There is something feeble and contemptible about a person who cannot
face life without the help of comfortable myths and cherished illusions.
The fraudulent nature of the New Testament is readily apparent
to anyone who studies it objectively. The gospels have been shown to be fiction pure and simple while many of the so-called
epistles of Paul are obvious counterfeits as are those of Peter and John. (See Who Wrote the New Testament? by Burton
L. Mack.) In fact, forgery was so rampant throughout the early Christian establishment that Paul taught his followers to recognize
his handwriting in an attempt to insure authenticity2. So to point out a few forgeries in this book of forgeries is like prosecuting a serial rapist for jay
walking. However, the following stories are among those deserving special attention because they are often presented as factual
history, particularly to the young.
In the following I deal almost exclusively with the gospels. Forgeries
are rampant, however, throughout the entire New Testament, especially among the so-called epistles of Paul. For more information
on this subject see, "The Pauline Epistles," "The First Bible" and "Are the Gospels True?".
The Virgin Birth - With the development in the last
half of the twentieth century of the twin medical techniques, in vitro fertilization and artificial insemination, it became
possible for a "virgin," a woman who had never had sexual intercourse with a man, to conceive and bear a child. But, could
such a thing have happened two thousand years ago? No way!
In the gospels of Matthew and Luke, whose authors remain unknown, we
are told at the beginning of the birth narratives that a young Jewish woman who had never had normal sex relations with a
man did in fact become pregnant and after term she delivered a healthy baby boy. It is known euphemistically as "The Virgin
Birth." Many Christians take it literally. Ask them why and they will in all probability say it is the fulfillment of Old
Testament prophecy, Isaiah 7:14 to be exact. Is their interpretation of the prophecy in question valid, or is it not? What
follows is derived in part from the writings of Samuel Golding of the Jerusalem Institute of Biblical Polemics, Jerusalem,
Throughout all of Christendom the New Testament is considered
to be the divinely inspired word of God. Therefore, its message is accepted without question. Messianic Jews have been taught
by Christian missionaries that it is the fulfillment of the Tanach (Hebrew Bible). In short, the Old Testament prophets are
supposed to have spoken about Jesus thus confirming his claim to be the long awaited Jewish messiah. One of the many "proofs"
of this astounding claim comes from a misinterpretation of Isaiah 7.14 (KJV) which reads, Behold a virgin shall conceive
and bear a son and shall call his name Emmanuel.
The verse which mentions a virgin can only be found in the KJV which
is incorrectly translated. Other Bibles such as the NEB, RSV and the Jerusalem Bible (Catholic Version) do not give credence
to the belief in a virgin birth. There are a few points worth noting as we compare the original Hebrew with the English translation
of the KJV.
In Hebrew the verse reads in the present tense, "is with child" and not the future tense as recorded in Christian
Bibles (KJV.) In Hebrew it states she is pregnant, not will become pregnant. In fact, the Catholic Bible, Isaiah
7.14 reads as follows: "The maiden is with child and will soon give birth to a son." Jesus was not born until seven
hundred years after this sign was given, which certainly could not be described as "soon." The text reads 'is with
child', therefore how could this woman be kept pregnant for seven hundred years until Jesus arrived?
b] This is not a prophecy for some future
date, it is a 'ot' (sign ). Whenever 'ot'
is used in Hebrew it means something which will come to pass immediately. 'Ot'
is used elsewhere in the Bible: This shall be a sign unto thee from the Lord (Isaiah 38.7-8), and "If they will
not believe thee, neither hearken to the voice of the first sign" (Ex 4.8-9). In each case the sign comes to pass immediately,
not seven hundred years later.
c] The name of the child was Emmanuel. Nowhere in
the New Testament do we find that Jesus is called Emmanuel. The angel informs Joseph in a dream that Mary will give birth
to a son and that he should be called Jesus (Matt. 1:20-21, Luke 2;21.) All the evidence indicates that we are dealing with
two different individuals here, Emmanuel and Jesus.
The text specifically says, 'the young woman' -'alma' whereas KJV changes the translation to 'a virgin '. The
definite article is changed to the indefinite article, whereas the original text is evidently referring to the young woman
known to both Isaiah and Ahaz, and not to some unknown person living far in the future. Here the prophet Isaiah is simply
relating to the fact that the young woman is having a baby and that will be a sign to king Ahaz.
e] The "sign" was given to King Ahaz and not
to the people of Jesus’ day. It concerned the military situation of the time. The meaning is clear if the message is
read in context and in its own historical setting (See 2 Kings 16.1-10).
f] If Christian interpretation of Old
Testament prophecy is difficult to swallow, it's nothing compared to what we are expected to take seriously in the New Testament.
For example, in Matthew 1:20 we are told that Joseph, who was betrothed to Mary, was "told in a dream" all about the situation.
In Luke 1 we are told that Mary was informed of the coming virgin birth in a private conversation with an angel. How can such
ludicrous claims be historically verified?
g] Skepticism of the virgin birth
claim is further confirmed by the fact that extant early Christian writings neither mention it nor shows any awareness of
it prior to the writing of the Gospel of Matthew sometime after 80 C. E. It appears nowhere in the authentic epistles of Paul
nor in Q.
h] The writer
of Mark, the earliest of the canonical gospels, apparently had no knowledge of a virgin birth for the following reasons:
1) no birth narrative, 2) Mark's Jesus only became aware of his divine status when he was baptism, 3) when in Mark 10:17-18 a follower addressed him as "Good Teacher" Jesus replied, "Why callest thou me good?
There is none good but one, that is God." thereby not only denying the virgin birth and the incarnation, but also the doctrine
of the holy trinity, 4) in Mark 3:19-21 (NRSV) when Jesus arrived back in his home town
people were saying that he had lost his mind - gone insane. Upon hearing this, his family became concerned and came to restrain
him. So, here again is undeniable proof that the writer of Mark was unaware of a virgin birth because if such a thing had
actually happened the last thing anyone, especially his mother, would have suspected was that her divine, virgin-born son
was insane. The writers of Matthew and Luke, although they drew heavily from Mark, wisely omitted this revealing little detail.
(See Matthew 12:46-50 and Luke 8:19-20.)
The truth of the matter is that Christians have been misled by the clergy
to believe that the child of the young woman in Isaiah 7.14 was no ordinary child but was none other than God himself clothed
in a body of flesh, and that it was referring to none other than Jesus of Nazareth who was allegedly born some 700 years later.
It's nothing short of absurd.
For more information on Old Testament prophecy and their
alleged fulfillment see Examining the Christian Claim
of Prophecy Fulfillment on this web page.
The Birth of Jesus - The birth of Jesus, as crucial
as it is to the Christian belief system, is described in only two places in the entire Bible, the first chapter of the Gospel
according to Matthew and the second chapter of the Gospel according to Luke. The miraculous virgin birth and the circumstances
surrounding it were apparently not deemed worthy of mention by the writers of the Gospels of Mark and John nor by Paul who
said simply that, "Jesus was born of a woman, born under the law" (Galatians 4:4). Why? Could it be that they never heard
A key question is, "If Jesus lived, when was he born?" The
accounts recorded in Matthew and Luke could hardly differ more drastically from each other in practically every detail. According
to Matthew 2:1 Jesus was born during the reign of King Herod the Great who is known to have died in the year 4 BCE 3. Also, Herod issued that infamous order to
"Slay all children in Bethlehem and in all the costs thereof, from two years old and under." So, that puts the birth
of Matthew's Jesus at between 6 and 4 BCE. Luke, like Matthew, gives no definite date for Jesus’ birth saying only that
it occurred when Quirinius was the governor of Syria (Luke 2:1-2). Quirinius became governor of Syria in 6 CE4. Therefore, if Luke is to be believed, Jesus
could have been born no earlier than that date. So, there is an eight to ten year discrepancy between the Gospels of Matthew
and Luke in regard to the date of Jesus' birth. Neither of them, it should be pointed out, support the conventional concept
of the BC/AD dating boundary. So, what are we to believe concerning this most significant event other than that it is an element
of a larger fiction concocted by the gospel writer's themselves?
In regard to Mary and Joseph, Jesus earthly parents, one would expect
that they would be venerated throughout the New Testament, especially Mary since out of all of Israel she was the one selected
by none other than God himself to be the mother of his son, or so we are told. However, this is far from the case. Outside
of the two birth narratives, Jesus’ parents are practically ignored. Joseph is mentioned only three times, once in Luke
3:23 and twice in the Gospel of John, 1:45 and 6:42. In these passages Joseph is referred to as "the father" of Jesus. Mary,
his mother, is also mentioned only three times outside the birth narratives, Mark 6:3, Matthew 13:55 (obviously copied from
Mark) and Acts 1:14. In none of them is she referred to as a “virgin.”
In a book called the Wisdom of Solomon, Israel's most opulent
king is quoted as having said, "When I was born I was carefully swaddled for that is the only way a king can come to his people."
This line clearly shaped Luke's birth story of how the infant Jesus was wrapped in swaddling clothe (2:7).
The only two accounts we have of Jesus’ birth are hopelessly contradictory
and cannot be historically verified. They show all of the attributes of myth and fiction and therefore cannot be taken seriously.
See also Scrutinizing the Scripture on this web site.
Jesus' Genealogies - Of all the glaring absurdities,
obvious fabrications and irresolvable contradictions plaguing the New Testament gospels the genealogies of Jesus (Matthew
1:1-17 and Luke 3:23-38) outdo them all. The authors of Mark and John wisely chose to ignore this subject. Having said that,
I point out that the objective of the genealogies, to establish a direct family linkage from Jesus to King David, is an important
one since Jewish prophetic writings makes it clear that the Messiah must be a direct descendant of King David (2 Samuel 7:16,
Psalms 89:3-4 and 132:11-12,) although this requirement is brought into question by Jesus himself (Mark 12:35-37).4a That,
along with the Old Testament prophecy in Micah 5:2, is the reason the birth narratives of Matthew has Jesus born in Bethlehem,
the city of David. In his epistle to the Romans (1:3) Paul tells us without proof that Jesus was in fact a descendant of King
David. Because they were determined to fit Jesus into the Jewish messianic scriptural mold, the writers of Matthew and Luke
separately concocted detailed genealogies each giving Jesus an elaborate, but phony, family tree directly linking him not
only to King David but far beyond. The writer of Matthew starts with Abraham, the first of the Jewish patriarchs, and works
forward through David to Joseph thence to Jesus while the writer of Luke outdoes him by going backward all the way to God.
Eddy4b tells us that the Gospels of Matthew and Luke are believed to have been compiled in late first century
Antioch, which at that time had a large population of extremely wealthy Jews to whom the matter of family ties were very important.
The genealogies were included as a means of appealing to this particular population in an effort to convert them to Christianity
which was at that time a Jewish sect. Because their writers neglected to include a birth narrative, the Gospels of Mark
and John, managed to circumvent the genealogy problem. In addition, John was obviously written for a gentile audience where
the trappings of a genealogy and a Jewish messianic birth were not that important.
There are, however, big problems with these genealogies raising
a number of legitimate questions. As pointed out by Arnheim4c, there is a huge difference between the two genealogies, especially in the number of generations separating
Jesus from King David. Matthew specifically tells us that there were twenty-eight generations, fourteen from David to the
Babylonian Exile and another fourteen from the Exile to the birth of Jesus. The writer of Luke gives no figures, but a count
of the number of names he mentions as Jesus' ancestors yields a total of no fewer than forty-one generations for the same
period represented by Matthew's twenty-eight. For the thousand-odd-year period Luke's forty-one generations average out at
just over twenty-four years apiece. Matthew's fourteen generations from David to the Exile average out to about twenty-eight
and a half years each, but his last fourteen generations have a mean span of a whopping forty-one and a half years thereby
rendering it totally unacceptable.
When the genealogies are compared, one can easily see that the
lists are almost identical up to David. However, from David onward there is little similarity. For example, the writer of
Matthew tells us (1:16) that Jacob is Joseph’s father where as in Luke 3:23 we are told that Heli is Joseph’s
father. The major reason for the contradictory names given after David is that the account in Luke traces the genealogy through
David's son, Nathan, while the one in Matthew traces it through Solomon. This would easily account for the wide divergence
in names following David but raises a couple of crucial questions: (1) How could two sons of David father two completely different
genealogies which merge together with the last two individuals, Joseph and Jesus? And (2) how could Jesus, or for that matter
anyone else, have two contradictory genealogies4d?
The writers of Matthew and Luke are determined to bring Jesus' genealogy
into line with Old Testament prophecy at the expense of rational credibility. In so doing they rely at length on the use of
the mystical number seven or its multiples in order to invest Jesus' alleged ancestry with a false aura of divine destiny.
Only one conclusion can be drawn from the discrepancies between
these two so-called genealogies of Jesus. Because they were both writing fiction, the authors of Matthew and Luke simply invented
a lineage linking him with King David thereby fulfilling the requirement of Old-Testament prophecy. What they apparently failed
to understand, however, is that by establishing Jesus blood tie to King David through Joseph they undermined the claim of
a virgin birth4e, establishing
Jesus as the true Son of God. The twin claims that Jesus was born of a virgin
and also descended directly from king David, both of which represent basic Christian doctrine, are by their very nature mutually
however, were not to take such a convincing argument lying down. So determined were they to find some means by which to counter
such a devastating disclosure that they resorted, obviously out of sheer desperation, to the claim that the two genealogies
were, in reality, not meant to be the same. Matthew's genealogy, they maintained, is that of Joseph while Luke's is that of
Mary4f. Unfortunately for them,
Luke's genealogy never mentions Mary. In fact, Luke’s author makes it quite clear that this is Joseph's lineage (3:23)
and no one else’s. Joseph's name is mentioned in Luke's genealogy and Luke 1:21 and 2:4 show he was from the house of
David. So one can reasonably conclude that it is his lineage, not that of Mary. The point is, in fact, moot because as a woman
Mary could never have been qualified to be heir to the throne of David, so she couldn't pass on what she could never possess,
even if she was of Davidic descent which she obviously was not.
In Numbers 1:18 it states that family pedigrees are declared
by the house of their father’s. In the Hebrew culture genealogies were traced through males only. But, this creates
an even bigger problem for Bible believers. According to the claim of the virgin birth, Joseph was not Jesus’ biological
father. Mary was made pregnant with Jesus by none other than the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:20, Luke1:35). So, the Bible believer
finds himself or herself squarely on the horns of a baffling dilemma. If Jesus is not the biological offspring of Joseph,
he has no link to David and is thus disqualified as the long awaited Jewish messiah. But, if Joseph is Jesus’ true biological
father, the claim of Davidic ancestry is established but that of the virgin birth is shown to be an out-and-out scam.
The Three Wise Men - The story of the three wise
men (a.k.a., the Magi) is one of the most enduring elements of traditional Christmas pageantry. But just how true is it? It
appears only in the Gospel of Matthew (2:1-12) and the account leaves many unanswered questions. The writer of Matthew refers
to them as “wise men” not as "kings" and neglects to tell us how many there were. The earliest designation of
three appears in the writings of the church father, Origen (c.185 - c.254.) Why the number was settled at three is not known
for sure, but it was in all probability due to there bring three gifts, gold, frankincense and myrrh. As to their origin,
we are told only that they came from “the east.” Where in the east? In verse 12 it says, "they departed unto their
own country" implying that they all came from the same place. Was it Babylon, Persia, India, China? Early speculation had
it that they came from Sheba in southern Arabia because that city was an important source of frankincense, and also because
of the prophecy in Isaiah 60:6 (NRSV) which reads:
A multitude of camels shall cover you, the young camels of Midian
all those from Sheba shall come. They shall bring
gold and frankincense, and
shall proclaim the praise of the
But Sheba lies not to the east but to the south of Bethlehem. Therefore it was rejected..
was simply to pay their respects to the child "who has been born king of the Jews." How did they become aware of such an awesome
destiny? Well, they saw "his (natal) star at its rising." No explanation is given as to just what this means or why no one
else reported seeing it, not even King Herod. The gospel writer goes on to tell us that this same star hung around long enough
to guide the Magi to the Jesus. Such a claim qualifies as nonsensical at best because stars, essentially huge globs of burning
hydrogen some of which are many times larger than the earth and thousands of light years away, are not known to perform such
The idea of a bright star miraculously appearing in conjunction with the birth of a great
leader did not originate with this story. Ancient religions, especially Zoroastrianism, often chose to associate the coming
of their godlike figures with such a device4g. The idea was to provide a mysterious accompaniment to their birth thus suggesting
that Heaven itself had announced the coming of a future leader. The star said to have heralded the coming of Jesus appears
to have followed this ancient tradition.
News of the birth of Jesus and his kingly destiny apparently came as a rude
shock to King Herod who had big plans for a dynasty of his own. In an attempt to put an end to this threat, which he apparently
took very seriously, Herod assembled all of the chief priests and scribes and asked them what amounts to an astonishing question,
“Where is this future king to be born?” They said in Bethlehem, the city of David, as any one of that day, especially
the king, should have already known. To back it up they quoted a confirming prophecy - Micah 5:2. This, in all probability,
is the real reason for including this little tale, since the writer of Matthew was obviously obsessed with Old Testament prophecy
fulfillment and has Jesus fulfilling them in practically every verse. Anyway, King Herod tried to entice the Magi into revealing
Jesus’ location, but they had been forewarned "in a dream" of Herod’s dastardly plan and outwitted him by departing
by another road. Following this brief and puzzling little episode the Magi, the first converts to Christianity, disappear
from scripture never to be mentioned again. But there remains a question of timing.
Herod's infamous order included the slaughter of all boy babies "two
years old and under." Why two years? Does that mean that Jesus was already two years old by the time the Magi got there and
located him? Did their trip take that long? Also, what about that accommodating star? Did it hang around Jerusalem for
two years? If so, shouldn't there be some mention of it other than in the Gospel of Matthew?
Regardless of its origin
the story of the Magi caught on and spread throughout Christendom. Along the way it was greatly exaggerated, embellished and
altered so as to fit numerous ceremonial occasions. The earliest known artist's depiction of the Magi is in a 3rd century
wall painting in Rome. In a 6th century Greek chronicle they are named Balthazar, Gaspar and Melchior. In modern Iran and
Iraq, where the Persian civilization once ruled, practically every town has its legend in which it claims to be the place
from whence the Magi came. One such legend was encountered by the 13th century explorer Marco Polo in the city of Sava in
modern day Iran. He was assured by the local residents that the Magi not only came from Sava, but were originally buried there.
According to legend they were unearthed by the dowager empress, Helena, in the 4th century and taken to Byzantium (Istanbul,
Turkey). Helena also claimed to have located the original cross upon which Jesus die so here credibility in these matters
is questionable. Centuries later , however, a box of bones said to be those of the Magi appeared in Milan, Italy. During the12th
century Frederick Barbarossa sacked Milan and took the box of bones to Cologne, Germany where a Cathedral was built to house
them. They remain there to this day. But the question is, “Whose bones are they, really?”
account of the birth of Jesus and the events following, including the Magi, stands in direct contradiction to that recorded
in the Gospel of Luke (2:8-20). Jesus' birth, according to the writer of Luke, was anything but a secret. An angel appeared
to shepherds in the field announcing to them, "I bring you glad tidings of great joy which shall be to all people." In addition,
an angelic choir appeared in the night sky singing praises to God which probably woke up everybody in Bethlehem. The first
people to pay homage to the new-born Jesus, according to the writer of Luke, were not the Magi but a bunch of shepherds from
the surrounding fields.
What it all comes down to is that the endearing account of worshiping, gift giving Magi and
their deep devotion to the new-born “King,” Jesus, is nothing more than an obvious hoax.
The Slaughter of the Innocents - In the second chapter
of the Gospel of Matthew we read the heart-rending account of the killing of babies. This story is known throughout Christendom
as “The Slaughter of the Innocents.” King Herod, the writer says, was jealous of Jesus and plotted to get rid
of him. But Jesus’ parents were forewarned “in a dream” and fled to Egypt. Meanwhile, Herod, unable to locate
Jesus and unaware of his departure, ordered his army to "slay all male children in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof,
from two years old and under".
This brutal tale of infanticide is parroted regularly in pulpits and
Sunday school classes amid much tearful sorrow and lamentation. But just how true is it? First, none of the other gospel writers
ever refer to it. Second, it is not mentioned in any extant official documents of that day. Third, why was John the Baptist
not killed since he was the same age as Jesus and living in that region? Fourth, Flauvius Josephus, an important first-century
Jewish historian, chronicled the reign of Herod the Great in Book 18 of Antiquities of the Jews. In doing so he did
not attempt to whitewash Herod’s character. He said nothing about a massacre of children which he most certainly would
have had such a heinous crime actually taken place.
The writer of the Gospel of Luke tells a very different story. In Luke
2:39 it says that: "When they (Joseph and family) had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned
unto Galilee, to their own city, Nazareth". This would include circumcision on the eighth day, the redemption of the first
born on the 30th day and Mary’s purification on the 40th day. After that they returned to Nazareth. Apparently they
did not feel threatened by Herod or anyone else, and no mention is made of a flight to Egypt.
The story of the slaughter of the innocents was obviously
invented by the writer of Matthew. It was part of a fictional literary construct by which he could justify his claim that
Jesus fulfilled certain Old Testament prophecies. But in doing so he had to stretch his imagination to the limit. First, in
order to fulfill Micah 5:2 4h he had to have Jesus
born in Bethlehem. Then he had to get him to Egypt and set the stage for his return thus legitimizing his claiming fulfillment
of Hosea 1:115. So
what did he do? Well, he conveniently put all the blame on old King Herod who is probably spinning in his grave right now.
But the baby-killing story, although untrue, provided an additional dividend. Through it the writer of Matthew could lay claim
to the fulfillment of yet another Old Testament prophecy, Jeremiah 31:156. The writer of Luke apparently felt no obligation to accommodate these prophecies.
Therefore, he had no need to embellish his birth narrative with a sordid tale of baby killing.
Nazareth - Did Nazareth of Galilee, said in Mark
1:6 to be Jesus’ hometown and the place where he grew up, actually exist at that time or is it just another figment
of the writer's imagination? No such place appears on ancient Roman maps of the era. The territory of Zebulun, which included
Galilee, is defined in Joshua 19:10-16. Although several towns, including Bethlehem, are cited, no mentioned is made of Nazareth.
This is strange indeed considering that Nazareth was destined to play such an important roll in the predicted coming of the
long-awaited Jewish messiah.. Flavius Josephus, an important first century Jewish historian, gives the names of 45 towns in
Galilee in the first century, yet Nazareth is not among them. The Jewish Talmud gives the names of 63 first century Galilean
towns and again no Nazareth is listed. Scanning across 1500 years of Jewish and Roman texts and other sources we see no mention
of a Nazareth. In fact, the first reference to such a place appears in Mark 1:9 where we are told that, "In those days Jesus
came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John (the Baptist) in the Jordan River." Mark, the oldest of the New Testament
gospels, is recognized by many Bible scholars as pure fiction. So, is Nazareth just another factitious element of the Christian
myth with no basis in fact?
Some Christian apologists have tried to claim Nazareth existed citing archaeological digs
at one place or another on or near the alleged site, but they fail to understand that going back some 5000 years practically
every spot of that land had a settlement on it at one time or another. Another apologetic claim is that Nazareth was too small
to be listed. This defies logic in view of the fact that of the 63 towns and settlements listed for that relatively small
area by three different accounts they all missed it.
Nazareth did not exist as a part of the Christian story until in the
fourth century when the dowager empress, Helena, the mother of Constantine the Great, journeyed through the Holy Land establishing
the various holy Christian sites now visited by millions of awestruck tourists. According to the story, Helena was so dismayed
not to find Nazareth that she selected a pile of ruins in the general area and decreed it to be the missing town. In evaluating
Helena’s whimsical contributions to Christianity’s holy geography we must consider some of her other remarkable
discoveries as well. For example, she dug a hole in the ground, and lo and behold, there she recovered the original three
crosses, the ones actually used in the alleged crucifixion of Jesus and the two other lawbreakers. The one identified as the
cross of Jesus was eventually brought back to Rome where it was carried into battle. The presence of this holy icon would,
it was firmly believed, render the Roman army invincible. But unfortunately they forgot to tell the enemy because the Roman
army was over ran and defeated, and the cross was taken and burned. So, no credibility can be placed in Helena's "discoveries."
It is also apparently of no concern to believers that Jerusalem was
utterly destroyed at the last revolt and no structure was left standing much less anything specific to the Jewish religion.
In that regard, the Jerusalem streets upon which the faithful now piously trod are claimed by professional tour guides to
be the actual paths of Jesus. What the tour guides fail to tell them, however, is that they are now about 30 feet higher than
the streets were in the alleged time of Jesus because they sit atop piles of ancient ruins.
The Baptism of Jesus - Mark, the oldest of the canonical
gospels, begins with the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist. This ritual marks the beginning of Jesus' public ministry as
well as his brief career as the long awaited Jewish Messiah. It also raises some embarrassing questions. Since the sole purpose
of baptism is for the forgiveness of sins (Mark 1:4), why was it necessary to baptize Jesus? Does it mean that Jesus, the
virgin born son of God and child prodigy, was in reality just an ordinary sinner seeking redemption? Also, by subordinating
Jesus to John the Baptist doesn’t it contradict the doctrine of the holy trinity.
The next question might be,
“What did Jesus know and when did he know it?” According to Mark it is at the baptism that the adult Jesus, and
presumably his family, learn for the first time that he is no ordinary mortal but is in fact the designated son of God. But
in Matthew, Jesus’ divine son-ship was known even before he was born. A careful comparison of the events immediately
following Jesus' baptism as described by Mark and as described by Matthew reveal a subtle but illuminating contradiction.
According to Mark (1:11) when Jesus was baptized a heavenly voice declares to him, "Thou art my beloved son.”
Note that the voice addresses Jesus directly as if it were announcing something to him that he and his family were heretofore
unaware of. In Mark there is no virgin birth of Jesus the result of the impregnation of his mother, Mary, by the Holy Ghost.
The writer of Mark never disputes the obvious fact that Joseph is Jesus' biological father.
The writer of Matthew,
writing some 10 to 15 years later, tells a very different story. In Matthew the divine son-ship is recognized well before
the baptism in chapters one & two where Jesus' unique conception, virgin birth and exceptional childhood are revealed.
So following the baptism the writer of Matthew (3:17) has the voice say something slightly different, “This is my
beloved son.” Here the voice address others present since Jesus’ divinity is already well known by him and his
family. According to Matthew, Joseph, the cuckolded husband of Mary, was not Jesus' real father after all. It is interesting
to note that according to Paul who never mentions a virgin birth, Jesus was a legitimate descended from David according to
the flesh (through Joseph) but was not officially recognized as the Son of God until after the resurrection (Romans 1:3-4.)
point is that according to the writer of Mark there was no "virgin birth" of Jesus. God simply looked down and liked what
he saw in this young man, Jesus, so following his baptism God "adopted" him right there on the spot, and that's where it all
begins. The virgin birth theory was manufactured later by the writers of Matthew and Luke as a way of embellishing what is
obviously a myth and nothing more.
Jesus in the temple -The only reference of Jesus
life between his birth and his baptism as an adult occurs in Luke 2:41-51. When Jesus was 12 years old he went with his parents
to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover. While there, his parents lost track of him and did not find him for three days. As it
turned out he wasn’t lost. Had been in the temple all that time questioning the elders, who incidentally were astonished
at his depth of understanding. Upon locating him his mother rebuked him saying, "Your father and I have been looking all over
for you.” Note that Mary refers to Joseph as his father. Had she forgotten all about her insemination by the Holy Ghost,
or was that her way of admitting that Joseph was his real father after all? Jesus further confuses things by replying, “Why
were you looking for me? Don’t you know that I must be about my father’s business?” So, the old question
arises, “Who was the real father, Joseph or the Holy Ghost?” Anyway, the writer of Luke goes on to say that Mary
and Joseph didn’t know what he was talking about. Now that is indeed strange. Had they forgotten all about the virgin
birth and the angel Gabriel informing Mary that Jesus was the son of God?
The Adulteress - John 8:1-11, the story of the adulterous
woman, is intriguing. Some Christians are quick to declare it to be a testimonial to Jesus’ compassion toward women.
But is that true? First, it appears only in the Gospel of John. However, the oldest manuscripts do not contain it.7a Second, it breaks the natural
sequence of the narrative. Third, it does not appear in any New Testament manuscript prior to the fifth century7. Fourth, this story was long considered a forgery until the Council of
Trent declared it "divine truth" in 15467b. For those reasons this story is considered by most New Testament scholars to be a late Christian forgery8. But let us set that bit of historical fact
aside for the moment and consider the story itself and its implications.
To quickly review, it seems that one day while Jesus was teaching
in the temple the scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman before him who had been “caught in the very act” of
committing adultery9. After
reminding him that the Law decreed that she be put to death (Leviticus 20:10 and Deut. 22:22), they asked him, “What
do you say?” After giving it some serious thought Jesus replied, “He who is without sin among you, let him be
the first to cast a stone at her.” As a result, no one cast a stone indicating that they were all sinners. Later Jesus
tells the woman that although she's guilty of breaking the law he will not condemn her. With that he tells her to go and sin
no more. On the surface this story does appear to confirm Jesus’ compassion for women. Upon more rational reflection,
however, it reveals a glaring contradiction.
If Jesus was anything, he was a stickler where Mosaic Law was concerned.
In Matthew 5:17-18 he says, “Do not think that I come to abolish the Law or the Prophets: I did not come to abolish,
but to fulfill. For truly I say unto you, that until heaven and earth pass away not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass
away from the Law until all is accomplished.” In Matthew 5:19 he warns that, “Whosoever breaks one of God’s
laws will be the least in the kingdom of heaven.” In Luke 16:17 he says, “But it is easier for heaven and earth
to pass away than for one stroke of a letter of the Law to fail.” In John 10:35 he says, “Scripture cannot be
broken.” Also, we must remember that according to the doctrine of the trinity, Jesus actually wrote these dastardly
To be consistent, shouldn’t Jesus have recommended that the woman
be put to death in accordance with the law? He could have effectively demonstrated his often professed dedication to the law
by casting the first stone at her himself thereby putting his money where his mouth was. But maybe there is another explanation.
Perhaps Jesus was not without sin.
When considered objectively, this little story presents some truly formidable
problems for those Christian advocates of female compassion. First of all, it is not so much about compassion as it is about
Jesus' credibility. As Elizabeth Cady Stanton points out in The Woman's Bible, it was conceived by the scribes and
the Pharisees as a way to trap Jesus thereby expose him as a fraud. So, Jesus had to be very careful how he handled this situation.
When asked what he would do with her had Jesus said the woman should either be killed or set free; he would have been assuming
the power of the state. Had he refused to offer an opinion his credibility as "the son of God" would have been ruined. So,
in a flash of political insight he took a chance. In order to save his own skin, he literally gambled with the woman's life.
That, my friends, is immoral.
The Cleansing of the Temple - All four gospels give
an account of an indignant Jesus striding boldly into the temple for the purpose of forcefully cleaning out what he referred
to as “a den of thieves.” Once there he proceeded to literally wreck the place. But this much repeated story has
problems, big problems. First, none of the gospel accounts agrees with the others as to exactly what took place. According
to Mark 11:15-18 he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold and those who bought in the temple, and he overturned
the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold doves; and he would not allow any one to carry anything through
the temple. Matthew 21:12-16 repeats Mark but adds, “The blind and the lame came to him in the temple, and he healed
them.” Luke 19:45, tells us only that he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold and those who bought.
In John 2:14-15 not only did he drive out the dove sellers and the moneychangers; he also drove out all those selling sheep
and oxen. Then the writer of John tells us that he “Then made a whip of cords, he drove them all, with the sheep and
the oxen, out of the temple and proceeded to pour out the coins of the money-changers and overturn their tables.”
second problem is one of timing. When exactly did the temple cleansing take place? According to the synoptic gospels it was
at the end of Jesus’ ministry shortly before his death. In John, however, it took place three years earlier at the beginning
of his minister. Were there two cleansings?
A third problem surfaces when we realize that the gospel writers obviously
had no concept of the true size of the temple. It was huge by the standards of those days covering in excess of thirty-five
acres, enough space to accommodate thirty-four football field10. In order, therefore, to actually carry out the acts as described in the gospels Jesus would had to
have been accompanied by a large group of armed followers since armed guards were always stationed in the temple for the purpose
of keeping things moving smoothly10a. Yet, according to the gospel accounts Jesus acted alone.
The animal sellers
and moneychangers, referred to by Jesus as thieves and robbers, were in fact operating legitimate business providing much
needed services10b. First, they offered pre-approved sacrificial animals so the worshipers, some of whom had walked for
long distances, would not have to bring their own. Second, for the purchase of these animals and other temple items only Jewish
money could be used because Roman money, then if general circulation, was stamped with “adulterous” images of
Caesar. So, there was a real need for the moneychangers as well as the animal sellers.
This story has to be pure fiction.
- Biblical pronouncements on divorce are so convoluted, contradictory, impractical and gender biased as to be downright
nonsensical. Let us examine them beginning with Mark 10:11-12, where Jesus says, "Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry
another, committeth adultery against her. And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth
adultery." This passage clearly states that both the husband and the wife have the right of divorcement. Once divorced, however,
neither can remarry without committing adultery, a capital crime. No exception is made even in case of the death of a spouse.
So, according to Mark both parties in the divorce must remain unmarried for the rest of their lives.
Jesus again speaks to the subject of divorce in Matthew 5:31-32, but
here he says something entirely different, "Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement.
But I say unto you, that whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery,
and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery." First, notice that in contrast to Mark, the right of
a woman to divorce her husband is not acknowledged in Matthew. But, the man who is unwary enough to marry a divorced woman,
joins her in committing adultery. The original husband, oddly enough, is held responsible for the whole thing. The clause,
saving for the cause of fornication, is indeed puzzling because in this case to fornicate is to also commit adultery.
Because adultery is a capital crime, the fornicating woman would automatically be put to death thereby making divorce unnecessary.
Apparently the husband is free to fornicate to his heart's content.
The writers of Luke and John wisely avoid the problem by never mentioning
Paul gives his rules of divorce in Romans 7:2-3. In this short passages
he says, "For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband
be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she
shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law." According to these rules, which show,
among other things, Paul's contempt for women, only men have the right of divorcement. A divorced woman can not remarry until
her ex-husband dies because to do so would be to commit adultery. If she does, it clearly says that she will be called an
adulteress. Again, I remind you that adultery carries the death penalty. The men involved are not held responsible for anything.
However, Paul does make an exception for women in I Cor. 7:15 where he says that unbelief is grounds for divorce by either
party. Paul was obviously unaware of Jesus' pronouncements on divorce as set forth in the gospels of Mark and Matthew.
What does God have to say about divorce? Well, as usual he contradicts
himself. In Malachi 2:16 God makes this uncompromising statement, "I hate divorce." However, in Deuteronomy 24:1-4 he shows
a degree of toleration. Here it states, "When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find
no favor in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give
it in her hand, and send her out of his house. And when she is departed out of his house, she may go and be another man's
wife." Note that wives are not granted the same right. In contrast to Mark, Matthew and Paul a divorced woman is free to remarry
right away without being labeled an adulteress. But, in agreement with Paul and Matthew, the right of divorce is granted to
men only. This raises a question regarding Mark 10:12 in which women have the right of divorcement. Why would the writer of
Mark have said such a thing? One possible explanation is that who ever wrote the Gospel of Mark was unfamiliar with Jewish
law and customs. The passage reflects the Hellenistic culture where women have always had the right to divorce their husbands.
The biblical divorce laws obviously reflect the whims of a changing
culture. They have no practical relevance in today's world11.
A Fish Story - In Mark 6:30-44 we are treated to
the story of the loaves and the fishes, one of Jesus’ awesome "miracles." The author of Mark was so impressed with this
story that he deemed it worthy of repeating, albeit with a few alterations, in 8:1-10. This story appears again in Matthew
14:13-21 and 15:32-38; Luke 9:12-17, and John 6:9-13. Since standard scholarship recognizes Mark to be the oldest of the canonicals,
let us proceed from there.
It seems that one-day Jesus and his disciples found themselves out in
the desert at sundown hosting a great multitude of followers. According to the Mark's chapter 6 version, the crowd numbered
about five thousand. However, in chapter 8 the crowd has shrunk to about four thousand. With only five loaves of bread and
two fishes (seven loaves of bread and a few small fishes in the chapter 8 version) Jesus succeeds not only in feeding the
multitude, but there were twelve baskets full of leftovers (only seven baskets of leftovers in the Chapter 8 account.) But
apparently his rather slow witted disciples forgot all about these two mind boggling performances because a few days later
Jesus has to remind them of it (8:18-21.)
This story is often cited by Bible believers as a convincing testimonial
to Jesus' awesome supernatural power. But, did it really happen or is this story just another tall tale inspired by certain
Old Testament renderings? In that regard, a strong echo of this "miracle" occurs in 2 Kings 4:42-44 where we read: "And there
came a man from Baal-shalisha, and brought the man of God bread of the first fruits, twenty loaves of barley, and full ears
of corn in the husk thereof. And he said, Give unto the people, that they may eat. And his servitor said, “What, should
I set this before an hundred men?” He said again, “Give the people,
that they may eat: for thus saith the Lord, They shall eat, and shall leave thereof. So he set it before them, and they did
eat, and left thereof, according to the word of the Lord."
The famous story of the loaves and fishes and the so-called miracle
related thereto is an obvious forgery.
The Triumphal Entry - Jesus’ much celebrated
triumphal entry into Jerusalem, also known as Palm Sunday, took place five days before the Jewish celebration of Passover
(Mark 11:1-11, Matthew 21:1-11, Luke 19:28-40). Passover begins on the 14th and 15th of the month of Nisan (late March or
early April in the Christian calendar). Therefore, the triumphal entry had to have taken place somewhere between mid-March
and the first of April. Mark, the oldest of the four canonical gospels, tells us in 11:8 that this event was accompanied by
the spreading of “leafy branches that they cut from the fields” (NSRV). This poses a serious problem, “Where
did the people get those leafy branches?” It’s much too early in the year for them. Is this a hint that the so-called
triumphal entry, as important as it is to the Jesus story, is in reality something less than historical?
of Matthew, who drew liberally from Mark, makes a small but important change. Recognizing Mark’s goof, Matthew’s
writer simply omits any reference to leaves. This means that the people cut and waved bare branches (21:8). A branch without
leaves might better be called a stick, and sticks are not normally thought of as instruments that can be spread or waved.
It is the leaves that provide the cover on the ground on which the procession can move. It is the leaves that flutter when
the branches are waved. So, we become more skeptical.
Turning next to Luke, whose writer also had Mark before him
as he composed his gospel, we discover another interesting clue. Luke’s rendition of this story omits any reference
whatsoever to the waving of the branches leafy or otherwise. According the writer of Luke the people only lay down their clothes
(v. 36). Was the writer of Luke, like that of Matthew, suggesting that Mark's version didn’t add up?
In the version
given in the Gospel of John (12:12-19) we are dealing with a different situation altogether. The writer(s) of John tells us
that the people were not waving tree branches. They were waving Palm fronds. Since Palms are evergreen the season problem
is solved. However, this version does present a serious contradiction with Mark’s and Matthew’s versions leaving
us to wonder just which, if any, is correct.
In the fall of the year, the Jews celebrated the harvest festival, Sukkoth,
also called the Feast of the Tabernacles or Booths. It drew pilgrims from far and wide who proceeded to march in procession
round the Temple waving something called a "lulab," a bundle of leafy branches bound together and made up of myrtle, willow
and palm. As they marched they recited Psalm 118 and cried out “Hosanna” (Lord, save us). There is little question
that the Palm Sunday story is based largely on Sukkoth, the traditional Israelite harvest festival.
Add to this the fact that the apostle Paul appears to have been totally
unaware of any “triumphal entry” as were the important first century Jewish historians, Philo Judaeus and Flavius
Josephus, and there is ample reason to question the validity of this entire story.
Jesus, a rodeo trick rider? ~ The account of Jesus’
triumphal entry into Jerusalem is recorded in all four canonical gospels and is recognized as one of the principal accomplishments
of his short ministry. But, there’s a problem!
The source of this story is Zechariah 9:9: Rejoice greatly, O daughter
of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh upon thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding
upon an ass, and on a colt, the foal of an ass. (KJV) According to this prophecy, the king will come riding on a young
donkey, i.e. a foal. The gospel writers claim that Jesus fulfilled this prophecy by way of his alleged triumphal entry into
Jerusalem where, according to Mark, Luke and John, he does indeed come riding in on a young donkey. But, the writer of Matthew,
apparently in his overzealous determination to prove prophecy fulfillment, apparently misread Zechariah 9:9 and in so doing
creates what can only be seen as a huge embarrassment.
From Young’s Literal Translation of the New Testament. Mt. 21:2
". . . you will find a donkey tied there and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to me." 3
". . . ‘The Lord had need of them and immediately he will send them." If there was only one animal,
why didn’t Jesus say "it" instead of the plural, "them?" And all of this came to pass so that it might be fulfilled
what was spoken through the prophet saying, (here Matthew repeats Zechariah 9:9.) Verse 7: and brought the donkey and
the colt and laid upon them their garments and sat him thereon.
So according to the writer of Matthew, Jesus road triumphantly into
Jerusalem astride two mounts, an ass and her colt. That must have been quite a sight. Maybe Jesus was an early forerunner
of the rodeo trick rider.
The Accursed Fig Tree - Mark (11:12-14) tells us
that on his way home after cleansing of the Temple, Jesus spied a fig tree in the distance and went to it seeking figs. This
is strange indeed since fig trees do not bear fruit in late March when this is supposed to have taken place. Upon finding
no figs Jesus became irate and proceeded to curse the fig tree. Now to curse a fig tree for not bearing fruit in March is
not unlike kicking a dog because it cannot speak English thereby punishing it for the inability to do the impossible. Mark
concludes this story by telling us that due to Jesus' curse the fig tree withered and died. By destroying a fruit tree Jesus
broke God’s law (Deut. 20:19). The writer of Matthew (21-18-20) repeats this story but says that the unfortunate tree
withered and died instantly. Although he mentions fig trees in a couple of places (13:6, 21:29) the writer of Luke wisely
skips this story, as does the writer(s) of John. The concluding point emphasized in Mark and Matthew is that with enough faith
one can literally move mountains. But, it’s indeed hard to get the connection.
The Son of Man - The term "Son of Man" appears often
in the Old Testament as a synonym for man or humankind11a. In fact, outside of the second chapter of Ezekiel, where it is used to refer
to the prophet, and the seventh chapter of Daniel where it is used as a reference to the coming of God’s avenger (7:13-14,)
the Old Testament writers always used it in that way. In the New Testament the term appears often throughout the gospels.
Otherwise it appears only four times (Acts7:56; Heb. 2:6; Rev. 1:3, 14:14.) It is noticeably absent from Paul's writings.
In the gospels, references to the Son of Man occur in two entirely different contexts. All but one, John 12:34, are
direct Jesus quotes. At times, Jesus uses Son of Man as a clear reference to himself as in the following selected citations:
Mark 2:10; Matthew 8:20; 12:8; 20:28; 26:2, Luke 6:22; 7:34; 9:56;19:10, John 6:53; 6:62; 13:31. In Matthew 16:13-17 Jesus
asked the disciples, "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?" Simon Peter answered, "You are the Messiah, the Son of the
living God!" Strangely enough in John 12:34 this very same question is asked, but there it goes unanswered.
references to the Son of Man , however, Jesus is clearly not referring a himself but to the coming from heaven of a cosmic
judge whose mission it will be to destroy the wicked and take the righteous up into heaven. The obvious source is Daniel 7
describing a vision in which four kingdoms appear that are represented as beasts coming up out of the sea each of which wreaks
great havoc on the Earth. After the appearance of the fourth beast the visionary sees the Son of Man coming on the clouds
of Heaven, coming to the rescue, so to speak. Other such references, again selected, include Mark 8:38; 13:26, Matthew 24:27;
25:31, John 3:13. Of the four non-gospel references noted above none identifies Jesus as the Son of Man. Now the question
arises, “Why the contradiction?”
It appears likely that Jesus' words, or at least some of them, were later
changed to make it appear that when he's talking about the Son of Man, he’s talking about himself. To the early Christians,
Jesus was their rescuer, i.e., the long awaited Jewish Messiah. His triumphant return was expected at any moment. Therefore,
to them he qualified as the Son of Man referred to in the book of Daniel. What about the sayings in which Jesus clearly is
not referring to himself as the Son of Man? Those are not the kinds of sayings that Christians would in all probability have
invented because it would go against their belief.. The obvious conclusion is that those sayings go back directly to Jesus.
For that reason, many scholars think that they are statements that the real Jesus might have actually made. In the original
he wasn't referring to himself, but later writers and copyists added words so as to give that impression.
of Jesus - The resurrection of Jesus stands as the central tenet of Christianity and, if true, the most important event
in history. But there is a problem, “When exactly did the resurrection take place?” Surely such a significant
historical marker is accurately documented. Or is it?
In the earliest reference we have to the resurrection (I Cor.
15:3-4) written between 55 and 60 CE, the Apostle Paul says that Jesus rose on the third day “in accordance with the
scriptures." The problem here is that Paul refers to Old Testament scripture that is non-existent. No one has yet been able
to locate it. Also, since Paul does not give the details of Jesus’ death, this information is of no use in fixing the
exact day and time of the resurrection.
All three synoptic gospels assure us that Jesus will rise from the dead after
three days or on the third day. In Mark the resurrection is predicted on three separate occasions (8:31, 9:31 and 10:34). The writer of Matthew assures us Jesus will rise on the third day (Matthew 16:21,
17:23, and 20:19). The writer of Luke tells us in 9:22 and 18:31-33 that Jesus will rise after three days. Jesus died on Friday
according to these gospels. In Acts 10:40 it says, “Him God raised up the third day.” So, if we count the days
literally that would put the resurrection on the following Sunday.
In Matthew 12:40, however, the writer makes what
amounts to an important change. Here he has Jesus say, "As Jonah was in the belly of the whale three days and three nights,
so will the Son of Man be in the midst of the earth." That puts it in a more definite time frame. Because Jesus died at 3
pm on Friday, three days and three nights would move the resurrection to 3 pm on the following Monday.
In all probability
the symbol of three days as the time between death and life came originally from the primitive concept of the "death and resurrection"
of the moon that all ancient people observed. The moon disappears into darkness on day one, remains in darkness during the
second day and then emerges anew as a glimmering sign of new life on day three.
The writer(s) of the Gospel of John
contradicts the synoptic gospels by having Jesus die not on Friday, but on Thursday. Jesus was buried before sundown that
same afternoon (19:42). In John there are no predictive statements as to how long it will be after his death before Jesus
is resurrected as there are in the synoptic gospels. However, John does agree that the empty tomb was discovered early the
following Sunday morning (20:1). Therefore, according the Gospel of John, the resurrection took place sometime after 3 pm
on Thursday and before the following Sunday.
Let us check the gospel accounts of the discovery of the empty tomb to
see if an accurate resurrection time can be established. In all four gospels when the women arrived at the tomb early (call
it 6 am) on that fateful Sunday morning they discovered it to be empty. The resurrection had already happened. What is so
confusing is that from his death at 3 pm on Friday to 6 am the following Sunday amounts to only 36 hours, a day and a half.
According to the account in John, Jesus died at 3 pm on Thursday. From there to Sunday morning at 6 am amounts to 60 hours
or two and a half days. In all four cases they are far short of the promised three days.
The obvious conclusion is
that Christians are unable to come up with an accurate answer to the question, “When did the resurrection of Jesus,
the “crown jewel” of the Christian belief system, actually take place?”
Peter’s Denial - Of all of the New Testament
stories that of Peter’s denial (Mark 14:66-72 and parallels) is one of the most well known. In summary it says that
following Jesus’ arrest by agents of the chief priest Peter is identified by three people as being one of Jesus’
followers. Peter vehemently denies this accusation rejecting Jesus in the process. After the third denial a cock crows, and
Peter suddenly remembers Jesus predicting that he would deny him err the cockcrows. Peter wept. This story has provided the
text for many sermons and Sunday school lessons, but did it really happen?
One of the main problems with the denial story lies with Jesus' prophecy.
It's indeed hard to take this account seriously when different versions of it appear in all four gospels as follows:
Mark 14:30, "Truly I say to you, that you yourself this very night,
before a cock crows twice, shall three times deny me."
Matt. 26:34, "Truly I say to you that this very night, before a cock
crows, you shall deny me three times."
Luke 22:34, "I say to you, Peter, the cock will not crow today until
you have denied three times that you know me."
John 13:38, "Truly, truly, I say to you, a cock shall not crow, until
you deny me three times."
As one can see, Jesus allegedly says four different things, yet these
are given as direct quotes. Why, for example, did the author of Mark, the oldest gospel, omit Peter's name while the writer
of Luke, who obviously plagiarized Mark, includes it? Also, the writer of Luke assures Theophilus (1:4) that what he is about
to tell him is the unvarnished truth yet when compared to the other versions he leaves out some very important details. The
whole thing is obviously bogus.
Paul’s position as leader of the Christian community at
Antioch was challenged by Peter. Paul discusses this dispute at length in the second chapter of Galatians considered by most
Bible scholars to be one of the few Pauline epistle judged to be authentic. In Galatians 2:11-13 Paul openly accuses Peter
of hypocrisy but fails to mention the denial. This is highly significant because it would have been a powerful weapon Paul
could have used against Peter. Peter’s denial coupled with Jesus’ stern warning in Matthew 10:3312, would have easily won the day for Paul.
So, we can only conclude that the denial story is a late Christian invention.
The Ordination of Peter - In Matthew 16:17-19 Jesus
blesses Peter pronouncing him the "rock" upon which he will build his church while giving him the "keys to the kingdom." Peter,
therefore, stands as Jesus' undisputed successor. In fact, Peter's recognition by the Roman Catholic Church as the first pope
is based primarily on this passage. However, the evidence of forgery is undeniable. First, although it constitutes an essential
element of the Christian religion, the ordination of Peter is mentioned nowhere else in the New Testament, not even in First
and Second Peter, the epistles allegedly written by the great apostle. Second, excluding this passage, Jesus never attempted
to establish a "church." Such a project would have been absurd in view of the fact that he assured his followers that the
world would end and he would return in glory during their lifetime to establish the kingdom of God. In fact, the use of the
word "church" suggests a level of organization not acquired until long after the event allegedly occurred. In that regard,
it is interesting to note that throughout the four gospels the word "church" appears only twice thereafter, and both are in
the same verse, Matthew 18:17. Third, and perhaps the most revealing, although Mark and Luke do not contain the ordination,
they do contain duplicates of Matthew 16:16 and 16:20, the verses immediately preceding and following the ordination13. The so-called ordination of Peter is without
a doubt a later insertion, i.e. a forgery.
The Long and the Short - Mark 16:9-20, also known
as the "longer ending14," comprises one of the New Testament's most famous passages. Several important
Christian doctrines appear with emphasis in this disputed passage. In verse 16 the ritual of baptism is officially recognized
as a requirement for salvation. In verse 17 we are told that believers will cast out devils and speak in new tongues (glossolalia).
In the first part of verse 18 Jesus assures his followers that they can handle deadly serpents and drink poison with impunity.
In the last part of this verse he endorses faith healing. These verses are indispensable to the belief system of many Christians,
particularly the fundamentalists. For that reason it will no doubt come as a shock to them as well as to others to learn that
the longer ending is considered by most Bible scholars to be a late Christian forgery15.
G. A. Wells, in The Jesus Myth (page 18) tells us that the longer
ending is without a doubt a later addition, a pastiche, gathered mostly from elsewhere in the New Testament. As originally
written Mark ended abruptly at 16:8 with the women fleeing in fear and saying nothing to anyone. To counter this inadequate
and frustrating closure a new ending was composed and added so as to present a more triumphant conclusion.
There is both external and internal evidence supporting the charge
of forgery. Externally, the longer ending is absent in the oldest manuscripts such as Codices Vaticanus and Sinaiticus16. In these manuscripts the Gospel of Mark
ends at 16:8. Also, the longer ending was apparently unknown to early church leaders such as Eusebius and Jerome17. The internal evidence compliments the external.
For example, the passage begins abruptly without a subject, showing it to have possibly been lifted in context from another
writing. The style and vocabulary of the longer ending show clearly that it was not written by the person who wrote the original
Mark. The reference to Mary Magdalene in verse 9 does not fit with the reference to her in verses 1 and 8. Verse 8 tells us
that the women, which must have included Mary Magdalene, said nothing to anyone, whereas in verse 10 it says they did go and
tell about it. Also, verse 12, which reads, After that he appeared in another form unto two of them, as they walked, and
went into the country, sounds suspiciously like a distant echo of Luke 26:13-35. In fact, the longer ending appears to
have been based on traditions found in Luke and John18 both of which were written long after the original Mark.
Almost all Bible scholars recognize Mark as the oldest of the four canonical
gospels. This conclusion is supported by several factors, not the least of which is that the writers of Matthew and Luke obviously
plagiarized Mark. This plagiarism begins with the baptism of Jesus because that is where Mark begins. It ceases at the empty
tomb, i.e. at Mark 16:8. Between these two events the three synoptic gospels are generally in good agreement. However, the
birth narrative and the resurrection account are hopelessly contradictory in Matthew and Luke. That, scholars agree, is because
when the original gospels of Matthew and Luke were being compiled, neither the birth narrative nor the resurrection account
was present in any of their sources, including Mark. Therefore, Mark's resurrection account (16:9-20) must be a later addition.
In the original ending, when informed of Jesus' resurrection, the women
simply run out of the tomb amid fear and trembling saying nothing to anyone. This ending appears to be in line with the then
widely held belief in Jesus' eminent return as he promised in Matthew 10:23 and 16:28. However, as time went on and Jesus
failed to appear, people began asking some embarrassing questions. In an attempt to correct this situation church leaders
conspired to add a new ending to Mark that would bring it more in line with current Christian teachings.
The New Revised Standard Version of the Bible includes both the short
and the long endings of Mark. This amounts to a dead giveaway. As originally written the gospel in question could have had
only one ending. That ending had to be the shorter one.
The Johannine Comma - In First John 5:7-8 of KJV
and some other versions there occurs what is known as the “Johannine Comma19.” These verses read as follows with the Johannine Comma
underlined: For there are three that bear record in heaven, the father, The Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are
one, and there are three that bear witness in earth, the spirit, the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.
Although Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are associated in the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19.) and in the apostolic benediction
(II Cor. 13:14), this passage is the one most often cited as confirming the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, but does it? First,
this epistle is judged to have been written not by the legendary apostle John, as is claimed, but by an unknown scribe sometime
early in the second century20.
Second, the Johnnine Comma does not appear in the earliest extant copies of the New Testament. Third, remove it and the passage
reads logically. The Johnnine Comma can be traced no farther back than the eighth century21. In almost all recent versions of the Bible the Johannine Comma
has either been greatly altered or eliminated altogether because it is an obvious forgery.
The Resurrection of the Saints - Matthew 27:52-53~
And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, and came out of their graves after His resurrection,
and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.
This astounding account appears in Matthew's narrative immediately following
Jesus’ death. That means the saints were resurrected sometime late Friday afternoon thereby contradicting Acts 26:23
which says that Jesus will be "the first to rise from the dead." Having risen, the saints did not go into Jerusalem until
after Jesus was resurrected. The exact date and time of Jesus alleged resurrection is never given. It can only be assumed
that it took place sometime prior to the following Sunday morning when the women discovered the empty tomb Therefore, we are
to believe that these resurrected saints were content to just sit in their open graves from Friday afternoon to Sunday morning.
Be that as it may, however, this event, if true, ranks as the most electrifying miracle ever recorded. By rights it should
consume whole chapters of contemporary history. Had it really happened, it would be reviewed at length in official government
documents as well as in religious scriptures. It would have been the chosen theme of all New Testament writers because it
would have proven their doctrine, their cause and their apostleship. Yet we find that it is mentioned only in an offhanded
manner by a single gospel writer and totally ignored by everyone else. What is most revealing, however, is that both Mark
and Luke contain in sequence the passages immediately preceding and following Matthew 27:52-53 almost verbatim.
The writer of Matthew did not bother to tell us who those resurrected
saints were. Nor did he deem it important to tell us what happened to them afterwards. Did they return to their graves? If
they did not, where are they now? According to the passage they appeared to many. But where are the eyewitness accounts? Did
they go to claim their wives and property which they had owned at the time of their death? If so, how were they received?
It is strange indeed that not another word was ever written about what undoubtedly ranks as the most amazing event in all
of history. But why was such an outlandish statement included?
In Zechariah 14:4-6 it prophecies that when Israel is under attack God
will come to the rescue and all the saints will come with him. Because the writer of Matthew was obsessed with the
need to have Jesus fulfill Old Testament prophesy, he was compelled to somehow include saints. Because there were apparently
no recognized saints living at that time, his only alternative was to resurrect some. So, out of sheer desperation he simply
inserted verses 52 and 53 at the appropriate place in chapter 27. His clumsy attempt to deceive is obvious. This so-called
miracle never happened.
Barabbas: The gospel writers tell us that at the
feast of Passover the Roman governor always released a prisoner in accord with Jewish custom. In Mark 15:6-15 and parallels
it says, “Now at that feast he released unto them one prisoner, whomsoever they desired.” Pilate then gave the
crowd a choice, “Shall I release Jesus or Barabbas22?” The crowd, in response to agitation by the chief priest and the elders, chose Barabbas.
The problems with this story are threefold. First, there
is no historical verification that such a custom ever existed among either the Jews or the Romans. Josephus, the prominent
first century Jewish historian, makes no mention of such a notable privilege as he certainly would have if it had been practiced.
Second, even if there had been such a custom, the Romans would have been very unwise to have observed it. The Jews were a
subject people looking for an opportunity to throw off the Roman yoke. Therefore, to have released whomever the Jews designated
could have lead to the release of a dangerous political prisoner intent on creating trouble for the occupying Romans. Third,
there was in those days a Roman custom by which the emperor released a prisoner in conjunction with birthday festivals. This
custom may have provided the inspiration for the Barabbas tale. At any rate, this story is highly improbable from beginning
to end and is therefore judged to be a forgery. The intent of the story is to place the blame for Jesus execution on the Jews
thereby exonerating Pontius Pilate and the Romans. This story is a vicious anti-Semitic lie, one of many such lies found in
the New Testamen22a.
The Two Thieves?: All four gospels say that on the
day Jesus was crucified two others were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. In the non-canonical Gospel
of Nicodemus we even learn their names, Demas and Gestas. Two questions come to mind regarding this situation, “What
was the nature of their crime, and why were they executed with Jesus?” As to their crime, John 19:18 does not say. Luke
23:32 refers to them simply as malefactor. However, Matthew 27:38 and Mark 15:27 identify them a thieves. The problem here
is that thievery was not a capital crime under either Jewish or Roman law. So, why include such a fanciful story?
The reason for the two additional executions is not given in Matthew,
Luke or John. In Mark, however, it is. Mark 15:27-28 reads: And with him they crucified two thieves; the one on his right
hand, and the other on his left. And the scripture was fulfilled, which saith, "And he was numbered with the
transgressors." Now we understand. The two additional executions were included in order to further justify the claim of prophesy
fulfillment. The prophecy in question is Isaiah 53:12 - He was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of
many, and made intercession for the transgressors. There you have it. Placed between two thieves he was indeed numbered
among the transgressors. The last phrase of the prophecy, made intercession for the transgressors, explains
why in Luke 23:41-43 one of the two fellow executionees defends Jesus and asks for his help whereupon Jesus says to him, "Today
shalt thou be with me in paradise." It is interesting to note that in Mark 15:32 and Matthew 27:44 both of his fellow executionees
curse and taunt Jesus and neither is saved.
This story has no credibility. It was obviously concocted as a means
by which a false claim of prophecy fulfillment could be justified.
The Great Commission - One of the most famous
passages in the Bible is Matthew 28:16-20. It is known as the "Great Commission." In it Jesus directs his disciples to, “Go
ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; Teaching
them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.”
Simply tacked on to the end of the gospel probably by a mid-second century scribe, these are the words that launched a million
missionaries. Although it appears nowhere else in the New Testament, the Great Commission does have its counterparts in Luke
24:47-48 and Acts 1:8. But, these commissions have little in common which indicates that they were created by the individual
evangelists and cannot be traced back to Jesus22b.
The Great Commission is expressed in the writer's language and reflects
his concept of a world mission for the church. Jesus, if he actually existed, probably had no idea of launching a world mission
and certainly was not an institution builder. Jesus in fact contradicts the Great Commission in Matthew 10:5-6 where he instructs
the twelve disciples to, "Go nowhere among the gentiles, and enter no town of the Samarians, but go only to the lost sheep
of the house of Israel." He contradicts it again in Matthew 15:24 when he tells the Canaanite woman that, "I was sent only
to the lost sheep of the house of Israel."
The three parts of the commission - 1) make disciples, 2) baptize, and
3) teach - constitute the program adopted by the infant movement probably in the early second century, and therefore cannot
be seen to reflect direct instructions from Jesus himself. Instead, they are framed in language characteristic of the individual
evangelists and express their views of how the mission of the infant church is to be understood. In addition, can you imagine
how long it would have taken twelve men living in a three-mile-an-hour world to successfully complete such an assignment?
But not to worry because in Matthew 10:23 Jesus invalidates the Great Commission by telling his disciples, “You shall
not finish going through the cities of Israel until the Son of Man comes." He does it again in Matthew 16:28 where he assures
his followers that "There are some of those standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in
his kingdom." The irony is that the destruction of the culture and traditions, folkways and customs of millions of indigenous
peoples throughout the world by zealous, intolerant Christian missionaries was inspired not by a divine edict but by an obvious
The Betrayal of Jesus - Judas Iscariot, the betrayer
of Jesus, ranks as the most hated and despised character in the Bible with the possible exception of Satan. Is such intense
loathing justified, or is Judas the victim of biased reporting? Interestingly enough the sole source of information on Judas
is the New Testament gospels and the Book of Acts all of which were written long after the events allegedly took place. He
receives not a single mention in the writings of Paul, the Gospel of Thomas, the reconstructed document, Quelle (Q) or the
Judas first appears in the nineteenth verse of the third chapter of
the Gospel of Mark, the oldest of the canonical gospels, where he is appointed by Jesus as one of the twelve apostles. In
this passage we are tipped off in advance of Judas’ treachery. Matthew and Luke repeat Mark almost verbatim, however,
the author of John adds something. In John 6:70-71 Jesus announces that one of the twelve, Judas, is a devil. In John 12:4-6
we learn of another of Judas’ character flaws. He was also a thief.
As was predicted, Judas went to the chief priests and offered to identify
Jesus. They accepted his offer and agreed to pay him thirty pieces of silver which brings up another perplexing question.
Why would the authorities pay to have someone pointed out to them whom they already knew? In Matthew 26:55 Jesus says to those
who came to arrest him, "I sat daily with you teaching in the temple, yet ye laid no hold on me."
Judas proceeds to identify Jesus by way of that infamous kiss, and that’s
the last we hear of him in the gospels of Mark, Luke and John. However, the author of Matthew doesn’t let it drop there.
Apparently Judas’ conscience got the better of him because according to Matthew 27:3-5 he made a sincere attempt to
repent but was denied forgiveness. In a gesture of frustration he returned the money and went and hanged himself. Matthew
goes on to say that the chief priests and the elders used the money to buy a piece of land. Because it was bought with blood
money, the land became known as "The Field of Blood."
In Matthew 18:21-22 when Peter came to him, and asked, “Lord,
how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Till seven times?” Jesus replied, "I say not unto thee,
until seven times: but, until seventy times seven." Wasn’t Jesus obligated by his own words to forgive Judas? But instead
of forgiving him, Jesus openly cursed Judas when during Passover Seder (Matthew 26:24; Mark 14:21) he said, "But woe to that
one by whom the Son of Man is betrayed for it would have been better for him had he never been born". Contrary to Peter, Judas
never denied Jesus. While his action may not have been all together ethical, Judas, unlike Peter, committed neither apostasy
nor blasphemy, the two unforgivable sins.
Had the Judas story ended with the betrayal followed by the suicide
everything might have been hunky-dory, but the writer of Acts couldn't leave well enough alone. In 1:15-19 he tells us that
Judas didn't give the money back; he invested it in real estate. We also learn that Judas didn’t commit suicide; his
death was accidental. Because of the messiness of this accident, the property became known as (you guessed it) "The Field
of Blood." So, did Judas commit suicide as the writer of Matthew claims or was his death an accident as we are told in Acts?
Also, was this the same land that the priests bought, or were there two fields of blood? But, it gets worse.
Mark 16:14 and Luke 24:33 state that following his resurrection Jesus
appeared to "the eleven." Who was missing? After all that had transpired one would just naturally think it was Judas. Apparently
not, because in John 20:24 we learn that the missing apostle was Thomas. Therefore the eleven had to include Judas. To further
confound the reader, Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:5 that following his resurrection Jesus was seen by “the twelve.”
This had to include Judas because it wasn't until after the ascension, some forty days after the resurrection, that another
person, Matthias, was voted in to replace Judas (Acts 1:26). So, apparently Judas neither committed suicide nor died by accident.
In Acts 1:25 we are told that Judas "turned aside to go to his own place."
Another clue confirming the absence of the Judas story in the earliest
Christian documents occurs in Matthew 19:28 and Luke 22:30. Here Jesus tells his apostles that they will “sit on the
twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” No exception is made for Judas even though Jesus was aware of his
impending betrayal. The answer may lie in the fact that the source of these verses is Q (QS 62). Q predates the gospels and
is considered to be one of the earliest Christian documents. It was obviously written before Judas and the betrayal story
was invented by the writer of Mark.
For centuries Judas Iscariot has been held up as the archetypical traitor,
the exemplar of treachery, the quintessential turncoat. This is strange indeed when one considers Acts 1:16. Here the apostle
Peter tells us, "This scripture (Psalm 69:25) must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake
before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus." So according to Peter, Judas' betrayal was a part of God's
grand plan all along. Not only did Judas serve as a vehicle through which key Old Testament prophecy might be fulfilled, it
was by way of his betrayal that Jesus was able to complete his earthly mission. One might say that it was a dirty job, but
somebody had to do it. Judas was in reality an enabler. Instead of hating and reviling him, Christians should appreciate Judas’
contribution as an indispensable element of the passion story.
The story of Judas Iscariot, although obvious fiction, has lead to some
tragic consequences. Judas is deliberately portrayed as a caricature intended to confirm the very worst misconceptions about
the Jewish people. As a result, for almost two thousand years the Jews have been unjustly persecuted and vilified because
their forefathers were accused of slaying Jesus, a mythical god-man whose very existence remains highly questionable. How
long must superstition with all its evils rule and curse the modern world? How long must people be held hostage to what is
obviously a myth and nothing more?
The 21st Chapter of the Gospel of John - Did you
ever, when reading a book or an article, come to what was obviously a natural ending before the piece actually ended? Frustrating,
isn’t it? Well, that’s exactly what happens in the Gospel of John. This gospel is composed of twenty-one chapters
but consider the last verse of chapter twenty:
these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through
This verse succinctly states the writer’s
purpose. It was obviously intended to serve as a concluding remark23. Yet, the gospel goes on to chapter twenty-one. The forgery is in fact admitted in John 21:24 where
the writer says,
This is the disciple which testifieth of these things, and
wrote these things: and we know that his testimony
The work we now call the Gospel of
John, ostensibly written by "the beloved disciple24," is actually a composite of two lost gospels -- the hypothetical “Signs Gospel” plus another
much-enlarged version thereof25.
The Gospel of John dates from the close of the first or beginning of the second century26, long after the alleged time of Jesus. The addressees are Gentile
Christians. The Jews are identified as enemies of Jesus (John 10:31). By the time the Gospel of John, as we know it today,
was written, Jesus’ followers had been bared from the synagogues (John 9:22), an event which did not occur until the
late eighties27. The final
chapter is, without a doubt, a later addition28 whose purpose is to explain why the Parousia (second coming) did not occur as promised29.
Pronouncement about the Sabbath
- Of all the problem passages plaguing the New Testament, Mark 2:23-28, Jesus' pronouncement about the Sabbath, surely ranks
as one of the most troublesome. It reads as follows:
it came to pass, that he went through the corn fields on the Sabbath day; and his disciples began, as they went, to pluck
the ears of corn. And the Pharisees said unto him, Behold, why do they on the Sabbath day that which is not lawful? And he
said unto them, Have ye never read what David did, when he had need, and was an hungered, he, and they that were with him?
How he went into the house of God in the days of Abiathar the high priest, and did eat the showbread, which is not lawful
to eat but for the priests, and gave also to them which were with him? And Jesus said unto them, The Sabbath was made
for man, and not man for the Sabbath: Therefore the Son of Man is Lord also of the Sabbath."
Here the disciples were clearly
breaking the law of the Sabbath as the Pharisee correctly pointed out. But Jesus defended them by saying that they were hungry
and needed food. So their situation made an act that would otherwise have been wrong proper for them to do. This story has
Jesus advocating situation ethics, an anathema to most Bible believers. Situation ethics denies the doctrine of absolutism
so fundamental to the devout Christian. But there are other problems with this passage more serious than that of the application
of situation ethics. Jesus here condones the breaking of the law - - 4th Commandment. It reads - Remember the Sabbath day,
to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God: in
it thou shalt not do any work. How does this square with Jesus' famous statement in Matthew 5:17-19? While delivering
the hallowed sermon on the mount he declares with passion, "Think not that I am come to destroy
the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth
pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one
of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven."
The writer of Mark obviously did not do
his homework before composing this passage. He has Jesus make two statements that are inconsistent with the Old Testament
story to which it refers. This story is found in I Samuel 21:1-6. In it the high priest is Abimelech not Abiather as Jesus
says. Also according to I Samuel, David was not in the company of other men. He was alone. He only pretended to have others
with him. It makes Jesus appear foolish
Jesus' last words - Near the end of the account of Jesus alleged suffering on the cross, his
"last words" are recorded in all four gospels.
Mark 15:34 says that Jesus cried out, "My
God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" He then gave a loud cry (v37) and breathed his last.
Matthew 27:46-50 is a repetition of Mark’s
version. Since Mark is the older, it is reasonable to conclude that the writer of Matthew was a plagiarist.
Luke 23:46 says that Jesus cried out in
a loud voice, "Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit" and gave up the ghost.
John 19:30, says that when he had received
the wine, Jesus said, "It is finished" and bowed his head and gave up the ghost.
Simple logic tells us that there can be
only one set of last words. In neither case is Jesus being quoted out of context because these verses are independent of context.
Translation errors can not be to blame because the words are quite clear and quite different. Also, since there are no first
hand accounts, just who heard and recorded these alleged last words? If there is any truth at all here it is that one, and
only one, of these quotes is correct, which means that the others are obvious inventions.
Angels30 (Greek angelos,"messenger"), celestial being
believed to be a messenger, or intermediary, between God, or the gods, and humankind. The concept of angels is prevalent throughout
both the Old and the New Testaments. These imaginary figures serve as God’s gofers. All religions are concerned with
the relationship human beings have or may have with the supernatural realm. In ancient Greek religion, in Judaism and Christianity
and in Islam this relationship is thought to involve angels—divine messengers sent to humans to instruct, inform, or
command them. An angel can function also as a protective guardian, as a heavenly warrior, and even as a cosmic power. Moreover,
the line between a good angel and a bad angel, or demon, is sometimes unclear. Hence, angels can be broadly described as personified
powers mediating between the divine and the human.
Even in its commitment to monotheism—the
worship of one God—ancient Israel was able to embrace the image of a council of gods by turning all but one of them
into angels who serve the one God, much as earthly courtiers serve one king. This acceptance of a belief in angels was a development
made relatively easy because both lesser gods and angels could be called sons of God. In traditional Israelite thought, angels
were assumed to have the form of human males, and as a consequence they were sometimes mistaken for men.
After the period of Israel's Babylonian
exile (597-538 BCE), Jewish thought about angels was considerably altered and enriched. Drawing on Mesopotamian iconography,
artists and writers began to provide wings even for anthropomorphic angels, and an interest developed in the angels' garments,
names, and relative ranks. In addition to the Mesopotamian influence, the Persian dualistic tradition (Zoroastrianism) added
another dimension to the Jewish conception of angels by positing hostile and destructive angels who are rebellious against
God. The Jewish Qumran sect, or Essenes, for example, saw the world as a battleground, the scene of a struggle between the
Spirit of Truth and the Spirit of Wickedness, the latter an angelic power opposed to God called Belial or the Devil.
Later developments in both Judaism and Christianity
show a remarkable growth of angelic folklore, in part as the result of continuing the ancient practice of absorbing the gods
of polytheistic religions by turning them into angels. Although belief in angels is amply attested in both the Hebrew and
Christian Scriptures, many biblical scholars nevertheless suggest that the concept was adopted not only as a literary device
to personify the divine presence but also as a means of subordinating the gods of polytheistic religions.
In the early and mid-1990s there was a resurgence
of popular interest in angels. This interest manifested itself in such diverse phenomena as the proliferation of celestial
iconography on greeting cards and household objects, a spate of television specials devoted to encounters with angels, the
appearance of "angelology" among the course offerings of alternative educational institutions, and the success of Tony Kushner's
Pulitzer Prize-winning play "Angels in America."
666 - In Revelation13:18
we read, "Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is
Six hundred threescore and six". The so-called "number" of each letter in a word can to assigned in such a way as to have
it appear to stand for a number that, when added to the others in that word, yields a meaningful sum total. The solution in
this case is the Roman emperor Nero because the numerical value of the Hebrew spelling of Neron Kaisar, an inscription found
on Roman coins of Nero's time, is 666. So the beast referred to in Revelation 13:18 is none other than Nero who is known to
have died in the year 68 CE. Fundamentalists naturally reject this explanation because if Nero was the beast, then according
to the prophecy Jesus should have returned to destroy him which he obviously did not do.
Face to face with God?
Has anyone ever seen God? In John 1:18 we are told, “No one has ever seen God.” However, in John 6:46 we learn
that there’s an exception. Here it says, “No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God.” In
1st John 4:12 it says again, “No one has ever seen God.” The writer of 1st Timothy 1:17 tells us that God is invisible.
In that regard, I remind you that the invisible and the non-existent look very much alike. In Exodus 33:20 God warns Moses,“
. . . no one can see my face and live.” Then God proceeds to contradict himself. According to Genesis 16:13 God appeared
to Hagar, and she admits to having seen him. Hagar did not die. In Genesis 26:24 we learn that God appeared to Isaac yet he
did not die. In Genesis 32:30 Jacob gets the best of God in an all night wrestling match after which he brags that he saw
God face to face and lived. But to compound the confusion, in Exodus 24:9-11 we learn that Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu
and the seventy elders of Israel not only saw God, they had a lunch with him.
Conclusion - The New
Testament is mostly fiction based on myths, unsubstantiated legends and out right lies. Its hero, Jesus of Nazareth,
is a mythological figure who in all probability never existed.
For additional information see Crucifixion
Contradictions, Did Jesus Ever Live? and Did Jesus Rise from the Dead? on this web site.
1 Compiled by Louis
2 Eddy, P. G., Who
Tempered with the Bible?, Winston-Derek & Co. pg. 6.
II New Revised University Dictionary, Biographical Entries.
4 The International
Standard Bible Encyclopedia, 1982, vol.4, page 12.
Price, Robert M., The Incredible Shrinking Son of Man, Prometheus Books, 2003, page 46.
4b Eddy, Patricia
G., Who Tampered with the Bible?, 1993, pages 90-93.
4c Arnheim, Michael,
Is Christianity True?, 1984, 13-16.
4d McKinsey, C. Dennis,
The Encycyclopedia of Biblical Errancy, 1995, pages 97-99
4e Roberts, Paul
W., In Search of the Birth of Jesus, 1995, page 8.
4f McDowell, Josh
and Donald Stewart, Answers to Tough Questions Skeptics Ask About the Christian Faith, 1980, page 60.
4g But thou, Bethlehem
Ephrath, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler
4h Gillooly, Robert
J., Free Inquiry, Vol.25, No 1, page 27.
5 When Israel was
a child, I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt.
6 A voice was heard
in Ramah, lamenting and bitter weeping; Rachel, weeping for her children, refused to be comforted because her children were
7 Teeple, H. M.,
The Literary Origin of the Gospel of John, page 197.
7a Ehrman, Bart D.,
The New Testament, Part 2, The Teaching Company, Ltd., 2000, page 209
7b Gaylor, Annie
L., Woe To The Women, revised edition, 2004, page 101.
8 Wells, G. A., The
Historical Evidence for Jesus, Promethus Press, pg. 225.
9 It is interesting
to note that the man with whom the woman was committing adultery is never mentioned. This is indeed strange because the Law
states that they shall both be put to death. So, here is another indication that this story as a hoax.
10 Funk, Robert W.,
and the Jesus Seminar, The Acts of Jesus, Polebridge Press, 1998, page 121.
10a Price, Robert M., The Incredible Shrinking
Son of Man, Prometheus Books, 2003, page 295.
10b Remaberg, John E., The Christ, Prometheus Books, 1994, page 301.
11 The following
was received from Samuel Golding of the Jerusalem Institute of Biblical Polemics: "Both during the alleged time of Jesus and
up to the present day a Jewish woman is not allowed to divorce her husband under (halakhah) Jewish law. If a woman has a case
against her husband she must go to the Bet Din (Rabbinical Court) and the rabbis will command him to give her a (get) divorce.
A man can divorce his wife without a reason but he must pay her the amount stipulated on the ketubah (marriage certificate)
and he is responsible for the upkeep of his children. On the get is written 'Go and be free to become another man's wife.'"
11a See the Holoman Illustrated Bible Dictionary
whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.
13 Cable, L. W.,
On the Horns of an Eschatological Dilemma, The Freethought Exchange #13, page 19.
14 New Revised Standard
15 The International
Standard Bible Encyclopedia, vol. 3, pg. 256.
16 Funk, Robert W.,
The Gospel of Mark, The Jesus Seminar, page 233.
17 Taylor, Vincent,
The Gospel According to St. Mark, page 610.
18 Ibid, page 610.
19 Eddy, Patricia
G., Who Tampered With The Bible?, 1993, Winston-Derek, page 27.
20 Mack, Burton L.,
Who Wrote the New Testament?, Harper-Collins 1995,pg. 205.
21 Eddy, P. L., Who
Tampered with the Bible?, Winston Derek 1993, pg. 27.
22 There is a contradiction
regarding the nature of Barabbas’ crime. Mark 15:7 and Luke 23:19 declare him to be a murderer. However, John 19:40
says he was a robber.
22a Acharya S, The
Christian Conspiracy, Adventures Unlimited, 1999, page 43.
22b Funk, Robert W. and Roy W. Hoover, The Five Gospels,
Polebridge Press, 1996, pg 270.
23 Teeple, Howard
M., The Literary Origin of the Gospel of John, Religion and Ethics
Institute, Inc., Evanston, Illinois, 1974, pg. 160.
Britannica, The Fourth Gospel: the Gospel According to John, CD 98.
25 Helms, Randel
M., Who Wrote the Gospels?, Millennium Press, pg. 101.
26 Mack, Burton L.,
Who Wrote the New Testament?, Harper/Collins, pg.178.
27 Helms, Randel
M., Who Wrote the Gospels?, Millinnium Press, pg. 126.
28 John, the Gospel
According to, Commentary on the Gospel, Encyclopaedia Britannica, CD 98.
29 Helms, Randel
M., Who Wrote the Gospels?, Millennium Press, pg. 152.
30 Excerpted in part
from Microsoft ® Encarta ® Reference Library 2004 as written by J. Louis Martyn.