A Curious Observation on Biblical Prophecy

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posted on Feb, 21 2011 @ 09:06 AM
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I am on record as saying that I don't believe in predictions, for the simple reason that time does not appear to be bidirectional on a macroscopic level. We drift along, one event after another, observations becoming history, and the best that we can muster about tomorrow are statistics on the likelihood of something happening, without absolute certainty.

Even the proverbial "the sun will rise tomorrow" is not a sure thing -- the chances of a cataclysm that results in the destruction of Earth or sun are, of course, infinitesimally slim, but they are still potentials that prevent a statistical likelihood of the sun rising from being 100%.

God (or, if you prefer, any eternal being) on the other hand, would be perfectly capable of predicting our future, because as an eternal, it has already happened from his perspective. He knows that the sun will rise tomorrow (if it will, lol) with 100% certainty because he remembers it happening, or he remembers the day that it didn't. So if a prediction is revealed to someone, courtesy of God, it may be seen as 100% likely to happen (which is where the admonition about false prophets comes from -- if a prophecy fails, it clearly didn't come from God, since an authentic prophecy from God could not fail.)

Okay, that's not the "curious observation", because it seems pretty obvious. Once you settle on the notion of an eternal being (something outside of time, without beginning or end) and his ability and desire to relate some specific future events to those in the time stream (all Biblical notions in both Judaism and Christianity,) prophecy need no further rationale.

But a question arises from things that are unfulfilled prophecy, and represent our still unknown future. "How do we know when the prophecy is being revealed?" As an example, consider this "sign of the end" from one of Paul's letters:


But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God — having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.
-- 2 Timothy 3:1-5 (NIV)


There was a recent thread on ATS that cited this passage as being an accurate prophecy for our time, and a number of people (including myself) noted that it's the sort of thing that could be said of pretty much every time. But in thinking it through this morning, I made my curious observation.

This passage is pointless if it is never notable. The things that Paul writes about were not only applicable in his own time, they were the hallmarks of both Roman and Jewish culture, so one is struck by its non-notability -- one can imagine Timothy reading that and saying "thanks a lot, Captain Obvious, tell me something I don't know."

The notability of this passage only arises if there comes a time when people do not act in this fashion, but then fall away from it. Not just true believers, or the Church in general, but society itself. That would require a different society, entirely, and one which was Christian in nature (or which exhibited values akin to Christian values.)

My earlier comment about "this prophecy is pretty much always true" stands, but to look for veracity of prophecy, for the very reason that it is not notable, one cannot see it as a simple "yes, it's happening" and consider it fulfilled. Rather, one needs to see it in terms of generalized quantification of the pervasiveness of the statement. In other words, if the number of people who display those qualities is never zero, at what point can we say that it met its minimum? If that point is yet in the future, then we can state, categorically, that this sign of the end does not apply to us.

There are many that believe that we live at or near the boundary that will signify a "post-Christian" age, where even the ostensibly Christian churches fall away. I think that this is still a ways off, but there are clear signs that it is coming. If we were to create a bell-curve that displays the growth of the Church, I suspect that we're near the "falling away" portion of the back of that curve. Inverting the curve, in a vague attempt to estimate the number of people who followed the teachings of the Church and would then exhibit behaviours contrary to Paul's claims, it seems likely that we have, indeed, passed that point of minimalism.

(In no way am I implying that the Church is the sole source of morals, nor do I claim that Christians have uniformly exhibited the qualities being discussed. The bell-curve is clearly not a smooth one, as events such as the Crusades, Spanish Inquisition or persecution of the Anabaptists point to times where significant backsliding in true Christian behaviour occurred,)

By requiring notability in prophecy, we can narrow down what is being predicted, and whether it has happened, is happening, or is yet to happen.

The most curious thing about it, when applied to Paul's passage in 2 Timothy, though, is that it not only clarifies the text, but it actually validates the prophecy. Think about it… the Jewish faith was never more than a minority belief in an isolated area, amongst a single ethnic group. Paul was in prison, soon to be executed, the other Apostles dead, imprisoned or scattered, and the nascent Christian church was under fire, not only from government prosecution, but from competing religions and philosophies. Optimism about the mere survival of the faith must have been rare.

But somehow, Paul knew that what he preached would become a dominant worldwide religion, to the point where people not acting like Christians would be sufficiently notable to point to "the end." To me, that's validation, and that makes the rest of it curious.
edit on 21-2-2011 by adjensen because: oopsies




posted on Feb, 21 2011 @ 09:12 AM
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there is only one prophecy and one truth...

I AM PHARAOH...



posted on Feb, 21 2011 @ 09:15 AM
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reply to post by adjensen
 





People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure...


I think it's worthy to note that the above quoted passage is an almost (if not entirely) perfect description of modern culture, regardless of where it originated.

As scripture from the Bible, it can be easily dismissed by those who claim another or no faith. But as an observation of society from a contemporary of the same, it bears weight... even if it is denied or ignored.

Good post.
edit on 21-2-2011 by redoubt because: typos



posted on Feb, 21 2011 @ 09:19 AM
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reply to post by adjensen
 

The question of "notability" also comes up in relation to more dramatic events, like wars and earthquakes.
These are mentioned in Old Testament prophecy, in Matthew ch24, in Revelation.
People are often trying to apply them to events of the last few decades; then somebody else points out, rightly, that these things are happening throughout history.
That's why, when I was writing about the "4 Horsemen", I was arguing that they must represent something out of the ordinary.



posted on Feb, 21 2011 @ 09:25 AM
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Shouldn't one look at the predictions given in the bible as warnings? Kind of like History...then again no one seems to learn from history either. Paul was a visionary for his time, otherwise how could he create his own version of what Jesus taught, and 2000 some odd years later still have people standing behind him.

I have also read other organized religions, and found that many mirror one another. There will be "predictions" in each of them...just something that I noticed.

below is a good article that does show some connections:

www.jeremiahproject.com...


ETA: Please check out the video at least if you do not wish to read what is in the link.

edit on 21-2-2011 by Holly N.R.A. because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 21 2011 @ 09:38 AM
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Originally posted by DISRAELI
reply to post by adjensen
 

The question of "notability" also comes up in relation to more dramatic events, like wars and earthquakes.
These are mentioned in Old Testament prophecy, in Matthew ch24, in Revelation.
People are often trying to apply them to events of the last few decades; then somebody else points out, rightly, that these things are happening throughout history.
That's why, when I was writing about the "4 Horsemen", I was arguing that they must represent something out of the ordinary.


Agreed. I also consider things like "war and rumours of war" -- one cannot point to a time of peace on Earth where this wouldn't be valid, but has there ever been a time where such was even remotely as pervasive as it is today?

The recent uprising in Egypt -- how many observed (or even pseudo-participated) in real time via Twitter and Facebook? Ten years ago, you'd have seen it on the nightly news (maybe). A hundred years ago, you might have seen an article in the newspaper weeks or months after it happened. Three hundred years ago, you'd have been very unlikely to ever know that anything occurred.

How much stress does the constant information deluge put on the average person? I don't know that I'd say it's a fulfillment of the "rumours of wars" bit, but it seems a lot more valid than such a claim in the past would have had.

If something common is mentioned in prophecy, its fulfillment needs to be in a notable fashion.
edit on 21-2-2011 by adjensen because: oopsies



posted on Feb, 21 2011 @ 09:43 AM
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Originally posted by Holly N.R.A.
ETA: Please check out the video at least if you do not wish to read what is in the link.


Thanks, I did. Ironically, they've chosen a song which kind of makes my point, as the original "Eve of Destruction" was a mid-1960s protest song against Vietnam, the prospect of nuclear war, and so forth. A universal message, because there's always something nasty going on.



posted on Feb, 21 2011 @ 09:49 AM
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reply to post by adjensen
 


There have always been people like this, actually the majority of the world during Paul's time were most if not all of these things, if you point out that there were way less Christians then, than there are now. Just based on the God part alone, if we assume that he is speaking of the version of God in the Bible.

That being said, in today's times, there are so many religious folks out there. Entire nations and societies are built on the worship of a god.

I am not saying that there is absolutely no truth to the prophecy that is outlined in the bible and other religious texts. My problem is, that they were written, as I believe you mentioned, a VERY long time ago. What these prophets saw, if indeed it was a vision of the future, would have NO IDEA how to explain what they saw in terms that could be taken literal.

Let me conclude with this....these texts CANNOT be taken literally!!! However, i believe there are lessons to be garnered from these texts, I do not believe we should use them as some type of tool to predict our future...we can make our own future.




posted on Feb, 21 2011 @ 02:01 PM
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However, when you start thinking at a Quantum level (which we really are just starting to get into) time becomes irrelevant. I feel your post is just reigniting the world is flat debate. Given time and more study of the concept of time, I believe predicting the future will be commonplace.



posted on Feb, 21 2011 @ 02:14 PM
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One could argue it the other way as well. Had Christianity NOT become such a major religion, the Bible would not be as well-read as it is and therefore nobody would have read his words to begin with, thus making them pointless and false. The reason we pay attention is because what he said (hoped?) would come true, has....that Christianity is one of the most widely practiced religions. Therefore, because he was "right" in one respect, we read on thinking (hoping?) he is right in others.

I read all religious texts like real estate ads.....I remove all of the adjectives and everything that is solely based on emotion or interpretation.

For example: (I am making this up to avoid offending anyone's personal viewpoint)
"...the land shook from mountain to mountain with a force so great...the Gods were angry and punishing those that don't believe...."

This to me translates: The ground shook, probably due to an earthquake.

The problem with religious texts are that many of them are very similar. They speak of similar events, of similar times, and of similar things to come....they tend to mostly differ on the reasons why and also what should be done to fix/stop said event from occurring.

These similarities in my opinion should not be ignored based solely on the aspect of who or what is behind these events. Again, just because one doesn't believe that earthquakes are caused by the anger of the Gods, doesn't mean that an earthquake didn't take place. This also holds true regarding the Great Flood, or for Christians, Noah's Ark.

There are many references throughout the world that refer to the Great Flood...again, just because one does or doesn't believe that Noah was involved, does not mean that the Great Flood never happened.



posted on Feb, 21 2011 @ 02:35 PM
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Originally posted by lpowell0627
For example: (I am making this up to avoid offending anyone's personal viewpoint)
"...the land shook from mountain to mountain with a force so great...the Gods were angry and punishing those that don't believe...."

This to me translates: The ground shook, probably due to an earthquake.


Me, too. Like I said, I'm not a literalist. Events in the Old Testament could have happened exactly as depicted, for the reasons described, but if one is not a literalist, they don't have to. Claiming that some piece of scripture being incorrect or a contradiction disproves God is a non-sequitur.


Therefore, because he was "right" in one respect, we read on thinking (hoping?) he is right in others.


Perhaps, but go back to my original statement -- what possible reason would he have had to even hope that it would become what it has? The Jewish faith was not, was never intended to be, a dominant religion. In the time of Paul, Christianity was still nothing more than a minor Jewish sect -- the prevailing argument was whether one needed to become Jewish in order to be a Christian.

In addition, the government was actively prosecuting the Church, the Jews who had been friends, family and supports were eyeing these Christians much like we would view any oddball cult today, and the teaching of Paul and the other Apostles was being attacked (successfully in many cases) by all sorts of different schools of thought.

When I say that the prophecy is validated by its notability, that is, of course, with the caveat that the prophecy is valid in the first place. If you don't believe that people acting in that fashion would be indicative of the end times, then the validation is similarly wrong.



posted on Feb, 21 2011 @ 06:04 PM
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To quote a great philospher - There is no fate, but what we make for ourselves.

Alright maybe not a great philospher but a point never the less. Too many people look to the Bible or Nostradamus to make sense of chaos. After 9-11 millions of people went online to look up the French Alchemists writings to find a passage which related to the atrocity. But Nostradamus' quatraints are open to interpretation.

Same as the Bible. All the Bible is, is an almanac to what has already passed. Just history. Nothing more. Nothing less. If there was one prophecy given and came true, it was when the Virgin Mary appeared to a group of children in Mount Melleray, Co Waterford in Southern Ireland.

You can google it and I will give you the link soon. But this prophecy occurred within a 10 year period from 1985. On August 22nd 1985 Mary warned the children “The entire world must improve…If the world does not improve, the devil will take over God’s Church in ten years”

10 years later. Paedophile priests. This is the only prophecy that I know about that has come true. Fatima included. And just to point out, if there was ever going to be an End of Days scenario... I believe we will be given prior warning.

For those interested:Heres the link



posted on Feb, 22 2011 @ 12:35 AM
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reply to post by adjensen
 

You are going from here:

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God — having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.
-- 2 Timothy 3:1-5 (NIV)

to here:

But somehow, Paul knew that what he preached would become a dominant worldwide religion, to the point where people not acting like Christians would be sufficiently notable to point to "the end." To me, that's validation, and that makes the rest of it curious.


You are falling into the trap so many believers of prophecy fall into. You are interpreting the words to suit your own beliefs. You believe that Paul must link being a good, humble, holy lover of god with Christianity, so you are reading that into his words. instead of looking at only what he is actually saying.

I've known many good, humble, holy lovers of god who were not Christians.


By the way, I have experienced proof that parts of the future can be revealed to us, however for me it was only information about me and what I should do, or glimpses that could not be recognised as prophesy until after they had happened.

One dream I had and one "realisation" I had each showed me that my immediate actions, - quite normal, reasonable actions - were going to result in deaths if I did not change what I was about to do. I find this interesting in retrospect, although I must admit it was terrifying at the time, because it seems to indicate an already existing future which can be changed.



posted on Feb, 22 2011 @ 08:29 AM
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Originally posted by Kailassa
You are falling into the trap so many believers of prophecy fall into. You are interpreting the words to suit your own beliefs. You believe that Paul must link being a good, humble, holy lover of god with Christianity, so you are reading that into his words. instead of looking at only what he is actually saying.


Yes, I suppose that I do, as regards why those qualities would be present (and I agree, and even stated in the OP, that there are plenty of good people who have nothing to do with Christianity,) but the fact remains that, in his time, neither secular nor prevailing religion authorities (barring his own) were instilling those qualities in people, so it's a bit of a stretch to say that he foresaw a future where people did behave well, but where existing authority was still running the show. Possible, but a stretch.

My point, again, is that because what he said was already evident, he must have been speaking of a time when it would be evident after it was not. We can use that both as a determinant as to whether we should be thinking it might be applicable today, but also as a validation, because he seemed to know that there would be a time when it wouldn't be evident, even though he did not appear to have a basis for believing so.


By the way, I have experienced proof that parts of the future can be revealed to us, however for me it was only information about me and what I should do, or glimpses that could not be recognised as prophesy until after they had happened.

One dream I had and one "realisation" I had each showed me that my immediate actions, - quite normal, reasonable actions - were going to result in deaths if I did not change what I was about to do. I find this interesting in retrospect, although I must admit it was terrifying at the time, because it seems to indicate an already existing future which can be changed.


I have had similar experiences, though in my case it has been the result of seeing a large number of variables coming into perfect synchronization, sort of like branches of a tree -- except that the tree is upside down, and the only way that these things could have come together is if they were growing toward a known event in the future, which is impossible (particularly in the case of non-living objects that represent a branch.)

To me, because I view such phenomenon as being impossible, this represents the intervention of something that is able to know, with 100% certainty, what will happen in the future, and has the ability to set those branches growing toward the centre at different times, in such a way that the pattern is met at the proper time. Your insights, similarly, can be viewed as minor prophecy -- glimpses of important decisions that you need to make as a "course correction", with the knowledge that if you didn't have that glimpse, you would not make the right decision.

Barring some determination that time is, in fact, bidirectional, or that we are able to mentally mould reality to suit what we believe it will be, I think that anything which deals with knowing future events (apart from those who opt for the mundane explanation that you only remember the stuff that really happens,) is, by necessity, supernatural in source.



posted on Feb, 22 2011 @ 11:12 AM
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reply to post by adjensen
 




The things that Paul writes about were not only applicable in his own time, they were the hallmarks of both Roman and Jewish culture, so one is struck by its non-notability -- one can imagine Timothy reading that and saying "thanks a lot, Captain Obvious, tell me something I don't know."


I believe Paul was a disgruntled former Roman Centurion, who, beginning to jump start a religious movement angrily wrote those letters in response to the practices of the churches in question. Plus the current powers were against him too. Starting a religious cult is hard enough, but when you try to make a dead man into a God you have your work cut out for you. Christians still do have that work cut out, having talked to, and debated with many in person, and in forums, most cannot really defend their belief system. Not a one can actually prove tat either Jesus existed, or that their "book" is the "word of God." The Ancient Sumerian and Arcadian people were just writing fiction, after all. The Titans and the Olympians were just made up, but their Godman is real. I have quite a good time talking to them, trying to educate them a little more than they have allowed themselves to become.



posted on Feb, 22 2011 @ 11:38 AM
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Originally posted by autowrench
reply to post by adjensen
 




The things that Paul writes about were not only applicable in his own time, they were the hallmarks of both Roman and Jewish culture, so one is struck by its non-notability -- one can imagine Timothy reading that and saying "thanks a lot, Captain Obvious, tell me something I don't know."


I believe Paul was a disgruntled former Roman Centurion, who, beginning to jump start a religious movement angrily wrote those letters in response to the practices of the churches in question.


Well, I'm glad to see that you've given up on the whole Piso Family business and moved on to Paul being a real person


I would be interested in seeing what evidence that you have for making such a claim, because if there is a problem with Paul, it is with his commission, which is what we believe happened on the road to Damascus. The whole "mission to the Gentiles" and his arguments regarding the basis of salvation are taken in that context, so a lot of faith is put into its voracity.

But I would struggle to believe that the person who wrote the epistles credited to Paul was a Roman Centurion, because the author is clearly a Jewish scholar, and those are two very disparate career paths. Because Paul is mostly arguing with fellow Jewish-Christians, he has to argue from that perspective, and he does so very effectively.

If one treats the Bible holistically, looking at each bit as a part of the whole, it is difficult to find instances where Paul (and the other epistle writers) are at odds with the Jesus portrayed in the four Gospels, and it is difficult to find instances where that Jesus is at odds with the Jewish faith described in the Old Testament. So, for Paul to have just "made things up", he would have had to have been around for about 1,500 years to influence the original Jewish texts.

Even if he simply fabricated something that meshed with ancient Judaism, what was the point? If he believed in the Judaic God, he would be well aware of the blasphemy he was committing, and if he didn't believe in him, then why suffer prison and execution when he could just have said "never mind, just kidding" and they'd have let him go?


Not a one can actually prove tat either Jesus existed, or that their "book" is the "word of God."


I'll let you in on a secret... that is intentional.

Ironically, it seems that not until one gives up the search for proof does one actually have a chance of finding it. Logically, it makes sense, and, at least in my case, it was very much the truth.



posted on Feb, 22 2011 @ 11:49 AM
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reply to post by ATC_GOD
 




Let me conclude with this....these texts CANNOT be taken literally!!! However, i believe there are lessons to be garnered from these texts, I do not believe we should use them as some type of tool to predict our future...we can make our own future.


I most wholeheartedly agree with you here. I have pondered on this many times, all one needs to do is look back. Say that I have a time travel device, and went back to the time of Ancient Sumeria. I appear at night, no one sees me, and I drop a modern cell phone on the ground, one with many photos and videos on it. What would be written about this magical thing? Any Ancient story, no matter how many believe it to be true, can be taken in a literal manner. Time changes things. Languages and words change, the intelligence of the masses changes too. the landscape changes. Do you all see the logic here?



posted on Feb, 22 2011 @ 12:02 PM
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reply to post by adjensen
 


Adjensen, my friend, it is clear that you and I have a different way of looking at things, and a different way of life. Correct? I want you to know I mean you no harm, and no insult. If humanity ever begins to think as one, well then the whole universe will shake in fear, and we cannot have that, can we? I do not believe humanity is quite ready to ascend to a higher plane, and must stay here for more learning and experience. I am probably just like you down deep, you have read a lot of books, had a few supernatural experiences, and heard voices that you knew were of a higher intelligence, perhaps a God? I too have read a lot, experienced these things, and saw it my way, not in your way, obviously.
You are a forum veteran, and a man/woman of Faith. I respect that.
Autowrench



posted on Feb, 22 2011 @ 02:59 PM
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Originally posted by adjensen

Originally posted by Kailassa
You are falling into the trap so many believers of prophecy fall into. You are interpreting the words to suit your own beliefs. You believe that Paul must link being a good, humble, holy lover of god with Christianity, so you are reading that into his words. instead of looking at only what he is actually saying.


Yes, I suppose that I do, as regards why those qualities would be present (and I agree, and even stated in the OP, that there are plenty of good people who have nothing to do with Christianity,) but the fact remains that, in his time, neither secular nor prevailing religion authorities (barring his own) were instilling those qualities in people, so it's a bit of a stretch to say that he foresaw a future where people did behave well, but where existing authority was still running the show. Possible, but a stretch.

You are suggesting Paul prophesied, yet arguing that Paul could not have foreseen the future if it was not what he expected.
Oh ye of little faith.




Barring some determination that time is, in fact, bidirectional, or that we are able to mentally mould reality to suit what we believe it will be, I think that anything which deals with knowing future events (apart from those who opt for the mundane explanation that you only remember the stuff that really happens,) is, by necessity, supernatural in source.

I believe time is an experience, that there is actually no such thing as time, merely the illusion of moving through time. On the other hand, I see god as a master weaver, letting humans make the great cloth by our own actions, but sometimes asking for our help to keep the cloth strong and make it possible for future weaving to occur. I'm quite happy to live in a paradox where all has already happened, but where we have free will and can change what has happened in our futures.

I believe god has a "no intervention" policy, which is not cruel or unjust because we are god, each an amnesiac fraction of the infinite, and this is how we've chosen to play this game. Some are called to offer themselves as flutes for the infinite to blow tunes through, and for these people humility is vital, as it is all that separates such calling from insanity. Others live their lives in varying degrees of obliviousness.

Looking at the cloth from a distance, you see threads of all hues and shades. But looking from close up, you see all the threads are golden.
edit on 22/2/11 by Kailassa because: I had to change what had already happened.



posted on Feb, 22 2011 @ 03:06 PM
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Reply to post by adjensen
 


Think of prophecy as puzzle pieces.

Certain pieces may fit in the wrong area, but nothing will fit perfectly unless they are in the right place.

Yes, many prophecies could and have happened in the past. Don't look at them one at a time. You have to put them all in a big picture.


 
Posted Via ATS Mobile: m.abovetopsecret.com
 





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