ABC:1 Peter 4

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Verse 7[edit]

American Atheists claims the Bible is wrong about the passage (and makes the following comments (italicized).[1]

The End of the World

Matthew 16:28 Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Verse 12, Divine Protection of Christians?[edit]

Patheos' Bob Seidensticker claims there is a contradiction here and makes the following comments (italicized):[3]

Does God prevent harm to good Christians?

In response to a church shooting, where good Christians were doubtless praying to God but still got shot, Christian apologist Greg Koukl pushed back against the idea that anyone should be surprised (I responded here). In fact, he assures us, Jesus promised persecution.

1 Peter 4:12-13 ¶ Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.

Koukl said, “There is . . . no rationale, no line of thinking that if God does exist that only good things happen to people, particularly people who believe in God, especially Christians.” In fact, the Good Book says precisely that:

Proverbs 12:21 ¶ There shall no evil happen to the just: but the wicked shall be filled with mischief.

Psalms 91:5-10 Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked. ¶ Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.

When Christians desperately praying for their lives in a church are gunned down, atheists are right to point out that this makes one question God’s existence.

The Bible makes very clear throughout that God's blessing does not always or necessarily occur during this life. There are evil people who prosper in this life, and righteous people who do not. (Ecclesiastes 7:15; 8:14) Wealth in this life is a poor determinant of ultimate wealth for eternity. There are those who make themselves poor in this life but are rich, and those who make themselves rich in this life but have nothing of value. (Proverbs 13:7) A final judgment and life after this one will set right the wrongs of this life, so that the righteous who suffered will be those in power, and the wicked who had power will be those suffering. (Luke 16:25; 6:24-25; Matthew 5:3-4; Isaiah 65:13-14; James 5:1-8)

Indeed, Christians are expected to follow Christ's example in enduring suffering (1 Peter 4:12-14). Does it really make sense for Christians to expect they will be exempted from the trials their leader, the Son of God, endured?

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

Furthermore, a rudimentary reading of Psalms 91 shows that it is not referring to everyone, but to "He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High... under the shadow of the Almighty." (v. 1) Verse 11 is specifically a prophecy of Jesus, so the chapter appears to be referring to Jesus specifically. (cp. Matthew 4:6; Luke 4:10-11)

Sources[edit]

  1. N.a. (2019). "Biblical Contradictions? American Atheists.
  2. Religious Literacy Project (2019). "Destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE." Harvard Divinity School.
  3. Seidensticker, P. (2018, October 20). "Top 20 Most Damning Bible Contradictions." Patheos.