Category Archives: Being Berean

The One Book

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But He answered and said, “It is written, MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.”Matt 4:4NASB

 

Hopefully you have read the Bible with us last year. If you have not take the time to start a daily devotion then I suggest you start with us on January 07, 2015.

The Holy Bible

Click the Bible to read more…

 

The one book every believer should take the time to read is the Bible. Amazingly I am often asked which version or translation do I think is best or which do I read.  To be honest I will only read a true word-for-word translation. Of these there are only two I can recommend. One is the King James Version. The other is The New American Standard Version.

The King James version does tend to be more difficult to read or understand at times do to the old English.  So for my own use I use the New American Standard Version.

The quote below best defines the differences in modern translations…

“…Ultimately, what separates the New American Standard Bible from the various available versions is that the NASB is a literal word-for-word translation from the original languages. In contrast, the others stress either a loose, personalized paraphrase, or a free-style, thought-for-thought translation known as a dynamic equivalent. Both of these place the highest priority on ease of reading and a lower priority on word-for-word preciseness. While such versions may produce smooth English, the literalness of the Word of God is sacrificed. This has never been an option for the New American Standard Bible.”

I love this  quote because I believe these  loose translation are opening the door to apostasy . You know how we hate apostasy.

…For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. 2 Tim 4:3-5 NASB

For you to see more clearly here are a few passages from two different translations. Let’s see how they compare…

Matt. 25:31 NIV When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. (note: ‘heavenly’ is not in the Greek, but is certainly theologically suggestive from the perspective of the translator)

Matt. 25:31 NASB But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne.

Phil. 3:14 NIV I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (note: ‘heavenward’ is certainly not the direction of believers, since Paul is talking about the future resurrection of the faithful)

Phil. 3:14 NASB I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

John 16:28 NIV “I came from the Father and entered the world; now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father.” (note: the Greek does not say ‘back’, which suggests preexistence when it is not in the text)

John 16:28 NASB “I came forth from the Father and have come into the world; I am leaving the world again and going to the Father.”

John 20:17 NIV Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. (again, the Greek does not say ‘going back’ – pushing the preexistence issue)

John 20:17 NASB Jesus said to her, “Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father”

Romans 10:16 NIV But not all the Israelites accepted the good news. (‘Israelites’ is not in the Greek)

Romans 10:16 NASB However, they did not all heed the good news.

Hopefully you see why you need the true Word of God. The only way to stop apostasy is to put the Word of God in the hearts and minds of those who believe.  Everyone needs to have a clear understanding of God’s Word.

This is not about the Blog-ship… for us it’s personal.

May the Love of Christ be with you always….

…Live long and Prosper

 © 2015 GEEKUSEXTREMUS.COM

 

Demystifying Prayer: The House of God

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My grandmother lived close to her church. Several times a week she would go there and pray. More if someone in the family was sick. If something was really troubling she would ask the priest to pray for her or with her. I loved my grandmother. She believed in God and in our lord and savior Jesus Christ.

My grandma was a product of the mysticism that surrounds the church, the priest, prayer and God.  This mysticism is a false substitute for the sound understanding of doctrine. One of these points is the theological understanding of omnipresence.

“Where can I go from your Spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence? If I ascend into heaven, you are there; if I make my bed in hell, behold, you are there; if I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.” (Psalm 139:7-12)

God is spirit. God’s spirit is everywhere. Everything is immediately in Gods presence. There is no where in the framework of creation that God is not present. God therefore is omnipresent.

While King David wrote this psalm lets look at another passage where God speaks of his own nature.

“‘Am I a God near at hand,’ says the Lord, ‘and not a God afar off? Can anyone hide himself in secret places, so I shall not see him?’ . . . ‘do I not fill heaven and earth?’ says the Lord?” (Jeremiah 23:23,24)

So why is it that so many people around the world go to church in order to speak to God?

The impression is that you are in Gods presence when you go to church. That the church is hollowed ground. But where does this idea come from? Why do we as Christians allow this false depiction to continue?

Well the answer can be found in the early  Christian churches. The Greek temples which were said to house the spirit of a given deity is where you went to pray to that deity. The priests that served in that deities temple would teach of that deity and of how you win their favor.

The Romans like the Greeks worshiped in the same manor. They  built new temples or templum.  Foreign temples were left but were call fanum. In Roman society you were free to worship in a fanum so long as you honored and worshiped the gods of the empire in a templum.

Throughout history pagan temples were destroyed or built over in order to usher in a new deity. With the rise of Christianity we see these pagan temples converted rather than destroyed.

Unfortunately it appears that these new Christians were tainted by hundreds of years of cultural practices. No longer calling them temples (since this smacked of paganry) they called their places of worship cathedrals or churches.

The problem…temples were seen as call boxes to contact deities. Churches and Cathedrals were seen the same way. The churches rather than correcting these misguided theological points instead encouraged them. In fact this belief continues to this day.

How often do we see in films or on television desperate people who go into a church or cathedral in order to pray or speak to God?

From Paul Newman in Cool hand Luke to the cast of the Walking Dead. This false perception has continued since antiquity. The real question is why does the church allow a false perception?

What is more important your number of members or the truth of God?

Truth: God by his own words is everywhere at all times. He would have to be to be God. If God is everywhere then we are always in his presence. Then we are always before God. That means you can pray anytime anywhere.

So then you must ask yourself the question does God honor where you go to pray?

Truth: God is more concerned for what is in your heart when you pray.

Believe this…

God hears you. Whether you are on the top of a mountain or at the bottom of the sea…God hears you. Even if you are on the moon.

In fact he knows what you will ask of him before  you ask.

To be God he would have to.

Until next time…

May the Love of Christ be with you always….

…Live long and Prosper

 © 2015 GEEKUSEXTREMUS.COM

 

 

The Light of the world

14“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; 15nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16“Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. Matt 5:14-16

The great commission calls us to ministry. This is the ministry of the Word. To a demoniacal world bound to fleshly desires, a  world which is filled with darkness, we are to be the lights of the world. By the Holy Spirit we are to offer spiritual restoration through the Gospel of Christ.

However to often we see this spiritual ministry abandon by church leaders.  Out of the desire to be the Gods moral authority and gain temporal power on earth they leave the love of Christ for political and social power and worldly gain.

Time and again we see in history Christ being used as a way for men to gain control of the masses. As a result the foot print the Church  has left on  world history is horrifying.

I challenge you now to consider what you know and have seen of Jesus Christ and his teachings.  Imagine the great city of Alexandria less than 400 years after the ascension of Christ. A  city that values knowledge, education. philosophy and enlightenment above everything. The place where the Bible was translated into  Greek for the first time.  Now imagine Christians running through the streets, pulling a woman from her chariot, stripping her naked and dragging her through the city back to the church where they filet her with pieces of tile and sharp stones until she is dead. They then cut her body to pieces and burn them outside the city walls.

The woman’s name is Hypatia.

The church leader at the time was Cyril.

I offer this for your discernment.

Now imagine if people you knew, who you went to church with committed these same acts. That the woman had been killed in your place of worship. The horror this idea brings to your mind is the same horror experienced by Alexandrians in 370AD.

Personal journals that survived from this period attest to this.

The organization of the churches was never to gain sociological and political influence. The purpose was to have places that safe guarded the teachings of Christ, that continued spreading the Gospel message and to worship and fellowship with each other. The gifts of the spirit are given for this very purpose.

Even now we see church leaders driven to fill pews organizing social and political actions against would be threats to Christendom.

Does any of these sound familiar?

Abortion, home schooling, school prayer, gay marriage are a few that come to mind. leaders quote scripture in order to condemn the actions of groups and politicians that support them. In doing this quite often they have parted from the spirit of God and the message of Christ.

Lets use gay marriage as an example.

 

We have two completely different issues here.

One issue is the  marriage ceremony as preformed by the church. This is a sacrament of the church. This is marriage in the eyes of God.

The second issue is the marriage contract. This is the document that legally binds you to another. This is marriage in the eyes of the law.

Our constitution is very clear with regards to the separation of church and state. If the government allows gay marriage it makes no difference to the sacrament of the church. However if the government passes a law which states that all churches must perform gay marriage ceremonies then there is an issue.

Thanks to our Constitution this will never happen. The government can never determine what is sacred. So why then is gay marriage a christian issue or a church issue?

Gay marriage has nothing to do with what Christ did for us. It is a witch hunt like Hypatia.

Most people have read John 3:16. Have you ever read what follows?

16“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17“For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18“He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19“This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. 20“For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21“But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.” JOHN 3:16-21

We are called to the ministry of the Word. To share the gospel of Christ. To be light in a world of darkness. We are not called to establish a government that binds people to Gods law. Nor are we called to be sheriffs and enforce Gods laws in society. Nor our we called by God to seats of judgement over society.

We are called to the ministry of the Word. Through the spiritual renewal we receive from the Holy Spirit we are empowered to share the love of Christ with others.

It is easy to use Gods word to condemn others.

Who is without sin?

Hypatia is  a horrifying  example of what happens when Gods Word is ministered in a wrong way. But how can we as Christians know the right way?

First we are to love everyone unconditionally as Christ did. Telling a sinner he is sinful is like telling a terminally ill man in  a hospital bed that he is going to die. We are not to announce death but bring the message of life. Christ did not come saying you are dead he came saying you are forgiven. His message was one of hope not condemnation.

Second we must believe in Gods plan for salvation. We bring the non-believer to Christ and Christ through the Holy Spirit will do the rest. What man can save himself or justify himself in the eyes of God? The only salvation is Christ. Quit trying to eliminate sin. Instead share the Gospel of salvation.

Third… always remember- no matter who tries to move you… or compel you… or co-worse you to act… no matter what their education… or what knowledge they claim… or credentials they claim- or how others in church or society received them-that you alone are accountable to God.

You alone are accountable for your own soul.

When you stand before God, you can not say, “well the elders of my church said” or “my Paster told me to do thus and so” or “that  everyone else was doing it” or “that was how I was raised.” You will not be able to say, “well Lord virtue was not convenient at the time.”

 32“Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. 33“But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven.  34“Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35“For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law 36 and a man’s enemies will be members of his own household.  37“He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. 38“And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. 39“He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it. MATT10:32-39

Do not be afraid to stand on the side of what is right even if you are the only one on that side. Even if it means you loose family or friends. Be Berean. Seek the truth of Christ in all things.

Remember -You are the Light of the World

 

May the Love of Christ be with you always….

…Live long and Prosper

 © 2014 GEEKUSEXTREMUS.COM

 

 

Experiential Jesus

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If you are reading this on Easter morning please understand that this is not the article I intended on posting. If you have been following the Being Berean articles then you know that this article should be about what happened that first Easter morning. The article would make a strong argument for why the women finding the empty tomb adds credence to the Gospel narrative.

Apologetics…is the idea that we can reason someone into believing in God. The funny thing is I did not come to believe in God this way. You see I already knew there was a God. I understood that there was more going on in the universe than most people took the time to think about. I also felt that there is a reason why I am here.

Yes I mean a purpose for my life.

What I did not know was which was the correct God. Every religion on earth claims knowledge of a higher power. Each claims to be the correct  path. Which one is the correct one is the real question.

So how can you find the truth?

You see I can try to argue and point out to you the Truth of Christ. I can write endless articles in an effort to try to rid you of doubts. The truth is that only God can reveal himself to you. Only the Holy Spirit of God can lead you to the truth of Jesus Christ.

My understanding of this truth is not from my own intelligence or knowledge or education. My understanding was because God chose to reveal himself to me. He did not do this because of who I am but because of who he is. How do I know? Because he told me so…

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. James 4:8

 

My belief is simply an example of him keeping his word. I went looking so he moved closer. His Spirit drew me to the truth of who he was. The real question is how do you draw near to God.

Talk to him. Pure and simple. Open up your heart and mind to him. Tell him your needs and worries. Repent for all that you carry around in your heart that you are ashamed of. Ask him to forgive you for all that you have done. Then ask Christ to dwell within your heart. Jesus taught us that God only wishes us to love him and to love our neighbors as ourselves.

Not really that hard is it?

If you seek him you will find him. How do I know? Because he told me so…

But from there you will seek the LORD your God, and you will find Him if you search for Him with all your heart and all your soul. Deut. 4:29

 

As humans we tend to complicate things. We over think things. We reason and argue all possible angles. The truth is the only way to experience Christ first hand is to talk to him for yourself.

The experiential way is the way most people come to accept Christ into their lives. They seek him and they find him. This is a personal moment when you experience Christ first hand. Each person has their own moment of clarity, understanding and acceptance.

How do I know ? Because he says so…

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.

 

That and I have had this moment myself. While I will continue to write articles to strengthen and edify those who believe only you can move closer to God. I can not get you there. You have to go on your own.

If you do you will understand why Easter is celebrated.Today Jesus did what he said he would do. How do I know? Because he told me so.

Happy Easter

 

May the Love of Christ be with you always….

…Live long and Prosper

 © 2014 GEEKUSEXTREMUS.COM

 

The Gospel of St. Peter

an article from Being Berean

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With Apostasy running rampant throughout the Christian Church…how can we know the Truth?

The answer is found in the scriptures. In the book of Acts the apostle Paul commends the Berean people because they accepted nothing he said as truth.The Berean people put the Word of God before the word of man. They checked the scriptures first to see if what Paul was teaching was true.

The Being Berean© movement was started to end the Apostasy. All of us need to help return the church to the true Gospel message of salvation through Christ our Lord. This will only happen if we return to the Word of God.  For this is our sword…

…and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. Eph 6:17

Apostasy is the enemy…

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Eph 6:14

All the articles in Being Berean are intended to help us draw near to God.

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Understanding Bible Canon

Before we can continuing our study of the historical evidences surrounding the crucifixion of Christ we need to first understand what the accounts given in the four Gospels are not.

Many people are confused as to what to believe and why to believe it. In recent years the accuracy of Biblical canon has even been called into question.

The Bible as we see it today was compiled as a result of false documents that were being circulated in the early church. These false writings are known as the Apocrypha.

As the early church began to grow documents began to appear that were different from those that had been in circulation since the apostles established the early churches. (See the Book of Acts)

These documents created friction within the church that resulted in a need to determine what was true. The criteria used by the early church was actually very simple. The only accounts that would be accepted are those that can be attributed as first hand accounts.

As we have already discussed, a historian always wants first hand eyewitness accounts of events. Matthew’s Gospel was written and in circulation with the lives of the apostles and was accepted by them. The same is true of the letters of Paul. Even the later Gospel of John when circulated was done during the lives of people who had witnessed the events first hand. When we look at other books like Timothy we see that he was accepted by Paul and so one. The cross substantiation of the authors of the new testament is unquestionable.

This is why when other writings began to appear the early church decided they needed to protect the Truth of Christs teachings. They realized that over time the True message would be lost. The result is what is called Canon.

The word Canon comes from the Greek and actually means rule or measuring stick. The canon of the Bible are the documents that have existed since the time of the apostles. Documents written by men who were accepted by the apostles and the early church.

What you are about to read is Apocryphal writing. This is a classic example of a false writing. It was written over 200 years after the death of Christ. There are no other documents in existence that can be used to cross substantiate it with the writings that we know were done within the lives of the apostles.

I am asking that you take the time to read this account so that you would know what a lie looks like.

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The Gospel of St. Peter

10 And they brought two malefactors, and they crucified the Lord between them.But he held his peace, as though having no pain.

11 And when they had raised the cross, they wrote upon it, This is the King of Israel.

12 And having set his garments before him, they parted them among them, and cast lots for them.

13 And one of those malefactors reproached them, saying, We for the evils that we have done have suffered thus, but this man, who hath become the Saviour of men, what wrong hath he done to you?

14 And they, being angered at him, commanded that his legs should not be broken, that he might die in torment.

15 And it was noon, and darkness came over all Judaea: and they were troubled and distressed, lest the sun had set, whilst he was yet alive: [for] it is written for them, that the sun set not on him that hath been put to death.

16 And one of them said, Give him to drink gall with vinegar. And they mixed and gave him to drink, 17 and fulfilled all things, and accomplished their sins against their own head.

18 And many went about with lamps, supposing that it was night, and fell down.

19 And the Lord cried out, saying, My power, my power, thou hast forsaken me.And when he had said it he was taken up.

20 And in that hour the vail of the temple of Jerusalem was rent in twain.

21 And then they drew out the nails from the hands of the Lord, and laid him upon the earth, and the whole earth quaked, and great fear arose.

22 Then the sun shone, and it was found the ninth hour:

23 and the Jews rejoiced, and

24 And he took the Lord, and washed him, and wrapped him in a linen cloth, and brought him into his own tomb, which was called the Garden of Joseph.

25 Then the Jews and the elders and the priests, perceiving what evil they had done to themselves, began to lament and to say, Woe for our sins: the judgement hath drawn nigh, and the end of Jerusalem.

26 And I with my companions was grieved; and being wounded in mind we hid ourselves: for we were being sought for by them as malefactors, and as wishing to set fire to the temple.

27 And upon all these things we fasted 1 and sat mourning 2 and weeping 2 night and day until the sabbath.

28 But the scribes and Pharisees and elders being gathered together one with another, when they heard that all the people murmured and beat their breasts, saying, If by his death these most mighty signs have come to pass, see how just he is,

29 the elders were afraid and came to Pilate, beseeching him and saying,

30 Give us soldiers, that we may guard his sepulchre for three days, lest his disciples come and steal him away, and the people suppose that he is risen from the dead and do us evil.

31 And Pilate gave them Petronius the centurion with soldiers to guard the tomb. And with them came the elders and scribes to the sepulchre,

32 And having rolled a great stone together with the centurion and the soldiers, they all together who were there set it at the door of the sepulchre;

33 And they affixed seven seals, and they pitched a tent there and guarded it.

34 And early in the morning as the sabbath was drawing on, there came a multitude from Jerusalem and the region round about, that they might see the sepulchre that was sealed.

35 And in the night in which the Lord’s day was drawing on, as the soldiers kept guard two by two in a watch, there was a great voice in the heaven;

36 and they saw the heavens opened, and two men descend from thence with great light and approach the tomb.

37 And that stone which was put at the door rolled of itself and made way in part; and the tomb was opened, and both the young men entered in.

38 When therefore those soldiers saw it, they awakened the centurion and the elders,–for they too were hard by keeping guard;

39 and, as they declared what things they had seen, again they see three men coming forth from the tomb, and two of them supporting one, and a cross following them.

40 And of the two the head reached unto the heaven, but the head of him that was led by them overpassed the heavens.

41 And they heard a voice from the heavens, saying, Hast thou preached to them that sleep?

42 And a response was heard from the cross, Yea.

43 They therefore considered one with another whether to go away and shew these things to Pilate.

44 And while they yet thought thereon, the heavens again are seen to open, and a certain man to descend and enter into the sepulchre.

45 When the centurion and they that were with him saw these things, they hastened in the night to Pilate, leaving the tomb which they were

46 Pilate answered and said, I am pure from the blood of the Son of God: but ye determined this.

47 Then they all drew near and besought him and entreated him to command the centurion and the soldiers to say nothing of the things which they had seen:

48 For it is better, say they, for us to incur the greatest sin before God, and not to fall into the bands of the people of the Jews and to be stoned.

49 Pilate therefore commanded the centurion and the soldiers to say nothing.

50 And at dawn upon the Lord’s day, Mary Magdalen, a disciple of the Lord, fearing because of the Jews, since they were burning with wrath, had not done at the Lord’s sepulchre the things which the women are wont to do for those that die and for those that are beloved by them

51 she took her friends with her and came to the sepulchre where he was laid.

52 And they feared lest the Jews should see them, and they said, Although on the day on which he was crucified we could not weep and lament, yet now let us do these things at his sepulchre.

53 But who shall roll away for us the stone that was laid at the door of the sepulchre, that we may enter in and sit by him and do the things that are due?

54 For the stone was great, and we fear lest some one see us. And if we cannot, yet if we but set at the door the things which we bring for a memorial of him, we will weep and lament, until we come unto our home.

55 And they went away and found the tomb opened, and coming near they looked in there; and they see there a certain young man sitting in the midst of the tomb, beautiful and clothed in a robe exceeding bright;

56 Wherefore are ye come? Whom seek ye? Him that was crucified? He is risen and gone. But if ye believe not, look in and see the place where he lay, that he is not [here]; for he is risen and gone away thither, whence he was sent.

57 Then the women feared and fled.

58 Now it was the last day of the unleavened bread, and many were going forth, returning to their homes, as the feast was ended.

59 But we, the twelve disciples of the Lord, mourned and were grieved: and each one, being grieved for that which was come to pass, departed to his home.

60 But I, Simon Peter and Andrew my brother, took our nets and went to the sea; and there was with us Levi the son of Alphaeus, whom the Lord

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Summation

Probably the most unusual element is the walking talking cross. In line 39 we see that 2 men are helping the third and they are all being followed by the cross.

39 and, as they declared what things they had seen, again they see three men coming forth from the tomb, and two of them supporting one, and a cross following them.

 

In line 41 we have a voice from heaven questioning the cross…

41 And they heard a voice from the heavens, saying, Hast thou preached to them that sleep?

 

Which the cross of coarse answers back…

42 And a response was heard from the cross, Yea.

The other element is the huge head factor.

40 And of the two the head reached unto the heaven, but the head of him that was led by them overpassed the heavens.

 

Yes, that’s right their heads stretched all the way to the clouds and above.

The gospel of Peter was found in 1886, by the French archaeologist, Urbain Bouriant. The 9th century document was found buried with an Egyptian monk. The fragment that was recovered is part of the Passion sequence of events. While the earliest reference to this document is by Serapion in 190 AD he also condemns it as Docetism.

Docetism is the believe that Christ’s human form on earth was just an illusion. We know that this of coarse ls wrong since…

And the Word was made flesh- John 1:14

Just as we see today… there have always been people preaching their own versions of the gospel trying to assert their own agendas. I wanted you to see and understand what a mythical account of these events look like so that you could appreciate the true gospel accounting of the empty tomb discovery.

By examining what a lie looks like we will have a easier time recognizing the truth when we see it.

May the Love of Christ be with you always….

…Live long and Prosper

 © 2014 GEEKUSEXTREMUS.COM

 

The Burial of Jesus

Quest For Christ V

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Reading the Four Gospels of the new testament is a prerequisite for these next articles. If you have not read them then please do so.

One of the things that I enjoy are documentaries. Particularly documentaries of WWII. The best ones are based on letters and written accounts of events by the troops to friends and family. These writings give us true examples of what life was like in these various theaters of War. From North Africa to the South Pacific these letters and diaries reveal to us what the day-to-day life was like for these men.The historical value of these documents are priceless.

Similarly, The New testament is made up primarily of letters and written account’s of events. If we look at the new Testament not from a religious perspective  but from a historical perspective we can examine these documents with the same criteria used by historians. Though this examination we can determine the validity of the claims made about Christ.

We will narrow our examination to the events that followed his crucifixion. As we stated at the beginning of this series that Christianity stands or falls on the resurrection of Christ.

The Burial of Jesus

We will begin at the burial of Jesus. Here we have four separate and independent accounts of the Event.These are written at different times by different men.

In Mark 15:42-47 we see that Joseph of Arimathaea, a member of the Jewish Sanhedrin went in boldly unto Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus. Joseph bought a linen cloth, took Him down, wrapped Him in the linen cloth and laid Him in a tomb which had been hewn out in the rock; and he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb.

In John 19:38-42 we learn that After these things Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but a secret one for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus; and Pilate granted permission.Joseph being a disciple of Jesus, but a secret one for fear of the Jews,

In Matthew 27:59-60 we learn that  Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock; and he rolled a large stone against the entrance of the tomb and went away.

In Luke 23:50-51 we learn that  a man named Joseph, who was a member of the Council, a good and righteous man 51(he had not consented to their plan and action), a man from Arimathea, a city of the Jews, who was waiting for the kingdom of God;

So lets put this together. Joseph of Arimathea was a member of the Jewish Sanhedrin. He was also a secret disciple of Christ. He had not consented to the Sanhedrin’s  plans and actions. He went boldly to Pilate to claim the body of Christ. That Joseph gave up his own tomb which had never been used before and interred Christs body there.

Right away we know that this account is not a creation by the followers of Christ.

How do we know?

So you are creating a story in order to place yourself in charge of the Church.  Are you going to start  by making yourself look bad?

In a created story Peter or all the Disciples or Christ’s own family should have claimed the body from Pilate. Not one of the members of the Sanhedrin. Not one of the men that just handed Christ over to the Romans for execution.

Claiming that the only one who had courage enough to go before Pilate and ask for the body was Joseph of Arimathea  a member of the Jewish Sanhedrin, is not how you make yourself look good.

This is how you build street credit in antiquity.

While each account given by these four Gospels differ in small details the major points like the location of the tomb, the fact that it’s never been used, that it’s owner  Joseph of Arimathea  a member of the Jewish Sanhedrin, that Joseph was the one who claimed Jesus’s remains, and that Joseph buried Jesus are completely cross substantiated.

This is why these facts are  agreed on by the majority of both Evangelical and secular historical scholars.

In Mathew 27:61-66 we read Now on the next day, the day after the preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered together with Pilate, 63and said, “Sir, we remember that when He was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I am to rise again.’ 64“Therefore, give orders for the grave to be made secure until the third day, otherwise His disciples may come and steal Him away and say to the people, ‘He has risen from the dead,’ and the last deception will be worse than the first.” 65Pilate said to them, “You have a guard; go, make it as secure as you know how.” 66And they went and made the grave secure, and along with the guard they set a seal on the stone.

 

Mathew is the only Gospel in which this information appears. So this event can not be cross substantiated or can it?

Well lets look at another passage.

In Mathew 28:11-15 following the discovery of the empty tomb we learn more Now while they were on their way, some of the guard came into the city and reported to the chief priests all that had happened. 12And when they had assembled with the elders and consulted together, they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers, 13and said, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came by night and stole Him away while we were asleep.’ 14“And if this should come to the governor’s ears, we will win him over and keep you out of trouble.” 15And they took the money and did as they had been instructed; and this story was widely spread among the Jews, and is to this day.

Again Mathews Gospel is the only place these events are recorded.

However, documents outside the Bible can be used to substantiate Mathews claims. In the mythological account Toledot Yeshu we see this claim that His disciples came by night and stole Him away repeated.  When Matthew reports that this story was widely spread among the Jews, and is to this day we see is claim proved itself to be historically true.

Therefore the information that Matthew gives us is historically true.

Mathew, the tax-gatherer, was one of the twelve apostles. He was a first hand eye-witness to the events surrounding the life, death and Resurrection of Jesus. Matthew’s ministry to the Jews could be a possible explanation as to  why he included information that the other Gospel accounts omitted. This would explain the statement that this story was widely spread among the Jews, and is to this day.

Imagine Matthew is going out claiming Jesus has risen. The chief priests and Pharisees show up while he is speaking and claim “He did not rise you disciples came by night and stole his body from the tomb.”

Mathew would then respond that ” you priests had Pilate put a guard on the tomb and sealed it yourselves so we couldn’t do any such thing.”

The priests would reply ” that guard fell asleep, just ask him.”

Matthew would reply,” no you priests bribed him to say that.”

The fact that Matthew included this information because of the opposition he was facing is a very reasonable explanation and has proven to be true historically.

 

Major Points

1. We believe it because it does not go to the cause of the Apostles in promoting themselves as church leaders.

2. Because it is owned by a major political figure the location of the tomb is known by all parties involved. People could look into this for themselves.

3. The tomb was never used before. This way no one could make the claim that the previous occupant was Christ.

4. The body went missing. Both sides claim an empty tomb. They just don’t agree as to why it is empty.

5. This supports the risen claim. If there was a body in the tomb when the apostles began preaching he has risen the Sanhedrin could have produced it. This would have ended the rise of Christianity.

 

Summation

In order for there to be a risen lord there has to be an empty Tomb. The most important aspect of this is the fact  that the Tomb was not under the control of the Apostles or members of Jesus’s family.The Tomb was sealed and placed under guard by enemies of Christ.

This placed the burden on the enemies of Christ to explain what happened to the body. The enemies of Christ became the witnesses for the empty Tomb.

The facts contained in this article are widely accepted as historically accurate by both Evangelical and secular historical scholars.

But please do not take my word for it. Take the time to read the Gospels yourself.

 

As promised the only F Word used here is fact.

 

Read More like this:

The F Word

 

 

May the Love of Christ be with you always….

…Live long and Prosper

 © 2014 GEEKUSEXTREMUS.COM

Coffee with the Lord

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“You boys can look at your Aunt Rose’s Bible but don’t lose my place,” called my Great Aunt from the kitchen. ” I  have coffee with the lord each morning so don’t lose my place. You boys leave the ribbon where it is.”

Propped up on a book stand was the largest Bible I have ever seen.  My Great Aunt Rose left her Bible open to where she was reading. Sown into the binding was a red ribbon to be used as a book mark. The stand was like a lazy Susan allowing you to turn it without having to lift it.

This family Bible was easily a hundred years old. My brother and I stood looking at the curly print like it was a museum piece. I was nine and my brother was five. The book stand was on a table in the sitting room of my Great Aunts house in Missouri.  Left open,  her Bible was laid out as if the Word of the Lord was meant to fill the house and greet all who entered.

Funny how you remember things from when you were a kid. The image of the old family bible featured above is one I use because it reminds me of my Great Aunt Rose.  I often wonder what happened to her Bible.

And why is it I remember my Great Aunts daily devotions?

I don’t know. Yet I do.

So it only seems fitting that we  learn from her example. Together we are going to read the Bible in a year. Just like my Great Aunt Rose we are going to start each day having coffee with the Lord.

Each morning my Aunt Rose would get up, make coffee and spend time with the Lord in the Word and in prayer. Setting aside time at the start of each day to focus on whats important before the world presses down on you is not a new idea. But it is a brilliant one. My great Aunt was engaging in these life balancing strategies long before the self-help Guru’s came along.

So we are going to start each day reading the word. For some of you this means getting up before the rest of your house so you can find that quite time for yourself. You can have your coffee or tea or monster or whatever gets you going.

bible

The Canonical 1 year by Blue line Bible is the program we will follow together starting January 7, 2015. You can go to bible.com or use the Google app store and download the Bible app. The YouVersion Bible icon appears here. Clicking on the image above will also link you to the app’s web page.

Once you have the Bible app down loaded go:

plans > whole bible > canonical 1 year

This app allows you to choose a translation version. I recommend the New American Standard translation or NASB by the Lockman Foundation. You may already be using the King James Version which is fine. These are the only versions I feel comfortable with or will recommend.

No you don’t have to read it off your phone. You can use a real printed Bible. We are just going to use the app so we can keep track of our progress together. In fact I am looking forward to using the NASB study Bible I have.

 

me app

Another app I recommend that is great for memorization is Remember me. This is also available from the Google store.Click the image above to go to their web page. If you are inspired, moved or have a burning desire to have the word of the lord written on your mind and heart this app will help.

 

bible hubThen there is the Bible Hub. This is a real blessing. This site will give you access to commentaries, lexicons, dictionaries, maps and so much more. All for free. Click the image above to link to their website.

If you do not start with us but start later we still recommend these programs, apps and sites. The point is to start reading and never stop. Setting aside time each day every day is the way we stay close to the Lord and keep his Word in our minds and hearts.

We begin Genesis on January 1st.

We hope and pray that you join us.

 

May the Love of Christ be with you always….

…Live long and Prosper

 © 2013 GEEKUSEXTREMUS.COM

 

 

Biblophile: The Four Gospels

 The Holy Bible

The word Bible was derived from Koine Greek  ta biblia ta hagia, which means the holy books. When the 66 books were bound into one volume rather than calling it The holy books it simply became known as bibliae sacra The Holy Book.

In case I lost you… this means that The Holy Bible really means The Holy Book.

The word Gospel  is Old English for god-spell meaning “good news” or “glad tidings”. The “good news” is the coming Kingdom of Messiah and of redemption through the life, death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ..

Again in case I lost you… Gospel means good news.

As you know each month here on the Blog-Ship we  are reading a book. This December we are asking that you read four. In honor of the birth of our Savior  we are asking that you read the Gospels of Mathew, Mark, Luke and John. These four Gospels give a complete accounting of the teaching, works and wisdom of our Savior.

Maybe you already walk the path. Maybe you don’t. We encourage everyone to spend this month in the presence of our savior and see if he doesn’t change your life.

Maybe you are not as close as you want to be with God. This is the time to start to move close again.

Draw near to God and he will draw near to you… James 4:8

He has done all the work… but the first move is yours…

For a concise word for word translation we recommend the New American Standard Bible. The NASB is produced by the Lockman foundation.

If you don’t own a Bible try phones Apps and on-line sites. All offer free access to the Word of God.

 

May the Love of Christ be with you always….

…Live long and Prosper

 © 2013 GEEKUSEXTREMUS.COM

The F Word

The Quest IV

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Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” John 14:6

Imagine you have been selected to sit on a jury. Both sides are going to present evidence. Both sides want you to believe their version of the truth. Both sides are going to attempt to win your favor. You realize this. You decide that you are going to only follow the facts. You are not going to allow them to manipulate your perceptions of what the truth really is. You know that the only way you will have a confident belief in your decision is if you base it in the truth. In fact you know that only way you can make a right decision is to base it solely on truth.

Did you know that the word faith means a confident belief in the truth? Some people think that faith means a belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence. Some people think that faith means a loyalty or allegiance  to a set of principles or beliefs.Then their are others who will argue that faith is a secure belief in God and a trusting acceptance of God’s will.

What we want to have is a confident belief in the truth. This confident belief can not exist without logical proof or material evidence. This confident belief has to be more than devoting yourself to a set of principles. In order to have a secure belief in God and a trusting acceptance of God’s will we must first have reason to have that confidence.

This is why I call the word Faith The F Word. Faith has become a dirty word. There are to many misguided views attached to this word. The use of this word in terms of our knowledge of the truth completely misrepresents the facts upon which our confident belief is based. You can equate the word Faith with wishful thinking. Wishful thinking is not fact based on evidence.

To Be Berean is to Know the Truth -Geekus Extremus

In seeking the truth of God I did not go in for wishful thinking. I was not willing to commit myself to a set of principles or devote myself to a cause. I wanted truth. I wanted to know in no uncertain terms that God existed.

The writings that come from antiquity concerning Jesus are amazing. However, be warned they are not Christian or friendly toward Christ  In the Conundrum we talked about why the followers of Jesus were willing to die for him. That if a simple denial of Jesus as the messiah would have saved their lives why did they choose death? Not only for themselves but for their children as well.

If you are a parent think about that for a minute.

In western society we have seen many cults and cult leaders. Some of these leaders have killed their own followers like Jim Jones. While other have committed group suicide. However this is quite different from the way the Apostles died and the early Christians died. This was not a poison or a collective effort. These believers died the most horrible deaths imaginable.

In the Toledot Yeshu we looked at a document that shows the need to denounce every aspect of the life of Jesus. A fictitious person doesn’t need to be denounced. A person who doesn’t perform miracles doesn’t need to have the true source of his power explained.

These documents work very hard to disprove or explain away events that they themselves claim have occurred.  So this isn’t just the Bible and what Churches teach anymore. This is part of history. This is not the F word or wishful thinking. This is recorded fact. Lets look at some more of the statements regarding Jesus in historical documents by people who were non-Christian and not friendly toward Jesus.

In 93AD  with the permission of roman emperor Vespasian, Josephus, who was Jewish, was allowed to write a history of the Jews. His history is highly regarded throughout the world. In his  Antiquities of the Jews Josephus includes three passages about Christians. One which describes the death of John the Baptist. The second which mentions the execution of James the brother of Jesus the Christ. The third describes Jesus as a wise man and the messiah.

The first discoveries of these writings are late enough to have been altered by early Christians. In order to find truth we will  look at a scholarly reconstruction that has removed all the possible Christian influence from the text related to Jesus.

“Now around this time lived Jesus, a wise man. For he was a worker of amazing deeds and was a teacher of people who gladly accept the truth. He won over both many Jews and many Greeks. Pilate, when he heard him accused by the leading men among us, condemned him to the cross, (but) those who had first loved him did not cease (doing so). To this day the tribe of Christians named after him has not disappeared”

Another hostile example is the writings of Celsus. While his writings are later than Josephus (approx. 175AD) he also confirms for us that Jesus did exist and that he had magical powers. Celsus was a pagan and hostile toward the Gospels. In his writings are 80 different Bible quotes that confirms their early existence. You can see some of what appears in the Toledot Yeshu written here. The most amazing thing about this document is the fact that he is still affirming the Miracles of Jesus a hundred plus years after his Crucifixion.

“Jesus had come from a village in Judea, and was the son of a poor Jewess who gained her living by the work of her own hands. His mother had been turned out of doors by her husband, who was a carpenter by trade, on being convicted of adultery with a soldier named Panthéra . Being thus driven away by her husband, and wandering about in disgrace, she gave birth to Jesus, a bastard. Jesus, on account of his poverty, was hired out to go to Egypt. While there he acquired certain magical powers which Egyptians pride themselves on possessing. He returned home highly elated at possessing these powers, and on the strength of them gave himself out to be a god.”

Lucian was a Greek satirist. He sarcastically mocked Christ and Christians. His mocking  never claims that Jesus did not exist. Rather he affirms Christ. He also gives us insight into early Christian practices.

“The Christians, you know, worship a man to this day—the distinguished personage who introduced their novel rites, and was crucified on that account….You see, these misguided creatures start with the general conviction that they are immortal for all time, which explains the contempt of death and voluntary self-devotion which are so common among them; and then it was impressed on them by their original lawgiver that they are all brothers, from the moment that they are converted, and deny the gods of Greece, and worship the crucified sage, and live after his laws. All this they take quite on faith, with the result that they despise all worldly goods alike, regarding them merely as common property.”

In 70AD, a Syrian philosopher named Mara Bar-Serapion, compared the life of Jesus with that of other philosophers who were persecuted for their ideas. Mara Bar-Serapion wrote this to encourage his son. Jesus is a real person with real influence. Here the reference to Jesus is used as inspiration. Also note that Jesus is referred to as the “Wise King”:

“What benefit did the Athenians obtain by putting Socrates to death? Famine and plague came upon them as judgment for their crime. Or, the people of Samos for burning Pythagoras? In one moment their country was covered with sand. Or the Jews by murdering their wise king?…After that their kingdom was abolished. God rightly avenged these men…The wise king…Lived on in the teachings he enacted.”

In His “Annals” of 116AD, Tacitus describes how Nero lays the blame for the Great Fire in Rome on the Christians. Cornelius Tacitus was a Senator under Emperor Vespasian, a proconsul to Asia and is regarded among the most trusted of ancient historians. He  confirms for us that Jesus lived, that Jesus lived in Judea and that he was crucified under Pontius Pilate. He also confirms the fact that Jesus had followers who were persecuted for their faith.

Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular.”

Nero was not the only ruler who hated Christians. Suetonius was a Roman historian and annalist of the Imperial House under the Emperor Hadrian. His writings describe the treatment of Christians under the rule of Emperor Claudius (41-54AD):

Because the Jews at Rome caused constant disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus (Christ), he (Claudius) expelled them from the city (Rome).” (Life of Claudius, 25:4)

Suetonius also wrote about the fire which destroyed Rome in 64 A.D.  Nero blamed the Christians for this fire and he punished them:

“Nero inflicted punishment on the Christians, a sect given to a new and mischievous religious belief.” (Lives of the Caesars, 26.2)

Pliny, known as  Pliny the Younger, reported to the Roman emperor Trajan on the lifestyles of early Christians. You can see here why they were hated:

“They (the Christians) were in the habit of meeting on a certain fixed day before it was light, when they sang in alternate verses a hymn to Christ, as to a god, and bound themselves by a solemn oath, not to any wicked deeds, but never to commit any fraud, theft or adultery, never to falsify their word, nor deny a trust when they should be called upon to deliver it up; after which it was their custom to separate, and then reassemble to partake of food—but food of an ordinary and innocent kind.”

My personal favorite appears in the writings of Julius Africanus.  In 221AD Julius Africanus quotes a earlier historian named Thallus. Josephus also mentions a Thallus who many believe to be the same man. The writings of Thallus did not survive from antiquity. However they did exist at the time of Julius Africanus.

Thallus, a pagan, argues in his writings that the darkness was nothing more than an eclipse of the sun. This darkness is thee Darkness that occurred at the point of Jesus’ crucifixion. What is amazing ( and why it is my favorite) is that they are not arguing IF the darkness occurred but WHY the darkness occurred. Which means it happened.   Africanus points out that during the time of passover the sun and moon are in opposite parts of the sky.

“On the whole world there pressed a most fearful darkness; and the rocks were rent by an earthquake, and many places in Judea and other districts were thrown down. This darkness Thallus, in the third book of his History, calls, as appears to me without reason, an eclipse of the sun.” (Julius Africanus, Chronography, 18:1)

Summation

These are just some excepts of some of the writings out of antiquity that attest to Jesus. If we were to take a look at all the historical documents that are not of the Bible and that are not friendly toward Christ here is the picture they give us of the man call Jesus:

That Yehoshua was born in Bethlehem, in Judahor to Miriam. Who was supposedly a virgin. He had an earthly father Joseph. On the eighth day he was circumcised. He was taken by Miriam to the house of study to be instructed in the Jewish tradition. He was a teacher who taught that by repentance and belief, all followers would become brothers and sisters. He led the Jews away from their beliefs. He was a wise man. He claimed to be God. He claimed to be the Messiah. He had unusual magical powers. Powers that could only be attributed to God. Powers that had to be stolen from God. With these powers He  performed miraculous deeds. He healed the lame. He accurately predicted the future. He raised the dead. He was  betrayed to his enemies by one of his own named Judah Iskarioto. He was beaten with rods, forced to drink vinegar and wear a crown of thorns and crucified on the eve of the Passover. His crucifixion occurred under the direction of Pontius Pilate, during the time of Tiberius. On the day of his crucifixion, the sky grew dark and there was an earthquake. Afterward, he was buried in a tomb and the tomb was later found to be empty. He appeared to his disciples resurrected from the grave and showed them his wounds. These disciples then told others that Jesus was resurrected and ascended into heaven. Jesus’ disciples and followers upheld a high moral code. One of them was named Matthai. The disciples were also persecuted for their faith but were martyred without changing their claims. They met regularly to worship Jesus, even after his death.

Nothing that you have just read has been taken from the Bible. Nothing here comes from a Christian or Christ-friendly source. However all of this information comes from valid historical documents.

Is this wishful thinking?

Is the Great Fire in Rome wishful thinking? Do we take it on faith? Is it belief without foundation? No. We know that this event occurred. We know it happened because of the historical records that exist.  In the same way, we know that Nero was a Roman emperor when the Great Fire occurred. In fact the very same historians that tell us about  Nero and the Great Fire in Rome also tell us about Jesus.

So why is Nero History and Jesus wishful thinking?

The very same historian. Two factual statements. One is accepted as history. One is perceived as wishful thinking. How can this be explained?

I blame the F word.

Nero is taught as historical fact while belief in Christ requires faith. Remember people think that faith means a belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence. They don’t know that faith actually means a confident belief in the truth. The truth is that Christ is real. He is part of history. Accepting this truth doesn’t require the F word. If you feel the need to use a word that begins with the letter F  try Fact.

As in the historical evidence for Jesus is fact…

 

May the Love of Christ be with you always….

…Live long and Prosper

 © 2013 GEEKUSEXTREMUS.COM

The Toledot Yeshu

The Quest III

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As promised we are going to begin studying historical documents apart from the Bible that help to prove that Christ existed as a historical figure and the claims surrounding his life. Rather than beginning with documents and writings that support Christs’ deity we decided to begin with his worst critics. Those who hated him and considered him an enemy.

Please understand these documents are here for the purposes of historical study and not an attempt to create hatred or animosity between peoples of different faiths. Jesus hated no one.He died for the salvation of all. His commandment is clearly stated here.

“But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven” (Matt 5:44-45) 

Hold this in your hearts as you read.

In order to understand what you are about to read lets first look at a simple statement.

“I did not steal your apple.”

What can we learn by looking at whats written here? First we know an apple has been stolen. We know that the owner of the apple knows the author of this statement. We know that the owner of the apple believes they have been wronged. We know that the author of the statement has been accused by the apple owner. We also know that the author felt compelled to write a formal denial of quilt.

We are going to use this same technic on the text that follows.

The Toledot Yeshu is a completely anti- Jesus and Anti-christian writing dating to approximately 1000 A.D. While this is a medieval retelling of the life of Christ it’s roots can be found in both the oral and written traditions dating back into early antiquity. The Toledot Yeshu is a determined effort to explain and denounce the life of Christ. In some places the text is quite vicious. Please note that the following are covered in this text: the need to explain his birth, the names of his parents, his claim of a virgin birth, his interpretation of scripture, his ability to heal, his claim to be the messiah, his leading the people away from their beliefs, the fact that he had followers, his arrival into Jerusalem, he raised the dead, that he was beaten, he was given vinegar to drink, forced to wear a crown of thorns, the name of his betrayer, that he was hung on a tree, the claim of resurrection, his empty grave and the need to produce a body in three days.

The Toledot Yeshu

“In the year 3671  in the days of King Jannaeus, a great misfortune befell Israel, when there arose a certain disreputable man of the tribe of Judah, whose name was Joseph Pandera. He lived at Bethlehem, in Judah. Near his house dwelt a widow and her lovely and chaste daughter named Miriam. Miriam was betrothed to Yohanan, of the royal house of David, a man learned in the Torah and God-fearing. At the close of a certain Sabbath, Joseph Pandera, attractive and like a warrior in appearance, having gazed lustfully upon Miriam, knocked upon the door of her room and betrayed her by pretending that he was her betrothed husband, Yohanan. Even so, she was amazed at this improper conduct and submitted only against her will. Thereafter, when Yohanan came to her, Miriam expressed astonishment at behavior so foreign to his character. It was thus that they both came to know the crime of Joseph Pandera and the terrible mistake on the part of Miriam… Miriam gave birth to a son and named him Yehoshua, after her brother. This name later deteriorated to Yeshu (“Yeshu” is the Jewish “name” for Jesus. It means “May His Name Be Blotted Out”). On the eighth day he was circumcised. When he was old enough the lad was taken by Miriam to the house of study to be instructed in the Jewish tradition. One day Yeshu walked in front of the Sages with his head uncovered, showing shameful disrespect. At this, the discussion arose as to whether this behavior did not truly indicate that Yeshu was an illegitimate child and the son of a niddah. Moreover, the story tells that while the rabbis were discussing the Tractate Nezikin, he gave his own impudent interpretation of the law and in an ensuing debate he held that Moses could not be the greatest of the prophets if he had to receive counsel from Jethro. This led to further inquiry as to the antecedents of Yeshu, and it was discovered through Rabban Shimeon ben Shetah that he was the illegitimate son of Joseph Pandera. Miriam admitted it. After this became known, it was necessary for Yeshu to flee to Upper Galilee. After King Jannaeus, his wife Helene ruled over all Israel. In the Temple was to be found the Foundation Stone on which were engraven the letters of God’s Ineffable Name. Whoever learned the secret of the Name and its use would be able to do whatever he wished. Therefore, the Sages took measures so that no one should gain this knowledge. Lions of brass were bound to two iron pillars at the gate of the place of burnt offerings. Should anyone enter and learn the Name, when he left the lions would roar at him and immediately the valuable secret would be forgotten. Yeshu came and learned the letters of the Name; he wrote them upon the parchment which he placed in an open cut on his thigh and then drew the flesh over the parchment. As he left, the lions roared and he forgot the secret. But when he came to his house he reopened the cut in his flesh with a knife an lifted out the writing. Then he remembered and obtained the use of the letters. He gathered about himself three hundred and ten young men of Israel and accused those who spoke ill of his birth of being people who desired greatness and power for themselves. Yeshu proclaimed, “I am the Messiah; and concerning me Isaiah prophesied and said, ‘Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.’” He quoted other messianic texts, insisting, “David my ancestor prophesied concerning me: ‘The Lord said to me, thou art my son, this day have I begotten thee.’” The insurgents with him replied that if Yeshu was the Messiah he should give them a convincing sign. They therefore, brought to him a lame man, who had never walked. Yeshu spoke over the man the letters of the Ineffable Name, and the leper was healed. Thereupon, they worshiped him as the Messiah, Son of the Highest. When word of these happenings came to Jerusalem, the Sanhedrin decided to bring about the capture of Yeshu. They sent messengers, Annanui and Ahaziah, who, pretending to be his disciples, said that they brought him an invitation from the leaders of Jerusalem to visit them. Yeshu consented on condition the members of the Sanhedrin receive him as a lord. He started out toward Jerusalem and, arriving at Knob, acquired an ass on which he rode into Jerusalem, as a fulfillment of the prophecy of Zechariah. The Sages bound him and led him before Queen Helene, with the accusation: “This man is a sorcerer and entices everyone.” Yeshu replied, “The prophets long ago prophesied my coming: ‘And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse,’ and I am he; but as for them, Scripture says ‘Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly.’” Queen Helene asked the Sages: “What he says, is it in your Torah?” They replied: “It is in our Torah, but it is not applicable to him, for it is in Scripture: ‘And that prophet which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die.’ He has not fulfilled the signs and conditions of the Messiah.” Yeshu spoke up: “Madam, I am the Messiah and I revive the dead.” A dead body was brought in; he pronounced the letters of the Ineffable Name and the corpse came to life. The Queen was greatly moved and said: “This is a true sign.” She reprimanded the Sages and sent them humiliated from her presence. Yeshu’s dissident followers increased and there was controversy in Israel. Yeshu went to Upper Galilee. the Sages came before the Queen, complaining that Yeshu practiced sorcery and was leading everyone astray. Therefore she sent Annanui and Ahaziah to fetch him. The found him in Upper Galilee, proclaiming himself the Son of God. When they tried to take him there was a struggle, but Yeshu said to the men of Upper Galilee: “Wage no battle.” He would prove himself by the power which came to him from his Father in heaven. He spoke the Ineffable Name over the birds of clay and they flew into the air. He spoke the same letters over a millstone that had been placed upon the waters. He sat in it and it floated like a boat. When they saw this the people marveled. At the behest of Yeshu, the emissaries departed and reported these wonders to the Queen. She trembled with astonishment. Then the Sages selected a man named Judah Iskarioto and brought him to the Sanctuary where he learned the letters of the Ineffable Name as Yeshu had done. When Yeshu was summoned before the queen, this time there were present also the Sages and Judah Iskarioto. Yeshu said: “It is spoken of me, ‘I will ascend into heaven.’” He lifted his arms like the wings of an eagle and he flew between heaven and earth, to the amazement of everyone…Yeshu was seized. His head was covered with a garment and he was smitten with pomegranate staves; but he could do nothing, for he no longer had the Ineffable Name. Yeshu was taken prisoner to the synagogue of Tiberias, and they bound him to a pillar. To allay his thirst they gave him vinegar to drink. On his head they set a crown of thorns. There was strife and wrangling between the elders and the unrestrained followers of Yeshu, as a result of which the followers escaped with Yeshu to the region of Antioch; there Yeshu remained until the eve of the Passover. Yeshu then resolved to go the Temple to acquire again the secret of the Name. That year the Passover came on a Sabbath day. On the eve of the Passover, Yeshu, accompanied by his disciples, came to Jerusalem riding upon an ass. Many bowed down before him. He entered the Temple with his three hundred and ten followers. One of them, Judah Iskarioto apprised the Sages that Yeshu was to be found in the Temple, that the disciples had taken a vow by the Ten Commandments not to reveal his identity but that he would point him out by bowing to him. So it was done and Yeshu was seized. Asked his name, he replied to the question by several times giving the names Mattai, Nakki, Buni, Netzer, each time with a verse quoted by him and a counter-verse by the Sages. Yeshu was put to death on the sixth hour on the eve of the Passover and of the Sabbath. When they tried to hang him on a tree it broke, for when he had possessed the power he had pronounced by the Ineffable Name that no tree should hold him. He had failed to pronounce the prohibition over the carob-stalk, for it was a plant more than a tree, and on it he was hanged until the hour for afternoon prayer, for it is written in Scripture, “His body shall not remain all night upon the tree.” They buried him outside the city. On the first day of the week his bold followers came to Queen Helene with the report that he who was slain was truly the Messiah and that he was not in his grave; he had ascended to heaven as he prophesied. Diligent search was made and he was not found in the grave where he had been buried. A gardener had taken him from the grave and had brought him into his garden and buried him in the sand over which the waters flowed into the garden. Queen Helene demanded, on threat of a severe penalty, that the body of Yeshu be shown to her within a period of three days. There was a great distress. When the keeper of the garden saw Rabbi Tanhuma walking in the field and lamenting over the ultimatum of the Queen, the gardener related what he had done, in order that Yeshu’s followers should not steal the body and then claim that he had ascended into heaven. The Sages removed the body, tied it to the tail of a horse and transported it to the Queen, with the words, “This is Yeshu who is said to have ascended to heaven.” Realizing that Yeshu was a false prophet who enticed the people and led them astray, she mocked the followers but praised the Sages.

Remember our statement, “I did not steal your apple.” The author is not going to write this statement unless there was an apple. He is not going to write this statement unless the apple is stolen. He is not going to write this statement unless he has been accused.Now take the time to think about what you just read. First… why are they writing about a person that did not exist? So Jesus must have existed. Why the need to explain the source of his amazing powers?So he displayed abilities of a divine nature.

Please understand…they are not denying his ability to raise the dead. They are instead trying to explain where his powers come from. The same goes for healing. Other things to note are names of his parents and his betrayer, his beating and death and the empty tomb.

The Toledot Yeshu reads like a giant denial. Again this document is the culmination of oral and written tradition dating back into antiquity. To the time of Christ. So the only reason your writing a denial is that there is something to deny in the first place. Just like the missing apple. The strongest and harshest criticisms in this text affirm the divine nature exhibited by Christ.

To paraphrase Shakespeare.. “Me thinks thou doth protest too much.”

May the Love of Christ be with you always….

…Live long and Prosper

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