Saturday, October 4, 2008

Jesus said it #6: And then shall appear ...

Ray Comfort has posted a cartoon by Richard Gunther. Here's the text of the cartoon.
Some Very General Signs of The End of The Age

  • People claiming to be great spiritual leaders,

  • Wars and unrest,

  • Famines,

  • Sun and Moon darkened,

  • Earthquakes,

  • Diseases,

  • Stars falling,

  • Persecution of Christians,

  • Rise in law-breaking,

  • Lack of sincere love,

  • The gospel preached in all the world.

Then Jesus will return suddenly in his power and glory to judge the whole world.
Matt. 24

People claiming to be great spiritual leaders
My yes, there have been people claiming to be great spiritual leaders since the beginning of civilization. As a matter of fact, Jesus fits this description beautifully. Jesus was just predicting the obvious. A sure fire prophecy that could only be fullfilled. There had been false prophets before Jesus and many after him. So?

Wars and unrest
Same as above. There have been many, many wars since Jesus and there were many wars before him as well. Another prophecy that couldn't go wrong.

Again, this is an obvious prophecy. People have starved as long as there has been people on this planet.

Sun and Moon darkened, Earthquakes
We know what causes eclipses. They can be scary, but they are completely harmless. We also know what causes earthquakes. It's nearly impossible to predict earthquakes. They cause the loss of life and property in huge amounts. However, there have been earthquakes all over the entire planet as long and this planet has been here. There were earthquakes happening all the time before Jesus and many earthquakes since. Again this is a no-brainer prophecy.

Again, this is a no fail prophecy. Diseases have been killing people ever since people have been here.

Stars falling
We know what causes meteors. They're mostly harmless. Of course, we may get the big one that wipes out life as we know it. But, the everyday, run of the mill, meteor shower won't hurt anyone. Well, for the most part. There are incidents of people being hit by metorites, but that is so rare.

Persecution of Christians
As long as there are opposing religions, there will be persecution. Christians are guilty of some persecution themselves. With the rise of evangelism in the U.S., I fear that christians will persecute the non-religious and critics of religion in the future.

Rise in law-breaking
There have been law-breakers in every decade since Jesus. Today, we may have more crime because there are more people. May, because I'm not sure that crime wasn't as bad in the Dark Ages or the Roman Empire. Crime rate was undoubtably high in Jesus' time. Again this is a sure fire win when it comes to prophecy.

Lack of sincere love
There's no way to prove that love was more sincere in Jesus' time. I do know that I don't treat my wife like 1 Corinthians 11:5-6 says. Treating your wife like that does not sound like sincere love to me.

The gospel preached in all the world
For the most part it has. There are probably a few tribes in the amazon who haven't heard yet. I hope the proselytizers can leave them alone. St. Paul believed that everyone already had heard the gospel in the first century (Romans 10:18).

Gunther misquotes Matthew 24:30
And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. Matthew 24:30
I find it amazing that Comfort and Gunther appearantly quote the bible without any reference. I had to look for the verse that Gunther has the bible saying. Then, he misquotes (badly paraphrases) it.

Gunther ignores Matthew 24:34
Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. Matthew 24:34
Jesus says that the disciples generation would still be around when Jesus returns.

These signs of the end of the world are constant. They've been a constant in the world since humans first looked up and wondered what was up there. If I prophecied that tomorrow someone would have an automobile accident, it would certainly come true. Does that mean that I am a prophet? No, of course not.

Edited for spelling. Doh!


Anonymous said...

Very thorough and organized take down of Ray's pathetic post. This should be posted on the Raytractors.

When I first saw Ray's "prophecies" I practically laughed out loud. It's like he's not even trying anymore. I mean "diseases"? Come on! I'm pretty the world population had more diseases in jesus's time than they do now.

GermanMike said...

Meteors aren't stars. Even the stupid goat-herders at the time of the bible knew this or could have known this if they asked their astrologers.
They really meant the stars, who they believed were tiny lights fixed to a far away sphere which they called the firmament.

Robert Madewell said...

Mike, of course I know that meteors are not stars. But, meteors are still called falling stars today. Meteor showers were in ancient times seen as bad omens preceeding great catastrophies. I believe that Jesus was talking about meteor showers, not litterally stars engulfing the earth.

I think that the bible authors thought that a meteor was literally a star that was falling. When the entire sky is filled with meteors, that had to be a very bad omen indeed.

As a matter of fact, the Seventh Day Adventist church still cites a spectacular meteor shower in the 1800s as an event fortelling the return of Jesus.

Today of course, we know that meteors are not falling stars. They are just chunks of rock from space entering the atmosphere. We no longer worry when we see meteor showers. They're awesome to look at, and our knowlege has saved us from any superstitious fear of them. However, 2000 years ago, people did not know what caused them at all.

The moon and sun being darkened is a reference to eclipses (both lunar and solar). Again, the ancients took eclipses as evil signs of impending doom. Some ancient astologers could predict eclipses accurately, but the ordinary peasant (like Jesus was) and the super religious priests would have been totally suprised by and fearful of such an event.

Jesus doesn't mention a comet, but these were also seen as evil omens as well. Could be that no comet came within visual of earth during Jesus' lifetime, so he didn't know about them. He was a peasant after all, not a court astrologer.

Robert Madewell said...

In case anyone is interested.

The meteor shower that the SDA church cites as a sign of Jesus' return is described on page 308 of The Great Controversy by Ellen G. White. It occured on Nov. 13, 1833. It was probably a Leonid shower. Those are often spectacular and it was about the right time of year for them. 1833 also falls on a year that the leonids could have produced a meteor storm. She also cites the earthquake in Lisbon in 1755 as fortelling the second advent.