perhaps'.

    And 'No', we would not both agree the author was not close to Yeshua, because Mark was probably very close to Cephas.

    And Yeshua didn't become 'Christ' until after his death; Galilean peasants didn't speak Greek, although hellenised Levites surely did.
     
  18. siti

    siti Well-Known Member

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    Well you had to go and ask me that didn't you! OK - here is a very long and detailed excerpt from an even longer and much wider-ranging letter I wrote to the Governing Body about ten years ago - as I was extracting myself from the organization - but never mailed. I did, however, put these points to the elders in my home congregation and the Branch Office in my home country (without satisfactory answers I should point out). References are often to Watchtower publications (which I can give in fuller form if anybody really wanted to check them) and scriptural quotations and references based on the New World Translation (1984 version). Quoting myself in full here and the next post, then I'll summarize the key points as they relate to (a) the current topic and (b) a Baha'i interpretation of the return of Christ - which is very definitely related to the current topic - in a subsequent post.

    <<...But what about the Book of Revelation? Was that not written by the Apostle John well after the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 C.E? Does that not at least imply that there must be fulfillment of Bible prophecy beyond and possibly well after the close of the first century?



    Tradition has it that the Apostle John lived to a ripe old age and towards the end of his life wrote three letters, the Gospel that bears his name and the Revelation, according to the table in the New World Translation, all between 96 and 98 C.E. This understanding seems to have come down to us from the second century “church father” Irenaeus, who held that it was the Apostle John who was imprisoned on the Isle of Patmos during the emperor Domitian’s reign and then, on his release, lived out the rest of his days in Ephesus during which time he wrote all the parts of the Bible attributed to him.



    However, Eusebius attests to the fact that Irenaeus was confused about the identities of two different men named John referred to in the writings of the earlier “Church Father” Papias. (Eusebius, Hist. Eccl., iii. 39, quoted in Ante Nicene Fathers Vol. 1 p. 153). Papias was apparently the “overseer” or “bishop” of the Hieropolis Congregation in Asia Minor, about 6 km north of Laodicea and just about 100 km east of Ephesus.



    Sadly, the writings of this early second century church elder are lost save for a few fragmentary quotations in the writings of Irenaeus, Eusebius and others. Perhaps part of the reason they have been lost is because Papias was considered by such as Irenaeus and Eusebius to be unreliable because he related “things of a more fabulous nature” (Eusebius Hist. Eccl. iii 39, quoted in Ante Nicene Fathers Volume 1, p.154). Eusebius continues “Amongst these ['things of a more fabulous nature'] he says that there will be a millennium after the resurrection from the dead, when the personal reign of Christ will be established on this earth”. I did not, and clearly the Watchtower Society would not, dismiss such a witness as unreliable on the strength of this evidence (see Watchtower 1963, 8/1 p. 476).



    With a little more reading, it turned out that the fragmentary quotations that remain of Papias’ writings are sufficient for us to glean a few reasonably reliable facts about the identities these two key figures in the early Christian congregation named John. Firstly, it is clear that Papias never personally met the Apostle John. It was this fact that Eusebius disputed in the writings of Irenaeus, who had erroneously claimed that Papias was a “hearer” of the Apostle. Eusebius disproved this notion by quoting directly from Papias’ testimony. (Eusebius, Hist. Eccl., iii. 39, quoted in Ante Nicene Fathers Vol. 1 p. 153). This is significant because, had the Apostle John been in Ephesus during the late first century, Papias would almost certainly have both met him and heard him speak. Papias seems to have lived from about 60-135C.E. and “he resided in the region of Phrygia in the province of Asia, today known as Asia Minor” (Watchtower 1963, 8/1 p. 476).



    His lack of personal contact with the Apostle would be especially confusing given the pains that Papias obviously took to hear the testimonies of those who had had personal contact with the Apostles. (Eusebius, Hist. Eccl., iii. 39, quoted in Ante Nicene Fathers Vol. 1 p. 153). Given the evidence, it seems almost inconceivable that he would not have made the effort to meet the Apostle John in person had the Apostle really been alive and well and living only a short journey away. It is even more of a stretch to suggest that Papias could have been confused about the time and manner of the Apostle John’s death had he been living so close to the Apostle at the time. Surely the brothers in Hieropolis would have been informed of the Apostle’s death. Yet Papias is also quoted by Philip of Side, writing in the early fifth century, as having claimed that the Apostle John was put to death “by the Jews” as was his brother James. We know, of course, that the Apostle James was executed by Herod Agrippa I in about 44 C.E. (Acts 12:2). If, as prophesied by Jesus, John suffered a similar fate and followed his brother into martyrdom at the hands of the Jews, this would presumably have been before the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 C.E. (Mark 10:39). For Papias to have been confused about this would be most implausible...

    /to be contd...
     
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  19. siti

    siti Well-Known Member

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    contd. from previous post...

    If the Apostle John really died somewhat earlier than the traditionally accepted dates, then either he wrote much earlier than we have been led to believe, or someone else wrote at least some of the books we now attribute to him.



    After a bit more research, I found that there is indeed some evidence that may suggest that the Gospel of John was written earlier, perhaps before 70 C.E. There is, in fact, internal evidence in the Gospel of John to suggest that this is a possibility. In the account about the healing of the paralyzed man at the Pool of Bethzatha, it is recorded that the pool “is in Jerusalem” (John 5:2). I am not a Greek scholar, but it seems clear from examining other passages that there is a clear distinction between “is” and “was” and this sentence clearly indicates present tense. In other words, the pool existed in Jerusalem at the time of writing. It would not have made sense for the writer to have indicated this at the time of the event, because at that time the pool was not “in” Jerusalem but outside, beyond the then existing walls. The walls were extended by Herod Agrippa I during the reign of the emperor Claudius (41-54 C.E.). Agrippa died in 44 C.E., so the wall must have been extended some time between 41 and 44 C.E. bringing the pool within Jerusalem. It was destroyed along with the rest of the city in 70 C.E. and subsequently rebuilt in 130 C.E. by the emperor Hadrian. So the statement that the pool “is in Jerusalem” could only truthfully have been written either between about 41 and 70 C.E. or after 130 C.E. Had the account been written between 70 and 130 C.E., the writer would certainly have written about it in the past tense as it did not actually exist then. Intriguingly, the rebuilt structure of Hadrian’s time seems to have had five porticos whilst excavations have shown that the original had only three, which may suggest that this detail or perhaps even the whole account was added after 130 C.E. However, the language at least leaves open the possibility of an earlier time of writing.



    Further evidence for an earlier date is found in the famous Muratorian Fragment. This fragmentary papyrus, often used to establish the early catalogue of the Christian Greek canonical writings, dates to about 170 C.E. Regarding the writing of the Gospel of John, it is reported that this was undertaken after discussion with the other disciples. The Apostle Andrew is mentioned by name. It is traditionally held that Andrew was martyred in Greece about 68 or 69 C.E. There is no suggestion anywhere, that Andrew, or any of the disciples other than John survived to the 90s C.E. Again, this would seem to point to an earlier date for the writing of the Gospel. My view on this now, from this seemingly confusing evidence, is that the original work may well have begun before 70 C.E. possibly by the Apostle John himself, but that this was subsequently added to and amended as the new “Christian” theology developed so that the book we now have is neither the original, nor of entirely apostolic origin.



    In discussing the letters of the Apostle Paul, the writer of the Muratorian Fragment declares that Paul had followed the example of John in writing to seven congregations and refers the John as the “predecessor” of Paul. If Paul died during the Neronic persecution in the 60s C.E. long before the Apostle John wrote Revelation with its messages to the seven congregations, in what sense did the writer imagine that John was Paul’s “predecessor”?


    The Watchtower publication All Scripture is Inspired of God and Beneficial appeals to the Muratorian Fragment (on pages 302-303) as evidence of the early establishment of the canon of the Greek scriptures. It quotes an English translation of almost the whole fragment. However, a few sections are omitted. One of these is the passage that refers to the discussion of the disciples about the writing of John’s Gospel and mentioning Andrew. Why was this omitted? I understand that the authorship and time of writing of the Gospel of John and Revelation were not the subjects under discussion in this particular paragraph, but why is this evidence not even mentioned in the sections of the book that do discuss these matters? It was very obviously available to the writers of the All Scripture book. Why is the above evidence for an earlier (or later) date for the Apostle John’s writings never even mentioned? These are not spurious or unknown sources. They are the very sources that we depend on for establishing the canonicity or otherwise of first century Christian Greek writings. If they are not considered reliable in establishing the relatively unimportant matters of authorship and time of writing, why should we depend on them for establishing the far more critical aspect of canonicity? If, in fact, we cannot trust them on canonicity, how do we know that what we now call “God’s Word” is complete and intact? On this subject, it is also notable that the writers of the All Scripture book chose to omit the sections of the Fragment that refer to other documents that later came to be considered non-canonical such as the Shepherd of Hermas and the Wisdom of Solomon, both of which along with the Apocalypse of Peter seem to have been considered canonical by the writer.


    The answer to these questions is vitally important because it relates directly to our understanding and interpretation of Bible prophecies. If, in fact, the Apostle John really died before 70 C.E. that means either that he wrote his Gospel, three letters and the Revelation all before the destruction of Jerusalem or that some or all of these were written by someone else. If the former is the case, then there are no prophecies in the Bible written after 70 C.E. which lends weight to the so-called “preterist” interpretation of Revelation. In that case, there is no “last days” beginning in 1914 and the whole interpretation collapses. If the latter is true, it may well be that the letters and Revelation, as well as perhaps at least parts of the Gospel were actually written by someone else, and quite possibly during the early second century. One possible candidate is the other John referred to by Papias and about whose identity Irenaeus was evidently confused. Unlike the Apostle John, Papias knew this John personally and refers to him as “the Presbyter” or elder. Interestingly, the writer of the letters of John introduces himself as the “older man” or “presbyter”. Could this also be the John who was imprisoned on Patmos and received the Revelation? If so, these writings can claim no apostolic authorship or authority – a key factor in establishing canonicity (All Scripture, page 304, paragraph 25)...>>
     
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  20. siti

    siti Well-Known Member

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    Key points from my previous two posts:

    1. The Apostle John almost certainly did not write the Book of Revelation - he was almost certainly dead a century before it was written...

    2. The Apostle John may have begun, with the assistance of the other disciples (Andrew for example) to compile an account of Jesus' life before he died, but it is unlikely that the Gospel of John we have now contains much that could be reliably identified as his testimony...

    3. The Apostle John may have written letters to congregations is Asia Minor (Turkey) that were subsequently incorporated into the Book of Revelation

    4. It is much more likely that another John - known to Papias as "the Presbyter" or "elder" wrote the 3 letters bearing John's name

    5. It is almost certainly either this "Presbyter" John or another John that recorded the visions in Revelation

    6. All that means that all the "prophecies" regarding Christ's return - including the ones Baha'is interpret as indicating Baha'u'llah's appearance - might have been written (or purported to have been written) BEFORE the destruction of the Jewish Temple in 70 CE, which means...

    7. There is no basis for interpreting the scriptures to be indicating (either by divine inspiration or human deviousness) any future 'spiritual' or 'literal' fulfillment of the resurrection (or baptism, sacrifice, etc. etc.) beyond the first century - whether they were writing prophecy in advance or after the event, they were writing about stuff that happened in the 1st century and established the basis for the transfer of God's favour from the physical temple to the spiritual hearts of Christians. Christ was resurrected and returned in 70CE by becoming the all-conquering King in the heart and mind of the Christian Church.

    And it all went downhill from there.
     
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