Can the Bible be God's Word?
You are reading Can the Bible be God's Word? by Steve McRoberts
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Chapter 29: The Gospels (part 2)

Mt:7:1: Judge not, that ye be not judged.
Mt:7:2: For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

This could work both ways. Suppose I judge everyone as perfectly okay, no matter what they do. Then, according to Jesus, I will be judged perfectly okay no matter what I do. So here is yet another route to salvation other than belief in Jesus!

Mt:7:6: Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.

If Jesus meant literal dogs and swine, there is no problem with this verse (except that itís not particularly useful). But if Jesus meant not to give "pearls of wisdom" to those who cannot appreciate them, then we have a problem. Didnít Jesus just say not to judge? How, then, are we to judge people as being the moral equivalent of "dogs" and "swine"? Hadnít Jesus just said that if we were to make such a judgment then we would be judged the same way (i.e. as dogs and swine)? These rules contradict, and so it is impossible to obey this one without breaking the other.

Mt:7:7: Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
Mt:7:8: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
Mt:7:9: Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?
Mt:7:10: Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?
Mt:7:11: If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?

Remember back to the "Lordís Prayer"? When Jesus introduced his sample prayer to us he clearly said that God already knew what we needed (Mt 6:8), so there was no point in asking. Here he contradicted that thought and told us we should ask for what we need.

Jesus said that whatever we ask for God will give us. This should be an easily verifiable statement. Try asking God for a million dollars right nowÖ well, did you get it?

It is interesting to note that Jesus bluntly told us here that we are evil. Sort of gives you a warm feeling inside, doesnít it? He didnít say a particular person is evil because of what they have done, but he made a blanket condemnation of all humankind. Whether you have ever done anything evil in your life or not, Jesus has already judged you as evil! Is that a realistic assessment, or a healthy viewpoint of the entire human race? Jesus evidently disagreed with God on this point:

Gen:1:31: And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very goodÖ

God said everything he had made (which included humans) was "good": Jesus said humans are "evil". Which are we to believe? The Christian might reply that we were created good but then we turned evil. I grant that individuals can do "evil", but it seems unreal to make the blanket statement that we are all evil.

Mt:7:12: Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.

Right on! You will be relieved to know that I find nothing wrong with the first part of this statement. It echoes the words of previous moral teachers such as Buddha. However, I cannot agree that this "golden rule" is a summation of the "law and the prophets". There are many things in the law that I would not want done unto me!

Mt:7:21: Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

Here again, Jesus indicated that more than mere faith in him is needed to get into heaven. Paul, either never heard these words of Jesus repeated, or else he simply thought he knew better:

Rom:10:13: For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Matthew next tells us about a centurion personally paying Jesus a visit (to ask Jesus to heal his servant):

Mt:8:5: And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him,

But Luke tells us that he did not pay Jesus a visit, but sent the "elders" to make the request of Jesus:

Lk:7:1: Now when he had ended all his sayings in the audience of the people, he entered into Capernaum.
Lk:7:2: And a certain centurion's servant, who was dear unto him, was sick, and ready to die.
Lk:7:3: And when he heard of Jesus, he sent unto him the elders of the Jews, beseeching him that he would come and heal his servant.

Now arenít the "elders" the same group of people Jesus said rejected him in fulfillment of prophecy (Luke 9:22)? How very odd and unlikely that they would "beseech" him on behalf of a Roman centurion (their sworn enemy)!

Mt:8:20: And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.

Evidently Jesus had discovered that his own advice to "take no thought for the morrow" (Mt. 6:25-34) was not practical.

Mt:8:21: And another of his disciples said unto him, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.
Mt:8:22: But Jesus said unto him, Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead.

ďLet the dead bury their deadĒ? Remember when Jesus promised comfort to those who mourn:

Mt:5:4: Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

Looks like he forgot to practice what he preached again.

Mt:8:28: And when he was come to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes, there met him two possessed with devils, coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way.

In the same account in Luke 8:26-34 (and Mark 5:2-14) there is only one man "possessed with devils", not "two".

Mt:8:31: So the devils besought him, saying, If thou cast us out, suffer us to go away into the herd of swine.
Mt:8:32: And he said unto them, Go. And when they were come out, they went into the herd of swine: and, behold, the whole herd of swine ran violently down a steep place into the sea, and perished in the waters.

What was anyone in Judea doing with a herd of pigs when they were strictly taboo under the law? Why did the "devils" want to go into the pigs? Why did the pigs then commit mass suicide? What is the point of having pigs in this story at all? If Jesus just needed to show that he was capable of driving out "devils", why did he have to take the lives of many innocent animals in the process? Why should he acquiesce to the wishes of the "devils" and thereby cause all these deaths? Many questions: no answers.

We are repeatedly told, in the many healings and resurrections which next occurred, that the deeds became widely known:

Mt:9:26: And the fame hereof went abroad into all that land.

Yet Jesus seemed ignorant of his fame. He charged several of those he healed to keep the healing secret:

Mt:9:30: And their eyes were opened; and Jesus straitly charged them, saying, See that no man know it.

Either Jesus didnít know what was going on, or for some reason he didnít want people to know about his healing the blind when they already knew he had brought people back from the dead. Itís hard to imagine a reason for secrecy about the one when the other was already widely known.

Mt:9:32: As they went out, behold, they brought to him a dumb man possessed with a devil.
Mt:9:33: And when the devil was cast out, the dumb spake: and the multitudes marvelled, saying, It was never so seen in Israel.

It is truly a tragedy that verses such as this resulted in the belief that all sickness was due to devils and required only faith and prayer to cure. Such ideas held back the acceptance of the real cause and cure of many diseases. This is particularly true for the insane who were believed to be possessed of demons. Untold misery has resulted from such Bible verses.

Mt:10:9: Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses,
Mt:10:10: Nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat.

Jesus told his apostles not to take a staff or shoes. But Mark relates that Jesus told his apostles on the same occasion to take both staves and sandals:

Mk:6:8: And commanded them that they should take nothing for their journey, save a staff only; no scrip, no bread, no money in their purse:
Mk:6:9: But be shod with sandals; and not put on two coats.

Mt:10:23: But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come.

If Jesus meant by this his "second coming", then they must still be going over the cities of Israel!

Mt:10:34: Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.
Mt:10:35: For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.
Mt:10:36: And a man's foes shall be they of his own household.
Mt:10:37: He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.

We often hear conservative Christians speaking about returning to "family values" these days. Letís hope they donít mean the "family values" taught by Jesus! This is one prophecy of his which unfortunately has come true: his words have acted as a sword to split up families over religious differences. But this isnít just an unfortunate consequence of Godís being unable to write a clear account of what he wants us to know, believe, and do. Jesus said he had purposely come to break up families in this way!

Jesus expected us to love him, a character in a book, more than our flesh-and-blood families. This would seem to be the very height of egotism. It makes Jesus as jealous as the God of the Old Testament.

Mt:10:38: And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.

Itís surprising that his followers didnít ask him at this point what he meant by his "cross" here. They hadnít a clue that Jesus would die on a cross, so they couldnít have the slightest idea what he was talking about.

Christians often refer to trials in their life as being their "cross to bear". When I hear that I canít help but think of those classic paintings showing Jesus carrying his cross. But Matthew tells us that Jesus didnít carry his own cross; someone named Simon did:

Mt:27:31: And after that they had mocked him, they took the robe off from him, and put his own raiment on him, and led him away to crucify him.
Mt:27:32: And as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name: him they compelled to bear his cross.

So, instead of "carrying" oneís cross, could Jesus have meant by "taking the cross" that we must all be crucified in order to be "worthy of him"? If not, then what did he mean? Remember that Paul told us that all we have to do is believe in Jesus. If Jesus, on the other hand, told us that we must be crucified, thatís quite a difference in requirements!

Mt:11:11: Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

Since Jesus was "born of woman", John the Baptist must be greater than Jesus according to Jesusí own formula. So why donít Christians worship John instead of Jesus?

Mt:11:12: And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.

Here Jesus revealed yet another way to gain entrance into heaven: force your way in by violent means!

Mt:11:13: For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John.
Mt:11:14: And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come.

How could John be Elias? His parents were specifically told by an angel to name him "John" (Luke 1:13), not "Elias". True, the angel said that John would have the "spirit and power of Elias", but that wouldnít make him Elias. Most theologians agree that the references to "Elias" in the New Testament really refer to "Elijah" of the Old Testament. If this is true, Jesus evidently believed in reincarnation. He also was wrong according to John himself:

Jn:1:19: And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou?
Jn:1:20: And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ.
Jn:1:21: And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No.

Mt:11:20: Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not:

Even those who supposedly saw Jesusí miracles did not believe his message. Doesnít that make you wonder? If I saw someone working miracles, I would certainly pay attention, unless of course it was obvious fakery.

Mt:11:25: At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.

Evidently Jesus realized that he couldnít convince the intelligent people of his day that he was the son of God. Maybe this is why he gathered his disciples from among the uneducated, in hopes that they would be more gullible.

Mt:11:28: Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Mt:11:29: Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
Mt:11:30: For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

So we donít have to take up that heavy cross after all? The writer of Hebrews didnít think the burden was so light:

Heb:12:6: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.

Mt:12:1: At that time Jesus went on the sabbath day through the corn; and his disciples were an hungred, and began to pluck the ears of corn, and to eat.
Mt:12:2: But when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto him, Behold, thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the sabbath day.
Mt:12:3: But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungred, and they that were with him;
Mt:12:4: How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests?

Jesus answered them in so many words that itís okay to break the law when youíre hungry or if youíre special (like David and himself). Since Jesus here was teaching that itís okay to break the law, I guess that makes him the least in the kingdom of heaven (according to his previously stated formula):

Mt:5:19: Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew next tried to apply another Old Testament verse to Jesus:

Mt:12:17: That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying,
Mt:12:18: Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my spirit upon him, and he shall shew judgment to the Gentiles.
Mt:12:19: He shall not strive, nor cry; neither shall any man hear his voice in the streets.

How can this be applied to Jesus? He did not "show judgment to the Gentiles"; he clearly stated that he had only come to "the lost sheep of the house of Israel":

Mt:15:24: But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

Since Jesus did in fact strive with the moneychangers in the temple (John 2:15), and since he cried (John 11:35) and since he taught in the streets (Luke 13:26), we know that Jesus cannot be honestly said to have fulfilled this prophecy.

Mt:12:24: But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils.
Mt:12:25: And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand:
Mt:12:26: And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand?

We do not have the Phariseesí reply to this question, but I doubt that they were bowled over by Jesusí logic. Obviously what they meant was that Satan could put on a show of casting out demons in order to impress the people and get them to put their faith in him as a healer. Driving out a few demons would hardly cause his kingdom to fall, it would just be means to a devious end. It seems this simple logic behind the Phariseesí argument escaped Jesus. Jesus next words simply bolstered the Phariseeís argument by showing that casting out "unclean spirits" actually furthers Satanís cause:

Mt:12:43: When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none.
Mt:12:44: Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished.
Mt:12:45: Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation.

Itís clear from this that casting out an unclean spirit does no harm to the forces of evil, and in fact it simply further entrenches them seven fold! If Jesus had meant to prove that the Phariseesí idea about Satan casting out Satan was foolish, he wouldíve done better not to have brought up this sevenfold business at all!

Given what Jesus said about the consequences to the victim, I wonder what good Jesus was doing by casting out demons! If what he said here is true, it wouldíve been better for the poor soul if Jesus had left well enough alone.

Mt:12:30: He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.

This completely contradicts Jesusí words as recorded in Luke:

Lk:9:50: And Jesus said unto him, Forbid him not: for he that is not against us is for us.

Mt:12:37: For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.

Jesus here gave us yet another way to be saved other than believing in him: we will be justified or condemned by our words.

Mt:12:40: 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.

There are two distinct problems with this. First, according to the Old Testament account, Jonah was not in a whale at all:

Jonah:1:17: Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.

As every elementary school child knows, a whale is not a fish. Whales are air-breathing mammals. Isnít it odd that the creator of the universe didnít know this?

Whatís worse, the prophecy Jesus gave here did not come true according to the New Testament. The accounts clearly state that Jesus died the day before the Sabbath and was discovered to be absent from his tomb at the end of the Sabbath (the first day of the week):

Mk:15:42: And now when the even was come, because it was the preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath,
Mk:15:43: Joseph of Arimathaea, an honourable counsellor, which also waited for the kingdom of God, came, and went in boldly unto Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus.
Mk:15:44: And Pilate marvelled if he were already dead: and calling unto him the centurion, he asked him whether he had been any while dead.
Mk:15:45: And when he knew it of the centurion, he gave the body to Joseph.

Mt:28:1: In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.
Mt:28:2: And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.
Mt:28:3: His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow:
Mt:28:4: And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men.
Mt:28:5: And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.
Mt:28:6: He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.

At most, this means Jesus was "in the heart of the earth" not three days and three nights, but two nights and less than two full days. Christians today observe "Good Friday" as the day Jesus died, and the following Sunday as the day he was resurrected. This corresponds to the Biblical account (remember: the Sabbath is Saturday as instituted by the Jews, not Sunday as instituted by the Catholic Church). But there simply are not three days and three nights between Friday evening and Sunday morning. The furthest one could stretch would be to say there are parts of three different days involved, but there is no way to stretch our credulity to the point of allowing for three nights between Friday evening and Sunday morning.

Mt:12:47: Then one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee.
Mt:12:48: But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren?
Mt:12:49: And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren!

Here Jesus refused to grant an audience to his own mother! Once again breaking the law ("Honor thy father and thy mother" Ex 20:12). It is hardly honoring someone to refuse to speak with them. In another instance, Jesus had the following words for his mother:

Jn:2:4: Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come.

Itís interesting to note that the only other place this rather disparaging phrase "what have I to do with thee?" is used is by demons:

Mk:5:7: And cried with a loud voice, and said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the most high God? I adjure thee by God, that thou torment me not.

Mt:13:10: And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?
Mt:13:11: He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.

Jesus said he deliberately kept his message from being understood by all but the apostles (to whom he privately explained the meaning of the parables). So why did he bother preaching these parables to the masses at all? He said it was just so a prophecy could be fulfilled. But what good is that prophecy? Letís say there really was a prophecy to the effect that the Messiah would purposely say things in such a way that people would not understand him. Then he comes and speaks that way just to fulfill the prophecy. Okay, but what good is it? How does that benefit anyone? Elsewhere Jesus said to let your light shine:

Mt:5:14: Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
Mt:5:15: Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.

Evidently though, Jesus did put his lighted candle under a bushel and refused to enlighten any but his closest disciples.

Mt:14:3: For Herod had laid hold on John, and bound him, and put him in prison for Herodias' sake, his brother Philip's wife.
Mt:14:4: For John said unto him, It is not lawful for thee to have her.

Actually, John was mistaken. The law clearly stated that it was Herodís duty to take his brotherís wife:

Deut:25:7: And if the man like not to take his brother's wife, then let his brother's wife go up to the gate unto the elders, and say, My husband's brother refuseth to raise up unto his brother a name in Israel, he will not perform the duty of my husband's brother.

Mt:14:19: And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass, and took the five loaves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake, and gave the loaves to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude.
Mt:14:20: And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full.

A bit of humor here: if we take that as written, Jesus fed the loaves to his disciples and then fed his disciples to the multitude!

Mt:15:14: Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.

Since Jesus refused to enlighten these "blind" people, he must bear some responsibility for their falling into the ditch. How could a just God punish a blind person for not seeing something? Jesusí compassion here is far from overwhelming.

Mt:15:20: These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.

Jesus evidently knew nothing of germs. How then could he have created them? I guess the Bible is not a good place to go for guidance on personal hygiene.

Mt:15:22: And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.
Mt:15:23: But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us.
Mt:15:24: But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
Mt:15:25: Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me.
Mt:15:26: But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs.

Calling Canaanites "dogs" is racism pure and simple. Jesus finally agreed to heal her daughter only after the woman paid lip-service to Jesusí racism and admitted that Canaanites were dogs compared to the "master" race of Israelites:

Mt:15:27: And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table.
Mt:15:28: Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.

Mt:15:33: And his disciples say unto him, Whence should we have so much bread in the wilderness, as to fill so great a multitude?

The Apostles were evidently a little slow on the uptake. In the previous chapter Jesus had fed a more numerous crowd with no problem. Such a great miracle must not have made much of an impression on his followers though; why else would they wonder here about Jesusí ability to feed the multitude again?

Mt:16:4: A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And he left them, and departed.

But, in fact, the Bible tells us other signs were given to that generation.

Jn:20:30: And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book:

Mk:16:20: And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.

Mt:16:27: For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.
Mt:16:28: Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.

Here we go back to the "salvation through faith or by works?" debate again. Here, Jesus clearly stated that men will be rewarded according to their works.

Jesus said that some who were standing with him there, about two thousand years ago, would not taste death before they saw him "coming in his kingdom". Obviously everyone that was with him then is long since dead, and Christians are still waiting for and praying for his kingdom to come. It seems to me that this prophecy of Jesus failed.

Some people try to resolve this problem by interpreting "the Son of man coming in his kingdom" as the "transfiguration" six days later:

Mt:17:1: And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart,
Mt:17:2: And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light.
Mt:17:3: And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him.
Mt:17:4: Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias.
Mt:17:5: While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.
Mt:17:6: And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid.
Mt:17:7: And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid.
Mt:17:8: And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only.

While this was certainly an astounding thing to behold, where does the "kingdom" come into it? If a crown had been placed on Jesusí head, or God had said "This is my son whom I now anoint king of heaven," then we could argue that that Peter, James, and John saw Jesus "come in his kingdom". Otherwise all we can honestly say is that they saw Jesus glow, saw him talking to two dead people (whom they somehow recognized as Moses and Elias though theyíd never seen these individuals before), and heard a voice they thought came from a cloud. If this is Jesus coming in his kingdom itís pretty disappointing.

I also have to wonder about Moses and Elias. If these men were long dead, how could the apostles witness Jesus talking to them? Some might argue that they had gone to heaven when they died, and on this occasion they came from heaven to speak to Jesus about something. The problem with this is that Jesus said:

Mt:11:11: Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

By breaking Jesusí statements into two syllogisms we can see how they prove that Moses and Elias could not have been in heaven according to Jesus:

  1. No one born of women was greater than John the Baptist.
  2. Moses and Elias were "born of women".
  3. Therefore, Moses and Elias were less than or equal to John the Baptist.
  1. Moses and Elias were less than or equal to John the Baptist.
  2. The least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than John the Baptist.
  3. Therefore, Moses and Elias were not in the kingdom of heaven.

So, if Moses and Elias were not in heaven, where did they come from to talk to Jesus on this occasion? Hell? Or were they resurrected just for the occasion? If so, what happened to them afterwards? They disappeared after their talk with Jesus and were seen no more. Did God kill them and vaporize their recently resurrected bodies? Or could it all have just been a dream?

Mt:17:10: And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come?

Hadnít the disciples just seen Elias talking with Jesus and Moses not ten verses ago? How odd that they would ask such a question immediately after having seen Elias come! Either they didnít believe what they saw, or they never saw it.

Mt:17:11: And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things.
Mt:17:12: But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them.
Mt:17:13: Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist.

It is difficult to imagine even one thing that John restored, much less "all things", so itís hard to figure out what Jesus had in mind here. According to the prophecy, though, Elijah was not to "restore all things", but to bring peace between fathers and their children:

Mal:4:5: Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD:
Mal:4:6: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.

There is no record of John having done this either.

Jesus left the impression that John the Baptist was Elias, yet when John the Baptist was asked point blank if he was Elias, what did he answer?

Jn:1:19: And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou?
Jn:1:20: And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ.
Jn:1:21: And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No.

Wouldnít John himself know who he was better than anyone else? Then John was not Elias, and Jesus was giving people the wrong impression.

Mt:17:14: And when they were come to the multitude, there came to him a certain man, kneeling down to him, and saying,
Mt:17:15: Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is lunatick, and sore vexed: for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water.
Mt:17:16: And I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him.
Mt:17:17: Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him hither to me.
Mt:17:18: And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour.
Mt:17:19: Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out?
Mt:17:20: And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.
Mt:17:21: Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.

Here, Jesus ("meek and mild") accused his entire generation of being faithless and perverse because his disciples were not able to cast out a demon. Even if the disciples did not have enough faith, the word "perverse" would hardly apply. The Dictionary defines perverse as:

1. Directed away from what is right or good; perverted. 2. Obstinately persisting in an error or a fault; wrongly self-willed or stubborn. 3.a. Marked by a disposition to oppose and contradict. b. Arising from such a disposition.

It is clear that the disciples were trying to do as Jesus had instructed. They were not stubbornly directing themselves away from his teachings.

Jesus said that for a person with faith, nothing would be impossible. He told them that the reason they were unable to cast out the demon was due to their unbelief. But, in the end, almost as an aside, he admits that this particular type of demon "goeth out but by prayer and fasting." This contradicts what he had just said about faith being the only requirement to work miracles.

Mt:17:22: And while they abode in Galilee, Jesus said unto them, The Son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of men:
Mt:17:23: And they shall kill him, and the third day he shall be raised again. And they were exceeding sorry.

Here Jesus said he would rise on the third day, yet in Markís account he said it would be not be until after the third day:

Mk:8:31: And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.

But, as shown before, the accounts portray Jesus as rising well before the third day. So both of Jesusí prophecies failed.

Rather than work to pay the tribute, Jesus asked Peter to torture a fish:

Mt:17:27: Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for me and thee.

Elsewhere, Jesus reportedly said that God cares about the lives of every sparrow. So why did he have Simon pierce the mouth of a fish with a sharp hook? Today we know that fish have many nerve endings in their mouths and that they feel pain and experience fear. The apostles were no doubt ignorant of these facts, but Jesus, as creator of the world and all in it would have known these things. If he were truly compassionate towards animals he wouldíve thought up a different "miracle" to produce the coin for tribute. Maybe he couldíve even worked for it and set a good example!

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