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Easter is no Legend, the Resurrection is no mere myth: Myth Made Fact is a Different Story

It is that time of year again, when skeptics begin leveling their claims that Christianity is just a re-packaged bit of borrowed paganism and [insert your conspiracy theory here].  For the sake of this post, let’s merely concede that there are similarities to ancient myths and train our minds on the critical distinction:  none of them are set against a historical backdrop as fleshed out as Christianity.  In other words, it may be absolutely true that Christianity is ‘borrowed’ but the fact that the resurrection actually happened, nonetheless, only means looking with less skeptical eyes on the ‘ancient myths.’  For example, we might ask ourselves if the ancient myths were foreshadows.  A standard literary device.  I’m sure most have heard of it:  including God.

Depending on which mutually contradictory conspiracy theory we are working from, the basic contention is that perhaps something happened around 30 AD, but it was just a kernel which was inflamed into something more by later generations.  For example, we see the same thing today with Gandhi.  Ghandi died in 1948 and already people are running around saying that he was God, that he isn’t buried but ascended into heaven, etc.  60 years has passed, so it makes perfect sense that people could come to believe anything, see?  Ah, you’re right.  The Hindu religion has high disdain for introducing new gods and so are unlikely to engage in such a deification process… [This is sarcasm.  No one claims that Gandhi claimed to be God, or that he rose from the dead, and the Hindu religion, in contrast to Judaism, welcomes new deities with welcome arms.]

One of the purposes of this post is to offer a hard cap on such conspiracy-mongering.   I want to focus mainly on the Gospel of Matthew although some of this applies in other contexts as well.

Matthew’s Emphasis

The emphasis on showing how Jesus fulfilled various aspects of the Old Testament is clearly discernible.  The constant refrain of “this happened to fulfill…” makes that clear.  For many skeptics, that puts the author of Matthew beyond trustworthiness, because after all, everyone knows that if a person is trying to persuade someone to a position nothing he says can be true.  In this case, Matthew’s target audience is clearly the Jewish community and his repeated citations of fulfilled prophecy  (go through and count them, if you like) build the case that Matthew felt that fulfilled prophecies are significant and that he perceived that they would be significant to the Jews he was talking to.

Now, if showing that Jesus fulfilled the OT prophecies was high on Matthew’s agenda then it would seem self-evident that if Jesus himself uttered a prophecy, and it came true, Matthew would be quick to point that out.  His evangelism program strongly suggests it.

When we turn to Matthew 24:1-2 we read:

“Jesus left the temple [in Jerusalem] and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings.  ‘Do you see these things?’ he asked.  ‘I tell you the truth, not one stone here will be left on another; everyone one will be thrown down.'”

What is profoundly interesting is that verse 3 does not read, “And this came to pass…”

In fact, there is no hint at all that the author of Matthew knows anything about Jerusalem and its temple having been destroyed.  So this is remarkable:  here we have an author who is telling us like clockwork how Jesus fulfilled prophecies and then when Jesus himself makes a prophecy, the author is silent.  It was a golden opportunity to ‘seal the deal’ so to speak and establish Jesus’ credentials beyond dispute.  He had every reason to reference the fall of Jerusalem.

Perhaps the reason he did not was because it hadn’t happened yet.

The Fall of Jerusalem

The fall of Jerusalem was brought about by the Romans c. 70AD.  Jesus is alleged to have existed and to have died and rose c. 30,33 AD.  This is just 35-40 years later.  20 years less time then Gandhi has had to account for the mythical accretions that have blown up around him.

The fall of Jerusalem would have been for the Jews as Hiroshima and Nagasaki would be to the Japanese.  Imagine how unlikely it would be to find a history of Japan written after the atomic attacks that did not at some point make reference to the atomic attacks, and you will begin to fathom how astounding it is that this event is not merely ignored at exactly this point in Matthew 24, but also that it doesn’t permeate the entire NT… assuming the NT was composed and edited after 70 AD, that is.

That is exactly what is argued by liberal scholars, with occasional exceptions.  Certainly it is contended that all of the Gospels were written well after 70 AD (not so much the epistles).  This is what fuels the ‘legend’ hypothesis, because the suggestion is that with so much time between the events and the written account, anything should have been put in there.   If, however, the Gospels were written prior to 70 AD, time begins to get tight for such contentions.

Now, there is a hard cap on the authorship of Matthew (if it wasn’t written by Matthew himself) and that is Tatian’s Diatessaron.   This harmonizing of the four Gospels was assembled c. 160-175 AD.  Tatian’s Diatessaron became famous and widespread in Syria (get out your map).   Syria’s distance from Rome and the developing western church allowed a whole separate and independent textual lineage to develop.

This independence allows us to take the silence of Matthew on this point to confront another class of conspiracies.

The Deceiving Church Misses an Opportunity to Deceive

If the author of Matthew would have had compelling reason to mention the fulfilled prophecy about the fall of Jerusalem on the pattern of OT fulfillment, it is clear that the growing Christian church would have wanted to point out this fulfillment as well.  Again, depending on which conspiracy canvas we are working from, those dastardly Christians were not above making any change to the text that suited their fancy and that damned Constantine and the violent exertion of the ‘orthodox’ church to stamp out dissenters, so by about 300 AD it should have been nothing for our wicked and bloodthirsty church fathers to see the obvious apologetic appeal of adding to Matthew 24 a little line that said something like… “and so it came to pass…”

AHA!  But of course the early church fathers (or inquisitors, if you like) knew that this would have great apologetical appeal, so they didn’t add the line in order to give it apologetical appeal!  It is sometimes argued that Matthew’s citation of the guard at the tomb was a late insertion invented for pure apologetical purposes.  You can impute anything to those old people, you know.  There wasn’t anything they were above doing, ala Ehrman’s “Misquoting Jesus.”

But the Diatessaron throws cold water on such speculations.

Arguing from the Diatessaron Re: Matthew 24.

Recall, Constantine and his Religious Fanatics didn’t bring about Christianity as the state religion until after 300 AD, organized primarily though not exclusively in Rome.  The Diatessaron was composed c. 170 AD, long before Christians were in a position to round up heretics and burn them and their documents in heaps.  Also, the Diatessaron was prominent far away from the areas where the western church (when itself was not being persecuted) had any influence.   (that there were any persecutions at all, of course, is probably a lately inserted point for apologetical purposes).  As such, we can check the Diatessaron against the texts of the western traditions to see if it appears that the Gospels have been altered at this point.

Here is a link to the text of the Diatessaron itself:  diatessaron.html Look for yourself.  You want section XLI, verse 27.  There is no hint in the text of Jesus prophecy having been fulfilled.   If the author was writing after the fall of Jerusalem, and especially if the author was like the ‘lying Christians’ that many skeptics allege ran the scene, there would have been every incentive to have pointed to this fall of Jerusalem.

Despite this, Tatian creates a harmony about 160-175 AD of the four Gospels which is silent on that point.  There seems to be no sign of tampering.

Pre-70 AD authorship of Matthew and the whole NT

It begins to come clear that the best explanation for this silence in the face of what should have been overwhelming pressure to make mention is that, in fact, the Gospel of Matthew was composed prior to 70 AD.  We even begin seeing the outlines of the argument that it follows then that Matthew was probably written exactly by whom has been traditionally ascribed as writing it- Matthew.  And the outline takes shape, then, that there is good reason to suppose that it was written by an eyewitness, after all.

Above all,  the legend hypothesis suffers a huge blow if it has only thirty years in which to spin its wheels.   Maybe there are ‘pagan parallels’ in Christianity, but if in fact the historical evidence is that the Christian account actually happened, the significance of those parallels changes dramatically.  At the least we can say with reasonable confidence that these parallels were not wrapped into a package over the course of 400 years but in fact emerged from the fiercely monotheistic- violently so- Jewish community… the community that really was the least likely to entertain the notion that a man could be God and that God could die… and rise again.

(incidentally, none of the New Testament documents reference the fall of Jerusalem.  Matthew had the best reason to mention it, followed by the author of Acts.  This is a compelling reason to date the entirety of the NT to pre-70 AD).

Conclusion

This Easter, don’t let the multitude of conspiracy theories accepted uncritically by skeptics everywhere take away the significance of the fact that Christianity is rooted in a historical context.  It rises and falls on whether the resurrection is an actual event in history- not a mere article of faith, mind you- an actual event in history.  There are in fact good reasons to believe it actually happened.  As I hope this essay has made clear, one of the primary attacks on the historicity of the resurrection, the ‘legend’ or ‘myth’ arguments, require a fair bit of time to develop to be plausible.  The Diatessaron itself allows no more than a hundred and fifty years or so, which in itself is pushing it.  But if in fact there is only 30ish years, it is completely untenable.  It is to you to decide.

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    • Spencer on March 19, 2008 at 11:16 am

    “It [Christianity] rises and falls on whether the resurrection is an actual event in history- not a mere article of faith, mind you- an actual event in history. ”

    False. Even if (Big IF) there was a man named Jesus who died and rose again, that doesn’t mean he “resurrected from the grave” (i.e. came back to life as a divine being, as opposed to a merely superpowerful being). The inference is clearly fallacious, but I can’t wait to see what you’ll say.

    • Anthony on March 19, 2008 at 11:24 am
      Author

    You are suggesting that Christianity would have been actualized without the claim that Jesus really rose from the dead?

    Are you suggesting that the claim that Jesus rose from the dead was not the central contention that caught people’s attention?

    You can say that the event did not happen, if you like, but I don’t see how you can deny that it was in fact the central claim.

    Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:14:

    “And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.”

    A few verses later, 1 Cor. 15:17

    “And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile…”

    You may believe if you desire that it is ‘clearly fallacious’ to rest one’s acceptance of Christianity based on the resurrection, but I do not agree. In fact, very few people agree with you on that point. Readers need to know that you personally believe that even if the resurrection really did happen, exactly as the Bible (by that you mean only the Gospels) described, that would still not be grounds for being a Christian.

    I find that absurd, and I definitely don’t think it is sound logic.

    Anyway, if it were shown that Jesus did not rise from the dead, I would not be a Christian. It is as simple as that. It would be true of quite a few Christians. If it were not a general principle, then the claims like finding the family of Jesus- Jesus included- in a tomb would be meaningless.

    Thanks for your comments, Spence.

    • Spencer on March 19, 2008 at 11:46 am

    I’ll clarify. The claim that Christianity is true is not validated by a resuscitation of Jesus from the dead. So, the fact (let’s suppose) that a guy merely rose from the dead and acquired some powers doesn’t mean he rose from the dead and acquired “divine” powers. Hence the distinction between a mere resuscitation and an actual resurrection. Lazarus rose from the dead but wasn’t resurrected; Jesus, supposedly, resurrected. But how do we know this “actually” happened? Why suppose that Jesus acquired “divine” powers when he rose from the dead, rather than mere “super” powers?

    • Spencer on March 19, 2008 at 12:09 pm

    ” Readers need to know that you personally believe that even if the resurrection really did happen, exactly as the Bible (by that you mean only the Gospels) described, that would still not be grounds for being a Christian.

    I find that absurd, and I definitely don’t think it is sound logic.”

    Not absurd at all. If someone can lift a car, it’s a huge stretch to say he can lift a continent. Jesus, remember, supposedly acquired “divine” powers, and the gap between “super” and “divine” is infinite.

    • Spencer on March 19, 2008 at 2:22 pm

    ” Readers need to know that you personally believe that even if the resurrection really did happen, exactly as the Bible (by that you mean only the Gospels) described,”

    Moreover, your parenthetical statement is incorrect. When I advanced my argument before, I excluded other miracle claims for the sake of convenience – not because they would actually prove Christian theism.

    • Tom Wrong on March 20, 2008 at 12:09 am

    I dunno – I’m more convinced by this account, which explains how it all started with a visionary experience:
    http://merkavah-vision.blogspot.com/2008/03/easter-sermon-part-33-resurrection.html

    • Anthony on March 20, 2008 at 6:53 am
      Author

    Ah yes. NT Wrong… very clever.

    • Anthony on March 20, 2008 at 7:09 am
      Author

    To Spencer:

    “I’ll clarify. The claim that Christianity is true is not validated by a resuscitation of Jesus from the dead.”

    Great. I agree. Christians do not believe that Jesus was resuscitated. By resurrection they mean something else. Already in the NT there were accounts of ‘resuscitation’ (ie, Lazarus). Clearly, they thought there was a categorical difference between the two phenomena.

    “Not absurd at all.”

    In my opinion, it is absurd.

    “Moreover, your parenthetical statement is incorrect. When I advanced my argument before, I excluded other miracle claims for the sake of convenience – not because they would actually prove Christian theism.”

    My statement was correct. It would help you to understand why I made the comment though. People may not know that you and I have had this conversation before. You will remember that in your earliest argument, you conceded that the miracles happened ‘as described in the Bible.’ You did not initially make a distinction only on the resurrection. This ties in with your statement here:

    “Why suppose that Jesus acquired “divine” powers when he rose from the dead, rather than mere “super” powers?”

    Out of context with the whole picture in which his resurrection occurred, that question might have a little force. Put back into context of the entire Bible, it is not nearly as intractable as you might think. For example, if Jesus did the things that God had did as recorded in the OT, and you concede both that the events happened in the OT and that Jesus actually did them, then the identification becomes pretty straight forward. At least and especially in the mind of the 1st century Jew.

    Or, to put it another way, you say that you ‘excluded the other miracles for the sake of convenience’ and yet on the particular question of divine versus ‘Clark Kent’ they would have been most informative.

    Should I post a link to your various arguments on my forum or will you? And don’t you owe Cimics a response? I recall that you came to not like my responses, but you thought Cimics was the bomb- and he’s the one you left hanging. 😉

    Incidentally, if I get time I was planning on posting another entry which would actually relate to your challenge, but you’ll notice that it ties back to the OT. Keep an eye out… it will be today or tomorrow I hope.

    • Spencer on March 20, 2008 at 9:55 am

    Sntjohnny, you continue to assert misleading statements.

    “You will remember that in your earliest argument, you conceded that the miracles happened ‘as described in the Bible.”

    This makes it sound like I conceded that the events ACTUALLY happened, when I only granted their occurrence for the sake of argument.

    Also, I pointed out that if someone can lift a car, it’s a huge stretch to say he can lift a continent. Jesus, remember, supposedly acquired “divine” powers, and the gap between “super” and “divine” is infinite. So why suppose that Jesus acquired “divine” powers when he rose from the dead, rather than mere “super” powers?

    You have yet to give a response to this question. Instead, all you said was:

    “Put back into context of the entire Bible, it is not nearly as intractable as you might think. For example, if Jesus did the things that God had did as recorded in the OT, and you concede both that the events happened in the OT and that Jesus actually did them, then the identification becomes pretty straight forward. At least and especially in the mind of the 1st century Jew.”

    Nice assertion. But I still don’t see how the “identification becomes pretty straight forward.” Take any miracle claim in the Bible (ones humans allegedly witnessed), and you always have the question: how do you know that a divine being did this, opposed to a merely superpowerful one? So, it’s clear that my argument doesn’t only apply to the resurrection. Previously, when we had this discussion, I thought it was better to focus just on the resurrection, but if you think bringing in OT claims helps your case, then by all means. My argument still stands.

    And I left cimics hanging because we clearly weren’t getting anywhere–he was making the same refuted points over and over and it was taking longer and longer to write up a response (since the posts were getting lengthy).

    • Anthony on March 20, 2008 at 12:01 pm
      Author

    “This makes it sound like I conceded that the events ACTUALLY happened, when I only granted their occurrence for the sake of argument.”

    Look, no one is going to believe that the same person who said ‘if, and it is a big if’ Jesus existed and ‘for the sake of convenience’ really believes the events happened. No one is going to think I mean you believe they happened. I certainly don’t. Clearly, your position is that you don’t care if they happened or not.

    “You have yet to give a response to this question.”

    Yea, for several reasons. 1. I am not at your beck and call. 2. It isn’t really on the topic of this blog entry. 3. You and I have already been over this. 4. The odds are that if you really did have a reasonable knowledge of the Bible, my statement would make sense. 5. My comment, while not exhaustive- or even meant to be- would serve as a good start for someone following this conversation who would like to dig in deeper.

    “and you always have the question: how do you know that a divine being did this, opposed to a merely superpowerful one?”

    Clearly one of the important first steps is to know what one means by a ‘divine being’ in the first place. Secondly, what Christians mean. Hence the importance of the larger context, and also a very good clue as to why it is striking that the fiercely monotheistic Jews nonetheless were the first converts to a religion that maintains that Jesus was God.

    “And I left cimics hanging because we clearly weren’t getting anywhere–he was making the same refuted points over and over and it was taking longer and longer to write up a response (since the posts were getting lengthy).”

    Well, you should go and tell him that, don’t you think? I do understand about lengthy replies and the time involved in them. Still, what you did say to him was that you were going to respond. That is the last he heard, and your comment here is the first indication that you thought the lesser of his arguments.

    • Spencer on March 20, 2008 at 12:21 pm

    “Look, no one is going to believe that the same person who said ‘if, and it is a big if’ Jesus existed and ‘for the sake of convenience’ really believes the events happened.”

    Given your misleading statement, readers might suppose that I thought the events actually happened at one point. You said: “You will remember that in your earliest argument, you conceded that the miracles happened ‘as described in the Bible.”

    This suggests that, at some early time, I really did concede that the events in question ACTUALLY happened.

    “Yea, for several reasons. 1. I am not at your beck and call. 2. It isn’t really on the topic of this blog entry. 3. You and I have already been over this. 4. The odds are that if you really did have a reasonable knowledge of the Bible, my statement would make sense. 5. My comment, while not exhaustive- or even meant to be- would serve as a good start for someone following this conversation who would like to dig in deeper.”

    1. As an apologist, you owe it to your Christian readers to answer tough questions.

    2. It’s very related. The assertion of the article title is that the resurrection (not mere resuscitation) actually occurred. Can you defend your assertion against my objection or not?

    3. You still haven’t refuted my argument.

    4. More unsupported assertions.

    5. It’s baffling why you won’t answer my very simple question. I pointed out that if someone can lift a car, it’s a huge stretch to say he can lift a continent. Jesus, remember, supposedly acquired “divine” powers, and the gap between “super” and “divine” is infinite. So why suppose that Jesus acquired “divine” powers when he rose from the dead, rather than mere “super” powers?

    • Anthony on March 20, 2008 at 1:03 pm
      Author

    “readers might suppose that I thought the events actually happened at one point.”

    doubtful. No one will make that mistake now, will they? Let it go.

    “1. As an apologist, you owe it to your Christian readers to answer tough questions.”

    Yea, but as a human being, I don’t owe it to anyone to jump when they say ‘jump.’

    Lest anyone thinks that this is something that hasn’t been worked over, please see the following threads on my forum, which do not include the lengthy email correspondence that came first:

    http://sntjohnny.com/smf/index.php?topic=2394.0

    167 replies on that one.

    http://sntjohnny.com/smf/index.php?topic=2385.0

    141 replies on that one.

    “5. It’s baffling why you won’t answer my very simple question.”

    It’s baffling to me why you won’t accept my simple answers. But there we are.

    As for your argument, here, it really is my general view that your argument concerns an internal discussion among you atheists. According to your argument, the evidence is irrelevant- grant it! it is still not enough! That pits you against the likes of Antony Flew, who while he still undeniably had his wits about him insisted one should ‘follow the evidence, wherever it leads.’ It pits you against Bertrand Russell who practiced his retort to God, “Not enough evidence! Not enough Evidence!”

    These great atheists should have tutored at your learned feet. If they had, they would have known that the evidence was completely beside the point. Miracles or not miracles, belief in a God is not justified. That is your view. Right now, thousands upon thousands of atheists wander the net arguing against the historicity of the resurrection or other factual matters. Don’t they know that none of this is relevant? Concede the historicity, grant the miracles! It makes no difference!

    Convince your fellow atheists that the evidence is irrelevant and then come back. Every time I come across an atheist who believes they need to have evidence before they believe in God, I will point them to your position.

    Here is the great irony… you were pleased when you heard I was an evidentialist and not a presuppositionalist. And yet you are basically a presuppositionalist in your own way!

    At some point, don’t you think you have a burden to demonstrate the assumption that one must prefer naturalistic explanations, always, even if there is no evidence for them?

    • Spencer on March 20, 2008 at 1:15 pm

    Informed readers know that in those threads you have yet to answer my main question–in fact, you backed out of the discussion. If your answers are so simple, why not repeat them here for all to see? You could put me in my place by giving a satisfactory answer to my question.

    And whether my argument will involve an internal dispute among atheists is irrelevant: my argument still hasn’t been refuted.

    Also, I am not a presuppositionalist. I’m merely pointing out the simple fact that had the physical events in question occurred, they would not necessarily point to a divine cause. I even e-mailed a few prominent theologians and philosophers about this (one being Plantinga) and they concur.

    • Anthony on March 20, 2008 at 1:45 pm
      Author

    “Informed readers know that in those threads you have yet to answer my main question–in fact, you backed out of the discussion.”

    Yea, and informed readers know why I backed out of the discussion, and another fine display is proceeding right here for those who aren’t informed.

    But at least we can put the insinuation to rest that I don’t rise to the challenge.

    “If your answers are so simple, why not repeat them here for all to see? You could put me in my place by giving a satisfactory answer to my question.”

    ‘Satisfactory’ is relative, of course.

    “And whether my argument will involve an internal dispute among atheists is irrelevant: my argument still hasn’t been refuted.”

    In your opinion, anyway. At this point, take your unrefuted argument to the atheist community and tell them to get off the backs of apologists with their incessant demands for evidence. Apparently those demands are unnecessary. Start the revolution.

    “Also, I am not a presuppositionalist.”

    You are a presupper. Your presupposition is that any and all naturalistic explanations are to be preferred.

    “I even e-mailed a few prominent theologians and philosophers about this (one being Plantinga) and they concur.”

    Well then, it must be true. Would you like to reproduce this correspondence? I don’t think it is right to list a person by name and attach to them a position unless you are prepared to back it up. If you are not prepared to back it up, then there is no point in mentioning it.

    For all we know what they concurred about is something entirely different then you suppose. They may, for example, point out that in the situation of Jesus there were numerous similarities to the operations of God as the Jews experienced him, and that on on this particular point an examination of those similarities would get you to the desired destination.

    You may recall (and the thread evidence will bear it out) that I did begin to lay out such a pattern when you backtracked on what you were ‘conceding for the sake of argument’ and took the OT off of the table. This, you will recall, relates to your premise:

    “4. Let’s assume that all the miraculous events in the Bible really occurred.”

    Which we come to find out later after I begin talking about those events and how they relate to the question doesn’t mean the Bible, but only the four Gospels, and of those, chiefly just the Resurrection.

    • Spencer on March 20, 2008 at 3:45 pm

    Well, I guess the discussion is about to end (again). Despite repeated requests from me to answer my question, you continue to dodge them. Moreover, you continue to attribute statements to me I haven’t made or implied (i.e. I’m a naturalist/presupper).

    Any fair-minded reader perusing this will know that my question is certainly a legitimate one. If someone can lift a car, it’s a huge stretch to say he can lift a continent. Jesus supposedly acquired “divine” powers, and the gap between “super” and “divine” is infinite. So why suppose that Jesus acquired “divine” powers when he rose from the dead, rather than mere “super” powers?

    Last chance. You, as an apologist, owe it to your Christian readers to give answers in defense of the faith. Will you step up to the plate, put your pride aside, and actually do it? Don’t let an ignorant atheist like me, who gets on your nerves, stop you from doing God’s work.

    • Anthony on March 20, 2008 at 4:46 pm
      Author

    I presume from your silence on this point that you are not going to be producing the correspondence between you and Plantinga.

    “Last chance. You, as an apologist, owe it to your Christian readers to give answers in defense of the faith. Will you step up to the plate, put your pride aside, and actually do it?”

    Don’t talk nonsense. Especially nonsense so easily refuted. I posted 2 links to two massive threads where this is hashed out. That doesn’t include an email correspondence and one or two other threads that you started in the same vein.

    “Don’t let an ignorant atheist like me, who gets on your nerves, stop you from doing God’s work.”

    Don’t worry. You don’t have the power to get on my nerves. I don’t give it to you. Nor do I give you the power to commandeer my time. Toodles.

    • Spencer on March 20, 2008 at 9:50 pm

    “Don’t talk nonsense. Especially nonsense so easily refuted. I posted 2 links to two massive threads where this is hashed out.”

    yea, links to threads you stopped participating in (long before I did). If the answers you have are really “simple,” you would repeat them again here, instead of forcing your readers to go through pages and pages of text.

    • Anthony on March 26, 2008 at 10:38 pm
      Author

    Spence, that’s the funny thing… they already were repeated here. You missed it. And that’s the moral of the story.

    I mentioned that I was going to write a post that might pertain. I did. Here it is: http://sntjohnny.com/front/the-wonder-of-easter-foretold-in-the-book-of-daniel/240.html

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