Where is Jesus? According to his prediction he is absent without leave. And we know this because the Bible tells us in, Matthew 16:27-28, Mark 9:1 and Matthew 24:33-34 two thousand years ago, that Jesus would return in his generation.
He was supposed to have returned within their lifetime and set up his earthly kingdom. The apostles also taught this (James 5:7-8, 1 Peter 4:7, Revelation 22:12), with Paul even denigrating marriage because the end was so near (1 Corinthians 7:25-31).
The trouble was that with each year that passed, Christians got more desperate. But as history has shown with apocalyptic cults and numerous failed Rapture predictions, most believers don’t lose faith when the return of Jesus fails to occur – they just find a way to rationalise, and push it into the nebulous future.
And so when Jesus did not show up their generation Peter tells us that “you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.”… But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:3-4, 8-9
There you have it Jesus’ tardiness is motivated by his benevolence. He is waiting for you to repent and then he will show up. So it is the fault of unbelievers. Atheists are stopping Jesus from appearing. Well this explanation might pacify the weak-minded faithful who are desperate to cling to their beliefs despite increasing evidence that Jesus will never return, but logically, it is utterly ridiculous.
If God was withholding judgment to allow people time to repent, then he would have to put a freeze on human reproduction because otherwise, there will always be a percentage of people who haven’t had enough time to repent, no matter what the cut-off date. Suggest this to Christians today though and they'll tell you you're one of the very scoffers Peter speaks of.
A more rational explanation of why Jesus failed to honour his own prediction is that he is still in the grave and could not rise again like he said he would. Therefore the failed apocalyptic prophecies in the NT reveal that fundamentalist Christianity has to be a fraud, no matter how Christians try to deny it Jesus said he would come back in his generation and did not.
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