Wednesday, January 11, 2012
The Witness of the Spirit and Christ's Return
7 Still, I am telling you the truth: it is for your own good that I am going, because unless I go, the Paraclete will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. 13 However, when the Spirit of truth comes he will lead you to the complete truth, since he will not be speaking of his own accord, but will say only what he has been told; and he will reveal to you the things to come.14 He will glorify me, since all he reveals to you will be taken from what is mine. John 16: 7, 13, 14 (NJB)
The above are what Christians generally believe to be some of Jesus last words to his apostles before his trial, crucifixion, and death. As you can see by reading the above text these words contain yet another promise to the apostles specifically from their Lord. The word Paraclete is just another appellation for the Holy Spirit or as it is called in the King James translation of the scriptures the comforter. This is what many modern day believers refer to as the inner witness of the Holy Spirit that confirms to them the truth of what they believe. As I pointed out in an earlier post noted apologist William Lane Craig and others put much stock on this inner conviction over actual objective evidence.
According to the scriptures the Holy Spirit was sent by God and Christ to serve as a sort of intermediary between Jesus and his believers. His job was to comfort, lead, and instruct believers to all truth regarding the teachings of Christ and matters of a spiritual nature. As promised by Christ the Spirit was received on the day of Pentecost according to the book of Acts 2: 1- 4. As a result of this event, the apostles begin offering this so called “gift of the Spirit” to all those who would repent, and be baptized for the remission of sins (Acts 2: 38, 39).
One thing that is made clear by Christ in the gospel of John chapter 16: 17 is that he would be back soon. He also makes this abundantly clear in all three synoptic gospels that there were some among his apostles that would not taste of death before witnessing his return. You can read all about it in Matthew 16:28, Mark 9:1, and Luke 9:27 specifically don’t forget to read the context so Christians can’t accuse you of misinterpreting what is said.
Not too long ago I had a debate with a couple of theists on the meaning behind these verses. Their pathetic defense for the failed prophecy was that Christ was actually referring to the transfiguration. They come to this conclusion because immediately after he speaks those words he takes Peter, James, and John with him to a mountain and is transfigured right before their eyes. The only problem with this interpretation is that that is a far cry from Jesus coming down on a cloud surrounded by angels. In its proper context all that occurred was that those particular apostles were given a glimpse of Christ's true divinity.
Following the above line of reasoning in the book of Matthew 24:34 Jesus is recorded as having said these words: ‘In truth I tell you, before this generation has passed away, all these things will have taken place.’ A generation was believed to be around 35 to 45 years in those days but if this is true it also means that Christ’s promise of returning in all power and glory never came to pass.
After the alleged death of Christ and the day of Pentecost it is evident that the apostles and their converts believed that Jesus would return during their lifetime. They preached repentance and the imminent coming of the kingdom of God. Two thousand years later the Church has utilized one passage of scripture to try and make up for this huge and damaging discrepancy. In reference to his return Jesus states in Mark 13:32 that: 'But as for that day or hour, nobody knows it, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son; no one but the Father.’ If you believe and cling to this verse and others like it hard enough, then you can dismiss the fact by faith; that Christ’s prophecy about his return has failed.
Two thousand plus years later Christians cling to the so called witness of the Holy Spirit to convince themselves that despite these discrepancies Jesus is coming back soon. They don’t see the absurdity of their beliefs, and choose to ignore the evidence against their beliefs as outlined in their own holy book. It should be of no surprise because I can tell you from experience that these are the symptoms or side effects of faith. Faith relieves you of your ability to reason and to think for yourself.
Being led by faith in any and all matters is a detriment to all those that choose this path. It’s akin to being blind folded and led by the hand by a complete stranger through a maze of uncertainty. It is delusional and untrustworthy as a source of information or facts, and keeps you from seeing and appreciating the real world for what it is.
I want my readers to know that although I cite the so called words of Christ often, it does not mean that I believe that Christ was an historical figure. In fact, I actually believe the contrary. I think that Jesus Christ was a mythological fabrication of the church and never actually existed nor walked this earth. I have my reasons for believing this and I will discuss that in the near future in another post.
In conclusion I have proven through the very texts used by Christians that Christ is not coming back, and that he was not talking to the church of today but rather directly to his apostles and their generation not ours. Also, I have shown that the so called witness of the Holy Spirit is not real nor trustworthy. In fact this “divine” experience is nothing more than a subjective and emotional response to the words of the bible inspired by ones own personal convictions and beliefs.