Faith of the Apostles 9



“Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. Therefore whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed upon the housetops.”

“Jesus said: Know what is in they sight, and what is hidden from thee will be revealed to thee. For there is nothing hidden which will not be manifest… For there is nothing hidden that shall not be revealed and there is nothing covered that shall remain without being uncovered.”

No effort made to hide God’s truth from mankind can ever succeed. The labor of men to make their own desires preeminent over God’s will never be fruitful, and Jesus himself warned us of this.

We must understand that, for the most part, the doctrine we follow in our Christian establishments today is not God’s Holy writ, established and based in the Gospels, or in the Holy Scriptures, but rather those ‘traditions’ that man has established for himself. This practice has produced the, “…’commandment of men’ learned by rote;…” of which Isaiah speaks.

If, however, they are the inspired works of God, they will surely inspire us to find the truth.

The very heart of the Christian faith depends exclusively on the crucifixion and the resurrection. Every sect of this religion agrees on these two traditions. That they happened is not questioned, that they are a reality is understood. It is emphatically demanded that a human sacrifice be available for the atonement of man’s sins. It is absolutely required that a human, blood sacrifice be accessible to requite the sins of man.

It is here, at the very core of the church’s tradition, that our most intense investigation is going to take place. The words of two thousand years ago, written in a foreign tongue, seem to tell a far different story than has been admitted. If this is not sufficient reason to conduct the search, then the actions of those who determined the path of Christianity through the centuries, demands that we do so.

Throughout history, those who remained within the ‘church’, and dared to question these two incidents, were eventually put to death and all their writings condemned as heretical, and destroyed. At least those writings that officials of the church could lay their hands on.

There are also the beliefs of others who remained beyond the reach of Christian adherents, some based on oral traditions passed on to them by early Christian missionaries, some founded on scrupulously executed research, and others through spiritual revelation, which must be taken into consideration. Along with this, now brought into the light, are the revealed writings contained within, The Dead Sea Scrolls.

As stated in the introduction to this thesis, we must know what words were used in the original Gospels, and what they meant when they originated two thousand years ago. Using definitions for words that have been translated from the Aramaic, to the Greek, to Victorian English, and then into American, is a touchy business.

Using American definitions for words that we assume were in an original Aramaic oral tradition are absolutely useless to us. Using our modern terminology for a word that appeared in an original Greek text and meant something totally different in the first century than it does today, corrupts and demeans our understanding of Jesus and what our Christian doctrines should be.

As an example, I repeat the explanation of the word, “phatne” which we translate to, “manger”. In first century usage, the word meant ‘a feeding crib’. It was never understood to be ‘a stable’, where animals were kept. As a result, to the knowledgeable mind, our scenes of a manger, and our quaint little rhymes about Jesus being found, ‘away in a manger (stable), no crib for his bed’, make us look like absolute fools. The manger scenes that adorn our churches and our homes, during the Christmas season, have no place in reality, nor in the birth of the man Christianity calls, lord and master.

With these things in mind, we must reveal a hidden story behind words that have long been misinterpreted and indifferently translated for the sake of tradition. We turn to the trial of Jesus before Pontius Pilate. Accused by the priesthood, damning evidence is brought to the Procurator’s attention, Jesus is a Galilean. The stain of sedition grows darker as Pilate contemplates the situation, one in which he does not want to be involved.

“But they were urgent, saying, “He stirs up the people, teaching throughout all Judea, from Galilee even to this place. When Pilate heard this, he asked whether the man was a Galilean…”

“And Pilate asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?” And he answered him, “You have said so.” And the chief priests accused him of many things. And Pilate asked him, “Have you no answer to make? See how many charges they bring against you,” But Jesus made no further answer, so that Pilate wondered.”

“Now Jesus stood before the governor; and the governor asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?” Jesus said, “You have said so.” But when he was accused by the chief priests and elders, he made no answer. Then Pilate said to him, “Do you not hear how many things they testify against you?” But he gave him no answer, not even to a single charge; so that the governor wondered greatly.”

“And Pilate asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?” And he answered him, “You have said so.”

All of the Gospel stories agree! One question, one answer, and in each case we are told that Jesus’ silence caused Pilate to, ‘wonder’.

“The word translated ‘wondered’ is sometimes used to express awe in the presence of the supernatural (9:33), but the governor wondered greatly because most men, whether innocent or guilty, loudly protest their innocence.”

In Luke, we are advised for the first time that the hearing is a public affair.

“And Pilate said to the chief priests and the multitudes, I find no crime in this man.”

We are also informed that Pilate did not find Jesus guilty of any crime, and his refusal to convict him was relentless.

“Pilate then called together the chief priests and the rulers and the people, and said to them, “You brought me this man as one who was perverting the people; and after examining him before you, behold, I did not find this man guilty of any of your charges against him… Behold, nothing deserving death has been done by him; I will therefore chastise him and release him.”

Pilate is so adamant in his desire to release Jesus that he repeatedly cries out against the people’s demands.

“Pilate addressed them once more, desiring to release Jesus…”

“A third time he said to them, “Why, what evil has he done? I have found in him no crime deserving death; I will therefore chastise him and release him.”

In Matthew, Pilate’s wife warns him not to sentence Jesus. She sends a message to the procurator.

“Have nothing to do with that righteous man, for I have suffered much over him today in a dream.”

Even here, at the outcry sent up against Jesus, Pilate defies the crowd.

“Why, what evil has he done?”

“And Pilate said to them, “Why, what evil has he done?”

Once again, the Gospel stories all agree. For whatever reason, Pilate is hesitant to condemn Jesus to a death he knows he does not deserve. This, plus the fact that he knows why Jesus has been brought to him.

“For he perceived that it was out of envy that the chief priests had delivered him up.”

What difference could the death of one Jew make to Pilate, especially a Galilean? He had killed many of them for less reason than he is given here. More than once he had denied the cries of unreasoning mobs, so why give in now? Too much goes unanswered, too many assumptions are made, but obviously he has taken consideration for the plight of this one man.

Perhaps he respects Jesus for his stand against a priesthood that the procurator despises, perhaps he wants to demean the priests and the elders. He accomplishes that anyway by placing a placard over Jesus’ head upon which is written, “King of the Jews.” For whatever reason, Pilate’s concern for Jesus is honest, and made obvious by the Gospel stories.

Even in John’s Gospel, a writing that comes to us approximately two hundred years after the fact, the basic plot conforms with the Synoptic Gospels, except that Jesus’ simple statement becomes a soliloquy more fitting to a high Greek tragedy, than the Greek scriptures.

Pilate finds no guilt in him. He pleads with Jesus more than once, but even when Jesus refuses to ask for release, Pilate once again pleads with the crowd. Pilate’s desire to free Jesus is unquestioned, and is attested to in all the Gospel stories.

Tradition holds that at this point, Jesus was ‘scourged’ by the Roman soldiers. Beaten senseless, so weakened that he could not carry the cross-bar of his own cross and, Simon the Cyrene, was forced to take up his cross and carry it for him the rest of the way to Golgotha. Stories of Jesus’ agony come down to us from our forebears, of beatings with whips that had bone or steel tips, terrible beatings that broke bones and caused near unconsciousness.

Nowhere in the Gospels is this scene, or a scene like it, reported to have taken place. There is nothing in the New Testament that tells of Jesus’ scourging as the bloody tradition that has been handed down through the centuries reports to us. Nowhere in the Gospels does it tell us that Jesus was handed over to the soldiers for the specific task of beating or flogging him.

The worst that is stated are in the very late addendum of John’s report, and it is nothing in comparison to the bloody tale that we have been led to believe.

“…they came up to him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!’ and struck him with their hands.”

The synoptic Gospels do not even go that far. Jesus is never turned over to the soldiers to be scourged, whipped or beaten, but rather to be, publicly humiliated, one of the definitive meanings of the word, ‘to scourge’.

“Then he released for them Barabbas, and having scourged Jesus, delivered him to be crucified. Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus…”

“…and having scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified. And the soldiers led him away…”

Each time, after Pilate has scourged Jesus, the soldiers take charge of him. It is stated as after the fact in three of the Gospel stories. As to the fourth, Luke is absolutely silent on the matter, even going so far as to leave out the humiliating experience with the soldiers.

“Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the praetorium, and they gathered the whole battalion before him. And they stripped him and put a scarlet robe upon him, and plaiting a crown of thorns they put it on his head, and put a reed in his right hand. And kneeling before him they mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” And they spat upon him, and took the reed and struck him on the head. And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the robe, and put his own clothes on him, and led him away to crucify him.”

Word for word, this story is a repetition of Mark’s description.

“And the soldiers led him away inside the palace (that is, the praetorium); and they called together the whole battalion. And they clothed him in a purple cloak, and plaiting a crown of thorns they put it on him. And they began to salute him, “Hail, King of the Jews!” And they struck his head with a reed, and spat upon him, and they knelt down in homage to him. And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the purple cloak, and put his own clothes on him. And they led him out to crucify him.”

In Luke, there is no such story. Barabbas is given his freedom and Jesus is immediately led off to be crucified.

“…but Jesus he delivered up to their will. And as they led him away, they seized one Simon of Cyrene…”

The scriptures use only one word for scourge, and the only meaning that fit the churches tradition when these writings were finally translated in 14th century. However, there were many meanings for the word known to the Greeks other than that used in the Gospels.

The word, scourge, in the English translation means to whip, especially when used to inflict pain or punishment, but the other meanings, of equal validity include an instrument to punish or censure, publicly condemn, chastise, to force as if by blows of a whip, to subject to severe criticism or satire, to mock or to humiliate.

Flagulem, to flagate, to beat, is the only definition used in the Greek text. It is that one which tradition and doctrine demand. But it is the other primary definitions to which the Gospels give evidence, it is these other interpretations to which the Gospels give credence.

Pilate pronounced Jesus guilty, condemned him to the cross, and with his guilt and arrest now accomplished, drummed out of society, Jesus was publicly mocked, at the hands of the soldiers. Each of the three Gospels that speak of this act state pointedly that, they mocked him, gave him a purple robe, spat on him, stripped him, struck him with the reed they had given Jesus as his ‘royal’ staff, and then placed a crown of thorns on his head. He was derided as King of the Jews, humiliated and then publicly displayed in a march to, The Place of the Skull. But nowhere are we told that he was beaten bloody and senseless.

“We know from Josephus (Jewish War II. 14.9) that it was a Roman custom to scourge condemned men before crucifying them. A leather whip, with pieces of bone and metal set in it, was used.”

This fact, however, is tempered by the following statement.

“Scourging was allowed only in the case of condemned slaves and provincials (i.e., non-citizens; cf. Acts 22:25).”

But Roman Law, the Gospel narratives, and Pilate’s actions, all deny that Jesus was treated in this manner. And the denial of tradition expressed by the Gospels, reveals a story that many do not wish to hear.

In Luke, we have a long dissertation rendered by Jesus to the women who are following him. It is hard to conceive of the battered Jesus that tradition would have us accept when such documentation is placed in evidence. Or are we to dismiss Luke as being invalid and without any basis in fact?

In the Synoptic Gospels, strangely, there are only three words written concerning the matter of scourging.

“…with Barabbas free, and Jesus scourged….” There are no details, but the Greeks used only one word for, scourge, and there are many meanings of the word in that language, as we have pointed out. Also, these two acts are synonymous. Freeing Barabbas proclaims Jesus guilty and in that act, he is scourged from public life, condemned.

If taken with Barabbas, in a dualistic sense, the insurrectionist is free and Jesus is ‘scourged’, publicly condemned, exiled from public life, condemned to death, and then mocked and humiliated by the soldiers. This scenario may well be the true story, despite arguments that no known practice allowed for a prisoner to be freed by the will of the people.

“The custom of amnesties at festival times is known the world over. It used to be said that there was no evidence for such a proceeding in Palestine at this time, but there is a Talmudical rule that the paschal lamb may be slaughtered for one who has been promised release from prison.”

Even though it may have been the practice to scourge, Jesus was not a slave, nor was he a provincial. Galilee was not a Roman province, but was under the rulership of Herod. The Gospels attest to this fact.

“When Pilate heard this, he asked whether the man was a Galilean. And when he learned that he belonged to Herod’s jurisdiction…”

Aside from being against Roman law, Pilate may not have wanted to give the priests the satisfaction. He appears even kindly to Jesus in insisting that he is not guilty of any crime under Jewish or Roman law, and condemns him only after he learns that he is a Galilean, and even then, on the insistence of the crowd! This is exceptional behavior on the part of Pilate.

He refuses to rewrite the inscription, King of the Jews, knowing that it is an absolute insult to the priesthood. But as a mock king, even a fools king, Pilate might not have allowed Jesus to be beaten. Surely we are told that he was not forced to bear the cross at any time.

Defying tradition itself, Jesus, in Luke and John, carries on a lengthy and lucid speech. This is certainly not the action of a person who had been beaten senseless and bloody. It is more in character with a sound minded individual capable of calculating thought and speech.

In finalizing the subject of ‘scourging’ in tradition and the Gospels, an honest appraisal must note the following new texts that have appeared within the last few years. As we are aware, new translations appear all the time, a continuing tribulation to the honest student. Of those that bear weight, The New English Bible, is considered to be an excellent version. The following translation is used.

“He then released Bar-Abbas to them; but he had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.”

“So Pilate, in his desire to satisfy the mob, released Barabbas to them; and he had Jesus flogged and handed him over to be crucified.”

Luke, again, has no scourging at all.

“Pilate now took Jesus and had him flogged; and the soldiers plaited a crown of thorns…”

There is no such course of action stated, or indicated, in the original text of the Gospels. The translation quoted here is even further from the Greek text, than previously existing documents. It is also interesting to note that during the course of events, Pilate would had to have pronounced sentence, given Jesus to the soldiers, taken him back to a public platform before the people, and then given him back to the soldiers for the humiliating scene we are given in the Greek text before he is taken out to be crucified.

Modern pandering cannot hide the insane proceedings this would have demanded. Most important is the fact that the ‘scourging’ by Pilate, and the soldiers handling of Jesus are not synonymous, but are described as two separate actions that take place at different time periods.

In John, Jesus is scourged before the trial is over. Afterward, he is defended by Pilate once again, but the crowd will have none of it. At this point, Jesus is engaged with Pilate in a lengthy discourse, which repudiates the traditional tales of his physical condition. With each new translation, the contradictions become more obvious, the addendums more disruptive.

The, Good News For Modern Man, both Protestant and Catholic version use approximately the same wording as the New English Bible. However, once again I point out that regardless of the translation of the word we use, as each Gospel comes into use, Jesus becomes more distinct and much more extant in his discourse during the crucifixion scene. In Matthew and Mark, Jesus never carries the cross, and in John, he manages to carry it all the way to, Golgotha, without any assistance.

But scourging is not the major contention here, the act of crucifixion is. What happened at that late hour, probably the sixth hour, is detailed in all the Gospels, and the story they tell cannot be contradicted. Certain things happened in a given order, and the Gospels all agree, without deviation.

Repetition aids memory. There is no place in any of the Synoptic Gospels where Jesus is compelled to carry his own cross. In each of them, word for word, Simon of Cyrene is given the cross at the very beginning of the journey to, Golgotha. Jesus is never given the cross to bear, and in fact, leads the way.

“As they were going out, they met a Cyrenian named Simon; this man they pressed into service to carry his cross.”

“They pressed into service a passer-by, Simon, a Cyrenian, who was coming in from the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to carry his cross.”

“As they led him away they took hold of a certain, Simon, a Cyrenian, who was coming in from the country; and after laying the cross on him, they made him carry it behind Jesus.”

And to the dismay of those who continue to honor that tale of horror, John contradicts the popular cult myth by having Jesus carry the cross all the way to the place of crucifixion. No Simon, no unbearable weight, but Jesus carrying his own cross all the way to the hill.

“So they took Jesus, and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called the place of a skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha. There, they crucified him…”

Tradition has him stumbling pitifully down a cobblestone street, falling under the weight of the wood, but in fact, the fact of the Synoptic Gospels, he never even lifts it. Another is chosen from the outset to carry it for him. And though John’s Gospel does have him bear the cross, in contradiction to tradition, he carries it all the way to, Golgotha, with no apparent problem. Which is to be believed?

Was the treatment of Jesus by the soldiers a sign of Pilate’s respect for the man? Perhaps meant to insult the priesthood and the public outcry? Whatever the soldiers did would have been done on the order of Pilate, their commander. If one were to follow the picture the Gospels give us of Pilate’s affinity toward Jesus, the procurator might well have ordered that Jesus be neither scourged nor made to carry the cross-bar which was soon to carry his weight. Yes, he must bear humiliation and the pain of crucifixion, but nothing to compare with the weight of the legends we force him to carry today.

Even more astounding at this point is a statement made by the writer of, The Gospel According to Luke, in, The Interpreter’s Bible.

“The Synoptic story that a certain passer-by was compelled to do this for Jesus was used by Basilides in the early second century to substantiate the Docetic theory that Simon had been crucified instead of the divine Christ.”

As we will shortly see, the Dead Sea Scrolls, and the Gospels, also attest to this doctrine. And they are not alone.

In all the synoptic Gospel stories, the details of the trial, Pilate’s words, and the actions of the crowd, are highly detailed. And as each Gospel in turn, by its age, reports these scenes, more and more is added for our benefit. There is a great deal of detail as to his humiliation at the hands of the soldiers. As is usual with the Gospels, the later in time the story appears, the more is added to the event. In this case, however, all the Gospels agree almost word for word, the only addition being that of John.

We are now at that moment in time which propels Christianity and the ‘church’ into eternity. In this instant, man began his petulant climb toward salvation through the blood of a human sacrifice, or was it a journey through twenty centuries of attempting to cover the blood that the ‘church’ had spilled in an effort to hide the truth?

For there were those who would not yield to the tradition of the cross. There were those good catholic men and women, who defied the ‘church’ and its earthly doctrine that demanded a ‘human sacrifice’ and death on the cross. Let us examine a society of men and women who no longer exist on this earth.

“West-north-west of Marseilles, on the Gulf du Lion, stretches the old province of Languedoc where, in 1208, the people were admonished by Pope Innocent III for unchristian behavior. In the following year, a papal army of 30,000 soldiers descended on the region under the command of Simon de Montfort… They had in fact been sent to exterminate the ascetic Cathari sect (The Pure Ones) who resided in Languedoc, and who – according to the Pope and King Philippe II of France – were heretics. The slaughter went on for 35 years, claiming tens of thousands of lives, culminating in the hideous massacre at the seminary of Montsegur, where more than 200 hostages were set up on stakes and burned alive in 1244.”/

Thus did the Cathars vanish from the earth as a living community, and Europe began to flow with blood. It is highly likely that this massacre was the one major event that precipitated the dreaded, Inquisition. According to history, it began formally in 1233.

The Cathars were Catholic, though they held some views that might have been considered Gnostic. They were, however, spiritually minded and believed that the Spirit is pure and that physical matter, our material existence, is defiled. This should have troubled no one since it is the very essence of Jesus’ teachings. Though somewhat unorthodox in their views, there was no great schism between the Cathars and the church in Rome. Yet the Pope feared them. This was not because of their beliefs, but the rumor that they held a treasure associated with ancient knowledge. And that ‘knowledge’ was damning to the ‘church’ and Christianity.

The Languedoc region had been formed out of the 8th century Jewish kingdom of Septimania. This area was steeped in the early traditions of Lazarus (Simon Zelotes) and Mary Magdalene. The inhabitants regarded Mary as the true mother of western Christianity. The reason for this can now be evidenced by the discovery in the, Dead Sea Scrolls, of, The Gospel of Philip.

Tolerant of the Jewish and Moslem communities in the area, they also believed in equality of the sexes, to the point of permitting women to share in the proceeds of their businesses, and to read the Gospel message during the mass. This might well have drawn a reprimand from Rome, since the church in the middle ages was absolute on the topic of women’s subjugation. They fell victim to the Inquisition by a church that held women to be evil, the cause of man’s fall from grace.

All the witnesses who were called to testify indicated that the Cathars adhered to Jesus’ ministry with unyielding devotion. They believed in God and the Holy Spirit, and recited the Lord’s prayer. They had an superlative society with its own welfare system based on charity, they sustained their own schools and hospitals, and shared with their non-Christian neighbors.

Saint Bernard said, “No sermons are more Christian than theirs, and their morals are pure.”

As Laurence Gardner states in his work, Bloodline of the Holy Grail, “…the Cathars were not heretics; they were simply non-conformists…”

They were exterminated by the Papacy, along with all those who supported them; men, women, and children. But the ancient knowledge they were supposed to hold, terrified Rome and its ambitious use of tradition. The Cathars were reported to have written documents of great authority which led them to declare that Rome’s interpretation of the crucifixion was a fraud.

In common with the Knights Templar, they would in no way support the claim that Jesus had died on the cross. Let it suffice to say that it was well established that the Knights Templar did not hold to the orthodox view of the crucifixion, and they were so adamant on this point that they would not bear the Latin cross upright.

These fellowships were presumed to hold enough information of substance to invalidate the fundamental concept of the Roman church, and the premise for today’s Pauline Christian church. Evidently Rome believed it, for they perceived only one solution to the problem, to kill everyone associated with the Cathars. But the ‘treasure’, was never found and only rumor and cult legend names those who were given those writings, to secret them away.

Eventually, the Knights Templar were also assaulted by the King of France, and the Pope. Their total destruction was only narrowly averted when a small number fled to Scotland. The character of this society is well established, but the Cathars, also known as the, Albigenses, are also held in great respect by some historians.

“Their ideas jarred so little with the essentials of Christianity, that they believed themselves to be devout Christians. As a body, they lived lives of conspicuous virtue and purity in a violent, undisciplined, and vicious age. But they questioned the doctrinal soundness of Rome and the orthodox interpretation of the Bible.”

“Closely associated with the Albigenses were the Waldenses, the followers of a man called Waldo, who seems to have been quite soundly Catholic in his theology, but equally offensive to the church…”

“There seems to have been little difference between the teaching and the spirit of St. Francis and that of Waldo in the twelfth century, the founder of the murdered sect of Waldenses.”

No mention is made of the specific charges against these people, only that they were ‘indiscreet’ at the wrong time in history, and now they are extinct. But ideas, writings, and the truth, cannot be hidden away forever. Jesus’ prophecy that, ‘all things that are hidden shall be brought into the light’, now seems a part of reality.

Today, a small segment of the Knights is said to exist in Scotland. One must wonder if their knowledge still hides the evidence of a belief that extends itself to over one billion Moslems. And even more stirring to those ‘Christian sects’, which hold to a creed contrary to basic Christian doctrine. The Dead Sea Scrolls, in part, are beginning to toll the same message.

The doctrine of Jesus’ death by crucifixion, as we have shown, was not accepted by a number of early Christian churches, including the Basilideans, the Docetions, the Waldanese, the Cathars, and the Knights Templar. And as we shall see, doctrine and tradition do not stand up to examination on this point, for the language of the Gospels contradicts them.

The Holy Qur’an is extremely pointed as to this event in Jesus’ life.

“…and their saying: We did kill the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah; whereas they slew him not, nor did they compass his death upon the cross, but he was made to appear to them like one crucified to death; and those who have differed in the matter of his having been taken down alive from the cross are certainly in a state of doubt concerning it, but only follow a conjecture; they certainly did not compass his death in the manner they allege…”

All of Islam becomes the voice of the dead. They speak for the Cathars and all those whom the ‘church’ saw fit to put to death. And even more, speak to us from beyond this earthly veil. How can anyone with a knowledge of these murders hope to support those institutions without placing their own souls in jeopardy?

The Second Treatise of The Great Seth, The Gospel of Philip, and The Gospel According To Thomas, are ancient manuscripts which the church has declared heretical, but the text is of valid authorship. It might appear to some observers that those who refuse to even consider newly discovered evidence on this subject, are those who will support man’s doctrine regardless of the facts, those who proceed in a blind and fanatical manner.

But aside from the various works we have mentioned, including the Dead Sea Scrolls, is there any evidence at all in an acceptable form to Christianity? The very scriptures speak for themselves, and it is time to examine the Gospels and the words of the most respected Christian theologians available, concerning the crucifixion. To this end, even the Holy Qur’an suggests a wise avenue to follow in this search.

“Call to mind also when you claimed to have brought about the death of a personage and then differed among yourselves concerning it, and Allah would bring to light that which you concealed. So we said: Test the crucial question by putting together other incidents relating to the affair and you will arrive at the truth.”

According to a general understanding of the crucifixion story, Jesus was put up on the cross around the third hour.

“And it was the third hour, when they crucified him.”

“The third hour would be nine in the morning.”

None of the other Gospels give us this time reference, and the theologians involved in the writing of, The Interpreter’s Bible, suggest that it was much later. First, Jesus is led from the meeting at Caiaphas home and taken to Pilate. After hearing the case, Jesus is sent before Herod, examined again, and then sent back to Pilate. At this time we are told that there is a public hearing at which Barabbas is freed and Jesus is condemned.

To complicate this already tenacious affair, the newest ‘translations’ tell us that in addition to all this intolerable business, we are now to add Jesus being taken by the soldiers, scourged, then returned to Pilate, and then taken back to the soldiers again.

“It is not improbable that Herod Antipas was in Jerusalem at the time of the Passover festival, but Mark says nothing of any tradition that the tetrarch had been involved in the proceedings against Jesus. Furthermore, if Mark (15:25) is correct when he says that the crucifixion took place at “the third hour” -about 9 A.M.- there would scarcely have been time for this Lukan episode in addition to the meeting of the Sanhedrin and the trial before Pilate..”

What the Gospels all agree on again, is the time of Jesus’ apparent death.

“And when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out…”

“Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out…”

“It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour, while the sun’s light failed; and the curtain of the Temple was torn in two. Then Jesus, crying out…”

The Gospel of John now looms up as if to verify the late hour in which Jesus was actually crucified.

“Now it was the day of Preparation of the Passover; it was about the sixth hour. He said to the Jews, “Behold your King!” They cried out, “Away with him, away with him, crucify him!”… Then he handed him over to them to be crucified.”

It was about the sixth hour, and Jesus was not yet on the cross.

One may say that the Gospels are speaking of Jesus already being on the cross at that hour, but then the, Gospel of John, contradicts those who would oppose this view. The Interpreter’s Bible, speaks of the late hour. John agrees.

“It was the eve of the Passover, about noon. Pilate said to the Jews, ‘Here is your king.’ They shouted, ‘Away with him! Away with him! Crucify him!’…”

“It was preparation day for Passover, and it was about noon. And he said to the Jews, “Behold your king!” They cried out, “Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!’…” /

And if this is true, as it is in agreement with Matthew and Luke, Jesus was on the cross for a very short period of time. Was the darkness involved in the Synoptic Gospels due to the late hour? Was there a storm? The sixth hour would have been about noon, the ninth hour about three in the afternoon. Was it allegorical? Symbolic of the event taking place?

The lateness of the hour in which all of this took place is alluded to by more than one incident. Due to the length of time it normally took for one to die on the cross, and the hour being a late one, an action is taken that is not normal at these executions, especially when handled by the Romans. One was given all the time needed to suffer and die, the Romans not necessarily being kind hearted. Pilate, once again, acts out of character in granting a petition from the priesthood.

“The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the Sabbath day, (for that Sabbath day was a high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.”

On the request of the priests, Pilate allows their deaths to be hastened. One might also allude to the fact at this point, The Interpreter’s Bible, becomes extremely defensive. We will comment further on this tendency, for even honorable theologians can begin to press an issue when a question of tradition is threatened under the weight of Gospel truth.

Another important point that is brought up by the late hour is the amazement of both the soldiers, and Pilate, as to how quickly Jesus appears to die. It would be even more surprising to them if Jesus was not beaten senseless and was in complete control of his physical body, his thought, and his speech. These facts are pointed out by Luke and John.

“While the sun’s light failed (RSV): Probably even Mark’s version was intended to imply an eclipse but Luke makes this explanation explicit. The fact that an eclipse was astronomically impossible at the time of the Passover full moon may have suggested the inferior reading translated by the KJV: And the sun was darkened.”

We are at the crux of the matter.

“It was a pious Jewish custom to give a condemned man unmixed wine or wine with an opiate in it to make him unconscious. Mark 15:23 speaks of ‘myrrhed wine,’ but Matthew makes this gall.”

“…they offered him wine to drink, mingled with gall…”

“And they gave him to drink wine mingled with myrrh…”

“The drink was suggested by Ps. 69:21, it is said; but this would apply better to verse 36 (“Vinegar”; cf. John 19:29, “sour wine”). The potion was provided by the soldiers, and there is some evidence (Jewish, not Roman-B. Sanhedrin 43A) that it was given for the purpose of deadening the pain.”

Not to deaden the pain so much, but as has already been stated, to render the individual, unconscious.. This would also have been done to hasten death since crucifixion caused death by exhaustion, or suffocation.

“Crucifixion among the Romans was a penalty for slaves. Essentially it consisted of exposure, the condemned usually dying of exhaustion within a day or two.

“Thirst, exposure, and the cutting off of circulation added to the torture.”

“And they offered him wine mingled with myrrh; but he did not take it. And they crucified him…”

“They gave him vinegar to drink mingled with gall: and when he tasted thereof, he would not drink.”

It is only fair to note that this verse is changed in the, RSV, by substituting ‘wine’, rather than vinegar. The New English Bible, also says, ‘a draught of wine mixed with gall…’.

John does not include the offer or refusal of the drink before Jesus is placed on the cross. He does, however, offer exacting documentation after Jesus is crucified. We will discuss that evidence in its proper order. It is appropriate to discuss Luke at this point.

In Luke, the scene is centered about Jesus’ speech. There is no gall, no vinegar, no myrrhed wine, no drink of any kind, there is no scourging, there is no cross-bearing. From whatever source Luke draws his information, it is sadly lacking in the details which are provided by the other two Synoptic Gospels and John.

One must seriously wonder why a doctor, a physician, should be silent on this issue. Might it be for fear of damning himself before Paul, and the church?

“And one ran and filled a sponge full of vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink, saying, Let alone; let us see whether Elias will come to take him down. And Jesus cried out with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost.”

The Revised Standard Version, indicates the exact wording of, The King James version, with the exception of, “And Jesus uttered a loud cry, and breathed his last.”

The New English Bible, takes great liberty with the translation of the Greek of Mk. 16:38; by stating, “…Jesus gave a loud cry and died.” This writer firmly believes, and will prove, that ‘died’, comes from a desire to preserve tradition rather than to produce a correct translation of the text. The word is not used.

“And one of them at once ran, and took a sponge, filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink. The rest said, Let be, let us see whether Elias will come to save him. Jesus, when he had cried out again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.”

The Revised Standard version; Matthew 27:50, states, “And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit.” The New English Bible, in Matthew 27:50 does not say, ‘died’, in this instance, but translates the Greek as, ‘breathed his last.’

“Now there was a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a sponge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth. When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished; and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.”

Here again, in John 19:30, The Revised Standard Version, states, “…and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” In this case, The New English Bible, renders the translation exactly the same as the, Revised Standard’s, ‘gave up his spirit’, which in this case is correct.

One note of conjecture is pointed out here due to problems with the translation as noted by Christian theologians. The Gospel story says they put the sponge on, hyssop, which does not have a long stalk, or reed, as the other Gospel stories tell us was used to lift the sponge to Jesus’ lips. John would not make sense since a, hyssop, could not be used to lift the sponge to his raised figure on the cross.

“The word, hyssop, seems out of place here, since we are told in Mark 15:36 and in Matt. 27:48 that they put the sponge of vinegar on a reed to give it to Jesus. Hyssop is an herb, but it does not provide a long stalk such as a reed. Now, hyssos, is the Greek word for the Roman pilum, or javelin, and in one late MS of the eleventh century (476) this word, shorter by two letters than the word for hyssop, (in the Greek), is actually used in this passage. This might well seem to preserve the original reading, which has otherwise been lost in the entire MS tradition.”

If hyssop had been used as part of the drink Jesus was given, it would also be in order and would be further evidence to assist our case. It is a European mint that has highly aromatic and pungent leaves as is sometimes used as a potherd. Its leaves or stems are cooked for use as greens; it is also used as a mint to season food, or to make more tasteful, the bitterness of gall and wine.

On the cross, Jesus took it willingly.

From, hyssos, to, hyssop, and a tremendous amount of difference in what has occurred at the foot of the cross. If lifted on the point of a javelin, then the soldiers gave the drink to Jesus, and not one of the crowd. Once again, we are confronted by an act of kindness by those who are depicted as having beaten, and then crucified him. Of translations, we must take great care, for one letter can make a world of difference in the narrative, just as education and understanding can totally change the assumptions of the uneducated and the deceived.

Did Jesus die on the cross?

Thousands, tens of thousands, have been martyred over this issue. In our own age many have been banished from the ‘church proper’ because of their belief on this point, and over a billion human souls have made it a definitive point in their religion. Let us refer to the Gospels in their original language, Koine Greek, and the meanings of the words as they were used two thousand years ago, and in our translation of them.

In each case, regardless of which Gospel story we use, Jesus drinks from the sponge and immediately loses consciousness. On this, all the Gospels agree. Tradition says that he died, but the Gospels do not!

“…and gave up the ghost.”

The word for ghost, i.e; spirit, in the Greek text is, exepneusen. It means, expired. In kind, to expire, can mean to die, or to be asleep, as in, numbed, or rendered unfeeling, unconscious. The word used in Young’s commentary is, ekpneo, which means, to breathe out.

The word for ghost, i.e; spirit is; pneuma or nephash. These words speak of the living spirit, life, in other words, consciousness. Neither of these words is used in Mark concerning the crucifixion. And the word that is used does not mean to gave up life. To expire or to die, is ekpshcho. It is not used here or in any other reference to the crucifixion in the Gospels. Matthew 27:50; John 19:30; Mark 15:37; Luke 23:46 all use this expression. Only in Acts is the word, ekpshcho, used to indicate one who dies, and then it is not used of Jesus.

Matthew, Luke, and John all use the word for spirit, pneuma. “…yielded up the ghost.”

The references for a proper translation are the same, and numerous. Young’s Commentary on, expired, to breathe out, is more in line with, giving up the spirit, to breathe out, since the spirit is often related to wind or breath. It also means to, lose consciousness.. And there is good reason to bring this out when relating to the crucifixion. Recall the Jewish custom during such executions.

“It was a pious Jewish custom to give a condemned man unmixed wine or wine with an opiate in it to make him unconscious.. Mark 15:23 speaks of ‘myrrhed wine,’ but Matthew makes this gall.”

Vinegar is thought to refer to sour wine. Wine with gall is an opiate. All the accounts are bound into one momentary event, though expressed in different manners. Jesus drinks the ‘potion’, and is immediately rendered unconscious. Even in John, the opiate is given and Jesus loses consciousness at once. Again, all the Gospel stories agree.

“The drink that is now offered on the sponge and reed is not the drugged wine of vs. 34 but vinegar. This is sometimes identified with posca, a drink made of water, sour wine, and egg, which Roman soldiers drank.”

It is, as noted earlier, a sad situation when honest theologians are caught up in an effort to preserve tradition rather than render an honest translation when it goes against their beliefs. A search for truth must be conducted whether it justifies your own convictions or not, whether it agrees with, or completely invalidates, dogma.

Here, our modern witnesses are tripped up. Vinegar, not drugged wine, was substituted for the original mixture? The, vinegar, was not, bosca, but as related to us by the language of the Gospels, fermented, undiluted, grain alcohol.. This is by chemical definition as the solution was prepared and used in the first century.

Vinegar: A mendicant-sour wine made up of pure alcohol (fermented). A sour liquid obtained by acetic fermentation of dilute alcoholic liquids and used as a condiment or preservative. When combined with, gall, it is an opiate.

Gall: Bile obtained from an animal and used in the arts or medicine. A swelling of plant tissue usually due to fungi or insect parasites and sometimes forming an important source of tannin.

Gall, a source of Tannin, when combined with other solutions, such as distilled alcohol, are strong opiates. But tannin could also be used solely as an astringent, a medical emultion used to draw tissue together, to stop bleeding, and to assist in healing a wound.

Tannin: Any varying soluble astringent complex phenolic substances of plant origin used in tanning, dyeing, and in medicine.

Astringent: Astringere, to bind fast. Able to draw together the soft organic tissues. Suggestive of an astringent effect upon tissue.

I would certainly persuade anyone who wishes to investigate these matters in an intelligent manner to consult a good medical dictionary, or any Webster’s dictionary, including Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary. As is cautioned by modern medicine, any mixture of opiates used with pure alcohol, can easily induce a deeply drugged state or stupor, unconsciousness, and if overdosed, death.

“Pilate was surprised to hear that he was already dead; so he sent for the centurion and asked him whether it was long since he died. And when he heard the centurion’s report, he gave Joseph leave to take the dead body.”

Subsequent translations from the original text play down Pilate’s complete amazement when he is told that Jesus is dead after such a short period of time. And rightly so.

“And Pilate marveled if he were already dead…”

“Jesus lived on the cross for only three hours, which was a comparatively short time… Twelve hours seems to have been the average period between crucifixion and death.”

Earlier, this same source said that a normal lifespan on the cross was one or two days. Let it suffice to say that three hours is nothing short of remarkable.

We have already pointed out the area in which this volume conjectured that Jesus was not crucified until after the sixth hour, and possibly later. The Gospel of John attests to this fact. Under the circumstances, Pilate may not just have wondered, he may well have been down right amazed.

Matthew and Luke omit this part of Mark’s dialogue. Who Mark had gotten these details from, no one can know. We may be assured, however, that he did not get it from Peter, for he was nowhere near the cross. He, and the other disciples, had fled the scene.

If there were more scientific data provided by the Gospels at this point, it would make no difference. Enough has been said to assure anyone that the medicinal character of the solutions that Jesus took had a profound effect upon his mind and body. The least of which would be to deaden any and all pain. However, the Gospel of John goes one step further in order to prove what is already suspected.

When a human being dies, the heart ceases to function. The pump that moves blood through our bodies, stops; blood no longer circulates and immediately seeks the lowest point of the body. With Jesus erect on the cross, it would drop to his legs and feet. Medical science attests to the fact that when dead, the blood of the victim settles to the lowest extremities.

“But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.”

“…but when they came to Jesus, they found that he was already dead, so they did not break his legs. But one of the soldiers stabbed his side with a lance, and at once there was a flow of blood and water.”

Jesus was not dead!

The Interpreter’s Bible, having left the realm of investigative research, follows its own selfish motives. We are offered the weakest and most despicable of all excuses for disavowing expert evidence and that of the Gospel itself.

“However medical evidence may account for this phenomenon, the ‘witness’ lays stress upon the validity of this tradition, which evidently represented some symbolic truth to the evangelist… ”

In other words, regardless of what expert evidence and truth may tell us, we will not change our minds. The laws of physics and medicine have nothing to do with religious tradition.

The only comment one could make in a detrimental manner, to John’s statement, is that it comes to us almost two hundred years after the fact. No one has any idea of who the author was, aside from more conjecture. Later, in this same Gospel, Jesus uses the ‘wound’ in his side to prove to the disciples that he is alive.

Pilate releases the ‘body’ at once. Evening is upon them and the Jews are almost frantic to get the bodies down before the holy hour of the Passover.

“When even was come… He went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus.”

“It was usual to bury people on the day of death, and the body of an executed man was not allowed to remain gibbeted overnight (Deut. 21:23) because it polluted the holy land.”

This, of course, applied after they had died and not while they were dying and still alive.

“And now when the even was come, because it was the preparation, that is, the day before the Sabbath, Joseph of Arimathea… And when he knew it of the centurion, he gave the body to Joseph.”

“This man went unto Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus.”

“The Romans had no scruples about leaving a dead body on a cross over night, but it was a breach of Jewish law to do so (Deut. 21:23).”

John is more assertive as to why the Jews wanted all three taken down before the Sabbath.

“Since it was the day of Preparation, in order to prevent the bodies from remaining on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day)…”

“And after this, Joseph of Arimathea… besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave…”

In addition to this, the Gospels offer further proof, medical proof, of efforts to preserve the life of Jesus.

“The women who had come with him from Galilee followed, and saw the tomb, and how his body was laid; then they returned, and prepared spices and ointments.”

“And when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, bought spices, so they might go and anoint him.”

In the Gospels quoted, Jesus is not attended for two days, an amazing delay considering what has taken place just prior to his being taken down from the cross. But in John, a flurry of activity takes place, activity that is absolutely necessary to the story.

Remember that they already had an herb, tannin, for an astringent to heal the wounds in Jesus’ flesh.

“Nicodemus also, who had at first come to him by night, came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds’ weight.”

“He was joined by Nicodemus (the man who had first visited Jesus by night, who brought with him a mixture of myrrh and aloes, more than half a hundredweight.”

Why is this so important? Because of the medical nature of the substances used on Jesus’ body, and the large quantity involved.

Myrrh: “A yellowish brown to reddish brown aromatic gum resin with a bitter, slightly pungent taste obtained from a tree of East Africa and Arabia. A mixture of myrrh and Labdanum. A soft, dark fragrant bitter oleoresin derived from various (genus Cistus) and used in making perfumes. A purgative; A purging medicine, cathartic. (genus cistus).”

The Aloes, from John 19:39, ‘are the dried leaves of various aloes used as a purgative and tonic.’

The presence of such large amounts of purgatives can only indicate an effort to revive someone who is under the influence of narcotics, in this case, opiates. The materials used were of a strong nature, and in great quantity. Jesus was wrapped in linen with these medicinal herbs so that they were in contact with his entire body. Some of this substance could have been introduced internally, but that is only speculation.

From the medical evidence provided by the Gospels, to the language of the Gospels once again. What story do the words of the scriptures tell us? Are they verified by the conscience of the theological community?

“…you seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen, he is not here…”

The New English Bible’s, translation brings us food for thought, or perhaps for greater confusion. It would appear to vindicate those who hold to the premise that Jesus was, in fact, saved from death.

” ‘Fear nothing; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised again…”

The word used here is not that of a resurrection from the dead, but to wake, rouse up from a sleep. It does not even imply a sleep of death.

The word used in the translations above, and in the Bible texts noted, is; egerthe, to arise from sleep. The word, egeiro, the sleep of death, is not used here or anywhere in reference to the resurrection.

Young’s Analytical Concordance to the Bible, shows, egeiro, being used in every situation other than being raised from the dead, in the Gospels. It is seen as describing, ‘…nation shall rise against nation.’, ‘Rise, let us be going…’, ‘Rise up and stand forth in the midst…’.

This derivation is also used in reference to rising from the dead in the instance of, ‘…and to rise from the dead…’. In this, new meaning is given to a word which does not fit that definition. The Greek, anistemi, is used in this manner: ‘… be killed, and in three days rise up…’, ‘…and to rise from the dead…’, but it is also used in the same manner as, egeiro, while in the original Greek text, this variation is not used at all.

It would seem that some theologians would use the first century Greek to mean what they desire of it, even if it does not fit the definition as used in that period of history, or the original Greek text of the Gospels.

In Matthew, the young boy is replaced by an angel of the Lord, who greets the women.

“Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead…”

Why has Matthew changed Mark, yet uses the very same word for risen; ergethe, when it does not mean what the evangelist wants it to say? And it gets even more confusing, contradictions abounding.

“While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel… why do you seek the living among the dead?”

It fits later resurrection traditions nicely, but it also implies in the physical sense, exactly what it says, ‘why do you seek the living….’ But things have changed again. Now two men are at the tomb, not one boy dressed in white, nor an angel. The same Greek word is used for, raised; ergethe, to awake from a sleep. Here, also, the Apostles are added to those at the tomb, which directly contradicts this, and the other Gospels, i.e. biblical history.

The Greek for risen: (egerthe) Bullinger’s Greek English text: (egeiro)

The translation of the word is, to wake, arouse, rouse up (from sleep) or slumber, to awaken from sleep.. ‘Risen again’, is not used in Bullinger’s Greek text in Mark 16:6, as it is in the New English version.

In Mark 10:34 “…and the third day he shall rise again.” (apoktenousin): The word that is used means to cause to stand up, to rise up as in: to stand. The greek for, to go up, or, to ascend (from a lower place to a higher), is not used in these passages concerning the resurrection, nor is it used in that reference any where in the Gospels. It’s only appearance in this meaning is in Revelations.

The Koine Greek does have a word that means to be, ‘raised to life again; resurrected’. It is used in Hebrews 11:35, and nowhere else; agastaseus. Thayer uses the term in Mark as meaning, ‘to arouse, to cause to awake, to arouse from sleep’.

Katheudon nekrous, actually means, to recall the dead to life; to arouse from the sleep of death. This appears in John 5:21; Acts 26:8; II Co. 1:9. Nowhere is this term used in the Gospels in reference to Jesus or the resurrection.

(A perfect example of the use of Koine Greek and its many tenses is given to us in the raising of Jairus’ daughter. When Jesus tells the people that the girl is not dead, “…but sleepeth,” the Greek word used is, katheudei. It means, to be asleep, not in the sleep of death. Add, nekrous, and the translation above applies. However, Jesus is adamant that she is not dead, but only sleeping.)

In the interest of investigation, we find proof of additional tampering with the original text of the Gospel.

“Both Matthew and Luke took over and revised Mark’s story of the empty tomb…”

The story that the Gospel in its original text tells us is the story of a saved Jesus. The original text of Mark has no resurrection scene, and the other expanded editions involve themselves in such controversy by the language they use that even good Christian theologians are at a loss to explain. The truth, as they admit, involves a tradition that even they cannot support. And this web thickens, leading us to more devious plots.

“Paul gives no indication that he was familiar with the doctrine of the empty tomb. There is not the remotest reference to it in any of his letters, and his own conviction that the resurrection body is not the body of this flesh but a spiritual body waiting for the soul of man in heaven (1 Cor. 15:35-55; II Cor. 5:1-4) makes it improbable that he would have found it congenial.”

Even more damning, is the evidence concerning the Gospel According to Mark. It has been set upon by more individuals who felt themselves qualified to add whatever they pleased, than can be imagined. Christian theologians know this for a fact, as does the hierarchy of the church, and yet the addendum remains a part of this work and the churches tradition. In the original text of Mark we read:

“And he said to them, ‘Do not be amazed; you seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen, he is not here; see the place where they laid him.’ They went out and fled from the tomb; for…”

The mystery of Mark is unveiled. Where is verse 9? Where is the ending of the chapter which, in its modern form, should be verse 20? The text does not come to an end, but is chopped off suddenly as though it had been beheaded. Was it lost from the beginning, or is it possible that it has been edited into our modern version because it created an insurmountable obstacle to the church’s growing doctrine?

If it ended in this manner, without reference to the resurrection or Jesus’ appearances, it would be an indicator that those events may never have taken place. Dare we think such a thing?

“The inference seems inescapable: verse 7, like 14:28, is an interpolation into the narrative-whether pre-Marcan, Marcan, or post-Marcan, but certainly pre-lukan and pre-Matthean…”

“One of the oldest attempts to supplement and finish Mark is the so-called “longer ending” (vss. 9-20). This is not found in the best Mss and dates probably from the second century; it was compiled out of the data of the other Gospels, and even of Acts…. The author was probably, as Burkitt & Conybeare held, the second century presbyter Aristion, or Ariston. It is attributed to him in an Armenian MS written in 989. There is also the so-called “shorter ending” found in certain MSS. It probably arose in Egypt in the fourth century, and found in some MSS… Neither of these endings is in Mark’s style.”

It is highly unlikely that either the writer of Matthew or Luke had a version of Mark that went beyond Verse 16:8. This is also the opinion of, The Interpreter’s Bible.

“…and it is doubtful if Luke’s and Matthew’s copy of Mark went beyond 16:8.”

“And they said nothing implied, in the older narrative, that the discovery of the empty tomb had been kept a secret (a common motif in Mark) and was disclosed only sometime later… Is it now being first related in Mark? Their silence also helps us to account for the absence of any reference to the empty tomb in the earliest literature in the New Testament, e.g., in Paul, or indeed, anywhere in the New Testament except in the Gospels.”

“Four endings of the Gospel according to Mark are current in manuscripts. The last twelve verses of the commonly received text of Mark are absent from the two oldest Greek manuscripts…, from the Old Latin codex Bobiensis (it k ), the Sinaitic Syriac manuscript, about one hundred Armenian manuscripts, and the two oldest Georgian manuscripts (written a.d. 897 and a.d. 913). Clement of Alexandria and Origen show no knowledge of the existence of these verses; furthermore Eusebius and Jerome attest that the passage was absent from almost all Greek copies of Mark known to them. The original form of the Eusebian sections (drawn up by Ammonius) makes no provision for numbering sections of the text after 16:8. Not a few manuscripts which contain the passage have scribal notes stating that the older Greek copies lack it, and in other witnesses the passage is marked with asterisks or obeli, the conventional signs used by copyists to indicate a spurious addition to the document.”

“It is obvious that the expanded form of the long ending (4) has no claim to be original. Not only is the external evidence extremely limited, but the expansion contains several non-Markan words and expressions…”

Thus Mark is not only deluged with attacks throughout the centuries to force it to conform to ‘popular’ tradition, but ends with the enigmatic phrase; “…for they were afraid.”

“But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him, as he told you.”

One of the amazing facts about the Gospels, the Interpreter’s Bible, and a number of independent theologians, is the conflict concerning where the first appearance of Jesus took place.

“”…it is still not certain that the earliest resurrection appearances took place in Galilee. Presumably the older narrative (omitting vs. 7) pointed to a Jerusalem appearance (cf. Luke-Acts), but the interpolator of vs. 7 and of 14:28 (Mark himself?) knew that the appearance took place in Galilee.”

It is as though the women are discounted as non-beings throughout. The first appearance of Jesus after the crucifixion was in Jerusalem, to the women disciples. He did not appear in Galilee first, nor did Jesus appears to the eleven first. It is obvious that even in the modern mind, women are second rate citizens to whom no spiritual, or religiously consequential event can be attributed.

If Mark is as silent as the empty tomb and the women, the other Gospels are not. Through whatever witnesses, or tradition they used, their details are vivid about a living, physical Jesus. And if they were not aware of the ‘saved Jesus’ story the Gospels announce to us, then a miraculously ‘risen Jesus’ is the only other explanation available to them. In a world where such events were commonplace, especially through their most forceful religions, there would be nothing strange in adopting such an observance for the growing church.

“And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him. Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid; go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me.”

This is the first appearance of Jesus after the crucifixion, it is official. He is found to be whole and physical by the women, they touch his living body. Then he appears to the eleven in Galilee.

“Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted.”

More secrets! Obviously the Gospels lack a great deal of detail, for we are told that somewhere, at some time, Jesus has instructed the disciples where they are to meet, and when.

“Into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them.” There are unmistakably more appearances than even the Gospels can testify to, and as at the entrance into Jerusalem, secrets to which we are not privy.

At this point, Jesus delivers his commission that the Apostles go into the world teaching the nations and baptizing in the power of the Father, the son, and the Holy Ghost. It is unfortunate that not until centuries after the writing of the Synoptic Gospels was there any concept of a holy Trinity.

“Such a faith naturally issues in the concept of the Trinity. Paul had frequently linked Jesus with God and the Holy Spirit (e.g., II Cor. 13:14; I Cor. 12:4-6), and the ideas of the fourth Gospel provide the groundwork for the later doctrine. This verse in Matthew is evidence that the threefold name is coming to be used in baptism in place of the earlier formula “in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 2:38; 8:16; etc.).”

In Matthew, the women run to tell the Apostles, but they are not believed.

“Now it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told this to the Apostles, but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them.”

Though much of Luke’s writing about Jesus’ appearance to the Apostles is attributed to later editions, most of them from John’s Gospel, Jesus is shown as trying to impress the disciples with the reality of his physical, living body.

It is also additional proof that even the Gospels of Matthew and Luke have been added to by much later evangelists, using whatever expanded material they may have had to work from.

“Have you anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate before them.”

In John, the investigator might well be prepared to find anything. It is in this late Gospel that the writer pronounces Jesus as God. In remarking about the great commission, we have the following expert commentary.

“It is appropriate to worship one who has all authority in heaven and on earth. This is the universal faith of the early Christians, and it differs only in terminology and emphasis from John’s doctrine that Jesus is God (John 1:1; 10:30; 20:28)

We may be assured that by the time of John’s writing, many of the church’s doctrine’s had already begun to develop, though they were in an infant stage. John may also be considered a ‘mystery writing’, for spiritualism is at its height in that epistle. With its Greek mysticism, it comes very close to being branded as, Gnostic.

In John, Jesus first appears to Mary Magdalene. But he appears to her in a manner in which she does not recognize him. “…but she did not know that it was Jesus.”

“Jesus said to her, “Mary,” she turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher).”

In Luke, Jesus also appears to two of his own disciples, and they do not recognize him.

“While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were kept from recognizing him.”

These metaphysical appearances are readily accepted by evangelists and theologians alike, when they occurred after the resurrection. But Jesus was not restricted by their beliefs, for he does the very same thing after preaching in the synagogue.

“At these words the whole congregation were infuriated. They leapt up, threw him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which it was built, meaning to hurl him over the edge. But he walked straight through them all, and went away.”

“Passing through the midst of them implies that Jesus was miraculously invulnerable to mob violence (cf. John 7:30).”

It might be well here to site two examples, one of which we have already investigated. The first, agrees with the ‘hidden’ story the Gospels tell us about the crucifixion. The words of the, Holy Qur’an, speak of the tradition we have been examining.

“…whereas they slew him not, nor did they compass his death upon the cross, but he was made to appear to them like one crucified to death…”

Amongst the, Dead Sea Scrolls, there is a text entitled, The Second Treatise Of The Great Seth. It is part of the Nag Hammadi text and its dialogue is commented upon by Joseph A. Gibbons and Roger A. Bullard. The work is done as though from the viewpoint of Jesus himself, and is admitted to be both Christian and Gnostic in its concepts.

“I did not succumb to them as they had planned. But I was not afflicted at all. Those who were there punished me. And I did not die in reality but in appearance, lest I be put to shame by them…”

“Yes, they saw me; they punished me. It was another, their father”, (is the writer referring to Alexander and Rufus, Simon’s sons), “who drank the gall and the vinegar, it was not I. They struck me with the reed; it was another, Simon, who bore the cross on his shoulder… and I subjected all their powers. For as I came downward no one saw me. For I was altering my shapes, changing from form to form…”

It can be readily understood how variant traditions take hold. Here, Jesus uses his power to vanish before men, just as the Gospels depict him. Thus an escape that several ancient orders accepted, possibly hinting that some of the text we think is newly discovered, may have been part of their written or oral doctrine.

The churches tradition may well have begun with Paul, for we are given the first example of Christian doctrine in his letters.

“And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures. And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve…”

“The earliest evidence we have is that which Paul sets forth (1 Corinthians 15:3-8.”

The ‘earlier evidence’ lacks validity on several points. It leaves out the women who were the first to see Jesus, it indicates a burial which was actually an entombment, and Paul’s Greek text does not speak of a ‘rising from the dead’.

At any case, in John and the other Gospels, the appearances of Jesus may well be explained by his never having died on the cross. He goes to every length possible to prove that he is a living, breathing human being. Those medicines necessary to saving his life had been supplied, in quantity.

After appearing to Mary, Jesus later appears to the disciples.

“Late that Sunday evening, when the disciples were together behind locked doors, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them. ‘Peace be with you!’ he said, and then showed them his hands and his side.”

John creates a problem here, for the Gospel insists that the disciples were behind locked doors, for fear of the Jews. This is out of place since Luke and Acts indicate that they taught and practiced their religion openly in the synagogue in Jerusalem every day.

Thomas is not at the meeting, and doubts the report of the disciples.

“A week later his disciples were again in the room, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them, saying, “Peace be with you!” Then he said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here; see my hands. Reach your hand here and put it into my side. Be unbelieving no longer, but believe.”

Jesus does everything possible to convince the disciples that he is physically alive, that he is no apparition, no spirit.

“But they were startled and frightened, and supposed that they saw a spirit. And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do questionings rise in your hearts? See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself; handle me, and see; for a spirit has not flesh and bones as you see that I have.”

He never mentions that he has been raised from the dead, he never even suggests this miraculous raising. Nor were the disciples made privy to the act that kept him alive, that saved him from death. After all, he did not advise them of the secret arrangements he had made for entering Jerusalem, and he had not allowed them to have a knowledge of preparations for the upper room. This might also indicate that on many occasions, Jesus acted without the disciples’ knowledge.

However, there is one more proof text that lends itself directly to the subject of the resurrection. With the advent of, The Dead Sea Scrolls, information comes to us that helps to enlighten our understanding of the historical, and biblical, Jesus. Those in power in the earthly church immediately condemned these writings as spurious, or heretical. Most of the time, those officials had no idea what was in the text, but in some instances they were aware that these were the very records that the Roman world had fought so desperately to destroy through the centuries.

In the minds of many, The Gospel According To Thomas, is as valid as any of the synoptic Gospels, and certainly John. At one point those who translated this work had planned to extend their first effort into a far more thorough and extensive volume.

“What follows is nothing more than a fragment of a work which is much more extensive and complete: a critical, scholarly edition of The Gospel According To Thomas, which will include a long introduction devoted to the various problems… This volume will be published in the near future.”

That work has never come into being. Why? The possibilities are that Thomas evidences a tradition so divergent from the ‘church’s’ doctrine that the authors would not dare to publish the work, nor to make that knowledge common among the adherents of Christianity.

“His disciples said: Show us the place where Thou art, for it is necessary for us to seek it.”

This is a ‘post-resurrection’ statement, but here the tense is far different than John 14:5. The disciples appear to be asking Jesus where he is, so they can go there. Jesus answers with a statement that usually preceded a ‘mystery’ statement, an answer or parable that was not to be known by any other than his apostles.

“He said to them: Whoever has ears to hear, let him hear.”

“Thomas said to him: “Lord, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?”

The response that follows is introduced in this place, but does not fit the question. In Thomas, wherever Jesus was going, he is already there, and the disciples seem desirous of following him.

It is very possible that the ‘church’ demanded a ‘physical’ resurrection in order to waylay the truth of the matter. We cannot have a ‘saved’ Jesus and retain the doctrine of the hierarchy of Christianity. We cannot have a ‘living’ Jesus and still maintain that a human sacrifice, a blood offering, is the only means to man’s salvation. In truth, one does not get more pagan than to continue a doctrine of blood offerings and human sacrifice, which The Lord God has condemned.

In the section we have just quoted, John demands that Jesus’ appearances be miraculous. For the entire beginning of Acts, the speeches of Peter are made in public. People join their ranks daily. At one point, and this is after the Day of Pentecost, a host come forward to join the Apostles and the community of believers.

“Then those who accepted his word were baptized, and some three thousand were added to their number that day.”

It would have been difficult to administer to Jesus’ commission, and impossible to baptize three thousand from behind locked doors. However, one must accept that which is laid upon their hearts by God’s spirit. The evidence has been offered and can be attested to by the authorities and the works named.

If one knows the history of the Jerusalem church, the Apostles, Jews to the end, were not under any threat from the Temple or the synagogue. But the newly arrived Hellenists, were. It was that small group who proclaimed that Judaism was over, ended, and that its natural extension was Christianity.

When Stephen was killed, it was that group of Christians who fled from Jerusalem, the Hellenists. The Judaizers were not forced to run for their lives. In fact, just the opposite is true, they continued to practice their religion with the addition of preaching that Jesus was Messiah. The communal meal was offered, and the teacher’s words were taught to the newly formed congregation.

Nothing else changed for them, they continued their practice as Jews within that community, unaware that a dark and threatening future lay ahead. One had come into the world who would change everything that Jesus had laid down.

NEW: Mesopotamia

Explore the ancient writings of Mesopotamia, with our newly hosted texts from Sumer and Babylon. Also added are comparative studies of Sumerian and Assyrian legend in comparison to the Old Testament - all at the new Mesopotamia section.