Posted by: edhensley | December 10, 2017

Mary Loses Her Virginity – Isaiah 7 in the New English Bible

This is a repeat of an earlier post.

Isaiah 7, New English Bible

Ahaz Receives a Sign

7:1 During the reign of Ahaz son of Jotham, son of Uzziah, king of Judah, King Rezin of Syria and King Pekah son of Remaliah of Israel marched up to Jerusalem to do battle, but they were unable to prevail against it.
7:2 It was reported to the family of David, “Syria has allied with Ephraim.” They and their people were emotionally shaken, just as the trees of the forest shake before the wind. 7:3 So the Lord told Isaiah, “Go out with your son Shear-jashub and meet Ahaz at the end of the conduit of the upper pool which is located on the road to the field where they wash and dry cloth. 7:4 Tell him, ‘Make sure you stay calm! Don’t be afraid! Don’t be intimidated by these two stubs of smoking logs, or by the raging anger of Rezin, Syria, and the son of Remaliah. 7:5 Syria has plotted with Ephraim and the son of Remaliah to bring about your demise. 7:6 They say, “Let’s attack Judah, terrorize it, and conquer it. Then we’ll set up the son of Tabeel as its king.” 7:7For this reason the sovereign master, the Lord, says:
“It will not take place;

it will not happen.
7:8 For Syria’s leader is Damascus,
and the leader of Damascus is Rezin.
Within sixty-five years Ephraim will no longer exist as a nation.
7:9 Ephraim’s leader is Samaria,
and Samaria’s leader is the son of Remaliah.
If your faith does not remain firm,
then you will not remain secure.”
7:10 The Lord again spoke to Ahaz: 7:11 “Ask for a confirming sign from the Lord your God. You can even ask for something miraculous.” 7:12 But Ahaz responded, “I don’t want to ask; I don’t want to put the Lord to a test.” 7:13 So Isaiah replied, “Pay attention, family of David. Do you consider it too insignificant to try the patience of men? Is that why you are also trying the patience of my God? 7:14 For this reason the sovereign master himself will give you a confirming sign. Look, this young woman is about to conceive and will give birth to a son. You, young woman, will name him Immanuel. 7:15 He will eat sour milk and honey, which will help him know how to reject evil and choose what is right. 7:16 Here is why this will be so: Before the child knows how to reject evil and choose what is right, the land whose two kings you fear will be desolate. 7:17 The Lord will bring on you, your people, and your father’s family a time unlike any since Ephraim departed from Judah – the king of Assyria!”
7:18 At that time the Lord will whistle for flies from the distant streams of Egypt and for bees from the land of Assyria. 7:19 All of them will come and make their home in the ravines between the cliffs, and in the crevices of the cliffs, in all the thorn bushes, and in all the watering holes. 7:20 At that time the sovereign master will use a razor hired from the banks of the Euphrates River, the king of Assyria, to shave the head and the pubic hair; it will also shave off the beard. 7:21 At that time a man will keep alive a young cow from the herd and a couple of goats. 7:22 From the abundance of milk they produce, he will have sour milk for his meals. Indeed, everyone left in the heart of the land will eat sour milk and honey. 7:23 At that time every place where there had been a thousand vines worth a thousand shekels will be overrun with thorns and briers. 7:24 With bow and arrow men will hunt there, for the whole land will be covered with thorns and briers. 7:25 They will stay away from all the hills that were cultivated, for fear of the thorns and briers. Cattle will graze there and sheep will trample on them.

Isaiah 7:14 is one of the most read verses in Christian churches. Matthew 1:22-23 uses this verse as a prophecy that is confirmed by the birth of Jesus. I have included this verse because many Christians have never read the verse in context and because many Christians have never read the New English Bible translation.

First of all, the New English Bible translation does not use the word “virgin.” The reason is because the Hebrew Masoretic Text does not use the word virgin but instead uses a word that means young woman. The young woman might have been a virgin, but she is not clearly defined as a virgin by this word. A link to the New English Bible online is shown below with its explanation. Click Isaiah, then Chapter 7, and click on footnote 26 to the right of the words “young woman.”

If the ancient Hebrew text used “young woman” then why does Matthew use “virgin?” Because the author of Matthew used the Greek Septuagint text and not the Hebrew Masoretic text. The Greek Septuagint (referred to as LXX – Roman numeral 70 – in the notes I refer to below) does mistranslate the Hebrew word for “young woman” as “virgin.”

Irregardless of whether or not it refers to a young woman or a virgin, the prophecy in no way refers to Jesus’ birth thousands of years later. First of all, nowhere in the bible is Jesus ever referred to as Immanuel. The word Immanuel is only used in the 2 verses mentioned and in Isaiah 8:8 (after a prophetess gives birth to a child). Secondly, the context of this story shows that this is an immediate sign for Ahaz that his enemies will be destroyed. Why would Ahaz get a “sign” that he would never see? Where in the New Testament does it explain how eating “sour milk and honey” will help him know how to reject evil and do good (v 15)? Verse 16 states that the land of Ahaz’s enemies will be laid waste before the child knows how to reject good and evil as described in verse 15. What good does this do Ahaz if that child is born thousands of years later?

Just to show how verses can be translated in any way possible, I will refer to the notes of John Wesley (http://www.christnotes.org/commentary.php?com=wes&b=23&c=7). Wesley claims that verse 14 and 15 is referring to Jesus. He then claims the child in verse 16 refers NOT to Jesus but to Shear-Jashub mentioned in verse 3! Wait a minute Reverend Wesley! Does not verse 15 mention how a child will “reject evil and choose what is right” and verse 16 refers to events that will occur before a child will “reject evil and choose what is right”? How in the world can any person with any sanity claim that verse 15 refers to Jesus and verse 16 refers to Shear-Jashub? This is only possible if someone is deluding himself (or herself).

I first read John Wesley’s notes years ago before they were available on the internet. I can remember a sharp pain in my stomach. I wanted to believe what I was always told, but the honesty inside me and the desire for truth lead me to realize that what I had always been told was not accurate.

New English Bible Translator’s Notes for the words Young Woman (click on Isaiah, then on Chapter 7). See notes 25 and 26.
http://bible.org/netbible/index.htm

25tn Heb “the young woman.” The Hebrew article has been rendered as a demonstrative pronoun (“this”) in the translation to bring out its force. It is very likely that Isaiah pointed to a woman who was present at the scene of the prophet’s interview with Ahaz. Isaiah’s address to the “house of David” and his use of second plural forms suggests other people were present, and his use of the second feminine singular verb form (“you will name”) later in the verse is best explained if addressed to a woman who is present. </note=322>

“26tn Traditionally, “virgin.” Because this verse from Isaiah is quoted in Matt 1:23 in connection with Jesus’ birth, the Isaiah passage has been regarded since the earliest Christian times as a prophecy of Christ’s virgin birth. Much debate has taken place over the best way to translate this Hebrew term, although ultimately one’s view of the doctrine of the virgin birth of Christ is unaffected. Though the Hebrew word used here (עַלְמָה, ’almah) can sometimes refer to a woman who is a virgin (Gen 24:43), it does not carry this meaning inherently. The word is simply the feminine form of the corresponding masculine noun עֶלֶם (’elem, “young man”; cf. 1 Sam 17:56; 20:22). The Aramaic and Ugaritic cognate terms are both used of women who are not virgins. The word seems to pertain to age, not sexual experience, and would normally be translated “young woman.” The LXX translator(s) who later translated the Book of Isaiah into Greek sometime between the second and first century b.c., however, rendered the Hebrew term by the more specific Greek word παρθένος (parqenos), which does mean “virgin” in a technical sense. This is the Greek term that also appears in the citation of Isa 7:14 in Matt 1:23. Therefore, regardless of the meaning of the term in the OT context, in the NT Matthew’s usage of the Greek term παρθένος clearly indicates that from his perspective a virgin birth has taken place.”

I will leave you with a link from Jews for Judaism on this topic. http://jewsforjudaism.ca/does-isaiah-714-predict-messiahs-virgin-birth-reply2-one-for-israel-tbn-messianic-jews-for-jesus/

 

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genealogies

From “The Bible 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”.

genealogies_explained

From “New Testament Stories Comically Illustrated”, 1892.

Posted by: edhensley | April 16, 2017

Contradictions in the Easter Stories

Many Christians claim that the creator of the universe will eternally torture all those who do not believe in the Easter story. Therefore, it is worth investigating whether or not the story is true.

  • When in his ministry did Jesus enter Jerusalem?
  • Matthew 21 (of 28), before cleansing the Temple & getting arrested
  • Mark 11 (of 16), before cleansing Temple & getting arrested
  • Luke 19 (of 24), before cleansing Temple & getting arrested
  • Jesus cleanses the Temple in John 2. Jesus has the triumphal entry into Jerusalem in John 12 (of 21).
jesus_cleansing_temple

Picture from bricktestament.com. Jesus cleansing the temple.

  • What Animal(s) did Jesus ride into Jerusalem?
  • Zechariah 9:9 Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
  • Mark 11:1-7 One donkey
  • Luke 19:29-35 One donkey
  • John 12:14-15 One donkey
  • Matt 21:1-7 Two donkeys
jesus_2_donkeys

This was too funny not to add!

What were Jesus’ last words?

  • Matt 27 and Mark 15: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” This is quoting Psalm 22:1.
  • Luke 23: “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” This is quoting Psalm 31:5.
  • John 19: “It is finished.”

Jerusalem Zombies

Matt 27: 51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split 52 and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. 53 They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people.

There is no historical record of this incredible event allegedly witnessed by many people.

zombies1

bricktestament.com

zombies2

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)

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)

women

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)
tomb

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)

angel1

man1

man2

angel2

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)

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)

jesus_touch

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: Magically appears in locked room, disciples happy, Jesus blesses them, no reprimand (20:19-23)

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
  • Acts: Ascended from Mount of Olives (1:9-12)

Jesus Barabbas

  • Oldest Syriac versions say Jesus Barabbas rather than Barabbas in Matthew 27
  • Christian historian Origen (184 – 254 CE) referred to Jesus Barabbas and was confused as to why it was permitted for his name to be so similar to Jesus
  • Most scholars believe Jesus Barabbas was in the original version of Matthew
  • Barabbas is Hebrew for Son of the Father
  • Jesus Barabbas means Jesus Son of the Father
  • Jesus “Son of the Father” is set free
  • Jesus “Son of God” is sacrificed
  • Exactly like the “scapegoat” Jewish tradition in Leviticus 16:15-25
  • No record of a prisoner release (Privilegium Paschale) on Passover or any Jewish holiday
  • Apologists will point to a couple of occasions where Romans set prisoners free, but they cannot find any example of releasing prisoners on a Jewish holiday

 

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

 

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.

Prophecy Not In The Bible

Matt 2:23 ends with, ‘So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets: “He will be called a Nazarene.”’

The problem with this claim is that there is no mention of Nazareth or Nazarenes in the Old Testament at all, and there is no prophecy that Jesus will be called a Nazarene.

First of all, note that a Nazarite in the Old Testament is someone who voluntarily took the Vow Of The Nazarite described  in Numbers 6:1-21. A Nazarite is not someone from Nazarene.

Christian apologists do incredible mental gymnastics when trying to explain who the “prophets” were that Jesus would come from Nazareth. Some say the prophets were some that were known orally but not written down in the Old Testament. My favorite one that shows the depths to which Christians will delude themselves, is that this was a play on words, such as this one at http://www.crivoice.org/branch.html.

“In Hebrew, the word “branch” is netzer, actually only three consonantal letters: NZR. Note that the town NaZaReth contains the same three primary letters… He was identifying the obscure Galilean town of Nazareth in which Jesus grew up with the Old Testament reference to a netzer (Branch) God would raise up to bring justice and righteousness and peace to His people.”

So Nazarene is a town and netzer is a branch, both words contain NZR, so therefore Matthew is really saying Jesus is a branch god would raise up. WOULD YOU CHRISTIANS LET A MUSLIM GET AWAY WITH SUCH RIDICULOUS APOLOGIES FOR THE KORAN? These same people who make such apologies for the contradictions in the bible would never let Muslims get away with doing the same thing. I encourage all Christians to read the bible again (or for the first time for most Christians), but this time question whether it is truly the perfect word of a perfect god.

From "The Bible 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 re-post 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.

 

Posted by: edhensley | September 16, 2016

God Orders Ezekiel To Eat Bread Baked Over Feces

Ezekiel 4New International Version (NIV)

Siege of Jerusalem Symbolized

ezekiel49sesame

Ezekiel Bread, as sold in stores.

ezekielbread2

Parody of Ezekiel Bread. Although it should say “Cooked over cow dung,” the parody does show that the original bread takes Ezekiel 4:9 out of context.

“Now, son of man, take a block of clay, put it in front of you and draw the city of Jerusalem on it. Then lay siege to it: Erect siege works against it, build a ramp up to it, set up camps against it and put battering rams around it. Then take an iron pan, place it as an iron wall between you and the city and turn your face toward it. It will be under siege, and you shall besiege it. This will be a sign to the people of Israel.

“Then lie on your left side and put the sin of the people of Israel upon yourself.You are to bear their sin for the number of days you lie on your side. I have assigned you the same number of days as the years of their sin. So for 390 days you will bear the sin of the people of Israel.

After you have finished this, lie down again, this time on your right side, and bear the sin of the people of Judah. I have assigned you 40 days, a day for each year. Turn your face toward the siege of Jerusalem and with bared arm prophesy against her. I will tie you up with ropes so that you cannot turn from one side to the other until you have finished the days of your siege.

“Take wheat and barley, beans and lentils, millet and spelt; put them in a storage jar and use them to make bread for yourself. You are to eat it during the 390 days you lie on your side. 10 Weigh out twenty shekels[8 ounces] of food to eat each day and eat it at set times. 11 Also measure out a sixth of a hin[2/3 Quart] of water and drink it at set times. 12 Eat the food as you would a loaf of barley bread; bake it in the sight of the people, using human excrement for fuel. 13 The Lord said, “In this way the people of Israel will eat defiled food among the nations where I will drive them.”

14 Then I said, “Not so, Sovereign Lord! I have never defiled myself. From my youth until now I have never eaten anything found dead or torn by wild animals. No impure meat has ever entered my mouth.”

15 “Very well,” he said, “I will let you bake your bread over cow dung instead of human excrement.”

16 He then said to me: “Son of man, I am about to cut off the food supply in Jerusalem. The people will eat rationed food in anxiety and drink rationed water in despair, 17 for food and water will be scarce. They will be appalled at the sight of each other and will waste away because of their sin.

I will add just a few small points about this story. Ezekiel and god seem to be able to have a conversation with each other like any two normal human beings. This is common in the bible but never occurs in real life. Even while I was a Christian, I remember reading these stories and wondering why the god of the bible was so different than the god of the 20th century. It would be nice if god could just talk to everyone, but he or she could only do that if he or she really existed.

Not only does god talk to Ezekiel, but he says he will tie him up with ropes. God will do this in order to make sure Ezekiel lies on his left side fro 390 days and his right side for 40 days. The 390 days represents the sinfulness of Israel, and the 40 days represents that of Judah. This is pretty silly, but the god of the Old Testament does some silly things to show how sinful Israel is, such as ordering Hosea to marry a prostitute (Hosea 1:2).

But the strangest thing of all is that god tells Ezekiel to bake the bread over HUMAN FECES (that’s SHIT for those of you inner city dwellers). Ezekiel asks god to reconsider, and god decides Ezekiel can bake his bread over cow feces. How wonderful. Your bread may smell like cow poop, but it least it does not smell like human poop.

Finally, I would like to ask all Christians to imagine how they would react if this story were in the Koran and not in the Bible. If a Christian were honest, he or she would admit that he or she would use this story to show how ridiculous the Koran is. This story makes the most sense when it is viewed as an untrue story told by Bronze Age goat herders for the purpose of motivating the followers of their religion to behave in a desired way. Believing that this ridiculous story actually happened is simply ridiculous.

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.

 

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