Sunday, May 28, 2017

Sunday Sermon: Behold I am coming soon

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one Being with the Father.
Through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven:
by the power of the Holy Spirit
he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary,
and was made man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.

Marcus was thoughtfully running around our local running track and got into conversation with somebody about one of my favourite subjects:  Religion

My victim, sorry I mean running partner was disputing the return of Jesus Christ.  She said, he had already appeared to the disciples i.e. the resurrection and that's an end to it.

Since we are just past May 25, 2017 which is Ascension day here in Switzerland and a National Holiday I thought this was a good topic for conversation.

First note the above Nicene Creed  which is a chant that Christians including Marcus the forcefully indoctrinated child was made to repeat in his youth

He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.

So I'd state for the record that Christianity is expecting a return of Jesus, to all of us, not just the apostles 2000 years ago.  All we have to decide is when.

Not If but When
The biggest problem with End times predictions is that when they fail it really begins threatens to make turn the faithful into the faithless or certainly lead them into some form of doubt and skepticism.

As such most modern religious interpretations of 'End Times' don't fix a near date on the return of Jesus et al.

Wikipedia retains a pretty good article on 

What does the Bible Say?
Whilst scholars and apologetics  try to weasel out of an imminent second coming it's always instructive to jump right back to biblical verses to see where these opinions are grounded.  So in no particular order:

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

Mark 9:1
And he said to them, "I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God come with power.

Luke 9:27
I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God

Mark 1:14
The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.

Corinthians  15:51
Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 1 Corinthians 

James 5:1
Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.
Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door.

Revelation 22:12
"Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done.

I'm only quoting just a few references from the Bible, lets just say the summary is

- Reports of what Jesus actually said by Matthew, Mark and Luke state that the second coming would be in their lifetime

- Following that, the actions of the Apostles clearly showed they expected a return in their lifetime

Marcus Comments
Unfortunately one can never rationalise somebody out of their faith.  But I would say

- Mainstream Christianity via Bible text makes reference to a second coming and the clearest biblical dialogs suggest it would be in or around the time of the Apostles

- The clear problem with Christianity and in fact all other religions is that the story that they tell is one from hundreds and in the case of Christianity Thousands of years ago. Standards of journalism and accuracy  are necessarily lacking and incomplete

- Further, all of this information is now in the form of a one way dialog based on trust on writings written at a time when people had no understanding of even the basics of morality, science or how the world or universe was created.

In the last 100 years the world has suffered mass murder on a scale unimaginable, yet not a single God, and in particular the Christian God and Jesus has seen fit to come back and make things right.

A one way dialog, based on ancient writings,  written decades after the actual events, sometimes contradictory, is just not good enough God.   Bertrand Russell said it more succinctly:

Not enough evidence, God! Not enough evidence!

Bertrand Russell: Christianity


Why I am not a Christian by Bertrand Russell

What kind of God requires faith instead of evidence