An Affair on Golgotha

A. Victor Garaffa

Thus says The Lord

“Stand by the roads, and look,

and ask for the ancient paths,

where the good way is; and walk in it,

and find rest for your souls.

PREFACE

The quest for the truth can be a painful endeavor. The discovery of facts we do not wish to acknowledge may well have to be accepted. But the honest savant, the virtuous student, will embrace the truth whether it favors, or disproves, their argument. And those matters we dare to investigate may be destructive and threatening to others who do not favor such studies.

The Holy Qur’an makes note of the following concerning the examination of certain situations concerning Jesus’ death. It is a statement of wisdom, and should be followed in the research of any uncertain situation.

“…test the crucial question by putting together other incidents relating to the affair and you will arrive at the truth.” (The Holy Qur’an; Surah 2:73)

And there is much to examine, starting with Jesus’ arrest, his ‘mock’ trial before part of the membership of the Sanhedrin, his meeting with Herod, the public trial conducted by Pontius Pilate, and the crucifixion.

We must scrutinize Jesus’ treatment by Pilate and by the Italian Cohort, and the very possible intervention of Roman soldiers during his term on the cross. References to the time of day are extremely important, and the conditions surrounding the area become tantamount to ascertaining the correctness of ancient biblical scribes.

The real possibility of the corruption of Barabbas’ name might well indicate a corruption of biblical text, and why? Was it done to preserve a truth, or to preserve a false tradition of men? Was it done with purpose, or is it merely another ecclesiastic error with which the New Testament abounds?

And there are several very important clues given to us by the Bible itself, including the formula for calculating Easter Sunday, and the practices of the Jerusalem Church.

One must accept the fact that we would be fortunate indeed if forty percent of the Gospels are unadulterated text. They have been filled with addendums and additions, edited to the point of totally corrupting the original documents, coupled with clerical mistakes and improper translations throughout.

Deeper research into the herbal solutions and drugs that were used during and after the crucifixion, a period of three to three and a half hours, is demanded. This is not done for the sake of argument but for the sake of unveiling the true nature of that which has become the center of the Christian religion.

And if necessary, we must dispel the unworthy argument of the priesthood whose only defense is the dog-eared contention that, “…these things are considered miracles, and since miracles are beyond the understanding of men, they cannot be questioned.”

If this is true, then Jesus’ admonition for us to ‘ask’, ‘knock’, and ‘seek’, so that we may ‘receive’, is a falsehood, and God is an unworthy Father. No God-fearing, honest student will ever accept this dogmatic attitude or its insinuations.

It must be remembered that it was not the Apostles who began the ‘mystery’ of a human sacrifice whose shed blood was a washing of regeneration for the forgiveness of man’s sins. It was not the chosen twelve of Jesus who made him a ‘sin-eater’, or a ‘scapegoat’, nor his death the center of Christian doctrine.

If this is all that Jesus has become for the ‘faithful’, then they have been led down a deceitful path. It is a wide road that leads many to believe that all wrongs, no matter how horrific, will be forgiven if they repent, and no punishment will be suffered; that all things, as long as they are done in Christ’s name, are acceptable and proper in God’s eye.

And to many congregations today within the various sects of Christianity, Jesus has become the ‘one god’. They are ignorant of the Christ’s warnings against such a belief and the consequences that it will bring.

Now, at the onset of the Lenten season, at the emergence of the first Easter of the millennium, the moment has come for the truth to be revealed. This we do in defense of the Apostles’ faith, and in the light of the true Christ.

INTRODUCTION

Since the days when Jesus walked this earth, the followers of the faith have waited patiently for the, Parousia. The Apostles expected it momentarily, and when their master was no longer with them, they ‘knew’ it was upon them. The kingdom never came. Modern evangelists said that they had misinterpreted Jesus’ words and the signs of the time.

Paul was assured that it was imminent, that it would happen in his lifetime; surely it would come before his death. It never came. Modern evangelists said that he had misinterpreted Jesus’ words and the signs of the time.

The early church waited for the return of Jesus, and the coming of God’s kingdom. Two thousand years later, mankind is still expectant. Just as Israel hopes for its long awaited Messiah, the return of the great king and Israel’s vaunted power and glory, the ‘church’ waits for the Parousia with bated breath. Future evangelists may say that it has misinterpreted Jesus’ words and the signs of the time, only now, there is a vast difference in who and what, it is waiting for.

Aware of his possible fate, now becoming more of a probability, Jesus fell silent. In retrospect, all that he had attempted to teach God’s children was being reduced to political intrigue. Jesus’ ministry was made to appear as nothing more than a revolutionary plot created by a man who had been foolish enough to defy the priesthood, Herod, and Rome. Many say that he had entered the Holy City with the entourage of royalty, and permitted himself to be anointed as king before he was ready to seize the throne. And worse, those closest to him were falling away.

Before we face the gauntlet there are certain facts that must be understood. To go forward in ignorance would be as bad as continuing within the frivolous traditions of man without questioning their authority and purpose. And if they differ from the truth of the ‘cornerstone’, we must ask, why?

Has man’s conceit, man’s lies, man’s deceitfulness, once again turned God’s purpose to his own ends? Jesus had warned his disciples repeatedly, even to the rebuking of Peter, of what would take place. He told them what the end of his ministry would be.

“From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed…” (Matthew 16:21 RSV)

As much as our modern day theology looks for signs and portents of the second coming of Jesus, the Parousia, so did the Apostles constantly question Jesus. When was the kingdom coming, what would be the events signaling its arrival?

“As he sat on the Mount of Olives opposite the Temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew asked him privately, “Tell us, when this will be, and what will be the sign when these things are all to be accomplished.” (Matthew 24:3 RSV)

In all of this, Jesus warned us of the great deception that would signal the end of this present age. Whether it will bring his second arrival, we do not know.

“Tell us, when shall these things be? And what shall be the sign when all these things shall be fulfilled? And Jesus answering them began to say, ‘Take heed lest any man deceive you; for many shall come [in my name], saying, I am the Christ; and shall deceive many.'” (Mark 13:4-6 RSV)

In my name, is in brackets since it was omitted in the original Greek text, a practice common in the translations that have come down to us over twenty centuries. However, Jesus’ statement is a simple one, having been interpreted as indicating the coming of false Christs and prophets, false Messiahs. But man’s deception has stretched itself so far as to mutilate the very scriptures it uses to prove its faith.

The Interpreter’s Bible notes that ‘in my name’ is possibly an edition to the text of Mark 13:6, inserted long after the original text was established. (Volume 7; Page 856) Once again we are left, not with the truth of Jesus’ words, not with the inspiration of God, but with the interference of man.

“Many shall come, saying, I am Christ, and shall deceive many.”

And in fact, the word Christos does not even appear in the Greek text. Properly read, Jesus says: “Many shall come saying oti ego eimi.” (I Am) (See: Mark 13:6, The Interlinear Greek-English New Testament) In other words, the Godhead. Where the translation improperly uses the word, Christ, the verse is properly translated, I Am, the Godhead.

“For many shall come, saying, I am God, and shall deceive many.”

To even consider the only other option, that Jesus denies that he is the Christ, would be an incredible stroke against the very doctrines of Christianity.

“And he said, Take heed that ye be not deceived; for many shall come saying, I Am; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them.” (Luke 21:8 RSV)

(Matthew 24:5)

We have always been led to understand that Jesus was speaking of others who would come as false Messiahs, but no one has suggested that Jesus was speaking of those who would come claiming that he was the, I Am, the Living God.

Jesus speaks to the disciples when they approach him about the future and coming events. Jesus answers them in simple terms, “Many shall come saying…” Christian laymen and women, disciples of teachers, ministers, pastors and evangelists, saying that the Christ is the, I Am; that he, Jesus, the anointed one of God, is God.

Well, many have been deceived, and as Jesus foretold, “…they will fool the very elect, if that be possible.” Not only ignorance, but also arrogance is proving to be man’s downfall, for if this simple statement is correctly stated, the time of the coming, is now! The kingdom is at hand.

If therefore they shall say unto you, ‘Behold, he is in the wilderness; go not forth. Behold, he is in the inner chambers; believe it not.'” (Matthew 24:26-27)

If these people were saying that they were the Christ, why would they say he is here, or he is there? No, Jesus was speaking of himself and of those who would come later attempting to deify him. Jesus would have no part of it, why should we?

Throughout Mark, Jesus is emphatic in telling the disciples not to tell this to anyone. The messianic secret turns out to be a denial of that which the Christian world has desired for God’s prophet from the beginning, that of martyrdom, resurrection, and godhood. Jesus himself denies it in these words.

“And he asked them, But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Christ.” And he charged them to tell no one about him.” (Mark 8:29-30 RSV)

If Jesus told them to tell no one about him, who told? If Jesus said, ‘don’t say it’, then who put it into writing against his wishes?

If one researches, The Interpreter’s Bible, Volume 7: Page 767, they will find that the professional theologians and interpreter’s note that the order to be silent is characteristic of Mark and is stated more than once. And it is not so much that Jesus was thought to be Messiah only after the resurrection, but that the statement was a positive repudiation of the title as being inadequate and even misleading.

Jesus insists that believing he is God is a deception and his disciples throughout time should beware of its detrimental effects. There is no dark and sinister mood to Jesus’ words, or to the writing of Mark. They are simple and straightforward.

Who do people say that I am? Though art the Christ! Who do you say that I am? Thou art the Christ. Tell this to no one! Why? Because it is not true in the sense in which the original statement translates, the Christ being God. Once more this student underlines the statement that the word, Christos, is not use in these verses, but rather, oti ego eimi, the I am, God. Only ignorance would refuse to accept what is in front of its eye.

In these verses Jesus states it plainly. What more proof do you need? It is for everyone to see into their hearts, and to accept Joshua bar Joseph in the mission and spirit in which God sent him to us. Let him live!

The warning in Mark 13:6, is repeated in Luke, using that writer’s available text, and whatever he might have had of oral tradition and the, Q manuscript.

“And he said, take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come saying, I Am; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them.” (Luke 21:8 The Interlinear Greek-English New Testament)

It is also echoed in Matthew 24:5.

“For many will come saying, I am the Christ, and they will lead many astray… and many false prophets will arise and lead many astray.” (Matthew 24: 5; Matthew 24:11 RSV)

Jesus himself breaks down the two statements as being separate issues. Many will come saying that he is Christ (I Am), and then, many false prophets will arise!

To our present generation, the warning is lethal. The claim that Jesus is God is being made by sect after sect of Christianity. It is no longer demanded solely by the Catholic Church. Jesus’ warning, the sign of the end of the age is being fulfilled today. Great change is at hand.

If anyone wishes to debate the schism between historic fact and the editorialized scriptures, let them go to any proficient dissertation concerning the Greek scriptures. The simplest and most acceptable would appear to be, Peake’s Commentary on the Bible, The Interpreter’s Bible, or The Interlinear Greek-English New Testament. In, The Interpreter’s Bible, a full exposition on the 13th Chapter of Mark is in, Volume 7; Page 853, entitled, The Apocalyptic Discourse.

There is also Bruce Metzger’s, A Textual Commentary On The Greek New Testament, and scores of other text to be studied for verification.

I will note only the opening text to underline the great importance of the layman understanding where the statements he is taught, actually come from.

According to, The Interpreter’s Bible, this chapter is considered to be composite by scholars and includes general apocalyptic material, “…not necessarily to be attributed to Jesus…” along with statements of his that are genuine. (See: Volume 7; Page 853.)

If Jesus did not say it, how dare men use this ‘sacred’ vehicle to demand that he did when they admit to the contrary? In the same manner, they have used God’s Holy Scriptures to advance their own doctrines and traditions throughout history.

There is a great deal of evidence in the Greek scriptures, and in religious history, of the church’s attempts to destroy evidence that would question their doctrine and bring tradition to its knees in the sight of truth. The church once labeled many texts being found today ‘heretical’, but they are rearing their heads in defiance of the church’s attempt to slander, if not destroy, them.

If this were not true, The Cathars, the Knights Templar, the Waldenses, and the Gnostics would still be vital, intellectual and spiritual powers in the world today. Instead, they have been martyred by the Church’s genocidal attacks.

And so today it seems that many facets of Christianity have turned to proclaiming the great theological movement of the 80’s and 90’s. Most especially the Catholic and Protestant sects that proclaim Jesus is god stand out as the most prominent examples. The great, ‘Christ, I Am’, theology has overtaken all other things, and to validate man’s tradition even our own secular works have been changed, i.e., the 1954 edition of Webster’s Dictionary.

“Sect, any person or persons who worship a man as God.”

The 1978 edition of Webster’s Dictionary suddenly announces:

“Sect, a dissenting or schismatic religious body.”

To prove the newest of upheavals, The Gospel According To John, has been restored and placed at its theological head. It is being used as the basis for the claim that Jesus of Nazareth is God.

We are told that it was authored by John, the disciple. Arguments against its authority are, (1) John would have been of extraordinary old age, (2) as a Galilean Jew of the orthodoxy; the text exhibits a definite, anti-Semitic nature, (3) the Church would be permitting a Gnostic text into their doctrine, which they once attempted to wipe out in its entirety, (4) the church’s permissiveness would allow the use, and manipulation, of a five hundred year old text that originally appeared as Plato’s, Ode To Wisdom, and (5) the admission of a document purported to be genuine to Jesus’ words and actions that appear almost one hundred and seventy years after the fact.

Explicit explanation of the argument are as follows. The Interpreter’s Bible: Volume 7; Page 887, notes that in this Gospel, “…where intense hatred of the Jews is frequently given expression…” gives voice to point (2).

The preface of the Gospel, “In the beginning was the word…” (John 1:1) is well known to have originally been an ode to Wisdom created by Greek philosophers five hundred years before an unknown evangelist adapted it for use in the Gospel, which dates approximately one hundred seventy years after the fact.

The Interpreter’s Bible, agrees that the word, Logos, is borrowed from the original where it represented divine reason. Philo of Alexandria uses this word more than thirteen hundred times in his expositions of the Old Testament. (See: I.B.: Volume 7; Page 442).

The Gospel’s rampant mysticism, and Greek philosophical treatise, have brought us full circle to an age long abandoned by the ancient societies of Greece and the Roman Empire. The coming to earth of the gods, giving up eternal life to be a sacrifice for man, or for lovers, only to be forgiven by Zeus and reinstated to eternal life. Risen, fallen, and risen again, it enjoins the ancient Greek philosophy of Zeno (circa 500 B.C.), concerning the spirit of man, the original trinity, which was later adapted by Christianity to further complicate its adopted doctrine.

A dozen pagan rites, including the most powerful, that of Mythranism, repeat this story over and over again before Christianity ever became a dream in man’s mind. And these entangled philosophies are used to substantiate the new theological hope, along with edited scripture, a foreign philosophy, and an ancient expectancy. And if you doubt this statement, the truth of the matter is about to be brought into the light.

Still, the risen Christ has not returned. And who is it, while waiting, instructs those who are the body of believers in such ‘doctrines’?

It must be understood, without question, that Christianity today is not the church that Jesus founded, nor is it based on the principles that he taught. What proof do we have? Are Jesus’ own words enough?

“He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you Simon bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 13:15-20 RSV)

There are those pastors in this society who would claim that Jesus was speaking about himself yet here, ‘this rock’, modifies Peter. Jesus is specific in the powers that will append with this action, and he does not indicate that ‘he’ will have this authority, but, ‘you’, Peter!

Jesus did not choose Paul, yet the church today is based on Paul’s tenets, not Peter’s. The original mission of the church, and its founders, has been subverted to Paul’s Hellenistic philosophy and a dictatorial tradition totally foreign to Jesus’ teachings. Does the church not obey the ordinances of the one it now calls, God?

It is Paul who announced the martyred ‘lamb’ and the sacrificial blood of a human sacrifice to atone for our sins, not the Christ, and certainly not Peter. It is Paul who demands that we observe the bloodied sacrament of, Communion, not the Christ, not Peter, James, or John, and certainly not the Jerusalem Church.

The longer we demand that Christianity fit our desires rather than God’s, the longer we will continue to add to, and take away from, the word that was original to the first century church. Little enough remains of the primitive Gospels and the tradition that went with them. Truth has been destroyed to fit man’s whim. Nothing could be more menacing in an age gone mad because of man’s greed and aspirations for power. It would be the greatest mistake possible to forget the Palestinian Christian church and the faith of the Apostles.

Jesus was positive in noting that, “If the blind lead the blind, they will both end up in the ditch.” To accept the dictates of men over the word of God is to invite certain disaster.

Warned by Jesus, in the few words we know to be his own, we continue to defy his rite to rule his own destiny. We seem determined to have our own way, refusing to let him be what he actually was, refusing to accept the truth out of our misbegotten arrogance.

One who taught that he was sent by the Father, who came to do his Father’s will and not his own, who taught us to pray, “Our Father, which art in heaven…”, is made the unwilling godhead that he warned us against. Now, nearing the completion of his ministry, in silent anguish, he has his hearing before the men who hated him. How much worse have they done who say they love him?

THE ARREST

“Then the chief priests and the elders of the people gathered in the palace of the High Priest, who was called Caiaphas, and took counsel together in order to arrest Jesus by stealth and kill him. (Matthew 26:3-4)

The Gospels indicate the extent of Jesus’ popularity. The priesthood feared the crowds that followed him, and his power over them. They held him in the same esteem that Herod had for John, they were afraid that he might cause an uprising against them.

“But they said, ‘Not during the feast lest there be a tumult among the people.'” (Matthew 26:5 RSV)

“And he was teaching daily in the Temple. The chief priests and the scribes and the principal men of the people sought to destroy him, but they did not find anything they could do, for all the people hung on his words.” (Luke 19:47-48 RSV)

“The scribes and the chief priests tried to lay hands on him at that very hour, but they feared the people…” (Luke 20:19 RSV)

Let’s be realistic. If the reading of the passion story calls up visions of dark midnight meetings and secret rendezvous with the Apostles, we are sadly mistaken. The crowds spoken of here, who were in Jerusalem for the Passover, numbered in the thousands. Every room in the city and its suburbs was filled. People slept in the streets and in the fields and hills surrounding Jerusalem.

Jesus’ personal following numbered in the dozens, if not more than a hundred. Those who were closest to him, including his family, women like Mary Magdelene, Mary the mother of James, Mary and Martha, Salome,* and Mary his mother; workers, self-proclaimed disciples, and the Apostles. *(The Gospel According to Thomas: Harper and Row; 1959: Pl. 9; Log 63: 30-31. “Salome said: I am Thy disciple.”) And now, after his thunderous entrance into the city, crowds followed everywhere.

Jesus and the twelve were never alone and when they managed to separate themselves from the pressing crowd it was only to be a few yards away. And at every moment, eyes watched and ears listened.

In this scenario it would have been almost impossible to arrest him when he was alone, in the light of day or at night. Even when he was in Bethany in the house of Simon, many people surrounded him including Lazarus’ sister, Mary, who had anointed him with oil.

In the eyes of his enemies, those who saw him as a figure of power, it had been an act of sedition. It was the symbolic anointing of a king. In the end, Pilate used the moment to embarrass and humiliate the Jews by naming Jesus, King of the Jews. The eyes of Rome, along with the Herods, the chief priests and scribes, and the zealots, were everywhere. And all of them, including the people, knew him by sight!

We are now at the hour of passion, the Passover feast, which has been the subject of continuing argument and dissertation. Though the oldest of Gospel narratives to be given fixed oral form, or to be set to writing, the Passion narrative has stirred up conjecture due to the ease with which continuing generations have changed it.

The Interpreter’s Bible, is very specific concerning this practice. They note that even after the written Gospel of Mark appeared, the narrative grew with changes and additions being made to it. This volume even suspects that the writer of the Gospel modified and added to a pre-Marcan narrative. (Volume 7; Page 866)

When do we come to the end of this deception? Words are translated improperly, mistakes are made and accepted as truth, assumptions are put into print, original text is changed at the whim of non-descript, unknown individuals, and it is all left in place as though it were part of the original Gospel.

The story of the Passover meal has created controversy over the years, for many say that it was not the Passover meal that Jesus and the disciples celebrated.

If one researches, The Interpreter’s Bible, the lengthy explanation can be explored, but for this work we may note, “…that the passage originally recounted the last supper of Jesus with his disciples, and that this has been rewritten by Mark as an account of a Passover meal.” (Volume 7; Page 876)

All of this over a proper timing of the crucifixion. Jesus is depicted as having been crucified at the very hour of the sacrifice of the paschal lambs, which precedes the Passover by one full day. (Nisan 15) Thus, all Christian theology points to a memorialization of the Passover, which has become the Eucharist. Jesus and his disciples celebrated their last meal together, a symbolic feast, which, as the Gospels point out, included prayer, the blessings as, pronounced by the male head of the family, and chanted hymns.

This scenario was actually a narrative explaining the beginnings of the Lord’s supper as observed in Gentile Christianity. I Corinthians 11:23-25, only refers to the night in which Jesus was betrayed. And this dialog raises more than one valid question. (The Interpreter’s Bible: Volume 7; Page 876)

Historical data reveals that a Dispora Passover was once held on the eve of the 14th of Nisan, instead of the regular date of the 15th. The release of, The Dead Sea Scrolls, teaches us that there were differences in calendar used in various parts and sects of Judaism. The solar calendar was used at Qumran, and their writings indicate that the community of Essenes always celebrated Passover on Tuesdays. If Jesus and the disciples followed such a calendar, there would have been enough time both for the Sanhedrin and Pilate’s activities. But it creates another problem. How could such a tradition be forgotten so completely that the Synoptic Gospels all conform to the official Jewish calendar? (Peake’s Commentary on the Bible: Page 795; 693e: Matthew 26:17-19)

If one returns to pages 38, 41, 115 and 189 of the thesis, In Defense Of The Apostles’ Faith, they will find examples where this same question has been asked before. It is not just one case in question, but many. How could the writers of the Gospels have been so misinformed about their own recent history and the religious practices of their own people?

There can be only two answers to this question. Either the evangelists wrote the Gospels far later than we are led to believe and these matters had long been forgotten, or that they were not eyewitnesses and were writing from a tradition that was completely foreign to the actual events. Here we have an instance where learned theologians are asking the same question as the lay-student.

Peake’s Commentary on the Bible, shows us that a proper knowledge of Jewish practices belies ‘intellectual’ endeavors and they are pushed aside as a reckless attempt to justify the lack of understanding, or awareness, of the political and religious divisions that haunted Palestine during this period. The Passover meal and the celebrations discussed within the volumes of theological dissertation deal with the practices of the Jerusalem Jews of the first century. It is further proof of a nation divided over the priesthood and its practices.

Jesus and his followers, which include not only the disciples but those faithful who followed him on the road and his friends in Bethany, were not Jerusalem Jews, they were Galilean Jews. Their religious practices were quite different, as were the practices of the Hasidic Jews.

Julian Morgenstern states that the Galilean Jews practiced in strict conformity to Exodus 12: 1-14. Their celebration of the Passover festival began on the 14th of Nisan while the Jerusalem Jews practiced it, as they do today, on the 15th of Nisan. (The Interpreter’s Bible: Volume 7; Page 572)

It was the Passover meal as Jesus would have practiced it as a Galilean Jew, a Nazarite, and a follower and expounder of the Law of Moses. That was his personal statement, and it would follow that it was also his habit. It is no more contrary than the difference in dates celebrating Easter and Christmas between the Roman Catholic Church and the Greek or Russian Orthodox Church. In this case Jesus’ honoring of the Law only supports the Gospel stories, and the very important possibility that in this matter, they have not been changed.

The chronological events that follow come into line with this bit of information. What follows during the dinner itself has been altered to fit the growing doctrinal policies of Paul. That the Twelve ever considered such a doctrine is highly unlikely and is not part of the known practices of the primitive Church.

Paul’s early genius prescribed sacramental acts that were eventually made part of his congregations’ activities, and deeply influenced the very Gospels that the mother Church in Jerusalem attempted to protect. Paul’s concept stated that Jesus’ blood availed for the forgiveness of sins (Romans 3:25; Ephesians 2:13; I John 1:7) Eventually, this concept influenced Matthew and it was added to the text. (The Interpreter’s Bible: Volume 7; Page 575)

Thus it is not Jesus or the Disciples who initiate the, Communion, but Saul of Tarsus, and there is no known act like it celebrated in the Jerusalem Church.

Mark’s tradition is very old and can be reconciled with both Passover and habhurah practices. Jesus, as the father or host at any Jewish meal, blessed and broke the bread. (The Interpreter’s Bible: Volume 7; Page 575)

What Jesus said during the meal is unimportant to this study. Much of it is drawn on Old Testament scripture and doctrine. Some of it has been added to from the writings of Paul. However, over the centuries the activities that took place that evening have become the sacramental doctrine of Christianity. (The Interpreter’s Bible: Volume 7; Page 574 on Matthew 26:26-28; Page 575 on Matthew 26:30; Page 577 on Matthew 26:26:31, etc)

The very essence of the ‘body and blood’ envisioned in the communion service are argued daily by various sects of Christianity. The reality of this sacrament varies from those groups who perform it as a ‘remembrance’ and are aware that the wine, or grape juice (an argument of its own) and bread, or matzoth (another bone of contention) are just that, to those who state that they are the actual ‘flesh and blood’ of Jesus.

No amount of rancor is going to force any theologian to assist us in dating the sacrament, but it is certainly the oldest of the acts performed among Paul’s congregations. In the primitive church among Jesus’ disciples, it was practiced as the, Common Meal, in which all members participated and shared. It was a meal taken with the joyous belief that they would repeat it with Jesus upon his return.

It was a meal of expectation and not the brooding, distempered ‘sacrament’ that Paul established and demanded that his congregations practice.

After the meal, Jesus makes a vow to the disciples. He states that he will not drink again of, “…this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you…” (Matthew 26:29 RSV)

The end of the meal has come, and Judas is gone. The Gospel stories tell us that they sang a hymn and then walked to the Mount of Olives. At that point, Jesus tells the disciples where he will meet them again. Not in Jerusalem, not in the kingdom, but in Galilee.

In answer to Jesus’ admonition that all of them will desert him, Peter responds with bravado.

“Peter declared to him, “Though they all fall away because of you, I will never fall away.” (Matthew 26:33 RSV)

When faced with the reality of extreme personal danger and death, none of us knows how he will act or who he may deny. None of the disciples left Jesus at the outset, but stood ready to defend him with drawn sword. All four Gospel stories point out only too well that even here, on the Mount, he was surrounded by the faithful and crowds of admirers, many of who were armed and would have taken up the call to defend him.

All four Gospels tell us that one in Jesus’ group does take up a sword to protect him; only adding another crime to the long list of charges, armed rebellion.

“And behold, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword, and struck the slave of the High Priest, and cut off his ear.” (Matthew 26:51 RSV)

“But one of those who stood by drew his sword, and struck the slave of the High Priest.” (Mark 14:47 RSV)

“He said to them, ‘But now, let him who has a purse take it, and likewise a bag. And let him who has no sword sell his mantle and buy one…’ And they said, ‘Look, Lord, here are two swords.’ And he said to them, ‘It is enough.'” (Luke 22:36-38 RSV)

“Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the High Priest’s slave…” (John 18:10 RSV)

It is not necessary to question the actions of others, not even Judas Iscariot, for the end of Jesus’ ministry was to be determined by Pilate and the Italian cohort. Now, only the proper time keeps the priesthood from carrying out their plot.

“Judas, who betrayed him, said, ‘Is it I, Master?’ He said to him, ‘You have said so.'” (Matthew 26:25 RSV)

“And they paid him thirty pieces of silver. And from that moment he sought an opportunity to betray him.” (Matthew 26:14-16 RSV)

To even consider such a plot is incredible under the circumstances. However, why would Judas even consider doing such a thing? Mark 14:11 is an ancient tradition but would money have been enough of a motive for a disciple to betray Jesus? The Interpreter’s Bible, brings up the single motive of trying to force Jesus to lead a revolt against the Romans. Perhaps he felt that Jesus could be coerced into defending himself and asserting his ‘kingship’ under threatening circumstances. (The Interpreter’s Bible: Volume 7; Page 571)

Jesus did tell the disciples to buy themselves a sword, and one of them did use a sword against those who came to arrest Jesus. Taken along with the triumphal entry into the Holy City, and Mary’s anointing, Judas’ purpose becomes clear. These verses also seem to fulfill the theologian’s theory. (The Interpreter’s Bible: Volume 7; Page 571)

As for money, Judas was the group’s treasurer, he held the purse strings and as is easily proven these men were not poor. Money would hardly have been a motive.

But at this point we must consider the bulk of biblical text, and a serious question must be asked. What was it that Judas betrayed?

Everyone, especially the priesthood, scribes, and elders, knew Jesus. He was known to the agents of Herod and to Rome, by sight. He was a familiar figure to the throngs that he taught in the Temple every day and to those who camped on the Mount with him every night. As Jesus said to those who came to arrest him:

“I sat daily with you teaching in the Temple.”

They also knew where Jesus was after the evening meal and during the hours of darkness. He was watched constantly, and there were any number of people who, at any moment, knew who he was and where.

Luke 21:37; “And every day he was teaching in the Temple, but at night he went out and lodged on the Mount called Olivet.” (The Interpreter’s Bible: Volume 7; Page 878)

Luke 22:39; “And he came out, and went, as was his custom to the Mount of Olives; and the disciples followed him.”

“And every day he was teaching in the Temple, but at night he went out and lodged on the mount called Olivet. And in the morning all the people came to him in the Temple to hear him.” (Luke 21:37-38 RSV)

The Bible tells us that Jesus’ habits and whereabouts were well documented, so why would Judas’ dramatized ‘betrayal’ even necessary? It serves nothing! And what we learn next stretches belief to a very thin line.

“While he was still speaking, Judas came, one of the twelve, and with him a great crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the elders of the people.” (Matthew 26:47 RSV)

There are no Roman soldiers evident in Matthew’s story. The Interpreter’s Bible, believes the arrest was made at night, by an armed mob, because they considered Jesus a revolutionary. They feared that he might resist them, which the Bible indicates he did, to a point. (The Interpreter’s Bible: Volume 7; Page 582)

But stop and think, if they thought him a revolutionary, the members of the Sanhedrin would have had no power to arrest him. Mark, the older of the Gospels tells us that Judas came, “…and with him a crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders.” (Mark 14:43 RSV)

Luke says that it was only a crowd, but John goes beyond expectation, and we must wonder if that writer did not see Jesus’ problems much as we have. At least John has the proper authority go out to take one guilty of, sedition.

“So Judas, procuring a band of soldiers and some officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, went there with lanterns and torches and weapons.” (John 18:3 RSV)

“So the band of soldiers and their captains and the officers of the Jews seized Jesus and bound him.” (John 18:12 RSV)

The band of soldiers might have been Romans, but since Jesus fell under Herod’s jurisdiction and not Rome’s, they were probably part of Herod’s contingent. Scripture tells us that Herod was in Jerusalem during the Passover celebration, and his troop might be the more likely to turn Jesus over to the High Priest. The Roman cohort certainly would not have done so.

And an additional point may also be made here. The Romans would have never hesitated to arrest Jesus during the day, regardless of the crowds in attendance. They had spilled Galilean blood often enough under Sabinus and Pontius Pilate, and in the Temple itself. The Herodians, however, were even more terrified of Jesus’ power over the multitudes than they had been of John. Herod most certainly would not have attempted such an act in broad daylight.

The further we move from the event in history, the greater the army becomes that was sent to take him. Their numbers grow and their rank increases with every moment. And in this mass of troops, with lights glowing and sabers clashing, the trampling mob goes ‘stealthily’ up the Mount, moving through a multitude of encamped pilgrims without causing so much as a stir in their number. Incredible!

And theologians and professional students of scripture also envision this very picture. It is noted that although Judas’ ‘kiss’ has become a permanent part of the tradition, it is hard to understand why. Gethsemane could not be considered a desolate area at night when there were pilgrims “…all over the place.” (Peake’s Commentary on the Bible: Page 795; 693l; Matthew 47-56)

The only logical reason one can hope to give to this entire story is that history had to have a scapegoat! If Judas did act in the manner we have before us, he does not point out an unknown, disguised figure, and in lieu of the bulk of Biblical evidence, betrays nothing!

The arrest is made, by whom we can only conjecture. Jesus is taken to Caiaphas for a mock trial, a drumhead court. There was to be no religious accusation made against him, no sacrilegious condemnation, but only the cries of insurrectionist and revolutionary.

“In that same hour said Jesus to the multitude; ‘Are ye come out as against a thief with swords and staves to take me? I sat daily with you teaching in the Temple, and ye laid no hold on me.'” (Matthew 26:55 RSV)

Each of the synoptic Gospels carries these words of Jesus. Obviously he knows why they did not arrest him during the day, so even now he attacks their cowardice. But the metaphor of a ‘thief’, or ‘robber’, is enlightening. The Greek word is, ‘lestes’, and of it, the following is noted.

The word is used by Josephus to describe revolutionists who used violent nationalism (e.g., Antiquities XX.8.5). “Jesus was not one of these…” (The Interpreter’s Bible: Volume 7; Page 584)

The student who wrote this line must certainly have been ignorant of the ‘hard line’ Jesus openly expounded against the priesthood. Nothing more need be said on this point, the Gospels speak for themselves.

DRUMHEAD

“From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed…” (Matthew 16:21 RSV)

Was Jesus foretelling his own death, or does the original Greek text say other than what tradition has held to all these centuries” ‘To be killed,’ apoktanthena’, in the original Greek, when pertaining to those who are judging someone, “Of judges, to be condemned to death.” (A Critical Lexicon And Concordance To The English Ad Greek New Testament: Bullinger: Page 431: kill).

Jesus is not speaking about Pilate, though Pilate condemned him to death but did not kill him. He is not speaking about an executioner, but of the judgment he must suffer at the hands of the priesthood As will be shown more clearly, the Sanhedrin did not have the power to execute a judgment on the basis of their complaints against Jesus. They did not have the authority to condemn, but only to accuse.

All four Gospel narratives agree upon that Jesus was taken before the High Priest. That he was taken to Pilate is not denied, but that ends the similarity of the stories. Once again we are forced to pry between the lines to ascertain what really happened, and what were Jesus’ actual words and actions.

“And they led Jesus to the High Priest; and all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes were assembled.” (Mark 14:53 RSV)

“Then those who seized Jesus led him to Caiaphas the High Priest, where the scribes and elders had gathered.” (Matthew 26:57)

“Then they seized him and led him away, bringing him into the High Priest’s house.” (Luke 22:54)

There is almost universal agreement that Jesus was not taken before the entire Sanhedrin, or in fact, before a large gathering of officials. The reasons are numerous and have been gone over countless times by experts. The simplest evidence is placed before us by the Gospels themselves. If Jesus had been taken before the entire Sanhedrin, it certainly would not have convened at the High Priest’s mansion, and most assuredly not on the eve of the High Holy Passover.

Luke states that Jesus was taken to Caiaphas’ residence, and the other Gospels agree when talking about Peter, who followed Jesus after the arrest, at a discreet distance.

“Then a maid, seeing him as he sat in the light…” (Luke 22:55 RSV)

“And as Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the maids of the High Priest came…” (Mark 15:66 RSV)

“Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard, and a maid came up to him…” (Matthew 26:69 RSV)

We know at once that this is no formal trial, for the seventy-one members of the Sanhedrin were probably not present. None of the judicial rules were followed, which would never have been possible with the number of Pharisees seated on the governing council. As already noted, no legal trial could have taken place on the eve of a festival. By the very rules of jurisprudence, no guilty verdict could have been issued on the same day of a trial. Most important, the Sanhedrin did not have the authority to issue such an edict!

In the Gospel of John, even though there is an intense hatred of the Jews, the event before the High Priest is nothing more than an examination. Pilate has the real authority. (John 18:19; The Interpreter’s Bible: Volume 7; Page 887)

There are several facts given for this view by theologians. (1) There could be no legal trial at night, (2) nor during a festival, (3) there was no full quorum, (4) no witnesses for the defense were called, (5) there was an instant condemnation and execution, (6) and the claim of Messiahship was not considered blasphemy. Theologians list fourteen reasons to give strength to their argument. (The Interpreter’s Bible: Volume 7; Page 887)

The rule of the Mishnah (paraphrased) states that “…in capitol cases the trial must be held in the daytime and the verdict must also be reached in the daytime. An acquittal verdict may be reached on the same day, but a conviction cannot be reached until the next day. For this reason, trials could not be held on the eve of the Sabbath or the eve of a festival, the Sanhedrin would have banned from meeting the next day (the Sabbath or the festival). (Sanhedrin 4:1; The Interpreter’s Bible: Volume 7; Page 585)

The only blasphemy punishable by death was when the divine name was used blasphemously. The claim to be Messiah, to be the son of God, or to sit on the right hand of the power of God, was not capitol offenses. But Jesus was not condemned to death for blasphemy; he was not stoned to death by the Jews, but was condemned on the charge of, high treason. (The Interpreter’s Bible: Volume 7; Page 585)

This is the key to the discussion of the Roman trial, which we will examine shortly. Jesus was condemned to death by Pilate on the charge of, high treason.

All these things are reported by the Gospels. Aside from this, Jesus had many friends among the Pharisees. One indication was their warning for Jesus to flee from the agents of Herod.

“At that very hour some Pharisees came, and said to him, ‘Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you'” (Luke 13:31 RSV)

It seems unlikely that Mark would have been able to indicate, “…and they all condemned him as deserving death.” (Mark14:64 RSV)

And even, The Interpreter’s Bible, finds it difficult to accept Mark vss 61b-62 as being authentic. (Volume 7; Page 890)

There is a need to consider these arguments again. The Sanhedrin could only have heard a case based on religious charges, and there were none.. The evidence was criminal, acts of sedition. Jesus had done and taught nothing for which he could have been charged with blasphemy.

A claim of being, Messiah, was not blasphemy under Jewish Law, nor was a claim to be, “son of God”. It was often used of those who appeared, or claimed to be, inspired. This would include priests, kings, or even men who were thought to be God’s prophets.

“And when he entered Jerusalem, all the city was stirred, saying, “Who is this?” And the crowds said, “This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth of Galilee.” (Matthew 21:10-11 RSV)

And most important of all, these were not the charges they made against Jesus in front of Pilate! Their charge to the Procurator was, sedition!

“And they were more fierce, saying, “He stirreth up the people, teaching throughout all Jewry…” (Luke 23:5 KJV)

“…I adjure you before the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the son of God.” (Matthew 26:63 RSV)

Why this specific question? It could never have been asked unless someone had overheard the disciples’ discussion with Jesus. It was their pronouncement, obviously heard by others, which only proves further that Jesus and his most intimate followers were never alone.

The only other option left to us would be to question the Gospel writer’s knowledge of the Law, the Jewish Law. Is it possible that a Jew, writing in the first century, would think that such a statement could be construed as, blasphemy? I think not.

Jesus himself never said those words, and when Peter spoke them Jesus insisted that his disciples say nothing of that nature to anyone. But even if Jesus had openly admitted to being, Messiah, son of God, or, Messiah, son of David, he would not have been guilty of a religious crime, nor even of being in bad taste. A hearing or a meeting of his enemies where they may well have questioned him, yes; but in fact, there is nothing to substantiate the probability of a trial, and certainly not on the basis of religious charges. No such evidence was ever brought against him.

Whether or not the council had the right to condemn anyone to death is still questionable. Under the Roman occupation they would have had to obtain permission from Pilate. This they attempted to do as is evidenced by the Gospels.

“Then said Pilate unto them, ‘Take ye him, and judge him according to your law.’ The Jews therefore said unto him, ‘It is not lawful for us to put any man to death.'” (John 18:31 KJV) (See also: The Interpreter’s Bible: Volume 7; Page 585)

Those who met with the high priest were desperately trying to find some charge on which Jesus could be convicted, regardless of its merits. The Gospels also validate this. However, in this instance only the immediate inner circle would have been present.

“Now the chief priests and the whole council sought false testimony against Jesus that they might put him to death, but they found none, though many false witnesses came forward.” (Matthew 26:59-60 RSV)

“For many bore false witness against him, and their witness did not agree.” (Mark 14:56RSV)

The questioning of witnesses was an inviolate rule of the Pharisees, and each of them would have been questioned separately and in private. There is absolutely nothing they are able to charge Jesus with, until they repeat his words concerning the Temple.

“…But he answered, ‘You see all these, do you not Truly, I say to you there will not be left one stone upon another, that will not be thrown down.”

“We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this Temple that is made with hands…'” (Mark 14:57 RSV)

“…this fellow said, ‘I am able to destroy this temple…'” (Mark 14:57 RSV)

A subtle question comes to the fore. In all that the Gospels give us access to, Jesus spoke the words reported here. Why then, are these people considered false witnesses? Indeed, the reports they made all indicated charges relating to treason and insurrection, and they were the words that Jesus spoke.

The High Priest did not want to make himself, or the Sanhedrin, a cause for the people to riot. They had not lost their great fear of Jesus’ numerous followers. And so, impotent as they were, the priesthood intended to place that burden on Pilate’s shoulders.

Luke probably comes closest to giving us a clear picture of what might have happened on that night. It also indicates that the priesthood might have been angry because Jesus, and the people, had said he was God’s prophet.

“And Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor, except in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house.” And he could do no mighty work there…” (Mark 6:4-5 RSV)

Mark is explicit that even the writer of the Gospel considers Jesus a prophet. (Matthew 21:11 RSV)

“Now the men who were holding Jesus mocked him and beat him, they also blindfolded him and asked him, ‘Prophecy, who is it that struck you?’… When day came, the assembly of elders of the people gathered together, both chief priests and scribes; and they led him away to their council, and they said…” (Luke 22:63-66 RSV)

If the fact of later additions to the Gospels is even a question, the following should suffice to assure us of the practice in this verse.

“The longer reading involving the question… (“Who is it that has struck you?”)… appears to be an assimilation to the text of Matthew 26:68, or Luke 22:64. The shortest reading, ‘Prophecy’, supported as it is by the Alexandrian text and several early versions, best accounts for the rise to the other readings.” (A Textual Commentary On The Greek New Testament: Bruce M. Metzger: Pg. 115 on Mark 14:65).

Mark 14:65, in the edited versions reads, “And some began to spit on him, and to cover his face, and to strike him, saying to him, “Prophecy!” And the guards received him with blows.” Totally edited, save for one word, “Prophecy”, as if to say, if you are a prophet, then prophecy! The original rendition would tend to valid this student’s contention that the priests were angry with him for being considered a prophet of God.

“Now the men who were holding Jesus mocked him and beat him, they also blindfolded him and asked him, “Prophecy! Who is it that struck you?” (Luke 23:63 RSV)

“Then they spat in his face, and struck him; and some slapped him, saying, “Prophecy to us, you Christ! Who is it that struck you?” (Matthew 26:67 RSV)

Each writer embellishes on Mark’s edited story, but John will have none of this. In that Gospel, Jesus answers the high priest at length, and for his outspoken attitude, is slapped once by an ‘officer’.

“When he had said this, one of the officers standing by struck Jesus with his hand saying, “Is that how you answer the high priest?” (John 18:22 RSV)

There is no beating, there is no spitting or haranguing.

But another interesting dilemma is raised by this story. The beating of Jesus by the Roman cohort does not exist in the Bible. Here we read that Jesus was beaten, and rather severely, by members of the Sanhedrin and the ‘officers’ who were present. Mark’s rendition obviously influenced the others. It might well have instigated the non-biblical tradition of his beating at the Roman trial by those who picked up on this verse, which now proves to be totally in error itself.

One need not be a prophet to know what misdirection this has caused in later generations. In this instance, one may assume that John’s Gospel is the most proper.

After his arrest, Jesus was held at Caiaphas’ home for the remainder of the night, and was then taken to Pilate in the morning. He was only asked one question.

“If you are the Christ (Messiah), tell us!” (Luke 22:67 RSV)

It is an effort to qualify the second civil charge for which they could take him to the authorities. Even Jesus’ response to the question, “Are you the son of God, then,” has no meaning. The high priest and the council are not attempting to charge Jesus with religious misconduct, nor was it ever their intention.

In the light of his entrance into the city, and with his anointing, Pilate’s question becomes far more incriminating, and for us, revealing of the true nature of the case against him. Still, it was not the charge that brought him the death penalty.

“Are you the king of the Jews?”

Now the light of day has risen and the real trial begins. Jesus is to be accused of two things before Rome, treason and insurrection. Pilate was Rome, and one must remember that He was a man who did not mind threatening to put thousands to death, and then actually doing it. We repeat Josephus’ account of the bloodshed.

“But now Pilate, the procurator of Judea, removed the army from Cesarea to Jerusalem to take their winter quarters there, in order to abolish Jewish laws. So he introduced Caesar’s effigies, which were upon the ensigns, and brought them into the city… but as soon as they knew it (the Jews), they came in multitudes to Cesarea, and interceded with Pilate many days, that he would remove the images… On the sixth day he ordered his soldiers to have their weapons privately, while he came and sat upon the judgment seat… and when the Jews petitioned him again, he gave a signal to the soldiers to encompass them round, and threatened that their punishment should be no less than immediate death.” (Josephus: Antiquities Of The Jews: Bk XVIII, Chapter III.1)

“So he (Pilate) habited a great number of his soldiers in their habit, who carried daggers under their garments, and sent them to a place where they might surround them. So he bade the Jews himself go away; but they boldly cast reproaches upon him, he gave the soldiers that signal which had been beforehand agreed on; who laid upon them much greater blows than Pilate had commanded them, and equally punished those that were tumultuous, and those that were not, nor did they spare them in the least; and since the people were unarmed, and were caught by men prepared for what they were about, there were a great number of them slain by this means, and others of them ran away wounded; and thus an end was put to this sedition.” (Josephus: Antiquities Of The Jews: Book XVIII; Chapter III.2)

The Jews took Jesus to Pilate with their charges, asking that the Procurator pronounce, and carry out, the death penalty. But here, statements made in the Gospels bear additional scrutiny, both in the history they presume to report, and Pilate’s attitude toward Jesus. When Jesus is taken to Herod, Luke says something that strikes a bad note.

“When Herod saw Jesus, he was very glad, for he had long desired to see him, because he had heard about him, and hen was hoping to see some sign done by him.” (Luke 23:8 RSV)

Is the evangelist watching the same game we are? Herod tried every way he could to kill Jesus. He feared him because he believed him to be John reincarnated, he feared him because of the power he held over the people, he feared him because the masses were openly trying to persuade him to lead a revolt against his throne and the Romans.. Are we now to believe that Herod welcomed him with open arms? That he suddenly admired him?

“The same day there came certain of the Pharisees, saying unto him, ‘Get thee out, and depart hence; for Herod will kill thee.'” (Luke 13:31 RSV)

Jesus is sent back to Pilate.

“…Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?’ For he perceived that it was out of envy that the chief priests had delivered him up.'” (Mark 15:9-10 RSV)

“For he knew that it was out of envy that they had delivered him up.” (Matthew 27:18 RSV)

The Interpreter’s Bible, agrees that envy hardly does their feelings justice. The cleansing of the Temple was an offense to them, and as did Herod, they feared the power of a prophetic movement led by Jesus. It might easily have ended their hold over the people. (Volume 7; Page 595)

Note the emphasis on, ‘prophetic movement’. Jesus was most assuredly known to be a prophet of God in his own day by the people, his disciples, and his enemies. It is no wonder that the priesthood would be concerned with Jesus being called a king, for that would be an open insult to them. It is quite true that they feared Jesus’ influence among the people, and they considered him a seditionist because of his statements about the Temple. Calling Jesus a king was a slap in the face.

Another bone of contention arises. This time it is voiced by professional theologians.

“And Herod and Pilate became friends with each other that very day, for before this they had been at enmity with each other.” (Luke 23:12)

Nothing is known from any other source of information about ill feelings between these two men. (The Interpreter’s Bible: Volume 8; Page 399)

Why would they have been at enmity? They were both appointed by Rome, they ruled separate areas of Palestine, yet there was no question as to who wielded the greatest authority. Herod was not a Jew and hated them as much as Pilate. So whom do we believe?

We must consider Pilate’s attitude toward the Jews again. He hated them. His entire purpose in being appointed to Judea was to put down their rebellions and to secure the province for Rome. And to the fore, came the Galileans, the revolutionaries and seditionists of the day. He had no qualms about putting them to death.

In questioning the charges brought to Pilate against Jesus, there were no acts of violence against Rome to substantiate the charge of insurrection. And if he claimed to be Messiah King, that was Herod’s problem, and that of the priesthood. Then what was Pilate’s cause against Jesus? History answers, though that which is spoken of was not Pilate’s doing, it was Sabinus’ act of violence.

“These Jews, as they are here called, whose blood Pilate (Sabinus) shed on this occasion, may well be those very Galilean Jews, ‘…whose blood Pilate (Sabinus) had mingled with their sacrifices.’ (Luke 13:1-2). These tumults being usually excited at some of the Jews’ great festivals, when they slew abundance of sacrifices, and the Galileans being commonly much more busy in such tumults than those of Judea and Jerusalem.” (Josephus: Antiquities: Book XVIII; Chapter III.2 footnote)

“…and the Galileans being commonly much more busy in such tumults…”

Pilate found no guilt in Jesus, and to the mind, might well have applauded his efforts in embarrassing and distressing the priesthood by his actions. He refuses to condemn him, and is decent enough to Jesus, which is evidenced by his lack of threat, and the sincere question he asks, which are recorded in the Gospels.

Pilate was under threat of forfeiture from Rome because of his brutality against the Jews. He eventually lost his position for this very reason. Rome frowned upon officials who mistreated provincials, and Pilate had already been warned. In this case, Jesus was not even a provincial, so Pilate had cause to hesitate about his handling of the case. (The Interpreter’s Bible: Volume 7; Page 597)

Then why did Pilate condemn Jesus?

“And Pilate said to the chief priests and the multitudes, ‘I find no crime in this man’. 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.'” (Luke 23:4-6 RSV)

History, including biblical history, tells us that this was far more incriminating than just a reason for sending Jesus to Herod. Pilate discovers that Jesus is a Galilean! No more damning fact could have been brought against him, nothing could be more certainly have condemned him to death than to rank him with the terrorists of the day.

The cheers of the multitudes when he entered Jerusalem, the Hosannas, his public anointing, his words against the priesthood, his cleansing of the Temple, and his Galilean disciples and followers now converged to pronounce his sentence.

The charges were political, the decision was made on political motivations, and Jesus was to be executed as a political dissident. There was nothing religious in these activities except that which was placed on them by those who later took up the cross. The many who, “…came in his name”, saying that he was the Christ.

There was no Christian church in Jesus’ day, no New Testament, no Greek scriptures, no Gospel, and Paul had not begun his selfish crusade. There was nothing but Jesus, alone in the presence of the priesthood, Pilate, and Rome. His mother, the mother of James, those few who were women who had not fled would not see him again until he was on the way to Golgotha.

This is no fiction, this is no addendum, this is history true and brutal.

“Now, there came about this time, Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews, and many of the Gentiles. He was (the) Christ; and when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principle men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him, for he appeared to them alive again the third day, as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him; and the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day.” (Josephus: Antiquities: Book XVIII; Chapter III.3)

Josephus sets the date of the crucifixion at, 33 A.D. Jesus would have been between thirty-eight and thirty-nine years old. The church has explored the events of this act beyond that which is humane, yet what he said and thought in his last hours on this earth, remain blank pages. In the narratives of the crucifixion and the resurrection, the scriptures have been freely altered to suit the needs of the ‘church’ from the first century until this very day. But let us deal with another facet of man’s pedantic nature.

“…those that loved him at the first did not forsake him.”

Who was at the cross when Jesus was being crucified? It is an interesting question that history asks, and the answer will surprise many who have not given it proper consideration, including many ‘influential’ theologians.

The Apostles were gone! They had fled, including Peter, who had denied him and then run away. The twelve were gone, nowhere in sight, and the cheering crowds were now looking for other heroes and following other masters. So who was there on the Place of the Skull?

Roman soldiers, part of Pilate’s contingent; the two thieves whom Josephus identifies as revolutionists, certainly not criminals. The chief priests, scribes and elders, a few of the general public, and the women were there. Mary Magdelene, Mary the mother of James and Joses, and Salome, Zebedee’s wife who was the mother of the ‘sons of thunder’.

But then we are challenged by man’s egoistic nature. And in answer, we must state the theologian’s position clearly.

“The fact that there has been no mention of these women disciples or ministrants to Jesus has led some scholars to suppose that (Mark 15:41) verse 41a is a gloss.” (The Interpreter’s Bible: Volume 7; Page 909)

This is in reference to, “…and Salome, who, when he was in Galilee, followed him, and ministered to him…” along with its reference to other women in general. Someone needs to reference the Bible again.

The newly translated and released, Dead Sea Scrolls, speak openly of Jesus’ female disciples, and rightly so. We would discover that Mary Magdelene was one of his principle disciples, which would have included her among the twelve, had she been a man. Mark here mentions it, and I would venture a guess that if he had not mentioned the woman named, “…and also many other women who came up with him from Jerusalem.”

“There were also many women there, looking on from afar, who had followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to him; among whom were Mary Magdelene, and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee.” (Matthew 27:56 RSV)

Jesus would have been alone on, Golgotha, and there would have been no witness to what followed.

In defense of the obvious, women are mentioned throughout the Gospels. A woman drew him out to perform his first public miracle at the wedding feast. His first recorded healing was that of Peter’s mother-in-law, and there follows the raising of Jairus’ daughter, the woman with the flow of blood, his first encounter of Mary at the fountain, and the Syrophonecian woman who amazed him with her faith.

There were the sisters of Lazarus, Mary and Martha. Salome is mentioned in at least two of the Gospels, Mark and Matthew, as the wife of Zebedee, and of course we have Anna the prophetess, and Elizabeth. Who went to the tomb? Who was witness to that empty place, and to whom did Jesus first appear after the crucifixion? Could we begin to assert that those who followed after him so closely, tended to him so intimately, were not also his closest followers, his disciples?

These were all women who were connected with Jesus physically and spiritually, and though Jesus was familiar with the lowly estate of women in his time, he did not treat them so. We are fortunate that there is any reference at all to women during Jesus’ ministry considering their estate in the first century, and Paul’s garish treatment of women.

There is no reason to continue such attitudes and practices within our own scholarship. The church is still the prime seducer of its female congregations, which is evidenced by the recent Southern Baptist admonition that keeps women in that sect as virtual ‘bond servants’. But there is no excuse for us to continue this sexist prejudice in our own spiritual search. Jesus himself takes a stand against such practices.

In the, Dead Sea Scrolls, The Gospel According To Thomas, appears as a valid text on the teachings of Jesus. It is written by an eyewitness, Didymous Judas Thomas, who is also mentioned in the Gospels. (The Gospel According To Thomas: Log 1-4.10; Page 3)

In the closing passage, there is an encounter between Jesus and Peter concerning the women disciples, notably, Mary Magdelene. Jesus’ response appears to be one of sarcastic anger, not the first time he displayed this attitude toward Simon Peter.

“Simon Peter said to them: Let Mary go out from among us, because women are not worthy of the Life. Jesus said: See, I shall lead her, so that I will make her a male, that she too may become a living spirit (pneuma), resembling you males. For every woman who makes herself male will enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” (The Gospel According To Thomas: Log 114; Page 57)

Women were a real part of Jesus’ ministry and life. They are described as the only two witnesses to his place of burial who are spoken to by the mysterious being(s) at the empty tomb. This is reported, with later enhancements, in all the Gospels. They are the first to see, what is reported to be, the risen Christ. So here we have, “…those who loved him at the first did not forsake him”, and they were loyal to him at the end.

At their visit to the tomb, a new woman is named with Mary Magdelene and Mary the mother of James, Joanne.

“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.” (Matthew 28:9 RSV)

And the twelve are not to be found.

“…and the other women that were with them, which told these things unto the Apostles. And their words seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not.” (Luke 24:10-11 RSV)

The twelve are without understanding.

“And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted.” (Matthew 28:17 RSV)

The twelve are without faith.

It is obvious from these attitudes on the part of the disciples, and some of the women, that there was no understanding whatsoever about a risen Christ, or a resurrection theme. Their knowledge was limited to what they had been taught by Jesus, and what they understood from life experience.

And it is at this point that we must begin to examine the stark contrast in meanings that are presented by the Gospels themselves beyond those few areas that we have discussed. It is a powder keg of contention that has been buried by the church for centuries, and after seven hundred years, is only now beginning to rear its ugly head once again.

TRIAL

“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.” (Luke 12:2-3 RSV)

“Jesus said: Know what is in thy 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.” (The Gospel According To Thomas: Harper and Row: 1959; Pl. 81 Log 5-8: 10-14; 20-22)

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. Rather it is those ‘traditions’ that man has established for himself. This practice has produced the, ‘…commandment of men’ learned by rote…” of which Isaiah speaks. (Isaiah 29:13 RSV)

The very heart of the Christian faith depends exclusively on the crucifixion and resurrection. Every sect of this religion agrees on these two traditions. That they happened is not questioned by the vast majority of Christianity, that the tradition is a reality to those numbers is understood. In Pauline Christianity 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 offering 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 must take place. The words of two thousand years ago, written in a foreign tongue, seem to tell us 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 events were put to death! All their writings were 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 also be taken into consideration. Along with these, the revealed writings contained within The Dead Sea Scrolls have been brought into the light.

As stated in the body of this thesis, we must know what language was used in the original Gospels, and what those words meant when they originated two thousand years ago. Using definitions for a vocabulary that has been translated from the Aramaic, to the Greek, to Victorian English, and then into American, is a touchy business. This student would never accept the axiom that, ‘whatever language is used it says the same thing.’ That would be adding insult to injury.

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 corrupts and demeans our understanding of Jesus and what our Christian doctrines should be.

With this in mind, we must reveal a hidden story behind words that have long been misinterpreted and purposely translated for the sake of keeping a tradition in tact. 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 Judea, from Galilee even to this place. When Pilate heard this, he asked whether the man was a Galilean…” (Luke 23:5-6 RSV)

“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.” (Mark 15:2-5 RSV)

“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.” (Matthew 27:11-14 RSV)

Wondered; Pilate was in awe, amazed, wondered greatly, at Jesus’ refusal to protest his innocence, which would have been natural for an innocent or guilty party facing a death penalty. (The Interpreter’s Bible: Volume 7; Page 594)

“And he answered him never a word, inasmuch that the governor marveled greatly.” (Matthew 27:14 KJV)

The Greek is explicit. Thaumazein: to wonder, marvel, be astonished or amazed; to wonder at, hence: to admire! (The Critical Lexicon and Concordance To The English and Greek New Testament: Page 895)

There would appear to be more here than just surprise that Jesus refused to defend himself, there is also a tone of admiration. Pilate’s continuing efforts to save Jesus, his out-of-character entreaties to the crowd and to the Christ, are ample indications of this attitude on the part of the Procurator.

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.” (Luke 23:4 RSV)

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.” (Luke 23:13-17 RSV)

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.” (Luke 23: 20,22 RSV)

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.” (Matthew 27:19 RSV)

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

“Why, what evil has he done?” (Matthew 27:23 RSV)

“And Pilate said to them, “Why, what evil has he done?” (Mark 14:14 RSV)

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.” (Mark 15:10 RSV)

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, a great mystery remains unsolved, but he has obviously taken consideration for the plight of this man.

Perhaps he respects Jesus for his stand against a priesthood that Pilate detests; perhaps he wants to demean the scribes and elders. 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 to the synoptic Gospels, except that Jesus’ simple statement becomes a soliloquy more fitting to a high Greek tragedy than the Greek scriptures. (John 18:33-38 RSV)

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

Pilate’s wife warns him not to get involved in the matter. To individuals of the first century, signs and portents, visions and dreams, were considered serious matters. They were not just the idle fears of a woman, but a matter that dealt with the gods and the ability to see into future events. Pilate would not have brushed it aside very easily.

Pilate knows that Rome is watching his every move. The fact is Pilate’s authority over Jesus is extremely fragile for Jesus is not a provincial. Galilee did not lie in a Roman province but under the rulership of Herod. The only reason he is involved in the case now is because Herod has refused to take care of his own business. It seems as though he has appealed to Rome by sending Jesus back, and Pilate is forced to act under the watchful eye of the Emperor.

After the slaughter of the Samaritans, which Pilate did cause, the Samaritan senate appealed to Vitellius, who was not only pro-counsul but also President of Syria, with complaints against Pilate for his violence against them.

“…Vitellius sent Marcellus, a friend of his to take care of the affairs of Judea, and ordered Pilate to go to Rome, to answer before the emperor to the accusation of the Jews. So Pilate, when he had tarried ten years in Judea, made haste to Rome, and this in obedience to Vitellius, which he durst not contradict; but before he got to Rome, Tiberius was dead.” (Josephus: Antiquities: Book XVIII; Chapter IV)

Tiberius died in 37 A.D., though he had heard many complaints concerning Pilate before his death. If the Procurator was under such distress about his actions toward provincials, he dared not mistreat an innocent subject of Herod’s rule.

Pilate’s reasons for acting as he did at Jesus’ trial are not so mysterious as one might suppose.

At this point tradition holds that the Roman soldiers scourged Jesus. Beaten senseless, so weakened that he could not carry the crossbar of his own cross all the way to its destination. Simon the Cyrene was forced to take the cross and carry it for him to Golgotha. Stories of Jesus’ agony come down to us from the Roman Church, 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 reported. No scene like it is recorded anywhere in the Bible. There is nothing in the New Testament that tells us of Jesus being beaten in the manner of the bloody tradition that has been handed down through the centuries. 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. Nowhere in the Gospels does it tell us that the Roman soldiers battered him senseless, punched him, beat him, whipped him, or brutalized him.

A question that will be repeated in this thesis will be asked here for the first time. Why, in a totally Greek text, would anyone introduce a Latin word (flagellum; to scourge) other than to continue a contrived deception?

The worst that is stated appears 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.” (John 19:3 RSV)

“…and they smote him with their hands.” (John 19:3 KJV)

The Greek word is, rapismata. It means to slap, or cuff someone. It does not indicate the intensity of a beating or a violent assault.

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…” (Matthew 27:26-27 RSV)

“…and having scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified. And the soldiers led him away.” (Mark 15:15-16 RSV)

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.” (Matthew 27:27-31 RSV)

One might also note that the entire Second Italian Cohort consisted of six hundred men, and one might doubt that all of them, or even a majority, were present. (The Interpreter’s Bible: Volume 7; Page 599) But word for word this story is a repetition of Mark.

“And the soldiers led him away inside the palace (that is, 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 him 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.” (Mark 15:16-20 RSV)

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…” (Luke 23:25-26 RSV)

The scriptures use only one word for, scourge, and the only meaning that fit the church’s tradition when these writings were finally translated in the 14th century. They added a Latin word to a Greek text. But in the Greek, there were meanings for the word known to the Greeks other than that used in the Gospels. As if in their own defense, the Gospels demonstrate those meanings.

The word, scourge, in the English and the Latin translations mean to whip, especially when used to inflict pain or punishment. But other meanings in the English and Greek translations include meanings of greater validity and importance in the Gospels. It is an instrument to censure, publicly condemn, chastise, to force as though by blows of a whip, to subject to severe criticism or satire, to mock or humiliate. (Enepaizon; Luke 22:63; to sport with or against, to mock, to deride.)

A Critical Lexicon And Concordance To The English and Greek New Testament)

Flagulem, to flagate, to beat, is the only word used in the modern Greek text in this section of verses. It is one that tradition and dogma demand. But it is the other primary definitions to which the Gospels give evidence, it is these other interpretations that the Gospels demonstrate and give credence.

Pilate pronounced Jesus guilty, condemned him to the cross, and with his arrest and guilt now announced, Jesus was censured, drummed out of society. Then he was publicly mocked, derided, and chastised at the hands of the hands of the soldiers. Each of three Gospels speak of this act and are absolute in proclaiming that the soldiers mocked him, humiliated him, gave him a purple robe, spat on him, stripped him, struck him with a reed they had given Jesus as his ‘royal staff’, and then placed a crown of thorns on his head. Satirized, he was derided as the King of the Jews, humiliated, and then publicly displayed in a march to, The place Of The Skull. But nowhere are we told, or is it even suggested, that he was beaten bloody or even injured.

Josephus (Jewish War II. 14.9) states that it was a Roman custom to scourge the condemned before crucifying them. A leather whip, with pieces of bone and metal set in it, was used. (The Interpreter’s Bible: Volume 7; Page 599)

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

Scourging was only permitted against slaves and provincials. As has already been pointed out, Jesus was not a provincial. Roman Law, the Gospel narratives, and Pilate’s actions all deny that Jesus was treated in a manner that would validate Christian tradition. 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. (Luke 23:27-31 The New English Bible) 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 the Gospels as being invalid, without any basis in fact, and something less holy than man’s tradition?

In the synoptic Gospels there are only three words written concerning the matter of scourging.

“…with Barabbas free, and Jesus scourged…”

“…Then he released for them Barabbas, and having scourged Jesus…” (Matthew 27:26 RSV)

“…released for them Barabbas and having scourged Jesus…” (Mark15:15 RSV)

In Luke there is no scourging, but John goes beyond the plausible and forces us to ask a remarkable question. How is it that the writer of the Gospel knew nothing of Jewish custom or Jewish and Roman Law? In his ignorance, he does show that Pilate continued to plead for Jesus’ life.

“Then Pilate took Jesus and scourged him.” (John 19:1 RSV)

“Upon this, Pilate sought to release him…” (John 19:12 RSV)

According to John, Jesus is scourged, the soldiers then mock him, and then Jesus is brought back to the public forum where Pilate tries to release him again. No one was ever scourged before the verdict of guilt was pronounced, and Pilate does not take the judgment seat until verse 13. The scourging could not have been a beating but that activity which the Greek text indicates.

To add to this, John continues to err concerning Jewish Law.

“Pilate therefore said to them, “Take him yourselves and crucify him, for I find no crime in him.” The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and by that law he ought to die, because he has made himself the son of God.” (John 19:6b-7 RSV)

Pilate decrees Jesus as innocent! This is after the scourging! To add to that impropriety, the Jews had no such law concerning calling oneself the son of God. That has already been investigated and discussed.

Taken with Barabbas, the actions are simultaneous. The insurrectionist is free and Jesus has been scourged; publicly decried by being condemned 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.

What has happened is that the writers have taken a Talmudic rule that the paschal lamb could be sacrificed for someone who has been promised release from prison, and applied it to Jesus. This seems to be stretching a point to the extreme in order to continue the tradition of finding a human sacrifice acceptable as a sin offering. Barabbas had not been promised his release, and Pilate was not a Jew. He would not have been bound or prone to abiding by one, if it had existed in Palestine. (The Interpreter’s Bible: Volume7; Page 594)

Now, after all his bending and pleading with the crowd, Pilate refuses to rewrite the inscription, King of the Jews, knowing that it is an insult to the priesthood. This contradiction in behavior creates additional doubt. But the worst is yet to come.

In finalizing the subject of ‘scourging’ in tradition and the Gospels, an honest appraisal must note the following new translations that have appeared within the last few years. We are aware that new text appears 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.

“He then released Bar-Abbas to them; but he had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.”(The New English Bible: Matthew 27:26)

“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.” (The New English Bible: Mark 15:15)

Luke has no scourging at all.

“Pilate now took Jesus and had him flogged; and the soldiers plaited a crown of thorns…” (The New English Bible: John 19:1)

First, ‘in his desire to satisfy the mob’ represents a total contradiction in action on the part of Pilate. Second, ‘had Jesus flogged’ is a bastardized text. It appears in no Gospel nor does it have a place in the original Greek text. The translators or theologians involved with this invalid wording have done no more than change what is genuine to the scriptures in order to maintain and sustain a tradition of man’s invention.

The translation is even further from the Greek text than previously existing documents. In order for this course of action to be plausible, Pilate would have had to follow the dictates of John’s rendition. Have a trial without a condemnation, give Jesus to the soldiers to be flogged (and that without a guilty verdict which is a violation of Roman Law), bring him back to the public forum, had a further hearing, and returned him to the soldiers once again.

This comic scene should encourage those who note that John might well be correct in having Jesus on the cross for less than three hours. And if the Gospels are correct and Jesus is first sent to Herod, he would have been crucified long after dark.

Modern pandering cannot hide the insane proceedings this would have demanded. Most important is the fact that the ‘scourging’ by Pilate, and the soldier’s handling of Jesus are not synonymous but are described, as two separate actions that took place in two different time periods, and not one activity and The New English Bible would have us believe.

With each new translation the contradictions become more obvious, the addendums more disruptive. The, Good News For Modern Man, both Protestant and Catholic versions, use approximately the same wording as The New English Bible.

Keep in mind that two men were placed before the ‘tribunal’, bringing another oddity to our attention. Within the discourse of the Bible, principals are referred to as, bar, ‘son of’. Yoshua bar Joseph, Simon bar Jonah, etc. Why then is the insurrectionist referred to as Barabbas throughout the Gospel renditions? It was not his name! His first name was, Jesus!

The New English Bible identifies him correctly as, bar-Abbas, Jesus bar Abbas, Jesus son of Abbas. Two Jesus, both on trial in a confusing, contradictory tale of intrigue and very possible, outside influence of a much later date. Namely, the defenders of a non-biblical tradition, which avoids the truth at any cost.

But scourging is not the major issue here, 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 all the Gospels agree without deviation.

Fact, there is no place in 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, 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.” (Matthew 27:32 The New American Bible: St Joseph Edition)

“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.” (Mark 15:21 The New American Bible: St Joseph Edition)

“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.” (Luke 23:26 The New American Bible: St Joseph Edition)

And to the dismay of those who would continue to honor that tale of horror, John contradicts the popular cult myth and all the other Gospels by having Jesus carry the cross all the way to, Golgotha. 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 known cross, to the place called the place of a skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha. There they crucified him…” (John 19:17 RSV)

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

In all the Gospel stories, the details of the trial, Pilate’s words, and the actions of the crowd are highly comprehensive. 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 additions being those of John.

Was the treatment of Jesus by the soldiers a sign of Pilate’s respect for the man? Perhaps it was meant to insult the priesthood and defy the public outcry. Whatever the soldiers did would have been done on the order of Pilate. If one follows the picture of Pilate’s affinity toward Jesus that is given to us by the Gospels, the Procurator might well have ordered that Jesus be neither beaten nor made to carry the cross, which was soon to bear his weight. Jesus would have to bear the pain of crucifixion, but nothing compared to the weight of the legends we force him to carry today.

Even more astounding at this point is a statement made by the interpreter of, The Gospel According To Luke, in, The Interpreter’s Bible. It brings an insurmountable question to mind that has serious repercussions for all of Christianity.

Basilides used the introduction of Simon of Cyrene, who purportedly carried the cross for Jesus in three Gospels, in the second century to corroborate the Docetic belief that this man was crucified rather than Jesus. (The Interpreter’s Bible: Volume 8; Page 403)

Amazingly, the Holy Qur’an relates exactly the same religious doctrine, and it is known to be extremely accurate concerning other aspects of the Gospels. And now we discover that, The Dead Sea Scrolls, tell us the same story of Simon being crucified in Jesus place. To this we may add the now extinct Docetic faith, the Cathars, the Waldenses, and The Knights Templar. Within the Christian community of non-believers, those listed refused to bear the Roman cross upright since they did not believe Jesus died on the cross.

We must also be aware that the Greek nation, whose language and philosophies help form the New Testament, did not use the sign of the Cross until well into the eighth century. If these facts are not enough to cause great discomfort amongst the Christian clergy, keep in mind that in Islam alone there are over a billion souls who accept this revelation.

But we must now look at another ‘tradition’ of men that is prompted by John 20:25. This Gospel was written for the mature church, one in which a great many doctrines had already been set down by Paul. Other than in the ‘revelation of Thomas’, where is it stated that Jesus was ‘nailed’ to the cross? Even Paul, who reveled in Jesus’ death, does not dare to suggest that this actually happened. There is not even a hint of such a physically impossible procedure mentioned anywhere else in the New Testament, let alone the Gospels. This allusion comes to us from a text far removed from the actual event.

Common sense alone seems to indicate that Pilate’s treatment of Jesus did not extend to the cruelest of imaginings, from which even the two criminals crucified with Jesus were spared.

But the church must have their resurrected Lord, and here, John assists in continuing the cult myth. A saved and living Jesus, which he insisted he was, must not be allowed a voice, not even through those who have been silenced by the genocidal attacks of the Church. But dead martyrs are never silent, for they have God’s word to speak for them.

THE PLACE OF THE SKULL

We are now at that moment in time that 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?

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, a 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 of Marseilles, on the Gulf du Lion lies the province of Languedoc. In 1208 those who lived there were accused by Pope Innocent III of unchristian behavior. In 1209, the pope sent his army of thirty thousand under the command of Simon de Montfort. They had been sent to wipe out the Cathars, the Pure Ones as they were sometimes known.

King Philippe II of France had denounced them as heretics. It took thirty-five years and tens of thousands of lives, but the act was finally accomplished. It ended with the genocidal massacre of Montsegur. Two hundred hostages were burned alive at that seminary. (Bloodline Of The Holy Grail: Laurence Gardner: Barnes and Noble Books: Page 268; The Holy Blood And The Holy Grail, Leigh and Lincoln: Chapter 2: Pages 19-34)

This the Cathars vanished from the face of the earth as a living community, and Europe began to flow with blood. It is highly likely that the massacre was the one major event that precipitated the dreaded Inquisition. According to history, the ecclesiastic bloodshed 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. Matthew 26:41; Mark 14:38; Luke 24:39; John 6:63; John 8:15)

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasure in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal.” (Matthew 6:19-20 RSV)

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 Magdelene. The inhabitants regarded Mary as the true mother of western Christianity. This can now be evidenced by the discovery in, The Dead Sea Scrolls, of, The Gospel of Philip. (The Nag Hammadi Library: James M Robinson, General Editor: The Gospel Of Philip; Wesley W. Isenberg: 1978)

Tolerant of the Jewish and Moslem communities in the area, they also believed in equality of the sexes to the point of allowing women to share in the proceeds of their businesses, and to read the Gospel message during the mass. This might 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 and the cause of man’s downfall.

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 a superlative society with its own welfare system based on charity, they sustained their own schools and hospitals, and shared with their non-Christian neighbors.

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

But as Laurence Gardner states in his work, Bloodline Of The Holy Grail, “…the Cathars were not heretics; they were simply non-conformists…” (Page 269)

They were exterminated by the Papacy along with 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 that led them to declare Rome’s interpretation of the crucifixion, a fraud.

In common with The Knights Templar, they refused to support the claim that Jesus 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 of only one solution to the problem; 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 so they could be hidden.

Eventually, the King of France and the Pope also assaulted the Knights Templar. They only narrowly escaped total destruction 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 high respect by most 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. (The Outline Of History: H.G. Wells; Doubleday & Company, Inc. Page 545)

Unsuspecting and innocent, they were set upon by the Church’s genocidal policy and wiped out by the Papal army.

“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…” (The Outline Of History: H.G. Wells; Doubleday & Company, Inc. Page 545)

“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 Waldenses.” (The Outline Of History: H.G. Wells; Doubleday & Company, Inc. Page 547)

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 and writings that hold to the truth cannot be hidden away forever. Jesus’ prophecy that all things done in the darkness shall be brought into the light now seems a part of reality.

A small segment of the Knights Templar is said to exist in Scotland. If they are a remnant of the original, one must wonder if their number still hides evidence of a belief that extends itself to over one billion Moslems. And even more stirring to those sects of Christianity that hold to a creed contrary to the Church’s basic doctrine.

The tradition concerning Jesus’ death by crucifixion was not accepted by a number of early Christian sects, which included the Basilideans, the Docetions, the Waldenses, the Cathars and the Knights Templar. We might note here that in the primitive Church as the Disciples originated it; there was no sacrament or activity that celebrated Jesus’ death on the cross. 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 quite 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…” (The Holy Qur’an: Olive Branch Press; Muhammad Zafrulla Khan: Surah 4:156)

All of Islam becomes the voice of the dead. They speak for the Cathars and all those whom the Church saw fit to murder, and even more speak to us from this earthly veil. How can anyone with knowledge of these matters 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 these text are of valid authorship. They only tell us things that the ‘orthodox’ do not want us to hear.

It might appear to some observers that those who refuse to consider newly discovered evidence on this subject are those who will support man’s doctrines regardless of the facts. They are those individuals 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 within Christianity itself that will testify to the truth? The very scriptures speak for themselves, and it is time to examine the Gospels and the writings of the most respected theologians available. To this end, the Holy Qur’an offers us some wise advice.

“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.” (The Holy Qur’an: Olive Branch Press; Muhammad Zafrulla Khan: Surah 2:73)

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

“And it was the third hour, when they crucified him.” Mark 15:25 RSV)

This early hour was nine in the morning. (The Interpreter’s Bible: Volume 7; Page 903)

None of the other Gospels give us this time reference, and those involved in the compilation of, The Interpreter’s Bible, suggest that it was much later. Consider the activity that took place as reported by the signal authority, The New Testament.

Jesus is led from Caiaphas’ home to Pilate. After a private hearing in which the Procurator learns that Jesus is a Galilean, he is taken to Herod for judgment. Herod’s actual conversation is not known, but the result of that Meeting is Herod’s refusal to judge Jesus, and he sends him back to Pilate.

At this point, we are told that the trial has become a public hearing. Pilate argues with the crowd on behalf of Jesus, and at least three times is known to plead for his freedom. Failing to change the crowds mind, Pilate scourges Jesus and frees Jesus bar Abbas. Then he turns the accused over to the Italian Cohort to be humiliated and to be crucified.

All of these events could not possibly have taken place within the time period noted in Mark. And if one considers John’s Gospel, after the first part of the public trial Jesus is given to the soldiers to be flogged without first being condemned, then returned to Pilate to finish the proceedings during which Jesus speaks quite coherently despite the ‘traditional’, beating. Pilate continues to defend Jesus, but giving in to the ‘crowd’ at last, he declares his final judgment.

Then Jesus is taken back to the Praetorium where the Roman soldiers humiliate him and take him out to be crucified. It is here that biblical history has Jesus carry his own cross all the way up to, Golgotha.

There is absolutely no way in which these activities could have been accomplished within the time span noted, especially when we understand that in going from place to place, Jesus and those who accompanied him had to walk. (The Interpreter’s Bible: Volume 8; Page 398)

What the other Gospels do agree on, is the hour of Jesus’ apparent death, or could it have originally been the hour he was placed on the cross? One fact that we are about to discover is that there was very little time between Jesus going up on the cross and the moment when he appeared to die. The sixth hour would be about noon, and the ninth hour about 3 PM.

“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…” (Mark 15:33 RSV)

“Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out…” (Matthew 27:45-46 RSV)

“It was 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…” (Luke 23:44-46 RSV)

If Mark’s version implied an eclipse of the sun, Luke makes it explicit. However, an eclipse would have been astronomically impossible during the Passover full moon. (The Interpreter’s Bible: Volume 8; Page 412)

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 the 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.” (John 19:14-16 RSV)

It was about the sixth hour, and Jesus is still with Pilate far from, Golgotha.

One may say that the other Gospels are speaking of Jesus already being on the cross at that hour, but the Gospel of John contradicts them. The Interpreter’s Bible, speaks of the late hour. John agrees!

“It was the eve of the Passover, and it was about noon. And he said to the Jews, ‘Here is your King.’ They shouted, ‘Away with him! Away with him! Crucify him!…” (John 19:14-15 The New English Bible)

“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!”…” (John 19:14-15 The New American Bible; St. Joseph Edition)

And even if the third hour is evidenced when the crowds finally have their way, Jesus till had to be taken before the Italian Cohort. There, after being mocked, derided, and humiliated, he had to make his way to the place of execution carrying his cross.

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

Mark 15:25 has Jesus crucified “at the third hour”, which means either nine a.m. or the period from nine to twelve. Noon, the time when, according to John, Jesus was sentenced to death, was the hour at which the priests began to slaughter Passover lambs in the Temple. (See: John 1:29)

The lateness of the hour in which all of this took place is alluded to by more than one incident. They must be taken into careful consideration in this study. The hour of preparation had arrived, the lambs were being slaughtered; the festival had already begun!

Due to the length of time it normally took for one to die on the cross, and the hour being very late, 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 to the priesthood.

“The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the Sabbath day, (for the Sabbath day was a high day), besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they be taken away.” (John 19:31 KJV)

Taken away still alive? The Gospels do not say!

“So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first, and of the other who had been crucified with him; but when they came to Jesus they saw that he was already dead…” (John 19:32-33 RSV)

If the hour were not late, if the preparations had not already begun, if evening were not upon them,, the Jews would never have been in such haste to have their victims brutally punished and then released from their crosses, dead or alive!

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

Another vital point that is brought up by the lateness of the hour is the amazement on the part of 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 speech.. Both Luke and John point out these facts.

But now we are at the crux of the matter!

Jewish custom allowed for wine to be given to a condemned man, sometimes containing an opiate to ease the pain of crucifixion. Mark 15:23 tells us it was myrrhed wine, Matthew says gall. In some cases it could cause unconsciousness. (The Interpreter’s Bible: Volume 7; Page 602-603)

“…they offered him wine to drink, mingled with gall…” (Mtthw 27:34 RSV)

“And they gave him to drink wine mingled with myrrh..” (Mark 15:23 KJV)

It is extremely important to keep in mind that the drink is offered by the soldiers. In usual cases it was given to deaden the pain of execution. (See: B. Sanhedrin 43A; The Interpreter’s Bible: Volume 7; Page 902)

Crucifixion killed by exposure, thirst, the cutting off of circulation, and suffocation. The condemned normally died within 1-3 days. (The Interpreter’s Bible: Volume 7; Page 900 & Volume 7; Page 600-601)

It is essential that the cause of death be remembered, and that the soldiers gave him the drought. We are about to investigate the crucifixion in a manner that no major critic has done and then presented it to the public. We are going to conduct a medical examination of the drugs that were given to Jesus as well as his medical condition when he was taken down from the cross. The Gospels testify to both, as well as to what medical aid was given to him after the fact.

“And they offered him wine mingled with myrrh; but he did not take it. And they crucified him.” (Mark 15:23-24RSV)

“They gave him vinegar to drink mingled with gall; and when he tasted thereof, he would not drink.” (Matthew 27:34 KJV)

It is only fair to note that this verse has been 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. John does, however, offer exacting documentation after Jesus is crucified. That evidence will be discussed in its proper order. At this point it is appropriate to discuss Luke.

Here the scene is centered on 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 by anyone. Whatever source Luke draws his information from, it is sadly lacking in the details that are provided by the other three Gospels.

One must seriously wonder why a doctor, a physician, should be silent on this most important of all issues. Might it be for fear of condemning himself as a heretic before Paul and the church by telling the truth?

“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.” (Mark 15:36-37 KJV)

The RSV indicates the exact wording of the KJV, with the exception of changing the last statement.

“And Jesus uttered a loud cry, and breathed his last.” (Mark 15:37 RSV)

The New English Bible, takes even greater liberties with the translation of the Greek text in order to preserve a false tradition.

“…Jesus gave a loud cry and died.”

The Greek text does not say either! This student will show that ‘breathed his last’, and ‘died’, are improper translations of the original.

“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.” Matthew 27:48-50 KJV)

The RSV; Matthew 27:50, states:

“And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up the 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 the 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.” (John 19:29-30 KJV)

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 RSV’s, ‘gave up his spirit’, which in this case is correct.

Point, Jesus refused the drink offered to him before he went up on the cross. The drink was given to him while he was on the cross, a soaked sponge put into his mouth by an unknown party. When we get to the proper point, the Gospels will tell us that it was a Roman soldier who administered the potion. Now it is time to begin a proper examination following information given to us by the Gospels. Let us begin with John 19:29-30.

“…and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth.”

Hyssop does not have a long stalk like a reed, as the other Gospel stories tell us was used to lift the sponge up to Jesus’ raised figure on the cross. John’s information makes no sense. How do we know this?

Hyssop, (ussopos) is a plant indigenous to western Asia and northern Africa. It is a ‘bushy’ type of plant without a long stalk. The plant was used to sprinkle the blood of the paschal lamb upon the lintels of the doors (i.e., Passover).

Hyssop is an herb that needs to be broken down chemically so we can understand its properties. But first we can consider another clerical mistake in copying this text. The word, Hyssos, could have been in the original text, as The Interpreter’s Bible, believes it should have been. It is the Greek word for a Roman pilum, a soldier’s javelin, certainly long enough and strong enough to lift a sponge up to Jesus. It would offer proof that a soldier administered the drink.

The Interpreter’s Bible, also points out that in an eleventh century manuscript, this word for a javelin, is used. Theologians make the statement that this would have preserved the original reading, “…which has otherwise been lost in the entire MS tradition.” (The Interpreter’s Bible: Volume 8; Pages 783-784)

This is one way of correcting an obviously erroneous text. But John may also have been indicating that hyssop was given to Jesus as part of the drink. This would prove exceedingly interesting if it is the case.

Hyssop is also a fragrant mint that has highly aromatic and pungent leaves. 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.

“The leaves were once used as a medicinal herb tea for pulmonary and catarrhal disorders.” (Encarta Encyclopedia: MSN; Encarta Learning Zone)

“Catarrh: Inflammation of a mucous membrane; esp; one chronically affecting the human nose and air passages.” (Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary: G&C. Merriam Company)

“Pulmonary: of the heart and circulatory system.” (Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary: G&C. Merriam Company)

Recall the statement made concerning the causes of death due to crucifixion; thirst, exposure, the cutting off of circulation, and suffocation. (The Interpreter’s Bible: Volume 7; Pages 600-601)

A medicinal herb used to stimulate the heart and to open up swollen or blocked air passages, in liquid form that could be lifted up to the afflicted in a sponge. Why would a mendicant of this nature be used unless the intent was to save the condemned? Other factors have to come into play, and according to the Gospels, they most certainly do.

Once again we are presented with suspicious acts from those who are depicted by tradition has having beaten and then crucified Jesus. Not only does Pilate’s reticence force us to reflect on his motives, but now we are faced with the possibility of a Roman plot to save Jesus.

Of translations, we must take great care. 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?

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 we use, Jesus drinks from the sponge and immediately loses consciousness. He drinks, cries out, and ‘gives up the spirit, or, ghost’.. Tradition says that he died, but the Gospels do not.

“…and gave up the ghost.” (The Interlinear Greek-English New Testament: Authorized Version of King James: Mark 15:37)

The word, 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, unconscious, as in numbed, or rendered unfeeling, drugged into unconsciousness. The word used in, Young’s Commentary, is, ekpneo, which simply means, to breath out.

The word for, ghost, i.e., spirit is, pneuma (Greek) or nephash (Hebrew). These words speak of the living spirit, awareness of life, in other words, consciousness.. Neither of these words is used in Mark concerning the crucifixion. But the word that is used does not mean to give up life, as we have indicated. It is a questionable translation that insists upon, exepneusen, meaning, to die.

To expire or 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 24:46. 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 Interlinear Greek-English New Testament: Matthew 27:50)

The references for a proper translation are the same, and numerous. Young’s Commentary, on, expired, to breath out, is more in line with, giving up the spirit, to breath 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.

In ancient times when someone was rendered unconscious by any means, they were said to have given up the ghost (spirit). If consciousness was lost then the individual was in a condition of lifelessness, not aware, not rational or aware of life, i.e., the spirit. Now the reason for this overstated condition of unconsciousness.

“It was a pious Jewish custom to give a condemned man unmixed wine or wine with an opiate in it…” (The Interpreter’s Bible: Volume 7; Page 602-603)

Vinegar is thought to refer to sour wine. Wine mixed 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 cries out, losing consciousness at once. All the Gospel stories agree.

Here it is necessary to quote the Interpreter’s Bible, once again, but not for scholarship’s sake.

“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 the Roman soldiers drank.” (The Interpreter’s Bible: Volume 7; Page 608)

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

In this case, posca, would not dull the pain and serve the purpose of the Jewish custom, or the words of the Gospels. The Roman brew has nothing to do with vinegar, as is obvious when one breaks the chemical nature of the liquid.

Vinegar, as prepared and used in the first century was, fermented, undiluted, grain alcohol. A mendicant-sour wine made up of pure alcohol (fermented. A sour liquid obtained by acetic fermentation of dilute alcoholic liquids. A sour tasting condiment and preservative prepared by two successive microbial processes, the first being an alcoholic fermentation effected by yeasts… (Encarta Encyclopedia; MSN Encarta Learning Center)

Vinegar: A sour liquid that is made by the fermentation of any numerous dilute alcoholic liquids into a liquid containing acetic acid… probably first made from wine (sour). (Encyclopaedia Britannica: www.britannica.com)

When used with, gall, it is a powerful opiate!

Gall, or bile, was used in ancient medicine and referred to as, wormwood. It was also alcoholic in nature, and when used as the derivative, absinthe, was eighty-six proof alcohol. Added to sour wine, it was a potent substance. But gall had another purpose when given to a wounded individual.

Gall, is a source of, tannin,, and when used in ancient medicine, tannin was a medical emultion used to draw tissue together, in other words, to stop bleeding and to assist in healing a wound.

Without going into unnecessary dissertations, this student would suggest that anyone who wishes to investigate this matter in an intelligent manner should consult a good medical dictionary, or an amply endowed set of encyclopedias. As is cautioned by modern medicine, any mixture of a powerful opiate with pure alcohol will induce a deeply drugged state, a stupor, or unconsciousness. We need only the actions described by the Gospels. Jesus was given the drugged potion, he cried out, and sagged unconscious on the cross.

“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.” (Mark 15:44 The New English Bible)

The Revised Standard Version, has notates no surprise on the part of Pilate, nor does he ask the Centurion how long Jesus has been dead.

“Joseph of Arimathea… took courage and went to Pilate, and asked for the body of Jesus. And Pilate wondered if he were already dead…” Mark 15:43a & 44 RSV)

“And Pilate marveled if he were already dead.” (Mark 15:44 KJV)

To marvel: thaumasen; to wonder, marvel, to be astonished…” (A Critical Lexicon And Concordance To The English And Greek New Testament)

And well might he have been amazed, for Jesus was on the cross less than three hours. Those who agree with this time element, however, contradict themselves in a continuing effort to stand approved with what is quickly becoming a highly suspect tradition.

“Jesus lived on the cross for only three hours… ” This same source now tells us that twelve hours was the average time between crucifixion and death. (The Interpreter’s Bible: Volume 7; Page 906) Earlier they said that the normal lifespan was one to three days. (See: The Interpreter’s Bible: Volume 7; Page 900 & Volume 7; Page 600-601)

Contradiction abounds, but worse is yet to come from the professionals.

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 Interpreter’s Bible: Volume 8; Page 415; [“The Day of Preparation, i.e., Friday (see Mark 15:42) The Sabbath was dawning (RSV mg.): A Jewish idiom; in Palestine at the Passover season about 6 p.m.”]) The Gospel of John attests to this fact.

Matthew and Luke omit this part of Mark’s dialogue. We do not know whom the writer of Mark got his information from. We may be assured, however, that it was not Peter, for he was nowhere near the cross. He, and the other disciples, had fled the scene in fear of being arrested for sedition and insurrection.

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 chemical nature of the drugs given to Jesus had a profound effect upon his mind and body. The least of which would have been to deaden the pain. However, there is one additional medical fact remaining to prove this theory, and it comes from John.

“But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.” (John 19:34 KJV)

“…but when they cane 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.” (John 19:33-35 The New English Bible)

Jesus was not dead!

In order to remain honest it is important that this student note the Greek used in this verse. “Tethenkota: to have died, to be dead in the present sense.” (A Critical Lexicon And Concordance To The English And Greek New Testament) When the soldiers examined Jesus they thought that he was dead, and to prove this, they stabbed him in the side with a spear. When he did not react to the pain, they assumed the worst. This was reported to Pilate.

Medical science relates another story. Upon death, the heart ceases to function. The flow of blood stops and immediately flows to the lowest level of the body. With Jesus erect on the cross it would move to his legs and feet. If Jesus had been dead, the wound in his side would not have bled. Rather than prove tradition correct, this verse proves it is wrong. Jesus’ heart was still beating.

The professional theologians, having left the realm of investigative research, follow their own selfish motives. We are offered the weakest and most despicable of all explanations for disavowing expert evidence, that of the Gospel itself.

They claim that no matter what “medical” evidence is provided on this point, the ‘witness’ emphasizes the truth of this tradition, therefore it represents a ‘symbolic truth to the evangelist.’ (The Interpreter’s Bible: Volume 8; Page 786)

What it represents is the fact that neither the ‘witness’, the ‘evangelist’, nor the soldier, were a medical expert. They had absolutely no knowledge of the reaction of normal bodily functions after death.

What we are being told is that, ‘it is a miracle and therefore it cannot be questioned’.. No matter what evidence is provided, they will not change their minds. The laws of physics and medicine have nothing to do with religious tradition and cannot act upon it. And if God’s Holy Spirit were to convict them of the truth, then they would say that it is not God’s Spirit since God would never say such a thing.

Man is determined to have his own way, even to the point of doing murder to protect his self-made traditions.

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

“When even was come… He went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus.” (Matthew 27:57-58 KJV)

People were buried on the day they died. An executed (dead) person was not allowed to remain exposed overnight. (Deut. 21:23) (The Interpreter’s Bible: Volume 7; Page 612-613)

“And now when 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.” (Mark 15:42-45 KJV)

“This man went unto Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus.” (Luke 23:52 KJV)

The Romans would have left a dead body on the cross all night, but Jewish Law forbid it. (The Interpreter’s Bible: Volume 8; Page 414)

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…)…” (John 19:31 RSV)

“And after this, Joseph of Arimathea… besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave…” (John 19:38 KJV)

Were the two thieves dead? Their legs were broken to keep them from lifting themselves up to aid both their breathing and circulation, thus to hasten their deaths. But there seems to have been little time even for this to result in death, for they were not left on the crosses but taken down almost at once. Jesus, on the other hand, had been drugged and given a mendicant that served far better to preserve his life.

In addition to this, the Gospels offer further proof, medical proof, of the efforts made to revive Jesus by Joseph and Nicodemus. It is as though there had been a marvelous conspiracy to protect the Christ.

“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.” (Luke 23:55 RSV)

“Body: soma; the body as a whole, whether of man or animals, dead or alive…” (A Lexicon and Concordance To The English-Greek New Testament)

There is no specific reference made to a ‘dead’ body in the scriptures.

“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.” (Mark 16:1 RSV)

In the Gospels we have 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, unknown to the women, a flurry of activity takes place, activity that is absolutely necessary to the story.

Remember that they already had an ointment, tannin. As previously noted, it was an astringent used to stop bleeding and assist in the healing process of the wound in Jesus’ side. If Jesus were dead, it would have been unnecessary to even mention the mendicant. All they needed now was a purgative to rid Jesus’ system of the opiate that had rendered him unconscious.

“Nicodemus also, who had at first come to him by night, came bring a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds’ weight.” (John 19:39 RSV)

“He was joi8ned 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 hundred weight.” (John 19:39-40 The New English Bible)

Here we have it, and it is the gospel! Because of the medical nature of the substances used on Jesus’ body, and the large quantity involved, we have exactly that which completes the picture.

“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).”

Myrrh was highly valued in ancient times as an ingredient of perfume and incense and was also used as an ointment. The myrrh mentioned in the Bible (see: Psalms 45:8; Song 4:14) is believed to have been a mixture of myrrh and the oleoresin, labdanum… The gum resin was also used as a stimulant tonic…” (Encarta Encyclopedia: MSN Encarta Learning Center)

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, a powerful opiate mixed with grain alcohol. The mendicants used were of a potent nature, and in great quantity. Jesus was wrapped in linen with these medicinal herbs so that they were in contact with his entire body. (John 19:40: the New English Bible; “They took the body of Jesus and wrapped it, with spices, in strips of linen…”) Some of this substance could have been introduced internally, but that is pure speculation.

From the medical evidence provided by the Gospels, we return 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.” (Mark 16:6 RSV)

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.” (Mark 16:6 RSV)

The word for, raised again, is not that of a resurrection from the dead, but to wake up from a sleep. It does not even imply, ‘the sleep of death’.

Then word used in the translations above, and in the Bible texts we have noted, is; egerthe, to rise from sleep. The word used for the ‘sleep of death’ is not to be found in these verses. It is not used anywhere in reference to the resurrection.

Young’s Analytical Concordance To The Bible (Robert Young LL.D William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1975: Page 820) shows, egeiro being used in every situation other than being raised from the dead. It is seen as describing, ‘nation shall rise against nation’, ‘Rise, let us be going’, ‘Rise up and stand forth in the midst of’.

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 context as, egeiro, but in the original Greek text, this variation is not used at all.

In Matthew, an angel of the Lord, who greets the women, replaces the young boy.

“Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead…” (Matthew 28:7 RSV)

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

“While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel… why do you seek the living among the dead?” (Luke 24:4-5 RSV)

It seems to fit later resurrection traditions nicely, but it also implies in the physical sense, exactly what it says, ‘why do you seek the living among the dead?’ In a graveyard?

But things have changed again. Now two men are at the tomb, not one boy dressed in white, or an angel. The same Greek word is used again for, raised, ergethe, to awake from a sleep. Here also, the Apostles are added to the scene, which directly contradicts this and the other Gospels, i.e. biblical history.

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

The meaning of the words 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, the original text, as it is in The New English version. It seems that modern clerics feel they have the right to take freedoms that are unfounded at best.

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. Its only use with that meaning is in, Revelation.

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 rouse from sleep’.

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

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

It is openly admitted by professional scholars that Matthew and Luke take Mark’s story of the empty tomb, and revise it! (The Interpreter’s Bible: Volume 8; Page 416)

The story that the Gospel, in its original form, 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 them adequately. The truth, as they admit, involves a tradition that even they cannot support. And this web thickens, leading us too more devious plots.

Paul was not familiar with any tradition that involved an empty tomb. He believed that the resurrected body was a spiritual body and not a physical body, therefore he would have found it extremely difficult to embrace the tradition as it stands today. (I Corinthians 15:35-55; II Corinthians 5:1-4). (The Interpreter’s Bible: Volume 8; Page 416)

Even more damning is the evidence concerning Mark’s Gospel and its addendum. It has been set upon by more individuals who felt themselves qualified to add whatever they pleased, than can be imagined. Christian theologians know and admit this, as does the hierarchy of the Church, yet the addendum remains a part of this work and the Church’s 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…” Mark 16:6-8; The Original Jerusalem Gospel)

The mystery of Mark remains forever. Where is verse 9? 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 could be an indicator that those events many never have taken place. Dare we think such a thing?

Verse 7, like 14:28 must be an addendum into the story and it obviously pre-dates Matthew and Luke. (The Interpreter’s Bible: Volume 7; Page 914)

The longer ending, which includes verses 9-20, is not found in the best or oldest manuscripts. It seems to have been created from material in the other Gospels, and possibly even Acts. It is believed that the second century presbyter Aristion (Ariston) added it to the scriptures. An Armenian manuscript written in 989 gives him credit for the addition. A shorter ending is found in some late manuscripts, possibly originating in fourth century Egypt. Neither of the endings is genuine. (The Interpreter’s Bible: Page 915-916)

It is highly unlikely that either the writer of Matthew or Luke had a version of Mark that went beyond verse 16:8. (See¨ The Interpreter’s Bible: Volume 7; Page 915)

“And they said nothing…” Why, out of fear? Because they were told to say nothing? The silence helps to explain the absence of any reference to an empty tomb in the earliest literature in the New Testament, in Paul, or any where in the Greek testaments save for the three of the Gospels. (The Interpreter’s Bible: Volume 7; Page 915)

“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 (itk), 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 Eusibian 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.” (A Textual Commentary On The Greek New Testament; Bruce M. Metzger: United Bible Societies; Pages 122-123)

“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…” (A Textual Commentary On The Greek New Testament; Bruce M. Metzger: United Bible Societies; Page 124)

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 and tell the disciples and Peter that he is going before you into Galilee; there you will see him, as he told you.” (Mark 16:7; RSV)

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.

The Interpreter’s Bible, suggests that it is not certain the first appearances took place in Galilee. They believe it is probable that it took place in Galilee. (The Interpreter’s Bible: Volume 7; Page 914)

It is as though the women are discounted throughout, that they are non-beings and any appearance that occurred in their presence was invalid. The first appearance of Jesus after the crucifixion was in Jerusalem, to these same women. He did not appear in Galilee first nor did Jesus appear to the disciples first. It is obvious that even in the modern mind, women are second-rate citizens to whom no spiritual or religiously significant 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.” (Matthew 28: 9-10, Authorized King James Version)

This is the first appearance of Jesus after the crucifixion, in Jerusalem, to the women. It is official. He is found to be whole and totally physical by the women who touched his living body. After that, he appears to his disciples 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.” (Matthew 28: 16-17; Authorized King James Version)

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 the entrance into Jerusalem, secrets to which we are not privy. Very possibly the information was transmitted by the women!

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 it was not until centuries after the writing of the Synoptic Gospels that there was any concept of a Holy Trinity. Jesus obviously never spoke the words that stimulate today’s Christian missionary fervor!

Some of Paul’s doctrine connects Jesus with God and the Holy Spirit, as does the fourth Gospel, but these merely provided the groundwork for “the later doctrine” of the trinity. Matthew’s use of the term merely indicates the later church’s substitution for, ‘in the name of the Lord Jesus’, which was originally pronounced during the baptism. It is, in fact, a later addendum that does not reflect a genuine statement of Jesus. (The Interpreter’s Bible: Volume 7; Page 622)

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.” (Luke 24:10-11)

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 withy the reality of his physical, living body. (Luke 24:40-41)

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.” (Luke 24:41-42; RSV)

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) (The Interpreter’s Bible: Volume 7; Page 622)

We may be assured that by the time of John’s writing, many of the church’s doctrines had already begun to take on definite shape. 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). (John 20:16; RSV)

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.” (Luke 24: 15-16;RSV)

Evangelists and theologians alike readily accept these metaphysical appearances, 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.” (Luke 24:28-30; The New English Bible)(The Interpreter’s Bible: Volume 8; Page 95)

It might be well to site two examples at this point, one of which we have already investigated. The first agrees with the ‘hidden’ story the Gospels tells us about the crucifixion. The words of the, Holy Qur’an, speak of the tradition we have been examining. To be open-minded it is best for us to use every available source we can discover.

“…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…” (The Holy Qur’an: Muhammad Zafrulla Khan: Chapter 4: 157-160)

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 Joseph A. Gibbons and Roger A. Bullard comment upon its dialogue. 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…” (The Second Treatise of the Great Seth: Nag Hammadi Library: Page 365; 56:15-20)

“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…” (The Second Treatise of the Great Seth: Nag Hammadi Library: Page 365; 56:21-26)

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 church’s 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…” (I Corinthians 15:4-6: RSV)

The Interpreter’s Bible, notes that the earliest evidence we have is Paul’s, I Corinthians 15:3-8) (See: Volume 7; Page 911)

Well, the ‘earliest 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 appearance 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.

After appearing to Mary, Jesus later appears to his 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 him his hands and side.” (John 20:19-20 The New English Bible)

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.

Another problem with this is why Jesus would show them in his hands. We will discuss this later as additional shadows are cast upon man’s doctrine.

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.” (John 20:26-27; The New English Bible)

John is going to insist that the doors and windows were locked, despite what history and the scriptures tell us. 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.” (Luke 24:37-40 RSV)

One point may be made here concerning the fashion common in Jesus’ day. He says, “See my hands and my feet…” With long robes that started at the neck and went all the way down to ones feet, there was nothing else that could be seen. It does not necessarily mean that Jesus was showing them any kind of wound or mark. In fact, the statement is perfectly natural.

We may also take note in that which Jesus does not say. He never mentions that he has been raised from the dead; he never even suggests this miraculous event. Nor were the disciples made privy to the act that kept him alive, that saved him from death. He did not advise them of the secret arrangements he had made for entering Jerusalem, and he had not allowed them to have 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 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 Church 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 as legitimate as 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.” (The Gospel According To Thomas: Preliminary Remarks: Page V; Harper and Row: 1959)

That work has never come into existence. 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, or 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.” (The Gospel According To Thomas: Pl. 86: Log 24:4-5)

This is a post-resurrection statement, but the tense is far different than John 14:5. The disciples appear to be asking Jesus where he is so they can go there, physically. Jesus answers with a statement that usually preceded a ‘mystery’ statement, an answer or parable that was intended only for his own disciples.

“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?” (John 14:5 RSV)

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 are 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 cannot get more pagan than to continue a doctrine of blood offerings and human sacrifices which the Lord God has condemned.

In the section we have just studied John demands that Jesus’ appearances be miraculous. For the entire beginning of, The Acts of The Apostles, 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.” (Acts 2:41 The New English Bible)

It would have been difficult to administer the word, and impossible to baptize three thousand from behind locked doors. And if we insist that Jesus walked through closed doors, it would have been no more difficult for him to do so in the flesh, than it was to walk through a mob of people who were trying to kill him or to be seen by the women and his own disciples without being recognized. However, one must accept that which is laid on their hearts by God’s spirit, even if it is to believe that in the Kingdom we shall have physical, flesh and bone, bodies.

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 were Jews to the end, and 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 ended, and that its natural extension was, Christianity.

When Stephen was killed, it was that group of Christians who fled from Jerusalem. The Judaizers were not forced to run for their lives. In fact, just the opposite was true. The disciples 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 lives as Jews within that community, unaware that a dark and threatening future lay ahead. One had come into the world who would destroy everything that Jesus had laid down.

THE ASCENSION

Jesus never left Judaism. He did not forsake the Law, nor did he fail to remind others of it and demand that they follow it. His teachings fell within that of the Rabbinical schools of his day, and his beliefs stood firmly within the doctrine of the orthodox. We have no reason to believe that the Apostles would fail to follow his example.

Whether they were ready or not Jesus’ ministry had ended and he was gone. They alone were witness to his work, and they were left alone to carry it on. Within the context of what we know as, The Jerusalem Church, eleven men remained to preach the good news. Peter was to be the foundation of the new faith.

But where was their master? The only event left to examine, and that very briefly, is the Ascension. Very little of this purely spiritual event is attested to in the New Testament, and we are forced to view the works of theologians who offer a confusing mixture of statements on the subject.

If, the ascension is a product of the Church’s doctrine and is not biblical, the Gospels will reveal the truth to us. We have strong evidence that in the first century church, there was no ascension tradition, as there was no doctrine concerning a ‘virgin birth’, a ‘holy trinity’, and a ‘Christmas birth narrative’.. This is, again, one more fine detail that contributes to the belief that Jesus did not die on the cross.

Acts 1:2, presents another dilemma –filled theological question concerning Jesus’ ascension into heaven.

“The text of the opening sentence of Acts circulated in several different forms in the early church. The ordinary text, witnessed by all extant ancient Greek manuscripts with the exception of codex Bezae, can be rendered, with the RSV, as follows:

“In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day that he was taken up, after he had given commandment through the Holy Spirit to the Apostles whom he had chosen.” (A Textual Commentary On The Greek New Testament: Bruce M. Metzger: Page 273)

“Another form of the Western text, which does not involve the difficulties exhibited by the Bezan text, is preserved in several old Latin witnesses, particularly in codex Gigas and in the quotations of Augustine and Vigilius… Blass, followed by Clark and, in most respects, by Ropes, reconstructed the Greek text.”

“(In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach,) on the day when he chose the Apostles through the Holy Spirit and commanded them to proclaim the Gospel.” (A Textual Commentary On The Greek New Testament: Bruce M. Metzger: Page 274)

In criticism over the deletion, or, addition of the ascension statement, Metzger makes the following comment.

Metzger is quick to point out that (1) there is no mention of the ascension; (2) the ‘day’, which is specified, is the occasion during Jesus’ public ministry when he chose the Apostles.

Ropes and Clark, whose text-critical views usually differ from each other, agree in this case that this form of the Western text must be regarded as original, and the Alexandrian as corrupt.

However intellectuals may debate over the ‘fact’ of the ascension, this is an act that faith alone can accept or deny. No human pen can ever form an argument that will decide the issue one way or another. Metzger also points out the following.

“If, however, for the sake of the argument it be assumed that a Greek text once existed which lacked reference to the ascension, its origin can be explained on the basis of either doctrinal or stylistic reasons.” (A Textual Commentary On The Greek New Testament: Bruce M. Metzger: Page 276-277)

The Gospel according to Mark tells us that the women were first to the tomb. It was empty. There was no witness to Jesus’ appearance to the women or anyone else. Accordingly, there is no ascension in Mark.

In Matthew and John, the women see Jesus first, in Jerusalem. Paul ignores any such evidence since he has no knowledge of a tomb scene, and he refuses to report any visitation to women, but only to the Apostles. There is no ascension narrated by Matthew or John.

Luke, a much later Gospel and written to one who was subservient to Paul, is loyal in his adhering to that one’s self-proclaimed theology. He does not report the women having seen Jesus, and in fact, has him appear first to two men never before mentioned in the Bible. Cleopus was certainly not one of the Apostles, therefore denying Jesus’ words of instruction and bringing great question to Luke’s interpretation of the events.

Luke has Jesus lifted into heaven in the last line of the Gospel. It supports Paul’s designs, but not the reports of the other Gospel stories.

“While he blessed them, he parted from them, and was carried up into heaven.” (Luke 24:51)

A fact that bears witness to the disclaimer of Jesus’ presumed death on the cross is the practice of the disciples. There was no ‘communion meal’ within the Primitive Church (The Jerusalem Church). They did not memorialize a death on the cross, but a celebration of the coming meal they would share with Jesus upon his return. Unhappily, the Gospel stories have been tainted by Paul’s manipulations.

To enforce his repudiation of the principals set up by Jesus’ disciples, Paul inserts the words, “this do in remembrance of me.” Paul claimed that this was his instruction from the risen Christ.

Mark this well. He, Paul, inserted the words that were later to become the basis of the Communion sacrament practiced by the Church. This do in remembrance of me, are not the words of Jesus, they were never part of the original Gospels, but are an addendum taken from I Corinthians.

Our only other clue to the truth is revealed by the manner in which the date of Easter is calculated. It is determined by the rituals of a pagan rite, the phases of the moon connected with the celebration of the, Rite of Spring, according to the practice in Mythranism.

Why isn’t Easter celebrated on the actual date of Jesus’ purported death?

Josephus records it as 33 AD, April 3. He is the most authoritative historian we have from that period, far superior to those who wrote the Greek Gospels. This information is available by calculating the date of the Passover on 14 Nissan, in the years 31 AD, 32 AD, and 33AD.

The only conclusion we can come to is that Jesus did not die on the cross, therefore, how could one realistically celebrate his death on any given date? Instead, the Church substituted a pagan festival and applied that rule to the celebration of Easter.

Another indicator, which enhances our conclusion, comes from the Baptism, Jesus’ first act in validating the Law of Moses.

John’s was a baptism of repentance. He baptized with water. He indicated that Jesus would baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire. In all texts, the Holy Spirit is indicated in the Greek as, Pneuma agio(n). (A Lexicon And Concordance to the English-Greek New Testament: Bullinger: Page 381) This indicates the gift of the Holy Spirit and not the Holy Spirit himself.

The gift in this case is forgiveness. Jesus’ baptism was for the forgiveness of sins. If this is the case, why is the washing of regeneration in his blood, the blood offering of a human sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins, even necessary? The deed had already been accomplished.

Evidence of this is found in the practice of the early church where the baptism that replaced John’s was a baptism given, “in the name of the Lord Jesus.”

If one accepts traditions’ dictates then the ascension is vital to their faith. If one accepts the ‘saved’ Jesus then the resurrection becomes his return to the table of his Apostles. In this case, there is no immediate ascension. In speaking for the latter, it is a Gospel story that thousands of martyrs have given their lives to protect. The ascension, however, remains the accepted doctrine of those who believe in Jesus’ death on the cross.

One must also understand that for hundreds of millions of the faithful, the ascension is totally unnecessary. The living Jesus is the beacon leading to the path of redemption through his actions and his verbal teachings.

“Call to mind when the angels said to Mary: Allah through His word, gives thee glad tidings of a son named Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, honored in this world and the next, and of those who are granted nearness to Allah.” (The Holy Qur’an: Muhammad Zafrulla Khan: Chapter 3:46)

“Indeed, the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, was but a messenger of Allah…” (The Holy Qur’an: Muhammad Zafrulla Khan: Chapter 4:172)

In the end, Jesus is lifted up into heaven by God. It is expressed in a manner in which only the Holy Qur’an could assert its beauty.

“…and we made the son of Mary and his mother a sign, and gave them shelter on a pleasant plateau with springs of running water.” (The Holy Qur’an: Muhammad Zafrulla Khan: Chapter 4:172)

The ascension is accomplished even though the time and circumstances are not as doctrine would have them. Though the manner of our understanding may seem different due to our cultures and our histories, we accomplish the same confession.

Only now does the process of future events begin to unfold. As we have already seen, one had indeed come into the world who would change the course of the church from the faith of the Apostles to the intellectualism and mysticism of the Hellenistic world. And then would deny that congregation the right to reason. Our understanding of this period in biblical history must begin with the Jerusalem Church, the body of faith that lay with Jesus’ chosen disciples.

Paul’s ministry was assaulted by Jewish Christians known to us as the, Judiazers. These individuals, empowered by, if not themselves Jesus’ disciples, carried on a Jewish faith as practiced and instructed by Jesus himself. He did not come to destroy, but to fulfill. Surely then, this must have been the genuine Church. (The Interpreter’s Bible: Volume 7; Page 21)

“The first believers were not neophytes in religion. Belonging, many of them, to the ‘pious of the land’, they were not only acquainted with synagogal forma, but had precedents for the organization of their life in various groups of dedicated people within Judaism, who had drawn up rules for their life together.” (Peake’s Commentary on the Bible: Thomas Nelson & Sons LTD: Page 870b)

Being Jews, the Apostles continued to be fervent for the law, observed the normal holidays and festivals of Judaism, which included Pentacost, and never considered themselves anything other than Jews. Their difference lay in the knowledge that Jesus was Messiah, and to this knowledge they constantly pointed.

“They took no interest in any mission to the Samaritans or to Gentiles, since they considered that the Messiah was ‘sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” (The Interpreter’s Bible: Volume 7; Page 215; I)

This was the message that Jesus himself continued to verbalize throughout his ministry. When he dealt with Gentiles, it was on an individual basis. He never denied those who came to him on the foundation of personal faith, yet he never condoned a mission to them as a part of his calling.

And they believed that an instantaneous judgment would take place when Jesus returned. This they thought would come within a very short time, and the common meal was practiced as an anticipated meal with Jesus upon his return. There was no communion meal within the practice of the Apostles! Another indicator.

Despite the fact that Sunday became celebrated as, The Lord’s Day, the disciples and their congregation continued to honor the Sabbath. (The Interpreter’s Bible: Volume 7; Page 215; I)

“Nothing was required of the orthodox Jew but to conform to the ordinances of the law, and in matters of opinion he was left free… Whatever might be their beliefs, they were faithful in their observance of the law, and the religious authorities could take no measures against them… Their views might be erroneous but it was clear that in religious practices they did nothing contrary to the law.” (Peake’s Commentary on the Bible: Thomas Nelson & Sons LTD: Page 870d)

Everything, however, began to come apart when the Hellenists became involved with the Church. Arguments began within the congregation itself and spread to those outside that institution. (The Interpreter’s Bible: Volume 7; Page 181)

The Hellenists, especially Stephen, were insistent that the role of Judaism was over and that the religion was dead. Such preaching within the Jewish community could do nothing but cause serious trouble. If such outrageous speeches were made in our day and age, against Christianity, you may be sure it would likely end up in the same way in orthodox, die-hard circles.

“To Stephen Israel had been apostate throughout her history; her rejection of Jesus is merely the culmination of a series of misdeeds. Christianity must break with Judaism because the two are incompatible.” (Peake’s Commentary on the Bible: Thomas Nelson & Sons LTD; Page 871 70d)

It is apparent from these statements, validated by outside sources, that Hellenistic activity and their anti-Jewish attitudes would have planted the seed for a Gentile-Christian movement without the questionable assistance of Saul of Tarsus. In fact, history shows us that their very dispersal due to the incident with Stephen had already started this event many years before Paul’s figure even begins its ministry.

Stephen left the community with no choice. The revolutionary temper of his words and actions brought down a torrent of reprisal, and resulted with his death. With this act, the Hellenists were forced to leave Jerusalem under the burden of persecution, but this did not affect Peter and the other Apostles, those of the Judo-Christian assemblage.

“The persecution that broke out probably touched the Hellenists only. Acts merely states that the Apostles remained in the city, and they are unlikely to have remained there unless there were other Christians around them. And had the persecution been general they themselves would hardly have escaped it.” (Peake’s Commentary on the Bible: Thomas Nelson & Sons LTD; Page 871 760e)

This ‘calm’ period seems to have lasted for some eleven to twelve years before the growing tension between Jew and Gentile resulted in the death of James, the son of Zebedee, and the imprisonment of Peter in 44 AD. At that point it is believed that James, Jesus’ brother became the head of the Church, but very little is known about the Jerusalem Church between 44 AD and 70 AD.

We get some help here from, The Gospel According to Thomas, Page 9: Log 12; 25-30.

“The disciples said to Jesus: We know that thou wilt go away from us. Who is it who shall be great over us? Jesus said to them: Wherever you have come, you will go to James the righteous for whose sake heaven and earth came into being.”

Here a word of caution is advised. If the Bible lacks one great quality, it is in properly advising us as to the passage of time. Events would appear to take place one right after the other, without deference to the intervals of time that lapsed between them. Even when spans of time are discussed, they are confusing at best.

For all intents and purposes, the faith of the Apostles, as carried on in a Jewish Christian community, fades away into obscurity. With it went the last of those who knew the living Jesus of history, those who stood breath-to-breath with the living Nazarene and delighted in the day of his coming.

I would close this treatise with the knowledge that the Church Jesus proclaimed, has been saved in a most unusual manner. And it will exist again, to last until the coming of the kingdom, just as the Christ has appointed.

CONFESSION

It is time to conclude this work, and the two which precede this discourse. It need not be lengthy for all the evidence stands before the court.

Has the Jerusalem Church, the faith of the Apostles, been hidden away for these many centuries?

Yes!

Does it exist on the face of this earth, in this present age?

Yes!

Where?

In the minds and hearts, and souls of those who have been chosen by the Lord God of Hosts to bear His Church. Even those in whom the seed was planted were not aware that it lay within them.

He did not hide it in the world where men might find it and destroy it forever, but in an imperishable vessel which could travel through time until the moment of revelation had come to pass. To the time when He saw fit to call it out.

How many have carried the seed, I cannot tell, and God will not. One only need speak it now, and the true resurrection of the Apostles’ faith will come to pass. That ‘church’ which Jesus created through the Apostle Peter, can never be destroyed, and in its time will come to stand as the true faith.

Did Jesus die on the cross?

No!

Then a question must follow.

Why is it impossible for man to accept a ‘saved’ Jesus, rather than a ‘crucified’ Jesus? Without the abhorrence of a human sacrifice, without man’s blood lust satisfied, he cannot survive. Paul’s ‘church’ turns to dust. In closing, my only question to the present faith is simple.

Why isn’t God enough?

BIBLIOGRAPHY

A Critical Lexicon And Concordance To The English And Greek New Testament: Ethelbert W. Bullinger, D.D.; Zondervan Publishing House: Grand Rapids, Mi. 1976

A Textual Commentary On The Greek New Testament: Bruce W. Metzger: United Bible Societies: 1971

Beginnings Of Christianity: ed F.J. Fookes, Jackson & Kersopp

Bloodline Of The Holy Grail: Laurence Gardner: Barnes & Noble Books

Cruden’s Complete Concordance: Zondervan Publishing House: Grand Rapids, Mi. 1968

Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire: Edward Gibbons: The Modern Library: Random House, Inc.

Encarta Learning Center: Internet Access: Microsoft

Encylopedia Brittanica: Internet Access

From Jesus To Christ: Paula Fredriksen: Yale University Press: New Haven & London: 1988

Josephus’ Complete Works: Kregel Publications: Grand Rapids, Mi. 1976

Peake’s Commentary On The Bible: Thomas Nelson & Sons LTD: May 1962

The Book Of Concord: Fortress Press: Philadelphia: 1959

The Gospel According To Thomas: Harper & Rowe: New York & Evanston: 1959

The Gospel Of Philip: The Nag Hammadi Library: The Dead Sea Scrolls: James M. Robinson, General Editor: Wesley M. Isenberg

The Holy Bible King James and Revised Standard Versions

The Holy Qur’an: Mohammad Zafrulla Khan: Olive Branch Press

The Holy Scriptures According To The Masoretic Text: Jewish Publication Society Of America: Philadelphia, Pa. 1955

The Interlinear Greek-English New Testament: Rev. Alfred D. Little: Zondervan Publishing House: Grand Rapids, Mi. 1976

The Interpreter’s Bible: Abingdon Press: New York and Nashville, Tenn. 1951

The New American Bible: Saint Joseph Edition: Catholic Book Publishing Co. New York: 1970

The New English Bible with Apocrypha: Oxford University Press: Cambridge University Press: 1970

The New International Commentary On The New Testament: The Gospel According To Mark: William B. Eerdman Publishing Co.

The Original Jerusalem Gospel: A conjectural restoration of, Q: Reprinted from the Hibbert Journal: Publisher and date unknown.

The Outline of History: H.G. Wells: Camden City Books

The Qur’an: Tahrike Tarsile Qur’an, Inc. Elmhurst, NY 1988

The Second Treatise of the Great Seth: Nag Hammadi Library: The Dead Sea Scrolls: James M. Robinson, General Editor

Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary: G & C Merriam Co; 1977

Young’s Analytical Concordance To The Bible: Robert Young, LL.D.

William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.: Grand Rapids, Mi; 1975

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