Posted by: edhensley | March 27, 2016

Contradictions in the Easter Story

For this post, I am simply copying and pasting from Dan Barker of the Freedom From Religion Foundation at http://ffrf.org/legacy/books/lfif/stone.php. Feel free to discuss these contradictions here. I have read apologetics for these contradictions, but never any that really overcome all the problems.

Some of the contradictions are also shown in Lego form at http://bricktestament.com/the_life_of_jesus/the_empty_tomb/jn20_01.html.

 

bricktestament.com

bricktestament.com

What time did the women visit the tomb?

  • Matthew: “as it began to dawn” (28:1)
  • Mark: “very early in the morning . . . at the rising of the sun” (16:2, KJV); “when the sun had risen” (NRSV); “just after sunrise” (NIV)
  • Luke: “very early in the morning” (24:1, KJV) “at early dawn” (NRSV)
  • John: “when it was yet dark” (20:1)

bricktestament.com

bricktestament.com

Who were the women?

  • Matthew: Mary Magdalene and the other Mary (28:1)
  • Mark: Mary Magdalene, the mother of James, and Salome (16:1)
  • Luke: Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and other women (24:10)
  • John: Mary Magdalene (20:1)
Jerusalem Zombies of Matthew 27

Jerusalem Zombies of Matthew 27

What was their purpose?

  • Matthew: to see the tomb (28:1)
  • Mark: had already seen the tomb (15:47), brought spices (16:1)
  • Luke: had already seen the tomb (23:55), brought spices (24:1)
  • John: the body had already been spiced before they arrived (19:39,40)

Was the tomb open when they arrived?

  • Matthew: No (28:2)
  • Mark: Yes (16:4)
  • Luke: Yes (24:2)
  • John: Yes (20:1)
Mark 16 bricktestament.com

Mark 16 bricktestament.com

Who was at the tomb when they arrived?

  • Matthew: One angel (28:2-7)
  • Mark: One young man (16:5)
  • Luke: Two men (24:4)
  • John: Two angels (20:12)

Where were these messengers situated?

  • Matthew: Angel sitting on the stone (28:2)
  • Mark: Young man sitting inside, on the right (16:5)
  • Luke: Two men standing inside (24:4)
  • John: Two angels sitting on each end of the bed (20:12)
Luke 24 bricktestament.com

Luke 24 bricktestament.com

What did the messenger(s) say?

  • Matthew: “Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead: and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you.” (28:5-7)
  • Mark: “Be not afrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him. But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you.” (16:6-7)
  • Luke: “Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee, Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.” (24:5-7)
  • John: “Woman, why weepest thou?” (20:13)

Did the women tell what happened?

  • Matthew: Yes (28:8)
  • Mark: No. “Neither said they any thing to any man.” (16:8)
  • Luke: Yes. “And they returned from the tomb and told all these things to the eleven, and to all the rest.” (24:9, 22-24)
  • John: Yes (20:18)

When Mary returned from the tomb, did she know Jesus had been resurrected?

  • Matthew: Yes (28:7-8)
  • Mark: Yes (16:10,11)
  • Luke: Yes (24:6-9,23)
  • John: No (20:2)

When did Mary first see Jesus?

  • Matthew: Before she returned to the disciples (28:9)
  • Mark: Before she returned to the disciples (16:9,10)
  • John: After she returned to the disciples (20:2,14)

Could Jesus be touched after the resurrection?

  • Matthew: Yes (28:9)
  • John: No (20:17), Yes (20:27)

After the women, to whom did Jesus first appear?

  • Matthew: Eleven disciples (28:16)
  • Mark: Two disciples in the country, later to eleven (16:12,14)
  • Luke: Two disciples in Emmaus, later to eleven (24:13,36)
  • John: Ten disciples (Judas and Thomas were absent) (20:19, 24)
  • Paul: First to Cephas (Peter), then to the twelve. (Twelve? Judas was dead). (I Corinthians 15:5)

Where did Jesus first appear to the disciples?

  • Matthew: On a mountain in Galilee (60-100 miles away) (28:16-17)
  • Mark: To two in the country, to eleven “as they sat at meat” (16:12,14)
  • Luke: In Emmaus (about seven miles away) at evening, to the rest in a room in Jerusalem later that night. (24:31, 36)
  • John: In a room, at evening (20:19)

Did the disciples believe the two men?

  • Mark: No (16:13)
  • Luke: Yes (24:34–it is the group speaking here, not the two)

What happened at the appearance?

  • Matthew: Disciples worshipped, some doubted, “Go preach.” (28:17-20)
  • Mark: Jesus reprimanded them, said “Go preach” (16:14-19)
  • Luke: Christ incognito, vanishing act, materialized out of thin air, reprimand, supper (24:13-51)
  • John: Passed through solid door, disciples happy, Jesus blesses them, no reprimand (21:19-23)

Did Jesus stay on earth for a while?

  • Mark: No (16:19) Compare 16:14 with John 20:19 to show that this was all done on Sunday
  • Luke: No (24:50-52) It all happened on Sunday
  • John: Yes, at least eight days (20:26, 21:1-22)
  • Acts: Yes, at least forty days (1:3)

Where did the ascension take place?

  • Matthew: No ascension. Book ends on mountain in Galilee
  • Mark: In or near Jerusalem, after supper (16:19)
  • Luke: In Bethany, very close to Jerusalem, after supper (24:50-51)
  • John: No ascension
  • Paul: No ascension
  • Acts: Ascended from Mount of Olives (1:9-12)
Posted by: edhensley | March 6, 2016

Contradicitons in the Order of the Temptations of Jesus

Matthew 4

Matthew 4 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”

jesus_tempted

bricktestament.com

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:

“‘He will command his angels concerning you,
    and they will lift you up in their hands,
    so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”

Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”

jesus_tempted2

bricktestament.com

Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”

jesus_tempted3

bricktestament.com

10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’[e]

11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

jesus_tempted4

bricktestament.com

 

Luke

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spiritinto the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry.

The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.”

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone.’”

The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. If you worship me, it will all be yours.”

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’”

The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here. 10 For it is written:

“‘He will command his angels concerning you
    to guard you carefully;
11 they will lift you up in their hands,
    so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’[d]

12 Jesus answered, “It is said: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’[e]

13 When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time.

There is a contradiction in the order of the temptations of Jesus in Matthew and Luke. According to Matthew, the order is:

  1. “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”
  2. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down…”
  3. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”

But according to Luke, the order is:

  1. “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.”
  2. “… If you worship me, it will all be yours.”
  3. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here…”

Clearly, the second and third temptations are reversed. If this is a historical event, what is the correct order?

Before answering that question, I will also point out other discrepancies. For example, in Matthew Satan says “these stones” and in Luke Satan says “this stone”. Did Satan tempt Jesus with one stone or multiple stones? Also, Satan makes similar but not identical statements in the second and third temptations. Jesus also says “Away from me, Satan!” In Matthew but does not in Luke. I am going to ignore these discrepancies because they are small, but I will note that when many Christian apologists apologize for the order of events in these two passages, they often ignore the other contradictions.

This correct order of events and most exact statements cannot be confirmed historically. The only beings at this event were Jesus, Satan, and the Holy Spirit. Furthermore, the authors of the events in the gospels were not eyewitnesses. The author of Luke says in Luke 1 “Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word.” So Luke admits that by the time he wrote his gospel that many had already written gospels and that he was not an eyewitness. This event is just as historical as Muhammad flying to heaven on a Buraq.

No normal human being witnessed these events. Most apologists claim that Matthew is “apparently” more concerned with order because he uses words like “then” while Luke does not. Christian apologists also claim that neither author is claiming exact chronological sequences. They also note silly things like history textbooks do not always present history in chronological order, but rather in topical order. (https://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=6&article=746). As previously noted, this event cannot be considered historical because of its total lack of witnesses or any type of corroboration.

However, it is my claim that if ANYONE read Luke by itself and never read Matthew, they would conclude that the order of events in Luke are the actual order in which the events occurred. The only reason Christians doubt that Luke presents the events in order is because Matthew exists.

I have also had a graduate of a Louisville seminary provide another explanation: Jesus was tempted by Satan on two separate occasions! In other words, Matthew and Luke are describing two separate events. This logic could be used to handle any contradiction. How do you handle the contradictions in the stories on the birth of Jesus? He was born twice! How do you handle the contradictions in the stories on the death and resurrection of Jesus? He died and rose twice!

I encourage Christians to read the bible as if they were reading the Koran. If the Koran contained contradictory orders of events, most Christians would not accept similar statements of Muslim apologists about the Koran.

Posted by: edhensley | December 24, 2015

Contradictions in the Christmas Story

Matthew 1

The Genealogy of Jesus

1A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham:

2Abraham was the father of Isaac,

16and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.

17Thus there were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen from the exile to the Christ.

The Birth of Jesus Christ

18This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. 19Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

20But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

22All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23″The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” —which means, “God with us.”

24When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.

Matthew 2

The Visit of the Magi

1After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.”

3When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born. 5″In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:

6″ ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,

are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;

for out of you will come a ruler

who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.’”

7Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”

9After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. 12And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

The Escape to Egypt

13When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.” 14So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, 15where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”

slaughter_innocents

Slaughter of the innocents, from brickbible.com.

 

16When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. 17Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled:

18″A voice is heard in Ramah,

weeping and great mourning,

Rachel weeping for her children

and refusing to be comforted,

because they are no more.”

The Return to Nazareth

19After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt 20and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child’s life are dead.”

21So he got up, took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. 22But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee, 23and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets: “He will be called a Nazarene.”

Luke 2

The Birth of Jesus

1In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2(This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3And everyone went to his own town to register.

4So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

The Shepherds and the Angels

8And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. 12This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

13Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14″Glory to God in the highest,

and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”

15When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

16So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

Jesus Presented in the Temple

21On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise him, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he had been conceived.

22When the time of their purification according to the Law of Moses had been completed, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23(as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord”), 24and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.”

25Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 27Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, 28Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:

29″Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,

you now dismiss[d] your servant in peace.

30For my eyes have seen your salvation,

31which you have prepared in the sight of all people,

32a light for revelation to the Gentiles

and for glory to your people Israel.”

33The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him. 34Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, 35so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”

36There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37and then was a widow until she was eighty-four.[e] She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. 38Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.

39When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth. 40And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him.

Luke 3

23Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry. He was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph,24 the son of Heli, the son of Matthat,

I have posted this previously, but will repost annually near December 25.

Super Gospel

These two stories contain many internal contradictions (they conflict with each other) and external contradictions (they conflict with know facts of history). I will demonstrate these contradictions to my Christian friends in the hope that they will become enlightened this holiday season.

As Dr. Bart Ehrman notes in his books, most Christians do not believe in a gospel, but rather they believe in a “super gospel.”  The Christmas story is an example of a story from a “super gospel.”  There is no gospel in the New Testament where both wise men and shepherds visit Jesus. The wise men visit in Matthew and the shepherds visit in Luke. By combining these two separate stories, Christians create a “super story.”  The authors of Matthew and Luke probably never imagined that their two books would be placed next to each other (and Mark and John) in a single collection of books. Each author took existing legends of Jesus and adapted the legends for their particular agendas.

Geneaologies

As previously noted (rarebible.wordpress.com/2015/12/14/who-is-josephs-daddy-contradictory-genealogies-in-matthew-and-luke), the genealogies of Jesus are completely different. In Matthew, Jacob is the father of Joseph, but in Luke, Heli is the father of Joseph. The lists from David to Joseph are completely different.

Jesus is not Immanuel

Matthew 1:22 says the parents will name the baby Immanuel in fulfillment of Isaiah 7:14. That verse, however is not a messianic prophecy but mentions a baby as a sign for Ahaz. Furthermore the Hebrew Masoretic text and most translations of the bible indicate that the virgin will call the baby Immanuel. Mary does not do that, and nowhere in the New Testament is Jesus ever called Immanuel.  Please see the following post for more information on that topic: https://rarebible.wordpress.com/2009/09/13/mary-loses-her-virginity-isaiah-7-in-the-new-english-bible/.

Herod (reign ended 4 BC) and Quirinius (reign started 6 AD) never reigned at the same time

Matthew claims Jesus was born during the reign of King Herod. Luke claims Jesus was born while Quirinius was governor of Assyria. However, Herod died 10 years before Quirinius became governor. Either Matthew or Luke is wrong on this issue, or they are both wrong. Only one the is certain: the Bible contains an error regarding the year Jesus was born.

Massacre of the Innocents not recorded in history

Matthew claims Herod killed all boys near Bethlehem who were 2 or under. No other gospel makes this claim. There is no evidence outside the Bible of any atrocity like this. Historians recorded many things about Herod. We know he was born around 74 BC, that he died in 4 BC, and that he expanded the 2nd Temple in Jerusalem (destroyed in 70 AD but 4 walls, including the famous wailing wall, exit today). It is recorded that he improved water sources, built water supplies, built Massada and Herodium, leased copper mines, killed his wife and two sons, and did much else. The massacre of the innocents is missing from any historical record. There are many amazing stories in the bible that are not recorded in historical records.

The senseless census is not recorded in history

There is a historical census recorded during the time of Quirinius.  However, that census and no other Roman census ever required anyone to return to their ancestral homes. If you think about it, why would anyone care where your ancestors lived 1000 years ago?

Luke has no Trip to Egypt, Matthew has no trip to Jerusalem

In Matthew, Jesus is born in his home town of Bethlehem, they flee immediately to Egypt, and upon their return from Egypt they travel directly to Nazareth to avoid the son of Herod.

In Luke, Mary and Joseph start in their home town Nazareth, travel to Bethlehem for a census, go to Jerusalem, and then return to their home town of Nazareth.

Many apologists try to create a super story in which they combine the travel of the two stories above into one journey. This is impossible. Luke specifically mentions circumcision on the eighth day and the required purification time. This refers to Leviticus 12, which states when a boy is born the mother is unclean for 7 days, the foreskin is removed on the 8th day, and she must not touch holy objects for 33 days (if Jesus were a girl, Mary would be unclean for 14 days and could not touch holy objects for 66 days).  Luke 39 notes that when this 33 day period was complete they returned to Galilee.  A trip to Egypt is not mentioned at all!

Stories Created to Fulfill Prophecy

As previously noted, Matthew and Luke probably never thought their stories would be next to each other in one book. They created the stories about the birth of Jesus to fulfill two Old Testament prophecies: 1) that Jesus was born of a virgin; 2) that Jesus of Nazareth was born in Bethlehem. An angel visits Joseph in Matthew 1:18-21, and an angel visits Mary in Luke 1:26-38.

As previously noted, the “prophecy” that Jesus would be born of a virgin is not really in the Old Testament. Anyone who takes an honest look at Isaiah 7 and 8 would not come to the conclusion that this is a prophecy that the messiah would be born 1000 years later to a virgin and named Jesus. There were numerous stories of miraculous births and children of women fathered by gods at the time the New Testament stories were created. Hercules is an example of someone believed to have been born of an earthly woman and a god. Alexander the Great and Augustus Caesar are examples of known historical figures who had stories of miraculous births and supernatural fathers. There are hundreds of additional examples. It was a common idea 2000 years ago that an important person would have a miraculous birth and/or a supernatural father.

It is likely that there was a Rabbi named Jesus from the town of Nazareth. The name Jesus is simply the Greek form of Joshua. Jesus was a very common name in the middle east 2000 years ago, just as Jesus is a very common name in Mexico today. Since this Jesus was known to be from Nazareth, Matthew and Luke had to invent ways to have him born in Bethlehem. As noted above, Matthew made Bethlehem the home town, and Nazareth became a safe place to return to avoid the son of Herod. Luke made Nazareth the home town, and Bethlehem a place to go for a census. What Matthew and Luke never realized is that when their books were placed in the same bible, their books would be providing evidence that the stories were fabricated.

Bible publishers are aware of the contradictions, so they add subtitles. For example, Matthew 2 includes a subtitle that says “The Return To Nazareth”. The original scriptures do not contain this text at all.

When reading all these stories, we should remember what Luke admits in Luke 1:1-4. “Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word.” These are not stories of eye witnesses, but are stories that have been “handed down”. These stories evidently included some embellishments that reflected mythological elements of the time.

 

From "The Bible Comically Illustrated", 1892

Illustration from “New Testament Stories Comically Illustrated”, 1892

Matthew 1:1 A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham:
2Abraham was the father of Isaac,
Isaac the father of Jacob,
Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers,
3Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar,
Perez the father of Hezron,
Hezron the father of Ram,
4Ram the father of Amminadab,
Amminadab the father of Nahshon,
Nahshon the father of Salmon,
5Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab,
Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth,
Obed the father of Jesse,
6and Jesse the father of King David.
David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah’s wife,
7Solomon the father of Rehoboam,
Rehoboam the father of Abijah,
Abijah the father of Asa,
8Asa the father of Jehoshaphat,
Jehoshaphat the father of Jehoram,
Jehoram the father of Uzziah,
9Uzziah the father of Jotham,
Jotham the father of Ahaz,
Ahaz the father of Hezekiah,
10Hezekiah the father of Manasseh,
Manasseh the father of Amon,
Amon the father of Josiah,
11and Josiah the father of Jeconiah and his brothers at the time of the exile to Babylon.
12After the exile to Babylon:
Jeconiah was the father of Shealtiel,
Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel,
13Zerubbabel the father of Abiud,
Abiud the father of Eliakim,
Eliakim the father of Azor,
14Azor the father of Zadok,
Zadok the father of Akim,
Akim the father of Eliud,
15Eliud the father of Eleazar,
Eleazar the father of Matthan,
Matthan the father of Jacob,
16and Jacob the father of Joseph
, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.
17Thus there were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen from the exile to the Christ.

Luke 3:23 Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry. He was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph,
the son of Heli, 24the son of Matthat,
the son of Levi, the son of Melki,
the son of Jannai, the son of Joseph,
25the son of Mattathias, the son of Amos,
the son of Nahum, the son of Esli,
the son of Naggai, 26the son of Maath,
the son of Mattathias, the son of Semein,
the son of Josech, the son of Joda,
27the son of Joanan, the son of Rhesa,
the son of Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel,
the son of Neri, 28the son of Melki,
the son of Addi, the son of Cosam,
the son of Elmadam, the son of Er,
29the son of Joshua, the son of Eliezer,
the son of Jorim, the son of Matthat,
the son of Levi, 30the son of Simeon,
the son of Judah, the son of Joseph,
the son of Jonam, the son of Eliakim,
31the son of Melea, the son of Menna,
the son of Mattatha, the son of Nathan,
the son of David
, 32the son of Jesse,
the son of Obed, the son of Boaz,
the son of Salmon, the son of Nahshon,
33the son of Amminadab, the son of Ram,
the son of Hezron, the son of Perez,
the son of Judah, 34the son of Jacob,
the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham,
the son of Terah, the son of Nahor,
35the son of Serug, the son of Reu,
the son of Peleg, the son of Eber,
the son of Shelah, 36the son of Cainan,
the son of Arphaxad, the son of Shem,
the son of Noah, the son of Lamech,
37the son of Methuselah, the son of Enoch,
the son of Jared, the son of Mahalalel,
the son of Kenan, 38the son of Enosh,
the son of Seth, the son of Adam,
the son of God.

This post was originally presented in June, 2009. I have decided to repost every December.

According to Matthew, Joseph’s father was Jacob (v. 16).
According to Luke, Joseph’s father was Heli (v. 23).

The genealogies are completely different between King David and Joseph.  Matthew’s genealogy goes through Solomon, while Luke’s goes through Nathan.  Luke has 42 generations from David to Jesus, while Matthew has only 27 from David to Jesus. Matthew has a total of 42 from Abraham to Jesus, while, Luke has a total of 77 from God to Jesus. The major problem has always been the generations between David and Joseph.

This contradiction has been a problem for Christian apologists for centuries. Here are proposed solutions:

That Joseph had two fathers—one natural and one legal—as a result of a levirate marriage involving uterine brothers.
That the legal line of inheritance is traced throughout one of the genealogies.
That Luke’s genealogy is actually through Mary rather than her husband Joseph.
That Matthew’s genealogy is actually through Mary rather than her husband Joseph.
That phrases like “son of Jacob” does not literally mean a son of Jacob but could mean a descendant of Jacob.
That one or both of the genealogies are incorrect.

A levirate marriage occurs when, upon the death of a childless man, his brother would marry the widow in order to produce a son for the deceased man. This was proposed by Africanus in the 3rd century in his letter to Aristides. However, there is nothing in the bible that indicates that either genealogy was the result of such a marriage. This example shows that this contradiction was recognized by early Christians. I added the illustration from “The Bible Comically Illustrated”, which was published in 1892, in part to show that this is one of the most well known problems of the bible. If belief in Jesus is so important, why would god publish contradictory genealogies.

There is nothing in either Matthew or Luke that claims a genealogy is that of Mary. Some claim that since Matthew lists four women (Tamar, Rahab, Ruth and Bathsheba) that it is a women’s genealogy. Why mention those four women and omit Mary, the mother of Jesus? Answers in Genesis, the organization that runs the creation museum, claims Luke traces Mary and Matthew traces Joseph: http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/2009/03/02/contradictions-whats-in-a-fathers-name. They call their solution “simple,” yet, they write several paragraphs of complex explanation that would be very simple if the word “Mary” were to have been included in Luke’s genealogy. In order to explain this contradiction, they in effect have to add words to the bible. Nowhere in the bible does it state that Luke’s genealogy is that of Mary.

There is nothing in either Matthew or Luke that claims a genealogy is a legal line of inheritance and not biological.

The claim that “son of so and so” means only descendant of so and so is used by some old earth creationists. They point to other verses in the bible where someone like Jesus claims to be a son of David. I have found two problems with this. First of all, David had sons named Nathan and Solomon, which are used in the genealogies of Luke and Matthew. When it says “Nathan, the son of David”, how are readers of the bible supposed to know whether or not Nathan is David’s son or if he is some other descendant? Secondly, Matthew explicitly lists 3 sets of 14 generations. Why say 14 generations if “son of David” could mean 100 generations? Lastly, what is the point of including a genealogy if it does not show parent-child relationships?

The solution to this contradiction that makes the most sense is that one or both genealogies were fabricated. The authors of Matthew and Luke never intended for their books to be in a single bible where they could be compared. Each book was written to stand on its own. Each author wanted to get Jesus born in Bethlehem of a virgin as a descendant of David in order to fulfill prophecies. They created completely different birth stories and genealogies in order to do this. Since they were not comparing notes, their stories contain contradictions.

I thought I would add the explanatory text from “New Testament Stories Comically Illustrated”. There is also an “Old Testament Stories Comically Illustrated”.

From "New Testament Stories Comically Illustrated", 1892.

From “New Testament Stories Comically Illustrated”, 1892.

 

Posted by: edhensley | December 6, 2015

Do God and the Bible Forbid Christmas Trees?

Jeremiah 10 NIV

1 Hear what the LORD says to you, O house of Israel. 2 This is what the LORD says:
“Do not learn the ways of the nations
or be terrified by signs in the sky,
though the nations are terrified by them.
3 For the customs of the peoples are worthless;
they cut a tree out of the forest,
and a craftsman shapes it with his chisel.
4 They adorn it with silver and gold;
they fasten it with hammer and nails
so it will not totter.

King James Version

3For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe.

Hebrew Masoretic Text
3 For the customs of the peoples are vanity; for it is but a tree which one cutteth out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman with the axe.
Septuagint
3 because the precepts of the nations are vain: there is a tree from the forest, cut down, a work of a craftsman, and a molten image.

5 Like a scarecrow in a melon patch,
their idols cannot speak;
they must be carried
because they cannot walk.
Do not fear them;
they can do no harm
nor can they do any good.”

I originally posted this in 2010. The comments on this blog heat up every year. I changed the title from “God and the Bible Forbid Christmas Trees” to “Do God and the Bible Forbid Christmas Trees?” Like almost all Christian doctrines and beliefs, the answer to this question depends upon the interpretation of the scripture. I am reposting so comments can be more clearly directed.

This passage is often ignored by Christians at Christmas, because it appears to forbid cutting down a tree, bringing it into your home, and decorating it. There are several Christian sects today that forbid Christmas trees due to this passage. This first post laments the change of “axe” to “chisel” by some translations.

http://av1611.com/kjbp/ridiculous-kjv-bible-corrections/Christmas-Trees.html

http://rcg.org/books/ttooc.html

http://amightywind.com/hanukkah/truthchristmas2.htm

Other Christian sects claim that Christmas trees are fine.

https://www.gci.org/christmas/trees

http://www.bibleinfo.com/en/questions/are-christmas-trees-referenced-bible

Most Christians who are aware of this verse claim it is about idolatry and not about Christmas trees. This is an Old Testament passage, so obviously it could not be a Christmas tree. Also, they note that in many modern translations the word chisel is used, indicating that the tree was not really a tree but a carved idol. The NIV uses the word chisel. The KJV uses the word axe, as does the Hebrew Masoretic Text.  The Septuagint does not use axe or chisel, but calls the tree a “molten image” in verse 3. Once again, the different translations are a source of confusion.

Further verses show that the context of this passage is clearly about the worship of idols. However, verses 3 and 4 are still strong statements against cutting down trees and bringing them into a house to decorate, and these verses are a direct quote from God.

Furthermore, God states clearly that he does not like the customs of other people (non Jews).  There are multiple non-Jewish origins of decorating trees that pre-date the Christmas tree. Ancient (and modern) pagans would cut boughs of evergreens for decoration in their homes. Ancient Egyptians decorated their homes with palm tree branches. Greeks decorated evergreen trees as part of worship of their god Adonia. Pagan Romans would decorate trees with metal and replicas of Bacchus, a fertility god. Germans tied fruit and candles to trees in honor of their god Woden.  Christians can not accurately claim that decorating a tree is not related to pagan idol worship.

The second-century Christian theologian Tertullian condemned those Christians who celebrated the winter festivals, or decorated their houses with laurel boughs in honor of the emperor:  “Let them over whom the fires of hell are imminent, affix to their posts, laurels doomed presently to burn: to them the testimonies of darkness and the omens of their penalties are suitable. You are a light of the world, and a tree ever green. If you have renounced temples, make not your own gate a temple.” Other Christian leaders condemned the “pagan” practice of christmas trees, including the Pilgrim’s second governor, William Bradford. The Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Worldwide Church of God (recent post at http://worldwidechurchgod.blogspot.com/2009/12/call-for-christmas-tree-sellers-to.html) and many fundamentalist Christian groups still forbid Christmas trees. Notice the Worldwide Church of God link mentions Jeremiah 10 as well. And before I get lots of comments from members of the “true” church of God, I will acknowledge that there are multiple splinter groups of the Worldwide Church of God and they differ in beliefs on this issue.

worldwide_church_of_god_splits

Most Christians, however, continue to ignore this passage and any other passage in the bible that contradicts their opinions. Others are aware of this passage but interpret it differently.

Posted by: edhensley | June 7, 2015

God Tries to Murder Moses; Foiled by a Foreskin

God approaches Moses at a lodging place. thebricktestament.com

God approaches Moses at a lodging place. thebricktestament.com

God seeks to kill Moses. thebricktestament.com

God seeks to kill Moses. thebricktestament.com

Zipporah took a flint knife, cut off her son’s foreskin. thebricktestament.com

Zipporah took a flint knife, cut off her son’s foreskin. thebricktestament.com

Zipporah  touched Moses’ feet with it. “Surely you are a bridegroom of blood to me”. thebricktestament.com

Zipporah touched Moses’ feet with it. “Surely you are a bridegroom of blood to me”. thebricktestament.com

 So the LORD let him [Moses] alone. thebricktestament.com

So the LORD let him [Moses] alone. thebricktestament.com

Exodus 4:19 Now the LORD had said to Moses in Midian, “Go back to Egypt, for all the men who wanted to kill you are dead.” 20 So Moses took his wife and sons, put them on a donkey and started back to Egypt. And he took the staff of God in his hand.

21 The LORD said to Moses, “When you return to Egypt, see that you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders I have given you the power to do. But I will harden his heart so that he will not let the people go. 22 Then say to Pharaoh, ‘This is what the LORD says: Israel is my firstborn son, 23 and I told you, “Let my son go, so he may worship me.” But you refused to let him go; so I will kill your firstborn son.’ ”

24 At a lodging place on the way,the LORD met Moses and was about to kill him. 25 But Zipporah took a flint knife, cut off her son’s foreskin and touched Moses’ feet with it. “Surely you are a bridegroom of blood to me,” she said. 26 So the LORD let him alone. (At that time she said “bridegroom of blood,” referring to circumcision.)

This is a repeat of a May 2009 post with images from thebricktestament.com added.

Another bizarre story. God wants to kill Moses. Why? Who knows? Here is a link from Christian apologetics (http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2326). They conclude that Moses must have sinned in order for god to desire to kill him. Perhaps the sin was that he did not do what god asked him to do in the previous verses. Perhaps the sin was that he and his Midianite wife Zipporah had not circumcised their son. The fact is, this story does not provide the reason why god wants to kill Moses.

Nonetheless, Zipporah cuts off a part of her son’s penis and touches the blood to Moses’ feet. But was his feet actually his penis? My wife attended a conservative christian college and was told that the word “foot” or “feet” often was a euphamism for penis. Many conservative christian websites also note that, such as this one: http://www.beliefnet.com/Faiths/Christianity/2002/02/When-Foot-Means-Something-Else-Euphemisms-In-The-Bible.aspx.

Whether Zipporah puts penis blood on Moses’ feet or penis, the blood prevents god from killing Moses.

This story is bizarre and illogical.

Posted by: edhensley | January 25, 2015

Sons Of God Mate With Earth Women

Genesis 6

When human beings began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of humans were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose.

thebricktestament.com - Sons of God saw the daughters of humans and married any of them they chose.

thebricktestament.com – Sons of God saw the daughters of humans and married any of them they chose.

Then theLord said, “My Spirit will not contend with humans forever, for they are mortal; their days will be a hundred and twenty years.”

The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went to the daughters of humans and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown.

thebricktestament.com - The sons of God went into the daughters of men.

thebricktestament.com – The sons of God went into the daughters of humans.

thebricktestament.com - The sons of God had children with the daughters of me.

thebricktestament.com – The sons of God had children with the daughters of men.

thebricktestament.com - The Nephilim were on the earth in those days. They were the heroes of old, men of renown.

thebricktestament.com – The Nephilim were on the earth in those days. They were the heroes of old, men of renown.

The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled. So the Lord said, “I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created—and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground—for I regret that I have made them.”

thebricktestament - I will wipe fro the face of the earth the human race I have created.

thebricktestament – I will wipe fro the face of the earth the human race I have created.

 

King James Version, Verse 4

There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.

 

 

This is a repeat of an earlier post in March, 2009.

I included the King James for verse 4 because the word giants is more familiar than the word Nephilim.

These verses always puzzled me while a Christian. When bible school teachers discussed the flood, they would never (at least I can never remember) start with Gen 6:1. They would start with Gen 6:5 or later. Having read the bible through cover to cover twice and having studied it on numerous occasions, these verses always struck me as strange.

There were so many questions to answer.

Who were the sons of God? Was one of them Jesus? Are these brothers of Jesus? Are these angels? Were there daughters of God?

Who were the Giants or Nephilim? What happened to them?

Anyone’s guess is as good as anyone else’s because other than these 4 verses nothing else is written about this phenomenal event. I was once told that the giants died in the flood, but if that is the case then we should expect to find fossil evidence of them somewhere.

My search for these answers lead me to the book of Enoch (great-grandfather of Noah). This Jewish apocryphal book answers some of these questions. It is not considered part of the Christian bible except in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.

Parts of this book would make a great science fiction movie! The next paragraph I copied from Wikipedia to summarize Enoch.

“The Book of Enoch describes the fall of the Watchers, the angels who fathered the Nephilim. The fallen angels went to Enoch to intercede on their behalf with God after he declared to them their doom. The remainder of the book describes Enoch’s visit to Heaven in the form of a vision, and his revelations.”

If you want to belittle this book by saying it is not part of the bible, you have another problem. The book of Enoch is quoted in the New Testament in Jude!

Jude 14 Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men: “See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones 15to judge everyone, and to convict all the ungodly of all the ungodly acts they have done in the ungodly way, and of all the harsh words ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”

Enoch 1:9 “And behold! He cometh with ten thousands of His holy ones To execute judgment upon all, And to destroy all the ungodly: And to convict all flesh Of all the works of their ungodliness which they have ungodly committed, And of all the hard things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.”

Let’s get back to Genesis 6.

The phrase “heroes of old” implies that this story was written long after this alleged event happened. Since this was only the 6th chapter of the first book of the bible, I decided (around age 20) to investigate biblical chronologies. My Sunday school teachers made it sound like the bible was written immediately after events took place by eye witnesses. Research from archaeologists, historians, language experts, and biblical scholars reveal that was not the case. More importantly to me, the bible’s words prove that the stories of Genesis were written thousands of years after they allegedly occur.

The book of Genesis was written at least 2850 years after its alleged events occurred because it mentions places and events that did not occur until thousands of years later. It was not written immediately after the flood or after the exodus from Egypt. I have several examples of this in my power point presentation, but I shall mention just one easy to understand example here:

Genesis 36:31 These were the kings who reigned in Edom before any Israelite king reigned

This verse must have been written AFTER at least one Israelite king had reigned. Saul does not become king until around 1050 B.C., so Genesis was written AFTER Saul became king, about 2850 years after creation (biblical timelines vary).

Keeping this in mind, the most logical explanation for these verses is that they are a reference to other religions that we call mythologies today. The Jews were exposed to many religions in which stories were told about gods and sons of gods having sex with earth women. For example, in Greek mythology Hercules is the son of Zeus and an earth woman. Hercules was “a hero of old, a man of renown.” I used Hercules as a more familiar example, admitting that Greek myths were probably not the ones responsible for these verses. However, the idea of gods having super babies with earth women is a concept in many ancient religions of 1000 B.C.

Whether or not you accept this explanation, you have to admit that these verses are strange. I find no meaning in these verses for telling me how I can live a better life.

The Book of Enoch can be found online at many websites, including at http://book-ofenoch.com/.

Posted by: edhensley | December 21, 2014

Contradictions in the Christmas Stories

Matthew 1

The Genealogy of Jesus

1A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham:

2Abraham was the father of Isaac,

16and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.

17Thus there were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen from the exile to the Christ.

The Birth of Jesus Christ

18This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. 19Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

20But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

22All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23″The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” —which means, “God with us.”

24When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.

Matthew 2

The Visit of the Magi

1After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.”

3When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born. 5″In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:

6″ ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,

are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;

for out of you will come a ruler

who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.’”

7Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”

9After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. 12And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

The Escape to Egypt

13When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.” 14So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, 15where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”

16When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, andhe gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. 17Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled:

18″A voice is heard in Ramah,

weeping and great mourning,

Rachel weeping for her children

and refusing to be comforted,

because they are no more.”

The Return to Nazareth

19After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt 20and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child’s life are dead.”

21So he got up, took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. 22Butwhen he heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee, 23and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets: “He will be called a Nazarene.”

Luke 2

The Birth of Jesus

1In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2(This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3And everyone went to his own town to register.

4So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

The Shepherds and the Angels

8And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. 12This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

13Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14″Glory to God in the highest,

and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”

15When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

16So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

Jesus Presented in the Temple

21On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise him, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he had been conceived.

22When the time of their purification according to the Law of Moses had been completed, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23(as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord”), 24and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.”

25Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 27Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, 28Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:

29″Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,

you now dismiss[d] your servant in peace.

30For my eyes have seen your salvation,

31which you have prepared in the sight of all people,

32a light for revelation to the Gentiles

and for glory to your people Israel.”

33The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him. 34Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, 35so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”

36There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37and then was a widow until she was eighty-four.[e] She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. 38Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.

39When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth. 40And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him.

Luke 3

23Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry. He was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph,24 the son of Heli, the son of Matthat,

 

This is a repeat of an earlier post. If these contradictions were in the Koran concerning the birth of Mohammad, no Christian would accept the pathetic excuses offered by Christian apologists.

 

SuperGospel

These two stories contain many internal contradictions (they conflict with each other) and external contradictions (they conflict with know facts of history). I will demonstrate these contradictions to my Christian friends in the hope that they will become enlightened this holiday season.

As Dr. Bart Ehrman notes in his books, most Christians do not believe in a gospel, but rather they believe in a “super gospel.”  The Christmas story is an example of a story from a “super gospel.”  There is no gospel in the New Testament where both wise men and shepherds visit Jesus. The wise men visit in Matthew and the shepherds visit in Luke. By combining these two separate stories, Christians create a “super story.”  The authors of Matthew and Luke probably never imagined that their two books would be placed next to each other (and Mark and John) in a single collection of books. Each author took existing legends of Jesus and adapted the legends for their particular agendas.

Geneaologies

As previously noted (rarebible.wordpress.com/2009/06/21/who-is-josephs-daddy), the genealogies of Jesus are completely different. In Matthew, Jacob is the father of Joseph, but in Luke, Heli is the father of Joseph. The lists from David to Joseph are completely different.

Jesus is not Immanuel

Matthew 1:22 says the parents will name the baby Immanuel in fulfillment of Isaiah 7:14. That verse, however is not a messianic prophecy but mentions a baby as a sign for Ahaz. Furthermore the Hebrew Masoretic text and most translations of the bible indicate that the virgin whill call the baby Immanuel. Mary does not do that, and nowhere in the New Testament is Jesus ever called Immanuel.  Please see the followig post for more information on that topic:https://rarebible.wordpress.com/2009/09/13/mary-loses-her-virginity-isaiah-7-in-the-new-english-bible/.

Herod (reign ended 4 BC) and Quirinius (reign started 6 AD) never reigned at the same time

Matthew claims Jesus was born during the reign of King Herod. Luke claims Jesus was born while Quirinius was governor of Assyria. However, Herod died 10 years before Quirinius became governor. Either Matthew or Luke is wrong on this issue, or they are both wrong. Only one the is certain: the Bible contains an error regarding the year Jesus was born.

Massacre of the Innocents not recorded in history

Matthew claims Herod killed all boys near Bethlehem who were 2 or under. No other gospel makes this claim. There is no evidence outside the Bible of any atrocity like this. Historians recorded many things about Herod. We know he was born around 74 BC, that he died in 4 BC, and that he expanded the 2nd Temple in Jerusalem (destroyed in 70 AD but 4 walls, including the famous wailing wall, exit today). It is recorded that he improved water sources, built water supplies, built Massada and Herodium, leased copper mines, killed his wife and two sons, and did much else. The massacre of the innocents is missing from any historical record. There are many amazing stories in the bible that are not recorded in historical records.

The senseless census is not recorded in history

There is a historical census recorded during the time of Quirinius.  However, that census and no other Roman census ever required anyone to return to their ancestral homes. If you think about it, why would anyone care where your ancestors lived 1000 years ago?

Luke has no Trip to Egypt, Matthew has no trip to Jerusalem

In Matthew, Jesus is born in Bethlehem, they flee immediately to Egypt, and upon their return from Egypt they travel directly to Nazareth to avoid the son of Herod.

In Luke, Mary and Joseph start in Nazareth, travel to Bethlehem for a census, go to Jerusalem, and then return to their home town of Nazareth.

Many apologists try to create a super story in which they combine the travel of the two stories above into one journey. This is impossible. Luke specifically mentions circumcision on the eighth day and the required purification time. This refers to Leviticus 12, which states when a boy is born the mother is unclean for 7 days, the foreskin is removed on the 8th day, and she must not touch holy objects for 33 days (if Jesus were a girl, Mary would be unclean for 14 days and could not touch holy objects for 66 days).  Luke 39 notes that when this 33 day period was complete they returned to Galilee.  A trip to Egypt is not mentioned at all!

Posted by: edhensley | November 2, 2014

Slaves Ordered to Submit to Masters in New Testament

1 Peter 2 New International Version

18 Slaves, in reverent fear of God submit yourselves to your masters, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh. 19 For it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because they are conscious of God. 20 But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. 21 To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.

22 “He committed no sin,
    and no deceit was found in his mouth.”[e]

23 When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. 24 “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” 25 For “you were like sheep going astray,”[f] but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

Exodus 21, Leviticus 25:44-46, and other verses in the Old Testament are often cited as places in the bible where slavery was endorsed. The apologist often responds with the overused refrain, “But that was the Old Testament…”  However, there are places in the New Testament that endorse slavery as well.

First of all, slaves are ordered to obey their masters, even the harsh masters, even to the point of bearing “pain of unjust suffering”. Slaves who endure unjust pain are following the examples of Jesus!  It should also be noted that Isaiah 53 (often used incorrectly as a prophecy of Jesus) is here used to justify slaves suffering pain.

A typical modern apology of this passage can be found at https://bible.org/seriespage/12-submission-slaves-masters-1-peter-218-25.

(2) In the Bible, slavery is not commended, but neither is it condemned as a social evil the Christian master should cease to practice or the Christian slave should seek to overthrow

(3) Peter does not assume that all masters are cruel, but he does assume that some will be, and that this will result in the unjust suffering of many Christian slaves. Unlike Paul’s epistles, Peter does not address both slaves and masters. He addresses only slaves. In particular, he speaks to slaves who will be harshly treated by their masters. This is consistent with his theme of suffering righteously for the sake of Christ.

First, suffering which is pleasing to God must be innocent suffering. Peter has been speaking of righteous conduct in the midst of an unrighteous society. He is speaking here of suffering which is the result of godliness, not the result of sin. Who would praise a man for enduring suffering that is the result of doing wrong?

What wrongs would be especially tempting for a servant? The first would be disobedience; another would be disrespect, and yet another laziness.

Even the modern apologists admit that nowhere in the bible is slavery condemned. A suffering slave is “consistent with his theme of suffering righteously for the sake of Christ.” Being a suffering slave is being like Jesus, so why try to end slavery?

“Suffering which is pleasing to God must be innocent suffering”.  So the apologists is admitting that the Christian god is pleased when he watches innocent suffering, such as the suffering of the holocaust or the recent suffering of enslaved women at the hands of ISIS. Why should Christians try to end any type of innocent suffering if it is pleasing to god?

Both Old Testament and New Testament verses were used by the Confederate States of American to promote slavery. I will quote from The Views of the Baptists, RELATIVE TO THE COLOURED POPULATION In the United States IN A COMMUNICATION To the Governor of South-Carolina (http://eweb.furman.edu/~benson/docs/rcd-fmn1.htm), written by Reverend Dr. Richard Furman, founder of Furman University of South Carolina. Notice he quotes Leviticus 25:44-46 and mentions the New Testament. Bold text is my emphasis, not Furman’s.

On the lawfulness of holding slaves, considering it in a moral and religious view, the Convention think it their duty to exhibit their sentiments, on the present occasion, before your Excellency, because they consider their duty to God, the peace of the State, the satisfaction of scrupulous consciences, and the welfare of the slaves themselves, as intimately connected with a right view of the subject… for the right of holding slaves is clearly established by the Holy Scriptures, both by precept and example. In the Old Testament, the Isrealites were directed to purchase their bond-men and bond-maids of the Heathen nations; except they were of the Canaanites, for these were to be destroyed. And it is declared, that the persons purchased were to be their “bond-men forever;” and an “inheritance for them and their children.” They were not to go out free in the year of jubilee, as the Hebrews, who had been purchased, were: the line being clearly drawn between them.*[See Leviticus XXV. 44, 45, 46, &c.] In example, they are presented to our view as existing in the families of the Hebrews as servants, or slaves, born in the house, or bought with money: so that the children born of slaves are here considered slaves as well as their parents. And to this well known state of things, as to its reason and order, as well as to special privileges, St. Paul appears to refer, when he says, “But I was free born.”

In the New-Testament, the Gospel History, or representation of facts, presents us a view correspondent with that, which is furnished by other authentic ancient histories of the state of the world at the commencement of Christianity. The powerful Romans had succeeded, in empire, the polished Greeks; and under both empires, the countries they possessed and governed were full of slaves. Many of these with their masters, were converted to the Christian Faith, and received, together with them into the Christian Church, while it was yet under the ministry of the inspired Apostles. In things purely spiritual, they appear to have enjoyed equal privileges; but their relationship, as masters and slaves, was not dissolved. Their respective duties are strictly enjoined. The masters are not required to emancipate their slaves; but to give them the things that are just and equal, forbearing threatening; and to remember, they also have a master in Heaven. The “servants under the yoke”…mentioned by Paul to Timothy, as having “believing masters,” are not authorized by him to demand of them emancipation, or to employ violent means to obtain it; but are directed to “account their masters worthy of all honour,” and “not to despise them, because they were brethren” in religion; “but the rather to do them service, because they were faithful and beloved partakers of the Christian benefit.” Similar directions are given by him in other places, and by other Apostles. And it gives great weight to the argument, that in this place, Paul follows his directions concerning servants with a charge to Timothy, as an Evangelist, to teach and exhort men to observe this doctrine.  

Had the holding of slaves been a moral evil, it cannot be supposed, that the inspired Apostles, who feared not the faces of men, and were ready to lay down their lives in the cause of their God, would have tolerated it, for a moment, in the Christian Church. If they had done so on a principle of accommodation, in cases where the masters remained heathen, to avoid offences and civil commotion; yet, surely, where both master and servant were Christian, as in the case before us, they would have enforced the law of Christ, and required, that the master should liberate his slave in the first instance. But, instead of this, they let the relationship remain untouched, as being lawful and right, and insist on the relative duties.

In proving this subject justifiable by Scriptural authority, its morality is also proved; for the Divine Law never sanctions immoral actions.

The Christian golden rule, of doing to others, as we would they should do to us, has been urged as an unanswerable argument against holding slaves. But surely this rule is never to be urged against that order of things, which the Divine government has established; nor do our desires become a standard to us, under this rule, unless they have a due regard to justice, propriety and the general good.

The result of this inquiry and reasoning, on the subject of slavery, brings us, sir, if I mistake not, very regularly to the following conclusions:–That the holding of slaves is justifiable by the doctrine and example contained in Holy writ; and is; therefore consistent with Christian uprightness, both in sentiment and conduct. That all things considered, the Citizens of America have in general obtained the African slaves, which they possess, on principles, which can be justified; though much cruelty has indeed been exercised towards them by many, who have been concerned in the slave-trade, and by others who have held them here, as slaves in their service; for which the authors of this cruelty are accountable. That slavery, when tempered with humanity and justice, is a state of tolerable happiness; equal, if not superior, to that which many poor enjoy in countries reputed free. That a master has a scriptural right to govern his slaves so as to keep it in subjection; to demand and receive from them a reasonable service; and to correct them for the neglect of duty, for their vices and transgressions; but that to impose on them unreasonable, rigorous services, or to inflict on them cruel punishment, he has neither a scriptural nor a moral right… That it is the positive duty of servants to reverence their master, to be obedient, industrious, faithful to him, and careful of his interests; and without being so, they can neither be the faithful servants of God, nor be held as regular members of the Christian Church. That as claims to freedom as a right, when that right is forfeited, or has been lost, in such a manner as has been represented, would be unjust; and as all attempts to obtain it by violence and fraud would be wicked; so all representations made to them by others, on such censurable principles, or in a manner tending to make them discontented; and finally, to produce such unhappy effects and consequences, as been before noticed, cannot be friendly to them (as they certainly are not to the community at large,) nor consistent with righteousness: Nor can the conduct be justified, however in some it may be palliated by pleading benevolence in intention, as the motive.

Posted by: edhensley | July 1, 2014

The Christian Fairy Tale vs. Scholarly Christianity

Tree of Christian sects form an Eastern Orthodox point of view.

Tree of Christian sects from an Eastern Orthodox point of view.

Most Christians know very little about there church history. They have no idea about the wide variety of beliefs of the early Christian sects, including the  Ebionites, Marcionites, Arionists, and Gnostics. Most have no idea about the history and development of the multitude of biblical canons or the forging of orthodox Christian theology. Many fundamentalist Christians are lead to believe the following fairy tale, which I will later contrast with the facts about early Christianity.

The Christian Fairy Tale

  • God, the creator of the universe, chose the Jews to be his people.
  • Jews were monotheistic (believed in only 1 god) from the start. Only rebellious Jews ever worshipped other gods.
  • God gave Jews the Hebrew Bible (which contains the exact same books as the Old Testament of the bible of my sect of Christianity) as a guide on how to please Him and live good lives. This included many animal sacrifices.
  • The Jews constantly disobeyed God.
  • The Jews were punished by having their kingdom(s) destroyed and by being scattered throughout the world.
  • Jesus was born around 0 A.D. (Anno Domini, in the year of our Lord) to the virgin Mary. (I will use CE, and BCE)
  • He is both the god of the Old Testament (OT) and is the son of the god of the OT. He is also the Holy Spirit.
  • Around the age of 30 he began his ministry.
  • Around the age of 33 he was sacrificed on the cross. He rose from the dead 3 days later and ascended to heaven.
  • His sacrifice atones those who believe in him for their sins. There is no need for further animal sacrifices or obedience to most OT diet and lifestyle laws other than sex restrictions.
  • True Christians will go to heaven for eternity when they die.
  • All others will burn forever in hell after death.
  • The early Christian church was united and had one perfect set of doctrines.
  • The New Testament (NT) is the perfect word of god that completes the OT.
  • Early Christians had no disagreement about the 27 books of the NT, which were established shortly after 33 CE.
  • The doctrines and canon of [insert name of Christian sect of childhood] have been the doctrines of Christians since the time of Christ.
  • Christianity is confirmed by the Dead Sea Scrolls and other archaeological evidence.

The above picture shows a tree of Christian sects from the point of view of the Eastern Orthodox church. Many other churches teach a similar history of Christianity, claiming that their particular sect is exactly like the original Christian church and all other branches are flawed. Notice that the Easter Orthodox part of the tree has beautiful green leavers while the other sects have ugly brown leaves. Also notice that the base of the tree is Jesus and the apostles in Jerusalem in 33 CE.

Here is a more generic tree of Christian sects from Wikipedia.

Tree of Christian sects from Wikipedia.

Tree of Christian sects from Wikipedia.

 

This tree is a little better, because it shows some divisions prior to the Catholic – Eastern Orthodox split. However, it still shows one base known as “Early Christianity”. Wikipedia also notes that “Protestantism in general, and not just Restorationism, claims a direct connection with Early Christianity.”  For example, the Church of Christ is one of many sects that believes they are most similar to the original Christian church.

A Mormon blogger to the Wikipedia tree of Christian sects and altered it to show that Mormonism restored original Christianity.

A Mormon blogger to the Wikipedia tree of Christian sects and altered it to show that Mormonism restored original Christianity.

 

None of the above trees are accepted by scholars (fundamentalist Christian or secular) as fully accurate. The tree of Christian sects below is from the University of California. It more accurately reflects the true nature of the development of Christianity. Most importantly, it represents the multitude of Christian sects that existed prior to the council of Nicea.

Tree of Christian sects from the University of California.

Tree of Christian sects from the University of California.

 

Notice that the base of the tree is very wide and has many arrows leading to the Imperial Church. These arrows represent the multitude of sects that existed prior to the Council of Nicea in 325 CE.

The following map (also from the University of California) shows many sects that existed at 325 CE, including the Ebionism in Jerusalem, Marcionism in Caesarea, Arianism in Alexandria, Gnosticism in Damascus, and others. The next section of this blog will focus on what some of these early Christian sects believed.

 

Map displaying Christian sects and their major areas of influence at the time of the Council of Nicea.

Map displaying Christian sects and their major areas of influence at the time of the Council of Nicea.

 

Scholarly Christianity

Judaism

  • Ancient Hebrews evolved from the ancient Canaanite Religion. El Elyon was the most high god of manygods.
  • Ancient Hebrews became monolithic. They believed in many gods, but Hebrews should only worship their god named Yahweh.
  • Ancient Hebrews evolved into monotheism around 6th century BCE, believing Yahweh was the only god.
  • Jews lived under the subjugation of many foreign rules, including Romans in the first century.
  • Jews rebelled against Rome in 66 – 73 CE. The Jerusalem Second Temple was destroyed in 70 CE. Masada fell in 73 CE
Coins by Jewish rebels in 68 CE proclaim "Jerusalem The Holy."

Coins by Jewish rebels in 68 CE proclaim “Jerusalem The Holy.”

 

Roman coins around 73 CE show Jewish soldiers kneeling before Romans.

Roman coins around 73 CE show Jewish soldiers kneeling before Romans.

 

Depiction of the evolution of Old Testament texts. LXX is the Septuagint, MT is the Masoretic Text.

Depiction of the evolution of Old Testament texts. LXX is the Septuagint, MT is the Masoretic Text.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Example of Jewish editing.

  • Deuteronomy 32 (New International Version):8 When the Most High gave the nations their inheritance, when he divided all mankind, he set up boundaries for the peoples according to the number of the sons of Israel.[b] 9 For the Lord’s portion is his people, Jacob his allotted inheritance.

  • b: Masoretic Text; Dead Sea Scrolls (see also Septuagint) sons of God

  • Many scholars believe this passage in the DSS and LXX form supports polytheism. The Most High (Elyon) god divided mankind into nations, giving each son of god their allotment. The “Lord’s” (Jewish God’s) share were the children of Jacob.

Masoretic Text or Septuagint? 

  • The authors of the New Testament (NT) used the Greek Septuagint (LXX) when quoting OT books.
  • Catholics (46 books in OT), Orthodox (51 books), Ethiopians (46 books, or 50 splitting 1 & 2 Kings, etc), and others use the LXX.
  • Protestants use the Hebrew MT and have 39 book in OT.
  • Modern Jews use the Hebrew MT.
  • The Dead Sea Scrolls (DSS – Hebrew) are used by all sides to claim that the Septuagint supports their canons (set of scriptures considered holy).

Jesus Is Not An Important Person During His Time

  • Jesus was not important historically, as he was not mentioned by any contemporary historians, Jewish, Roman, Greek, or otherwise.
  • The general scholarly consensus is that Jesus was a Gallilean Jew born between 7 and 2 BCE. who condemned other Jews in particular of not following the laws or the spirit of the laws.
  • Jesus is believed to have been crucified by the Romans for rebellion against their authority around 30-36 CE.
  • There is a small minority of scholars who claim Jesus never existed. Some also claim Nazareth did not exist in the 1st Century.
  • My opinion is that Jesus was a Rabbi who was crucified by Rome. The supernatural deeds recorded in the bible are merely legend.

There were multiple versions of early Christianity with a variety of beliefs about the nature of Jesus and the relationship with Judaism and the OT. 

  • I will describe Ebionites and Marcionites,  Gnostics, Montanism, Arianism and proto-orthodox Christianity.
  • There were varieties within the above sects (especially Gnostics), and there were other sects not mentioned in this blog.

Ebionites – Very Jewish Christians From Jerusalem

  • Ebionites were very Jewish Christians.
  • They believed in 1 god.
  • They considered themselves Jews and obeyed the OT laws.
  • Only Christian sect recorded by Eusebius as keeping the Sabbath.
  • They believed Jesus was completely human and not divine.
  • They believed Paul was an arch heretic.
  • http://ebionite.org/ – Claim to be modern Ebionites.
  • Ebionites or similar groups such as Nazareans, were possibly the groups chastised by Paul for keeping the OT laws.
  • Matthew 5 was used by Ebionites to show that followers of Jesus should not abandon OT laws.
    • 17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19 Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.

Marcionites – Very Anti-Jewish Christians

  • Marcionites were Gentiles who claimed Jewish practice was harmful for a relationship with god.
  • They were followers or Marcion, a real person in the 2nd century.
  • They believed in two gods, one Jewish and one Christian.
  • They believed Jesus was completely divine and not human.
  • They rejected the Old Testament as a book inspired by the inferior god of the Jews.
  • They believed Paul was the one true apostle of Christ.
  • Jesus revealed himself to Paul because the other apostles failed to comprehend true Christianity because they were too Jewish.

First Christian Canon Created by Marcion, Who Is Now Considered a Heretic

  • Marcion (a real person considered a heretic by Proto-Orthodox Christianity) created the 1st Christian NT Canon around 144 CE. It contained a version of the gospel of Luke and 10 of the 13 letters of Paul, namely Romans, 1st & 2nd Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1st & 2nd Thessalonians, and Philemon.
  • Marion’s canon rejected the OT, Matthew, and John.
  • Proto-orthodox canons were a response to the canon created by Marcion.

Gnostics

  • Very spiritual and many widely varying subsets.
  • Believed Jesus was a spirit and did not suffer, but only appeared to suffer.
  • They believed in salvation through mysterious knowledge.
  • This world is full of ignorance and suffering; salvation comes not by making it better but by escaping it.
  • They had little church structure and taught equality of all members.
  • Coptic Gnostic texts were discovered in Nag Hamadi, Egypt, in 1945.
    • The Coptic Apocalypse of Peter:
    • “He whom you saw on the tree, glad and laughing, this is the living Jesus. But this one into whose hands and feet they drive the nails is his fleshly part, which is the substitute being put to shame, the one who came into being in his likeness. But look at him and me.”
    • Warns against those who “will cleave to the name of a dead man, thinking that they will become pure”.

First Listing Of Four Gospels Is A Response To Gnostics, Against Heresies

  • Around 180 CE, proto-orthodox Christian Bishop Iranaeus wrote Against Heresies to show the errors of gnostics.
  • The first time that 4 and only 4 gospels are listed as divinely inspired occurs in an argument against  Gnostics.
  • “It is not possible that the Gospels can be either more or fewer in number than they are. For, since there are four zones of the world in which we live, and four principal winds, while the Church is scattered throughout all the world, and the pillar and ground of the Church is the Gospel and the spirit of life; it is fitting that she should have four pillars, breathing out immortality on every side, and vivifying men afresh. From which fact, it is evident that the Word, the Artificer of all, He that sits upon the cherubim, and contains all things, He who was manifested to men, has given us the Gospel under four aspects, but bound together by one Spirit.” (Against Heresies, 3:11:8)
  • The reasons listed above to have four and only four gospels are considered humorous by many, including me.

Montanism – Early Pentecostals

  • 2nd Century Christian sect founded by Montanus.
  • Known as New Prophecy by followers, Montanism by critics.
  • Led to Cataphrygian and Phrygian groups that lasted until the 6th Century.
  • Prophetic movement that called on reliance of the Holy Spirit and a conservative personal ethic.
  • Parallels have been drawn to Pentecostals today.
  • Montanus, Prisca and Maximilla spoke via ecstatic visions.
  • Opponents claimed they were possessed by evil spirits.

Arianism – Much of the Nicene Creed is a Response to Their Claim that God and Jesus are Different

  • 3rd Century sect founded by Arius.
  • Arius asserted that the Son of God was a subordinate entity to God the Father.
  • The Son of God did not always exist, but was created by—and is therefore distinct from—God the Father.
  • Based on John 14:28 – …If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.
  • How could Jesus “go to the Father” if he and the “Father” were the same person?
  • How could Jesus and the “Father” be equal if “the Father is greater than I”?
  • Deemed a heretic at Nicea in 325 CE
  • Much of the Nicene Creed was written as a response to Arianism.

Proto-Orthodox Christians – All of the above

  • All of the Above Christians.
  • Jesus was a) Human b)Divine c) All of the Above
  • Jesus is a) God the Father b) God the Son c) God the Holy Spirit d) All of the Above
  • Christians scripture includes a) the OT b) the NT c) All of the Above (but do not have to follow all OT laws)
  • Claimed ancient roots for their religion.
  • Rejected unappealing Jewish practices such as circumcision.
  • Had strong church leadership and hierarchy.
  • Communicated with one another.

Arsenal of the Proto-Orthodox

  • Stressed that they were unified and all the other sects were not unified (similar to Church of Christ , Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and other claims today).
  • Had their own versions of sense & nonsense, truth & error.
  • Claimed apostolic succession, as opposed to Marcion, Montanus, Arius.
  • Started developing creedsin response.
  • Wrote forgeries and falsifications of their opponents views.
  • Charged non-orthodox with reprobate activity.
Peter's conflict with Simon Magus by Avanzino Nucci, 1620. Simon is on the right, dressed in black.

Peter’s conflict with Simon Magus by Avanzino Nucci, 1620. Simon is on the right, dressed in black.

Proto-Orthodox Legends of Simon Magus

  • Simon Magus (a magician and new convert) in Acts 8 is chastised for seeking the power to give Holy Spirit to new converts.
  • Little more is said about Simon in the bible, but he is considered the source of heretical views in later writings.
  • Many claims of reprobate activity of non-orthodox Christians, including several involving Simon Magus.

 

Orthodox Christianity

  • Orthodox Christianity was forged over 3 centuries, culminating in the Council of Nicea in 325 CE.
  • The Proto-Orthodox Christians increased in power and started discussing their own canons and doctrines (partly due to influence of Marcion and the Gnostics).
  • The Roman Emperor Constantine converted to Christianity in 312 CE.
  • Edict of Milan in 313 made Christianity legal.
  • Constantine Ordered the Council of Nicea(present day Iznik, Turkey) in 325 to settle disagreements on Christian doctrine.
  • The Nicene Creed and Constantinople Creed in 381 formalized Christian doctrine.
Painting The Council Of Nicea by F. Pavlovskyi, I. Maksimovych,and A. Galik and others at the Gate Church of the Trinity, Kiev, 18th Century.

Painting The Council Of Nicea by F. Pavlovskyi, I. Maksimovych, and A. Galik and others at the Gate Church of the Trinity, Kiev, 18th Century.

 

 

The Nicene Creed Is A Response To Heresy

We believe in one God,
the Father,
the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is, seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one Being with the Father.
Through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven:
by the power of the Holy Spirit
he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary,
and was made man.

[The creed lines above claim that Jesus and God are the same, they are one, they are divine, and they are human – all responses to the “heretics”.]

For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.

[The creed lines in bold above refute the heretical claim by Gnostics and others that Jesus only appeared to die.]

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son.
With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified.
He has spoken through the Prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come. Amen.

[The creed lines above link the father, son and holy spirit as one. It states there is only one church, not multiple Christian sects.]

The New Testament – Forged Over Centuries

  • The Christian NT was forged over several centuries.
  • The “heretic” Marcion created the first canon. 
  • Lists and canons were created by several early Christians after Marcion.
  • Constantine ordered Eusebius to produce 50 bibles in 331. He had 340 scribes working for him to complete this task. No such bible exists today, but it is believed that this set influenced future canons.
  • The first list of the currently accepted 27 NT books was not until 367 CE in a letter from Athanasius.
  • Many Christians are led to believe that the New Testament was used by the Apostles in 34 CE.
  • Many Books Not In The New Testament Today Were Considered Scripture By Early Chritianities.
  • Many books in the NT today have been edited. Most changes are insignificant, but some are very significant.
  • There are more variations in early Christian manuscripts than there are words in the NT.
  • Today, Christian churches generally agree on the books of the NT.
  • See http://www.ntcanon.org/table.shtml for excellent information on the development of the New Testament.
Courtesy of Bart Ehrman.

Courtesy of Bart Ehrman. The Codex Sinaiticus is the oldest collection of the 27 books of the New Testament. It also contains the Shepherd of Hermas and the Epistle of Barnabas. Nothing indicates that these two books are considered of lesser value than the other 27.

 

Protestants, Catholic, and the Apocrypha

  • Christians still do not agree on books of the OT, and some sects accepts additional books.
  • Jewish leaders had there own synods which developed over centuries into today’s approved MT.
  • Martin Luther did not like some Catholic doctrines, many of which were supported by verses in Maccabees. He got rid of Maccabees by rejecting books in the LXX that were not in the MT in his bible. He published the NT in 1522 and the OT in 1534.
  • Luther also did not believe in the authority of NT books Hebrews, James, Jude and Revelation.
  • The Catholic Church responded by approving the Deuterocanonical books in 1546. These books are now considered equal in authority to all previously canonized books. The vote was 24 yes, 15, no, and 16 abstaining. Only 44% of those present approved this important decision! It is now officially heretical to question the authority of these books!
  • Protestants started putting these books in an apocryphal (doubtful) section, as the 1611 King James Version (KJV) did.
  • Protestants have now removed these books completely, as the official 1895 KJV did.
  • Today’s official KJV is more recent than The Origin of Species!

Christian Canons Today Have Major Differences

Most Americans think in terms of Protestant and Catholic. However, there are many other Christian churches, including Ethiopian, Coptic, and Syrian. The websites below have many lists of accepted texts and can be used to compare the canons of various modern Christian sects.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Testament

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Testament

http://www.coptic.org/language/bible/bible.htm

http://www.peshitta.org/initial/peshitta.html

http://www.ethiopianorthodox.org/english/canonical/books.html

 

 

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