Sorry for that very late response. I've been very much pre-occupied with other things like summer, family, work and such.
I understand your late response. Family and work is so much more important than trying to give a defense for the clarity of the bible. However, I did think you abandoned me again.....you know.....like you did in the "Is jesus the son of god or god" thread. But it is great that you found some time to respond as I enjoy our interactions.
Also, I'm not well versed in prophecy, so when you bring up Ezekiel I wanted to take some time and read it.
So my view of prophecy is that it is cloaked in mystery for a purpose. There will be things that surprise people in the end, and I believe that is God's intention. So I haven't gone too far with it since I was a kid when it greatly interested me. There are people who believe the sacrifices in Ezekiel will be in the millennium but I have a hard time with that because that would mean they are memorial in nature, yet it appears they are for a "sin offering". Could it still be memorial in nature? I suppose that it could. But I don't know for sure and I'm ok with that. Just like I'm ok with not understanding figurative language that other prophets used. I will someday spend more time in prophecy and no doubt have a clearer point of view, but in the mean time I have to go with other respected theologians. Unfortunately the millennial sacrifice view comes from some whom I generally agree with on most other theological issues.
I once again have to remind you that reading your material is just like reading the bible. It does not take me long to catch a contradiction. You write in contradictory language just like your god. The bold contradicts with the underlined. If it is god's intention to cloak prophecy in mystery then how do you know that you will "NO DOUBT" have a clearer point of view if you study more. That makes no sense whatsoever! It is either god's intention to cloak prophecy in mystery or it is not. If you think it is god's intention to make prophecy mysterious then why would you be so arrogant to say that you would "NO DOUBT" have a clearer point of view?
On a side note, your god is a jerk in my opinion if his prophecy is "cloaked in mystery". Why isn't your god crystal clear concerning prophecy. Every "prophecy" mentioned in the bible has multiple interpretations. If the details of a prophecy are not crystal clear then people can comb through ancient prophecies and shoe-horn current events into them. You know...like people did with Nostradomus' prophecies or like the New Testament authors did with the so-called prophecies of Jesus. The details of Prophecies should be clear and not vague and "mysterious"!
I do think most of the prophecies in the bible are vague but the one prophecy I think is crystal clear is the temple Ezekiel described. There is nothing really mysterious about this temple. It is pretty straight forward and the only reason you don't like the straight-forward reading of Ezekiel 40-48 is because it contradicts with Hebrews 9:27. Sin offerings will be offered in this temple (Ezekiel 40:39) and this can't be possible because Jesus is the last sacrifice once for all (Heb. 9:28). So instead of noticing this as a contradiction you are going to go with "other respected theologians". Here is a crazy thought...think for yourself and have some intellectual integrity. Why are you relying on other theologians? Don't you think you have this spirit thing inside of you that "guides you into all truth"?
Now this will drive you crazy, but I've always believed (on my own) that figurative speech in the bible can have literal meaning. In other words, the temple could be figurative pointing to a literal establishment of atonement through Christ. I don't believe that is the answer in this case, but it helps explain my view regarding figurative language that describes a literal event. This goes back to my belief that some things are cloaked in mystery for a purpose.
Patrick, if you don't think the temple could be figurative in which it points to a "literal establishment of atonement through Christ" then why did you even bring this up??? You are sounding really indecisive on this. Your answer to my challenge is sounding....for lack of a better word.....mysterious!
However, I will say that you do not sound insane. A figurative interpretation of this temple would sound insane to a skeptic. The temple building is described in precise detail, rather than in symbolic terms. The exact measurements of the wall (40:5), the court (40:47) and the sanctuary (41:4), as well as all the other elements of the construction are provided. What would be the point of such detail if this place did not or will not actually exist?
But to give you a possible explanation, here is one:
This is not a new temple but the one which had already been constructed by Solomon and was subsequently destroyed by the Chaldeans. In his commentary, Adam Clarke wrote,
"The temple here described by Ezekiel is, in all probability, the same which he saw before his captivity, and which had been burned by the Chaldeans fourteen years before this vision. On comparing the Books of Kings and Chronicles with this prophet, we shall find the same dimensions in the parts described by both; for instance, the temple, or place which comprehended the sanctuary, the holy place, and the vestibule or porch before the temple, is found to measure equally the same both in Ezekiel and the Kings. Compare 1 Kings 6:3-16, with Ezekiel 41:2, etc. The inside ornaments of the temple are entirely the same; in both we see two courts; an inner one for the priests, and an outer one for the people. Compare 1Kings 6:29-36; 2 Chronicles 4:9; and Ezekiel 41:16, Ezekiel 41:17, and Ezekiel 48:7-10. So that there is room to suppose that, in all the rest, the temple of Ezekiel resembled the old one; and that God's design in retracing these ideas in the prophet's memory was to preserve the remembrance of the plan, the dimensions, the ornaments, and whole structure of this Divine edifice; and that at the return from captivity the people might more easily repair it, agreeably to this model."
Sooo....you said you read these chapters in Ezekiel right? And this is your possible explanation??? First I would like to point out that you have given me a commentary from a person who might be burning in hell right now. Adam Clarke is not a Trinitarian so you might not even be seeing this dude in heaven according to John 8:24.
Secondly, Adam Clarke's commentary on the Ezekiel temple is crap! I cannot believe you read Ezekiel 40-48 and think that Adam Clarke's view is a possibility. He says, "This is not a new temple but the one which had already been constructed by Solomon and was subsequently destroyed by the Chaldeans". And his evidence is that the sanctuary and porch are the same dimensions and the inside ornaments of the temple are entirely the same. What the hell...does Adam Clarke (and possibly you) interpret the dimensions of the sanctuary and porch as literal but the dimensions of the rest of the construction as figurative?
Architecturally, besides the sanctuary and porch, the dimensions provided in chapters 40-48 do not correspond to Solomon's temple. Furthermore, the overall design is markedly different from Solomon's temple. Topologically, Ezekiel's temple features a river flowing eastward from the threshold of the temple out to the Jordan Valley (47:1), whereas no river flowed from, through, or even past Solomon's temple.
In addition, Ezekiel's temple is to be surrounded by a sacred district 25,000 cubits long and 20,000 cubits wide (Ezekiel 45:1). Solomon's temple never incorporated a sacred district.
Moreover, some of Ezekiel’s instructions for the Temple and its service contradict the instructions for Solomon's temple and are a departure from those in the Mosaic Law. For example, Ezekiel’s instruction to make the Altar of Burnt Offering with steps (Ezekiel 43:17) violates a specific commandment in the Mosaic ceremonial legislation against such a construction (Exodus 20:26).
Lastly, if Ezekiel's temple was Solomon's temple as Adam Clarke thinks then there was no need for Ezekiel to give a description of Solomon's Temple since such a description already existed, as preserved in the books of Kings and Chronicles (1 Kings 5:1-8:66; 2 Chronicles 2:1-7:22). This actually should not be last...it should have been the first thing you thought of but I did get a chuckle out of this commentary and I thank you for that.
Patrick, Ezekiel's Temple cannot be Solomon's Temple. As a memorial to Adam Clarke please set this commentary on fire and watch it burn just like Mr. Clarke himself is probably burning in hell because of his wrong interpretation on the nature of Christ.
Strongly related to the above point, this is the temple which the Jews who returned from the Persian captivity could have indeed built if they had not spent many years squabbling over the rebuilding of Jerusalem's walls and having various other in-house arguments!
So now Ezekiel is a false prophet???
Secondly you asked me "IF THE READERS KNOW THAT THERE ARE EXCEPTIONS TO "ONCE" IN THE FIRST PART OF HEB. 9:27 THEN WHY WOULDN'T IT LOGICALLY FOLLOW THAT THERE ARE EXCEPTIONS TO "ONCE" IN THE SECOND PART OF HEB. 9:27?"
Again, the readers know that he is talking about Christ being the one sacrifice. There are no exceptions.
There are no exceptions??? Until you give me a better defense for the hope of christ being the one sacrifice I have to conclude that there are exceptions since Ezekiel describes a Temple where there is going to be "sin offerings". The possible explanation you gave me from Adam Clarke is crap. You have once again failed to answer my challenge presented to you. However, I would be interested in hearing another explanation because like I said before, "mental gymnastics is my favorite sport as a spectator".
If your point is that the bible can't be from God because it isn't written clearly enough to YOUR specifications, then I would say that is exactly your problem! You are trying to fit God into your view of what He should be saying and how things should work in YOUR mind. This is the main problem with intelligent atheists and others who think through things but still do not commit to Christ.
Patrick, I think you are right. I am trying to fit the god of the bible (or any "revealed" god) into my view of what he should be saying and how things should work in MY mind. If your god doesn't pass this test then he is not a god I can worship.
The evidence is overwhelming that the bible is the word of man and not the word of a god. Why do you think there are soooo many different interpretations to verses in the bible? Do you think it could just be because men were not inspired by god and they were just different men who wrote at different times with different purposes who had different theologies? Think of all the different translations and different commentaries on the bible. And you think this bible is all part of god's plan to reveal to humanity his different laws and contradictory nature? I mean think about all the different denominations and different doctrines in the bible that people argue over. Your god can't even answer his own prayer that his followers "may all be one" (John 21:17).
In MY mind, if your god really did exist then he should at least speak from the heavens (as evidenced from the bible) to every generation and clear up a few things that are controversial and confusing. He should bypass the middleman and not allow fallible man to write down his words. Or at least allow fallible people to become infallible people when writing down his words so there are not so many contradictions and confusion. Then it might seem somewhat supernatural. I might be asking too much but if your all-powerful god cannot even do one of the above then he is not a god I can really worship since heaven and hell are in the balances.
One more thing, have you ever wondered why the rewards and consequences for disobedience is not clear in the bible? Sure heaven and hell are mentioned but people argue what people will actually do in these places. The descriptions of what people will be doing in these places is unclear in the bible. Do you think it is because....like your god.....these places don't exist? Your god gives us over a 1500 page book to read and the rewards and consequences are unclear. This is not a god I can worship since eternity in any one of these places is in the balances. Do you think your god is ethical to waste space in a 1500 page book that gives us two contradicting genealogies of himself but fails to clearly lay out all the rewards and consequences for rejecting or accepting his plan of salvation?
Atheists who are full of themselves and yet show irritation at Christians because they are "stupid" don't understand this. Christianity is not checking your brain in at the door. It's first being convicted of sin and then seeking salvation in Christ Jesus. So........I don't think you disbelieve because only because you've found all these contradictions and are getting stuck on literary construct. It may be that you view your own thoughts so highly that God can no longer be the author of the bible because of too high of a view of yourself.
First, I'm surprised you put "stupid" in quotes. I don't ever recall calling you stupid. Gullible maybe but not stupid.
Secondly, you are wrong. I do not have a high view of myself!!! This is a little insulting but I'm man enough to take the ad hominen's. Your god can no longer be the author of the bible because of THE HIGH VIEW I PUT ON EVIDENCE!
If we have a bible that was translated from manuscripts from an ancient language to a modern language I would expect some difficulty.
I know huh....those damn people who built the tower of babel screwed up the single language we all shared as humans. Now if you think this story is actually history then you are extremely stup......I mean gullible.
But I think we've worked out enough to know how to be saved..............and then some
You think the bible is clear on salvation??? No it's not! For example, notice I said that Adam Clarke MIGHT BE or PROBABLY is burning in hell right now according to the bible. I am not certain about this and you can't be certain about this either. You cannot be certain on the correct interpretation of John 8:24. Please don't try. This is not a challenge. I have heard too much argumentation over this verse. Thus, salvation is not clear in the bible and this is just one example.
Do I think that Jesus was a created being? NO.
Then how do you interpret Rev. 3:14? Ready, set, scramble for different commentaries