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Scrambled X with Sausage

More on Preterism from the Chief Bologna
James Patrick Holding

Once again we are back in Rolaids Country, spelling R-E-L-I-E-F for readers weary of Skeptic X's repetitive blather and infinitely dull discourse. We pick up on Part 3 of where X combs over his bald spots versus our Olivet article:

  • A re-re-re-re-repeat -- about 3-4 times, actually -- of his arguments about oikoumene, already refuted in our earlier sections. Naturally X still hasn't found a Greco-Roman scholar to help him make oikoumene mean the whole danged planet. X also doesn't get why it is significant that Matt used the word just once -- it is rather simple: it shows that he wanted to make sure it was understood that a specific geographic designation was in mind here, versus places where he used kosmos. Hello? X also asks the Stupid Skeptic Question, "Just why did the gospel have to be preached to only the whole Roman Empire before the end could come? Why would it not also have had to be preached to China, Japan, Russia, Scandinavia, etc.?" Why "could it not" is not a relevant question. The point is that oikoumene means that that was the extent that it would have to be preached before the end came. X is inserting a pointless "why this way" question that has nothing to do with the subject at hand. If he wishes to complain, we await the results of his trip in the Turtledove Time Machine showing that the end would have been better had it comes when the Gospel had reached China, Japan, Australia, Peoria, etc. As an egotist he no doubt can come up with a better time for all these things. (A little later it is made clear that his "why" is based on the assumption that this "end" is the "end of the world", beyond which there would be no more spreading the Gospel message -- a case of X yet again chasing his own tail in a circle, for as shown, the "end" is of the age, not of the world, and there would thereafter be available an extended period of preaching to those outside the oikoumene.)
  • In terms of the Gospel actually getting that far before 70, I noted some passages to that effect. X objects that Rom. 16:25 speaks of "nations" not the oikoumene. It's X's usual inability to get out of his box: "No reasonable person would claim that the gospel had been preached in North and South America at this time, so this has to be viewed as an incorrect claim that Paul made, which was due to his limited knowledge of geography, but it does show a belief of that time that the gospel had been preached in what was considered to be the whole world." No reasonable person would assume that Paul meant to include parts of the world unknown at the time. The "nations" could contextually ONLY refer to peoples then known to Paul. X is playing a game of absurdly demanding that Paul and other writers be able to create exclusionary comments like these:
    But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations, other than those we don't know about, which makes you wonder how I can speak of them, for the obedience of faith:

    Semantically, "nations" cannot be called an incorrect reference here, since the only available definition was "known ethnic groups in the oikoumene". At the same time note that X has essentially conceded that yes, this would mean that Paul is saying that "the gospel had been preached in what was considered to be the whole world" -- exactly what we have been arguing. X lovingly shoots himself in the foot for our sake.

  • X burps, "Paul, for example, claimed that he had spent time in Arabia (Gal. 1:17), which at that time was not a part of the Roman Empire, so Paul had to know that there was more to the world than just the Roman Empire." Oops. Already X has forgotten that oikoumene had a broader meaning (what we called the ERE).
  • X burps again, "Holding, of course, could argue that if the gospel had been preached to 'all nations' and 'every creature under heaven,' it had been preached to all of the Roman Empire, but to so argue is to assume the inerrancy of the New Testament, but the fact that the New Testament claimed that the gospel had been preached to all nations is no proof that this had been accomplished but proof only that some thought that it had been." X is still playing his same game of pretending that "inerrancy" is at issue, when it is not. The issue is basic historical truth claims, of the same sort one would evaluate from any ancient work. I have not mentioned inerrancy at all but have evaluated Paul's claim in light of historical probability. X must tell us why we should NOT accept that the Gospel had been preached to all nations by this time, and when he tries that loop, he gets stuck upside down on the roller coaster, to wit:
  • "One would have to be rather naive to think that the gospel had been preached to everyone in the Roman Empire, because this was a time of no printing presses, radios, or television stations, so it is unlikely that even with the missionary activities attributed to the apostle Paul, the gospel had been preached to everyone in places like Gaul, Britain, and the northern Germanic tribes." One would have to be a tremendously provincialist bigot to believe that printing presses, radio, TV, etc were needed in the first place to disseminate the message. Oral transmission was sufficient to spread the message; travel times were not burdensome (especially by boat in the summer months), and it is only a case of ignorance to suggest that this was not enough to get the Gospel to all nations in the oikoumene by this time.
  • X merely repeats the same arguments as above concerning 2 Tim. 4:17, apparently missing that "Gentiles" in 2 Tim. 4:17 is the same word as "nations" in Romans above. If this is a chauvinistic Jewish term for non-Jews, we'd like to know how. One may as well say that "other people" is "chauvinistic" when we refer to a people other than ourselves.
  • As an aside X plugs Pastoral pseudonymity -- in our last portion we gave a link as refutation that he can deal with if he ever gets back to this place, maybe by 2078. He also plugs a late date for the Gospels, and he can go here in 2193.
  • On Rom. 1:8 and Col. 1:6 using kosmos hyperbolically, X plays his standard game of claiming that this is an inconsistent position, and that saying kosmos is hyperbolic is merely an "excuse" for the text not meeting our needs. To which we give the standard answer, that X's ribald "read it like a newspaper" hermanootic is just a case of stunted fundaliteralism. Kosmos meant the earth and the sky, the creation or cosmic order as a whole, and I don't think X wants to argue that Paul is saying in these passages that missionaries could fly and preach to non-existent people in the sky. X also can't seem to grasp hyperbole even in context. Romans 1:8 says, "First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world." Really! Does he think Paul is saying here that the faith of the specific people in the church at Rome was being discussed in the marketplaces in Capernaum? ("Hey, Judah, ya hear about those people in Rome?") In Alexandria? In the sky? In offices of agriculture in Rome? In Columella's backyard? No, this is Paul's way of saying -- after the manner of hyperbole among the ancients -- that the Romans' faith is astounding, and is something lots of people talk about. Anywhere but Skeptic X Fundaliteralland, a comment like this is obvious hyperbole. For X, it is a flatly literal statement meant to be taken as reflecting forensic truth. Col. 1:6, of which X likewise complains, is the same:
    Colossians 1:3 We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, 4since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of your love for all the saints; 5because of the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, of which you heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel, 6which has come to you, as it has also in all the world [to kosmo], and is bringing forth fruit, as it is also among you since the day you heard and knew the grace of God in truth....

    Good grief, look at the hyperbole here whacking X on the head: Is Paul really "praying always" for the Colossians? (What about other churches? What about when he sleeps? Does he pray for them in the bathroom? Etc.) "Love for ALL the saints" -- wow, even those they have never met? X needs to recognize the reality of the "rhetoric of praise" -- to demand a literal reading of these phrases is to violate the text like some sort of prostitute.

  • X alludes to his arguments which we refute here. Maybe he'll catch up eventually.
  • X whines about lacking any evidence but tradition that the Gospel reached Britain and Germany by 70 AD. Too bad. Historically speaking, we are not obliged to bow and scrape when X presses his one-dimensional panic button of needing a signed statement by Agricola to the effect that the Gospel reached Britain by that time. Tradition is sufficient to establish that the idea was known, and one must explain the source of the tradition beyond, "Well, they just made it up!" One must explain why such a reach is not possible, and X's "they needed radio and TV" is not bigoted nonsense. I noted that "with a church in Rome by the 50s, it could hardly be argued that evangelism in Britain, the farthest-flung part of Rome's Empire with respect to Judea, was not likely by 70." X barbles back with demands for specific evidence of the Gospel being preached in Gaul, etc. He doesn't need it, no more than secular historians need proof of individual conversations to allow that an ideology was able to spread far enough in the time allotted. In short, we do not press the panic button over lack of specific evidence, any more than any historian would. Inherent probability and the external confirmation of tradition is enough, and needs to be refuted, not merely dissed and countered with geographic lists merely for the sake of gasps of amazement.
  • As an aside, X adds that "Britain was not the farthest flung part of the Roman Empire in terms of mileage. Germania Inferior was actually farther away." Oh? From what point? Maps of the Roman Empire show Germania Inferior to not reach as far north as the northern border of Britain: see here. From Judaea, as specified, this is indeed the farthest point in the RE (Lusitania comes close as well, but even if farther by miles, was far more accessible by boat). Seems X needs some help from Triple A.
  • X passes on detailed comment on our Daniel article, instead heaping another shameless challenge to debate on the subject (and prophecy fulfillment generally) to impress his fans. That makes, what? 25 topics now X has thrown out challenges on? At his (ahem) tender age and given his unfortunate condition, X presumably knows that he won't be around to fulfill all of these challenge obligations he has set for himself, so we would suggest that this is mere bravado to impress the gullible 150 or so pigeons he has collected. He has no intention of ever fulfilling these challenges.
  • We note Keener's point about Josephus saying that the Daniel prophecy as fulfilled with the destruction of the Temple in 70 and that he regarded the shedding of priestly blood in the sanctuary as the desecration or abomination that caused the 70 desolation [Keener, Matthew commentary, 576]. X of course has no respect for anyone whose education interferes with his fantasies of self-competence, so after dissing Keener a little and claiming implicitly to possess "critical thinking ability" (presumably of the sort that allows X to read such things as "pay for 90% of my website" or think he can diss a scholar of anthropology just by reading the Bible in English), we get down to some details. I noted, "Josephus called the Temple 'no longer a place fit for God' [War 5.1.19] and said that God was the author of its destruction." X proudly tells us he likes to check references, and quotes, even [siccing] Josephus some in his arrogance:

    And now, "O most wretched city, what misery so great as this didst thou suffer from the Romans, when they came to purify thee from they [sic] intestine hatred! For thou couldst be no longer a place fit for God, nor couldst thou longer continue in being, after thou hadst been a sepulchre for the bodies of thine own people, and hadst made the holy house itself a burying place in this civil war of thine! Yet mayest thou again grow better, if perchance thou wilt hereafter appease the anger of that God who is the author of thy destruction"

    X burbles forth, "The antecedent of the second-person singular pronouns thou, thy, and thine in this passage is city, so actually Josephus was saying here that the city [of Jerusalem] was no longer a fit place for God." Well, gee. Isn't the Temple in Jerusalem? Hello? So even if I am wrong (pfft) I am right, but as it happens, X needs to quote a ways back -- where Josephus in sections 17-18 speaks of persons who came to offer sacrifices, and of bodies of priests mixed with those of profane persons -- this takes place, where? Joe says, in the sentence just before where X quotes, "in the holy courts themselves." Oh, dear, the Temple. Also, in Jewish thought, where did God actually reside? Jerusalem? Narrow it down. Ah. The Temple. And even as X quotes, the "holy house" is the focus -- so what's that? No, not McHolyburgers Restaurant. The Temple. Thank you. X was so busy barfing over a technical matter of reference that he didn't even notice he had lost his pants.

  • X next asks, "Just where did this passage or any passage in Josephus see the destruction of the temple in AD 70 as fulfillment of Daniel's prophecy about the abomination of desolation?" X bubbles into some part of Antiquities having to do with the Maccabees, and some endnote having to do with Cestius, but he is wasting time and filling space putting arguments in our mouth we didn't make, as usual. Keener is accused of incompetence as well, which is a fine thing from the mouth of one who is unworthy to spit-polish Keener's boots. Gee, this is hard for a reader, but let's spell it out in more detail, shall we? The shedding of blood is called "abominations" in War 4.163. In fact it indicates that there are lots of 'em, as the priest Ananus says, "Certainly it had been good for me to die before I had seen the house of God full of so many abominations," as in, sacred places trod on at random by "blood-shedding villians." Then, in 5.17-19, Josephus says that these actions of shedding blood was the cause of destruction -- in other words, "desolation." Hello? How many crayons does X need to connect the dots here? The specific use of the words "abominations" with reference to Jerusalem's desolation is a clear allusion to Daniel's prophecy. What? X needs Joe to say, "this fulfilled Daniel" to get the point? Okay. Try Antiquities 10.276: "...Daniel also wrote concerning the Roman government, and that our country should be made desolate by them." And what did Joe say above was the cause of this, back in the other passage, that was the cause of Rome coming to purify the place? Ah.

    X may send apologies, and his head on a platter, to PO Box 112, Clarcona FL 32710-0112. He may send it with plenty of egg on the face, and one or both feet stuck in his mouth.

  • X next fumes that he can find no place where Luke says anything about the abomination. Apparently that Luke's passage is parallel to those in Matthew and Mark is not enough; no, if X doesn't see the word "ABOMINATION" in blinking red neon, Luke can't possibly be talking about it. So there, too. (That the word "desolation" IS there [21:20] apparently does not disturb him or make him see an allusion to Daniel, nor a parallel to Matt and Mark. Instead X fusses about how it is no big deal to predict that Jerusalem will be destroyed, which leads us to ask 1) why he thinks the warning was meant to impress him, or anyone, anyway; 2) how he can then use such predictions as evidence of a post-70 date, especially as he takes that tack after all. So if it's before 70, it's "no big deal"; if it's after 70, it's a con game. The Gospels can't win for losing in X's eyes, and he'll spin out whatever eventuality he can.)
  • X hauls up his old demand that ge unless accompanied by a qualifier over 18 must mean the whole danged planet, and reiterates his self-centered-universe demand for a qualifier to make what is obvious to everyone else, clear to him. We have already addressed this and are still waiting for X to get back to it, in maybe 2034. Paging Alexander Hartigan!
  • X then whines that I "gave no references" for the note that "Ananus himself used the word abominations." Tough cookies. X has to get out of his La-Z-Boy and do all the work. He does find it, but doesn't see anything special. He could stand again to look at what Josephus says: "Never mind that Jews considered (as I showed above) the desecration of the temple by Antiochus Epiphanes two hundred years earlier to have been the fulfillment of Daniel's prophecy..." Um, yeah -- that's fine, but that doesn't say that Anty exhausted Dan's prophecies. Oops. X also says of the Ananus quote, "never mind that the text quoted above is found in Book 4, Chapter 3, of Wars of the Jews, and that the siege of Jerusalem didn't begin until Book 5, Chapter 3. How could the seizure of the temple by the Zealots before the Roman siege of Jerusalem had even begun have been the fulfillment of Daniel's prophecy about the 'abomination of desolation,' if that abomination, according to preterists, was the Roman desecration of the temple?" No, X, pay attention: Rome's actions were the cause of the desolation; their coming was a signal (for Luke) of the abominations forthcoming; and excuse me, but the class of behavior which Anauas called "abominations" didn't stop after his mouth opened. Nor do we claim there were no "abominations" beforehand as X seems to think -- in fact we have no problem with all sorts of teensy-weensy abominations before the Big Fat Abomination that was the straw that broke the camel's back. As if X thinks in war, we think "abominations" only come packaged one at a time.
  • X tells us further that, "Luke went on to indicate that the destruction of the city was just one event in a series of others that would precede the final end." He quotes:

    Luke 21:20 "But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near. 21Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those who are in the midst of her depart, and let not those who are in the country enter her. 22For these are the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. 23But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! For there will be great distress in the land and wrath upon this people. 24And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

    Then it is pontificated, "Luke said only that the siege of Jerusalem would signal that its desolation was near, but the full context of this statement indicates Luke's belief that a series of events would follow the fall of Jerusalem, which would be signs that the end was near. The inhabitants would be led away captive into all nations, and something called the 'times of the Gentiles' would be fulfilled. That sounds suspiciously like something that would continue after the actual destruction of Jerusalem." Duh ah , yes, we agree. And we think this all happened. But then X stubs his toe on the concept of dischronologized narrative:

    Furthermore, Luke went on to say that after the events described above, "there shall be signs in sun and moon and stars, and upon the earth distress of nations, etc., etc., etc."

    "After"? Sorry, I don't see an "after" anywhere here:

    Luke 21:25 "And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; 26men's hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 27Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near."

    There is no "after" in v. 25. That's an "and". Same as starts v. 24. Which means that this is a case of Jesus finishing up a description of Jerusalem's fate, then returning BACK to what's going on at the same time the start of the previous "and" in v. 24. No "after" or "then" until v. 27. Too bad. X is reading chronology into consecutive reporting. As for anxiety of nations, it happened all through the period from 30-70 with all those wars, quakes, and other nasty stuff we've been talking about. Case closed.

And with that, we leave Part 3 of "As the Fundaliteralist Turns", having added to the Big Haha board yet another goofy mistake by X (the missing of the Josephus quote above) which we can throw at him over and over and over along with the famous "90% of my website" quote and the "people in the ancient world did too have guilt!" routine, and countless others. See you next round.

Now it's time for Part 4.

  • We note on this to begin:
    Matthew 24:16-20 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day (Mark 13:14-18; Luke 21:21-23).

    I noted that this passage "offers us some clues of a 70 AD intention. The coming down from the housetop is in line with the Ancient Near Eastern practice of living and working on a flat roof." X gums himself a bit and claims that I am "so dense that he apparently doesn't recognize that someone writing in the first century would have reflected in his writing the architectural design with which he was familiar. Holding assumes that because houses in AD 70 had flat roofs on which people lived and worked, this somehow proves that the passage quoted above was predicting events that would happen in AD 70. This seems to be his argument." No, actually, it isn't, exactly, and X is gumming his foot yet again. My argument here is a response to the dispensational idea that these verses reflect events yet in our future. Obviously flat roofs remained used in Palestine for a considerable period thereafter, and are even found in some places today in the Arab world, but the reply is in the context of a "70 versus our future" choice, not a "70 versus any other time at all" choice. My dispy friends wouldn't care for a 90 or a 135 date and I am answering THEIR objections, not X's, who apparently thinks he is the center of the world and that all objections revolve around him.

  • I noted, "as N. T. Wright notes, quoting Caird, the advice here is "more useful to a refugee from military invasion than to a man caught unawares by the last trumpet" [Wr. JVG, 359]." X plays his usual hide-in-the-grass game of pretending he can just say "nuh uh" to real scholars, but he doesn't actually bother to answer Caird's point. Which is a good sign that he can't, because this is one of X's typical evasion procedures.
  • I noted that the passage above contains allusions to Zeke 7:12-16 and 1 Macc. 2:28. X quotes these passages as though he were unveiling Saddam Hussein's poison gas factory, and makes these claims. First, he says, "Holding could just as well have cited many other Old Testament texts, like Isaiah 30:16, or Jeremiah 4:27ff; 6:1ff and said that Matthew 24:16ff 'alluded' to these, because prophetic rantings that used the imagery of fleeing from invaders are as common as dirt in the Old Testament." Funny if they are as common as dirt, X could only name three more that he hypocritically fails to quote. Second, X wants to know "So what? What would it prove except that 'Matthew' had used a familiar image of people under siege fleeing from the superior forces of their invaders." The "so what" is linked with what Caird said, which X can't deal with: the advice makes no sense if this is REALLY the world coming to an end. If the stars actually do fall, if the whole world is about to go kaplooey, why on earth is the advice to flee to the hills? Will the hills have a special kaplooey-proof force field around them? X isn't even understanding the issue at hand -- or more likely, he does understand it, and is trying to buy time with another one of his classic evasive maneuvers.
  • X issues yet another challenge (#47,865 now) to debate Gospel dates, accompanied by an extended discourse on how a late date fits into his paradigm and which does not address a word we have said. I have such a challenge up already. He hasn't noticed. He can look here to see what dark future awaits him if he challenges me on this matter. As if he ever intended to actually get into such a debate in the first place and could do any better than the old "that was published in Grand Rapids" canard.
  • When X finally gets back to addressing what we say, he once more disses Wright without actually addressing his point, which he apparently does not understand. The point is that the allusion to Maccabees, and the flight of Matthias and his sons to the hills, "as the necessary prelude to their eventual victory... and the establishment of their royal house" is that this is alluded to as a type of Jesus' ascension to the throne in heaven, in spite of the need for his people to flee to the hills. X blatters that the Maccs had "short-lived" success but none of this erases that they did establish a royal house. X is still not addressing the points at hand.
  • Next up, ways for the Christians to leave the city, per the instruction, despite all the armies all over. X here quotes Josephus on surrendering persons and Cestius as though he were unveiling some Top Secret File, but since he has no answer that shows me to be wrong, resorts to the old "retrospective prophecy" canard which isn't even the issue at hand. The issue is whether it was fulfilled in events of 70 -- whether written/recorded BEFORE or AFTER is a separate issue. Just another case of X trying to scratch out any brownie point he can when the argument he IS engaged in doesn't make him smell good.
  • X had brought up the standard canard that "such as had not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be" is not an appropos comment compared to i.e., Hiroshima and Nagasaki. He is right -- we do point out idioms and such that affect the meaning, and X is as unable to deal with it as he has in past cases.
  • Next up, X apparently can't understand why Luke's "translation" of Mark and Matthew's extreme language, "great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be," into, "And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled," amounts to not a negation actually, but an interpretation of their words. It's very simple, X, and we said it clearly. "...Luke anticipated a fulfillment in terms of Jerusalem only--the final Diaspora, and the trodding down of Jerusalem by the Gentiles." He did not expect as LITERAL "this is really really really worse than anything that will ever happen" scenario. Why? Because unlike X, Luke was not a benighted fundaliteralist who did not recognize the extremes of Semitic language. X responds by whinnying back to his material we have already addressed previously and once again playing the irrelevant-in-context "retrospective prophecy" card. No need to bore the reader with repetition just because X sees a need to do so to keep his thralls in line.

    We also made the point that Matt and Mark's language is taken from OT precursors about the destruction of Jerusalem. Oddly enough X nearly gets the point here: "Prophets of this time could think only in terms of excess. Every calamity that they ranted about was going to be the worst that had ever happened and ever would happen..." YES. Thank you! X finally sees what we have been saying all along, what Caird said about the Semitic cast of mind. That's one part success. The other part is not being so provincial as to read such statements with Western literalism attached, and regrettably, that's a lesson X still won't learn, as he now complains of Ezekiel therefore being in contradiction to events in 70 AD, and of Joel, and bigotedly refers the natural excess of Semitic language in terms of lacking critical thinking skills! X will never learn and he will never lose that white sheet he wears! (As an aside, X fluffs over the idea of Daniel alluding to Ezekiel and Joel and throws in the canard about a late date for Daniel, which is a concept he can bang his head against here when he has satisfied the other 876,945 challenges he has carelessly thrown out. He also suggests that it was not a direct allusion to Joel, but to a common motif, which is just as supportive of our point as the other.)

    A signal of the metaphor behind this extreme language I noted was that Josephus used the same language of 70. X complains of a lack of a cite from Joe, issues yet another one of his 987,832,937 never-intended-to-be-done challenges on our Daniel eschatology article, reminds his thralls of a lack of links which isn't the case, and that is what he thinks constitutes an answer from the La-Z-Boy.

  • X hypothesizes that I skipped Matthew 24:22-26 not because it was a mere repeat of what was said before, but for some other Chemical Weapons motive. He apparently thinks I wanted to make sure no one remembered that I was, in his view, wrong before about false Christs. We'll say in reply that X is paranoid, and is losing so badly that he needs to repeat himself constantly to keep his loyal denizens from defecting. See how easy it is?

    One noteworthy point is that X thinks that Jesus' warning about false Christs in inner rooms and the desert "show that Jesus was telling his disciples that his return would be an actual physical coming and not this mystical, 'figurative' coming that Holding and his preterist cohorts talk about." Nice attempt at spin-doctoring, but the opposite is true. If anything this is just as well a warning that such mundane Christs are an example of what NOT to expect and that it is a sign of a fake if they are campaigning from inner rooms or deserts. Nice try, though. (And yes -- Jesus DID tell his disciples what kind of coming it would really be, and that's what this debate is all about.)

  • On the verse, "For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be," x supposes we have a sign here of a literal and physical sky-coming, for the lightning is said to "shine" and is this visible. X even quotes to his usual non-effect a group of translations that use this word. And, what? The element of the lightning in view is not visibility but unexpectedness. If Jesus was using this simply to say that his coming would be physically visible, then the use of lightning as a simile is pointless. Indeed the "east to west" reference to speed of lightning points to unexpectedness as the point of the simile. X later rejects this, saying he has proven otherwise, but he has not -- his "visibility" simile is senseless within the warning context of the discourse. It follows the warning not to be deceived by the false Christs in the inner rooms and in the desert and is clearly intended as a counterpoint to THEIR visibility and their way of doing things. The corresponding point is that the true parousia will be, unlike these false Messiahs, something not obvious to the eye, something that does not involve the process of easy identification -- as would be the case with lightning running quickly across the sky. Other than that X alludes to the same old same olds about "tribes" and "earth" and the meaning of those words in context, which we have already discussed.
  • On the "no flesh will be saved" point, I noted that this phrase hearkens to Jer. 12:12, "The spoilers are come upon all high places through the wilderness: for the sword of the LORD shall devour from the one end of the land even to the other end of the land: no flesh shall have peace," so that the whole world is obviously not in view when Jesus uses these words, nor is the whole human race as dispys say. X actually goes along with this one, only stopping to remind his gullible readers for the 876,839,282nd time that he thinks it was all written after the fact.
  • X is metaphorically impaired, so he does not see "lightning" alluded to in Deut. 33:2: "Yahweh came from Sinai, and dawned on them from Seir; He shone forth from Mount Paran, and He came with ten thousands of saints; from His right hand came a fiery law for them." Rather than me misrepresenting a source, this is X having his usual social-literary disorder. X also thinks I mean to say that this means that the lightning indicates a physical manifestation. That is not the case. The lightning accompanied acts of God and was not part of His "presence" at all. It is a sign-metaphor, not a tool of manifestation as X is trying to make it out to be.

    Other than this X hauls out verses where lightning conveys the idea of visibility. This is would have to do, since lightning does tend to be a visual phenomenon. Rather than helping himself, X is only proving my own point about the simile being useless if "visibility" was what was intended to be communicated about the parousia. (Verses that use the "east to west" figure to stress completeness and universality are no less useful to me, for preterism holds that the parousia signified the universality and completeness of the Son of Man's reign.)

  • We now get to the meaning of parousia. After stamping his feet impatiently for the crowd about my point that only Matthew uses it -- without waiting for any explanation, and filling in his own dreary commentary that says nothing at all to anything I argue -- we get to where I note, "Where Matthew uses parousia, Mark and Luke use a different Greek word, erchomai." For this X harks back to his former kosmos/oikoumene canard, already addressed though he is patently unaware of it, being behind far enough as it is. His point however is to suggest that parousia and erchomai are "basically synonyms" but that is not at all the case, as we clearly showed. Parousia has a much narrow scope of meaning. X apparently thinks ythe concept of "divine inspiration" somehow forces the words, when used in the Bible, to have collapsible meanings, but that is a fancy of his own fundaliteralist viewpoint -- not known or evidenced in ancient works. We have discussed this issue here and will not go over the same ground simply because X wants to repeat himself endlessly. X is also apparently unaware that all his questions have been answered -- because he's still laboring at his own pace, unaware that his arguments have already been rendered old and moldy by time and reply. That's a shame. Isn't it?
  • I specially described the difference in the use of the words parousia and erchomai: Erchomai is used over 600 times in the NT, and has a broader connotation of arrival or movement (Matt. 2:2 Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.) It lacks the "advent" aspect of parousia, and can mean either "coming" or "going" [Wr.JVG, 361-for example, John 8:59, "Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by"; "going through" is dierchomai.]. After a pointless whine about what dierchomai means broken down into constituent parts -- not one whit of which is relevant in this context to the point I am making, and is therefore just distractive fluff X uses to make his thralls think he is actually accomplishing something -- we get to a place where X quoted his old BAGD lexicon as saying of erchomai:
    Freq[uently] the coming has rather the sense appear, make an appearance, come before the public. So esp[ecially] of the Messiah Lk 3:16; J 4:25; 7:27, 31....

    X hoists his own Fruit of the Looms in triumph, saying that "these lexicographers give erchomai, when used in reference to the appearance of the Messiah, essentially the same meaning that they give for parousia when it was used in reference to the coming or presence of Jesus". Unfortunately poor X is mixed up because 1) he has not reached what we have argued Jesus' parousia is all about -- we say that Jesus IS making an appearance, in heaven's throne room; 2) my point in noting what I did about erchomai and parousia is not that they have any differing meaning per se (though they clearly did have different typical usages, and the verses BAGD cites do have the connotation of an "advent" that makes the difference, and obviously a parousia is a "subset" of the semantic range of erchomai, a point which X also thinks we don't hold to, and wastes time proving!), and that, as I GO ON TO SAY, say nothing about the means or process of "arrival" or of the direction, the destination, or whether from the sky or however -- only parousia hints that it involves an accession of power; but the nature of the "coming" is to be determined by further context. X is therefore wasting yet more space and time arguing against something I do not even say -- and this proves yet again that he is justly regarded by us as a rant in need of an editor. And in that light, all the time and space he wastes on this argument of his against nothing we say, we summarily edit.

    When X finally DOES get to where I note this, it is like cotton in his ears as he just refers back to his arguments in an earlier section, which we have already addressed and of which he is too far behind to be aware.

  • In the next section X pulls out a load of fluff that we have already seen come from the hands of Stevie Carr, his little cohort. See this thread, which shows Carr with the same confusion X now has between exaltation and position at the right hand of God and assumption of the throne of the Son of Man. Issues related to Paul's eschatology are dealt with here but X has about 7,928,938,283 other challenges he threw out to meet before he'll get to it. (No, X, I don't say it was "all figurative.")
  • On Acts 1:9-11, X hearkens over to Matthew 24:30 and paralle passages (which he has yet to get to in our explanation, other than the earlier fit and start), Rev. 1:7 (same basic answer), and 1 Thess. 4:13 (see that link above). I noted that "come" is erchomai, a word that can mean "coming" or "going," and that the angelic messengers therefore refer to the "going" of Jesus to the throne of God as the ascended Son of Man in Daniel 7. After a free psychological counseling session, X rejects this on the count that:
    If Holding's spin on Acts 1:11 is correct, then that would make the passage mean that the disciples, who were watching Jesus go into heaven on a cloud would someday see him go into heaven in like manner as they had just seen him go into heaven.

    It does? Unfortunately for X, Acts 1:9-11 says no such thing. The angels say zero about any commonality between what the disciples were straining after, their mode there, and what they could or would or would not or could not see when Jesus "comes" for the next event. X also seems to think there is some issue in that "there is no passage in the New Testament that indicates that Jesus will ever actually return to earth." I don't think he will or did, and preterism doesn't think so either. So what's X on about? It seems to be out of confusion on what I mean when I explain Acts 1:9-11, but given X's inability to even keep track of when I have argued what, or the fulfillment of my links promise, who knows what has entered his head this time?

  • X also seems to want to dispute that erchomai can mean "going" as well as "coming" and once more calls on his dinosaur-print lexicon from 1960. He admits that AG allows for a "go" meaning, and scratching for some point notes that this is so rendered in "popular versions" which doesn't answer dip, as if saying "popular versions" were some garlic clove to ward off the linguistic vampire. X mumbles about how he thinks I don't "examine lexicographic evidence" but the point is moot, since he admits that the word does have the ability to carry a "go" meaning, just as Wright said, and as X admits, it depends on perspective. Well, that perspective is established in Acts 1:9-11 by the clear allusion to the Dan. 7 Son of Man "going" to heaven from earth. End of story. End of Part whatever, other than X issuing yet another gratuitous challenge he'll never engage, to argue whether Daniel "meant for his readers to understand that this was Jesus..." Actually whether Daniel did or not is contextually irrelevant. Even if not, Jesus clearly wanted people to understand that he was the Son of Man in Daniel 7, and that is all that matters.

    Part 5 of Skeptic X's latest wheeze on preterism begins with what would most charitably called a case of spin and/or X's typical lack of reading comprehension, or at worst would be an outright lie. X encourages his gullibles to check out a skein on TWeb where he alleges Stevie "Ancient People Were Too Stupid Too Block a River" Carr won the day against moi on a certain preterist issues, that of that "Josephus thought that the Romans had fulfilled Daniel's prophecy about the 'abomination of desolation.'" That's not quite the subject; Carr does not dispute that Josephus thought this, but the issue was more Josephus did not specifically mention a "standing" abomination as Jesus did. Carr, unlike X, did find that quote from Antiquities 10. X encourages gullibles to check the thread here, as indeed I do, and not just post 11, which is all X wants his gullibles to read. What you will see is:

    • Carr asking where the "standing abomination" is in Josephus, even though nothing was said about Josephus addressing that prediction of Jesus (!) but rather, we said that Josephus saw the Danielic prediction of desolation (CAUSED by the abomination) fulfilled in the Roman destruction.
    • You will see me pointing to the crowning of the false high priest as the likeliest candidate for the standing abomination in the Temple, predicted by Jesus.
    • You will see me correct Stevie for being confused on the subject, per above.
    • You will see Stevie ask rhetorically if the priest was a standing abomination (without disputing it) and still not getting the point about Josephus seeing the "desolation" of Daniel fulfilled, in spite of using the very word in Ant. 10, because Stevie does not see the word "abomination" in Ant. 10 and thinks it is necessary, in spite of Daniel and desolation being mentioned.
    • You will see Stevie corrected on this and on a misuse of a quote from my article.
    • You will see Stevie still provide no answer to the note of the priest's crowning, and still not get how Josephus supports the preterist position, because he does not understand how it helps to have the Josephan understanding of the "desolation" matching what Jesus said when the "abomination" part doesn't.
    • You will see Stevie failing to understand that Jesus and Josephus had differing points of view of what constituted the most significant abomination.
    • You will see two other TWeb members "get it", while Stevie remains dense to the point.
    • You will see Stevie ask what the standing abomination was, in spite of having already been told.
    • You will see me refuse to answer what has already been answered.
    • You will see Stevie repeat himself.
    • And after that, it becomes academic as the two other members try to make it clear to Stevie, and fail to do so, not for lack of effort.

    This then is what X and his clown brigade think of as "soundly refuting" and "critical thinking". Live and learn.

    Back to the article at hand, we get to where I noted the Lukan parallel to Matt. 24:27. X blithely asks how Luke 17:24 can be a parallel to Matt. 24:27, even if outside Luke's version of the Olivet Discourse. X has a hard time, apparently, seeing these two verses as parallel:

    Matthew 24:27 For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
    Luke 17:24 For as the lightning, that lighteneth out of the one part under heaven, shineth unto the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in his day.

    Hard to figure, isn't it? X whinges a while about how this is part of Jesus' teaching in Luke before everyone got to Jerusalem, but yo, X, ya'll am still in that fundy freeloader mode. It's one of two things: Jesus, like any teacher, taught the same thing more than once, indeed several times; or, Matthew is using his editorial freedom as an ancient writer to collect all of Jesus' teachings on particular subjects in one place. Either way and regardless of when or to whom it was spoken -- an issue X babbles about for several lines, irrelevantly -- these are obviously parallel verses expressing the same idea in different verbiage. The oddity of it is that X eventually admits that yes, he thinks Luke did intend here to use the same words that were from the Olivet Discourse, so after all of his whining and complaining and asking "why is this a parallel" he ends up agreeing with what I said. Some folks are just addicted to hearing themselves talk endlessly about nothing.

    But after a baseless charge that I would be inconsistent if the words were different (if they were different enough, that would be evidence that they were not parallels! ), and after a spin-shot claiming the parallel does nothing to help me case (said even before X gets to my case!), we get to where I noted based on this parallel that Luke equates the "day" of the Son of Man with Matthew's "coming" of the Son of Man. X clubs himself with a mace and says he sees a "big problem" because:

    He has said that Matthew's "coming" [parousia] of the son of man was very visible.  In a feeble attempt to answer my first replies to him on the preterist issue...

    No need to go further, because all X does is repeat his same old argument refuted here, after the first hard return line. You see, X is so far behind that he doesn't know when arguments he reuses have already been addressed and refuted; he simply reuses them over and over again, oblivious. Beyond that X quotes:

    Luke 17:20  Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, "The kingdom of God does not come with observation; 21 nor will they say, 'See here!' or 'See there!' For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you."

    X is again behind the times, as he has yet to deal with our article here showing that the KoG was an internal, ideological kingdom and that it is related to, but not identical with, the parousia and the day of the Lord. This is inevitably what happens when you ram forward like George Custer without studying your opposition's position: You get scalped. X also fails to recall that a parousia for a king is not necessarily to establish a reign, but to visit subjects; as I said clearly, Prior to the NT and into the second century, the word was used "for the arrival of a ruler, king or emperor." It is used for example of a special visit by Nero to Corinth, when coins were cast in honor of his visit. Note that Nero was not coming to establish a kingdom or begin a realm, as X seems to think the word limits this to when understood as an advent. X is confused because he continues to think that the preterist position is one that means that 70 AD marked the beginning of the KoG and that it corresponds with the military action in Jerusalem in a one to one correspondence. It does not, as the latest article (linked above) makes clear. It is not the KoG that will be visible and painfully obvious; X needs to read closely: It is the advent of the KoG, the results, that will be. X has confused the KoG with the advent of the KoG in the parousia of Christ. It is like failing to see a difference between a cause and an effect.

    And so, we bypass where X confusedly remains unable to see this distinction, and between a "reign" and an "advent" (again, did Nero go to Corinth to reign?) ironically boasting of knowing the Bible well as he fails to even understand a simple distinction in English. Note that we have addressed above his claim that the lightning imagery was meant to convery visibility, by showing that it actually connotes unexpectedness.

    Skeptic X is no reader; though I gave a clear link to my essay explaining what "day of the Lord" meant, X claims I "didn't even attempt to support" this claim in spite of a link to the very article that supports it. He then rambles on with his own analysis of the phrase as used in the New Testament alone and with no checking of OT precursors and uses of the phrase. That being so, X wastes time yet again addressing incomplete arguments. He also hauls in passages from Paul which was addressed here and repeats his arguments about the Thessalonians being too far away refuted here and which he still hasn't noticed. The old switcheroo again.

    One new passage X brings to the fore is 2 Corinthians 1:13-14:

    For we are not writing any other things to you than what you read or understand. Now I trust you will understand, even to the end (as also you have understood us in part), that we are your boast as you also are ours, in the day of the Lord Jesus.

    X thinks that this is a "parallel" to 1 Thess. 2:19, even as he didn't see one above between Matthew and Luke. This is again a point partly requiring response from our article on Paul linked above, which X still hasn't gotten to, and never will. But in the main, X is again mixing events when he claims, "the Corinthian Christians could not have given Paul an occasion to boast when Jerusalem was destroyed." It's not the destruction of the city that is in view here. It is indeed final judgment in view. But as we noted in that article which X just blithely walked past, "the day of the Lord" is not a static phrase referring to just one event. It is used of final judgment, but also of times of singular judgment on cities. Put it this way: 70 AD could be called a "day of the Lord" under the latter rubric; the final judgment is also a "day of the Lord" and there is no the day of the Lord. Note as well when X quotes this:

    1 Corinthians 1:4-8 I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given to you by Christ Jesus, that you were enriched in everything by Him in all utterance and all knowledge, even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you, so that you come short in no gift, eagerly waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will also confirm you to the end, that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    ...he defeats himself unwittingly. How so? Note that after the "revelation" (which preterists see as the parousia in 70) it is said that Jesus will "confirm you to the end" -- if the "revelation" and the "end" and the "day" are all at the same time, what on earth would the "also" mean? So this passage is saying: I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given to you by Christ Jesus, that you were enriched in everything by Him in all utterance and all knowledge, even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you, so that you come short in no gift, eagerly waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ (in 70 AD, when his enthronement on heaven is proven by events on earth), who will also confirm you to the end (final judgment), that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ (when all enemies will be destroyed at final judgment). X's confusion about the "day of the Lord" here (and in 1 Cor. 5:3-5, Phil. 1:3, 30, and 1 Thess. 5:1) comes of his failure to read the two articles we have linked above. If he had stuck with commenting on the Olivet Discourse as he was supposed to have, rather than ranging around like an elephant with a blindfold, he would not find himself in this embarrassing predicament. To sum up: As there have been several "days of the Lord" in the OT, including one that portended final judgment for all men, so the NT speaks of at least two -- one preterists saw fulfilled in 70, the other yet to come. X thinks there is only ONE "day of the Lord" because he hasn't even bothered to consdier prior OT usage of the phrase to refer to ANY time of judgment by God.

    Next up, X plays the ignoramus. We noted that Matt. 24:28, "For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together," alludes to Jeremiah 7:33, "And the carcases of this people shall be meat for the fowls of the heaven, and for the beasts of the earth; and none shall fray them away." X whinges with a doofy "how do you know this is an allusion" question, in spite of seeing the clear commonality of "scavenging birds eating dead carcasses". What? That's not enough? No, because X claims that such imagery "was not at all uncommon in the Bible." As uncommon as it is, though, all such cites he digs up otherwise amount to a total of 5; three from Jeremiah refer to the same event as Jer. 7:33, thus only verifying the nature of the allusion as a restricted judgment on Jerusalem; one from Ezekiel is in reference to Egypt only (!) which would hardly make sense as an allusion by Jesus here, and nor would 1 Sam. 17:44 where Goliath says he will give David's "flesh" (not "carcass" or "corpse") to the birds of the air (hardly sensible as an allusion here, since it is not a picture of divine judgment). In other words, X just went out looking for any reference to birds and corpses without any concern for whether it would serve as a contextual allusion in Jesus' statement -- and then only proved my point by finding three out of five that came from the same writer, saying the same thing. This is X's way of saying, "I have no actual answer, so I'll just flop a fish on the counter." In any event X doesn't "get" how this aids the preterist position, even though it was explained clearly. We'll try again, in short bursts:

    1. Jesus took a figure from an oracle of judgment on Jerusalem and Judah alone.
    2. Therefore, it is evident that his own oracle was ALSO on the same area. Not "round the world" as dispys say.

    Was that too hard? X doesn't seem to get it, and thinks it's just a matter of trying to impress readers. That's what projecting your own ego will get you. As it will this closing comment, against where I noted that this verse "fits both a dispensational and a preterist scenario." If so, the oblivious X asks, "why wag it in?" Ever the narrow thinker and decontextualizer, X has no concept of a systematic exegesis of the whole discourse. If I had skipped this verse and not "wagged it in" he'd be whining and complaining and kicking on the floor claiming I was hiding something by not mentioning it. In closing, we see a final example of how X is as dense as his compatriot Carr:

    Holding:Most commentators regardless of orientation would render "eagles" as vultures, though the word, aetos, seems to refer to any big bird and elsewhere would suggest an eagle (Rev. 4:7, 12:14). Perhaps both are in mind--with the Roman eagle (it's national symbol, like ours) doing double duty as a scavenger over the dead.
    Skeptic X:
    I have just one comment to make here.  So what?  If Matthew had vultures in mind instead of eagles, how would that prove anything about the preterist position?

    Simple answer for Simon: It would still be an image alluding to Jeremiah as above. And that's the scrum for this round.

    Now for part 6, after a few years. Let's get right to it.

  • We cited parallel passages in Ezekiel, Isaiah, Amos, etc. to show that stellar images were used regularly of governmental powers. Having no recourse to deal with this in terms of certified scholarship, X merely pulls from his dusty grab-bag the old "trying to prove biblical inerrancy by assuming inerrancy" line that serves well to dazzle his gullible legions. Not that it occurs to him that his own answer "tries to prove biblical errancy by assuming biblical errancy"; nor that it would ever enter his poor brain to visualize himself hoist on his own petard. We take the "figurative route" not because what is "clearly said" (to a pathological literalist, not a student of Biblical literature) was not fulfilled, but because it makes better sense of the literary and historical context of the passage. Despite X, we have repeatedly explained what these figures of speech meant: governmental units being overthrown. If X wants to know "how do we know it was figurative," he is obliged to explain how ANY figure of speech or metaphor is so identified, and then in turn show why my explanation does not work under that rubric. So far his only criteria ever stated has been, "I know this is a figure of speech because the literal way would be absurd." And we have taken this as one reason, and his response has been a petulant, "The ancients were so stupid that they thought the sun could go dark and stars could fall." Yet even if true, this would not even prove a literal reading; for we could say metaphorically that I am about to "knock Skeptic X on his rear end", and though this is a literal possibility, my goal would obviously not be specifically to ensure that X's rear end hit the floor. The constant blather that I "must show us, not just tell us" is the recourse of an ignoramus short on actual answers.

    So to answer X's Stupid Skeptic questions:

    • Did Isaiah mean here that the conquerers of Babylon would "enter the gates of the nobles," or did he perhaps mean that they would climb over the walls and that this was just an "apocalyptic" way of saying that they were entering through the gates of the nobles? Inquiring minds want to know. When X finds such a mind, we hopes he uses it. But in fact, "gates" are likely a metaphor for security, and thus mean more than simply the particular gates of the nobles; it would also mean that Babylon would knock down the defenses protecting the nobles.
    • Did Yahweh mean here that he had actually commanded his "consecrated ones," or did he just mean that he had figuratively done this, perhaps just suggested to them. It is clearly a figure of speech, as if YHWH were indeed giving personal instructions like some sort of Holy Dictation Device. The literal meaning is that YHWH ordered and ordained events to cause the "consecrated ones" to do what He required for conquest.
    • Did this mean that nations were literally gathering together, or did Yahweh mean that the nations would just stay at home and perhaps scare Babylon to death by uttering threats? Only the ignorance of Skeptic X could wrest such a meaning from any text -- perhaps this is standard Church of Christ "hermenootics" in action; but practically, it need mean no more than it literally says.
    • Were these warriors that Yahweh was mustering going to come from a "distant land," or would they come from just somewhere over the hill? Has X actually found another work where "distant land" is a metaphor for "just over the hill"? I'd like to know before I answer. Intelligent minds want to know.

    Excuse me. Hyper the Literalist is on the line and would like to ask X some questions about his next paragraph. I'll quote X first:

    When figurative language is used it a text, it is usually very easy to recognize, because literal interpretation of figurative language will almost always result in absurd meanings. Hearts do not literally melt when people are seized with fear; hence, we can know that Isaiah intended a figurative meaning here probably related to the ancient belief that courage came from the heart.

    Yes, Hyper, what is your comment?

    "Yeah, X is giving in to fundy rhetoric again. He needs to go back out on the political campaign trail. He knows darned well that ancient people were medically ignorant; they used dung to treat diseases, for Pete's sake! There is no reason to believe that people living in prescientific times would not have believed that the heart could melt. So how does he know that this passage does not mean that Isaiah LITERALLY thought that people's hearts would melt if they got scared enough??? Did they do autopsies? Come on! He hasn't shown that the word is a metaphor; he's just asserted it."

    Er, yes. Thank you, Hyper. In the meantime, X is no more able to see that phrases like "cover the heavens" and "cover the sun with a cloud" are just as much understood as metaphors for the disruption of political entities. Why not? Well, again, let's say, "I will knock Skeptic X on his rear end." I am sure that someone reading this has experienced this, and some of them, like Skeptic X, many times. Rear ends are fallen down upon, because they are the location upon which when we fall backwards, our center of gravity drags us. So why would X think that this was a figurative threat when I even included an explanation of how the falling on his rear end would occur?

    Well, so much for that lesson. In light of this sort of death blow to X, and that nothing he says is of merit anyway, we will withhold further comment on replying to his "Isaiah questions" until he explains to us why I am not saying I am out to literally and simply make him fall back on his rear end. And besides, given that he is already light years behind on responses to innumerable issues (Land Promise, Abiathar, etc.), who really cares other than his hypnotized flock? A real scholar would consult a range of commentaries; but that is as far beyond X as constructing a hydrogen bomb in his garage.

  • X never learns new tricks, it seems: Once again from the grab-bag of moldy tricks comes this dead red herring:

    The reference here is to Gary DeMar's Last Days of Madness. DeMar is a preterist, so does Holding seriously expect us to be impressed with preterist spins that a preterist puts on second-coming passages? Would Holding be impressed with dispensationalist spins that a dispensationalist would put on the same passage? Would he be impressed with a Catholic who cited Catholic literature in order to defend the doctrine of papal infallibility?

    Would I? No. But I wouldn't care either. I would not be such a fool as to make an issue of X's own comments being from an "atheist" and ask Christian readers if they'd be impressed by it. I don't care -- for the 135,675th time since we ever encountered X in the Stone Age -- whether the source is a pro-choice, homosexual, lifetime NRA member with a sinus condition. Only the weak of mind even bother to make a point of the origins of an argument, and Skeptic X has been doing this for years, and has never improved. (Nor has he ever realized that his old wet socks have been wrung out already: See here for an answer -- made long ago -- to his repated use of the "Philo Judeaus" security blanket.)

  • It's time to face the music with the verses we cited where stellar symbols were used to represent persons or government entities. The first of these, from Gen. 22:17 and 26:4, and a couple of others, X is compelled to twist himself in knots to deny:

    In both of these passages, the writers were simply using similes to give Abraham some idea of how numerous descendants would become, but there is nothing to indicate that the writer intended the stars to represent or symbolize Abraham's descendants. The simile was merely a literary device intended to give an idea of how numerous he thought that Abraham's descendants would become. He certainly didn't intend the stars to symbolize those descendants, anymore than I would intend a rabbit to symbolize John Doe if I should say that Doe runs like a rabbit.

    Too bad, but X let the horse out of the barn once he admitted that yes, the stars were used as a simile indicating how numerous Abraham's descendants would become. In other words, the stars numerically represent and symbolize Abraham's descendants. And it doesn't get any better as we go on for X; it gets worse, as the contortions increase to hyperlight speed. Next up Is. 14, of which X the wool-sack muttereth:

    Here the king of Babylon was call "the Day Star," so this is obviously a metaphor. This is a figure of speech that is easily recognized, because literal interpretations of metaphors will always result in absurd interpretations.

    Well, we say -- er, pardon, Hyper is on the line again. Yes, Hyper?

    "You know, X is getting really lucid in his dotage. How does he know that ancient people were not stupid enough to think that stars were people? Hey, the believed that idols made of rock and wood could be inhabited by gods, those superstitious idiots, so why not also stars?"

    OK, Hyper, then how about his claim that Psalm 18:2, which says "Yahweh is my rock [and] my fortress," has what "are obviously metaphors, because a literal interpretation would mean that the psalmist was saying that Yahweh was an entity made of minerals"?

    "What a nincompoop. That fits right in with my point: People believed in stone idols, so why not say they believed Yahweh the baby-killer could become a rock or even a fortress? He's omnipotent, right? So to quote X on the matter, 'Why couldn't an omni-max god transform himself into a rock or even a fortress'? And he's no better on claiming that beats in Daniel 7 are obvious metaphors. Heck, these are people who believed in animals like unicorns, gryphons, and leprechauns. Even Pliny the Elder believed that there were people with heads of dogs. So why can't they have also believed in real beasts that had ten eyes and ten horns?"

    Thank you again, Hyper. I think.

  • Now for Gen. 37:9; X admits yet again that yes, "heavenly bodies, the sun, moon, and stars, symbolized people," but quickly tries to escape this crushing blow by saying not that this can't also show that nations can be symbolized the same way, but that we "should be prepared to identify what people or nations or entities they identified." We already did, in the very first article: the governing bodies of Israel; more precisely, the high priest, the Sanhedrin in Jesus' century, but in Isaiah's day, the royal household. This was said long ago. Has X forgotten in the interim of these past two years? It would not be surprising, since he claimed in the Land Promise debate that I "changed my position" and to prove it, quoted a paragraph from my FIRST essay.

    X repeats the "show what they mean" canard in the next few entries, as a way of sidestepping that they prove my point: That stellar objects were used as symbols for people and nations. Then:

  • To my point that The sun and moon are connected intimately with governing functions in Genesis (ruling over the day and night, X reports some cockeyed question, Let me see if I have this right, Genesis 1:18 says that God set the sun and moon "in the firmament of heaven" to "rule" over the day and night, and so this somehow proves that when Jesus said that the sun and moon would be darkened and the stars would fall from heaven at the time of his coming, he was using the names of these heavenly bodies only in a figurative sense. No, not even close, but X is free to try again. It should be amusing. Almost as amusing is the "answer" to my use of Is. 30:26, which doesn't even address the use of stellar symbols, but goes on some long-winded rant about how Biblical writers often used exaggerated language, which is one of the arguments I have always made. Maybe X needs to read the right article.
  • On it goes, with Witherington also accused of X's stock blatter when he has no answer; "He is trying to prove inerrancy by assuming inerrancy" -- though last I checked, Witherington was no such thing; nor was he a preterist, as X seems to think. Witherington is in fact doing exactly what X is doing when he tries to "figurativize" passages as noted above: He notes the absurdity of a literal meaning (among other things), and thus reaches a metaphorical conclusion. As our friend Hyper shows, it is just as easy to hoist X on his own petard with his nonsensical, "prove it, prove it" donkeys-bray. As for trying to do the same with "controversial passages in the Qur'an, the Book of Mormon, the Avesta, etc., etc., etc.," I wish X luck. He doesn't have much time to become a suitable expert in any of those texts, being that 72 years haven't given him expertise in the Bible yet either.
  • A long-winded section we shall ignore offers two main beefs: 1) against dispensationalism, which we don't care about; 2) against alleged NT misuse of the OT, which we yet again refer the reader here for, expecting that X will address that article sometime in 2074. And so ends all that is unique this round, which as usual, is not much. Stay tuned for another reply in 2007.

    And now, parts 7 and 8, as it seems X's health has permitted him to pursue his obsessions yet again. He starts with an allusion to his alleged, putative "arguments" against the book of Daniel, referencing issues we tore him to pieces on some years ago (with others) here and to which he will reply in 2086 with something more, though not much more, than the present summary sound bite uncritically lifted from Rowley. As it is, all of his blatter on Daniel is already down the tubes and answered in our article. This portion was obviously an excuse for X to dazzle his thralls with his own archives and impress the gullible by filling space

    So we are left with what is left, and that is not much for this portion. X offers the Stupid Skeptic Question, "How do we know that the Son of Man in Daniel 7 is Christ?" Obviously my preterism article was no place for a detailed account of this; in terms of that Jesus claimed to be this figure, we offer this huge article X will never touch, and in terms of actual proof, that gets into apologetics for the Resurrection and such,. X however does commit the usual Skeptical bonehead error of appealing to "son of man" passages in Ezekiel, which we have corrected here. No, X -- Ezekiel, Psalms, etc. do not refer to bar enash but bar adam, and Ezekiel contains no allusions to coming on clouds, and the soundbite from Eerdmans is negated by the detailed research in the second prior link (which also addresses the issue of there being no "article" before "son of man" and why it makes no difference). So much for X's simplstic, hayseed retorts. He's still far behind, and he gets further behind every time he opens his mouth to deliver another uneducated opinion.

    There's also blatter relevant to Daniel that is answered by my item applying preterism to that book, so X just earned himself a few more weeks of obsession with me, and wasted another ten dozen paragraphs arguing in ignorance of what has already been addressed, thus embarrasing himself to an even greater extent that before. That's what happens when you get too obsessed: Tunnel vision keeps you from looking as far as you need to. If X had done even one minute's worth of checking, he would have seen that preterists do not agree with dispys in putting Daniel's vision-fulfillment "into futures distant from the 2nd century BC". As it is X will embarrass himself time and time again by claiming that futurists and preterists do indeed agree on this point.

    X proves his irrelevance much in what follows, wasting time with his usual pull-string "argument" of checking whether authors are "fundamentalists" (or whatever) as a way of poisoning the well; he still has not learned that this same "argument" just as well poisons his own rhetoric, if we just say, "Well, that guy is an atheist." No doubt, like smoking or chewing tobacco, the bad habit is so ingrained, and X's thought processes so stultified, that it will never be abandoned. So likewise X returns again and again (like the proverbial dog to the proverbial vomit) to the "you didn't prove that Christ was the guy in Dan. 7:13" "argument", thus repeatedly embarrassing himself even more for not being aware of my material on that very point. He will also help himself save time if he realizes that an article on preterism is not meant to "prove that there will be a judgment by God on earth or any other place." This is another of X's tired tactics, of shifting the goalposts to issues beyond the obvious scope of the presentation.

    X wishes to dispute that the SoM scene in Daniel 7 takes place in heaven, rather than earth, and his reason for saying so -- strap yourself in -- is that:

    The scene in Daniel 7:13 was not a scene of the so-called "final judgment," but a judgment of the fourth beast, which was "slain" and "its body destroyed" and burned, so the "vision" makes no sense unless it meant that thrones were set up on earth, where the "Ancient of Days" would set in judgment of the fourth beast.

    How in the world this means the scene must be on earth is something best left figured by persons on LSD. Apparently metaphorical beasts can only appear on earth in X's fragile imagination.

    If X thinks we have not put our doctrinal house in order regarding the bare existence of God, we will send him the works of three leading theists -- Plantinga, Craig, and Swinburne -- for him to refute line by line. We are sure he will get done sometime in 2132.

    X embarrasses himself some more demanding an exegesis of Daniel from us that we ahve already done, which he would have known had he bothered to even glance at this site a moment (but why should he, when, hypocritically, he has still not fixed links to this site after 8 months?). And after this, comes Part 8, and we'll get to that faster than X can say, "When pigs fly."

    Part 8 (and last, of the current set, so we are told) of X's extended diatribe contains much rehashing and repeating of prior points in prior parts, which as yet, he seems not to know, we have already addressed and flattened. So as usual, we will cut the blater and get only to what is new.

    X brings himself to the fringe with hints that Jesus may not have existed, that the Gospels were written late, and that we can't know that Jesus said anything attributed to him. Well well. More assignments for X here and here. And as for knowing what people said, we'd like to know what X's epistemic method for determining who said what is for works like Livy, Josephus and Tacitus before we answer. That's assuming that this was an honest inquiry by X and not merely one of his rootin'-tootin' generalized distraction arguments that he's never actually thought through in process. Which is what we do think it is, since "how do you know" bleated over and over again is not the sort of epistemtic criteria we see used by professional historians.

    Donning his white sheet for fun and profit, X wonders why Jesus could not have simply said to Caiaphas, "When the temple is destroyed, I will be vindicated," for no other reason than that it would keep X from having to overcome his pathological literalism. The world was made to serve X and his presuppositions, you see. No more than that needs to be said, for the "argument" of X by itself is racist and ridiculous, demanding that ancient persons talk like fundaliteralist-atheist Americans.

    Grasping at the greasiest straw, X calls it "duplicitious" that I did not quote all of Matt. 19:28 to show that it was qualified with the prepositional phrase "of Israel." What was that again? I said that it was a place where "tribes" was used of the tribes of Israel, as X himself quotes me: Matthew uses "tribes" elsewhere only of Israel (19:18) -- I mistyped, it should be "28"). Does X need a CIA agent to help him through his paranoia, or an English teacher to helpo him understand basic language? If I say that it is used of Israel then doesn't this mean I am saying it is indeed "qualified"?

    The real question is: When will X respectfully and dutifully retire himself from the field, as he needs to, before he assaults his own dignity even further with such misplaced commentary, and with the implicit promulgation of such fringe ideas as the Christ myth?

    The real issue, however, is the meaning of "tribes" in the critical verse (as well as "land"), and X blatters ever on about "clear contextual markers" which show what tribes are meant, but that is taken care of in a prior section, and X only repeats himself, so no more need be said.

    X says of my comment, Hearken now back to the disciplesí original question. They want to know, in essence, when Jesus will assume the kingship, that:

    No, they actually asked Jesus two questions: (1) When will the temple be destroyed? (2) What will be the sign of your coming and the end of the world.?

    X still has not learned two things: 1) parousia refers to an assumption of kingship; 2) "world" means age. Otherwise he refers back to his old news yet again, so once again, off to seek what is new...

    Hilarity abounds as X comments on my point, "Herod rebuilt the temple as a sign of his kingship":

    Herod had been king for 27 years before he built the temple. His reign was characterized by many building projects. He constructed fortresses and rebuilt or remodeled cities like Samaria, Jerusalem, and Jericho, and he built impressive theaters and stadiums. The latter were offensive to his Jewish subjects, so he reconstructed the temple in Jerusalem apparently in an attempt to win the favor of his subjects. Holding is swallowing a camel when he tries to associate the recontruction of the temple with Herod's desire to leave a "sign of his kingship."

    I see. So when was it, then, that Solomon built a theater or a stadium as a sign of his kingship? X is oblivious to the fact that church and state, being so deeply intertwined in this era, meant that the building of a Temple was the way a king demonstrated supremacy. His question of Bar Kochba, "why wouldn't he have wanted to rebuild the temple in order to have a unifying symbol to rally his followers around?", is precisely the point. Kings...unity...building a temple. Maybe X will get the point by 2234. Beyond this, X remains oblivious to our point about the overlap of the two ages when he asks, "And individual believers existed before the destruction of the temple in AD 70, didn't they?" Not much more needs be said; X is still unable to grasp the basic difference between a ruler who is reigning, and a ruler who commits a parousia -- a formal enthronement. Maybe an analogy will help clear X's mind: When Pope John Paul II died, did his reign end when he actually died? Or did it end when the conclave destroyed the "fisherman's ring" with JP 2's seal on it? According to the Catholics, the latter is the case, as noted here:

    When a pope dies, the cardinal chamberlain or chancellor (camerlengo), accompanied by a large number of the high dignitaries of the Papal Court, comes into the room where the body lies; and the principal or great notary makes an attestation of the circumstance. Then the cardinal chamberlain calls out the name of the deceased pope three times, striking the body each time with a gold hammer; and as no response comes, the chief notary makes another attestation. After this, the cardinal chancellor demands the Fisherman's Ring, and certain ceremonies are performed over it; and then he strikes the ring with the golden hammer, and an officer destroys the figure of Peter by the use of a file. From this moment all the authority and acts of the late pope pass to the College or Conclave of Cardinals.

    X would have us believe that the Pope's authority passes on his death. Apparently he doesn't have any sort of grip on cultural variations in terms of ceremony. To make it clear: X has foolishly read me as saying that 70 AD is when Christ would begin to reign, when I in fact say this was when Christ would be formally enthroned -- just as the Pope's death was not when his authority passed, but when the Fisherman's ring was destroyed.

    (A reader posited an even more precise analogy, between the ascension of the Holy Roman Emperor and their coronation. Upon their election (or ascension if elected as King of the Romans prior to the death of the previous Emperor) they were officially the Emperor-elect until their coronation by the pope.)

    X's struggle for trivial pursuit kingship continues as he says:

    Holding said that John "often" used the word semeion to refer to the miracles of Jesus, but he actually used the word in this sense only nine times. If Holding thinks that this is "often," I won't quibble about it.

    Funny thing; X says he "won't quibble about it" even as he has just spent several lines doing exactly that. The question again needs to be, when will X graciously withdraw himself from public discourse as he needs to, rather than continuing to embarrass himself with such openly contradictory and closely-made professions?

    In any event, X wastes a great deal of time telling us that "signs must occur somewhere" and we have made it clear that we believe that the "sign of the Son of Man" does occur somewhere, that is, in Jerusalem, so what the purpose of this lecture was, other than for X to run his gator to impress the gullible, is far from clear.

    To answer X's next Stupid Skeptic Question: What if, for example, someone had said fifteen years ago that not one stone in the World Trade Center would be left standing upon another? Would the person who predicted this have been "vindicated" on September 11, 2001? Yes, they would -- if that were indeed the case; but the WTC is not made of "stones" piled on one another, so X is apparently architecturally out of touch as well as Biblically. The precision would indeed made a difference.

    Nothing new otherwise for a bit; X wonders why Christian literature of that time (presumably, patristic writings, but he does not say) is not filled with delight over the "redemption" -- though we assume X doesn't think that patristic authors were inerrant, and neither do we. I have priorly dealt with the "why" of Clement and Barnabas, etc. so X is "anxiously wait[ing] for Holding" to give him information that was given years ago while he was lagging behind.

    X then delivers a hayseed insult to Malina and Neyrey, apparently having forgotten the embarrassment he was given here -- in fact, he is evidently under the delusion that he won that exchange. In any event, X tries for another effort at snatching public humiliation from the jaws of obscurity by saying that the collective must not have mattered most at all, despite reams of cross-cultural scholarship that shows this to be the case, because -- hang on to your hat -- Yahweh ordered the deaths of 21 million Canaanites for the sake of about 3 million Israelites.

    Yes, X really IS that stupid.

    To begin, the actual number killed was very small (see here, which X will address, in detail, in 2315); but arguably it could be said that the massive displacement proves the same point. Furthermore, X is oblvious to the point that his "assumption" that "greater and mightier nations" means ONLY that they outpopulated Israel is itself ridiculous (I suppose X has no conception of the nations being "greater and mightier" in terms of, say, weapons technology, settlement advantage, or culture, a point that the Miller item shows to be valid). But let's give even the point that by X's fractured logic, if the Canaanites outnumbered the Israelites at all, that: the total destruction of the Midianites (Num. 31:18), the Canaanites, and the Amalekites was far from being "collectively" beneficial to the nations that were being wiped out. No duh. That's not the point. X is creating some idea of collectivism as beneficience for ALL people at ALL times; that is not what is said by anyone, anywhere. No, his absurd examples show that the collective of Israel was valued over another collective. Let X's fumbling through cultural concerns, versus the expertise of scholars like Malina and Neyrey, speak for itself.

    On the point that aggelos means a messenger, not necessarily a divine one, X diverts into a mindless diatribe on whether Malachi meant a human or divine messenger. It makes no difference to us, actually, since the NT clearly did take the meaning as that of a human, which is all we need to support our point. Otherwise X still needs a lesson in Jewish exegetical procedure of the first century, as provided here, which he will address in 2401. Otherwise X has no answer to the point about aggelos, even admitting it was used of human messengers, but not offering any dispute to my point at all other than, "there's no reason to think so" (coupled with vague professions of "false analogy" which are oblivious to the linguistic and thematic connections in the texts), which is a great, all-purpose and specific answer which we'll turn on X and ask him to rebut.

    X still hasn't caught up to out comments on Paul's eschatological statements. He'd be burning fewer strawmen if he did, but that would probably ruin his fun.

    In typical fundamentalist-atheist fashion, X's only reason to believe that Jesus, lamenting over Jerusalem, really did physically want to gather all the Israelites into one place, is, that there is no reason not to think that's what he meant. As above then, there is no reason not to think that X will be literally knocked on his rear end. Is there?

    For yet more embarrassment, X offers this summation:

    If we assume biblical inerrancy, which Holding does, of course, then Jesus made two speeches in which he referred to "eagles" or "vultures" being where the carcass is, so Holding cannot argue the meaning of a verse in Matthew 24 on the grounds of where Luke put a similar comment about a carcass in an entirely different speech.

    No, sorry, that's X's past pathological fundamentalism coming back to bite him on the rear end. X will find my own far more enlightened view of editorial freedom by the evangelists here where I critique those who hold the view he puts on me in ignorance. Other than this, X answers nothing directly, but merely plays the naturalist begged-question of prophecy witten after the fact and makes a vague comment about "distortion" based on his erroneous assumption about what I believe.

    Next up that is new, is Matthew 25; and here X can't seem to grasp that we DO agree that Matthew 25 depicts "final judgment"; but that this final judgment is an ongoing process, one that started in 70 and continues to this day, not a single event. Otherwise X repeats his prior canard that the destruction of Jerusalem was an event that would be easy to expect (already answered in our prior material, years ago).

    To DeMar's point that the bridegroom returned to the same people he left, X apparently forgot to read the words, "not necessarily" in my comments. We do not say that this "supports preterism" but that it is not a strike against it. When will X stop creating caricatures of arguments to support his inability to address actual arguments?

    X professes that passages like Jer. 33:14-22 can't apply to the church because, "verse 18 clearly said that the Levitical sacrificial system would last forever." As it happens, we agree that at least this one wasn't for the church. On the other hand, X still hasn't read works like Barr's Biblical Words for Time that show that 'olam means not "forever" but rather, "in perpetuity" -- and thus this means, that the sacrificial system was not meant to end, even if it did. On the other hand, we would agree that OT predictions of a Davidic reign were fulfilled in Christ, so we have let X know, and he can get back to us in 2456 when he is done with all of his other assignments.

    Back now to Matt. 25, and X pulls one of his usual shebangs, a charge of selective quotation (of Matt. 25, not him) but as usual, it's a case of X puffing the balloon up and then having all the air go back into his lungs, leaving him and not the balloon flying all over the room. Supposedly some pieces I left out make it easier to think that the "judgment" described here happened figuratively in AD 70. Of course that isn't even my position in the first place; it is, rather, that the judgment described was a process that started in 70 and continues to this day, and it is only chronologically coincident to the destruction of Jerusalem -- not identical with it, as X oddly seems to think in his patent confusion. X doesn't even know what it is he is supposed to be answering, and we agree rather that 2 Cor. 5:10 and Rom. 14:10 describes a literal process for each individual that began in 70 and continues to this day as people pass on to eternity.

    Thus as well, X's "coup de disgrace" fails, for I am again not referring to this scene as figurative in the senses he believes. The only "figurative" aspect I hold is the collective representation of sheep and goats, as speaking all at once. The judgment aspect before Christ I hold as real.

    With laughable irony, X twists Hebrews 9:27 in the same way that Mormons do to avoid the implications against their doctrine of postmortem evangelization, claiming, this verse does not say that one is judged upon death; it says that one is judged after death, but how long after death does this judgment come? In answer X then proceeds to confuse judgments as he has done before, and to which we offered an answer previously: Like Mormons, X confuses the decision of judgment with the enactment of judgment. See here under John 5:24 for a summation.

    And so ends all that is new, as well as X's fumbling discourse on preterism. X has still not learned anything new in the past nine years; he is still under the delusion that we would act as foolishly as he does, in saying such as, What they have to say on any biblical subject is about as convincing to nonbelievers as an essay on atheism would be to believers if it did nothing but quote what Dan Barker and other avowed atheists have said about the subject. It is true it would not be convincing to me, but that is because Barker is ignorant, not because he is an atheist. X's misplaced whinging about "reputable biblical scholars" hides his premise that one is only "reputable" if they agree with Skeptic X, and is nought but his excuse for not offering detailed engagement. It is high time X showed some integrity and retired himself from writing about these matters.

    Skeptic X is so far behind the 8 ball and so far discombobulated these days that he can't even figure out where he left off with a response to this series. Apparently too lost in his own mire to figure it out, he begins again with the start of THIS article, which is smaqque dabb (as the French would say) in the middle of a response to him. The end result is that X ends up making and repeating objections already answered (which is why he thinks some points are "unanswered" or "avoided" when they are not; his initial diatribe about oikoumene and kosmos being a case in point), such that it appears that X can't even get his socks on on the morning without detailed instructions. As usual of course we will not waste time with the blather, repetition, and hayseed -- as intelligent Skeptics have told us, X is not worth any detailed treatment -- and deal only with anything new -- which turns out not to be much, since by the time where X starts, he was already repeating himself in standard form for quite a while.

  • X cites Matt. 28:19 and says I will sure not say that "all the nations" in the "Great Commission" command meant only all the nations within the Roman Empire... No, I won't, because "nations" is an ethnic term, not a geographic one. Unlike oik there's no hard, indisputable evidence of how it is used for a limited space. Besides this, the word would hearken back inevitablty for the reader of the NT to the OT account of the origin of the nations in Genesis 10. Therefore, it would be immediately apparent that "nations" covered the range of all ethnic ingroups -- whereas no such help can be found for X for the oik word. The only call to limit "nations" would be if it were accompanied by a delimiter -- like the oik word, as in Matthew 24:14.
  • Though he admits ignorance of Star Trek, the expert in all things in X nevertheless sees fit to comment on our "God's Prime Directive" item with his usual displaced satire:
    His comments above are based on the assumption that "God" really did order the extermination of the Midianites and Amalekites, but what proof did he present to show that it is even remotely plausible to believe that when the Bible says that Yahweh ordered the Israelites to "utterly destroy" the Amalekites or to leave nothing alive to breathe in the Israelite sweep through Canaan (Deut. 20:16; Josh. 10:40; 11:11), there really was an omniscient, omnipotent deity issuing such orders.

    As usual, this is just X's typical flash and bang of screaming "PROVE IT!" until hoarse. X has never presented anything like a systematic epistemology for historical knowledge; his objection as formulated could just as well insert any other historical claim and be every bit as brilliant -- which is to say, it is not.

    I would bet that this "prime directive" would have prohibited the extermination of other races on a newly discovered planet so that another race could occupy their territory. When this prime directive is compared to the Yahwistic directives, they are seen to be totally different, because Yahweh's directive was to kill them all if they weren't Hebrews

    As usual, this too is fractured diatribe. Yes, the prime directive of ST did not prohibit such things; nevertheless, to inform X's ST-deprived mind, such was indeed considered an option with respect to a certain parasitic race called the Borg. As usual X mixes his modules and ends up confused: The issue he has baited and switched from non-interference of a specific sort to the justness of a judgment; and that topic, we have provided numerous links in the past for him to answer (to either this site or the ThinkTank) that he has either ignored or has fallen behind in getting to.

  • X repeats canards about ancient availablility of paper that have been answered already elsewhere (also, about inspiration); but otherwise let it speak for itself that he hoists the rather egomaniacal, self-centered argument that God ought to have anticipated his fussiness and graphocentrism, and thus provided extra paper for the ancients to write things down on. X is indeed deluded if he believes that such childish foot-stamping as his requires an "answer" of any kind.
  • Though still not aware of my extensive excursus on the oik-word that he has missed because he can't find his socks, X does ask another Stupid Skeptic Question:
    The preterist spin on Matthew 24:14 is that "the end" was the end of the Jewish system and not the end of the world, but the Jewish system for all intents and purposes was confined to Jerusalem and its immediate surrounding areas, so why would the gospel have to be preached in Spain, Britain, Germania, Gaul, and other provinces far removed from Jerusalem before the end of the Jewish system could come?

    One wonders why "have to be" is even a worthwhile question to ask, or why it is even thought to be an issue. But in any event simply shows his remarkable ignorance, yet again, of what the oik-word implies: It is of a family of words that carries the meaning of a household, or of a set ingroup; such was what the Roman Empire was viewed as by those who lived in it. To a person of this day, Spain was not "far removed" from Jerusalem in this sense; both were part of the same "household". It is thus very appropriate that Jesus set this mission field as a delimiter for when the end of the age would come.

  • To answer another Stupid Skeptic Question posed: No, I do not see a bit of chauvinistic arrogance in this that says in effect, "We are Americans, and everyone else isn't"? But perhaps I am not as paranoid as X is, or as hyperliteralist at any rate.
  • Yes, as a matter of fact, when I give lins I do expect everyone to take the time to read through it, especially if, like X, they are going to hurl elephants about such issues as Gospel dating with mere soundbites. That means the WHOLE article, not just bits of it as X would like to have it in his laziness. And if he can counter it, let him do so and get off his haunches, which again we expect to happen in 2039.
  • Paranoid excess indeed. I have asked if Paul's comment of the Romans' faith being spoken of in the kosmos really means, he thinks, "In offices of agriculture in Rome? In Columella's backyard?" and so on. And yes, as might be expected, that is indeed what X believes Paul is literally trying to say.

    Such is the illness of hyperfundamentalist atheism, and X has a terminal case. Since he replies no better, I will simply say that this is his desperate effort to prove an error in the Bible by ignoring the plainly hyperbolic language of the text. Well, so be it. We will insist indeed that if X says, "I always read the newspaper when I get up," he really is saying that he sits continuously, twenty-four hours per day, seven days a week, with his face in a newspaper. If absurdity of literalism is not a good reason to read a text hyperbolically even by itself, then we will do as X does to Paul at his convenience. He can't give us any reason to think otherwise, for it is our view that he is a newspaper-obsessed freak trying to hide a very embarrassing habit of his. X will just say, "Well, I was using a figure of speech." That is always his quibble. If a statement conflicts with a belief that is emotionally important to him, he dismisses it as figurative or apocalyptic or idiomatic or hyperbolic or something that doesn't matter, and so on ad infinitum.

  • X demands "proof" of the tradition that the Gospel reached the ends of the Empire; very well. 1 Clement 5:6-7 indicates that Paul "preached in the East and the West, and won noble renown for his faith. He taught righteousness to the whole world and went to the western limit." The latter phrase means Spain. Judea is on the east end of the Empire, so I don't think X would dispute the reaches of that boundary, nor that of the south in Egypt (where tradition says Mark preached, according to Eusebius). As for the northern edge, Eusebius likewise testifies that the "Apostles passed beyond the ocean to the isles called the Britannic Isles."

    Now let X offer his bigoted explanation, rooted in no consistent theory of historical episetmology, as to why this is unreasonable. His waving off of the ancients as too primitive to communicate is not sufficient; his demand for evidence that every single person in each of these nations heard the Gospel before 70, ridiculous and merely an attempt to raise the bar of his claims to unfalsifiable heights. (Not that "everyone" is required; "the nations" is an en bloc reference and no more requires personal service than does the phraseology, "The President spoke to the nation.") Appeal to distance has already been shown meaningless, as ships of the era were more than capable of the distance, and it is absurd to claim that after reaching Rome by 50, the shorter hop to Britain in 70 is intenable.

    X does appeal to Bond's "The Development of Christian Society in Early England" (apparently this is not the same as me quoting the likes of Malina and Rohrbaugh, so perhaps we just ought to throw X's words about them back in his teeth and call him Bond's "lackey," for example) but Bond himself gives no reason for saying that "Christianity gained a foothold in Britain by the mid-second century" (and it is not even clear what he means by a "foothold" -- an inextricable place in the Isles' history? mere evangelization?) so do excuse us for not fainting at X's prostitution of Bond's summary presentation. (As an aside, it displays X's naivete that he thinks "Bond's reputation seems securely established" simply because his article is one "readers will find referenced on many websites that discuss ancient history." The same can be said likewise of the works of Acharya S; such vague credentials are entirely worthless. X is truly a sucker in the Age of Information.)

    In fact, to paraphrase X himself further on, per his use of Bond:

    "Skeptic X seems to think that if he can find a book or website that agrees with whatever historical position he is trying to sell, anyone who doesn't immediately swoon submissively is intellectually dishonest, but, as I have said to him umpteen times by now, no historical doctrine can be so ridiculous that one cannot find books and websites who agree with it, so quoting what a website says proves nothing."

    Happy chewing.

  • It is also worthwhile to comment on a map X found from Harnack's work written in 1908. It is bad enough that it is outdated, but X obviusly has no clue about how little such maps are worth with respect to a movement that primarily met in private homes. He has confused a presentation of positive evidence for communities for something able to prove negative evidence of them in other areas.
  • Stumped for a way to use Josephus to say Jerusalem was not a fit place for God, but the Temple in Jeruslame may have still been, X resorts to the desperate contrivance that maybe Joe could have meant that the Temple was still OK even if the city as a whole was not. That probably worked well as a skilled rationalization when he was a Bam Bam Bible College preacher, but being that Jews regarded the Temple as God's seat, so to speak, it would be entirely asinine to suggest that Josephus could say such a thing and not include the Temple. (X actually does acknowledge this later, but after the usual pomp of calling the Jews names, changes the subject and dodges a reply.) As an aside, X fails to grasp that I used this statement as initial supporting evidence for the appropriateness of identification of the "abomination of desolation" within the time of the Jewish War; in other words, showing that Josephus regarded an eschatological judgment to be in action.
  • X says There are no sections 17-18 in Book 5 of Wars of the Jews but too bad, my edition Whitson's edited by Meier) does, so X is the one who needs to get his bibilographic skills in order. But in any event, I explain why this shows Josephsus thought that the "abomination" passage of Daniel was fulfilled in the section after; and X is further confused as he seems to think that I am saying that Jesus and Josephus would have regarded the same event as the "abomination" -- and then proceeds to flame that straw man for a few lines. No, all I am saying is that both used the same general event (the destruction) as verification of fulfillment of the passage.
  • X says that In Antiquities of the Jews, 12:7.6, Josephus did say that the fulfillment of Daniel's abomination of desolation happened when Antiochus profaned the temple. He does not quote this passage, and he is using an older bibliographic system (hence his confusion above); but while Josephus does refer to what happened as a "desolation" fulfilled in Daniel, X might want to try Daniel 11:31 as what Joe has in mind -- we're talking about Daniel 9:24-27. He's confuse these two things repeatedly as he proceeds.
  • Now finally, to where we connected the dots for X's benefit, as we said:
    The shedding of blood is called "abominations" in War 4.163. In fact it indicates that there are lots of 'em, as the priest Ananus says, "Certainly it had been good for me to die before I had seen the house of God full of so many abominations," as in, sacred places trod on at random by "blood-shedding villians." Then, in 5.17-19, Josephus says that these actions of shedding blood was the cause of destruction -- in other words, "desolation." Hello? How many crayons does X need to connect the dots here? The specific use of the words "abominations" with reference to Jerusalem's desolation is a clear allusion to Daniel's prophecy. What? X needs Joe to say, "this fulfilled Daniel" to get the point? Okay. Try Antiquities 10.276: "...Daniel also wrote concerning the Roman government, and that our country should be made desolate by them." And what did Joe say above was the cause of this, back in the other passage, that was the cause of Rome coming to purify the place? Ah.

    X first tries to defuse the "abominations" part by saying that Jews would have considered many things to be abominations if they were in the temple, but the fact that Ananus saw things in the temple that he considered abominations does not prove that Josephus "saw" the Roman desecrations as the fulfillment of Daniel's prophecy, and nothing in the passage in Wars of the Jews that Holding just cited says that Ananus considered these abominations the fulfillment of Daniel's prophecy. So sorry, Skeptic X, but that red herring won't smell here. Our case requires an 1) abomination that 2) occurs in 70 AD that 3) fits in the prophectic timeframe of Daniel (which we cover here, and which X will get to in the year 2147). So "many things" that Jews would "consider" abominations is of no relevance (even if X had the verve to actually name and discuss the relevance of any of these "many things"); and that Annaus (and Josephus) used this very word, from a work so familiar to them, with reference to the Temple, means that there is no getting out of a direct allusion to Daniel. It will not work to use the analogy, that this no more signficant than, finding the word declaration in a document would mean that the author was referring to The Declaration of Independence. If that unnamed "document" wad reporting events of a period of time in July 1776 that had to do with events at the hall in Philadelphia where the Declaration was signed, then any claim that the use of the word "declaration" was NOT freighted with significance related to the Declaraction of Independence would be laughed out of court. Better luck next time, X.

    X then tries to defuse the "desolation" part by claiming he "really can't see" Josephus saying what I indicate, which does indicate that X needs either glasses or reading comprehension courses, but not much else. It is because of these abominations that it is said that the Romans come, to "purify" Jerusalem. What does X think they were purifying, the soap dishes?

    Then X tries to defuse the "desolation" part by refusing to acknowledge the synonymity of destruction and desolation. Unfortunately we are not told why it is a stret, but perhaps is aware of some way Jerusalem was "desolated" without or before being "destroyed."

    Finally, X tries to defuse the bomb that had already blown up under his rear end from Ant. 10.276, and he does this with his famous Blather and Dodge move last seen in the '56 Series. He first contextualizes my "truncated quotation" from that part of the Antiqiuities. Then X launches on a skein of irrelevant blather from a prior article of his on Daniel in which he discusses the meaning of the symbols of Daniel 8 (and which we have debunked him on, as needed, in other venues). Then, after all of this distraction, we finally get to the desperate ploy mumbled forth that "Josephus gave his readers no explications that would support this claim, because there were no references to kingdoms beyond those that would form after the breakup of the fourth empire of Alexander." Which in the context of OUR argument here, that Josephus (whether justly or not) DID see such a fulfillment, is utterly and pitiably beside the point. X has had his nasal passages hammered, and that is why he resorts to this skein of irrelevant blatherskeit to cover his bonehead error.

  • X wants to know, if I think prophecies were not to impress, "then why does he make such a big deal over what he thinks he sees as prophecy fulfillments in the Olivet discourse?" I don't make a "big deal" -- I just explain and explicate in answer to queries. But it seems X makes a "big deal" out of this quite normal process out of his own paranoia.
  • X's comprehension problems mount as he still thinks it is a legit question to ask me, how the seizure of the temple by the zealots could have been the "desolation" caused by the Romans if the zealots' seizure of the temple had preceded the surrounding of Jerusalem by the Roman armies. That's still not what I said, but being that it is clear that X has comprehension problems no one else does, I will explain this to anyone who writes me.
  • X quotes me as saying, This loss to the Romans was but light, there being no more than a few slain out of an immense army; and then responds, but I have no idea why since I never wrote any such thing anywhere. What he is actually doing is quoting not me but Josephus' War 17.10, as he recogizes, but I never used it myself, and I have no idea what X is on about here. I think he copied and pasted this part of the War into his document for reference, and then was so lost that he though I was making use of it. And maybe that's why he thinks what "I" have written here "makes no sense" -- because I didn't write it.
  • X disputes the point I made about "dischronologized narrative" with the lame excuse that Luke claimed in the introduction to his gospel that he going to write it in chronological order. That's nice. So why isn't Luke reporting Jesus' speech chronologically, a speech which in itself was dischronologized? Oops. X wasted all that breath and ego telling us about Luke's methods for nothing. In any event, to my note that I see no "after" X calls in his pet chickens to lay eggs on his head, as he tries to claim that this is equal to my note that, No, if X doesn't see the word "ABOMINATION" in blinking red neon, Luke can't possibly be talking about it. Well, sorry, no turn about here, unless it is X spinning in circles. It's not hard to see that which is synonymous with "abominations" in Luke; X can show no such synonymity to "after" in Luke, especially since another word, "and," occupies the needed space. He then harks back to his "Luke wrote chronologically" canard, but again, since this is in a speech by Jesus, that rule is out the window as an effective argument. And finally, X squirms into fetal position to claim a "necessary implication" of chronology, but his "reasons" amount to 1) there is the literary principle that says that events in a narrative should be understood to be in chronological order unless some literary devices are in the text to indicate otherwise -- well, there is such a device; it is called "dischronologized narrative"; 2) (drum roll) that same "Luke wrote chronologically" canard which by now is causing X serious brain damage due to improper application. Most likely X sees blinking red now, but it isn't from neon. We woould note in closing that X's comparison to Matthew would only prove our point about dechronoligization if valid; but it does not matter anyway, for Matthew's composition method itself shows redaction, and unlike Luke, he has no promise to keep things "chronological" X can bang his head on.

    nd with that we close this round, and while we expect X will offer his usual whinge that we have skipped, etc. arguments we have actually answered from him time and time again, our reply would be that someone like X who:

  • In this very response, started a reply to something we have written, in the very middle of it;
  • Claimed that I "changed" my position on a subject in the Land Promise debate, and then quoted something that appeared in my first article on the subject to prove it;
  • Continues to offer asburd skilled rationalizations for his enormous "pay for 90% of my website" gaffe;
  • Recently was of such poor comprehension skills that he thought I was addressing Brooks Trubee, not someone else, in a reply;
  • Can't even get the names of scholars right ("Molina," "Robert Rohrbaugh")
  • And cimmits goofy gaffes like these on a regular basis,

    ...is hardly any worthwhile authority to say that anyone else has "skipped" or "dodged" or done anything of the sort, for it is clear that he can't even get his socks and shoes on right without a grant from the federal government. See you next time.

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