The Lenten season ends this week and there are a few things which it would be good if we 'left behind' once and for all.
1) The Chocolate Jesus. The NY artist who created this life size confection of the crucified Jesus dubbed it 'My Sweet Lord'. He just couldn't understand why this creation would be seen as, at best, in 'bad taste' (even if it didn't taste bad) and at worst a sacrilege, trivializing something sacred. Chocolate Easter bunnies we can live with and even enjoy. A chocolate Jesus not so much. The amazing thing is the artist was dumbfounded at the reaction to his creation and couldn't understand why the Church in NYC might be a tad peeved about this project.
2) The Left Behind Series, 'Kingdom Come' and Joel Rosenberg's 'Epicenter'-- There they were on Glenn Beck on CNN (who appears to be a true believer in Dispensational sensationalism) regaling us once more with there false predictions about the end of the world-- I mean LaHaye, Jenkins, and Rosenberg.
We were told that the rapture is surely coming within the next 25-50 years. Of course we were told this by Scofield a hundred years ago, and Chafer 75 years ago , and Lindsey over 50 years ago, and they were all dead wrong. In fact, in all of church history whenever anyone has predicted the timing of the return of Christ they have all shared one thing in common--- they've all been dead wrong! There's been a 100% failure rate of such false prophecies. There is no reason to think these aren't just more false prophecies. They don't even pause to ask-- Has the the Gospel been preached yet to all the language groups in the world? Well no, there are still about 500 such languages and dialects to go before we get there, and Mark told us that had to happen first in Mk. 13.
Jerry Jenkins on the show at least had the good sense not to engage in this sort of theological weather forecasting in regard to specifics. I wish his partners in crime had been as reticent.
When the expectation of the return of Christ, which is shared by all denominations, degenerates into prognostication and calculation, [despite Mk. 13.32 which tells us that the time and timing of this event is completely unknown, and was even unknown to Jesus himself whilst on earth (and no it does not mean "we can know the general year or decade, just not the day or hour")], then we have ceased to move on faith, and are engaging in human manipulation.
Why do I say this? For the very good reason that when you look at the definition of faith in Heb. 11.1 it says "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, and the conviction about things not seen" (indeed not visible). But all these supposed signs that LaHaye and company think they can read are all too visible historical events. But there will be no such earthly signs before the return of Christ, only cosmic ones that accompany that return if you read Mk. 13 carefully. Those earthly signs in Mk. 13 preceded the fall of the Temple in A.D. 70. They won't be coming around again, in Mark's view.
So its time to leave behind the Left Behind false prophecy once and for all. Those folks don't even understand either the character or the significance of apocalyptic literature, nor how to interpret it (for more on this see my Jesus the Seer, or my Revelation commentary).
3) Its time to leave behind the Talpiot tomb theory. Why? Well here are six good reasons: 1) I have the exact dimensions of the James ossuary. Indeed I have the exact replica made from the exhibit based on the Toronto museum's precise specifications. There is no way the tenth ossuary from the Talpiot tomb was the James ossuary. The tenth ossuary from that tomb was blank, and there was no 11th or 12th ossuary which came from that tomb. Period! Exclamation point!!!
2) There is no such thing as patina fingerprinting. The patina on any given ossuary is not exactly like the patina on any other ossuary. There can be no exact matching between two different ossuaries and their patinas. There are too many variables (including the quality of the limestone in the ossuary). The most one can say is that there are similar patina caused by similar deposits.
3) Jay Cost and others have now shown how badly flawedthe statistical report in the Discovery Channel special was;
4) The name Mariamenon is not the name Mary Magdalene was called by in the NT era. In the NT she is called Maria or Mariam.
5) Jesus was never called Son of Joseph by his family or those who were intimate with him (John 1.45 is no exception-- Philip does not yet know Jesus intimately). If he was buried in a family tomb, he would not have been called by this moniker if his family had anything to do with these inscriptions. It also makes no sense that the Jesus inscription is in Aramaic and the Mariamenon inscription is in Greek if they were husband and wife.
6) the entrance to the tomb is ornamented, indicating it was never a secret family tomb at all. In fact the ornamentation on the tomb suggests it may have belonged to a priestly family, since we find a similar ornamentation elsewhere in some of these middle and upper class tombs in and around Jerusalem where we know there were priestly ossuaries. I could say more, but this is more than enough. Its time to move on and stop beating a dead horse. Make no bones about, Jesus was never in the Talpiot tomb.
Happy Easter to one and all.