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May 09, 2005

The Book of Revelations and the Rapture.

I am a huge fan of the English comic writer P. G. Wodehouse, especially of his Jeeves and Wooster books. These books are so funny that I have to literally wipe tears from my eyes. (Dave Barry has the same effect on me.) The plots are pretty much the same in all the Jeeves stories but the smoothness of Wodehouse's writing, his superb comic touch, and his precise choice of words make them a joy to read. Even though I have read all of the Jeeves books many times and know all the plots by heart, I still re-read them periodically. Both Wodehouse and George Orwell had a command of the language that I admire.

In a typical Jeeves story, the hapless Bertie Wooster is invariably at some point trapped in a fast moving series of events that swirl around him, pulling him in all directions, none of them promising good outcomes for him, before Jeeves ingeniously rescues him and provides happy endings all around. But often, when the chaos is at its height and Bertie feels completely overwhelmed, he would say that he "felt like he was living in the Book of Revelations."

If you read the Book of Revelations (the last book of the Biblical New Testament, also called "The Revelation of John") you will see what Bertie means. It is for the most part a bizarre series of visions involving strange animals, angels, stars crashing into the ground, the sun getting eaten up, fires, plagues, and mass killings that would be a challenge for any special effects person, if it were ever to be made into a film.

When I was studying to become a lay preacher in the Methodist church, we pretty much gave this weird book a miss, treating it as one might a dotty uncle who has to be invited to every family function, but whom you hope will not make a scene and wish no one would notice and ask about him. We studied mainly the Gospels that focused on the life and teaching of Jesus, the Acts of the Apostles, some of the letters by Paul, some of the Old Testament prophets, church and biblical history, and theology. We pretty much ignored the Book of Revelations. It was just too far out there.

So it is somewhat amazing to me that it is this book that is driving much of the new militant Christianity, while the Gospels and the actual teachings of Jesus have faded into the background. And the idea that seems to have gripped the imagination of many such Christians is that of the rapture, associated with the end of the world.

Much of the basic beliefs about the coming of the rapture come from the letters written by Paul to various communities, but the full apocalyptic vision of the rapture is found in Revelations. This book is the source of much cryptic language and symbolism that enables people to pore over its significance and look for clues as to when the rapture will occur, what are the signs of its imminence, and how to identify the good and bad people. Like the writings of Nostradamus, the "predictions" are vague enough to allow for endless speculations and to "explain" anything. It also has enough numbers to keep numerologists busy for millennia trying to interpret their meanings. The numbers six, seven, and twelve seem to have special significance.

(Incidentally, there is a huge internet industry dealing with the rapture and speculations about it are rampant. One such set of speculations deals with the identity of the "Antichrist" (who seizes power for a short time after the rapture before being vanquished), and nominees for that post include Prince Charles and Bill Clinton. See also the Rapture Index which calculates (along the lines of the Dow Jones Index) a number to give a measure of how close we are to the rapture. Currently the number stands at 149. This is below the 2002 peak of 179 but any number above 145 falls into the highest category, labeled as "fasten your seat belts," meaning that the signs are favorable to the rapture happening any time.)

As far as I can tell, popular belief about the rapture (as opposed to serious theology about it) is that it is associated with the second coming of Jesus and marks the moment when true believers in Christ (both dead and living), will be taken up to heaven to join him. It will be a sudden event, occurring without warning. People who are saved (and whose names have been "recorded" from the beginning of time) will be taken up instantaneously and disappear, leaving just their clothes behind. So if you are with a group of people and several of them suddenly vanish from your sight, leaving their clothes and shoes in a pile on the ground, that means the rapture has occurred and you, personally, have not made the cut.

Up to this point, since I have a live-and-let-live philosophy, I have no problems with the rapture. If true believers are taken away to lead blissful lives somewhere other than the Earth, leaving the rest of us behind, I have no problem with that. I wish them all happiness in their eternal life as the rest of us somehow muddle through on this Earth without them. Clearly there will be some temporary disruptions in life as new people will have to be found to do the jobs that those raptured away used to do, but these do not seem to insurmountable problems since some estimates put the number of people who will be raptured as low as 144,000 (another number that appears in Revelations).

But that is not apparently how it works. Those left behind are not left alone, unfortunately. We are not to be kept busy merely distributing all the clothes left behind to various Goodwill stores. Instead we are to be victims of a massive and gruesome slaughter, with huge rivers of blood flowing everywhere, before everything comes to an end. The book of Revelations speaks of the flowing blood rising to the height of a horse's bridle for a radius of 200 miles. (Since I enjoy mathematical estimation problems, I briefly toyed with the idea of estimating how many corpses it would take to create this much blood, but simply could not muster the enthusiasm for this straightforward but macabre task. But it would make for a nifty homework problem in those religious schools that teach about the rapture seriously.)

It is hard to estimate how many people take this idea of the rapture seriously but given the numbers claimed by the Dominionist movement (around 30 million) it could be quite large. The twelve sequential novels of the Left Behind series by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins (which weave a fictional tale around the rapture) claim a combined readership of 42 million. Of course, many in that number will be repeat buyers of the series and not all may be believers in the underlying message, but the numbers are still impressive. (Note that LaHaye is a co-founder with Jerry Falwell of the Moral Majority and works at Falwell's Liberty University in Virginia.)

I haven't actually read the Left Behind books myself or seen the film based on them (with all the books that I would really like to read, I just can't see myself reading a million words of rapture-based fiction), but Gene Lyons has a highly entertaining review of all the books and their message in the November 2004 issue of Harper's Magazine. He says that the "books portray Midwestern suburbanites and born-again Israeli converts as Warrior Jesus' allies in an apocalyptic struggle against a U.N.-anointed "World Potentate," who looks "not unlike a younger Robert Redford" and speaks the language of science and liberal internationalism."

The sins for which people are fingered to be slaughtered at the end of the world are sexual sins (fornication, homosexuality) or those of apostasy and blasphemy. Once again, it seems as if the only sins worth the name are those involving sex and violations of religious orthodoxy. Swindling retirees out of their life savings, depriving people of health care, making people work in sweatshops, stealing from old and poor people whatever they have, cheating on your taxes, beating your spouse and children, being abusive to ones employees, seemingly are not things which automatically disqualify you from being taken up at the rapture, but take one wrong step on sexual and doctrinal issues and you are toast.

Interestingly though, Barbara R. Rossing in her book The Rapture Exposed says that the particular form of the apocalyptic vision that seems so appealing to many American Christians these days was originated by a nineteenth century Scottish evangelist named John Darby and owes its origins to turmoil over Darwinism. "Rossing argues persuasively that certain people are attracted to Darby's "dispensationalist system with its Rapture theology because it is so comprehensive and rational - almost science-like – a feature that made it especially appealing during battles over evolution during the 1920s and 1930s." (Lyons)

So now we are back again with Darwin and evolution in the cross hairs of the evangelical movement. It is interesting to me how these two strands of human thought (science and religion) keep butting up against each other. Rossing's thesis sheds some more light on why evolutionary theory seems to be such a burr under the saddle for evangelical Christians, driving them to furious opposition, in ways that other scientific beliefs do not.

In a future posting, I will look more closely at the historical roots of the religious opposition to evolution, but first there is one curious feature of the rapture movement that needs to be commented on, and that is the strange role that Jews and Israel play in it, and this will be examined next.

POST SCRIPT 1

While typing this entry up on Sunday night, I took a break to watch my favorite TV show The Simpsons. They had a special double feature (this being sweeps week) and, to my amazement, the second episode was entirely about the rapture! If that coincidence is not a sign of the imminent apocalypse, I don't know what is.

In the show, Homer is convinced after seeing a rapture-based film called Left Below (!) that the world is coming to an end. He makes numerical calculations based on the clues in Revelations and arrives at the conclusion that the rapture will occur at 3:15pm on Wednesday, May 18th.

It is a really funny episode on many levels and if you missed it, you should try and catch it on summer re-runs. It captures pretty accurately the essence of what the rapture is about.

POST SCRIPT 2

At 5:00pm today (Monday, May 9th) in the Spartan Room of Thwing Hall, Professor Jeff Halper, an emeritus professor of anthropology at Ben Gurion University in Israel and a human rights activist who has been campaigning against the Israeli government policy of home demolitions of Palestinians, will be leading a discussion on current events in Israel. The session is sponsored (in part) by Case for Peace and is free and open to the public.

POST SCRIPT 3

I will be traveling the next two days and so will not be able to post. The next posting will be on May 12, 2005.

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Comments

Mano,
Have you ever read "Good Omens" by Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett? It's an hysterically funny romp through the birth of the antichrist and the coming apocolypse. After one spends time contemplating the hypocritical faux morality of such groups as the Dominionists, this provides a great respite for the mind.

Or if you prefer something scary try: http://www.chick.com/reading/tracts/1051/1051_01.asp This group makes tracts in comic book form in order to better reach apostates such as me. Basically they try to frighten people into eschewing reason for Jesus. It's worth a wander around their site just to get a handle on the way they use propaganda.

Posted by Heidi on May 10, 2005 12:41 PM

I had some time to waste, so I went ahead and did the estimation:

Let's assume a horse's bridle measures in at approximately 5 ft = 60 in. A cylinder of blood with a 200 mile radius and 60 in height will have a volume of 3.03e16 cubic inches, which equals 4.96e14 liters. The average human adult has 4.7 litres of blood, meaning that one would have to totally drain approximately (to as much precision as I could get) 105534569646000 humans. This is approximately 17600 times the world's current population, and is probably a larger number than all homo sapiens who have ever lived.

I think the authors of the Book of Revelations didn't check their math...

Posted by Anon on May 10, 2005 01:17 PM

Oh, Good Omens is fantastic -- I second the recommendation.

Also, for those of you who can't stomach reading the Left Behind series, Slacktivist is doing an excellent, detailed analysis of the series.

Posted by Becky on May 11, 2005 12:12 PM

Sometimes in the 80's, the Rapture crowd had a definitive date pinned down for when the Rapture was going to occur. At the time, I lived in a double house with my (at the time) sister-in-law and her family next door. They were part of the Rapture crowd of fundamentalist Christians in the area. My sister-in-law, trying to polite, asked me if I would take care of their dog when they were Rapture'd upward. I gave her a stricken look and asked, "Do you think I will not be going along too?" Her look was priceless--somewhere between trying to figure out how to let me down gently and using it as an opportunity to save me on the spot. The best part of the story is that they were so sure that the Rapture date was correct that they ran up huge credit card debts because they thought that they would not be around when the bills arrived. Lucky for their dog, the Rapture did not occur but it took them years to pay off their credit cards.

Posted by Liz Madigan on May 11, 2005 09:45 PM

I read the first book of the Left Behind series. It's a really quick read. My main problem with the story is that the universe they set up is one in which one would have to be foolish to not be a Christian out of sheer opportunism. There's obvious evil and obvious good and most of the world just decides to go with evil for no apparent reason. I think the book can provide a lot of insight into how certain fundamentalists think: that the world is a very simple place, right and wrong are easy to distinguish, and thus people who disagree with their views must have serious character flaws.

I prefer the Christ Clone Trilogy by James BeauSeigneur. It's also fundamentalist propaganda, but at least the antichrist makes an interesting argument that many people might follow, rather than being simply evil with mind control powers as in Left Behind. Although it was written from a fundamentalist viewpoint, the debates between characters really did make me think.

Posted by Cindy Chestek on May 12, 2005 12:22 AM

I am definitely going to check out "Good Omens". Thanks for the tip.

Posted by Mano Singham on May 12, 2005 10:08 AM

Liz: I think that in a small way the credit card story illustrates one of the things that is so dangerous about Rapture beliefs. A part of me thinks I should just accept that people will believe strange things and it isn't my problem, but it really does lead to dangerously stupid planning. "Should we worry about how to dispose of nuclear waste?" "no need, as long as it's safe for the next few years till everyone deserving is Raptured away", and so on.

Posted by Eldan Goldenberg on May 12, 2005 01:00 PM

Hey anon,

Though your math is decently correct... the actual number would be around...
105535341040425.53191489361702128 humans, given we assume humans contain 4.7 liters, and a horses bridal is 60in. off the ground, though it is probably more like 48-50 in., would depend on the breed. most horses heads are at about 5.5 ft. and they bridal would therefore hang at about 4.5 to 5 foot. Also, if the "flowing blood" is truly flowing it would be a river, so it would go to lowlands and valleys, and in streams, and I am sure it would only take a matter of 100,000 ppl to make a stream of blood deep enough to fulfill that prophecy. It says nothing about a cylinder in the ground that is 400 miles across and 60inches deep. Thus, I think this would be easily attainable...

Posted by ANON-GOD on September 23, 2005 12:42 PM

My Inaugural Address at the Great White Throne Judgment of the Dead, after I have raptured out billions!

At: http://www.angelfire.com/crazy/spaceman/


eschatology,End Times,second coming,rapture,secret rapture,Second Resurrection,Great White Throne Judgment of the Dead,
End of days,Day of the Lord,Endtime,Judgment Day

Posted by Secret Rapture on December 1, 2005 07:00 AM

Volume In Body (UK Pints/cubic metres):
10 / 0.01
Radius (Miles/metres):
200 / 321,868.80
Height (feet/metres):
5 / 1.5
Volume of Area (UK Pints/cubic metres):
859,114,108,553,064 / 488,201,257,219
Number of People:
85,950,925,566,724
In other words it would require approximately 86 trillion freshly squeezed
corpses in order to create this volume of blood, or 1,038 trillion blood donors.
Of course, as the previous correspondent stated, the books of Revelations didn't
stipulate that it was a column of blood and that valleys and hills should be
taken into account.
My own interpretation is that the height specified is merely an average...
although come to think of it, weren't horses much smaller in the days of John
and before the selective breeding of horses?

Posted by SB on January 14, 2006 07:42 AM

On the blood question...

The blood is supposed to fill the valley of Mt. Miggeddon (sp?) in what is now Israel, so the number of full-blood volume donors would be about the aforementioned 85 trillion. It doesn't matter how big horses were in 119 AD, because the "revelation" was a vision of the actual battle in the "end times".

One of my favorite exchanges from the TV show M*A*S*H:

Radar: Hawkeye, what's Armageddon?

Hawkeye: An immense confligration.

Posted by R. Bell on August 3, 2006 02:24 PM

The blood to the horses bridle may not mean just human blood--Include horses blood and the amount is easily attainable. A lot of killing will happen that day and bullets, bombs and swords don't discriminate.
There is something much more important than living with fear or wonder of such an event happening.
What is important is the salvation of peoples souls, which, if they have given their hearts to Jesus Christ as their personal savior with the forgiveness of sins, the battle of Armageddon will not become them.
The days are drawing short.
People have been saying that for years but give thought to all that is happening.
One world currency is a few steps away
Micro chips to track animals and now for children (for their "safety")

Posted by Lance Robinson on January 30, 2007 11:00 PM

You done the right thing reading the Word of God so my prayer for you is to get salvation youre talking and actting like Saul/paul
before he seen the light

Posted by on April 13, 2007 07:53 PM

Perhaps the clues are in the 'horse’s mouth' and the first part of the bridle it touches is the bit. Perhaps when the blood of that many has been shed upon the earth, we will hear it from the mouth of a horse. Did you know a white horse can be and is often born Black?

In the hands of every rider in revelations is a way to kill a man without getting blood on your hands.[ Bow, sword, drugs and a search for a savior.]
Back then local girls in Bethlehem could not find a local Bethlehem boy to wed. Now in China, many local boys are finding it hard to find local China girl to wed.
Seventh letter to the seventh church, 'buy from me gold refined in the fire'. Gods word is said to be gold and it's atomic number is 79. Does One child rule in 79 have anything to do with the first words of, 'multiply and fill' that we heard on day six?
Working with a light of his own; God spent three days and three nights working toward creating the sun, the moon and the stars. In 12 x 12 hour periods, (144 hours or six days)he completed his work that ended with evening and morning. There in genesis, days 1 to six, can be found all the measures of time in revelations.

Posted by Logisticmosquito on October 18, 2007 10:23 PM

According to the number code sequence as laid out in his Prophecy Code Book, it seems that the rapture if you want to call it that (I prefer the word resurrection), can't happen for at least another 27 years. May I suggest you check out the website http://www.prophecycodebook.com which shows the Menorah's pictogram.

In his book Prophecy Code, Jeff Manty decodes the rapture using the number (2520) from the prophecy of the seventy 'sevens.'

He says the secret to understanding the return of Christ is to know that this number 2520 is a number of years as well as days. As proof he connects this number to the years of Israel's reestablishment or the years 1897, 1948, and 1967 to the years 587, 536, and 517.

Manty uses the prophecy's commencement as the key to unlocking the rapture. May I suggest you get a copy of his book you'll love it...

Posted by monique on March 1, 2008 12:37 PM

God! I love this shot at ol' Saint Johnny. Years ago a friend asked me what the Bible had to say. Being an old Baptist biscuit, I told him I would read it thoroughly and give him an account. My assessment two months later was that the entire book, if printed today, would be the biggest pile of crap ever written. As for Ill-Reverent-Revelations, there is a Gross error inside its belly--one concerning the Elders throwing their crowns towards the feet of El Cid...oops, I mean, Jesus. St. Johnny (who swore he was seeing this in living color) said the Crown Event would happen one time only and last for eternity. But they did the same crazy stint again later on. Go figure. And check out the battle scene. There are to be some two hundred hundred thousand. Wow! Last internet survey said that there were only 75 million world wide. How many are ridable? Please, if you find time between Simpsons shows, try to figure how high the ocean level would have been in the Great Flood. That is even a bigger joke than Revelations. Did anyone ever consider the loss of all sea life do to that much fresh water?

Posted by Unsaint John on March 4, 2008 05:45 PM

I reread the Bible eight years ago so that I could help inspire my coffee shop buddies (who had never read as much as a sentence) to at least no why they didn't like the Bible. When I finished reading and taking notes, my first comment was "how did it ever last so long without being laughed out of existence." As for Revelations,that book has one very grievous error which would dispute John's assertion that he was recording the incident as it happened. It has to do with the Elders throwing their crowns at the foot of the throne. The act was to last for all eternity and never be repeated; but it was repeated, word for word, one chapter later.

Posted by faulpelz on August 24, 2008 03:40 PM

I am getting countless e-mails about this election being the rise of anti christ. Let me provide some answers from Bible prophecy that should calm the fears of alot of frightened Americans out there..”This gospel must be preached to all the world before the end can come.”Math.24:13.” This promise has not been fulfilled yet. Jesus said, let no man decieve you by any means concerning the time of my coming.”Math.24:4? Jesus warned christians about false teachers who would come in his name, “deceiving many” over an early time of his coming.. Jesus states plainly that modern christians today will be “killed for my sake,” and all must “endure to the end.” To what end should they then endure? To the end of the harvest. The harvest is here, and the workers want to run away and be raptured to escape and hide from the harvest. We must not be seeking to avoid our responsibilities, and we must work for the cause of saving many more souls. Christ promised us, that he will not return for any reason, nor for any early rapture until the world wide missionary effort is completed. America is a very critical part of the gospels success, and we therefore must remain a christian nation, no matter what happens. This means christians who have been practicing their faith through out life, will now be called upon to play the real game they have been preparing for henseforth… The harvest is ready, and the laborers are few. That means you and I. See video recorded below with Sarah Palin requesting Gods help through our prayers. In world war one and two, it was common practice for American families to pray for the troops abroad. Why do we not do so as much today? Are you and your family praying for the troops each day? Are you doing this in your church meetings? Sarah Palins son is in Iraq risking his life for our country. We prayed for both Sarah Palin and McCain to win the election. I have ran into far too many christians who were not worried about this election, expected to get raptured up to heaven anyway. I heard the same constant fatalism of believing that God had now removed himself from America and it was now too late. The reports show clearly that as many as 4 to 5 million christians did not even bother to vote this year. I believe that we lost this election because of this widespread rapture theory which has removed a critical advantage of our christian voter block. I wrote a book in order to warn christians about these false teachers who have come in the name of Jesus to decieve them about the time of his coming. Obama prevailed, and he will face an economic crisis in which he will not have the skill, nor experience to confront this crisis, nor contain it. When his policies fail, the domocrats will then have no one else to blame. The country will then seek better leadership from leaders like Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney and others who have great skill in fixing the economy. That is why I need your help to reach these deluded christian voters by providing biblical warnings to those who have been sucked into this pre-trib mind set, and bring them back to reality..Sarah Palin is a winner no matter what happens because she has gained our trust and the trust of the national conservative movement. All of Palins warnings given dureing the election concerning Obama, these warnings will soon come true. This will seal Palins words into future history. Her words will become more credable dureing the Obama presidency after time moves on.. listen to Sarah as recorded below giving her explanation for obtaining Gods blessings by following her own families example. Help our troops in Iraq by sending this message to Christian voters. Here is a video that leftists are spreading across youtube in order to hurt Palins credability. Please pay close attention so you are not decieved by democrat supporters. click lion with wings, to see the Palin video and my videos about Iraq in prophecy.
I am a christian who worked many long hours within the past two years trying to gather conservative support from other christians. I would like to point out a stumbling blocks that gave me extreme difficulty while trying to gather election support from a majority of good christians. When making my requests for sharing e-mails or needing foot soldiers to spread the conservative message to other voters, I kept hearing the same fatalism as to why it would not do much good to worry about this election. Over and over I heard these words. I believe Obama is going to win because God is finished with America and we are directly headed into the tribulation period. Jesus is coming soon to rapture us up and out from under this mess, so it matters little what we can do.
I recieved many long sermons from people about concerning the anti christ or messiah being Obama, and how the mark of the beast was to be implanted into Americans through home land securety, and the world banking system. I tried to persuade these people that America still has a christian mission to perform in Iraq, and in many other places who have not heard the gospel yet. They would reply by stateing, these people must all go through the tribulation to become humbled enough to accept Jesus that way. I requested scripture many times from these christians as to how I might sight specific Bible scriptures to support this popular theory. I was only given scattered assumtions from less than clear biblical source material, always taken far from out of context. Most of the theory did not come from the Bible at all, but was obviously spun from peoples own speculations. Talking about the two witnesses who testify in Jerusalem during the tribulation. Here is eveidence that the church was not removed from the earth, and was fully functional having power over Satan as the two christians could even rise from the dead. http://www.eternaltruth.net

Posted by Paul GREGERSEN on November 23, 2008 12:39 AM

Your article on the Rapture reminds me of my agnostic friend, Josh, who completed his degree at Wheaton College. But rather than mock the scriptures, he set out to disprove them through a rigorous course of studies. I thought, perhaps, some of the things he learned might help you in writing your articles.

He first learned that, every thing that is taught as fact about Homer, in our Universities, is contained in approximately 643 ancient manuscripts (copies of the original) written approximately 500 years after Homer’s death.

Aristotle; 49 manuscript copies were written, about 1,400 years after his death.
Herodotus; 8 manuscript copies written, about 1,300 years after his death
Plato; 7 manuscript copies written about 1,200 years after his death
Pliny; 7 manuscript copies written about 750 years after his death
New Testament; 24,000 manuscript copies were written about 25 years after Jesus’ death.

My friend also learned that, the Bible is not one manuscript, but 66 different scrolls, written over a period of 1600 years; on three different continents: Asia, Africa and Europe. They were written in three different languages: Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic; by people who, for the most part, didn’t know each other. They were farmers, priests, kings, a soldier, a tent maker, a sheep herder, a slave, and numerous other common people.

The first 39 Manuscripts were written before Jesus Christ was ever born, but yet told the day He would be born; the town He would be born in; what His name would be; how He would die and that He would be raised from the dead. Over 300 more prophecies were written, hundreds of years before He was even born.

Out of all of the so-called Holy Books in the world, the Bible is the only one that is filled with prophecies that have been fulfilled. If the prophecies are not fulfilled, then the writings could not possibly be inspired by God. As I said before, there are over 300 prophecies concerning Jesus Christ.

Let’s forget, for a moment, the Old Testament and look at prophecy in the New Testament and a few facts.

In the Bible, a generation is approximately 40 years, divide 40 into 2000 years and you get 50 generations, from Jesus to today.

Therefore, for one prophecy to come true in my generation, would be a 1 in 50 chance. For two to come to pass would be 50 x 50 or 1 in 2,500, for 10 to come to pass in my generation would be 1 in 97,000 trillion. As someone once said, “it would be like covering the earth with 10 feet of sand, hiding one blue grain of sand and you parachuting out of plane, sinking down in the sand somewhere in the world and coming up with that blue grain of sand.” This would be absolutely 100% impossible.
Yet Jesus prophesied that, after His death, an army would circle Jerusalem and destroy it. That happened in 70 AD.

He prophesied that, not one stone in the temple would be left unturned. When the Romans set fire to the temple, golden vessels melted and the gold ran between the cracks of the rocks. Those same soldiers overturned every stone in that structure, gathering the gold that fell between the rocks.

The Bible prophesied that Israel would become a nation again, which happened in 1948.

The Bible prophesied that the people would be scattered over the earth.

Later it prophesied that they would come from all over the earth back into the land.

I could continue for quite some time on this subject but I believe that I have said enough.

I leave you and your readers with this one though. After my friend, Josh, completed his studies of the facts, instead of the speculations, he obliviously accepted Christ, then and only then, did the Word of God really come alive.

I wish you the best and your readers also.

Posted by Larry on August 5, 2010 03:23 PM

Larry,

I am not sure if you actually meant to write that your friend Josh "obliviously" accepted Christ, but it seems an appropriate word to describe someone who is willing to believe on the basis of such weak evidence.

Your probability argument has been studied in depth and is known to be incorrect. There are so many things that we consider 'improbable' that the likelihood of improbable events occurring frequently in our lives is actually quite high.

The problem is that the predictions in the Bible are like those of Nostradamus, so vague and ambiguous that if one wants to one can find almost anything one wants to in that huge book, provided the prediction is about something that someone living in those times could conceive of.

Now, if the Bible had predicted the arrival of (say) personal computers and the internet, then that would be something...

Posted by Mano on August 5, 2010 07:41 PM

The bible has enough truth in it to clean up the problems around the world. I understand many people have things they do not care for.
They aren't discussed much these days, but the 10 commandments pretty much spell out civil behavior. If you don't care for the parts that mention God etc. Is treating your parents with respect so bad. Do you like people that steal, lie, cheat on their families, jealousy, hate etc?

Other than that I keep these things simple. I think it was Mark Twain that said "is it not the parts of the Bible I don't understand that bother me".

Posted by Roy on October 4, 2010 10:43 AM

I've only just come across this blog. I'm now going to look out for the books recommended throughout and expand my reading a bit.

Posted by Bee on October 19, 2010 11:24 AM

I have only just come across this site. I do not need to defend the Bible, especially thhe book of Revelation. If people do not want to believe the signs then tht's fair enough but read the Bible for yourselves because Revelation isn't the only book that talks about our present/future. I am not ashamed of saying I am a Christian and I repeat if anyone wants to really understand read the Bible for yourselves.

Posted by T on December 11, 2010 04:18 PM