Intelligent Design Religion

Evidence: Can we trust traditional texts to be reliable?

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It really depends on how much care has been taken to preserve them.

Recently, Barry Arrington posted on how we can be sure of something (for example, that bin Laden is dead). The burden of proof is on any who might claim otherwise.

For some, the question has arisen whether the oral transmission of the Torah (the books of Moses in Jewish tradition) could be reliable. What about memory lapses, deliberate alterations, etc., especially during the time when oral memory and transmission were normal, alongside scrolls (which were expensive and time-consuming to produce).

Well, I asked the ID community reb, Moshe Averick, author of Nonsense of a High Order: The confused and illusory world of the atheist, how do you know that the Torah goes back to the time of Moses? Here is what he says,

There are many safeguards in Jewish law and practice to preserve the integrity of the Torah scroll. However, the simplest and most obvious evidence of how well the system works, is that after the founding of the State of Israel, Jews from every corner of the world brought their own Torah Scrolls and the ones from Yemen ( whose community was over 2000 years old) matched the ones from Poland. This, despite the fact that there are over 300,000 letters in the Torah.

The scrolls are all handwritten, it is absolutely forbidden to use a printing press to create a Torah scroll, and a new scroll can only be copied from an already existent one. The scroll is read from publicly three times a week, Monday, Thursday and Shabbat. There are no vowels or punctuation in the scroll, if the reader makes a mistake (everyone follows from a printed edition) he is immediately stopped and must repeat the word properly.

If it turns out that there is a mistake in the text, even one letter, it is forbidden to read from it publicly and is immediately put back in the ark with a distinct sign that it is invalid, until it is repaired by a qualified scribe. Unless you have actually seen how quickly the reader is jumped on by the congregation if he makes a mistake, and unless you have actually watched a Torah scroll invalidated in the middle of the service and put back in the ark, it is hard to really understand how exacting this process is.

It is also important to understand the reverence that the community has for the Torah scroll. I’m not talking about orthodox communities, that goes without saying, I’m even talking about the most Reform, liberal congregations. They might eat on Yom Kippur, but no one, and I mean no one messes with a Torah scroll. It would be unthinkable (this is something that can only be known from experience) for the most liberal Reform congregation to write their own version of a Torah scroll, and this is despite the fact that they claim to believe that the whole thing is a bunch of man made myths.

There are 5-6 letter differences between the scroll of the Arab-Jewish communities and the eastern European Jewish communities. These are all letters that are silent in the words, and none change the meaning or pronunciation of a word or phrase. Example: Thouht and Thought , foreign and forein, etc.

Torah scrolls can easily used for up to 100 years, which means that the transmission process really only has to happen 30-40 times. This takes you back over 3000 years to the final writing of the Torah at the end of the 40 years in the desert.

I replied,

It is a good example of the use of an oral tradition to correct a written tradition as well as the durability of a written tradition – if anyone cares about it. Oral traditions are not necessarily so subject to corruption as the original commenter seemed to think. He is confusing situations where no one cares much with ones where they do and must care.Ancient Greek myths of the gods were examples of situations where no one cared much. There were many variant accounts of the soap opera lives of the pagan gods, and the only bottom to the confusion is that a good editor would sometimes fashion an account that – being a good story – would simply get told more often until it became the standard story. Somewhat like one soap opera being way more popular than others, but it was all just nonsense.  Think Homer. That was a Darwinian system! – the story was shaped for fitness, not for truth. Of course, after a while, people got tired of truth-optional religion, which is why you and I are where we are today and the Greek gods are just garden statues somewhere.

Readers, you decide.

Update: Re Dead Sea Scrolls, he also notes: “I is important to know that none of the Dead Sea Scrolls were of the type that are used in a synagogue. In other words they are unauthorized texts written by unknown scribes. It is obvious that in texts like these there will be quite a bit of variation. ”

See also “Detecting authenticity in lack of design. (Note: There, we are talking about authenticity, not conciseness = how inconcision can be a marker for authenticity.)

78 Replies to “Evidence: Can we trust traditional texts to be reliable?

  1. 1
    AMW says:

    That’s all very interesting, but two things. First, there are textual variants between the Septuagint, Masoretic Texts and Dead Sea Scrolls. More than just six letter differences, and not just alternative spellings of the same word. They’re not wildly different from each other; but there is variation.

    Second, he only gives textual evidence for consistency of transmission for the last 2000 years. The other 3000 years are waved away by saying this would only have to happen 30 – 40 more times. What is the evidence that this same level of care was taken during that period?

  2. 2
    AMW says:

    Also, I realize that the Septuagint is in Greek, not Hebrew. But presumably the scribes would still have tried to be careful to preserve the Hebrew meanings in as exact and intact a manner as possible.

  3. 3
    CannuckianYankee says:

    In his book “The Old Testament Documents: Are They Reliable & Relevant?” (IVP, 2001) Walter C Kaiser Jr. States:

    “The history usually begins by affirming that the most important witnesses to the original text of the Old Testament are found in the Hebrew manuscripts. There are three major sources for these Hebrew witnesses: (1) the Masoretic Text, a Hebrew text preserved by a group of scholars known as the Masoretes (A.D. 500-1000); (2) the Samaritan Pentateuch; and (3) the Dead Sea Scrolls found in the Judean Desert at Qumran.

    The greatest witness of the three is the Masoretic Text, distinctive largely because of the system of notes and signs the Masoretes designed to preserve the integrity of the text. Normally the term Masoretic Text (hereafter MT) is restricted to a particular manuscript that came from the tenth-century A.D hand of Aaron Ben Asher. It is a text that reflects his analysis of hundreds of medieval manuscripts (hereafter MSS). The accuracy of the MT was validated when some of the oldest Dead Sea Scrolls (hereafter DSS), dating from the first and second century B.C., were found to reflect essentially the same text we have inherited from the Masoretes and the text set forth in Ben Asher’s tenth-century A.D. Hebrew Bible.” (pg. 42)

    So essentially, if you look over 1,000 years of manuscript history, there is no significant difference between the DSS and the MT. This is really astonishing when you consider that the Dead Sea Scrolls were not available to the Masoretes.

  4. 4
    AMW says:

    No doubt about it; the extant Hebrew manuscripts show an impressive consistency.

    But the extant Hebrew manuscripts only get you to about the time of Christ, which is about 3000 years after Moses. I’m asking what the evidence is that the manuscripts were copied as conscientiously throughout that 3000 year period. Or what the evidence is that the original manuscripts actually date back that far.

    You know, for a crowd that likes to crow about gaps in the fossil record . . .

  5. 5
    bornagain77 says:

    Ms. O’Leary, I wonder if you can ask the Rabbi (the Reb) to confirm, or to disconfirm, this;

    The New Testament Hidden In Genesis – Chuck Missler – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4193378

    The Gospel in Genesis by Chuck Missler – article
    http://www.khouse.org/articles/1996/44/

    excerpt:

    Hebrew English
    Adam Man
    Seth Appointed
    Enosh Mortal
    Kenan Sorrow;
    Mahalalel – The Blessed God
    Jared Shall come down
    Enoch Teaching
    Methuselah – His death shall bring
    Lamech The Despairing
    Noah Rest, or comfort.

    That’s rather remarkable:

    Man (is) appointed mortal sorrow; (but) the Blessed God shall come down teaching (that) His death shall bring (the) despairing rest.

    the Gospel hidden within a genealogy in Genesis!

    Perhaps the ‘Reb’ can comment???

  6. 6
    AMW says:

    If he’s not a Messianic Jew, I’m pretty sure I know what he’ll say.

    Also, you can look up the meanings of Hebrew names online to compare with the translations posted here. I just checked out Enoch and it came back “devoted, dedicated.”

    My guess is there’s little to no scholarly backing to it. (But then, my Christianity is suspect b/c I’m a TE.)

  7. 7
    MedsRex says:

    Hey AMW,
    OT..but:
    I want to apologize for a snappy, sarcastic comment I made in response to a past comment you made about the PR moves of Hungarian ID sympathizers. I felt you were being nit-picky but You did make a good point about the title of that post. and lets be honest we all have our nit-picky moments in this debate. 😉 I had no right to respond in that manner.

  8. 8
    cmow says:

    AMW —
    Rabbi Averick is placing the Torah’s beginning around 1000 BC — 3000 years ago. You seem to be looking for a 5000 year history — 2000 back to Jesus plus 3000 more years. Granted that doesn’t do away with the gap you are questioning, but it does lessen it.

    To be honest, I’m not sure where Averick gets that date from. And I am not an expert. But from what I have read, depending on the worldview and biases of the chronologer, I’ve seen the Exodus dated anywhere from ~1600 BC to ~1200 BC. I think most conservative Biblicist chronologers (and even others like David Rohl) would place the Exodus in the 15th century BC. I’ve never seen anyone claim it back to 3000 BC.

  9. 9
    AMW says:

    Hi, MedsRex. Apology accepted and no offense taken. Give and take is part of life as a commenter. Besides, I have no stones to throw. My wife can tell you that I pick nits with the best of them.

  10. 10
    AMW says:

    cmow –

    Whoops! My mistake. According to the omniscient Wikipedia, Jewish scholars tend(ed?) to place Moses around 1300 BCE; Christians tended to place him around 1550 BCE.

    Not as extreme as I was erroneously claming above. But still a pretty big gap.

  11. 11
    AMW says:

    Let me just add as an addendum that the events described in Genesis are purported to have started about 4,000 years BCE. So that’s a pretty long (~2500 year) oral tradition to add to the start of the written tradition.

  12. 12
    MedsRex says:

    AMW,
    Haha. Cool..appreciate it. And of course my fiance would say I put a fine tooth comb to everything!
    And i’m sure the back & forth is partially why we are all here.
    Socratic method and all that…

  13. 13
    bornagain77 says:

    AMW, you accused Dr. Missler of,,,

    ‘My guess is there’s little to no scholarly backing to it.’

    And yet if you of bothered to look the site up I listed you would have found that Dr. Missler did indeed do his homework:

    http://www.khouse.org/articles/1996/44/

    A Study of Original Roots

    The meaning of proper names can be a difficult pursuit since a direct translation is often not readily available. Even a conventional Hebrew lexicon can prove disappointing. A study of the original roots, however, can yield some fascinating insights.

    (A caveat: many study aids, such as a conventional lexicon, can prove rather superficial when dealing with proper nouns. Furthermore, views concerning the meanings of original roots are not free of controversy and variant readings.)

    Thus AMW, it seems your ‘guess’ that it was superficial, in reality, stems directly from your preconceived bias, instead of any real scholarly work on your part!

  14. 14
    bornagain77 says:

    AMW, in looking over Dr. Missler’s study notes,

    http://www.khouse.org/articles/1996/44/

    I find the majority of the proper names to translate ‘straight-forwardly’, whereas the few ‘contested’ names, that Dr. Missler admits to, are by no means ‘severely stretched’, Thus that was the basis of my question to the “Reb” to further clarify it. And contrary to you saying,,,

    ‘If he’s not a Messianic Jew, I’m pretty sure I know what he’ll say.’

    ,,, most scientists and scholars, (other than neo-Darwinists or even the majority of Theistic Evolutionists who I find are merely sock puppets of neo-Darwinists) operate with a fairly open mind towards the evidence. Thus that you would be ‘pretty sure’ he would be biased towards the evidence actually reflects something personal in your own approach to evidence.

  15. 15

    Instead of pressing the Reb against the wall, why not hear from Christians atheists on this issue??? CAs: There’s no God, ye fools!!!

  16. 16
    bornagain77 says:

    AMW, in your arguing that the Old Testament of the Bible is not reliable, you seem to depend totally on the preconception that the Bible is pretty much the product of fallible man, but many Christians, myself included, regard the Bible as ‘inspired by God’ even though it was written by fallible man. Thus I expect there to be ‘supernatural watermarks’ within scripture that reflects the guiding hand of God in scripture. One of the most powerful ‘supernatural watermarks’ that has been shown to me is this one:

    The Precisely Fulfilled Prophecy Of Israel Becoming A Nation In 1948 – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4041241

    Bible Prophecy Fulfilled – Israel 1948 – article
    http://ezinearticles.com/?Bibl.....;id=449317

    AMW, do you know of any other ‘precise’ prophecies in the entire world that have been fulfilled in such a dramatic fashion??? It is this ‘supernatural’ evidence which sets the Bible completely apart for me!!!

  17. 17
    Mung says:

    AMW brings up much the same points I would.

    1. The original question was about oral transmission. The response used an example from written transmission.

    2. Even taking the written transmission, how far back does he assert the practice he descibes extends?

  18. 18
    Mung says:

    That’s rather remarkable

    What’s remarkable is that there were only ten generations between Adam and Noah.

    … do you know of any other ‘precise’ prophecies in the entire world that have been fulfilled in such a dramatic fashion?

    Well, since this prohecy exists only in the imagination…

    One has to wonder how William Miller came up with a completely different date.

    I wonder what date Isaac Newton came up with.

  19. 19
    bornagain77 says:

    Mung you state;

    ‘Well, since this prohecy exists only in the imagination…’

    EXCUSE ME???? Let’s go through this a little slower:

    Prior to 1948, Israel last existed as an independent nation in 606 B.C. when the first captives of Israel were taken by Nebuchadnezzar. The destruction of Israel at the hands of the Babylonians was completed in 587 B.C. with the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple. For 70 biblical years (approximately 69 years on the Gregorian calendar), the Jewish people were held as captives in Babylon. In 537 B.C., the Persian King Cyrus conquered Babylon and issued a decree for the Jews to return to their land and rebuild the Temple. It was during the Babylonian captivity and this return to Israel that Ezekiel appeared as a prophet and provided the following information on the future existence of Israel as an independent nation:

    “Now lie on your left side and place the sins of Israel on yourself. You are to bear their sins for the number of days you lie there on your side. You will bear Israel’s sins for 390 days – one day for each year of their sin. After that, turn over and lie on your right side for 40 days – one day for each year of Judah’s sin.” Ezekiel 4:4-6 (New Living Translation)

    According to this passage, the people of Israel would not be free until this period of punishment passed. This time is known as the “Servitude of the Nation,” and the time allotted by God is 430 years. However, 70 years of atonement for their sins had already been served during the Babylonian captivity, so only 360 years of punishment remained. The Jews who returned to Israel in 537 B.C. refused to repent of their sins as Ezekiel warned. As a result, Israel continued to be ruled by foreign powers: the Persians, the Greeks, and the Romans. In A.D. 70, Titus and the Roman legions destroyed the Temple and scattered the Jewish people as slaves among the various provinces of the Roman Empire. The year 176 B.C. had come and gone, yet Israel never emerged as an independent nation. So what happened? Was the Bible wrong? Did God change his mind?

    Absolutely not.

    Several earlier Old Testament passages shed light on this mystery. In the Book of Leviticus, they reveal that if, upon their return to the land of Israel, the people refused to obey God, he would increase their punishments seven-fold. This is repeated several times:

    “And if in spite of this, you still disobey me, I will punish you for your sins seven times over.” Leviticus 26:18 (New Living Translation)

    “If even then you remain hostile toward me and refuse to obey, I will inflict you with seven more disasters for your sins.” Leviticus 26:21 (New Living Translation)

    “And if you fail to learn a lesson from this and continue your hostility toward me, then I myself will be hostile toward you, and I will personally strike you seven times over for your sins.” Leviticus 26:23-24 (New Living Translation)

    “If after this you still refuse to listen and still remain hostile toward me, then I will give full vent to my hostility. I will punish you seven times over for your sins.” Leviticus 26:27-28 (New Living Translation)

    In the year 537 B.C., 360 years of punishment remained on God’s timetable. However, when the people of Israel refused to repent of their sins, this punishment was multiplied seven-fold from 360 years to 2,520 years. 360 days comprise a biblical year, so the allotted time equaled 907,200 days.

    However, in modern times, we don’t use the Jewish calendar, but rather the Gregorian calendar which has 365.2425 days in a year. If the 907,200 days are divided by 365.2425, we get approximately 2,483.8292 years.

    Historians have established that Cyrus the Persian issued his proclamation to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem sometime in the first half of the year 537 B.C. We don’t know the exact day of the proclamation, but the Bible reveals that it had to be prior to the seventh month on the Jewish calendar because in that month, “the Israelites had settled in their towns, all the people assembled together as one person in Jerusalem.” Ezra 3:1 (New Living Translation)

    Without an exact starting date, it’s more accurate to count backward 907,200 days from the day of Israel’s restoration. Israel declared its status as an independent nation on May 14, 1948. Numerous online calendar conversion tools are available for counting days as well as converting between the Gregorian calendar and the Jewish calendar. Just try Googling “Jewish calendar conversion” to find one.

    Subtracting 907,200 days from the Gregorian date of May 14, 1948, the calculator reveals a date of July 15, 537 B.C.

    Gregorian Calendar: 14 May 1948 A.D.

    Jewish Calendar: 5 Iyyar 5708

    -907,200 days (360 days x 2,520 years)

    Gregorian Calendar: 15 July 537 B.C.

    Jewish Calendar: 15 Av 3224

    Does this reconcile with the Biblical statement that the Jews had resettled in Jerusalem in the seventh month of 537 B.C.?

    The equivalent date on the Jewish calendar is 15 Av 3224 – the fifteenth day of the fifth month. Since approximately 900 miles separate Babylon and Jerusalem (the geographical distance is less, but the ancient travel route is estimated at 900 miles), and ancient caravans rarely traveled more than 20 miles per day, this date doesn’t seem to contradict the biblical account. The Jews would have had only 74 days to make their trip. Accounting for the Sabbath day of rest, that leaves approximately 63 actual travel days to reach Jerusalem before the end of the seventh month. To cover 900 miles in that time, they needed to average 14.29 miles/per day, 6 days per week – a task well within reach.

    It also seems highly likely that Cyrus made his proclamation in this part of the year, because the Jewish holiday Tisha B’Av, a three week fast commemorating the destruction of the Temple 50 years earlier ends on the 9th of Av. 9 Av 537 B.C. was within a one week of the 50th anniversary of the Temple’s destruction, a fitting time for a king’s proclamation to rebuild it.

    Although July 15, 537 B.C. can not be verified by outside sources as the exact day of Cyrus’s proclamation, we do know that 537 B.C. was the year in which he made it. As such, we can know for certain that the Bible, in one of the most remarkable prophecies in history, accurately foresaw the year of Israel’s restoration as an independent nation some two thousand five hundred years before the event occurred.

    Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/449317

  20. 20
    CannuckianYankee says:

    AMW ate 4:

    “But the extant Hebrew manuscripts only get you to about the time of Christ, which is about 3000 years after Moses. I’m asking what the evidence is that the manuscripts were copied as conscientiously throughout that 3000 year period. Or what the evidence is that the original manuscripts actually date back that far….You know, for a crowd that likes to crow about gaps in the fossil record . . .”

    cmow at 8:

    “Rabbi Averick is placing the Torah’s beginning around 1000 BC — 3000 years ago. You seem to be looking for a 5000 year history — 2000 back to Jesus plus 3000 more years. Granted that doesn’t do away with the gap you are questioning, but it does lessen it.”

    AMW at 10:

    “Whoops! My mistake. According to the omniscient Wikipedia, Jewish scholars tend(ed?) to place Moses around 1300 BCE; Christians tended to place him around 1550 BCE.”

    AMW at 11:

    “Let me just add as an addendum that the events described in Genesis are purported to have started about 4,000 years BCE. So that’s a pretty long (~2500 year) oral tradition to add to the start of the written tradition.”

    So let me translate this little exchange for the rest of us:

    AMR: There’s a huge 3000 year gap of evidence for the historicity of the Old Testament; which makes theist pronouncements exactly like Darwinist pronouncements regarding the fossil record (Only Darwinists are entitled to such pronouncements, and theists are not).

    cmow: No there’s not, there’s only a 1000 year gap.

    AMR: Well, I decided to actually look it up this time rather than guessing, and I’m coming to a 1550 year gap. And oh, since I’ve been proved wrong, I think I need to move the goal posts a bit so I can continue with my skepticism without investigating anything prior to my pronouncements; so I’ll just say that it’s the oral tradition that is the problem, and which goes back to 4,000 years B.C. so there.

  21. 21
    bornagain77 says:

    And Mung, before you dismiss Isaac Newton’s work on prophecy, perhaps you should take a little closer look at his work on Daniel;

    Sir Isaac Newton’s Prediction For The Return Of Christ – Sid Roth – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4041154/

    “Newton’s Riddle”
    Excerpt: Sid quotes from the book where it explains Newton’s calculations of adding 49 years to the June 1967 date. Based on “Newton’s riddle” the book says, “Messiah’s possible return to earth will be on or before the year 2016.” However, that is apparently based on using modern (365-day) years in the calculation. As I pointed out in my e-mail dated February 20, 2008, if you use exactly 49 Jewish (360-day, prophetic) years from the day Israel captured the Temple Mount on June 7, 1967, you get 49 X 360 = 17640 days, which amazingly takes one exactly to September 23, 2015, the Day of Atonement 2015.
    http://www.prophecyforum.com/b.....iddle.html

    “Prophetic Perspectives, 2008-2015” – Jim Bramlett
    Excerpt: For years I have been intrigued with Newton’s interpretation of Daniel 9:25 and the 62 weeks and 7 weeks (62 X 7 = 434 years, and 7 X 7 = 49 years), counted “from the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem.” In his commentary on Daniel, a copy of which I have, Newton wrote that the interpretation of those 69 weeks is usually incorrect, violating the Hebrew language. He said the two numbers should not be added together as most scholars do, but the 434 years refer to Messiah’s first coming (which he demonstrated), and the 49 years refer to His second coming, after Israel is reestablished, an idea unheard of 300 years ago but happening in our generation The start date for counting has been controversial. Many thought the 49-year-count would be the date of Israel’s rebirth on May 14, 1948, but, alas, that did not work out. Other dates were tried unsuccessfully. But what if the count begins on one of the two most historical dates in Jewish history, the date in the miraculous Six-Day War when Israel captured Jerusalem and the Temple Mount: June 7, 1967? Assume the 49-year count (49 Jewish years X 360 days = 17,640 days), does start on June 7, 1967. Using a date-counter Web site at http://www.timeanddate.com/date/duration.html we learn that the 17,640-day count takes us exactly to September 23, 2015. September 23, 2015 is the Day of Atonement! What are the odds against that? Many have believed that the Second Coming will be on the Day of Atonement. If he knew this, old Isaac Newton would be doing cartwheels and back flips right now.
    http://www.prophecyforum.com/b.....tives.html

  22. 22
    cmow says:

    A few thoughts:
    1) Right. AMW — if having a Torah scroll from 1000 BC is what it would take to prove the Torah’s reliability, then I think you have us. Not even the British Museum has one of those lying around.
    2) But, at this point a Torah scribe might get a little perturbed. They would say, “Well, of course, there’s not old scrolls lying around, because a well-used scroll might fade or wear, and we couldn’t let that happen to the sacred word of G_d, so old scrolls are disposed of. And besides, why would you need to keep centuries old scrolls, when I just spent a year of my life painstakingly following a rigid, detailed process for copying all ~305,000 letters accurately.”
    3) Regarding the oral tradition prior to Moses. Well, as BA77 alludes to, Jews would consider Moses the ultimate scribe. That is, Moses didn’t have to rely on oral tradition; he just took dictation from God directly.
    4) But, let’s assume that the special revelation from God to Moses allowed for sources other than the direct word of God. Why would it all have to be oral tradition? Abraham migrated into Canaan/Palestine from Ur in Mesopotamia around 19th century BC, certainly within the time frame where cuneiform writing was used to record historical events. As a rich merchant-king, couldn’t Abraham have brought with him his family heirloom cuneiform tablets of recorded history? And isn’t it possible, that Moses used something like that as a source? My only point is that oral tradition need not be the only source of historical knowledge available to Moses.
    5) FWIW, if you believe the Bible and the life spans of early men, 2000 years of reliably passed on oral tradition is perfectly reasonable. According the Bible, Shem, the son of Noah, was alive when Abraham was a young man. Abraham was Shem’s great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandson. It is possible Abraham got a first-hand account of what life was like on the Ark, sitting on the knee of great-grandpa Shem. Shem would have passed on the oral tradition given to him by his father, Noah. In fact, it’s reasonable to think that Shem knew his great-grandfather, Methuselah, who died the year of the Flood. Methuselah was alive at the same time as Adam. Adam, well, he had a first-hand account of everything but the first few “days”. So, 2000+ years from Adam to Abraham. But if we are to believe the Bible, which despite having some life spans that stretch our imagination is internally consistent, then it is conceivable that the game of telephone that took place could involve retelling of first-hand accounts only 3 times!! (Adam to Methuselah; Methusalah to Shem; Shem to Abraham; Abraham writes it down, carries it with him to Canaan, etc…)

  23. 23
    cmow says:

    If we have 40 Torah scrolls copied exactly, do we have 40X as much CSI?

  24. 24
    Collin says:

    cmow,

    There would be no increase in CSI whatsoever.

  25. 25
    suckerspawn says:

    Ba77,

    I’m a firm believer in Bible prophecy but I’m having a tough time getting my arms around Israel becoming a nation in 1948 as a fulfillment. It seems to me as if someone started with 1948 and looked for numbers in the Bible to force a calculation. If this fulfillment is so “precise”, someone should have figured it out ahead of 1948.

    Israel, the northern kingdom, went into Assyrian captivity about 720 B.C. Judah, the southern kingdom, went into Babylonian captivity beginning in 606 B.C. and ending in 537 B.C.

    Why add 390 and 40 to get 430? Why subtract only 70? Israel had been in captivity much longer than 70 years. If the punishment for not repenting was seven times over, why only 7 x 360 and not 7 x 430?

    When 1948 rolled around, had Israel repented? Or had Israel added to their sins the crucifixion of the Son of God (Acts 2:36)?

  26. 26
    bornagain77 says:

    suckerspawn,

    Here is a little background information on profound differences of the Northern and Southern kingdoms
    http://books.google.com/books?.....38;f=false

  27. 27
    bornagain77 says:

    suckerspawn, from your questions, I’m really wondering if you are such a ‘big fan’ of Bible prophecy.

    for instance you ask;

    Why add 390 and 40 to get 430?

    but the passage itself states;

    “Now lie on your left side and place the sins of Israel on yourself. You are to bear their sins for the number of days you lie there on your side. You will bear Israel’s sins for 390 days – one day for each year of their sin. After that, turn over and lie on your right side for 40 days – one day for each year of Judah’s sin.” Ezekiel 4:4-6 (New Living Translation)

    the other questions you ask seem rather ‘non-fan-like’ as well;

  28. 28
    Joseph says:

    Where’s Lilith?

  29. 29
    CannuckianYankee says:

    cmow, others,

    “Well, of course, there’s not old scrolls lying around, because a well-used scroll might fade or wear, and we couldn’t let that happen to the sacred word of G_d, so old scrolls are disposed of.”

    Actually old scrolls aren’t exactly disposed of. They’re placed in a Genizah. The caves at Qumran functioned as just such a Genizah. The Dead Sea Scrolls are an example of what the Jews did with their scrolls. They placed them in the clay jars to preserve them, because they are the Word of God. One doesn’t just dispose of the Word of God, no matter how tattered and worn out.

    It would not be the least bit surprising if more ancient scrolls such as the DSS are unearthed. There are probably thousands of them buried in the Ancient Near East – and if they are stored in the same manner as the DSS, I dare say that they would be fairly well preserved.

    The discovery of the DSS came at a time of very prolific skepticism as to the dating of several Old Testament books – especially Daniel, which was at that time believed to be a 2nd Century BC historical work.

    The traditional date of 6th Century B.C. had been criticized specifically because of prophecies; which were apparently fulfilled – specifically with a very detailed account of the battle of Antiochus Epiphanies in the 11th Chapter. Materialists apparently did not like the idea that an ancient book purporting to be the Word of God could actually make some very accurate historical predictions.

    Actually the skepticism didn’t begin in the 20th Century, but in the 3rd Century with Porphyry, an ancient anti-Christian philosopher.

    “Porphyry’s contention is that the book must have been written in the second century BC, being merely historical narratives, since such long-range prophecies are impossible in his perspective of a closer systemic universe, void of any supernatural intervention. Before this, and for some time after that, the general consensus was that the book was written by Daniel in the sixth century BC, and is the truly inspired prophecy from God (vaticania ante eventu vs. vaticania ex eventu).”

    http://www.jeramyt.org/papers/daniel.html

    But Porphyry’s skepticism didn’t disappear in the 3rd Century – it was revitalized in the 18th, and again in the 20th Centuries:

    “Then in 1890, Klaus Koch wrote a powerful book denouncing the exilic date of writing (sixth century BC), and proclaiming the Maccabean theory (Ferch, pg. 129). Immediately following him, in 1900, came S.R. Driver’s commentary on Daniel, supporting the same theory. Since then, the majority of scholars generally accept the Maccabean theory without much question. However, I will attempt to show that the evidence points to an early date for the writing of Daniel, placing it in the sixth century BC.”

    http://www.jeramyt.org/papers/daniel.html

    I’m of the opinion that ancient manuscripts are unearthed according to their need by divine intervention. I think that the discovery of the DSS was just such a need and the time was ripe for a dismantling of the new hyper-skepticism regarding the historicity of OT books. The DSS provided a wealth of evidence for the traditional dating.

    Why? Because of the nature of the DSS scrolls themselves. With the exception of the Essene writings, which are clearly separate from the biblical writings, the scrolls containing scripture, such as Daniel, Isaiah, Jeremiah, etc., were of a more ancient vernacular than that used by the Essenes in their own writings regarding the ruler of righteousness. Daniel is no exception to this.

    Also, read here:

    http://www.harvardhouse.com/Da.....ritten.htm

    Another interesting and related tidbit: there is an ancient passage of scripture that HAS been preserved on a silver amulet dating from ca. 700 BC. It contains the Aaronic Benediction from Numbers 6:24-26. It’s in Paleo-Hebrew script, and not the later Aramaic (square) script, which didn’t arise until about 200 years after that period.

    The practice of preserving scripture on metals rather than on parchment or papyrus was apparently rare. There was a copper (mixed with tin) scroll discovered in Cave 3 at Qumran, which listed hiding places for precious metals throughout Palestine. So it wasn’t exactly scripture, but it was found in the same caves as the scripture scrolls.

    Apparently the use of metals was not a preferred method of transmitting and/or preserving scripture – probably due to the expense, and I would also propose that it wouldn’t be practical, since scribes needed their practice – metals would have made them lazy and forgetful of the high calling of carefully preserving the Word of God.

  30. 30
    CannuckianYankee says:

    cmow: “If we have 40 Torah scrolls copied exactly, do we have 40X as much CSI?”

    24
    Collin
    05/04/2011
    11:08 am
    cmow,

    “There would be no increase in CSI whatsoever.”

    So where does the CSI come from if not from the scrolls and the script? 😉

  31. 31
    bornagain77 says:

    suckerspawn you also stated:

    ‘If this fulfillment is so “precise”, someone should have figured it out ahead of 1948.’

    A few probably did figure it out in the quite of their studies, but would anyone listen???, just as you seem to be having a bit of trouble seeing the prophecy now that it is has been fulfilled, even though it is now plain to see, how much harder do you think it would be for someone to put the two different scriptures together (the punishment scripture to the prophetic scripture) into a convincing case that would be beyond doubt???

    Proverbs 25:2
    It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, But the glory of kings is to search out a matter.

  32. 32
    bornagain77 says:

    correction;

    how much harder do you think it would be for someone to put the two different scriptures together (the punishment scripture to the prophetic scripture) into a convincing case that would be beyond doubt before it actually happened???

  33. 33
    Mung says:

    bornagain77,

    What “prophetic” event do you think most likely to occur and on what date specifically (or even within a range of dates)?

    Depending on your choice and range I’ll even lay odds.

  34. 34
    Mung says:

    …before you dismiss Isaac Newton’s work on prophecy, perhaps you should take a little closer look at his work on Daniel;

    Well, gee. I also happen to have a copy of Newton’s Observations Upon the Prophecies of Daniel and the Apocalypse of St. John.

    Care to point me to the part where Newton mentions the future state of Israel?

    But of hte 70 Weeks prophecy he writes:

    Thus we have in this short prophecy, a prediction of all the main periods related to the coming of the Messiah; the time of his birth, that of his death, that of the rejection of the Jews, the duration of the Jewish war whereby he caused the city and sanctuary to be destroyed, and the time of his second coming: and so the interpretation here given is more full and complete and adequate to the design, than if we should restrain it to his first coming only, as Interpreters usuallky do.

    He also dates the Apocalypse prior to the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70, and says much of it has been fulfilled.

    And he has some choice words for date setters as well.

  35. 35
    Mung says:

    …you get 49 X 360 = 17640 days, which amazingly takes one exactly to September 23, 2015, the Day of Atonement 2015.

    LOL! Amazing!

    IS that the next “rapture” date?

  36. 36
    bornagain77 says:

    Well mung, you know certainly well that much has gone on in the past that has severely missed the mark for the second coming of Christ and has misled many people. Causing many people to now scoff at all such ‘predictions’. yet even so, I firmly believe, with Israel’s return, it is the ‘season’! Moreover, as Christians, we are commanded to be wise and ‘watch’ for his coming. Will September 23, 2015, the Day of Atonement in 2015, be ‘the day’??? I can’t be for sure (no one can save for God alone) and I certainly don’t want to be accused of ‘date setting’, but there are a couple of other things which ‘coincidentally’ line up that make me extremely suspicious,,,

    The following scripture, which Jesus Himself spoke, gives significant weight to the idea that we should start our ‘watching’ from the time Jerusalem came back into the hands of the Hebrews instead of counting the days from when Israel became a nation.

    Luke 21:24
    “They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.”

    and this,,,

    The Signs of Israel’s Rebirth: Lesson 1: The Parable of the Fig Tree
    Concluding Statement: Now it should also be perfectly clear what the parable of the fig tree in the Olivet Discourse means (Matt 24:32-34). As the disciples were walking into the city on Tuesday morning after Palm Sunday, they noticed that the tree which Jesus had cursed the day before had withered and dried up. Later, on Tuesday evening, when the memory of the withered fig tree was still fresh in their minds, Jesus spoke the parable in question. He said that when the church sees the fig tree leafing out again, it will know that “it is . . . at the doors.” The Greek for “it is” can also be translated “he is.” In prophecy, “door” is often a symbol for the passageway between heaven and earth (Rev. 4:1). What the parable means, therefore, is that when the nation of Israel revives after its coming disintegration and death in A.D. 70, the return of Christ will be imminent.
    http://www.themoorings.org/pro.....rael1.html

    This following video gives ‘astronomical’ weight to the preceding prediction by Sir Isaac Newton of how the ‘days of Daniel’ are to be counted and is indeed very sobering for it to lands on ‘that day’:

    Mark Biltz Talks About The Return Of Christ On Sid Roth – Solar & Lunar Eclipses – 2014 – 2015 – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4056071

    Here is another ‘long count’ angle of looking at the ‘mathematical’ evidence that ‘coincidentally’ lines up with the year 2015 as well:

    Do 70 Jubilees predict the end of the world in 2015?
    Excerpt: The 70 “sevens” in Daniel 9:24 are 70 Jubilee cycles. These 70 Jubilee cycles bring us to the end of the world. When the children of Israel entered Canaan, their promised land, the LORD gave them sabbatical cycles and Jubilee cycles. Sabbatical cycles are 7 years long and Jubilee cycles are 49 years long. Each Jubilee cycle consists of 7 sabbatical cycles. The 50th year is called the Jubilee.

    Seventy “sevens” = 70 Jubilee cycles
    70 x 7 x 7 = 3,430 years

    Daniel 9:24
    Seventy “sevens” are decreed for your people to put an end to sin and to bring in everlasting righteousness.

    The 70 Jubilee cycles point to the time when God’s people will no longer transgress His law. Eternal righteousness will be brought into their lives. Then Jesus will come to take them to heaven. The 70 Jubilees predict Christ’s second coming. The 70 Jubilees began in 1416 BC when God’s children entered Canaan. The 70 Jubilees will end 3,430 years later in 2015 AD when God’s children will enter heavenly Canaan. (Of note: In Bible prophecy 360 days are used for calculating the length of a year:
    http://www.360calendar.com/#Part%20One)
    http://www.markbeast.com/endwo.....-world.htm

    So Mung that is three pieces of evidence that land on that same time frame! Does that mean I going to sell all my stuff and go live in a cave somewhere awaiting Christ’s return??? NO!!! But it certainly does have me wisely ‘watching’ just as we all, as Christians, have been commanded to do!

  37. 37
    bornagain77 says:

    Mung, it is also interesting to note that none of the three evidences cross referenced the others as a source. i.e. they appear to be independently arrived at!!

  38. 38
    suckerspawn says:

    Ba77

    I’m a huge fan of Bible prophecy. Here’s one I like. Deuteronomy 18:15-19. I agree with Peter in Acts 3:22-26. Jesus is the fulfillment. He is the prophet we must listen to, or else.

    Did the State of Israel in 1948 agree with Peter? Does the State of Israel today?

    Your source stated God postponed the restoration of Israel, first prophesied for 176 B.C., because Israel had not repented. In 1948, had Israel repented? If the original judgment was for 430 years, why is the curse not 7 x 430? Answer; If you use 7 x 430 you can’t get anywhere near 1948.

    Someone predicting 1948 ahead of time might have been ridiculed, but afterward would have earned a big ol’ “I told you so”! To my knowledge, that person does not exist.

    I’m NOT a huge fan of mathematically torturing scripture. Some folks knocked on my door and left me a book titled, “WHAT DOES THE BIBLE REALLY TEACH”. When I read your source and the calculations, it reminded me of this book. Their math, applied to prophecy, has Jesus establishing His kingdom in 1914. They state, “DECADES in advance, Bible students proclaimed that there would be significant developments in 1914.” (p215) Do you believe it?

  39. 39
    CannuckianYankee says:

    suckerspawn and BA77,

    I’m kind of in the middle on this one. I’m skeptical like suckerspawn regarding mathematical predictions. Even the Daniel prophecy regarding the first coming of Messiah is interpreted several ways mathematically based on different passages of scripture, and people reach similar conclusions with them. I think it’s safe to say that Daniel prophesied the coming of the Messiah to be around the time of Christ. Whether it is mathematically precise to the day Jesus entered Jerusalem, I’m not convinced, but not completely in denial either.

    I’m open to the possibility that one method of interpretation is preferable over another, and in this case, I haven’t decided. I think that the “reunification” of Israel in 1948 IS a significant fulfillment of biblical prophecy; but I have my doubts whether it is precise to a particular timeline: thus, I also have my doubts as to the mathematical exactness of adding 49 solar years to some date in 1967 to reach the conclusion that Jesus will return in 2015 – especially since those mathematical calculations were being heralded prior to 2008, when the very same people making them expected to be raptured some time in 2008. In my view any kind of date setting is dangerous territory; and as suckerpawn pointed out – it led to a significant false prophecy made by a very peculiar American sect in 1914.

    But I do appreciate that BA77 is not packing his things and heading to a cave near Aspen.

    My skepticism on these matters stems from much debate with a Christian friend of mine who was heavily into Bible code – the idea that there are specific predictions regarding recent historical events hidden in the bible, and that one can decipher the prophecies by subtracting certain letters from the text; thus combining the remaining letters to form a message. This friend of mine was attempting to spark my interest in this “phenomenon,” and was quite insistent that it had significant bearing on my salvation. His insistence on this eventually made me feel so uncomfortable that I had to limit interaction with him.

    So when suckerspawn says that he/she’s a fan of prophecy but not particularly fond of date setting calculations, I’m pretty much with him/her on that. I think there’s too much room for error with such calculations, and they really don’t contribute to the truthfulness of scripture IMHO, nor to the real teaching of scripture, that we should watch and be prepared, because no-one knows the date or time.

    Incidentally, I also have a copy of Newton’s “Observations Upon the Prophecies of Daniel and the Apocalypse.” It’s available from Amazon for free with Kindle. Newton’s observations are filled with wild speculation, while his historical analysis is interesting and heavily detailed regarding the feet of iron and clay. But he was apparently and not surprisingly wrong in his conclusions. The ten horns are yet to come (from his perspective), and he has them existing in the kingdoms of the Vandals, Suevians, Visigoths, etc.

  40. 40
    CannuckianYankee says:

    Here’s the link to the free book from Amazon:

    http://www.amazon.com/Observat.....038;sr=1-5

  41. 41
    bornagain77 says:

    Well, I disagree and feel they (both the 1948 and 2015 prophecies) are not ‘tortured’ to reflect a preconceived conclusion. But I do admit this particular area, is not nearly as firm as I would like and it is very easy to overstep boundaries. None-the-less, Israel becoming a nation again is like the elephant in the living room as far as a backdrop to prophetic scripture is concerned, and should have all Christians ‘watching’ and definitely not sleeping as Jesus sternly warned!

  42. 42
    MedsRex says:

    BA, mung, SP and CY:
    very interesting and enlightening discussion you guys…i have enjoyed it. I, like CanuckianYankee, am somewhere in between in all this. I don’t believe BA77 himself is date-setting and is wise enough to know the dangers in that. However, I do believe there are alot of Christians out there who might fall into those traps. So for any onlookers who might be following this discussion and run off to start doing their own “Bible-math” or begin to follow a Date-setter’s ministry or teachings I leave you with this link:
    http://www.christfirstforum.co.....t5661.html
    It is on the possible dangers of this practice.
    blessings!
    Ps
    Remain watchful.

  43. 43
    CannuckianYankee says:

    Thanks MedRex.

    I had to laugh at Edgar Wisenant (Wiseheain’t) who missed 1988, so decided to go for 1989. Whoops! Wrong again.

    I don’t think BA77 is going in that direction. I appreciate his enthusiasm for prophecy. He knows a lot more than I do.

  44. 44
    MedsRex says:

    Hi CY,
    I live real close to Harold Camping country so i’m waiting to see what happens when his dates pass. He has billboards and print ads everywhere!! Sigh…
    Oh same here. Like I said BA is doing just fine.

  45. 45
    CannuckianYankee says:

    MedsRex,

    I don’t know why Camping is making such a big deal about the end. He’s an annihilationist, so even if one doesn’t repent before May 21st, they have nothing to fear. 😉

  46. 46
    Mung says:

    Israel becoming a nation again is like the elephant in the living room as far as a backdrop to prophetic scripture is concerned, and should have all Christians ‘watching’ and definitely not sleeping as Jesus sternly warned!

    The modern state of Israel has nothing to do with Bible prophecy.

    It certainly doesn’t provide us with any indication that something is going to happen “soon.”

    And he was talking to his disciples, not us. He told THEM to watch.

    I won’t go off into a cave either, but I will wager everything that I own against the date you’ve been promoting.

    I had to laugh at Edgar Wisenant (Wiseheain’t) who missed 1988, so decided to go for 1989. Whoops! Wrong again.

    Yep, I have both those booklets, lol. And why did he think it would be 1988? By adding numbers together, just like ba77. By thinking there was some special significance to 1948. Just like …

    I live real close to Harold Camping country so i’m waiting to see what happens when his dates pass.

    And I also have Camping’s books. More silliness. Same mistakes.

    Here, let me explain “the parable” of the fig tree. When it puts out it’s leave, you know that summer is near.

    Just so, when you [Jesus speaking to THE DISCIPLES] see these things begin to come to pass [the things he was telling THEM to watch for] that they would know that it [the destruction of Jerusalem] was near.

    When? I tell you the truth, before this generation has passed (Matt 24:34).

    It was all to happen within a generation of Jesus’ words, and so it did.

    And look, all without any magical salad of a few verses from here and a few verses from there and some magical incantations to get the numbers to match up right.

    Regardless of Newton’s eccentricities, ba77 seemed to think I needed to bone up on his writings, and I’m wondering why. What does he think Newton wrote that supports his case?

    I quoted Newton. If I misquoted him it’s simple enough for someone here to refute what I wrote.

  47. 47
    Mung says:

    I leave you with this link:

    With the imminent soon return of the Lord on the horizon and …

    YIKES!

    They are feeding into the whole frenzy while allegedly preaching against it, lol.

    How do they know:

    1) Christ’s return is going to be very soon.

    2) prophecy is unfolding before our very eyes.

    Unless they’ve done some date calculating of their own?

    Naughty! Naughty!

    I leave you with the following:

    1[THIS IS] the revelation of Jesus Christ [His unveiling of the divine mysteries]. God gave it to Him to disclose and make known to His bond servants certain things which must shortly and speedily come to pass [a]in their entirety. And He sent and communicated it through His angel (messenger) to His bond servant John,

    2Who has testified to and vouched for all that he saw [[b]in his visions], the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ.

    3Blessed (happy, [c]to be envied) is the man who reads aloud [in the assemblies] the word of this prophecy; and blessed (happy, [d]to be envied) are those who hear [it read] and who keep themselves true to the things which are written in it [heeding them and laying them to heart], for the time [for them to be fulfilled] is near.

    Now it’s one thing for these modern day “prophecy scholars” to be wrong, but it’s quite another thing if it is Jesus or John.

  48. 48
    bornagain77 says:

    Mung since you hold Jesus cannot be wrong;

    Luke 21:24
    “They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.”

  49. 49
    MedsRex says:

    Mung,
    What worries me is what will happen to the Camping followers afterwards… It saddens me to think so many will fall away because of such false-hoods.
    As far as the link I left. . .whatever your beliefs on the Second Coming are I believe the core of what he said is important.
    Date-setting is dangerous and one of the most spoken against practices mentioned in the bible.
    It can lead to disillusion, mockery, division, and much more. What I do know is we are to love our God and Love our neighbor. Those two commandments on which everything hangs. And we are to practice “true religion”:
    Help the orphan and widow who are in need and remain unpolluted by the world.

  50. 50
    Mung says:

    They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

    And you think this means what?

    That Jesus prophesied that Israel would become a nation in 1948? That there would come a time when no Gentile would be allowed to set foot in Jerusalem? Any chance this is a reference to Daniel’s prophecy?

    Breaking news! There is only one Israel. And it’s not in some tiny nation over in the middle east.

    See also:
    The Last Days According to Jesus

    Last Days Madness

  51. 51
    Mung says:

    It can lead to disillusion, mockery, division, and much more.

    Absolutely. Which is why I found it odd that they were engaging in the very “Jesus is coming back any day now” sort of behavior that leads to those very things.

    As their own page shows, people have making that claim for hundreds of years. They have all been wrong with a single exception, and that’s the only one that matters. Because if Jesus and the apostles were mistaken about when he would return, any date that anyone else cares to set is so much garbage.

    What I do know is we are to love our God and Love our neighbor. Those two commandments on which everything hangs. And we are to practice “true religion”:
    Help the orphan and widow who are in need and remain unpolluted by the world.

    And the sooner we accept that Jesus is not going to come back any day now and snatch us out of here, the sooner we might be inclined to do more of what you are talking about.

    Getting back to the Gospel, that is.

  52. 52
    Mung says:

    Wherein is evidently shewn the Accomplishment of the Predicted Events, As Especially Of the Cutting Off of the Messiah after the Predicted VII Weeks and LXII Weeks, according to the Express Letter of the Prophecy, and in most exact Agreement with Ptolemy’s Canon; So Also Of the Destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, in the LXXth, or separate One Week, in the Litteral, Obvious, and Primary Sense

    http://www.preteristarchive.com/

  53. 53
    bornagain77 says:

    Mung, now you have ‘tortured’ a scripture to make it mean what you want! I’ll not press the issue since you seem to have much emotionally invested in it, but just one thing, Jesus did say this:

    Mark 13
    34For the Son of Man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch.

    35Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning:

    36Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping.

    37And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.

  54. 54
    CannuckianYankee says:

    Mung,

    Thanks for your thoughts.

    I think it’s safe to say that some of us are more influenced by Reform or “Covenant” theology, while some are more influenced by Dispensationalist or even Catholic theology on these matters, which could lead to some very long threads if we keep it up. 🙂

    As a Protestant Christian, I lean more towards Dispensationalism than Reform, but I’m not a die-hard in that regard. I accept parts of TULIP, and disregard other parts.

    Regarding TULIP, I rather like Norman Geisler’s approach to divine election in “Chosen But Free.”

    However, getting down to the nitty-gritty regarding eschatology, I’m more inclined to agree with the Dispensationalists: that God did not transfer his election of the Jews onto Christians as though the New Covenant displaces them.

    It’s a different kind of election altogether (one election as a chosen people in whom the divine geneology of the promised Messiah (as both suffering servant and reigning King) is realized through certain prophetic events and covenants – and another election in which God’s ultimate plan is realized – which is open to both Jew and Gentile), and God is not entirely done with the Jews as far as the former kind of election is concerned. God keeps His promises.

    All of this has a bearing on how I interpret scripture regarding the second coming. I don’t believe “This generation,” for example is entirely clear that Jesus believed he would come again within a few decades of his resurrection – I think you’re doing a little eisegesis there. It’s far more involved than that simple interpretation, and I would guess this might be an area where BA77 is more inclined to elaborate on than I am at present.

    That there are many zealous individuals setting dates for Christ’s return does not in any way diminish my faith that he will return some day (whether in my lifetime or in a distant future) – just as the fact that certain zealous individuals do other erroneous deeds in the name of Christ does not diminish my faith that Jesus meant certain things by his words to the contrary, and that he would have us do certain good and beneficial deeds in his name; which can ultimately lead not just to the good of humankind, but are also reflective of the divine purpose.

  55. 55
    CannuckianYankee says:

    Mung,

    “See also:
    The Last Days According to Jesus”

    I rather like RC Sproul as a theologian. I met him in person once at a church I attended here in Southern California. I disagree with much of his echatology, but he is a clear thinker and has contributed much valuable thought on the issue of divine election and free will. I recommend his book “Willing to Believe” along with Geisler’s (sometimes disagreement between the two is quite apparent).

    Really, all of this debate regarding eschatology stems from differing views on divine election and free will. I know that it’s difficult to see the correlation, but it’s there.

    An observation I’ve made in all of this is that most Reform thinkers I’ve met apparently know that they are Reform and why; while many Dispensationalists do not know that they are Dispensationalists and why. There’s a tendency to jump on the end times bandwagon without understanding the scriptural basis for why it’s important.

  56. 56
    CannuckianYankee says:

    Mung,

    For a good read on Dispensationalist eschatology, I recommend “Things To Come” by J. Dwight Pentecost.

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/searc.....1304653686

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J._Dwight_Pentecost

    He covers the issues thoroughly.

  57. 57
    CannuckianYankee says:

    Mung,

    Sorry, his more recent “Thy Kingdom Come” would be the better read:

    http://www.amazon.com/Thy-King.....38;sr=1-11

  58. 58
    Mung says:

    Mung, now you have ‘tortured’ a scripture to make it mean what you want! I’ll not press the issue since you seem to have much emotionally invested in it, but just one thing, Jesus did say this:

    Who was he talking to? You flat out ignore who his audience was.

    And you leave out what else he said, which includes:

    Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. (Mark 13:30)

    NOw here is the very simple quesiton for you. Does “all these things” include the destruction of Jerusalem which took place in AD 70?

    Hint:

    1 As He was going out of the temple, one of His disciples said to Him, “Teacher, behold what wonderful stones and what wonderful buildings!”

    2 And Jesus said to him, “Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone will be left upon another which will not be torn down.”

    3 As He was sitting on (C)the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew were questioning Him privately,

    4″Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign when all these things are going to be fulfilled?”

    Jesus gave a clear time frame.

  59. 59
    Mung says:

    CannuckianYankee,

    I’m sure I have Things to Come, I don’t recall whether I have Thy Kingdom Come but I would not at all be surprised to find out that I do own it.

    Most of my dispensationalist books are now in storage, unless it’s something pretty recent. To be sure I know who J. Dwight Pentecost is.

    Have you noticed that dispensationalism itself has changed in the recent past? It’s just taking some time to trickle out to the mass public.

    Dispensationalism is precisely the background that I came out of and have come to reject. The reasons are many.

    We’ve touched on two. The Dispensationalist view of the Church and Israel. The Dispensationalist view on “future things.” The latter is to a great extent influenced by the former.

    …that God did not transfer his election of the Jews onto Christians as though the New Covenant displaces them…

    A Dispensationalist misconception. I would agree.

    Unfortunately, Dispensationalism creates two different people of God and two different groups of elect.

    There is but one elect, Christ. Who is Abraham’s seed. There is but one elect, and it’s not Abraham’s seed after the flesh, but after the Spirit. That includes BOTH Jews and Christians. The clear teaching of Scripture is that the Gentiles are “grafted in.”

    There is no displacement. Who was the New Covenant promised to? It was promised to THE JEWS. The Gentiles were allowed to partake, as they always had been.

    Dispensationalism teaches two different covenenants with two different people (actually I think it teaches 7 different covenenants, but hey, who’s counting).

    How do you explain the New Jerusalem?

    and at the gates twelve angels; and names were written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel.

    And the wall of the city had twelve foundation stones, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

    One City. Not two.

  60. 60
    Mung says:

    I don’t believe “This generation,” for example is entirely clear that Jesus believed he would come again within a few decades of his resurrection – I think you’re doing a little eisegesis there.

    Eisegesis would mean I was reading something into the text that the speaker did not intend. (For example, trying to calculate to 1948 from a passage in Ezekiel.)

    But the words of Jesus are quite plain, and not only that, but attested to by many other similar passages both in the Gospels and in the rest of the New Testament.

    I think the burden of proof is upon those who would say that these words, when spoken to the original audience, would have been understood any differently. again, it’s clear from the testimony of the New Testament just how those words were understood.

    But here’s another passage for you:

    But I say to all of you: From now on you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven. (Matt 26:64)

    Did this come to pass? Did Jesus lie? Or when Jesus said, I say to all of you did He not really mean those to whom He was speaking.

    This is the problem with the critics. They have to pretend that Jesus was not talking to the people he clearly was talking to, or that his words were not really meant for them but for some far distant (in time) group of people. That is just not sound exegesis.

  61. 61
    paragwinn says:

    bornagain77 @ 19:
    “Prior to 1948, Israel last existed as an independent nation in 606 B.C. when the first captives of Israel were taken by Nebuchadnezzar.”

    Israel was an independent kingdom from 167 BCE to 63 BCE.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hasmonean

    Might have to recalibrate your calculations.

  62. 62
    paragwinn says:

    bornagain77 @ 19:
    “For 70 biblical years (approximately 69 years on the Gregorian calendar),”

    The bible really doesn’t define a year in precise terms. You probably are thinking of the Jewish year, which is adapted from the Babylonian calendar, which culture also celebrated the “seventh day” and the “week of weeks”.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Babylonian_calendar
    Plus, the Gregorian calendar dropped 11 days when replacing the Julian one..more recalibrating

  63. 63
    CannuckianYankee says:

    Mung,

    “Have you noticed that dispensationalism itself has changed in the recent past? It’s just taking some time to trickle out to the mass public.”

    I’m aware that there is less of a tendency to encourage the thinking of a Hal Lindsey (for example), who I’m told was a student of Pentecost at Dallas Theological Seminary. What specifically have you noticed?

    I could say the same about Reform theology, Catholic theology, etc., and it would be expected as our understanding evolves of a God who does not.

    “The clear teaching of Scripture is that the Gentiles are ‘grafted in.'”

    I don’t see this as clear by scripture – at least not in that sense. There does seem to be a difference between God’s interaction with the Jews than with the Gentiles. Otherwise, why even make the distinction? Two covenants in my view are much more clear by scripture than the “grafting in” of the Gentiles to the one. One covenant is of salvation of all through faith in Christ, and the other is concerned with the reign of Christ through his rightful lineage as a son of David and as the Son of God, as well as through his obedience to the law.

    It’s not like God had this grand plan to save the Jews by their obedience to the law, but since they failed to obey, he would extend His covenant with the Gentiles by becoming the man Jesus – we’re talking about two different covenants – one of the reign of Christ by obedience to the law and one of grace extended because of the sacrifice of Christ. According to scripture Jesus’ coming was planned before the foundation of the world. It was planned all along by divine will.

    So I firmly believe that each covenant is distinct; they are different in that they each have different goals. They both are really Christian covenants in that the first is to actualize the divine lineage of the Messiah (Christ) by law, and further to bring about His Kindgom of righteousness, while the other is to establish grace through faith in Christ as part of the fulfillment of the former covenant. And I believe that both covenants are still in operation today, and both have been in operation since the resurrection (and even before as I explain below). God intends to fulfill the former covenant by Christ reigning in His kingdom, which will include both Jews and Gentiles (by grace through faith) – that’s where the “grafting in” really occurs (The new covenant is grafted into the former), and that should answer your question:

    “How do you explain the New Jerusalem?”

    I deal with it exactly as I’ve explained. And to further clarify, the reign of Christ is the fulfillment of not one but two covenants, the old and the new. And incidentally, I should point out something that William Dembski inferred in “The End of Christianity.” That is that the covenant of Grace extends not only forward in time, but back in time, such that grace is granted according to a new covenant not yet actualized by Christ’s sacrifice, to the Jews who believed God through faith. “Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him as righteousness.” As I stated and further clarify, one covenant is of law, and the other is of grace.

    The law really points to Christ. Jesus fulfilled the law and the prophets. The old covenant is of law and the new is of grace, but they both relate to Christ. Jesus fulfilled the law through his lineage as a Son of David (A king over Israel), and also through obedience; which makes him the rightful heir of the first covenant – to be actualized in his second coming as reigning King.

    In my view God’s ultimate purpose is the actualization of a perfect and harmonious universe with Christ as the reigning King (I’m certain that it will be much more involved than just my brief depiction) – but it has less to do with our needs, and more to do with God as King over all – exercising His supreme sovereignty as He intended all along with the added benefit of the free expression of those who choose to worship Him. You could say that much of that is already happening, and I would agree. God is sovereign even if his ultimate plan is not yet actualized.

    Dispensational thought observes that in order to actualize this, there are separate and distinct dispensations by which God interacts with His people and by which He actualizes the ultimate purpose of the reign of Christ – you can clearly see several of the dispensations by reading scripture – clearly God’s interaction with Adam was different than His interaction with Abraham, and different again with His interaction with Moses, with the kingdoms of the Hebrews starting with the kings and then with the later prophets and those in exile in Babylon, with the second temple period and beginning with Christ, different with the Apostles and then with the Church. These are not separate covenants (as you imply), but separate dispensations of God’s grace – not because God was different at different times, but because human beings were different at different times and in different circumstances. And you can see throughout all of this history the unfolding of the purpose of the former covenant, culminating not in Christ as suffering servant, but as reigning King.

    Also in my view the New Covenant with Israel is just that. It’s a new covenant. It’s not the same as the old, and it includes the Gentiles not simply through the grace given to the Jews, but given directly to Gentiles and Jews alike through faith in Christ. So we’re not “grafted in” as you say, but we’re included in a new covenant. You might say “well yes, but the new covenant is with Israel, not with Gentiles.” True, but it’s goal is not simply to save the Jews with the added benefit of the Gentiles, but to also actualize the Kingdom of the former covenant through grace rather than simply by law. Grace is not really grace if it extends to Jews only. Otherwise it looks an awful lot like law. So the old covenant is to the Jews by law so that Christ can claim his rightful heir to the throne (a model which even earthly governments have haphazardly followed), but the new extends to everyone (Jews and Gentiles) by grace through faith (a model not at all followed by earthly governments).

    A problem I have with much Reform theology is that it seems to forget that there is a purpose beyond our earthly existence, and when one conflates the two distinct covenants it invariably leads to the misapprehension of the distinction between law and grace. We are not currently in the Heavenly Kindgom of Christ’s reign. That is a future event, and it matters to Christianity.

    Furthermore, you seem to be hung up on the idea that when Jesus talks to certain groups or individuals, his message is necessarily intended for only them. Such a view seems to overlook the purpose for the early Christians to have carefully accounted for what he said and written his words in the gospels. If they were intended simply for a few peasants who happend to be within earshot when he spoke them, then it couldn’t have mattered that they took the time to record his words as if they might be important to us. I gather you don’t really believe that, but that is what you seem to imply. I believe that the Olivet Discourse and the parables of the kingdom were intended for everyone, and they bear immense importance to God’s ultimate purpose and not simply as pithy sayings for Jesus’ direct followers.

    To sum up all of this, I think what’s ultimately important here is that salvation is by grace through faith, which we all (at least in this discussion) apparently believe; and despite our difference of opinion on theological matters, we all seem to agree on the common ground that Jesus lives, and it matters.

  64. 64
    CannuckianYankee says:

    paragwinn,

    “The bible really doesn’t define a year in precise terms. You probably are thinking of the Jewish year, which is adapted from the Babylonian calendar, which culture also celebrated the ‘seventh day’ and the ‘week of weeks’.”

    I think in this case, the Bible does define a “prophetic” year in precise terms as 360 days or 12 months of 30 days each. This is implied both in Revelation and in Daniel.

    See here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prophetic_Year

  65. 65
    bornagain77 says:

    This looks like an interesting site:

    Confirming The Exile Prophecies of 606 BC and 587 BC

    606 BC The Servitude of the Nation (Loss of Israel’s independence).
    Fulfilled on May 14,1948.

    587 BC The Desolation’s of Jerusalem (Destruction of Jerusalem and loss of Jewish Rule in Jerusalem).
    Fulfilled on June 7,1967.

    http://www.watchmanbiblestudy......hecies.htm

    What immediately jumped out at me about the dates is that the ancient dates and modern dates are both separated by 19 years!?!

    What else jumps out at me is that someone, who is very anti-ID, seems very interested in questioning the dates. For me that sends up a red flag.

  66. 66
    bornagain77 says:

    This may be of interest to Mung:

    10 Prophecies Fulfilled in 1948
    http://www.watchmanbiblestudy......filled.htm

  67. 67
    Mung says:

    Truly I tell you, you will not finish going through the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes. (Matt 10:23)

    Who was Jesus talking to?

    Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom. (Matt 16:28)

    Who was Jesus talking to?

  68. 68
    bornagain77 says:

    Mung,

    I just don’t get your slant,, are you trying to say that Jesus has already returned???

  69. 69
    bornagain77 says:

    Mung, I don’t think it too far out of line to tell you that if you really believe the ‘second coming’ is already fulfilled, then your beliefs are severely, to put it mildly, out of line with reality! As well you sure seem to have a lot tied up ’emotionally’ in all this. Just why is it so important for you to deny the prophetic fulfillment of Israel becoming a nation???

    Here is a detailed discussion on (Matt 10:23)
    http://www.middletownbiblechur.....etjv08.htm

    of note;

    I think I shall leave this discussion for now, as I am not so much concerned with these details, as I am very happy that we are both Christian in the first place. To me accepting Christ is far and away more important.

  70. 70
    Mung says:

    I just don’t get your slant,, are you trying to say that Jesus has already returned???

    Is that what you think Jesus is saying in the passages I’ve been quoting?

    That he would return before all his disciples had died?

    If that’s the way you read the texts, then you have to decide whether Jesus was wrong.

    I will say that it seems to me that these are clear and unabiguous statements. I believe Jesus was telling them he would return within the span of a single generation.

    I aslo think it’s clear from other New Testament texts that that is also what the earliest Christians believed.

    So were Jesus and the apostles were wrong? Yes, I choose to believe that what Jesus said would come to pass did in fact come to pass within the time frame he said it would come to pass.

    …for yet a very very little, He who is coming will come, and will not tarry (Heb. 10:37)

    http://bible.cc/hebrews/10-37.htm

    http://scripturetext.com/hebrews/10-37.htm

    Be sure to read the commentaries. They are all well-known commentators and most of them agree with what I am saying.

    Example:

    He did thus come very soon after and ended Jewish persecution by the overthrow of the nation. This is a frequent sense of oft-repeated allusions to the coming of the Lord found both in the Old Testament and New Testament. See Hab 2:5-20. The passage there quoted refers to the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, and is here applied to the destruction by the Romans.

  71. 71
    bornagain77 says:

    Mung, as I said before, I am through with my part in this discussion. But please not take my absence for agreeing with your viewpoint. I just feel like it is not that important as compared to salvation in the first place, and that there is far too much ’emotionally’ involved as to let clarity have its way.

  72. 72
    MathGrrl says:

    Off Topic To Mung, kairosfocus, and Upright BiPed

    Sorry to intrude here, but I wanted you to know that comments have been closed on the two threads where we were discussing CSI. I put my responses on Mark Frank’s blog and will be happy to continue the discussion there or when an appropriate topic turns up here, as you prefer.

  73. 73
    kairosfocus says:

    MG:

    It so happens that I looked back at UD for a moment and saw an OT comment on this thread [which I am not monitoring], in the recent comments block.

    I think at this stage, MG, you have some fairly serious explaining to do. But, unfortunately, for several weeks now, all you have been doing is repeating long since seriously and cogently answered talking points. (In particular you need to explain how you are dismissing a log reduction as a simple probability calculation, and how you are brushing aside its application to the Durston et al results. In addition, you will need to explain the error Schneider made in trying to correct Dembski’s usage of information on the Hartley -suggested neg log a priori frequentist probability metric that is commonly used in engineering. I think this attempt to dismiss a valid and widely used information metric [cf my remarks on both Connor and Taub-Schilling] is the root of many of the problems we have seen. Similarly, Mung’s secondary vivisection of ev is something you need to address on the merits. As to MF’s blog, kindly observe that for a long time he has taken some very flimsy excuses to studiously ignore what I have had to say at UD; which has led him inot many errors, most recently failing to see that there was a Tyranny ion Athens post Peloponnesian war, and failing to see the significance of the behaviuour of Alcibiades and co as rebuked by Plato in The Laws, Bk X. I will only make a for the record comment at his blog.)

    GEM of TKI

    F/N: It seems that after four weeks, UD threads now automatically shut down. Makes sense from a spamming issues perspective.

  74. 74
    Upright BiPed says:

    Mathgrrl,

    The question you have thusfar skillfully avoided is still as it was all along:

    The only way you could interpret the presence of an “equivocation” would be if you knew of a distinction. So please be specific. On what grounds do you make the distinction that one relationship acts as a code, while another relationship is a code?

    UD has been as gracious to you in terms of access as it could have possibly been. The question above stems from the remarks you yourself made on this forum.

    It was asked here, so answer it here.

  75. 75
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: I have just had to correct commenter Flint at MF’s blog, here — for the record, on the now drumbeat strawman talking point that CSI is ill-defined and meaningless. It is obvious that MG’s erroneous talking points are rapidly joining the long list of misinformed or outright willfully deceptive evo mat talking points such as: “ID is Creationism in a cheap tuxedo,” “those who differ with evo mat are anti-science and are ignorant, stupid, insane or wicked,” and “to infer to intelligent design is to try to inject the supernatural into science, as an assumption.”

  76. 76
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N 2: A further on the record correction, to a turnabout rhetorical accusation.

  77. 77
    Mung says:

    BA77:

    But please not take my absence for agreeing with your viewpoint.

    Oh, I would never do that. 🙂

    Mung, I don’t think it too far out of line to tell you that if you really believe the ‘second coming’ is already fulfilled, then your beliefs are severely, to put it mildly, out of line with reality!

    I guess I put more emphasis on the need to be in line with the truth.

    If Jesus was a false prophet, and the apostles likewise were mistaken, it really doesn’t matter all that much whether I am in touch with reality, does it.

    …there is far too much ‘emotionally’ involved as to let clarity have its way.

    Well, if you’re right and I’m wrong, my faith is in vain. So yeah, I don’t mind being “emotionally” invested.

    But the fact is my arguments have been quite well reasoned and supported by evidence in spite of any emotional involvement.

    Since BA77 is bowing out, let me put forth one final logically argued case against attaching any importance to the events of 1948.

    The same people who claim that the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948 is a “sign” that Jesus will return soon, also claim that Jesus could return at any moment, and that this has always been true.

    If it is true that Jesus could have returned “at any moment” in the past, then his return was not dependent upon the formation of the state of Israel.

    It follows that whether or not there is a state of Israel tells us nothing about when Jesus will return.

    The view is illogical, incoherent, and irrational. As such, it should be rejected on this basis alone.

  78. 78
    Mung says:

    And that brings us back to “the parable of the fig tree.”

    If, as some people would have us believe, the parable should be interpreted as follows:

    “When you see the fig tree sprout leaves, by which I mean when you see Israel become a nation again, know that my coming is near.”

    Then it clearly follows that Israel must become a nation again before Christ would return, or Jesus was misleading the disciples, or just plain wrong.

    But that view has never been the view of the Christian Church.

    The modern state of Israel is meaningless as a “sign” of anything having to do with Bible prophecy.

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