The Historical Jesus 

By Ted Belman

Scholars have long recognized that the historical Jesus and the Jesus of faith are not one and the same. Many such scholars both Christian and otherwise participate every few years in the Jesus Seminar which reviews recent discoveries and treatises which shed light on the historical Jesus. They cast ballots to state their opinions on whether each statement or act attributed to Jesus in the Gospels can’t be true, might be true or probably is true. Much has been written on the historical Jesus and continues to be written. Most scholars, except for the fundamentalists and literalists, are of the opinion that very little in the gospels is true. But does it matter.

Some Christian scholars argue that the historical Jesus is irrelevant. Its the Jesus of faith that counts. Others would say that if Jesus wasn’t the son of G-d or G-d himself or, less extreme, if he didn’t say the things or do the deeds or have the personality attributed to him in the Gospels then Christianity is meaningless. Before we Jews get too smug, we must realize that one could also argue that if the Torah wasn’t inspired by G-d or if G-d didn’t liberate the Jews from Egypt or enter into a covenant with Abraham that Judaism would have no foundation in truth. In both cases religion would be a man made construct executed after the events depicted. Yet before we dismiss these religions and all others of which the same can be said, we must realize that man has always enshrined basic truths as they understood them in mythology. What counts then is the message and not the facts; or, what counts is not what happened, only what people think happened.. My purpose is not to delve further into this debate but simply to identify for you what is known about the historical Jesus.

The New Testament

We learn about the Jesus of Faith from the New Testament. It consists of, among other things, the Epistles of Paul written (50-60 CE) after the death of Jesus (32 CE), Acts of the Apostles, written about 100 CE, which describes the putative beginnings of the Church and the role of Paul, and the four Gospels ( 70-110 CE) which deal with the life, ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus. When studying the New Testament, it is important to keep in mind that although the Gospels deal with the life of Jesus, they were written long after the Epistles of Paul which are the first writings. Accordingly the Gospels were greatly affected by Paul’s ideas and interpretations. As you can well imagine there were many rewrites to these entities over the first 300 years of the C.E. and there were many other testimonies and written stories. What we have today as the New Testament was compiled and edited into final form in 325 CE when Christianity became the official religion of Rome.

The question arises,.. to what extent is the Jesus of faith set out in these Gospels, coincident with the historical Jesus.

Josephus

Before dealing either with the Jesus of faith or the historical Jesus, it’s important to introduce Josephus (37-96 CE) to you. Josephus wrote The Jewish Wars in the seventies, after the destruction of the Temple and wrote Antiquities in the nineties, He originally fought with the Jewish resistance against the Romans but ultimately switched allegiance to the Romans. He became connected at the highest levels and became a Roman citizen. His meticulous reproduction of events and persons in Palestine in this period is without equal in almost any time or place up to the era of modern record keeping and reportage. It is because of these books that we know so much today of what took place. These books were preserved by the Church, because they were thought to refer to Jesus. In them, Josephus suggests that Jesus was “more than a man”, avers him to have been “the Christ” and refers to his resurrection “on the third day”. From such a lover of detail, not much at all for someone, the Gospels consider to be the center piece of the times.

Scholars do not accept that Josephus would have written thus, because it is in line with orthodox Christian teachings which developed after he wrote these books and is in conflict with his view, elsewhere expressed, that the troubles were caused by the messianic deceivers of whom Jesus would have been one. They suggest that the Church was the author of these interpolations. In fact Josephus did not refer to Jesus, James his brother or John the Baptist in Jewish Wars, but did so in Antiquities, presumably because he felt more secure twenty years later.

Where the Gospels and Josephus agree, is on blaming the Jews and praising the Romans, in general, and Pilate (who crucified Jesus) and Titus (who destroyed the Temple) in particular, for their clemency and indulgence. The Gospels blame the Jews for rejecting Jesus and Josephus blames the Jews for rejecting Rome. For the destruction of the Temple, Josephus says “we have only ourselves to blame” and “the Temple was burned against the wishes of Caesar.”. In the Gospel of Matthew, when Jesus is crucified, the Jews are reputed to have said “his blood be upon us and upon our children.” and Pilot is reputed to have been agreeable to releasing Jesus or Barabbas and the Jews picked Barabbas thereby condemning Jesus. The parallels are striking. It is obvious that they were both marching to the same drummer, Rome.

Paul

Our search for Jesus must start with the study of Paul who was the founder of Christianity. He is regarded as the great interpreter of Jesus’ mission, who explained, in a way that Jesus never did, how Jesus’ life and death fit into the cosmic scheme of salvation. It was as a result of his theories and efforts that Christianity came into being.

He claimed in his Epistles to have been born a Jew and to have been a Pharisee. The Pharisees at the time were held in high regard by the Roman and Parthian empires as dedicated group who upheld religious ideals in the face of tyranny, supported leniency and mercy in the application of laws, and championed the rights of the poor against the oppression of the rich. Paul, who was earlier known as Saul, was claiming a high honour. It was only as a result of the Gospels that the Pharisees got an undeserved reputation for hypocrisy. Paul obviously was attempting to get greater legitimacy for his views by showing he was learned in the Law.

Acts of the Apostles surprisingly, in telling the life of Paul many decades after his death, adds to and subtracts from the details given in the Epistles. I quote from Acts words reputed to be said by Paul when speaking to Jews in Palestine,

  1. “I am a true-born Jew, a native of Tarsus in Cilicia. (Earlier he claimed to be born a Roman citizen which means his father was a Roman citizen.) I was brought up in this city, and as a student of Gamaliel (This is very doubtful), I was thoroughly trained in every point of our ancestral law. I was always ardent in G-d’s service as you all are today (He is acknowledging that Jews adhered to the Law.). And so I began to persecute this movement to the death, arresting its followers, men and women alike, and putting them in chains (He doesn’t say why.). For this I have as witness the High Priest and the whole Council of Elders.”

and later when speaking to King Agrippa

  1. “My life from my youth up, the life I led from the beginning among my people and in Jerusalem is familiar to all Jews.(This is not considered to be true.) Indeed they have known me long enough and could testify, if only they would, (but as you will see, they would never testify for him.) that I belonged to the strictest group in our religion: I lived as a Pharisee. (There were stricter groups.) And it is for a hope kindled by G-d’s promise to our forefathers that I stand in the dock today. Our twelve tribes hope to see the fulfillment of that promise … I myself thought it my duty to work actively against the name of Jesus of Nazareth; and I did so in Jerusalem. (Actually he worked for the High Priest who was a quisling and wanted to suppress the messianic revolt against the Romans and the establishment.) It was I who imprisoned many of G-ds people by authority obtained from the chief priests (you see); and when they were condemned to death my vote was cast against them (as though he were a member of the Sanhedrin and entitled to vote or perhaps it was the Romans who condemned them to death for being part of the resistance after Paul turned them in). In all the synagogues I tried by repeated punishment to get them to renounce their faith (more likely, their resistance.); indeed my fury rose to such a pitch that I extended my persecution to foreign cities. On one such occasion I was traveling to Damascus with authority and commission from the chief priests….”

The Pharisees are depicted in Acts as opposing the persecution of the followers of Jesus and at odds with the Sanhedrin. Yet Paul as a Pharisee is virulently anti-Christian. To add to the confusion Paul is also described here as on a mission for the chief priest who was by definition a Saduccee. It is unlikely that the high priest would select a Pharisee to work for him. Why all the confusion. We’ll see.

Epiphany

On the way to Damascus, Paul had an epiphany in which he had a vision of the resurrected Jesus and became a convert. He articulated the doctrine that Jesus was a divine-human person who had descended to Earth from the heavens and experienced death for the express purpose of saving mankind. This doctrine had much in common with Greek mythology that has many a god coming down to earth for a particular purpose and then returning and nothing in common with Judaism except by distortion. Yet Paul claimed that every line of the Jewish scriptures was a foreshadowing of the Jesus-event and must be interpreted in this light. Paul wrote in his Epistles, “Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures.” and “he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures.” All Jews including Paul looked to the scriptures to support their position.

Christianity

Christianity insists that it is a progression of Judaism and contains a ’new covenant’ and a ‘new testament’ which overrides the old. Inconsistently the Gospels also have Jesus proclaiming a New Church. It also insists that Christians are now the chosen people. Mind you, fundamentalist Christian denominations still believe that God has a special relation ship with the Jews and will restore them to the promised land. That is why they are such strong supporters of the State of Israel. Judaism on the other hand rejects Christianity outright. Both claimed that they alone interpreted the Scriptures properly. The more they fought over this the more they distanced themselves from each other. The final fracture came in the late 80’s of the Common Era when Jewish services were altered to include “anathemas” against all who deviated from strict orthodox standards and who relativized the ultimate truth of the Torah. This resulted in the excommunication of the Christians from synagogue life and ultimately from Judaism. No doubt a major cause of this was their abrogation of Mosaic Law. This conflict is similar to the present conflict between the orthodox and liberal or secular Jews in Israel.

Christ

As you know, ‘Christ’ is the Greek word for ‘Messiah’, the anointed one. That doesn’t mean that the two words today have the same meaning. For Jews, the messiah has always meant a normal person born of a young woman in the Davidic line who would lead the Jews to a military victory and restore the Kingdom of G-d on earth with him as King. While Jesus was alive Jews may have looked to him as the messiah destined to defeat the Romans militarily and restore sovereignty to the Jewish people. Such victory over the forces of evil, it was thought, could usher in the Messianic era of peace and prosperity; in other words, the Kingdom of God on earth. To Jews therefore, his crucifixion should have ended all speculation that he may have been the Messiah. Yet many continued to hope that Jesus, the human, had entered heaven alive and was waiting for the moment to return to earth. This was in accordance with a long standing tradition in Judaism concerning many a folk hero. Paul was in agreement, with the caveat that Jesus was also somewhat divine although he didn’t define this and probably didn’t believe Jesus was God incarnate. He also argued Jesus died for our sins, (which he did not explain), but did hint at the notion of the “original sin” of Adam. It took 400 years for such Christian theology to develop. What resulted as “Christ” is an entirely different concept from the Jewish “messiah’.

Faith vs Works

Another difference of opinion relating to the abrogation of the Law was that Paul said “Justification not by works of the Law but rather through faith in Jesus Christ.” and “if Righteousness is through the Law, Christ died for nothing.” Judaism believed that you must follow the law and do good works to have a portion in the world to come whereas according to Paul, faith alone is enough for salvation. This difference is expressed many times throughout the literature of the times. The Koran follows the Jewish view in this regard. Today Reform Judaism rejects much of the Law but doesn’t accept Jesus as Christ or Christians as replacing Jews as the chosen elect. Similarly, Christians believe that good works are also important but that they are not necessary for salvation.

Furthermore, Paul claimed that his interpretations came to him by personal inspiration and that he had a personal acquaintance with the resurrected Jesus gained through a vision. He also claimed that such visionary acquaintance was superior to a lifetime acquaintance.

Abraham

Paul describes the Gentile Christian Community as the true Children of Abraham’s wife Sarah and the Jews as the Children of Hagar the bondservant. He intentionally links the Bondage of Hagar with the bondage of the Jews to the Law. This is a prime example of the New Testament offering an inversion of the scriptures. No lie is too big. It is rife with such distortions and inversions. Mohammed, six centuries later also claimed descent, for all Arabs, from Abraham through Hagar and Ishmael. And Ishmael was the first born. Thus Abraham becomes the father of all three religions.

It is interesting to note that Paul never met Jesus, appears on the scene a few years after the death of Jesus and either knows nothing or is willing to tell us nothing about him. Isn’t that odd. Only two historical points emerge from his writings; firstly that Jesus was crucified and secondly that he had several brothers one of whom was called James. In fact, taking the brother relationship seriously may turn out to be one of the only confirmations outside the New Testament, that there ever was a historical Jesus.

Ebionites

In contrast to what the New Testament says of Paul, writings by the Ebionites, a Jewish messianic sect, claim that Paul had no Pharisaic background or training, converted to Judaism, came to Jerusalem as an adult, and attached himself to the high priest as a henchman and tax collector.. This is by far the more credible biography.

The name Ebionites comes from the Hebrew word “ebion” meaning “the poor”. They were a Jewish messianic sect who followed the Law, revered James and believed that Jesus was a human conceived by natural means. In the Letter of James which is included in the New Testament and is thought by some to be authentic, James refers to “the Poor chosen by God as the heirs to the Kingdom to whom the piety command of loving God is applied”. The focus of Christianity on “the poor” or “the meek” derives from Jesus’ association with this group. Also it is easy to see where the Christian notion of ‘the meek inheriting the earth’ came from.

Before pursuing the historical Jesus further or expanding on his brother James who keeps cropping up, it is necessary to provide the Jewish context of the times.

Phinehas

Strangely we must go all the way back to the Book of Numbers in the Torah where it is written “the people began to commit harlotry with the daughters of Moab. And they called the people unto the sacrifices of their Gods, and the people did eat and bow down to their gods”. G-d was angered by this and ordered Moses to kill the wayward Israelites and the Torah states that four and twenty thousand were killed by Moses. One Israelite took a Midianite woman into the sanctuary before Moses and the congregation and fornicated there with her. Phinehas, the grandson of Aaron, in a moment of zeal killed them both and G-d rewarded “him and his seed after him, the covenant of an everlasting priesthood; because he was jealous for his G-d”. In Psalm CVI, we read that “his zeal was counted unto him for righteousness”.

These writings are the origin of the attitude that Jews must not have intercourse with gentiles for it would pollute them. Also that G-d rewards those who are zealous for the law and brook no compromise.

Chanukah

The occupation of Palestine by the Greeks (333 BCE) not only resulted in the Hellenization of the Jewish establishment but also the Hellenization of Jewish religious practices. This Hellenization was not unlike the intercourse with the Moabites described above. The masses led by the Maccabees rose up (167 BCE) and defeated the Greeks over a period of 30 years and cleansed the Temple of their pollution. The masses yearned for a return to the purity of the Jewish people and the Jewish religion. All foreign influences had to be expelled. Chanukah as you may know, means “rededication”.

The Maccabees held the position of High Priest, having come from a priestly family, and continued so until the Romans conquered Palestine 100 years later. They were popular, nationalistic and zealous for the law. The Pharisees we hear so much about in the New Testament may have got their name, which means “those who separated from”, from a group that deserted the cause of the Maccabeans in favour of a foreign appointed High Priestly claimant during the second century BCE. More about this later.

Alexander Jannaeus, Judas Maccabees’ grand nephew (103-76 BCE), also had similar problems with Greek intervention and with the support of the people defeated the Greek Syrians (Seleucids). He then turned on the Pharisees who had collaborated with the foreign invaders, and killed some 800 of them according to Josephus. Alexander had two sons; one was nationalistic and was supported by the people because “they were sick of servility” and the other was anti-nationalist, more accommodating and supported by the Pharisees.

It would appear that the Pharisees were more accommodating to foreign influences and thus less nationalistic, then the people. This may explain why they were held in high regard as mentioned earlier and why Paul, being a Roman citizen, claimed to be one of them. The Gospels also considered Jesus to be a Pharisee.

The Book of Daniel

The Book of Daniel was written after the defeat of the Greeks and was one of the last books included in Jewish scriptures. Centuries later the Rabbis down graded it from “Prophets” where it was first placed to the lesser “Writings”. No doubt the Rabbis saw it as a prophetic expression we now call apocalyptic and one that gave rise to the Uprising against the Romans and the destruction of the Temple. It was at the time, the expression favoured by the nationalistic masses. Along with Ezekial and Isaiah, it is the most important scriptural inspiration for much of the apocalyptic ideology and symbolism of the Dead Sea Scrolls as well as for the literature of Christianity. Daniel includes the only overt reference to resurrection in the entire Old Testament., “Of those who lie sleeping in the dust of the earth, many will wake, some to everlasting life…, for their share at the End of Time.”

Although the Messiah is referred to in Daniel as the “Son of God”, Judaism never took this literally.

Romans

Prior to conquering Palestine in 63 BCE, the Romans got along well with the Jews within their empire and accorded them religious liberty. They even regarded them as allies in the Greek cities they had conquered because the Greeks remained hostile. By the beginning of the Common Era, one/tenth of the entire Roman Empire was Jewish and as much as 40% of Alexandria was Jewish.

The problems started in the decades following the conquest with the appointment by Rome of the gentile Herod to be king of the Jews and with the appointment Alexander’s anti-nationalist son to be the High Priest. There followed certain disturbances which resulted in the nationalist leaders taking refuge in the Temple. The Pharisees joined the Romans in storming the Temple “against the will of the people”. As Josephus bears witness, “the Pharisees engaged in the wholesale slaughter that ensued, even more enthusiastically than the Romans”.

Josephus reports in Antiquities that a movement began at this time among the people “who had an inviolable attachment to liberty” and were “zealous for the law”. He further notes that “the nation was infected by it to an incredible degree.”.

Thus the stage is set for an endless succession of revolts culminating in final Uprising in 66-70 CE.

On the one side we find the spiritual successors to Phinehas and the Maccabbees who were messianic, nationalistic, anti-foreign, anti-accommodationist and zealous for the law. These included such sects such as the Essenes, Zealots, Ebionites and the Qumran Community. It also included the early Christians, whoever they were.

On the other side we have the Romans supported by the establishment i.e. Herodians, Pharisees and Saduccees. They were all accommodationists or as some historical writings put it, “seekers after smooth things.”. To the nationalist camp this was a betrayal of the worst kind and was “breaking the law”. They resented the foreign king Herod, the foreign appointed High Priest and sacrifices in the Temple by and on behalf of foreigners. They also resented that the Jewish daughters of Herod were marrying blood relatives contrary to Mosaic Law. They referred to them as prostitutes. In the Gospels, Jesus is shown to be befriending or eating meals with “prostitutes” and “tax collectors” whereas in reality it was the actions of these “prostitutes” and tax collectors which so offended the nationalist camp.

Both Josephus and Vespasian blamed the uprising against Rome on the Messianic fervor that gripped the land. This flies in the face of the Gospel claims that Jews suffered the destruction of the Temple because they rejected the Messiah. The New Testament makes much of the persecution of the Christians due to their belief in the Jesus of faith. In fact, the persecution was due to their support of the historical Jesus who wanted to restore Jewish sovereignty. Actually the Romans tried to suppress all the groups which were messianic and nationalistic. Herod even ordered that all Jewish males in the line of David be put to death to put an end to this fervor. Once the Christians were removed from Judaism and accommodated themselves to Roman rule, they were no longer persecuted although they weren’t respected by Romans at first, because they were religious radicals in breaking with Judaism, and Rome preferred respect for authority and the established order.

This movement was reflected in Masada and breathed its last gasp in the Bar Kochba Revolt in 132CE.

Jesus

The historical Jesus was part of this resistance and as such, he would have been against the “prostitutes” and tax collectors.. He followed the law and worked toward the overthrow of the establishment and the Romans. Thousands of such Jewish revolutionaries were crucified by the Romans during his lifetime.

There may be some truth in the Gospels which say that the High Priest or Saduccees turned him over to the Romans saying he claimed to be the King of the Jews. (they meant in the political sense and not in the religious sense.) After all, the High Priest was a quisling and part of the establishment aligned with the Romans. This could explain why Paul persecuted Christians on behalf of the High Priest. The Romans then crucified Jesus for sedition. The part of the story which claimed that he was tried by the Sanhedrin before being turned over to the Romans to decide his fate can not be true. No offense was alleged in the Gospels, over which the Sanhedrin had jurisdiction and the Sanhedrin would not have convened on Passover to try him as alleged in the Gospels. The story of Jesus over-turning the tables of the money-changers in the Temple could also have been true because the nationalists were angry about what was going on in the Temple and at odds with the High Priest. The nationalist camp often robbed the establishment as part of their war against them. As a result, they were referred to as “robbers”. Jesus, we are told, was crucified along side of two such “robbers”.

In “A Search for the Historical Jesus “ written by a far eastern scholar it is argued that Jesus did not die on the cross but feigned death and survived. Afterwards he went to the East and lived for another 70 years. This would explain why his body was not found after the Sabbath and how his disciples could have seen him apparently alive in the days following as he was on his way to the East. Jesus is quoted in the Gospels as saying to his Apostles after his resurrection, “feel me, I am real”, to allay their fears. Much evidence is quoted in support of this theory.

James the Brother of Jesus

In contrast to the paucity of extra-biblical sources mentioning Jesus or Paul, there are a myriad of extra-biblical sources about James, the brother of Jesus, whose Jewish name was Jacob. One might ask if Jesus was by far the more important of the two, why is so much written about James and so little about Jesus. One might also ask, what has James got to do with the historical Jesus. The answer,.. lots.

James, the brother of Jesus, is the key to unlocking the secrets of early Christianity and the Dead Sea Scrolls according to Professor Eisenman. He is one of the most eminent scholars on first century Palestine. He led the fight to get the Dead Sea Scrolls made public. His thesis is set out his book entitled James the Brother of Jesus which I will refer to later on.

From Acts and other sources we learn that Jesus appointed James to be leader of the “early Church” or “Jerusalem Assembly”. He fulfilled this role from the 30’s to the 60’s.. To have been “Head” or “Bishop’ of the ‘Jerusalem Church” was to have been head of the whole of Christianity as it then was. Paul, who was actively promoting “Christianity” in the same time period, bridled under James’ authority and was constantly at odds with him. Paul speaks of this conflict many times and acknowledges that James is the leader. But nowhere is the conflict over whether Jesus was divine. There was room for some disagreement on that. What mattered were their differences over whether the Law had been abrogated and whether Jews could fraternize with gentiles.

James, because of his great righteousness, was called ‘James the Just’ or ‘James the Righteous’. He was also the acknowledged leader of the opposition alliance as well as the Bishop of the Jerusalem Community. At one point in the ‘40s, according to early Christian sources, the Jewish establishment, concerned that “there was danger that the whole people would now expect Jesus as the Messiah”, called on James with the following request;

  1. “We Beseech you, persuade all the people who are coming for the Passover Festival concerning Jesus for we all have confidence in you. For we and all the people testify to you that you are the Just One and not a respecter of persons. Therefore persuade the people not to be led astray concerning Jesus for we and all the people must obey you.”

James replied “Why do you ask me about the Son of Man (Son of Adam). He is now sitting on the right hand of the Great Power and is about to come on the clouds of Heaven.” These words were originally coined in the Book of Daniel. In Christian theology, Son of Man, as denotative of Jesus, is one of the most precious references..

In the tradition of Phinehas and the Maccabees, James viewed the Romans and the Herodians as polluting the Temple. He held that Jews should not fraternize with the foreigners which included breaking bread with them. Paul on the other hand argued that the Law no longer applied and that anything could be eaten with anyone and circumcision was no longer necessary. Paul wanted gentile converts to be converted without the necessity of circumcision and bondage to Mosaic law and went so far as to argue that the Law no longer applied to Jews. James found it necessary to advise all communities in his movement that he in effect sets the party line and to police Paul. Acts tells us that Paul so angered the Jews that they tried to kill him. In an early Church document we are told that Paul began a riot in the Temple where James was preaching and “the enemy (Paul) attacked James and threw him headlong from the top of the Temple steps” and left him for dead.

James became an alternate High Priest to one, Ananas, appointed by the successor of Herod. This was one more reason why Paul was persecuting Christians on behalf of the High Priest as above set out. James also was permitted to enter that part of the Temple to which only the High Priest could enter and to wear the vestments of the High Priest. The bitter rivalry between James and Ananas resulted in Ananas convening the Sanhedrin to try James for blasphemy. It dutifully sentenced James to death by stoning. The sentence was carried out (62 CE). In retaliation, the nationalists assassinated Ananas and then rose up against Rome.

Prior to the death of James (62 CE), Pauline Christianity had made little headway. Paul died about six years after James but not before establishing a foothold for his ideas in the Jewish communities in the Greek and Roman world.

All the foregoing comes from the New Testament and other early Christian writings.

Aftermath of Temple destruction

The uprising resulted in the wholesale slaughter of Jews (1 million in Palestine and 1.5 million in Alexandria) and the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem and the lesser temple in Alexandria.

After the destruction of the Temple, the accommodationists curried even more favour with the Romans in order to survive and prosper. Pauline Christianity grew into Christianity as we know it and Jamesian Christianity died out. The other accommodationists, the Pharisees were appointed the tax collectors for the Romans and survived to become the dominant force in Judaism.

Thus messianic Judaism died out and Rabbinic Judaism took hold. There was no longer a need for the priestly class to oversee the Temple rites and sacrifices and they lost their power and position. The destruction of the Temple irrevocably changed both “Christianity” and Judaism forever.

The highly Hellenized movement that developed overseas after the destruction of the Temple, which we now call Christianity, was far different from the Jerusalem Church under James. Even so, Eusebius, a Christian scholar records around 300 CE that the first 10 Bishops of the Jerusalem Church were all circumcised Jews. They observed the dietary laws, the Jewish Sabbath and the festivals including Yom Kippur (thus showing that they did not regard the death of Jesus as atoning for their sins

Scholars assume that since Jesus appointed his brother James to lead his movement they must have been in agreement. They believe that anything in the New Testament about Jesus not in keeping with what they know about James is simply a fabrication. The scriptures are not accepted as historical because they present Jesus as anti-nationalistic, cosmopolitan, antinomian and accepting of foreigners and persons with perceived impurities. Just the opposite of James.

True Prophet Ideology

Deuteronomy is among the proof text found at Qumran and is the basis of the idea that a Prophet would succeed the heritage defined by Moses in the Old Testament. This is known as the “True Prophet” ideology. Following this legacy, Christians and Muslims consider Jesus and Mohammed to be “True Prophets” respectively. Judaism rejects both prophets believing that revelation in the Hebrew Bible is the be all and end all of revelation. In other words, there would be no new prophets or revelations..

Dead Sea Scrolls

Professor Eisenman turned to the Dead Sea Scrolls, which included the Habakkuk Commentary, to look for new insights. He was surprised to note that the story they told was surprisingly similar to that told by Acts, Josephus and other early Christian historians as set out above. They told the story of the Teacher of Righteousness, unnamed, who was an exemplar of righteousness and the acknowledged leader of the sectarian religious community who were zealous for the law. The “Teacher” had to contend with two distinct enemies. One was called the “Liar” or “Spouter of Lies”. He was an outsider who was admitted to the community, then turned renegade, quarreled with the Teacher and hijacked part of the community’s doctrine and membership. He “did not listen to the word received by the Teacher of Righteousness from the mouth of G-d”. He appealed to the “unfaithful of the New Covenant in that they have not believed in the covenant of God and have profaned his holy name”. “The Liar flouted the law in the midst of their whole congregation“ and ”led many astray”. The second adversary was the “Wicked Priest” whose story conformed exactly to that of Ananas with much more detail added. Thus Eisenman argues that part of the Scrolls and the Habakkuk Commentary deal with the same events recounted in Acts and Josephus and that Paul is the “spouter of Lies” and James “The Teacher of Righteousness”. Christianity tried to withhold the Scrolls from public study, preferring to impose their self serving interpretation on the world at large as they have for 2000 years. They also argue that the Scrolls were written before the time of James and thus couldn’t refer to him. What they were resisting and continue to resist is the inescapable conclusion that Jesus and the early Christians were part of the nationalist camp and zealous for the Law. This is the opposite of how they portray Jesus and his followers today.

In his exegesis, Prof. Eisenman dissects all the stories and word usages in the Gospels to show the origins of same and to clearly demonstrate that either the stories were either inversions of truth or misappropriations of truth or allusions to truth. As for word usages, he demonstrates the real meaning of the words or why the particular words are being used. I have already pointed out the special meaning for the words “robbers” and “prostitutes”. You are aware that the Gospels contain stories of Jesus and the Apostles fishing in the Galilee. Eisenman argues that the literal meaning is of no value and the real meaning lies in what the ‘fish’ represent (dead Jews), and what the ‘casting of nets’ represent (the “casting down” of James from the Temple Walls) etc. It is truly fascinating to see behind the words and stories of the Gospels.

Faith and Salvation

“Faith” was the foundation piece of Pauline theology. Although it was not part of Judaic teaching at the time, it in fact comes from the Book of Habakkuk a text of Old Testament apocrypha dating from before 500 BCE which reads “the upright man will live by his faithfulness”. Paul uses these exact words to support his theories. But the Habakkuk Commentary found among the Scrolls comments on this statement as follows.

  1. But the righteous shall live by his faith. Interpreted, this concerns all those who observe the Law in the House of Judah, Whom G-d will deliver from the House of Judgment because of their suffering and because of their faith in the Teacher of Righteousness.

This extra-ordinary passage is tantamount, in effect, to a formulation of early Christian doctrine. It states explicitly that suffering and faith in the Teacher of Righteousness constitute the path to deliverance and salvation. This is where Paul derived the foundation for his theology but he contrives to leave out the most important part, namely, that it only applies to ‘those who observe the Law in the House of Judah’.

Yohannan ben Zacchai

As an interesting side note, the Talmud tells the story of how Yohanan ben Zacchai was smuggled out of Jerusalem in a coffin during the siege of Jerusalem and sent an arrow into the camp of Titus with the following note “Rabbi Yohanan is one of the Emperors’ friends”. He also applied the “Star Prophecy”, the most precious prophecy of the Jewish people at the time, to Vespasian, saying that he was the Ruler prophesied to come out of Palestine and rule the world. Talk about obsequiousness. Ben Zacchai was rewarded with a Jewish academy at Yavneh. Some draw a parallel with this story and the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Ben Zacchai also died so to speak, i.e. was put in a coffin, and was subsequently ‘resurrected’.

Socrates

A second interesting side note is to compare the story of the crucifixion of Jesus with the execution of Socrates. Both refused to answer their interlocutors or to avoid their fate. Indeed much of the legacy of Socrates and Plato is incorporated into the materials about Jesus including the notions of non-resistance to Evil and a Justice that does not consist of helping your friends and harming your enemies; all doctrines absolutely alien to the Palestinian milieu.

Liberating the Gospels by J. S. Spong, Episcopalian Bishop

According to Bishop Spong, and after reading this book you will have no doubt, the Gospels were written in the style of the Midrash with a thoroughly Jewish context and content. As the Midrash is not to be taken literally, so too, the Gospels were not intended to be taken literally. He argues that the stories are interpretive narratives about the meaning of Jesus using images and themes from the Hebrew Bible and are meant to be read along with the Torah readings weekly throughout the year..

To prove his point, he superimposed the Gospels on the Jewish liturgical readings. This took some work. First he concluded that the earliest and most reliable Gospel, Mark, was intended to cover the period from Rosh Hashanah to Passover. Since the event of the crucifixion brought the Christian people into existence as the people of God it had a parallel in Passover which saw the birth of the Jewish nation. Jesus was the Pascal lamb. His blood was put on the cross to save mankind as the blood of the Pascal lamb was put on the door posts to save the first born. To partake in the body or blood of Christ as all Christians do symbolically today, is to partake of the pascal lamb. The balance of Mark, when divided into weekly portions deals with the same issues as the weekly Torah readings do. Yet Mark, which was anti Jewish, presents Jesus as a perfectly normal man with a family including brothers and sisters.

Matthew, which was written next and was the most Jewish of the Gospels, covered the whole year and does likewise. For instance the Sermon on the Mount comes at Shavuoth, the time of the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai. The same principal was discovered to apply to Luke which is the most gentile in outlook and John, which was the most anti-Jewish. Remember that the Christians were excommunicated from Judaism before Luke and John were written.

These later Gospels articulated the virgin birth and that Jesus was G-d incarnate. As a result, these Gospels did away with the family of Jesus, and the Jewishness and the existence of his Apostles, and the role of James. They were excommunicated so to speak. They went so far as to have Jesus reject his mother and brothers. They also whitewashed the Romans and condemned the Jews as Christ- killers.

Not only does Spong conclude that the subject matter coincides when overlaid as I have said, he also concludes that many of the characters in the New Testament are fashioned to be like Old Testament personalities both in name and in deed. The “signs and wonders” performed by G-d in the Old Testament are performed by Jesus in the New Testament. Moses is the prophet to whom God revealed himself, who gave the Law and who died in an unknown place. Maybe he didn’t die. Jesus likewise. The Promised Land of the Jews became the Kingdom of G-d promised to the Christians. One more example to make the point. Luke introduces Zecharia and Elizabeth as the parents of John the Baptist who baptized Jesus. He overtly portrayed them in the pattern of Abraham and Sarah. Both sets of parents were called righteous, both women were barren and advanced in age, both fathers were disbelieving of the possibility of theirs wives giving birth and both were told that nothing is impossible for G-d.

Nativity

The Nativity story demands close attention. In short, Jesus was born of a virgin in a manger in Bethlehem and was wrapped in swaddling clothes. Three wise men came riding on camels, bearing gifts of frankincense, gold and myrrh, to witness the birth and a star rose in the East. What are its antecedents? In Isaiah, “kings came to the light and to the brightness of G-d’s dawn, riding on camels and bringing gold and frankincense”. Isaiah also tells us that a messiah would be born in Bethlehem of a young woman. In Wisdom of Solomon, Solomon says, “I was nursed with care in swaddling clothes for no king has had a different beginning of existence.” Even the word “manger’ comes from Isaiah where it conveyed the meaning that the whole earth was a crib or bin where G-d fed his people. So Jesus was presented as sustenance from G-d. Finally there is no mention of camels in the New Testament, only in Isaiah so we conclude that the early Christians knew the source of the story and never forgot the camels. The Gospels were written in Greek and ‘young maiden’ was translated as a ‘virgin’ because the concept of young maiden and virgin are merged into one Greek word. The rest, as they say, is history.

Crucifixion

Among the details of the crucifixion given by the Gospel of John are that a Roman soldier pierced Jesus’ side with a spear and did not break his legs (whereas the other two robbers had their legs broken). You might think that these are innocuous details that are historically true. But no such thing. John relates them as fulfilling Jewish Scriptural passages namely Zachariah which refers to “being pierced” and Exodus which according to John, says “not a bone of him shall be broken”.

Of greater interest is the Exodus passage which, when referring to the Pascal Lamb, laid down that the meat thereof “shall not be carried out of the house, nor shall a bone of it be broken”. Thus John is implying that Jesus is the pascal lamb whose bones (legs) were not broken. Or in other words, that Jesus is the new Passover meal – that is, Paul’s “communion” with the body and blood of Christ Jesus. This passage further provides when referring to the Passover meal, that “No uncircumcised person may take part.”. Nothing could be further from the spirit of Christianity; in fact the opposite of it. This is another example of how the Gospels have used scriptures for their own purposes in a way that totally distorts or inverts their original meaning. In contrast, Jerome, an early Christian historian, when telling of the stoning of James, makes the point of his legs “being broken” from the fall from the Pinnacle of the Temple.

That leaves only the message. Jesus was shown to be cosmopolitan, accommodationist, universalistic and pacifistic. This was in keeping with the Pauline attempts to have the movement all inclusive and acceptable to Rome. As I have shown, scholars believe that this was the mirror opposite of what Jesus would have stood for. To the extent that Jesus is presented as teaching a concern for the weak and the poor and the giving of charity, this was mainstream Judaism at the time. When Jesus talked of the golden rule, he was merely following Rabbi Hillel. The Gospels, in part, presented Jesus as being against the Law but in real life he would have followed the Law to the last letter.

References to James in the Dead Sea Scrolls include “not being a regarder of persons”, “Holy from his mother’s womb”, and “standing on the pinnacle of the Temple”. These and many others including the James’ Sanhedrin trial are retrospectively inserted and sometimes reversed into the pro-Roman, anti-Jewish biography of Jesus. One account of the stoning of James, reports that he said on dying “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.” . Astonishingly these words too, are later attributed in the Gospels to Jesus. The destruction of the Temple which Christians attribute to the “killing of Jesus by the Jews” some 40 years earlier, really came about as a result of the killing of James.

I have only scratched the surface of the scholarship presented by Eisenman and Spong. Hardly a detail goes unnoticed.

Josephus in the Preface to the “Jewish Wars” writes:

  1. “The War of the Jews against the Romans was the greatest of our time, greater too perhaps, than any recorded struggle whether between cities or nations. Yet persons with no first hand knowledge accepting baseless and inconsistent stories on hearsay, have written garbled accounts of it; while those of eyewitnesses have been falsified either to flatter the Romans or to vilify the Jews, eulogy or abuse being submitted for accurate historical record.”

In conclusion it may be safely said that all we know of the real Jesus was that he was crucified and had many siblings including James. Most incidents of his life and death and most teachings attributed to him as set out in the New Testament, either come from symbols from the Old Testament, facts about the life and death of James or the desire to produce an inclusive theology acceptable to gentiles or an historical record acceptable to the Romans.

I leave you with one final thought, Messianism is a nationalistic ideology. To be anti-nationalist messianists as the Christians fashioned themselves to be is a contradiction in terms..

CHRONOLOGY OF EVENTS
325 Christianity became the state religion of the Holy Roman Empire
132 Second Jewish Revolt (Bar Kochba)(132-136)
110* Gospel of John
100* Acts of the Apostles
96 Death of Josephus
92* Gospel of Luke
90* Antiquities written by Josephus
85* Christians excommunicated from the Jewish religion
80 Judaism declared certain practices of Christians as “Anathemas”
75* Jewish Wars written by Josephus
77* Gospel of Mathew
73 Fall of Masada
72* Gospel of Mark
70 Destruction of Temple
69* Death of Paul
66 Final Uprising against Rome (66-70)
62 Death of James
55* Epistles of Paul
33* James becomes Head of Jerusalem Assembly (33-62)
32* Crucifixtion of Jesus
06* Birth of Jesus
000 ————————————————————————————————-
20* Herod killed last of Maccabee priestly line and appoints his own High Priest
37 Herod appointed King of Palestine by Rome (37-4 BCE)
63 Romans conquered Palestine
100* Alexander Jannaeus grand nephew of Judas Maccabee defeats Seleucids
120* Maccabees 1 and Maccabees 2 written
130* Book of Daniel written
137 Chunukah
167 Start of Maccabee Revolt
333 Occupation of Palestine by the Greeks
440* Second Temple built by Ezra and Nehemiah
540 Return from Babylonian exile
586 Destruction of First Temple and exile to Babylon
1000 Solomon completed First Temple

* Denotes approximate date.

May 7, 2021 | 171 Comments »

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50 Comments / 171 Comments

  1. @ Reader:
    Hi, Reader. You said,

    ““you believe fake news on the matter” – I don’t know what you mean by “fake news”.”

    Considering the fake news resources you are relying on, you have given an honest response. Here is what the gospels say, in modern language. Call them the “Steve Bannon’s War Room” of the First Century CE (Note that Bannon has been banned by all the main media today, just as the gospel writers were then):

    1. The Jewish leaders did not represent Torah, just as our leaders today do not represent the US Constitution. In fact, we know they were chosen through meddling by a foreign power (Rome), an enemy of Israel — just as Biden was installed by US turncoats in the pay of the CCP. Jesus was the Mike Lindell of his time — badgering the authorities until they had him killed. You deny this story, of course, because you are under the spell of fake news, version 1.0.

    2. Jesus didn’t criticize the Jewish people; he criticized the leaders (see above) and the “mainstream media” of the day — namely, the scribes. This is the truth, which you continue to suppress, just like Facebook and Twitter do in this century:

    If you want to follow this, item by item, I will say to you what Mike Lindell says to his detractors: Read the book. Watch the “Absolute Proof” of that day.

    3. BTW, you don’t even KNOW about those times,because you refuse to believe the TRUE accounts of it. Throughout history, the “MSM” has been controlled by the enemies of the church: The Jewish establishment (Religious Deep State), the Roman Catholic Church, the Roman emperors, the bishop-blessed kings of Europe, right on down to the MSM of today. All of these have been fake news.

  2. @ Michael S:
    “you believe fake news on the matter” – I don’t know what you mean by “fake news”.

    The only “fake news” I can imagine that I have read were the gospels.

    You are talking about the book by Nicholls?

    I have it, I read it, I thought you might be interested in it, the author is definitely an expert.

  3. @ Edgar G.:
    You are exactly correct in all of this. And it seems per a report on Arutz Sheva that Bennett is now prepared to create a gov’t and work out ideological issues later with his new Leftist friends . This is shocking if true and fills me with an even more sense of dread for this terrible move he has chosen. Just disgraceful.

  4. @ Ted Belman:
    With your reference to the Council of Nicaea by date 325, you, we all should be reminded that this Council, apart from manufacturing it’s unholy creed, bestowed on Christianity only a recognition as an accepted religion. Constantine, always assumed to have been the first Christian Emperor was certainly NOT. He was a Pagan until he died. He was himself a god, the god Sol Ijnvictus, which rituals he carried out for the next 12-15 years until he died.

    The first Christian Emperor was Theodosius, 55 years after the Council. He was a poor Emperor, but suffered a serious illness around 280, (probably flu or indegestion ) and was persuaded to be baptised. After he recovered, he announced that he had become a Christian, and over the next several years declared that from then on, Christianity would be the religion of the Roman Empire.

    A historical fact.

  5. @ peloni1986:
    They have become lazy and self satisfied, always knowing that the PM will get them out of the trouble, whatever it is, and until,now he always has. It seems to be an Israeli ingrained habit. “Kol Beseder” is their watchword. They did the same after 1967, resulting in a near disaster, which eventually deprived us of the Sinai. They did the same in the last part of the Shamir govt, resulting in the Rabin-Peres intrusion and subsequent Oslo catastrophe. And that earlier time when they were forced to drag Ben Gurion out of retirement in his old age, back into the Govt, to handle a potential desperate situation.

    My opinion for the present period is ……..”as fares Netanyahu, fares Israel”..You and I are closely knit on this subject of the PM’s unique talents and worth.

    With all the LIKUD scurrying around, I wonder why they did not get high quality investigators (if there are any that can be trusted in Israel-not a given) to find what was behind the sudden Mandelblit onslaught on Netanyahu, who were his backers and instigators etc. Because it ALL stems from that particular monment, perhaps leading up with the boloney lawsuits against the Netanyahu family via Sara, which she nearly always lost, with other charges looming over her.

    The whole family, truly Zionist to the core, has been “cursed” with baseless hatred from envious, deeply ensconsed establishment figures against the brash unfortunately very successful, newcomer…..

  6. @ Edgar G.:

    Why has it taken so long for anyone in the gov’t to acknowledge this fact.

    As you can see, my posting was specifically referencing the lack of supportive commentary from the members of the gov’t who should recognize Netanyahu’s vital role in representing Israel better than the rest of us.

    No need to remind me of your views, Edgar. Your strong support of Netanyahu is very well known to me and most likely all of our fellow bloggers here on Israpundit, as you have not been ambiguous in your appreciation for his good stewardship of the state and his value at this time, specifically. It just seems with everyone that attacks him so openly, there would be more commentary from his associates as Dermer.

  7. @ peloni1986:
    For you to write this means that you have ignored every post I’ve submitted, in which Netanyahu is mentioned by me in the most lavish terms. Well… never mnd, I just want to bring it to your notice.

    Never mind the Reader and Mchael S. stuff, these are just long running sniping at one another, which I indulge in mostly from boredom, a sense of humour, and sometimes from incredulity.

  8. @ Michael S:
    Regardless of all the schisms and differences in approach, the founding story of Christianity is anti-Jewish.

    A very interesting book by William Nicholls Christian Antisemitism: A History of Hate

    The original Christian hostility toward Jews went through a number of transformations down the course of western history, acquiring different rationalizations. But all its forms shared one element, the most important – Jews were bad…
    .
    Hatred of Jews draws its justification not primarily from official theology but from the religion by which all Christians live, theologians or laity. Religion’s source is not theology but myth…

    Can a myth be changed and the religion it has powered survive unscathed?

    William Nicholls is Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada. He was born in England and educated at Cambridge University. His first book, Ecumenism and Catholicity, was awarded the Norrissian Prize in Divinity at Cambridge. After serving in the Anglican ministry in England and Scotland, he founded the Department of Religious Studies at the University of British Columbia in 1961 and was its head until1983. From 1984 to 1985 he was Visiting Professor of Religious Studies at the at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His publications include Systematic and Philosophical Theology. He has been involved in Holocaust education since 1975.

  9. @ Ted Belman:
    I agree that from the Jewish perspective, this has been the case. From the Christian perspective, it’s more complicated — a period of real confusion. Martin Luther identified the Roman Catholic Church as the “Mother of Harlots” of Revelation, which “fornicated with the kings of the earth”. A lot of Protestant groups agree with that estimation; but Luther himself didn’t seem to notice that since Babylon was the “mother” of harlots, his own breakaway Lutheran Catholic Church was one of her “daughters”. As many here have noticed, Luther had an antisemitic streak in him that Hitler later took advantage of.

    Since Luther’s day, Western Christianity has fragmented into a thousand schizms, all of therm believing that they have the “one true” doctrine.

    In the 2016 US Presidential Election, nearly all the Baptist, Lutheran, Mormon, Methodist and “Other Christian” counties voted for Donald Trump. The “nonreligious” counties were split between rural Trump supporters and urban Clinton supporters, and the Catholic vote was split — with German- and Polish- Catholics seeming to go mostly for Trump and Mexican-, Irish- and Italian- Catholics seeming to go mostly for Clinton. Jews were also split, with the Orthodox mostly favoring Trump and the others mostly voting for Clinton. Blacks and students also seemed to favor Clinton, regardless of religion. I think Support for Israel also splits along these lines.

  10. @ Michael S:
    I agree that Christianity wasn’t established as a weapon against Judaism. But by 325, their fundamental differences implied they couldn’t both be right. So Christianity needed to destroy Judaism in order to validate themselves. i.e., replacement theoology.

    The Holocaust was Caused by Hitler who followed Church doctrine and practices

    Judaism never tried to destroy Christianity after 325 AD but Christianity sure tried to destroy Judaism from then on ending in the Holocaust.

  11. @ orangeladytrumpkin:
    Hi, Orangelady. You said,

    @ Reader:
    Dear Michael S., I imply nothing, nor am I here to judge who is a Jew or who is otherwise. I know for certain that not everyone posting here is a Jew, of whatever sect or origin, so I feel safe in saying what I did. Do with it as you will.”

    You seem to be quoting Reader saying something to me, so this thread seems to be taking on a life of its own. Concerning your comments about “Christianity”, namely,

    ““Christianity was established as a weapon against Jews and Judaism.”

    I hope you realize that this is complete nonesense to me. The Jewish people, after the time of Constantine, had an ongoing struggle with the Catholic Church and some of its spinoffs. Those institutions had nothing to do with the early church — which was established, as you put it, by the teaching of Jesus. Since Jesus himself was a Jew, both by birth and religious practice (he was invited by Pharisees to eat in their houses), it’s absurd to say he was against “Jews and Judaism”. You are, however, welcome to your own beliefs.

  12. @ Ted Belman:
    Hi, Ted. You wrote,

    ““From Acts and other sources we learn that Jesus appointed James to be leader of the “early Church” or “Jerusalem Assembly”. He fulfilled this role from the 30’s to the 60’s.. To have been “Head” or “Bishop’ of the ‘Jerusalem Church” was to have been head of the whole of Christianity as it then was.”

    “So James was the first “Bishop” not Peter.”

    The word translated “bishop” is

    1984 episkop? (a feminine noun, derived from 1909 /epí, “on, appropriately fitting,” which intensifies 4648 /skopé?, “look intently”) – properly, oversight that naturally goes on to provide the care and attention appropriate to the “personal visitation.” — Strongs Exhaustive Concordance

    In the Bible, “Bishop” was not a “church office”, as it was made later. The term was used interchangeably with “pastor” (lit. “shepherd”) and “elder” ( = “presbyter”). By the time of Constantine, whose mother had become a Christian and proclaiming one’s Christianity became socially advantageous, the separate offices of “Bishop” and “Presbyter” were highly sought after by social climbers. This was not the case in the early congregations, such as that in Jerusalem (which met in hiding for fear of persecution). Once the “Church” (note the capitalization) became, essentially, the Emperor’s bailiwick, it lost all resemblance to the early church (note the lack of capitals).

    Concerning James and Jude, Jesus’s brothers, the Bible does not say why they were looked upon as leaders of the Jerusalem congregation, but they were not considered to be Jesus’ Apostles (note the cap.), or “Ambassadors”:

    Acts.12
    [1] Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church.
    [2] And he killed James the brother of John with the sword.
    [3] And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also. (Then were the days of unleavened bread.)…

    Note that Herod arrested Peter, not James the brother of Jesus. The passage goes on,

    [17] But he, beckoning unto them with the hand to hold their peace, declared unto them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. And he said, Go shew these things unto James, and to the brethren. And he departed, and went into another place.”

    Jesus’ brother James held a special place in the Jerusalem congregation only, probably because he and his brothers were of Davidic lineage and messianic candidates. During Jesus’ lifetime, they were not among the “believers”:

    John.7
    [3] His brethren therefore said unto him, Depart hence, and go into Judaea, that thy disciples also may see the works that thou doest.
    [4] For there is no man that doeth any thing in secret, and he himself seeketh to be known openly. If thou do these things, shew thyself to the world.
    [5] For neither did his brethren believe in him.

    He only became convinced after the resurrection. This James was later also killed, around 62 CE, years after the first James (Jesus’ cousin) was killed by Herod. His brother Jude succeeded him as leader of the Jerusalem congregation

    BTW, the word “martyr” was never used in the Bible as a verb. It was the Greek word for “witness”. It has become a verb in later parlance, because many prominent witnesses who publicly refused to testify against the gospels were put to death. That was the penalty in those days, for speaking against “fake news”.

  13. @ Sebastien Zorn:

    Former Israeli Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer lauded Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday, calling Netanyahu an “asset” for Israeli-US relations.

    Why has it taken so long for anyone in the gov’t to acknowledge this fact. Though it has to be obvious to every dog in the street, I have yet to hear this reference even once before this. It is a vital point of concern that such an asset might possibly be so easily discarded. I thank Dermer for finally referencing it as such, though perhaps I was just not aware he made the comment prior to this. It might have, however have been a helpful discussion point at some earlier date, but as I say it should be obvious to every dog in the street.

  14. ‘Netanyahu is a strategic asset for Israeli-US relations’
    Former Israeli Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer urges Israel to strengthen ties with Evangelical Christians.
    Tags: Ron Dermer
    Hezki Baruch , May 09 , 2021 8:27 PM
    Share

    Ron Dermer
    Ron Dermer?????: ???? ??????, ???? ?????

    Former Israeli Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer lauded Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday, calling Netanyahu an “asset” for Israeli-US relations.

    Speaking at a Makor Rishon conference Sunday, Dermer warned that if Netanyahu is unable to form a government and is replaced, US-Israeli relationship would undergo a “significant change”.

    “There is no question at all that without Netanyahu, there will be a significant change in the US-Israel relationship,” Dermer said.

    “Americans known Netanyahu because of his lengthy tenure and because of his public relations abilities. Netanyahu is an asset for everything that has to do with public relations. That’s not just what is said to the President or Congress, it is also in terms of his understanding and ability to address the public, based on the understanding that doing so is no less important. Netanyahu is unique.”

    Dermer also said that Israel must work to maintain its ties with the Christian Evangelical community in the US, alongside efforts to bolster ties with American Jews.

    “Much more support came from the Christians [than American Jews] in our struggle against the nuclear deal and to move the embassy to Jerusalem, so I think we are obliged to invest more in support from the Christians.”

    https://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/305849

  15. Edgar G. Said:

    why “lions were not lying down with lambs

    Edgar, you reminded me of this recent hilarious example of life imitating art, albeit coincidentally, in this case – most people think it’s always the other way around. First, there’s the classic joke:

    The Lion and the Lamb
    A group of interfaith religious leaders were getting a tour around the Jerusalem Zoo by its administrator, Shmuel Shapira. Shmuel showed them one cage where a lion was lying together with a young lamb.

    The head of the delegation was amazed. “For 2000 years, we’ve prayed for signs of the messianic era and the prophesy that the lion will lie down next to the lamb. How did you do it?”

    “It was quite easy,” Shmuel replied, “All it needs is a new lamb a day!”

    https://www.aish.com/j/j/360708231.html

    and then there’s life – from this year!

    Jerusalem zoo tries damage control after kids see lion eat bunny
    Wildlife park explains big cats are usually fed dead animals behind closed doors but in this case, the lion dragged its food out into public view in front of visiting families
    By BEN SALES
    22 March 2021, 2:48 pm 2

    https://www.timesofisrael.com/jerusalem-zoo-tries-damage-control-after-lion-seen-eating-bunny/

    I wonder if anybody has ever thought to use as proof of the existence of the deity, the sheer abundance of coincidental humor in the frequent, apparently random juxtaposition of phenomena. Unless Google has gotten more sophisticated than i thought.

  16. @ Michael S:

    I personally support Israel

    Thank you for that but you posts indicate that you don’t accept every dogma of Christianity for which even now you get into trouble occasionally.

    If you were to accept the whole thing without questioning any of it, I doubt that you would feel the same as you do now.

  17. @ Reader:
    Dear Michael S., I imply nothing, nor am I here to judge who is a Jew or who is otherwise. I know for certain that not everyone posting here is a Jew, of whatever sect or origin, so I feel safe in saying what I did. Do with it as you will.

    “You should know that a Jew who worships Jesus is an idolator (a Christian is NOT). I have no intention of becoming an idolator, thank you.”

    Okay, and that’s why so many just died in a frenzy idolizing the long passed Rabbi . . . a practice that has long flouted the idolization law in G-d’s face.

    “The Christian interpretation of the Jewish Scripture has nothing in common with its Jewish interpretation.” Absolute Truth there: the many who have added to and given the narrow interpretation; or wider depending upon their whim, to the Jewish Scripture. The Christians view the Word of God as needing no help from meager man, the Word became flesh and lived among us, all Scripture is inspired by G-d to instruct and to teach.

    “Christianity was established as a weapon against Jews and Judaism.” How ridiculous, unstable, paranoid-laced and deceived can you be? While many used it and still use it to destroy the peace of Jews, you all selectively forget the many times you were warned against turning your back on the Lord of all. He came ‘first for Israel, the keepers of His vineyard, but they abused Him and stole from Him’, so He invited to wayward ones off of the streets. You, of course, are still invited, but you’d rather still abuse and steal. You idolize your religion itself!

    The Lord is as Hosea, Israel is His Gomer. The fact that Israel still hides from this keeps your idea of G-d as very different from the Christian One. At least we all know the dregs from which He saved us, and freely admit it. You call us idolaters, yet you idolize your ‘good standing Jew’ club membership instead of humbling yourself.

    And yet, dear Gomer, He has saved the last dance for you.

  18. @ Sebastien Zorn:

    It [Christianity] CANCELLED Judaism, even if to accomplish this fully took a century or two.

    Oh, I forgot – Christians also consider themselves “New Israel”.

    So all this talk about coexistence, love, and friendship is just a trap for the fools.

    It doesn’t mean we have to fight, of course, but I don’t feel like I (or the rest of us) should be replaced by a “better” Christian version.

  19. @ Sebastien Zorn:

    Christianity revised Judaism in a way similar to the way Buddhism revised HInduism.

    Christianity didn’t revise judaism.

    It CANCELLED Judaism, even if to accomplish this fully took a century or two.

    Judaism is supposed to be replaced by Christianity, and until all the Jews agree to accept Jesus – they don’t know God (even though the Christian non Jews seem never to forget that their Jewish converts are still Jews).

    They “accept” the validity of the “Old” Testament for two reasons:
    1) it shows to them how the Jews constantly screwed up not living up to their calling as the chosen people and this is why God finally decided to give up on them (thus reneging on his eternal promise to them) without even telling them and to send His Son (who was also Him at the same time) to set them up as a rogue nation eternally guilty of the death of His Son (who was also Him who was immortal but died – temporarily – maybe he was in a coma?) who came to take the chosen people “contract” away from them and give it to everybody else whose sins Jesus (being God at the same time) saved by “dying” on the Cross which was a good thing (because of the sin saving) and was a part of his Father’s plan.

    2) they use it (with the help of some handy mistranslations) to pick and choose the quotations which visibly support the idea that Jesus was Moshiach whom the Jews rejected, that his lineage is from Ruth (David) – although how can God be Jewish, Italian, or Gypsy, they don’t explain, etc.

  20. @ Edgar G.:

    Again, Mr. G, your ‘G-dliness’ is bleeding out in a vile cesspool of hatred and self-righteousness, instead of humility, justice and mercy, as we are instructed. You bring no glory to the Lord of All in your speech.

    You wish to damage me by grading my ‘writing’; fine, I would love to comment on your lack of even basic spelling skills, but I have not. I, too, am of Irish descent, of King Brian, and yet, have seen fit to learn to shut the door to such despicable speech and anger.

    ‘seethe’ per Webster: (of a person) be filled with intense but unexpressed anger.
    “inwardly he was seething at the slight to his authority” . . . exactly. Repeating pre-scripted prayers is discouraged, in reality, though I realize it is done. If I pray the same scripted prayer for everyday of my life, does it carry more weight with the Lord than speaking to Him from my heart? Does saying “I am wealthy” every day bring me wealth? While true dependence upon G-d is acknowledged, repeating the same prayers over and over becomes more like rote learning instead of walking with the Master of Heaven and Earth. As a teacher, I could go on and on about how rote learning does nothing for actually teaching us anything, except repeating like puppetry.

    Exodus 23:19, 34:26 and Deuteronomy 14:21 to answer your query.

    Throughout the Old Covenant, the Lord Jesus is referred to. Often Israel takes this personification upon herself amidst all of her growling and snarling, but people can never measure up, none of us do. Self-worship gets us further away from G-d not closer.

    Psalm 72,22, Micah 5, Isaiah 8:14, Isaiah 7, 9, 11, 22, 35, 42, 50, 53, 61, 63, Daniel 7: 13 – 14, 9: 24 – 26, Zechariah 9: 9, 11: 12- 13,

    Jeremiah 31:31 THE NEW COVENANT!!!

    Stomping, snorting, growling, biting off every head that raises itself has still failed to turn your scarlet cord white again . . . kind of like banging your head against the wall. Sooner or later, one needs to stop doing the same ol’ thing, and see if there’s more to it.

  21. @ Sebastien Zorn:
    In all my reading about the Historical Jesus, I never encountered the 12 apostles including Peter but I read a great deal about James, the brother of Jesus. Strangely James died as a martyr in AD 62 or 69. Wikipedia tells us that St Peter dies in Rome in 62 to 68 AD, Could Peter be James dressed up as a Christian. Wikipedia also tells us that

    “Peter’s life story is told in the four canonical gospels, the Acts of the Apostles, New Testament letters, the non-canonical Gospel of the Hebrews and other early Church accounts of his life and death. In the New Testament, he is among the first of the disciples called during Jesus’ ministry. Peter became the first listed apostle ordained by Jesus in the early Church.[20]”

    I wrote,
    “From Acts and other sources we learn that Jesus appointed James to be leader of the “early Church” or “Jerusalem Assembly”. He fulfilled this role from the 30’s to the 60’s.. To have been “Head” or “Bishop’ of the ‘Jerusalem Church” was to have been head of the whole of Christianity as it then was.”

    So James was the first “Bishop” not Peter.

    I did not access any of the Gospels in writing my essay because the first was written 40 years after the Death of Jesus and we have no way of knowing what their original content was, only what was canonized in 325 AD.

    It seems to me that Christian texts transformed James into Peter. I suggest you ask your interlocutor what the Gospels have to say about James.

  22. @ Reader:
    Hi, Reader. You made a comment about “Christian” motives for supporting Israel:

    “WHY the support? Because they believe that once all the Jews are in Israel, the 2nd coming will occur and all the Jews who won’t accept Christ this time will die.”

    So many labels, mostly superficial and meaningless… I think the one you just gave is especially meaningless. Let me say, as one whose close companions are strongly Israel-supporting Christians — people also poorly labeled as “Evangelicals”: They strongly believe that God will lift them out of human troubles in a “rapture”, some time before Messiah somehow comes to deal with what’s left. It’s a lazy doctrine, leaving them with no need to evangelize the Jews in any particular way because “God will take care of that later”.

    I hope that clears things up for you somewhat. Most people on Israpundit, including “Mr. Odious” (He seems to know who he is), seem to think that “Christians” spend all their time thinking about Jews, plotting and scheming evil things to do to them. This is nothing but egotism on their part. Honestly, we don’t think you’re all that interesting.

    I personally post only on Israpundit, because Jews in general are much more willing than most Christians to discuss the scriptures — even if only to blaspheme Hashem and scoff at Torah. Most Christians I know just avoid “hot button” scriptures, or worse. I guess it’s easier to talk about the truth with the knowingly ignorant (some here, not all), than to try to deal with those who think they know it all.

    I know why I personally support Israel as much as I do: I just think it’s the right thing to do: God thinks Israel is special, so I do too. End of story. Trying to understand American Christian support of Israel, however, is another matter. I’ll take a stab at it here:

    1. ALL US Christians do not support. Some, like the elder who conspired to have me tossed out of the last church I was part of, positively loathe both the Jews and Israel (while claiming, of course, to not be “antisemites”). That particular elder, by the way, made much about having been to Dallas Theological Seminary, and boasted the fact by carrying a wheelbarrow’s worth of heavy tomes with him to the pulpit (books he never actually opened) whenever he spoke. If you really understood the scriptures, you would see how I identify him more with the “priests and scribes” who opposed Jesus, than with Jesus’ talmidim.

    American Christianity is unique in the world. Some settlers, particularly those of the Jamestown colony, didn’t come here primarily for religious reasons. They continued to practice the king’s religion, in an orthodox manner. The Dutch settlers, also, were content to follow the Dutch Reformed tradition. Unlike the southerners, they continued this tradition after the War of Independence. In the South, meanwhile, Anglicanism had been practiced mainly by the wealthy Planter class, while the sharecroppers, etc. were attracted to Baptist missionaries from New England.

    For a long time, Massachusetts and Virginia were, by far, the largest colonies. The founders of the Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay colonies, which comprised the former, were religious dissenters, who rejected key doctrines of the Church of England. For better or worse, they continued their rejectionist ways in America. Whenever a congregant disagreed with his pastor, or a pastor with his congregation, the matter was usually settled by one party separating and establishing a new colony and congregation in the wilderness. Descendants of those New England settlers (including myself) either don’t belong to any church, or are part of a plethora of independent groups: “Churches of God”, “Churches of Christ”, “Pentecostals”, “Assemblies of God”, “Quakers”, “Mormons”, “Unitarians”, “Congregationalists”, “Brethren”, “Adventists”, just to name a few. Some of these have developed into full-blown “Social Justice Warriors”, like left-wing Jews; others, lumped under the catch-all label of “Evangelicals”, support both Israel and President Trump.

    That’s a little more detailed, than the simplistic descriptions most people accept.

  23. @ Sebastien Zorn:

    why did the Romans persecute the Christians in the beginning?

    I haven’t studied the issue.

    There is a book by Candida Moss The Myth of Persecution: How Early Christians Invented a Story of Martyrdom.

    It was published by an imprint of HarperCollins publishers

  24. @ Reader:
    That hardly makes it right. I suppose many “historians” who do so do it partially out of ignorance or possibly with intent. Unfortunately calling the land of the Jews Palestine post 1964 has some serious political implications, especially to those who do not know factual history of that area. Those people, unfortunately, include many Jews and many Israelis as well.

  25. @ Edgar G.:
    I meant the modern historians of that period and even the earlier periods (before Judea was renamed) in case it wasn’t clear.

    They just keep calling it Palestine (or whatever version of the word).

  26. @Ted Belman I do have a question, though. I am in the middle of a debate on FB now with an ardent Christian Zionist – who disagrees with this article and takes the position that the New Testament account is the Gospel Truth, pun intended; he emphasizes the role of Peter as the first bishop of the Christian Church and is kind of vague about any knowledge of James. I need some clarification, here.

  27. @ Reader:
    I have to correct myself. You asserted that Christianity was constructed as a weapon against Judaism. Well, it does sound like that could have been true of Paul but I don’t have that impression of the early Christians, generally. As Ted points out, Paul didn’t found the early Christian Church but took it over from James who he most probably murdered or whose assassination he incited leading to the events culminating in the destruction of the 2nd Temple. Moreover, if that were the case, why did the Romans persecute the Christians in the beginning? Christianity was constructed over a period of centuries

  28. @ Reader:
    Well, I don’t think the Christians remained a Jewish sect for centuries and the fact that the author she cites mentions Paul – who was a contemporary of Jesus who never met him and who converted to Christianity after his death, as he had undoubtedly converted to Judaism some years before, as Ted’s article points out – as the one who dejudaized Christianity undermines that claim but otherwise, I thought it was a pretty good article. I don’t understand your objection. I mean there are other and more crucial differences, I think, but, still most of what she said wasn’t wrong. But, as both of you point out, they are different religions, even if they rely on some of the same foundational texts which they interpret differently and those differences need to be respected. Christianity revised Judaism in a way similar to the way Buddhism revised HInduism.

  29. @ Reader:

    I believ your comment below your first highlight is the correct reason although, when pointed out to them them used to emphatically deny it. But they are all “saved” Christians and it is a dogma of their faith to believe in the Parousia, which early Christians invented to explain why “lions were not lying down with lambs , nor “swords hammered into ploughshares” etc etc”.nor did any of the things that a Messiah was supposed to do or have happen, occur. They re waiting for this like we are waiting for our Moshiach…(Although I’m not…….as Jimmy Durante said..”I can’t wait that long, I only have 2 changes of underwear”.. Good old Schnozzola) .. You know their rubbish.

    Their dedication to Israel has to be tainted with it. Still…the wise Jew “respects but suspects” as you well know…

  30. @ orangeladytrumpkin:

    Listen Lady Pumpkin…….. You use the most inexact words, full of philological inexactitude, as my old professor used to say.

    Seeth, is used for “kids”, as “Thou shalt not seeth a kid in it’s mother’s milk”…..I son’t suppose you know where that is written…Rage or hate do not seeth, they come to a cold appraisal of the Christian garbage which fills your mind like a rubbish dump. ..And the best example is Ge Hinnom.which was perpetually burning the Jerusalem garbage. I wonder what burns your garbage. Mrs. Pumpkin. ..

  31. @ Reader:
    @ orangeladytrumpkin:
    I meant to say “a non-Jew” [who worships Jesus] not “a Christian”.

    Sorry for the confusion.

  32. @ nachmank:

    refer to Judea as “Palestine.

    Believe it or not, the historians of the period (and even of much earlier periods) still refer to Judea as “Palestine”.

  33. @ orangeladytrumpkin:
    It’s enough for me that you said you are not here to cast your pearls [before you-know-who] – a nice implication.

    You should know that a Jew who worships Jesus is an idolator (a Christian is NOT).

    I have no intention of becoming an idolator, thank you.

    The Christian interpretation of the Jewish Scripture has nothing in common with its Jewish interpretation.

    Judaism and Christianity have NOTHING in common.

    Christianity was established as a weapon against Jews and Judaism.

    The Jewish idea of God is vastly different from the Christian one.

    That should be enough for now.

  34. @ Reader:
    What Melanie Philips article? I think you’re the second person to refer to her. Ted Belman wrote this article entitled, ‘The HIstorical Jesus.”

  35. @ Sebastien Zorn:
    To me Melanie Phillips’ article reads like Christian propaganda:

    Christians form the most solid and passionate bloc of Israel supporters in the world. Indeed, the support for Israel by American Christians is far stronger than the support for Israel displayed by the majority of American Jews.

    WHY the support? Because they believe that once all the Jews are in Israel, the 2nd coming will occur and all the Jews who won’t accept Christ this time will die.

    a Christianised view that belief in God is central to religion, and that religious faith is necessarily private and confessional.
    This is not true of Judaism, in which belief in God is merely the starting point for investing with spiritual significance every single aspect of everyday life — from drinking a glass of water to constraining what you do on the Sabbath to how to behave in the bedroom and bathroom — in order to sanctify the Jewish people in accordance with the laws and precepts laid down in the Torah.

    [the bold type is in the original text]

    Notice the word MERELY which makes it sound that the Jews use belief in God as MERELY a justification for doing al this stuff and the belief in God is secondary to it.

    She argues that the “liberal” Jews are practicing a Christianized version of Judaism – how far is this from a suggestion that maybe they should make up their minds and just convert since they are one step away from it already – why be a hypocrite, right?

    Need I go on?

  36. Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.

    This is not the Messianic prophecy, this is about King David who says God has treated him as His own son, and if David only asked He would give him dominion over the other nations.

    This is not about Messiah but about David (the Talmudic Jewish explanation).

    Christians pick and choose quotes from the Scripture that suit their ideological needs.

    BTW, this is a great example of Christian mistranslation of the “Old” Testament.

    Christian scholars routinely translated the word “goy” or “goyim” which mean “nation/nations” in Hebrew (not just non-Jews which is the Yiddish meaning but ALL the nations) not as “nations” but as “pagans”.

    This was done on purpose, to change the meaning.

  37. @ orangeladytrumpkin:

    There is a prayer we say on Yom Kipur, which includes asking forgiveness for “confusion of inind”… If you were a Jew, this would be a prime prayer for you to recite over and over.

    I did not apologise as you are well aware, you are just playing “smart”, or cunning, as you think. . I was sorry for YOU , that your seemingly life-long belief in a myth had been concusively shown by my post, and those of others, to have been false and faked over the many centuries….. which resulted in the most horrenous torures against Jews.of which I am one, who also has suffered from your fanatical co-believers in the fakery.

    As is said…40 (“fact of Christianity) X 0 = ZERO.

    So your crude reams and reams of rubbish affect me not, except to give me eye-strain. No cogitative exercise needed here. Rubbish is rubbish, even wth a bow tied arount it’s collective neck, and sprayed with perfume (perhaps of burning Jews) .of your “gentle” religion…..

    What should be tied around it’s neck is a hangman’s rope…..and used. !!

  38. While I admire most of the context of your essay analyzing the veracity and authenticity of the “historical Jesus,” I am somewhat disturbed that a historical treatise would constantly refer to Judea as “Palestine.” Historically, the appellation Palestine was given to Judea by the emperor Hadrian at around 135 CE after the bloody rebellion of Bar Kochba was quelled. This was to further punish the Jews for their incessant rebellions against Rome by naming their patrimony after their erstwhile enemies, the Philistines. The name Palestine must be recognized as what it is – an artificial renaming of the historical “land of Israel.” I suppose that prior to around 1500 BCE calling that area Canaan will also be accurate, but I don’t know of any extant Canaanites who would be offended by not doing so.

  39. @ Reader:

    Dearest Reader, Unfortunately, you reflect a shallowness in your relationship with G-d in your comments. You know nothing, apparently of the Ruach Ha Kodesh becoming active in one’s life, just as He did in the lives of Samuel, Hezekiah, and many others, or of the Dunamis Word becoming alive and spoken into one’s spirit. There are numerous people throughout history that knew much about the person of G-d without ever having a page of Scripture.

    I learned of the Bride of Christ through a dream in which I was dressed as one, in a beautiful garden, every minute atom of my self receiving love. Later, I found it in the Bible! Hurray! I worked hospice while I attended university. I saw many wonderful and scary sights, many of them spoken of in the Bible. People miraculously healed, people sitting shivering because of the devil dogs waiting to take them at death, the greatest majority being met by family members who had passed before them and the heavens opening up filled with ringing bells to welcome home the most sinful turned repentant. No writing in this world can contain the many wonders of our G-d, the Cloud Rider, the Ancient of Days, the G-d who sees, and His many other wonderful Names.

    Say what you want, the Word of G-d is alive, became flesh and ever lives to guide us. Translations, changes, versions, none of that matters so much when we can depend on the Lord of Life to lead us into all truth. Find Him, begin examining, move closer in repentance and grace until you can hear Him. You will receive the new heart, so often spoken of in Tanach that is coming to the Jews. The heart of flesh, with His law written upon it.

  40. @ Edgar G.:

    Thank you for your apology, Mr. G., but there is no need. You named several sources and then think you blew them out of the water. Whatever; history is told by the victor and you feel the victor in this instance. You missed many of great standing references, but we will let that slide too. I’m not here to proselytize or cast my pearls.

    Only it seems so telling how every year or two the Jews, of whom I entirely support as a Zionist through and through, must give each other this pep talk. Once one does it, others do it as well, until for a time, it is all one can really find to read on Israeli sites. It is fairly pathetic, to be blunt.

    You assume that my belief in the Son, referred to numerous times in your ‘First’ Testament, is based on following what others say, what I am taught and what I have read, as it is with the Jewish faith. This one says that, that one says this, the Scripture has been reduced to mean what mere man says it means, etc. Israel is brought back to her land after a long time of shaking and separating in fulfillment of the Word of God and yet, it seems to have brought very few back to G-d.

    You say this many prayers each day, you assemble on these days, you change many things to suit your convenience, but assume that is of little consequence. Like the worship at the grave of Rabbis. Like the sacrifice of the Lamb. Like the way it has been exposed that Jews treat women. Atrocious, far from pleasing G-d acts that seem to reflect godlessness, instead.

    While you apologize that you find Jesus not to be real. . . .

    All I can tell you is that 40 years ago, I was at the bottom. From an abusive home to an abusive husband’s new home, I was continually crushed. Having a new baby to protect, I cried out to G-d, to help me, to save me, to help her. He came to me; in dreams, in visions, in a voice coming up out of my inner most being. He gave me insight on truths, led me to my Bible, which I started at page 1, Genesis1 and read all the way through, saved me from many circumstances and stood between me and many others. For you to say ‘sorry, He isn’t real’, it is one of the most laughable things I’ve ever heard.

    After dropping out of high school, and then later, following much Bible study, I realized that many kids from third world countries know more than kids from America and I went back to school for seven more years . . . seven years of propaganda with students that couldn’t write a complete sentence! I even had a few theological courses at Harvard online taught by Jews that were less than informative as well, except for trying to push the people to admire the exceptionalism of Jews in general.Nothing wrong with that , to a point, but when I would try to speak up concerning the Jewish right to the land of Israel or any other matter in which the Bible is explicit, I was just kind of patted on the head . . . the silly ‘believer’ in the room.

    My life began becoming more ordered and holy. I gave up my whiskey, pot and cussing. I gave up many things to move closer to G-d and hear His voice. This work continues through today; He must increase, I must decrease. He walks with me and talks with me and I know it is the Holy One because in Him there is no spot or wrinkle. I knew when each of my grandchildren were on their way, I have experienced the Living Water rushing forth out of the Temple fountain, I dance with Him on the mountains, I am healed by His shed blood. My scarlet cord is turned white daily, my water sweetened, and because of His great love for the Jews, I too feel great love for Jews. While I do get aggravated with the way you continually insist on putting down this greatest lover of your souls, the bottom line is that I feel His love filling me with love for you.

    Go ahead, say sorry . . . as I frolic freely with this Lord of all.

    Throughout the First Testament, the Lord continually speaks of giving Israel a new heart, with the laws written on it, instead of on tablets of stone. Were Israel as perfect as she believes she is in her teaching, this would not be necessary. However, it is still to happen. I enjoy that new heart now because of the grace of God, but you will enjoy it too. Your scarlet cord will once again turn white, not from the blood of a chicken either . . . . I do realize, however, that until that time comes, it is much more convenient to examine and put down others who rejoice and enjoy their walk with God, than to examine one’s self. So whatever you feel you must do to get by; it is between you and the Holy One.

    I look forward to the day when we will all be as one, worshiping Him in His visible Presence, made like Him: perfection.

  41. @ Michael S:
    It’s to show that I also noticed your barely veiled reference a little earlier where you mentioned some “odious fellows”…, but nobody disputes you as I do. We have this give-and-take going on now for several years, because of your mashuggenah obsession with quoting from your Christian writings which you call a bible and also usurping loooonnngg quotes from the Torah, to bolster your false beliefs.

    If you used only your Christian garbage itwould be bad enough, but you have the CHUTZPAH of using OUR TORAH to twist into YOUR meanings.

    Not to be tolerated by me at least…not without protest. And I DO protest.

  42. @ orangeladytrumpkin:
    You are wrong. Josephus NEVER “worshipped” Jesus. He quite clearly never heard of him, which was not strange because that Jesus never existed. Josephus mentioned every little item from clear history, to legends and rumours. Nothing was too small…except something that never existed.

    You are obviously referring to the “Testimonium Flavianum”,which has been acknoledged as an “interpolation” or …”pious forgery”. ……And there’s no doubt about it. Josephus was a self declared Jew and defended Judaism vigorously. You should at least read his books (although “edited” by Christians) He could never believe in a “Sun god” myth.

    You mention Origen…If you read my posts you will have seen that Origen, was a famous scholar, probably the most acomlished of all Church Historians, although Eusebius became the more popular, because he wrote what the people wanted.

    Well……Origen studied Josephs extensively, and in his History discusses Josephus but NEVER mentions the “Testimonium Flavianum”…because it was never there, Also several prior Church historians passed this “vital” proof over without comment.

    Was this likely….NO…definitely NOT. The Church was in complete control of all literature of that period and pored over every written crap to find “proofs”, because their claim was so “shaky” and based on nothing, ..but…the “Testimonium” never appeared until Eusebius first “saw” it in his copy of Josephus…. How could this be…..????

    Easy….It was because Eusebius had another name…which was “Master of Forgery””…the Interpolator” in Chief. And it had been decided by experts that it was HE who altered that 5-6 lines to 8-9 lines..in the hundreds of thousands that Josephus wrote. Such a meagre reference of the most famous man is Christian history was given the few lines which could be counted on the fingers of both hands.

    On top of this, it has been specifically ponited out by nearly ALL scholars, that it it completely out of place and is contrary to Josephus’ style, it intrudes into the otherwise smooth flow of his text. In other words, for scholars, it “STICKS OUT LIKE A SORE THUMB”……..

    I’m sorry for you but facts are facts. When you get to heaven expecting to meet Jesus, you’ll have a tough job finding him.

    There are 2-3 people named Jesus mentioned in the Talmud, but none of the period you want. One was “hanged on a tree” about 250 BCE, another was a “magician from Egypt around 5-10 CE. And there was another Jesus whom Josephus describes as going around the walls of Jerusalem during the siege, calling out :Woe is to Jerusalem”..and at one particular point he calls “and woe is me”, whereupon a large stone cast from a siege engine comes down on his head and kills him.. This sounds like an “embellishment” and nothing else. Perhaps a repitition of a rumour, but not factual.

    No other Jesuses were mentioned. Although, of course Yehoshue was a common Hebrew name and there must have been thousands of them in the 3 million inhabitants..

    Sorry.

  43. @ Edgar G.:
    Edgar, I notice that every now and then, you post to attack me for no reason. I imagine it’s to get me to notice you. I noticed.

  44. @ Reader:
    Hi, Reader. Thank you for your post.

    1. “Jesus was a Son of God (and God himself – I don’t get it but I am sure you do)”.

    I get the “Son of God” part. Many humans were called “sons of God” in Tanakh. Jesus was more specifically called God’s unique (mistranslated as “only begotten”) son, because of the Messianic prophecy:

    Psalms 2:.
    [7] I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.
    [8] Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.
    [9] Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.

    As for Jesus being both God and God’s son, of course this makes no sense. It can be found in the pagan “mystery” religions, such as those Constantine and his mother were familiar with; but it’s nowhere in the Bible, either OT or NT.

    2. “The whole thing never happened, ”

    That’s neither here nor there.