Sorry to burst your bubble or spoil the story for you, but Jesus is not coming back. According to the Bible, Jesus prophesied that he would return before the people he was preaching to would die. In Matthew 16, Jesus predicts his own death and makes a startling claim, “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom” (Matthew 16:28). Needless to say, those people died and Jesus did not return. No matter how much they believed Jesus and how fervently they spread the gospel, it did not change the fact that Jesus failed, lied, or was wrong.
Many apologists have attempted to reconcile this with the idea that Jesus will return and rapture them away (even though the rapture was a concept that was not invented until the 1800s and is based on an ambiguous verse and is not at all a biblical concept). Many have said that Jesus was speaking metaphorically or that he was actually referring to the transfiguration. The problem is that this was considered a literal prophecy by all the theologians I studied under and based on what I know about the text, I would say that it is as well.
Furthermore, Matthew and Luke copied Mark’s gospel—this is no secret. It is often referred to as the Synoptic Problem. The synoptic problem is the fact that Matthew, Mark, and Luke bear a literary relationship to each other. More than that, most of Mark’s gospel appears in Matthew and Luke in nearly the same words, in nearly the same order. Percentage-wise, 97% of Mark’s Gospel is duplicated in Matthew; and 88% is found in Luke.
Why is this relevant? Mark, the first gospel, places the transfiguration before Jesus’ prophecy. So does Luke. Therefore, it is far more likely that Matthew attempted to correct the mistake by placing the transfiguration after the prophecy. Also, the first century writers were certain that they were living in the last days because Jesus told them so. They referred to it a lot (Hebrews 1:1-2, 1 Corinthians 10:11, Hebrews 10:24-25, 1 John 2:18, James 5:8-9, 1 Peter 4:7, and there are many more examples). Both Paul and Peter were sure that the end was near and that Jesus would be returning within their lifetime. He didn’t.
Why does it appear that the individual that Christians herald as their god and savior misled them? Personally, I think it is far more likely that the biblical writers have misled people given all the falsities, inconsistencies, and contradictions that riddle the pages. While Christian apologetics is capable of fanatical mental gymnastics to resolve this dilemma, it is all in vain.
Apologetics help no one. They make excuses for an omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, omnibenevolent creator. No excuses will suffice for any being with those attributes. This is the final nail in the coffin to dismiss the doctrine of Christianity. If you can’t trust Jesus’ words, the person who you think is the perfect creator of all things, what makes you think that you can trust the fallible men who wrote the Bible?
Maybe, just maybe, Jesus has never existed at all and it is a fictional tale used for control and manipulation. Think for yourself.
“In Matthew, Jesus declares, “Whoever is not with me is against me.” In Mark, he says, “Whoever is not against us is for us.” Did he say both things? Could he mean both things? How can both be true at once? Or is it possible that one of the Gospel writers got things switched around?” –Bart Ehrman
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