The biggest blunder of the New Testament — the one that proves most, to me at least, the authors of the synoptic gospels never personally knew the man they wrote about — are the massive discrepancies between the bloodlines of Christ provided within the gospels of Matthew and Luke. These two genealogies are separated by the gospel of Mark — the oldest gospel written; it contains no mention of the early life of Jesus whatsoever — and contain so many strange looking names that the unquestioning believer, especially one with little to no knowledge of the Old Testament, would most likely skip over the genealogies altogether, taking the gospels’ word for it without a question. Unfortunately, for them, one look at a comparison of the genealogies in Luke and Matthew side-by-side shows the truth of the lie: they are completely different:
Mat 1:1 – Luke 3:23
———————–Abraham (20 more generations continue to Adam)
As is clear for anybody with a third grade reading level to see, the only two names that match at the same point in time between the two lists are Jesus and Joseph; after that they never agree again. A coherent mind can only conclude that one of the lists is wrong; if not both, which is almost certainly the case. In a modern court of law, because of the gross differences between them, coupled with the non-credibility of their authors — every copy of the 4 gospels we have on Earth was written hundreds of years after Christ was dead by Greeks in another part of the world than where Jesus was written to have lived — neither family tree would be admissible as tolerable evidence. Also, notice the 17 generation difference between the Abraham of Matthew and the Abraham of Luke, it’s important.
According to the Ryrie Study Bible, among others desperately attempting to explain the two contradicting genealogies, one of the trees belongs to Mary (Luke) and the other to Joseph (Matthew). For a second you almost want to fall for the apparent clarification; one looking for an excuse to repair their shaken “faith” would cling right to it — case closed. Regrettably, at least to the reasonable observer, that answer explains nothing — it’s impossible! The 17 generation gap between Abrahams would separate Mary and Joseph in age by hundreds of years, especially taking into account the ages the Old Testament reports those ancestors had children at back then. Anyhow, both gospels clearly claim they are the bloodlines of Joseph after Jesus, not Mary, so that excuse is meaningless.
This only brings up another giant hole in the philosophy of Christ’s bloodline: The fact that he isn’t even of the bloodline of King David in the first place! At least not according to the Bible. If I’m not mistaken, one of the biggest miracles that Christians believe happened surrounding Jesus was his Immaculate Conception — being born of a virgin. If one is to take that story literally, which a vast majority of Christians do — and should or else they’re making up their own religion loosely based on the Bible — then one must also admit Joseph isn’t the biological father of Jesus; he’s his adoptive father. They share no DNA in the slightest. In fact, if Luke 1:35 is read literally — correctly — then the reader can see Gabriel unmistakably implies the Holy Spirit — the lucky devil — has to have intercourse with Mary to impregnate her with a son, not Joseph!
To add further insult to injury, Matthew 1:17 informs us — incorrectly — “Therefor, all the generations from Abraham to David were fourteen,” but the gospel of Luke lists fifteen generations! Multiple books in the Old Testament could clear the subject up of why these numbers matter, if one cared to look into it further. In any case though, these genealogies are blatant evidence against the likelihood the four gospels were written by whom they claim to be; or by anyone that ever personally knew Jesus as a man — if he ever existed, which there is no solid proof for.
So then, if the accounts of the gospels have proven themselves to be unworthy as credible historic sources — not just based on the genealogies but the thousands of vital differences and miraculous claims between them — how do we even know if Jesus, the rumored son of God, really did exist? We don’t, and that’s the only truth on the matter there is. In fact, there are no historical records about him that were written during the period of his lifetime, if there ever were any to begin with. Even the earliest gospel written — the Gospel of Mark — was concluded to be written more than twenty years after Christ’s death based on language and references, though no copy that old exists anywhere; the others even further after that.
When researching if Jesus Christ really existed, we must look to other sources from that time and place in history and then cross reference them with the Bible. In the case of Jesus, there’s really only two: Flavius Josephus and Tacitus. Both are Roman historians of, and in, the first century AD; both are responsible — Josephus in particular as he was born in Jerusalem — for the knowledge we have of the ancient holy land today, and both men were born after the reported death of Jesus. These are our two oldest sources, other than the Bible itself, to report any indication of Jesus being a real man who walked the earth; any other sources have been widely disputed and discredited. Let’s take a look at what Josephus has to say:
“Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man. For he was a doer of startling deeds, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. And he gained a following both among many Jews and many of Greek origin. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him. And the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day.” –Josephus, 93 AD, based on Professor of Theology at Notre Dame John P. Meier’s construction of Jewish Antiquities, Book 18, 3:3.
Thus, according to Josephus, Jesus was a man who lived; he at least believed so. But again, by the time Josephus began recording history — c. 65 AD — Jesus would have been dead for thirty years. By the time the above quote was recorded, Jesus would have been dead for sixty years, and by then already a monstrous legend that stretched across and beyond the empire. Josephus is, without a doubt, not an eyewitness to Jesus and therefore isn’t a credible source to prove his existence. For an analogy, I once heard that UFO’s shot Nazi fighter planes out of the air just over 60 years ago, but I certainly don’t consider myself a credible source to prove it ever happened; though I’m less skeptical of that story then the myth of Jesus Christ.
Next we have Tacitus:
“Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilate, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, and the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular.” –Tacitus on the fire that consumed much of Rome, 64 AD, The Annals, XV: 44.
Evidently Tacitus wasn’t a fan of Christianity and considered it nothing more than a “superstitious” cult — an apt description. Tacitus himself was born in 55 AD — approximately 35 years after Christ’s death — and would had never have met Jesus or anyone who had in his life; he would only have heard of him as the rest of us have: through lore and legend. Once again, though he spoke of him, Tacitus is not a worthy witness of the life of Christ; and other than him and Josephus, no one comes close to the time of Jesus that wrote of him.
Rationally though, we can’t just dismiss the notion that Jesus was once a real man; those who do clearly haven’t looked into what they’re saying. Even scholars who don’t agree with Christianity in the least see evidence, though not imperially, of someone behind the commotion, whether his name was Jesus Christ or not, which it definitely wasn’t. From what is known, his teachings were well ahead of his time, his culture, and his civilization; some ahead of ours, however none were unheard of before him. If his own are any of the words that are reported to be within the gospels — which we should assume at least reflect his general message some of the time — then Jesus should be revered as much as Gandhi; Martin Luther King Jr.; Malcolm X; Che Guevara; or any other enlightened, courageous, peaceful, freedom fighter. We should not, on the other hand, have any reason to buy into the idea that any one man was God and proved it through cheesy parlour tricks. If that were the case we would pray to David Blaine; and we don’t as far as I know.
As we will see in future episodes, the divine aspect of the life of Jesus was a long-time, typically used, myth, attached to the legend of an already dead, spiritual man, recycled to gain control over a disgruntled, growing movement of stifled followers upset with their environment and the authorities within it. Most scholars are in agreement with this theory, Christian and non.
So the question is: who really was Jesus? For the closest to accurate answer, I and others believe, we must first learn about the mysterious Essenes.
JESUS THE ESSENE:
Back in the times of the assumed life of Jesus there were three major groups of Jewish residents in Jerusalem: The Sadducees; The Pharisees; and The Essenes. The two former squabbled with each other relentlessly over their interpretation of the scripture and were the majority in the Hebrew population; the Pharisees seeing themselves more of the people than the “elitist” Sadducees; the Sadducees looking down their noses on all with a holier than thou attitude — or at least that’s how history paints them. These two groups are pretty well documented and spoken of in The Bible. The Essenes, however, are not; and to a suspicious degree.
Little was known about the mysterious group for ages as they seemed to leave no trace, but they were spoken of. Josephus notes in The Jewish War Book II:
“For three forms of philosophy are pursued among the Judeans: the members of one are Pharisees, of another Sadducees, and the third [school], who certainly are reputed to cultivate seriousness, are called Essenes.” – Josephus, the Jewish War, Book II, 8:2:119.
Josephus goes on to explain the Essenes as a mystical order “as old as time immemorial”; an initiate school with an obligatory three year-long enrollment program before its members began to learn its ancient secrets. He describes them as wearing simple clothing, basic grey robes for the members and white robes for the priests; obeying strict Mosaic Law; “helping those who are worthy, whenever they might need it, and also extending food to those who are in want”; apocolyptic — all characteristics of Christ and his ministry. A curious point Josephus then mentions in his histories:
“There are also among them those who profess to foretell what is to come, being thoroughly trained in holy books, various purifications, and concise sayings of prophets. Rarely if ever do they fail in their predictions.” –8:12:59.
So they were prophets. Prophesy, in fact, as Josephus also notes, was the Essene way of life, and they were held by most other Israelites to possess sacred knowledge of the future — they were fortune tellers. Not only that, just like Jesus, they constantly quoted the scripture to back their visions up. Josephus speaks of Essenes sometimes standing outside of the temple to tell fortunes for prominent names in the community; but other than that they mostly kept to themselves outside of society in what today we would call communes.
So, to put this in perspective, we have a sect of Hebrews from Jerusalem at the time of Christ who foretold prophecies, religiously dressed in plain robes, helped the needy, spoke of eternal wisdom, quoted scripture, shared all possessions within the community, obeyed orthodox Mosaic Law, believed in a coming apocalypse, and were held to be holier than other sects; sound familiar?
Light was finally shone on the inner workings of the mysterious tribe of Essenes forty years after an archeological find in 1947, when a Bedouin shepherd wandered after one of his loose sheep into an abandoned cave in Qumran — an area twenty miles east of Jerusalem. The story is told as if the situation was a fluke, but scholars reasonably contend it was no accident, as the shepherd was a known by locals to be a treasure hunter. Nevertheless, inside the cave he found a plethora of ancient clay pots; some empty, others sealed tight and full of rolled up pieces of papyrus. What he had found, though he didn’t know it at the time and sold all the pots and scrolls on the Armenian antiquities market, turned out to be one of the greatest archeological discoveries of all time: the Dead Sea Scrolls — Hebrew manuscripts, some up to a thousand years older than any Biblical text on Earth!
The honeycomb caves of Qumran were meticulously excavated for years and turned up mountains of texts, giving the deepest look into Second-Temple era Judaic life ever revealed. A team was hired — which consisted primarily of men sent from the Catholic Church — to translate the scrolls. Not surprisingly when they saw what they were dealing with they ended up withholding a massive number of them from the public for fifty years! Then in the early nineties a scholar by the name of Robert Eisenman got a hold of a number of photographs of the withheld material and published a two volume series of them; after which time, in 1992, he published another book called the Dead Sea Scrolls Uncovered, in which him and an Aramaic translation scholar named Michael Wise translated every scroll with an intricate description of each one beforehand — I highly recommend it.
After the translations were published it became clear why the Church had been withholding the material for so many decades, though Professor Eisenman will never verbally admit it was foul play. The ancient community who had left the 2000 year old scripts behind paralleled what we know about early Christianity to a tee, contrary to Christian doctrine, and the Catholic powers couldn’t let their flock become aware. You see, all the ancient scriptures the Christian world had presented before the Dead Sea Scrolls were the result of westernized, Greco-Roman scripture; none was Hebrew, Syriatic, or Aramaic, which would be the languages used in Christ’s homeland. The publishing of the scrolls changed all that. Here were real records of what was going on in Palestine in the time of Christ.
After much study and comparisons to ancient historian excerpts it became clear who the community was that left behind the scrolls: the mysterious and holy Essenes.
Adding further astonishment, an ancient Clementine text places James, Christ’s brother, and his ministry by the Dead Sea as they escaped to Jericho after an attack from “an enemy of the faith,” who, as we have seen in a previous episode, was none other than Paul the Apostle. For now though, we’ll look to ancient historian Pliny the Elder, who puts the Essene community right where the scrolls were found:
“..in the west [of the Dead Sea] the Essenes flee all the way from the shores which are harmful, a type of people alone . . . in the company of palms… below them was the tow Engedi… from there Masada.” –Hist. Natl. 5:15.
By today, the Dead Sea Scrolls have been the subject of expert analysis for over 20 years and have been translated into dozens of languages for anyone to read to see how close their teachings match to the story of Christ. Ideas which seemed to us out of character in comparison to the Pharisees and Sadducee that Jesus put forward during his ministry echo throughout the scrolls as if he had read and memorized their subject matter his whole life; as if he was of the Essene community who would later flee to the Qumran caves and bury their stories in fear of their persecutors a decade or two after his death; and this would seem to be the case.
The 972 scrolls contain clear and intricate descriptions of everyday life, spiritual beliefs, hierarchy, and endless prophesy; verifying and expanding on Josephus’ account of the Essenes being strict, mysterious, spiritual followers of Mosaic Law; the true chosen men of God; despisors of material wealth; practisors of baptisms (an entire hymn in the scrolls is dedicated to the practice); simply dressed in robes (their high-priests in white robes); coiners of the term: Holy Spirit (an entire hymn dedicated to it too!); believers in healing, resurrection, and a nearing apocalypse and judgement; rejectors of the hypocrisy within the Jewish priesthood; and extremely prophetic — primarily of their coming messiah who would save them and their holy land from the evil “polluting” it — messiah being a term which is abundant throughout the scrolls. They despised the Pharisees and Sadducees and had quite a different view than the status quo in relation to good and evil. References to a great battle between the “keepers of the light” and the “bringers of darkness” — the forces of good and evil; good against bad; god vs. the Devil — are central to the texts; identical to Christianity’s ongoing battle between God and Satan. This is a radical line of thinking compared to the way the modern Old Testament designates good and evil — what God says and does is good, no matter how evil* — and this can be explained by the multiple other texts found in the caves designated to prophets of the Old Testament, such as Daniel and Ezekiel, and variants of stories like Noah and Elijah.
These ancient authors, as previously stated, were obsessed with the coming apocalypse, when their foretold messiah would come back to save their true faithful order and judge the rest; them, finally being forgiven by God and renewing the covenant He made with Abraham in Genesis.
There are actually three predicted messiahs spoken of in the scrolls
(1) The Priestly Messiah (of Aaron)
(2) The Kingly Messiah (of David)
(3) The Prophetic Messiah (anyone)
They were expecting these men to arrive around the time of Jesus. Many movements within Israel expected a messiah, which, by the way, simply translates to “The next rightful king of Israel” in future tense, and therefore proves Jesus wasn’t the messiah as he was never appointed to rule over Israel from Solomon’s Temple, making him neither king nor messiah. To understand why a messiah was so important to the Jews back then is to simply understand the environment of Judea in that era: The Israelites, who believed they were god’s chosen people, were under occupation from Rome. They attributed this to god’s displeasure with them, of course. The only way to fix it would be for god to send someone to do the deed of overthrowing their oppressors and granting them back their promised land. They had been under occupation for hundreds of years by Romans, Canaanites, Philistines, Babylonians, etc., and hoped for a warrior to come along and save them, just as many Old Testament books — which were separate scrolls, not a complete book — spoke of. The Essenes seem to be a group who took those scriptures the most to heart.
Remarkably, the Dead Sea Scrolls had many books dedicated to extremely accurate descriptions of the movement of the stars; documents showing they were well aware of the cycle of the equinox, seeing the transfer into Pisces — around the year 0 by our own calendar — as the sign of their coming savior. Not coincidentally, Jesus and the sign of Pisces — the fish — can be found throughout Christian symbolism since the time of its birth, just as the sign of Aries before it is associated with Moses.
The Scrolls named the coming messiah as “The Teacher of Righteousness,” a familiar appellation of the Christian handle for Jesus.
There are so many similarities, too many to cover here, but to illustrate the startling parallels between the teachings and attributes of Christianity and the teachings and beliefs of the ancient society at Qumran, we’ll take a few examples directly from the scrolls themselves. First, appropriately, we look to a text named: The Messiah of Heaven and Earth:
“The Heavens and the earth will obey His Messiah… He will not turn aside from the Commandments of the Holy Ones. Take strength in His service, (you) who seek the Lord… For the Lord will visit the Pious Ones and the Righteous will He call by name. Over the Meek will His Spirit hover, and the Faithful will He restore by His power. He shall glorify the Pious Ones on the Throne of the Eternal Kingdom. He shall release the captives, make the blind see, raise up the downtrodden… then He will heal the sick, resurrect the dead, and to the Meek announce glad tidings… He will lead the Holy Ones; He will shepherd them…”
Most incredibly, the scroll reveals this enigmatic tribes’ messiah as one who will “heal the sick… make the blind see… raise up the downtrodden… resurrect the dead” and sit on the “Throne of the eternal Kingdom… shepherding” the “Holy Ones.” Every single term and prophesy an exact characteristic and term attributed to Jesus; word for word!
Ascribed to the prophet Daniel, the Son of God scroll describes the exact circumstances leading up to the appearance of the messiah(s) — who they dub the son of the Most High, the son of God, and the King of the people of God (the Jews); all Christian titles of Jesus — and tells of his rein of judgement:
“There will be violence and great Evils. Oppression will be upon the earth. Peoples will make war, and battles shall multiply among the nations, until the King of the people of God arises… All the peoples will serve him, and he shall become great upon the earth. All will make peace, and all will serve him… He will be called the son of God; they will call him son of the Most High… His Kingdom will be an Eternal Kingdom, and he will be Righteous in all his Ways. He will judge the earth in Righteousness, and everyone will make peace. The sword shall cease from the earth, and every nation will bow down to him. As for the Great God, with His help he will make war, and He will give all the peoples into his power… His rule will be an Eternal rule.” -1:1-2:9.
While this prophesy is an exact pre-made prediction of who they would later deem Jesus to be, it’s at the same time centered on the concept of this messiah being no more than God’s weapon in an unavoidable bloodbath; not his son, or god himself, just a man.
Again, to truly understand who Jesus was, one must first understand the environment he came out of, and these scrolls are the perfect example of that environment — one vibrating on the cusp of violent revolution. The Essene community, as Josephus properly pointed out, believed they were the true sons of Abraham amongst all the Hebrews in Israel; and along with this, they believed they were destined to wage a holy war to reconquer Israel from the Romans, led by The Teacher of Righteousness, making the holy city the eternal “Kingdom of Heaven” — another phrase attributed to Christ:
“…your enemies shall be brought low… gather courage for war, and you shall be reckoned… you shall be lifted up, for He chose you… to keep the testimonies of our Covenant… He judges His people in Righteousness… every man… shall remain with Him always… each and every tribe….” –The Servants of Darkness, The Dead Sea Scrolls Uncovered.
To add to this sentiment, another text entitled The New Jerusalem foretells of Jerusalem after the Teacher of Righteousness has come: a heavenly city of “marble and jasper…every street… paved with white stone” — a paradise worth fighting for for any person living under foreign persecution, and not far from the early Christian Church’s description of what heaven was, almost exact to what Christians will tell you heaven is today.
Even the weekend Christian knows one of the more prevalent points in Jesus’ sermons of the Biblical gospels was his insistence of helping the “the poor” and “downtrodden”; promising his listeners that “the meek shall inherit the earth.” His attitude towards the underdog has rightly been an inspiration to billions. The New Testament presents these ideas as divinely inspired revelations from God; as if they were unheard of principles before Jesus shared them with people, which is obviously absurd; aside from countless other ancient texts which predate Christianity, the Dead Sea Scrolls speak the same tenets almost word for word:
“Understanding to strengthen the downcast heart, and to triumph over the spirit in it; to comfort the Downtrodden… Bless the Lord… Blessed be His name, for He saved the soul of the Poor One (Ebion)… In His abundant Mercy He comforted the Meek, and opened their eyes to behold His ways, and their ears, to hear His teaching.” –Hymns of the Poor, 1:1-9.
What’s most interesting about this last quote is the Aramaic word for “Poor one”: “Ebion.” The Ebionites — Ebionite meaning poor man — were early Palestinian descendants of the followers of James the Just, Christ’s brother, first Bishop of the Church of Jerusalem, a church which, though they believed Jesus was the messiah, wasn’t Christian, but Jewish. In the Bible’s Books of Acts and Galatians, Paul the Apostle refers to James and his ministry in Jerusalem as “the poor,” as well. This all links the early Church — and therefore Jesus — to the authors, or readers, of these scrolls in a major way. Later in history, as Pauline Christianity — followers of the crooked writings of Paul the Apostle — came to dominate, “Ebionite” became a derogatory term.
It is now more than speculation among experts, such as Professor Eisenman — biblical scholar, archeologist, and historian — that John the Baptist, James the Just, and Jesus the Christ were all members of the extremely devout Essene Community. Just based on the little we just covered it’s plain to see, though there are many hundreds of hours one could spend researching and proving it further. For now we’ll move along.
JESUS THE NAZARITE:
According to the Talmud, around the era of Jesus’ supposed life in Judea there were also those taking a holy vow inspired by chapter 6 in the Book of Numbers which required a person to abstain from wine, liquor, vinegar, grapes, and raisins; and to grow their hair and beard until their vow period was complete, which varied depending on the personal vow which was taken, at which time the prospect would shave their head beside the temple and burn all of their hair with an offering of lamb, ewe, and ram. Some took the vow their whole life; some took it for a short period of time. It was seen as a purification of the soul. Those that took this vow were called Nazarites (“Separated ones”); and there are clues that point to Jesus, John, and James also being known Nazarites within the Essene community.
To start, all three men took every word of the scripture extremely literally and were known as righteous holy men because of it. It would make perfect sense for them to take every instruction the scriptures demanded literally. We’ll look at the last supper for an example. This would be a point in Jesus’ life when he was hiding from arrest and knowing execution is around the corner; only a few hours before they finally caught him. In ceremony, Jesus passes around a cup of wine for his disciples to drink, but he doesn’t take a sip. To the Jewish theology expert, this would imply he was obeying the required tenets of the Nazarite vow, most likely to purify himself in God’s eyes before he met his maker:
“Truly I say to you, I shall never again drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in Heaven.” –Mark 14:25.
The same abstinence is spoke of when the angel Gabriel describes John the Baptist to his mother before his immaculate conception (that’s right, he had one too):
“For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and he will drink no wine or liquor; and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, while yet in his mother’s womb.” –Luke 1:15.
Finally, to drive the point home, we’ll look at an excerpt that paints James as a Nazarite perfectly from fourth-century Christian historian, Eusebius, who actually claims to be quoting a much earlier source — though this source has been lost — known as Hegesippus:
“… But Hegesippus, who lived immediately after the apostles, gives the most accurate account in the fifth book of his Memoirs. He writes as follows: ‘James, the brother of the Lord, succeeded to the government of the Church in conjunction with the apostles. He has been called the Just by all from the time of our Saviour… He was holy from his mother’s womb; and he drank no wine nor strong drink, nor did he eat flesh. No razor came upon his head.’” –Eusebius, Church History, Book II.
The tensions between Judea and Rome came to a climax in the siege and destruction of the Jerusalem Temple in 70 AD. Over time after this James’ successors and the Church of Jerusalem dwindled and disappeared, leaving the Gentile (non-Jewish) oriented Christianity of Paul the Apostle take over. History shows it was actually quite a battle for the Church of Jerusalem to keep the Jewish story of their messiah from getting polluted right from the get-go; and even though they ended up seemingly disappearing, there are still traces of them in the fourth-century. Bishop of Salamis, Epiphinius, pens:
“But these sectarians… did not call themselves Christians, but “Nazarenes” … However they are simply complete Jews. They use not only the New Testament but the Old Testament as well, as the Jews do… They have no different ideas, but confess everything exactly as the Law proclaims it and in the Jewish fashion except for their belief in Messiah, if you please! For they acknowledge both the resurrection of the dead and the divine creation of all things, and declare that G-d is one, and that his son is Y’shua the Messiah… They are different from the Jews, and different from Christians, only in the following. They disagree with Jews because they have come to faith in Messiah; but since they are still fettered by the Law—circumcision, the Sabbath, and the rest—they are not in accord with Christians… they are nothing but Jews… They have the Good News according to Matthew in its entirety in Hebrew. For it is clear that they still preserve this, in the Hebrew alphabet, as it was originally written.” –Epiphinius (370 AD), Panarion 29.
The continuing ministry of Christ after his death, led by James, his brother, were strictly Jewish, not any form of Christian, as was Jesus, but to make the cult palatable to the non-Jews of the Roman Empire, and to make Jesus a god to all men, it was imperative to erase the Jewish history, hence the Jews being blamed for Christ’s crucifixion instead of the Romans who legally would have been the only people with the authority to execute citizens. History and the Bible say he was a devout Jewish rabbi, almost definitely a Nazarite. Later the editors of the Bible would change the title Jesus the Nazarite to Jesus of Nazareth to distance him from the Jews and brainwash the Gentiles into becoming servants of Christ, and pretended he was from a place called Nazareth to cover his real Jewish past up by fulfilling this prophesy:
“…and [He] came and resided in a city called Nazareth, that was spoken through the prophets might be fulfilled, ‘He shall be called a Nazarene.’” —Matthew 2:23.
To demonstrate this fulfillment of prophesy to its readers, the Ryrie Study Bible refers them to The Book of Isaiah 1:11, which, not surprisingly, makes no mention of the word Nazarene; or a place called Nazareth. In fact, the Old Testament never mentions a place called Nazareth. As it happens, Nazareth wasn’t even a city until long after Jesus was already dead. No historical records speak of a place named Nazareth in the Palestinian area before the 4th century AD, although Nazareth is mentioned again in Luke 2:4, Luke 1:26, and Luke 2:39 of the Holy Bible. When really, being as they were devout Essenes, a group who took the Law serious, John, Jesus, and his brother James probably took the Nazarite vow and were known and identified for it; and because of the hostility towards the original Jewish followers of Jesus by the Gentile hijackers of the religion, that part of the story needed to be modified — our next episode will explore why in even greater detail.
With John the Baptist, Jesus, and James all being members of a religious and political movement within Jerusalem at a time when it was ripe with rebellion — a few decades before the temple fell in a final defeat — the super-fantastical story of the man they called the messiah seems a little more rational; and a lot more human. Actually, the word “Christus,” which “Christ” derives from, is simply a Greek word meaning “messiah,” it’s not a name at all, it’s a title meaning the one who will free the Israelites and sit on the throne of the temple. Jesus — or Yeshu’a ben Yosef as he would have been called by those who knew him — was not a god, but merely the leader of a movement trying to overthrow the government; a movement he led through Israel gathering many followers who viewed him as the long awaited king which the scriptures spoke of; a holy man who couldn’t fail, and so they supported his cause to take back their land of “milk and honey” from their foreign rulers, once again making it: “the Kingdom of Heaven.” In fact, the word in Aramaic for “kingdom” also means “government” or “rule.” When Jesus spoke of the coming kingdom, he wasn’t referring to a place that one strives to go to after death; he was referring to Israel under his kingly rule — an eternal kingdom of the Davidic line in renewal of the covenant. This is a fulfillment of Daniel 2:44 — the Old Testament — which is a parallel verse to the Dead Sea Scroll known as The Son of God:
“And in the days of those kings… the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed.” –Daniel 2:44.
Israel, remember, was once a united kingdom and the Israelites truly believed it to be promised to them by God; they still do. This explanation of Jesus not being a god, but instead a revolutionary, also suddenly makes verse 17:20 in the Gospel of Luke, which never made sense before, make perfect sense. It takes place when Jesus is with his mass of followers being questioned by the Pharisees about “the kingdom,” to which he replies:
“The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There it is!’ For behold, the kingdom of Heaven is in your midst.” –Luke 17:20.
The Kingdom of Heaven is in the Pharisees midst because Christ’s ministry was standing all around them; they are the kingdom, Jesus’ and his followers: the sons of Israel.
JESUS, STUDENT OF JOHN:
John the Baptist plays a critical role in all of this, too. History paints a much more important role for him within the times of Jesus than the Bible leads on. John the Baptist was a powerful holy man who was known to the authorities as a great leader in Judea and Galilee. His following was incredibly large and even the king, Herod Antipas, feared John would spark a rebellion big enough to take him down. Josephus records in the Jewish Antiquities:
“Herod, who feared lest the great influence John had over the people might put it into his power and inclination to raise a rebellion, (for they seemed ready to do anything he should advise,) thought it best, by putting him to death, to prevent any mischief he might cause, and not bring himself into difficulties, by sparing a man who might make him repent of it when it would be too late. Accordingly he was sent a prisoner, out of Herod’s suspicious temper, to Macherus, the castle I before mentioned, and was there put to death.” –Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews Book XVIII.
This explanation of John the Baptist’s death is much more rational than the folk-like one the Bible provides of Herod’s niece requesting his head on a platter. Within the Essene tribe, as the Dead Sea Scrolls describe, John the Baptist, of Aaron’s bloodline, would have been seen as the priestly messiah; Jesus the kingly messiah, being of David’s bloodline. As all four gospels tell us, John is the one who initiates Jesus into his order amongst his disciples by baptizing him; not the other way around — that baptism was an initiation; a rite of passage into John’s movement. This is demonstrated by the terminology of Paul when he comes across two of John’s disciples in Acts 19:2, 3:
“And he said to them, ‘Did you receive the Holy Spirit…?’ And they said to him, ‘No, we have not even heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.’ And he said, ‘Into what then were you baptized?’ And they said, ‘Into John’s baptism.’”
People came from all around to be baptized by John in the wilderness. Because of this, those who left him for their home cities afterwards were still his disciples. He had disciples everywhere. Taking this into consideration, it’s clear to see the far reach of this holy man and it’s easier to see how Jesus ended up with so many followers so soon into his ministry. This is also reflected in the Gospel of Matthew as the priests are challenging Jesus and trying to make him blaspheme by calling himself God in the temple:
“And when He had come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to Him as He was teaching, and said, ‘By what authority are You doing these things, and who gave You this authority?’ And Jesus answered and said to them, ‘I will ask you one thing too, which if you tell Me, I will also tell you by what authority I do these things. The baptism of John was from what source, from heaven or from men?’ And they began reasoning among themselves, saying, ‘If we say ‘from heaven.’ He will say to us, ‘Then why did you not believe him?’ But if we say, ‘From men,’ we fear the multitude; for they all hold John to be a prophet.’’” –Matthew 21:23-27.
Jesus may very well have been (and most likely was) one of John’s disciples himself. In the second earliest gospel account, that of Luke, Jesus’ disciples ask him to teach them to pray like John’s disciples, implying the Lord’s Prayer was first taught to Jesus by John:
“One of His disciples said to Him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray just as John also taught his disciples.’ And He said to them, ‘When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be thy name…’” –Luke 11:1, 2.
In the same book, Jesus tells his disciples John is “more than a prophet,” implying a messianic status. Jesus’ ministry would have been an offshoot under John’s, and when John was executed, Jesus would have taken on a bulk, if not all of John’s local disciples — that’s how he got so big so fast.
As Jesus’ ministry was in the midst of rising to fame, the earliest written gospel, that of Mark, has the disciples telling him he is so well known that some are saying he is the resurrection of John or Elijah — Elijah being the most respected prophet of all Judaism; the one who never died and went to live with god forever in heaven (2 Kings 2:1-17). By tying John the Baptist and Elijah into the same class, this verse is unmistakably signifying the holy reputation John had among the Hebrews:
“He questioned… ‘Who do people say I am?’ And they told him, saying, ‘John the Baptist; others say Elijah; but others, one of the prophets.” –Mark 8:27, 28.
Author and Professor, James Tabor, has put forth compelling evidence in his work of John’s critical importance by pointing out a verse from the Gospel of Luke in which Jesus states:
“I say to you, among those born to women, there is no one greater than John.” Luke 7:28.
That was how it was written in the oldest versions of the Gospel of Luke, but in later versions, to deflect attention off of John’s influence and onto Jesus’, editors added this part to downgrade John’s significance:
“I say to you, among those born of women there is no one greater than John; yet he who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.” –Luke 7:28.
As the editors of the gospels made Jesus more and more godlike, John the Baptist needed to be more and more expunged; there couldn’t be two messiahs! In actuality, Jesus simply would have been the one to receive the torch from John as the sole messiah after John was put in prison. This clarifies another otherwise random verse in the Gospel of Matthew:
“Now when John in prison heard of the works of Christ, he sent word by his disciples, and said to Him, ‘Are you the Expected One, or shall we look for someone else?’” -Matthew 11:1-3.
Look for someone else? How easy could it be to just look for someone else? Another Expected One? There can only be one, one — no matter which form of mathematics consulted. It’s safe to assume John the Baptist didn’t think there were multiple god’s walking around just waiting to be found; or maybe he did, but in light of the accounts of Josephus and the Dead Sea Scrolls it seems much more reasonable that while he was in prison, he simply wanted to know if Jesus was able to handle the task of running the campaign single handed; if not, they would have to use someone else, maybe James, Jesus’ brother, also of the royal bloodline of David. Hypothetically, if Jesus replied that he couldn’t handle it, the Christian world could be praying to the messiah James Christ today. As a matter of fact, the definition of the title Messiah is as read: “The promised deliverer of the Jewish nation prophesied in the Hebrew Bible.” Simply put: The messiah was the man god would send to lead Israel to freedom, not god himself.
The writers of the Old Testament prophesies wrote them — almost all of them — while in Babylonian exile; after that the Israel was always under foreign occupation. The Israelites yearned for a savior and longed for the days of old when legendary figures such as David and Solomon ruled unchallenged. Jesus was the man the order of the Essenes chose to fill those sandals, whether they felt it was by divine ordinance or not, which they most certainly did, but to a different degree than modern Christians; they would have known Jesus was a mere mortal.
Being raised to fill this position, it seems Jesus was ready for action when the time came. He preached his message up and down the Galilee with his clan, which grew bigger each place he visited, and bravely challenged all authority — the priests and the centurions — in an effort to take Israel back and unite it once again under its own rule. He was a freedom fighter, not a god; a revolutionary, not a magician. For further evidence of this, we can just look to who the Bible tells us Jesus kept close to him, Simon the Zealot for example.
The zealots — pronounced zell-its — were a large group of radicals ready to take back Israel from the Romans by the sword; true violent resistors. Doug Reed of Thorncrown Chapel’s publication, The Thorncrown Journal explains:
“The New Testament speaks little of the friction between Rome in [and?] the Jews. We do know that one of Jesus’ disciples was a zealot. The zealots favored armed rebellion against Rome. They believed that God would deliver Israel with the sword. Their reasoning went back to the days of David. When there was a gentile problem, what did David do? He got out his sword and dealt with it, and God was on his side. Surely, God would raise up a new Son of David who would do the same.”
Got out the sword and dealt with it, huh? So we have zealots traveling close to Jesus, who else was in his close quarters? Let’s refer to Matthew 26:51:
“And behold, one of those who were with Jesus reached and drew out his sword, and struck the slave of the high priest, and cut off his ear.”
Wow! Knifing a cop! The man who mercilessly cut off the Romans ear was Simon Peter — Christ’s alleged closest disciple. This is proven in John 18:26:
”One of the slaves of the high priest, being a relative of the one whose ear Peter cut off.”
Cutting off someone’s ear is a bold move to take against the authorities, I’m sure you’ll agree. And as it is plain to see, Jesus rolled with some tough customers; armed men who meant business. As he preached non-violence in a fizzling environment of pre-revolutionaries, Jesus, like Gandhi, was used as a peaceful and spiritual poster-boy for rebels who were ready to die by the sword for their freedom. In reality, Jesus’ ministry was on a mission to prove to Israel that he was the rightful king of their land by the scripture itself while attempting to take hold of the reins of power, like many other documented rebel factions in the area at that time. Unfortunately, those reins of power were already held tight by people unwilling to loosen their grip, and Jesus, a mere mortal, like John before him, and James after him, was killed by the Romans for opposing them — it’s really that simple. You don’t need walking on water or a virgin birth. This is likely. This is believable. The Bible is neither.
The Church tells us Simon Peter then headed up Jesus’ ministry after the crucifixion under instructions to “spread the message,” but that too is a fabrication. Biblical scholars show the next leader of Christ’s ministry, the first bishop of the Jerusalem Church, as James the Just, the brother of Jesus, and in the next episode on Christianity we will hear from ancient historians and the Bible itself which both report the same information.
With a little research we can see this rational explanation of Christ — the leader of a holy rebel group rather than a walking god — is much easier to believe within the actual physical laws of the universe that we now know today, and therefore closer to the truth, if there’s even a truth to be had, that is. John passed the torch to Jesus, Jesus passed it to James, and they were all murdered for holding it. It would have been a good twenty years after the crucifixion that the legend of Jesus would change from a freedom fighter for the Jews to the story of a god-man on earth here to save all mankind — and this was no accident — but instead of moving forward on that subject, we’ll take a step back onto another.
THE CHILDHOOD OF JESUS:
Something habitually overlooked by the believers of the Bible is the fact it says nothing of about seventeen years of Jesus’ life. How Christians accept anything in that book as absolute fact is a mystery to me, most of it is clear lies, but this fact blows my mind. His four apparent biographers — Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John — who can account for exactly what was said between Jesus and God when he prayed alone the night before his arrest, or what was said between Jesus and a snake when he was alone being tested, or what was said, word for word, between Mary and Gabriel, somehow can’t account for half of their subject’s lifetime — his adolescence and twenties. Two of the gospels don’t even mention his immaculate birth. Imagine that: you’re born to a virgin and half of your biographers don’t feel it’s important enough to mention. There’s a laugh!
Jesus disappears when he’s a little boy and reappears in the woods among John’s ministry as a thirty year old man in every gospel. This raises numerous questions in a number of different areas. For now we’ll deal with the most obvious one: what was Jesus doing that whole time?
As we already know, the only real records we have to prove — and I use that term extremely loosely — the existence of Jesus were written well after he had lived, died, and become an international legend. We’re not going to find any records by Tacitus or Josephus which will reveal and then answer the mystery surrounding the most famous man in history’s lost 17 years. Fortunately for us, there are records that are said to be of Jesus’ youth. Actually, there are a few to choose from Some from some seemingly unlikely places.
THE GNOSTIC GOSPELS:
The Gnostic Gospels, to which we will delve into deeper in time, and to which we should give about as much credit in telling historical truths as the synoptics, have a lengthy read that takes place during the childhood of Jesus. These tales are somewhat fantastical and refer to Jesus’ classmates as the “other Jew children” — something a Jewish person wouldn’t pen, we can be sure — and more to the point, all the oldest gospels are written in Greek, just like the 4 biblical gospels.
Anyways, the disciple Thomas, or at least someone claiming to be Thomas, tells us of Jesus playing in a brook at five years old, magically gathering water together and making clay birds. Because it was the Sabbath — a day in which Judaic Law prohibits any form of work — Joseph gets angry at Jesus for “working tasks.” Jesus, as only he could do, then yells, “Go!” at the clay birds, causing them to spring to life and fly away:
“And when the Jews saw it they were amazed, and departed and told their chief men that which they had seen Jesus do.” —Gospel of Thomas, Gnostic Gospels.
Impressive stuff. The next verse is even more remarkable:
“But the son of Annas the scribe was standing there with Joseph; and he took a branch of a willow and dispersed the waters which Jesus had gathered together. And when Jesus saw what was done, he was wroth and said unto him: O evil, ungodly, and foolish one, what hurt did the pools and the waters do thee? behold, now also thou shalt be withered like a tree… And straightway that lad withered up wholly…” —The stories of Thomas the Israelite, the Philosopher, concerning the works of the Childhood of the Lord 3:1-3.
These gnostic stories show young Jesus taking after his murderous, rapist, genocidal father from the Old Testament — Yahweh —a little more; and it gets worse.
“…and a child ran and dashed against his shoulder. And Jesus was provoked and said unto him: ‘Thou shalt not finish thy course.’ And immediately he fell down and died.” —4:1.
Jesus Christ; a childhood murderer? Eventually the Lord and Savior gets down to business and begins to use his super powers for good as he matures, even bringing one of his unfortunate murder victims back to life. It’s clear to see why these early Christian scriptures were nixed when it came down to putting together the infallible Jesus image the New Testament was to paint. Granted, the story is pretty ridiculous, but to any Christian that agrees with that statement about these gospels, remember that feeling, because it’s exactly how non-Christians feel about the four extra gospels you perceive as true — and keep this fact in mind: the Gnostic Gospels predate the copies of the 4 Biblical gospels.
Though there is a chance the stories told in the Gnostic Gospels contain some truths within them, somewhere, as they very well may, we can’t as logical thinking people use them as evidence of the real childhood of Jesus; they’re too out there, but there are some other records that have been discovered that pertain to where Jesus could have been as a youngster.
JESUS IN TIBET AND INDIA:
While on vacation in the late 1880’s, a man named Nicholas Notovich struck it unlucky when he injured his leg on a ski slope in Kashmir, India. Fortunately though, for him and for us, he was taken in under the care of the Buddhist monks of the Hemis Monastery.
As if being pampered for a few weeks by the gentle monks wasn’t enough, Notovich also ended up learning a secret knowledge that would astonish any man — or woman — in the world. They showed and read him ancient scrolls kept in their records, telling Notovich they were legitimate chronicles of the man “you call Jesus Christ” as a child. They knew Jesus as Issa — a name deriving from Egyptian meaning “God saves.”
Incredibly, the scrolls spoke of Issa’s journey from Judea to India at age fourteen; his travels throughout India and his teachings; his acceptance of the untouchables; his conflicts and debates with Zoroastrian priests and Brahmans; and his departure back for Judea at age twenty-nine.
Understandably fascinated with the discovery, upon returning to Russia, Notovich published a book of his extraordinary visit to the monastery: The Unknown Life of Jesus. Right away controversy in the religious world erupted as heads of churches scrambled frantically to get a hold on the situation. Without looking at the scrolls at all, the Catholic Church instantly went on record dismissing them as a hoax. A doctor was hired by the British Church Mission in India to find the documents and destroy them, to which he was unsuccessful, as Buddhist monks aren’t the types to let any desperate stranger come inside their temple and route through their ancient texts; especially when they reek of an agenda.
In any case, decades later a retired Buddhist scholar, Director of Archeology, and former head of the Kashmir Library and Archives, Fida Hassnain, published a book called The Fifth Gospel, verifying everything Notovich had stated entirely. Hassnain as well speaks of Jesus leaving Judea as a teenager — the time he disappears from the gospels — and explains Jesus’ entire route through Damascus, Babylon, and Kharax to Persia, where he settled in Kashmir to study the Vedas, Buddhism, and other Indic texts. After travelling through India and teaching his philosophy, Hassnain reconfirms that Issa (Jesus) left to return home to Judea at age twenty-nine — the exact age he reappears in the gospels.
To a full blooded believer of their pastors’ words this information would seem ludicrous; to an objective historian it’s quite the contrary; and those aren’t the only Eastern texts to mention Jesus either:
The Bhavishya-Maha-Purana (115AD) holds the apparent records of the sermons Jesus spoke in Kashmir. As well there are twenty-two references to Issa in historical Arabic chronicles; the Koran itself recognizing Jesus — Isa — as a prophet in a line of prophets of much wisdom, but a man no less, regarding Mohammed as the “last prophet” in that line.
The History of Kashmir (1148AD) puts a slight variation on the name, though the meaning remains the same, and speaks of a teenage Isana (Jesus), “The great guru” who impressed the king with his wisdom.
An ancient Chinese text, known as Glass Mirror, states:
“Yesu… Teacher and founder of the religion that was born miraculously, proclaimed himself saviour of the world, and who followed the principals of Buddha.”
Anyone with any knowledge of the teachings of Gautama Buddha can see the similarities between the two men’s instructions. Ernest De Bunsen, a nineteenth century religious expert once stated after a lengthy study of Jesus and Buddha comparatively:
“The most ancient records we have about the life and doctrines of Gautama Buddha… correspond in a remarkable manner… to the traditions recorded in the gospels about the life and doctrines of Jesus Christ.”
Fellow nineteenth century scholar Max Müller agrees:
“Between the language of Buddha and his disciples, and the language of Christ and his apostles, there are strange coincidences. Even some of the Buddhist legends and parables sound as if taken from the New Testament; though we know that many of them existed before the beginning of the Christian era.”
With the writers of the gospels showing clear signs they didn’t know who Jesus really was — the family trees our main tipoff — we needed to look to other historical sources for proof that he ever lived. After finding only two sources, Josephus and Tacitus, even though they were born shortly after the death of Jesus, both reported on him as if he was a real person with no vested interest in doing so, so it looks safe enough to assume that he wasn’t purely a myth. We looked then to the Dead Seas Scrolls which told us of the lost history of a group of Hebrews from the time of Christ that fit Jesus’ description of attire and personal belief, along with his unique religious practices and political views perfectly, nearly identically. The writing of the prophetic scrolls turned out to match the mysterious Jewish order of Essenes which Josephus had documented in the first-century. They matched the dogma of Christianity like a left and right shoe. After learning more about the importance of John the Baptist and the circumstances of Israel at that time, we concluded John must have been Jesus’ rabbi. We saw Jesus was nothing more than a popular rebel standing up to those oppressing his people. The picture that ended up being painted was as follows: Jesus was a leader to his people; a man who stood up for the poor, disconcerted, and disenfranchised against the tyrannical overlords who occupied their homeland — the Romans — and the hypocritical authorities who governed his religion — the Pharisees and Sadducees. It appears he was a man who spoke of peace in a time of senseless brutality; a man who saw the hypocrisy in the souls of those who claimed to be spiritual leaders, but were in fact greedy, manipulative, and selfish thieves; and in the end died for what he believed in. With the state of our world today no other influence could be greater in my own opinion. For these things, and these things alone, Jesus, or the concept of Jesus, should be respected and remembered forever — but not worshiped. Though his followers back then may have thought he was coming back to save them after he died, he didn’t; and he won’t today, or tomorrow. He also, for the record, never asked to prayed to; he never requested people ask his forgiveness; and he never said to form a religion in his name. All in all he was just a man; a great man, maybe, if that’s how you choose to view him, but the real story of him isn’t the one in the Bible. That, as rational, educated adults, we can be sure of.
By Olan Thomas of CUT2THETRUTH.com
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