In the new cartoon, Sophia's mum teaches her how to be judgmental and bigoted
In the new cartoon, Sophia’s mum teaches her how to be judgmental and bigoted

It was in the summer 2012 that Jehovah’s Witnesses around the world were first introduced to Caleb and Sophia, the Governing Body’s new animated poster kids.

Their first cartoon adventures, which were distributed in DVDs at conventions and on the organization’s JW.org website, caused outrage even among many non-JWs. Watchtower’s blatant attempts to indoctrinate children using fear and paranoia created a wave of dismay that will have gone largely unnoticed by most ordinary JWs.

Since they first burst on to our screens, Caleb and Sophia have been taught by their troubled parents that Jehovah is pedantic enough to hate certain kinds of plastic action figures, that he wants kids to give their ice cream money to Watchtower, and that failing to pay sufficient attention at kingdom hall meetings can carry the death penalty.

But Watchtower apparently isn’t done with stripping JW kids of all innocence and individuality. Now the Governing Body wants them to challenge any classmates with gay or lesbian parents, and remind them that if mommy and mommy (or daddy and daddy) don’t change their ways they will lose their tickets to paradise.

It’s hard to know where to start in verbalizing one’s revulsion at the proud ignorance and homophobia on open display in this CGI monstrosity, but I will do my best.

Firstly, Sophia’s bewilderingly-orange mother manipulates her daughter with a metaphor that entirely misrepresents both homosexuality and Watchtower’s views regarding it. Sophia is asked to picture a man traveling with a bag, the contents of which trigger the airport security systems because he is carrying a prohibited item.

Homosexuality is explained as being the forbidden item the man must surrender before being allowed to travel on to his desired destination: paradise earth.

The video presents a misleading metaphor that misrepresents both homosexuality and Watchtower's teachings about what awaits homosexuals
The video presents a misleading metaphor that misrepresents both homosexuality and Watchtower’s teachings about what awaits homosexuals

 

Anybody remotely in tune with reality understands that homosexuality is not a “choice,” as so often portrayed by Christian fundamentalists. Straight people are born straight, and gay people are born gay. Just as it would be outrageous to ask a straight person to start being gay, it is impossible to expect a gay person to live a lie and stop being who they are. And yet this is what fanatics like Watchtower demand of them.

Secondly, the metaphor implies that if the traveler chooses against surrendering the forbidden item, the worst that will happen is that his ticket will be cancelled and he will be forced to browse the duty free before hailing a cab and making his way back to the hotel. But that is not how it works according to Jehovah’s Witness teachings.

If the metaphor were accurately and fully followed through, we would see the traveller being bundled away by security and thrown into a 1940s cattle cart, along with all others deemed undesirable by the Governing Body, before being dispatched to the great extermination camp of Armageddon.

This is not a case of “follow us, or don’t fly,” this is a case of “follow us, or die.”

But this doomsday aspect of Jehovah’s Witness theology is so repugnant to most ordinary people that Watchtower must do its best to obfuscate it wherever possible.

Even most JWs you may encounter on the street, if pressed on the matter, will deny that literally billions of people, including children, are in line for mass slaughter if their hopes and expectations come to fruition. Their continued state of subservience to their religion depends on them not thinking things through to their fullest, most grisly conclusion.

All that deception and mischaracterization aside, arguably the most repugnant and disturbing aspect of this vile cartoon is that it sets out to recruit JW children to impose the organization’s homophobic bigotry on any classmates who happen to have gay or lesbian parents.

When I was growing up as a JW I recall being indoctrinated into believing that homosexuality was to be condemned. But I don’t remember once being told to actively seek out homosexuals, or children of homosexuals, to badger them with my beliefs. All that, apparently, has now changed. Watchtower has thrown its hat in with all the other sickly Christian evangelicals whose crusade is to stamp out homosexuality wherever it surfaces.

If you want to see what the end game is of preaching hate in this way, you need only watch the documentary “God Loves Uganda,” which is currently running on Netflix. It shows how U.S. evangelicals have taken a loathsome message that has zero credibility in their homeland, and cynically flooded Uganda with it – a country whose populace have limited access to education and are therefore easy pickings for those who spew ignorance and bigotry.

And before I am accused of trying to persuade people towards atheism by making this film recommendation, I should point out that two heroes of the film are Reverend Kaoma and Bishop Senyonjo. By the end of the film, I wanted to reach into my screen and hug them both.

Despite being Christians they could plainly see the real danger posed by evangelical homophobic fanaticism, and were doing their best in the face of unspeakable brutality to urge love, respect and tolerance.

Now it seems Watchtower, having already embraced televangelism, are also now quite happy to count themselves among the small-minded homophobic hate-mongers who stain our society. And rather than lead the hateful charge themselves, the likes of Tony Morris and his Governing Body cronies are content to hide behind a newly-formed army of school-age foot-soldiers who will take the heat for them.

 

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386 thoughts on “Why Watchtower should be ashamed of its new homophobic child propaganda cartoon

  • May 23, 2016 at 12:03 pm
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    Chris,

    “-You said a child doesn’t die because of their parents how does this refer to Adam when its talking about a child being under their parent?………”

    Didn’t Adam and Eve have children? Aren’t we all descendants of Adam and Eve according to the Bible? Aren’t Adam and Eve our parents?

    *********

    “-How does a child sin on their own when the bible says we die because of Adam? 1 Corinthian 15:22
    – Even though God said we die because of Adam then why should we be punished?
    -Doesnt 1 Cor 15:22 completely void you what you stated “his descendants should only die for the sins they committed” when it says “As in Adam all die.”
    -Why are we to only die for our sins when the bible explicitly states that adams sin spread to all men because of Adam?
    -What if Abel didn’t sin would be have been freed from sin and not died because of his own sin?
    – If Abraham was considered justified and righteous then why did he die?
    -If Adam were to die only for his sin only then why did everyone else die after him?”

    According to the Bible Students’ theology, persons alive at the beginning of the Millennium will simply live on forever. They won’t die the Adamic death, but will live forever if they pass the test at end of millennium (which has nothing to do with Adam). There will therefore be some persons who will never die at all.

    So some people will never have to die the Adamic death for Adamic sin although according to the Bible, it is appointed for man to die once. This certainly proves that it really wasn’t necessary, after all, for people to die for the sins committed by someone else – Adam – since for some persons it won’t be true that “As in Adam ALL die” as per 1 Corinthians 15:22. ALL persons won’t die because of Adam, according to the Bible Students’ theology. Some persons will escape “the wages of sin” – Adamic death (Romans 6:23) – and live on forever.

    **********

    “In the millennium it’s no longer the sin of Adam That we will die for but our own.
    -How does a child sin on their own when the bible says we die because of Adam? 1 Corinthian 15:22
    -Why are we to only die for our sins when the bible explicitly states that adams sin spread to all men because of Adam?
    -If Adam freely sinned doesn’t that mean that his descendants didn’t freely sin?
    -How do we know many wouldn’t freely sin after Adam and Eve given that they didn’t sin.”

    If we don’t sin on our own then the Adam and Eve story is teaching us that we don’t have free will. The Adam and Eve story is teaching us that persons do bad things because someone else committed a sin, it has nothing to do with their own free will to choose wrongly; it is Adam’s sin that is causing us to choose wrongly, not our own free will and therefore this is why we can’t pay for our own sins but must pay for the sins committed by someone else – Adam.

    *********

    “- Would God’s Plan be a failure if Adam and eve didn’t sin?”

    God needed Adam and Eve to sin in order for his plan to succeed?

    **********

    “-What if the child is caused to sin by their parent?
    -What is the parent doesn’t know it’s a sin and their parents make them do something and it’s a sin would they bear the sin of their parent?”

    According to current standards of morality and ethics, a person’s culpability is determined by a court of a law. This is the very point/purpose of a justice system, to deal with various scenarios in determining culpability.
    There have been instances in courts of law, where persons have been acquitted of all charges/culpability despite their involvement in a crime.

    **********

    “My response: In the millennial age the circumstances will be ideal.”

    What exactly do you mean by this?

  • May 23, 2016 at 12:06 pm
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    Chris,

    “You stated “Ezekiel 18:20……….Where does this say this is now”………. We are now reading about the days of Ezekiel and not the days of Moses. When the law was initially given it was read every seven years. Those in moses day knew this but those in Ezekiels day were ignorant. In the millennial age each person will be dealt with individually. But lets talk about this in there day. In the mosaic law if one was guilt all were guilty. Sometimes God commanded the Israelites to kill every man woman a child of the household. Even though the child may not have done anything. So how in ezekiel period there would not die because of their father sin and vice versa. This is not about dying for sin the agamic death.”

    The book of Ezekiel was written over 2,500 years ago between 597 and 570 BCE. It documents the life of the Jewish exiles in Babylon.

    – CHAPTERS 1 to 24:

    Gives a narrative account of Ezekiel’s call and his commission as a prophet in about 593 BCE in a community of deported Jewish exiles in Babylon. There are oracles condemning Judah and Israel. Ezekiel preached a message of doom and judgment, he warns that Jerusalem will fall deservedly.

    The prophecies are delivered in Babylon, likely between the two deportations – between 597 BCE, when the first deportation occurred and 587, 586 BCE when the fall and final destruction ofJerusalem and its Temple and second deportation occurred.

    – CHAPTERS 25 to 32 contain oracles against foreign nations.

    – CHAPTERS 33 to 48:

    In chapter 33 we learn that a fugitive from Jerusalem brings news of the fall of Jerusalem, so it’s now about 587, 586 BCE. When Ezekiel hears this, he exchanges his message of doom for a message of hope. There are oracles of promise and hope for the future.

    – Chapters 40 to 48 are visions: Ezekiel’s visions of the restoration, his vision of a rebuilt Temple and a rebuilt Jerusalem.

    So Chapter 18 is addressed to the Jewish exiles in Babylon. The message was likely delivered between 597 BCE, when the first deportation occurred, and 587/586 BCE when the fall and final destruction of Jerusalem and itsTemple and the second deportation occurred. So I do not see how Ezekiel’s emphasis on /assertion of the individual responsibility for sin in chapter 18 does not pertain to the Jews of that period.
    According to the Bible Students’ theology, Ezekiel 18:20 only applies to the future millennium. This is what the Bible Students subsequently believe but what did Ezekiel believe about Ezekiel 18:20, which he wrote some 2,500 years ago?

    • May 30, 2016 at 6:48 am
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      ***EDIT:
      “The book of Ezekiel was written over 2,500 years ago between 597 and 570 BCE.”***

      http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_otb4.htm:

      Ezekiel was a prophet from the Southern Kingdom of Judah whose ministry lasted from about 593 to 570 BCE.

      Conservative Theologians believe that the book of Ezekiel was written by Ezekiel near the end of his ministry, circa 570 BCE when he was living in exile in Babylonia.

      Opinion is divided among Liberal Theologians on the authorship and date of this book. Some theologians believe that Ezekiel spent his entire ministry in Palestine, and that much of the material in the book was inserted by unknown editors long after his death, perhaps about 300 BCE.

  • May 23, 2016 at 12:32 pm
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    Chris,

    According to http://oyc.yale.edu/religious-studies/rlst-145/lecture-19:

    In Chapter 18, Ezekiel rejects/contradicts an important Torah idea – the doctrine of collective responsibility in the operation of divine justice.

    He responds to the idea of suffering for the sins of one’s ancestors by declaring that God isn’t going to work that way anymore. God will no longer punish people collectively. Each one will be judged individually. Only the sinner will be punished and that’s a major departure from the contemporary Torah principle of collective or intergenerational punishment which is found most famously in the Second Commandment, the declaration that God punishes children for the sins of their fathers unto the fourth generation (Exodus 34:6,7).

    The Book of Chronicles, which is a rewrite of the historical narrative in the Book of Kings, rewrites that material in a manner that never explains a catastrophe on the basis of guilt incurred by someone other than the one experiencing the catastrophe. In other words, it rejects the Torah device of delayed punishment. It changes the narrative account so that no one suffers for a crime committed by someone else. It isn’t the sin of an earlier generation that’s finally visited upon a grandson or a king of a later generation.

    So it seems that after 586 BCE, some accepted the idea that the nation was suffering because of the accumulated guilt of previous generations. But for others like Ezekiel, the idea of accumulated guilt and intergenerational punishment seemed to lose some of its explanatory power, perhaps because the destruction and the exile seemed devastatingly severe punishments that didn’t fit the crimes.

  • May 23, 2016 at 12:35 pm
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    Chris,

    “Scenarios can go on FOREVER.”

    In the case of your teacher example, the teacher had an answer for all of the scenarios generated: there should be no talking at all. As to whether or not this is the best or most reasonable answer to the scenarios generated, that’s another matter.

    In the case of the Bible Students, if you don’t have the answer to the various questions which someone may ask then you should let the person know this, instead of saying you don’t do scenarios. If the person is smart enough, they should realize that your saying that you don’t do scenarios simply means that you don’t know the answer.
    As I stated before, given the inadequacy of the information provided by the Bible Students, a person will then have to decide on what basis they will accept what the Bible Students have told them/what is written in the their publications.

  • May 25, 2016 at 8:24 am
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    Dee: lets start from the beginning. Ask me 1 question. Not 25 scenarios. They become endless task. Then to take each response and ask 10 more questions is exhausting. Just ask me one at a time. But for the love of God email me. I HATE typing on here. If it’s not on in email I will not respond.
    Johnsc11@aol.com

  • May 25, 2016 at 8:49 am
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    I haven’t been on this site for a few days because the comments are getting long. and sweetie it has nothing to do with not knowing the answer. For exmple my ad hoc about not knowing that “coming to life” means Resurrection. It has to do with interpretation because the Greek ford for resurrection is not used here. I know it doesn’t have to be but how else would all the dead at John 5:28,29 who all come out of the graves come to life at the end of the 1000 years if they haven’t been resurrected? Sometimes, yes I do not know what is in as the bible calls it “Ages to come” do you? If not why not? How many ages are there? What happens if someone sins in this age to come? But since they are like Adam and still technically have free will what will God do to them if they sin and they won’t die ever? See how each of these questions are tedious in that you know they are not discussed in the Bible? So why ask them? So you can pull in some history from Ezekiel. Notice how the book of Ezekiel ends in Restoration after sin and death? Take a close look. Its prophetic in its theme. So when I say that it has a millennial application then it fits. You brought in a general history.Great you know more than I do about it. You do know that everything in the Law is a type or picture of a future. So as it is in many stories. The story of Abraham and his experiences are prophetic pictures. When he sent his servant to find a bride for his son to inherit all things this was a picture of God sending the holy spirit to find a bride for his son to inherit all things. Sure we can look at it as general history as you have done. For example, the volume of the Ark of the Covenant (1.5 x 1.5 x 2.5 cubits = 5.625) divided into the volume of the INNER most holy yields (9 x 9 x 10 = 810) = 144 multiplied by the measurements of the outer measurements (10 x 10 x 10 ) yields 144,000. But it we just want to look at the General history of it and what led them to it we would totally miss the spiritual application. What you’ve done it looked at the dry history of it. However, you have neglected to see the spiritual applications.Notice how it goes into the restoration at the end? In a big general picture the whole picture in Ezekiel is the restoration at the end. Do I know everything? Of course not. But the scenarios are so endless that I would like to keep it to a question or two a response. I get over whelmed. Also don’t take this as a view of all Bible Student. We have a brother whom I adore and this man know more than I could ever wish to know. He is a Biblical scholar and knows Greek and Hebrew. I’m not as smart as he is. Also, as for your allegations about believing in what our publications teach you do realize that we don’t use publications like the JW’s do? We read the bible and the Bible alone. Yes we have some book. I personally reject the second volume of the Studies all together.

    You must have been a writer because you sure write a lot. I generally don’t have the patience. :)

  • May 25, 2016 at 8:50 am
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    I haven’t been on this site for a few days because the comments are getting long. and sweetie it has nothing to do with not knowing the answer. For exmple my ad hoc about not knowing that “coming to life” means Resurrection. It has to do with interpretation because the Greek ford for resurrection is not used here. I know it doesn’t have to be but how else would all the dead at John 5:28,29 who all come out of the graves come to life at the end of the 1000 years if they haven’t been resurrected? Sometimes, yes I do not know what is in as the bible calls it “Ages to come” do you? If not why not? How many ages are there? What happens if someone sins in this age to come? But since they are like Adam and still technically have free will what will God do to them if they sin and they won’t die ever? See how each of these questions are tedious in that you know they are not discussed in the Bible? So why ask them? So you can pull in some history from Ezekiel. Notice how the book of Ezekiel ends in Restoration after sin and death? Take a close look. Its prophetic in its theme. So when I say that it has a millennial application then it fits. You brought in a general history.Great you know more than I do about it. You do know that everything in the Law is a type or picture of a future. So as it is in many stories. The story of Abraham and his experiences are prophetic pictures. When he sent his servant to find a bride for his son to inherit all things this was a picture of God sending the holy spirit to find a bride for his son to inherit all things. Sure we can look at it as general history as you have done. For example, the volume of the Ark of the Covenant (1.5 x 1.5 x 2.5 cubits = 5.625) divided into the volume of the INNER most holy yields (9 x 9 x 10 = 810) = 144 multiplied by the measurements of the outer measurements (10 x 10 x 10 ) yields 144,000. But it we just want to look at the General history of it and what led them to it we would totally miss the spiritual application. What you’ve done it looked at the dry history of it. However, you have neglected to see the spiritual applications.Notice how it goes into the restoration at the end? In a big general picture the whole picture in Ezekiel is the restoration at the end. Do I know everything? Of course not. But the scenarios are so endless that I would like to keep it to a question or two a response. I get over whelmed. Also don’t take this as a view of all Bible Student. We have a brother whom I adore and this man know more than I could ever wish to know. He is a Biblical scholar and knows Greek and Hebrew. I’m not as smart as he is. Also, as for your allegations about believing in what our publications teach you do realize that we don’t use publications like the JW’s do? We read the bible and the Bible alone. Yes we have some book. I personally reject the second volume of the Studies all together.

    You must have been a writer because you sure write a lot. I generally don’t have the patience. :(

  • May 25, 2016 at 9:52 am
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    Also Dee. What is your theological viewpoint?

  • May 25, 2016 at 10:36 am
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    Hey Dee,
    As I’ve said before and have not been following, I won’t be back on the site. Please email me I would like to continue this conversation. :)

  • May 27, 2016 at 11:14 am
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    Chris,

    ***”my ad hoc about not knowing that “coming to life” means Resurrection. It has to do with interpretation because the Greek ford for resurrection is not used here”

    As I have stated before, even if “COMING TO LIFE” should mean something else in Revelation 20:5 as you have claimed – it “doesn’t mean “resurrection”, it means being brought into everlasting life condition”;
    – there is still nowhere in the Bible which states that there is a resurrection of anyone else at the beginning of the millennium apart from those who “came to life and (who) will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years” (Revelation 20:4 – 6).

    – there is still nowhere in the Bible which states that there will be a resurrection of persons during the millennium.

    – what you are trying to say is that Revelation 20 does not indicate that there is a resurrection at the END of the millennium when in fact this is the case. According to Revelation 20, there is a resurrection at the BEGINNING of the millennium and a resurrection at the END of the millennium; there is no resurrection DURING the millennium.

    >>>>>>>>>

    ***”how else would all the dead at John 5:28, 29 who all come out of the graves come to life at the end of the 1000 years if they haven’t been resurrected?”

    In John 5:28, 29, Jesus didn’t say anything about anyone being resurrected who then lives for a 1000 years BEFORE they “come to life” which, according to your interpretation, means
    “being brought into everlasting life condition”.

    According to Jesus’ words at John 5: 28, 29, at the point when persons are resurrected, it is at that point that they either live because they have done what is good or are condemned because they have done what is evil. All of this is based on what they did before they died. Jesus didn’t say anything about persons being resurrected who then live for 1000 years BEFORE they know if they are going to live forever or die.

    When Revelation 20:5 says the rest of the dead didn’t come to life until the 1000 years were ended, it is referring to the resurrection that takes place at the end of the millennium which is described in the subsequent verses in Revelation 20: 11-15.
    When these persons are resurrected not all of them will live forever or be “brought into everlasting life condition” as per your interpretation.

    According to Revelation 20: 11-15 when these persons are resurrected at the end of the millennium, at that point, either a person’s name will be found in the book of life or it won’t be found in the book of life. Those whose names are found in the book of life are the ones who will be “brought into everlasting life condition”.

    What your interpretation is saying, is that people will have to live for a while first (1000 years) before knowing whether or not they are going to live forever or die. But that is not what Revelation 20 or John 5:28, 29 are saying. There is no living for 1000 years BEFORE knowing what your fate will be.

    • May 27, 2016 at 2:47 pm
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      Chris,

      To further explain:
      According to Revelation 20:4-6 if you are not a part of the first resurrection, then you are a part of “the rest of the dead”. If you interpret the “coming to life” of “the rest of the dead” at the end of the millennium to mean “being brought into everlasting life condition”, then your interpretation is saying that the outcome for ALL of “the rest of the dead” is that they will ALL receive everlasting life upon being resurrected. Is this the case? Will ALL of “the rest of the dead” receive everlasting life upon being resurrected?

      According to Revelation 20: 11-15 when ALL of the rest of the dead are resurrected at the end of the millennium, at that point, either a person’s name will be found in the book of life or it won’t be found in the book of life. Those whose names are found in the book of life are the ones who will be “brought into everlasting life condition” or receive everlasting life, so not ALL of the rest of the dead will receive everlasting life as your interpretation asserts. If ALL of “the rest of the dead” were to be “brought into everlasting life condition” or receive everlasting life according to your interpretation, then it won’t be true that some of the rest of the dead will experience the second death, according to Revelation 20: 11-15.

  • May 27, 2016 at 11:18 am
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    Chris,

    ***”Sometimes, yes I do not know what is in as the bible calls it “Ages to come” do you? If not why not? How many ages are there?”

    I have personally rejected Bible prophecies regarding the “Age to come” or the millennium to come. Some of the reasons for my rejection are as follows:

    As a work of prophecy, of course, Revelation is wholly and self-evidently wrong. “How long, O Lord, holy and true, until you judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” demands the biblical author, quoting the souls of the dead martyrs, and he answers his own question by attributing an unambiguous promise to Jesus Christ: “Behold, I am coming SOON” (Revelation 6:10-11, 3:11).

    The author of Revelation set down his vision in 96 CE of “things which must SHORTLY come to pass.” (Rev. 1:1, KJV) He turned out to be dead wrong, the world is still here almost 2000 years later. Revelation is the history of the end of the world and the history of a world that refuses to end.

    “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is NEAR……I am coming SOON…….Surely I am coming SOON” (Revelation 22:10, 12, 20). Those words were written nearly two thousand years ago.

    The author of Revelation clearly anticipated the end of the world within a few years of the writing of the book. He writes in the first chapter about “things which must SHORTLY come to pass” and “the time is AT HAND.” Of course, the author was wrong. The end of the world never happened in the late first or early second century CE.

    Revelation 1:3:
    “Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the TIME IS NEAR.”

    Surely the greatest of all the ironies in the writer of Revelation’s life and work is the simple and unavoidable fact that the things he predicted in the book of Revelation did not come to pass quickly or, for that matter, at all. The writer of Revelation himself would have been shocked and heartbroken to know that we are all still here to read what he wrote almost two thousand years ago.

    >>>>>>>>>

    ***”What happens if someone sins in this age to come? But since they are like Adam and still technically have free will what will God do to them if they sin and they won’t die ever?”

    I’m not quite sure what you ate trying to say here, but as I stated before, if we don’t sin on our own then the Adam and Eve story is teaching us that we don’t have free will. The Adam and Eve story is teaching us that persons do bad things because someone else committed a sin, it has nothing to do with their own free will to choose wrongly; it is Adam’s sin that is causing us to choose wrongly, not our own free will and therefore this is why we can’t pay for our own sins but must pay for the sins committed by someone else – Adam.

    • May 27, 2016 at 3:39 pm
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      You do know that “the rest of the dead did not come to life” is a spurious text correct. So all of
      Your “analysis”Is incorrect.

    • May 27, 2016 at 3:42 pm
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      Actually the story is not saying we don’t have free will. You’re delving into Calvinism here. You’re choosing not go murder someone right now correct? Actions are always chosen.

      “Revelation 1:3:
      “Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the TIME IS NEAR.”

      What determines near? A 1000 years is but a day to God. So if God is telling him these things then from God perspective it’s is at hand.

  • May 27, 2016 at 11:23 am
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    Chris,

    ***”Notice how the book of Ezekiel ends in Restoration after sin and death? Take a close look. Its prophetic in its theme. So when I say that it has a millennial application then it fits………What you’ve done it looked at the dry history of it. However, you have neglected to see the spiritual applications.”

    I have no reason to believe that the book of Ezekiel is nothing more than a record of the Jews’ history while they were in exile in Babylon. If you feel that the book of Ezekiel contains prophecies about the future that is your choice. I have personally rejected the book of Ezekiel as a book of reliable prophecies for the following reasons:

    According to Ezekiel chapter 4, Ezekiel engages in various dramatic signs — prophetic signs or actions — to convey his message. He binds himself in ropes; he lies on his left side 390 days to symbolize the 390 years of exile of Israel, and then he lies on his right side for 40 days to symbolize the length of Judah’s captivity, which he says will be 40 years. Neither of these terms of captivity turned out to be correct.

    Possibly the most pessimistic of the Old Testament prophets, Ezekiel proclaimed impending doom upon everyone from Judah itself to the enemy nations surrounding it. The failure of his prophecies to materialize as he predicted makes a compelling argument against the Bible inerrancy doctrine. In one of his doom’s-day prophecies, Egypt was to experience forty years of utter desolation:

    Therefore, thus says Yahweh God: “Surely I will bring a sword upon you and cut off from you man and beast. And the land of Egypt shall become desolate and waste; then they will know that I am Yahweh, because he said, `The River is mine, and I have made it.’ Indeed, therefore, I am against you and against your rivers, and I will make the land of Egypt utterly waste and desolate, from Migdol to Syene, as far as the border of Ethiopia.Neither foot of man shall pass through it nor foot of beast pass through it, and it shall be uninhabited forty years. I will make the land of Egypt desolate in the midst of the countries that are desolate; and among the cities that are laid waste, her cities shall be desolate forty years; and I will scatter the Egyptians among the nations and disperse them through the countries” (29:8-14).

    Talk about extravagant rhetoric, we certainly have it in this passage. No such desolation has ever happened to Egypt; there never has been a time in recorded history when Egypt was not inhabited by man or beast for forty years, when its cities were laid waste and desolate, when its people were all dispersed to foreign lands, etc. Bible defenders, of course, resort quickly to figurative and future applications, but their strategy just won’t work. Future fulfillments are excluded by patently clear references that Ezekiel made to contemporary characters who were to figure in the fulfillment: “Son of man, set your face against Pharaoh king of Egypt, and prophesy against him” (29:2). Although Egypt still survives as a nation, its rule by pharaohs ended long ago. Furthermore, Ezekiel identified Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, as the instrument Yahweh would use to bring about Egypt’s desolation: “Therefore thus says Yahweh God: `Surely I will give the land of Egypt to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon; he shall take away her wealth, carry off her spoil, and remove her pillage, and that will be the wages for his army'” (29:19). Clearly, then, Ezekiel had in mind a contemporary fulfillment of this prediction. As for spiritual or figurative explanations of the prophecy, just what events in Egyptian history were so catastrophic in the days of Nebuchadnezzar and the pharaohs that they could justifiably be considered a figurative desolation of forty years? Unless bibliolaters can identify such a catastrophe, their figurative interpretations must be regarded as just more attempts to sweep aside another embarrassing prophecy failure.

    http://infidels.org/library/modern/farrell_till/prophecy.html

  • May 27, 2016 at 11:26 am
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    Chris,

    Ezekiel just as rashly predicted the utter destruction of Tyre, a prediction whose failure has become even more embarrassing to bibliolaters than his doom’s-day prophecy against Egypt:

    Therefore thus says Yahweh God: “Behold, I am against you, O Tyre, and will cause many nations to come up against you, as the sea causes its waves to come up. And they shall destroy the walls of Tyre and break down her towers; I will also scrape her dust from her, and make her like the top of a rock. It shall be a place for spreading nets in the midst of the sea, for I have spoken,” says Yahweh God; “it shall become plunder for the nations. Also her daughtervillageswhich are in the fields shall be slain by the sword. Then they shall know that I am Yahweh.”

    For thus says Yahweh God: “Behold, I will bring against Tyre from the north Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, king of kings, with horses, with chariots, and with horsemen, and an army with many people. He will slay with the sword your daughtervillagesin the fields; he will heap up a siege mound against you, build a wall against you, and raise a defense against you. He will direct his battering rams against your walls, and with his axes he will break down your towers. Because of the abundance of his horses, their dust will cover you; your walls will shake at the noise of the horsemen, the wagons, and the chariots, when he enters your gates, as men enter a city that has been breached. With the hooves of his horses he will trample all your streets; he will slay your people by the sword, and your strong pillars will fall to the ground. They will plunder your riches and pillage your merchandise; they will break down your walls and destroy your pleasant houses; they will lay your stones, your timber, and your soil in the midst of the water. I will put an end to the sound of your songs, and the sound of your harps shall be heard no more. I will make you like the top of a rock; you shall be a place for spreading nets,you shall never be rebuilt, for I Yahweh have spoken,” says Yahweh God (26:3-14).

    Ezekiel’s tirade against Tyre continued through three chapters. His prediction was that the city’s destruction would be complete and permanent: “The merchants among the peoples will hiss at you; you will become a horror, and be no more forever” (27:36). So sure was he of Tyre’s eternal destruction that he repeated it: “All who knew you among the peoples are astonished at you: you have become a horror, and shall be no more forever” (28:19).

    That this prophecy was never fulfilled can be verified with no more difficulty than a trip to the public library. Ezekiel prophesied that Nebuchadnezzar would destroy Tyre and that “you (Tyre) shall never be rebuilt” (26:14) and “shall be no more, though you are sought for, you will never be found again” (26:21). History, however, records the fact that Nebuchadnezzar not only didn’t destroy Tyre, he didn’t even capture it. The New Encyclopedia Britannica(Micropedia, Vol. 10, 1978) said this in reviewing the long history of Tyre:

    …. and in 585-573 (B.C.) it successfully withstood a prolonged siege by the Babylonian king Nebuchadrezzar II (p. 223).

    In its summation of this same period of Tyrian history, The Encyclopedia Americana (Vol. 27, 1984) says:

    The neo-Babylonian conqueror, Nebuchadnezzar II, subjected the island to a 13-year siege (585-572) without success (p. 331, emphasis added).

    Nebuchadnezzar did capture the mainland suburb of Tyre, but he never succeeded in taking the island part, which was the seat of Tyrian grandeur. That being so, it could hardly be said that Nebuchadnezzar wreaked the total havoc on Tyre that Ezekiel vituperatively predicted in the passages cited.

    http://infidels.org/library/modern/farrell_till/prophecy.html

  • May 27, 2016 at 11:29 am
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    Chris,

    Even Ezekiel himself admitted the failure of this prophecy. Three chapters after predicting the everlasting destruction of Tyre, Ezekiel, as he often did in his prophecies, dated a long tirade against Egypt: “And it came to pass in the twenty-seventh year, in the first month, on the first day of the month, that the word of Yahweh came to me…” (29:17). There is no general agreement on the interpretation of Ezekiel’s dating system, but at least we can use it to determine when one prophecy was made with reference to another. For example, his prophecy against Tyre was made in “the eleventh year, on the first day of the month,” (26:1). If, then, the prophecy against Egypt in chapter 29 was made in the 27th year (whatever that year was), this would mean that sixteen years separated the prophecy against Tyre in chapter 26 and the one against Egypt in chapter 29. Ezekiel’s doom’s-day prophecies against the nations surrounding Judah were apparently motivated by their delight in the fall of Jerusalem, which occurred in 587 B. C., because he often mentioned this as the reason why Yahweh was pronouncing judgment against them (25:3-4, 6, 8; 26:2). Obviously, then, these doom’s-day prophecies had to have been made after the fall of Jerusalem in 587 B. C., so even if Ezekiel’s prediction of Tyre’s destruction was made as quickly as the day after the fall of Jerusalem, his prophecy against Egypt, which (as noted above) came 16 years later, could not have been made before 571 B. C. By then, Nebuchadnezzar’s siege of Tyre, which lasted from 585-572 B. C., was over, and Ezekiel would have known that his prediction had failed.

    His prophecy against Egypt did show a clear awareness that he had botched his prediction that Nebuchadnezzar would decimate Tyre:

    “Son of man, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon caused his army to labor strenuously against Tyre; every head was made bald, and every shoulder rubbed raw;yet neither he nor his army received wages from Tyre, for the labor which they expended on it. Therefore thus says Yahweh God: `Surely I will give the land of Egypt to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon; he shall take away her wealth, carry off her spoil, and remove her pillage; and that will be the wages for his army” (29:18-19).

    This statement referred to Nebuchadnezzar’s siege of Tyre as a completed act, which of course by this time it would have been (as the chronological analysis above clearly proves). That being true, it necessarily follows that the book of Ezekiel could not have been written, at least not in its entirety, until after the siege of Tyre was over. To say the least, then, serious questions must be raised about Ezekiel’s credentials as a bona fide prophet. A prophet who completed his book after the facts he had prophesied about! What kind of prophet was that? And, in Ezekiel’s case, we have a prophet who apparently didn’t even have the good judgment to go back and revise his predictions after unfolding events had proven them wrong. Are we supposed to see this as compelling evidence that the Bible was inspired of God?

    Furthermore, Ezekiel’s prophecy against Egypt frankly admitted Nebuchadnezzar’s failure to destroy Tyre. It plainly said that Nebuchadnezzar and his army “had no wages” for their “labor” against Tyre. As a result, Yahweh, according to this prophecy, had decided to award Egypt to Nebuchadnezzar as payment for his services: “Therefore thus says the Sovereign Yahweh: Behold, I will give the land of Egypt to Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon; and he shall carry off her multitude, and take her plunder, and take her prey: and that will be the wages for his army” (29:19). Strangely enough, Ezekiel was admitting in this statement that his prophecy against Tyre had failed, for if Nebuchadnezzar had taken the island part of the city, he surely would have carried off its multitude, taken its plunder, and taken its prey, and these would have been his “wages.” If one wonders why a man claiming divinely endowed prophetic powers would make a prediction and then three chapters later admit that his prediction had failed, I can only say what I said before: stranger things than this can be found in the Bible.

    http://infidels.org/library/modern/farrell_till/prophecy.html

  • May 27, 2016 at 11:34 am
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    Chris,

    Some bibliolaters have tried to mitigate the failure of Ezekiel’s Tyre prophecy by extending its scope beyond Nebuchadnezzar to Alexander the Great, who did succeed in capturing the island part of Tyre in 332 B.C. But this ploy won’t work. Ezekiel clearly identified Nebuchadnezzar as the avenging instrument that Yahweh would use to bring about a total, everlasting destruction of Tyre. If Alexander the Great was to be a part of the scenario, why didn’t Ezekiel name him too? After all, Ezekiel was a prophet, and prophets can see into the future, can’t they? Inerrantists delight in pointing to 1 Kings 13:2 where a prophet allegedly mentioned Josiah by name almost 300 years before he was born and to Isaiah’s alleged references to Cyrus by name over 100 years before he was born, so if Ezekiel had meant for his Tyre prophecy to include Alexander the Great as Yahweh’s instrument of destruction, why didn’t he refer to him by name? If other “prophets of God” could pull off amazing feats like these, why couldn’t Ezekiel? Why would the predictive talents of one inspired prophet of God have been so consummately inferior to others’?

    Even if bibliolaters could somehow prove that Ezekiel had intended Alexander the Great to be a part of the prophecy against Tyre, they would still have to explain why the complete and everlasting destruction of the city did not happen as predicted. Most assuredly, nothing comparable to the scope of destruction predicted occurred at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar, and although Alexander the Great did succeed in capturing the island part of the city, Tyre by no means ceased to exist after this conquest. In The History of Tyre, Wallace B. Fleming said this of the city’s defeat by Alexander:

    Alexander then left the city which was half burnt, ruined, and almost depopulated. The blackened forms of two thousand crucified soldiers bore ghastly witness to the completeness of the conquest. The siege had lasted from the middle of January till the middle of July, 332 B.C. The city did not lie in ruins long. Colonists were imported and citizens who had escaped returned. The energy of these with the advantage of the site, in a few years raised the city to wealth and leadership again (Columbia University Press: New York, 1915, p. 64, emphasis added).

    So Ezekiel predicted that Tyre would “be no more forever,” but, to the embarrassment of Bible inerrantists, it just didn’t happen that way. Tyre existed after Ezekiel in the days of Jesus, who “withdrew into the parts of Tyre and Sidon” at one time during his personal ministry (Matt. 15:21), and it existed in the time of the Apostle Paul, who, returning from one of his missionary journeys, stopped there, found disciples, and tarried with them seven days (Acts 21:3). In fact, Tyre still exists today, as anyone able to read a map can verify. This obvious failure of a highly touted Old Testament prophet is just one more nail in the coffin of the Bible inerrancy doctrine.

    http://infidels.org/library/modern/farrell_till/prophecy.html

    • May 27, 2016 at 4:03 pm
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      You know know I thought you were just smart. But most of your word in these paragraphs are not research. They are click and paste off that site. Wow. No use arguing with that. Now I can finally go in peace. Have a nice life.

  • May 27, 2016 at 11:38 am
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    Chris,

    ***”What is your theological viewpoint?”

    My theological viewpoint is to question and critically and rationally analyze all JW teachings and the teachings of other religions.

    Regards.

  • May 27, 2016 at 2:21 pm
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    “I have no reason to believe that the book of Ezekiel is nothing more than a record of the Jews’ history while they were in exile in Babylon.”

    Totally your opinion. And a biased one at that. Im sure that the belief in Abiogenesis with no confirmation that a primordial soup exists other than an experiment that still needed to be done by man (intelligence) shows lack of understanding in the science community but it is still believed. I see the Book as highly prophetic. For example, many think when they have a superficial reading of the Bible that it shall be plain. But we see a recurring theme and hidden from the wise and given to the meek. For example, the story of Abraham. Abraham was married to Sarah who couldn’t bare children. After this Abraham had relations with Hagar whose name means Sinai in Arabic. After her child was born (Ishmael) there was a promise to Sarah that she would have a child. After his birth Ishmael and Hagar both began to persecute Isaac and Sarah. Abraham then cast off the Ishmael and Hagar and sent them into the wilderness. After that Isaac became firstborn. Hagar was sent into the wilderness but YHWH still made provisions for them. This whole story is a prophetic of the nation of Israel being cast off and Jesus and the Bride being made firstborn. The nation of Israel persecuted Jesus as Hagar and Ishmael did Sarah and Isaac. Hagar was the bonds woman whose name means “Sinai” in Arabic. This is where the law was made with the Israelites. She was the servant of the family. This whole story is prophetic. Most Christians don’t even know this. They see it as just a story with Abraham. The fact that the nation of Israel represented Hagar and Isaac were still taken care of after casting them off corresponds to Israel being cast off in the time of Christ and being restored in May 14, 1948 just as bible prophesy has said would come true. I don’t think anyone can state that the prophesy and expectations of the restoration of Israel is not fulfilled in 1948. Many had this expectation long time before Israel was restored. Or how when Abraham went to sacrifice his son Isaac. Isaac carried the wood on his back to his sacrifice. This is a prophetic picture of Jesus carrying the wood on his back to his sacrifice. This shows that the books most plain stories can have prophetic significance. So whether you want to believe it or not is up to you.

    Your third and fourth paragraphs of your first post shows your lack of understanding. When the Bible shows the word “beast” many times it’s a meaning of government or system. But you assume that it means literal animals.

    Have you ever tried looking at the pro material for this rather than looking for information that matches your current view. On the outset of your answers you seem intelligent but we can see the lack of your understanding. If you researched further this is found in the scriptures you might see something that might shake your view. Here’s a reference exactly about what you state.
    http://www.aboutbibleprophecy.com/tyre.htm

    https://500questions.wordpress.com/2013/02/24/43-did-the-bible-accurately-predict-the-future-of-tyre-ezekiel-26/

    http://apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=13&article=1790

    If you only want to research what anti-Christian views then that’s what you’ll find. But if you don’t have any theological views then there’s no reason to continue this conversation. But you can’t take hints that when people don’t want to talk about it anymore you write back with ignorant information that you read offline that makes you appear smart when you don’t know deep meanings. I used to hate Christianity and would believe any information that would be in opposition to such. I read may books and had coherent arguments. Just remember that a fool can ask more questions in an hour than a wise man can answer in a day. If you feel the need to respond with the last response to make you look like you are the best then so be it. Have a great weekend. Over and out.

  • May 30, 2016 at 7:02 am
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    Chris,

    ***”You do know that “the rest of the dead did not come to life” is a spurious text correct. So all of
    Your “analysis” Is incorrect.”

    If this is the case then why did you state the following on May 19, 2016 at 11:45 pm:

    “No. Whe it says “did not come to life” doesn’t mean “ressurection”. It means being brought into everlasting life condition. Because their life depends on how the acted in the millennium.”

    Why have the Bible Students given a spurious text an interpretation thereby accepting it as a part of their theology?

    Also, on May 15, 2016 at 7:14 pm you stated:

    “And no not all those who are resurrected resist homosexuality. Remember some will be misled yet again when Satan is let out at the end of the millennial Age.”

    So, on the one hand your theology is saying that ALL of “the rest of the dead” will “be brought into everlasting condition” but on the other hand your theology is also saying that “some will be misled yet again when Satan is let out at the end of the millennial Age.” So clearly, not ALL of “the rest of the dead” are “brought into everlasting condition” as you stated.

    Whereas there is no where in the Bible which states that persons will have to wait for a 1000 years after being resurrected to know what their fate is, the Bible does show that there is a final personal judgment when Jesus would come with his angels at the end of the world to reward every person according to their works, on the basis of what each individual did in his/her lifetime.

    Matthew 16:27-28:
    “For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works. Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.”

    That a final judgment in which all people will be rewarded according to their works will occur when Jesus comes again is a well defined New Testament doctrine. The apostle Paul said, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10). The book of Revelation closed with a warning of this final judgment: “Behold, I come quickly and my reward is with me, to render to each man according to his works” (Revelation 22:10). In his interpretation of the parable of the tares, Jesus was very clear in saying to his disciples that the final judgment would take place at the end of the world.

    Matthew 13:37-43:
    “He that sows the good seed is the Son of Man; and the field is the world, and the good seed, these are the sons of the kingdom; and the tares are the sons of the evil one; and the enemy that sowed them is the devil: and the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are angels. As therefore the tares are gathered up and burned with fire; so shall it be in the end of the world. The Son of Man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that cause stumbling, and them that do iniquity, and shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be the weeping and the gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He that has ears, let him hear”.

    Other scriptures could be cited, but these are sufficient to show that the New Testament teaches that the second coming of Jesus will signal the end of the world, at which time there will be a final, personal judgment on the basis of what each individual did in his/her lifetime.
    _________

    ***”Actually the story is not saying we don’t have free will. You’re delving into Calvinism here. You’re choosing not go murder someone right now correct? Actions are always chosen.”

    If this is the case, then why do the Bible Students teach that we are all born in a world of pain and death because someone else (Adam and Eve) committed a sin. Your religion teaches that because Adam and Eve sinned, their descendants inherited sin and imperfection from them which is why humans do bad things, and why there is evil in the world. If it wasn’t for Adam and Eve’s sin, there would be no evil in the world. If it is because of Adam and Eve why we do bad things, then how can it be said that we act out of our own free will? How can it be said that free will is the cause of the suffering of mankind when the Bible Students teach that humans do bad things because of inherited sin and imperfection from Adam and Eve? Either we do bad things because of free will or we do bad things because of the sin which Adam and Eve committed. What is the point of God setting up a future millennium, according to your theology, to free/cleanse mankind from the effects of Adamic sin and imperfection if this inherited sin and imperfection is not the reason why humans do bad things? If it is because of free will why humans do bad things then why the need to put in place a millennium to free/cleanse mankind from the effects of Adamic sin and imperfection?

  • May 30, 2016 at 7:15 am
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    Chris,

    ***“Revelation 1:3:
    “Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the TIME IS NEAR.”
    What determines near? A 1000 years is but a day to God. So if God is telling him these things then from God perspective it’s is at hand.”

    If someone said to you:

    – This is a revelation of “things which must SHORTLY come to pass.” (Revelation 1:1) 

    – “the TIME IS NEAR”

    – “I am coming SOON” (Revelation 3:11)

    – “…The TIME IS NEAR……I am coming SOON…….Surely I am coming SOON” (Revelation 22:10, 12, 20)

    and you take this to mean almost 2000 years and counting that certainly is your choice to which you are entitled.

    We are supposed to believe that God inspired certain writers to tell people that Jesus would come again someday, but he chose to do so in language that had meaning only to an omniscient, omnipotent deity. “Soon” didn’t mean “soon,” and “at hand” didn’t mean “at hand,” as humans understand these terms, but as God understands them. Such an explanation makes God a devious entity who chose to reveal important information in sort of a secret code that would have meaning only to an omniscient, omnipotent deity. Even though God revealed the Bible for human benefit, he nevertheless inspired it in some sort of secret code that would be understood only by him.

    As far as I can see, Jesus said he was coming soon but then did not come.

    John of Patmos says his “Revelation” is addressed to “seven churches in Asia” of things that must “soon take place” . . . “for the time is near.” (1:1-4)  John of Patmos predictions are specifically addressed to the seven churches in Asia. These predicted events did not happen to those seven churches “soon,” in the near time. 
    ________

    Before one takes the prophecies in the book of Revelation to mean anything, it is worthwhile noting that there was much controversy over the acceptance of this book into the official Bible cannon:

    http://www.christian-community.org/library/revelheresy.html:
    “We should remember that “Revelation” was doubted in Eastern Christianity and not generally accepted into the New Testament until AD 508. Some ancient Christian branches still do not include it in their Bibles.”

    http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_ntb5d.htm:
    During the 1st century CE, Judaism was composed of about 24 separate religious groups. Some of these were the Sadducees, Pharisees, Essenes, various groups within the Christian movement, followers of John the Baptist, etc. One which had a strong political agenda was the Zealot party. The Zealots taught that a military-political Messiah would soon appear, as prophesized in the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament). He would conquer the world, and rule for a thousand years from Jerusalem.
    This concept of millennialism was promoted during the second century CE, by Montanus, a recent convert to Christianity. He prophesized that the New Jerusalem would shortly descend out of the clouds and land in a town called Phrygia. He set a date for the event, thus becoming one of the first Christians to predict when the end of the world would occur. His teachings were rejected by the rest of the Church. At the Synod of Iconium in 230 CE all baptisms performed by the Montanus sect were declared invalid. The Council of Constantinople in 380 CE went further, and declared millennialism to be a heresy.
    Because millennialists had traditionally used Revelation as the main source of their teachings, “the Church was slow to accept Revelation as scripture.”
    Origen, an early Christian theologian, used the term antilegomena to describe those books — including Hebrews, James 2 Peter, 2 John, 3 John and Revelation — whose inclusion in the official canon of the Bible was actively disputed. In the fourth century CE, when the canon of the Bible was assembled from among the approximately 50 gospels and hundreds of epistles then in use by the Christian movement, Revelation was only reluctantly included. “To this day, Orthodox churches do not use Revelation for scripture readings during worship.”
    Martin Luther downgraded the significance of Revelation. It portrays God as inflicting horrendous punishments on humanity — a concept that is today sometimes called “Ambush Theology.” Luther concluded that he could not readily harmonize the God described in Revelation with the God to whom Jesus prayed to as Abba. When Luther translated the Bible into the German language, he downgraded Revelation by relegating it to an appendix.

    • May 30, 2016 at 7:48 am
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      http://www.holybooks.info/revelation.html:

      “The Church Father Eusebius warned us that there were a number of previous writers who were concerned that Revelations was written by a heretic called Cerinthus, and he wrote the Book of Revelation in order to promulgate illegitimate ideas about a 1,000 years of paradise here on Earth. The disputes were long-lasting, and the Book of Revelation was often rejected from Bibles as a result of its dubious legitimacy:

      “[The Book of Revelation has] been many times rejected from the sacred canon. It did not appear in the Syriac Testament as late as 1562. Neither did Luther, the great reformer of the sixteenth century, nor his coworker, Erasmus, respect it, Luther declaring that for his part he would as soon it had not been written; Calvin, also, had small regard for it. The first collection of the New Testament canon, decided upon by the Council of Laodicea (A. D. 364), omitted the entire book from its list of sacred works; Jerome said that some Greek churches would not receive it. The celebrated Vatican codex in the papal library, the oldest uncial or Biblical manuscript in existence, does not contain Revelation. The canon of the New Testament was fixed as it now is by Pope Innocent I., A. D. 405, with the Book of Revelation still in dispute.”

      Source: “The Woman’s Bible” by Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1898)”

  • May 30, 2016 at 7:59 am
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    Chris,

    ***”You know know I thought you were just smart. But most of your word in these paragraphs are not research. They are click and paste off that site. Wow. No use arguing with that. Now I can finally go in peace. Have a nice life.”

    What do you consider to be research if using the information provided by a website is not research? I note that you have done similarly by posting links to various websites in your comments – do you consider this to be research?

    Can you or can’t you rebutt the arguments presented? Is the information which I posted (which was sourced from a website) factual or fallacious? The factualness or the fallaciousness of the information posted is what is at issue for debate not the source of the information, whether it came from a website or some other source such as a book.

    ***”……This whole story is a prophetic of the nation of Israel being cast off and Jesus and the Bride being made firstborn.”

    The following restoration prophecy was made by Jeremiah to the exiles:
    “They will come with weeping; they will pray as I bring them back. I will lead them beside streams of water on a level path where they will not stumble, because I am Israel’s father, and EPHRAIM IS MY FIRSTBORN SON” (Jeremiah 31:9; emphasis mine).

    How can Jesus and the Bride be made firstborn when God clearly states that EPHRAIM IS HIS FIRSTBORN SON?

    ***”corresponds to Israel being cast off in the time of Christ and being restored in May 14, 1948 just as bible prophesy has said would come true. I don’t think anyone can state that the prophesy and expectations of the restoration of Israel is not fulfilled in 1948. Many had this expectation long time before Israel was restored.”

    – As I stated before, according to Ezekiel chapter 4, Ezekiel engages in various dramatic signs – prophetic signs or actions – to convey his message. He binds himself in ropes; he lies on his left side 390 days to symbolize the390 years of exile of Israel, and then he lies on his right side for 40 days to symbolize the length of Judah’s captivity, which he says will be 40 years.
    40 years from 586/587BCE when the temple in Jerusalem fell and a second deportation of Jewish exiles occurred, end long before 1948 CE.

    Why would God deceive Ezekiel who thought God was talking about Israel being restored in 546/547BCE rather than 2534 years later?

  • May 30, 2016 at 8:13 am
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    Chris,

    In the following article, a debate between “Kinsella” and “Till”, “Till” addresses the claim that Ezekiel 4:1-8 contains an incredibily accurate prediction of the restoration of Israel in 1948:

    http://www.theskepticalreview.com/jftprophecyezekiel4.html:

    “Ezekiel’s “Exact” Prophecy of the Restoration of Israel by Farrell Till” :

    Kinsella:
    And finally, we return to Israel. In Leviticus 26:3, 7-8, the Bible says that the army of Israel would have a supernatural power to prevail during times of conflict. Leviticus says that 5 people would be able to chase away 100 people, and that 100 would be able to chase away 10,000.

    Till:
    I like for readers to have before them whatever texts on which a biblical inerrantist–and especially the prophecy-fulfillment type–is basing claims like this one. I will emphasize an important section of this passage that Kinsella skipped over in his citation above.

    Leviticus 26:3 If you follow my statutes and keep my commandments and observe them faithfully, 4 I will give you your rains in their season, and the land shall yield its produce, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. 5 Your threshing shall overtake the vintage, and the vintage shall overtake the sowing; you shall eat your bread to the full, and live securely in your land. 6 And I will grant peace in the land, and you shall lie down, and no one shall make you afraid; I will remove dangerous animals from the land, and no sword shall go through your land. 7 You shall give chase to your enemies, and they shall fall before you by the sword. 8 Five of you shall give chase to a hundred, and a hundred of you shall give chase to ten thousand; your enemies shall fall before you by the sword.

    As readers can see, Kinsella conveniently skipped three verses in this passage. I will show the significance of those verses later, but first I want to point out that Kinsella has also tried to apply this passage to a time and situation for which it was never intended. If readers will flip back to chapter 25 in the book of Leviticus, they will see that a section began here that gave instructions to the Israelites concerning what they were to do after they crossed into Canaan and what Yahweh would do for them. The verses that Kinsella cited above are a part of that broader context.

    Leviticus 25:1 Yahweh spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai, saying: 2 Speak to the people of Israel and say to them: When you enter the land that I am giving you, the land shall observe a sabbath for Yahweh. 3 Six years you shall sow your field, and six years you shall prune your vineyard, and gather in their yield….

    This text claims that these were words that Yahweh spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai concerning what the Israelites were to do when they entered the land that Yahweh was giving them. At the time, the Israelites were still about 40 years from crossing into Canaan, so when he tries to apply this text to a reentering of the land some 3,500 years afterwards, Kinsella is putting a spin on the text that he is obligated to prove. He can’t just assert that the text was referring to a restoration of Israel thousands of years later; he must show that this was what the text referred to. I defy him to quote the language of the text that even suggests that this was its intended meaning.

    Anyone who will take the time to read from the verses I just quoted above down to 26:3ff, which Kinsella is trying to apply to AD 1948, he should see that the entire passage was giving instructions that the Israelites were to follow when they entered the land that Yahweh was giving [snicker, snicker] them. Notice, for example, that Leviticus 26:5-6, which Kinsella conveniently skipped, said, “(Y)ou shall eat your bread to the full, and live securely in your land. And I will grant peace in the land, and you shall lie down, and no one shall make you afraid; I will remove dangerous animals from the land, and no sword shall go through your land.” There are five separate promises made in this text that clearly show that this could not have been a prophecy about modern Israel, unless Kinsella wants to admit that the prophecy obviously failed.

    You shall… live securely in the land: Even before the day that Israel declared its independence in 1948, it has been rocked with continual turmoil and terrorists attacks. Since that could hardly be regarded as “liv[ing] securely in the land,” this verse either was not referring to what would happen in Israel in AD 1948 or else what it prophesied has failed to materialize. I suspect that the second alternative will be unacceptable to Kinsella and his deluded sycophants, so let him explain why verses 7-8 were prophecies of events in the Israel of AD 1948, but the two verses just before them weren’t. By what principle of hermeneutics and literary interpretation did Kinsella arrive at such an idea as this?

    You shall lie down, and no one shall make you afraid: Is Kinsella so uninformed about modern history of Israel that he could actually claim with a straight face that Israelis have been able to “lie down” since 1948 without being afraid? If so, he needs more help than I can give him, because Israelis live in daily fear of terrorist activities that continually threaten their lives.

    I will remove dangerous animals from the land: I suppose there could have been dangerous animals in the land of Canaan before the Israelites went in to possess it 3,500 years ago, but I doubt that dangerous animals in the land were any big problem for Israelis to worry about in 1948. The reference to “dangeous animals” that didn’t exist in the Palestine of 1948 is evidence that this passage was referring to the land that was contemporary to those times and not to modern Israel.

    No sword shall go through your land: I suppose that Kinsella could argue in a literal sense that this has been fulfilled, but terrorist bombing and the shooting of Israeli citizens by their Palestinian enemies would certainly mean that figurative swords have repeatedly gone through the land and still continue to do so. Is Kinsella willing to say that this part of the prophecy failed?

    I will grant peace in the land: How could anyone say that this prophecy has been fulfilled in modern Israel? The Israelis have enjoyed no peace from the time that they took possession of Palestine in 1948. Hence, we see that Kinsella has been playing the popular “smorgasbord” game of Christians, who pick and choose from the Bible what appeals to them and reject the rest. Kinsella was rather flagrant about this in his article, because he omitted all references to verses in Leviticus 26 that show that this passage couldn’t possibly be construed by any reasonable person as an accurate prophecy of Israel’s restoration in 1948.

    As I continue my rebuttal of Kinsella’s article, I will be saying more about his misapplication of Leviticus 26:7-8, but to cut his next “argument” off at the knees, I first want to notice that military victories over vastly superior enemy forces is not at all unusual.

    In 490 BC, an Athenian army that was outnumbered three to one by Persian forces won an overwhelming victory at Marathon. On October 25, 1415, a numerically superior French army, having an estimated 30,000 soldiers, was defeated by just 5,000 English archers and 900 soldiers in the battle of Agincourt. Such victories over great odds is no indication at all that a god was fighting with the outnumbered forces. Tactical strategies accounted for these victories, so unless Kinsella can prove that the god Yahweh actually did fight for the Israelis, he has nothing to support his case but argumentation by assertion.

  • May 30, 2016 at 8:20 am
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    Chris,

    Kinsella:
    On May 15, 1948, Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Iraq, and Lebanon invaded Israel. The combined populations of these countries was at least 20 million at the time, versus less than a million Israelis.

    Till:
    Actually the population of Israel at that time was only 600,000, but that is only a minor discrepancy compared to Kinsella’s distortion of what happened when Israel declared independence in 1948. He would have us believe that a nation outnumbered 20 to one was able to defeat the Arab legions, but that is far from an accurate picture of what really happened. First of all, the Israelis received more help from foreign volunteers than they did from their god Yahweh. Of the thousands of foreign volunteers recruited by the Israelis, many of them were veterans of World War II, so this gave them the advantage of troops experienced in battle, which the Arabs didn’t have. Israel also obtained B-17 bombers from the United States, an acquisition that gave them air supremacy. Kinsella conveniently failed to mention any of this. He would have his readers believe that the Israelis won because they had Yahweh fighting on their side.

    The five Arab nations that Kinsella mentioned above did invade Israel, but he also failed to mention that the two superpowers of that time, the United States and the Soviet Union, as well as other countries, immediately recognized the independence of Israel and put pressure on the Arabs to withdraw. On May 29, 1948, Andrei Gromyko, the Soviet delegate to the UN, denounced the Arabs in a speech to the Security Council.

    This is not the first time that the Arab states, which organized the invasion of Palestine, have ignored a decision of the Security Council or of the General Assembly. The USSR delegation deems it essential that the council should state its opinion more clearly and more firmly with regard to this attitude of the Arab states toward decisions of the Security Council (Official Records of the Security Council, SA/Agenda/77, May 29, 1948, p. 2).

    When the United Nations threatened to censure them for aggression, the Arab nations withdrew, so this was not a case of a puny Israeli army defeating an army of millions of Arabs. It was a simple matter of political pressure from the superpowers that ended the war. For the sake of argument, however, let’s just assume that a vastly outnumbered Israeli army did engage and defeat a superior Arab army. What would make that any different from the Greek victory at Marathon or the English victory at Agincourt or Wellington’s defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo? An abiding failure of prophecy-fulfillment fanatics is that they see what they want to see in Near Eastern events. Any time that a person of any prominence at all in the Near East sneezes, prophecy-fulfillment fanatics will scream, “Prophecy fulfillment!”

    Kinsella:
    When the war was over, not only had Israel driven off the invaders, but she expanded her territory by over fifty percent.

    Till:
    I just showed that Kinsella’s interpretations of the events of that time are gross distortions of what really happened. Israel did not “drive off” the invaders; the UN threat to censure the Arab states drove them off. As for the expansion of territory, this was negotiated after the cease fire, when Israel gained territory through UN partitioning. If Kinsella really believes the distortions he is posting on his website, he seriously needs to research Near Eastern history of that period.

    In that conflict, by the way, Israel suffered 6,373 casualities, which was one percent of its population of 650,000. Perhaps Kinsella can explain to us why Israel would have suffered such relatively high casualties if Yahweh was fighting on its side. After all, the Bible claims that the Israelites, at Yahweh’s biding (Num. 31:1-3), invaded Midian and killed all of the males without suffering a single casualty.

    Numbers 31:48 Then the officers who were over the thousands of the army, the commanders of thousands and the commanders of hundreds, approached Moses, 49 and said to Moses, “Your servants have counted the warriors who are under our command, and not one of us is missing.

    If Yahweh could have kept an army of 600,000 (Ex. 12:37) completely from harm in the invasion of an enemy nation, why couldn’t he have kept the Israeli army from suffering such heavy casualties during the 1948 war? Well, the answer is obvious to any reasonable person. The Israelis had no divine help in that war. If they really did have Yahweh fighting for them, they should have gotten another god to help them.

    When I was in Bible college, my international relations instructor was fired because he said in class that during wars God is on the side that has the most guns. What he said is basically true, but as I noted above, the weaker sides sometimes are victorious over the stronger, but those victories are always due to superior battle strategies and tactics. One has to be simple minded to think that the weaker armies sometimes win because God is on their side. If an omniscient, omnipotent deity were really fighting on one side during a war, that army, like the Israelite army that defeated Midian, would suffer no casualties at all.

    Kinsella:
    The 1967 war lasted only six days and left Israel in control of Jerusalem for the first time in 2000 years.

    Till:
    And this proves what? Israel suffered 115 casualties in just the battle for the Golan Heights and 777 dead and 2,586 wounded altogether. Is that any way for an omniscient, omnipotent god to fight on the side of his “chosen people”? What happened to the shield of protection under which he led the Israelite army in biblical times?

    Anyway, I am glad to see Kinsella admit that Jerusalem was out of Israel’s control for 2,000 years, because that admission is itself recognition of the failure of another biblical prophecy, which prophecy-fulfillment fanatics rarely mention, because Yahweh had promised that Jerusalem would forever remain in Judean control for the sake of David, who had always obeyed Yahweh.

    When the northern kingdom [Israel] split from the southern kingdom [Judah], presumably at Yahweh’s biding, he promised that in appreciation of David’s righteousness, he would always keep Judah intact.

    1 Kings 11:34 Nevertheless I will not take the whole kingdom away from him [Solomon] but will make him ruler all the days of his life, for the sake of my servant David whom I chose and who did keep my commandments and my statutes; 35 but I will take the kingdom away from his son and give it to you–that is, the ten tribes. 36 Yet to his son I will give one tribe, so that my servant David may always have a lamp before me in Jerusalem, the city where I have chosen to put my name.

    Repeated promises were made to keep Jerusalem always intact for David’s sake. When Abijam turned out to be a king “who walked in all the sins of his father” (1 Kings 15:3), Yahweh nevertheless “gave him a lamp in Jerusalem” to establish Jerusalem, because David had always done right “in the eyes of Yahweh” (vs:5-6). Reference to this promise was made again when king Jehoram of Judah also turned out to be a bad egg.

    2 Kings 8:19 Yet Yahweh would not destroy Judah, for the sake of his servant David, since he had promised to give a lamp to him and to his descendants forever.

    A lot more could be said about the repetition of this promise in the Old Testament, but overkill isn’t necessary. Suffice it to say that Yahweh clearly promised to keep Jerusalem and Judah permanently in the possession of David’s descendants, but eventually Judah fell to Nebuchadnezzar, the Judeans went into captivity, regained their homeland during the reign of Cyrus of Persia, but then lost it again. By Kinsella’s own admission, the Jews lost control of Jerusalem for over 2,000 years, so he has inadvertently made a comment that shows that instead of being a book of amazing prophecies, the Bible is a book full of dismal prophecy failures.

    Kinsella:
    The 1973 Yom Kippur War was over in a couple of weeks.

    Till:
    Yes, it was, but the cost was 2,688 dead. If I were an Israeli official, I wouldn’t want Yahweh fighting for me in the next war.

    At this point, Kinsella turned to trying to prove that the restoration of Israel in 1948 was predicted in biblical prophecy. In so doing, he appropriated an absurd prophecy-fulfillment claim that has been discredited numerous times. Some inerrantists have presented this same prophetic flapdoodle on the Errancy internet list, so it wasn’t at all new to me. Those inerrantists went into hiding as quickly as their fulfillment claims were refuted, and I suspect that Kinsella, who has already gone into hiding after declining my challenge to debate this issue, will remain there. Readers will soon see just how ridiculous this “countdown” prophecy claim is.

    Kinsella:
    The Year 1948 marked the end of one Divine Countdown and the beginning of another. The first Divine Countdown dealt with the duration of Israel’s Diaspora.

    Till:
    This is how Kinsella introduced his recycled claim that Ezekiel 4:5-6 predicted the exact time of Israel’s restoration in 1948. I will now take that claim point by point and dismantle it.

    Kinsella:
    In Ezekiel 4:5-6, the prophet records the period determined by God as punishment for Israel’s disobedience:

    “For I have laid upon thee the years of their iniquity, according to the number of the days, three hundred and ninety days: so shalt thou bear the iniquity of the house of Israel. And when thou hast accomplished them, lie again on thy right side, and thou shalt bear the iniquity of the house of Judah forty days: I have appointed thee each day for a year.”
    Till:
    If readers will notice the bold-print emphasis that I have added to Kinsella’s quotation of Ezekiel 4:5-6, they will see where this recycled prophecy-fulfillment claim begins to come apart at the seams. As readers can see, Kinsella–or rather the source from which he borrowed this fulfillment claim–interprets it to mean that Yahweh was telling Ezekiel how long the Judeans would be in Babylonian captivity, but in actuality, this passage was referring to two separate captivities, the captivity of the house of Israel or the northern kingdom, and the captivity of the house of Judah. Two separate time periods were clearly identified in this text, so the most sensible interpretation of the passage is that Ezekiel was writing about two different captivities, the captivities of Israel (the northern kingdom) by Assyria, which occurred in 734 and 722 BC, and the captivity of Judah, which occurred in 597 BC, when Jerusalem fell to Nebuchadnezzar, and again in 587 when Babylon captured Jerusalem a second time. Israel’s captivity by Assyria is recorded in 2 Kings 15-17, and Judah’s captivity by Babylonia is recorded in 2 Kings 24-25 and Jeremiah 52. To the Hebrew mentality of this era, the Jews were Yahweh’s chosen people, so if they were taken captive, this had to have resulted from something they had done that was causing Yahweh to punish them, but Isaiah, whose “ministry” covered the time of the northern kingdom’s fall to Assyria, prophesied that the punishment would end and a remnant of Israel would be preserved and brought back from captivity.

    Isaiah 10:12 When the Lord has finished all his work on Mount Zion and on Jerusalem, he will punish the arrogant boasting of the king of Assyria and his haughty pride. 13 For he says: “By the strength of my hand I have done it, and by my wisdom, for I have understanding; I have removed the boundaries of peoples, and have plundered their treasures; like a bull I have brought down those who sat on thrones. 14 My hand has found, like a nest, the wealth of the peoples; and as one gathers eggs that have been forsaken, so I have gathered all the earth; and there was none that moved a wing, or opened its mouth, or chirped.” 15 Shall the ax vaunt itself over the one who wields it, or the saw magnify itself against the one who handles it? As if a rod should raise the one who lifts it up, or as if a staff should lift the one who is not wood! 16 Therefore the Sovereign, Yahweh of hosts, will send wasting sickness among his stout warriors, and under his glory a burning will be kindled, like the burning of fire. 17 The light of Israel will become a fire, and his Holy One a flame; and it will burn and devour his thorns and briers in one day. 18 The glory of his forest and his fruitful land Yahweh will destroy, both soul and body, and it will be as when an invalid wastes away. 19 The remnant of the trees of his forest will be so few that a child can write them down. 20 On that day the remnant of Israel and the survivors of the house of Jacob will no more lean on the one who struck them, but will lean on Yahweh, the Holy One of Israel, in truth. 21 A remnant will return, the remnant of Jacob, to the mighty God. 22 For though your people Israel were like the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will return. Destruction is decreed, overflowing with righteousness. 23 For the Lord GOD of hosts will make a full end, as decreed, in all the earth. 24 Therefore thus says the Lord GOD of hosts: O my people, who live in Zion, do not be afraid of the Assyrians when they beat you with a rod and lift up their staff against you as the Egyptians did. 25 For in a very little while my indignation will come to an end, and my anger will be directed to their destruction. 26 Yahweh of hosts will wield a whip against them, as when he struck Midian at the rock of Oreb; his staff will be over the sea, and he will lift it as he did in Egypt. 27 On that day his burden will be removed from your shoulder, and his yoke will be destroyed from your neck.

    Another of Isaiah’s prophecies of Israel’s return is in 35:8-10.

    35:8 A highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Holy Way; the unclean shall not travel on it, but it shall be for God’s people; no traveler, not even fools, shall go astray. 9 No lion shall be there, nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it; they shall not be found there, but the redeemed shall walk there. 10 And the ransomed of Yahweh shall return, and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

    • May 30, 2016 at 8:27 am
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      Yet again you’ve managed to click and paste. No that’s not research it’s dishonestly. But if you feel the need to research skeptics guides and claims their view as your own then done it. It’s only searching for evidence that confirms your pre existing view. Sites like “skeptics guides” only reaffirm to you what you already believe. But that ok. There’s back and forth refutations for each of your points. so
      Which do we believe? I’m sure you’ll find the click and paste answer which shows your lack of I tellyevece to think for yourself. So keep clicking and pasting because I don’t emirate you have the cognitive ability to think for yourself. I can go to any website that will back up what I believe. So you keep doing that and I’m going to keep in belief that what I do.

      • June 3, 2016 at 1:15 pm
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        @Chris:

        ****”Yet again you’ve managed to click and paste. No that’s not research it’s dishonestly. But if you feel the need to research skeptics guides and claims their view as your own……..”

        In all instances, I provided the website from which I took the information as a reference. I have even provided the names of two persons who debated your 1948 claim. I provided information directly from these various websites because I am in agreement with the points made. I indicated whenever I was quoting directly from a website instead of claiming that I am the originator of the information as you are wrongfully accusing me of doing.

    • May 30, 2016 at 8:32 am
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      You’ve managed to click and past site such as “isitgodsword”. “Skeptics guide”. And logical
      Person can see that you only search sources that back uk what you believe. But that ok. If that’s what you want to believe I’m sure you’re happy with it. I look at both sides and not just one view. Can I not Google “why evolution is false” and come with the same conclusion you did? I.e finding material that backs up my view and paste it as logical information? Yes I can. So go on believing what you do or should I say clicking and pasting your beliefs. This time I’m not coming back because someone who doesn’t think for themselves and only find sources to match what they believe currently takes as much faith as a theist. Bye now

    • May 30, 2016 at 8:40 am
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      Oh and by the way. You said the restoration happened way before 1948. The prophesy said they would never again be scattered. They were after the days of Jesus. So that’s not it. 1948. Just as Zionist said it would happen. But you didn’t find that in a click and paste did you?

      • June 3, 2016 at 12:56 pm
        Permalink

        @Chris:

        ****”Oh and by the way. You said the restoration happened way before 1948. The prophesy said they would never again be scattered. They were after the days of Jesus. So that’s not it. 1948. Just as Zionist said it would happen. But you didn’t find that in a click and paste did you?”

        I have never stated that “the restoration happened way before 1948.”
        Ezekiel’s prophecy regarding the restoration of Israel and Judah is a failed prophecy period. It has NEVER been fulfilled.

        This was what I stated on May 30, 2016 at 7:59 am:

        »»»»»»»……according to Ezekiel chapter 4, Ezekiel engages in various dramatic signs – prophetic signs or actions – to convey his message. He binds himself in ropes; he lies on his left side 390 days to symbolize the 390 years of exile of Israel, and then he lies on his right side for 40 days to symbolize the length of Judah’s captivity, which he says will be 40 years.

        40 years from 586/587BCE when the temple in Jerusalem fell and a second deportation of Jewish exiles occurred, ended long before 1948 CE.

        Why would God deceive Ezekiel who thought God was talking about Judah being restored in 546/547BCE rather than 2534 years later?”«««««««

        The northern kingdom of Israel was NEVER restored 390 years after it fell to the Assyrians in 722BCE – 390 years hence would be 332BCE.

        40 years from 586/587BCE when the temple in Jerusalem fell and a second deportation of Jewish exiles occurred would be 546/547BCE. The Southern kingdom of Judah was NOT restored in 546/547BCE.

        Or if the first deportation of exiles in 597BCE is used instead, 40 years hence would be 557 BCE. The Southern kingdom of Judah was NOT restored in 557 BCE.

        Ezekiel’s restoration prophecy is a FAILED prophecy. Period.

  • May 30, 2016 at 8:27 am
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    Chris,

    Another prophecy by Isaiah that Israel (the northern tribes) would be brought back from captivity can be found in 52:3ff, but for brevity’s sake, I won’t quote it. The important point to notice is that the captivity of the house of Israel happened well over a century before the house of Judah was taken into Babylonian captivity, so Isaiah could not have been talking about the Judean captivity. By Ezekiel’s time, the prophecies that Israel (the northern kingdom) would be returned had not been fulfilled, and to complicate matters, Judah, the southern kingdom had been taken into captivity too. Ezekiel 4:1ff, then, was just another prophetic attempt to predict that Yahweh would bring his people out of captivity. The only difference was that Ezekiel had two captivities to predict an end to rather than the one that Isaiah had prophesied. Kinsella’s recycled fulfillment claim errs in that it added together the “days” for the punishment of the house of Israel and the “days” for the punishment of the house of Judah to get a total of 430 “days,” which he then twisted to make both punishments begin with the captivity of the house of Judah. One doesn’t have to be an expert in hermeneutics to see the error in the fulfillment claim that Kinsella is trying to peddle to his gullible website subscribers. It is tragic that we live in a society so gullible that charlatans like him can make a living peddling religious nonsense.

    If, then, we accept the one-day-equaled-one-year formula stated in Ezekiel 4:6, the meaning of the prophecy becomes that Israel (the northern kingdom) would be in captivity for 390 years, and Judah (the southern kingdom)would be in captivity for 40 years. When I come to the part of Kinsella’s article where he tried to make the 390 + 40 “days” (years) extend to AD 1948, I will show that there is good reason to believe that Ezekiel 4:5 originally said 150 days (years) rather than 390, and readers will see that this really throws a big monkeywrench into Kinsella’s fulfillment claim.

    Kinsella:
    Babylon was later conquered by Cyrus in 539 BC. Cyrus allowed the Jews to leave Babylon and to return to their homeland. But, only a small number returned. The return had taken place sometime around 536 BC,

    Till:
    Where does Kinsella get 536 BC as the date of the return of the Judeans to their homeland? As Kinsella correctly stated, Cyrus conquered Babylon in 539 BC, but that same year he issued an edict that allowed the Judeans to return to Jerusalem.

    Ezra 1:1 In the first year of King Cyrus of Persia, in order that the word of Yahweh by the mouth of Jeremiah might be accomplished, Yahweh stirred up the spirit of King Cyrus of Persia so that he sent a herald throughout all his kingdom, and also in a written edict declared: 2 “Thus says King Cyrus of Persia: Yahweh, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and he has charged me to build him a house at Jerusalem in Judah. 3 Any of those among you who are of his people–may their God be with them!–are now permitted to go up to Jerusalem in Judah, and rebuild the house of Yahweh, the God of Israel–he is the God who is in Jerusalem; 4 and let all survivors, in whatever place they reside, be assisted by the people of their place with silver and gold, with goods and with animals, besides freewill offerings for the house of God in Jerusalem.”
    If Cyrus issued this edict in the first year of his reign over Babylon, which would have been 539 BC, why does Kinsella think that the Judeans didn’t return home till three years later? Aside from just parroting something that he has read without bothering to check it for accuracy, the Bible itself does not support the 536 BC date, because there is no scripture that I know of that indicates that the Judeans waited three years after Cyrus’s decree to begin their return to Jerusalem. Indeed, there are reasons to think that the Judeans left right after they had received permission to return. After Ezra recorded the decree of Cyrus, he certainly indicated a departure that was much sooner than a three-year delay. The decree stipulated that the people [Babylonians] were to assist the Judeans with contributions of gold,silver, goods, animals, and other valuables.

    Ezra 1:5 The heads of the families of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests and the Levites–everyone whose spirit God had stirred–got ready to go up and rebuild the house of Yahweh in Jerusalem. 6 All their neighbors aided them with silver vessels, with gold, with goods, with animals, and with valuable gifts, besides all that was freely offered. 7 King Cyrus himself brought out the vessels of the house of Yahweh that Nebuchadnezzar had carried away from Jerusalem and placed in the house of his gods. 8 King Cyrus of Persia had them released into the charge of Mithredath the treasurer, who counted them out to Sheshbazzar the prince of Judah. 9 And this was the inventory: gold basins, thirty; silver basins, one thousand; knives, twenty-nine; 10 gold bowls, thirty; other silver bowls, four hundred ten; other vessels, one thousand; 11 the total of the gold and silver vessels was five thousand four hundred. All these Sheshbazzar brought up, when the exiles were brought up from Babylonia to Jerusalem.
    Are we to suppose that it took three years for “everyone whose spirit God had stirred” to get ready to go up to Jerusalem? Are we to suppose that these Judeans took three years to gather the gifts from their neightbors and then leave? This passage is reminiscent of something that allegedly happened at the time of the exodus from Egypt, when the Egyptians gave the Hebrews gifts of silver, jewels, and gold (Ex. 12:35), and the exodus legend claims that the Israelites left Egypt on that “selfsame day” (Ex. 12:17, 41, 51). If the exodus from Egypt had taken place so quickly, why did the Judeans in Babylonian captivity take so long to leave? Perhaps Kinsella can tell us.

    There is, in fact, a passage that implies that the Judeans were in their homeland by the seventh month.

    Ezra 3:1 When the seventh month came, and the Israelites were in the towns, the people gathered together in Jerusalem.
    Admittedly, this verse doesn’t say that this was the seventh month of the first year of Cyrus, but it is certainly reasonable to so understand it. Ezra dated the first chapter of his book with the first year of Cyrus’s reign, and after telling of the assistance of their neigbors after those “whose spirit God had stirred” prepared to return to Jerusalem, Ezra gave a census in chapter 2 of those who were returning. After completing the census list, he then said what I just quoted above: “When the seventh month came, the Israelites were in their towns.” If Ezra didn’t mean the 7th month after Cyrus had issued his decree, the Holy Spirit was somewhat careless in having Ezra to date the passage so ambiguously.

    Some proponents of the prophecy-fulfillment claim that Kinsella is trying to peddle will argue that since some 42,000 were in the group of Judeans that returned to Jerusalem, it could have taken as long as three years for them to complete the journey, but a seven-month journey to the homeland of the Judeans would certainly have been consistent with what Ezra said about how long it had taken him to make a journey from Babylon to Jerusalem in the company of a sizable entourage.

    Ezra 7:6 (T)his Ezra went up from Babylonia. He was a scribe skilled in the law of Moses that Yahweh the God of Israel had given; and the king granted him all that he asked, for the hand of Yahweh his God was upon him. 7 Some of the people of Israel, and some of the priests and Levites, the singers and gatekeepers, and the temple servants also went up to Jerusalem, in the seventh year of King Artaxerxes. 8 They came to Jerusalem in the fifth month, which was in the seventh year of the king. 9 On the first day of the first month the journey up from Babylon was begun, and on the first day of the fifth month he came to Jerusalem, for the gracious hand of his God was upon him.
    So Ezra, traveling with an entourage of “some of the people of Israel, and some of the priests and Levites, the singers and gatekeepers, and the temple servants” made a trip from Babylon to Jerusalem in just four months. If a group of this size could have completed the journey in four months, surely the 42,000 could have made the trip quicker than the three years postulated by Kinsella’s fulfillment claim. Aside from this, there is another point that must be considered. As soon as the Judeans left Babylon, their captivity would have ended, so even if they did take three years to make the trip home, those would have been three years of freedom. Hence, their “punishment” would have ended in 539 BC. If not, why not?

    Kinsella:
    70 years after Judah lost independence to Babylon as Jeremiah predicted.

    Till:
    I will soon show that Kinsella’s math is bad again, but first, let’s notice that 70 is not 40. The fulfillment claim, based on Ezekiel 4:5-6, that Kinsella is trying to sell us said that Ezekiel was to “lie on [his] right side and bear the iniquity of the house of Judah” for “forty days, each day for a year” (v:6). Hence, the “prophecy” was that the house of Judah would be punished in captivity for forty years, not seventy.

    So where did Kinsella, or rather those from whom he appropriated this fulfillment claim, get the 70 years? Well, as he himself stipulated above, he was referring to what Jeremiah had predicted, and Jeremiah did predict 70 years of captivity in Babylon (Jer. 25:11; 29:10), so who was right about the duration of the “punishment” (captivity) of the house of Judah, Ezekiel or Jeremiah? Maybe Kinsella can tell us.

    Even Jeremiah’s prediction of 70 years of captivity turned out to be incorrect. As noted above, Nebuchadnezzar captured Jerusalem in 597 BC, at which time he took the first wave of captives to Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar became king in 605 BC and besieged Jerusalem in the eighth year of his reign.

    2 Kings 24:10 At that time [Jehoiachin’s brief reign] the servants of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came up to Jerusalem, and the city was besieged. 11 King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came to the city, while his servants were besieging it; 12 King Jehoiachin of Judah gave himself up to the king of Babylon, himself, his mother, his servants, his officers, and his palace officials. The king of Babylon took him prisoner in the eighth year of his reign.
    If Nebuchadnezzar became king in 605 BC and if he besieged Jerusalem in the eighth year of his reign, the siege would have happened in 597 BC, which agrees with what Babylonian records say about the siege, so if the captivity of the house of Judah began in 597 BC and if it ended in the first year of the reign of Cyrus in 539 BC, the Judean captivity lasted only 58 years. Even if we take Kinsella’s date of 536 BC for the end of the captivity, that would extend the captivity only three more years, and 61 would not be 70. Some proponents of this prophecy-fulfillment claim that the Judean captivity began in 605 BC. This date is based on Daniel’s claim that Nebuchadnezzar besieged Jerusalem in “the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim” (Dan. 1:1), which would have been 605 BC, but there is no evidence, either biblical or extrabiblical, to support this claim.

    The Babylonian siege of Jerusalem is well documented by both biblical records and the Babylonian chronicle. Except for the rankest of fundamentalists, who want the book of Daniel to be “inerrant,” scholars agree that Jerusalem was sieged by Babylon the first time in 597 BC and that the events of that time hardly allow for a siege of Jerusalem in 605 BC.

    Jehoiakim was made vassal king of Judah by Pharaoh Necoh (2 Kings 23:34). He was twenty-five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned for 11 years (2 Kings 23:36). According to undisputed chronology, Jehoiakim’s reign began in 609 BC and lasted till 598 BC. If, as Daniel 1:1 claims, Nebuchadnezzar besieged Jerusalem in Jehoiakim’s third year, this siege would have been in 606/605 BC, but there is no supporting evidence that such a siege took place. The biblical record claims that Jehoiakim was a vassal of Egypt during the initial years of his reign and that he taxed the people in order to pay tribute of gold and silver to Pharaoh Necoh (2 Kings 23:35), so the biblical record doesn’t support the claim of a siege during the third year of Jehoiakim, which would have been 605 BC.

    Nebuchadnezzar defeated the Egyptians in 605 BC at Carchemish, which would have been the third or fourth year of Jehoiakim (depending on whether his years on the throne were calculated by an accession or first-of-the-year formula), and in the scroll that Jehoiakim burned (35:23), Jeremiah prophesied in the fifth year of Jehoiakim (36:9) that “the king of Babylon” would “certainly come and destroy this land” (36:29). If Nebuchadnezzar had already besieged Jerusalem and taken captives in Jehoiakim’s third year, why was Jeremiah prophesying two years later (in Jehoiakim’s fifth year) that the Babylonian king would come and destroy the land?

    When Nebuchadnezzar defeated the Egyptians in 605 BC at Carchemish, which was about 400 miles from Jerusalem, the vassalage of Judah passed to Nebuchadnezzar without any actual Babylonian military action against Jerusalem. Jehoiakim then served Nebuchadnezzar for three years (2 Kings 24:1), but in 601 BC, the Egyptians had regrouped and won a battle against the Babylonians. Apparently Jehoiakim was emboldened by the Babylonian defeat to rebel against Babylon, and this prompted Nebuchadnezzar to send bands of Syrian, Moabite, and Ammonite troops (now incorporated into his army by virtue of his having defeated the Assyrians) against Judah (2 Kings 24:2). This would have happened in Jehoiakim’s eighth year, but keep in mind that the biblical record claims that Jehoiakim reigned 11 years.

    Three years later, Nebuchadnezzar “came up to Jerusalem, and the city was besieged” (2 Kings 24:10). At this time, Jehoiakim had died, and his son Jehoiachin was reigning (24:6-8). As noted above, Jehoiachin “went out to the king of Babylon” with his mother, servants, princes, and officers, and surrendered to “the king of Babylon” (24:12). Notice that this verse explicitly states that this happened in the eighth year of the reign of the king of Babylon (Nebuchadnezzar).

    As noted above, Nebuchadnezzar was involved with the Egyptians at Carchemish in 605 BC, which was also the year that his father Nabopolassar died. When word of his father’s death reached him, Nebuchadnezzar rode across the desert to take the shortest route possible to reach Babylon and secure his claim to the throne. He took the throne on September 6, 605 BC, so where are the records that would confirm that somehow between Nebuchadnezzar’s preoccupation with the Egyptians at Carchemish, his return to Babylon, his accession to the throne, securing his claim, etc., he found time to take captives in Judea? There is no record of Nebuchadnezzar’s having besieged Jerusalem in 605 BC after securing his throne. If Nebuchadnezzar besieged Jerusalem after securing his throne on September 6, 605 BC, he would have had to return to the area of Carchemish and move his army 400 miles southwest before the end of the year. There are serious problems with Daniel’s claim that Nebuchadnezzar besieged Jerusalem in the third year of Jehoiakim (605 BC). Other biblical and extrabiblical records do not corroborate the claim, so there is every reason to suspect that Daniel, which is riddled with historical inaccuracies (another article for another time), simply erred in saying that Nebuchadnezzar besieged Jerusalem in the third year of Jehoiakim.

    I know that Daniel 1:1 says that Nebuchadnezzar laid siege to Jerusalem at this time, but as the texts I explicated above show, Daniel’s claim was inconsistent with the records in 2 Kings 24, as well as Jeremiah 52 and the Babylonian Chronicle, which is quoted in the text below.

    This clay tablet is a Babylonian chronicle recording events from 605-594BC. It was first translated in 1956 and is now in the British Museum. The cuneiform text on this clay tablet tells, among other things, 3 main events:
    1. The Battle of Carchemish (famous battle for world supremacy where Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon defeated Pharoah Necho of Egypt, 605 BC.),
    2. The accession to the throne of Nebuchadnezzar II, the Chaldean, and
    3. The capture of Jerusalem on the 16th of March, 598 BC.
    We are going to compare the record of this Babylonian clay tablet, as translated into English by scholars, with the account recorded in the Bible. About the capture of Jerusalem the clay tablet reads:

    “In the seventh month (of Nebuchadnezzar-599 BC.) in the month Chislev (Nov/Dec) the king of Babylon assembled his army, and after he had invaded the land of Hatti (Syria/Palestine) he laid seige [sic] to the city of Judah. On the second day of the month of Adara (16th of March) he conquered the city and took the king (Jehoiachin) prisoner. He installed in his place a king (Zedekiah) of his own choice, and after he had received rich tribute, he sent (them) forth to Babylon.”

  • May 30, 2016 at 8:34 am
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    Chris,

    The article quoted above went on to compare this record from the Babylonian Chronicle to the biblical account in 2 Kings 24, which I have already cited. The two records essentially agree, but notice that the Chronicle says that Nebuchadnezzar invaded “the land of Hatti” at a time that would have been 599 BC in our calendar and after this invasion, he “laid seige [sic] to the city of Judah.” Hence, the Babylonian Chronicle and 2 Kings 24 disagree with the claim in Daniel 1:1 that Nebuchadnezzar laid siege to Jerusalem in the third year of Jehoiakim, which would have been 605 BC. As the text quoted from the chronicle shows, Jehoiachin, Jehoiakim’s son, was the king of Judah at that time. Hence, the siege of “the city of Judah” after the invasion of “the land of Hatti” would have occurred in 598/597 BC. Inconsistency in biblical texts is not at all unusual, and Daniel’s disagreement with the writers of 2 Kings 24 and Jeremiah 52 is just another example of those inconsistencies.

    If Kinsella is going to claim that his prophecy-fulfillment scenario should be dated from 605 BC, he needs to give some kind of evidence besides his mere claim that his chronology is correct. At any rate, even if we date the captivity of Judah from 605 BC and end it in 536 BC, Kinsella could not find the 70 years he needs, because 605 – 536 = 69. Sixty-nine is hardly precise enough to support a claim that the date of Israel’s restoration was accurately predicted to the very year.

    Kinsella:
    Because most of the exiles chose to stay in pagan Babylon rather than return to the Holy Land, the remaining 360 years of their punishment was multiplied by 7.

    Till:
    There are actually two claims in this sentence. First, Kinsella is claiming that God punished Israel because most of the Judeans remained in Babylon instead of returning to their homeland. I don’t know how Kinsella determined that “most” of the exiles chose to stay in Babylon. I certainly know of no biblical passage that says this, but I really don’t doubt that many of the exiles did stay in Babylon. After all, the captivity had lasted from 597 BC to about 538 BC for one group and from 587 to 538 BC for the second wave of captives. In other words, at least two entire generations had been born in Babylon and had grown up there, so they would have considered this their home just as children of immigrants today would prefer the country in which they were born and had grown up in if their parents and grandparents should return to their homeland. Kinsella and his like-minded cohorts apparently think that the failure of some of the exiles to return to Judah was a sin for which Yahweh brought punishment upon them, but that is a premise that they need to prove. I won’t let them just assume it. Besides, what kind of god would punish an entire ethnic group because some of their ancestors had wanted to stay in the land of their birth? If Yahweh really did this, as Kinsella speculates, then he acted contrary to his decree that the “righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him” (Ezek. 18:20).

    There are some more problems with Kinsella’s conjecture–or rather the conjecture that he has appropriated–that Yahweh decided to punish Jews in general because some of the exiles chose to remain in Babylon. Problem one: most 20th-century Jews chose to remain in the countries of their birth instead of emigrating to Israel in 1948, and even today, there are many more Jews living outside of Israel than in it. How, then, does Kinsella and his cohorts explain Yahweh’s failure to continue the punishment of the Jews beyond 1948? After all, if Yahweh really did extend punishment of the Jews to AD 1948 because some of the Babylonian captives had refused to return to their homeland, why would he not punish modern Jews who chose to remain in other countries instead of returning to Israel? I guess consistency just isn’t one of Yahweh’s attributes. Anyway, according to Kinsella’s “logic,” Yahweh could not restore Israel until every single Jew living in other countries agreed to return to the homeland of their ancestors. There wouldn’t be enough land to hold all of them if they should decide to do that. Problem two: Daniel was one of those who was responsible for God’s sevenfold magnification of their punishment, because in the first year of his reign, Cyrus issued a decree allowing the Judeans to return to their homes, but Daniel 10:1 claims that Daniel had received a vision during the third year of the reign of Cyrus, so Daniel was evidently one of those who chose to remain in Babylonia. I wonder why Yahweh chose a disobedient reprobate like Daniel to write one of his “inspired” books.

    A second claim in Kinsella’s statement above was that “the remaining 360 years of [the Jew’s] punishment” was multiplied by 7 “because most of the exiles had chosen to remain in Babylon.” Before I look again at Kinsella’s misapplication of Leviticus 26:7-8, I need to point out a problem with the 390 years of Ezekiel 4:5 that Kinsella has been crowing about. I mentioned that problem earlier, but now it is time to show that there is good reason to suspect that this passage in Ezekiel originally said that 150 “days” [years] rather than 390 had been appointed for the punishment of the house of Israel.

  • May 30, 2016 at 8:37 am
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    Chris,

    I hate to take the wind out of Kinsella’s sails, but the 390 and 40 “days,” which equaled 430 years in the one-day-equals-one-year formula, involve a point of controversy that I am sure he is completely unaware of. Most prophecy-fulfillment proponents don’t bother to look farther than the ends of their noses when they are trying to find amazing prophecy fulfillments, but if Kinsella had done a little research rather than just recycled a prophecy-fulfillment claim that probably sounded impressive to him when he first encountered it, he might have discovered that there is a variation of the numbers in other versions of Ezekiel 4. In the Septuagint, for example, verses 4-6 read like this in Brenton’s translation. I will emphasize in bold print expressions and numbers to which Kinsella should have given more attention than he did.

    And thou [Ezekiel] shalt lie upon thy left side, and lay the iniquities of the house of Israel upon it, according to the number of the hundred and fifty days during which thou shalt lie upon it: and thou shall bear their iniquities. For I have appointed thee their iniquities for a hundred and ninety days: so thou shalt bear the iniquities of the house of Israel. And thou shalt accomplish this and then shalt lie on thy right side, and shalt bear the iniquities of the house of Juda for forty days: I have appointed thee a day for a year.
    Let’s notice first that the Septuagint gave 150 days as the period of time that Ezekiel would “bear the iniquities” of the house of Israel and 40 days for the iniquities of the house of Judah, which totaled 190 “days” [years] that Yahweh had appointed for Ezekiel to bear their [Israel’s and Judah’s] iniquities. The Septuagint was a 3rd-century BC Greek translation of the Hebrew scriptures, but most English translations were derived from the Masoretic Hebrew text whose earliest existing copies dated from about the 11th century AD. Hence, the Septuagint reading should be given serious consideration, since it was derived from Hebrew manuscripts that were much closer to the Hebrew “originals.” Kinsella and his cohorts, then, should show us evidence that the 390 days of Ezekiel 4:5 was the original reading and not a variation that resulted from careless copying or deliberate editing. I will show later that there are good reasons to suspect that a deliberate editing of Ezekiel 4:5-6 was done after the 190-day reading resulted in a prophecy failure. Some editor(s), probably recognizing the failure, tried to gloss over it by tacking on 200 more days to push the fulfillment well beyond the postexilic period.

    I will come back to this later, but first I want to remind everyone that the text in Ezekiel clearly spoke of two punishments: the iniquity of the house of Israel and the iniquity of the house of Judah. Hence, there were two separate “iniquities” that Ezekiel was to bear: (1) the iniquity of the house of Israel for 150 or 390 days (depending on which reading is accepted as the intended one), and (2) the iniquity of the house of Judah for 40 days. Two separate time periods are clearly identified in the text, so the most sensible interpretation of these references is that Ezekiel was writing about two different captivities, the captivities of Israel (the northern kingdom) by Assyria, which occurred in 734 and 722 BC, and the captivity of Judah, which occurred in 597 BC, when Jerusalem fell to Nebuchadnezzar, and again in 587 when Babylon captured Jerusalem a second time. As I explained above, Israel’s captivity by Assyria is recorded in 2 Kings 15-17, and Judah’s captivity by Babylonia is recorded in 2 Kings 24-25 and Jeremiah 52, so Kinsella is distorting the obviously intended meaning of the text when he adds 390 and 40 to get one continuous period of 430 years. He can’t even prove that Ezekiel 4:5-6 originally said 390 “days” [years] instead of 150, as the Septuagint version reads.

    Why is it reasonable to suspect that the Septuagint reading of 150 days was the likely number that Ezekiel originally used in reference to the iniquity of the house of Israel? Well, by Ezekiel’s time, the prophecies of Isaiah that Israel (the northern kingdom) would be returned had not been fulfilled, and to complicate matters, Judah, the southern kingdom had been taken into captivity too. Ezekiel 4:1ff, then, was just another prophetic attempt to predict that Yahweh would bring his people out of captivity. If, then, we accept the one-day-equals-one-year formula stated in Ezekiel 4:6, the meaning of the prophecy becomes that Israel (the northern kingdom) would be in captivity for 150 (or 390) years and Judah 40 years. The date of the final Assyrian captivity of the northern kingdom was 722 BC, but there was an earlier, partial deportation in 734 BC (see 2 Kings 15:29ff). If 150 is subtracted from 722 (the year of the most extensive deportation), that would bring us to 572 BC. In 597 BC, Jerusalem fell to Nebuchadnezzar and a partial deportation of Judah occurred at that time (2 Kings 24), and a later, deportation occurred in 586 BC, so if 40 is subtracted from 586 BC, this would bring us to 546. If 40 is subtracted from 597 BC, that would bring us to 557 BC. Hence, if the 150 days is accepted as the more likely number that was originally in Ezekiel 4:5, this would have Ezekiel prophesying that the two captivities would end at about the same time.

  • May 30, 2016 at 8:40 am
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    Chris,

    That “Ezekiel” was so prophesying is consistent with the circumstances in which this book was written. The writer of Ezekiel claimed to be an exile living near Babylon.

    Ezekiel 1:1 In the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, on the fifth day of the month, as I was among the exiles by the river Chebar, the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God. 2 On the fifth day of the month (it was the fifth year of the exile of King Jehoiachin), 3 the word of Yahweh came to the priest Ezekiel son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the river Chebar; and the hand of Yahweh was on him there.

    Here is an example of the confusion that has resulted from a garbled text that was likely caused by frequent editing and revising. If the heavens were opened to Ezekiel in “the thirtieth year,” this would have been the 30th year of what? If it was the “fifth year of the exile of King Jehoiachin,” as verse two says, it could not have been the 30th year of the exile, because, as we noticed above, Jehoiachin surrendered to Nebuchadnezzar in the eighth year of the latter’s reign (2 Kings 24:12) and was taken to Babylon (2 Kings 24:15). As also noted above, the eighth year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar would have been 597 BC. Hence, the “thirtieth year” of verse 1 cannot be the thirtieth year of the captivity unless this is a part of Ezekiel that has been corrupted through the frequent editing and revising that mainstream scholars have recognized is characteristic of the book in general.

    This, however, is incidental to my point. “Ezekiel” claimed to be an exile living near Babylon, and throughout his book, either he or his redactors made frequent references to the return of Jews from the many lands into which they had been scattered. I have already shown that Ezekiel 4:1-8 is one such example of this interest. The others are too numerous to quote, but the passage below is typical of the belief of that time that Yahweh would gather “his people” back from all of the nations where they had been dispersed.

    Ezekiel 34:11 For thus says the Lord GOD: I myself will search for my sheep, and will seek them out. 12 As shepherds seek out their flocks when they are among their scattered sheep, so I will seek out my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places to which they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness. 13 I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land; and I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the watercourses, and in all the inhabited parts of the land. 14 I will feed them with good pasture, and the mountain heights of Israel shall be their pasture; there they shall lie down in good grazing land, and they shall feed on rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. 15 I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I will make them lie down, says the Lord GOD. 16 I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, but the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them with justice.

    One would have to be completely devoid of literary interpretation skills not to see that passages like this were promising a return of all the Jews from the lands they had been taken to and not just a return of the Judean captives in Babylon. The recurrence of this theme in Ezekiel makes it likely that 4:5 originally fixed the length of punishment for the house of Israel at 150 rather than 390 “days” [years]. In other words, the Septuagint translators, working in the third century BC, very likely were using a Hebrew text of Ezekiel that used 150 “days” [years] in 4:5. Thus when Ezekiel predicted that the punishment of the house of Israel would last 150 years [days] and that, contrary to what Jeremiah thought, the punishment of the house of Judah would last 40 years [days], he was predicting, as noted above, that repatriation of the two houses would happen about the same time. As time passed, however, it became obvious that the exiles from the house of Israel had not been gathered back to their homeland within the 150 years predicted by Ezekiel, so a later editor changed the 150 days to 390. That time, however, has long passed too, and the exiles of the house of Israel or the northern kingdom remain the lost tribes of Israel. Hence, rather than being an example of amazingly accurate prophecy fulfillment, Ezekiel 4:5-6 is an example of a prophecy that failed miserably.

  • May 30, 2016 at 8:42 am
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    Chris,

    Kinsella:
    The reason [why punishment was multiplied by seven] is explained in [the] Bible’s book of Leviticus. (Leviticus 26:18, 26:21, 26:24 and 26:28). In Leviticus, it says that if the people did not repent while being punished, the punishment would be multiplied by 7. And, by staying in pagan Babylon, most exiles were refusing to repent.

    Till:
    I have already commented on Kinsella’s misapplication of the first part of Leviticus 26 One of my points in those comments was that Kinsella is merely speculating when he says that “staying in pagan Babylon” was a refusal to repent. Did Daniel, the author of one of Yahweh’s “inspired” books,” refuse to repent when he stayed in Babylon? Are all of the modern Jews who have chosen to live outside of Israel refusing to repent? These are little problems with Kinsella’s prophecy interpretation that probably never occurred to him, but to give him a fair hearing, let’s look now at the other verses in this chapter that he just cited.

    Leviticus 26:18 And if in spite of this you will not obey me, I will continue to punish you sevenfold for your sins.
    Leviticus 26:21 If you continue hostile to me, and will not obey me, I will continue to plague you sevenfold for your sins.

    Leviticus 26:24 (T)hen I too will continue hostile to you: I myself will strike you sevenfold for your sins.

    Leviticus 26:28 I will continue hostile to you in fury; I in turn will punish you myself sevenfold for your sins.

    I use the New Revised Standard Version because I think its modern language is easier to understand than the KJV, which Kinsella apparently uses. However, even if I used the KJV myself, I would have quoted the verses above from the NRSV, because they make clear something that Kinsella is apparently unaware of. The KJV says that Yahweh would punish the Israelites “seven times” for their sins, but the NRSV says that Yahweh would punish them “sevenfold.” This translation recognizes that the word times is not in the Hebrew text, so literally the verses quoted above were saying that Yahweh would punish or strike or plague the Israelites seven[fold] for their sins. The idea of multiplication of a time period is simply not present in the text. As I will show, that is something that Kinsella and his like-minded cohorts are reading into it.

    That multiplication was probably not meant in the Leviticus passages can be seen from the one time that the word more was used in Leviticus 26. This was in verse 18, where the KJV has Yahweh saying that he would punish the Israelites “seven times more for [their] sins.” There is a word for more in the Hebrew text, but that word was yâcaph, which Strong defined like this.

    3254. yacaph, yaw-saf’; a prim. root; to add or augment (often adv. to continue to do a thing):– add, X again, X any more, X cease, X come more, + conceive again, continue, exceed, X further, X gather together, get more, give moreover, X henceforth, increase (more and more), join, X longer (bring, do, make, much, put), X (the, much, yet) more (and more), proceed (further), prolong, put, be [strong-] er, X yet, yield.
    I am not expert enough in Hebrew to claim any expertise, but I did study it at the Bible college I attended and have reviewed it enough to understand that the KJV translation of Leviticus 26:18 may not capture the meaning of the Hebrew text as well as the NRSV and other versions. The definition of yâcaph above would certainly allow for the idea that Yahweh was simply saying that he would add or augment or increase or continue the punishment of the Israelites sevenfold. In other words, if one wants to read the text with a strictly literal eye, why couldn’t the verse mean that if Yahweh punished the Israelites with a plague and yet they didn’t repent, he would then send, say, another plague, a drought, a crop failure, a flood, a famine, a decimation of their flocks by wild beasts, and an enemy invasion. The example is hypothetic, but it is entirely consistent with what the verse says, because after Yahweh had punished the Israelites, he would have then sent seven more specific punishments upon them. Hence, he would have punished them sevenfold for their failure to repent. Let Kinsella tell us why the verse could not mean this.

    If he does reply to this–and I don’t think there is a chance in the world that he will–he may want to examine the following passages that also used the Hebrew word yâcaph.

    Genesis 30:24 24 (A)nd she [Rachel] named him Joseph, saying, “May Yahweh add [yâcaph] to me another son!”

    Deuteronomy 4:2 You must neither add [yâcaph] anything to what I command you nor take away anything from it, but keep the commandments of Yahweh your God with which I am charging you.

    Deuteronomy 12:32 You must diligently observe everything that I command you; do not add [yâcaph] to it or take anything from it.

    2 Kings 20:5 “Turn back, and say to Hezekiah prince of my people, Thus says Yahweh, the God of your ancestor David: I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; indeed, I will heal you; on the third day you shall go up to the house of Yahweh. 6 I will add [yâcaph] fifteen years to your life.

    Isaiah 38:5 “Go and say to Hezekiah, Thus says Yahweh, the God of your ancestor David: I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; I will add [yâcaph] fifteen years to your life.

    Jeremiah 45:3 You said, “Woe is me! Yahweh has added [yâcaph] sorrow to my pain; I am weary with my groaning, and I find no rest.”

  • May 30, 2016 at 8:47 am
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    Chris,

    I could quote several other passages, but these are sufficient to make the point that yâcaph in Hebrew often conveyed the sense of “adding.” Kinsella has tried to make this same word mean multiply in Leviticus 26. I have checked two concordances, but I was unable to find even one place in the Old Testament where this word was translated with the English word multiply or any of its derivatives. Will Kinsella come out of hiding and address this issue?

    Will pigs fly someday?

    As I pointed out above, Leviticus 26 is in a broader context in which Yahweh was warning “his people” of dire consequences if they were disobedient after crossing into Canaan. Hence, Kinsella and his prophecy-fulfillment cohorts are flagrantly distorting the text when they try to apply it to events that were at that time far distant in the future. That, however, is just one distortion of the text. Any reasonable person who reads the verses above in context should see that they were warning of an increase in the intensity of punishment rather than the duration of punishment.

    To see this, one has only to examine in context the verses that Kinsella cited as proof of his position. As I mentioned earlier, beginning with Leviticus 25, “Moses” related laws that Yahweh had presumably spoken to him on Mt. Sinai. These laws were primarily concerned with the usage of the land and other possessions that Yahweh was giving them at the end of their 40-year trek in the wilderness. Yahweh made all kinds of promises. If the people would do this, Yahweh would do that; if the people would do so-and-so, Yahweh would do this and that, but after the promise of blessings came the inevitable warning that if the Israelites did not toe the line, Yahweh would punish them severely.

    We can clearly see this meaning if we look at the verses that preceded each verse that Kinsella cited. In showing the broader contexts, I will emphasize in bold print each verse that Kinsella cited so that readers can better see what they were referring to.

    Leviticus 26:13 I am Yahweh your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, to be their slaves no more; I have broken the bars of your yoke and made you walk erect. 14 But if you will not obey me, and do not observe all these commandments, 15 if you spurn my statutes, and abhor my ordinances, so that you will not observe all my commandments, and you break my covenant, 16 I in turn will do this to you: I will bring terror on you; consumption and fever that waste the eyes and cause life to pine away. You shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it. 17 I will set my face against you, and you shall be struck down by your enemies; your foes shall rule over you, and you shall flee though no one pursues you. 18 And if in spite of this you will not obey me, I will continue to punish you sevenfold for your sins.

    For verse 18, which contains the sevenfold warning, to be applicable to the refusal of some Judeans to return to their homeland after Cyrus had issued his decree, Kinsella would have to show that Yahweh had first brought terror upon those who stayed in Babylon and that they had been afflicted with fever that wasted their eyes and caused their lives to waste away, and so on, but Kinsella has no evidence that Yahweh ever brought any such punishments on the exiles who stayed in Babylon. The text above was directed to those who would go into Canaan, but it says nothing about those who would go into captivities. Its obvious meaning was that when the people who went into Canaan disobeyed Yahweh’s commandments, he would punish them with various afflictions, which he would increase sevenfold if they then refused to repent. Notice, however, that the passage says nothing at all about a duration of time; it speaks instead of severity or intensity of punishment.

    Overkill isn’t necessary, so I will quote the entire passage in which the three other verses cited by Kinsella appear. Readers should easily see that the full context was saying that the punishments suffered would happen in their land and not in a land they would be exiled to and that the severity and not the duration of their punishments would be increased.

    Leviticus 26:19 I will break your proud glory, and I will make your sky like iron and your earth like copper. 20 Your strength shall be spent to no purpose: your land shall not yield its produce, and the trees of the land shall not yield their fruit. 21 If you continue hostile to me, and will not obey me, I will continue to plague you sevenfold for your sins. 22 I will let loose wild animals against you, and they shall bereave you of your children and destroy your livestock; they shall make you few in number, and your roads shall be deserted. 23 If in spite of these punishments you have not turned back to me, but continue hostile to me, 24 then I too will continue hostile to you: I myself will strike you sevenfold for your sins. 25 I will bring the sword against you, executing vengeance for the covenant; and if you withdraw within your cities, I will send pestilence among you, and you shall be delivered into enemy hands. 26 When I break your staff of bread, ten women shall bake your bread in a single oven, and they shall dole out your bread by weight; and though you eat, you shall not be satisfied. 27 But if, despite this, you disobey me, and continue hostile to me, 28 I will continue hostile to you in fury; I in turn will punish you myself sevenfold for your sins.

    Notice that this passage very clearly referred to what would happen in “your land” and “your cities” and not to lands and cities to which they would be exiled. It was clearly a warning that the Israelites had better shape up after they entered the land or else Yahweh would bring famine, pestilence, plagues, and such like upon them. Not once, did the text speak of how many years these punishments would endure but always spoke of intensity. Thus, the warnings of a “sevenfold” punishment were obviously referring to severity or intensity and not to their duration. In other words, the passage was referring to specific punishments like pestilence, crop failures, attacks from wild animals, and so on that Yahweh would send upon the disobedient Israelites. By saying, “I will continue to plague you,” the words that “Moses” put into the mouth of Yahweh obviously meant that he would increase sevenfold the kinds of punishments, and it cannot be pressed to mean that he would multiply sevenfold the length or duration of the punishments. If Kinsella will bother to check, he should see that no references are made anywhere to how long the duration of the punishments would be.

  • May 30, 2016 at 8:50 am
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    Chris,

    Clearly, this passage was warning that if the Israelites did not behave in their own land, they would be punished seven times for their sins, which was an expression that probably wasn’t intended any more literally than when Jesus told Peter that he should forgive his brother not just seven times but seven times seven (Matt. 18:22). I suppose that Kinsella would understand this to mean that one could keep records and after he had forgiven someone 49 times, he could refuse to forgive him after that. In other words, seven was a number that denoted perfection or, in the case of Leviticus 26, severity or intensity. It is pure conjecture for Kinsella and his prophecy-fulfillment fanatics to claim that it denoted length or duration.

    At any rate, anyone who continues to read on in Leviticus 26 will see that these were warnings of what would happen to the Israelites when they came into their own land if they did not obey Yahweh’s laws. If Kinsella had bothered to read on, he should have seen that. Verse 31, for example, says, “I will make your cities a waste and will bring your sanctuaries into desolation.” The next verse says, “And I will bring the land into desolation.” Verse 33 did threaten that the people would be “scattered among the nations,” but Yahweh then immediately returned to the land and what would happen to their land if they didn’t shape up: “And your land shall be a desolation, and your cities shall be a waste.” The broader context of the verses that Kinsella cited shows that this entire chapter, as well as the one before it, was warning of the consequences of disobedience that the Israelites would suffer after they had crossed into Canaan.

    In no way was this passage speaking in the sense of a literal seven. The concept was severity. If the Israelites didn’t shape up after they had come into their land, Yahweh would punish them severely, and then if they didn’t repent, he would punish them even more severely [sevenfold]. What is there in this passage that justifies picking four verses completely out of context and applying them to the captivities of the Israelites that would occur centuries later? And how does Kinsella get “years” out of this text in Leviticus? It simply says that Yahweh would punish them sevenfold for their sins; it doesn’t say that he would multiple the length of their punishments by seven.

    The sevenfold-punishment part of Kinsella’s prophecy-fulfillment claim is pure assumption. There is, in fact, another scripture that implies that the Jews didn’t think that Yahweh had some invariable law that required sevenfold punishment for disobedience. In a song of “deliverance” characteristic of his belief that better times were coming, Isaiah said that Yahweh was ending a double penalty for Israel’s sins.

    Isaiah 40:1 Comfort, O comfort my people, says your God. 2 Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that she has served her term, that her penalty is paid, that she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.

    Here is a passage that does speak of punishment in language that implies duration or a penalty “term” that Israel had served. Isaiah said that this had been a “double” penalty. If Isaiah had thought that sevenfold punishment was an invariable principle that Yahweh applied to sins, why didn’t he say that Israel had served a sevenfold penalty for all her sins? Where exactly, then, did Kinsella get the idea that God was so angered by the refusal of some Jews to return to their homeland that he punished them by multiplying the length of their exile until AD 1948? If there is any truth to this assumption of his, then why didn’t Yahweh extend their exile again when many Jews didn’t return to their “homeland” when Israel was proclaimed a nation in 1948? How many Jews now live in the United States? In Canada? In France? In Italy? In Spain? In England? In Russia? In Poland? In various other countries? Why wasn’t Yahweh ticked off that these Jews didn’t return to their homeland when they had the opportunity? Just why did the refusal of some Jews in the 6th century BC to return to their homeland cause Yahweh to extend the length of their exile seven times, but when far many more Jews in 1948 didn’t return to the Jewish “homeland,” Yahweh didn’t seem to care?

    These are questions that I challenge Kinsella to answer, but I suspect that we will have to wait a long, long time to see any effort from him to reply to this rebuttal article.

  • May 30, 2016 at 8:53 am
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    Chris,

    Kinsella:
    So, if you take the remaining 360 years of punishment and multiply by 7, you get 2,520 years.

    Till:
    This is where Kinsella’s prophecy-fulfillment scenario gets even more ridiculous than the parts that I have dismantled above. First, he errs by assuming that Ezekiel 4:5-6 was predicting one extended period of punishment, but I have shown that this text was actually speaking of two periods of punishment, one for the house of Israel and one for the house of Judah. These were not periods where one began, then ended, and the second one began; they were periods that overlapped. All of this was established above, so I don’t need to speak any further to this distortion of the text. Second, Kinsella assumed that the text in Ezekiel 4 originally assigned a period of 390 “days” [years] to the punishment of the house of Israel, but I showed that there are good reasons to think that 390 days resulted from a later revision of the text, which had originally assigned only 150 “days” [years] for the punishment of Israel. Third, after getting 430 years by adding Ezekiel’s questionable 390 years for the house of Israel to his 40 years for the house of Judah, Kinsella then took Jeremiah’s 70-year period of captivity for Judah rather than Ezekiel’s 40-year prediction and subtracted 70 from 430 to get the “remaining 360 years of punishment” that he referred to immediately above. Since Ezekiel said that the punishment of the house of Judah would last for 40 “days” or years, Kinsella needs to explain why he didn’t subtract 40 from 430 to get 390 “remaining years” of punishment. He has pulled a slick one that probably went right over the heads of his readers, because Bible fundamentalists aren’t too sharp about checking the claims of spin doctors like Jack Kinsella. If a prophecy-fulfillment claim sounds good, they will accept it uncritically.

    A fourth problem in Kinsella’s statement above is his appeal to Leviticus 26 to justify multiplying by seven his 360 years, a formula that he obtained by flawed mathematics, to get 2,520 years. Let’s notice now how Kinsella went further astray from the probable meaning of both Ezekiel 4 and Leviticus 26.

    Kinsella:
    That is 2,520 Jewish lunar years. 2,520 years x the 360-day lunar calendar works out to 907,200 days. Divide that by 365 and you come up with 2485.479 years.

    Till:
    A serious flaw in Kinsella’s math is apparent to anyone who knows the real length of a solar year, which is actually 365.242 days and not 365. The fraction of a day has been compensated for by the addition of leap-year days in both the Julian and the Gregorian calendars. The Julian calendar was based on a 365.25-day year, but over extended periods, this still caused seasons to drift; hence, the Julian calendar was replaced by the 365.242-day year of the Gregorian calendar to synchronize more perfectly the seasons with the sun. If we divide Kinsella’s 907,200 days by 365.242, we will get 2,483.8326 solar years and not the 2485.479 in his scenario, and if Kinsella is going to claim amazing accuracy in the fulfillment of Ezekiel’s prophecy, he must be more exact in his calculations than he was in postulating the fulfillment on a 365-day year, because May 14, 1948, is a Gregorian date in a calendar based on a 365.242-day year. If Kinsella’s calculations are otherwise correct–and, as I will show, they aren’t–the nation of Israel would have had to have been restored 1.646 years or 19.75 months before May 14, 1948, in order to have an “exact” fulfillment of Ezekiel’s prophecy” (as Kinsella is interpreting it). In other words, the “restoration” of Israel would have had to have happened around October 24, 1946, for Kinsella’s fulfillment claim to have been exact and to the day.

    Kinsella’s scenario is typical of the kind of silly shenanigans that charlatans like him pull to deceive their gullible sycophants. Does it ever occur to any of them to ask why God didn’t just say that the punishment of Israel and Judah would endure for 907,200 days rather than hiding his meaning in some kind of secret code that could be understood only by a select few (the “select few” being those like Kinsella who appoint themselves as experts on the meaning of biblical prophecies)?

    To further dismantle this part of Kinsella’s scenario, let’s notice that even though the Jews used a lunar calendar, their calendar was based on a 365-day solar year. If Kinsella had bothered to research this subject instead of just parroting what he read in fundamentalist articles about prophecy fulfillment, he would have discovered this. Prophecy-fulfillment buffs try to make a distinction between solar years and so-called Bible or “prophetic” years by assigning 365 days to the solar year but only 360 days to a Bible or prophetic year. As Kinsella did in his article, they try to dazzle readers with their “expertise” by assuming that prophecies like Ezekiel 4, which speak of “years,” meant so-called “prophetic years” of 360 days each. They then convert these alleged “prophetic years” to a specific number of days by multiplying the “prophetic years” by 360. Finally, they divide the number of days by 365 to get the number of solar years that would have passed to get to the time of the prophecy fulfillment. Hence, in the case of Ezekiel 4, Kinsella added (incorrectly, as I have shown above) the 390 years of Israel’s punishment to the 40 years of Judah’s punishment to get 430 years, which he then reduced to 360 by subtracting Jeremiah’s 70 years instead of Ezekiel’s 40 years for the punishment of Judah. After all of this verbal legerdemain, he multiplied 360 by 7 to get 2,520 years, a step that he justified by falsely applying statements in Leviticus 7. Then, he multiplied 2,520 by 360 years on the grounds that the Jews used a lunar calendar of 360 days, after which he then divided 907,200 (2,520 x 360) by 365 to get the number of “solar years” that were to pass in the fulfillment of Ezekiel’s prophecy.

    Anyone who thinks that God would use such a complicated formula as this to date his prophecies really should seek professional help, but the pathetic thing about it is that Kinsella’s sycophants are too uncritical to see that this pat little formula is seriously flawed. First of all, Kinsella’s source of all of this prophetic flapdoodle failed to recognize that the Jews of biblical times were well aware that there were more than just 360 days in a year, and they reflected this recognition in their calendar. The Jewish calendar was planned around the recognition that having only 360 days in a year would cause the seasons to drift gradually and make it difficult to keep track of when planting and harvesting seasons would begin. Hence, the Jewish calendar would intercalate an additional or 13th month at intervals of 3, 6, 11, 14, 17, and 19 years (The Bible Dictionary, Inter-Varsity Press, 1994, p. 159), which had the effect of keeping the seasons synchronized with the solar year. There are some biblical passages that seemed to round off years in terms of twelve months, but that is hardly evidence that when a prophet spoke in terms of years, he always meant 360-day years. The fact is, as I will show below, there were no 360-day years at all in the Hebrew calendar. Their years ranged from 353 to 385 days in length. Hence, if Kinsella is going to put such a key element as a 360-day year into his fulfillment scenario, he needs to prove that the prophecy in question was intended to be calculated in terms of 360-day years. He presented no such evidence; he merely asserted that it was this way.

  • May 30, 2016 at 8:58 am
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    Chris,

    A second flaw in Kinsella’s fulfillment scenario is that he is claiming an exact, to-the-very-day fulfillment on May 14, 1948, when Israel declared its independence, but he didn’t give us a beginning date for Ezekiel’s “countdown.” As readers can see, the absence of a beginning date is very obvious in the continuation of his fulfillment scenario.

    Kinsella:
    2,485.479 years from 536 BC brings us to the end of the first quarter of the year 1949– exactly one year after Israel’s restoration in 1948. But 1 BC and 1 AD were the same, so the actual date on our calendar that Ezekiel predicted the restoration of Israel corresponds to late spring, 1948!

    Till:
    I suppose the exclamation point at the end of his statement was supposed to make us think that he had made a startling discovery, but this guy is so calendrically ignorant that he thinks that 1 BC and 1 AD were the same. They were not the same. In his confusion, Kinsella was probably thinking that there was no year zero, but that is not the same as saying that 1 BC and 1 AD were the same. In reality, 1 BC ended, and then 1 AD began. They were not the same, and anyone who wants to verify this can go to Rosetta Calendar conversion service (which I will refer to again below and explain in more detail) and see that January 1, 1 BC, in the proleptic Gregorian calendar was Julian Day Number 1721060 and January 1, AD 1, in the same proleptic calendar was Julian Day Number 1721426. When JDN 1721060 (January 1, 1 BC) is subtracted from JDN 1721426 (January 1, 1 AD), the answer is 366. (Since there was no year zero, 1 BC was a leap year with 366 days, so in BC proleptic calendars, leap years fell in odd-numbered years.) The important point, however, is that the JDN numbers show that Kinsella was flat out wrong when he said that 1 BC and 1 AD were the same year. If he doesn’t know any better than this, he certainly has no business claiming that he has found an exact, to-the-very-day prophecy fulfillment.

    What I said above about Julian Day Numbers may be incomprehensible to those who know nothing about JDNs, but my comments further along will explain what they mean and how they are used by astronomers and historians to determine exactly when events happened. It should then be clear why JDNs are a more exact way to determine the exact number of days that passed between a beginning and an ending point.

    Aside from the problem I identified above in Kinsella’s pat little theory, we have to wonder how he can know that 2,485.479 years from 536 BC would take us to late spring of AD 1948? Where in 536 BC did he begin his countdown? From the first month? The second month? The third month? Where? You just can’t know that 2485.479 years or 907,200 days passed from a beginning point until May 14, AD 1948, unless you know the exact date of that beginning point.

    The problem is that Kinsella was so unfamiliar with this fulfillment scenario that he forgot to include a beginning date in 536 BC so that we could test his theory to see if exactly 907,200 days had passed from that specific date to May 14, 1948, the specific date when Israel declared its independence. Better informed proponents of this fulfillment scenario claim that the countdown began on the first day of Nisan in 536 BC. This gives a more specific scenario that can be tested, and the tests will show that it won’t work, but before I show that, let’s first assume that the countdown began with the first day of the year 536 BC.

    If we begin the countdown at January 1, 536 BC, in a proleptic Gregorian calendar, and since Kinsella’s fulfillment date was a Gregorian date, to test the accuracy of his claim, we must proleptically project the Gregorian calendar back to 536 BC. (Proleptic calendars are routinely used by astronomers and historians, a fact that can be verified by checking a calendric conversion site.) When this is done, we find that from Gregorian January 1, 536 BC, until the last day of Gregorian BC 1, 536 years or 195,769.71 days (536 X 365.242) would have passed. From the first day of Gregorian AD 1 through December 31, 1947, in the Gregorian calendar, 1,947 years or 711,126.17 days (1,947 x 365.242) would have passed. Hence, from Gregorian January 1, 536 BC, through Gregorian December 31, 1947 AD, 2,483 years (536 + 1947 = 2483) or 906,895.88 days (195,769.71 + 711,126.17 = 906,895.88) would have passed. From January 1, 1948, to May 14, 1948, there were 135 days (January 31 + February 29 + March 31 + April 30 + May 14 = 135). Hence, from the very first day of 536 BC through May 14, 1948 AD, there were only 907,030.88 days (906,895.88 + 135 = 907.030.88). If we round off the fraction, we have only 907,031 days, which is 169 days short of the 907,200 days in Kinsella’s scenario. Since it would be impossible to begin the countdown from 536 BC any earlier than the very first day of that year, it isn’t possible to begin the countdown at any time in 536 BC and get the 907,200 days claimed in Kinsella’s scenario. So much for his amazing, to-the-very day fulfillment of Ezekiel 4:5-6!

  • May 30, 2016 at 9:01 am
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    Chris,

    We can double check my calculations by the Julian-Day-Number system which astronomers and historians use to date events without having to rely on imperfect calendars. A good layman’s explanation of Julian Day Numbers can be found at the site that I just linked to, and I would suggest that readers unfamilar with JDNs go there and read the article before continuing in this article. Simply stated, Julian Day Numbers number days consecutively without reference to months, days, and years. Hence, each day is assigned a number instead of a date like August 28, AD 2004, the date on which I am writing this article. The JDN for this date is 2453246 or, in other words, the 2,453,246th day from Julian 1 January 4713 BC, which Joseph Justus Scaliger, the inventor of the system, obtained by projecting the Julian calendar back into time. Although particular days in the past may have different dates on the different calendars, the JDN will always be the same regardless of what calendar is used. For example proleptic Gregorian January 1, 536 BC, would have been proleptic Julian January 7, 536 BC, but the JDN for that day would have been the same, 1525656. In the Hebrew calendar, this date would have been 9 Shevat 3225, but again the JDN would have been the same, 1525656.

    With this information in mind, anyone reading this can go to a calendar conversion site and locate the JDNs necessary to check my calculations above. I use the Rosetta Calendar conversion service, and it shows, as I noted above, that the JDN for Gregorian January 1, 536 BC, was 1525656. It shows that the JDN for May 14, AD 1948, was 2432686. When JDN 1525656 (Gregorian January 1, 536 BC) is subtracted from JDN 2432686 (Gregorian May 14, AD 1948) the answer obtained is 907,030. Hence, the JDN system tells us that 907,030 days separated Gregorian January 1, 536 BC, from Gregorian May 14, AD 1948, the same number that I obtained above in my clumsier way of calculating the number of days that passed from the first day of the year 536 BC to the date of Israel’s restoration in 1948. Hence, two methods of precise calculations have shown us that it would have been impossible for 907,200 days to have passed from any date in 536 BC to the restoration of Israel in AD 1948. As I explained above, it would be impossible to start a countdown from 536 BC any earlier than the very first day of that year.

    Now that everyone understands how Julian Day Numbers work, I can use them to show that Kinsella is wrong when he says that the Jewish year was just 360 days long. Using again the Rosetta Calendar will show that the Hebrew year 3226, which overlapped with Gregorian 436 BC, began on 1 Tishri, whose JDN was 1525914, and ended on 29 Elul, whose JDN was 1526268. Hence, there were only 354 days (1526268 – 1525914 = 354) in the Hebrew year 3226 (436/435 BC), so we immediately see that Kinsella is wrong in saying that the Hebrew year consisted of twelve 30-day months. (In fact, we will soon seen that there were no 360-day years at all in the Hebrew calendar.) A lunar cycle is about 29.5 days in length, so necessarily some months in a lunar calendar had 29 days and some had 30, and this caused variations from 353 to 355 days in Hebrew common years. If we go to Hebrew year 3227, we find that it had 353 days. It began with 1 Tishri, whose JDN was 1526269, and ended with 29 Elul, whose JDN was 1526622, so 1526622 – 1526269 = 353. If this kind of calendar had continued, the seasons would have drifted to a point that predicting planting and harvesting seasons would have been difficult if not impossible. Hence, the Hebrews, as noted above would intercalate a 13th month (Adar II) at different intervals. The Hebrew year 3228, for example, was a leap year that had two months of Adar. That year began with 1 Tishri, whose JDN was 1526623, and ended with 29 Elul, whose JDN was 1527007. Subtracting 1526623 from 1527007 shows that there were 384 days in this year. The extra days resulted from the addition of a second month of Adar. These leap years that added a second month of Adar at intervals of 3, 6, 8, 11, 14, 17 and 19 years had the effect of keeping the Jewish calendar synchronized with the solar year. An analysis of the Hebrew calendar, which is too long to quote here, will explain that “common years” in this calendar would have 353, 354, or 355 days and that leap years would have 383, 384, or 385 days. Curiously, a Hebrew year never had 360 days as Kinsella claimed. So much for his expertise on the length of biblical years.

    Since Jewish years were designed to average 365 days over time, I will challenge Kinsella to tell us why we should not think that Ezekiel 4:5-6 was written with this kind of year in mind. His scenario of 2,520 years in Ezekiel’s prophecy would take us from 536 BC to AD 1984 (536 + 1984 = 2,520) if this prophecy, as Kinsella has interpreted it, was speaking of normal Jewish years that averaged 365 days rather than the 360-day years that Kinsella has hypothesized without justification. Let him show us that Ezekiel was not speaking of years that were the length calculated in the Jewish calendar.

  • May 30, 2016 at 9:06 am
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    Kinsella’s scenario, which he appropriated from someone else, is clearly wrong, and I defy him to show on his website that I have miscalcuated. I hope this will be a warning for readers to be very careful before they accept prophecy-fulfillment claims from those who think that they have figured out exact, to-the-very-day fulfillments of biblical prophecies. Those claims are almost a dime a dozen, and none of them can withstand the kind of scrutiny to which I have subjected Kinsella’s scenario.

    Kinsella:
    1948 — the Year of the Countdown, counts down in both directions. It counts down with staggering precision to the exact point in history when the fig tree would once again blossom.

    Till:
    I have completely dismantled Kinsella’s fulfillment scenario and shown that there is no precision at all to it and certainly no “staggering” precision, unless Kinsella wants to argue that missing a to-the-very-day fulfillment by 170 days would be “staggering precision.”

    I defy him to reply to my rebuttal and show that his scenario was “staggeringly” precise and my rebuttal of it is flawed. He will find that he just can’t argue with the precision of Julian Day Numbers, which I doubt that he has any familiarity with at all.

    Kinsella:
    That event triggered the Second Countdown — the one that signals the end of the Church Age. It is somewhat less precise, for obvious reasons.

    Jesus said no man would ever be able to calculate the exact day and time, but He did tell us we would know when ‘it was near, even at the door’, [sic] saying, “This generation shall not pass, until all be fulfilled.”

    Till:
    At this point, Kinsella switched to a claim he had made at the beginning of his article, which is that the restoration of Israel in 1948 was the “fig tree” that Jesus spoke of in Matthew 24

    Matthew 24:32 “From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. 33 So also, when you see all these things, you know that he is near, at the very gates. 34 Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place.

    Before I comment further, let’s look at Kinsella’s remarks below to see how he tried to distort this passage.

    Kinsella:
    The current Prime Minister of Israel, Ariel Sharon, fought in the 1948 War of Independence. He is still around. And so are we. So the ‘fig tree’ generation has not yet passed from the scene.

    Till:
    To dismantle this part of Kinsella’s fulfillment claim would require almost as much space as I have taken to expose the flaws and absurdities in his distortion of Ezekiel 4:5-6, so I will write a second article in this series to show that when Jesus said that “this generation” would not pass away till all these things have taken place, he meant the generation of his time. However, since that prophecy failed, diehard inerrantists have tried all sorts of shenanigans to make this text not mean what it was obviously saying, but I will have to save the details for my second article.

    Kinsella:
    And it won’t before the Return of Christ. Which could be any minute now.

    Till:
    I am now 71 years old, and all of my life, I have heard demagogues like Kinsella warning that the return of Jesus would happen soon, and before I was born, the same kind of demagogues had predicted the same, but Jesus hasn’t returned yet. Furthermore, he will never return, because if he really was an actual historical character–and there are good reasons to doubt that he was–he is dead, has been dead for a long, long time, and will remain dead until the end of time. I suspect, however, that charlatans like Kinsella will be around for just as long still fleecing gullible sheep for $10 per month or whatever they can dupe them into giving. After Ariel Sharon and everyone else of his generation are dead, fools like Kinsella will simply reinterpret prophecies like the ones in Matthew 24 and claim that they meant something else.

    There seems to be no cure for ignorance.

    Kinsella:
    Keep looking up!

    Till:
    Kinsella can keep looking up if he wants to, but I have better things to do than waste time on religious stupidity.
    My second article will, as I pointed out above, dismantle Kinsella’s application of the fig-tree passage in Matthew 24. Meanwhile, I defy him to try to answer my rebuttal points in this article, but don’t hold your breath until he does. I have conducted private correspondence with him and have learned that he is a coward who likes to preach to the choir on his website, but he isn’t about to have his ignorance exposed in a public debate with informed opposition. Go to Part Two:
    “When the Fig Tree Puts Forth Its Leaves
    by Farrell Till”
    http://www.theskepticalreview.com/jftprophecyfigtree.html

  • May 30, 2016 at 10:34 am
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    Chris,

    ***”Your third and fourth paragraphs of your first post shows your lack of understanding. When the Bible shows the word “beast” many times it’s a meaning of government or system. But you assume that it means literal animals.”

    In 568 B.C.E. Nebuchadrezzar attacked Egypt but was repulsed by Pharaoh Amasis II under whose rule Egypt continued to prosper. History has no record of there being no “government or system” in Egypt at that time. History has no record of Egypt ever suffering as Ezekiel prophesized. Ezekiel was wrong again.

    http://www.religioustolerance.org/symes05.htm
    __________

    ***”Have you ever tried looking at the pro material for this rather than looking for information that matches your current view. On the outset of your answers you seem intelligent but we can see the lack of your understanding. If you researched further this is found in the scriptures you might see something that might shake your view………If you only want to research what anti-Christian views then that’s what you’ll find. But if you don’t have any theological views then there’s no reason to continue this conversation.”

    Please note that I have studied the Bible and have researched the information therein. You seem to have a problem with persons challenging/questioning your beliefs. The Bible admonishes us to “Test all things” (1 Thessalonians 5:21) but you seem to be averse to any critical/skeptical examination of your beliefs.

    I note that you prefer to answer
    the various points/questions which I have raised, via e-mail instead of on the website
    What is the difference? Both methods of corresponding involve using an electronic device with keyboard in order to type your response so what’s the difference? Why the preference? Is it that you rather to conduct private correspondence because you fear what will be exposed during a public debate?

    • May 30, 2016 at 1:20 pm
      Permalink

      “Please note that I have studied the Bible and have researched the information therein. You seem to have a problem with persons challenging/questioning your beliefs. The Bible admonishes us to “Test all things” (1 Thessalonians 5:21) but you seem to be averse to any critical/skeptical examination of your beliefs.”

      Not true. You’ve looked up information to
      Support your views. Clicks and pasting. Reading it is not equivalent. Have you accepted what these site have said? So if these facts you click and pastes are true then why do scholars all disagree with each other.

      And yes Egypt is desolate. Not as in nothing exist there but as in they are and have never been a worlds super power ever again. They are a weak nation. But you take a point of view.

      Clicking and pasting makes you an armchair scholar. Richard Dawkins is an athiest and anyone assumes because he is a scholar what he says is true. This is what you’ve done. Looked up information for your preconceived idea and click and paste it. Thats not a true scholar. It’s ok that you don’t know much. Most athiest don’t. They Google things like “False prophesies in the Bible” and read it assume it’s scholarly because it matches what they believe and present it as fact.
      But that ok. You keep doing that.
      That’s not testing all things that’s called biased confirmation. So click and past all you want. It shows you don’t know what you’re talking about.

    • May 31, 2016 at 4:55 am
      Permalink

      Just a little click and paste of my own refuting the evidence that you presented. Enjoy.

      One of the most disputed aspects concerning Ezekiel’s prophecy is the statement that the city of Tyre would “never be rebuilt” (26:14), and “be no more forever” (28:19). The skeptic points to modern day Tyre and suggests that these statements have failed to materialize. Till stated: “In fact, Tyre still exists today, as anyone able to read a map can verify. This obvious failure of a highly touted Old Testament prophet is just one more nail in the coffin of the Bible inerrancy doctrine” (n.d.).

      Several possible solutions dissolve this alleged problem. First, it could be the case that the bulk of Ezekiel’s prophecy dealt with the mainland city of Tyre, the location of which has most likely been lost permanently and is buried under the waters of the Mediterranean Sea. This solution has merit for several reasons. In approximately A.D. 1170, a Jewish traveler named Benjamin of Tudela published a diary of his travels. “Benjamin began his journey from Saragossa, around the year 1160 and over the course of thirteen years visited over 300 cities in a wide range of places including Greece, Syria, Palestine, Mesopotamia and Persia” (Benjamin of Tudela, n.d.). In his memoirs, a section is included concerning the city of Tyre.

      From Sidon it is half a day’s journey to Sarepta (Sarfend), which belongs to Sidon. Thence it is a half-day to New Tyre (Sur), which is a very fine city, with a harbour in its midst…. There is no harbour like this in the whole world. Tyre is a beautiful city…. In the vicinity is found sugar of a high class, for men plant it here, and people come from all lands to buy it. A man can ascend the walls of New Tyre and see ancient Tyre, which the sea has now covered, lying at a stone’s throw from the new city. And should one care to go forth by boat, one can see the castles, market-places, streets, and palaces in the bed of the sea (1907, emp. added.).

      From this twelfth-century A.D. text, then, we learn that by that period of time the city known as ancient Tyre lay completely buried beneath the sea and a new city, most likely on some part of the island, had been erected. George Davis, in his book Fulfilled Prophecies that Prove the Bible, included a picture of Syrian fishermen under which the following caption appeared: “Syrian fishermen hauling in their nets on the probable site of ancient Tyre, which perished as predicted by the prophet” (1931, p. 11). In his monumental work on the city of Tyre, Katzenstein mentioned several ancient sources that discussed the position of “Old Tyre.” He wrote: “Later this town was dismantled by Alexander the Great in his famous siege of Tyre and disappeared totally with the change of the coastline brought about by the dike and the alluvial deposits that changed Tyre into a peninsula” (1973, p. 15, emp. added).

      It very likely is the case that the specific site of ancient Tyre has been buried by sand and water over the course of the last 2,500 years and is lost to modern knowledge. That the prophet was speaking about the mainland city in reference to many aspects of his prophecy has much to commend it. It was to that mainland city that King Nebuchadnezzar directed most of his attention and destructive measures described in Ezekiel 26:8-11. Furthermore, it was the mainland city that Alexander destroyed completely and cast into the sea to build his causeway to the island city. In addition, Benjamin Tudela’s quote corresponds precisely to the statement that the prophet made in the latter part of chapter 26: “For thus says the Lord God: ‘When I make you a desolate city, like the cities that are not inhabited, when I bring the deep upon you, and great waters cover you’” (26:19, emp. added). In addition, Katzenstein noted that the scholar H.L. Ginsberg has suggested that the name “Great Tyre” was given to the mainland city, while the island city was designated as “Little Tyre” (p. 20). He further noted 2 Samuel 24:7, which mentions “the stronghold of Tyre,” and commented that this “may refer to “Old Tyre,” or the mainland city (p. 20).

      Besides the idea that the bulk of the prophecy dealt with the mainland city, other possible solutions exist that would sufficiently meet the criteria that Tyre would “never be rebuilt” and would “be no more forever.” While it is true that a city does currently exist on the island, that city is not a “rebuilt” Tyre and has no real connection to the city condemned by Ezekiel other than its location. If the history of Tyre is traced more completely, it becomes evident that even the island city of Tyre suffered complete destruction. Fleming noted that in approximately A.D. 193. “Tyre was plundered and burned after a fearful slaughter of her citizens” (1966, p. 73). Around the year 1085, the Egyptians “succeeded in reducing Tyre, which for many years had been practically independent” (p. 85). Again, in about 1098, the Vizier of Egypt “entered the city and massacred a large number of people” (p. 88). In addition, the city was besieged in A.D. 1111 (p. 90), and again in April of 1124 (p. 95). Around the year 1155, the Egyptians entered Tyre, “made a raid with fire and sword…and carried off many prisoners and much plunder” (p. 101).

      In addition to the military campaigns against the city, at least two major earthquakes pummeled the city, one of which “ruined the wall surrounding the city” (p. 115). And ultimately, in A.D. 1291, the Sultan Halil massacred the inhabitants of Tyre and subjected the city to utter ruin. “Houses, factories, temples, everything in the city was consigned to the sword, flame and ruin” (p. 122). After this major defeat in 1291, Fleming cites several travel logs in which visitors to the city mention that citizens of the area in 1697 were “only a few poor wretches…subsisting chiefly upon fishing” (p. 124). In 1837, another earthquake pounded the remains of the city so that the streets were filled with debris from fallen houses to such a degree that they were impassable (p. 128).

      Taking these events into consideration, it is obvious that many nations continued to come against the island city, that it was destroyed on numerous occasions, and that it became a place for fishing, fulfilling Ezekiel’s prediction about the spreading of nets. Furthermore, it is evident that the multiple periods of destruction and rebuilding of the city have long since buried the Phoenician city that came under the condemnation of Ezekiel. The Columbia Encyclopedia, under its entry for Tyre, noted: “The principal ruins of the city today are those of buildings erected by the Crusaders. There are some Greco-Roman remains, but any left by the Phoenicians lie underneath the present town” (“Tyre,” 2006, emp. added).

      Concerning Tyre’s present condition, other sources have noted that “continuous settlement has restricted excavation to the Byzantine and Roman levels and information about the Phoenician town comes only from documentary sources” (“Ancient Tyre…,” n.d., emp. added). Another report confirmed, “Uncovered remains are from the post-Phoenician Greco-Roman, Crusader, Arab and Byzantine times…. Any traces of the Phoenician city were either destroyed long ago or remain buried under today’s city” (“Ancient Phoenicia,” n.d., emp. added). Thus, the only connection that the present town maintains with the ancient one in Ezekiel’s day is location, and the present buildings, streets, and other features are not “rebuilt” versions of the original city. If Ezekiel’s prophecy extended to the island city as well as the mainland city, it can be maintained legitimately that the ruins lying underneath the city have not been “rebuilt.”

      WHEN DID EZEKIEL PROPHESY?

      Some have questioned the date of the composition of Ezekiel, due to the prophecy’s amazing accuracy in regard to its predictions concerning Tyre. Yet, the book of Ezekiel has much that lends itself to the idea that it was composed by Ezekiel during the time it claims to have been written. When did Ezekiel write his material? Kenny Barfield noted that, besides a belief that supernatural revelation is impossible,

      no evidence supports the thesis that Ezekiel’s predictions were penned later than 400 B.C. Moreover, the book (Ezek. 1:1; 8:1; 33:1; 40:1-4) claims to have been composed by the prophet sometime in the sixth century, B.C., and Josephus attributes the book to the Hebrew prophet during the time in question (1995, p. 98).

      In addition, Ezekiel was included in the Septuagint, which is the “earliest version of the Old Testament Scriptures” available—a translation from Hebrew to Greek which was “executed at Alexandria in the third century before the Christian era” (Septuagint, 1998,p. i).

      Simon Greenleaf, the lawyer who is renowned for having played a major role in the founding of Harvard Law School and for having written the Treatise on the Law of Evidence, scrutinized several biblical documents in light of the procedures practiced in a court of law. He noted one of the primary laws regarding ancient documents: “Every document, apparently ancient, coming from the proper repository or custody, and bearing on its face no evident marks of forgery, the law presumes to be genuine, and devolves the opposing party the burden of proving it to be otherwise” (1995, p. 16). He then noted that “this is precisely the case with the Sacred Writings. They have been used in the church from time immemorial, and thus are found in the place where alone they ought to be looked for” (pp. 16-17). Specifically in regard to Ezekiel, that is exactly the case. If the prophet wrote it in the sixth century B.C. his work is exactly where it should be, translated in the Septuagint around the year 250 B.C., and noted to be from the proper time period by Josephus in approximately A.D. 90.

      Furthermore, the scholarly world recognized the book’s authenticity and original date of composition virtually unanimously for almost 1,900 years. The eminently respected Hebrew scholars Keil and Delitzsch, who wrote in the late 1800s, commented: “The genuineness of Ezekiel’s prophecies is, at the present day, unanimously recognized by all critics. There is, moreover, no longer any doubt that the writing down and redaction of them in the volume which has been transmitted to us were the work of the prophet himself” (1982, 9:16). Indeed, Archer noted that no serious objection to the book’s integrity was even put forth until 1924 (1974, p. 369).

      OBJECTIONS TO EZEKIEL’S AUTHENTICITY CONSIDERED

      In regard to the objections that have been put forth, as Greenleaf noted, the burden of proof concerning the authenticity of Ezekiel lies with those who consider it inauthentic. Yet, far from proving such, they have put forth tenuous suggestions based on alleged internal inconsistencies. First, these critics have proposed that the work could not have been by one man since some sections are filled with descriptions of doom and destruction, while others resound with hope and deliverance. This alleged inconsistency holds little weight, as Miller noted:

      Of course, this viewpoint is based on purely subjective considerations. No inherent reason exists that forbids a single writer from presenting both emphases. In fact, virtually all the prophets of the Old Testament announce judgment upon God’s people and/or their neighbors and then follow that judgment sentence with words of future hope and restoration if repentance is forthcoming…. One must be in possession of a prejudicial perspective before approaching Scripture to come to such a conclusion (1995, p. 138).

      The second objection to the integrity of Ezekiel has little more to commend it than the first. The second “proof” of the book’s alleged inauthentic nature revolves around the fact that in certain sections, Ezekiel seems to be an eyewitness to events that are happening in Palestine, while at the same time claiming to be writing from Babylon. This objection can be dealt with quickly in a twofold manner. First, it would be possible, and very likely, that news would travel from the remnant of Israelites still free in Palestine to the captives in Babylon. Second, and more likely, if Ezekiel was guided by divine inspiration, he could have been given the ability to know events in Palestine that he did not see (see Miller, 1995, pp. 138-139). Taking the prophecy of Tyre into account, it is clear that Ezekiel did possess/receive revelation that allowed him to report events that he had not seen and that were yet to take place.

      A third objection to Ezekiel’s authenticity actually turns out not to be an objection at all, but rather a verification of Ezekiel’s integrity. W.F. Albright, the eminent and respected archaeologist, noted that one of C.C. Torrey’s “principle arguments against the authenticity of the prophecy” (the book of Ezekiel—KB) was the fact that Ezekiel dates things by the “years of Jehoiachin’s captivity” (1948, p. 164). Supposedly, Jehoiachin would not have been referred to as “king” since he was captive in another land and no longer ruled in his own. Until about 1940, this argument seemed to possess some merit. But in that year, Babylonian tablets were brought to light that contained a cuneiform inscription giving the Babylonian description of Jehoiachin as king of Judah, even though he was in captivity (p. 165). Albright concluded by saying: “The unusual dates in Ezekiel, so far from being indications that the book is not authentic, prove its authenticity in a most striking way” (p. 165).

      Due to the fact that modern critics have failed to shoulder the burden of proof laid upon them to discredit Ezekiel’s integrity and authenticity, Smith rightly stated: “The critical studies of the Book of Ezekiel over the past fifty years or so have largely cancelled each other out. The situation now is much the same as it was prior to 1924 (the work of Hoelscher) when the unity and integrity of the book were generally accepted by the critics” (Smith, 1979, p. 33). Miller correctly concluded: “All theories and speculations which call into question the unity and integrity of the book of Ezekiel are unconvincing…. The most convincing view is the traditional one that sees Ezekiel as the long recognized sixth century Hebrew prophet and author of the Old Testament book which bears his name” (1995, p. 139).

      CONCLUSION

      So accurate were the prophecies made by Ezekiel that skeptics were forced to suggest a later date for his writings. Yet, such a later date cannot be maintained, and the admission of Ezekiel’s accuracy stands as irrefutable evidence of the prophet’s divine inspiration. With the penetrating gaze that can only be maintained by the Divine, God looked hundreds of years into the future and instructed Ezekiel precisely what to write so that in the centuries following the predictions, the fulfillment of every detail of the prophet’s words could be denied by no honest student of history. “When the word of the prophet comes to pass, the prophet will be known as one whom the Lord has truly sent” (Jeremiah 28:9). Ezekiel’s accurate prophecy adds yet another piece of insurmountable evidence to the fact that “all Scripture is inspired of God” (2 Timothy 3:16).

      REFERENCES

      Albright, W.F. (1948), “The Old Testament and Archaeology,” Old Testament Commentary, ed. Herbert Alleman and Elmer Flack (Philadelphia, PA: Muhlenberg Press).

      “Ancient Phoenicia” (no date), [On-line], URL: http://gorp.away.com/gorp/location/africa/phonici5.htm.

      “Ancient Tyre (Sour)” (no date), [On-line], URL: http://ancientneareast.tripod.com/Tyre.html.

      Archer, Gleason L. Jr. (1974), A Survey of Old Testament Introduction (Chicago, IL: Moody), revised edition.

      Barfield, Kenny (1995), The Prophet Motive (Nashville, TN: Gospel Advocate).

      Benjamin of Tudela (no date), “Traveling in Jerusalem,” [On-line], URL: http://chass.colostate-pueblo.edu/history/seminar/benjamin.htm.

      Benjamin of Tudela (1907), The Itinerary of Benjamin of Tudela (New York, NY: The House of the Jewish Book), [On-line], URL: http://chass.colostate-pueblo.edu/history/seminar/benjamin/ benjamin1.htm.

      Davis, George T.B. (1931), Fulfilled Prophecies that Prove the Bible (Philadelphia, PA: Million Testaments Campaign).

      Fleming, Wallace B. (1966), The History of Tyre (New York, NY: AMS Press).

      Free, Joseph P. and Howard F. Vos (1992), Archaeology and Bible History (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan).

      Greenleaf, Simon (1995), The Testimony of the Evangelists (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Classics).

      • June 3, 2016 at 1:35 pm
        Permalink

        @Chris:

        http://www.religioustolerance.org/symes05.htm:

        “One of the most controversial prophecies of the Old Testament is the prophet Ezekiel’s prediction made sometime between 592-570 BCE that the ancient Phoenician city of Tyre would be utterly destroyed and never be rebuilt. The Tyrians had angered God by their failure to help Judah against the Chaldeans (Babylonians) who had conquered Jerusalem; therefore they were to be punished. Tyre was a prosperous trading city on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in what is now modern day Lebanon. It consisted of an island fortress city with two harbours and nearby suburbs on the mainland.

        Ezekiel begins his prophecy in Chapter 26 with a general curse against Tyre outlining her destruction (26:1-6). According to Ezekiel, many nations will rise up against Tyre, her walls will be torn down and God will scrape the soil off her island and make her like a gleaming rock where fishermen spread their nets. Ezekiel then becomes more specific when he claims that God told him that Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon and his army will bring all this to pass by laying siege to the city, killing its inhabitants, plundering it and laying it waste (26:7-13). He then repeats that God will make the ruined Tyre only a gleaming rock where fishermen spread their nets. In addition, he prophesizes that Tyre will “never be rebuilt” (26:14) and “never again be inhabited or take your place in the land of the living” (26:20). In this part of the prophecy, Ezekiel drops the earlier reference to many nations attacking Tyre because this will not be necessary after Nebuchadrezzar’s triumph. He writes “I will bring you to a fearful end, and you shall be no more; men may look for you but will never find you again. This is the very word of the Lord God.” (26:21).

        Tyre was not permanently destroyed:

        History records that Nebuchadrezzar did attack and destroy Tyre’s mainland suburbs, but could not destroy the island part of city, even after a thirteen year siege (586-573 B.C.E.). The outcome was that Tyre reached a compromise agreement with Nebuchadrezzar to pay tribute and accept Babylonian authority while Tyre resumed its trade and rebuilt its mainland parts. Despite the prophecy, historical records show that Tyre was rebuilt several times and that the city existed during the Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine periods and the centuries that followed, but in the end it did not achieve its former wealth and power. The New Testament even has numerous references to Tyre’s existence during the time of Jesus and Paul (e.g. Matthew 15:21, Acts 21:3). Modern day Tyre is built on and about the ruins of the ancient Phoenician city and its successors, and is currently the fourth largest city in Lebanon. So much for the prophecy that Nebuchadrezzar would utterly destroy Tyre and that it would never be rebuilt or inhabited again!

        In addition, the timing of the prophecy is suspicious. Ezekiel made his prophecy about the destruction of Tyre sometime between 592 and 570 BCE. However, Nebuchadrezzar’s siege was between 586 to 573 BCE. Therefore Ezekiel’s prophecy was either made after the fact or so close to the event that he could have guessed what might have happened. This timing fails one of the tests for a valid prophecy, yet the prophecy is still claimed to be “the word of God”.

        Later Ezekiel made another prophecy in which he appears to admit that he was wrong about Nebuchadrezzar destroying Tyre. In chapter 29 he writes: “Man, long did Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon keep his army in the field against Tyre, until every head was rubbed bare and every shoulder chafed. But neither he nor his army gained anything from Tyre for their long service against her. This, therefore, is the word of the Lord God: I am giving the land of Egypt to Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon. He shall carry off its wealth, he shall spoil and plunder it, and so his army will be paid.” (Ezekiel 29:18-19). Ezekiel further predicted that Egypt would become desolate, her cities ruined and derelict with no one passing through the land, that Egypt would be uninhabited for forty years and thereafter it would become a petty kingdom (Ezekiel 29:8-16). He also predicted that the land would be filled with the slain and God would dry up the river Nile (Ezekiel 30:10-12). In 568 B.C.E. Nebuchadrezzar attacked Egypt but was repulsed by Pharaoh Amasis II under whose rule Egypt continued to prosper. History has no record of Egypt ever suffering as Ezekiel prophesized. He was wrong again.”

      • June 3, 2016 at 1:39 pm
        Permalink

        @Chris continued:

        http://www.religioustolerance.org/symes05.htm:

        “Did Alexander the Great fulfil Ezekiel’s prophecy?

        Some biblical apologists who believe that the Bible can never err, claim that although Nebuchadrezzar did not destroy all of Tyre, the prophecy was fulfilled almost two and a half centuries later when the Greek general, Alexander the Great, destroyed both the mainland and island parts of the city. However, the prophecy (which after all, looks into the future) does not say it would be Alexander who would finish the job, but that Tyre would be utterly destroyed by Nebuchadrezzar. Why would God deceive Ezekiel who thought he was talking about his times rather than two centuries later and an Alexander whom he knew nothing about? And what sense was there to use Alexander to kill the people of Tyre centuries later when those whom Ezekiel wanted punished for thwarting God were already long dead? Ezekiel was really talking about the Babylonians and Tyre, not the Greeks and Tyre.

        Those who believe Alexander fulfilled Ezekiel’s prophecy also have to contend with a different prophecy about Tyre written by Isaiah over a hundred years earlier than Ezekiel. Isaiah prophesied that the Chaldeans would destroy Tyre which would remain desolate for 70 years then return to the Lord’s favour and prosper, giving her trading profits to the Jews (Isaiah 23:8-18). However, the Chaldeans did not destroy Tyre, nor did Alexander fulfill Isaiah’s prophecy either. According to the rule of Deuteronomy, both Ezekiel and Isaiah spoke presumptuously and should not be believed.

        Other Old Testament prophecies are also suspect, but it only takes the failure of one to show that the “word of God” as related in the Bible is untrustworthy. God’s prophets were not infallible. Those who read the Bible literally, believe that the Bible is without error; but then have trouble trying to explain away its obvious inconsistencies and falsehoods. They end up turning biblical prophecies into a confusing puzzle of rationalizations open to a multitude of conflicting interpretations. Is this the clarity that an omniscient God would want? Or is the simpler answer really that the prophets got it wrong and it’s time to admit it? We are dealing with myths here.”

      • June 3, 2016 at 1:41 pm
        Permalink

        @Chris:

        Ezekiel’s prophecy regarding the restoration of Israel and Judah is a failed prophecy period. It has NEVER been fulfilled.

        As I stated previously, according to Ezekiel chapter 4, Ezekiel engages in various dramatic signs – prophetic signs or actions – to convey his message. He binds himself in ropes; he lies on his left side 390 days to symbolize the 390 years of exile of Israel, and then he lies on his right side for 40 days to symbolize the length of Judah’s captivity, which he says will be 40 years.

        The northern kingdom of Israel was NEVER restored 390 years after it fell to the Assyrians in 722BCE – 390 years hence would be 332BCE.

        40 years from 586/587BCE when the temple in Jerusalem fell and a second deportation of Jewish exiles occurred would be 546/547BCE. The Southern kingdom of Judah was NOT restored in 546/547BCE.

        Or if the first deportation of exiles in 597BCE is used instead, 40 years hence would be 557 BCE. The Southern kingdom of Judah was NOT restored in 557 BCE.

        Ezekiel’s restoration prophecy is a FAILED prophecy. Period.

      • June 3, 2016 at 1:49 pm
        Permalink

        @Chris:

        Inclusion of the book of Ezekiel in the Hebrew canon was only achieved with great difficulty.

        http://www.theskepticalreview.com/tsrmag/4evide92.html :

        “Any present day inerrantist would affirm with his dying breath that the book of Ezekiel was unquestionably inspired of God, yet the rabbis who made the canonical selection were of a different mind. A bitter controversy surrounded this book before it was finally selected for inclusion in the Hebrew canon. The rabbis were bothered by chapters 40-48, which contained information that was difficult to reconcile with the Torah. Ezekiel 46:6 is just one example of the problems the rabbis had to deal with in these chapters. Here Ezekiel said that the sacrifice for the new moon should consist of “a [one] young bullock without blemish, six lambs, and a ram,” but the instructions for this same sacrificial ceremony in Numbers 28:11 stipulated two young bullocks, seven lambs, and a ram.” The discrepancy or, if you please, lack of “internal harmony” is readily apparent to anyone who wants to see it.

        At least it was apparent to the rabbis who had to decide whether the book should be considered canonical. According to Hebrew tradition, Rabbi Haniniah ben Hezekiah retired to a room with 300 “measures of oil” and worked day and night until he arrived at explanations that would “dispose of the discrepancies” (The Cambridge History of the Bible, vol. 1, Cambridge University press, 1970, p. 134). One wonders why such an undertaking as this was necessary to decide the canonicity of a book that exhibits “unequaled internal harmony.” Could it be that Rabbi Haniniah ben Hezekiah was merely the Bible inerrantist of his day, who rather than accepting the face value of what was written spent several days searching for innovative interpretations that would make doctrinally embarrassing passages not mean what they obviously were intended to mean?”

      • June 3, 2016 at 1:53 pm
        Permalink

        @Chris:

        Something else which I find rather interesting about the book of Ezekiel as a book of prophecy:

        According to Ezekiel 4:12:
        “And thou shalt eat it as barley cakes, and thou shalt bake it with dung that cometh out of man, in their sight”.

        According to “the LORD”, the whole point of this filthy exercise was to demonstrate how the Israelites would eat “defiled bread amongst the Gentiles, wither I will drive them.”  But Ezekiel was already amongst the captive Israelites in Gentile land (Ezekiel. 1:1).  So, was Ezekiel just demonstrating what was already happening?  If so, how was this a “prophecy”?

  • June 3, 2016 at 1:18 pm
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    @Chris:

    ****”Oh and by the way. You said the restoration happened way before 1948. The prophesy said they would never again be scattered. They were after the days of Jesus. So that’s not it. 1948. Just as Zionist said it would happen. But you didn’t find that in a click and paste did you?”

    I have never stated that “the restoration happened way before 1948.”
    Ezekiel’s prophecy regarding the restoration of Israel and Judah is a failed prophecy period. It has NEVER been fulfilled.

    This was what I stated on May 30, 2016 at 7:59 am:

    »»»»»»»……according to Ezekiel chapter 4, Ezekiel engages in various dramatic signs – prophetic signs or actions – to convey his message. He binds himself in ropes; he lies on his left side 390 days to symbolize the 390 years of exile of Israel, and then he lies on his right side for 40 days to symbolize the length of Judah’s captivity, which he says will be 40 years.

    40 years from 586/587BCE when the temple in Jerusalem fell and a second deportation of Jewish exiles occurred, ended long before 1948 CE.

    Why would God deceive Ezekiel who thought God was talking about Judah being restored in 546/547BCE rather than 2534 years later?”«««««««

    The northern kingdom of Israel was NEVER restored 390 years after it fell to the Assyrians in 722BCE – 390 years hence would be 332BCE.

    40 years from 586/587BCE when the temple in Jerusalem fell and a second deportation of Jewish exiles occurred would be 546/547BCE. The Southern kingdom of Judah was NOT restored in 546/547BCE.

    Or if the first deportation of exiles in 597BCE is used instead, 40 years hence would be 557 BCE. The Southern kingdom of Judah was NOT restored in 557 BCE.

    Ezekiel’s restoration prophecy is a FAILED prophecy. Period.

  • June 3, 2016 at 1:21 pm
    Permalink

    @Chris:

    ****”Yet again you’ve managed to click and paste. No that’s not research it’s dishonestly. But if you feel the need to research skeptics guides and claims their view as your own……..”

    In all instances, I provided the website from which I took the information as a reference. I have even provided the names of two persons who debated your 1948 claim. I provided information directly from these various websites because I am in agreement with the points made. I indicated whenever I was quoting directly from a website instead of claiming that I am the originator of the information as you are wrongfully accusing me of doing.

  • June 3, 2016 at 1:24 pm
    Permalink

    @Chris:

    ****”Which do we believe? I’m sure you’ll find the click and paste answer which shows your lack of I tellyevece to think for yourself. So keep clicking and pasting because I don’t emirate you have the cognitive ability to think for yourself………someone who doesn’t think for themselves and only find sources to match what they believe currently takes as much faith as a theist…….. You keep doing that. That’s not testing all things that’s called biased confirmation. So click and past all you want. It shows you don’t know what you’re talking about……… Not true. You’ve looked up information to Support your views.”

    Did you write the following books:
    – Divine Plan of the Ages
    – Studies in the Scriptures
    which you have been insisting that I read? I am sure you did not. Yet the views which you have been expressing are not your own but are based on what is written in these books.

    You have also posted quite a few links to various websites in your comments and have cut and pasted from some of them.
    Does this show your “tellyevece to think for yourself”? Does this show that “you have the cognitive ability to think for yourself”?

    Yes, I have looked up information to support my views just as you have done or anyone else would do.
    The source of the information is NOT what is at issue, rather, the
    factualness or the fallaciousness of the content is what is at issue. So, can you or can’t you rebutt the arguments presented? Is the information which I posted which was sourced from a website factual or fallacious?

  • June 3, 2016 at 1:28 pm
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    @Chris:

    ****”And yes Egypt is desolate. Not as in nothing exist there but as in they are and have never been a worlds super power ever again. They are a weak nation. But you take a point of view.”

    That’s the beauty about the Bible isn’t it? – you can make it mean whatever you want it to mean. “Desolate” doesn’t mean “desolate” it means something else. No wonder there are approximately 40,000 denominations within Christianity because each denomination gives the scriptures whatever meaning they please.

  • June 3, 2016 at 2:00 pm
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    @Chris:

    I posted quite a number of comments which question/challenge what the Bible Students teach. I note however, that you have chosen to respond to only a few of them. Anyway, some other observations:

    ****On May 15, 2016 at 7:14 pm you stated:
    “In this Gospel Age only the Bride class is on trial for life. God is not dealing with the world of mankind right now. He is only calling out the bride……”

    ****On May 18, 2016 at 5:49 am you stated:
    “Yes Jesus in the Gospel Age is on working with the Bride class ONLY.”

    To the contrary, the Bible clearly shows that there is a final personal judgment when Jesus would come with his angels at the end of the world to reward EVERY PERSON, not just “the Bride Class”, according to their works, on the basis of what each individual did in his/her lifetime.

    Matthew 16:27-28:
    “For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward EACH according to his works. Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.”

    That a final judgment in which all people will be rewarded according to their works will occur when Jesus comes again is a well defined New Testament doctrine. The apostle Paul said, “For we must ALL appear before the judgment seat of Christ that EACH ONE MAY RECEIVE THE THINGS DONE IN THE BODY, ACCORDING TO WHAT HE HAS DONE, WHETHER GOOD OR BAD” (2 Corinthians 5:10). The book of Revelation closed with a warning of this final judgment: “Behold, I come quickly and my reward is with me, to render to each man according to his works” (Revelation 22:10). In his interpretation of the parable of the tares, Jesus was very clear in saying to his disciples that the final judgment would take place at the end of the world.

    Matthew 13:37-43:
    “He that sows the good seed is the Son of Man; and the field is the world, and the good seed, these are the sons of the kingdom; and the tares are the sons of the evil one; and the enemy that sowed them is the devil: and THE HARVEST IS THE END OF THE WORLD; and the reapers are angels. As therefore the tares are gathered up and burned with fire; so shall it be IN THE END OF THE WORLD. The Son of Man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that cause stumbling, and them that do iniquity, and shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be the weeping and the gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He that has ears, let him hear”.
    (emphasis mine).

    Other scriptures could be cited, but these are sufficient to show that the New Testament teaches that the second coming of Jesus will signal the end of the world, at which time there will be a final, personal judgment on the basis of what each individual did in his/her lifetime. So God is not just selectively dealing with a “Bride Class” as the Bible Students’ theology teaches – he will be judging EVERYONE on the basis of what each individual did in his/her lifetime, when Jesus comes at the end of the world. So EVERYONE is bring tried now, not just “the Bride Class” as per the Bible Students’ theology.

    • June 3, 2016 at 2:09 pm
      Permalink

      Also, on May 15, 2016 at 7:14 pm you stated:

      ****”And no not all those who are resurrected resist homosexuality. Remember some will be misled yet again when Satan is let out at the end of the millennial Age.”

      If Jesus is coming at the end of the world to render a final personal judgment on the basis of what each individual did in his/her lifetime, as was shown above, why is there the need for a millennium at the end of which there will be a test, when everyone would have already been judged and their fate decided at the end of the world?

      • June 18, 2016 at 10:52 am
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        Dee. You couldn’t farther from the truth. Aside from clicking and pasting from atheist websites your ideas are incorrect. The bible does not teach that at the very end of this age that Jesus will separate is based on what we’ve done now. The bible teaches at Isaiah 26:9 that “For when there are judgments from you for the earth,The inhabitants of the land learn about righteousness”. How can they learn righteousness if they are condemned at resurrection? Hers what judgement day is according to the bible students.

        The Day of Judgment

        “Let the heavens rejoice … the earth be glad … the field be joyful, and all that is therein: … all the trees of the wood shall rejoice before the Lord. For he cometh … to judge the earth … with righteousness, and the people with his truth.” —Psalm 96:11-13

        The teaching of the Bible pertaining to a future day of judgment for all mankind is both reassuring and hope-inspiring. It is consistent with the invitation in our text for all to rejoice that the Lord comes to “judge the world with righteousness and the people with his truth.” The Apostle Paul affirmed the coming of this day when speaking on Mars’ Hill. He told the people that God has appointed a day in which “he will judge the world in righteousness” by Jesus Christ, and that he had “given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.”—Acts 17:31
        The future judgment day which the Lord has provided in his plan of salvation is more than a time when rewards will be given to the righteous and punishments meted out to the wicked. It will also be a period of probation, during which the people will have an opportunity, based upon full knowledge of the issues involved, to choose between obedience to the Lord and disobedience, between righteousness and unrighteousness.
        This means that the judgment day is not an ordinary day of twenty-four hours, but, as the Bible teaches, an entire age, a thousand years long. It is, in fact, the same thousand years during which Christ will reign over earth, for he will be judge as well as King. The faithful followers of Jesus during this age will be associate kings with him during that thousand years, and they will also share with him in the work of judging the world.—Rev. 20:4; I Cor. 6:2
        These beautiful and harmonious teachings of the Bible are concealed by the erroneous view that the eternal destiny of every individual is irrevocably decided by God at the moment of death. There is no scriptural support for this thought (except as it relates to those who accept Christ, and consecrate their lives to divine service, in this Gospel Age).
        On the contrary, Jesus definitely stated that those who do not accept his teachings are not judged now, but later. “If any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not … the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.” (John 12:47,48) How beautifully this harmonizes with the promise in our text that in that happy judgment day of the future the people will be judged by the “truth,” for the words of Jesus are certainly the truth.
        The Present Judgment Day
        Jesus’ statement that those who do not now believe his words are not judged implies that those who do believe and become his followers do come into judgment at the present time. This is indeed true. But to appreciate its full implications it is necessary to realize that the word “judgment” as used scripturally in this connection denotes more than merely the passing of sentence; that it includes also the thought of a trial which leads up to a sentence.
        Thus the Christian is spoken of in the Bible as being on trial now. Peter speaks of “the trial of your faith” and says that it is “much more precious than of gold that perisheth.” (I Pet. 1:7) He also wrote, “Think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you.” (I Pet. 4:12) Clearly, the trial of the Christian is severe. But the reward is correspondingly great. “Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.”—Rev. 2:10
        After mentioning the Christian’s “fiery trial” or judgment, Peter explains further: “The time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the Gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?” (I Pet. 4:17,18) This text clearly establishes that the present age is a time of judgment for believers, “the house of God.”
        But this is only the beginning of the Lord’s judgment work. Peter asks, “Where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear [for judgment]?” In this text the apostle does not answer his own question, and some conclude there is no future trial for unbelievers, and they will appear in a place of eternal torture.
        But Jesus answered differently. As cited above, he said those who hear, and believe not, are passed over for the present, and will be judged by his “word” in “the last day.” (John 12:47,48) In this wonderful assurance the Master makes it definite that the judgment of unbelievers does not occur in this life, that no decision is now reached as to their eternal destiny and will not be until “the last day.”
        Nor does the expression “last day” refer to the last day of an individual’s present life. The same expression was used by Martha when, concerning her brother Lazarus, she said, “I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” (John 11:24) Notice that the “last day” is at the time of the resurrection. It is the thousand-year day of Christ’s reign, and of the judgment—the last great day, or period, in the divine plan for the redemption and recovery of the human race from sin and death.
        From the texts already quoted it is apparent that only consecrated followers of the Master are now on trial for life. There is no second trial period for these, and if we fail to note that the scriptures which establish this fact apply only to Christians, we might easily suppose that there is no probation for anyone other than in the present life.
        But no one can be on trial for life while still under condemnation. And that is the position of all who have not accepted Christ as their Savior and consecrated themselves to do God’s will. Believers, on the other hand, upon the basis of their faith, come out from the condemnation which came upon man through father Adam. In their new standing before the Lord they have “justification of life,” in which there is “no condemnation.”—Rom. 5:18; 8:1
        The significance of this as related to the future judgment day is revealed by Jesus when he said, “He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath [by faith] everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation [Greek, krisis, meaning judgment]; but is passed from death unto life.” (John 5:24) This tells us plainly that believers, by faith, now pass from death unto life and will not come into judgment in the future; their judgment or trial day is now.
        This is a great truth which must be considered if we are to understand the purpose of the world’s future judgment day, and its results. For example, it precludes the view that it is a time when sinners will be separated from saints, with the separation based upon decisions previously reached when each one died; for Jesus emphasizes that the “saints,” his true followers, will not appear in that future judgment at all.
        In the Resurrection
        As already quoted, Jesus said that those who believe pass from death unto life. This, of course, is upon the basis of faith. From God’s standpoint these are no longer under condemnation. It is these whom Jesus refers to in John 5:29, where he says that those who have done good shall “come forth … to the resurrection of life.” Their judgment time is passed, and in the resurrection they are rewarded with the “glory and honor and immortality” which they diligently sought “through patient continuance in well doing.”—Rom. 2:7
        Those Who Have Done Evil
        Jesus assures us that the resurrection is not only for those who “have done good,” for he says that all who are in the graves shall hear his voice and come forth. (John 5:28) However, as the next verse declares, only those who have done good will come forth to a “resurrection of life,” for those who have “done evil” come forth “to a resurrection of judgment,” as the Revised Version puts it. The Greek word used by Jesus is krisis, and the common version mistranslates it “damnation.”
        The word krisis in the Greek language means the same as our English word “crisis.” It denotes a crucial testing time, or experience. This crucial test of Christians is in the present life, and if they pass it successfully they come forth to life in the resurrection. But all others come forth “to a resurrection of judgment,” that is, to their judgment or trial day. For them, the great crisis in which their eternal destiny is decided will take place after they are awakened from the sleep of death.
        The future thousand-year age of probation for the world will in a sense be the second judgment for the human race, the first one having been in the Garden of Eden. That was the judgment day of our first parents, and the result was shared by all mankind. In that trial, or crisis, Adam disobeyed divine law and was sentenced to death. Through heredity, his children shared his penalty. As the Apostle Paul wrote, “By the offense of one, judgment came upon all men to condemnation.”—Rom. 5:18
        God enlightened Adam concerning His will, His law. “Of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat,” the Lord said. (Gen. 2:17) This was a simple law. There was nothing complex about it, or difficult to understand. Adam’s condemnation was the result of his decision to take a course contrary to the truth revealed to him. Not only did his disobedience bring death, but it also resulted in a loss of understanding. Darkness pertaining to God and to his will was an inevitable result of his “fall,” and Adam’s progeny have also received from him this heritage of “darkness.” Isaiah describes this general condition of the world, saying, “Darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people.”—Isa. 60:2
        But God did not cease to love his human creation. Indeed, he “so loved the world” that he sent his beloved Son to redeem Adam and his race from death. He also made provision through Christ for the enlightenment of the world. So, after Isaiah described the “gross darkness” of the people, he added, “But the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.”—Isa. 60:2,3
        In keeping with this, Jesus announced, “I am the Light of the world”. (John 8:12) We are also informed that he is that true Light which “lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” (John 1:9) True, not “every man” has yet been enlightened by the Gospel as it shines in the face of Jesus Christ. So far as the vast majority of mankind is concerned it is still true as stated by John, “The Light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehendeth it not.”—John 1:5
        Certainly those who do not comprehend the light cannot accept and rejoice in it. This is why Jesus said, “If any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not.” (John 12:47) To his disciples Jesus said, “Blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.” (Matt. 13:16) When Jesus explained that he was not now judging those who heard his words and did not believe them, he gave as the reason a prophecy which he quoted and applied to himself and his work: “He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them.”—John 12:40
        The Apostle John said, “God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” (John 3:17) Belief in Christ, that true Light, is the only condition upon which any can be released from this condemnation. But since, even now, the people as a whole do not comprehend the Light, the necessity for a future day of enlightenment and judgment is apparent.
        The Dead to Hear
        We have already quoted the Master’s words assuring us that those who now hear and believe his words receive life—by faith now, and actually in the resurrection—and that these will not come into future judgment with the world. (John 5:24) But verse 28 greatly broadens the hope. Jesus there affirms that “all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth.” Those who have believed and have proved faithful prior to death will then enter immediately into eternal life. To all others, a full opportunity to believe will be given then, and those who believe shall live.
        That there is to be an opportunity after death to hear the truth, and to believe, will be a new thought to some. But it is a scriptural thought. Nowhere does the Bible say that the opportunity to receive life through Christ is limited to the present. Every Christian believes that God is merciful, and patient with sinners. But for some reason the erroneous view has been adopted that divine mercy is extended only until a person dies, and that God cannot be merciful toward an individual beyond the instant he draws his last breath.
        There is no biblical support for this restricted view. From the divine standpoint the entire unbelieving world is dead in sin, and for four thousand years prior to the first advent of Jesus, God allowed the condemned world to fall asleep in death without doing anything to enlighten and save them. His sending Jesus to be the Redeemer and Savior proved that God loved his human creatures. But in order to receive life through him, they must believe; yet those millions who died before Christ came certainly did not have an opportunity to believe on him.
        Countless millions have died since, who have had no opportunity to believe, because they never heard of the only name given under heaven, or among men, whereby they must be saved. (Acts 4:12) Besides, according to Jesus’ own testimony, many who hear his teachings do not comprehend the issues involved. On behalf of these, let us thank God for the assurance Jesus gives us that he has not judged them, and that they are to be judged by his “word” at a later time.
        “By His Truth”
        Jesus’ statement that his words would do the final judging of unbelievers is in harmony with the text which declares that in that happy time the Lord will judge the people “with his truth.” (Ps. 96:13) This is a beautiful thought. It means that all mankind are to be enlightened with the truth concerning God, and upon the basis of this enlightenment they will be given an opportunity to obey and live.
        This glorious fact, so clearly taught in the Scriptures, brings into focus many texts and promises of the Bible which are otherwise contradictory. For example, John 1:9, which says Jesus is “that true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” Certainly this was not true of those who died before Christ came! Nor has it been true of countless millions since. But this text has real meaning because of the blessed assurance that there is to be a future day of enlightenment.
        In a wonderful prophecy of that day, the thousand-year period of Christ’s reign, the promise is made that “the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.”—Isaiah 11:9
        Zephaniah, in a revealing prophecy now being fulfilled in the disintegration of a social order described by the Apostle Paul as “this present evil world,” tells us that following this period of distress, the Lord “will … turn to the people a pure language [message], that they may all call upon the name of the Lord, to serve him with one consent.”—Zeph. 3:8,9
        The Prophet Jeremiah tells us of a future time when the Lord will make “a new covenant with the house of Judah and with the house of Israel,” explaining that then the divine law will be written in the hearts of the people. The knowledge of the Lord will then be so universal that all shall know him, “from the least of them unto the greatest of them.”—Jer. 31:31-34
        The Apostle Paul says, “God … will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.”—I Tim. 2:3-6
        At first glance the sequence given here seems contrary to other Scriptures which insist that one must have a knowledge of the truth first, then, upon the basis of this knowledge, believe and be saved; for here the apostle speaks of being “saved” first, and then receiving a knowledge of the truth.
        However, in this instance Paul is not using the word saved to describe the eternal salvation which results from believing and obeying the Gospel. Rather, he is telling us that it is God’s will that all who have died in ignorance of the only name given under heaven, or among men whereby we must be saved, shall be awakened from death to have an opportunity to come to a knowledge of the truth. In other words, Paul uses the word “saved” to describe what Jesus promised when he said that all in their graves would hear his voice and come forth.
        The great truth which all must learn and accept in order to obtain everlasting life is that Jesus Christ by the grace of God tasted death “for every man.” (Heb. 2:9) Paul speaks of this as a “ransom for all,” and it is this great truth that is to “be testified [made known] in due time.” The expression “due time” is very significant. It indicates that God’s loving plan for the redemption and salvation of the human race progresses in an orderly and prearranged plan in which there is a “due time” for every feature of his loving designs. The present age, and the present life, is the “due time” for some to comprehend the truth and thus to believe and obey. During the Millennium, and after the unenlightened world is awakened from death, will be the due time for them to have the Gospel “testified” in an understandable manner. Then it will be their due time to obey and live.
        “And the Books Were Opened”
        Revelation 20:12-15 is one of the very interesting passages of the Bible related to the future judgment day of the world. In this symbolic prophecy the future enlightenment of the people is illustrated by the idea of books being opened. This wonderful description of the judgment day reads:
        “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to his works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”
        During the thousand-year reign of Christ, when the dead are being awakened, they will “stand before God” in the sense that, through the redemptive work of Christ, the original condemnation will no longer count against them, and each will have an opportunity to believe, obey, and live. But this opportunity requires a further manifestation of divine grace. The “books” must be opened.
        This is a pictorial way of telling us that he will judge the people “with his truth.” (Ps. 96:13) The “books” contain the truth, and must be opened, for as long as they remain closed, the truth is concealed and the people “comprehend it not.”
        We are, of course, aware of the view held by some that the “books” referred to in this passage contain the records of the past lives of all who have died, and that these books are opened in the judgment day to discover who is worthy and who is unworthy. It should be noted, however, that the prophecy mentions the “works” of those being judged as separate from the “books,” for the judgment is said to be out of the things in the books, “according to their works.” The point is that the judgment is based upon the degree to which their works are made to conform to the truth contained in the books.
        After all, the Lord would not need to look up the record of any sinner’s works to determine his worthiness or unworthiness of life; he knows, as the Scriptures state, “there is none righteous, no, not one.” (Rom. 3:10) Even the footstep followers of Jesus would be unworthy of life if they were judged by their own imperfect works.
        The Lord knows that none is worthy of life through his own righteousness. But divine love provided a way of escape from condemnation through belief in Christ, in his “word,” and in the wonderful provision of his blood. But there can be no genuine belief until there is knowledge upon which faith can be based. Therefore that knowledge is provided, the “books” are opened, during the thousand-year judgment day.
        God is his own interpreter, and in Isaiah 29:11-18 he speaks again of these symbolic “books,” and what is implied by their opening. In this passage we are told of a “book that is sealed,” which is given to one who is learned and then to one who is unlearned. Neither is able to “read” or comprehend the meaning of its contents.
        Finally the book is opened—“In that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity, and out of darkness.” The period called “that day” is clearly shown by the context to be the time of Christ’s kingdom. And of that day the promise is made, “The meek also shall increase their joy in the Lord, and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.”—vs. 19
        “According to Their Works”
        In the judgment-day prophecy of Revelation 20:12-15, the dead who “stand before God” are those who are known by the Lord to have been evil. They are the ones whom Jesus described when he promised that those who “have done evil [shall come forth] unto the resurrection of judgment.” (John 5:29, RV) The works referred to, therefore, must be their works in the Kingdom, after they learn, hear, and respond to the message of the open books.
        The prophecy says “another book” is also opened. It is styled the “book of life.” The dead who stand before God, and are tried upon the basis of their obedience to the things written in the books, formerly had their names listed, as it were, in a book of death, for they were all in Adam’s “book.” Paul states the thought in a slightly different manner, saying, “As in Adam all die”; but he adds, “even so in Christ shall all be made alive.”—I Cor. 15:22
        So Christ’s book of life will then be opened for mankind, and as each individual of the condemned race—awakened from death and enlightened—accepts and obeys the truth, his name will be entered in that book. The opening of this book of life is not to discover whose names are there, but to enter the names of those who, “according to their works,” prove their love for the truth by which the people will then be judged.—Ps. 96:13
        The Lake of Fire
        Verse 13 says that death and hell will then give up their dead. That is why the dead will have an opportunity to stand before God. Hell, or hades, as it is in the Greek text, is the condition of death, not a place of torment. Following the return of the dead from hell, both death and hell are to be cast into “the lake of fire,” which is described as “the second death.” It is not called the second death because everything destroyed in the lake of fire dies the second time, but because it will be the second time the death penalty will be inflicted.
        In the lake of fire, which is the second death, even death itself will die. Included in that final cleansing of the earth will be the destruction of all whose names are not, finally, written in the book of life. These will be cast into the lake of fire, the second death, not to be tormented, but to be destroyed.
        That glorious day when the Lord judges the people with his truth will be a time of favor for them. “When thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.” (Isa. 26:9) But there will be willfully wicked ones even then who will refuse to obey the truth. Concerning this the next verse declares, “Let favor be showed to the wicked, yet will he not learn righteousness; in the land of uprightness will he deal unjustly, and will not behold the majesty of the Lord.”—Isa. 26:10
        The expression “the land of uprightness” describes conditions which will exist in the earth during the reign of Christ. Peter refers to the same time, saying, “we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.” (II Pet. 3:13) Peter refers to this new era of human experience as “the day of judgment and perdition [destruction] of ungodly men.” (II Pet. 3:7) It will mean perdition for all such, for they will be “destroyed from among the people.”—Acts 3:23
        But, as Peter shows, only those who refuse to hear and obey the truth when it is then presented will be revealed as ungodly and destroyed. Under the enlightening influences of the truth their willful disposition will be revealed.
        The Sheep and Goats
        Another lesson on the coming judgment day is Jesus’ Parable of the Sheep and Goats. (Matthew 25:31-46) The time when the parable applies is identified by the opening verse. “When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory.” Jesus sits upon the throne of his glory during the thousand years of his reign. In the Greek text, the “angels” who appear with Christ in glory are “messengers.” The reference is to his church, those who believe during this age and, proving faithful unto death, will be glorified with him as associate kings and judges.
        Before this throne of his glory all nations will be gathered, the parable states, and they will be divided as sheep and goats are divided. This is not a division between the church and the world, for the church is with her Lord in the throne. The division, rather, takes place between those of the world who had not been previously enlightened, and died as unbelievers. They are “the dead small and great” who “stand before God” when the “books” are opened. Some will then believe and obey; others will not, hence the division into two classes.
        All nationalities will participate in that future judgment day scene. Jesus, on another occasion, said it would be “more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah” in the judgment day than it would be for those who rejected and persecuted him. (Matt. 10:15) This means that the people of those wicked cities of the remote past will be awakened from death and given an opportunity to repent, believe, and live.
        It will be more tolerable for those wicked cities than for the Israelites who rejected Jesus, because they did not sin against so much light. But it will be tolerable for all! All are to be awakened and enlightened, and if obedient to the light, the truth, they will be judged worthy of living forever.
        In the parable, the sheep class are rewarded because of their spirit of helpfulness and cooperation. To his own disciples Jesus said, “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.” (John 13:34) When the books of truth, the words of Jesus by which the people will then be judged, are opened, it will be found that basic to all divine requirements of those found worthy of life will be an appreciation and practice of divine love, that great principle of unselfishness which leads one to be more interested in his neighbor than in himself.
        This quality will be found in the sheep class. Because of this, they hear the welcome words of Jesus, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” (Matt. 25:34) This is the kingdom of earth, originally given to our first parents, which they lost when they disobeyed God and were driven out of Eden to die. At the close of the thousand-year judgment day, this kingdom will be restored to all who then qualify. It is this restoration that Peter describes as “restitution.”—Acts 3:19-23
        The “goats” of the parable are those of Revelation 20:15 whose names are not found in the book of life. They are the wicked of Isaiah 26:10, and those of Acts 3:23, who, refusing to hear the great Teacher of that time, “shall be destroyed from among the people.”
        The goat class, according to Jesus, “go away into everlasting punishment,” while the sheep receive everlasting life. (Matt. 25:46) The word “punishment” in this text is from a Greek word meaning to “cut off.” In other words, the “goats” will be “cut off” from life—destroyed. In verse 41 this is symbolized by fire—fire being one of the most destructive agencies known to man—“prepared for the Devil and his angels.”
        Yes, thank God, even the Devil and the unholy angels who are with him will also be destroyed in that symbolic lake of fire which the Revelator declares to be “the second death.” Meanwhile, every child of Adam will have had a full opportunity to accept the grace of God provided through the redemptive work of Christ. None will lose life, or fail to obtain salvation, except those who, despite full enlightenment, refuse to believe and to obey the truth.
        This enlarged view of the great expanse of God’s grace and love should inspire in us a greater desire than ever to serve and please him, for we have a marvelous opportunity to cooperate in the divine plan of salvation for a lost race. To receive the gift of life through Christ is a wonderful manifestation of God’s grace. But beyond this, through Christ we have the high honor of partnership with God and with his dear Son in the work of reconciling the lost world.
        In view of the marvelous blessings yet in store for the human race, blessings which will come to the people during the thousand-year judgment day, it is no wonder that the psalmist called upon all creation to praise the Lord because “he cometh to judge the earth.” For “he shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with his truth.”—Ps. 96:13

  • June 9, 2016 at 12:40 pm
    Permalink

    being a committed AGNOASTIC with NO ties to the WT societynor to their understandings : thanks to WTS for alarming the young ones against anal colon perversion and anal orientation – there MUST be limits, thanks thanks thanks from an EX JW

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