vincelife share'd >http://www.network54.com/Forum/411478/
Some Ponderings on Jesus
March 18 2009 at 12:21 AM
Vince (Login MoxiFox)
(Copied over from Crossroads of Faith)
I'm continually troubled
One!life > Ponder: truth!
 When Jesus had thus said,
he was troubled in spirit,
and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you,
that one of you shall betray me.
One!life > Ponder: Are you not life, knowing you are life!
Now read it this way, vincelife:
When life (John 14:6 Jesus saith,I am the life)
(vincelife are you not life?)
had thus said,
life was troubled
(John 3:5,6 Jesus-life answerd born of the Spirit-God is spirit-Jesus-life-spirit-Spirit-God). John 4:24 Jesus saith, God is a Spirit Ronams 8:10 Spirit is life,)
and said, Verily, verily, life say unto life,
that one of life shall betray life.
One!life > Ponder: I love this saying!
 And Jesus answered
and said unto her, Martha, Martha,
thou art careful
and troubled about many things:
(Luke 10:37]Then said Jesus unto him,
Go, and do thou likewise.
 Now it came to pass,
as they went, that he entered into a certain village:
and a certain woman named Martha
received him into her house.
 And she had a sister called Mary,
which also sat at Jesus' feet,
and heard his word.
 But Martha was cumbered about much serving,
and came to him, and said, Lord,
dost thou not care
that my sister hath left me
to serve alone?
bid her therefore
that she help me.
 And Jesus answered
and said unto her, Martha, Martha,
thou art careful and troubled
about many things:
 But one thing is needful:
and Mary hath chosen that good part,
which shall not
be taken away from her.
Love you vincelife, Sweet-"T"!
vincelife share'd > by the Christian mindset
and particularly by the fundamentalist mindset
that's locked into the belief
that there's a rigid formula
that God laid out in order for humanity
to become acceptable to himself.
This was ........ to have his son, Jesus,
die on the cross for the sins of mankind
and that the only way for people
to avail themselves of that "free gift"
is to believe the story
and accept Jesus into their hearts
as their Lord and savior.
On the surface, this "theory" sounds relatively sound. People sometimes take a rap for someone else and it's understood to be a rather noble thing to do.
On the flip-side of the surface, it's really a corny and counter-productive theory ......... for numerous reasons.
A first reason is that it removes responsibility for wrong-doers to face the consequences of their own actions.
A second reason is that it makes God look like an imbecile. He needed to have his son killed in order to appease himself? He couldn't STAND to look on the sinfulness of humanity but ......... he could easily justify THIS?
A third reason is the mindlessness of God ...... according to this salvation theory. It's just a formula or a ritual that one goes through in order to become accepted into God's family. Kind of like a graduation ceremony where kids give speeches and read out some stuff and then presto! they've graduated from 'death unto life'.
After the ritual is done, life goes back to the same way it was ......... with one difference: the person is now SAVED from hell and going to heaven after he dies.
Why was the ritual even necessary? Is God like a robot of some kind ...... where pushing some correct buttons, opens up the gate?
Anyway ........... so THAT's the thing that really bugs me with the modern concept of the Christian salvation plan. It's really very dumb.
But ............ the question is ............... HOW did this whole Christian thing come into vogue? What started it all? Was it as senseless from the beginning?
My initial quest, when joining the forums in 1998, believe it or not, was to find or get some SOLID historical evidence for the existence of Jesus Christ the person ...from outside of the Bible. It had bothered me from way back in the days of my street evangelism in 1971-72 already. I could never latch onto ANY information about this guy ....... outside of the Bible and Bible commentaries. The ONLY evidence, it seemed, was a small passage from the writings of Josephus which -almost without even checking further- seemed OBVIOUSLY to have been a later Christian insertion. In fact, the first time I heard it, I felt quite disgusted because it seemed so blatantly phony. (Was that even NECESSARY?)
Over the next few years it became painfully obvious that such historical evidence was utterly lacking. At one point I even became convinced that JC was a total fabrication of folklore. And YET ......... there WERE some little pieces in the NTestament that didn't fit with myth but rather ... seemed to point to an actual person.
There is Peter -in Acts- for example ........ speaking to Jews about their having killed Jesus and then hung him on a tree. That didn't fit with the Gospels' crucifixion tale.
Jesus being crucified on a Friday morning, dying at about 3 PM the same day and then being put into a tomb on Friday night .........and then rising from his grave before sun-up of Sunday morning ......... didn't fit with him being dead for 3 days and then rising. That time frame would have left him in the grave for only one day and night.
Jesus going into the temple with a whip and driving out money changers.
Jesus telling his disciples that they should sell their clothes and buy swords.
Jesus praying in the garden of Gethsemane ........ pleading to God for his life.
Jesus saying to his disciples in Luke 19:27, "Luke 19:27 But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be a king over them -bring them here and kill them in front of me." (NIV)
The lineage of Jesus being so carefully crafted in Matthew and Luke (though not agreeing factually) ............. and then just "dropped"! -(if Jesus was conceived by the holy spirit rather than Joseph's sperm, the entire lineage issue became irrelevant).
All of the above do NOT fit with a crafted myth. They sound too contradictory to the general image of the hero and altogether too human and humanly contradictory and weak.
So ........ these little pieces in the NTestament kept snagging my otherwise new perception that Jesus Christ was simply a myth which paralleled other myths of that time.
And then I came across something which really clicked for me. Gerald Massey's ..... the HISTORICAL JESUS and MYTHICAL CHRIST.
Massey explains that while Jesus Christ is denied by Jews, to have ever existed, -(which is true, if only the gospels' Jesus is considered)- the CLOSEST similarity between Jesus and an actual historical figure IS documented in Jewish literature, albeit not very extensively. That man was Joshua Ben Pandera and/but he lived approximately 70 BC or so. Massey cites the reference to Salome in the Gospel of Mark -mentioned only twice (15:40 ; 16:1)- as relating to Queen Salome of the Hasmonean dynasty.
Now while the connection to Salome seems pretty flimsy, nevertheless there's a very real "odd" possibility that Massey was correct.
Mark is the oldest of the Gospels and would have been copied from old writings ..... more or less verbatim. Since "Salome" is never introduced or explained in the two verses, the only plausible assumption one can make is that she was a well known public figure whom NO ONE needed to be introduced to (at the time of the original writing). That makes perfect sense. The later synoptic Gospels of Matthew and Luke (based on the same writings) ........ completely dropped all references to "Salome" because the transcribers probably had no idea who she was or how she could even belong in the story. She just kind of looked strange in the tale.
Other parts of Joshua Ben Pandera's story jibe with the story of Jesus in the Gospels in a number of respects (which you can find in Massey's dissertation).
OK, so .......... there's "my" historical Jesus quest somewhat satisfied. But what about the REST of the story -the book of Acts, the Epistles and the booklet of Revelation?
Reading the epistles of James and Peter and Jude -and even the small books of John- with an objective mind, leaves one wondering HOW these fellows are even REMOTELY relating to the Gospel Jesus Christ. They are just TOTALLY different! They don't sound as if they know anything ABOUT the guy they were supposed to have been following as disciples, in the Gospels!~
And Paul ...... well, Paul wasn't one of the disciples but ..... he was supposed to be a CONTEMPORAY of Jesus Christ and yet Paul never relates to the Gospels' Jesus Christ at all! He never talks about anything that happened to Jesus in the Gospels ....... goes to Jerusalem for a 3 week visit to see Peter and James several years after his conversion and doesn't even go visit the place of the cross or the tomb? Paul flatly states that he has his OWN Gospel of Jesus Christ -delivered personally by divine revelation- and totally ignores the Gospels' version? His own gospel is even at odds with what the Gospels state at times? What gives?
Stephen too, in Acts .......
He goes into an extremely lengthy lecture about the Old Testament and the sins of the Jews etc. etc. but .......... not ONCE does he talk about the (supposed) central character -Jesus Christ- except at the very end, when he's dying. Wha .... why .... where was he coming from and what was he dying for that he never even mentioned it ..... if it was the Gospel Jesus?
When you read the writings of the early church fathers, the same "pattern" is evident. None of them seemed remotely knowledgeable about the Gospels' Jesus, (though they DID include some phrases which can be found in the Gospels), but INSTEAD .......... they focused on the Old Testament and PARTICULARLY on what they perceived to be ...the PROPHECIES contained in the OTestament pertaining to Jesus Christ the Messiah. Otherwise, they speculated extensively on the existence of Jesus Christ and some claimed to know someone who knew someone who had actually known the man.
Only after about 160 AD, did church fathers begin to quote from the Gospels ........ and then they did it profusely. Of note is that the books of Luke and Acts were addressed to someone named "Theophilus" and the first noted Christian leader by that name was a Bishop of Antioch, (Paul's own headquarters about 100 years earlier), who presided as Bishop during the 160 AD era.
Looking at this pattern from a realistic standpoint (without the romantic notions that Jesus reportedly, actually escaped death and later went to live in France with his wife Magdalene) ........ a number of things seem evident:
Jesus Christ the Messiah was a widely-embraced notion amongst followers of a "Way". He seems to have been mostly imagined to have existed but ...... there's an earlier branch of belief which points to a real historical person as well. Early church fathers didn't recognize this earlier real person as being "THE one" ......... but evidently later fathers did ....... especially after the 3 synoptic Gospels came into existence and received widespread acceptance.
So how did all of this "happen"? It doesn't seem to be contrived (like Joe Smith and his golden plates) ....... and yet it all seems just as profoundly, ridiculous at the same time.
Well, THIS is what I've come to perceive about it .... up to the present time. This is what seems to me -logically- as the most likely probability....
The hundred and fifty years preceding the 0 year of our calender was a remarkably event-filled time in history. The Jews broke away from Greek rule and formed their own independent state through the rebellion and leadership of the Maccabaeus brothers. This started the Hasmonean dynasty which ruled from about 140 to 37 BC.
Somewhere around the middle of that time period -(I'm assuming about 70 BC)- came Joshua Ben Pandera. I quote an excerpt from the Wikipedia article here ...
[During the Hasmonean period, the Sadducees and Pharisees functioned primarily as political parties. Although the Pharisees had opposed the wars of expansion of the Hasmoneans and the forced conversions of the Idumeans, the political rift between them became wider when Pharisees demanded that the Hasmonean king Alexander Jannaeus choose between being king and being High Priest. In response, the king openly sided with the Sadducees by adopting their rites in the Temple. His actions caused a riot in the Temple and led to a brief civil war that ended with a bloody repression of the Pharisees, although at his deathbed the king called for a reconciliation between the two parties. Alexander was succeeded by his widow, Salome Alexandra, whose brother was Shimon ben Shetach, a leading Pharisee. Upon her death her elder son, Hyrcanus, sought Pharisee support, and her younger son, Aristobulus, sought the support of the Sadducees. The conflict between Hyrcanus and Aristobulus culminated in a civil war that ended when the Roman general Pompey captured Jerusalem in 63 BCE and inaugurated the Roman period of Jewish history. ]
According to Gerald Massey, Pandera was a cousin of Salome.
Ok now ....... does this conflict of political parties play into the synoptic Gospels at all? Jesus was anti-Pharisee. Janneaus was anti-Pharisee. Janneaus may have been sick and Pandera may have been actively trying to garner popular support for HIMSELF to become next King. Salome may even have supported him ......... maybe thinking to marry him after her own husband passed on. (They did crazy things like that back then -married cousins and nieces etc.)
A significant occurrence here -to me- is that Salome's own sons then went against each OTHER, causing a civil war in "Israel" ......... resulting in Roman General Pompey coming in and exploiting the rift. Effectively, these two idiots handed their kingdom over to Rome because they were too stupid to realize that by CO-OPERATING ..... they would have kept their kingdom strong and intact.
Pandera -if he and the original Gospel Jesus were the same person- preached precisely AGAINST this kind of shortsightedness. CO-OPERATE he said. Love your enemies, he said. "Agree quickly with thine adversary, whilst thou art in the way with him!"
I think it makes a lot of sense that Jesus would have come from this time frame, ESPECIALLY in light of his anti-Pharisee stance. (Paul, you may recall, favored the Pharisee position, but Paul lived about 100 years later).
So/but ......... Pandera was stoned to death by his fellow Jews and hung on a tree until sundown and then entombed ....... and Rome took over effective control of the Hasmoneans and later, of the Herod line of puppet kings.
All right then we come to the timing of Gospel Jesus' birth and this is ONE piece of the puzzle for which I haven't yet been able to find a logical explanation. Everything else makes solid sense to me but I can't put my finger on WHY his birth would have been thought to have occurred in the 0 year instead of an actual 70 years before. (If anyone has any thoughts to share on this, I'd be glad to hear them).
We DO know that the time given in the Gospels does NOT jibe with real history. He couldn't have been born 4 years after Herod died and have Herod after him and ...... he couldn't have been born at the time of the census either because that occurred AFTER there was no longer a Herod presiding over Judea. Herod Archaeleus (one of the sons of Herod the Great), reigned in that region from 4 BC to 6 AD and was then replaced by a Roman governor (like Pilate).
So the dating of Jesus' birth in the Gospels is inaccurate ........ plausibly pointing to the possibility as well ....that he was actually born at a DIFFERENT time. Yet, WHAT HAPPENED in the 0 year for early Gospel transcribers to have assumed he was born THEN?
Now I come to the gist of my essay: how did the greater comprehensive theory or doctrine of Jesus Christ come to develop into the Christian belief system of several hundred years later?
Well, it seems to me from what evidence suggests, that it started off (excepting Joshua Ben Pandera at first) ........ with a "play". It wasn't a play that someone had especially developed and never changed over time; it was a simple play initially, and people just got into it more and more over time.
The rich folks of that day, had their own passion plays, featuring actors portraying gods and exhibiting hidden "mysteries" .... which incorporated holidays and ran for several days on end -kind of a carnival atmosphere overall ...... and these were known as the "Greek Mystery Passion Plays". The poor people didn't have access to that but ........ what was to stop them from creating their own entertainment? So they got into their own plays and extended them into lengthy continuing pretend games -much like kids do.
Very quickly, these folks realized the POTENTIAL of their game(s). They could freely meet with each other without drawing the ire of ever-suspicious government agents (because it looked like foolishness to them). Once they were assembled though, NOTHING stopped them from talking about anything they wanted to talk about.
Over time, their games became more and more developed. They began to experience epiphanies and started delving into the OTestament "prophecies" to find indication of WHO to look for ...... to be their Messiah. Eventually, they became REALLY obsessed with trying to pinpoint all the characteristics of a Messiah from their prophecies and looking for such a person or god to appear. Then, they even received reports that the entity had been seen or known etc.
The Messiah hunt was a WIDELY accepted and practiced exercise amongst a large number of groups. It was a trend, in other words, of that time. They lived in extremely dangerous and unpredictable times. No one ever knew what might hit them tomorrow. Stability was a laughable hope only.
This is the state of mind that shows in the writings of the early church fathers ..... and also in the epistles of James and Peter.
Paul took the game to a new level. He believed that he'd had DIVINE revelation directly from God and for him ...... there was no need for pretending. He took his message on the road and preached it! Notice that Paul speaks incessantly about Jesus Christ but reveals virtually NOTHING about his human characteristics. Jesus Christ was "crucified" yes ........ but perhaps NOT on earth but rather in a heavenly realm. Crucified by whom? The rulers of the age -the bad gods. They crucified "the Lord of glory". (1 Cor. 2:8). James too, speaks of the "Christ of glory" instead of a person. (James 2:1).
Yet Paul too, speculates that Jesus -logically- MUST have already come to earth because he couldn't give gifts to men and ascend on high ...... unless he first DESCENDED -Ephesians 4:9 (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?
So-o whether Jesus had already come or was coming, they were all sure of one thing: he WAS going to appear and then take over rule of the earth.
[ 1 John 3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. ]
Only MUCH LATER were the Gospels created ........ and the Gospel Jesus amalgamated into their gnostic beliefs. This is when the "REAL Jesus" -Joshua Ben Pandera- became part of the weave. That was about 200 years after he'd lived and led and by that time, no one knew anything about him aside from the old writings.
Yet, one mystery remains: how did they come to the conclusion that he was born in the 0 year?
In conclusion, I want to make my "point" and that point is ........
The very early Christians were participating in a play of guesswork and gnosticism (hidden, instinctual "knowledge" imparted to them spiritually). Jesus Christ was NOT a known human entity and therefore, any new information about him was welcomed.
Early Christians weren't bothered with precision of facts since ...... they were ALL in the guessing game anyway. When the Gospels were compiled, the differences between them wasn't an important issue to them. They valued the different perceptions/possibilities. Anything at all, which might amplify their understanding was welcomed. Thus, there was no particular focus on exactitude.
If Christianity TODAY adopted the same attitude, it might be a rather "adventurous" endeavor!~ I believe those earliest writers would have doubled over laughing if they could see how Christians today focus on individual words and phrases as if they had dropped straight from the lips of God!~
March 18 2009 at 3:46 PM
Vince (Login MoxiFox)
Response to Awesome post Vince
Yes, I think so.
What started off as inner mysteries and had HISTORICALLY always been -only- spiritual "knowledge" about another realm of the gods ............. became altered in the Christian movement to "fuse" that realm with the earthly realm that we live in. "As in heaven, so in earth."
Since they so desperately yearned for a Messiah to show up and save them from the HORRIBLE unpredictable, undependable political environment in which they lived, they began to do their play acts and PRETEND that their ideal kingdom was already happening. That got their thoughts polarized and organized into a community agreement. Their plays became more matured. Then they adopted the attitude that they would LIVE their everyday lives AS IF the Messiah was already in charge, thus getting his kingdom ready for him to come and take over.
They expected (probably through spiritual revelations etc.) that this Messiah would materialize any time soon. (If they built it, he would come eh?)
Over time, he didn't show up. We see some of that frustration expressed in 2 Peter 3: 3,4
[ 3 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,
4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. ]
Peter was talking to generations hundreds of years up the road? Reality check: he was talking to his OWN audience and it was happening right THEN. The "last days" were supposed to occur in THAT generation.
The same frustration is seen in 1 John 2:18 -> "Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour. (NIV)
vincelife share'd > Every spirit
One!life > Ponder: every life-Jesus-God
(Ponder: vincelife are you not life!)
(John 3:5,6 Jesus-life-Spirit-God answerd born of the Spirit-God-Spirit-spirit-Jesus-life is spirit-Jesus-life-spirit-Spirit-God). John 4:24 Jesus saith, God is a Spirit Ronams 8:10 Spirit is life,)
that confesseth not that
is come in the flesh
is not of God-Spirit-life-Jesus-:
and this is that spirit-life-Jesus-God of antichrist."
Love you vincelife, Sweet-"T"!
vincelife share'd > So in 1 John we see a group that believed Jesus HAD shown up in the flesh already but ............. just hadn't been widely recognized or hadn't yet been revealed. Yet, many of this community were giving up on it and leaving and they are described this way: "They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us."
And then another 60 years may have gone by and "someone" came up with a bright idea of compiling a Gospel! In this Gospel (Mark) they HAD an actual human revealed! It was Pandera from "God knows" when or where ........ but it WAS an actual flesh and blood character at last!
Thereafter, the Christian ship sailed on ........... the seas .......... of make believe.