On the site, many claims are made based on failed prophecies and contradictions. Can you please address some of them, Dr. Oakes?

Which ones do you want me to address?   I have already responded to most of these supposed contradiction at my web site.  If you go the question and answer section, then look at the supposed contradiction section, you will find most of these supposed contradictions addressed.  What you could do is look around at my web site and look through these "contradictions" and choose three or four which you find to be troubling.  I assume that as you look at these supposed contradictions you can see many which are obviously not contradictions, but perhaps there will be a few which are still troubling to you.
Let me pick one which I think does require a response.

 Jesus predicted that on his return to earth, "the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.  And then they will see the Son of man coming in clouds with great power and glory.  And then he will send out the angels, and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven."  (Mark 13:24-27)  He even predicted a deadline for it to happen:  "Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away before all these things take place."  (Mark 13:30)  The generation he was speaking to did pass away, but the sun still shines, the stars still twinkle in the night sky, and there have been no heavenly passengers riding in on the clouds.  Jesus was wrong.

Mark 13:30 is not the only passage that makes such a prediction.  We see it also in Matthew 24:34, which uses the same language as Mark.  Luke 21:25-27, 32 also has nearly the same wording. 
Also, Matthew 16:28 – "There are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom."
And in Luke 9:26-27 – "There are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God."
And Mark 9:1 – "Truly I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see that the kingdom of God has come with power."

The Greek word for "generation" means essentially the same as our English word.  According to the New Oxford Annotated Bible (1973 ed., p. 1204, note to Matthew 24:34), "the normal meaning of this generation would be ‘men of our time,’ and the words would refer to a period of 20-30 years."

The theologians often appeal to Mark 13:32 to argue that Jesus was not making a specific prediction about when the end would occur.  That passage tells us that Jesus himself does not know exactly when the end will come:  "But of that day or that hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father."  Here, however, he’s just telling us that he doesn’t know the exact time when the kingdom of God will arrive.  He is still very clear that it will occur sometime during the lifetime of the generation he’s speaking to.

Another way in which the theologians try to escape from this embarrassment is to claim that the generation referred to in Mark 13:30, Matthew 24:34, etc. is not the generation Jesus was speaking to, but the generation that will be living at the time these amazing events take place.  But this is obviously absurd, because it would mean that Jesus is telling his audience, "Some of the people in the generation that will be alive when these things happen will be alive when these things happen."  A statement like this conveys no meaning at all, and there would be no point in Jesus saying such a thing.

First of all, this person does not understand different kinds of biblical literary forms.  In Mark 13:24-27 Jesus is using apocalyptic language.  The statement that "the sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light is a rather obvious example of apocalyptic language.  This is common in Revelation, Ezekiel, Daniel, Zechariah and others.  Apocalyptic literature is highly symbolic.  In such writing one is to take all statements as symbolic rather than literal unless the context demands otherwise.  Apocalyptic style writing is used consistently in the Bible to describe judgment by God.  In any case, Mark 13:24-27 is talking about when Jesus comes back at the end of time.   On the other hand, Mark 13:30 is not about the end of the world but it is about the time of the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70.  "These things" in Mark 13:29 refers back to Mark 13:14-23 which is a prediction of the events of AD 70 when the Roman armies surrounded Jerusalem and destroyed the city.  Parallel passages are in Matthew 24:15-25 which is clearly a prediction of the destruction of Jerusalem.  In fact, the church historian Eusebius reports that because of this prophecy, the Christians in Jerusalem did in fact flee from Jerusalem when Rome came to surround the city.  This prophecy was fulfilled about 40 years after Jesus delivered it, while some of those who heard Jesus were still alive.  Jesus never said that his second coming at the end of the world would come during the lifetime of the disciples.  Therefore the claim that Jesus got the prediction of the timing of his return wrong is simply not correct.  Mark 13, Matthew 24 and Luke 21 are both mixed prophecies covering both the destruction of Jerusalem (when the abomination of desolation was done by Titus, by the way) and the second coming of Jesus at the end of time.   Even Jesus said that he did not know the time of his return, but he did say that the judgment and destruction of Jerusalem would happen while some of that generation was still alive.
Again, whichever other supposed contradictions you find particularly troubling, please let me know and I will be happy to respond.
John Oakes PhD

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