American Atheists

From BibleStrength
The following is a complete debunking of the American Atheist's list of alleged Biblical contradictions. American Atheists make the following comments (italicized). Please note that this is just a concise summary of all answers to the alleged contradictions, for more detail and sourcing please see the related pages.

American Atheists List

Claims 1-9

Allegation Solution
1. The Sabbath Day

Exodus 20:8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.

Romans 14:5 One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.
American Atheists want to focus on the Sabbath rules under the Old Covenant, not the New Covenant which Christians are under (Jeremiah 31:31); ignoring the context of the Sabbath for which it was given, as the Israelite Pharisees did. In doing so, they ignore the principles emphasized in the New Testament by Jesus about the Sabbath, that it was intended primarily for the good of people, not as a burden. (Mk. 2:27) What matters is that the Sabbath be used to do good for others. (Mt. 12:12)

The Sabbath was intended to protect the poor from overwork, not create onerous regulations that govern what everyone can do on a certain day of the week (as the Pharisees viewed it). The Old Testament Covenant, including its rules on the Sabbath, was not kept properly by the Israelites for thousands of years, which is why Jesus brought in the New Covenant which emphasizes the underlying spiritual principles the Sabbath was intended for; protecting and helping mankind while focusing on God.

2. The Permanence of Earth

Ecclesiastes 1:4 ¶ One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever.

2 Peter 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.
American Atheists ignore v. 13 of Peter ch. 3, just a few verses away, which refers to "new heavens and a new Earth." Just because the Earth gets burned, does not mean it will no longer exist. The "Day of the Lord" referred to in 2 Peter 3:10 is constantly referred to throughout the Bible as a fiery destruction that leaves the land barren, yet does not utterly destroy Earth itself as a planet. (cp. Is. 13:9-22; 34:9-17; Joel 2:1-32; 3:14-21; Ob. 1:15-21; Zep. 1:7-18; 2:2-15; 14:1-21;)
3. Seeing God

Genesis 32:30 32:30 And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.

John 1:18 No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.
No one has seen God the Father at any time. That it is evident a distinction is being drawn between God the Father and Jesus, the Son of God, is evident from John 1:18, as they are both mentioned separately. However, Jesus as the Old Testament Angel of the Lord has been seen, and seen consistently throughout the Old Testament. Jacob even later states that it was an Angel whom he was wrestling, and whom he called God. See Genesis 48:16, "The Angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads; and let my name be named on them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth." For more on Jesus as the Old Testament Angel of the Lord, see Christophanies.
4. Human Sacrifice

Leviticus 18:21 And thou shalt not let any of thy seed pass through the fire to Molech, neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God: I am the LORD.

[In Judges, though, the tale of Jephthah, who led the Israelites against the Ammonoites, is being told. Being fearful of defeat, this good religious man sought to guarantee victory by getting god firmly on his side. So he prayed to god] "... If thou shalt without fail deliver the children of Ammon into mine hands, Then it shall be, that whatsoever cometh forth of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the children of Ammon, shall surely be the LORD’s, and I will offer it up for a burnt offering”
Judges 11:30-31 And Jephthah vowed a vow unto the LORD, and said, If thou shalt without fail deliver the children of Ammon into mine hands,
31 Then it shall be, that whatsoever cometh forth of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the children of Ammon, shall surely be the LORD'S, and I will offer it up for a burnt offering.

[The terms were acceptable to god — remember, he is supposed to be omniscient and know the future — so he gave victory to Jephthah, and the first whatsoever that greeted him upon his glorious return was his daughter, as god surely knew would happen, if god is god. True to his vow, the general made a human sacrifice of his only child to god!]
Judges 11:29-34 ¶ Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jephthah, and he passed over Gilead, and Manasseh, and passed over Mizpeh of Gilead, and from Mizpeh of Gilead he passed over unto the children of Ammon. And Jephthah vowed a vow unto the LORD, and said, If thou shalt without fail deliver the children of Ammon into mine hands, Then it shall be, that whatsoever cometh forth of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the children of Ammon, shall surely be the LORD'S, and I will offer it up for a burnt offering. So Jephthah passed over unto the children of Ammon to fight against them; and the LORD delivered them into his hands. And he smote them from Aroer, even till thou come to Minnith, even twenty cities, and unto the plain of the vineyards, with a very great slaughter. Thus the children of Ammon were subdued before the children of Israel. And Jephthah came to Mizpeh unto his house, and, behold, his daughter came out to meet him with timbrels and with dances: and she was his only child; beside her he had neither son nor daughter.
God repeatedly and consistently condemns human sacrifice, to the extent that it was a major reason the nations of the Canaanites were destroyed for practicing it, so that the abominable practice would not spread to other nations (including Israel, who were warned against adopting the practice). Israel was horribly punished for practicing human sacrifice in defiance of God's commandments. See Destruction of Canaanites. American Atheists put words in God's mouth by falsely claiming that He approved of Jephthah's actions; indeed Jephthah himself met a horrible end, executed and burned down with his whole house. (Judges 12:1-7) If God approved of Jephthah like American Atheists insinuate, why didn't God let Jephthah face a more peaceful end to his life, such as those God actually approved of? (cp. 2 Chr. 34:28; 2 Ki. 22:20; 2 Chr. 34:28; Jer. 34:5)

God can know the future, but does not always choose to know it. If He did not have the ability to not know the future, He would not be all-powerful. The Bible calls God omnipotent but never omniscient. As such, God is surprised throughout the Bible by the actions of mankind in rebelling against Him. (Genesis 4:9-11, 6:6) See Problem of Evil. God is not the author of evil. Satan sows evil among mankind to sabotage God's good creation, per Jesus' Parable of the Tares. (Mt. 13:27-43)

The Bible constantly describes mankind, even leaders of Israel like Jephthah, constantly doing evil actions that God disapproves of, for which Israel is punished. See e.g. King Ahab. Just one chapter before the case of Jephthah being discussed, in Judges 10:10-14, God goes on one of the most epic rants against the Nation of Israel found in the Bible, pointing out that He delivered the Israelites from the Amorites, Ammonites, Philistines, Zidonians, Amalekites, and Maonites; because each time they sinned against Him and He delivered them from one nation, they would go right back and sin again, so that He would punish them all over again by sending them into captivity to another foreign nation. A fed-up God screams at Israel in chapter 10, "You have forsaken me and served other gods, so I'm not going to deliver you anymore! Go and cry to the gods you've chosen, let them deliver you from your trouble." (vv. 13-14)

Needless to say, any degree of reading the Bible in context shows that God hardly preordains the actions of people, or knows what they will do ahead of time. God constantly punishes the Israelites and their leaders for disobeying Him, indeed it would be difficult to find a more consistent theme throughout the entire Old Testament. God never once in the Bible approves of human sacrifice, and made a point of showing Abraham that his son Isaac should be spared. (Genesis 22:12) Many things are written throughout the Old Testament which describe cases God disapproved of, and for which those responsible were punished. The end of Jephthah, a violent execution and burning down of his house, in contrast to the peaceful deaths of those blessed by God, is itself indicative of God's disapproval of his immoral actions.

5. The Power of God

Matthew 19:26 But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.

Judges 1:19 1:19 And the LORD was with Judah; and he drave out the inhabitants of the mountain; but could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, because they had chariots of iron.
So, why would God allow Judah to drive out one but not the other? God did not want to let Israel conquer too quickly so the lands being conquered wouldn't fall into disrepair and chaos. As such it was deliberate on God's part to let Judah win one major battle but not conquer everything in sight. The Israelites wanted God to drive out their enemies quickly, but this would not have been in keeping with what God said He would do. God had earlier told them He would deliberately not drive out their enemies in one year, lest the land become desolate without enough people to tend it so that wild animals like bears and lions became hazardous.

As a result, God allowed Judah to drive out the inhabitants of the mountains, but not to overtake the entire land. God could have given them victory over those with chariots of iron, but allowed them to be stopped by a formidable military presence, as He had earlier said He would, for their own good. It may be that God warned them not to face the armies of the valley and the Israelites attempted to win on their own anyway, as the Bible records elsewhere. (cp. Num. 14:41-45; 1 Ki. 22:28-29)

6. Personal Injury

Exodus 21:23-25 Exodus 21:23 And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life, Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, Burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.

Matthew 5:39 But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.
The Old Testament commandment of "eye for an eye" did not justify taking vengeance for wrongs done to oneself. The Israelites even then were commanded not to harm others out of vengeance (Lev. 19:18; Prov. 20:22). The commandment of "eye for an eye" allowed governmental execution of justice for the sake of order in society; not out of vengeance but to promote good in the world and stop those who harm others from overrunning society given a lack of consequences. That same principle is repeated in the New Testament, that governments "bear the sword" under God's authority to punish those who do evil. (Rom. 13:4)
7. Circumcision

Genesis 17:10 This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised.

Galatians 5:2 Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing.
First of all, Paul was not speaking generally or saying that circumcision is wrong for Christians. Rather, he was addressing Galatian Greek Christians who were being falsely told by Jews that to be saved they had to follow all the Old Testament Law and be circumcised. (Gal. 6:12-13) Paul in his letter to the Galatians points out that the Old Covenant, the Law, while it was a just law, could not save or make people perfect (Gal. 3:11); had there been salvation in it there would have been no need for Jesus to come. (Gal. 2:21) Paul points out that good deeds cannot save a person, only the mercy available through Jesus because of His sacrifice for us. Paul's point was that for the Greek Christians to get circumcised late in life just to try and become righteous through the Law would be to effectively reject the tenets of their Christian faith, that they were saved through God's mercy because of what Jesus did, rather than their own works. (Gal. 2:16-18) Their sin was not being circumcised, but attempting to be justified through the Law after they had already been justified through faith in Jesus. (Gal. 5:4) Paul ultimately concludes that it does not matter for purposes of righteousness before God whether or not one is circumcised. (Gal. 6:15)

Circumcision was commanded in the Old Testament for medical reasons, as were many other commandments. It is now recognized that circumcision provides numerous medical advantages to children, protecting them against disease, including a decreased risk of urinary tract infections, a reduced risk of Sexually Transmitted Diseases, protection against penile cancer, and a reduced risk of cervical cancer to female partners.[1] As such, it was a useful and necessary commandment for Israelites to follow under the Old Covenant long before the advent of modern medicine (Heb. 9:9-10), but under the New Testament is de-emphasized by Paul because Jewish legalists were falsely teaching that following it was necessary for salvation and acceptance by God.

8. Incest

Deuteronomy 27:22 Cursed be he that lieth with his sister, the daughter of his father, or the daughter of his mother. And all the people shall say, Amen.

Leviticus 20:17 And if a man shall take his sister, his father's daughter, or his mother's daughter, and see her nakedness, and she see his nakedness; it is a wicked thing; and they shall be cut off in the sight of their people: he hath uncovered his sister's nakedness; he shall bear his iniquity.

[But what was god’s reaction to Abraham, who married his sister — his father’s daughter?] See Genesis 20:11-12
See also Pre-Flood Longevity

As Romans 5:13 says, "sin is not imputed when there is no law." Before the time of Moses there was no necessity for a law against incest because such vast lifespans made for very different family units, and incest was thus not wrong in the same way it is today. The commandment against incest was not given until the time of Moses because incest was not wrong before that, since people lived such extraordinarily long lives, centuries longer than we do today. Technically it wasn't incest by today's standards since early humans each had lifespans of 900 years (Genesis 5).

Incest was only declared wrong by the time of Moses when people had average lifespans of 70 years (Psalms 90:10) and God when the Flood started began reducing the maximum lifespan to 120 years (Genesis 6:3). Lifespans did not reach this point until about the time of Moses, who lived exactly the 120 years specified. (Deuteronomy 34:7) Incest today is considered wrong, as it should be, because children who grow up with one another as part of the same family should not have sexual relationships. However, ancient people like Noah's family lived centuries upon centuries and could be born many centuries apart in age from their siblings, old enough by today's standards to be the great, great, great, great, great, great, great grandparents of their brothers and sisters.

In the case of Abraham, he lived to be 175 years old, whereas his half-sister and wife Sarah lived to be 127 years old. (Genesis 25:7, Genesis 23:1-2) Both lived longer lives than anyone today can live. People lived such long lives at the time that Abraham's great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great grandfather, Noah himself, did not die until 18 years after Abraham was born, at the ripe old age of 950 years old! Under the Biblical model, such ancient patriarchs could have siblings considerably older and more distant in relation than is seen today, which is why the commandment against incest was not yet given, and incest at the time was not wrong.

9. Trusting God

Proverbs 12:2 A good man obtaineth favour of the LORD: but a man of wicked devices will he condemn.

Now consider the case of Job. After commissioning Satan to ruin Job financially and to slaughter his shepherds and children to win a petty bet with Satan. God asked Satan:

Job 2:3 And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? and still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause.
The Bible makes very clear throughout that God's blessing does not always or necessarily occur during this life. There are evil people who prosper in this life, and righteous people who do not. (Ecclesiastes 7:15; 8:14) Wealth in this life is a poor determinant of ultimate wealth for eternity. There are those who make themselves poor in this life but are rich, and those who make themselves rich in this life but have nothing of value. (Proverbs 13:7) A final judgment and life after this one will set right the wrongs of this life, so that the righteous who suffered will be those in power, and the wicked who had power will be those suffering. (Luke 16:25; 6:24-25; Matthew 5:3-4; Isaiah 65:13-14; James 5:1-8)

In the case of Job, God allowed Satan to persecute him; but God ultimately blessed him and showed favor to him, blessing him with twice as much as what he had lost. (Job 41:10-12) God used Job's trials to refine him, making him even stronger as a warrior for God, and justify even greater rewards for him. (Zechariah 13:9) God uses trials to refine His servants, the way that fire is used to refine metals and make them stronger. (Malachi 3:3; Proverbs 17:3; 27:21; Jeremiah 9:7; Isaiah 1:25; 13:12) Jesus Himself was purified and refined through sufferings, to make Him the perfect leader for all time. (Hebrews 2:10; 5:8-9) God's chastening is used to make us stronger warriors for His kingdom. Christians are thus encouraged to endure suffering as faithful soldiers of Christ. (2 Timothy 2:3; Hebrews 12:5-11)

Claims 10-15

Allegation Solution
10. The Holy Lifestyle

Ecclesiastes 9:7 Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart; for God now accepteth thy works.

1 Corinthians 7:30 And they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not;
Paul is making a broader point about discouraging worries and concerns of this life. (vv. 32-35) He is not discouraging rejoicing in the Lord, but rejoicing over the things of this life which cause worry and distraction. Paul elsewhere encourages rejoicing in the Lord. (Philippians 4:4; 3:3; 2:16-18,28; 1:18; 1 Thessalonians 5:16; Romans 15:10) Note that verse 30 does not say that those who rejoice should not rejoice, but that they should act like they are not rejoicing, in other words not be consumed with 'distraction' (v. 35) related to rejoicing. The New Living Translation for example renders 1 Corinthians 7:30 as "Those who weep or who rejoice or who buy things should not be absorbed by their weeping or their joy or their possessions." It is not that Paul is saying that weeping, rejoicing, marriage, or purchasing goods is wrong, but that they should not be cause for distracting us from focusing on God.

The Apostle Paul was writing for a specific situation in 1 Corinthians 7:30, a "present distress" (v. 26) "concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me." (v. 1) The situation in 1 Corinthians 7 was whether divorced widows should be allowed to remarry (v. 27) to which Paul said that it was not sinful for them to remarry. (v. 28) Paul here is making a broader point that he wants Christians to pursue situations where they will avoid worry and concern, and that he thinks it better for divorced widows to not remarry that they may focus on God without concern for the cares of this life, although he concedes there is no sin involved either way. (vv. 29-35) Paul encourages marriage as a whole to avoid sexual immorality, even for those divorced or widowed if attempts at abstinence would lead to sexual immorality. (vv. 2, 8-9) Marriage in general is blessed by God Biblically. (Proverbs 18:22; Hebrews 13:4)

11. Punishing Crime

Ezekiel 18:20 The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.

Exodus 20:5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;
American Atheists deceptively quotes from very different books, Exodus and Ezekiel, to make it appear as though these are incompatible teachings given at different time periods. Actually, the same teachings both appear in the book of Deuteronomy.

These commandments were both given to Moses at the same time. While God only commands capital punishment for those who sin, not their children, there are genetic consequences not involving death which occur from sin which affect one's descendants. For example, incest can cause birth defects. In some cases, God even curses the descendants of the wicked. (Psalms 109:13) Thus, children are not put to death for what their parents have done (Deuteronomy 24:16; Ezekiel 18:20), but can to a degree still "bear the iniquity" of their parents' actions in the form of negative circumstances. (Deuteronomy 5:9-10; Exodus 20:5)

Nonetheless, God shows mercy to those who do good, judging them based on their own actions. (Ezekiel 18) God can turn away wrath and consequences as He did from Nineveh. In the case of King Josiah for example his individual righteousness resulted in God delaying a punishment that would have otherwise come upon him. (2 Kings 22:19-20)

12. Temptation

James 1:13 ¶ Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:

Genesis 22:1 ¶ And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am.
God tests Christians to see what is in their hearts, not to tempt them to do evil, but to make them stronger for His kingdom and ensure they are loyal to Him. For a description of the difference between testing and tempting in the Bible, see the Scofield Study Bible III's note for James 1:14, which reads as follows: "1:14 Test/Tempt, Summary: The concept of testing or temptation is expressed in both the OT and NT not only by the words translated 'test' or 'tempt,' but also by the words rendered 'provoke,' 'snare,' 'trials,' etc. (e.g. Gen. 22:1; Ps. 7:9; 11:5; Luke 22:28; James 1:2; 1 Pet. 1:5; compare Job 31:27; Prov. 22:25; Is. 3:8.) The primary meaning is usually that of proving by testing, or testing under trial. Less frequently the sense is that of enticement or solicitation to evil (e.g. 1:13-14; Gen. 3:1-6; 2 Cor. 11:3-4)."[2]
13. Family Relationships

Exodus 20:12 ¶ Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

Luke 14:26 ¶ If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.
Jesus elsewhere repeats the commandment to honour one's parents, even criticizing the Pharisees for nullifying God's commandment to do so through their tradition (Matthew 15:4-9; 19:19; Mark 7:10-13; 10:19). Jesus never says not to honour our parents. Rather, He is teaching that we must love God more than them; and warning us that by following Him our family members will become our greatest enemies. The Gospel divides families apart; rather than bringing peace it creates division. Lies and dishonesty unite people through deception, truth spoken results in disagreement. In essence, Jesus is warning those who would follow Him that they must be willing to follow Him more than their own siblings and parents, and be willing to disagree with their own relatives. (Matthew 10:35-38; Luke 12:51-53)

In one case, a disciple wants to delay preaching the Gospel until he has buried his father. Jesus tells him to let the dead bury the dead, and to preach the Gospel. Another disciple wants to bid his family goodbye first before preaching the Gospel. Jesus tells the disciple that his reluctance makes him unfit for the kingdom of God. (Luke 9:59-62) The apostles in some cases had to forsake their own families and properties to follow Jesus (this did not occur in all cases, Peter for example was married - Mark 1:30), and were told that in doing so they would be rewarded with 100 times what they had lost, as well as with everlasting life. (Matthew 19:29) In summary, Jesus never negates the Biblical commandment to honour one's parents, indeed He Himself makes certain that Mary is provided for by John upon His death. (John 19:26-27) Rather, He teaches that Christians must be willing to follow Him even when doing so pits them against their unbelieving family members, and to do the will of God rather than the will of man.

14. Resurrection of the Dead

Job 7:9 As the cloud is consumed and vanisheth away: so he that goeth down to the grave shall come up no more.

John 5:28-29 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.
Job is referring to the dead coming back to this present world and the life they knew, as evident from the next verse. "He shall return no more to his house, neither shall his place know him any more." The dead have no more part in this life; although there are exceptions, as with Jesus' resurrection of Lazarus, His own resurrection, or the resurrections of saints in Jerusalem when He was crucified. (John 11:43-44; Luke 24:39; Matthew 27:52-53) Even before Christ's coming, Elijah resurrected a child. (1 Kings 17:23) Nonetheless, aside from such rare exceptions, it is appointed for man once to die, and then the Judgment. (Hebrews 9:27)

Furthermore, Job himself later refers to the ultimate resurrection of the dead for the Final Judgment, stating that in the last days His Redeemer will stand upon the Earth, and that then Job will physically see Him in the flesh, even after worms have destroyed his original body. (Job 19:25-27) Thus, when reading the book of Job in context, it is apparent that Job in Job 7:9 is referring initially to resurrection in this life, not to the resurrection of the Final Judgment mentioned in John 5:28-29; which Job himself bears witness to in Job 19:25-27.

Furthermore, that Job to some degree spoke ignorantly of things he lacked knowledge of is evident from how God rebuked him. (Job 38:2; 40:2) Job himself acknowledged that he had spoken incorrectly about things he did not understand. (Job 42:3-6; 40:3-5) Job's primary error lay in justifying himself rather than God, and accusing God of punishing him without just grounds. (Job 32:2; 33:9-13; 34:5,9; 35:2-3; 40:8)

15. The End of the World

Matthew 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.

Luke 21:32-33 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.

Romans 13:11-12 ¶ And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.

James 5:8 Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.

John 2:18 Then answered the Jews and said unto him, What sign shewest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things?

1 Peter 4:7 ¶ But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.

These words were written between 1800 and 1900 years ago and were meant to warn and prepare the first Christians for the immediate end of the world. Some words are those supposedly straight out of the mouth of the “Son of God.” The world did not end 1800 or 1900 years ago. All that generation passed away without any of the things foretold coming to pass. No amount of prayer brought it about; nor ever so much patience and belief and sober living. The world went on, as usual, indifferent to the spoutings of yet another batch of doomsday prophets with visions of messiahs dancing in their deluded brains. The world, by surviving, makes the above passages contradictions.
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.[3] 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.


  1. Robinson, J. (2018, November 13). "Circumcision Basics." WebMD.
  2. Scofield, C.I. (2002). "Scofield Study Bible III." Oxford University Press.
  3. Religious Literacy Project (2019). "Destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE." Harvard Divinity School.