11/01/2015 | Share this article: View CommentsBy WizenedSage (Galen Rose) ~
My friend Carl S. called this morning to remark on something he found interesting in Matthew 25, this is the Mount of Olives speech where Jesus is telling his disciples that he will be coming back to earth someday and they better get ready and stay ready. So I read that chapter, and chapter 24 as well, to refresh my memory. As I read, I found it curiouser and curiouser, as Alice would say.
Jesus says that preceding his return, “… nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.” And if it’s in winter or on the Sabbath day, that’s just tough for you, and it’s just too damned bad about women who are with child or nursing an infant. We see not a trace of the famed compassion of Jesus in these passages.
But what’s really funny is how Jesus goes on and on giving example after example of what it’s going to be like at the time of that great calamity. He says there will be two workers in the field and one will be taken (to heaven) and the other left. And two women will be grinding at the mill and one will be taken and the other left. Then he says, “Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.” Then he talks of the master who went away and left money with his servants to take care of. He must have thought his disciples were hopelessly dense to need so many examples to get the idea.
And what’s with those ten virgins anyway? Are we to understand that polygamy was just okay with Jesus?
Then that story of the master who left money with his slaves to take care of has an odd twist to it. The servants who were given 5 talents or 2 talents were able to multiply their holdings and the master was much pleased with them. The servant who buried his 1 talent to safeguard it, however, was punished for not putting the money where it would earn interest. One gets the impression from other places in the Bible that Jesus was essentially a communist who thought wealth should be shared. But here we have a capitalist Jesus wanting to earn interest.
In Matthew 25 we also have Jesus saying the last days will be like the days before Noah’s great flood. That Jesus believed in the flood tells me that he was incredibly gullible (assuming he actually existed). There are dozens of reasons why the flood could never have happened. The geological evidence would be unmistakable, how did the kangaroos get back to Australia, a rain of that force would have destroyed Noah’s wooden boat, etc., etc. And I’m supposed to believe Jesus is an omniscient god?
Jesus also says, “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven…” The stars shall fall from heaven? But those stars we see are vastly bigger than the earth; how could this be possible? If one star came even close to the earth, the earth would be incinerated, so what would the other stars be falling to? Jesus is god but he doesn’t know what the stars are?
Similarly, Jesus says, “they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” So that’s where heaven is? Up among the clouds? But we have been flying through those clouds for over a hundred years now and there’s been no sign of heaven up there.
Then there’s this triune god thing where the father, son, and holy ghost are all one and the same . . . somehow. Yet Jesus says in Matthew 24:30 that he doesn’t know when the end of days will come, only his father knows that. Now how do you suppose that works? He’s the same as his father, but his father knows things he doesn’t. Now that’s curious.
You get my point by now that these two chapters are just full of very strange stuff. But in Matthew 24:34, Jesus sums up with this: “This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.” And here, of course, is the punch line. Jesus went on and on through two chapters telling his disciples all about the end days and warning them to stay ready. And it never happened. Over 2,000 years have passed, all those of his generation have passed, and still no return of Jesus. Nice one, Jesus. Now, if Christians had only actually thought about what they were reading and hearing from Matthew, they might have discovered more than enough obvious nonsense to spare themselves from being the butt of the joke.