25
Jun
07

THE CRUCIFIXION/RESURRECTION OF JESUS

Opponents of Christianity whether people of different religious faiths or simply atheists who try to deny Isaiah 53 (an Old Testament Book) as prophesizing the crucifixion of Jesus always seem to come up short. Christians always seem to have the upper hand, no matter what the alternative explanation for Isaiah 53. With the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls containing all of Isaiah 53 and dating centuries before Jesus, Christians feel as though they have unquestionable proof for their religion.

 

BUT IS IT REALLY TRUE ?

 

Is the crucifixion and resurrection undeniable history as modern day evangelists claim or was this an idea that only Paul seemed to have knowledge of? Could it be that there was no crucifixion/resurrection of Jesus? Rather, could it be that Paul was simply inventing a story in such a way as to appear to fulfill Old Testament writings? The following analysis not only proposes the possibility of such an alternative but provides overwhelming evidence that this is just what occurred. The entire crucifixion/resurrection of Jesus was nothing more than Paul’s prophesies.

 Paul tells us that:

             I Corinthians 15:3-4

Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.

Paul finds the crucifixion of Jesus in Isaiah 53 and his resurrection on the third day in Jonah 1:17, Hosea 6:2, and II Kings 20:5. Paul then tells his audience that he did not receive it from any man nor was taught it, rather he got it from Jesus (Gal 1:11-12). Another words, Paul essentially tells us that you will not find this story anywhere else because it is not being taught in schools nor do any other men know of it. Furthermore, upon careful investigation, we can see that the crucifixion/resurrection was a theme only knowledgeable to Paul and to which latter tradition developed into the four gospels, each being very different storiesChrist died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures. Paul clearly tells us that it was not common knowledge of his time but rather that God gave it to him. of what they thought Paul probably meant. But where did Paul receive the idea that

             Galatians 1:11-12,20

I want you to know, brothers, that the gospel I preached is not something that man made up. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it:rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.20 I assure you before God that what I am writing you is no lie.

 Just how did Paul receive this revelation from Jesus Christ? Actually, while his name was still Saul and during his persecution of “Christians” whatever their beliefs may have been, Paul became transformed called, he believed to carry the news of Jesus to the Gentiles (Acts 9). He began to travel and proclaim Jesus.  It must be remembered that Paul never knew Jesus nor ever met him since Paul came from a Greek city (Acts 22:3). Jesus and Paul never met once while Jesus was still on earth. The book of Acts, which was written decades after Paul’s life, gives the following account of Paul’s conversion. The author of Acts cleverly inserts verse 15 in an effort to help explain just who Paul is; moreover, Paul never tells us in his 10 letters contained in the New Testament that this is how he discovered Jesus. The book of Acts has largely been acknowledged by scholars to be a much embellished fictional work, nevertheless this is the account of how Paul discovered the Lord!

 Acts 9:1-20

    “1Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest 2and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. 3As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. 4He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” 5″Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked. 6″I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” 7The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone. 8Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus. 9For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything. 10In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, “Ananias!” “Yes, Lord,” he answered. 11The Lord told him, “Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying. 12In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight.” 13″Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your saints in Jerusalem. 14And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.” 15But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel. 16I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.” 17Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord–Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here–has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, 19and after taking some food, he regained his strength. 20Saul spent several days with the disciples in Damascus. At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God.”

 

PAUL’S VERSION OF “CHRISTIANITY” VS THE OTHER “CHRISTIANITY”

The following verses clearly illustrate that Paul’s version of “Christianity” was not the dominating version of “Christianity” and that there were other versions of what “Christianity” was. In fact, the following accounts given by Paul himself clearly prove this. The book of Galatians is probably the earliest writing (50 ce) that we have concerning Christianity and a great source for insight as to what was happening twenty years after Jesus left earth in (30 ce).

 

Galatians 1:6-7

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and turning to a different gospel-which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ.?

Galatians 4:10-11

You are observing special days and months and seasons and years! I fear for you, that somehow I have wasted my efforts on you.

Galatians 4:17

Those people are zealous to win you over but for no good.

Galatians 2:11

When Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he was clearly in the wrong.

Galatians 5:10

I am confident in the Lord that you will take no other view. The one who is throwing you into confusion will pay the penalty, whoever he may be.

1 Thessalonians 2:2

We had previously suffered and been insulted in Philippi, as you know, but with the help of our God we dared to tell you his gospel in spite of strong opposition.

Romans 16:17

I urge you, brothers to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned.

1 Corinthians 1:10-12

I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought. What I mean is this: One of you says, I follow Paul; another, I follow Apollos; another, I follow Cephas; still another, I follow Christ.

1 Corinthians 3:4

For when one says, I follow Paul, and another, I follow Apollos, are you not mere men?

1 Corinthians 11:18

In the first place, I hear that when you come together as a church, there are divisions among you, and to some extent I believe it.

2 Corinthians 11:4-5

For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough. But I do not think I am in the least inferior to those super-apostles.

2 Corinthians 11:12-13

And I will keep on doing what I am doing in order to cut the ground from under those who want an opportunity to be considered equal with us in the things they boast about. For such mean are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ.

Philippians 4:2
I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to agree with each other in the Lord.

Colossians 2:8

See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy.

 

The point is that Paul’s version of “Christianity” which taught a death and resurrection of Jesus according to the scriptures may not have been historical facts as modern day evangelists claim. The above verses prove that there were other faiths that Paul competed with. As to what these different gospels are, the early Christian record does not say. The point is that the Pauline version of Christianity encompassing a  death and resurrection of Jesus according to the scriptures may not be an historical fact as some claim but nothing more than Paul’s invention. Were there other “Christians” that had no idea of a crucifixion during Paul’s time? The answer may be located in Galatians 3:1 where Paul rebukes the Galatians for what appears to be a variety of deviations given in the form of a list; the first of which is not believing in Jesus’ crucifixion as well as obeying the Jewish law. The following verse is extremely important because it possibly suggests that one of the areas where the Galatians did not agree with or doubted Paul was on the crucifixion as well as on keeping the Jewish law.

 Galatians 3:1-2

You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard?

What in the world does this mean? This above verse is often overlooked; however, upon careful scrutiny one has to wonder what Paul really means here. Paul responds that before your very eyes Jesus was “portrayed” as crucified.  This suggests that most likely Paul was the source of the idea of a crucifixion. Why does not Paul say, You all know or remember how Jesus was crucified? The way the sentence is written it does not give the sense that Paul has an absolute sureness to Jesus’ crucifixion.  Moreover, the following statements by Paul also seem to indicate that the crucifixion/resurrection of Jesus was something only known to Paul and not common knowledge to the general public.

 

1 Corinthians 1:22-23

Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles

1 Corinthians 2:1-2

When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.

1 Thessalonians 4:14

We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.

1 Corinthians 15:12

But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?

 

PAUL CONSTANTLY CLAIMED THAT ONLY HE KNEW OF THE CRUCIFIXION/RESURRECTION

 

Ephesians 3:1-13

For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles– 2Surely you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you, 3that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly. 4In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, 5which was not made known to men in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets. 6This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus. 7I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of his power. 8Although I am less than the least of all God’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, 9and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. 10His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, 11according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. 12In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. 13I ask you, therefore, not to be discouraged because of my sufferings for you, which are your glory.

 Galatians 1:11-12,20

I want you to know, brothers, that the gospel I preached is not something that man made up. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught  it:rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ .20 I assure you before God that what I am writing you is no lie.

 I Corinthians 15:1-4

Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also.

2 Corinthians 10:15-16

Our hope is that, as your faith continues to grow, our area of activity among you will greatly expand, so that we can preach the gospel in the regions beyond you.

Colossians 1:6-7

All over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing, just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and understood God’s grace in all its truth. You learned it from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ on our behalf, and who also told us of your love in the Spirit.

Colossians 1:25-26

I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the saints.

Colossians 4:3-4

And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should.

 

SOURCES FOR PAUL’S BELIEF IN A CRUCIFIXION AND RESURRECTION

 

From Robert M. Price: Resurrection (1987)

“In early Judaism, from about 200 B.C. to 100 A.D., we find both that the resurrection doctrine has become widely (though by no means universally) held, and that there are many different versions of it. Texts vary over just who will rise, whether only the righteous, some or all of them, both the righteous and the wicked, etc. Will this rising be spiritual, or physical with the return of the very body that died, or rather transformation into a glorious angelic form, or first the mortal body which subsequently puts on immortality? And contra the oft-heard generalization, some Jews must even have entertained the notion of possible resurrections before the eschatological judgment, since John the Baptist was widely believed to have risen from the dead as a supernatural being with new miraculous powers (Mark 6:14), a belief which perhaps accounts for the tenacious belief in John’s Messiahship which lasted into at least the fourth century.

The earliest attested form of the belief in Jesus’ resurrection occurs in 1 Corinthians 15, where Paul compares the general resurrection to that of Jesus and thus implies his conception of the latter. The risen Jesus “became a … Spirit” (v. 45). His was a spiritual, not a natural body (v. 44) and did not have flesh, since such is entirely unsuited to immortality (v. 50). The often overlooked passage 1 Peter 3:18 may assume the same understanding since it contrasts Jesus’ death “in the body” with his resurrection “in the spirit.” The four gospels are later works, and their very different, materialistic idea of Jesus’ resurrection may be later as well.”

The important point is that  “The earliest attested form of the belief in Jesus’ resurrection occurs in 1 Corinthians 15” a document written by Paul. The resurrection also was not unique to only Jesus but other clearly fictional examples of it occur as well i.e. (Mark 6:14 & Matthew 27:51-53).  Likewise, the earliest attested form of belief in the “Crucifixion” of Jesus is also by Paul  (Galatians 3:1). Hence, with no external evidence to the crucifixion/resurrection of Jesus, the possibility is very high that it never occurred. Given the evolution in the resurrection accounts in the New Testament, from Paul’s basic and relatively unadorned description of appearances (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) to the glorious miraculous happenings and multiple resurrections of the later gospels, it should be clear that this was not a static belief. If Matthew’s account of the dead rising from their graves and appearing to many was true (Matthew 27:51-53), then such a remarkable event would have been reported by historians such as Josephus who avidly recounted the exploits of the supposed miracle workers of those times. Josephus’ father would have been a priest in Jerusalem at the time of the alleged “crucifixion” (The Life of Flavius Josephus, 2:7), and yet Josephus mentions nothing about a midday darkness that was followed by an earthquake and a mass resurrection from the dead. It really should be quite clear even from this one example that the resurrection accounts contain much made up or embellished material.

 

WHAT REALLY HAPPENED TO JESUS FROM A MUSLIM PERSPECTIVE?

Quran 4:157
“And their SAYING: Surely we have killed the Messiah, Isa son of Marium, the apostle of Allah; and they did not kill him nor did they crucify him, but it was made to appear to them so and most surely those who DIFFER therein are only in a DOUBT about it; they have NO KNOWLEDGE RESPECTING IT, but only follow a CONJECTURE, and they killed him not for sure.” M.H. Shakir, Yusaf Ali

This verse has been the source of many interpretations; the question is whether or not it is compatible with the theory outlined above, that the crucifixion/resurrection of Jesus was only known to Paul. In order to answer this question we need to know who in the above verse boasted, “we have killed Jesus.”sole source of the idea of a crucifixion. If it is people in latter times then Paul could very well be the sole source for the crucifixion story.  If one were to accept Paul’s confession in Galatians 1:11 as true “that the gospel he preached is not something that he received from any man nor was taught it but got it from Jesus,” then Paul probably is the sole source of the crucifixion idea. What is important is that either way the Quran is compatible with the theory that the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus never really happened. If Paul is the source of the crucifixion story then he would be the person who “made it appear” through his preaching and therefore would be the one guilty of “no knowledge” as to what really happened to Jesus. If the idea originated earlier than Paul’s time then those who boasted “we have killed Jesus” would be the ones guilty of “no knowledge” as to what really happened to Jesus and Paul would be merely passing on the  “conjecture” of a crucifixion which he heard from other sources. Even if that were the unlikely case (see verse 153 of the same Surah which seems to suggest that it was Jews in Muhammad’s time who made this statement), Paul still should be given credit for the development of the crucifixion/resurrection of Jesus since he is the author of nearly half of the New Testament books. The important point is that either way the Quran tells us that those who contend that Jesus was crucified have absolutely  “no knowledge respecting it,” that they “differ therein,” and that they “follow conjecture.” Hence, whoever the author is of the resurrection/crucifixion story, whether it is Paul or someone earlier, the Quran tells us that they have “no knowledge respecting it” and are flat out wrong. Thus, when stories are written to fit Old Testament writings they should be categorically rejected. Was it people in Jesus’ time or was it people in subsequent times such as Jews living in Paul’s time or Muhammad’s time? If the answer is that it is people living in Jesus’ time then Paul would not have been the

DOES THE HISTORICAL RECORD PROVIDE “UNDENIABLE HISTORY” THAT A MAN NAMED JESUS EXISTED AND WAS CRUCIFIED?

Does the historical record confirm that a man named Jesus existed and was crucified? The answer is no. In fact atheists have an easy time even arguing that Jesus never existed.  What modern scholars say: the renowned internationally recognized scholar Robert M Grant writes in his book, “A Historical Introduction To The New Testament”

Pg 290 Chapter 19

Jesus in Non-Christian Writings

Because the Christian movement arose within the Roman Empire and spread throughout it, from east to west, we should expect to find some notice taken of it by Greek and Roman writers. They ought to say something about Jesus and his influence. Such an expectation is clearly fulfilled only by four writers of the late first century and the early second; by the time of the anti-Christian writer Celsus (c. 178), nothing authentic about Jesus is preserved in non-Christian sources.

The four writers we have in mind are 1) the Hellenistic Jewish general and historian Josephus and the Roman officials 2) C. Plinius Secundus (Pliny the Younger), 3) A. Cornelius Tacitus and 4) C. Tranquillus Suetonius. In dealing with each bit of information we must be just as critical as we should like to be in considering Christian statements. Each of these authors has his own axe or axes to grind; his attitude is not necessarily “objective” simply because he is not a Christian.

The words of Josephus are especially questionable, since we know that he was militantly opposed to apocalyptic movements which in his view had led to the disastrous war with Rome (66 -70); he himself became a devoted supporter of Rome and his work was subsidized by successive emperors. He included three passages bearing on Christian origins in his Antiquities, published about the year 93 (significantly, none of them is to be found in parallel passages in his earlier War; presumably Christians had become more important in the interval). These three passages deal with (1) John the Baptist, (2) James the brother of Jesus, and (3) Jesus himself.

The passage about John the Baptist (18, 116-19) depicts him as a “teacher of righteousness” and makes no reference to his eschatological views. His baptism is portrayed as absolutely non-sacramental. The passage about James (20, 197-203) describes his judicial murder by the high priest Ananas in AD. 62 and refers to him as the brother of Jesus, the so-called Christ. From this passage two inferences can be drawn. (1) James was an important figure in Jerusalem up to the year 62; this confirms the impression we gain from Acts and from the second-century Christian writer Hegesippus. (2) Josephus probably — indeed, almost certainly — had already given some account of the Jesus to whom he referred in this brief notice, though his account was undoubtedly unfavorable.

If we turn to what he does say about Jesus, it is not what we should expect. The passage (18, 63-4) reads as follows:

At this time lived Jesus, a wise man (if it is right to call him a man), for he was a worker of miracles and a teacher of men who receive the truth with pleasure; as followers he gained many Jews and many of the Hellenic race. He was the Christ, and when by the accusation of the chief men among us Pilate condemned him to the cross, those who at first had loved him did not cease from doing so; for he appeared to them, alive again, on the third day, since the divine prophets had foretold this as well as countless other marvellous matters about him. Up to the present day the tribe of Christians, named after him, has not disappeared.

In this form the description cannot come from Josephus. (1) It is purely Christian in outlook; indeed, only a Christian can have written it. (2) Origen, writing about 250, refers several times to Josephus’s testimony to Jesus as contained in the passage about James; he makes no mention of the fuller account. Since he had read all the later books of the Antiquities, which he regarded as an excellent historical source, this passage cannot have been contained in them — or, if it was, Origen regarded the passage as suspect and therefore refrained from mentioning it.

Various attempts have been made to improve the text by leaving out a few words here and there and by reading he was not the Christ; but it is highly unlikely that any authentic original version can be recovered. We simply do not know the method which the forger used. All we know is what Origen knew: Josephus said something about Jesus and spoke of him as the “so-called Christ”.

Three other testimonies come from a group of Roman officials hostile to Christianity and other non-Roman religions, which they regarded as expressions of fanaticism or, as they called them, superstition. Pliny was legate to Bithynia and Pontus and wrote to the emperor Trajan in January 112; Tacitus, once proconsul of Asia (where Christians were fairly numerous), wrote his Annals in 112-13; and Suetonius, formerly an imperial secretary, published his gossipy Lives of the Caesars about 121.

Pliny tells us a good deal about Christians, little about Jesus. (1) The Christians, he says, were accustomed to sing a hymn “to Christ as to a god”. This sentence shows that Pliny knew, or believed, that Christ should be regarded not as a god but as a man, one who had actually lived and died as a human being.

(2) Renegade Christians were willing to curse Christ; true Christians could not be compelled to do so. Pliny was thus aware of the intensity of Christian devotion to the (human) leader. But his statement (Ep. 10, 96) provides no direct data about Jesus himself.

Tacitus describes a great fire at Rome under Nero in the summer of 64, and he mentions the Christians whom the emperor used as scapegoats. As is his custom, he gives a brief summary of background material to explain who the Christians were. We do not know where he got his information. If it comes from police reports, these in turn were probably based on the interrogation of Christians (Ann. 15, 44).

The founder of this sect, Christus, was given the death penalty in the reign of Tiberius by the procurator Pontius Pilate; suppressed for the moment, the detestable superstition broke out again, not only in Judaea where the evil originated, but also in the city [of Rome] to which everything horrible and shameful flows and where it grows.

Again, we learn something about Christianity. Momentarily suppressed at Christ’s”rose again” in Judaea and spread to Rome (compare the account in Acts). Of Christ himself we learn only that he founded the sect and was executed under Pontius Pilate. This hardly adds much to what the New Testament says; and if Tacitus’ ultimate source is Christian, it adds nothing. crucifixion, it

Finally, Suetonius mentions the fire at Rome in connection with Christians (Nero, 16) and also says that in the reign of Claudius the emperor expelled from Rome the Jews who were constantly rioting at the instigation of Chrestus (impulsore Chresto) (Claudius, 25). Since Claudius was emperor from 41 to 54, something is obviously wrong with this statement, even though one later Christian writer (Irenaeus) thought that Jesus was crucified during his reign. Probably it is a garbled version of a story about messianic riots in Rome, riots which could have resulted in the expulsion of such Christian Jews as Aquila and Priscilla (Acts 18:2). The passage shows that the name “Chrestus” (= Christus) was known at Rome during the reign of Claudius. Once more, nothing is added to what we could have inferred from the New Testament.

Our four Graeco-Roman sources, then, contribute nothing to our understanding of the life of Jesus. The Christian interpolator of Josephus undoubtedly thought that he was helping history to confirm faith. All he succeeded in doing was to remove any independent value from the testimony of Josephus.

One might hope for some evidence from rabbinical Jewish sources, but the stories the rabbis tell are late in date and reflect no more than the attitude of the synagogue towards an early heretic.

We are left, then, with Christian testimony. If we wish to recover early non-Christian attitudes towards Jesus we can rely only on what Christian sources are willing to tell us about them. To be sure, we can find that they give us a considerable amount of information. Jesus was frequently accused of violating the Jewish law in regard to Sabbath observances and ritual purity. He was thought to claim divine prerogatives, such as forgiving sins, for himself. His driving out demons was sometimes ascribed to Beelzebul, the prince of demons. The expression “son of Mary” used of him may perhaps reflect a suggestion (developed in later criticisms) that he was illegitimate. According to Luke, he was accused of leading a revolutionary movement, of forbidding the payment of taxes to the Romans, and of calling himself an anointed king. It is true that in part Christian writers report these accusations in order to contrast them with the true understanding which they themselves possess. But the accusations fit the first century situation so well that we need not suppose that they were invented. Indeed, if we possessed a report from Pontius Pilate the “facts” in it could hardly be very different from what the gospels tell us.

Within the Christian testimony, then, we find non-Christian elements. These elements are retained in support of Christian faith in Jesus; but the kind of faith they support is not something unrelated to events. The apostles and the evangelists are giving testimony to events in which, they believe, the work of God was made manifest — though not to all. Because historically the revelation was not received by all, the evangelists are free enough, and honest enough, to record the varying responses which were made to it. These responses, negative as well as positive, were included in the gospel story as they told it.

The above explanation by Robert Grant proves that there is no external evidence to a crucifixion/resurrection of Jesus, and that contrary to the evangelists claim that Jesus’ crucifixion is “undeniable history,” the claim is simply unsupported by the historical record.  Moreover, even the few references to Jesus listed above do not predate Paul’s letters, and as such may be from Christian sources anyway. Hence, Christianity starts with Paul’s ten letters contained in the New Testament. Thus, when Paul says:

Galatians 1:11-12,20

I want you to know, brothers, that the gospel I preached is not something that man made up. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it:rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ .20 I assure you before God that what I am writing you is no lie.

he is telling the truth and that is that no one else knows of a crucifixion/resurrection except for Paul. Hence, either we believe that the former “Christian” persecutor (Galatians 1:13, 1 Corinthians 15:9, Philippians 3:6, Acts 7:58, Acts 9:1-2) is truly God’s apostle to mankind (Romans 1:1, Galatians 1:1, 1 Corinthians 1:1) or that his gospel of a crucifixion/resurrection is false. I happen to believe in the latter; the argument from silence is too incriminating a case for “Christianity” to escape from.

 

THE ARGUMENT FROM SILENCE

The argument from silence is that there are no writings on “Christianity” that have come from the year Jesus left earth in 30 ce to the year 50 ce when Paul began “prophesying” his gospel; there are simply no writings that tell of a crucifixion/resurrection as contained in Paul’s gospel. How could this be? What happened to all those “churches of Judea that were in Christ” (Galatians 1:22) that said, “The man who formerly persecuted us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy” (Galatians 1:23). How come none of these churches possessed any scripture or writings about the “faith” that Paul says is his? Why does not Paul quote from their writings? How come not one writing has ever survived from these “churches of Christ” which would have been preaching a crucifixion/resurrection for nearly 20 years until Paul started writing in 50ce? The answer is simple, there never were any “churches of Christ” that preached a Crucifixion/Resurrection. Paul is simply using this as a sales tool to purport that there were others that had similar beliefs as his and that as such his prospective audience should jump on board. However, anyone who reads Paul’s ten letters contained in the New Testament can see that he was the sole inventor of his gospel. As Paul himself tells us.

 

Galatians 1:11-12,20

I want you to know, brothers, that the gospel I preached is not something that man made up. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it:rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.20 I assure you before God that what I am writing you is no lie.

PAUL ADMITS THE UNIQUENESS OF HIS GOSPEL

 

Romans 2:16

This will take place on the day when God will judge men’s secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.

Romans 11:13-14

I am talking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I make much of my ministry in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people to envy and save some of them.

1 Corinthians 1:17

For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel.

Romans 16:25-26

Now to him who is able to establish you by my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past, but now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God.? (i.e. Paul admits he learned of the crucifixion/resurrection through prophesizing scripture not on actual historical events.)

1 Corinthians 7:17

This is the rule I lay down in all the churches.

2 Corinthians 1:19

For the son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by me and Silas and Timothy.

 2 Corinthians 10:9-10

I do not want to seem to be trying to frighten you with my letters. For some say, His letters are weighty and forceful, but in person he is unimpressive and his speaking amounts to nothing.

 2 Corinthians 13:2-3

On my return I will not spare those who sinned earlier or any of the others, since you are demanding proof that Christ is speaking through me.

 Colossians 2:2-4

My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments.

 

WHAT OTHER MODERN SCHOLARS HAVE TO SAY ABOUT ISAIAH 53

 “Challenging The Verdict” by Earl Doherty

Chapter 10 pg 135-136

Paul was no doubt referring to Isaiah 53 when he declared in 1 Corinthians 15:3 that his gospel that Jesus “died for our sins” was according to the scriptures, meaning that it was the scriptures which revealed this to him. Paul, I have suggested, was speaking of a spiritual Christ who died in the supernatural world, similar to the myths of the pagan savior gods. When the Gospels came along, they created a Jesus of Nazareth who was the Son of God dying on earth, a tale put together out of scriptural passages like Isaiah 53.

            It was also, by the way, a story which in its overall form was a retelling of a traditional allegory found throughout centuries of Jewish literature, called by modern scholars The Suffering and Vindication of the Innocent Righteous One. That tale symbolized the Jews themselves, suffering under foreign yokes, with their true God rejected by the nations. Its literary features have also been worked by Mark into his Passion account.

            Could Isaiah 53 be a prophecy of Jesus? Or are its similarities to Jesus the result of the literary creativity of the first evangelist, who drew on so much in this Suffering Servant Song? As far as critical scholars are concerned, the passage refers to a figure who lived at the time of the Babylonian Exile in the 6th century BCE. Chapters 40-55 are regarded as from the hand of a writer who lived a couple of centuries after the original prophet known as Isaiah, and so he is referred to as “Second Isaiah.”

            This “Song” may be about this later prophet, who was persecuted by the authorities of his time, one who suffered, perhaps to death itself, though this is not clear. His followers seem to have regarded his persecution as diverting attention from themselves, thereby saving others from their own persecution. Or perhaps it is rescued Israel itself (that is, emerging after the Exile) that is symbolically speaking. It attributes its salvation to the prophet, or to those of their number who had submitted to the Exile and its sufferings. The “sins of the many” would be the perceived offenses against God which had led to the disaster of the Exile. Out of such humble roots do great religious concepts grow.

            In its original Jewish context, such vicarious suffering as was envisioned, for the Servant, and the consequent benefit it bestowed on “the many” —if that was how they regarded it —was hardly universal in its scope. One thing which modern critical scholars have come to reject is any idea in Jewish thought that Israel was suffering for the nations, to provide an example or benefit that would win over the gentile to the true God. This theological fiction was a product of Christianity, anxious to read into the word of God in the Old Testament a prefiguration of the idea contained in Christian soteriology, that Jesus was suffering to atone for the sins of the world. Rather, the Day of the Lord mythology entailed the idea that retribution would come upon the nations who had trod Israel down and refused to acknowledge her God and his suzerainty. All messianic and apocalyptic expectation found in later Jewish literature is a development of this theme.

 

This analysis helps explain such statements by Paul such as “the mystery of Jesus is now revealed.” Obviously, Paul thought long and hard about how to create his gospel, and there can be no doubt that he based it on the tale of “The Suffering and Vindication of the Innocent Righteous One” as stated above.

             Ephesians 3:1-13

For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles– 2Surely you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you, 3that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly. 4In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, 5which was not made known to men in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets. 6This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus. 7I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of his power. 8Although I am less than the least of all God’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, 9and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. 10His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, 11according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. 12In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. 13I ask you, therefore, not to be discouraged because of my sufferings for you, which are your glory.

          Colossians 1:25-26

I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the saints.

          Colossians 4:3-4

And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should.

            Romans 16:25-26

Now to him who is able to establish you by my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past, but now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God. (i.e. Paul admits he learned of the crucifixion/resurrection through prophesizing scripture not on actual historical events.)

Colossians 2:2-4

My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments.

 

CONCLUSION

Paul finds the crucifixion of Jesus in Isaiah 53 and his resurrection on the third day in Jonah 1:17, Hosea 6:2 and II Kings 20:5. Paul then tells his audience that he “did not receive it from any man nor was taught it,” rather he got it from Jesus (Gal 1:11-12). However, the truth will always be there; Paul did not get it from Jesus, he simply got it from his own imagination during his attempt to “prophesy.”

 PAUL CONSTANTLY ADVISED OTHERS TO USE THEIR IMAGINATION AND PROPHESIZE

 

1 Corinthians 12:7-10

Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues.

 1 Corinthians 12:28

And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues.

1 Corinthians 14:1,5

Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy. I would like every one of you to speak in tongues but I would rather have you prophesy.

Romans 12:6

We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith.

1 Corinthians 14:29-31,37,39

Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said. And if revelation comes to someone who is sitting down, the first speaker should stop. For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged?  37  If anybody thinks he is a prophet or spiritually gifted, let him acknowledge that what I am writing to you is the Lord’s command.  39 Therefore, my brothers, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.sic.sic

2 Corinthians 12:1-5

I must go on boasting. Although there is nothing to be gained, I will go on to visions and revelations from the Lord. I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know God knows. And I know that this man whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows was caught up to paradise. He heard inexpressible things, things that man is not permitted to tell. I will boast about a man like that, but I will not boast about myself.    (i.e. Paul says he was in heaven maybe this is where he thought about a crucifixion/resurrection story)

1 Thessalonians 4:16-17

For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.

2 Thessalonians 1:7-9

This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. 8He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power

2 Corinthians 12:11-12

I have made a fool of myself, but you drove me to it. I ought to have been commended by you, for I am not in the least inferior to the “super-apostles,” even though I am nothing. The things that mark an apostle, signs, wonders and miracles were done among you with great perseverance.

Ephesians 4:11-12

It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.

Ephesians 6:19-20

Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.

 

Reference:

(1)     “Challenging the Verdict” -by Earl Doherty -Age of Reason Publications 2001

(2)     “The Jesus Puzzle: Did Christianity begin with a Mythical Christ” -by Earl Doherty -Canadian Humanist Publications 1999

(3)    ” New Testament Story”- by David L. Barr -Wadsworth Publishing Company 1987

(4)    ” The Gospels Their Origin and Growth”- by Frederick C. Grant -Harper & Brothers 1957

(5)      “The Bible in The Church” by Robert M. Grant -The Macmillan Company 1954

(6)    Criticism of The Resurrection  -online site

(7)    “A Historical Introduction To The New Testament”- by Robert M Grant  – Simon and Schuster 1972


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