The Bible and False Prophecy

What About New Testament Prophecies?

THE HUMANIST'S CLAIMS: New Testament Prophecies Are Unfulfilled

In applying the Bible’s test for identifying false prophets, the conclusion is inescapable that Jesus was one of them. For example, he was wrong in predicting the world would end within the lifetime of his followers.

At Matthew 16:28, Jesus tells his disciples: “There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.” The people who were standing there all died eventually, and they never saw Jesus return to establish a kingdom.

Similarly, Jesus is depicted at Mark 13:24-30 as listing signs that shall accompany the end of the world. These include the sun becoming darkened, the moon not giving any light, the stars of heaven falling, the son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory, and angels gathering the elect. Then Jesus announces: “Verily I say unto you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done.” His generation passed away long ago without the predicted events occurring.

An important question: is Matthew 16:28 talking about the same thing as Mark 13:24-30?

Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom. - Matthew 16:28

This is the last verse of chapter 16 in Matthew. What comes next? The transfiguration. This is a statement Jesus makes right before His transfiguration on the Mount of Olives. Jesus makes this same statement in Mark 9:1, right before Mark's description of the transfiguration.

And Jesus was saying to them, “Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God after it has come with power. - Mark 9:1

I don't know if putting these two verses in the humanist quote one after another was intentional, but those two verses are not related to each other. The were spoken at two different times, so we need to address them separately.

Matthew 16:28

The Greek word (Strong's 932) translated as "kingdom" also has the meaning of "sovereignty," "royal splendor" or "royal power."

In both Matthew and Mark these words of Jesus are not said in a end times context, but in the context of teaching his disciples, and others, about the cost of following Him. You could say that it was somewhat of a depressing lesson. "Deny yourself, and take up your cross." You'd have to be living during that time to understand the serious level of pain Jesus is talking about. Then Jesus goes on to say they will die: "whoever wishes to save his life will lose it." This is tough news for His followers. But then He offers encouragement... some of them will see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom (His royal splendor). And the prophecy is fulfilled just six days from then. Some -- Peter, James and John -- witnessed the glory of His kingdom and His royal splendor at His transfiguration.

Mark 13:24-30

24-27: But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light, 25 and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers that are in the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And then He will send forth the angels, and will gather together His elect from the four winds, from the farthest end of the earth to the farthest end of heaven.

28-30: Now learn the parable from the fig tree: when its branch has already become tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. Even so, you too, when you see these things happening, recognize that He is near, right at the door. Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.

31-33: Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away. But of that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone. Take heed, keep on the alert; for you do not know when the appointed time will come.

The key question here is, who does "this generation" refer to?

We can get that answer by starting with another question. Why is Jesus telling His disciples these things? Because they asked:

Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign when all these things are going to be fulfilled?- Mark 13:4

Jesus answers by talking to the people who will be alive during the times He is describing. No one knows when that time will come. As far as the disciples were concerned, it might be within the next couple of years. As far as we are concerned, it could be within the next couple of years. No one knows. Later in Mark 13 Jesus says, "But of that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone."

But, as the time for His return approaches there will be definite signs. So Jesus is telling the people who will see those signs, whoever they may be, what the signs are. Anyone who starts seeing those signs will know the time is near... and THAT generation will not pass away until those things come to pass. In other words, Jesus is saying... "Once you begin to see these signs, My return is very close."

So "this generation" refers to the people Jesus is talking to... the people who will see the signs that portend His return. So this is a prophecy about the future that has not yet been fulfilled.

Conclusion

Once you know what these verses are talking about, they make sense. The prophecy in Matthew 16 has already been fulfilled and the one in Mark 13 will be fulfilled as the return of Jesus draws near.

Next Prophecy:

Jesus also erred in predicting the amount of time he would be in the tomb. At Matthew 12:40 he teaches: “For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” Mark 15:42-45 shows that Jesus died on a Friday afternoon. But Mark 16:9 and Matthew 28:1 tell us he left the tomb sometime on Saturday night or Sunday morning. Either way, the amount of time was less than three nights.

How days were counted in Jesus' day is very similar to the way we count days today. Think of taking a "three day hike." What does that mean? Click here.


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