Calling the Jesus presented in the Gospel of Mark a False Prophet may sound blasphemous and disrespectful. Jesus is not a charlatan. Not a Benny Hinn. Not a Franklin Graham. I consider Jesus a Spiritual Prodigy. A Religious Pioneer. A World Changing Force. But Jesus was also a False Prophet. I am using the definition of False Prophet that can be found in Deuteronomy 18:17-22. It is pretty straight forward:
“The Lord said to me: “What they say is good. I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their fellow Israelites, and I will put my words in his mouth. He will tell them everything I command him. I myself will call to account anyone who does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name. But a prophet who presumes to speak in my name anything I have not commanded, or a prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, is to be put to death. You may to yourselves, “How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the Lord? If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the Lord does not take place or come true, that is a message the Lord has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously, so do not be alarmed.”
The Gospel of Mark Jesus is stated at the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry in Mark 1:14-15: “Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.” The disciples of Jesus understood this to be a Kingdom that Jesus would rule over after Jesus’ resurrection and glorious return to judge the enemies of God and establish God eternal rule on earth. The disciples even jockeyed for position in Jesus’ imminent Kingdom. In Mark 10:35-36 we find James and John lobbying for plum positions in the Kingdom of God administration:
“James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came forward to him and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” And he said to them, “What is it you want me to do for you?” And they said to him, “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.”
Many Christians shake their heads and smile at the disciples naive and simplistic understanding of the Kingdom of God.
But Jesus believed the same thing.
Mark Jesus refers to himself using the cryptic title “Son of Man” 14 times. Jesus seems to make the meaning explicit in Mark 14:60-62 as he is interrogated by the High Priest:
“Then the high priest stood up before them and asked Jesus, “Have you no answer? What is it that they testify against you? But he was silent and did not answer. Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One? Jesus said, “I am; and ‘you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power’ and ‘coming with the clouds of heaven.’”
And when will Mark Jesus return to establish the Kingdom of God? Jesus tells us, again referencing Daniel 7, that it will be within his hearers generation in Mark 13:26-33:
“Then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in clouds’ with great power and glory. Then he will send out the angels, and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven
From the fig tree learn its lesson; as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near, at the very gates. Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
But about this day or hour no one knows, but only the Father. Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come.”
Jesus is actually quite precise about what he knows and doesn’t know about the timing of his Daniel 7 return to establish the Kingdom of God. Jesus will return before the current generation passes away. But Jesus does not know the day or the hour. There, the current generation ‘keep alert’ and ‘keep awake’ because Jesus could return at any moment.
And this is why Mark Jesus is a False Prophet.
There have been over 60 generations since Jesus made this prophecy.
This False Prophecy was embraced by Jesus’ disciples and taught as a central doctrine to the emerging New Testament Church. For example:
1 Peter 4:7 “The end of all things is near; therefore be serious and discipline yourselves for the sake of your prayers.”
1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 “For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will by no means precede those who have died.”
1 Corinthians 10:11 “These things happened to them to serve as an example, and they were written down to instruct us, on whom the ends of the ages have come.”
1 Corinthians 15:51 “Listen, I will tell you a mystery! We will not all die, but we will be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.”
Jesus has much to offer as a world changing spiritual teacher. But as a prophet Jesus failed.