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THE FAILED ESCHATOLOGICAL JESUS OF THE LIBERALS, MORMONS, JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES AND E

Contributed by Mike Sullivan


Friday, 29 August 2008 09:07

THE FAILED ESCHATLOGICAL JESUS OF THE LIBERALS, MORMONS,


  JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES  AND EVANGELICALS
BY:  MICHAEL J. SULLIVAN

1)  THE FAILED LIBERAL ESCHATOLOGICAL JESUS

By the unbelieving and liberal skeptic it has been stated that Jesus "failed" and was "mistaken" in His promises to
return in the lifetime and generation of His contemporaries. A Hebrew rabbi writes,

"At first, Christians expected that this "second coming" would come very shortly... in their lifetime. When their
prayer was not answered... ...the early Christians were forced to radically alter the Jewish concept of the Messiah
in order to explain Jesus’ failure" Pinchas Stolper,.ed. The Real Messiah (Reprinted from Jewish Youth, June
1973, Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregation. New York: 1973, pp. 32-33).

The professing ‘atheist’, Bertrand Russell gave the following reason why he was not a Christian,

"He (Jesus) certainly thought that His second coming would occur in clouds of glory before the death of all the
people who were living at that time. There are a great many texts that prove that and there are a lot of places
where it is quite clear that He believed that His coming would happen during the lifetime of many then living"
Bertrand Russell, Why I Am Not a Christian (New York: Simon and Scheuster, 1957, pp. 16).

"It still looks as though a monstrous illusion lies at the basis of the whole mission of Jesus, the illusion of
something immediately impending which actually never has come to passÎ [emphasis MJS] (Martin Debelius,
Jesus (Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 1939). Trans. C.B. Hedrich & F.C. Grant (Philadelphia: Westminster Press,
1949).

"He (Jesus) also proclaimed the imminent arrival on earth of the Kingdom of God - a Golden Age for Jews. This
proclamation turned out to be an error" [parentheses & emphasis MJS] (Clayton Sullivan, Rethinking Realized
Eschatology, p. 118.)

Rudolf Bultmann, a liberal, wrote, "Of course, Jesus was mistaken in thinking that the world was destined to come
to an end" (Rudolf Bultmann, Primitive Christianity in its Contemporary Setting. (Trans. by R.H. Fuller).
Cleveland, Ohio: William Collins Publisher, Inc. , 1956, pp. 92). And "Jesus expectation of the near end of the
world turned out to be an illusion" (Rudolf Bultmann, Theology of the New Testament, Vol. 1, pp. 22). Dale C.
Allison, Jr. commenting on these texts feels that "conservative critics’ need to "acknowledge the humiliating
discovery that Jesus proclaimed the divinely wrought near end of the world" [emphasis MJS] (Allison Dale, Jr.,
Journal of Biblical Literature, Vol. pp. 651).

The Lord has given these men over to their confusion. Some of these modern liberals still try to hang on to some
kind or form of Christianity while others are simply but "scholarly" confused and have grown cynical. For example,
Clayton Sullivan believes

"...Jesus, mistaken proclaimer of the Kingdom of God, carries a comforting implication: belief accuracy or doctrinal
rectitude is not a prerequisite for divine approval" (Sullivan, Clayton, Rethinking Realized Eschatology, Mercer
University Press: 1988, p.118)

While others like Dale Allison, Jr., find that "the eschatological Jesus is theologically troubling" but he states,

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THE FAILED ESCHATOLOGICAL JESUS OF THE LIBERALS, MORMONS, JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES AND E

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Friday, 29 August 2008 09:07

"The truth, however, is like God: we can run from it, but it is always there. I, myself do not know what to make of
the eschatological Jesus. I am, for theological reasons, unedified by the thought that, in a matter so seemingly
crucial, a lie has been walking around for two thousand years while the truth has only recently put on its shoes.
But there it is" (Journal of Biblical Literature, Vol. , p. 668).

The "truth" being the alleged discovery that this mistaken and purely

"...human Jesus, is just like one of us, one who holds values that are very close to our ideological commitments, a
Jesus who is a social reformer and who attacks patriarchal orders, a Jesus who, as a real human person, can
stand as an example and inspiration for worthy causes" [emphasis MJS] (Ibid. Allison quoting Koester in footnote
82 on p. 668).

In other words, Jesus was a good moral teacher and "inspiration" to us all, but he wasn’t God like he claimed
because He was "mistaken" and failed to usher in the kingdom when he promised.

This purely "human Jesus" these men claim to trust in can’t save them from their sins and they won’t find any
"comforting implications" in him in this life or in the next!

The error in view here is the conclusion that 1) Christ did not come within the time frame He promised- the
apostolic generation and 2) Jesus was just a good moral teacher and not God like He claimed to be and is. Thus
this writer will contend with the blasphemous statements and vain imaginations of Christ being a "failure" and
"mistaken" in His promises to return in the lifetime and generation of the apostles.

2)  THE MORMON FAILED ESCHATOLOGICAL JESUS

FALSE PROPHECIES OF THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS, OR "MORMONS"


CONCERNING THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST:

In the Doctrine and Covenants, 84:4-5 Joseph Smith received a supposed "divine revelation" on September 22 &
23, 1832 that reads,

"Verily, this is the word of the Lord, that the city New Jerusalem shall be built by the gathering of the saints,
beginning at this place, even the place of the temple, which temple shall be reared in this generation. For verily
this generation shall not all pass away until an house shall be built unto the Lord, and a cloud shall rest upon it,
which cloud shall be even the glory of the Lord, which shall fill the house." [emphasis MJS]

In 1833 Joseph Smith claimed,

"...My father presented himself,... I asked of him a father's blessing, which he granted by laying his hands upon my
head, in the name of Jesus Christ, and declaring that I should continue in the priest's office until Christ comes"
(History of the Church, Vol. 1, p. 323).

Likewise, when the twelve "Apostles" were first ordained in the Mormon church, some of them as well received this
special promise that they would live until Christ came:

"The blessing of Lyman E. Johnson was,... that he shall live until the gathering is accomplished,... and he shall see
the Savior come and stand upon the earth with power and great glory" (History of the Church, Vol. 2, p. 188).

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And "He (William Smith) shall be preserved and remain on the earth, until Christ shall come to take vengeance on
the wicked." [parentheses and emphasis MJS] (Ibid. p. 191).

Following the "revelations" that Christ would return in the lifetime of Joseph Smith and some of his "apostles"; the
timing of "this generation" (D&C 84:4-5, 31) became even more specific:

"I prophecy [sic] in the name of the Lord God- and let it be written: that the Son of Man will not come in the
heavens until I am 85 years old, 48 years hence or about 1890" (Since the last six words of this "prophecy" have
been TAKEN OUT by the LDS, I have cited the original source taken from Smith's diary, March 10, 1843 through
July 14, 1843).

In 1835, "President Smith then stated,

"...it was the will of God that those who went to Zion, with a determination to lay down their lives, if necessary,
should be ordained to the ministry, and go forth to prune the vineyard for the last time, or the coming of the Lord,
which was nigh- even fifty-six years should wind up the scene" (History of the Church, Vol. 2, p. 182). Thus the
dates 1890 and 1891were set.

In 1838 "Apostle" Parley P. Pratt stated,

"I will state as a prophecy [sic], that there will not be an unbelieving Gentile upon this continent 50 years hence;
and if they are not greatly scourged, and in a great measure over-thrown, within five or ten years from this date,
then the Book of Mormon will have proven itself false" [emphasis MJS] (Talmage, Articles of Faith, p. 405).

Of course this "prophecy" being the embarrassment that it is to the LDS church has been conveniently deleted from
any modern version of the writings of Parley P. Pratt. Forty-five years later he commented on D&C 84:4-6,31
stating,

"....suffice it to say that the people living in 1832, when the revelation was given, will not all pass away; there will
be some living when the house spoken of will be reared, on which the glory of God will rest. [emphasis MJS]
(Orson Pratt, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 19, p.215, Dec. 9, 1877).

We must remember that Mr. Pratt was supposedly given the specific charge earlier in his life to "prophecy" about
the Lord's return, "Therefore prophesy, and it shall be given by the power of the Holy Ghost" (D&C 34:10).

Even after Joseph Smith and his "Apostles" died and Christ did not come in 1890 or 1891, instead of repenting of
these false prophecies that Christ would return in the lifetime and generation of Joseph Smith and his "apostles",
the LDS church blindly but willfully continued making such statements in their conference reports as

"Many of these young men and maidens that are here today will, in my opinion, if they are faithful, stand in the
flesh when Christ comes in the clouds of heaven" [emphasis MJS] (Elder Wilford Woodruff, Conference Report,
April, 1898, p. 57).

"I believe it will come in the very day when some of us who are here today will be living upon the face of the earth.
That day is close at handÎ [emphasis MJS] (Joseph Fielding Smith, Conference Report, April, 1936 pp.75-76).

And :

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"We are living in the dispensation and generation to which Jesus referred..." [emphasis MJS] (Wilford Woodruff,
Journal of Discourses, Vol. 14, p. 5).

We also find the Mormons doing what the Jehovah Witnesses do when their predictions don't come to pass
concerning the phrase "this generation", in that they are forced to contradict earlier statements and "prophecies",
or to just keep on STRETCHING it out!!! Sensing a major problem in 1890 when Christ wasn't coming as Joseph
Smith prophesied that He would, the 1890 D&C edition carried a footnote that claimed a generation could be
longer than a hundred years. This of course cannot be substantiated from the Bible. But we have now even
surpassed the longest generation in The Book of Mormon, 4Nephi 18 which was claimed to have lasted 110
years. Even if we said Smith's "prophecy" in 1832 (see D&C 84:4-5,31) was referring to babies born on that very
day, this would bring us to 163 years and counting! A generation according to the Bible and other cultures is a
period of 30-40 years. Jesus promised to return in the generation and lifetime of some of his Apostles (Peter,
James, John, etc...) and not in Joseph Smith's or our lifetimes and generation! I will direct the LDS reader to a
statement made by Smith,

"The only way of ascertaining a true prophet is to compare his prophecies with the ancient Word of God, and see
if they agree, and if they do and come to pass, then certainly he is a true prophet... when, therefore any man, no
matter who, or how high his standing may be, utters, or publishes, anything that afterwards proves to be untrue, he
is a false prophet" [emphasis MJS] (Joseph Fielding Smith, Answers 4:81-82).

Well, Joseph Smith's "prophecies" concerning the second coming of Christ have not come to pass, and have been
proven to be untrue. Joseph Smith's teaching as well does not "agree" with "the ancient Word of God," namely
Jesus' teaching. Thus according to their own founder, Joseph Smith himself was not a "true prophet" and the LDS
church with their alleged "elders" and "prophets" are a NON-PROPHET ORGANIZATION!

3)  THE JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES FAILED ESCHATOLOGICAL JESUS

FALSE PROPHECIES OF THE JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES, THE WATCHTOWER:

The Watchtower organization identifies itself as "The Prophet". This "prophet" "was not one man but a body of
men and women. It was the small group of footstep followers of Jesus Christ known at that time as International
Bible Students. Today they are known as Jehovah's Christian witnesses. They are still proclaiming a warning..."
(The Watchtower, 4/1/72 p.197). They claim to make their "declaration... under angelic direction and support."

We are told by them that "the nations will see the fulfillment of what these witnesses say as directed from heaven"
[emphasis MJS] (The Watchtower, 4/1/72 p. 200). "Of course it is easy to say that this group acts as a "prophet"
of God. It is another thing to prove it. The only way that this can be done is to review the record" [emphasis MJS]
(Watchtower 4/1/1972, p. 197). The additional claim is made, "Unless we are in touch with this channel of
communication that God is using, we will not progress along the road to life, no matter how much Bible reading we
do" [emphasis MJS] (The Watchtower, 12/1/81 p. 27).

Well when one takes the time to "review the record" of the Watchtowers "prophecies", it is clear that "the nations"
did not "see the fulfillment of what these witnesses said as directed from heaven" in concerning the years 1874,
1878, 1886, 1910-12, 1914, 1915, 1918, 1925, and 1975. Just one example will suffice, "There is no reason for
changing the figures; they are God's dates, not ours; 1914 is not the date for the beginning, but the end!"
(Watchtower, 7/15/1894, p. 1677).

Instead of repenting they did change the figures and actually tried to cover themselves in late 1914, "We did not
say positively that this would be the year" (Watchtower, 11/1/1914, p. 5565). One cannot get more "positive" than
claiming "they are God's dates, not ours"!

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False Prophecy About "This Generation"

Of the generation spoken of by Jesus in (Matthew 24:34), they claim that "the evidence points to the 1914
generation as the generation spoken of by Jesus. Thus, "this generation will by no means pass away until all these
things (including the apocalypse) occur" (Watchtower, 2/15/86, p. 5). Another Jehovah's Witnesses publication
called Awake! states, "Most importantly, this magazine builds confidence in the Creator's promise of a peaceful
and secure New Order before the generation that saw the events of 1914 passes away."

They claimed, "Jesus was obviously speaking about those who were old enough to witness with understanding
what took place," in 1914 stating that these would be "youngsters 15 years of age" (Awake!, 10/8/68 p. 13). They
also claimed that "the 'generation' logically would not apply to babies born during World War 1" [emphasis MJS]
(The Watchtower, 10/1/78 p. 31). Since the generation of "youngsters 15 years of age" has passed, instead of
repenting of this false prophecy, they simply lengthened the generation to be the infants (which was earlier
excluded!!!) "born around the time" of 1914 saying, "If Jesus used 'generation' in that sense and we apply it to
1914, then the babies of that generation are now 70 years old or older" [emphasis MJS] (The Watchtower, 5/15/84
p. 5).

For an organization that claims to be a "prophet" that is supposedly guided by "angelic direction" to be wrong in its
"declaration" of prophecies is a fatal mistake and one to be taken seriously. For the Word of God says, "But the
prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that
shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die. And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we
know the word which Jehovah hath not spoken? When a prophet speaketh in the name of Jehovah, if the thing
follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which Jehovah hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it
presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him." (Deut. 18:20-22).

4)  THE FAILED  ESCHATOLOGICAL JESUS OF EVANGELICALS

Unfortunately, the stretching out of "this generation" when a prediction doesn't happen is not just something that
takes place within the last days cults.  Holy Spirit "led" Evangelicals such as Hal Lindsey, Chuck Smith and Jon
Courson have been guilty as well.  They began claiming Jesus' "this generation" was ours (1948 - 1988) and set
dates for the "rapture" in 1981.  Then Jon Courson claimed a generation should be  51 years marking 1999 the
year for the "rapture."  Lindsey has now changed his view of what a generation is. He began claiming it was
"something like forty years" but now claims it can be 60 - 80 years. 

CONCLUSION - THE FAITHFUL AND TRUE JESUS OF PRETERISM

Jesus is described in the book of Revelation as the "faithful and true " witness.   He returned in the lifetime and
generation of the first century church as promised (cf. Matthew 10:22-23; 16:27-28; 24:27-34; 26:64; Revelation
3:11; 20:10-12).  Any other position denies the inspiration of Scripture and portrays Christ as a failure and false
prophet (taught out of ignorance or not).  But now from the articles on this site, you are no longer "ignorant" of the
truth and will be held accountable by God for it.     

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