Another example is mentioned by al-Ghazali. Suppose that the sun and moon have each been revolving around the earth throughout an infinite past. There are 12 revolutions of the moon for every revolution of the sun. As we go back in time, the gap between the number of months and years grows ever wider, yet, taken as a whole, there are an equal number of elapsed months and years (both infinite). Cantorian set theory agrees with this paradoxical result: the cardinal number of months and years is exactly the same.
Bertrand Russell discusses a similar paradox, which he called the Tristam Shandy paradox. Tristam is writing is own autobiography. He takes a whole year to write down the events of a single day. In an infinite amount of time, Shandy can complete the task. Here's a time-reversed version of the paradox: suppose that Tristam is clairvoyent -- he writes about his own future. Last year he wrote about today's events; in the year before last, he wrote about yesterday's events. Today, he has just completed an infinite autobiography, cover all the events of his infinite past, despite the fact that, as we go farther in the past, Shandy is every further behind in the task -- i.e., 1000 years ago, he was still writing about the events of only the last three days.
This week, I will report about some commentaries that deal with Matthew 24. And, once again, a Douglas Hamp article is my inspiration:
Matthew 24:32 has this verse:
Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When it’s branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, you know that summer is nigh.
There are two obvious questions concerning this parable: who or what is the fig tree and how long is a generation? The answer to the first question is unmistakably Israel. God clearly compares Israel with a fig tree. The following verses are given in chronological order:Besides using Bible verses to support this, he also refers to a anti-canonical work known as the Apocalypse of Peter. According to this link, composition is around 135 A.D:
“I found Israel like grapes in the wilderness; I saw your fathers as the first fruits on the fig tree in its first season.” (Hosea 9:10, emphasis mine).
Here God compares Israel to grapes and the fathers to fruits of the fig tree. Then in Joel He speaks of “my land” as being comparable to “my fig tree” again showing that Israel (both ethnically/nationally and geographically) is symbolized as a fig tree.
“For a nation has come up against My land, strong, and without number; His teeth are the teeth of a lion, and he has the fangs of a fierce lion. He has laid waste My vine, And ruined My fig tree; He has stripped it bare and thrown it away; Its branches are made white.” (Joel 1:6-7, emphasis mine)
The earliest possible date can be determined through the date of 4 Esdras -- about 100 CE -- which was probably used in the Apocalypse of Peter and II Peter, the priority of which was demonstrated by F. Spitta. The latest possible date, using the quotations of Theopilus above, is 180. We thus come, with H. Weinel, if in interpreting the Parable of the Fig Tree in c.2 we also relate to the Jewish Antichrist who persecutes the Christians to Bar Chocba, to approximately the year 135 as the probable time of origin.Here is another link where you can read the texts from the Apocalypse. The Ethiopic text is the one that mentions the Fig Tree being Israel:
Verily I say unto you, this generation shall not pass, until all these things be fulfilled.He believes that Jesus is talking about the time when he returns to this earth. However, opinions vary on that, as this article shows: