Simon Noble

Jesus

Step 5 of 6



Main Point

Jesus was not God.


Robert G. Ingersoll

"If Christ was in fact God, he knew all the future.

Before him like a panorama moved the history yet to be. He knew how his words would be interpreted. He knew what crimes, what horrors, what infamies, would be committed in his name. He knew that the hungry flames of persecution would climb around the limbs of countless martyrs. He knew that thousands and thousands of brave men and women would languish in dungeons in darkness, filled with pain. He knew that his church would invent and use instruments of torture; that his followers would appeal to whip and fagot, to chain and rack. He saw the horizon of the future lurid with the flames of the auto-da-fê. He knew what creeds would spring like poisonous fungi from every text. He saw the ignorant sects waging war against each other. He saw thousands of men, under the orders of priests, building prisons for their fellow-men. He saw thousands of scaffolds dripping with the best and bravest blood. He saw his followers using the instruments of pain. He heard the groans—saw the faces white with agony. He heard the shrieks and sobs and cries of all the moaning, martyred multitudes. He knew that commentaries would be written on his words with swords, to be read by the light of fagots. He knew that the Inquisition would be born of the teachings attributed to him.

He saw the interpolations and falsehoods that hypocrisy would write and tell. He saw all wars that would be waged, and he knew that above these fields of death, these dungeons, these rackings, these burnings, these executions, for a thousand years would float the dripping banner of the cross.

He knew that hypocrisy would be robed and crowned—that cruelty and credulity would rule the world; knew that liberty would perish from the earth; knew that popes and kings in his name would enslave the souls and bodies of men; knew that they would persecute and destroy the discoverers, thinkers and inventors; knew that his church would extinguish reason's holy light and leave the world without a star.

He saw his disciples extinguishing the eyes of men, flaying them alive, cutting out their tongues, searching for all the nerves of pain.

He knew that in his name his followers would trade in human flesh; that cradles would be robbed and women's breasts unbabed for gold.

And yet he died with voiceless lips.

Why did he fail to speak? Why did he not tell his disciples, and through them the world: "You shall not burn, imprison and torture in my name. You shall not persecute your fellow-men."

Why did he not plainly say: "I am the Son of God," or, "I am God?" Why did he not explain the Trinity? Why did he not tell the mode of baptism that was pleasing to him? Why did he not write a creed? Why did he not break the chains of slaves? Why did he not say that the Old Testament was or was not the inspired word of God? Why did he not write the New Testament himself? Why did he leave his words to ignorance, hypocrisy and chance? Why did he not say something positive, definite and satisfactory about another world? Why did he not turn the tear-stained hope of heaven into the glad knowledge of another life? Why did he not tell us something of the rights of man, of the liberty of hand and brain?

Why did he go dumbly to his death, leaving the world to misery and to doubt?

I will tell you why. He was a man, and did not know." (Ingersoll 1894)

The First Century Apocalypticist

Jesus was an apocalypticist from the first century, who expected the imminent and supernatural coming of the Kingdom of God, to be ruled by the Son of Man. He made a falsifiable prediction in Mark 13:24-27 & 30 which turned out to be wrong:

But in those days, following that distress, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken. At that time men will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. And he will send his angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven… I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.


jesus apocalyptic prophet of the new milleniumjesus apocalyptic prophet of the new millenium

His apocalypticism is on display in Matthew 4:17; 16:28; 24:34 and Mark 1:15; 9:1; 13:30; 14:62. He joined Jeremiah and a string of other Jewish prophets, in predicting the end of the world; his message was definitely not out of place in first century Palestine.

Many of Jesus’ teachings and statements make a lot more sense when you view them, within the context of his apocalypticism. In Matthew 8:22 Jesus says, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead”, and in Matthew 6:19-20 he tells people not to save any money; this makes no sense in a normal society but if you believe the world is about to end imminently, such preachments make relative sense. The fact that Jesus aligned himself with John the Baptist (an apocalyptic teacher who believed the end of the world was looming) as opposed to the Essenes (monastic communities), Pharisees (Torah absolutists) or Sadducees (the temple cult) also makes more sense within the apocalyptic context (Ehrman 1999).

The Woman Caught In Adultery

Take John 8:3-8:11, 3 The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4 and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” 6 They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. 9 At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11 “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

The problem, is that this story was not in any of the early versions of John! “In fact, it was not originally part of any of the Gospels. It was added by later scribes” (Ehrman 2005, 64).

Resurrection Contradictions

Who was at Jesus' tomb when it was first visited?

The resurrection of Jesus is contained in the four books ascribed to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. When the women visit the tomb after Jesus’ death, the corpse is not there, but a young man, or an angel, or two men, or two angels are present. Did the four agree, it would not prove the resurrection to be true, because it might, nevertheless, be a fabrication; but as they contradict each other in every particular, it proves falsehood absolutely. If Matthew speaks truth, Luke speaks falsehood, and if Mark speaks truth, John speaks falsehood; and as there is no authority for believing one more than the other, there is no authority for believing either; and if they cannot be believed at the start of the story, they are not entitled to be believed afterwards (Paine 1794).

Recommended Reading

jesus apocalyptic prophet of the new millenium The Quest of the Historical Jesus The Historical Figure of Jesus The Case Against The Case For Christ: A New Testament Scholar Refutes the Reverend Lee Strobel

The Empty Tomb: Jesus Beyond The Grave Cutting Jesus Down to Size: What Higher Criticism Has Achieved and Where It Leaves Christianity Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible

Additional Resources

Videos

Wikipedia

Heyns Lecture Series - Misquoting Jesus

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