ABC:Matthew 16

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Verse 27, Faith or Works[edit | hide | hide all]

Patheos' Bob Seidensticker claims there is a contradiction here and makes the following comments (italicized):[1]

As mentioned by the Scofield Study Bible III, Ephesians 2:8-10 is the passage which brings both views together.[2] We are saved by faith, not works, it's God's gift not man's doing, lest anyone should boast.

However, we are created by Jesus to do good works and it is God's will that we do them. The works themselves do not save, but are the outward evidence to others, and to ourselves, that we have indeed undergone an inward redemptive process of salvation.

True saving faith will ultimately produce good works as the result of a changed heart and a new spirit. Thus if a person shows no interest in doing good works once becoming a Christian, and for years lives without any change, then as James points out, that faith without works is a dead faith and no faith indeed.

Most of the verses quoted by Patheos in support of works, including Proverbs 24:12, Matthew 16:27, and Revelation 20:12 all relate to how people will be judged at the Final Judgment. Even Christians receive rewards based upon their works. However, the ultimate standard for whether one is saved is faith in Jesus Christ, no other foundation for works will be accepted. (1 Corinthians 3:11-15) Works only make a difference for rewards if one first has faith in Jesus.

John the Baptist came preaching repentance before Jesus came for a reason. (Matthew 3:2) To trust in Jesus to save us from our sins (i.e. faith) we must first accept that we are sinners, and desire to change and stop doing evil; i.e. repentance. Repentance must precede faith; one cannot trust in Jesus to save us from our sins if one does not first acknowledge one has done anything wrong. One cannot call on Jesus to save them unless they desire to change with all their heart.

As for baptism, it is not the physical action which is involved in the salvation process, but baptism of the Holy Spirit, the cleansing of one's conscience. (Acts 1:25; 11:16) As Peter says, "The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ." (1 Peter 3:21) Baptism serves as a public declaration of faith in Christ, and in countries like ancient Rome which outlawed Christianity, was to take a dangerous step in openly proclaiming a belief in Jesus.

Verse 28, Should Jesus Have Returned? - American Atheists[edit | hide]

American Atheists claims the Bible is wrong about the passage (and makes the following comments (italicized).[3]

All of the passages simply show that the time of Christ's return is drawing near, with the exception of Matthew 16:28 where Jesus states that some of those standing with Him will see Him coming in His kingdom, which was fulfilled by John's visions of the end recorded in Revelation, and Luke 21:32-33, which says the generation wouldn't pass away until everything was fulfilled. However, Luke 21, like Matthew 24, was a response to two questions: 1) when the Temple of Jerusalem would be destroyed, and 2) when Christ's coming would occur. (Luke 21:5-7; Matthew 24:1-3) The Temple of Jerusalem was destroyed within one generation of Christ speaking when Nero destroyed it in 70 A.D.[4] Thus the first response was definitely fulfilled within one generation. Furthermore, because John saw all that occurred as recorded in the book of Revelation, the second response can be considered fulfilled as well.

Jesus clearly told the apostles what had to happen first before His return in Matthew 24. Jesus told them there would be numerous wars, famines, earthquakes, and false prophets first. (vv. 7-11) The Gospel would first be preached throughout the entire world followed by a massive tribulation perpetrated by the antichrist against Christians. (vv. 14-22) Jesus plainly told them that the exact time of His return was not known even to Him, only to God the Father. (v. 36) Just because then apostles warned one another to be constantly ready for His return as Jesus had urged them to do (Matthew 24:36-51) does not mean they claimed a return would occur during their own lifetimes. Nor do the passages which quote them show otherwise; merely that they considered Christ's return to be nearing.

Verse 30, Should Jesus Have Returned? - Patheos[edit | hide]

Patheos' Bob Seidensticker claims there is a contradiction here and makes the following comments (italicized):[1]

Matthew 24, was a response to two questions: 1) when the Temple of Jerusalem would be destroyed, and 2) when Christ's coming would occur. (Luke 21:5-7; Matthew 24:1-3) The Temple of Jerusalem was destroyed within one generation of Christ speaking when Nero destroyed it in 70 A.D.[5] Thus the first response was definitely fulfilled within one generation. Furthermore, because John saw all that occurred as recorded in the book of Revelation, and Stephen witnessed the return of Christ (Acts 7:56), the second response can be considered fulfilled as well.

Jesus clearly told the apostles what had to happen first before His return in Matthew 24. Jesus told them there would be numerous wars, famines, earthquakes, and false prophets first. (vv. 7-11) The Gospel would first be preached throughout the entire world followed by a massive tribulation perpetrated by the antichrist against Christians. (vv. 14-22) Jesus plainly told them that the exact time of His return was not known even to Him, only to God the Father. (v. 36) Just because the apostles warned one another to be constantly ready for His return as Jesus had urged them to do (Matthew 24:36-51) does not mean they claimed a return would occur during their own lifetimes.

As for Matthew 10:23, it states that the cities of Israel won't be finished by the apostles by the time of Jesus' return, presumably referring to the Gospel being preached there. Given the upheaval in Israel over the last 2,000 years ago, there is no reason to assume that will prove untrue.

Sources[edit | hide]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Seidensticker, P. (2018, October 20). "Top 20 Most Damning Bible Contradictions." Patheos.
  2. Scofield, Cyrus I. (2003). The Scofield Study Bible III. pg. 1625. Oxford University Press.
  3. N.a. (2019). "Biblical Contradictions? American Atheists.
  4. Religious Literacy Project (2019). "Destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE." Harvard Divinity School.
  5. Religious Literacy Project (2019). "Destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE." Harvard Divinity School.