“The Bible is the most historically accurate document handed down by man.”
“Faith has to he founded upon fact.”
“Christianity is a faith based upon history.”
Spoken in the context of modern times by leading Christian theologians – and belonging to the realm of faith rather than fact – these comments are indicative of the enormous gap that exists between historical truth and what is known as gospel truth.
There is nothing simplistic about history. The deeper we probe into the past, the more difficult it becomes. Much of what we call recorded history consists of opinions or speculations about facts, rather than clearly acceptable facts. In particular, too little is known about the origins of Christianity. To reconstruct the theological development of the major religion of the Western world, the historical scholar must assemble and weigh material from every available source in order to obtain a reasonable idea of what really happened. Only those people who are blinded by faith are able to find easy answers for troublesome questions.
Nevertheless, the origins of Christianity and the development of the Bible are among the most intriguing of studies, by reason of the fact – and it is indeed fact – that the Christian faith is the world’s most pervasive theological aberration. The fateful attempt to integrate two vastly different world views, the Semitic and the European, the Jewish and the Greek – whose institutional waters, regardless of any and all attempts to blend them, are still perfectly recognizable as they flow side by side in the same bed – produced a kingdom of deception, a perverse realm, in which spiritual defamation and falsehood are rules rather than exceptions.
The most obvious and the most culpable attempt to blend the old wine of Judaism with the new wine of Christianity involves the Christianization of the Israelite-conceived Messiah. In order to provide a prophetic warrant for their savior-god, the Christians appropriated the historically-defined Messiah of the Israelites and transformed him into the divine head of a Gentile mystery cult that offered easy salvation to the believer regardless of his station in life.
As originally described by the Israelites, the Old Testament Messiah begins with the seed of Jesse (Isaiah 11:1), the seed of mortal man. He is to descend from Jesse via the lineage of King David, the son of Jesse. He will occupy David’s throne; but he will be a far more significant king. He is not meant to be an angel of Yahweh; nor is he meant to be a son, or a spirit of Yahweh. To the Israelites, there was only ONE Jewish god – one creator, sustainer and supreme governor of the world; one essential, eternal and immutable Being, who made the Jews his only people, the guardians of his truth.
The mission of the Coming One is to restore faith in Israel and to vindicate the racial and religious distinctiveness of Israel; to punish or overthrow the foes of Israel; to save the righteous and punish the wicked among the Jews; and to see that all gentiles – described by the prophet Ezra as “being like unto spittle” – submit to Jewish rule.
Everything written about their Messiah by the Israelites clearly indicates that his existence must be accounted for on natural grounds, without divine intervention.
Everything written about the Christian Messiah clearly conveys that he is both divine and human.
The genealogy of Jesus the Christ is defined by the Logos Christology: Almighty God plants the divine seed in an acceptably pure earthly female. His son, a pre-existent God, is then born – the word made flesh – not of an earthly father, but of an earthly woman only. The virgin birth, the predictions about his coming, and the miracles that he supposedly performed, are all used to prove that he is the image of the invisible God; that he is the result of God reproducing himself; and that he is the ever-living one called JHVH, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
Most significant of all, he is to be a divine sacrifice for the benefit of humanity – a substitutionary atonement, as it were – removing the sins of the world by God’s gift of pain, proving God’s love through suffering.
It should be obvious to any objective observer that the two Messiahs are mutually exclusive – worlds apart. And yet, from the time of Paul – who learned from the Essenes the art of transforming old gospel messages into new gospel “truths” – the Christians, with profound ignorance, or supreme arrogance, have persisted in claiming that the Messianism of the Old Testament is not exclusively Jewish, and that it reaches beyond the Jews and embraces the Christ of the Gentiles. This untenable conclusion is totally contrary to the exclusive notions of Judaism, as any honest scholar must admit.
How has it been possible for the Christians to justify their claims?
Apart from mistakes in translations, that portion of the Christian Bible known as the Old Testament has been corrupted – i.e., Christianized – by means of hyperbolized interpretation and spurious restructuring. Nearly 200 years ago, the “higher critics” (those scholars whose investigations of the origins of the faith were not confined to the Bible) were noting that there was a much greater presentiment of Christianity in the European and English versions of the Bible than in the Greek translations. Obviously, the corrupting process wasn’t a some time thing. It began with Paul; and it increased in scope over hundreds of years to follow.
There are countless examples of Christian-corrupted passages in the Bible; but only a few of them can be cited here.
As used throughout the Old Testament, the words “Lord” and “God” fall far short of representing the true meaning of the sacred name of the one divine Being worshiped by the Israelites. The plural of Eloah is Elohim. Used sparingly in the Jewish Scriptures, Elohim could refer to the gods of the Gentiles, or to biblical heroes and mighty men. The attempts to find the Christian Trinity of Godhead Persons in the word Elohim are pathetically inept.
Since well before the time of Moses, the name used to identify the one God who ruled the Kingdom of Israel was never utilized to describe, or to address, Priest Kings, multiple deities, or savior-god pretenders. The Angel-Jehovah who appears as “God manifested in the flesh,” is a Christian forgery – and a prime example of the kind of informal usage of a sacred name that would have been impossible for the Israelites, who abstained from pronouncing or writing the name Yahweh for fear of its irreverent use. “Jehovah” – invented by, and added to the Old Testament by Christians – was never an acknowledged name for Yahweh. “Yah,” a Kenite tribal god, was adopted by the Israelites before they developed a faith that transcended the ancient limitations of pre-historic religion. Hence, Yahweh.
A statement made to the Israelites by Moses – “God will raise up for you a prophet from your brethren…” – was probably among the first of the Jewish scriptures to be staked out by the New Messianists who were being led by Paul (Saul of Tarsus). Moses was referring to the Messiah of the Israelites who, as a man born of man, would logically be one of the “brethren” of patriarchal Israel. But no, admonished the Christians. The passage predicted the coming of the Christian Messiah – the one Messiah who was to rule over both Jews [and Gentiles.]
One surviving rendition of The Septuagint, 72 versions of the Jewish Scriptures written by Greek-speaking rabbis in the 3rd century B.C., appeared “around the beginning of the Christian era,” according to some scholars. It is more likely that it was discovered by Paul and his Hellenized Jewish compatriots who recognized it as a prime source of material for their version of the Bible. By the time Christianity became a state-sanctioned religion in the 5th century, the Church had adopted the Septuagint as its own – with, by that time, all of the available copies having been corrupted. In particular, the word “virgin” had been substituted for the words “young woman” in a passage in Isaiah 7:14. That practice angered the Judeans. Their sacred writings were being violated by heathen Jews and Gentiles who were “whoring” after a new Messiah. As early as the 2nd century, the Jews were regularly protesting to Greek Christians about the falsified passages of their Scriptures; and by the 4th century, even St. Jerome candidly admitted that the complaints about that monument to Christian presumptuousness, the substitution of the word Bethulah (virgin) for Almah (young woman) were well-founded.
Christian overbearance is particularly in evidence in the manner in which the Scriptures of the Israelites were construed in order to make Jewish perceptions fit Christian emotions. In the Christianized version of the Old Testament, Yahweh appears to be referring to the Davidic Messiah – the “rod” of David’s “strength” – as “my Lord” (Psalm 110:1-2). This passage was altered for the purpose of giving credence to the claim that the Messiah could not be merely human. Because the Davidic Messiah was to be greater than King David of Israel, he could not be merely human. Because the great King was to rule over all other kings and nations (Psalm 72:11), and rule forever (Psalm 72:17), he could not be merely human. Because Daniel dreams of a “son of man” coming with the clouds of heaven – “a divinely invested bearer of the Kingdom that descends from above” – that “son of man” could not be merely human.
First, Daniel dreams his visions in the material provided by mythology and allegory. Awaiting the Coming One with both anxiety and impatience, he eventually sees his hero emerging from heaven in his dreams. There is nothing unusual about that. People often dream of their heroes in larger-than-life scenarios. Second, there is nothing out of theological proportion about Israel worshiping a man born of man who is the spirit-guided “servant” of Yahweh. Isaiah 11:2 describes that spirit as “resting upon” the Jewish Messiah, along with the spirit of wisdom and understanding, of counsel and might, of knowledge, and of the fear of Yahweh – every necessary quality, it would appear, to enable him to accomplish his mission. As a son of Adam, the Davidic Messiah would be a “son of man” with his lineage descending all the way from Adam to David, and beyond. To the Israelites, the term “son” implied only descent or succession. Since Adam was the “Man” created by Yahweh to be the pattern and source of the human race, “son of man” could always be used to refer to any son of Adam. Once again, it should be obvious to the objective scholar that the description has no connection with the supernatural Christian Messiah.
One of the more adverse Christian deceptions can be found in II Samuel 7:13-14: The Holy One informs David that the Messiah will follow in the line of his (David’s) seed and that he, Yahweh, will be the father of the Coming One. No Israelite could have written that passage. Only in the Gentile mystery cults was it believed that the second God was the son of the Great God. With the assimilation of a Jewish rabbi to the savior-gods of Asia, the New Messianism of Paul and his disciples evolved into a Gentile religion.
A further attempt to match up the two Messiahs is found in an obviously counterfeited chapter (53) of Isaiah. The Coming One is described as being “wounded” and “bruised” for the transgressions of Israel. By having to share “his grave” with the wicked and “his death” with the rich, he is condemned to the totally degrading immolation of a Gentile savior-god; and thus the soul of the just is sacrificed for the unjust – a religious ritual alien to Jewish thinking, but common among Gentiles.
Within the pagan religions of the Hellenistic Orient, it was commonplace for the savior-gods to be mocked and scourged. A crown of thorns was placed upon the brow of Mithra to symbolize his degradation and suffering. Krishna became a deity in human form via a virgin birth. He descended into Hell; he was crucified; the sun darkened at his death; and he arose from the grave. The worshipers of Mithra and Osiris created a mystic union with their deities by consuming the divine flesh and blood at “Last Supper” ceremonies. The Christian Eucharist has exactly the same significance. And so on…
Christian claims to the effect that the Davidic Messiah could be abused, degraded – and even be reduced to a bloodstained sacrifice for the sins of Israel – are absurd beyond the meaning of language to properly describe them. Who on earth would be powerful enough to “bruise” and “degrade” a Messiah with the spirit of Yahweh upon him? And why should he be degraded? That would interfere with his mission. And why should he have to die? To complete his mission, he would have to return. And why should he be a scapegoat for the sins of others? His mission was to punish the bad, for whom there would be no salvation, and to reward those who deserved salvation. And when was he supposed to rule for 1000 years or more if first he had to die? And how could he be the “Servant of Kings” when he was to be, first and foremost, the far more significant “Servant of Yahweh”? In Isaiah 42:1, Yahweh speaks of the Davidic Messiah as follows: “Behold my servant.. I have put my spirit upon him…”
Within the Christian religion, however, a deified Messiah was abused, degraded, and murdered. After resurrection from the grave and ascension to Heaven, he was supposed to return as soon as possible. Since he did not immediately return – as was promised – the entire Christian faith was suddenly taken hostage by that promise. Ergo, Jewish Holy Writ had to be theologically Christianized for the purpose of providing a foundation in the obvious for the death, resurrection, and promised return of the new savior-god.
Imagine telling the Jewish people that the very words they used to describe their god, their Messiah, and their faith, could not be taken seriously until they were first cleansed of obfuscation by exegetical Christians!
What can be said about this incredible record of duplicity? What are we to think of an end that has been achieved by such unholy means?
Tragically, the Christians are guilty of committing the moral crime of corrupting the sacred writings of another people. They have committed an even greater moral crime by contributing to the corrupting of the minds of all those people over the centuries who have been taught to believe that the Old Testament provides logical and unquestionable prophecies proving that Jesus of Nazareth is the one true biblical Messiah. This is a record that even Satan could be proud of.
Saul of Tarsus, who took the Gentile name of Paul, was a knowledgeable, Hellenized Jew. He was intimately acquainted with Judaism. He was familiar with the rites of Mithra and Dionysus as they were performed in Tarsus. He was a Greek by training and taste. He was aware of the fact that there was no place within most of the religions of the time for the large number of people who composed the lower classes. Among the Judeans, for instance, only the ritual-intensive aristocrats had holiness. Out of this broad knowledge of that chaotic world came the desire to found a new and more universal religion, in which Jewish ideas would be fused with Greek speculation. By mixing the oil of Oriental Semitism with the waters of Western individualism, he hoped to bring primitive Israel into the limelight of the imposing civilizations of Greece and Rome.
As a result of the New Messianism begun by Paul, John the Baptist and other Hellenized Jews, and amplified by Augustine in league with a coterie of devout Platonists, a blend of Jewish apocalypticism and neo-Platonism spread to the Gentile world, took hold, and produced an anti-mind, anti-body nightmare known as the Middle Ages, that lasted for 1100 years. But Western man is basically Aristotelian rather than Platonist; and when mysticism as a philosophical force failed to survive the Middle Ages, he cast off his chains and began to think, plan, and create, in an explosion of innovation and productivity that brought us into the 20th Century with the highest living standards and the greatest scientific achievements ever known.
Today, Christianity is a disintegrating religion. Over the centuries, the faith has divided into an enormous number of diverse sects and fanatical cults; and the strong winds of mutation are now indicating that more may change within the next 100 years than in the past 1000. Sadly, millions of good, decent people still believe in the primitive superstitions of the Christian faith – all of which should be purged from the creed if it is ever to be allowed to ascend to a plane of metaphysical speculation worthy of thinking human beings. Jesus could be – and should be – perceived as an ethical prophet, a moral deliverer, like Buddha, Confucius and Muhammed, rather than as one of God’s relatives who must have been unemployed until he accepted a position as the sacrificial goat for all humanity.
Martin Luther once observed that anyone who wanted to become a Christian “should tear the eyes out of his reason.” Even Luther was able to recognize the fact that reality pills will not dissolve in holy water.
SOURCE: The Liberty Bell, February 1989