Gospel Oddities

Excerpts from "THE CHRIST" By John E. Remsberg.

SEGMENTS:

R R Nazareth R R The Apostle James R R The Lord's Prayer R R Raising Lazarus from the dead

R R Zacharias son of Barachias R R The Last Supper & The Paschal meal R R How long did the ministry of Jesus last?

R R The potter's field R R Did Jesus have a defender or counselor in the Sanhedrim? R R Where was Jesus next sent for trial?

R R The Gospel of Matthew originally appeared in Hebrew R R How long did the darkness last? R R The name of Jesus' mother?

R R After the resurrection who saw Christ? R R Who arose on the day of the crucifixion?

R R What were the guards of the tomb told to say? R R What did Paul teach regarding the resurrection of Christ?

R R How long did Jesus remain on earth? R R The doctrine of the Trinity R R Great is the mystery of godliness R R Christos or Chrestos

R R Martin Luther R R The English "Confession of Faith" R R Rich Ruler R R Rules of table observance

R R I go not up unto the feast R R The Golden Rule R R It is more blessed to give than to receive R R Female ancestors of Jesus  

R R What became of the Twelve Apostles?

Nazareth

Nazareth, it is asserted, did not exist at this time. Christian scholars admit that there is no proof of its existence at the beginning of the Christian era outside of the New Testament. The Encyclopedia Biblica, a leading Christian authority, says: "We cannot perhaps venture to assert positively that there was a city called Nazareth in Jesus' time."

The Apostle James

He is not mentioned in John. This omission is the more remarkable when we remember that James was not only one of the chief apostles, but the brother of John.

Respecting this omission, Strauss says: "Is it at all probable that the real John would so unbecomingly neglect the well-founded claims of his brother James to special notice? and is not such an omission rather indicative of a late Hellenistic author, who scarcely had heard the name of the brother so early martyred?" (Leben Jesu, p. 353.)

The Lord's Prayer

According to Matthew:

Old Version.

"Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen" (vi, 9-13).

 

New Version.

"Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so on earth. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And bring us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one."

 

According to Luke:

Old Version.

"Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation: but deliver us from evil" (xi, 2-4).

New Version.

"Father, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins; for we ourselves also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And bring us not into temptation."

 

The commonly accepted version of the Lord's Prayer is the Authorized Version of Matthew. This version is admitted to be grossly inaccurate. It contains sixty-six words. The Revised Version of Matthew contains but fifty-five. Twenty-four words either do not belong to the prayer, or have been misplaced; while words which do belong to it have been omitted. If the custodians of the Christian Scriptures have permitted the prayer of their Lord to be corrupted to this extent, what reliance can be placed upon the genuineness of the remainder of these writings?

The Lord's Prayer, like so many more of the precepts and discourses ascribed to Jesus, is borrowed. Dr. Hardwicke, of England, says: "The so-called 'Lord's Prayer' was learned by the Messiah as the 'Kadish' from the Talmud." The Kadish, as translated by a Christian scholar, Rev. John Gregorie, is as follows:

"Our Father which art in heaven, be gracious to us, O Lord, our God; hallowed be thy name, and let the remembrance of thee be glorified in heaven above and in the earth here below. Let thy kingdom reign over us now and forever. The holy men of old said, Remit and forgive unto all men whatsoever they have done against me. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil thing. For thine is the kingdom, and thou shalt reign in glory for ever and for evermore."

The eminent Swiss theologian, Dr. Wetstein, says: "It is a curious fact that the Lord's Prayer may be constructed almost verbatim out of the Talmud."

The Sermon on the Mount is derived largely from the teachings of the Essenes, a Jewish sect to which Jesus is believed by many to have belonged.

The raising of Lazarus from the dead

John:"Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead" (xi, 14). "Jesus therefore again groaning in himself cometh to the grave. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it. Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh; for he hath been dead four days" (38, 39). "Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me" (41). "And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with grave clothes" (43, 44).

The Synoptics make no mention of this miracle; and as it is the greatest miracle ascribed to Jesus it was certainly unknown to them.

Commenting on the doubtful character of alleged events narrated by one Evangelist and omitted by the others, Strauss says: "But this ground of doubt falls with incomparably greater weight, on the narrative of the resurrection of Lazarus in the fourth gospel. If the authors or collectors of the three first gospels knew of this, they could not, for more than one reason, avoid introducing it into their writings. For, first, of all the resuscitations effected by Jesus, nay, of all his miracles, this resurrection of Lazarus, if not the most wonderful, is yet the one in which the marvelous presents itself the most obviously and strikingly, and which, therefore, if its historical reality can be established, is a preeminently strong proof of the extraordinary endowments of Jesus as a divine messenger, whence, the evangelists, although they had related one or two other instances of the kind, could not think it superfluous to add this also. But, secondly, the resurrection of Lazarus had, according to the representation of John, a direct influence in the development of the fate of Jesus; for we learn from xi, 47 ff., that the increased resort to Jesus, and the credit which this event procured him, led to that consultation of the Sanhedrim in which the sanguinary counsel of Caiaphas was given and approved. Thus the event had a double importance -- pragmatical as well as dogmatical; consequently, the synoptical writers could not have failed to narrate it, had it been within their knowledge" (Leben Jesu, p. 548).

Referring to this miracle and the restoration of the sight of the man born blind, Prof. Newman says: "That the three first narrators should have been ignorant of them is simply impossible; that they should not have felt their preeminent value is incredible" (Religion not History, p. 27).

There are three alleged instances in the Gospels of Christ restoring the dead to life.

1. The raising of the daughter of Jairus from her death bed, related by Matthew.

2. The raising of the son of the widow of Nain from his bier as they were carrying him to the grave, related by Luke.

3. The raising of Lazarus from his grave after he had lain four days, related by John.

Even if these miracles were possible one fact disproves them: the silence of the other Evangelists. Of these three stories not one is confirmed by another Evangelist. His less important miracles, such as healing the sick, are, many of them, recorded in all of the gospels, or at least in all of the Synoptics; yet each of these, his greatest miracles, stands alone, unnoticed by the other writers. Mark and Luke mention the daughter of Jairus, but only to deny the miracle by declaring that she was not dead. Had these miracles really been performed, all of the Evangelists would have had a knowledge of them, and all would have recorded them. These writers do not complement each other, as claimed: they exclude each other. There are many Lives of Napoleon; but not one of his biographers has seen fit to omit his greatest victories because some other biographer has narrated them.

Zacharias son of Barachias

What did Jesus accuse the Jews of doing? Matthew: Of having slain prophets and wise men, among them "Zacharias son of Barachias" (xxiii, 35). The Zacharias mentioned was slain in Jerusalem, 69 A.D.; so that Matthew makes Jesus refer to an event that occurred forty years after his death.

Referring to this passage, the Catholic scholar Dr. Hug says: "There cannot be a doubt, if we attend to the name, the fact and its circumstances, and the object of Jesus in citing it, that it was the same Zacharias Barouchos, who, according to Josephus, a short time before the destruction of Jerusalem, was unjustly slain in the temple."

Commenting on this passage, Prof. Newman says: "There is no other man known in history to whom the verse can allude. If so, it shows how late, how ignorant, how rash is the composer of a text passed off on us as sacred truth" (Religion not History, p. 46).

The Last Supper & The Paschal meal

Synoptics: On the Passover (Matt. xxvi, 18-20; Mark xiv, 16-18; Luke xxii, 13-15).

John: On the day preceding the Passover.

Luke says: "And they made ready the passover. And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him. And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer."

John, in his account of the Last Supper, says it was "before the feast of the passover" (xiii, 1). The Evangelists all agree that his trial and execution took place on the day following the Last Supper. John says the Jews "went not into the judgment hall, lest they should be defiled; but that they might eat the passover" (xviii, 28). After narrating the events of the trial, John says: "And it was the preparation of the passover"(xix, 14).

According to the Synoptics, the Last Supper was eaten on the 14th Nisan, and, by our mode of reckoning time, on Thursday evening; according to John, it was eaten on the 13th Nisan, and, by our mode of reckoning, on Wednesday evening. The Synoptics declare that this supper was the regular Paschal meal; according to John, it was an ordinary meal, the Paschal meal not being eaten until after Christ's death.

"The Synoptics represent most clearly that Jesus on the evening of the 14th Nisan, after the custom of the Jews, ate the Passover with his disciples, and that he was arrested in the first hours of the 15th Nisan, the day on which he was put to death. Nothing can be more distinct than the statement that the last supper was the Paschal feast.... The fourth Gospel, however, in accordance with the principle which is dominant throughout, represents the last repast which Jesus eats with his disciples as a common supper, which takes place, not on the 14th, but on the 13th Nisan, the day 'before the feast of the Passover.'" -- Supernatural Religion.

Thousands of pages have been written in vain attempts to reconcile this grave discrepancy. Scribner's Bible Dictionary, which contains the best fruits of orthodox scholarship, both of England and America, concedes a contradiction. It says: "The Synoptics seem to identify the two [the Last Supper and the Paschal meal], whereas St. John expressly places the Last Supper before the Passover."

After an exhaustive review of the subject, Strauss voices the conclusion of German scholars in the following words: "Our only course is to acknowledge an irreconcilable contradiction between the respective accounts, without venturing a decision as to which is the correct one" (Leben Jesu, p. 702).

The Paschal meal

The Synoptics state that the Last Supper was the Paschal meal. The description of the Paschal meal: "All leaning upon the cushions around the table, the first cup of wine was served, and grace pronounced over the same and the feast. This cup of wine being disposed of, vegetables and sauce were placed on the table, and the vegetables, dipped in the sauce, were blessed and eaten. Next the unleavened bread, the bitter herb, and a piquant sauce called Haroseth were served, and the bitter herb, dipped in the Haroseth, was blessed and eaten. Then the Paschal lamb was placed on the table with portions of another sacrifice. One of the company asked the question why all this was done, during which the second cup of wine was served. The head of the table explaining narrated the story of the Exodus, closed with a hymn, spoke the second time grace over the wine, and all disposed of the same. Now came the breaking of the bread and the eating and drinking. This finished, the third cup of wine was served, and grace after meal was pronounced. After which the fourth cup was served, and the ceremonies closed with hymns and psalms, and disposing of the fourth cup of wine" (Mishna).

"This was the Paschal meal as it was observed in the reputed time of Christ and up to 70 A.D. After the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the temple the great Passover feast retained but the shadow of its former glory. The Paschal meal and the ceremonies attending it were generally shortened. The fact that the Evangelists were unacquainted with the regular Paschal meal, that the Synoptics were familiar only with the ceremonies of later times, shows that the Last Supper is a myth, and the Gospels the products of a later age.

Criticizing the Synoptics' accounts of the Paschal meal, Dr. Isaac Wise, an able Jewish scholar, says:

"If any evidence is required that neither Mark nor Matthew had ever seen the Paschal meal, or described that of Jesus, it is furnished here. They do not mention any one point connected with the Paschal supper, the ceremonies of which was established. They mention only one ceremony, viz., the breaking of the bread, and the cup of wine after the meal, which is not only a mistake, but shows conclusively, that either of them had seen the Paschal supper, after the destruction of Jerusalem, in some Jewish house, and the ceremonies connected therewith, called the Seder. Therefore, no mention whatsoever is made of the main thing -- the Paschal lamb -- and the bread is broken after the meal, which was done by the Jews after closing the Paschal meal, outside of Jerusalem, when the altar had been destroyed; and no Paschal lamb was eaten" (Martyrdom of Jesus, pp. 36, 37).

"Luke begins correctly, but makes a mistake in having the bread broken right after the first cup of wine was handed round, which was done so at every festive meal, except at the one described, and has but two cups of wine instead of four. So we know that Luke did not describe what actually happened that evening He had seen the Jewish custom of opening the festive meals with grace over the wine and bread, and made of it an introduction to the Last Supper, without knowing that just that evening the custom was changed" (ibid., p. 38).

 

How long did the ministry of Jesus last?

Synoptics: One year. John: At least three years.

The Rev. Dr. Giles says: "According to the first three Gospels, Christ's public life lasted only one year" (Christian Records, p. 11).

Referring to this and the preceding discrepancy, the author of Supernatural Religion says: "The Synoptics clearly represent the ministry of Jesus as having been limited to a single year, and his preaching is confined to Galilee and Jerusalem, where his career culminates at the fatal Passover. The fourth Gospel distributes the teaching of Jesus between Galilee, Samaria, and Jerusalem, makes it extend over at least three years, and refers to three Passovers spent by Jesus at Jerusalem" (p. 681).

Irenaeus, the greatest of the early Christian Fathers, and who lived in the century following Jesus, declares that his ministry lasted twenty years. In his principal work, Against Heresies, he combats the heresy of a one-year ministry of Jesus. He says:

"They however, that they may establish their false opinion regarding that which is written, 'To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord,' maintain that he preached for one year only, and then suffered in the twelfth month. They are forgetful of their own disadvantage, destroying his whole work, and robbing him of that age which is both more necessary and more honorable than any other, that more advanced age, I mean, during which also, as a teacher, he excelled all others. For how could he have had disciples if he did not teach? And how could he have taught, unless he had reached the age of a master? For when he came to be baptized, he had not yet completed his thirtieth year, but was beginning to be about thirty years of age.... Now, that the first stage of early life embraces thirty years, and that this extends onward to the fortieth year, every one will admit; but from the fortieth and fiftieth year, a man begins to decline toward old age; which our Lord possessed, while he still fulfilled the office of a teacher.... He did not therefore preach for only one year, nor did he suffer in the twelfth month of the year. For the period included between the thirtieth and fiftieth year can never be regarded as one year" (Book ii, ch. xxii, secs. 5, 6).

The potter's field

Matthew: "That which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him that was valued,...and gave them for the potter's field, as the Lord appointed me" (xxvii. 9, 10).

This was not spoken by Jeremiah, but by Zechariah. "And the Lord said unto me, Cast it unto the potter: a goodly price that I was prized at of them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver and cast them to the potter in the house of the Lord" (xi, 13).

It is evident that the account of the betrayal was inspired, not by a historical fact, but by a desire to "fulfill" a Messianic prophecy. Zechariah did not predict an event, but his words did suggest a fiction. This is the more probable from the fact that Matthew is the only Evangelist who mentions the thirty pieces of silver.

The story of Christ's last visit to Jerusalem and the story of his betrayal exclude each other. According to the Evangelists he was not arrested for any offense he had committed during this visit, but for offenses he had committed prior to this. Yet during this visit he is said to have appeared openly with his disciples, making a triumphal entry into the city, visiting the temple and teaching in public. In the face of this the story that the Jews were obliged to bribe one of his disciples in order to apprehend him is absurd. One of these stories must be false. Regarding them Lord Amberley observes: "The representation of the Gospels, that Jesus went on teaching in public to the very end of his career, and yet that Judas received a bribe for his betrayal, is self-contradictory" (Life of Jesus, p. 214).

To those who believe the accounts of the betrayal of Jesus to be historical, the ecclesiastical historian, Neander, in his Life of Christ, advances a suggestion that is worthy of consideration. The betrayal of Jesus by Judas, it is suggested, was intended as a test of his Messiahship. If Jesus was the Messiah, Judas reasoned, he could save himself; if he was not the Messiah he was an impostor and deserved death.

Did Jesus have a defender or counselor in the Sanhedrim?

According to the Synoptics he had no counsel, and the Sanhedrim were unanimous in their condemnation of him. This was contrary to Jewish law. The Sanhedrim might be unanimous in their belief that he was guilty, but it was the duty of at least one of them to defend him. This was the law: "If none of the judges defend the culprit, i.e., all pronounce him guilty, having no defender in the court, the verdict of guilty was invalid and the sentence of death could not be executed" (Maimonides).

Dr. Geikie admits that the trial of Jesus before the Sanhedrim, as related in the Gospels, was in nearly every particular contrary to Jewish law. He says:

"The accused was in all cases to be held innocent, till proved guilty. It was an axiom, that 'the Sanhedrim was to save, not to destroy life.' No one could be tried and condemned in his absence, and when a person accused was brought before the court, it was the duty of the president, at the outset, to admonish the witnesses to remember the value of human life, and to take care that they forgot nothing that would tell in the prisoner's favor. Nor was he left undefended; a Baal-Rib, or counsel, was appointed, to see that all possible was done for his acquittal. Whatever evidence tended to aid him was to be freely admitted, and no member of the court who had once spoken in favor of acquittal could afterwards vote for condemnation. The votes of the youngest of the judges were taken first, that they might not be influenced by their seniors. In capital charges, it required a majority of at least two to condemn, and while the verdict of acquittal could be given at once, that of guilty could only be pronounced the next day. Hence, capital trials could not begin on the day preceding a Sabbath, or public feast. No criminal trial could be carried through in the night; the judges who condemned any one to death had to fast all the day before, and no one could be executed on the same day on which the sentence was pronounced." (Life of Christ, Vol. II, p. 487.)

Where was Jesus next sent for trial?

Luke: To Herod, tetrarch of Galilee, who was attending the Passover at Jerusalem (xxiii, 6-11). In the matter of trials the Evangelists, as in everything else, have overdone things. Notwithstanding no trial was ever held during the Passover they give him four trials in one day, and not finding courts enough in Judea for the purpose, they import one from Galilee.

There is nothing more improbable than this alleged examination of Jesus by Herod. Imagine the Governor General of Canada sitting in judgment on a criminal at Washington, because the criminal is a Canadian, or an Ohio court holding a session in New York because the prisoner arraigned once lived in Ohio. The offenses with which Jesus was charged were committed, not in Herod's province, Galilee, but in Pilate's province, Judea.

It is strange that John, who pretends to relate every important event connected with the trial of Jesus, should omit his trial before Herod. Concerning this Strauss says: "The conjecture, that it may probably have appeared to him [John] too unimportant, loses all foundation when it is considered that John does not scorn to mention the leading away to Annas, which nevertheless was equally indecisive; and in general, the narrative of these events in John is, as Schleiermacher himself confesses, so consecutive that it nowhere presents a break in which such an episode could be inserted. Hence even Schleiermacher at last takes refuge in the conjecture that possibly the sending to Herod may have escaped the notice of John, because it happened on an opposite side to that on which the disciple stood, through a back door, and that it came to the knowledge of Luke because his informant had an acquaintance in the household of Herod, as John had in that of Annas; the former conjecture, however, is figuratively as well as literally nothing more than a back door, the latter, a fiction which is but the effort of despair" (Leben Jesu, pp. 764, 765). 

The Gospel of Matthew originally appeared in Hebrew

Was the veil of the temple rent, as our Gospel of Matthew declares? The Gospel of Matthew, it is affirmed, originally appeared in Hebrew. St. Jerome, who had this original version, says: "In that Gospel which is written in Hebrew letters, we read, not that the veil of the temple was rent, but that a lintel (or beam) of a prodigious size fell down."

How long did the darkness last?

According to Matthew and Luke this darkness lasted from the time that he was suspended upon the cross until he died. Yet his executioners are ignorant of it. Luke says: "His acquaintances, and the women that followed him from Galilee, stood afar off, beholding these things [the crucifixion]" (xxiii, 49), which they could not have done had this darkness really occurred.

If this darkness occurred, and began at the sixth hour, as stated by the Synoptics, then, according to John, the conclusion of the trial, the sentencing of Jesus, the preparations for his execution, and the journey to Golgotha, all took place during the darkness, a conclusion which the nature of the narrative utterly precludes.

Christian apologists have cited Phlegon who notices an eclipse which occurred about this time. But there is a variance of at least six years in regard to the time that Jesus was crucified. Besides an eclipse could not have occurred within two weeks of a Passover, on the occurrence of which he is declared to have been executed. Farrar says: "It could have been no darkness of any natural eclipse, for the Paschal moon was at the full" (Life of Christ, p. 505). Geikie says: "It is impossible to explain the origin of this darkness. The Passover moon was then at the full, so that it could not have been an eclipse. The earlier fathers, relying on a notice of an eclipse that seemed to coincide in time, though it really did not, fancied that the darkness was caused by it, but incorrectly" (Life of Christ, Vol. II, p. 624, Notes). "The celebrated passage of Phlegon," says Gibbon, "is now wisely abandoned" (Rome, Vol. I, p. 589, Note).

The name of Jesus' mother

John: "Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary, the wife of Cleophas" (xix, 25).

Mary must have been a very popular name to be given to two daughters of the same family. It is not probable that these sisters were both named Mary. John never mentions the name of Jesus' mother, and it is evident that he did not suppose her name was Mary. Were John the only Gospel, Christians would be ignorant of the Virgin's name. Mariolatry did not originate in the Johannine church.

After the resurrection who saw Christ?

Paul says that his first appearance was to Peter. This contradicts all of the Evangelists. His next appearance, Paul declares, was to the twelve. But there were no twelve at this time; for Judas had deserted them and his successor had not been elected. Paul evidently knew nothing of the betrayal of Jesus by Judas. He says Jesus was seen by five hundred brethren at once. The Evangelists are all ignorant of this appearance, while the author of Acts states that there were but one hundred and twenty "brethren" in all, and even this number is considered too large by critics. He says that he appeared to James, an appearance of which the Evangelists know nothing. After this he states that he was seen of all the apostles. This is the only appearance mentioned by Paul which can be reconciled with any of the Evangelists, and this cannot be reconciled with all of them.

Who arose on the day of the crucifixion?

Matthew: They "came out of the graves after the resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many" (xxvii, 53).

Before Matthew's wholesale resurrection of the saints the resurrection of Jesus pales into insignificance. In the opinion of many supernaturalists Matthew has mixed too large a dose of the miraculous for even Christian credulity to swallow, and they would gladly omit this portion of it. Regarding this story Dr. Farrar says: "An earthquake shook the earth and split the rocks, and as it rolled away from their places the great stones which closed and covered the cavern sepulchres of the Jews, so it seemed to the imaginations of many to have disimprisoned the spirits of the dead, and to have filled the air with ghostly visitants, who after Christ had risen appeared to linger in the Holy City" (Life of Christ, Vol. II, p. 419) Dean Milman dismisses it in much the same way. Referring to the earthquake, he says: "The same convulsion would displace the stones which covered the ancient tombs and lay open many of the innumerable rock-hewn sepulchres which perforated the hills on every side of the city, and expose the dead to public view. To the awe-struck and depressed minds of the followers of Jesus, no doubt, were confined these visionary appearances of the spirits of their deceased brethren" (History of Christianity, Vol. I, p. 336).

If the minds of the disciples were so greatly affected that they imagined they beheld the resurrected bodies of strangers whom they had never met and of whom they had probably never heard -- for they were nearly a hundred miles from the graves of their own kindred -- is it strange that they should imagine they saw the resurrected Master with whom they had daily associated for months and perhaps years? To characterize these resurrected saints as "ghostly visitants" and "visionary appearances," and the resurrected Christ as a real being, is a distinction without a scintilla of evidence to support it. Both appearances, if they be historical, belong to the same class of mental phenomena; and are, indeed, the offspring of the same minds. 

What were the guards of the tomb told to say?

Matthew: "They gave large sums of money unto the soldiers, saying, Say ye, His disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept" (12, 13).

The penalty for sleeping while on duty was death, and no bribe could have induced them to declare that they were guilty of this offense even if the priests had promised to intercede for them. Again, had this transaction really occurred it would have been known only by the parties concerned in it, and when disclosure meant the direst punishment to both the bribe-givers and the bribe-takers, neither would have divulged the crime.

Strauss, criticizing the alleged action of the Jewish priests, says: "Their conduct, where the guards returning from the grave apprised them of the resurrection of Jesus, is truly impossible. They believe the assertion of the soldiers that Jesus had arisen out of his grave in a miraculous manner. How could the council many of whose members were Sadducees, receive this as credible? Even the Pharisees in the Sanhedrim, though they held in theory the possibility of a resurrection, would not, with the mean opinion they entertained of Jesus, be inclined to believe in his resurrection, especially as the assertion in the mouth of the guards sounded just like a falsehood invented to screen a failure in duty. The real Sanhedrists, on hearing such an assertion from the soldiers would have replied with exasperation: You lie! you have slept and allowed him to be stolen; but you will have to pay dearly for this when it comes to be investigated by the procurator. But instead of this, the Sanhedrists in our gospel speak them fair, and entreat them thus; Tell a lie, say that you have slept and allowed him to be stolen; moreover they pay them richly for the falsehood, and promise to exculpate them to the procurator. This is evidently spoken entirely on the Christian presupposition of the reality of the resurrection of Jesus; a presupposition, however, which is quite incorrectly attributed to the Sanhedrim" (Leben Jesu, pp. 806, 807).

What did Paul teach regarding the resurrection of Christ?

"That Christ should suffer and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead" (Acts xxvi, 23).

If Christ was the first to rise from the dead what becomes of the miracles of Lazarus, of the widow of Nain's son, and of the daughter of Jairus? What becomes of Matthew's saints who rose from the dead on the day of the crucifixion, two days before Christ rose?

How long did Jesus remain on earth?

Luke: One day (xxiv). John: At least ten days (xx, xxi). Acts: He was "seen of them forty days" (i, 3) The greatest discrepancy is between Luke and Acts, two books which it is claimed were written by the same author.

The doctrine of the Trinity

"For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one" (I John v, 7).

This is the only passage in the New Testament which clearly teaches the doctrine of the Trinity, and this passage is admitted by all Christian scholars to be an interpolation.

When the modern version of the New Testament was first published by Erasmus it was criticized because it contained no text teaching the doctrine of the Trinity. Erasmus promised his critics that if a manuscript could be found containing such a text he would insert it. The manuscript was "found," and the text quoted appeared in a later edition. Concerning this interpolation Sir Isaac Newton, in a letter to a friend, which was afterward published by Bishop Horsley, says: "When the adversaries of Erasmus had got the Trinity into his edition, they threw by their manuscript as an old almanac out of date."

Alluding to the doctrine of the Trinity, Thomas Jefferson says: "It is too late in the day for men of sincerity to pretend they believe in the Platonic mysticism that three are one and one is three, and yet, that the one is not three, and the three not one.... But this constitutes the craft, the power, and profits of the priests. Sweep away their gossamer fabrics of fictitious religion, and they would catch no more flies" (Jefferson s Works, Vol. IV, p. 205, Randolph's ed.).

Again Jefferson says: "The hocus-pocus phantasy of a God, like another Cerberus, with one body and three heads, had its birth and growth in the blood of thousands and thousands of martyrs" (ibid., p. 360).

Great is the mystery of godliness

"Great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh" (I Timothy iii, 6).

This is a gross perversion of Scripture for the purpose of making Paul a witness to Christ's divinity. Regarding this text and the Trinitarian text inserted in 1 John, Sir Isaac Newton, in his letter previously quoted from, says:

"What the Latins have done in this text (1 John v, 7) the Greeks have done to Paul (1 Tim. iii, 16). They now read, 'Great is the mystery of godliness; God manifest in the flesh'; whereas all the churches for the first four or five hundred years, and the authors of all the ancient versions, Jerome as well as the rest, read, 'Great is the mystery of godliness, which was manifest in the flesh.' Our English version makes it yet a little stronger. It reads, 'Great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh.'"

In conclusion Newton says: "If the ancient churches, in debating and deciding the greatest mysteries of religion, knew nothing of these two texts, I understand not why we should be so fond of them now the debate is over."

Christos or Chrestos

For what purpose did Christ descend into hell and preach to its inhabitants? If it was to redeem them, his mission was fruitless; if it was not to redeem them, his mission was useless. Early Christian writers almost uniformly spelled the name of Christ, not "Christos" (the Anointed), but "Chrestos." Chrestos was a Pagan name given to the judge of Hades or the lower world.

Martin Luther

"If men only believe enough in Christ they can commit adultery and murder a thousand times a day without periling their salvation."

The English "Confession of Faith"

The English Confession of Faith affirms the following "There is no condemnation for them that believe and are baptized." -- Confession of Faith, Art. IX. "That we are justified by Faith only, is a most wholesome doctrine, and very full of comfort" (Art. XI). "Works done before the grace of Christ, and the inspiration of the Spirit, are not pleasant to God, forasmuch as they spring not of faith in Jesus Christ.... Yea rather, for that they are not done as God hath willed and commanded them to be done, we doubt not but they have the nature of sin" (Art. XIII). 

Rich Ruler

Rich Ruler, No. 1: "Good Master what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" (Luke xviii, 18.)

Jesus: "Sell all that thou hast and distribute unto the poor" (22).

Rich Ruler, No. 2: "Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor" (Luke xix, 8).

Jesus: "This day is salvation come to this house" (9).

Rules of table observance

What original rules of table observance did he teach his disciples? Matthew: To abstain from washing their hands before eating. "They wash not their hands when they eat bread" (xv, 2). John: To wash their feet after eating. "He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel and girded himself. After that he poured water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded" (xiii, 4, 5).

The proneness of Christ's followers to neglect his ordinances and precepts which require some sacrifice or effort to obey, and the readiness with which they observe those which do not, find a fitting illustration in the reception accorded these teachings. While the early Christians, many of them, accepted the first as a religious obligation not to be violated, the second was ignored. Writing of Christian monks and nuns, Lecky says: "The cleanliness of the body was regarded as a pollution of the soul and the saints who were most admired had become one hideous mass of clotted filth St. Athanasius relates with enthusiasm how St. Antony, the patriarch of monachism, had never, to extreme old age, been guilty of washing his feet.... St. Abraham the hermit, however, who lived for fifty years after his conversion, rigidly refused from that date to wash either his face or feet.... St. Euphraxia joined a convent of one hundred and thirty nuns, who never washed their feet, and who shuddered at the mention of a bath" (European Morals, Vol. II, pp. 109, 110).

I go not up unto the feast

"Go ye up unto this feast; I go not up yet unto this feast" (John vii, 8). The correct reading of the last clause is, "I go not up unto the feast." The American revisers, to their credit, urged the adoption of this reading, but the Oxford revisers retained the error. In uttering these words, Jesus, if omniscient, uttered an untruth; for John says: "But when his brethren were gone up, then went he also up unto the feast, not openly, but as it were in secret" (10).

The Golden Rule

The Golden Rule has been ascribed to Christ. Was he its author? Five hundred years before the time of Christ Confucius taught "What you do not like when done to yourself do not to others." Centuries before the Christian era Pittacus, Thales, Sextus, Isocrates and Aristotle taught the same.

It is more blessed to give than to receive

"Remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive" (Acts xx, 35).

These are not "the words of the Lord Jesus," but of the Pagan Epicurus, a man whose character Christians have for centuries defamed. 

Concerning the teachings of Jesus, Col. Thomas W. Higginson says: "When they tell me that Jesus taught a gospel of love, I say I believe it. Plato taught a gospel of love before him, and you deny it. If they say, Jesus taught that it is better to bear an injury than to retaliate, I say, yes, but so did Aristotle before Jesus was born. I will accept it as the statement of Jesus if you will admit that Aristotle said it too. I am willing that any man should come before us and say, Jesus taught that you must love your enemies, it is written in the Bible; but, if he will open the old manuscript of Diogenes Laertus, he may there read in texts that have never been disputed, that the Greek philosophers, half a dozen of them, said the same before Jesus was born."

Buckle says: "That the system of morals propounded in the New Testament contained no maxim which had not been previously enunciated, and that some of the most beautiful passages in the apostolic writings are quotations from Pagan authors, is well known to every scholar.... To assert that Christianity communicated to man moral truths previously unknown, argues on the part of the asserted either gross ignorance or wilful fraud" (History of Civilization, Vol. I, p. 129).

John Stuart Mill says: "It can do truth no service to blind the fact, known to all who have the most ordinary acquaintance with literary history, that a large portion of the noblest and most valuable moral teaching has been the work not only of men who did not know, but of men who knew and rejected the Christian faith" (Liberty).

Female ancestors of Jesus

What female ancestors are named in his genealogy? Matthew: Thamar, Rachab, Ruth and Bathsheba.

Regarding these women the Rev. Dr. Alexander Walker says: "It is remarkable that in the genealogy of Christ, only four women have been named: Thamar who seduced the father of her late husband; Rachab, a common prostitute; Ruth, who, instead of marrying one of her cousins, went to bed with another of them; and Bathsheba, an adulteress, who espoused David, the murderer of her first husband" (Woman, p. 330).

Matthew Henry, a noted Christian commentator, says: "There are four women, and but four, named in this genealogy,...Rachab, a Canaanitess, and a harlot besides, and Ruth, the Moabitess.... The other two were adulteresses, Tamar and Bathsheba" (Commentary, Vol. V).Matthew: Thamar, Rachab, Ruth and Bathsheba.

Regarding these women the Rev. Dr. Alexander Walker says: "It is remarkable that in the genealogy of Christ, only four women have been named: Thamar who seduced the father of her late husband; Rachab, a common prostitute; Ruth, who, instead of marrying one of her cousins, went to bed with another of them; and Bathsheba, an adulteress, who espoused David, the murderer of her first husband" (Woman, p. 330).

Matthew Henry, a noted Christian commentator, says: "There are four women, and but four, named in this genealogy,...Rachab, a Canaanitess, and a harlot besides, and Ruth, the Moabitess.... The other two were adulteresses, Tamar and Bathsheba" (Commentary, Vol. V).

What became of the Twelve Apostles?

The New Testament, a portion of which is admitted to have been written as late as the latter part of the first century and nearly all of which was really written in the second century, is silent regarding them. Christian martyrology records their fates as follows:

St. Peter was crucified, at his own request head downward, and buried in the Vatican at Rome.

St. Andrew, after having been scourged seven times upon his naked body, was crucified by the proconsul of Achaia.

St. James was beheaded by Herod Antipas in Palestine.

St. John was "thrown into a cauldron of boiling oil" by Domitian, but God "delivered him."

St. Philip was scourged and crucified or hanged by the magistrates of Hierapolis.

St. Bartholomew was put to death by a Roman governor in Armenia.

St. Matthew suffered martyrdom at Naddabar in Ethiopia.

St. Thomas was shot to death with arrows by the Brahmans in India.

St. James the Less was thrown from the pinnacle of the temple at Jerusalem and dispatched with a club where he fell.

St. Simon was "crucified and buried" in Britain.

St. Jude was "cruelly put to death" by the Magi of Persia. 

St. Matthias, the successor of Judas Iscariot, if Christian tradition is to be credited, was put to death three times, crucified, stoned, and beheaded.

Nothing can be more incredible than these so called traditions regarding the martyrdom of the Twelve Apostles, the most of them occurring in an empire where all religious sects enjoyed as perfect religious freedom as the different sects do in America today. Whatever opinion may be entertained respecting the existence of Jesus, the Twelve Apostles belong to the realm of mythology, and their alleged martyrdoms are pure inventions. Had these men really existed Christian history at least would contain some reliable notice of them, yet all the stories relating to them, like the story of Peter at Rome, and John at Ephesus, are self-evident fictions. In the significant words of the eminent Dutch theologians, Dr. Kuenen, Dr. Oort and Dr. Hooykaas, "All the Apostles disappear without a trace."

ITEM: Josephus - Tacitus

ITEM: Gospel Oddities

ITEM: Gospels

ITEM: Acts, Catholic Epistles, and Revelation

ITEM: Sources of the Christ Myth

ITEM: The Epistles of Paul

GOSPEL CONTRADICTIONS:

1 THROUGH 72 THE INFANCY OF CHRIST

73 THROUGH 267 THE MINISTRY OF CHRIST

268 THROUGH 399 THE CRUCIFIXION OF CHRIST

400 THROUGH 469 THE CRUCIFIXION OF CHRIST / CONTINUED

470 THROUGH 610 HIS CHARACTER AND TEACHINGS

 

 

 

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Revealing the Spiritual duality of the Bible, for it serves neither God nor truth to try and rationalize irrational things the Bible has said of God.