Was Jesus Wrong?

FAQ: I am aware of dispensational truth, and understand that Jesus seemingly predicted some things that did not come to pass in the Gospels. But I am uncomfortable with the idea that Jesus was “wrong.” Can you help me take the right view of the things he said that did not happen, like when he said that some

I personally do not like to say, “Jesus Christ made a mistake” as if it was an active thing that he did. He spoke what he heard from God and what he knew from the Word. And it was the Word of God that indicated that he would come back very soon. See Isaiah 13:6; 29:17,18; 51:3-6; Zephaniah 1:7, 14-18; Ezekiel 30:3; Haggai 2:6-9; Joel 1:15; 2:1; 3:14; Obadiah 1:15. In the New Testament, see Romans 13:12; 16:20; 1 Corinthians 7:29; Philippians 4:5; James 5:8,9; 1 Peter 4:7; 1 John 2:18 and Revelation 1:1, 3; 22:6,20.

In his best understanding of the Word, Jesus spoke what it was clearly indicating. God had so completely hidden the Sacred Secret that there was just no indication, not even a hint, that anything like the Christian Church would occur. And the way God effectively hid it was to speak as if shortly after the Lord lived, died, and was resurrected, the Day of the Lord would come.

The prophets, starting about 800 BC, said that the Day of the Lord (not “the coming of Christ,” which would precede “the Day of the Lord”) was close at hand. Had they simply said Christ’s coming is near, then we could have written that off to the fact that they did not sort out his first and second comings, and it was only his first coming that was near (although, as it turned out, “near” never even happened for his first coming).

God had a secret agenda, however, and therefore Jesus Christ could speak only from what God had revealed. God made the prophecy conditional based on the revelation of the Sacred Secret, unbeknownst to anybody, including Jesus. In doing so, some prophecies of Christ (and Joel, and Isaiah, and others) did not come true the way they spoke them because God had not revealed his secret plan.

1 Corinthians 2:7 and 8
(7) No, we speak of God’s secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began.
(8) None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

Understanding the situation that way is different from saying, “Jesus was wrong.” True, his predictions did not come to pass, but neither did those of the prophets of old whose words are now Holy Writ. So is the Bible wrong, or is some prophecy conditional? The surprising fact that Jesus made definite predictions that did not come to pass invites us to look deeper into the things written to us in the Church Epistles, things that Jesus could not have known until they were revealed after the Day of Pentecost.

Without a dispensational framework to understand the dynamics of the situation and the profound implications of “the Sacred Secret,” the Word will appear to contradict itself again and again. But once we understand the unfolding nature of dispensational truth, the whole Bible fits together wonderfully. This also highlights the truth that Jesus Christ is not, and was not, God. As a man, he could do and say only what the Father revealed to him, no more and no less (cp. John 5:19-30).

Let me quote a friend from Dallas, Texas, who did a good job articulating an answer to this question:

“Jesus spoke what he believed to be true. He would have been totally correct in what he spoke, except that God intervened and inserted a little thing like “the age of grace.” This period of time was totally hidden in God, hidden “up His sleeve,” so to speak. Not even the Son of God knew about it. That doesn’t take anything away from Jesus. It just shows how important it was to God to keep it a secret from His enemies.”

The Old Testament and the Gospels reveal both the suffering and the glory of Jesus Christ. After his death, resurrection, and ascension, Jesus expected the seven years of Tribulation, after which he would return to earth to enter his kingdom. That is what Scripture revealed, and that is what his apostles expected. In fact, they were somewhat anxious about it, as when they asked him in Acts 1:6b: “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” What was his response in his resurrected body and with a bigger perspective? Acts 1:7b: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority.”

Nothing new was revealed until God gave him the revelation of The Sacred Secret, and he in turn revealed it to the Apostle Paul.

E.W. Bullinger says that in the teachings of Christ in Matthew 16:28, 24:34 and 35; Mark 13:30 and Luke 21:32, a conditional clause in the Greek text is present. In Matthew 24:36 and Mark 13:32, Jesus, in his next breath, reminds his followers that no one knows the day or the hour.

Matthew: 24:36
No one knows about that day or hour, even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.

One problem is that so few Christians are handling this subject because most don’t understand that Jesus Christ was truly a man, the Son of God, and he had to take his lead from the Father. The Sacred Secret was revealed, slowly but surely, in its fullness to the Apostle Paul, not to Jesus in his earthly ministry before the Day of Pentecost.

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5 comments

  1. This makes several common mistakes in understanding.

    First, ‘quick’ means rapidly. We do not know the hour, but we know once it starts it’ll be over quickly.

    Second, we assume nothing during this age was known. Because we understand ‘mystery’ as ‘secret.’
    The Mystery itself was secret…but exactly what was kept secret is clearly spelled out: “Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, But now is made manifest..” “How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:”

    What exactly was hidden? That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ.

    Thus those three specifics were hidden. That leaves a lot not hidden.

    Did the day of Pentecost reveal that Gentiles would be fellowheirs, the same Body, partakers of the promise? No. So a lot of the elements of Pentecost were not necessarily hidden.

    In fact, “But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words: For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:”

    Did Joel’s prophesy reveal Gentiles would be fellowheirs, same Body, partakers? But Peter said “…this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel…”

    Third, our scribes have mistranslated Scripture to fit in with their assumptions. For example, Matt. 24:34: “So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.”

    Indeed, this whole three verses makes as much sense as a semi tractor hooked to an Amish buggy.
    “So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.” Yet some of ‘all these things’ were merely the beginning of…all these things.

    “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” Huh? Was Jesus saying Heaven and earth would pass before this generation did? He switched from “It’ll happen quickly” to “It could take til Heaven passes away” awful quick, huh?

    Or did he?

    In vs. 34, the words ‘pass away’ is the word ‘parelthe,’ par for through and elthe for pass or come. Literally, ‘Come along’ or ‘continue.’ The word ‘until’ is ‘eos’ and usually and accurately translated ‘unto.’ Literally this should thus read: “So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not continue unto all these things be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.”

    “This generation shall not continue unto all these things coming to pass,” a more accurate translation had the translators been more consistent rather than translating according to their understanding and tradition, means the exact opposite of what is translated.

    Jesus said that his generation would NOT continue unto all those things happening, and Heaven and Earth would pass but his words wouldn’t so it wasn’t like he didn’t have the straight dope for a long way off!

    Did Jesus always have all information? No. He is the Man Jesus Christ.

    But the information he has was accurate. He was neither wrong nor errant.

    1. Dear R. Scott, Thanks for your comments. I have forwarded them on to the author for his consideration. Bless you and thank you for the insights, (Dan) TurhtorTradition.com

    2. I do not agree that the Greek text is saying the Day of the Lord will be “quick.” Even though the Greek word can mean “quickly,” it can also mean “soon.” When determining which meaning a word has in any given context, we must see if we understand the context itself, the scope of Scripture, and what the verse would be saying. So for example, when Jesus says, “I am coming soon” in Rev. 22:7, 12, and 20, he is not saying that when he does come, it will be quickly. There would be no point in him saying that at all, much less three times in one chapter. We know that when Jesus comes it will be quick. He will come down from heaven and conquer the earth and that event will happen very quickly. That is not what he is saying. Rev. 22:7 etc., are encountering words, meant to encourage the believers. The early Christians knew that, and when they did not come to pass there was much discouragement in the Christian community and even some people leaving the Faith, which anyone can read about in the more complete works on the history of the Church. It was in part due to verses like that that caused Origin to look to an allegorical interpretation of Scripture, and Augustine solidified the allegorical interpretation of Scripture in his book, “City of God.”

      The word also appear in Rev. 2:16, where Jesus says “I will come to you soon and make war against them” (ESV). Again, it is clear that Jesus is not saying he will come in a speedy manner, but that he will come “soon,” as the ESV correctly renders the word. See the same truth in Rev. 3:11.

      The message of the NT was that Jesus was coming soon. This is clear from many texts, and expressed in many different ways. They include:

      John the Baptist
      Matthew 3:2 (John the Baptist)
      [John the Baptist came preaching] and saying, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.’

      Paul
      Romans 13:12
      The night is nearly over; the day is almost here.
      Romans 16:20
      The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.
      1 Corinthians 7:29
      What I mean, brothers, is that the time is short.
      Philippians 4:5

      The Lord is near.

      James the brother of Jesus
      James 5:8.9
      (8) You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near.
      (9) Don’t grumble against each other, brothers, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!

      Peter
      1 Peter 4:7
      The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray.

      (Not known who penned Hebrews)
      Hebrews 10:37
      For in just a very little while, “He who is coming will come and will not delay.

      When it comes to Matt. 24 and this generation will not pass away:

      First, Matthew 24:34 is not an isolated verse. Jesus said at a number of different times and places that he would return or the kingdom would come during that generation.

      Second, the person’s understanding of the Greek word parerchomai (Strong’s #3928) as “continue” instead of “pass away” is not correct. His translation of Matthew 24:34, 35: “This generation shall not continue unto all these things be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.”
      But the word parechomai appears 3 times in those two verses, and according to his translation or parechomai the verses would then read: “This generation shall not continue unto all these things be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall continue, but my words shall not continue.” To make the first use “continue,” but the second and third “pass away” is clearly incorrect. Jesus was using the same word in the same way, and the meaning is “pass away,” “end.”

      Parechomai occurs 29 times in the Greek NT, and it usually has a meaning that is related to passing away or not continuing, although sometimes it has the other meaning of “passing by” a place or thing (I did not see the meaning as simply, “continue” as if “continue in time”).

      Matt. 14:5: the day had passed away and it was late.
      Matt. 26:39: Jesus asked that the cup “pass away” from him and he not have to die.

      Greek lexicons such as Thayer’s give a number of Greek authors who used it in the sense of “pass away” as well.

      Since the meaning “pass away” is consistent in Matt. 24:34, 35, Jesus did say that this generation will not pass away, but God intervened (just as He had with the prophets who said the Day of the Lord was soon”)

      God bless,

      John

  2. That last post on Islam was directed to another site…unfortunately, this page remained open and I cut and pasted. Sorry about that.

    1. No problem, thanks

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