I made a timeline of all the kings of Israel and/or Judah mentioned in the Bible.Continue reading Kings of Israel and Judah timeline
Because Moses did a miracle the wrong way once, God had decided not to let him bring his people into the promised land after all. So when Moses was 120 years old, God sent him to the top of a mountain, where he saw the land from a distance, and then died. God chose Moses’s assistant Joshua to replace Moses as the leader of Israel.
The king of Jericho heard that there were Israelite spies in the land. He sent men to tell Rahab to hand over those men who had come to her house. But Rahab hid the spies and told the king’s men that the spies had already left. So they went to look for the spies elsewhere.Continue reading The Story of the Battle of Jericho—
Two Spies and One Hooker
Moses presented his people with a choice between obedience, blessings, and life, or disobedience, curses, and death. And he told them to choose life.
When God decided Jesus had to die, Jesus tried to get out of it. Jesus always did what pleased God, and never sinned. So trying to stay alive must be the right thing to do, even if God wants you dead.
Peter encouraged Christians to actively do everything they could to try to make sure they would make it into the kingdom of heaven and gain everlasting life. So you should try to stay alive even after you die.
But Jesus said if you try to keep your life, you’ll lose it. That can’t be good, can it? You wouldn’t really be choosing life, would you?
So the right choice must be to be indifferent to death, or even to try to die, like Samson did. When he asked God to give him his super-strength back for the purpose of a suicide attack, God cooperated and helped him die. God must not have wanted him to try to keep his life.
God sent Jesus on a suicide mission too, and didn’t let him quit. He didn’t want Jesus to try to keep his life.Continue reading Should people try to keep their lives?
Suppose you had a book written by the ultimate authority on morality, a book that was said to provide all the moral instruction anyone needs. One thing you would definitely expect to find in that book would be a clear, explicit, absolute condemnation of slavery. You won’t find that in the Bible, though. You might find a few vague passages that you could interpret as denouncing slavery if that’s what you really want it to say. Or you might find some passages that disapprove of slavery in specific cases. But mostly what you’ll find is that the Bible is very pro-slavery.
The Bible says “righteous” Noah made his own grandson into a slave (to punish someone else).
Moses told the Israelites that God wanted them to attack random nations that weren’t even anywhere near the land they were trying to take over, and that they should subject the inhabitants of those nations to forced labor (if they didn’t just kill them all).
God approved of everything David did, which included enslaving whole cities. His son Solomon made tens of thousands of his own people, as well as the native Canaanites, into forced laborers1 in order to build his palace, the temple, the wall of Jerusalem, etc. And God was pleased with him. When the Bible lists some of these kings’ officials, it casually mentions that one of them was “in charge of forced labor“.
Esther said if all the Jews were sold into slavery, that would be no big deal. She thought it wouldn’t be worth the bother to ask her husband the king to do anything to stop it.
When the exiled Jews returned from Babylon, it casually mentions that they brought thousands of slaves with them.
There are passages in Ezekiel and Revelation that mention humans being sold, not as a bad thing or a reason for punishment, but just as one of many things that used to be sold in the glory days of the marketplaces of Tyre and Babylon.
The Roman soldiers seized a random guy who was just passing by and forced him to carry Jesus’s cross. Jesus didn’t object.
When Paul thought people were doing wrong, he wasn’t averse to telling them to change their ways, even if it meant they had to break the law. But when he encountered a fortune-telling slave girl, he didn’t tell her owners they should set her free, because slavery was perfectly normal to him, because he wasn’t any more morally enlightened than anyone else in his time. He thought slavery was fine as long as the owners provided for their slaves.2 Instead of helping the slave girl, Paul angered her owners by taking away her useful psychic abilities.
Paul encouraged slaves to always fear and obey their masters, submitting to them as if they were God. He thought slave owners were worthy of full respect, and he insisted that the slaves should agree that their masters were worthy of full respect. He thought this would somehow prevent his teaching from being slandered.3Continue reading Slavery in the Bible
The gospels of Matthew and Mark each contain a complete list of Jesus’s twelve disciples, or apostles. The two lists have all the same names. One of the disciples is named Thaddaeus, and Judas Iscariot is the only Judas on the list:
- Simon Peter
- James son of Zebedee
- James son of Alphaeus
- Simon the Zealot
- Judas Iscariot
The gospel of Luke also has a list of the twelve disciples, but this one has two people named Judas, and no one named Thaddaeus:
- Simon Peter
- James son of Alphaeus
- Simon the Zealot
- Judas son of James
- Judas Iscariot
The book of Acts lists all the same apostles as Luke except Judas Iscariot, since he was dead by that time. The gospel of John doesn’t have a list of all twelve disciples, but it agrees with Luke and Acts that there was a Judas other than Judas Iscariot among them.
But John also says one of the disciples was named Nathanael. He’s not mentioned in any other book.Continue reading Who were the twelve apostles?
The women of Moab and Midian, following the advice of God through his prophet Balaam, invited the Israelite men to have sex with them and worship the gods of Moab. This made God angry, so he decided to kill all the Israelites yet again, and he told Moses, the leader of Israel, to kill all the leaders of Israel. So Moses told the judges of Israel to kill all the Israelites who had worshipped a Moabite god.
God had already killed tens of thousands of Israelites himself, when an Israelite leader brought a Midianite woman into his tent. When Aaron’s grandson Phinehas saw this, he followed them into the tent and killed them with a spear. This somehow turned away God’s anger and convinced him not to kill all the Israelites. God was so pleased with Phinehas that he made a covenant of peace with him and said the descendants of Phinehas would always be God’s priests.Continue reading The Story of the Moabite/Midianite Clusterfuck—
The Origin of the Priesthood
The gospel of John repeatedly refers to Jesus as the light of the world. It says John the Baptist was sent to testify about “the light of all mankind” that was coming into the world. One of the ways it describes God sending his son into the world is by saying that light has come into the world. And most importantly, it has Jesus call himself the light of the world.Continue reading Who is the light of the world?
The Bible says you shouldn’t “treat prophecies with contempt”… at least not without testing them first. Then you can reject the bad ones. So let’s do that. Let’s see how many of the Bible’s prophecies have turned out to be wrong (according to the Bible and/or in reality).
I’m not quite going to be able to “test them all“, though, because a lot of prophecies are unfalsifiable. That means even if they are in fact false, even if those predictions are never going to come true, there’s no way to know that. It’s always possible that those particular things just haven’t happened yet. But here’s what I will be evaluating:
- Prophecies that specify or imply any kind of deadline for fulfillment. (These can be falsified (shown to be false) if the deadline has gone by.)
- Prophecies that are no longer possible to fulfill, even if they didn’t originally have a deadline. (If it hasn’t happened yet in that case, it’s a false prophecy.)
- Prophecies that say something will never happen. (These can be falsified if it does happen.)
- Prophecies that are considered to be already fulfilled. (Some of these may not exactly be falsifiable, but I can still dispute the supposed fulfillment.)
I’ll be writing about true predictions in later posts. For now, here are some of the false ones:
Acknowledged false prophecies
The Bible doesn’t completely deny that prophecies can be false. Usually it tries to portray the false ones as having nothing to do with God, but then of course it has to go and contradict itself and attribute ALL prophecy to God.
Sometimes in the Bible, God even intentionally has prophets make false predictions. He had Ahab’s prophets tell him he would be victorious, when he knew Ahab was going to die in battle. Even God’s own prophet Micaiah, who could never prophesy anything God hadn’t put in his mouth, gave the same false prediction at first. God’s prophet Elisha, too, told a king he would live when he knew the king was about to die. God deceived his people when he told the prophet Jeremiah that they would have peace.
No more false or delayed prophecies?
In Ezekiel 12, though, God tells Ezekiel that from now on, not only will there be no more false prophecies ever again, there won’t even be any more delayed prophecies. God is tired of people thinking his predictions aren’t going to come true any time soon (if ever). So he says from now on, all prophecies will be fulfilled without delay.
That means every prediction that is made after this chronologically and isn’t fulfilled immediately is not only a false prophecy itself, but also shows that this Ezekiel 12 prediction is false. And there are plenty of those. The very next chapter is all about false prophets, who aren’t supposed to exist anymore.
In the chapter after that, God says his people are going to stop going astray and sinning. Did that happen immediately? No, if they had, God would have instantly forgiven them and not punished them. Instead, God immediately starts talking about how much he’s going to punish his people, and how much they deserve it. And he goes on like that for at least several chapters.
A few chapters later, we hear about the false prophets again, who are still having “false visions” despite God’s prediction that they wouldn’t anymore. Then God says he’s going to destroy Ammon, Moab, Edom, and Philistia. But that doesn’t happen without delay. All of those nations lasted at least another century, except Philistia… which had already been conquered two centuries earlier.
Next, God claims that Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon will completely and permanently destroy Tyre. Nebuchadnezzar did attack Tyre during Ezekiel’s time, but unsuccessfully. It wasn’t really conquered until decades later (by a different king, after Babylon was taken over by Persia). Tyre wasn’t actually destroyed until hundreds of years later, by Alexander the Great. And Tyre did later recover. It existed in the New Testament, and it still exists today.
God also claims he’s going to make Egypt a desolate uninhabited wasteland,1 which never happened. Then in the next chapter, he says the day of the Lord is near, when all nations will be destroyed. That certainly didn’t happen immediately. A couple of chapters after that, God describes a bunch of nations being destroyed. But that should have already happened if the “no more delay” thing was true, since he had already said all the nations would be destroyed. Some of those nations had in fact already come to an end before Ezekiel was written, and others continued to exist for a long time after.
God told Ezekiel that the Jews would return from captivity, which didn’t happen for a few more decades, and that the other nations would never scorn or oppress them again, which wasn’t true at all. He said Israel would no longer have malicious neighbors, but Israel has never been completely at peace with its neighbors.
He went on to claim that all the Israelites would return from the nations where they had been thoroughly scattered, so the twelve tribes would live in their land again. That never happened. The people from the former kingdom of Judah returned, but the majority of the tribes (which formed the kingdom of Israel and which were exiled first) never came back as far as I know. God says Israel will then be attacked after reassembling “in future years”. That sure doesn’t sound like it’s happening without delay.
Daniel, too, made false or delayed predictions after God claimed that those would never be made again. He predicted the rise of a unique kingdom that would “devour the whole earth“, which never happened. And he predicted that sin would permanently come to an end in “seventy sevens” (490 years?), which would be a significant delay even if it was true. And then there’s Jesus, who is said to have promised he would return “soon“, yet 2000 years later he still hasn’t come back. His words were certainly not “fulfilled without delay”.
More unacknowledged false prophecies
Back when Adam and Eve were expelled from Eden, God claimed that from then on all animals would become submissive and would fear humans. But the Bible says some animals, like the Leviathan, remained fearless and never submitted to humans at all.
God said if Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt, all the water in Egypt would turn into blood. Not just the big exposed natural bodies of water, but all the water everywhere in Egypt. But that’s not quite how it turned out. People were still able to get actual water in Egypt. They just had to dig a little.
Through the prophet Isaiah, God promised his people that he would never inflict his wrath on them again, or even rebuke them again. But God does continue to constantly rebuke his people and talk about how he’s planning to punish them, all throughout Jeremiah and Ezekiel, and quite a few times in other later books as well. God can’t even predict his own behavior.
Isaiah said the uncircumcised would never enter Jerusalem again, but Jerusalem does not have a ban on uncircumcised visitors.
John the Baptist predicted that someone greater than him would come after him. This is supposed to have been fulfilled by Jesus. But according to Jesus himself, as someone born of a woman, he could not have been greater than John.
Jesus claimed that anyone who came to him would never be hungry or thirsty again. So are all Christians “breatharians“, able to live without eating or drinking? Of course not. Jesus is wrong, as usual. Even if you interpret his claim metaphorically, he’s still wrong.
Jesus also claimed that everyone who believed in him would be able to do everything he could do and more. Specifically, he said they would be able to handle snakes and drink poison without being harmed. Unfortunately, he was wrong, and a lot of people have died trying to do those things. Being a Christian doesn’t give you any of those abilities.Continue reading False predictions in the Bible
In the first chapter of Ezekiel, Ezekiel sees four strange “living creatures”. Each creature has four faces: the face of a human, the face of a lion, the face of an ox, and the face of an eagle.
In chapter 10, Ezekiel sees the same four creatures again, and realizes they’re cherubs. It specifically says their faces looked the same as what he had seen earlier. (Which should go without saying, since they’re the same creatures.) Yet the description is different: This time, it says each creature has the face of a cherub, the face of a human, the face of a lion, and the face of an eagle. So instead of an ox face, this time they have “the face of a cherub”, whatever that means. (Isn’t that what all their faces are?)
Then in chapter 41, Ezekiel sees a depiction of some cherubs. This occurs while God is showing him a vision of a future temple he wants built. So this is what cherubs look like according to God. Yet their appearance doesn’t match the actual cherubs Ezekiel saw earlier. These cherubs have only two faces each: the face of a human and the face of a lion, facing in opposite directions. The living cherubs Ezekiel had seen earlier had the lion face to the right of the human face, not on the opposite side.Continue reading What kinds of faces did the creatures have?