The Jews and Elijah.

Discussion in 'Sacred Scripture' started by AnglicanAgnostic, Mar 31, 2023.

  1. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    There are, of course, a number of different ways one could read the Book of Revelation - Preterist, Historicist, Futurist, and Idealist - with further subdivisions within each of these. The perspective that has made the most sense to me over the years is that as an apocalyptic work, the Book of Revelation was written for and was applicable to the specific group to whom it was addressed, and the particular time and place in which they lived. Whatever secondary applicability it may have is to be found - in highly symbolic language - among persecuted communities needing reassurance of the ultimate triumph of God over evil. In other words, I am primarily a Preterist and secondarily an Idealist. Although Historicism and Futurism have been well represented in the tradition over the centuries, I find the arguments for those approaches today to be unconvincing.
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2023
  2. AnglicanAgnostic

    AnglicanAgnostic Well-Known Member

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    So are you saying before the completely unexpected return of Jesus akin to a thief in the night there will be;

    1 An individual who attempts to become leader of the whole planet.
    2 A prominent religious figure who supports this person.
    3 Two witnesses who will be killed by the beast.
    4 Elijah to return. As you say The "great and awesome day of the LORD" points to the Second Advent"
    5 The temple to be rebuilt for your two witnesses to do their thing. From NIV


    "Revelation 11
    New International Version

    The Two Witnesses
    11 I was given a reed like a measuring rod and was told, “Go and measure the temple of God and the altar, with its worshipers. 2 But exclude the outer court; do not measure it, because it has been given to the Gentiles."


    I think I could see this thief in the night coming.
     
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  3. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    The criticism is fair, but it bears pointing out that the vast majority of Anglicans don’t read these texts this way. Crude futurism is a feature mainly of American evangelical groups, which themselves hardly represent the mainstream Christian tradition, either historically or geographically.
     
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  4. AnglicanAgnostic

    AnglicanAgnostic Well-Known Member

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    But the only prophecy I am concerned with (in this thread) is God's prophecy not Jewish ones ie.Malachi 4:5.
    What evidence do you have for this?


    I do have some evidence of who followed whom, but I'll leave it for later as I suspect you (Invictus) and Elmo are of the John the Baptist fulfills the Elijah requirements, unlike Rexlion who seems to be of the "Malachi 4:5 will be realised post resurrection" persuasion, and I'm trying to find out his views at the moment.:)
     
  5. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    All four canonical Gospels mention that Jesus began his ministry as a follower of John and was baptized by him. Although Matthew and Luke were partially dependent on Mark, John was not dependent on Mark, Matthew, and Luke, nor was Mark dependent on John. The early Church was unlikely to invent either the notion that Jesus was a follower of another apocalyptic teacher, or the account of Jesus’ baptism (which implied that he had sinned and required repentance and forgiveness). And we know from other sources that John and Jesus lived at approximately the same time in the same part of Palestine, and that John’s movement was considerably larger during his own lifetime than was Jesus’. The statements of the canonical Gospels on this question therefore satisfy all three criteria used by biblical scholars in their historical evaluation of the Gospels, viz., Multiple Independent Attestation, Dissimilarity, and Contextual Credibility. This particular fact of Jesus’ life is actually considered by most historians to be among the best established. I can send you some book suggestions if you’d like to read more about this.

    I do not personally believe John the Baptist was Elijah in any sense, and I suspect that such traditions were later inventions that were subsequently read back into received accounts of Jesus’ life, in light of the Church’s post-resurrection experience of Jesus. The historical problem with the John the Baptist = Elijah thesis (leaving aside the question of reincarnation which the thesis also raises) is that it fails at least two of the criteria mentioned above: it isn’t independently attested, as the account in Matthew is clearly derived from Mark, and it doesn’t satisfy the dissimilarity criterion, as the early Church would have wanted to say that Elijah had come, as they were convinced that Jesus was the Messiah and knew from the Prophetic writings that Elijah’s return had to precede the coming of the Messiah. The weight of the historical evidence strongly suggests that Elijah did not come prior to the start of Jesus’ ministry, that the general population in Palestine was aware of this, and that this was a problem for the early Church, who developed various strategies for dealing with it.
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2023
  6. AnglicanAgnostic

    AnglicanAgnostic Well-Known Member

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    I can't see this, can you give me some verses for the "follower of John" bit?
    Well I won't "Q"uestion that.:biglaugh:
     
  7. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    Jesus was baptized by John, and taught the same apocalyptic message as John. Adopting his message and then literally following John in order to be baptized by him qualify Jesus as a part of John’s broader movement, and thus as a “follower” of John, at least initially. These accounts are near the beginning of each of the canonical Gospels. I am somewhat puzzled why you keep returning to this point, as it is well established historically, and is not in dispute between historians and theologians. Perhaps I’m not understanding what you’re asking.
     
  8. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Yes, that's pretty much what I'm saying, and Elijah will be one of the two witnesses. Some say the second witness could be Enoch because he, like Elijah, never died; others see Moses as the likely one because of the visitation with Jesus during the Mount of Transfiguration event. Of course you have to realize that the great majority of non-Christians have no knowledge of the prophecies in Daniel and Revelation, and that even a large swath of Christians who have knowledge of the prophecies discount them as irrelevant and unbelievable. In other words, very few people will recognize the signs of the times when they occur; for them the coming of Jesus will be a complete shock and surprise. But you, good sir, have "a leg up" on them! :)

    Jesus wanted His disciples (all true Christians) to be 'awake', aware, and forewarned.
    Mat 24:32-33 Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.
     
  9. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    You do well to question the idea that Jesus was a follower (disciple?) of John. I had prayed a while back that God would give you wisdom, and it appears that He is doing so! :cheers:

    Looking back to when Mary was bearing Jesus (pre-birth) and visited her cousin Elizabeth who was pregnant with John the (future) Baptizer, Elizabeth acknowledged Mary as the mother of her Lord. In contrast, John would never turn out to be anyone's lord. This was an acknowledgement that Jesus was far greater (far higher in stature) than John or anyone else. It begs credulity to suppose that Jesus could have ever been a follower of John; in fact, John knew that he was nothing more than a herald for the coming Messiah: For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight (Matthew 3:3). See also: John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me (John 1:15).

    We see no sign of Jesus following the Baptizer around or acting like He was emulating John. What we do see, when Jesus shows up along the riverbank, is John deferring to Jesus as the greater one, and Jesus coming to John in obedience to the Father (for Jesus said elsewhere that He only did what the Father told Him to do):
    Mat 3:13-17 Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him. And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
    Obviously the baptism of Jesus by John was not done as a sign of John's superior position over Jesus; rather, it was done because God had a plan and a purpose of using the baptism event to show the people who Jesus was (Messiah and Son of God).

    Jesus was a theological whiz at age 12 (Luke 2:46-49) and He certainly did not need to be a follower of the Baptizer or of any other earthly person. Jesus only followed, and obeyed, His (and our) Father in heaven.

    The Baptizer did have disciples, though. Among them were John and Andrew. The day after Jesus was baptized, He came walking by and the Baptist yelled, "Behold the lamb of God!" John and Andrew (who may not have been present the day before when Jesus was baptized) dropped the Baptizer like an oven-hot potato and followed Jesus instead! If Jesus had been hanging around the Baptist and following him, do you think John and Andrew would have been so quick to switch and start following one of their fellow 'followers'? Unlikely.

    The wild idea that Jesus was a follower of the Baptizer stems from some sayings which were common to both of them. When two people say the same wise things, does that necessarily make the second speaker a follower of the first speaker? Or could it be that people coincidentally say similar things oftentimes? Plainly the latter.

    Please be alert and aware: there are people whose goal in life is to deceive people away from the faith. Some of them do so by pretending to be Christians. When people contradict, twist, or explain away the plain truths taught by the Bible, they do not have your best interest at heart.
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2023
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  10. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    Apart from the slightly paranoid final paragraph and sentence, I think this deserves a 'like'. :laugh: The vast majority of those 'misleading' are doing so out of their own ignorance or misguided enthusiasm, not necessarily malice or a knowing allegience to the Accuser.

    Happy Easter all. Alleuia, Alleluia, Christ is risen. He is risen indeed, Alleluia!

    .
     
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  11. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    There was certainly no intent to “mislead.” All four canonical Gospels are clear that Jesus’ public life as such began by his being baptized into John’s movement and proclaiming the same apocalyptic message. A reasonable interpreter would say this qualified Jesus as a “follower” of John, at least initially (cf. Sanders, E.P., The Historical Figure of Jesus). I’m not sure why such a basic and uncontroversial observation would provoke such a knee-jerk reaction from @Rexlion, but it is in any case unwarranted. Certainly Jesus’ own movement, although smaller than John’s, gradually took on a life of its own and developed some differences from John’s message, a fact also reported by the canonical Gospels.
     
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  12. AnglicanAgnostic

    AnglicanAgnostic Well-Known Member

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    Perhaps it is just a question of perception. If Jesus was a follower of John I would expect there to be a teacher/pupil or mentor/pupil sort of relationship, otherwise it is just an agreement of views. I might agree with everything say Bernie Sanders says but I wouldn't call myself a follower. There is no obvious meeting between Jesus and John prior to the baptism, and as far as I can tell none afterwards.
     
  13. AnglicanAgnostic

    AnglicanAgnostic Well-Known Member

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    Well fair enough, but in that case what was Malichi on about in Mal 4:5?. Also I don't think reincarnation comes into it, as Elijah ain't dead.
     
  14. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    It’s mostly just in the broad sense of seeking baptism into his movement (itself a big deal) and then working to spread the same apocalyptic message. Those two things alone justify the term. There were plenty of ‘followers of Plato’ in those days that had never - and could have never - personally met Plato.
     
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  15. AnglicanAgnostic

    AnglicanAgnostic Well-Known Member

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    Then as I said in post #1 perhaps the Jews were correct to reject Jesus as he failed the ante-Elijah test. I know this logic is wrong (as the mods will inform me) but what is wrong with it?
     
  16. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    Observant Jews believe that the fact that Elijah hadn’t returned is evidence that Jesus wasn’t the Messiah. Christians have traditionally answered the criticism either by claiming that John the Baptist was Elijah in some sense, or by having recourse to the notion of two advents (and asserting that the return of Elijah would precede Jesus’ second advent). There is also the story of the Transfiguration, which, although it includes Elijah, would not appear on its own to fulfill Malachi’s prophecy as it was commonly understood at the time.

    Reincarnation does come into it if one assumes both (1) that John the Baptist was literally Elijah and (2) that the narrative of John’s conception and birth in Luke 1:5-80 isn’t legendary. It requires that Elijah, though physically alive in heaven, somehow be reborn from Elizabeth. As one might suspect, this issue has sometimes been a problem for biblical literalists, as both things can’t be literally true without contradicting a third biblical statement that “it is appointed unto men to die once” (Hebrews 9:27, paraphrased), and other passages that seem to deny the possibility of multiple lifetimes in successive bodies.
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2023
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  17. AnglicanAgnostic

    AnglicanAgnostic Well-Known Member

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    But I think someone noticing a leader attempting to be ruler of the world and the temple being rebuilt will be a bit of a giveaway the end is near, and I'm sure if "very few people will recognize the signs of the times" there will be plenty of people like you to enlighten them.
    Well unfortunately perhaps your prayers have come true and God has given me wisdom, enough to suggest that Jesus did follow John around. Later I will provide some evidence that Jesus did follow John around and did know each other reasonably well pre the baptism.

    You Rexlion, seem to be saying, in the future Elijah will return followed by the return of Jesus. This would appear to be at variance to what the vast majority of Christians say in my experience.
     
  18. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    I'm guessing :hmm: that most of the Christians you know are either Anglican, Orthodox, or Roman Catholic. Am I correct? :) They tend to have been taught against the futurist interpretation of prophecy.

    I have known far more evangelical Protestants in my lifetime, so most of the Christians I know are persuaded toward a futurist, literalist interpretation. I personally feel that the other interpretation methods are horribly flawed and, frankly, tend to yield absurd results.
     
  19. AnglicanAgnostic

    AnglicanAgnostic Well-Known Member

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    But the "Christians have traditionally answered the criticism either by claiming that John the Baptist was Elijah in some sense" can't be true as-
    So do you agree with Rexlion's hypotheses that Elijah will return in the future before Jesus does, thus in my view compromising the thief in the night scenario.
     
  20. AnglicanAgnostic

    AnglicanAgnostic Well-Known Member

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    Well I think it is all sorts of Christians, but my brain hurts a bit with all this, so I'll have a short break.