by Michael Sturgulewski. First Printing: November, 2009. Published by Light and Life Graphics, Endicott, NY Light and Life Graphics is TM 2008 Michael Sturgulewski. Printed in the U.S.A. Terms of Use: This work may be reproduced, unaltered and in its entirety, and distributed freely without the author’s express permission. Any such distribution must strictly be for educational and non-profit purposes. Unless otherwise indicated, all Biblical citations are from the King James Version. Other versions cited include: The New International Version (NIV). Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society The New American Standard Bible (NASB). Copyright 1995 by Lockman Foundation Book design: Michael Sturgulewski Cover, top: Woodcut by Gustave Doré, The Transfiguration. Public Domain. Cover, bottom (from left to right): Horus, Krishna, Mithra, Attis, and Dionysus. Public Domain. All images, except where credited, are the work of the author. Noah's Ark, p 104. Copyright © 2008 Michael Sturgulewski. All Rights Reserved. ISBN: 1449529658 EAN-13: 9781449529659



his book is dedicated to my parents,

Raymond and Gretchen, and my grandparents, William and Esther Boley and William and Mary Bloomer, for training a child in the way he should go.


Preface . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 The Charge Against Christianity. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Part 1: Gospel or Myth? I. Virgin birth . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 II. December 25th date of birth . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 III. Star in the east accompanied His birth. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44 IV. Upon His birth, three kings came to adorn the newborn Savior . . . . . . . . . . . . 46 V. His mother was named Mary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46 VI. He was born in a manger or a cave in the “house of bread,” also translated as “Beth-lehem” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51 VII. At age twelve He was known as a teacher . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53 VIII. At age thirty, He began His ministry after being baptized . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54 IX. He had twelve disciples . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58 X. He was a traveling teacher . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60 XI. He performed miracles, such as walking on water or turning water into wine 61 XII. He was known by titles such as “King of Kings” and “Alpha and Omega”. . 64 XIII. He held a communal last supper with His disciples . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 68 XIV. He was crucified . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 69 XV. Concerning the constellation Crux as being the supposed origin for the crucifixion of Jesus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73 XVI. He was dead for three days . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 75 XVII. He was resurrected from the dead . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 79


XVIII. Concerning the observance of Easter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 84 XIX. Concerning Sunday as the sacred day of worship . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 85 Part 2: Shattering the Mirror – Debunking the Claims of the Critics I. Concerning the suspect confession of Justin Martyr . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 87 II. Concerning the similarities between the Epic of Gilgamesh and Noah’s Flood 91 III. Concerning the claim that the account of Moses’ life in the Pentateuch is a fabrication of existing motifs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 108 IV. Concerning the proposed relationship between Jesus and the signs and ages of the Zodiac. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 119 V. Concerning the proposed similarity between various Biblical concepts and pre-existing beliefs and icons . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 140 VI. Concerning the claim that the life of Jesus is merely a revision of the life of Joseph . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 143 VII. Concerning Constantine and the Nicean Creed . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 147 VIII. Concerning the Dark Ages, the Crusades, and the Inquisition . . . . . . . . . . . 149 IX. Concerning the historicity of Jesus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 151 Part 3: Snares of the Deceivers I. Proper use of terminology is often disregarded in claims which attempt to liken events in the life of Christ to events which occur in pagan mythology . . . . 179 II. Many of the suggested pagan parallels to the life of Christ are based on nonexistent texts or misuse or alteration of existing texts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 184 III. Other favorite tactics used by critics of Christianity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 184 IV. Logical fallacies employed by the critics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 185 V. Parallel vs. commonality . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 195 Part 4: The Supremacy of Christ I. The Son of God is one with the Father and the Spirit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 197 II. The Son of God is pre-existent . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 207


III. Jesus’ birth was not the product of a lustful god . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 214 IV. Jesus took part in bringing about His own birth, death, and resurrection . . . . 216 V. Jesus foreknew the time of His death and resurrection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 217 VI. Jesus' birth, life, death, and resurrection were foretold long before His arrival . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 218 VII. Jesus' death was voluntary, sacrificial, and redemptive in nature . . . . . . . . . 220 VIII. Jesus' death was a victory, not a defeat . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 220 IX. Jesus' resurrection was a bodily resurrection. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 221 X. Jesus' resurrection is a fact of history . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 227 XI. The characteristics of the original source material regarding Jesus stands as added testimony to its reliability . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 236 Part 5: The Gospel Record I. The early date of the Gospel records testify to their historical accuracy . . . . . 238 II. Concerning the supposed silence of the remainder of the New Testament regarding Matthew and Luke’s virgin birth narratives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 239 III. Concerning the supposed silence of the New Testament letters regarding Jesus' humanity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 244 IV. Concerning the Gospels’ references to Jesus being of human descent. . . . . . 254 V. The authenticity and integrity of the Gospels . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 256 VI. The characteristics of the person of Jesus, as portrayed in the Gospels, contradict popular Judaic concepts and, as such, could not have been a product of invention . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 262 VII. The characteristics of the life of Jesus, as portrayed in the Gospels, possess elements which do not bear the marks of invention . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 266 Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 270 The Journey . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 277 About the Author . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 283


Notes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 284 Online Resources for Further Study . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 294 Photo Credits. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 296 Acknowledgments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 297 Benediction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 298 Future books available through Light and Life Graphics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 299


The book you now hold is a condensed version of a previous work titled A Sure Foundation: Answering the Charge Against Christianity. That work was presumably finished in February 2009 and was written in response to the allegation that the Gospel writers, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, fabricated their accounts of the life of Jesus of Nazareth. The charge against the Gospel narratives was that they were composed using a conglomeration of various pagan myths, the writers having borrowed some elements from the mythology of Egypt, others from the mythology of Greece, others from Persia, and so on. By February I had written a response to all such allegations, however there remained other issues still at large – issues which posed as a threat to Christianity, at least in the mind of those less informed regarding the issues at hand. Among these issues was the 2007 documentary titled The Lost Tomb of Jesus, claiming that not only was the tomb of Jesus' family discovered in an area outside of Jerusalem, but also that the tomb contained an ossuary (a small repository for the bones of a deceased individual) that was inscribed with the name of “Jesus, son of Joseph.” Likewise, there have been a resurgence in recent years regarding proposed alternate gospels that told a version of the ministry of Jesus which was very different from that told in Scripture. To many unsuspecting minds, these lost gospels hold as much authority as do the canonical Gospels found in the New Testament. Therefore, I revisited my keyboard and returned to my research so that I may include responses to these sort of problems facing Christians today. Four months and a few hundred typewritten pages later, the final edition of A Sure Foundation was made available to the public in July of 2009. The purpose of the present volume is to contain material in a fashion more focused on the original allegations mentioned above and which set me on this journey into the realm of history and apologetics. While the material added after February of 2009 was related to the topic at hand – that being, the historicity of Jesus of Nazareth – it was not absolutely necessary to the argument. Rather, the added material served mainly to further an already solidified case. And so it is that this book was put together, not only to present my argument in a more concise fashion, but also so that those who may be intimidated by a large page count would not be overwhelmed to the point of skipping over the evidence for the authenticity of the Gospels and instead settling for the less-informed verdict presented by documentaries on television or discussions around the water fountain at work. For those who do seek answers to further issued raised in today's society concerning Jesus and the Gospels, then I would refer those ones to the previous work. The arguments presented in the present work serve as evidence that not only did Jesus of Nazareth exist as a historical person, but also that the Gospels contained in the New Testament stand as historical accounts and remain so after being judged by various tests of authenticity. It is my sincere desire that the reader of this book, after considering the arguments presented herein, arrive at the conclusion that the Gospel of Christ is not only true, but that it is the power of God unto salvation, for it is in the name of Jesus alone that anyone can find redemption. Michael Sturgulewski September 22, 2009 Endicott, NY


Nothing new under the sun In June of 2008 I was introduced to a short video entitled The Great Arcanum, which, as would later be discovered, is part of a full length documentary entitled The Zeitgeist Movie. This documentary, produced by Peter Joseph, is a rejection of religion in general, and is specifically an attack on the Christian faith. The claim of the film is that deities of various faiths, including Jesus Christ, share many of the same characteristics in the accounts of their life, and that these characteristics are based in ancient beliefs concerning the sun and other celestial bodies. In so doing, Zeitgeist attributes to these faiths the same origin, making them equal with one another both in validity and merit. Christianity, among other faiths, is here under attack by making the claim that the “Jesus story,” as the narrator calls it, is merely a myth and that the Gospel accounts of His life, death, resurrection, and ascension are based purely on ancient mythological and astrological beliefs. The ramifications of such a notion, were it true, would make Jesus a false prophet rather than the Son of God and promised Messiah, the Bible would be reduced to a book of lies and deceit, and Christians would be in possession of false hope, having been deluded into having faith in a God who does not exist. The reason this is particularly an attack on Christianity, above other faiths, is that Jesus is the only of these so-called “solar messiahs” whose birth, life, death, and resurrection resulted in real (not imagined or symbolic) salvation for those who have faith in Him as their Savior. Yes, the Gospel account of the life of Christ is a story, but it is a story founded in history and truth, and what a story it is! That God was made man in the person of Jesus Christ so that He may die to take upon Himself the sins of the very same ones whom He created, and who abandoned Him to serve their own lusts. Yes, the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus is a story – a story of grace and mercy, of redemption and life everlasting, of a loving King who gave His all for His people. The Zeitgeist Movie teaches Gnostic beliefs. Gnosticism is a belief system which began during pre-Christian times and is no new opponent to Christianity. According to, “Gnosticism involves the relational or experiential knowledge of God and of the divine or spiritual nature within us.” It places an emphasis on an inherent divinity within man. Gnostics believe that salvation is achieved through knowledge and the full development of the human consciousness (in short, Gnostics teach we can save ourselves). Gnosticism was virtually eradicated in the fifth century due to Catholicism, but has experienced a re-emergence since the mid-1900’s. According to, Gnostics believe their religion is the source from which all the world's religions have their origin. The heart of Gnosticism is the Great Arcanum (hence, the title of the video under scrutiny), or the Great Knowledge; that is, the “secret knowledge” of which Gnostics pride themselves in possessing, and the knowledge which they believe results in one’s salvation. This knowledge, they believe, is the absolute knowledge of good and evil. The thrust of the film is the notion, which has existed for centuries, that the life of Jesus was merely a copy of pagan myths (hence, it is often termed the “copycat theory”), borrowing elements from fictional stories of various other “saviors.” Although this theory is generally rejected by mainstream scholars, it continues to gain popularity with conspiracy theorists and Internet antagonists. The theory gained notable popularity in the


modern era during the nineteenth century with the publication of the book The World’s Sixteen Crucified Saviors written by Kersey Graves, a member of the “freethought” community. The theories contained in this book have been disproved a dozen times over since its publication, yet skeptics of Christianity continue to look to it as a source of truth. In fact, many of Graves’ sources often long post-date the Christian era, a practice which is very common among critics in their scrambling for evidence to support their claims. Jonathan Z. Smith, in The Encyclopedia of Religion, comments that the alleged “parallels” to Jesus either post-date the Apostolic Age or the “evidence” in the preChristian texts is simply lacking in solidarity. Smith states, “The category of dying and rising gods, once a major topic of scholarly investigation, must now be understood to have been largely a misnomer based on imaginative reconstructions and exceedingly late or highly ambiguous texts.… All the deities that have been identified as belonging to the class of dying and rising deities can be subsumed under the two larger classes of disappearing deities or dying deities. In the first case, the deities return but have not died; in the second case, the gods die but do not return. There is no unambiguous instance in the history of religions of a dying and rising deity."1 “Zeitgeist” is a German expression meaning “the spirit of the age” and is literally translated as “time (zeit) spirit (geist)." The film was first released in June 2007 and is comprised of three parts. Part one is an attempt to deconstruct Christianity by alleging it is a series of fabrications having been merged together from previously existing myths and astrological beliefs. Parts two and three engage in political conspiracy theories involving the banking system and the 9/11 terrorist attacks, purporting that the United States government itself orchestrated these attacks. According to the Zeitgeist web site (, the project “was created as a nonprofit filmiac expression to inspire people to start looking at the world from a more critical perspective and to understand that very often things are not what the population at large think they are.” The producers of the movie claim that "truth is not told, it is realized," thus implying that truth is relative to one’s viewpoint . However, when viewing the movie, it becomes apparent that it is actually designed to indoctrinate the viewer with its own “truth” (that is, falsehood) and persuade the viewer to come to see the world from Mr. Joseph’s perspective. Checking the facts Concerning the sources used for The Zeitgeist Movie, the producers have the following to say: “Now, it's important to point out that there is a tendency to simply disbelieve things that are counter to our understanding, without the necessary research performed. For example, some information contained in Part one and Part three, specifically, is not obtained by simple keyword searches on the Internet. You have to dig deeper. For instance, very often people who look up ‘Horus’ or ‘The Federal Reserve’ on the Internet draw their conclusions from very general or biased sources. Online encyclopedias or text book encyclopedias often do not contain the information contained in Zeitgeist. However, if one takes the time to read the sources provided, they will find that what is being presented is based on documented evidence.”2 In doing the research for this book, I discovered why “online encyclopedias or text book encyclopedias often do not contain the information contained in Zeitgeist.” The reason for that is that the information contained in Zeitgeist (at least in Part one, with which this book is concerned) is largely falsified. Not only does the movie make


occasional simple errors with names of places; but also, very frequently lists “facts” which have no basis in truth or history. For instance, regarding the Egyptian deity Horus, the movie states, “These attributes of Horus, whether original or not, seem to permeate cultures of the world.” Research has proven the attributes in question (which will be discussed later) are in fact not at all “original” to the Horus myth; but rather, are fabricated by the movie’s producer, or another conspirator, for the purpose of creating an imagined reality based only on the movie itself rather than what is actually real. The producer makes such statements in the hopes that the viewers will not do their homework and put these claims to the test. The producers also claim they want to be “academically correct” and “factual.” As this work will show, they have catastrophically failed in these attempts, as true academic research has only served to debunk their claims. In the words of Dr. Ben Witherington III, a professor at Asbury Theological Seminary, “One thing you can say about Mr. Joseph's film-- he is an equal opportunity distorter of world religions in general, he is not just a prankster, but one who is simply angry with religion in general.”3 Additionally, the sources listed on the movie’s web site do not contain experts in either Biblical history or pagan mythology. Of the numerous sources cited in the movie’s transcript, less than 25% are original material, with the remainder citations coming from secondary authors, many of whom wrote decades ago and whose research is now considered outdated. An author who is Biblically illiterate is simply incapable of accurately discussing the integrity of the Gospel accounts of the life of Christ. Additionally, a good number of the sources used for the film are outdated, and have been proven to contain falsehood. The Zeitgeist Movie is guilty of employing a logical fallacy known as “Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc,” a Latin phrase meaning "after this, therefore because of this." Such reasoning is based only on temporal sequence, claiming that Event B is a product of Event A simply because Event A comes before Event B. The movie is also quite fond of the use of anachronistic reasoning; that is, making the claim that “source X” is a basis on which “source Y” was formed, when in reality, “source X” post-dates “source Y.” In short, the producers of this film are nothing more than freethinking conspiracy theorists whose research is largely flawed, and The Zeitgeist Movie stands as a testimony to such shortcomings. In his documentary The God Who Wasn't There, Brian Flemming admitted his regret in relying on both Kersey Graves and D. M. Murdock (a.k.a. Acharya S), both of whom were authors cited in the sources for The Zeitgeist Movie. In his documentary, which attempts to show that Jesus was not an historical figure, he included the god Beddru among deities listed in a background graphic. Beddru is mentioned in books by authors Graves and Murdock, but there is no documentation that such a deity ever existed in any culture. In an interview for the “Rational Response Squad,” Flemming said, “… [Beddru] shouldn't be in there. What I did is I cut and pasted from a list of gods that I was researching to find out were these true or were they not, and I should not have put that one on the list. Kersey Graves appears to have made that up. And so people who say, you know, ‘Kersey Graves is full of crap’ and this Beddru thing is probably false, they’re actually right. And I'm going to change that in the second edition of the [documentary].”4 Sources used in Part one of The Zeitgeist Movie are as follows (notice the lack of ancient texts among their source material): Footage from The Naked Truth 1995


Audio from Revelations by Bill Hicks 1993 Audio from The Light of the World Courtesy of Jordan Maxwell 1992 Massey, Gerald The Historical Jesus and the Mythical Christ 1886 , Ancient Egypt-Light of the World 1907, and Egyptian Book of the Dead and the Mysteries of Amenta 1907 Acharya S/Murdock, D.M The Christ Conspiracy 1999, and Suns of God 2004, Who was Jesus?2007 Churchward, Albert The Origin and Evolution of Religion 1924 Allegro, John The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Christian Myth 1979 Maxwell, Tice & Snow That Old Time Religion 2000 King James Version The Holy Bible 1611 Leedom, Tim C. The Book Your Church Doesn’t Want You To Read 1993 Remsburg, John F. The Christ: A Critical Review and Analysis of the Evidence of His Existence 1909 Irvin & Rutajit Astrotheology and Shamanism 2006 Doherty, Earl The Jesus Puzzle: Did Christianity Begin With A Mythical Christ? 1999 Campbell, Joseph Creative Mythology: The Masks of God 1959-1968 Doane, T.W. Bible Myths And Their Parallels In Other Religions 1882 Carpenter, Edward Pagan and Christian Creeds: Their Origin and Meaning 1920 Rolleston, Frances Mazzaroth 1862 Cumont, Franz Astrology and Religion Among the Greeks and Romans 1912 Fideler, David Jesus Christ, Sun of God 1993 Berry, Gerald Religions Of The World 1956 Frazer, Sir James The Golden Bough 1890 Wheless, Joseph Forgery in Christianity 1930 Singh, Madanjeet The Sun- Symbol of Power and Life 1993 Jackson, John G. Christianity Before Christ 1985 Why do we care? Since the advent of The Zeitgeist Movie a number of its supporters have charged Christians with getting all hyped up for no good reason. The movie, they claim, is not an attack against Christianity, but against religious beliefs which are invalid and based in falsehood. They charge Christians with blindly following a God who does not exist and placing their faith in that which is devoid of hope. They also charge Christians with seeking to deny others the right of religious freedom, attempting to push Christianity on those whose faith rests elsewhere. The supposed reason behind Christians’ opposition to the film is that of fear, arising from insecurity or an inadequate measure of faith in one’s own belief system, resulting in a feeling of their religion being threatened and attacked by false accusation. Also, opponents are quick to cite the words of Christ Himself when He said, “Judge not, lest you be judged,” (Mt 7:1) and, “whosoever smites you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also.” (Mt 5:39) Yes, Christians are to love their neighbors. In addition, Christians are also instructed to give reason for the faith. (I Pet 3:15) However, care must be taken in defending the truth. One cannot simply beat someone over the head with a Bible and tell him that he will go to hell if he does not believe in Christ. The facts need to be presented and the reader


should decide whose doctrine to follow. But, the question is asked, Why do the facts need to be presented? Why does the record need to be set straight? Why can’t people just get along and agree to disagree? The reason is that one’s faith is of utmost importance, for it is his faith which determines his destiny. In The Zeitgeist Movie the truth is not presented; but rather, misrepresented in the form of fabricated and false evidence. When such a thing occurs, it gives people cause to avoid Christianity altogether, having been misled into believing it to be “the fraud of the age,” as the film states. Although the film attacks religion in general by stating, “Religion exists as barriers to personal and social growth,” Christianity is the one singled out as the “fraud” and the one to which special effort is extended in hopes of exposing it as a lie. Supporters of the movie claim the film never devalues religion nor does it claim religion is wrong, however, if Christianity is the “fraud of the age,” then it certainly cannot have value, and belief in it would certainly not be the product of a right mind. Such is the eventual conclusion, as well as the implication behind the film’s claims. When the truth of the Christian faith is misrepresented, then it is the duty of the Christian to set the record straight. It is not that everyone must be beaten into submission until he agrees to accept Christianity as the one, true religion. Rather, the reader must be presented with the facts in order to make an informed decision, which one cannot do simply by watching the film in question. Once the facts are presented, then the reader is capable of exercising his God-given ability to make an informed decision concerning who he will serve, whether the Creator or the creation. The fact is that the false claims and fabricated “evidence” presented in the film is the cause for which a person may become shaken in his faith, since it alleges that Christianity is something it is not – a series of themes borrowed from pagan myths and astrology. The film states the relationship between religions is a “suppressed history,” when, in fact, the relationship is not a history at all, since such a relationship simply does not exist, despite the claims of the critics. The purpose in this book is to educate those who have been duped into believing the lie of Zeitgeist, and to supply others with the means to respond when such false accusations are presented against their faith. The message here is three-fold. First, to the Christian: What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Who will bring a charge against God's elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? . . . For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Rom 8:31-39 NASB) Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God. But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called "Today," so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of


sin. For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end, (Heb 3:12-14 NASB) ... let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. (Heb 10:22-23) The one who believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself; the one who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has given concerning His Son. And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.. . . . We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one. And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ This is the true God and eternal life.. (1 Jn 5:10-13, 19-20 NASB) Second, to the skeptic: Let no man deceive you with empty words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the sons of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them. (Eph 5:6-7) He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in him: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he hath not believed in the witness that God hath borne concerning his Son. And the witness is this, that God gave unto us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath the life; he that hath not the Son of God hath not the life. (I Jn 5:10-12) … if thou shalt confess with thy mouth Jesus as Lord, and shalt believe in thy heart that God raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved: for with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be put to shame. (Rom 10:9-11) Third, to the critic: How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? And scoffers delight them in scoffing, And fools hate knowledge? Turn you at my reproof: Behold, I will pour out my spirit upon you; I will make known my words unto you. Because I have called, and ye have refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man hath regarded; But ye have set at nought all my counsel, And would none of my reproof: I also will laugh in the day of your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh; When your fear cometh as a storm, And your calamity cometh on as a whirlwind; When distress and


anguish come upon you. Then will they call upon me, but I will not answer; They will seek me diligently, but they shall not find me: For that they hated knowledge, And did not choose the fear of Jehovah: They would none of my counsel; They despised all my reproof. Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, And be filled with their own devices. For the backsliding of the simple shall slay them, And the careless ease of fools shall destroy them. But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell securely, And shall be quiet without fear of evil. (Prov 1:22-33) But these, as creatures without reason, born mere animals to be taken and destroyed, railing in matters whereof they are ignorant, shall in their destroying surely be destroyed, suffering wrong as the hire of wrong-doing; men that count it pleasure to revel in the day-time, spots and blemishes, revelling in their deceivings while they feast with you; having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; enticing unstedfast souls; having a heart exercised in covetousness; children of cursing; forsaking the right way, they went astray, having followed the way of Balaam the son of Beor, who loved the hire of wrong-doing; but he was rebuked for his own transgression: a dumb ass spake with man’s voice and stayed the madness of the prophet. These are springs without water, and mists driven by a storm; for whom the blackness of darkness hath been reserved. For, uttering great swelling words of vanity, they entice in the lusts of the flesh, by lasciviousness, those who are just escaping from them that live in error; promising them liberty, while they themselves are bondservants of corruption; for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he also brought into bondage. For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein and overcome, the last state is become worse with them than the first. For it were better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after knowing it, to turn back from the holy commandment delivered unto them. It has happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog turning to his own vomit again, and the sow that had washed to wallowing in the mire. (2 Pet 2:12-22 NASB) Outline of this book This book will concern itself with Part one of The Zeitgeist Movie, dealing with the origins of religion. I will leave a discussion and/or refutation of Parts two and three to better and more capable hands. I will begin by providing a synopsis of the first section of The Zeitgeist Movie as it is given in the shorter Great Arcanum video, following which will begin a refutation of these claims, as well as a refutation of the remaining claims made in the Zeitgeist film. In so doing, the agenda here will be to first address, in Part one, the five pagan deities discussed in The Great Arcanum, along with brief considerations on other deities pertinent to the discussion. Following that, Part two will address The Zeitgeist Movie's claims apart from the five deities previously mentioned, as well as considerations regarding issues pertinent to the historicity of Jesus of Nazareth. Part three will concern itself with the methods generally used by critics when making charges against Christianity concerning forgery and fabrications. Having addressed the reasons why pagan deities are not counterparts to Christ, Part four will then commence an in-depth consideration into why Jesus, the living incarnation of the Son of God, is unique and superior to deities found within pagan religious systems. Finally, Part five


will address the primary source material for Jesus of Nazareth – the Gospels themselves – and it will be shown that this material does not bear the marks of forgery nor fabrication; but rather, serves as an authentic and historical account of the only crucified Savior the world has ever known.


The Charge Against Christianity
Below is a breakdown of The Great Arcanum’s content, followed by my rebuttal (in Part one: Gospel or Myth?). In my rebuttal, I will first examine the statements made concerning the non-Christian deities by judging the truthfulness of the statements made in the video and comparing these biographical aspects which are allegedly similar to those of Christ’s life. Following that, I will show how the person of Jesus is distinct from the other deities who are said to share like biographical characteristics. In conclusion, I will consider the superiority of the Biblical record concerning Jesus of Nazareth over those texts concerning pagan mythological deities. Introduction The narrator, who remains nameless, begins by pointing out that people have worshiped the sun for many centuries, giving to it their respect and adoration. This adoration is in recognition that the sun maintains regularity of motion and provides the earth with its life-sustaining effect. It is also pointed out that for many centuries people have looked to the stars to “recognize and anticipate events which occurred over long periods of time.” Mankind has also cataloged these stars into groups known as constellations. Early man personified both the sun and stars as personifications of elaborate myths. The sun was personified as the “unseen creator,” due to its life-giving qualities, and was known as “god’s sun, the light of the world, [and] the savior of mankind.” The twelve constellations represented those who traveled for god’s sun. The sun god Horus The narrator then discloses how ancient Egyptians applied these concepts to the god Horus (3000 B.C.). “He is the sun anthropomorphized,” the narrator says, “and his life is a series of myths,” It is then suggested the rising and setting of the sun was likened to the myth of Horus and his evil counterpart Set, the personification of darkness. Sunrise is so named for Horus’ defeat of Set at the dawn of every new day, thus ushering in light to the world; and sunset, so named for Horus’ daily banishing to the underworld at the hands of Set, thus bringing darkness upon the earth. The narrator makes the following statements concerning the god Horus: He was born of the virgin Isis, also known as Mary, on Dec. 25 His birth was accompanied by a star in the east Upon his birth, three kings came to adorn the “newborn savior” At age twelve He was known as a teacher At age 30, He began his ministry after being baptized He had twelve disciples He performed miracles, such as walking on water He was known by such titles as “the truth, the light, the lamb of god, god’s anointed son, [and] the good shepherd.” He was crucified after being betrayed, then rose from the dead after three days


Other Deities The narrator then states, “These attributes of Horus, whether original or not, seem to permeate cultures of the world, for many other gods are found to have had the same mythological structure,” and he then continues to list other deities who share some of these attributes, as follows: Attis of Greece (1200 B.C.) He was born of the virgin Nana on Dec 25 He was crucified, dead for three days, and rose again Krishna of India (900 B.C.) He was born of the virgin Devaki on Dec 25 A star in east signaled his coming He performed miracles and had disciples He was crucified and rose from the dead Dionysus of Greece (200 A.D.) He was born of a virgin on Dec 25 He was a traveling teacher He performed miracles, such as turning water into wine He was referred to by such titles as “king of kings, god's only begotten son, and the alpha and omega” He was crucified and rose from the dead Mithras of Persia (1200 B.C.) He was born of a virgin on Dec 25 He had twelve disciples He was resurrected three days after his death He was referred to by such titles as “truth” and “light” Sunday was his sacred day of worship The video then scrolls through a list of numerous deities who are said to have shared some or all of these attributes: Chrishna of Hindostan Budha Saki of India Salivahana of Bermuda Zulis, or Zhule, also Osiris and Orus of Egypt Odin of the Scandinavians Crite of Chaldea Zoroaster and Mithra of Persia Baal and taut of Phoenicia Indra of Tibet Bali of Afghanistan Jao of Nepal Wittoba of the Bilingonese Thammuz of Syria Atys of Phrygia


Xamolxis of Thrace Zoar of the Bonzes Adad of Assyria Deva Tat and Sammonocadam of Siam Alcides of Thebes Mikado of the Sintoos Beddru of Japan Hesus or Eros, and Bremrillah, of the Druids Thor, son of Odin, of the Gauls Cadmus of Greece Hil and Feta of the Mandaites Gentaut and Quexalcote of Mexico Universal Monarch of the Sibyls Ischy of the island of Formosa Divine Teacher of Plato Holy One of Xaca Fohi and Tien of China Adonis, son of the virgin Io of Greece Ixion and Quirinius of Rome Prometheus of Causasus Mohamud, or Mahomet, of Arabia The following statement is then made: "The fact of the matter is, there are dozens of virgin-born, crucified saviors from all over the world who fit these descriptions. The question remains: Why these attributes? To find out, let's examine the most recent of the solar messiahs." Then, after a dramatic pause ... Jesus of Nazareth He was born of the virgin Mary on Dec. 25 His birth was announced by star in east He was a child teacher at age twelve He began His ministry at 30 after being baptized He had twelve disciples who traveled with Him He performed miracles He was known by such titles as “King of Kings, Son of God, the Alpha Omega, Light of World,” and the “Lamb of God” He was crucified, dead for three days, rose again, and ascended to Heaven Suggested origin for the “Jesus story” After listing these attributes of Jesus’ life, the narrator expounds on the idea that the “story of Jesus,” as he calls it, is merely a fabrication rooted in pagan mythology. He claims Jesus’ birth sequence is “completely astrological." The “star in east” (or the star of the magi) is Sirius, the brightest star in the night sky, which on December 24th aligns with the three brightest stars in Orion's belt. These three stars have been called, since ancient times, the "three kings,” and these stars, along with Sirius, all point to the place of the


sunrise on December 25th (See Figure 1, below), the date known through history as the birth of "god's sun.” This is why, he says, the three kings are mentioned in the Matthew’s Gospel account of Jesus birth: to follow the star in the east so that they may locate the rising of God’s Son.

Figure 1 The mention of the virgin Mary is representative of the constellation Virgo, also known as Virgo the Virgin (Virgo is Latin for “virgin”). The ancient glyph or letter for Virgo is M. "This is why Mary,” the narrator states, “and other virgin mothers such as Myrra and Maya (the mother of Buddha), begin with an M.” Virgo is also referred to as the “house of bread”. Bethlehem means “house of bread” in Hebrew. "Bethlehem is thus a reference to the constellation Virgo, a place in the sky, not on earth,” so the video suggests. Suggested origin for the Dec. 25th date of birth The video then examines a phenomenon which occurs around December 25th of each year. The shortening of the days during the winter solstice symbolized the concept of death among the ancients, and was known as the death of the sun. During December 22-24, the sun stops moving south, at least perceivably. During this “three day pause,“ the “sun of god” resides in the vicinity of the southern cross, or Crux, constellation (see the Figure 2, next page) and on December 25th, the sun moves, or “rises,” north (see the Figure 3, next page), foreshadowing longer days, warmth, and spring.


Figure 2

Figure 3

Conclusion The video concludes by saying, "And thus it was said, the sun died on the cross, was dead for three days, only to be resurrected, or born again. This is why Jesus, and all the other sun gods, maintain the crucifixion, three day death, and resurrection concept: it is the sun's transition period before it shifts its direction back into the northern hemisphere, bringing spring, and thus salvation.” It is then stated, “However, [ancient civilization] did not celebrate the resurrection of the sun until the spring equinox, or Easter. This is because at the spring equinox, the sun officially overpowers the evil darkness." End of video


The Great Arcanum makes the following statement: "The fact of the matter is, there are dozens of virgin-born, crucified saviors from all over the world who fit these descriptions [i.e. virgin-birth, youthful teacher, star in the east, crucifixion, three day death, resurrection, etc.].” It’s time to put this claim to the test and see if the meat behind this statement is nothing more than bologna. Are these facts indeed factual in nature, or are they the fabrications of a deceiver? In order to answer this question, I will look at each attribute which is said to have been similar to the attributes inherent in the Gospel accounts of the life of Christ (virgin-born, star in the east, miracles performed, crucifixion, resurrection, etc.). In this section, I will begin by considering the deities primarily discussed in the film: Horus*, Attis, Krishna, Dionysus, and Mithras,** and it will be shown that the Gospel accounts are not mere reflections of pagan myths, and that the claims of any such parallel or derivation is based on an alteration or gross exaggeration of the original myths and religious texts. Each socalled “parallel” attribute will be considered separately and in relation to each of these deities. *Egyptian mythology names several gods by this name. The one here under discussion is the son of Osiris and Isis, identified as king of Egypt. **There are actually three versions of this deity: the Indian deity Mitra, the Iranian (Persian) deity Mithra, and the Roman deity Mithras. Following the time of Christ, the former Iranian Mithra became known by Romans as Mithras. Zeitgeist incorrectly identifies the pre-Christian Persian deity Mithra as Mithras and applies to him certain characteristics of the post-Christian Roman Mithras. For instance, the Roman Mithras was said to have been born on Dec 25th and was worshiped on Sundays, but such characteristics were never associated with the Iranian Mithra. The producers of Zeitgeist confuse the two deities either due to lack of careful research, or as an intentional attempt to apply false characteristics to a deity which pre-dates Christianity, so that they may fabricate a basis on which to claim the earlier Iranian myth was that on which were based the later Gospel accounts of Jesus (after all, a post-Christian source is of no use to the copycat theorist when attempting to prove his or her case). In this book, my attention will focus on the Roman Mithras, since this is the deity actually under discussion, as the biographical characteristics suggest, rather than the Iranian Mithra.

I. Virgin birth: said of Horus, Attis, Krishna, Dionysus, and Mithras
Concerning Horus The narrator states that Horus was born of the virgin Isis on December 25th. In the original myth, Isis was not Horus’ mother, however, when Isis was merged with Hathor, another deity, she then became the wife of Osiris and the mother of Horus. The manner of Horus’ conception did not involve a virginal conception. Before his birth, his father Osiris was dismembered by Set into fourteen parts, which were dispersed throughout Egypt (which is why there are so many tombs for Osiris to be found in Egypt). Osiris’ wife, Isis, gathered the parts and pieced them together, except for Osiris’ phallus, which she could not locate, for Set threw it into a river and it was eaten by a fish. Isis then fashioned a phallus for him and by drawing the seed


from the body of her dead husband, she conceived Horus. A hymn within Plutarch’s account of the Horus myth contains the following description of Horus’ conception: "[Isis] made to rise up the helpless members [phallus] of him whose heart was at rest, she drew from him his essence [sperm], and she made from them an heir [Horus]."1 That is not virginal conception, since virgin birth necessitates the lack of sexual union and clearly Horus was born from the essence, or seed, of the revived Osiris. In fact, one ancient Egyptian relief depicts Horus’ conception by showing Isis, in the Underworld and in the form of a falcon, hovering over the erect phallus of the dead Osiris. It can also not be assumed that Isis was a virgin at the time of Horus’ conception, since she had been married to Osiris prior to the moment of Horus’ conception. There is no confirmation whether the marriage was or was not consummated in the myth, but the natural and reasonable presumption is that sexual intercourse would have been inherent in the relationship. Also, the last line in the first hymn found in the Book of the Dead, an ancient Egyptian religious text believed to have been a guide for the deceased in their journey through the Underworld, states, “The Company of the gods rejoiced at the coming of Horus, the son of Osiris, whose heart was firm, the triumphant, the son of Isis, the heir of Osiris.“ In his efforts to seek the opinion of modern scholarship, Ward Gasque, President of the Pacific Association for Theological Studies, contacted twenty contemporary Egyptologists, asking them whether or not Horus was virgin-born. The ten who responded were all in agreement that there is no indication within the ancient texts that Horus was virgin-born.2 Among the ancient manuscripts, the most complete account of the Horus myth is “On Isis and Osiris” by Plutarch (c.46-120 A.D.). It reads as follows: "Of the parts of Osiris' body the only one which Isis did not find was the male member, for the reason that this had been at once tossed into the river, and the lepidotus, the sea-bream, and the pike had fed upon it; and it is from these very fishes the Egyptians are most scrupulous in abstaining. But Isis made a replica of the member to take its place, and consecrated the phallus, in honor of which the Egyptians even at the present day celebrate a festival."3 Compare this to the following statements made by Egyptian scholars concerning Horus’ birth: "...drawings on contemporary funerary papyri show [Isis] as a kite hovering above Osiris, who is revived enough to have an erection and impregnate his wife."4 "After having sexual intercourse, in the form of a bird, with the dead god [Isis] restored to life, she gave birth to a posthumous son, Horus."5 In her booklet The Companion Guide to Zeitgeist Part 1, author D. M. Murdock (otherwise known as Acharya S) states, “It is erroneously claimed that, because in one version of the myth Isis impregnates herself with Osiris’ severed phallus, she cannot be considered a ‘virgin.’”6 In such an analysis, Murdock fails to consider that although the conception of Horus was a supernatural conception, it was still


conception by insemination, a means of conception which, regardless of the circumstances, does not involve virgin birth. By such logic as hers, the modern practice of artificial insemination would be considered virginal conception, which, of course, it is not. She even admits in the above statement that it was by Osiris’ “severed phallus” that Isis became pregnant. She also reiterates the conception by insemination in the next sentence when she says, (emphasis mine) “Furthermore, in his eye-opening comparison of Isis with the Virgin Mary, Budge states that in the Osirian myth it is by incantations, spells and words that Isis draws the seed into herself to conceive Horus.” The only eye opener here is the inconsistency of Murdock’s reasoning, since, even according to her own admission, it is still by Osiris’ “seed” that Isis is impregnated. Murdock attempts to further her premise concerning Isis’ so-called virgin birth by appealing to an inscription on the temple of the goddess Neith, one of Isis’ alter egos. Her claim is that the temple, which no longer remains standing, contained an inscription reading, “My garment no one has lifted up … The fruit that I have borne is the sun.” Murdock reads into this a reference to virginity, since no one is said to have “lifted up” Neith’s “garment.”7 The inscription did exist, to a certain degree, and is found in the writings of Plutarch, however, the context in which Plutarch refers to Neith’s “garment” is not in reference to her sexuality, but to the transcendent nature of the deity, who remains shrouded from the mind of men by means of the veil, as shown in the excerpt below (emphasis mine): “… he that was elected out of the military class immediately became one of the priests, and was initiated into their wisdom, which was for the most part shrouded in fables and stories giving obscure indications and glimpses of the truth … And the shrine of Minerva at Sais (whom they consider the same with Isis) bears this inscription, ‘I am all that hath been, and is, and shall be; and my veil no mortal has hitherto raised.’ … Manetho the Sebennyte is of opinion that the ‘hidden’ and ‘hiding’ is expressed by this word. Hecataeus of Abdera says that the Egyptians use this word to one another, when they are calling anyone to them; for the word is one of calling to, for which reason the Supreme God (whom they consider the same with the All) they invoke as being hidden and invisible, and exhort him to make himself visible and apparent, and therefore call him ‘Amun’: so great therefore was the piety of the Egyptians in their teaching respecting the gods.”8 The above excerpt from Plutarch is a clear reference to the mysteries of the religion, and of the deity herself, rather than a reference to any supposed virginity of the goddess. Nevertheless, Murdock then cites William Coleman as saying, “The point is this: Does the expression, ‘lifting the garment’...of Neith refer to her perpetual virginity or to her inscrutability? There is not a shadow of doubt that it refers to the former, and I am confident that every Egyptologist in the world will so decide.”9 Given the above context in which the phrase was originally given by Plutarch, Coleman’s certainty in his colleagues’ agreement with his interpretation is the epitome of overconfidence in such an unwarranted premise, as evidenced by the Egyptologists who replied to Gasque’s inquiry. Murdock even hints to the true meaning of the “garment” when she cites Wallis Budge as saying (emphasis mine),


“at Sais [the location of Neith’s temple] there were several chambers in which the ‘Mysteries’ of the ancient Virgin Mother-goddess Neith were celebrated.”10 By her own admission, Murdock gives her readers the true meaning of the veil: that it is a covering over of the deity’s person, thus preventing her from being known by her devotees, and the pursuit of such knowledge is the purpose for which these “chambers” existed in her temple. Murdock also appeals to the birth of Ra, the Egyptian sun god, in an attempt to link his birth with the birth of Jesus, the Son of God, by drawing attention to the identification of Neith as the Great Mother and the “begetter of the sun.” The appeal she is making is two-fold. First, she appeals to the similarity between the title of Neith and the title of Mary, both regarded, by some, as a “mother of God.” This tactic will be addressed under the heading specifically concerned with Mary herself. Second, she appeals to the phonetic similarity of Neith as the mother of the sun to that of Mary as the mother of the Son of God. This tactic will be addressed under the heading immediately forthcoming. Yet, in raising such a point, she brings to light a subtle comparison that some critics would draw between the type of births involved in the Neith myth and the Gospel nativity, claiming that both involved a birth by virginal conception, since neither birth involved male insemination. According to the Egyptian myth, Neith is one of the primeval deities and the one responsible not just for the creation of the sun, but also, the gods themselves. Neith (as Isis) is the mother of Ra, the Egyptian sun god. She is said to have conceived him while she was in the primordial watery void known as Nun. Since the sun, or Ra, rose from these waters while Isis/Neith was within them, she is said to have given birth to the sun. However, Ra’s birth was not a virgin birth; but rather, a birth through parthenogenesis, or asexual reproduction. Neith was an androgynous deity, meaning she was a mixture of masculine and feminine properties,11 and a birth by such a deity cannot be likened to a virgin birth, since it still involves the function of a particular type of sexuality. Neith, being a deity who possesses properties of both male and female genders, does not reproduce through union with a member of the opposite sex, since there is no gender to which she is opposite. Neither is there abstinence from sexual intercourse by which she could rightly be considered a virgin. In the natural world, parthenogenesis occurs in some species of plants and creatures, such as some bees and scorpions, reptiles, and, on rare occasions, birds and sharks. 12 In these instances, the subject is not regarded as haiving given birth by virginal conception, nor is the conception considered supernatural, since the process of parthenogenesis is a natural form of conception in asexual creatures. By contrast, Mary’s virginal conception of Jesus cannot be compared to parthenogenesis since parthenogenesis is not a natural means by which women conceive. Perhaps Murdock is aware that such a comparison is not reasonable, thereby compelling her to make such an analogy by merely evoking a play on words, linking Isis, the mother of the sun, to Mary, the mother of the Son of God. Unfortunately, for her, it takes more than child’s play to make her analogy tenable. Finally, she states, “Nor is Neith-Isis the only pre-Christian and non-Christian virgin mother. Gautama Buddha was only one of many Oriental heroes whose mother was a virgin.”13 Buddha's mother was married to the King of Shakyas at the time of Buddha’s conception and, although he was indeed said to have had a supernatural birth (a white elephant is said to have entered his mother’s side and


impregnated her), such a legend concerning his birth did not arise until after the writing of the Gospels. Concerning Krishna* *Note: “Krishna” is incorrectly translated when translated as “Christ.” Krishna literally means “Black” in Sanskrit, whereas “Christ” means “Anointed One” in Hebrew. Krishna’s birth was not to a virgin. Contrary to critics’ suggestions that Krishna was born to the virgin Maia, Krishna was the eighth son of Devaki and her husband Vasudeva, according to the Hindu texts: "You have been born of the divine Devaki and Vasudeva for the protection of Brahma on earth."14 It is true that, while their previous seven sons were born through normal conceptions and births, Krishna’s birth was said to have been miraculous in that he is said to have never entered the womb of Devaki, but was already there in her mind and heart. “While carrying the form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead within the core of his heart, Vasudeva bore the Lord's transcendentally illuminating effulgence, and thus he became as bright as the sun. He was therefore very difficult to see or approach through sensory perception. Indeed, he was unapproachable and unperceivable even for such formidable men as Kamsa, and not only for Kamsa but for all living entities. Thereafter, accompanied by plenary expansions, the fully opulent Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is all-auspicious for the entire universe, was transferred from the mind of Vasudeva to the mind of Devaki. Devaki, having thus been initiated by Vasudeva, became beautiful by carrying Lord Krishna, the original consciousness for everyone, the cause of all causes, within the core of her heart, just as the east becomes beautiful by carrying the rising moon.”15 "With our senses we can perceive some things, but not everything; for example, we can use our eyes to see, but not to taste. Consequently, You are beyond perception by the senses. Although in touch with the modes of material nature, You are unaffected by them. You are the prime factor in everything, the all-pervading, undivided Supersoul. For You, therefore, there is no external or internal. You never entered the womb of Devaki; rather, You existed there already."16 In the case of Krishna, it is said the personality of godhead was transferred from the mind of Vasudeva to the mind of Devaki without the intervention of male seed. Krishna did not reside within the womb of Devaki, for his presence within the core of her heart was sufficient to carry him. For this reason, Hindus are forbidden to think that Krishna was begotten by Vasudeva within the womb of Devaki and that she carried him as she carried her previous seven children. This account of Krishna,


although miraculous, were it true, could not be likened to the Gospel accounts of either Jesus’ conception or Mary’s pregnancy, for the following reasons: 1. Jesus was Mary’s first child (Lk 2:7), whereas Krishna was Devaki’s eighth, thereby identifying Devaki as a non-virgin.. 2. While the conception of Jesus was supernatural and without male insemination, Mary’s pregnancy was as natural as any mother’s-to-be pregnancy could be. She carried Jesus in her womb for a full term and gave natural birth. 3. Mary was a virgin at the time of Jesus’ conception (Lk 1:27), and remained so until after his birth. While she was “espoused”, or betrothed, to Joseph at the time of Jesus’ conception and they were legally considered husband and wife, they did not consummate the marriage until after Jesus was born (Mt 1:25). The custom of the day was that betrothal lasted one year, during which time Mary and Joseph were considered legally married and were called husband and wife. After the year of betrothal, a seven day-long wedding ceremony took place, after which Joseph would bring her to the door of their new home. However, during the betrothal period, they were also bound to be faithful to one another and any infidelity was considered adultery. In such case, the relationship could be broken by one of two means: * Joseph could have her presented with a note of divorce in public court, at which time her reputation would be forever scarred and, according to Levitical law, she could be stoned for adultery, although by her day the practice of stoning as the penalty for such an offense had virtually been abandoned, due to the influence of the Pharisees. * Or, Joseph could “put her away” privately, at which time she would be presented with a note of divorce in the presence of one or two witnesses, after which she would be sent to raise her child in secret and away from the community. Historian Michael Licona contacted Dr. Edwin Bryant, Professor of Hinduism at Rutgers University, regarding the parallels which author D. M. Murdock draws between Krishna and Jesus. Concerning Bryant’s response, Licona writes: “I emailed him regarding her 24 comparisons of Krishna to Jesus which the reader may find in The Christ Conspiracy. He stated that 14 of her 24 comparisons are wrong and a 15th is partially wrong. What about her 9 that are correct; especially Krishna’s virgin birth, the story of the tyrant who had thousands of infants killed (a parallel to Herod), and Krishna’s bodily ascension? Benjamin Walker in his book, The Hindu World: An Encyclopedic Survey of Hinduism provides an answer. After tracing similarities related to the birth, childhood, and divinity of Jesus, as well as the late dating of these legendary developments in India, ‘[t]here can be no doubt that the Hindus borrowed the tales [from Christianity], but not the name.’ Bryant also comments that these


parallels come from the Bhagavata Purana and the Harivamsa. Bryant believes the former ‘to be prior to the seventh century A.D. (although many scholars have hitherto considered it to be 11 century A.D.’ Yet this is hundreds of years after the Gospel accounts. Of the Harivamsa, Bryant is uncertain concerning its date. However, most sources seem to place its composition between the fourth and sixth centuries, again hundreds of years after the Gospel accounts had been in circulation. An earlier date is entertained by David Mason of the University of Wisconsin, who states that there is no consensus on the dating that he is aware of but that it may be as early as the second century. Even if this early date is accurate, it is still after the Gospels, not before as Murdock’s thesis requires.”17 Concerning Mithras Not only was Mithras not born to a virgin, he was not born of woman at all; but rather, he emerged from a rock, and in proximity to a wild bull, which critics choose to liken to the Christian manger scene complete with lambs and oxen. In the religious texts and in the earliest reliefs depicting his origin, Mithras is seen emerging from the rock as a fully-mature being. Thus, Mithras is known in literature as the “rockborn god,” and an early inscription attributed to Mithras reads, “To the almighty God Sun invincible, generative god, born from the rock.”18 Commodianus, a Latin poet who wrote c. 250 A.D., identified Mithras as "the unconquered one … born from a rock."19 In addition, the Mithras cult did not become known in the Roman world until the second century A.D. (the latest of the four Gospels, the Gospel of John, was written in the 90’s A.D.), and therefore could not have been a source for any such fabrication of virgin birth for Jesus in the first century. The following is from the Encyclopedia Britannica: “There is little notice of the Persian god [Mithra] in the Roman world until the beginning of the 2nd century, but, from the year A.D. 136 onward, there are hundreds of dedicatory inscriptions to Mithra. This renewal of interest is not easily explained. The most plausible hypothesis seems to be that Roman Mithraism was practically a new creation, wrought by a religious genius who may have lived as late as c. A.D. 100 and who gave the old traditional Persian ceremonies a new Platonic interpretation that enabled Mithraism to become acceptable to the Roman world”20 It is said that shepherds attended Mithras' birth and even offered to him the firstlings from their flock, but the source material for this aspect of the birth story dates only back to the second century and, therefore, could not have been an influence for the writer of the Gospel of Luke. Besides, according to Mithraic doctrine, Mithras emerged from the rock at a time before man, whether shepherd or non-shepherd, existed on earth. In regards to the alleged similarities between Mithraism and Christianity, Manfred Clauss states, "...the entire discussion is largely unhistorical. To raise the issue of a competition between the two religions is to assume that Christians and Mithraists had the same aims. Such a view exaggerates the missionary zeal -- itself a Christian idea -- of the other mystery cults. None of them aimed to become the sole legitimate religion of the Roman empire, because they offered an entirely individual and


personal salvation. The alternative 'Mithras or Christ?' is wrongly framed, because it postulates a competitive situation which, in the eyes of Mithraists, simply did not exist....We should not simply transpose Christian views and terms in this area onto other mystery cults. Most of the parallels between Mithraism and Christianity are part of the common currency of all mystery cults or can be traced back to common origins in the Graeco-oriental culture of the Hellenistic world. The similarities do not at all suggest mutual influence....there are more substantial parallels at the ritual level, particularly the ritual meal...."21 Concerning Attis Attis was born of the nymph Nana after she was impregnated by an almond (seriously!) which was affected by the semen of Zeus, the chief of the Olympian gods. According to one version of the myth, a hermaphroditic (having both male and female parts) monster arises from the earth and gives “birth” to the river Sangarius, from which Nana is brought forth. The myth states she either became impregnated by holding an almond to her breast or by it falling into her lap while sitting beneath a tree. After the child is born, she abandons him and he is afterwards raised by a goat*.22 There is also an alternate version of the myth, in which Nana is the daughter of King Sangarius and she becomes pregnant from a pomegranate fruit. After an attempt by Liber to kill the hunter Agdistis, the fruit is produced from Agdistis’ blood, and it is by this fruit that Nana is impregnated. There is clearly no similarity here to the virgin birth of Jesus, in which the child is conceived in Mary’s womb without her being affected by an object touched with “divine” life-giving properties. Pausanias, a second century geographer, gave the following account of the belief concerning Attis’ birth: “Zeus, it is said, let fall in his sleep seed upon the ground, which in course of time sent up a demon with two sexual organs, male and female. They call the demon Agdistis. But the gods, fearing Agdistis, cut off the male organ. There grew up from it an almond tree with its fruit ripe, and a daughter of the river Sangarius, they say, took of the fruit and laid it in her bosom, when it at once disappeared, but she was with child. A boy was born and exposed, but was tended by a he-goat.”23 * In myth, the goat is linked to the god Pan, a trickster spirit. Concerning Dionysus As with Attis, there are two versions of the birth of Dionysus, and neither one involves birth from a virgin. In the first, Dionysus is conceived after his mother, Semele, a mortal woman, is impregnated by Zeus. The goddess Hera became jealous of the pregnant Semele and convinces her to ask Zeus to show her his glory, knowing that any mortal who looks upon his glory would die. Semele made such a request and upon beholding Zeus’ glory, she was incinerated. After her death, Zeus sews the fetal Dionysus into his own thigh and carries him until his birth. A play by Euripides tells of the rebirth of Dionysus:


“Immediately Zeus, Kronos' son, received [Dionysus] into a chamber fit for birth, and having covered him in his thigh shut him up with golden clasps, hidden from Hera. And he brought forth, when the Fates had perfected him, the bull-horned god, and he crowned him with crowns of snakes.”24 In the second version of the birth story, Dionysus is the offspring of Persephone, her having being impregnated by Zeus. This version also features a jealous Hera, who sends the Titans to kill the infant, which they do by dismemberment. Zeus remedies the situation by implanting Dionysus’ heart into the womb of Semele, from whom Dionysus is then reborn. In the case of Dionysus, both birth versions involve the god Zeus impregnating a woman to satisfy his own lust, which is in no way similar to the conception of Jesus, who was conceived not as a result of Mary being “impregnated” by the Holy Spirit; but rather, the child was formed within her without the means of insemination. Zeus was a morally corrupt god, siring numerous offspring after either deceiving or raping a woman.25 In addition, Dionysus was not born for the purpose of the child bringing salvation, as was the case with Jesus. When the angel announced to Mary she would conceive, she was told specifically the child would “save his people from their sins.” Also, Dionysus’ second “birth” is better likened to the concept of re-creation, being created a second in the same form and as the same person. In any case, no virgin birth can be attributed to Dionysus. Dionysus is said to have been the bodily incarnation of God, as was Jesus. In the Bacche Dionysus says that he “veiled his godhead in mortal shape” and was made “manifest to mortal men.” Elsewhere in the same work he says, “I have changed my immortal form and taken the likeness of men.” However, he said this merely in retaliation to Pentheus' refusal to bestow him honor, rather than making a literal claim to incarnation.

II. December 25th date of birth: said of Horus, Attis, Krishna, Dionysus,
and Mithras Concerning Horus Horus' birth was actually celebrated during the month of Khoiak, which corresponds to October/November. Plutarch’s claim that Horus was born in December1 is more closely related to the sacredness which many pagan religions associated with the winter solstice, which was typical of sun gods (which Horus became through his merging with Ra). Concerning Attis Nowhere in the myth is Attis said to be born in December. In fact, his birth was associated with the annual return of spring.2 Concerning Krishna Krishna's “birthday” is observed by the celebration called Krishna Janmaashtami, and is observed in the Hindu month of Bhadrapadha which corresponds to the month of August.3


Concerning Dionysus In like fashion with Attis, Dionysus’ birth is associated with the annual return of spring. It was not until the fourth century, by Epiphanius, when Dionysus’ birth was associated with a date in the winter months, and this date was January 6th, not December 25th.4 Concerning Mithras True, December 25th is associated with Mithras, but not until 274 A.D. when the Roman Emperor Aurelian instituted the Feast of Sol Invictus to be observed on that date.5 He did so with political motives due to the growing popularity of Mithraism among the Roman populace and an attempt to secure the loyalty of his soldiers. When was Jesus born? The critics who claim Jesus’ birth date is derived from pagan mythology are actually correct, since the date on which Christians observe His birth does have pagan origin, as will be shown shortly hereafter. However, these critics are apparently unaware that Jesus was not actually born on December 25th, or they intentionally manipulate the information, through omission or alteration of the facts, for the purposes of deceiving others into believing their claim to be true. No one knows the exact date of Jesus’ birth, however, we can narrow the scope of the search for His birth date by considering other factors, such as the death of Herod the Great, the Jewish rite of purification, and the date of Zechariah’s service in the temple. Establishing the year The end date - The death of Herod the Great Jesus was born before the death of Herod the Great, as described in Matthew’s narrative. Historians have assigned the date of Herod’s death to a few different years: 5 B.C., 4 B.C., and 1 B.C. The best evidence leans in favor of 4 B.C. According to Josephus, a Jewish historian who wrote in order to gain favor with the Roman emperor, Herod’s kingdom was divided among his sons in 4 B.C., following their father’s death. Additionally, he stated that Herod died shortly before the Passover Feast6 in the year of Rome 750 AUC* (or 4 B.C.), a feast which was held on the date corresponding to the fourth of April. Josephus also stated Herod died after a lunar eclipse which occurred earlier, on March 13th, 4 B.C. Therefore, Herod must have died between March 13th, the date of the lunar eclipse, and April 12th, the date of the Passover Feast, in 4 B.C.7 * AUC stands for Ab Urbe Condita, meaning "from the foundation of Rome". 1 AUC corresponds to 754 B.C., the date being chosen in 533 A.D. by Dionysus Exiguus, who chose to reckon years from the founding of Rome to what he believed was the year of Christ’s birth, although Jesus was not actually born in 1 A.D. Conclusion #1: The birth of Christ must have been no later than April 12th in 4 B.C.


The beginning date - The date of the construction of the Temple Herod the Great ordered the reconstruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, an effort which began in 20 B.C. In John’s Gospel, the Jews stated that this effort continued for forty-six years (Jn 2:20), which would bring its completion to 26 A.D. The event recounted in the Gospel is the first of three annual Passovers attended by Jesus during His ministry. If the Temple was completed in 26 A.D., and Jesus’ attendance at the three annual Passover feasts was between 27-29 A.D., that would place His birth in late 5 B.C. or early 4 B.C., as He was thirtythree years of age when He was crucified. Conclusion #2: The birth of Christ must have been no earlier than the latter portion of 5 B.C. and no later than April 12th in 4 B.C. Determining the time of the year The date of Zechariah’s service in the temple In Luke’s Gospel, it is said of Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist and a member of the Jewish priestly order, that the birth of John was announced to him by an angel while he was performing his priestly duties in Jerusalem. Luke also states that Zechariah was of the priestly “course of Abijah” (or Abia, as spelled in the King James Version). The priestly courses King David, in accordance with instruction he received from God (1 Chr 28:11-13), divided the Levitical priesthood into twenty-four courses, or groups (1 Chr 24:1-4). The establishment of these courses would ensure the Temple would be staffed year round by a set rotation of priests. Once the priesthood was divided, lots were drawn to determine the order in which each course would serve in the rotation (1 Chr 24: 7-19). As a result, the course of Abijah was named as the eighth course in the rotation (I Chr 24:10), a schedule which continued until the destruction of the Temple in 70 A.D. The Jewish calendar The Jewish calendar has twelve or thirteen months, corresponding to the revolution of the earth around the sun (about 12.4 months), having twenty-nine or thirty days each, corresponding to the revolution of the moon about the earth (about 29.5 days). In order to compensate for the additional eleven days gained each year on a strictly twelve month calendar, the Hebrews added a month, called Adar I, between Shebat and Adar, the eleventh and twelfth month. The Jewish months, from first to last, are: Nisan Iyar Sivan Tammuz Av Elul 30 days 29 days 30 days 29 days 30 days 29 days Mar-Apr Apr-May May-June June-July July-Aug Aug-Sept


Tishri Cheshvan Kislev Tevet Shevat Adar I Adar

30 days 29-30 days 29-30 days 29 days 30 days 30 days 29 days

Sept-Oct Oct-Nov Nov-Dec Dec-Jan Jan-Feb Feb-Mar (leap years only) Feb-Mar

The rotation of courses Each course would serve for one week, from Sabbath to Sabbath, in the scheduled rotation, with the exception of the festivals of Unleavened Bread and Passover (Nisan 15-21), Pentecost (Sivan 6), and Tabernacles (Tishri 15), during which all courses were on duty in the Temple. Each year, when the rotation was completed, it began anew with the first of the courses. Thus, each course served five times during the year – two weeks for their usual rotation and three weeks for the three weekly festivals. The rotation of courses began in the Jewish month of Nissan (corresponding mid-March to mid-April), the beginning of the Jewish year (1 Chr 27:2). Nisan 30 days Mar-Apr Week 1 - course 1 Week 2 - course 2 Week 3 - all courses for the Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread Week 4 - course 3 Iyar 29 days Apr-May Week 5 - course 4 Week 6 - course 5 Week 7 - course 6 Week 8 - course 7 Sivan 30 days May-June Week 9 - course 8 (Zechariah’s service during the first rotation) Week 10 - all courses for the Feast of Pentecost. Week 11 - course 9 Week 12 - course 10 Tammuz 29 days June-July Week 13 - course 11 Week 14 - course 12 Week 15 - course 13 Week 16 - course 14 Av 30 days July-Aug Week 17 - course 15 Week 18 - course 16 Week 19 - course 17 Week 20 - course 18



29 days Aug-Sept Week 21 - course 19 Week 22 - course 20 Week 23 - course 21 Week 24 - course 22 Tishri 30 days Sept-Oct Week 25 - course 23 Week 26 - course 24 Week 27 - all courses for the Feast of Tabernacles Week 28 – The rotation begins anew with course 1 Cheshvan 29-30 days Oct-Nov Week 29 - course 2 Week 30 - course 3 Week 31 - course 4 Week 32 - course 5 Kislev 29-30 days Nov-Dec Week 33 - course 6 Week 34 - course 7 Week 35 - course 8 (Zechariah’s service during the second rotation) Weeks 36-52 – the remainder of the courses serve in their second scheduled rotation The service of Abijah The schedule above shows that the course of Abijah would serve its regular schedule during the first week of Sivan, in the latter half of May, and the third week of Kislev, in early December. In addition to this, the same course would also serve for the three weekly feasts: 1) in early April, 2) in late May, immediately following its first scheduled appointment, and 3) in early October. The birth of John Luke tells us that “as soon as the days of [Zechariah’s] ministration were accomplished” (Lk 1:23) he returned to his home in "the hill country" of Judah (Lk 1: 39). His wife, Elizabeth, conceived shortly after his return home. Allowing a few days for the journey home, we can assume John was conceived shortly thereafter. John the Baptist would then have been born close to nine months following Zechariah’s service in the Temple. The conception of Jesus According to Luke, when the angel Gabriel announced to Mary that she would conceive a son, he also stated that Elizabeth was in the sixth month of her pregnancy at that time (Lk 1:26-36). Therefore, Jesus’ birth, nine months later, was fifteen months after Zechariah’s service. Determining at which appointment Zechariah served Luke does state that Zechariah performed his service “in the order of his course,” (Lk 1:8) and that as part of his service he entered “into the temple of


the Lord and burn incense.” (Lk 1:9) The nature of Zechariah’s service described in the text indicates that it was during one of his two regularly-scheduled weeks that he served, rather than one of his three festival weeks of service.8 Therefore, at the time of the annunciation of John’s birth, it is likely Zechariah was in service either in late May or early October, when his course regularly served according to the regular schedule. Based on that information, we can calculate the conception and birth of John and Jesus as follows: If during Zechariah’s first service in the latter half of May: Late May/early June – John is conceived Late November/early, December – Jesus is conceived Late February/early March – birth of John Late August/early September – birth of Jesus If during Zechariah’s second service in early December: December – John is conceived June – Jesus is conceived September – John is born December/January – Jesus is born Conclusion #3: Jesus’ birth was in August/September or December of 5 B.C. The events surrounding Jesus’ birth Immediately following her giving birth to Jesus, Mary entered in to a period of time when she was deemed unfit to participate in religious ceremonies. According to Jewish law, in order to cleanse herself of this state, a woman was required to undergo the rite of purification after giving birth. In the case of a daughter, purification was to be completed eighty-one days after birth; and for a son, forty-one days. The rite required Joseph and Mary to journey from Bethlehem to Jerusalem and pay to the Temple the appropriate amount due for Mary’s purification. This means that the time between Jesus’ birth and Mary’s purification must have been at least six weeks, to allow for the forty-one day requirement. We also know that after the purification they returned to Bethlehem and were visited by the magi. After the magi departed Bethlehem, Herod sent his soldiers to Bethlehem to slaughter the male children two years and under. It was said above that Herod died between March 13th to April 12th in 4 B.C. Between Jesus’ birth and the death of Herod were Mary’s forty-one day period of ceremonial impurity, the round trip to Jerusalem for the Purification rite, the visit of the Magi, and the slaughter of the children. In order to allow enough time for these events to occur, a December birth is unlikely, since it only allows for no more than four months – and that being the case only if Jesus’ birth was in early December and Herod’s death was shortly before April 12th. Finally, Luke tells us that Jesus was born during a Roman census conducted “when Quirinius was governor of Syria*.” (Lk. 2:1-2) A census was typically conducted following the harvest season, from August to October, in order to cause as little effect on the economy as possible in a largely agrarian society.9


Also, travel from one district to another would have been easier and safer before the winter storms and rain set in. For this reason, a December census would not have been likely. * Note: Critics have challenged Luke’s accuracy, since Quirinius did not begin his governorship until a few years after the supposed date of Jesus’ birth. Historian Alfred Edersheim and theologian J. Gresham Machen agree that the census began prior to Quirinius’ governorship, but was completed while he was in office, and that it was custom to name a census according to the ruler under whose governorship the census was completed.10 See Part five for a further discussion on Quirinius' enrollment. Conclusion #4: Jesus’ birth was in August/September of 5 B.C. Addendum - The argument regarding the shepherds According to Luke, on the night of Jesus' birth, there were “shepherds in the same country abiding in the field, and keeping watch by night over their flock.” (Lk 2:8) Some argue that a December birth is unlikely on the premise that shepherds would not keep watch in the fields in the winter months, while others argue that shepherds watched their flocks year round, making a December birth not impossible on this basis alone. Luke was a man who paid close attention to detail. His mention of shepherds abiding with their flocks by night was not likely just a casual reference; but rather, was probably included as an indicator of the time of the year when Jesus was born. If shepherds watched their flocks year round, then such a mention of a night-time watch would be futile. How did December 25th come to be recognized as Jesus’ birth date? As stated above, the exact birth date is not known, but we can, with a fair amount of certainty, narrow the date to within a short span of time. The celebration of Jesus’ birth date was established on December 25th by Julius I in 350 A.D. Prior to this establishment, December 25th was known as the Roman holiday Brumalia, a pagan celebration devoted to the sun. Desiring to challenge the Roman observance, Julius declared that date to be the date on which the birth of Jesus would be observed. As one Roman Catholic writer states, "… to facilitate the acceptance of the faith by the pagan masses, the Church of Rome found it convenient to institute the 25th of December as the feast of the birth of Christ to divert them from the pagan feast, celebrated on the same day in honor of the 'Invincible Sun' Mithras, the conqueror of darkness."11 Christians were outraged and offended at this declaration, since the birth of their Savior was being associated with a pagan celebration. However, that date remained firm as the date on which Jesus’ birth was observed. Since then, December 25th has been the date on which Jesus birth has been celebrated, despite the actual date being unknown. Concerning this date, some critics appeal to the piece of legislation known as HR 847, passed in 2007 by the U.S. House of Representatives, allegedly declaring December 25th as Jesus' birthday. The truth is that this piece of legislation does not declare December 25th as the birthday of Jesus. The legislation (the text of which may be read in full at makes various statements concerning the


population of Christians in the world, as well as statements relating to various social and political observations with respect to Christians and Christianity in general. However, concerning Christmas as the date of Jesus' birth, the bill simply states that Christmas is “a holiday of great significance to Americans and many other cultures and nationalities, [and] is celebrated annually by Christians throughout the United States and the world. … On December 25th of each calendar year, American Christians observe Christmas, the holiday celebrating the birth of their savior, Jesus Christ; … as a recognition of God's redemption, mercy, and Grace; and … [and] as a time to serve others.” Such statements merely relate what Christians believe about Christmas, without further commenting or making declarations concerning the validity of these beliefs. The bill only names December 25th as the date on which Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus, not as the date on which Jesus was actually born. Why are many pagan deities said to be born on December 25th? It is true that many pagan deities share December 25th as the date for celebration in their name. This is due to the fact that many of these deities are associated with the sun or the sky, and December 25th has been considered throughout history and by many cultures to be the birthday of the sun. Thus, a deity said to be a sky or sun god shared the “birthday” of the sun. The selection of this date is based on the symbolism surrounding the Winter Solstice (derived from the Latin words “sol” meaning “sun”, and “sistere,” meaning “to cause to stand still”), which marks the end of the darkening of the days and the beginning of the lengthening of light. On this day, because of the tilt of the earth on its axis, daylight exists in its shortest duration throughout the year, after which the daylight hours gradually increase. Many cultures saw this event as a sign of rebirth, renewal, and even salvation. During the three days prior to the Winter Solstice, between December 22nd-24th, the sun is perceived as ceasing to move either north or south, and ancient cultures considered this stillness of the sun as being symbolic of death; specifically, the death of the old sun. When, on December 25th, the sun began to move north, or “return from the dead,” this was considered symbolic of life, or the “rebirth” of the sun. So it was that December 25th became celebrated as the birth of the sun, and also became closely associated with any deity related to the sun. The celebration of the Winter Solstice was not observed by ancient Egyptians. Rather, it has its basis as a Druidic or Celtic observance. The Celtic year observed the following eight annual cycles: Samhain, the beginning of the Celtic year – October 31st This was a time when men and women conducted themselves in a chaotic manner, playing various sorts of tricks and pranks and even cross-dressing amongst themselves. During these three days the World of the Ancestors was made available to the living, and many attempted to contact those in the spirit world. There were feasts held in honor of the dead, and during this time, the dead were thought of as living spirits. Yule, The Winter Solstice – December 22nd -24th Also called Midwinter or Alban Arthan (i.e., the Light of Arthur), the Winter Solstice marked a time of death and rebirth, as the sun is perceived


to disappear on this day, the day of the longest night, then reappear on December 25th, the day which begins the lengthening of daylight. Imbolc – February 2nd Also called Oimelc, this date marked the beginning of the spring thaw when the winter snow began to fade. Ostara, The Spring Equinox – March 20th or 21st During this time, forces of day and night are perceived to reign in equal duration. Beltine – April 30th A time when adolescence and fertility is celebrated. The Summer Solstice – June 21st or 22nd Also called Alban Hefin, this is the day which sees the longest period of daylight. Druids held an all-night vigil on the eve of this day. A second ceremony was held beginning with the light of day, and a third ceremony at noontime. Lughnasadh – August 2nd Also known as Lammas, this day marked the beginning of the harvest season. On this day were held various contests and games. Mabon, The Autumn Equinox – September 21st Also called Alban Elfed, this final cycle marked the end of the harvest season. Day and night are again of equal duration, as during the Spring Equinox. On this day the Celts gave thanks to the Mother Goddess for the bounty of the season’s harvest. There is a vast difference between the Christian view of astronomy and the astrotheology of pagan cultures. In pagan cultures, the revolution of the seasons and the stars in the heavens are reflective of the recurring events in the lives of their deities. Thus, the annual renewal of vegetation is likened to the annual rebirth of a god. In Christian theology, the seasons are set in motion by a providential God and the stars in the heavens are His creation. In pagan religion, the sun is god. In Christian theology, the sun is a created body fashioned by the word of God. In pagan religion, the gods are subservient to the seasons. In Christian theology, the seasons were set in motion according to the design of God. The ancient Jews and Christians never thought of the sun, stars, or seasons as being objects worthy of worship. In fact, God strictly forbade the worship of the stars, therefore, any suggestion that the Gospel accounts of Jesus are based on pre-existing astrological beliefs denies the fact that the writers of the Gospels belonged to a religious system which forbade such astrotheological beliefs. And lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and when thou seest the sun, and the moon, and the stars, even all the host of heaven, shouldest be driven to worship them, and serve them, which the LORD thy God hath divided unto all nations under the whole heaven. (Deut 4:19 NASB) Additionally, the pagan deities who were “reborn” with the return of spring, were reborn on an annual basis, dying every winter then being reborn in the spring. In contrast, Jesus died once for all, having paid for sin through His death on the cross.


There was no need for Him to sacrifice Himself again. Following His death and resurrection, Christ ascended to Heaven to sit at the right hand of His Father, having satisfied God’s wrath against sin. These are just a few of the differences between Jesus and the pagan deities. Other differences, such as the historical character of Jesus verses the mythological character of the pagan deities, and the atoning purpose for Christ’s death against the non-redemptive nature of pagan gods, will be discussed more in Part four of this work. The stars are the product of God’s creation And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. (Gen 1:16) When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained. (Ps 8:3) Seek him that maketh the seven stars and Orion, and turneth the shadow of death into the morning, and maketh the day dark with night: that calleth for the waters of the sea, and poureth them out upon the face of the earth: The LORD is his name: (Amos 5:8) The seasons are set in motion by God’s design and decree Thou hast set all the borders of the earth: thou hast made summer and winter. (Ps 74:17) And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: (Gen 1:14) And the LORD smelled a sweet savor; and the LORD said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake; for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done. While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease. (Gen 8:21-22) He appointed the moon for seasons: the sun knoweth his going down. (Ps 104:19) Daniel answered and said, Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his: And he changeth the times and the seasons. (Dan 2:20-21) Son of God or “sun of God”? In their attempt to identify Jesus as just another solar deity, critics appeal to the phonetic similarity between the words “son” and “sun” in their attempt to sway


others to their own perverted interpretation of the Christian belief in Jesus as the Son of God. However, the association ends with vocal pronunciation and even this level of association is evident in only select languages. For example, in Hebrew, the language in which the Old Testament was written, the word for “sun” is shemesh, which bears no similarity, even phonetically, to ben, the Hebrew word for “son.” Likewise, in Greek, the language in which the New Testament was written, the word for “sun” is helios, which bears no similarity in meaning, although some phonetic similarity, to huios, the Greek word for “son.” In Aramaic, the language spoken in Palestine during the time of Christ, the word for “sun” is jämbär, while the word for “son” is wänd lj. The only appeal that the critics cling to in their attempts to identify Jesus as a solar deity is that of phonetics, at the expense of etymology. The difference in meaning of “sun” and “son,” in any language, regardless of any phonetic similarity, is enough to prove that the New Testament and early Christian writers did not regard Jesus as representative of a celestial body; but rather, as one who is in direct relation to divinity. Also, it should be noted that the identification of Jesus as the Son of God denotes His oneness with God the Father, rather than a natural or ontological begetting, and this relationship will be discussed in detail in Part four. In her attempt to validate this play on words, D. M. Murdock says, “the authoritative Catholic Encyclopedia states: The earliest rapprochement of the births of Christ and the sun is in [the writings of Church father] Cyprian [200-258 A.D.]… ‘O, how wonderfully acted Providence that on that day on which that Sun was born…Christ should be born.’”12 It is interesting that the Catholic Encyclopedia suddenly becomes “authoritative” when it appears to support a claim of hers, whereas at all other times she decries the use of such reference works (especially those supporting Christian beliefs), as expressed in her blog on her personal website, where she states (in reply to an anonymous posting) that, “Skimming encyclopedias does NOT [emphasis not my own] constitute scholarship, which is why I do not simply regurgitate the mainstream perspective found in encyclopedia entries.”13 As Forrest Gump would say, “That's all I have to say about that.” It is also interesting that in the Catholic Encyclopedia, on the very same web page that contains the above citation from Murdock, says that the statement, “O, how wonderfully acted Providence that on that day on which that Sun was born…Christ should be born,” was “written in 243 [after the Gospels had been composed] and falsely ascribed to Cyprian (P.L., IV, 963 sqq.), which places Christ's birth on 28 March, because on that day the material sun was created.”14 Murdock also draws attention to the early church writer John Chrysostom (c. 347-407), who said, “But Our Lord, too, is born in the month of December…the eight before the calends of January …, But they call it the 'Birthday of the Unconquered'. Who indeed is so unconquered as Our Lord…? Or, if they say that it is the birthday of the Sun, He is the Sun of Justice.”15 She then states, “As we can see from these revealing remarks, the birth of Christ at the winter solstice has been asserted since as early as the 3rd century. Moreover, the reason for this birthdate is clearly given: This date represents ‘the birthday of the Sun!”16 It must be remembered that neither Scripture nor Apostolic tradition places the birth of Jesus in the month of December, and for reasons previously noted, the proper birthdate is likely sometime in September, when the sun is alive and well. It must also be noted that Chrysostom was born approximately only three years before December 25th was


named by Julius I as the date on which Jesus was born. In stating that Jesus was born on that date, he is not appealing to empirical evidence; but rather, echoing the sentiment of the time. Furthermore, his reference to Jesus as the “Sun of Justice,” is no evidence to support the critics’ claims that Christians worshiped the sun. It is clear from Chrysostom’s writings that, despite his use of “sun” rather than “son,” he is referring to the historical figure known as Jesus of Nazareth, whom Christians worship as Lord. Nowhere in his writings can it be inferred that his references to the Lord are references to a mere celestial body. His point in this passage was to draw attention to the superiority of the Christian faith above the beliefs held by the pagans, in that Christians worship a personal and living God, whereas pagans worship that which God created. Nevertheless, Murdock reiterates her position by stating, “The fact that this highly important solar festival was not added to the Christ myth until centuries after the purported advent of Jesus does not make it any less significant or him any less of a solar hero himself. Indeed, so common was the claim that Christians worshiped the sun that Church fathers such as Tertullian (c. 155-230) and Augustine (354- 430) were compelled to write refutations of it. In Ad Nationes (I, 13), Tertullian writes: The Charge of Worshiping the Sun Met by a Retort. …Others, with greater regard to good manners, it must be confessed, suppose that the sun is the god of the Christians, because it is a well-known fact that we pray towards the east, or because we make Sunday a day of festivity. What then? Do you do less than this? Do not many among you, with an affectation of sometimes worshiping the heavenly bodies likewise, move your lips in the direction of the sunrise?”17 Critics love to take things out of context and twist one’s words to imply they mean something they do not. The point that Tertullian is making is not that both Christians and pagans worship the sun. In fact, he explicitly states that it is non-believers in Christ who “suppose that the sun is the god of the Christians.” Rather, his point is to call attention to the hypocrisy of the pagans in persecuting Christians for engaging in practices which appear similar to their own. Finally, Murdock attempts to further her claim by stating, “Adding to the suggestion of sun worship, the orientation of Christian churches towards solar alignments is well known, as explained by Sir Lockyer: ‘All our churches are more or less oriented, which is a remnant of old sunworship. Any church that is properly built today will have its axis pointing to the rising of the sun on the Saint's Day, i.e., a church dedicated to St. John ought not to be parallel to a church dedicated to St. Peter.... Certainly in the early centuries the churches were all oriented to the sun, so the light fell on the altar through the eastern doors at sunrise.’”18 Sir Joseph Norman Lockyer (1836-1920) was a scientist and astronomer, who had a special interest in the sun. Given such a predisposition, it is not surprising that one would suggest such a thing. The truth is that mainstream Christian churches are not oriented in any special direction, and nowhere in Scripture are Christians instructed to pray towards the east. Rather, it is the Islamic faith, not the Christian faith, which instructs its devotees to pray towards the east.


III. Star in the east accompanied His birth: said of Horus and Krishna
Concerning Horus The stories of Horus’ birth do not include the appearance of an eastern star, or any star for that matter. The only reference to a star in relation to Horus is the star Sirius, the brightest star in the night sky. However, this reference is merely symbolic. Horus, as a sun god, became related to this star, since Sirius, along with the three stars which make up the “belt” in the constellation Orion, point in the direction of the sun. Concerning Krishna In the myths, Krishna’s birth did not involve the appearance of a star, nor was his birth attended by wise men – or shepherds, for that matter. Krishna is said to have been born in a prison, where his parents bore him in secret. Some critics claim he was born in a manger, but the evidence for any such claim is not to be found in the religious texts. What was the star of Bethlehem? Even if a star were present in the myth stories, it would still not mirror the star found in the Christian nativity story of Jesus Christ. The star in the Gospel of Matthew is described in such a way so as to discourage the notion that it was a natural stellar phenomenon. The magi, or wise men, traveled to Jerusalem after seeing the star in the heavens. They were likely aware of the prophecy of Balaam that “there shall come a star out of Jacob” (Num 24:17-19) as foreshadowing the coming Messiah. For many years the people of Israel were in captivity in Persia. During this time, a Hebrew by the name of Daniel grew to prominence in the land and gained favor with the king. Daniel was a prophet of God and also reinforced the teachings of the prophets who came before him, including the prophecy of Balaam, thus having much influence over the inhabitants of the empire. When the king allowed the Hebrews to return to their own land, many remained in Persia, intermarrying with their former captors. In addition, many Hebrews were scattered throughout the land during this period of time known as the Dispersion, and as a result Judaism, with its promise of a coming Messiah, spread across the continent. Thus, the magi, upon seeing the star, perceived it as a fulfillment of the prophecy concerning the coming of the Messiah, and so they journeyed to Jerusalem in search of this newborn King. The star appeared before their journey to Jerusalem, but the text does not say it led them there. Rather, they likely chose Jerusalem due to the prominence of the city in the religion of Israel and the assumption that the city would serve as the birthplace of the Messiah. However, after learning from Herod’s counselors that the Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem, they then left Jerusalem and began the six mile trek to Bethlehem. After leaving Jerusalem, the same star which they had previously seen in the east now appeared again, only this time not as a mere celestial body, but as a guide. As Matthew states, the star “went before them and stood over the house where Jesus was.” (Mt 2:1-9) Also, the duration of time between the first appearance of the star, prior to the magi’s departure for Jerusalem, and the second appearance of the same star, upon their departure from Jerusalem, seems to have been a period of two years. This is inferred from the fact that Herod,


after being informed by his counselors that the Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem, asked the wise men when was the exact date of the first appearance of the star. Although their reply is not given in the text, it is implied that their response was that the star had appeared to them two years prior. This is implied by the fact that when Herod realized he would not be led to this child through an attempt to manipulate the wise men into disclosing the infant’s location, he ordered the slaughter of all male children two years and under in Bethlehem and the surrounding vicinity. Most likely, his selection of children within that age group was based on the magi’s reply to his inquiry. As far as the nature of this particular star, there have been several theories, but that discussion is outside the bounds of this work. For the purpose of this argument, it will suffice to say that a natural star does not appear and disappear at will and over long periods of time, nor does it serve as a literal guide, moving on a course of its own and to a destination foretold in a prophecy long before its appearance. The bottom line is that the star of the magi was not just another star in the sky, but was a direct fulfillment of prophecy. Critics suggest that the star of the magi, the star which led these men to Bethlehem in their search for Jesus, was the star Sirius, observable from any place on earth throughout most of the year. The magi, who were educated in astronomy, would not have taken this star, which they could have seen on any clear night, as a special occurrence, nor perceive the alignment of Sirius with Orion’s belt as nothing more than an event which occurred with regularity. Why, all of a sudden, would they consider this star to be something other than it was on any previous observance? Finally, critics neglect to point out that Jesus’ birth was not “announced” only by a star, but by hundreds of prophecies before His birth. In fact, even the star itself was the fulfillment of a prophecy announced by the prophet Balaam thousands of years before Christ. Independent research will show a myriad of pre-Christian texts which foretell specific events and circumstances in the life of Christ. Below is a short list of such prophecies: Messianic prophecy As the seed of the woman * As the seed of David Born of a virgin Called Immanuel Born in Bethlehem Massacre of the children of Bethlehem Flight to Egypt Sold for thirty pieces silver His visage being marred Spit on and scourged Hands and feet nailed to the cross Garments being parted His death Foretold in the Old Testament Gen 3:15 Ps 132:11, Jer 23:5 Isa 7:14 Isa 7:14 Mic 5:2 Jer 31:15 Hos 11:1 Zech 11:12 Isa 52:14, 53:3 Isa 50:6 Ps 22:16 Ps 22:18 Isa 53:12 Cross-reference with the New Testament Gal 4:4 Acts 13:23, Rom 1:3 Mt 1:22,23, Lk 2:7 Mt 1:22,23 Mt 2:1, Lk 2:4-6 Mt 2:16-18 Mt 2:15 Mt 26:15 Jn 19:5 Mk 14:65, Jn 19:1 Jn 19:18, 20:25 Mt 27:35 Mt 27:50


Messianic prophecy

Foretold in the Old Testament

Cross-reference with the New Testament Jn 19:33, 36 Jn 19:34, 37 Lk 24:6, 31, 34 Lk 24:51, Acts 1:9

That none of His bones should be broken Ex 12:46, Ps 34:20 His being pierced Zech 12:10 His resurrection Ps 16:10, Isa 26:19 His ascension Ps 68:18

* The phrase “seed of a woman” is a reference to the virgin birth of the Messiah. Everywhere else in Scripture, when referring to someone’s “seed,” the person mentioned in the passage is a man.

IV. Upon His birth, three kings came to adorn the newborn Savior:
said of Horus In the myth of Horus, no mention is made of a visitation by three kings, despite the critics’ suggestion to the contrary. The three “kings” to which critics are referring are in fact the three stars which make up the belt of the constellation Orion, despite their apparent deception to influence one to take their words literally. These stars, named Mintaxa, Anilam, and Alitax, point directly to another star in the east: the star Sirrus, otherwise known as the star of Horus. In the myth, Horus was never visited by three figures being identified as kings. In fact, neither is there mention of three kings in the Gospel accounts of the birth of Jesus. The Gospel of Matthew simply states that “wise men from the east” came to Bethlehem to visit the newborn King, and it is never stated they were three in number. Rather, it is said only that they presented three gifts to Mary and Joseph. It was not until centuries after the apostles left the scene that the wise men were numbered in three, and even given names which were derived from an early sixth century Greek manuscript in Alexandria. In all likelihood, the magi mentioned in Matthew would have been part of a large traveling company comprised of servants and bodyguards, especially since they were unwelcome outsiders traveling in potentially hostile Roman territory and also were in possession of items of great value which would attract bandits who resided in the countryside. In addition, the “wise men” mentioned in Matthew were not kings at all, but were of the order of the magi. The magi were close to royalty, but were not royalty themselves. They served kings as counselors, philosophers, and astrologers. At times, they took part in the selection of kings, but were not made kings themselves.

V. His mother was named Mary: said of Horus
The mother of Horus was the goddess Isis. Nowhere in antiquity was she ever called “Isis-Meri,” as critics suggest. In fact, when it is proposed that Isis was also known as Isis-Meri, the only source provided as evidence is a modern-era book written by an author who is seeking to make false parallels between Egyptian mythology and Christianity. There were, however, other figures who had the suffix, or prefix, “meri” or “mery,” a word meaning “beloved” or “loved by,” added to their name. Such was the case


of Nefertari, the wife of Rameses II, who was also known as Mery Mut. Mut, or Mout, was an Egyptian deity who was perceived as a mother goddess, being the one who gave birth to the universe. The epithet “Mery Mut” means "Beloved of Mut,” and indicates Nefertari’s honorable position as one loved by the gods. D. M. Murdock suggests that the identification of Mut as a mother goddess, linked with the epithet “Mery,” indicates that a “‘Mother Mary,’ so to speak, [existed] long before the Christian era.”1 However, the “mother” in question, or Mut, is not the one named Mery in this depiction. Rather, the one named “Mery” is the one who is loved by the mother, but she is not the mother herself; therefore, the analogy falls apart. Likewise, the name “Merneith” (also known as “Meritnit,” “Meryet-Nit,” or “Meryt-Neith”) was given to a queen who is believed to have been the fourth pharaoh of Ancient Egypt during the first dynasty2, and an name which means “beloved by Neith.” Here, again, Murdock draws a false analogy when she states, “in consideration of the fact that Neith was a virgin mother, in this name [Merneith] we possess the concept of a ‘virgin Mery’ long prior to the Christian era.”3 In reasoning as such, she merges the two separate figures – the lover and the one “loved by” – into one entity, a conclusion which is not supported by the name itself. Her method of reasoning as such is most evident in her claim that “Ra and Amen also had the epithet meri/mery attached to their names: Ra-Meri or Meri-Ra and Amen-Meri or Meri-Amen, meaning ‘beloved of Ra’ or ‘beloved Ra’ and ‘beloved of Amen’ or ‘beloved Amen.’ The god Ptah was likewise deemed ‘beloved,’ as in ‘Ptah-Meri.’ Even Egypt itself is called Ta-Meri—‘beloved land.’”4 According to her analysis, Ra is identified as both the source and the object of love – in other words, he, as “Ra-Meri,” becomes “Ra, beloved of Ra.” Likewise, “Amen-Meri” becomes “Amen, beloved of Amen” and “Ptah-Meri” becomes “Ptah, beloved of Ptah.” Such a narcissistic form of love is not the type of affection that is denoted by the epithet “mery” or “meri.” Also, the reference to Egypt as the “beloved land” serves no purpose other than to indicate the notion that the Egyptian people were favored by the gods, a notion which is common within many societies, thus mimicking the promise made to Abraham that God would lead him to another land and from his seed will sprout a great nation (Gen ch. 12). In the final analysis, the epithet “Isis-Meri” is a reference to the one who Isis, the “Mother,” loves. As such, the epithet “Isis-Meri,” as suggested by Murdock, refers neither to a “mother,” a virgin, nor to a person named “Meri,” (or any variation thereof) and Murdock’s suggestion to the contrary is the product of her own invention, in order to give credibility to an untenable parallel between Isis, the mother of Horus, and Mary, the mother of Jesus. The Great Arcanum also suggests that in the gospel narratives, the Virgin Mary is representative of the constellation Virgo, also known as Virgo the Virgin (Virgo is Latin for “virgin”), rather than representative of an historical figure: the mother of Jesus and the wife of Joseph. Since the ancient glyph or letter for Virgo is M, this is why, according to the Zeitgeist film, “Mary and other virgin mothers such as Myrra and Maya (the mother of Buddha), begin with an M.” Virgo, one of the oldest constellations in the sky, has been identified with many female deities, including Isis, the mother of Horus. She is identified as the goddess of fertility, agriculture, and the earth. Images of Virgo are of a woman holding a sickle and sheaves of grain or holding the young Horus. First of all, the other mothers, whose name begins with M, were not virgin mothers. Myrrha committed incest with her father, Cinryas.5 Maya, the mother of Buddha, is said to have conceived her son without male intervention, but she was a married woman at the


time of conception, which is said to have occurred when “the most excellent of bodhisattvas” entered into her womb after having assumed the form of a white elephant. “To [the king Suddhodana] there was a queen named Mâyâ, as if free from all deceit--an effulgence from his effulgence, like the splendor of the sun when it is free from all the influence of darkness, a chief queen in the united assembly of all queens. … Then falling from the host of beings in the Tushita heaven, and illumining the three worlds, the most excellent of bodhisattvas suddenly entered at a thought into her womb, like the Nâga-king entering the cave of Nandâ. Assuming the form of a huge elephant white like Himâlaya, armed with six tusks, with his face perfumed with flowing ichor, he entered the womb of the queen of king Suddhodana to destroy the evils of the world.”6 The bottom line is that these mothers share nothing more than a common letter in their name. Secondly, the supposed significance of the glyph M is based on an assumption that all these cultures utilize the same alphabet, and one does not need to hold a doctorate in linguistics to know that this is simply not the case. Critics suggest that the paintings and images of Isis holding Horus are the foundation for the images of Mary holding the infant Jesus, as if Christians merely borrowed this icon from paganism. Have you ever seen a mother holding her child? Did you think that she did so out of anything but love for her infant? Did you think she was cradling her son merely because she saw someone else do it before her? No, of course not! Yet, this is just one example of the length to which critics will stretch in their search for anything to back up their claims. Yes, images of Isis holding Horus existed long before the birth of Jesus, but so did countless images of other women holding their son. Is this really any reason to suppose that one instance is merely a reflection of another? Such imagery is merely a depiction of a normal human experience. There is also no significance in the glyph M being associated with Virgo, for the same glyph is also associated with Scorpio. Thus, it is representative of Virgo the virgin as well as Scorpio the scorpion. As far as goddess-parents having names which begin with M, there are also numerous goddess-parents which have names beginning with another letter of the alphabet besides M. No significance can logically and reasonably be attached to this claim. If an aquarium contains one hundred fish and sixty of them are goldfish, does that automatically mean the other fish in the tank must also be goldfish by virtue of association? The critic would obviously answer no, yet would persist to apply such fallacious reasoning in the formulation of their theories. In addition, the virginal state of Mary at the time of Jesus’ conception would not have been a thing of Jewish invention (Matthew and Luke, the writers of the two Gospel infancy narratives, were both Jews). For the Jew, the concept of God was so high as to condemn even the misuse of His name. When Jesus proclaimed He was God, the Jews sought to stone Him for blasphemy, and it was this charge of blasphemy which eventually led to the masses crying out, “Crucify Him!” when He stood before Pilate. For this reason, no Jew would have composed a birth story in which God Himself caused the conception, even without the means of insemination. If he had, he would certainly not have had much success in his story being accepted by the people – unless the story was true and one’s faith overpowered tradition! In addition to this concept contradicting their view of God, Jews would also not have conceived of a story where the Messiah would


have been born without human parentage, as was Perseus, who was born through Zeus coupling with a woman, or any other son in pagan mythology who was born as a result of a union between the human and the divine. Jews abhorred pagan religion, especially being a people immersed in an oppressive Roman culture, and the idea of likening the Messiah to any divine-human union was not only a gross offense, it was unthinkable. As stated above, when December 25th was marked as the date for the celebration of Jesus’ birth, it resulted in an outrage that the birth of the Savior was being too closely associated with pagan religion. The Jews would certainly not have looked to the stars and pagan astrology to pick a mother for their Messiah, since such astrological veneration was forbidden by the Law of Jehovah. The role of one such as Mary in the Gospels’ account would hardly be one that would have been selected had the birth of Jesus been the work of fiction. Mary was a poor woman who lived in a town full of corruption and moral filth. As Alfred Edersheim notes, her hometown, Nazareth, was positioned along a main road which connected the port cities with Jerusalem and other inland locations.7 As such, people of all types traversed past the town, and the women of Nazareth were known to provide sexual favors to passers-by. Although the Gospels describe Mary as one who was not given to such moral corruption, she would have been despised by outsiders who generally held Nazarenes in low esteem. This would have been especially true of those in the southern region of Judea, who considered those of the northern region of Galilee as people of lower class and virtue. Had the Gospels been fabricated, certainly the writers would not have selected either a woman or location of such ill repute. As mentioned under an earlier heading, the deity known as Neith was an alter ego of Isis. Concerning this deity, Murdock states that Neith “is not only the ‘Alpha and Omega,’* so to speak, but also the inviolate begetter of the sun, the Immaculate Virgin and Great Mother. The fact of her association with the Greek goddess Athena**—herself a chaste and pristine virgin, as indicated by the name of her temple at Athens, the Parthenon—confirms Neith's esteemed virginal status.”8 Murdock’s attempt here is to liken Isis with the Virgin Mary, who is known by Catholics as the “Mother of God,” and who is also regarded, again by Catholics, as being immaculately conceived – that is, conceived without sin. It should be noted that the Catholic doctrine of the Immaculate Conception did not become church dogma until 1854, when Pope Pius IX issued his Ineffabilis Deus. Such a doctrine is not only unexpressed in the New Testament; it is also directly contrary to its teaching of the sin nature of mankind, which states that every person is born in sin (Rom 3:23, 5:12). There does exist early references to the belief in Mary’s perpetual virginity, in the writings of Origen in the third to fourth centuries, but the New Testament clearly speaks of Jesus having younger siblings, and there is no reason to believe, nor is there any indication given (in Scripture nor in first century church tradition), that these were step-siblings. It is also believed by Catholics that Mary experienced an assumption into heaven, but this doctrine was not defined until 1950 by Pope Pius XII in his Apostolic Constitution Munificentissimus Deus. Murdock continues by appealing to the following titles in her attempt to link Mary to a pagan deity (it must be noted that many of these titles are not ones by which Mary is recognized by either Catholics or Protestants, especially since some of these names belong within a polytheistic belief system, whereas Christianity is monotheistic): “Divine Lady,” “Greatest of gods and goddesses,” “Queen of the gods,” “Lady of heaven,” “Holy one of heaven,” “Great goddess of the Other World,” “Mother of Horus,” “Mother of the God,”


“Lady of Life,” “Lady of joy and gladness,” and “Queen of heaven.” Any comparison of Mary to a pagan deity based on these concepts is absolutely irrelevant to the claim that the Gospels are a derivation of pagan myths, for such beliefs about Mary are not expressed in Scripture; but rather, emerged within certain Christian groups centuries after the Gospels were written. It should be noted that Mary’s title as the “Mother of God,” as she is still called by Catholics, did not become dogma until 431 during the Council of Ephesus. It was not until even more recent times, with Vatican II and Pope John Paul II's Redemptoris Mater, that Mary became named as the “co-redemptrix” in the work of salvation and the “Mother of the Church.” Likewise, Murdock’s argument that “as Christians do with the Virgin Mary, Isis' female worshipers petitioned her to make them fertile and able to conceive,” is equally untenable, since such veneration of Mary (or the act of praying to any person recognized as a saint by the Catholic Church) is not expressed anywhere in the New Testament or early church writings; but rather, gradually developed over time during the Middle Ages, and it is from such development that the practice of praying the Rosary emerged. Murdock then grasps for whatever straw she can lay hold of when she states, “Isis bewailed Osiris in the shrines of Egypt, as Mary bewailed her Son at Golgotha. The seven scorpion-goddesses who attended Isis seem to have their counterpart in the seven maidens who were associated with Mary in weaving the Veil of the Temple.”9 In all fairness, Murdock does note that such depictions of Mary are not found in Scripture; but rather, in the Apocrypha. However, since Christians do not regard the Apocrypha as Scripture, and the books contained therein do not hold up to the same measure of integrity and authenticity as does the books of the New Testament, any appeal to the Apocryphal books is irrelevant to the critics’ argument. Nevertheless, it should be observed that the New Testament’s description of Mary at the cross should come as no surprise whatsoever, since such is a natural reaction of a mother to her son’s impending death. Also, the notion that Mary, a young girl from the lower class of society and who resided in Nazareth, was involved in the weaving of the veil of the Temple, is simply ludicrous. Finally, it must be noted that the name Mary, or Miriam, was as common a name in ancient Palestine as are Smith and Jones today. Certainly not every Smith in my phone book is related to all the other Smiths by virtue of a common name. Richard Bauckham, Professor of New Testament Studies at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland conducted his own study to determine the commonality of names found on ossuaries (stone boxes in which the bones of the deceased were paid to rest). The following chart is the result of his research, through which 328 female subjects were used to determine the four most common among females. Column A of the chart represents the number of occurrances of the name from the total of subjects studied, while Column B represents the number of occurrances of the name on ossuaries10. As shown in the chart on the next page, the name Mary was at the top of the list, accounting for over 21% of the total number of ossuaries studied. It is not surprising then that Jesus’ mother had the name Mary.


FEMALE NAMES Rank Name 1 2 3 4

COLUMN A Total References

Mary/Mariamne 70 Salome 58 Shelamzion 24 Martha 20

COLUMN B Total Found on Ossuaries (out of 328) 42 41 19 17

Percent of Total References 21.3% 17.7% 7.3% 6.1%

* Her reference to the “Alpha and Omega” is drawn from the portion of the inscription which reads, “I am all that hath been, and is, and shall be.” She desires to parallel this with such New Testament references to Jesus as the “first and the last,” “the Aplha and Omega,” and “the one who was, who is, and who is to come.” Such a comparison will be addressed under a later heading dealing with the titles by which Christ was known. ** Athena, also known as Minerva, was indeed a virgin, but she never conceived a child in her virginity. She was simply a virgin, nothing more, and such is of no significance.

VI. He was born in a manger or a cave in the “house of bread,” also translated as “Beth-lehem:” said of Horus
Virgo is referred to as the “house of bread”, according to Zeitgeist. I consulted over a dozen Latin dictionaries and the result was unanimous consent: every one defined “virgo” as meaning “maiden, virgin, or young girl.” Not a single Latin dictionary identified “virgo” with a “house of bread.” I then did a search online for “virgo ‘house of bread,’” in an attempt to find a link between the two. I was met with dozens of web sites associating the constellation Virgo with the phrase “house of bread.” The interesting thing is that these sites all had at least one thing in common: they were all hosted by people or organizations who were attempting to promote the “copycat theory.” Each of these sites was trying to make the same suggestion that the birth of Jesus was merely a fabrication based on pre-existing astrological beliefs, and none of these sites provided a credible source for their claim, for the source used, on the rare occasion when a source was cited, was a book by an author who shared their motivation for making such a claim. In the Hebrew tongue, “Bethlehem” literally does means “house of bread" – at least the critics get that much right. According to Strong’s Concordance, the word “Bethlehem” is made up of two words: “bayit,” meaning “house” and carrying the connotations of one's family or immediate household, and “lehem,” meaning “bread” and is a derivation of the verb “laham,” which means “to eat,” or “to use as food.”1 The video also claims that Bethlehem is “a reference to the constellation Virgo, a place in the sky, not on earth.” First of all, Horus was not born in a manger, as some suggest. Rather, he was born in a swamp and raised in seclusion in the marshes on the floating island of Chemmis, near Buto.2 His mother Isis raised him there in order to protect him from Set and preserve him until such a day when he would claim his role as king of Egypt.


Second, Bethlehem was originally known as Ephratah, or Ephrath, in early Old Testament times, as shown in the following passages: Then they moved on from Bethel. While they were still some distance from Ephrath, Rachel began to give birth and had great difficulty. (Gen 35:16 NIV) So Rachel died and was buried on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem). (Gen 35:19 NIV) [Note: Rachel’s Tomb, or so it is called, is located just outside of modern-day Bethlehem] The man's name was Elimelech, his wife's name Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Kilion. They were Ephrathites from Bethlehem, Judah. And they went to Moab and lived there. (Ruth 1:2 NIV) In later Old Testament times, Ephratah also became known as Bethlehem. It then became one of two towns by that name. When the prophet Micah foretold the birthplace of the Messiah, he specifically identified which Bethlehem he meant: But thou, Beth-lehem Ephrathah, which art little to be among the thousands of Judah, out of thee shall one come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting. (Micah 5:2) Scholars agree that the name Ephrathah either referred to Bethlehem itself or to the district in which Bethlehem was situated. Even if the constellation Virgo were known as “Bethlehem” or “house of bread,” which it evidently was not, it would not have been known as “Bethlehem Ephrathah.” The language of the prophecy in Micah, as well as the Gospels Matthew and Luke, clearly identify Bethlehem as an earthly location. Third, because of Micah’s prophecy, the Hebrews knew the Messiah would be born in the city of Bethlehem. While they did not accept Jesus as that Messiah, they did believe that Bethlehem would be the place from where the Messiah would come. Extra-Biblical Jewish writings, such as the Talmud and various targums (Jewish paraphrases of the Old Testament), quoted below, name the city of Bethlehem as the accepted place of the Messiah’s birth. And you Bethlehem-Ephrathah who are too little to be counted among the thousands of the house of Judah, from you in My name shall come forth the Messiah who is to be ruler in Israel and whose name has been called from eternity, from the days of old.3 The King Messiah... from where does he come forth? From the royal city of Bethlehem in Judah.4 O, thou Bethlehem Ephrata ... although thou art little in the thousands of Judah, out of thee shall come forth unto me a Man, a Ruler in Israel whose goings forth are from the days of old ... that is from the Seed of David ... who was of Bethlehem Judah.5


Fourth, Jesus was not born in a cave. The Gospel narrative states Mary and Joseph laid Jesus “in a manger, because there was no room in the inn.” Bethlehem was loaded with visitors at this time, people who had come there to register for the Roman census; therefore, the local inn was full. Jewish historian Alfred Edersheim, in his book Sketches of Jewish Social Life, observed that khans, or inns, generally were built in a square, with a court in the center for carriages or beasts of burden.6 The rooms surrounding the courtyard were unfurnished and opened up to galleries all around. The innkeeper expected no payment from his guests for occupancy, but he would provide necessities, such as a house meal or linen, for a fee. Inns were not attached to a cave, but were located within a town itself and on outlying roads between towns. When Jesus was placed in a manger, He was not placed in a cave, but in a stable, of sorts - a section of the inn reserved for animals. Fifth, no one can deny that Bethlehem existed as a real city in Palestine even in ancient times. Josephus mentions that Bethlehem was where King David was anointed to be the future king of Israel.7 Archaeologist J. B. Hennessy affirms Bethlehem existed as a city at the time Jesus was born. He states, “Minor excavations by the Franciscan Fathers in the grottoes beneath the basilica have produced evidence of Iron Age and first century A.D. occupation, while east of the church of St. Joseph excavation has produced several deposits of Iron Age pottery. Perhaps most important has been the isolation, in 1969, of the Iron Age tell. The limits of the Iron Age occupation, while not entirely clear, appear to be on the flat surface and the slopes immediately beneath the basilica and to the E. The work was carried out by the Israel Archaeological Society. Bethlehem appears to have been a major area of occupation from the Paleolithic period.”8

VII. At age twelve He was known as a teacher: said of Horus
There is no indication that Horus was a teacher at age twelve. In fact, his mother Isis raised him in secret, according to the myth, in the marshes, until such a time as he became ready to claim his role as ruler of Egypt. Hence, his epithet Har-hery-wadj, meaning “Horus who is upon the papyrus plants.” In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus is mentioned as having a discourse with the priests in the temple in Jerusalem after the Feast of the Passover, but this was in accordance with Jewish custom. Each year, families from all over Palestine traveled to Jerusalem to partake in the Passover festivities and ordinances. It was typical, when the families left the city to return to their home, for the male children twelve years of age and older to remain behind at the temple under the care of the priests for the purpose of receiving instruction. It was such an occasion which afforded Jesus the opportunity to sit in the company of the priests. The Gospel of Luke states that Jesus listened to them and asked questions. Although it is said that the priests were amazed at His knowledgeable answers to their questions, Luke does not state Jesus was the teacher in this instance. Jesus was merely an inquisitive student, whose answers amazed the priests in His company.


VIII. At age thirty, He began His ministry after being baptized: said of Horus
In ancient Hebrew culture, a requirement for service as a priest, teacher, or a master was that the candidate be at least thirty years of age, and this standard was established long before Christ. In fact, it was part of Mosaic Law that such age must be reached before one could enter into service. From thirty years old and upward even unto fifty years old, every one that came to do the service of the ministry, and the service of the burden in the tabernacle of the congregation, Even those that were numbered of them, were eight thousand and five hundred and fourscore. (Num 4:47-48 NASB) D. M. Murdock, in her booklet The Companion Guide to Zeitgeist Part 1, makes the following claim: “The notion that Osiris [Horus’ father] was 28 when he suffered his passion is also interesting, in light of the fact that Jesus was likewise said to have been around 28-30 when he began his ministry, depending on the source. Indeed, one early Christian tradition also places Christ's passion at when he was ‘only twenty eight, and one-quarter years of life,’ quite possibly in imitation of the Osiris myth.”1 The Jews recognized three age brackets once a person passed through adolescence. A man under thirty years of age was considered a young man, and unfit for certain work (such as Temple service). Between the ages of thirty and fifty, a man was considered the age of a “master,” or teacher. A man age fifty-one or higher was considered an old man. It was in keeping with this custom that Jesus waited until close to His thirtieth birthday to begin His public ministry. None of the Egyptian texts concerning Horus includes a baptism. Critics claim that Horus is said to have been hacked in pieces and thrown into a river, but this is what happened to Osiris, not Horus. Nevertheless, if someone wants to call that a baptism, he will do so with an absolute lack of understanding as to the true nature of baptism. As far as the accusation that John the Baptist is a mere fabrication based on Anup the Baptizer, there is no such person as Anup mentioned in any of the accounts of Horus. Even if there were such a one, many religions have their own form of baptism and baptizers, therefore, it is too common of an element to claim one is based on or fabricated from another. Concerning Jesus’ baptism, Murdock states: “[Osiris] was said to have been drowned by Set, or Seth. According to a later magical papyrus, this drowning took place in the ‘water of the underworld.’ This aspect of the myth is interesting in light of the fact that in Greek mythology the sun god Helios was said to have been drowned in the river Eridanus or ‘Jordan,’ in which Jesus was likewise said to have been baptized or dunked.”2 There is speculation as to which river is named in the myth as the river Eridanos, but none of them include the Jordan River – a river in Palestine, not Greece. Rivers named as candidates for being the mythical river are the Italy’s Po River, Egypt’s Nile River, and the Danube. Murdock’s claim that “Eridanus” is synonymous with “Jordan” is simply unfounded on either a mythical basis or, as even a child hooked on phonics can attest, a phonetic basis. As a result, Murdock fails in her attempts at false association and her claims cease to be those which any reasonable scholar would classify as “interesting.” According to the Gospel accounts, the baptism of Jesus was followed by His retreat into the wilderness to be tempted of Satan for forty days, during which He fasted and


prayed. The depiction of the interaction between Jesus and Satan in such a scene is one which critics delight in comparing to the age-old struggle between light and darkness, or good and evil. In such a discussion, comparison is often made between Satan and pagan figures which represent absolute evil. Concerning such a comparison, Murdock states: “Like Satan, Set rebels from his divine birth. Also like Satan, who in the Old Testament is merely ‘the Adversary,’ rather than the personification of Absolute Evil that he became in the New Testament, Seth was not always considered absolutely evil. Like Yahweh, God of the Old Testament, who was the orchestrator of both good and evil, Set is represented as the ‘twin’ of Horus and half of a dual god as a single being, Horus-Set. Yet, Set is also a separate entity who becomes locked in an eternal struggle with his alter ego and enemy, Horus, and, again, at a certain point the ‘old thunder-god’ Set became ‘the representative of all evil’ and ‘a real Satan.’ … Like Satan, Set/Seth too had his devoted followers—the ‘sons of Seth,’ possibly as recorded in the Old Testament and generally thought to refer to the descendants of Adam's third son Seth. Like Adam's other son Cain, who kills his brother Abel, Seth/Set is depicted as murdering his brother Osiris. And like other characters in the Old Testament, such as Abraham and Moses, in the patriarch Seth we seem to have yet another instance of an ancient tribal god demoted to human status. As does Satan with Jesus (Rev 12:1-5), Set attempts to kill Horus. Set is the ‘god of the desert’ who battles Horus, while Jesus is tempted in the desert by Satan. Like Satan, who has a forked tail, Set too is depicted with a forked tail. In fact, Set's portrayal with bizarre ears and an anteater-like snout makes him appear creepy and demonic.”3 In such an analysis, Murdock draws a number of comparisons, which will here be examined one by one. “Like Satan, Set rebels from his divine birth.” This one is accurate, except that Satan was “created,” not “born.” “Also like Satan, who in the Old Testament is merely ‘the Adversary,’ rather than the personification of Absolute Evil that he became in the New Testament, Seth was not always considered absolutely evil.” The shift in the personage of “the Adversary” to that of “Satan” in the New Testament is typically said to be due to Persian influence on Judaism during the time when the Jews were under Persian captivity from 597-539 B.C. The argument is that the Jews borrowed from the Persian concept of a supremely evil being known as Angra Mainyu, a being who was believed to be uncreated and co-equal to Ahura Mazda, the supremely good deity recognized in Zoroastrianism, the principal religion of ancient Persia at the time of the Jewish captivity. I will merely point out here that the concept of a supremely evil being named Satan exists in the Old Testament as well as in the New. In fact, he appears as Satan in the book of Job, one of the oldest books of the Bible. (Job 1:6-12) “Like Yahweh, God of the Old Testament, who was the orchestrator of both good and evil, Set is represented as the ‘twin’ of Horus and half of a dual god as a single being, Horus-Set. Yet, Set is also a separate entity who becomes locked in an eternal struggle with his alter ego and enemy, Horus…” First of all, Yahweh is not the orchestrator of evil. I presume Murdock is making an allusion to such passages as those below: Out of the mouth of the most High proceedeth not evil and good? (Lam 3:38)


I form the light, and create darkness; I make peace, and create evil. I am Jehovah, that doeth all these things. (Isa 45:7) Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? shall there be evil in a city, and the LORD hath not done it? (Amos 3:6) The word “evil” in these passages is translated from a word that means “calamity” or “disaster,” and that the translation into the word “evil” is a shortcoming of the King James Version, a shortcoming which has been corrected in modern translations. Nowhere in Scripture is it said that God orchestrates evil or wickedness. Second, Murdock draws yet another false analogy in stating that Horus and Set were “twins” and two personages of a single being. In the New Testament, Jesus is not at all portrayed as a “twin” or “altar ego” of Satan, nor are He and Satan ever portrayed as two sides of a single being. Rather, Jesus is the one who created Satan, along with all the other angels. Third, the conflict between Jesus and Satan is neither a “struggle” nor is it “eternal,” as Murdock suggests. Satan was at one time among the greatest of the angels, in service to God. At some point he rebelled and has since been at enmity with God, roaming through the earth as a ravaging lion, seeking whom he may devour. However, his efforts are futile, for he has already been defeated by virtue of the work of Christ, who gave Himself for His people to ensure that they would never be “devoured,” or lost. The final defeat of Satan will occur in the last day, when the people of God will be forever free from the oppression brought upon them by demonic forces. Also, Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness was not a struggle, but a trial. He and Satan did not wrestle one another to the ground for forty days. Rather, Satan is depicted as enticing Jesus to perform acts which would be against His Father’s will, and in each instance, Satan was defeated. “Like Satan, Set/Seth too had his devoted followers—the ‘sons of Seth,’ possibly as recorded in the Old Testament and generally thought to refer to the descendants of Adam's third son Seth.” Murdock makes use of another false analogy in comparing the “sons of Set/Seth” to followers of Satan. Satan does indeed have those who are devoted to him, and even regard him as the source of knowledge and the one through whom a person’s “inner divine self” can be realized. In the book of Genesis, Seth is said to be the third son of Adam, born after Cain killed his brother Abel. Seth is described as a godly man, and not one who followed the devil. Likewise, the lineage of Seth is also described as a godly lineage, and it is for this reason that some interpret the phrase “sons of God” in Genesis chapter six (6:2) as a reference to the mingling of Seth’s godly line with the wicked “daughters of men,” thereby giving birth to abominations. The identification of the figures named as “sons of God” in that passage is a subject of much debate. Some regard them as fallen angels who coupled with human women, resulting in a sort of superhuman offspring called “nephilim,” however, it is not my intention here to support one view above another (for such a discussion would be well outside the bounds of the subject at hand). I mention the passage here simply for the purpose of indicating that the sons of Seth were not regarded in Scripture as the followers of Satan. “Like Adam's other son Cain, who kills his brother Abel, Seth/Set is depicted as murdering his brother Osiris. And like other characters in the Old Testament, such as Abraham and Moses, in the patriarch Seth we seem to have yet another instance


of an ancient tribal god demoted to human status.” Murdock’s reasoning here is anachronistic, since she attempts to suggest the story of Set killing Osiris is the basis on which the account of Cain and Abel was based. The Egyptian religion did not emerge until well after the death of Abel, therefore, the account of Cain and Abel certainly could not have been a derivation of an Egyptian myth. The truth is that the Egyptian myth of Horus and Osiris is a reworking of the account of Nimrod, a wicked descendant of Noah who lived before the Pharaohs of Egypt. In the Book of Jasher, an ancient pre-Christian text (mentioned twice in Scripture - Josh 3:10 and 2 Sam 1:18), it is said that Shem, a son of Noah, dismembered Nimrod and dispersed his parts throughout the kingdoms, as a warning of the punishment which would befall those who rebelled against God. After Nimrod’s death, his wife gave birth (through union with another lover) to Ninus, who later sought revenge against Shem. In the struggle, Shem is said to have gouged out Ninus’ eye. Similarly, in the Egyptian myth of Osiris, Set dismembers Osiris and sends his parts throughout Egypt. Later, Horus seeks revenge against Set, but Set manages to gouge out Horus’ eye. So it is that the Osiris myth, rather than being the basis for any Biblical account, actually originated from a remolding of an account based on Biblical figures, in which Shem becomes Set and Nimrod becomes Osiris. “As does Satan with Jesus (Rev 12:1-5), Set attempts to kill Horus.” The passage to which Murdock refers here is the twelfth chapter of the book of Revelation, cited below: And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered. And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born. And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne. (Rev 12:1-5 NASB) The obvious comparison Murdock is making is that the dragon, or Satan, attempts to kill the man-child, or Christ, as was said of Set and Horus. Such an analogy is based on a false interpretation of this passage, which I will here only briefly enforce. The woman mentioned in the above text is the church, not Mary, whose persecution (which largely ended with the Edict of Constantine in 313 A.D.) is described in the passages following the one quoted above. The sun with which she is clothed is the righteousness of Christ, whose radiance is brighter than the sun. The crown on the woman's head is the doctrine delivered to her by the twelve apostles. The figure represented by the woman's child is not Christ, for the church did not “deliver” Christ; but rather, those who have been made converts, disciples, and ministers through the doctrine with which the woman is crowned, and who serve in the world as ambassadors of Christ, the King of Kings. The dragon is indeed a metaphorical depiction of Satan, but since Satan's attack here is directed against the church, not


Christ, Murdock's analogy fails in its primary assumption on which her faulty comparison rests. “Set is the ‘god of the desert’ who battles Horus, while Jesus is tempted in the desert by Satan.” Jesus was indeed tempted by Satan in the wilderness; however, His forty days' temptation there hearkens to the forty years of trial the people of Israel faced during their own wanderings in the wilderness following their departure from Egypt. In Scripture the wilderness setting symbolizes a place without God, that is, a place where His blessings are not abundant, where the soul feels as desolate and forsaken as the land. It was to such a place that Israel was committed during their time of wilderness wandering, as penalty for their unbelief, and the trial they endured in that barren landscape foreshadowed the trials the Messiah would face in His own wilderness temptation. As Israel left the wilderness to lay hold on that which God had prepared for them, so did Jesus leave the wilderness to embark on the mission which had been ordained for Him since before the creation of the world. If Murdock’s analogy were to stand, then why is it not said that Jesus dismembers Satan and sends his parts throughout the pagan kingdoms? Why does not one of Satan’s followers seek revenge and Gouge out the eye of Jesus? Aside from the wilderness setting, Murdock’s analogy sinks like an anvil in quicksand. “Like Satan, who has a forked tail, Set too is depicted with a forked tail. In fact, Set's portrayal with bizarre ears and an anteater-like snout makes him appear creepy and demonic.” I do not know from which story book Murdock obtained this description, but it is certainly not a description found in the Bible, which never depicts Satan as having a forked tail, and neither does her description of Set, with bizarre ears and a snout, hold any relevance. Researching children’s books for such an image of Satan is the epitome of a digression from scholarly research. Also, Set’s portrayal as “creepy and demonic” is nothing more than a laughable and pathetic attempt to lead one’s perception of Satan further towards Murdock’s very nonBiblical portrayal of Satan. Nowhere in Scripture is Satan pictures as merely “creepy.” Cemeteries are creepy, abandoned houses are creepy, The Amityville Horror is creepy (if you’re a ten year old boy with an overactive imagination), but Satan, on the other hand, is absolute evil which transcends the bounds of mere creepiness. Prior to engaging herself in the above comparisons, Murdock suggests that “if Set is Satan, then Osiris/Horus is Jesus, as has been maintained for centuries for this [the items listed above] and many other reasons.”4 The key to this statement is the simple little word “if,” and it is because of this same word that the entire premise collapses into a heap of rubbish. It has in fact not been maintained for centuries that Jesus is Horus, as this portion of the book has shown, and will continue to do so. Also, the reasons on which this premise is based have been shown above to be a failure at every turn.

IX. He had twelve disciples: said of Horus and Mithras
Concerning Horus The Egyptian texts mention Horus had four disciples (the Heru-Shemsu – i.e., “followers of Horus”), who were essentially inferior deities.1 He did have human


followers, but they numbered sixteen, not four, plus an unnumbered group of followers comprised of blacksmiths (the mesniu or mesnitu). The twelve “followers” of Horus to which the critics delight in drawing attention were actually metaphorical representations of the twelve signs of the zodiac. Since Horus was the sun god, after merging with Ra, the constellations of the zodiac are loosely viewed in modern times as being his “disciples.” Concerning Jesus, some critics claim that, as God’s Son (or “God’s sun,” as they call Him in order to better create their illusion), His disciples can also be identified with the twelve signs of the zodiac. However, the signs of the zodiac do not travel abroad preaching and teaching in the name of any master, and cannot properly and reasonably be considered “disciples” either in a literal nor symbolic sense. Additionally, in the Book of Hades there is found a mural which depicts twelve reapers, but Horus is not present in this mural.2 Concerning Mithras In similar fashion as Horus, the twelve signs of the zodiac are attributed as Mithras' disciples, based on a relief which shows Mithras surrounded by the signs of the zodiac. As stated above, this is nothing more than a stretch of the imagination, as the zodiac signs do not reflect even a close parallel to actual flesh-and-blood men who preach in the name of another. Granted, in the Iranian version of the myth, Mithras did have a companion by the name Varuna. In the Roman version of the myth, Mithras had two helpers named Cautes and Cautopatres. However, no version of the Mithras or Mithra myths contains twelve followers. The Roman Mithraic cult was a private cult and was not seeking to evangelize the world, as did Christians following the day of Pentecost, and in accordance with the Great Commission issued by Jesus prior to His ascension. Acceptance in the Mithraic cult was selective and by initiation, with membership primarily consisting of Roman soldiers and typically excluding women from the order.3 The number twelve as common throughout the Bible In her book The Christ Conspiracy, author D. M. Murdock makes the same conclusion, expecting the reader to place some sort of significance in this as evidence of fabrication in Biblical numerology. In comment on this, historian Michael Licona states, “If we want to accept her [Murdock’s] thoughts on this, we also need to accept that Dunkin Donuts is owned by an astrologer since they give a discount when you buy a dozen donuts. Grocery stores are also run by astrologers, since you buy eggs by the dozen. Even our legal system must have been influenced by astrology, since there are twelve jurors.”4 Fallacious reasoning ultimately leads to fallacious conclusions. One goes hand-in-hand with the other. Additionally, the twelve disciples of Jesus are reflective of the twelve tribes of Israel. Do the critics also intend to claim that Israel was never composed of twelve tribes? Good luck with that! How many disciples did Jesus really have? Jesus had twelve core disciples with whom He traveled, but He also had many more disciples not mentioned by name in Scripture. Luke mentions an instance where Jesus sent seventy or seventy-two of His disciples on an evangelical mission. (Lk 10:1, 17) Concerning these seventy disciples, D. M. Murdock states, “... the 72


‘co-conspirators’ in the later version of the tale likewise possess astrotheological meaning, representing the 72 dodecans, or divisions of the circle of the zodiac into 5 degrees each. Interestingly, in the gospel story Jesus is depicted with either 70 or 72 ‘disciples,’ the number 70 often symbolizing the dodecans as well. Also, the drowning of Osiris in the ‘river’ Eridanus evidently signifies the god's passage through the well-known constellation of the same name. It is likely that the Jordan River, biblical site of so many purported miracles, was named after its apparent stellar counterpart, with said ‘miracles’ also taking place not on Earth but in the heavens.”5 Murdock’s bias is evident at the outset when she names Jesus’ disciples as “co-conspirators” and the Gospels as a mere “tale.” As far as her association between the Eridanus and Jordan rivers, such an erroneous identification has already been addressed under a previous heading and found to be with fault. Also, in Acts 1:15 one hundred and twenty of Jesus disciples are mentioned. If the number of His disciples were predetermined to correspond to the seventy-two dodecans of the Zodiac, then critics must somehow account for the additional fifty disciples and find a place for these disciples within their astrotheological scheme. Also, concerning the seventy disciples in Luke, the evangelist tells us that Jesus sent these seventy out in pairs of two, an act which likewise does not fit into the critics' interpretative scheme. Furthermore, Jesus gave specific instructions to these ones concerning what to eat and drink and how to conduct themselves with the hosts who would receive them into their homes, and when they returned to Jesus following their mission, Jesus declared to them that their names were written in heaven. The text in Luke gives every indication that these were seventy literal human beings being referred to in this passage.

X. He was a traveling teacher: said of Dionysus
True, Dionysus is depicted as a traveling teacher, but this is not an uncommon trait and cannot properly and logically be used in an argument in favor of any “copycat theory.” In ancient times if someone had a message to share, he certainly could not secure his own web site or buy air time. The best means of spreading one's message was by traveling and preaching to those outside his home town. Besides, Dionysus traveled far and wide, whereas Jesus’ journeys were within Palestine, nor was Dionysus a teacher of spiritual truth, as was Jesus. Dionysus taught people how to grow grapes and produce wine, all the while enticing people to worship him. Additionally, Dionysus was hardly a messiah. He was not anointed for a higher calling and his teachings and deeds were not with the intention to provide salvation. In his traveling he often disguised himself as a priest of his own order, so that he may compel people to give him worship. Those who refused his teaching were often met with aggression, for Dionysus was vindictive in character. In the Bacchae, he drives women insane, causing them to eat their own children. He also fooled King Pentheus into endangering himself to the point of death. Even if he had been a savior who traveled abroad spreading his own gospel, would his evangelistic wanderings be something that should come as a surprise? Someone regarded as having special worth, and especially one regarded as deity, would be expected to spread his message, either locally or abroad. Rather than seeing this as a reason to assume one highly revered individual’s activities were merely copied from another’s, the critics


should simply accept this as something to be expected due to the mission of the person in question.

XI. He performed miracles, such as walking on water or turning water into wine: said of Horus, Krishna, and Dionysus
Concerning Horus Horus did perform certain feats which could be considered extraordinary, but these feats classify more as magic tricks rather than miracles, for they did not defy any law of nature, such as raising the dead or changing the constitution of an element from one thing to another. It is said that Horus successfully warned off crocodiles and serpents while living in the swamps as a child. Such feats may qualify him to be a circus entertainer, but certainly not deity. He is also said to have healed others, but this ability came through his mother Isis, who healed him from scorpion stings, and such healing ability was not inherent to Horus’ own being. It is said by critics that Horus walked on water, but the religious texts do not produce a mention of this instance. It has also been said that Horus raised El-Azarus (a.k.a., El-Osiris) from the dead, reflective of Jesus’ raising of Lazarus from the dead. The name Lazarus comes from the name Eleazer, therefore the phonetic association is superficial, at best. Furthermore, Horus did not raise Osiris from the dead, as Osiris never experienced a bodily resurrection. After his death, Osiris descended to the Underworld to reign over the dead, while Horus set out to avenge Osiris' death. Concerning Krishna Krishna is said to have performed the following miracles: At age seven, he lifted a mountain and upheld it by his hand for seven days. This is said to have been witnessed by tens of thousands of people who stood under the mountain. He multiplied his body into 16,105 separate bodies. Good for him, but this bears no similarity to anything ever performed by Jesus during the time of His incarnation. While appearing as Ram, he built a bridge between India and Sri Lanka by causing stones to float on the surface of the water. Between the islands of Mannar and the southeastern coast of India there exists a thirty mile-long chain of limestone shoals known as Rama's Bridge. This is claimed to be the remnants of the bridge constructed by Krishna, and it is said that the bridge was passable by foot until the fifteenth century when the depth of the water was increased by storms. Hindus believe the “sinking” of the bridge was due to the gods fastening the shoals to the sea bed. Of course, there is no evidence to support that this limestone formation ever rested on the surface of the water, as claimed in the myth.


When his mother accused him of eating dust, he opened his mouth and in it was revealed the entire cosmos. He restored the dead to life, including six of his younger brothers. He performed healing of diseases. He transformed a hunchback woman into a beautiful woman. Jesus’ miracles never involved giving someone a cause for vanity. He healed the lame, the deaf, the dumb, and the diseased, but He never gave people a cause to glory in themselves. His miracles drew people to the Father and glorified Christ, they never brought glory to man. He granted visions. He was able to see over a long distance. He fed many people with small amounts of food. He appeared numerous times in incorporeal form. The Gospels never recount an appearance of Jesus, from the time of His birth to the time of His resurrection, in anything other than a human body. There was an instance when His glory was revealed to a few of His disciples on the “mount of transfiguration,” but this did not constitute a change of form; but rather, a lifting of the veil which hid His divine glory from man. As a man, Jesus’ glory was shrouded by the limitations of His flesh, but in this instance that shroud was pulled back and His disciples beheld Him for who He is. Never during His incarnation did He appear in “ghostly” form. He destroyed demons and performed exorcisms. These “miracles” of Krishna bear the marks of myth, not legend. Some of the myths, such as the lifting of a mountain and the ability to see long distances, sound as if they belong in a Superman comic book. Legends are based on truth, but myths are based on fantasy. The deeds of Krishna which bear marks similar to those of Jesus include miracles relating to healing, resurrection of the dead, and the feeding of a multitude. It is only natural for one assumed to be divine to possess the ability to perform healing, so these come as no big surprise. The defeat and subjection of demons by Krishna was due to an act of might, not by the sheer authority held by his person. In the case of Jesus, demons left those of who they were in possession because of Jesus’ authority as the second person of the Trinity. Jesus did not wrestle the possessed individuals to the ground and pull the demons out of them. He commanded them to leave, and leave they did. Neither does the feeding of a multitude serve as a reason to assume the Gospels copied from the Krishna account. If the Gospel writers did copy from the Hindus, then no doubt there would be more miracles bearing similarity to Krishna, but the fact of the matter is there are very few which do bear a similar narrative. In the Gospels, the events of the life of Jesus are


not even discussed between His nativity and the beginning of His public ministry at around age thirty. The only exception is a mention of the twelve year-old Jesus in the Temple, but this instance involves nothing more than the amazement of the Temple scholars at the questions and answers posed by the young Jesus. Any description of a youthful Jesus in Apocryphal literature has been historically deemed an unauthentic account written by later writers who were neither representative of orthodox Christianity, nor eyewitness to the events they describe, nor contemporaries with those who were eyewitnesses. Concerning Dionysus Dionysus is credited with giving King Midas the ability to turn whatever he touched into gold, an ability which turned into a curse, rather than being to Midas’ benefit. He also gave the daughters of King Anius the ability to transform things into wine, oil, or corn by the touch of their hand. Considering his identity as the god of wine, this should not be a wonder to anyone, nor give reason to claim any of Jesus’ miracles are rooted in those of Dionysus. There are mentions made of Dionysus filling empty vessels with wine, but never turning water into wine, as some claim. Pausanias relates instances when, during festival times, empty vessels are placed in a shrine overnight then found the next day to be filled with wine. “Between the market-place and the Menius is an old theater and a shrine of Dionysus. The image is the work of Praxiteles. Of the gods the Eleans worship Dionysus with the greatest reverence, and they assert that the god attends their festival, the Thyia. The place where they hold the festival they name the Thyia is about eight stades from the city. Three pots are brought into the building by the priests and set down empty in the presence of the citizens and of any strangers who may chance to be in the country. The doors of the building are sealed by the priests themselves and by any others who may be so inclined. On the morrow they are allowed to examine the seals, and on going into the building they find the pots filled with wine.”1 Another tale, by Pliny the Elder, describes a spring which produced a substance having the taste of wine. “In the island of Andros, at the temple of Father Bacchus, we are assured by Mucianus, who was thrice consul, that there is a spring, which, on the nones of January, always has the flavor of wine; it is called dios theodosia.”2 These instances do not produce the parallels that the critic would like them to produce. Jesus turned water into wine, but He did not fill empty vessels with wine. Neither does Pliny’s wine-flavored spring afford any parallel to Jesus miracle at the wedding in Cana. Finally, the Bacche records Dionysus as being transfigured in divine glory above Pentheus' palace, but it is not stated in what manner he was seen, other than it was “in the glory of his godhead,” and neither was his transformation witnessed by those present at the scene.


As mentioned above, the concept that a figure regarded as deity should be able to perform such a feat is not evidence that another figure to whom deity is ascribed should be able to perform the same or a similar feat. The claim that any deity performed miracles is not uncommon among world religions. Rather, it is to be expected of a deity that he be able to work wonders, and such instances cannot stand as evidence that one story is copied from another.

XII. He was known by titles such as “King of Kings” and “Alpha and Omega:” said of Horus, Dionysus, Krishna, and Mithras
Concerning Horus None of the titles here attributed to Horus was ever used of him in the religious texts. Horus was known by such titles as “pillar of his mother,” “savior of his father,” “lord of the sky,” and “god of the east.”1 Some critics have claimed Horus was known as the “KRST,” however, “KRST” is the Egyptian word for “burial,” and does not refer to God's “anointed one,” as does the title Christ. Horus is typically depicted as a falcon, or an anthropomorphic being with the body of a man and the head of a falcon. Murdock attempts to utilize this depiction in her efforts to link Jesus to Horus. In The Companion Guide to Zeitgeist Part 1 she states, “Horus symbolizes the power aspect of the sun, and the falcon is likewise a solar symbol by virtue of how high it flies. Horus therefore represents the sun as the governor of nature, the ‘Lord of lords,’ as it were.”2 While Horus was indeed representative of the sun, Jesus was not; therefore, her analogy falls apart, since it is based on incorrect assumptions concerning the object of Christian worship (which, of course, was the person of Jesus, not the sun). Also, her attempt to link Jesus and Horus by the title “Lord of Lords,” is equally untenable, since the application of any such name to Horus is only symbolic of the nature of the sun’s life-sustaining properties. In other words, Horus, as a sun god, represents the celestial body without which no life would be sustained; therefore, he is, metaphorically speaking, the “governor of nature,” as Murdock suggests. However, her attempt to apply the title “Lord of Lords” to Horus is unsupported by the religious texts which relate the myth of Horus, for in these writings, he is never named as such. It appears that Murdock is aware of this lack of support, for she does include the disclaimer “as it were” in her identification of Horus as the “Lord of Lords,” however, in so doing, she makes use of the logical fallacy known as “false analogy” (the attempt to link two or more things by virtue of an association which does not exist in reality), since she associates Horus and Jesus by a name by which, of the two, only Jesus is known. She also attempts to liken Horus to Jesus as a creation deity in her claim that Horus, as representative of the sun, makes “all life possible.”3 The appeal here is clearly to the passages which name Jesus as the one responsible for the creation of the cosmos (Jn 1:1-4 and Col 1:16), however, such responsibility can only metaphorically be applied to Horus, while Jesus is named in Scripture as the one who actually created “all things.” Also, Murdock’s identification of Osiris, Horus’ father, as the “Lord of Eternity” and


“Lord of Resurrections,” two epithets by which he is named in one version of the Egyptian Book of the Dead*4, are also weak attempts to link Osiris and Jesus together. Scripture does not identify Jesus specifically as the “Lord of eternity,” although He is named the “Everlasting Father” in the book of Isaiah (9:6), and nowhere is Jesus named the “Lord of Resurrections.” Rather, Jesus is the resurrected Lord and the one because of whom all other resurrections (such as Lazarus and Jarius’ daughter) are possible. Likewise, Murdock’s mention of the title “morning star” as being attributed to both Horus and Jesus is equally of no consequence. As a sun deity, it should come to no surprise to anyone aware of Horus’ representation as a sun god that he would be identified by a title such as the “morning star..” In the book of Revelation (22:16) Jesus is called the “Morning Star,” but any astrological application of this title is based on the erroneous assumption that sun worship is not forbidden in Scripture. In Part two of this book there is an entire heading devoted to the supposed relationship between Christianity and astrology; therefore, I will reserve a full treatment of the issue until then. Here is only needs to be stated that God expressly forbids His people to worship His creation, as shown in the passages below (emphasis mine): If there be found among you, within any of thy gates which the LORD thy God giveth thee, man or woman, that hath wrought wickedness in the sight of the LORD thy God, in transgressing his covenant, And hath gone and served other gods, and worshiped them, either the sun, or moon, or any of the host of heaven, which I have not commanded; And it be told thee, and thou hast heard of it, and inquired diligently, and, behold, it be true, and the thing certain, that such abomination is wrought in Israel: Then shalt thou bring forth that man or that woman, which have committed that wicked thing, unto thy gates, even that man or that woman, and shalt stone them with stones, till they die. (Deut 17:2-5) Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty and five years in Jerusalem: But did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, like unto the abominations of the heathen, whom the LORD had cast out before the children of Israel. For he built again the high places which Hezekiah his father had broken down, and he reared up altars for Baalim, and made groves, and worshiped all the host of heaven, and served them. (2 Chr 33:2-3) And he brought me [Ezekiel] into the inner court of the LORD’s house, and, behold, at the door of the temple of the LORD, between the porch and the altar, were about five and twenty men, with their backs toward the temple of the LORD, and their faces toward the east; and they worshiped the sun toward the east. Then he said unto me, Hast thou seen this, O son of man? Is it a light thing to the house of Judah that they commit the abominations which they commit here? for they have filled the land with violence, and have returned to provoke me to anger: and, lo, they put the branch to their nose. Therefore will I also deal in fury: mine eye shall not spare, neither


will I have pity: and though they cry in mine ears with a loud voice, yet will I not hear them. (Ez 8:16-18) Finally, Murdock attempts to link Jesus and Horus by the description of one who comes as a “thief in the night.” In this case, her application of the title is not to Horus; but rather, to Set, Horus’ enemy. She appeals to the Book of the Dead, in which Set is described as one “who steals souls, who laps up corruption, who lives on what is putrid, who is in charge of darkness, who is immersed in gloom, of whom those who are among the languid ones are afraid.” Murdock latches onto the description of Set as one who is “in charge of darkness” and the one who was believed to defeat Horus at every day’s end, thus ushering in the hours of darkness and stealing the light from the world. She concludes in saying, “Set is a thief in the night who robs Osiris/Horus of his strength and life. Set is the serpent of the night, the Prince of Darkness and other qualities in line with Satan, while Horus is the ‘sun of righteousness’ and the Prince of Light, much like Christ.”5 Murdock’s analogy fails on two counts. First, and most obvious, is the fact that Satan is not described in Scripture as a “thief in the night.” Rather, it is Jesus whose coming is described as such (1 Thess 5:2) by the Apostle Paul in his first letter to the Thessalonian church. Therefore, the objects of her analogy do not line up, since the Christian counterpart of Set, according to her use of terminology, is Jesus, not Satan. Second, the depiction of Set as one “who robs Osiris/Horus of his strength and life” can in no way be likened to the description of Jesus as one who will appear as “a thief in the night.” In the first place, in Murdock’s portrayal, Horus is defeated and weakened by Set. In Scripture, Jesus is never defeated nor weakened by Satan. There is an instance when a weakened Jesus is tempted by Satan, but this was during His incarnation as a man and under all the limitations placed upon a normal human body. During this period, Jesus’ weakness was for lack of food, and not because of any attack on Him by Satan. In Genesis (3:15) it is said that the seed of the serpent (that is, Satan) will bruise the head of the seed of the woman (that is, Christ). Such a depiction is metaphorical of the suffering of Christ, during which He gave His body as a Lamb to the slaughter so that His people would be redeemed from their sin. Also, such sacrifice was one Jesus made willingly, rather than having it forced upon Him by an enemy, or Satan. In the second place, Paul’s description of a “thief in the night” is not a reference to Jesus Himself; but rather, to the manner of His appearance. It is said in Scripture that He will one day appear in the clouds to gather together the resurrected bodies of believers. This coming will be both unexpected and sudden, as would be characteristic of the coming of a thief. At such time, Jesus’ appearance will not be to steal the bodies of believers, but to claim what He has rightfully purchased with His own blood. It should also be noted that titles such as “truth,” “light,” “good shepherd,” “god’s anointed son,” and “alpha and omega” are such general titles which should understandably be attributed to a being regarded as deity. The commonality of the titles is no indication that one deity was ascribed a certain title simply because the same title was also attributed to another deity. Throughout many ages, man has used concepts such as light and darkness as a metaphor for good and evil, or truth and falsehood. It was true in ancient times and it is true in modern times to the point that it permeates the various cultures of the world, and in a myriad of fashions, from


religion to entertainment and art. A common title is no indication that one to whom this title is applied is a victim of “monkey-see, monkey-do.” * Critics try to claim that the Book of the Dead is a piece of literature on which the Ten Commandments were based. Such claims are unfounded and will be addressed in Part two) Concerning Dionysus Dionysus was not the “king of kings,” for he was a god who stood inferior to others. If any deity in Greek mythology would have been referred to by such a title, it would have been Zeus, the chief of the gods of Olympus. Likewise, Dionysus cannot correctly be called the “god’s only begotten son,” since Zeus did sire other offspring (Hermes, Apollo, Athena, Artemis, etc), nor can he be called the “alpha and omega,” (i.e., the “beginning and the end”) since Dionysus had a definite birth and death. Although he was not called a savior, the Bacche does describe his followers as declaring, “We are saved,” however, the salvation to which they referred was deliverance from Pentheus' anger, not to eternal redemption from sin. Concerning Krishna It is said that Krishna was known as the “lion of the tribe of Saki,” “son of god,” “lord,” and “savior,”and was recognized as one who had come die for mankind. All of these claims are false. None of these titles were ever historically applied to Krishna. Neither was he the second person in a divine trinity, as some claim. Krishna was one of ten avatars for Vishnu. After the beginning of the Christian era he was known as Jezeus or Jeseus, a name meaning “pure essence,” but these names were not given to him prior to the time of Christ. Concerning Mithras The Persian Mithra was called a “warrior angel of light,” but no such title is given to the Roman Mithras in question here. Critics claim that Mithras was identified by such imagery as a lion and a lamb. True, Mithras' totem was a lion (again, a crosscultural symbol of strength and supremacy), but he was never associated with a lamb in any of the myths. In many cultures light is a common means to illustrate truth and spiritual illumination, therefore it is not unthinkable that people from different religions know the one(s) they worship as a “light” in one sense or another. Even in modern culture, the concept of a “bright idea” carries a like reference to a person experiencing a personal enlightenment. It has been said that Mithras was identified as a lion and a lamb, reflective of Jesus' depictions in the New Testament. It is true that after the advent of Christianity, Mithras' totem was a lion, but the lion did not represent Mithras himself. Furthermore, Jesus came from the tribe of Judah, which was associated with a lion long before the closing of the Old Testament cannon or even the Mithraic religion, as attested by Moses in the book of Genesis. Judah is a lion’s whelp; From the prey, my son, thou art gone up: He stooped down, he couched as a lion, And as a lioness; who shall rouse him up? (Gen 49.9)


Another title which has been attributed to Mithras was “logos,” meaning “word,” as was attributed to Jesus in the Gospel of John (1:1) where it is said, “the Word was made flesh.” However, this reference post-dates Christianity and refers to Mithras' teaching, not to Mithras himself, whereas John identified Jesus as the bodily incarnation of the Word of God.

XIII. He held a communal last supper with His disciples:
Mithras and Dionysus

said of

Concerning Mithras The following quote is attributed to Mithras and is found on the supposed tomb of Peter, located in the Vatican: “He who shall not eat of my body nor drink of my blood so that he may be one with me and I with him, shall not be saved.” The quote does exist, but it is not referring to Mithra or Mithras. Rather, the reference is to Zarathustra (c.650-583 B.C.), the founder of Zoroastrianism. Even so, a document linking this quote to Mithra only dates back to the middle ages, not to pre-Christian times. The Mithraic communal meal does not offer a parallel to the Christian Communion observance. In the first place, the Mithraic meal was understood to provide spiritual rebirth, as Manfred Clauss comments: "The Mithraists evidently believed that they were reborn through the consumption of bread and wine. The food was of course not simply actual or literal food, but also food in the metaphorical sense, which nourished souls after death: the meal was the guarantee of their ascension into the undying light.”1 In the case of Christian Communion, salvation or spiritual rebirth does not come through partaking of the bread or the wine in Communion. Rather, the meal is a memorial or remembrance of the sacrifice of Christ. Also, only believers are instructed to share in such a meal, since it is a signification of the covenant between God and His people,with God having provided for their redemption. Secondly, in the case of the Mithraic meal, the elements do not represent, either figuratively or literally, the body and blood of Mithras. However, in the Christian Communion, the elements are represented as the body and blood of Christ. Some denominations view the elements as metaphorically representative of the body of Christ, whereas in other denominations, the elements are said to be literally transformed into the actual body and blood of Christ, as in the case of the Eucharist. While it is the view of the present writer that the elements represent Christ in a figurative sense, a discussion on this point is outside the bounds of this work. In either case, it serves here to point out the distinction between Christian Communion and the Mithraic communal meal, in which the elements do not represent Mithras' body and blood in neither a figurative nor literal sense.


Concerning Dionysus Some critics claim Dionysus's devotees observed a meal in which Dionysus' body was eaten. Dionysus was in fact eaten, but it was the Titans, not his followers, who dismembered and consumed him.

XIV. He was crucified: said of Horus, Attis, Krishna, and Dionysus
Concerning Horus There is no reference to a crucifixion in the Horus myth. Even in the battle with Set, Horus (according to some versions) loses an eye or sustains injuries in both eyes, but he is not killed. Horus did later become merged with the sun god Ra, in which he is said to have been sent to the Underworld by Set upon every setting of the sun, only to be reborn the next day with the rising of the sun. This “death” is more akin of a banishing to the Underworld rather than a literal death. However, the critics are wrong even in this regard, for the myth never sends Horus to the underworld in his battles with Set. It was Osiris, not Horus, who was sent to the underworld to rule as king of the dead. Horus, on the other hand, was known as the king of the living. There are two versions of the battle between Horus and Set. In one version, the battle lasts eighty years, after which time the earth god Geb awards to Horus the whole of Egypt as his inheritance. In the other version, Horus, as a falcon, soars into the cosmos and returns in a great light, thus defeating Set, the personification of darkness. Additionally, there exists no archaeological or historical evidence to support the notion that crucifixion was a means of death employed in Egypt. In the version of the myth as told by Diodorus, Horus drowns, but is given a drug which gives him immortality. In another version, he is stung by a scorpion, but it is not said that he dies. Rather, it is said that Isis placed her nose to his mouth to see if he was still breathing, but whether he was or not, is not expressed in the story. The text merely says that Horus “healed” throughout the night.1 Concerning Krishna The Hindu religious texts do not mention a crucifixion in relation to Krishna. Rather, Krishna’a death is due to being pierced in the foot with a hunter’s arrow: "A fierce hunter of the name of Jara then came there, desirous of deer. The hunter, mistaking [Krishna], who was stretched on the earth in high Yoga, for a deer, pierced him at the heel with a shaft and quickly came to that spot for capturing his prey."2 Critics claim that since he was sitting under a tree when the arrow pierced his foot, that the impact resulted in him being impaled, or “crucified,” (so they say) to the tree. Such a death is far from crucifixion. Crucifixion was a means of punishment or execution by which one’s feet and arms were impaled or tied to two beams forming the shape of a “T” or an “X.” The primary means of death as a result of being in a crucified state was suffocation or loss of blood. Death by simply having one foot impaled to a tree does not constitute death by crucifixion.


Concerning Attis A nice feature of the Attis myth is that if you don’t quite care for his manner of death, there are plenty other tales of his demise from which to choose. Death #1: According to Ovid, Cybele falls in love with Attis, makes him her priest, and demands chastity of him. However, Attis falls in love with a nymph, the daughter of the river-god Sangarius. Angered, Cybele inflicts madness on Attis, by which he is compelled to castrate himself under a tree. From the flow of blood flowers sprout up in the soil and Attis is turned into a pine tree.3 Death #2: Attis fled into the forest to escape the snares of a king. Attis was able to subdue the king and as the king lay dying he pronounced upon Attis the same madness inflicted in the above version, after which Attis castrates himself and dies. His body is found by Cybele’s priests and they carry him to her temple in hopes he may be brought back to life, but they failed in their efforts to do so.4 Death #3: After his bride-to-be dies, Attis is consumed with grief. In a fit of sorrow, he then castrates himself and dies while sitting under a pine tree. Agdistis, feeling guilty that he caused the death of Attis’ love, asks Zeus to bring Attis back to life. Zeus consents, but rather than restoring Attis to life, he merely preserves the body, which remains in a state of death.5 Death #4: A fourth account tells us that Attis married Cybele, the daughter of the Phrygian king Maeon. When this became known to the king, he ordered Attis killed. The story ends with Attis being buried after already being in a state of decomposition.6 Death #5: According to Hermesianax, Attis, the son of the Phrygian king Calaus, journeyed to Lydia where he caught the attraction of the goddess Cybele. Zeus, angered at the goddess’ allure, sent a wild boar to Lydia, killing many inhabitants, including Attis.7 Death #6: According to Herodotus, Attis’ father, king Croesus, had a dream in which Attis was killed by a spear. Shortly after, a wild boar terrorizes the Mysians, who beg Croesus for help. He sends help, but commands Attis be left behind, fearing his dream may come true. Attis begs his father to allow him to engage in the hunt. The king agrees, but sends Adrastus along to protect Attis. In his attempt to kill the boar, Adrastus throws his spear, misses, and hits Attis instead. Attis’ dead body was returned to the king and quickly buried in a tomb.8


Death #7: According to Arnobius, Attis marries the daughter of the king of Pessinus. As a result, Agdistis drives the wedding party insane, again resulting in Attis’ fatal emasculation under a tree. It is then requested of Zeus that he restore Attis to life, but he refuses, instead merely preserving Attis’ corpse from decay, his hair always in a state of growth and his little finger in a constant motion.9 It is clear none of these deaths involve a crucifixion. Yes, in some accounts he was near a tree, but he was not on the tree, nor was he crucified to the tree. It has been said that in ancient times, the annual festival in honor of Cybele included a procession in which was upheld an image of Attis fastened to a tree, but this was done merely as a means of practically depicting him under the tree, as is said of him in the myth, and the figure fastened to the image was not fastened in a crucified state. Some versions of the myth have Attis being transformed into a pine tree, but not being crucified on one. In the case of Jesus, each of the Gospel accounts provide us with the same mode of death, a death which occurred in history, was witnessed by real people, and was documented in writing by ancient historians and scholars, both Christian and pagan, as will be shown in Part two. According to one version of Attis’ death by emasculation, the flow of blood causes a patch of violets to grow and blossom. The life-giving properties resulting from his flow of blood is unlike the remission of sins through the shedding of Christ’s blood on the cross. In the case of Attis, the shedding of blood gave life to a flower. In the case of Christ, the shedding of blood cleanses men from sin, makes them sons of God, affects man’s soul, and spares him from the eternal wrath of God. By Attis’ blood, a flower is born; by Jesus’ blood, the guilty are forgiven of the grossest of offenses. The growing of flowers in the Attis myth is reflective of an element common in both myth and fantasy fiction, in which flowers are often seen blooming in proximity or response to a being of special worth. Such was true in ancient times, and the story element has persisted even in modern times, as in the writings of J.R.R. Tolkein and C.S. Lewis in their Lord of the Rings trilogy and the Chronicles of Narnia, respectively. Concerning Dionysus As stated under a previous heading, Dionysus’ death was due to being dismembered by the titans. Also, Dionysus' crown of ivy has been compared to Jesus' crown of thorns, however, Dionysus wore his crown at all times, whereas Jesus' crown was placed upon Him in mockery of His claim to be the King of the Jews. The same can be said of the purple robes which both figures wore. There does exist an amulet (shown on the next page) which is said to depict a crucified Dionysus, however the amulet has been dated to the fourth century A.D.10, and is widely thought to be a forgery.11


The Bacche describes Dionysus' enemy Pentheus as being “lifted up on a tree,” but the event relayed therein was not one of crucifixion. Rather, Dionysus placed Pentheus in the tree to be reprimanded by women, who throw stones at him, but are unable to throw them high enough to strike him. Therefore, the women rip out the tree and Pentheus fall to the ground and is dismembered by the women. Attention has been drawn to similarities between Jesus' and Dionysus' demeanor in the face of persecution, as both were silent before their enemies. In the case of Dionysus, he allowed himself to be taken in order to be presented before King Pentheus in hopes of being given an opportunity to humiliate the king, whereas in the case of Jesus, His silence was a reflection of His submission to the trials set before Him, as well as a fulfillment of Isaiah's prophecy that He would be silent as a lamb taken to slaughter. Blood as a symbol of life Many cultures regard blood as symbolic of spiritual life. In the Old Testament sacrificial system, it was the blood of animals which symbolized the forgiveness of sin. Such sacrifices themselves were not regarded as actually cleansing oneself from sin; but rather, foreshadowed the shedding of the blood of Christ, by which the sin of man is actually forgiven. This concept is evident in the blood rituals found within many pagan cultures. Concerning such a concept, Wallis Budge states, “The great Codices of the Book of the Dead written under the XVIIIth dynasty prove that the blood of Isis was believed to possess great magical protective powers.” After quoting Budge, D. M. Murdock makes the claim that “Isis’ magical blood is like that of Christ.”12 Such a reduction of the sacrifice of Christ to a mere magic trick reflects a gross misunderstanding of the Biblical concept of justice, as well as of the blessings conferred by virtue of either Jesus’ or Isis’ blood. A chapter in the Theban Recension of the Book of the Dead describes the blood of Isis as that by which the deceased would be allowed to roam free in the Underworld: “Let the blood of Isis, and the magical powers of Isis, and the words of power of Isis, be mighty to protect and keep safely [the deceased], and to guard him from him that would do unto him anything which he abominateth.”13 The shedding of the blood of Christ, as the spotless Lamb of God, was sufficient to satisfy the justice of God, who required the life of man for abandonment to sin. Through Isis’ blood, the dead remain dead, but through Jesus’ blood, the spiritually dead are raised to new life and are spared the torments of hell. The commonality of the element of blood in religious beliefs will be addressed in Part three, and it will be


shown that the concept of bloodletting (including forms such as blood drinking and blood bathing) is a concept which transcends cultural boundaries and is therefore found in many different religious systems. The presence of the element of blood in Scripture goes back as far as the generations of Adam and Eve, who offered sacrifices to God as a form of faith in a forthcoming redemption from sin. The very first mention in Scripture of the shedding of blood was that of an animal whose skin was used as a covering for Adam and Eve (Gen 3:21), who were ashamed of their nakedness following their act of sin. It is interesting that God Himself provided the skin of the animal by which Adam and Eve were covered. The covering of Adam and Eve as such is representative of the final covering of sin which would be made effectual through the work of Christ. As God provided a covering for the first man and woman, so that their shame (or sin) would be covered, so does the righteousness of Christ provide a covering by which the former sinner can stand before God, clothed not in his own sin, but in the righteousness of the Son of God, the shedding of whose blood takes away the sin of the world. This concept of the life-giving properties of blood (be it physical life, spiritual life, or both) has since migrated into the many pagan religions, including the Egyptian myth of Isis, of whom it is said her blood is that which protects the dead after their entrance into the Underworld.

XV. Concerning the constellation Crux as being the supposed origin for the crucifixion of Jesus:
The smallest of the modern constellations is Crux, a constellation which bears a resemblance of a cross (“crux” is Latin for “cross”). There are a few reasons why this constellation bears no relevance to the crucifixion account. First, Crux was not a known constellation in antiquity. In pre-Christian times, Crux was part of the constellation Centaurus, as noted by Ptolemy.1 The first known record of the signs of the zodiac date back to the fifth century B.C., but this constellation was not identified as Crux in that record. It was not until the year 1679 that this cluster of stars was given its present-day name, in reflection of the cross of Christ. As Dr. Noel Swerdlow, Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of Chicago, notes, “As it turns out, while the stars of the Southern Cross were just barely visible from Israel in ancient times, it wasn't distinguished as a constellation until much later. In fact, in ancient times, the second-century astronomer Ptolemy, who cataloged a number of stars in various constellations in a work called the Almagest, included these stars in the constellation Centaurus.”2 Elsewhere, Dr. Swerdlow states that the reason “Crux, the Southern Cross, was not recognized as a separate constellation in antiquity is probably because, as seen from the Mediterranean, it is low on the southern horizon and is surrounded on three sides by stars of Centaurus, which is a large, prominent constellation, and the four bright stars of Crux are included as stars of Centaurus in Ptolemy's star catalog. It is only when you go farther to the south, so that Crux is higher in the southern sky, that it becomes prominent as a group of stars by itself, so its recognition had to wait until the southern voyages of the sixteenth century.”3 Since the writers of the Gospels would not have been able to clearly see the stars which would later be known as the Crux constellation, Crux could not have been the inspiration behind Jesus’ mode of death as portrayed in the Gospels.


Second, the symbol of the cross was not a symbol popularly used by early Christians. Early Christendom’s symbols included such iconography as fish and bread, as seen in existing frescoes and mosaics on catacomb walls and baptismal pools, as well as early manuscripts, which have survived to this day, but such icons were rarely a cross. For the first few centuries after Christ, Christians suffered harsh persecution under the thumb of Rome. Many Christians were put to death for their faith in Jesus. For this reason, they avoided the use of symbols, such as the cross, which would conclusively identify them as believers. The most common icon among early believers was a fish, the same symbol seen on many bumper stickers (as the image shown below). It was used a means of identifying someone as a fellow Christian. One person would draw half of the fish, and if the other person knew to complete the symbol by drawing the other half, he was indicating to the first that he also was a believer in Christ.

Third, Zeitgeist’s claim that “during this three day pause, the Sun resides in the vicinity of the Southern Cross, or Crux, constellation” is completely false. The sun never endures a three day pause at any time of the year. Also, the sun does not “reside” in even close proximity to the constellation later known as Crux at any time around December 25th. All one has to do to verify this is open any astronomy book, or just look to the sky. Also, The Zeitgeist Movie states, “Coming back to the cross of the Zodiac, the figurative life of the Sun, this was not just an artistic expression or tool to track the Sun's movements. It was also a Pagan spiritual symbol. … This is not a symbol of Christianity. It is a Pagan adaptation of the cross of the Zodiac. This is why Jesus in early occult art is always shown with his head on the cross, for Jesus is the Sun, the Sun of God, the Light of the World, the Risen Savior, who will ‘come again,’ as it does every morning, the Glory of God who defends against the works of darkness, as he is ‘born again’ every morning, and can be seen ‘coming in the clouds, up in Heaven,’ with his ‘Crown of Thorns,’ or, sun rays.” The film attempts to erroneously draw a correlation between the cross of the zodiac (Fig. 1), the so-called “shorthand” of which is seen below (Fig. 2), and crosses mounted on church rooftops (Fig. 3). The fact is that crosses were not used in churches until 431 A.D. and were not mounted on church steeples until 586 A.D. The early church did use various symbols, such as fish or bread, but, as stated above, the sign of the cross was not common among these symbols. As far as the crown of thorns being a representation of the rays of the sun, this is, yet again, a gross stretch of the critics’ imagination. The blatant truth is that the cross of the zodiac resembles the shape of a pie, not the cross of Christ, and the so-called “shorthand” version referred to by critics is simply them grasping at straws for a correlation between Christianity and astrology, a correlation which in actuality does not exist.


Fig. 1

Fig. 2

Fig. 3

XVI. He was dead for three days: said of Horus, Attis, and Mithras
Concerning Horus As mentioned previously, Horus’ so-called “death” is said to be manifested by the setting of the sun, thus symbolizing Set’s banishing Horus, according to Zeitgeist, to the Underworld every day at sunset. In this “death,” there is no reference to him being enclosed in a tomb. Whether Horus’ so-called death is considered actual or symbolic, it is still not lasting for a three day duration, for the very next day after his passing, he just returns from the Underworld (at least until the sun goes down again). In other words, every morning he comes back to life and every evening he dies again. However, it must be remembered that it was Osiris who was banished to the Underworld, while Horus remained alive to avenge his father’s death. Concerning Krishna Proponents of the “copycat theory” claim that Krishna descended to the grave for three days and was seen by many witnesses, but in the myth, no evidence exists for this claim. After being pierced in the foot by the hunter’s arrow, Krishna immediately returns to life and forgives the hunter for his bad aim: "He [the hunter] touched the feet of [Krishna]. The high-souled one comforted him and then ascended upwards, filling the entire welkin with splendor."1 Concerning Mithras In the texts and reliefs concerning the Roman Mithras (and also true of the Iranian Mithra), no death is attributed to him. Instead of dying, Mithras is said to have been taken to paradise in a chariot while yet still alive.2 If there is any borrowing here, it is on the part of the myth, having borrowed from the earlier Hebrew account of Elijah being taken to heaven alive and in a whirlwind, following the appearance of a flaming chariot. (2 Kings ch 2)


Concerning Attis In the version of the myth which has Attis being transformed into a pine tree, he is carried, in his pine tree form, to the cave of the Great Mother. This cave does not become his tomb, but is actually the home of the Great Mother (more will be said on this in the next point). The significance of the three day death Why was Jesus in the grave for three days? The theme of an event occurring on or after the third day is repeated many times throughout Scripture. In the Genesis account of the life of Joseph, the chief butler is restored to his position after three days. Later it is sad that Joseph's brothers are set free from prison after three days. In the Exodus account, bitter waters are made sweet after three days. Concerning the prophet Jonah, it is said that he was in the belly of a great fish for three days and nights. The list goes on and on. Critics suggest that these pre-Christian references to such a three day period of trial, suffering, or death, after which there is relief, freedom, or salvation, is the formula adopted by the Apostles in their composition of the life of Jesus of Nazareth. A fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy While it is true that Jesus' three day burial is directly related to the Old Testament references to a three day period of time, the relation is not that of the latter borrowing from the former; but rather, the former predicting the latter. That is to say, the three day burial of Jesus is a direct fulfillment, not a borrowing, of such Old Testament references. The Old Testament relates to the burial of Jesus through both direct prophecy and typological foreshadows, or events that serve as an allusion to a future event, without actually providing a direct prediction of that event. In the book of Psalms, David said of the coming Messiah that, following His suffering and death, God would not allow Him to see corruption (Ps 16:10). The Jews recognized that after the first few days following death, the body enters into a state of putrefaction and begins to decay. Had Jesus remained in the grave, His human body would have experienced the normal progression of decay which would occur in any other body after the point of death. While Jesus was unable to be corrupted by sin, His human body was able to be corrupted by death, as His body was not subject to any law outside of nature, except that such was permitted by His divine nature, as when He performed miracles. During the three days in the tomb, Jesus' body would only remain in the initial “fresh” stage of decomposition. In this stage, the body enters algor mortis, where the temperature of the body cools to that of its surroundings. His bodily bacteria would begin to break down, a process which causes putrefaction, resulting in the bloating of the body and discoloring of the flesh, accompanied by a foul odor. Jesus' body, being in the grave for a mere three days, did not pass into the putrefying stage of death, and was therefore spared such corruption, thus fulfilling the prophecy of the Psalmist. Had Jesus risen following the third day, then such prophesy would become null and void, an effect which God has declared His Word will not have (Isa 55:11). When God says a thing will occur, that thing will occur exactly as God said it will.


A validation of Jesus' claim to be the Messiah In addition to this prophecy, the Old Testament includes many other references to a three day period of suffering – references which serve as a foreshadow of a coming reality. The Hebrew Scriptures contain numerous elements which serve as a type, or foreshadow, of the coming Messiah. As Moses lifted up a brazen serpent, which gave life to those who looked upon it, so does the Messiah give life to those whose sin He paid for while He was “lifted up” on the cross. Such is just one of many examples of an Old Testament element which foreshadowed the person and work of the Messiah (others include the life of Joseph, the furniture of the tabernacle, the ark of Noah, and many others). Of these, one of the most well-known is that of Jonah’s trial, an event to which Jesus Himself made reference when speaking of His forthcoming burial. Jonah was a man God called to evangelize the people of Nineveh, a people known for their wicked ways. Jonah attempted to escape this mission by sailing away on a boat. During his voyage, a great storm swelled, making the voyagers fearful for their lives. Recognizing that the storm was a divine punishment on Jonah, his shipmates elected to throw him overboard, after which he was swallowed by a great fish (often interpreted as a whale). In the belly of the fish, Jonah came to a state of repentance. Three days later, the fish spat Jonah upon dry land and he goes on to fulfill his calling to preach to the people of Nineveh. It was this particular event that Jesus spoke of when the religious leaders asked Him for a sign to show that He was indeed the Messiah. After Jesus healed many people, the Pharisees accused Him of acting in the name of God, but by acting in the power of Beelzebub, the prince of the demons. Jesus responded by pointing out the error in such reasoning and by declaring that His acting in the power of God, not Satan, was the proof that He was the Messiah: “If Satan casteth out Satan, he is divided against himself; how then shall his kingdom stand? And if I by Beelzebub cast out demons, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore shall they be your judges. But if I by the Spirit of God cast out demons, then is the kingdom of God come upon you.” (Mt 12:26-28) He goes on to condemn the Pharisees for blaspheming the Holy Spirit, by whom Jesus was empowered in His enacting of miracles*. The Pharisees then asked for a sign that they might know that Jesus spoke the truth concerning the source of His power. (v. 38) The sign that Jesus provided was an appeal to the historical account of Jonah: “An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given it but the sign of Jonah the prophet: for as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the whale; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh shall stand up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and behold, a greater than Jonah is here.” (vs. 39-41) Elsewhere, in John's Gospel, Jesus is again asked for a sign, and again the sign given was that in three days following the destruction of His temple, or body, He would rise again. (Jn 2:18-22) The disciples did not understand the meaning of this sign until after the resurrection, for they thought that the “temple” of which Jesus spoke was the temple built by Herod the Great, rather than the temple of His body. However, Jesus' enemies understood clearly that He spoke of His own bodily resurrection after three days, and it was on the


basis of this claim that they placed a Roman guard at Jesus’ tomb to ensure the disciples would not steal the body, thus effecting a fake resurrection on the third day. * Jesus of Nazareth was both fully God and fully man. As God and the second Person of the Trinity, Jesus had the power to perform the work of God, including healing disease and raising the dead. However, as a man, Jesus had no more ability to perform these feats than you or I, and had to be empowered, in His humanity, by the Holy Spirit, just as were the prophets of old when they performed miraculous works. A guarantee of Israel's national restoration In addition to Jesus' three day burial being a fulfillment of prophesy and a sign that He was indeed the Messiah, it also served as a guarantee of Israel's future restoration, as stated by the prophet Hosea that Israel's “resurrection” as a nation would occur on the “third day:” Come, and let us [the people of Israel] return unto the LORD: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up. After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight. (Hosea 6:2) In this passage, it is clear that the one being raised in not the Messiah; but rather, the nation of Israel. The use of imagery involving bodily resurrection to refer to the future restoration of Israel is most evident in a famous vision had by the prophet Ezekiel, in which he saw a valley of dry bones which were restored to life, given flesh and blood, and fashioned into a mighty army. Following the vision, the Lord explained the vision to Ezekiel as follows: Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts. Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the LORD have spoken it, and performed it, saith the LORD. (Ez 37:11-14) The Hebrews have long been a people whose existence as a nation has been challenged by oppression and captivity at the hands of foreign invaders. Following the collapse of the monarchy which began with King Saul and flourished during the reign of David and his lineage, the kingdom of the Hebrews became divided into the northern and southern kingdoms, until such time as the Hebrews were taken into captivity by the Persians. Following the


Persian exile, the Hebrews became a scattered people. Whereas they once were composed of a unification of twelve tribes, one for each of the sons of the patriarch Jacob, the post-exilic Hebrew state constituted only a remnant of the original twelve tribes. Still, God promised that the Hebrew nation would be restored to its former glory, and that such will occur in the end of days. In the meantime, the people of Israel travail and long for the reunification of the twelve tribes. Scripture portrays this travail as a state of death, and the future restoration as a resurrection from the dead. The duration of this travail is expressed by Hosea as being, figuratively, a three day-long death, during which the body of Israel lies in wait until the day when the stone will be rolled away from its own tomb and she, the Hebrew people, shall appear in glorious fulfillment of the promise made to her father Abraham. In his commentary on Hosea, Matthew Henry states the following concerning this three day-long period: “[The people of Israel] promise themselves that their deliverance out of their troubles should be to them as life from the dead (v. 2): After two days he will revive us (that is, in a short time, in a day or two), and the third day, when it is expected that the dead body should putrefy and corrupt, and be buried out of our sight, then will he raise us up, and we shall live in his sight, we shall see his face with comfort and it shall be reviving to us. ... The people of God may not only be torn and smitten, but left for dead, and may lie so a great while; but they shall not always lie so, nor shall they long lie so; God will in a little time revive them; and the assurance given them of this should engage them to return and adhere to him. But this seems to have a further reference to the resurrection of Jesus Christ; and the time limited is expressed by two days and the third day, that it may be a type and figure of Christ’s rising the third day, which he is said to do according to the scriptures, according to this scripture.”3 In summation, the recurring theme of restoration after three days was a foreshadow of the future resurrection of Jesus Himself, who was raised on the third day, as a sign that He was indeed the long expected Messiah and as a guarantee of Israel's future restoration as a people pure and holy.

XVII. He was resurrected from the dead: said of Horus, Attis,
Krishna, Dionysus, and Mithras Concerning Horus Reinforcing what has been previously mentioned, Horus, according to Zeitgeist, was presumed “resurrected” upon every sunrise, and this was merely symbolic of his victory over Set, the personification of darkness. Claims attributing an actual resurrection to Horus are based on the fact that ancient Egyptians believed that a Pharaoh, upon death, was thought to become Osiris, whereas the succeeding Pharaoh was considered to be living incarnation of Horus, the son of Osiris. Thus, upon each


succession of Pharaohs, Horus is resurrected in the “image” of the new monarch, without experiencing an actual death. Concerning the relationship between the sun and the concept of salvation, D. M. Murdock quotes James Allen as saying, “The Sun was the original and daily source of all life: his appearance at the creation and at every sunrise thereafter made life possible in the world … The Sun's daily movement through the sky was viewed as a journey from birth to death, and his rebirth at dawn was made possible through Osiris, the force of new life … This vision of daily death and rebirth lay behind the ancient Egyptian concept of the afterlife. Like the Sun, each person's [soul] was seen as passing through the night of death before coming to life again with the sunrise.”1 Murdock then concludes by attempting to tie Allen’s analysis with the Christian concept of resurrection. She says, “Again we see how singularly significant was the sun that its own cycles were closely tied in with the salvation of the human soul, thousands of years before the Christian era.”2 In such an analysis, she confuses the concept of a symbolic, recurring resurrection to new life with a literal, once for all resurrection to new life, and loses sight altogether of the Christian concept of salvation. In the case of the ancient Egyptian, such death-to-life notions did not effect a change in the person, either physically or spiritually, and are merely reflective of concepts associated with the life-giving properties of the sun, which emerged with every new day and, as was assumed, effected the daily resurrection of the soul. In the case of the Christian, the concept of death and resurrection is the means by which the guilty are set free (that is, saved from the wrath of God for their sin) and eventually enter into everlasting fellowship with God. Regeneration, for the Christian, is a change from a heart of stone to a heart of flesh, thus altering the desires to that which seeks to please God, an alteration of the will to enable one to respond properly to God, and an illumination of the mind to comprehend spiritual truth. The salvation provided for the Christian is a provision of grace and mercy, whereas the so-called “salvation” provided for the Egyptian upon the daily rising of the sun is grounded in a mere superstition concerning a celestial body created by the God of the Bible. Also, for the Egyptian, such a resurrection occurs daily, whereas for the Christian, there is only one such instance of justification, and that comes through faith alone, faith in the only begotten Son of God as the Savior of the world. Concerning Krishna Krishna’s resurrection is related in the Mahabharata, of which the earliest testimony to the complete text comes from Dion Chrysostom and dates to the first century A.D., after the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, although portions date to the sixth century B.C. or earlier.3 Krishna’s resurrection is told in the following excerpt from the Mahabharata: “Having restrained all his senses, speech, and mind, Krishna laid himself down in high Yoga. A fierce hunter of the name of Jara then came there, desirous of deer. The hunter, mistaking Krishna, who was stretched on the earth in high Yoga, for a deer, pierced him at the heel with a shaft and quickly came to that spot for capturing prey. Coming up, Jara beheld a man dressed in yellow robes, rapt in Yoga and endued with many arms. Regarding himself as an offender and


filled with fear, he touched the feet of Krishna. The high-souled one comforted him and then ascended upwards, filling the entire welkin with splendor.”4 Dating aside, the resurrection of Krishna after being struck by a hunter’s arrow is no comparison to the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. 1. The only witness to Krishna’s resurrection was the hunter who shot him in the foot; Jesus appeared to his disciples and 500 witnesses. 2. Krishna ascended to a mental state (Nirvana); Jesus ascended to a metaphysical, or spiritual, location (Heaven) 3. Krishna was seen as a savior for freeing his people from the temporal reign of Kamsa; Jesus is called Savior since He freed His people from the eternal wrath of God. Concerning Attis Attis is not described as a resurrected deity anywhere in the myth. In one version, his body is preserved by Zeus at the request of Agdistis, but is not brought back to life. Upon being carried to the cave after his death, he is not resurrected; rather, there is merely mourning for his passing. Neither in the Lydian nor the Phrygian version of his death is there to be found a resurrection from the dead. Some have taken Attis’ reincarnation as a pine tree to constitute a resurrection, but being reincarnated in another form is not the same as a resurrection. There are several versions of Attis’ death, as follows: Version 1: According to Ovid, Attis is turned into a pine tree, but is not resurrected. 5 Version 2: In a second account, Attis’ dead body is carried back to Cybele’s temple in hopes he may be brought back to life, but they failed in their efforts to do so.6 Version 3: In a third account, Zeus is asked to bring Attis back to life. Zeus consents, but rather than restoring Attis to life, he merely preserves the body, which remains in a state of death.7 Version 4: In a fourth account, Attis is buried after his body has already began decomposing.8 Version 5: In a fifth account, Attis is killed by a wild boar and does not return to life.9 Version 6: In a sixth version, Attis’ dead body was quickly buried in a tomb after Attis was felled by a spear.10


Version 7: Seven proves to be no lucky number for Attis, for even in this account the god still remains dead. As in a previous version, Zeus is here asked to restore Attis to life, which he again refuses to do. However, he does give Attis a bit of a break this time around by allowing Attis’ little finger to remain in a state of constant motion. 11 Still, though, there is no resurrection. Attis was not known as a savior. The only mention of salvation in relation to Attis is from Damascius (480-550 A.D.), who lived five hundred years after Jesus’ resurrection. He wrote that he had a dream in which a festival of Attis celebrated “salvation from Hades.” In so doing, he was not relating an actual belief or festival, but merely his own dream. There have been mentions made of Attis’ festivals practicing a rite called taurobolium, or bull-sacrifice. In this rite, a man was said to be “born again” when bathed in the blood of a bull. The first mention of taurobolium resulting in salvation is found in the writings of Prudentius and dates to 400 A.D.,10 and that prior to that date, the rite was performed strictly for the benefit of the Emperor’s health, having no reference to a transformation from a spiritual condition. Additionally, the slaying of a bull in association with Cybele is not mentioned until the second century A.D.12 Critics have pointed to the following passage by Firmicus Maternus as an indication that Attis did experience a resurrection. Aside from the fact that this writer lived in the fourth century, well after the Gospels were written, a close look at the text in question does not express a belief in Attis’ resurrection. “In order to satisfy the angry woman, or perhaps trying to find consolation for her after she repented, [the Phrygians] advanced the claim that he whom they had buried a little while earlier had come to life again; and since the woman's heart burned unbearably with overweening love, they erected temples to the dead youth. … The earth, they maintain, loves the crops, Attis is the very thing that grows from the crops, and the punishment which he suffered is what a harvester with his sickle does to the ripened crops. His death they interpret as the storing away of the collected seeds, his resurrection as the sprouting of the scattered seeds in the annual turn of the seasons.“14 A few things stand out in this passage to show that a literal resurrection was not in view. 1. The resurrection of Attis was merely a “claim.” 2. The purpose for this claim of a resurrection was “In order to satisfy the angry woman.” 3. The temples erected to Attis were in honor of “the dead youth,” rather than to one who had risen from the dead. 4. The resurrection in view was symbolic of the annual return of spring: “His death they interpret as the storing away of the collected seeds, his resurrection


[they interpret] as the sprouting of the scattered seeds in the annual turn of the seasons.” A note on the “Day of Joy:” Critics have appealed to the festival of Cybele (March 22-27) as a means to affirm Attis as a resurrected deity. The third day of this festival is known as the “Day of Blood” and the fourth day as the “Day of Joy.” They claim the Day of Joy was in celebration of Attis’ resurrection following his “Day of Blood.” However, the day following the Day of Blood was a day in honor of Cybele, not Attis, at which time, the statue of Cybele was returned to the temple. It was not until the fifth century A.D., by the philosopher Damascius, that this day was connected to Attis, when Damascius described a dream had by Isidore the Dialectician in which the Day of Joy was conducted in honor of Attis.15 Unfortunately, for the critic, Isidore’s dream did not accurately reflect the true meaning of the celebration. Concerning Dionysus Dionysus was never resurrected. After the Titans consumed all but his heart, he was then “re-born” from Zeus. A pre-Christian account of Dionysus’ rebirth comes from Diodorus Siculus, a historian who wrote during the first century B.C. He states: “The fabulous writers likewise feign a third generation of Bacchus, that he was the son of Jupiter and Ceres, and that some men of the earth pulled him in pieces, and boiled his parts; and that Ceres gathered his members together again, and renewed and revived him. Which fictions the natural philosophers explain according to natural reason; for he is said (they say) to be the son of Jupiter and Ceres, because the vine is nourished by the earth and the rain from heaven, and so produces fruit; whence comes wine, by pressing of the grape. That the boiling of his members, signifies the operation of making the wine, which many boil to render it more strong and fragrant. That his members were pulled in pieces by earthly men afterwards, and joined together again, and he restored to his former state, denotes no more, but that, after the vintage and pruning of the vines at the season of the year, the earth causes them to flourish again, and to be as fruitful as they ever were before.”16 This re-birth is more of a re-creation than a resurrection, for he emerges in a new body, since his first form was destroyed. It is for this reason that Dionysus is referred to in literature as “twice-born.” When Jesus rose from the dead, He arose possessing the same body which was crucified and mutilated, yet the only remaining physical signs of His execution were the scars on His wrists and in His side. Another event in the Dionysus myth which some delight in likening to a resurrection is Dionysus' descent to the Underworld to rescue his mother. Since he descended to the Underworld without dying, it cannot be said that his re-emergence to the land of the living constituted a resurrection. Concerning Mithras As stated earlier, Mithras is not said to have died at any point in the myth. Critics point to a reference in the writings of Tertullian, a second century Christian, in citing


that the Persian Mithra (not the Roman Mithras) was considered a resurrected deity. The reference is from Tertullian's Prescription Against Heretics and reads as follows: "If my memory still serves me, Mithra there, (in the kingdom of Satan), sets his marks on the foreheads of his soldiers; celebrates also the oblation of bread, and introduces an image of a resurrection...."17 First of all, Tertullian is not citing what actually took place regarding Mithra. Rather, he is relating, to the best of his recollection, what he thought was the case. The ancient texts regarding Mithra does not support Tertullian’s recollection that Mithra’s followers celebrated a resurrection in his name. Concerning the notion that Mithras' blood gave immortality, that would be a bit of a trick, since Mithras is not said to have died. This notion originates from an inscription which reads, "And us, too, you saved by spilling the eternal blood;" however, this inscription is dated more than a hundred years after the Christian Apostolic Age and refers, as agreed among scholars, to Mithras' spilling of a bull’s blood upon his emergence (i.e., birth) from a rock (cf. above section “Virgin birth”).18 According to the myth, the blood of the felled beast, not Mithras' blood, generated vegetation and all life. In conclusion of this heading on resurrected deities, I present the following quotes from two noted historians Dr. Alister McGrath, Professor of Historical Theology at Oxford University, notes, “Parallels between the pagan myths of dying and rising gods and the New Testament accounts of the resurrection of Jesus are now regarded as remote, to say the least. … If anyone borrowed any ideas from anyone, it seems it was the Gnostics who took up Christian ideas.”19 Author Jonathan Z. Smith comments, “ is now held that the majority of the gods so denoted appear to have died but not returned; there is death but no rebirth or resurrection. What evidence was relied on by previous scholarship for the putative resurrection can be shown, it is claimed, to be based on a misinterpretation of the documents, or on late texts from the Christian era which reveal … a borrowing of the Christian motif, at a late stage, by the religions themselves.”20

XVIII. Concerning the observance of Easter
Furthermore, Zeitgeist states, “However, [the ancients] did not celebrate the resurrection of the sun until the spring equinox, or Easter. This is because at the spring equinox, the sun officially overpowers the evil darkness." Actually, since the dawn of time the sun has overpowered the darkness every day - at sunrise, not just on Easter. The word Easter is used in the King James Version of the Bible, but its usage is the result of a mistranslation. The word “Easter” was translated from the Greek word “pascha”, meaning “Passover.” “Easter,” on the other hand, is derived from the name of the Babylonian goddess Ishtar, the goddess of fertility, hence the association with bunnies and eggs. More modern English translations of the Bible have corrected the mistranslation of the word “pascha.” The meaning of Passover has no correlation with the meaning associated with celebrations of Easter, either in ancient or modern times. Passover, rather than dealing with resurrection, is related to the concept of death which results in salvation. The first mention of Passover is in the twelfth chapter of the book of Exodus. After Joseph grew to prominence in the land of Egypt, the Hebrew


people became so populated that Pharaoh ordered them into slavery for fear they might overtake the kingdom. During these years of bondage, God raised up a deliverer, Moses, to lead His people to the land of promise. However, Pharaoh refused to relieve the Hebrew people from their bonds, even after God afflicted Egypt with various plagues, so God brought one last scourge upon Egypt. He told Moses that if Pharaoh would not let His people go, His angel would go from house to house and bring about the death of every firstborn son in the land of Egypt. However, God provided a way out: He said that He would “pass over” any house that had the blood of a lamb spread on the door posts, thus sparing the firstborn of that household from this plague. After their departure from Egypt, God commanded that the Hebrew people observe Passover annually, in remembrance of their deliverance from bondage. At this annual feast, an unblemished lamb was sacrificed, which served both as a reminder of the past and a promise for the future. The Passover Feast, while looking back in reflection of past deliverance, also looked forward to the future promised Messiah, who would be an even greater Deliverer than Moses. The blood of the lamb was typical of the blood of Jesus, the Lamb of God, slain for man’s sin. As those covered by the blood of the lamb in Egypt were spared from death, so those covered by the blood of the Lamb of God are spared from the wrath of God against their sin. Also, the supposed relationship between the words “sun” and “son” in ancient beliefs is pure nonsense, since the beliefs in question far pre-date the English language.

XIX. Concerning Sunday as the sacred day of worship: said
of Mithras Mithras' day of worship was in fact Sunday (Sunday as the day of worship is only true of the Roman Mithras, not the Iranian Mithra), but that was not so until the second century A.D., well after Jesus’ resurrection.1 Additionally, Sunday was not declared as the Christian’s sacred day until March 7th 321 A.D. by the edict of Emperor Constantine, since that is the day on which Jesus rose from the dead and, in the creation account, it is said that God rested on the seventh day.* Prior to that, the day of worship for Christians was Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath. Even so, a pagan deity’s day of celebration falling on Sunday should come as no surprise. Many religions used Saturday or Sunday as its “holy day” (after all, there’s only seven days in a week from which to pick a holy day). Mithras' services were conducted by men known as “fathers,” the chief of whom lived in Rome and was referred to as “Pater Patratus.” The obvious association that critics employ here is to the Catholic church and its hierarchy, however, Catholicism did not develop until hundreds of years after the time of Christ, therefore, any parallel regarding the government of the Catholic church is irrelevant, especially since none of the Apostles held the title of Pope or Holy Father, nor did they operate from Rome. Peter was the Apostle to the Jews, whereas Paul was the Apostle to the Gentiles. While Paul did travel to Rome, much of his time was spent elsewhere within the Roman Empire. * His rest was not from weariness of work, but was a glorifying satisfaction that all He created was good.


I. Concerning the suspect confession of Justin Martyr
Justin Martyr, a second century historian and one of the earliest Christian apologists, is often accused by critics that he believed the Gospels were revisions of pagan myths. The claim is based on the following quotes, both taken from his First Apology: "When we say that he, Jesus Christ, our teacher, was produced without sexual union, was crucified and died, and rose again, and ascended into Heaven, we propound nothing different from what you believe regarding those who you esteem sons of Jupiter."24 "He [Jesus] was born of a virgin, accept this in common with what you believe of Perseus."25 Justin was a converted pagan. He was very familiar with the various myths which existed in his day and were held by his contemporaries. He was a man of great understanding and is regarded as one of the greatest writers of the early Christian era. However, his work is not gospel. His writings were not inspired by God as were the Scriptures. As such, they may contain errors. These above quotations, however, would not fall under that category, for Justin is not confessing an association between Jesus and mythological figures. For one, he lived during a time when oral and written tradition regarding Jesus was fresh and relatively new. Time had not corrupted the elements which orthodox Christianity held to be true. There were heretical sects who claimed to be Christians, such as the Gnostics and the Marcions, but these and others like them were rejected by mainstream Christians for believing in truths which stood in contradiction to Scripture. If Justin had written with the intention of suggesting that the Gospels were borrowed from paganism, certainly other of the church fathers would have condemned his words in their own writings, and you will find no such condemnation by any of the other early Christian writers. What Justin was doing here was appealing to the pagan conscience. Christians, including Justin, were under attack by Rome and pagan Greeks. Rome had set in place the death penalty for professing faith in Christ. Below is the thrust of Justin’s argument here: “In the first place [we furnish proof], because, though we say things similar to what the Greeks say, we only are hated on account of the name of Christ, and though we do no wrong, are put to death as sinners. … And this is the sole accusation you bring against us, that we do not reverence the same gods as you do, nor offer to the dead libations and the savor of fat, and crowns for their statues, and sacrifices.”26 In paraphrase, what he was saying was this: “Christians are being put to death for believing in a man who was the Son of God, born of a virgin. Yet you [pagans] who believe in myths like Perseus and Jupiter and hold to like beliefs, deem us worthy of death.” In short, he was inviting he who is without sin to cast the first stone. He was calling attention to their hypocrisy in condemning others for holding to the types of beliefs to which they held themselves. The argument he was using was a legal one: that if Christians held to beliefs which made them worthy of the death penalty, then pagans who


hold to similar beliefs are equally worthy of the same. Justin was appealing to what he knew was fiction and myth in his process of defending that which he knew was the truth. Granted, his choice of wording would have been better. He could have used classifications other than “nothing different” and “in common” when discussing any relationship between Jesus and Perseus or Jupiter. These statements, when taken by themselves, which is what the critic always does, could indicate exactly what the critic wants us to believe: that the Gospel was a rip-off of pagan myths. However, if we read further and look at the broader context, it becomes clear that Justin is not making any such claim. Consider the following statements made by Justin in this same work (when added, emphasis mine). They certainly do not sound like the ramblings of a man who believes the core tenants of his faith to be mere copies of existing myths. “wicked devils perpetrated these things [referring to pagan myths]”27 “whatever we assert in conformity with what has been taught us by Christ, and by the prophets who receded Him, are alone true, and are older than all the writers who have existed [an obvious reference that Jesus was the fulfillment of the many prophecies concerning the coming Messiah]; that we claim to be acknowledged, not because we say the same things as these writers said, but because we say true things: and (secondly) that Jesus Christ is the only proper Son who has been begotten by God.”28 “… before He became a man among men, some, influenced by the demons before mentioned, related beforehand, through the instrumentality of the poets, those circumstances as having really happened, which, having fictitiously devised, they narrated, in the same manner as they have caused to be fabricated the scandalous reports against us”29 Another quote from Justin which has drawn the attention of critics is found in his work Dialogue with Trypho: “'And when I hear, Trypho, said I, that Perseus was begotten of a virgin, I understand that the deceiving serpent counterfeited also this.'”30 In saying that devils perpetrated the pagan myths, Justin is not saying that the devil had foreknowledge of God’s plan for redemption, knowing beforehand that the Word of God would be made flesh and be born of a virgin, having then inspired pagan religion based on forthcoming Christian beliefs. Rather, he is saying that the devils inspired pagan myths based on pre-Christian Jewish beliefs, dating back to the time of Moses– beliefs which were later fulfilled in the person of Jesus. “From what has been already said, you can understand how the devils, in imitation of what was said by Moses, asserted that Proserpine was the daughter of Jupiter, and instigated the people to set up an image of her under the name of Kore [Cora, i.e., the maiden or daughter] at the springheads. For, as we wrote above, Moses said, ‘In the beginning God made the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form and unfurnished: and the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.’ In imitation,


therefore, of what is here said of the Spirit of God moving on the waters, they said that Proserpine [or Cora] was the daughter of Jupiter. And in like manner also they craftily feigned that Minerva was the daughter of Jupiter, not by sexual union, but, knowing that God conceived and made the world by the Word, they say that Minerva is the first conception; which we consider to be very absurd, bringing forward the form of the conception in a female shape. And in like manner the actions of those others who are called sons of Jupiter sufficiently condemn them.”31 Justin's intention in mentioning supposed parallels between the Gospels and pagan mythology was not for the purpose of explaining them or proving they did not exist; but rather, to draw attention to them so that he may show how the devil had imitated the ancient prophecies concerning the coming of the Messiah. Such intention is evident in the sixty-ninth chapter of his Dialogue with Trypho: “I am established in the knowledge of and faith in the Scriptures by those counterfeits which he who is called the devil is said to have performed among the Greeks; just as some were wrought by the Magi in Egypt, and others by the false prophets in Elijah’s days. For when they tell that Bacchus, son of Jupiter, was begotten by [Jupiter’s] intercourse with Semele, and that he was the discoverer of the vine; and when they relate, that being torn in pieces, and having died, he rose again, and ascended to heaven; and when they introduce wine into his mysteries, do I not perceive that [the devil] has imitated the prophecy announced by the patriarch Jacob, and recorded by Moses? … And when he [the devil] brings forward Aesculapius as the raiser of the dead and healer of all diseases, may I not say that in this matter likewise he has imitated the prophecies about Christ? Here, it is clear that Justin's intention was to show that in imitating the Old Testament prophecies, not the Gospel accounts of Jesus, the devil had successfully created such parallels (which are very remote, at best). This he did in order to show the hypocrisy of the pagans in accusing Christians of believing in that which Justin thought to be similar to Christian beliefs. Also, Justin’s comments regarding pagan deities do not correctly reflect the myths themselves. Neither Perseus nor Jupiter shared biographical characteristics similar to Jesus. Neither of these pagan deities were said, or believed, to be virgin-born, crucified, or resurrected from the dead. In his book The Virgin Birth of Christ J. Gresham Machen, comments, “When Justin…refers to the birth of Perseus as a birth from (or through) a virgin, he is going beyond what the pagan sources contained. There seems to be no clear evidence that pagan sources used the word ‘virgin’ as referring to mothers of heroes, mythical or historical, who were represented as being begotten by the gods.”32. Justin Martyr is also quoted as saying, “Christ — if He has indeed been born, and exists anywhere — is unknown. ... And you, having accepted a groundless report, invent a Christ for yourselves.” The quote is taken from chapter eight of his Dialogue with Trypho, in which he debates with the non-Christian Jew named in the title of the work. The line in question is a line attributed to Trypho, who can hardly be considered as an advocate for Christianity, The context in which the line is placed can be seen in the following elongated section:


“I approve of your other remarks, and admire the eagerness with which you study divine things; but it were better for you still to abide in the philosophy of Plato, or of some other man, cultivating endurance, self-control, and moderation, rather than be deceived by false words, and follow the opinions of men of no reputation. ... Christ — if He has indeed been born, and exists anywhere — is unknown. ... And you, having accepted a groundless report, invent a Christ for yourselves ...” Trypho’s accusation here against the Christians is not that they believe in a Christ who did not exist. Rather, he is accusing them of applying to the man Jesus, whose historical existence Trypho never calls into question, a false Messiahship. Trypho’s perspective is that the Christians misapplied Messianic prophecies to the person of Jesus of Nazareth, who Trypho regarded as a mere man, not God incarnate. Critics also claim that Eusebius (Ecclesiastical History) quotes Justin as saying, "There exists not a people, civilized or semi-civilized, who have not offered up prayers in the name of a crucified Savior to the Father and Creator of all things." This statement reduces Jesus to one of any number of unidentified crucified saviors. They cite a passage in Eusebius' history (Hist. Eccl, Book 1, ch 4) in which they say the historian provides the above quote from Justin's Dialogue with Trypho, however, the fact is that the quote, in this form, does not exist. First of all, the quote, in any form, is not found in the work of Eusebius. Pick up a copy of Eusebius' History, read it from cover to cover, and you will find no such statement in the text. Second, the quote, in this form, is found nowhere in Justin's Dialogue. What is found in Justin's Dialogue with Trypho is the following statement: “For there is not one single race of men, whether barbarians, or Greeks, or whatever they may be called, nomads, or vagrants, or herdsmen living in tents, among whom prayers and giving of thanks are not offered through the name of the crucified Jesus.”33 The statement, rather than standing as a confession that Christianity is merely a rehash of other religions, stands as a testament to the enduring character of the Gospel of Christ. That Jesus was worshiped and prayers were offered in His name by peoples of every race and class speaks to the victory of the one who is not just a crucified Savior, but the crucified Savior of man. The above misquote is yet another example of the critics' fabricated “evidence” in an attempt to cast a shadow on the validity of the Christian faith. Justin was a devout Christian, as reflected in his writings, despite the baseless accusations of the critics who delight in intentionally taking his words out of context. Justin Martyr stands as a staple in the writings of the early church. Read his writings for yourself and you will see a man who had a heart for God and a commitment to the truth. Justin’s works may also be read at the following web site:


II. Concerning the similarities between the Epic of Gilgamesh and Noah’s Flood

From the Zeitgeist movie: “The story of Noah and Noah’s Ark is taken directly from tradition. The concept of a Great Flood is ubiquitous throughout the ancient world, with over two hundred different cited claims in different periods and times. However, one needs look no further for a pre-Christian source than the Epic of Gilgamesh written in 2600 B.C.” The Gilgamesh Epic Background The Epic of Gilgamesh was discovered in 1853 during an excavation in the ancient city of Nineveh. The finding consisted of twelve tablets on which were inscribed a poem about a great flood. The tablets were dated to only 650 B.C., but the poem is much older, since fragments of the same story are found on other fragments dated about 2,000 B.C. Both oral and written forms of the poem are thought to have existed well before the discovery of these fragments. The main figure of the poem is Gilgamesh, who was a Sumerian king during the first dynasty of Uruk. In the poem, it was not Gilgamesh who experienced the flood; but rather, Utnapishtim, an immortal, who relates his tale of the flood to Gilgamesh. After his friend was struck down and killed by the gods, Gilgamesh became fearful for his own life and sought a way to avert possibility of divine judgment. He soon learned of Utnapishtim, a man who has become immortal, and sets out on a quest to find this one and learn his secret to eternal life. When they do meet, Utnapishtim tells Gilgamesh a tale of a great flood and his subsequent acquisition of immortality. After telling his story, Utnapishtim tests Gilgamesh to see if he is worthy of immortality. Gilgamesh failed the test, but, in pity, Utnapishtim told him where he could find the plant which grants immortality. Gilgamesh successfully located and retrieved the plant, but the plant was later carried off by a serpent while Gilgamesh was bathing in a spring, causing Gilgamesh much sorrow. Utnapishtim’s story of a great flood (The Epic of Gilgamesh, tablet XI) The gods decided to flood the earth to destroy mankind. The god Ea, the same god who fashioned man, came to Utnapishtim in a dream to warn him of the impending cataclysm. Ea instructed Utnapishtim to build a great vessel by which he would survive the flood. The shape of the vessel was to be a large cube, having equal dimensions both in height and width. Utnapishtim built the vessel as instructed, sealed it with pitch, and gathered all kinds of animals. Then, he, along with his family and other select few, entered the vessel. Once inside, water began to flood the earth, so much that “the gods were frightened by the flood.” For six days and seven nights the waters continued with great ferocity.


The poem reads: “Six days and seven nights came the wind and flood, the storm flattening the land. When the seventh day arrived, the storm was pounding, the flood was a war—struggling with itself like a woman writhing [in labor].” When the deluge came to an end, Utnapishtim‘s ark came to rest on Mt. Nisir. Utnapishtim sent out birds to see if the waters had receded enough for them to leave the ark. He sent a dove, then a swallow, but both returned to the ark, finding no land on which to rest. He then sent a raven. When the raven did not return, he released the animals from the ark and offered a sheep in sacrifice to the gods. “The gods smelled the savor, and collected like flies over a [sheep] sacrifice.” The god Enlil was outraged when he saw that some humans survived the flood. Ea rebuked Enlil for destroying mankind (save a few) by causing the flood. Enlil, in remorse, granted immortality to Utnapishtim and his wife, after which they retired in seclusion. Here, its entirety, is the portion of the Epic which recounts Utnapishtim’s tale of the flood: (This translation is taken from and is based on the standard Akkadian version) Utanapishtim spoke to Gilgamesh, saying: "I will reveal to you, Gilgamesh, a thing that is hidden, a secret of the gods I will tell you! Shuruppak, a city that you surely know, situated on the banks of the Euphrates, that city was very old, and there were gods inside it. The hearts of the Great Gods moved them to inflict the Flood. Their Father Anu uttered the oath (of secrecy), Valiant Enlil was their Adviser, Ninurta was their Chamberlain, Ennugi was their Minister of Canals. Ea, the Clever Prince(?), was under oath with them so he repeated their talk to the reed house: 'Reed house, reed house! Wall, wall! O man of Shuruppak, son of Ubartutu: Tear down the house and build a boat! Abandon wealth and seek living beings! Spurn possessions and keep alive living beings! Make all living beings go up into the boat. The boat which you are to build,


its dimensions must measure equal to each other: its length must correspond to its width. Roof it over like the Apsu. I understood and spoke to my lord, Ea: 'My lord, thus is the command which you have uttered I will heed and will do it. But what shall I answer the city, the populace, and the Elders!' Ea spoke, commanding me, his servant: 'You, well then, this is what you must say to them: "It appears that Enlil is rejecting me so I cannot reside in your city (?), nor set foot on Enlil's earth. I will go down to the Apsu to live with my lord, Ea, and upon you he will rain down abundance, a profusion of fowl, myriad(!) fishes. He will bring to you a harvest of wealth, in the morning he will let loaves of bread shower down, and in the evening a rain of wheat!"' Just as dawn began to glow the land assembled around methe carpenter carried his hatchet, the reed worker carried his (flattening) stone, ... the men ... The child carried the pitch, the weak brought whatever else was needed. On the fifth day I laid out her exterior. It was a field in area, its walls were each 10 times 12 cubits in height, the sides of its top were of equal length, 10 times It cubits each. I laid out its (interior) structure and drew a picture of it (?). I provided it with six decks, thus dividing it into seven (levels). The inside of it I divided into nine (compartments). I drove plugs (to keep out) water in its middle part. I saw to the punting poles and laid in what was necessary. Three times 3,600 (units) of raw bitumen I poured into the bitumen kiln, three times 3,600 (units of) pitch ...into it, there were three times 3,600 porters of casks who carried (vegetable) oil, apart from the 3,600 (units of) oil which they consumed (!) and two times 3,600 (units of) oil which the boatman stored away. I butchered oxen for the meat(!), and day upon day I slaughtered sheep. I gave the workmen(?) ale, beer, oil, and wine, as if it were river water, so they could make a party like the New Year's Festival. ... and I set my hand to the oiling(!).


The boat was finished by sunset. The launching was very difficult. They had to keep carrying a runway of poles front to back, until two-thirds of it had gone into the water(?). Whatever I had I loaded on it: whatever silver I had I loaded on it, whatever gold I had I loaded on it. All the living beings that I had I loaded on it, I had all my kith and kin go up into the boat, all the beasts and animals of the field and the craftsmen I had go up. Shamash had set a stated time: 'In the morning I will let loaves of bread shower down, and in the evening a rain of wheat! Go inside the boat, seal the entry!' That stated time had arrived. In the morning he let loaves of bread shower down, and in the evening a rain of wheat. I watched the appearance of the weather-the weather was frightful to behold! I went into the boat and sealed the entry. For the caulking of the boat, to Puzuramurri, the boatman, I gave the palace together with its contents. Just as dawn began to glow there arose from the horizon a black cloud. Adad rumbled inside of it, before him went Shullat and Hanish, heralds going over mountain and land. Erragal pulled out the mooring poles, forth went Ninurta and made the dikes overflow. The Anunnaki lifted up the torches, setting the land ablaze with their flare. Stunned shock over Adad's deeds overtook the heavens, and turned to blackness all that had been light. The... land shattered like a... pot. All day long the South Wind blew ..., blowing fast, submerging the mountain in water, overwhelming the people like an attack. No one could see his fellow, they could not recognize each other in the torrent. The gods were frightened by the Flood, and retreated, ascending to the heaven of Anu. The gods were cowering like dogs, crouching by the outer wall. Ishtar shrieked like a woman in childbirth, the sweet-voiced Mistress of the Gods wailed: 'The olden days have alas turned to clay, because I said evil things in the Assembly of the Gods! How could I say evil things in the Assembly of the Gods,


ordering a catastrophe to destroy my people!! No sooner have I given birth to my dear people than they fill the sea like so many fish!' The gods--those of the Anunnaki--were weeping with her, the gods humbly sat weeping, sobbing with grief(?), their lips burning, parched with thirst. Six days and seven nights came the wind and flood, the storm flattening the land. When the seventh day arrived, the storm was pounding, the flood was a war--struggling with itself like a woman writhing (in labor). The sea calmed, fell still, the whirlwind (and) flood stopped up. I looked around all day long--quiet had set in and all the human beings had turned to clay! The terrain was as flat as a roof. I opened a vent and fresh air (daylight!) fell upon the side of my nose. I fell to my knees and sat weeping, tears streaming down the side of my nose. I looked around for coastlines in the expanse of the sea, and at twelve leagues there emerged a region (of land). On Mt. Nimush the boat lodged firm, Mt. Nimush held the boat, allowing no sway. One day and a second Mt. Nimush held the boat, allowing no sway. A third day, a fourth, Mt. Nimush held the boat, allowing no sway. A fifth day, a sixth, Mt. Nimush held the boat, allowing no sway. When a seventh day arrived I sent forth a dove and released it. The dove went off, but came back to me; no perch was visible so it circled back to me. I sent forth a swallow and released it. The swallow went off, but came back to me; no perch was visible so it circled back to me. I sent forth a raven and released it. The raven went off, and saw the waters slither back. It eats, it scratches, it bobs, but does not circle back to me. Then I sent out everything in all directions and sacrificed (a sheep). I offered incense in front of the mountain-ziggurat. Seven and seven cult vessels I put in place, and (into the fire) underneath (or: into their bowls) I poured reeds, cedar, and myrtle. The gods smelled the savor, the gods smelled the sweet savor, and collected like flies over a (sheep) sacrifice. Just then Beletili arrived. She lifted up the large flies (beads) which Anu had made for his enjoyment(!):


'You gods, as surely as I shall not forget this lapis lazuli around my neck, may I be mindful of these days, and never forget them! The gods may come to the incense offering, but Enlil may not come to the incense offering, because without considering he brought about the Flood and consigned my people to annihilation.' Just then Enlil arrived. He saw the boat and became furious, he was filled with rage at the Igigi gods: 'Where did a living being escape? No man was to survive the annihilation!' Ninurta spoke to Valiant Enlil, saying: 'Who else but Ea could devise such a thing? It is Ea who knows every machination!' La spoke to Valiant Enlil, saying: 'It is yours, O Valiant One, who is the Sage of the Gods. How, how could you bring about a Flood without consideration Charge the violation to the violator, charge the offense to the offender, but be compassionate lest (mankind) be cut off, be patient lest they be killed. Instead of your bringing on the Flood, would that a lion had appeared to diminish the people! Instead of your bringing on the Flood, would that a wolf had appeared to diminish the people! Instead of your bringing on the Flood, would that famine had occurred to slay the land! Instead of your bringing on the Flood, would that (Pestilent) Erra had appeared to ravage the land! It was not I who revealed the secret of the Great Gods, I (only) made a dream appear to Atrahasis, and (thus) he heard the secret of the gods. Now then! The deliberation should be about him!' Enlil went up inside the boat and, grasping my hand, made me go up. He had my wife go up and kneel by my side. He touched our forehead and, standing between us, he blessed us: 'Previously Utanapishtim was a human being. But now let Utanapishtim and his wife become like us, the gods! Let Utanapishtim reside far away, at the Mouth of the Rivers.' They took us far away and settled us at the Mouth of the Rivers." Noah’s Flood (Genesis chapters 6-9) During the days of Noah, mankind reached a level of wickedness which exceeded any that had existed before or since. God determined to punish mankind by bringing a universal flood upon them. However, there was one righteous man, Noah, whom


God chose to spare from this calamity. He spoke to Noah and instructed him to build a great vessel, seal it with pitch, and place two of every kind of animal in the ark. He was also instructed to take additional animals for sacrifice. Once completed, God told Noah to take his family in the ark, after which God shut the door and the waters began to flood the earth. The waters pounded the earth for forty days and nights. In the seventh month of the flood, the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat. In the tenth month, the tops of the mountains were seen. Noah sent a raven and a dove, but neither found land. Seven days later, he sent a second dove, which returned with an olive branch. Seven days later, he sent a third dove, which did not return. After releasing the animals from the ark, he and his family again set foot on land, at which time God commanded Noah to go forth and multiply on the earth. Noah built an alter and offered burnt offerings to God, after which God blessed him and promised He would never again destroy the world with a flood, giving the rainbow as the sign of His promise. Which came first? The oldest written account we have of Noah’s flood was written by Moses, who lived in approximately 1400-1500 B.C. The account of the flood likely existed in oral and written tradition long before Moses, having been handed down through Noah and his descendants. The real question is not whether the Epic of Gilgamesh pre-dates the book of Genesis; but rather, does the account of Gilgamesh pre-date Noah? The question of when Noah lived depends on one’s chronological view of Biblical history. The chronology of Usher and Lightfoot A widely-used and accepted version of Biblical chronology is the timetable set forth in 1642 by Archbishops Usher and Lightfoot (usually referred to, unfortunately for Lightfoot, as “Usher’s chronology”), using the genealogical records found in Scripture. According to this timetable, the flood is placed between 2300-2400 B.C., approximately three thousand years earlier than geological data suggests (c.5400 B.C.). The history of the world according to Usher: 4004 B.C.- Creation 2348 B.C.- Noah's Flood 1921 B.C.- God's call to Abraham 1491 B.C.- The Exodus from Egypt 1012 B.C.- The founding of the Temple in Jerusalem 586 B.C.- The destruction of Jerusalem by Babylon and the beginning of the Babylonian Captivity 4 B.C.- The birth of Jesus There is no way to date the age of the earth, even by using the genealogies found in Scripture. Taken literally, the Biblical data suggests Usher’s chronology to be fairly accurate. However, such accuracy is dependent on Usher and Lightfoot correctly translating and evaluating the data, with a proper


understanding of Hebrew idioms regarding relationships between fathers and sons. At times, a man mentioned to be another’s “father” may actually be a grandfather or even much later descendant, thus making the genealogy stretch over a longer period of time than is suggested on the surface. Scientific dating According to the best scientific research, using methods such as radiocarbon dating, the earth is approximately 4.5 billion years old. But, as author R. Christopher explains, “… scientists are aware that C-14's half life (5,700 years) quantifies carbon based material to approximately 3692 B.C. They are also aware earlier dates must be obtained in unison with a preconceived, evolutionary, geological stratigraphy that only exists in carefully edited secular textbooks and are never quite so obvious when working within the actual geological column. … Science also posits a universe that is some 14-18 billion years old. It quantifies these estimates by way of extrapolating measured results of background radiation, etc., back to a theoretical, protracted point in time. But the premise on which these theories are constructed may be wrong—at least to some degree. Recent astronomical observations attest to a universe that is anything but homogeneous and isotropic as Big Bang proponents hypothesize. Science is also aware that we cannot precisely measure astronomical phenomena beyond a few hundred or thousand light years from earth without a series of assumptions being added to the equation. Anything further is no more than an estimated guess at distance or age.”1 Internal characteristics of the narratives However old both accounts are in their written form, they are most assuredly older in their oral form. The bottom line is that the age of both flood accounts cannot be determined through either the best genealogical or scientific data; therefore, other factors must be considered when determining which account came first. 1. Both flood accounts must have a basis in an actual historical event, since the story of a universal flood exists in practically every culture, and so it has been since before world travel was possible. The Australian Aborigines even have their own flood legend. Linguist Dr. Alexandra Aikhenvald stated, “… without their language and its structure, people are rootless. In recording it you are also getting down the stories and folklore. If those are lost a huge part of a people’s history goes. These stories often have a common root that speaks of a real event, not just a myth. For example, every Amazonian society ever studied has a legend about a great flood.”2 2. The comparison between the two accounts, while bearing some similarities, are strikingly different, both in content and character (for more on this point, see the following section “Comparison of the two accounts”). The elements contained in the Gilgamesh record stand out as elements of myth and fiction, rather than historical data.


3. Historians generally view the book of Genesis as an historical record, while the Epic of Gilgamesh is considered to be an ancient myth, with basis in an actual historical event. However one regards the book of Genesis, it must be considered either legend or history. Given certain characteristics of the Gilgamesh account, as noted above, the Genesis record comes out on top as being the one which is historical. As Dr. Jonathan Sarfati notes, “it is common to make legends out of historical events, but not history from legends.”3 4. In the epic of Gilgamesh, it appears that Utnapishtim is the only person on earth who remembers or is even aware that there was a great flood. If the Gilgamesh epic were an historical record, then why did Gilgamesh not already know that there was a flood before Utnapishtim related the tale to him? If mankind knew of Utnapishtim’s immortality, how did they not also know of the flood? If such a flood was a reality, it would have surely been known and reflected in cultures throughout the world, as is the Noahic account. Comparison of the two accounts4 Similarities between Genesis and Gilgamesh Characteristic Noah Utnapishtim

Extent of flood …………………….Global…………………...Global As stated above, if the Gilgamesh legend were true, then there would have been widespread knowledge of such an event, yet the only one in the story who possesses such knowledge is Utnapishtim. Also, apart from the tablets on which the poem is inscribed, there exists no written account which corroborates the flood of Utnapishtim. However, there is evidence in ancient literature which supports the Genesis account. Warned by ………………………...Yahweh (God) …………...Ea How else would either Noah or Utnapishtim know of a coming global flood unless he was so informed by a deity? Again, we have here an element which is necessary in both accounts. Ordered to build an ark?…………..Yes…………………….....Yes How else is one going to survive a global flood? Outside coating ……………………Pitch …………………....Pitch Pitch, or bitumen, was a common resin is ancient times. According to the Dictionary of Archeology, “Also known as asphalt or tar, bitumen was mixed with other materials throughout prehistory and throughout the world for use as a sealant [and] adhesive. … The material was also useful in waterproofing canoes and other water transport.”5 The Bible gives two instances of the use of pitch in the construction of a waterproof vessel.


Noah used pitch when building an ark, and Moses’ mother used pitch when waterproofing a basket in which to place her son. It is not unthinkable that both accounts of a flood would list such a common, readily available substance used in the building of an ark. Rather than serving as a cause for raised eyebrows, the element of pitch in both accounts should come as an expectation. Similarities between Genesis and Gilgamesh (continued) Characteristic Noah Utnapishtim Doors……………………………….One………………….....One Why would there need to be more than one door? Only one entrance and exit would have been needed in a vessel intended for such a purpose. Also, a vessel built to survive for an extended period of time in tumultuous waters (to say the least!) would need to be as watertight as possible, with only as many doors as would be required for entering the ark. Windows ………………………....At least one …………...... At least one Test to find land ………………......Release of birds ……...... Release of birds Again, this element should come as no surprise. In a world covered with water, a bird would be the most logical choice. Boat rests on mountain……………Yes …………………...... Yes Given that both flood accounts were global, covering even the mountains themselves, it is only logical that when the waters recede, that each ark comes to rest on a mountain, being the first portions of land to re-emerge. Mountain in the Middle East…...…Yes …………………..... Yes The Middle East was the hub for human existence in ancient times. Genesis describes the first humans living in the Fertile Crescent, or Mesopotamia, a notation which is supported by archaeology. An account of a global flood occurring in very ancient times should be expected to come out of this region. Sacrificed after flood? ..…………. Yes, by Noah ………...... Yes, by Utnapishtim Yes, both accounts mention an offering being made following the flood, but this exists as an element standing in stark contrast between the two accounts, since the offerings differed greatly in both type and characteristics. More will be said on this below, but here the only item of interest is that there is an offering of some sort mentioned in both accounts. Offerings were common practice in ancient times, and are even used today in less civilized cultures. Offerings serve many purposes, including giving thanks or acknowledging one’s dependence on or servitude to a higher power. After surviving a global flood, it would be commonplace, especially in ancient times when offerings were more widely practiced, to give an


offering to the deity on whom one’s survival was dependent. Today, when surviving a near-death experience, it would be a common thing for the survivor to attribute his/her survival to a deity in whom he/she has faith, and to do so in accordance with his/her belief system, whether it involves saying a prayer, crossing oneself, or making a particular vow to that deity. As in the case of the offering mentioned in both flood accounts, it would come as a natural response from anyone who has faith in a higher power. Similarities between Genesis and Gilgamesh (continued) Characteristic Noah Utnapishtim Blessed after flood? ..………….....Yes ……………………. Yes The blessing on Noah (From Genesis 9:8-17) And God spake unto Noah, and to his sons with him, saying, And I, behold, I establish my covenant with you, and with your seed after you; And with every living creature that is with you, of the fowl, of the cattle, and of every beast of the earth with you; from all that go out of the ark, to every beast of the earth. And I will establish my covenant with you; neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth. And God said, This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations: I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth. And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud: And I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh. And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth. And God said unto Noah, This is the token of the covenant, which I have established between me and all flesh that is upon the earth. The blessing on Utnapishtim (From The Epic of Gilgamesh, Tablet XI) “Previously Utanapishtim was a human being. But now let Utanapishtim and his wife become like us, the gods! Let Utanapishtim reside far away, at the Mouth of the Rivers.” These two blessings differ greatly. The gods confer a blessing on Utnapishtim, whereas God established a covenant with Noah. In ancient


times, there was a vast difference between a blessing and a covenant. A blessing could merely signify a once-and-done- deal, and did not necessarily involve a binding contract. However, a covenant was an oath which was binding to the death. The substance of that which was conferred upon Noah was that God made an oath which He alone would keep. It was an oath made with the whole of future mankind. Ancient covenants typically included some sort of sign, or seal, as an evidence of the binding nature of the contract. It served as a signature on a legal document that the person(s) making the covenant would keep their end of the deal. God’s sign of the covenant made with mankind was the rainbow, a sign which remains to this day, signifying the permanent nature of the oath God made to Noah. Noah – Covenant made with Noah and all forthcoming generations of man God promised never again to destroy the world with a flood The Noahic covenant stands in succession with other redemptive covenants found in Scripture (namely, Abraham, Moses, David, and the New Covenant established by Jesus Christ). No one is granted “god-like” qualities Utnapishtim – The blessing is given only with Utnapishtim and his wife The gods never say they will not cause another global flood The blessing stands alone and is not a part of a greater promise Utnapishtim and his wife are granted “god-like” status as immortals Similarities between Genesis and Gilgamesh (continued) Characteristic Noah Utnapishtim Reason for flood ……… human wickedness …...... excessive human noisiness (extreme violence) Sender ………………… Yahweh ………………… Assembly of "gods" The Epic of Gilgamesh relates a polytheistic belief system, whereas the Genesis account relates a monotheistic system. The Bible describes man as originally monotheistic, a description which is supported by archeology. Polytheism originated during the days of Nimrod, following the flood of Noah. Response of deity ……… Lord was sorry He …....... The gods could not sleep made man because of his wickedness Since when does a god need sleep? The gods of the Gilgamesh Epic are selfish deities who destroyed mankind because they were merely annoyed with man. It was not due to righteous anger in response to man’s wickedness. The Bible describes God as just and good. The justice of God


requires not only that He view wickedness with righteous hatred; but also, that He respond to such wickedness by bringing judgment upon the wicked. Differences between Genesis and Gilgamesh (continued) Characteristic Noah Utnapishtim Means of announcement ..Direct from God …………………in a dream Main character …………. Noah (name means "rest")…….....Utnapishtim (name means "finder of life") Why character chosen … . a righteous man …………………no reason given The God of the Bible does not act on a whim. Nothing happens by chance. Did the hero complain? ....No ………………………………..Yes Intended for …………… All humans except Noah and …... all humans except his family Utnapishtim, his family, and some craftsmen Decision to send flood … Yahweh (God) …………………… council of the gods (primarily Enlil) Builders………………… Noah and family ………………… Utnapishtim, his family, and many craftsmen from the city Character's response …… Noah warned his neighbors …...... Told by Ea to lie of upcoming judgment as to neighbors so "Preacher of righteousness" that they would help him build the boat Who wants a god who lies? The Christian has the security of knowing a God who does not go back on His word. The God of the Bible is faithful and true, unlike the gods described in the account of Utnapishtim. Building time ………… 100 years …………………………7 days A vessel the size of Utnapishtim’s ark being built in ancient times within seven days? Does this really sound like anything more than a legend? Ark size ……………… 450x75x45 feet ………………… 200x200x200 feet


Differences between Genesis and Gilgamesh (continued) Characteristic Noah Utnapishtim Shape of ark ………… The ark of Noah: Rectangular ………………………Square

The ark built in the Genesis record would be a vessel capable of sustaining tumultuous waters. The shape of the vessel was such that it would not have capsized even in such violent conditions. Physicist Dr. Jonathan D. Sarfati has determined that even if the ark was topped over 60°, it would still return to an upright position.6 Scientists and naval architects at the Korea Association of Creation Research have confirmed that “a barge with the Ark’s dimensions would have optimal stability. They concluded that if the wood were only 30 cm thick, it could have navigated sea conditions with waves higher than 30 m. Compare this with a tsunami, which is typically only about 10 m high.”7 The ark of Utnapishtim:


Utnapishtim’s ark was cubical in shape. Such a design is not at all seaworthy, even under normal nautical conditions, as it would be prone to tip on any one of its sides. Such a vessel would certainly not have prevented the extinction of the human race in the event of a global flood. Differences between Genesis and Gilgamesh (continued) Characteristic Noah Utnapishtim Ark roof ……………… wood ………………………………slate Reiterating what was said above, a vessel in the shape of a square, with its top portion covered with slate, would be top-heavy and not at all seaworthy. Number of Decks ……… 3 ……………………………………12 Passengers ………………Noah and his family ……………....Utnapishtim, his family, and craftsmen from the city Cargo ……………………All species of animals and food …All species of animals, food, gold, jewels, and other valuables The inclusion of animals on the ark, in both accounts, is an element merely to be expected, in order to prevent the extinction of all animal life on earth in the event of a global flood. Ark launched by ………the floodwaters ……………………..pushed to the river According to the Gilgamesh Epic, the ark was launched by men “carrying a runway of poles front to back, until two-thirds of [the ark] had gone into the water.” A vessel this size, filled with every kind of animal (the poem indicates the animals were loaded onto the ark prior to the launch), could not be pushed by mortal means. Even if such a feat were possible, who would have aided in the great shove? Certainly Utnapishtim’s contemporaries would have only helped him if they took him seriously and believed that such a catastrophic event as the flood was about to occur. If this were the case, then why did they not board the ark with Utnapishtim? Door closed by ………… Yahweh (God) ……………………Utnapishtim


Differences between Genesis and Gilgamesh (continued) Characteristic Noah Utnapishtim Sign of coming flood ……none ………………………………extremely bright light sent by the god Annanuki Waters sent by ………… Yahweh (God) ……………………the gods Nergal and Ninurta Means of flood ………… Ground water & heavy rain ………Heavy rain Reaction of deity ............. God controlled the waters ………..the gods scrambled to get away from the water like "whipped dogs" In the Gilgamesh account, we have gods who are fearful of their own judgments and capable of being harmed. Moreover, we see in this account, gods who are not sovereign – and therefore not supreme beings. In the whole of Scripture, God is portrayed as a sovereign Deity. When we say that God is sovereign, we admit the following: 1) that God has the right to do as He pleases, 2) that God has the ability to do as He pleases, 3) that God’s actions are never thwarted, and 4) that all which God does is in accordance with who God is – that is, He acts according to His nature. As God’s person is good and just, so are His ways and purpose. If the will of God could be challenged by another being or force, then there would be another entity as powerful as God. If that were true, neither being would be sovereign, for neither would possess full authority, both in heaven and in earth. Duration of rain ……… 40 days ………………………………7 days Would heavy rains, even to this extent, really cover the earth in only seven days? The repetitive use of the number seven in the Gilgamesh Epic bears the characteristic of a legend. Duration of flood ……… 60 days ………………………………14 days Would the flood waters recede from the earth in only fourteen days? Ark landing …………… Mt. Ararat ……………………………Mt. Nisir almost 500 km (300 miles) from Mt Ararat The close proximity of the mountains mentioned in both accounts was previously discussed.


Differences between Genesis and Gilgamesh (continued) Characteristic Noah Utnapishtim Deity's reaction to human deaths…………… no regret mentioned ………………regretted that they had killed all the humans Birds sent out …………...Raven & three doves ……………. dove, swallow, and a raven Offering after flood …… every clean animal and bird ………wines and a sheep Aftermath ……………… God promises not to destroy ......... gods quarrel humanity by flood again among themselves, Ea lies to Enlil. Utnapishtim and his wife given immortality like the gods If the Gilgamesh account is the historical account, then a global flood can occur at any time when the gods get up on the wrong side of their beds. Anyone who considers the Gilgamesh account to be historical may want to begin building an ark of his own – you never know what mood the gods may be in tomorrow. Re-population ……………Noah and family told .................... Ea and Mami to multiply and repopulate created 14 the earth human beings to help repopulate the earth Mythic elements in the Epic of Gilgamesh Gilgamesh is described as two-thirds god and one-third human (Tablet I) Gilgamesh’s confrontation with the demon Humbaba (Tablet V) Ishtar’s father sending the "Bull of Heaven" to avenge sexual advances rejected by Gilgamesh (Tablet VI) Gilgamesh’s confrontation with the "Bull of Heaven" (Tablet VI) Gilgamesh confronted by two scorpion-beings and stone-giants en route to see Utnapishtim (Tablet IX) The untouchable Waters of Death (Tablet X) The immortality of Utnapishtim (Tablet XI) The durability of the square ark (Tablet XI describes the dimensions of the ark, common sense does the rest) The plant at the bottom of the ocean which will grant immortality (Tablet XI) Gilgamesh’s journey to the bottom of the sea (Tablet XI)


Gilgamesh and Nimrod The story of Gilgamesh is the result of uniting the account of Noah's Flood with the accounts of Nimrod. Gilgamesh mirrors both the character and personage of Nimrod. As Nimrod is said to have erected the Babel tower in defiance against the God who sent the great flood, Gilgamesh sets out in like defiance, in an attempt to kill the god Huwawa, derived from the name Yahweh, the God of Israel. Also, the names Kish and Uruk in the Gilgamesh record mirrors the names Cush and Erech in the Biblical record. The Epic of Gilgamesh is just one example in which the accounts of Nimrod have influenced culture and myth. Conclusion As stated at the outset, critics claim that the Genesis account is so close in comparison to the Epic of Gilgamesh, that it serves as proof the Genesis account is a mere fabrication of a previous story. As shown above, the similarities are few in comparison to the differences. Additionally, the similarities which are present exist as necessary elements given the nature of each account. These considerations, along with the obvious mythical elements present in the Gilgamesh account, attest to the Genesis account being the one which stands as the historical record.

III. Concerning the claim that the account of Moses’ life in the Pentateuch is a fabrication of existing motifs
Comparisons between Moses and Sargon From The Zeitgeist Movie: “And then there is the plagiarized story of Moses. Upon Moses' birth, it is said that he was placed in a reed basket and set adrift in a river in order to avoid infanticide. He was later rescued by a daughter of royalty and raised by her as a Prince. This baby-in-a-basket story was lifted directly from the myth of Sargon of Akkad of around 2250 B.C. Sargon was born, placed in a reed basket in order to avoid infanticide, and set adrift in a river. He was in turn rescued and raised by Akki, a royal mid-wife.” Regarding Moses Below is the text describing his birth, taken from Exodus 2:1-10: And there went a man of the house of Levi, and took to wife a daughter of Levi. And the woman conceived, and bare a son: and when she saw him that he was a goodly child, she hid him three months. And when she could not longer hide him, she took for him an ark of bulrushes, and daubed it with slime and with pitch, and put the child therein; and she laid it in the flags by the river's brink. And his sister stood afar off, to wit what would be done to him. And the daughter of Pharaoh came down to wash herself at the river; and her maidens walked along by the river's side; and when she saw the ark among the flags, she sent her maid to fetch it. And when she had opened it, she saw the child: and, behold, the babe wept. And she had


compassion on him, and said, This is one of the Hebrews' children. Then said his sister to Pharaoh's daughter, Shall I go and call to thee a nurse of the Hebrew women, that she may nurse the child for thee? And Pharaoh's daughter said to her, Go. And the maid went and called the child's mother. And Pharaoh's daughter said unto her, Take this child away, and nurse it for me, and I will give thee thy wages. And the woman took the child, and nursed it. And the child grew, and she brought him unto Pharaoh's daughter, and he became her son. And she called his name Moses: and she said, Because I drew him out of the water. Regarding Sargon Sargon was born in the city of Azupiranu on the banks of the Euphrates River. He was the son of a high priestess and an unknown father. His mother bore him in secret, placed him in a reed basket, and set the basket adrift in the river. He was found by Aqqi, a gardener, as he drew water from the river. Aqqi adopted Sargon, then Sargon later ruled as king. The text regarding Sargon reads as follows: “Sargon, strong king, king of Agade, am I. My mother was a high priestess, my father I do not know. My paternal kin inhabit the mountain region. My [birthplace] is Azupiranu, which lies on the bank of the Euphrates. My mother, a high priestess, conceived me, in secret she bore me. She placed me in a reed basket, with bitumen she caulked my hatch. She abandoned me to the river from which I could not escape. The river carried me along: to Aqqi, the water drawer, it brought me. Aqqi, the water drawer, when immersing his bucket lifted me up. Aqqi, the water drawer, raised me as his adopted son. Aqqi, the water drawer, set me to his garden work. During my garden work, Istar loved me [so that] 55 years I ruled as king.”1 Who came first? Moses lived in approximately 1400-1500 B.C. This date is calculated based on data given in the Biblical account, using information such as Israel’s four hundred and thirty year sojourn, beginning with Abraham’s arrival in Canaan and continuing through the bondage in Egypt (Ex 12:41-42, Gal 3:16-19, cf. Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews 2.15.2), and also the date when Solomon began the building of his temple. According to the first book of Kings (6:1), Solomon began construction in the 480th year of the Exodus. Working backwards, the majority of Biblical scholars arrive at the date 1012 B.C. for the commencement of the Temple’s construction, and at 1491 B.C. for the date of the Exodus from Egypt.2 Using other historical and archaeological data, other scholars arrive at the date of 1200 B.C. as the date for the Exodus, but the majority vote among scholars favors the earlier dating method. It is generally believed that Sargon of Akkad lived in approximately 2300 B.C., however, there is no way to conclusively date the story of Sargon. Some historians date it as late as 627 B.C. Immanuel Velikovsky in Ages in Chaos presents a timeline in which Moses predates Sargon. Historians who argue for a later dating of the Sargon legend make note that his account contains elements (such as idiomatic


expressions and the use of bronze or copper picks in the cutting of roads) which would not be present were the account of an early era. However, proponents of an early Sargon legend have argued that there are ways in which such elements may be accounted for. Therefore, for the sake of argument, I will accept the earlier dating and assume the account of Sargon pre-dates the account of Moses. Evaluation of the common elements in the Moses and Sargon accounts The secrecy surrounding their births Sargon’s mother was a priestess who was forbidden by virtue of her office to engage in sexual relations. Moses was born during a time when the Hebrew people were being persecuted by the Egyptians. In order to control the Hebrew population, the Pharaoh ordered the death of male Hebrew children. For this reason, the birth of Moses was shrouded in secrecy. The only commonality here is that both infants were born in secret: Sargon, from a selfish mother who carelessly abandoned her son in order to cover her own sin; Moses, from a woman of virtue who protected her son from certain death (more will be said on this below). Both infants were placed in a reed basket covered with pitch and set in a river The use of pitch as a form of resin was a common practice, and is therefore no reason to conclude that this is a fabricated element within the book of Exodus. Also, the waterproof quality of the resin would make it an obvious choice for both mothers, having the intention to set the basket in water. The use of a basket in the account of Moses is a logical element. W.H. Gispen, in his commentary on Exodus, tells us that idols were placed in such baskets, which were attached to Egyptian ships.3 Moses’ mother, having placed him in a basket in the river, was likely in the hopes that the basket would not draw the attention of thieves or scoundrels who would be wary to snatch a basket thought to have drifted from a ship, and containing a sacred idol. The suspicion that the basket may contain an idol would be a deterrent to theft, lest the thief bring down the wrath of a god upon him for not respecting that which is sacred. The placement of the basket in the river takes on different characteristics in the two accounts. In the case of Sargon, the basket was set adrift in the river and left to whatever fate the current of the water had in store for the infant lying inside. Although the basket was fashioned to sustain water for a time, Sargon’s mother took no precaution in guaranteeing her son would be found alive and in good health. In the case of Moses, the basket was placed carefully among the reeds along the bank of the river, where it lay until found by a bather frequenting that spot in the river. Whereas Sargon’s mother acted with no care for the well-being of her infant, Moses’ mother had her son’s well-being in the forefront of her mind, as indicated by her actions.


Both infants were recovered and adopted. In the ancient world, adoption was a common practice. Aside from being a humanitarian cause, it was a means to continue the family line, as well as fulfill labor needs or secure a caregiver during one’s elder years. Also, Moses was found when the daughter of Pharaoh was taking a dip in the river. This was an ancient rite of fertility, and it may be for such a reason that Pharaoh’s daughter entered the river, in which case the infant could be seen as a god-send. Again, this emphasizes Moses’ mother’s wisdom in selecting a location in which to place the basket containing her infant son. Brian Lewis, in his book The Sargon Legend, mentions that there are at least seventy-two cases in both ancient and recent lore which have similarities to both Sargon and Moses. These cases range in date from before Christ to the eighteenth century A.D. and are found in various cultures (Lewis lists Assyria, Greece, Persia , Rome, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, China, Turkey and Albania.) The similarities he lists are as follows: Abandonment of the infant Infant of noble birth Preparations for exposure The exposure itself Infant protected in an unusual manner Discovery and adoption Accomplishments of the hero Lewis also noted “in thirty-two of seventy-two stories the child is placed in a box or basket or chest; in twenty-one of these it is prior to exposure on water; eight of these add the precaution of the vessel being caulked, though four of these come from the Hebrew tradition; on the other hand, many containers were watertight enough already or would not take, and the caulking would not be used anyway if the intent was to kill the child. In only six stories does anyone watch the infant after it is left; in one case, to be sure it dies.”4 Yes, the account of Sargon does bear some surface similarities to that of Moses, as well as other accounts, as noted by Lewis. Are we to assume that either Sargon or Moses is a fictitious character? Are we to accept one as being a mere imitation of another by virtue of these similarities? Certainly not – especially when the similarities are looked at a bit more closely than the critic would prefer. Comparisons between Moses and other lawgivers From The Zeitgeist Movie: “Furthermore, Moses is known as the Law Giver, the giver of the Ten Commandments, the Mosaic Law. However, the idea of a Law being passed from God to a prophet on a mountain is also a very old motif. Moses is just a law giver in a long line of law givers in mythological history. In India, Manou [misspelled by Zeitgeist; correctly spelled Manu] was the great law giver. In Crete, Minos ascended Mount Dicta [misspelled in the Zeitgeist transcript, correct spelling:


Dikti], where Zeus gave him the sacred laws. While in Egypt there was Mises, who carried stone tablets and upon them the laws of god were written.” Moses and Manu Tradition holds that Manu wrote the Manusmriti, the sacred Hindu law. Historians have dated this law anywhere between 200 B.C. and 200 A.D.,5 therefore Zeitgeist’s statement regarding Manu may be discarded without further mention, since the figure in question post-dates the Ten Commandments by over a thousand years. Apparently, the Zeitgeist creators “forgot” to mention that fact, or simply did not do the research. Moses and Minos Minos was a son of Zeus, the chief of the Olympian gods, and Europa, a Phonecian princess. In life, he was the king of the island of Crete, and in death, he was a judge in the underworld. Does the myth of Minos pre-date the life of Moses? As king of Crete, he ruled for three generations prior to the Trojan War. Ancient Greeks considered the Trojan War to be an historical event, having occurred between the thirteenth and eleventh century B.C. The historicity of the war is in debate in modern times, although an excavation in 1870 revealed what many scholars believe to be the remains of the city of Troy. Eratosthenes, a Greek scholar of the third century B.C., claimed the legend was based on an historical event occurring between 1194 and 1184 B.C.,6 and this date has often been accepted by historians who believe the legend to have a basis in history. As stated above, Moses lived in approximately 1400-1500 B.C. If the dates accepted for the Trojan War are accurate, then the account of Moses pre-dates that of the war. However, since the dates cannot be firmly established for the war, which is said to occur three generations after Minos ruled Crete, I will assume the story of the Minos is earlier than that of Moses and argue on that assumption. Was Minos a lawgiver? Minos lived at Knossos, located on the island of Crete, for nine years, after which he entered a cave and was instructed by Zeus in legislation which he was to pass on to the inhabitants of the island. The cave in question exists today as a tourist site and is located fifteen kilometers east of Malia on the slope of the Kastellos mountain. The law Minos received formed the constitution for Crete and also concerned a means to control the population by encouraging men to engage in sexual relations with adolescent males outside of their immediate family.7 Minos was considered a cruel tyrant. In order to reconcile his cruelty with his more benevolent traits, later poets developed a second king Minos (the bad Minos), a grandson of the first Minos (the good Minos). This good king Minos was so highly favored by the gods of Olympus that after his


death he was made a judge of the underworld, along with his brothers Rhadamanthys and Aiakos (or Aeacus). Rhadamanthys became the lord of Elysion, Aiakos was entrusted with the keys of Hades, and Minos ruled as supreme justice, casting the final vote when Rhadamanthys and Aiakos were at odds in their judgment. Critics are correct that Josephus, the most famous of the Jewish Historians during the first century, has admitted that Minos is the only figure who deserves to be compared to Moses,8 however, this admission does not constitute a belief that Moses was a derivative of Minos. On the contrary, by this admission, Josephus is naming Moses as a precursor to Minos, and one who was an even greater lawgiver than Minos. Does Minos’ role as a giver-of-law mimic the role of Moses? There have been many lawgivers throughout history and mythology. Zeitgeist can only name one who received the law on a mountain. This is certainly not a reason to assume Moses is a fabrication based on Minos. Also, the law of Minos was unlike the law given to Moses in the following regards: 1. The Mosaic Law was a code which governed every aspect of life: family and social values, health and cleanliness requirements, politics, and, of course, religion. 2. It contained elements which had been in existence prior to its establishment, such as blood sacrifice. 3. The Mosaic Law pointed towards the Messiah in its sacrificial system, whereas the law of Minos had no far-reaching significance. 4. The Law of Moses was a moral law, whereas the law of Minos was immoral. If the Mosaic account was a fabrication, would the Jews, In selecting a “source” on which to base their own giver-of-the-law, have chosen a lawgiver such as Minos, who instructed his people to engage in immoral practices? One can only reasonably answer in the negative. 5. Minos was a lawgiver by virtue as king of Crete. It is part of the role of a monarch to institute legislation. This should come as no striking surprise to those who seek in Minos a basis for Moses. Moses and Mises I could find no mention of a figure named Mises anywhere in encyclopedias of mythology or in online sources (except those web sites attempting to claim Moses was copied from Mises). The Zeitgeist Movie mentions Mises as an Egyptian deity, however, the book The Christ Conspiracy: The Greatest Story Ever Sold, which was one of the sources for The Zeitgeist Movie, names Mises as a Syrian deity. In that work, the author’s only cited source for Mises was another book titled Deceptions and Myths of the Bible, written by Lloyd Graham


in 1991. Since research in both Egyptian and Syrian mythology unearthed no source from which to give any credit to this claim, and since the critics are not even decided to which pantheon of mythology Mises belongs, the burden of proof remains in the hands of the critic. Concerning inscription on stone as the mode of transmission The Ten Commandments were written on stone tablets (after all, Moses was on a mountain). The Book of the Dead was written on Papyrus or leather scrolls, or carved in the tombs of officials. The earliest known versions of the Book of the Dead are on burial shrouds. Critics say that the Ten Commandments were engraved in stone because ancient Egyptians inscribed their laws in stone as well, and the Hebrews simply borrowed this practice when “writing” the Ten Commandments. While they are correct in relating the Egyptian practice of inscribing laws on stone, they are in error when they assume this is the origin of the mode in which the Ten Commandments was transmitted to the wandering Hebrews. In revealing truth to man, God often uses what is familiar to and understandable by man. For example, Scripture makes reference to the hands, face, and arms of God, but also speaks of Him as being in spirit form and everywhere present. Such mentions of God’s physical form are anthropomorphisms, the application of bodily characteristics to that which has no body or form. It is the same manner that the Ten Commandments were written on stone – to impress their legal character onto the people. God gave Moses the Ten Commandments, not the Ten Suggestions, and the penalty for breaking a commandment was at times severe, to the point of making one worthy of the death penalty. The Hebrew people needed to see the importance of keeping the Law, and the inscription of this Law onto stone was one such manner in which that was accomplished. Comparisons between the Ten Commandments and the Egyptian Book of the Dead From The Zeitgeist Movie: “And as far as the Ten Commandments, they are taken outright from Spell 125 of the Egyptian Book of the Dead. What the Book of the Dead phrased ‘I have not stolen’ became ‘Thou shall not steal,’ ‘I have not killed’ became ‘Thou shall not kill,’ ‘I have not told lies’ became ‘Thou shall not bear false witness,’ and so forth.” The Book of the Dead was written c.1800 B.C., some three hundred years before God gave Moses the Ten Commandments. The main teaching of the Book of the Dead was that the deceased had to undergo trials after death as they proceeded towards the underworld. One of these trials was the confession that certain deeds were not committed in life. This confession took the following form9 (emphasis mine, when added, to indicate similarity to the Ten Commandments): "Hail, Usekh-nemmt, who comest forth from Anu, I have not committed sin. Hail, Hept-khet, who comest forth from Kher-aha, I have not committed robbery with violence. Hail, Fenti, who comest forth from Khemenu, I have not stolen.


Hail, Am-khaibit, who comest forth from Qernet, I have not slain men and women. Hail, Neha-her, who comest forth from Rasta, I have not stolen grain. Hail, Ruruti, who comest forth from heaven, I have not purloined offerings. Hail, Arfi-em-khet, who comest forth from Suat, I have not stolen the property of God. Hail, Neba, who comest and goest, I have not uttered lies. Hail, Set-qesu, who comest forth from Hensu, I have not carried away food. Hail, Utu-nesert, who comest forth from Het-ka-Ptah, I have not uttered curses. Hail, Qerrti, who comest forth from Amentet, I have not committed adultery, I have not lain with men. Hail, Her-f-ha-f, who comest forth from thy cavern, I have made none to weep. Hail, Basti, who comest forth from Bast, I have not eaten the heart. Hail, Ta-retiu, who comest forth from the night, I have not attacked any man. Hail, Unem-snef, who comest forth from the execution chamber, I am not a man of deceit. Hail, Unem-besek, who comest forth from Mabit, I have not stolen cultivated land. Hail, Neb-Maat, who comest forth from Maati, I have not been an eavesdropper. Hail, Tenemiu, who comest forth from Bast, I have not slandered [no man]. Hail, Sertiu, who comest forth from Anu, I have not been angry without just cause. Hail, Tutu, who comest forth from Ati (the Busirite Nome), I have not debauched the wife of any man. Hail, Uamenti, who comest forth from the Khebt chamber, I have not debauched the wife of [any] man. Hail, Maa-antuf, who comest forth from Per-Menu, I have not polluted myself. Hail, Her-uru, who comest forth from Nehatu, I have terrorized none. Hail, Khemiu, who comest forth from Kaui, I have not transgressed [the law]. Hail, Shet-kheru, who comest forth from Urit, I have not been wroth. Hail, Nekhenu, who comest forth from Heqat, I have not shut my ears to the words of truth. Hail, Kenemti, who comest forth from Kenmet, I have not blasphemed. Hail, An-hetep-f, who comest forth from Sau, I am not a man of violence. Hail, Sera-kheru, who comest forth from Unaset, I have not been a stirrer up of strife. Hail, Neb-heru, who comest forth from Netchfet, I have not acted with undue haste. Hail, Sekhriu, who comest forth from Uten, I have not pried into matters. Hail, Neb-abui, who comest forth from Sauti, I have not multiplied my words in speaking. Hail, Nefer-Tem, who comest forth from Het-ka-Ptah, I have wronged none, I have done no evil.


Hail, Tem-Sepu, who comest forth from Tetu, I have not worked witchcraft against the king. Hail, Ari-em-ab-f, who comest forth from Tebu, I have never stopped [the flow of] water. Hail, Ahi, who comest forth from Nu, I have never raised my voice. Hail, Uatch-rekhit, who comest forth from Sau, I have not cursed God. Hail, Neheb-ka, who comest forth from thy cavern, I have not acted with arrogance. Hail, Neheb-nefert, who comest forth from thy cavern, I have not stolen the bread of the gods. Hail, Tcheser-tep, who comest forth from the shrine, I have not carried away the khenfu cakes from the Spirits of the dead. Hail, An-af, who comest forth from Maati, I have not snatched away the bread of the child, nor treated with contempt the god of my city. Hail, Hetch-abhu, who comest forth from Ta-she (the Fayyum), I have not slain the cattle belonging to the god.” (From the Papyrus of Nu, Brit. Mus. No. 10477, Sheet 22) The following is from twentieth chapter of Exodus, which recounts Moses receiving the Ten Commandments on Mt. Sinai: 1. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. 2. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain. 3. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them. 4. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. 5. Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long. 6. Thou shalt not kill. 7. Thou shalt not commit adultery. 8. Thou shalt not steal. 9. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor. 10. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is thy neighbor's.


Consideration of the two texts together: The Ten Commandments Monotheistic in nature: Thou shalt have . . . . . . . . . . no other gods before me

The Book of the Dead Polytheistic in nature, referencing many deities

Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God . . . . . .

“I have not in vain blasphemed” and “I have not cursed God” Redundancy occurs in the Egyptian text, as in the mention of various types of theft. No such redundancy occurs in the Ten Commandments. No such mandate is given Egyptian culture was loaded with idols and visual representations of deities, whereas the Hebrew Law forbade the creation and worship of idols. No such mention of a holy day exists in the Book of the Dead The Book of the Dead lists no sin relating to the dishonor of parents. “I have not slain men and women” “I have not committed adultery” “I have not stolen” (mentioned several times in different forms) “I have not slandered” (misquoted by Zeitgeist as "I have not told lies") Covetousness is not mentioned

Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image idols. . .

Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. . . . . . . . . . . .

Honor thy father and thy mother. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Thou shalt not kill. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Thou shalt not commit adultery. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Thou shalt not steal. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Thou shalt not bear false witness against . . . . . . . . . . . . . thy neighbor

Thou shalt not covet. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Conclusion: There are five sins which these texts have in common – blasphemy, theft, murder, slander, and adultery. The Zeitgeist Movie mentions three of these sins (theft, murder, and slander or “lies”) as commonalities between the two texts, thereby expecting the reader to assume that the remaining five sins of the Ten Commandments are found in the Book of the Dead, when in fact such is true of only two other sins (blasphemy and adultery). Additionally, the five sins which the texts have in common are so universally understood as wrongdoings, any moral code should be expected to contain them. As the apostle Paul makes note: “When Gentiles, who do not possess the law, do instinctively what the law requires, these, though not having the law, are a law to themselves. They show that what the law requires is written on their hearts, to which their own conscience bears witness…” (Romans 2:14-15, NRSV) That a pagan moral code should contain similar commandments found in the Ten Commandments of Exodus is no great surprise. Such commonality is due to the God-given conscience of man which “bears witness” to what is good and right. One does not need to read a Bible or be raised from a Christian background to know that such things as murder, theft, and adultery are wrong. If mankind did not possess such inherent knowledge, then the judicial system commits a heinous injustice every time it convicts a man of murder, even after the evidence has proven conclusive that the defendant has willfully and intentionally committed the act. The concept of an inherent conscience is illustrated even in cartoons, when someone is shown with an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other, each attempting to persuade the person to good or evil action. Such depiction is reflective of the inner sense of right and wrong which exists in every person. A concept of morality is something which is not taught; rather, it is something contained in the hearts and minds of men, placed there by his Creator. As such, the commonality between the Ten Commandments and the Book of the Dead, or any other legal code, serves as evidence to God’s existence, rather than a reason to conclude the Ten Commandments is a code borrowed from a similar pagan code of law. Three of the five sins exclusive to the Ten Commandments relate to the concept of worship: idolatry, monotheism, and the keeping of a Sabbath, or a holy day. These are exclusive to the Ten Commandments for a reason. The Hebrew people were the only people whose religion was monotheistic at the time. Pagan cultures worshiped many gods, but the Hebrew people were strictly forbidden to do so. They were also forbidden to worship an idol, even one made in the name of Yahweh, the singular God of the Hebrew people. As far as the commandment relating to the holy day, other cultures did have such a day, but they were not called a Sabbath, nor did any pagan holy day have the same significance as the Hebrew holy day. The existing text of the Book of the Dead is no indication that the same body of work existed in such form prior to the time of Moses. The text may have been altered significantly over time. The nature of the confession found in the Book of the Dead and the nature of the Ten Commandments are significantly different. The former is a confession by a deceased individual regarding deeds from which he abstained in life, whereas the latter is a code of conduct to be followed by living persons.


IV. Concerning the proposed relationship between Jesus and the signs and ages of the Zodiac
The Zeitgeist Movie suggests that the Christian faith is based on beliefs which have their origin in astrology rather than history. The theory states that the Jews looked to the stars and formed their religious history and doctrine on deductions formed from the figures of the Zodiac. From The Zeitgeist Movie: “Now, of the many astrological-astronomical metaphors in the Bible, one of the most important has to do with the ages. Throughout the scripture there are numerous references to the ‘Age.’ In order to understand this, we need to be familiar with the phenomenon known as the precession of the equinoxes. The ancient Egyptians, along with cultures long before, them recognized that approximately every 2150 years the sunrise on the morning of the spring equinox would occur at a different sign of the Zodiac. … [Ancient cultures] referred to each 2150 year period as an ‘age.’ From 4300 B.C. to 2150 B.C., it was the Age of Taurus, the Bull. From 2150 B.C. to 1 A.D., it was the Age of Aries, the Ram, and from 1 A.D. to 2150 A.D. it is the Age of Pisces, the age we are still in to this day, and in and around 2150, we will enter the new age: the Age of Aquarius.” What is astrology? Astrology is not to be confused with astronomy. Astronomy is a study of the stars and space, and is a study based on observation and scientific methods. Astrology, although it is a study of the stars, is a study based on deduction and interpretation, and concerns the application of the heavenly bodies to the human experience and history. The Encyclopedia Britannica defines astrology as “a type of divination that involves the forecasting of earthly and human events through the observation and interpretation of the fixed stars, the Sun, the Moon, and the planets.” Astrologers look to the heavens for insight into personality traits and human affairs, past, present, and future. “As above, so below,” is the basic philosophy of the astrologer. The astrological ages of the earth Astrology recognizes what is known as the Great Year, a period encompassing twelve successive astrological ages, or World Ages, each age being represented by a sign of the zodiac. The passage from one age to the next is believed to occur when the north pole shifts, due to a slight backward shift in the earth's axis, toward a new constellation, or zodiac sign, approximately every two thousand years. Since the shift of the axis is a backward shift, the earth passes through the signs of the zodiac in a backward succession. Thus, rather than moving from the Age of Gemini to the Age of Cancer (see the succession below), the earth would move from the Age of Gemini to the Age of Taurus, the sign preceding Gemini. Since each age entails a little more than two thousand years, each Great Year takes about 26,000 years to complete. As stated in The Zeitgeist Movie, “[Ancient man] referred to each 2150 year period as an 'age.' From 4300 B.C. to 2150 B.C., it was the Age of Taurus, the Bull. From 2150 B.C. to 1 A.D., it was the Age of Aries, the Ram, and from 1 A.D. to 2150 A.D. it is the Age of Pisces, the age we are still in to this day, and in and around 2150, we will enter the new age: the Age of Aquarius.”


The successive signs of the zodiac: Aries, the Ram: March 21 - April 20 Taurus, the Bull: April 21 - May 20 Gemini, the Twins: May 21 - June 20 Cancer, the Crab: June 21 - July 20 Leo, the Lion: July 21 - August 20 Virgo, the Virgin: August 21 - September 20 Libra, the Balance: September 21 - October 20 Scorpio, the Scorpion: October 21 - November 20 Sagittarius, the Archer (a centaur - half man, half horse): November 21 December 20 Capricorn, the Sea-goat (often depicted as an animal with the body of a goat and the tail of a fish): December 21 - January 19 Aquarius, the Water-bearer: January 20 - February 18 Pisces, the Fish: February 19 - March 20 Concerning the sign of Pisces, the fish Qualities inherent in Pisces The sign of Pisces is commonly associated with the following traits: gentleness, compassion, sympathy, sensitivity, spirituality, and selflessness. Jesus as the avatar of the Age of Pisces The Age of Pisces is said to entail the period of time from 1 A.D. to 2150 A.D. Jesus lived from approximately 5 B.C. to 29 A.D. Critics claim He ushered in a new age, the Piscean Age, which will conclude at 2150 A.D. According to this view, Jesus becomes the avatar, or incarnation, of the Age of Pisces, thus making Him the “alpha and omega,” the “beginning and the end” of this age. “I [Jesus] am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.” (Rev. 22:13) The word “Pisces” comes from the Latin word for “fish,” and the sign for the Pisces constellation is a pair of fish shown swimming in opposite directions. In an attempt to strengthen their argument, critics note the references to and use of fish in the Gospels, such as certain of Jesus’ miracles (the feeding of the five thousand, the great drought of fish, etc), fishermen (some of His disciples were fishermen, He described His disciples as “fishers of men,” etc.), and water (walking on water, calming the storm, water baptism, etc), as well as the symbol of the fish used by the early church and found today on many bumper stickers (below).


Also, they note that the constellation Pisces is a symbol for the kingdom of the sun, and that Jesus is named in Scripture as the Son of God and Light of the World. The teachings and works of Jesus are then believed to entail the highest, most noble aspects of Pisces, such as universal love. “Christ” as a higher consciousness, not a promised Messiah Astrologers view Jesus as a normal man who merely came to a greater realization, or higher consciousness, which they term “Christ Consciousness,” a state of mind said to be a type of divinity inherent, but not fully realized, in every person. The Christ of astrology is not identified as the Messiah promised in Scripture, as the “Anointed one” (the literal translation of the word “Christ”) who would save man from sin. Rather, the Christ of astrology is a deep-seated awareness or potential which anyone can awaken at will. It is the inborn potential for divinity: to be our own god. Rather than man being made in the image of God, God is fashioned into the image of man. “I am god” is the awareness that this Christ Consciousness gives to anyone who chooses to think and act according to his or her fullest potential. Thus, as Jesus became the Christ in His awareness of man's highest potential, so can anyone become the Christ by the realization of the same potential. The Christ of astrology lies within every person, hidden in the sub-conscious until a person somehow finds or awakens his inner divine self. As Luke Skywalker became strong in the Force when he realized his full potential as a Jedi, so can anyone become the Christ when he realizes his full potential for divinity. As Jesus claimed to be one with God, His Father (“I and the Father are one,” He said), so can anyone make the same claim once he becomes aware of this oneness with divinity. The above illustrates how astrologers attempt to link Jesus with the ages of the Zodiac. His message of love and compassion, as well as His ultimate sacrifice on the cross, is seen to fit very nicely with the qualities embodied in the sign of Pisces. The Bible and astrology Astrology is explicitly condemned in Scripture. The practice of divination and worshiping or “observing” (for the purpose of spiritual guidance) the stars is a sin (Scripture likens it to an “evil” or an “abomination”) for which God punished the people of Israel and eventually caused them to fall into Babylonian captivity. The sin was so abhorrent that the punishment for such practice was death by stoning. And lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and when thou seest the sun, and the moon, and the stars, even all the host of heaven, shouldest be driven to worship them, and serve them, which the LORD thy God hath divided unto all nations under the whole heaven. (Deut 4:19) If there be found among you, within any of thy gates which the LORD thy God giveth thee, man or woman, that hath wrought wickedness in the sight of the LORD thy God, in transgressing his covenant, And hath gone and served other gods, and worshiped them, either the sun, or


moon, or any of the host of heaven, which I have not commanded; And it be told thee, and thou hast heard of it, and inquired diligently, and, behold, it be true, and the thing certain, that such abomination is wrought in Israel: Then shalt thou bring forth that man or that woman, which have committed that wicked thing, unto thy gates, even that man or that woman, and shalt stone them with stones, till they die. (Deut 17:2-5) When thou art come into the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch. Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. (Deut 18:9-11) Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty and five years in Jerusalem: But did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, like unto the abominations of the heathen, whom the LORD had cast out before the children of Israel. For he built again the high places which Hezekiah his father had broken down, and he reared up altars for Baalim, and made groves, and worshiped all the host of heaven, and served them. (2 Chr 33:2-3) And [the people of Israel] left all the commandments of the LORD their God, and made them molten images, even two calves, and made a grove, and worshiped all the host of heaven, and served Baal. ... Therefore the LORD was very angry with Israel, and removed them out of his sight: there was none left but the tribe of Judah only. (2 Kings 17:16-18) And [you – Jeremiah] shalt say unto [Israel], Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Even so will I break this people and this city, as one breaketh a potter’s vessel, that cannot be made whole again: ... because of all the houses upon whose roofs they have burned incense unto all the host of heaven, and have poured out drink offerings unto other gods. (Jer 19:11-13) And he brought me [Ezekiel] into the inner court of the LORD’s house, and, behold, at the door of the temple of the LORD, between the porch and the altar, were about five and twenty men, with their backs toward the temple of the LORD, and their faces toward the east; and they worshiped the sun toward the east. Then he said unto me, Hast thou seen this, O son of man? Is it a light thing to the house of Judah that they commit the abominations which they commit here? for they have filled the land with violence, and have returned to provoke me to anger: and, lo, they put the branch to their nose. Therefore will I also deal in


fury: mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity: and though they cry in mine ears with a loud voice, yet will I not hear them. (Ez 8:16-18) Critics suggest that the Hebrew prophet Daniel was an astrologer and that his religion was the religion of astrology. Daniel’s influence on the pagan magi, or “wise men,” has been addressed in a previous section of this work. Here, it needs to merely be further stated that Daniel himself was not of the same theological persuasion as pagan astrologers and soothsayers. Despite being made head of the king's “wise men,” or astrologers, Daniel himself was not an astrologer. In fact, he attributed his wisdom and interpretation of dreams to the God of the Bible, not to any insight gleaned from observing a constellation or celestial body. Additionally, Daniel called out the failures of the astrologers as compared to knowledge given by the one, true God. As for these four children [Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego – of fiery furnace fame] , God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom: and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams. (Dan 1:17) Daniel answered in the presence of the king, and said, The secret which the king hath demanded cannot the wise men, the astrologers, the magicians, the soothsayers, shew unto the king; But there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days. (Dan 2:27-28) Any suggestion that the Gospel accounts of Jesus are based on pre-existing astrological beliefs denies the fact that the writers of the Gospels belonged to a religious system which forbade such astro-theological beliefs (as shown in the above passages). In fact, the apostle Paul was among those most educated in, and practicing of, Jewish law and traditions, as the passages below describe. He was a student of Gamaliel, a Pharisee noted in the book of Acts (5:34) as “a doctor of the law, had in reputation among all the people,” and also named in numerous extra-Biblical sources as one of the top leading Hebrew scholars in antiquity. For Paul to have studied Judaism under Gamaliel's tutelage is akin to an artist studying under Rembrandt or a scientist studying under Sir Isaac Newton. Paul possessed a level of understanding of Judaic laws and traditions which rivaled the understanding of many of his peers, and the zeal with which he lived according to the law was his undying compulsion. Such a man would not have been a proponent of the astro-theology which critics care to apply to his writings. I [Paul] am verily a man which am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, yet brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, and taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers, and was zealous toward God, as ye all are this day. And I persecuted this way unto the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and


women. As also the high priest doth bear me witness, and all the estate of the elders: from whom also I received letters unto the brethren, and went to Damascus, to bring them which were there bound unto Jerusalem, for to be punished. (Acts 22:3-5) Though I [Paul] might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. (Phil 3:4-6) For ye have heard of my [Paul's] conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it: And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers. (Gal. 1:13-14) Astrology is a form of idolatry in that it seeks to grant divine attributes to the sun, moon, and stars. In contrast, Scripture declares the stars are the product of God’s creation and the seasons are set in motion by God’s design and decree. And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. (Gen 1:16) When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained. (Ps 8:3) Seek him that maketh the seven stars and Orion, and turneth the shadow of death into the morning, and maketh the day dark with night: that calleth for the waters of the sea, and poureth them out upon the face of the earth: The LORD is his name. (Amos 5:8) Thou hast set all the borders of the earth: thou hast made summer and winter. (Ps 74:17) And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs*, and for seasons, and for days, and years. (Gen 1:14) * The “signs” which the stars provide are those by which man determines the natural (as opposed to astrological) progress and divisions of time, or uses as maps and guides to course their travels, sail the seas, and till the ground with proper direction. And the LORD smelled a sweet savor; and the LORD said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake; for the


imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done. While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease. (Gen 8:21-22) He appointed the moon for seasons: the sun knoweth his going down. (Ps 104:19) Daniel answered and said, Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his: And he changeth the times and the seasons: (Dan 2:20-21) Man as “divine” According to astrology, every man has the potential for divinity through the awakening of his inner Christ Consciousness. The person who is awakened to such potential becomes one with the Godhead. However, astrology does not define of what this Godhead consists. Astrology declares man to be god, rather than recognizing a Supreme Being. If there is no Supreme Being, then there is no Godhead. If there is no Godhead, then there is no God with whom to unite in oneness. If divinity is inherent, although unrealized, within every man, then there is no standard by which divinity is measured. If there no such standard for divinity, then anyone can be divine based on his own merit and disposition. Thus, Charles Manson or David Koresh may say, “I am god. I am divine,” and no one would have the right to deny either of them their divinity. After all, according to the astrologer, it is man himself who is divine based on his own intrinsic nature, rather than being recognized as divine in accordance with an absolute, pre-existing standard for divinity or deity. According to this view, any concept of deity or divinity becomes meaningless, since there is no absolute ideal of what it is to be divine. Astrologers point to the following passages in which they claim Scripture ascribes deity to man. … your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil. (Gen 3:5 NASB) [Jesus said] I and my Father are one. Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me? The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God. Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods? [quoted from Ps 82:6] If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken; Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God? If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. But if I do, though ye believe not me,


believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him. (Jn 10:30-38) And the Lord said unto Moses, See, I have made thee a god to Pharaoh: and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet. (Ex 7:1) In the first passage, the words were spoken by Lucifer as he tempted Eve. In the first place, one can hardly attribute truth to the words of the great deceiver. Second, Adam and Eve did not become “like God” when they ate the fruit of the forbidden tree. They did not suddenly become aware of any inherent divinity. Rather, they became sinners, and they immediately became aware of their newfound shameful state of being. The second set of passages is an example of a couple instances in Scripture where man is likened to deity. The word translated “gods” in this passage is the same word translated “God” in Genesis 1:1 (“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”). In the original text, the word used is the Hebrew word Elohim, the plural form of deity, and the same word is translated as “gods” in Psalm 82:1 (“God presides in the great assembly; He gives judgment among the ‘gods’.”) Here, the reference is not concerning ones who possess divinity; but rather, ones who have been granted positions of authority, as ones whose authority is given by God Himself, and as ones who serve as a type of the Great Judge. This same word (Elohim) is translated “judges” in Exodus 21:6 and 22:8, 9, and 28. In the case of Moses, God sent him before Pharaoh as his representative, delivering the word of God to the monarch of Egypt, thus becoming “as God” to Pharaoh. Although Moses was God’s representative, he was neither God himself, nor had the potential to become God. Jesus quoted the passage from Psalms after declaring oneness with God and consequently being accused of blasphemy. In so doing, He was criticizing the hypocrisy of the ruling religious authority by using an argument a minori ad majis – from the less to the greater. He reminded the Jews that the “gods” referred to in the Law, the Old Testament Scriptures, were mere men placed in God-ordained positions of authority. He was arguing that if these men can be referred to, in their own written code, as “gods,” then how much more so can Jesus be called the Son of God and the one promised Messiah? Also, in this passage, Jesus identifies Himself as being one with His Father. Such a reference does not denote a sudden awakening of the “Christ” within Him, but is a reference to the Christian doctrine of the Trinity, a doctrine which will be discussed in Part four of this work. Here, it will suffice to say that Jesus identified His Father (or the “Christ Consciousness,” as the astrologer would declare) as a being separate from Himself, not inherent and awakened within His humanity. The effect of the Christ Consciousness vs. the effect of the work of Christ The Christ Consciousness of astrology provides no salvation from sin, whereas the Christ of Scripture, Jesus the Christ, provided salvation from sin through His shed blood. It is by the name of Jesus, and no other, that men are redeemed from sin. Additionally, if the Christ Consciousness of astrology is


inherent divinity believed to be in every man, then man is in no need for a savior, for he would possess all that is needed to redeem himself. Moreover, there would even be no need for redemption, for true divinity is without guilt by virtue of its own nature. The Christ of astrology is merely an ideal, not a savior. If man is sinful as well as in possession of divinity, then it is by his own working and of his own merit that salvation is attained. In contrast, Scripture describes man’s inherent righteousness as filthy rags, not able to cleanse even the slightest blemish of sin. But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. (Isa 64:6 NASB) As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. (Rom 3:10-12) Additionally, salvation is through faith alone and by the grace of God. The benefits of the Christ of astrology come by one’s own realization of inner potential, not at all by a gracious act, bestowing upon man that of which he is the least deserving. Neither does the Christ of astrology provide eternal benefit. The Christ Consciousness dies with man, whereas the benefit imparted by the work of the Biblical Christ continues throughout all eternity. According to Scripture, man, through faith in Jesus, is clothed with the righteousness of Christ, thus making him spotless and one with Christ, through identification with His nature. Jesus, in becoming man, took upon Himself the likeness of sinful flesh, so that He may die for the sin of those who could not redeem themselves. In the same fashion, it is His likeness – His righteousness – which covers those who believe in His saving work, so that when they are presented before God the Father, they stand clothed not in their own righteousness, which merits condemnation, but they stand clothed in the righteousness of Christ, by which they are adopted as sons of God by virtue of identification with the only begotten Son of God. The standard of truth The Christ Consciousness of astrology is that level of consciousness which embraces the qualities of the sign Pisces: gentleness, compassion, sympathy, sensitivity, spirituality, and selflessness. However, if the ultimate expression of such qualities is inherent in every person, then by what standard is anything considered gentile, or compassionate, or sensitive? For an act, thought, or word to be truly described as gentle or compassionate, it must be compared to the absolute ideal of such quality. If that absolute ideal rests in every man, then the ideal of these qualities is relative to the individual, rather than to what is truly gentle or compassionate. Thus, what is gentle is based on what is relative, rather than on what is real. In other words, for the astrologer, what is gentle is based on what one recognizes as gentle, thus making truth relative. For the Christian, true


gentleness finds its definition in the gentleness displayed by Christ. Scripture declares “God is love.” In order for something to truly be termed love, it must be in accordance with the love of God, not some universal form of love which has no absolute standard. True love is the love of Christ, and all forms of expression recognized as “love” is only as loving as it is in conformance to the love of Christ. To the astrologer, the “Christ” is the awakening within oneself of the highest form of love, but without the Christ of Scripture, any concept of love is stripped of that which defines what love really is. Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. (I Jn 3:1) Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (1 Jn 4:10) The Christ of astrology vs. the Christ of Scripture The Christ of Scripture is identified as the person of Jesus, not as some abstract inner knowledge hidden in the deep recesses of the human mind. The prophecies of the Old Testament foretold the coming of a Deliverer, not a higher consciousness. In Scripture, the Christ, which is said to be indwelling the Christian, is the person of Jesus Himself. As shown in the following examples from the apostle Paul, the Christ of Scripture is identified as a tangible person (by the designations “Jesus” and “Whom”), not merely an ideal. Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? (2 Cor 13:5) Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God; Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. (Col 1:25-28) The writers of the New Testament were clearly aware that the knowledge and understanding they have been given came through the person of Jesus the Christ. The word “Christ” means “Anointed One.” The apostles were aware that the Christ was the “Anointed One” whose coming had been foretold in ages past. The writers of the Old Testament foretold many events which characterized the life of Jesus (more on this in Part four), such as His birthplace, His sojourn in Egypt, and His manner of death. If the Christ is not the Messiah foretold before His coming; but rather, a form of higher consciousness, then in what sense if this consciousness “anointed,” and who is it who performs the


anointing? The very meaning of the word “Christ” becomes void when separated from the person of Jesus. Jesus is the Christ, not just one of many Christs, or “anointed ones.” The Old Testament foretold one Messiah, not one who merely ushered in an age filled with anyone who realized an inherent capacity to be one of many Messiahs. The biographical characteristics of Jesus’ life cannot be attributed to a mere awakening of a higher consciousness. Such characteristics include the following: He was without sin. He performed miracles. He raised the dead. He foreknew the time of His death. He knew the thoughts of others. He fulfilled many prophecies found in the Old Testament. The list goes on and on. If the Christ is a consciousness which lies hidden in every man, then once that consciousness is realized, anyone would have the ability to raise the dead, walk on water, or perform any other feat attributed to Jesus in the Gospel accounts. The Christ of Scripture was not a higher consciousness which was awakened within Jesus. Rather, it was His identification and oneness with a divine mission. The Christ, or Messiah, was one who would redeem God’s people. More than being their Redeemer, Jesus the Christ was also their God. He was the incarnation of God Himself, not the incarnation of the sign of Pisces. Jesus is described in Scripture as the only begotten Son of God, not as one who possessed a potential equal to the potential of anyone else in the “Age of Pisces.” The Christ of astrology knows no resurrection. As stated above, this presumed higher consciousness perishes with man. The Christ of Scripture experienced a bodily resurrection from the dead (see Part four for evidences concerning Jesus’ resurrection), not just an elevation into a higher form of awareness. If Jesus was a mere man and His arrival ushered in the Age of Pisces, then in what way could He be said to complete the Age? If He is indeed the avatar, or incarnation, of Pisces, then He would have had to continue, in some sense, the spirit of Pisces throughout the span of the present Age of the Zodiac, believed to expire in 2150 A.D. Jesus died in approximately 29 A.D., so He cannot be said to represent the present age in a physical or tangible sense, and if not tangible, then His representation must be believed to assume a spiritual sense. However, if Jesus was a mere man, as astrologers believe, then He could in no way guarantee that the consciousness which He is said to embody would continue throughout the duration of the Age, nor could He guarantee the awakening of the Christ Consciousness in anyone but Himself. The astrologer may consider the coming of the Holy Spirit at the day of Pentecost as the continuation of the Christ Consciousness, but this Spirit is described in Scripture as proceeding from the person of Jesus Christ, and no mere man can rightly be thought of as responsible for sending the Holy Spirit. The “age” referred to in the New Testament is not the Age of Pisces The Zeitgeist Movie makes note of the following New Testament references to the “age,” however, as a comparative reading of Bible versions reveals, “age” does not hold the same meaning that the producers of Zeitgeist would like.


"Either in this age or the age to come." (Mt 12:32 KJV) (Also translated as “neither in this world, nor in that which is to come.” NASB) "The harvest is the end of the age." (Mt 13:39 KJV) (Also translated as “the harvest is the end of the world.” NASB) "Sign of your coming and the end of the age." (Mt 24:3 KJV) (Also translated as “the end of the world?” NASB) "I am with you always to the very end of the age." (Mt 28:20 KJV) (Also translated as “the end of the world.” NASB) "In this age and the age to come" (Lk 18:30 KJV) (Also translated as “in the world to come eternal life.” NASB) "Wise by the standards of this age" (1 Cor 3:18 KJV) (Also translated as “If any man thinketh that he is wise among you in this world, let him become a fool, that he may become wise.” NASB) The context of the passage attributes wisdom not as being associated with a particular period of time, but with a pattern of thought. "On whom the fulfillment of the ages has come." (1 Cor 10:11 NASB) (Also translated as “upon whom the ends of the world are come.” KJV) "Not only in the present age but the age to come" (Eph 1:21 KJV) (Also translated as “not only in this world, but also in that which is to come.” NASB) "And the powers of the coming age" (Heb 6:5 NASB) (Also translated as “and the powers of the world to come.” KJV) "He has appeared once and for all at the end of the ages" (Heb 9: 26 KJV) Comparative readings of Bible versions render this passage as “ages.” However, the broader context is a reference to the work of Christ, of whom it says: “but now once at the end of the ages hath [Christ] been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.” (NASB). The passage describes the work of Christ as “once for all,” which, unfortunately for astrologers, does not fit into the pattern of the procession of the equinoxes, which denotes a shift from one age to the next approximately every two thousand years. Nowhere in astrology is an age believed to continue indefinitely. "King of the ages" (Rev 15:3 NIV) (Also translated as “King of the saints.” KJV, with a note in the margin indicating an alternate translation as “King of the nations,” a possible reference to Jer 10:7)


The word “age” in Scripture has various meanings, and each passage must be read in context. However, none of the meanings of the word refers to the procession of the equinoxes. Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words lists the following Greek words that have been translated as “age” in the New Testament: “Aion” The word aion means "an age,” or “era." Vines connects this word with the Greek word aei, which means "ever," indicating “a period of indefinite duration, or time viewed in relation to what takes place in the period.” It is further explained that “the force attaching to the word is not so much that of the actual length of a period, but that of a period marked by spiritual or moral characteristics. The phrases containing this word should not be rendered literally, but consistently with its sense of indefinite duration.” As the Ages of the Zodiac are each defined as a definite period of time, any translation of “age” from “aion” cannot properly be likened to the procession of the equinoxes. “Genea” The word genea means "to become," and signifies "a begetting, or birth." As such, the word describes successive generations in one’s ancestry. The word may be used to describe an “age,” but only within the limits of genealogy, thus making an “age” constituting a period of time spanning thirty to forty years. Thus, in Colossians 1:26 the word is translated as both “generations” and “ages.” While this word does denote a period of definite duration, the duration to which it refers is no more than about forty years, rather than the two thousand years contained in each of the Ages of the Zodiac. “Helikia” Helikia refers to "a certain length of life,” or “a particular time of life," and is synonymous with such expressions as “prime of life” or “age of maturity.” The connotation is a reference to a certain period of time in one’s lifespan, be it infancy, the various stages of adolescence and adulthood, or maturity. The word refers to the “ages” through which an individual passes during his or her lifetime, not to the “ages” through which astrologers believe the earth passes every two thousand years. The remaining three words refer to the elder years of a person’s lifetime, thus bearing no reference to the Ages of the Zodiac. “Hemera” Hemera literally means "a day." Its use in Luke 2:36 denotes someone being "of a great age," or "advanced in many days."


“Huperakmos” Huperakmos refers to the elder years of one’s life, as in 1 Corinthians 7:36 where it is rendered "past the flower of her age." The literal translation of this word is "beyond the bloom or flower of life." “Teleios” Teleios means to "complete,” or make “perfect." The word carries the idea of a person coming to “an end,” and is literally translated as being "of full age.” In addition, the concept of the Ages of the Zodiac, or procession of the equinoxes, was not known in ancient times, and therefore cannot possibly be linked to Christianity. The procession of the equinoxes was discovered in the second century A.D. by Hipparchus.1 Dr. Noel Swerdlow, Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of Chicago, comments that "In antiquity, … within which group of stars the vernal equinox was located, was of no astrological significance at all. The modern ideas about the Age of Pisces or the Age of Aquarius are based upon the location of the vernal equinox in the regions of the stars of those constellations. But the regions, the borders between, those constellations are a completely modern convention of the International Astronomical Union for the purpose of mapping . . . and never had any astrological significance. … It is simply anachronistic to believe that what is important to twentieth century astrology was of importance to ancient astrology. … The modern astrological beliefs are not identical to the ancient astrological beliefs.”2 D. M. Murdock, a staunch critic of Christianity, claims that “while the procession of the equinoxes was only ‘discovered’ during the second century [B.C.] by the Greek scientist Hipparchus; nevertheless, it is quite evident that the precession was well known, by the ruling elite and priestly faction, for millennia prior to its purported ‘discovery.’ That the ancients followed processional ages is revealed abundantly in the archaeological record.”3 As much as she would like her assertion to be true, the fact is that there is no ancient evidence to support her claims. Even Aristotle declares that such beliefs were not known prior to Hipparchus’ discovery.4 Her socalled “ruling elite and priestly faction” remains unidentified and therefore serves as no form of evidence to back her claim. She attempts to back her claim by likening the instance of Moses’ reaction to the Hebrews’ golden calf to the shift of the ages of Taurus and Ares, and such an interpretation of that event will be refuted later in this book. Astrologers sometimes refer to the Model Prayer (often called the “Lord’s Prayer”) as a means to tie Scripture in with astrology. As stated before, the basic principle of astrology is “as above, so below.” In the Model Prayer, where Jesus taught His disciples how to pray, He used the expression “as in heaven, so on earth.” (Mt 6:10) Critics jump at the chance to use this passage to claim that Jesus was teaching astrological principles, however, the reference in the prayer of Christ refers to in what manner the will of God is to be accomplished: as it is in heaven; that is, without


challenge or hesitation. The passage does not at all refer to a means of predicting or interpreting human affairs or events by looking to the stars or planets. Observations regarding the “Piscean” symbolism in Scripture and church history Critics claim that Jesus’ miracles (i.e., the feeding of the five thousand with bread and fish), His disciples’ occupations (two of His disciples were fishermen), and His orations (He said His disciples were fishers of men) are also fabrications which have their origin in the sign of Pisces. First, Jesus had many disciples from various lines of work, and the number of His disciples who engaged in the occupation of fishing numbered more than two (remember, there are only two fish in the sign of Pisces). Also, it is not unthinkable that some of His disciples would be engaged in the occupation of fishing, a commonplace occupation in that region. Many events related in the Gospels take place in the region of the Sea of Galilee. This was an area where fishing was a primary occupation and fish was widely used as food. Throughout the Bible, God uses what is common to man in order to relate spiritual truth, and it is as such that Jesus called His disciples “fishers of men.” Second, the miracle of feeding the five thousand with bread and fish (Jn. 21.25) was just one of His many miracles, not all of which are recorded in Scripture. In the miracle of the feeding of the five thousand, Jesus did use two fish (the same number of fish found in the Pisces constellation), but He also used five loaves of bread (not found in any constellation), and the number of each was greatly multiplied to feed all those present to hear His teaching. Of all the miracles He performed, only some involved fish. Below is an example of the various types of miracles recorded in Scripture and performed by Jesus. 1 Changing water into wine Jn 2:1-11 2 Healing of the nobleman's son Jn 4:46-54 3 Healing of demoniacs Mt 8:16-17, Lk 4:40-41 4 Healing of Peter's mother-in-law Mt 8:14 5 Catching a large number of fish Lk 5:1-11 6 Healing a leper Mt 8:1-4 7 Healing a centurion's servant Lk 7:1-10 8 Healing a paralytic Mk 2:1-12 9 Healing a withered hand Lk 6:6-11 10 Raising the dead Lk 7:11-16, Mt 9:18-19, Jn 11:1-54 11 Calming the stormy sea Mt 8:23-27 12 Healing the Gerasene demoniac Mk 5:1-20 13 Healing a woman with internal bleeding Mt 9:20-22 14 Raising Jairus' daughter Mk 5:35-43 15 Healing blind Mk 8:22-36


16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34

Healing a mute demoniac Mt 9:27-31 Healing a 38 year invalid Jn 5:5-17 Feeding 5,000 men and their families Mt 14:15-21 Walking on water Jn 6:16-21 Healing a demoniac girl Mt 15:21-28 Healing a deaf man with a speech impediment Mk 7:31-37 Feeding the 4,000 men and their families Mk 8:1-9 Healing a blind man Mk 8:22-26 Healing a man born blind Jn 9:1-41 Healing a demoniac boy Mt 17:14-20 Catching a fish with a coin in its mouth Mt 17:24-27 Healing a blind and mute demoniac Mt 12:22-45 Healing a woman with an 18 year infirmity Lk 13:10-17 Healing a man with dropsy Lk 14:1-6 Healing ten lepers Lk 17:11-19 Raising of Lazarus from the dead Jn 11:43-46 Healing Bartimaeus of blindness Mk 10:46-52 Restoring a severed ear Lk 22:49-51 Catching a great number of fish Jn 21:6

Third, Jesus related many truths orally and gave many sermons. It is absolutely reasonable that some of these would relate to the occupation of fishing, for reasons stated above. Critics’ claims that fish and fishing metaphors are “abundant” in the account of Jesus, simply need to read a Bible. If they took the time to do so, they would see the truth that Jesus’ speech and action took on many characteristics and the elements He used in both were also widely varied in nature. When they say that “fish symbolism is very abundant in the New Testament,” they are merely relying on the hope that those unfamiliar with the New Testament will read the Scriptures in order to see just how “abundant” the imagery really is. Early Christians’ selection of the fish as a symbol of faith was not due to a belief that Jesus ushered in a particular age of the zodiac. Rather, they did so because the fish symbol did not readily identify them in public as followers of Christ, as would, say, a cross. It is for this reason that we see the fish icon engraved in or marked on ancient relics. Another significance early Christians attributed to this symbol is that the Greek word for “fish” was “ichthys.” Christians used this word as an acronym for the phrase “Iesous Christos, Theou Uios, Soter,” translated "Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior." The fish symbol also served to identify places where ancient believers would gather in secrecy from Rome. Finally, while it is true that the Gospels make references to fish, water, and other “Piscean” characteristics, the Gospels also makes reference to other nonPiscean elements. For example, Jesus is identified as the Lion of Judah, so why not identify Him as the avatar of the sign Leo, the Lion? Since He was born of a virgin, why not name Him the avatar of Virgo, the Virgin? The New Testament also mentions camels, donkeys, and other animals, but to which Zodiacal sign to


we attribute these references? While He did exemplify characteristics of love and compassion, characterized by the sign Pisces, He also displayed righteous anger because of the money-changers in the Temple, and it is He who will judge everyone according to his deeds (so why not name Him as the avatar of Libra, the balance). The apostle John, while in exile on the Isle of Patmos, was granted a vision of the wrath of Christ, as described below. I invite the astrologer to read this description and indicate which Piscean qualities are being exemplified in this image of Christ – gentleness? Hardly. What about sympathy or sensitivity? Certainly such a person does not fit the image of one who would usher in an age such as the Age of Pisces. And I [John] turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp two-edged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength. And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am he that liveth, and was dead. (Rev 1:12-18 NASB) And I {John] saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS. (Rev. 19:11-16 NASB) Regarding the other signs of the Zodiac, the following hypotheses are suggested Taurus, the bull From The Zeitgeist Movie: “Now, the Bible reflects, broadly speaking, a symbolic movement through three ages, while foreshadowing a fourth. In the Old Testament when Moses comes down Mount Sinai with the Ten Commandments, he is very upset to see his people worshiping a golden bull calf. In fact, he shattered the stone tablets and instructed his people to kill each other in order to purify themselves. Most Biblical scholars would attribute this anger to the fact that the Israelites were worshiping a false idol, or something to


that effect. The reality is that the golden bull is Taurus the Bull, and Moses represents the new Age of Aries the Ram. This is why Jews even today still blow the Ram's horn. Moses represents the new Age of Aries, and upon the new age, everyone must shed the old age. Other deities mark these transitions as well, a pre-Christian god who kills the bull, in the same symbology.” When Moses descended from Mt. Sinai following his reception of the Ten Commandments, he observed the Hebrew people worshiping an idol of gold fashioned in the image of a calf. The Hebrews constructed this idol in the belief that Moses may have died while on the mountain. Their faith grew dim and they turned to pagan practices as a result. Upon Moses’ return, he became angry at the paganism he observed and broke the tablets of the Law, being indignant because of their sin. Critics suggest that this event signifies the transition from one age to the next, and that the golden calf represents the age of Taurus, the bull, whereas Moses represents the next age – the age of Ares, the ram. The event is recorded in Exodus chapter thirty-two, and some believe the golden calf was fashioned as a representation of the Egyptian god Apis, a deity represented by a bull. The inspiration for the image did indeed come from the religion of Egypt, as indicated in the following two passages written by the prophet Ezekiel: But they [the Hebrew people] rebelled against me [the Lord], and would not hearken unto me: they did not every man cast away the abominations of their eyes, neither did they forsake the idols of Egypt: then I said, I will pour out my fury upon them, to accomplish my anger against them in the midst of the land of Egypt. (Ez 20:8) Neither left she [the Hebrew people] her whoredoms brought from Egypt: (Ez 23:8) While the words of Ezekiel indicates the calf was fashioned as a representation of an Egyptian idol, the passage in Exodus identifies the calf as being a physical representation of Jehovah, not an Egyptian deity. ... and they said, “These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.” And when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation, and said, “To morrow is a feast to the LORD.” (Ex 32:4-5) Therefore, the worship of the golden calf was not condemned as a sin of apostasy, for the calf was fashioned with the intention of it being a physical representation of the one true God, Jehovah. Rather, the sin committed by the Hebrews was that of idolatry, for it was forbidden that any graven image should be fashioned after Jehovah. They were using a pagan form of worship to honor the true God. This was the cause of Moses' anger – not that the Hebrews forsook Jehovah, but that they were likening Him to a pagan deity and employing pagan practices as their mode of worship. The procession of the equinoxes had nothing to do with Moses' actions, especially since such a belief was not yet fashioned


by mankind. Finally, the use of the ram's horn signifies nothing more than the use of a common type of instrument. In antiquity, rams' horns were often used as trumpets. It should also be noted that Moses himself is never portrayed as blowing a ram’s horn, which is key in the critics’ identification of Moses as Ares the ram. Finally, even as admitted by Zeitgeist, the Age of Ares did not begin until 2150 B.C., whereas Moses, who Zeitgeist claims ushered in the Age of Ares, is regarded to have lived between 1400-1500 B.C. It therefore remains to be seen exactly how someone can be said to have inaugurated an age which began 650-750 years before his birth. Such a chronology provides an insurmountable obstacle in the critics' “Moses was Ares” thesis. Sagittarius and Capricorn, the archer and sea goat The following three propositions are made concerning these two astrological signs – 1. As stated in the film, “According to legend, Jesus was born in a stable between a horse and a goat, symbols of Sagittarius and Capricorn.” The Gospel narratives of Jesus do not mention what animals, if any, were present in the manger when Jesus was born. The inclusion of animals in any manger scene is the result of a later addition resulting from church tradition. While there would have likely been animals present in the manger, they are simply not mentioned in the Gospel nativity. 2. Also stated in the film, “The sun is 'crucified' between the two thieves of Sagittarius and Capricorn.” The association between the sun and the solstices, as well as the assumed relationship between the Crux constellation and crucifixion, has been previously discussed in this work, and I refer the reader to those sections in response to the “crucifixion” of the sun (see Part one). Here, it only needs to be said that the signs of Sagittarius and Capricorn are a centaur (half man, half horse) archer and sea goat (half goat, half fish), respectively, not thieves. 3. The film continues, “In Sagittarius, Jesus was wounded in the side by the Centaur, or centurion.” In the Gospel account, the body of Jesus is pierced in the side by a Roman centurion in order to confirm that He was dead. A centaur is a mythological figure with the body of a horse and the torso of a man. The centurion in the Gospel narratives is a Roman soldier, with the body of a man and the torso of a man. The images of a centaur and a centurion bear no resemblance, either physically or figuratively. Also, the zodiacal sign Sagittarius is not depicted as being wounded in the side, nor does he cause another figure of the zodiac to be wounded in such a fashion. On the wheel of the zodiac, Sagittarius (the one Zeitgeist claims is pierced in the side) is positioned between Scorpio, the scorpion, and Capricorn, the sea goat, neither of which holds any figurative correlation to a Roman centurion and neither of which is depicted as wounding Sagittarius.


Ares, the ram From The Zeitgeist Movie: “[Jesus] became the Good Shepherd and the Lamb in Aries, the Ram.” First, even according to Zeitgeist’s own admission, the Zodiacal sign Ares is neither a shepherd nor a lamb; but rather, is a ram. Second, Jesus identified Himself as a shepherd in order to illustrate that He is the Guide for the people of God. The subject of His illustrations and parables were things familiar to His audience, including common occupations such as shepherding or fishing (as previously mentioned). Also, in saying He is the Great Shepherd, Jesus alluded to the Old Testament references of God being a shepherd, and those who place their faith in Him, being His sheep. Cancer, the crab From The Zeitgeist Movie: “In Cancer, ‘the celestial Sea of Galilee,’ he calmed the storm and waters, spoke of backsliders, and rode the ass and foal in triumph into the City of Peace, Jerusalem.” The sign of Cancer is never referred to in antiquity as “the Sea of Galilee.” Even in modern times, the only references to the sign as “the Sea of Galilee” are by those who attempt to erroneously and illogically tie Christianity’s roots to the signs of the Zodiac. As far as the “calming of the storm,” this is likely derived from the description of someone born under the sign of Cancer, whose horoscope (for those who believe in such things) describes such a person as gentle and desirous of safety and stability, not seeking to cause conflict or stir trouble. As far as the reference to riding of an ass in a triumphal entry into the “City of Peace,” no such thing was ever associated with Cancer. Libra, the balance From The Zeitgeist Movie: “In Libra, Christ was the true vine in the Garden of Gethsemane, the 'wine press,' as this is the time of the grape harvest.” The symbol for Libra is scales, not vines, grapes, wine, wine presses, gardens, or harvest. The association simply does not exist. Scorpio, the scorpion From The Zeitgeist Movie: “Jesus was betrayed by Judas, the 'backbiter,' or Scorpio.” The sting of a scorpion bears no similarity to any illustration or allusion to the act of “backbiting.” Also, Judas did not “backbite” Jesus. Rather, Judas betrayed Jesus and became an accomplice to murder – and this He did with Jesus’ full knowledge of the act before it even occurred. In the upper room the night on which Jesus was delivered into the hands of the Romans at the kiss of Judas, Jesus told his disciples that one would betray Him, and that he would hand the sop to the betrayer. He then handed the sop to Judas and told him, “What you do, do quickly.” (Jn 13:26) Jesus was in full knowledge and awareness of Judas’ intention and attempt to conspire against Him. As a side note, some critics have claimed that the figure of Judas was based on the figure of Typhon in the Egyptian myth of Horus. Typhon (the Greek name for Set), they say, betrayed Horus, and it is this myth which made its way into the Jesus


“myth” when Jesus is said to have been betrayed by Judas. In the Gospels, Judas was a follower of Jesus, one of His inner circle of twelve disciples. He acted as Jesus’ friend until his greed set in and he determined to betray Jesus for thirty pieces of silver. In the Horus legend, Typhon was neither a follower nor friend of Horus; but rather, was Horus’ enemy. As such, Typhon’s actions cannot properly be viewed as a betrayal, any more than can Lee Harvey Oswald’s actions be viewed as a betrayal of John F. Kennedy. Aquarius, the water bearer From The Zeitgeist Movie: “The water bearer mentioned in Luke 22:10 was really an allusion to the constellation Aquarius.” Below is the passage in question: Then came the day of unleavened bread, when the passover must be killed. And he sent Peter and John, saying, Go and prepare us the passover, that we may eat. And they said unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare? And he said unto them, Behold, when ye are entered into the city, there shall a man meet you, bearing a pitcher of water; follow him into the house where he entereth in. And ye shall say unto the goodman of the house, The Master saith unto thee, Where is the guestchamber, where I shall eat the passover with my disciples? And he shall shew you a large upper room furnished: there make ready. And they went, and found as he had said unto them: and they made ready the passover. (Lk 22:7-13) I will give Zeitgeist credit for getting one thing right: the man bearing a pitcher of water was intended as a sign, but the significance of the intended sign was not of an astrological nature. Rather, the man bearing the pitcher signified in whose lodging the disciples would observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread. During times of festivity, Jerusalem was a bustling city. Josephus describes nearly two and a half million people converging on the city for the Passover feast.5 In such a time, the residents of Jerusalem would invite strangers into their guest rooms, generally located on the roof, in what was known as the “upper room,” so that guests may come and go as they please via a separate entrance, so as not to disturb the residents of the household.6 The custom of the day was to hang a curtain in front of the door of one's residence, in order to indicate there was still a vacancy in the upper room of the residence. This was the purpose the water bearer served – not to point to a forthcoming astrological age; but rather, to merely lead the disciples to the man who would be their host for the upcoming feast.7 The apparent reference in Luke’s Gospel is to a living human being carrying an actual pitcher filled with actual water, not a metaphorical water bearer. The church, as early as the first century A.D., acknowledged Jesus and the disciples as historical figures. For example, Clement of Rome, writing around 95 A.D., said concerning Peter and Paul, widely considered as those primary among the apostles, “Let us take the noble examples furnished in our own generation. Through envy and jealousy the greatest and most righteous pillars [of the church] have been persecuted and put to death. Let us set before our eyes the


illustrious apostles. Peter, through unrighteous envy, endured not one or two, but numerous labors; and when he had at length suffered martyrdom, departed to the place of glory due to him. Owing to envy, Paul also obtained the reward of patient endurance, after being seven times thrown into captivity, compelled to flee, and stoned. After preaching both in the east and west, he gained the illustrious reputation due to his faith, having taught righteousness to the whole world, and come to the extreme limit of the west, and suffered martyrdom under the prefects. Thus was he removed from the world, and went into the holy place, having proved himself a striking example of patience.”8 Other extra-Biblical writers testify to the historicity of Jesus, speaking of Him as a real flesh-andblood man, not a personified representation of any zodiacal sign. More on this will be said in a later section relating to the historicity of Jesus. As an endnote to this section, the images of Jesus in the Zodiac depicted in the film all post-date the Apostolic Age, dating (as even the film itself admits) to the eleventh century A.D.

V. Concerning the proposed similarity between various Biblical concepts and pre-existing beliefs and icons
From The Zeitgeist Movie: “In fact, the Egyptian religion is likely the primary foundational basis for the Judeo-Christian theology. Baptism, afterlife, final judgment, virgin birth, resurrection, crucifixion, the ark of the covenant, circumcision, saviors, holy communion, the great flood, Easter, Christmas, Passover, and many, many more, are all attributes of Egyptian ideas, long predating Christianity and Judaism.” O.k., here we go … Baptism – see Part three of this work Afterlife and final judgment The concept of an afterlife and a final judgment permeates cultures throughout the world and is an integral of any religious system. The fact that one system of belief holds to some form of afterlife or judgment should surprise no one. Rather, such a concept should stand as a necessity to that system, not a parallel “linking” that system to another. For example: Ancient Egyptians bathed in water. Early Christians bathed in water too – maybe they got that idea from the early Egyptians. Sound ridiculous? Sure. Yet, this is the same type of logic which critics employ in their arguments. Virgin birth – previously discussed Resurrection – see Part three of this work Crucifixion – previously discussed


The Ark of the Covenant An ark, aside from being a vessel (as was the case with the ark of Noah), may also be a chest or a box, and as such is not identified strictly with a particular culture or belief. Ancient Egyptians did have boxes which contained engravings or inscriptions and were used in ritual practices and ceremonies, such as the chest used in the Festival of Apet. Therefore, such items may correctly be called an ark. Ancient Egyptian rulers did have a chest-like throne which was portable and could be carried from one place to another, in similar fashion as the Hebrews’ Ark of the Covenant. However, neither the ritual chests nor the Egyptian “ark-thrones” mirror the Hebrew Ark of the Covenant in appearance (as shown at the top of next page) or significance, nor were they called an “Ark of the Covenant, Ark of God,” or “Ark of the Testimony,” as was the Hebrew ark. While some Old Testament texts do suggest the imagery of the ark being a throne (1 Sam 4:4; 2 Sam 6:2; 2 Kings 19:15), more so it was a sign of God’s presence among His people. As such, the ark became sacred, to the extent that it was not even allowed to be touched by man or looked upon (when transporting the ark, the ark was covered with a veil). Additionally, the Ark of the Covenant did not sit out in the open; but rather, sat in solitude, behind a large veil, within the Holy of Holies, the room within the Tabernacle where only the High Priest could enter and only when so required for presenting an offering to God. When being transported, the ark was covered with a veil, so it could not be looked upon. The passage in which God instructs Moses to build the Ark of the Covenant is found in Exodus 25: 10-22. The specifications for the ark, as given by God, are as follows: It was to be made of shittim wood Length: two cubits and a half Width: a cubit and a half Height: a cubit and a half It was to be overlaid with pure gold, within and without They were to fashion a crown of gold round about the throne It was to have four rings of gold on each of the four corners (posts, by which the ark was carried, were inserted through these rings) A golden cherubim with outstretched wings was to be placed on either side Inside the ark was to be placed the stone tablets of the Law God then said to Moses, “I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubims which are upon the ark of the testimony. “ Such is the description of the Ark of the Covenant. The following is a visual comparison between a typical Egyptian ark-throne and the Hebrew ark. You will see they differ drastically in appearance. Also, the winged creatures on either side of any Egyptian throne were never cherubs (a


strictly Hebrew concept), but were rather depictions of Egyptian winged deities.

The Hebrew Ark of the Covenant

Typical Egyptian “ark-thrones”

Cave painting depicting the throne of Rameses III

Circumcision Ancient Egyptians did practice circumcision, as evidenced in temple reliefs and on the bodies of unwrapped mummies. Their reason for circumcising males is unknown. It was most certainly not for moral purification, since sex was not recognized as a sin within their religion. Based on Egyptian reliefs, most scholars agree that circumcision was merely a sign of fertility in the circumcised male, having no religious attachment whatsoever in ancient Egypt. In fact, the practice first gained spiritual significance with the Hebrews, and was a means of making them distinct from the heathen people and separated unto God. It is also true that Egyptian priests were said to have been circumcised in accordance with their office, but such practice does not exist until after the time of Moses. According to Alan B. Lloyd, in his work Ancient Egypt: A Social History, “Thanks to Herodotus we are well informed on the priests’ mode of life during the mid fifth century B.C., and we need not doubt that his comments


held true for the entire period under discussion [i.e., The Late Period, 664 – 323 B.C.] Not surprisingly, he lays great stress on their obligation to maintain a high level of ritual purity: they shaved their bodies every other day, had to be circumcised, wore only linen garments and sandals of papyrus, and washed twice a day and twice a night.”1 Savior – see Part three of this work Holy communion – see Part three of this work The great flood – previously discussed within the present section Easter – previously discussed within the present section Christmas – previously discussed within the present section It is absolutely absurd to think that the ancient kings and queens of Egypt celebrated anything bearing even a close resemblance to Christmas or Easter – especially since neither observance existed in any form until thousands of years after ancient Egyptians passed off the scene. Passover – previously discussed within the present section It is equally absurd to believe that a strictly Hebrew observance was practiced by Egyptians, or any other culture for that matter. How can a Judaic observance pre-date Judaism? Also, given the account in Exodus chapters eleven and twelve describing the event which the Passover Feast signifies, one can only imagine how “festive” an Egyptian Passover Feast would be! “... and many, many more.” – Bring it on!

VI. Concerning the claim that the life of Jesus is merely a revision of the life of Joseph
From the Zeitgeist movie: “The Bible is nothing more than an astro-theological literary fold hybrid, just like nearly all religious myths before it. In fact, the aspect of transference, of one character's attributes applied to a new character, can be found within the [Bible] itself. In the Old Testament there's the story of Joseph. Joseph was a prototype for Jesus. Joseph was born of a miracle birth, Jesus was born of a miracle birth. Joseph was of 12 brothers, Jesus had 12 disciples. Joseph was sold for 20 pieces of silver, Jesus was sold for 30 pieces of silver. Brother "Judah" suggests the sale of Joseph, disciple "Judas" suggests the sale of Jesus. Joseph began his work at the age of 30, Jesus began his work at the age of 30. The parallels go on and on.” The supposed parallels between Jesus and Joseph are not as evident as the critic would prefer. The film in question mentions the following common elements:


A miracle birth The birth of Joseph is told in the book of Genesis (30:22-24). Joseph’s birth was the result of God’s response to Rachel’s longing, but no supernatural character is assigned to the birth. The text only reads that God “opened her womb,” but the same is said of Leah in a previous section (Gen 29:31) describing the birth of Reuben, and does not imply anything other than a natural birth. Twelve brothers, twelve disciples By Zeitgeist’s own admission, Joseph did not have twelve brothers; but rather, was one of twelve brothers. Rather than this likening Joseph to Jesus, the comparison (if one was to be made) should be that of Jacob and Jesus, since Jacob, Joseph’s father, had twelve sons. Sold for 20-30 pieces of silver Given the use of silver as a common form of currency, and a form which has been used throughout many ages, this element becomes a moot point. Brother Judah, disciple Judas These names were the fourth most commonly used names among the Hebrew people.1 Also, were the critic to actually read the Bible, he would find the actions of Judah in the Genesis account and the actions of Judas in the Gospels do not bear as close a connection. Genesis chapter thirty-seven tells the story of Joseph’s betrayal by his brethren at the age of seventeen. According to the text, all of Joseph’s eleven brothers, not just Judah, conspired against him. Their original intent was to kill him, but it was Judah who suggested that Jospeh’s life be spared in favor of selling him into slavery. Judah acted out of compassion for his brother, whereas Judas acted without regard for Jesus’ well-being. Also, Judah’s actions were not pre-meditated; but rather, was a spontaneous notion which arose as he saw a band of Ishmaelites pass by while he and his brothers sat down to eat bread. Each began his work at the age thirty The reason for Jesus beginning His ministry at age thirty has already been addressed (refer to Part one). The Old Testament contains many “types,” or foreshadows, of the promised Messiah. Types have the following characteristics: 1. Both the type and its fulfillment must be rooted in history, referring to an historical person, place, object, or event in both ages. 2. Types must be prophetic, in anticipation of a future fulfillment. 3. Types are Christ-centered, all pointing towards the Messiah to a greater or lesser degree.


Of these Old Testament types, Joseph is widely recognized by Christian scholars as one of the most prominent. Torrey's Topical Index lists the following Old Testament types of Christ (the list is not all-inclusive, but serves to illustrate the point): Adam - Rom 5:14; 1 Cor 15:45 Abel - Gen 4:8,10; Heb 12:24 Abraham - Gen 17:5; Eph 3:15 Aaron - Ex 28:1; Heb 5:4,5; Lev 16:15; Heb 9:7,24 Ark - Gen 7:16; 1 Pet 3:20,21 Ark of the Covenant - Ex 25:16; Ps 40:8; Isa 42:6 Atonement, sacrifices offered on the day of - Lev 16:15,16; Heb 9:12,24 Brazen serpent - Num 21:9; Jn 3:14,15 Brazen altar - Ex 27:1,2; Heb 13:10 Burnt offering - Lev 1:2,4; Heb 10:10 Cities of refuge - Num 35:6; cf. Heb 6:18 David – 2 Sam 8:15; Ez 37:24; Ps 89:19,20; cf. Ph 2:9 Eliakim - Isa 22:20-22; cf. Rev 3:7 First-fruits - Ex 22:29; cf. 1 Cor 15:20 Golden candlestick - Ex 25:31; cf. Jn 8:12 Golden altar - Ex 40:5,26,27; cf. Rev 8:3; Heb 13:15 Isaac - Gen 22:1,2; cf. Heb 11:17-19 Jacob - Gen 32:28; cf. Jn 11:42; Heb 7:25 Jacob's ladder - Gen 28:12; cf. Jn 1:51 Joseph - Gen 50:19,20 Joshua - Josh 1:5,6; cf. Heb 4:8,9; Josh 11:23; cf. Acts 20:32 Jonah - Jonah 1:17; cf. Mt 12:40 Laver of brass - Ex 30:18-20; Zech 13:1; cf. Eph 5:26,27 Leper's offering - Lev 14:4-7; cf. Rom 4:25 Man - Ex 16:11-15; cf. Jn 6:32-35 Melchizedek - Gen 14:18-20; cf. Heb 7:1-17 Mercy-seat - Ex 25:17-22; cf. Rom 3:25; Heb 4:16 Morning and evening sacrifices - Ex 29:38-41; cf. Jn 1:29,36 Moses - Num 12:7; Heb 3:2; Deut 18:15; cf. Acts 3:20-22 Noah - Gen 5:29; cf. 2 Cor 1:5 Paschal lamb - Ex 12:3-6,46; cf. Jn 19:36; 1 Cor 5:7 Peace offerings - Lev 3:1; cf. Eph 2:14,16 Red heifer - Num 19:2-6; cf. Heb 9:13,14 Rock of Horeb - Ex 17:6; cf. 1 Cor 10:4 Samson - Judges 16:30; cf. Col 2:14,15 Scape goat - Lev 16:20-22; Isa 53:6,12 Sin offering - Lev 4:2,3,12; cf. Heb 13:11,12 Solomon – 2 Sam 7:12,13; cf. Lk 1:32,33; I Pet 2:5 Tabernacle - Ex 40:2,34; cf. Heb 9:11; Col 2:9 Table and show bread - Ex 25:23-30; cf. Jn 1:16; 6:48 Temple – 1 Kings 6:1,38; cf. Jn 2:19,21 Tree of life - Gen 2:9; cf. Jn 1:4; Rev 22:2 Trespass offering - Lev 6:1-7; Isa 53:10


Veil of the tabernacle and temple - Ex 40:21; cf. 2 Chr 3:14; Heb 10:20 Zerubbabel - Zech 4:7-9; cf. Heb 12:2,3 The many types of Christ found in the Old Testament are a source of blessing and comfort for the Christian. They display God’s progressive revelation of His redemptive purpose and stand as a witness to the consistency and surety of the message of the Bible as a whole. The Old Testament types give the Christian greater understanding of New Testament teaching regarding the person and work of the Messiah (such is expressed in Hebrews chapter 9, and will be further addressed in a later section). For those who have faith in God’s truth, there is blessing and joy beyond measure; for those who have no faith and are left to their own vain imaginings, may it be that one day God will delight in removing the scales from their eyes and give them the faith to believe in someone greater than themselves. Concerning the number of strikingly similar characteristics between Joseph and Jesus, historian Michael Licona points out that characteristics equally similar exist between Jesus and John F. Kennedy2, as follows: Both had followers who adored them. Both were leaders of a kingdom. Both were opposed. Both were killed publicly Both deaths were in a dramatic fashion Both died at the pinnacle of their careers Both died in the presence of the woman closest to them. Both received head wounds. A crown of thorns was placed on the head of Jesus. JFK suffered a fatal bullet wound to the head. Both were pronounced dead by authorities (soldier, physician). Both were mourned Both were buried in a tomb Both had names beginning with the letter “J” Both were interested in freedom Both had a father named Joseph Both fathers were self-employed Both Jesus and JFK had brothers who were murdered Based on these characteristics, no one would dare claim that JFK never existed and was merely a fictional figure based on the Gospel accounts of Jesus. In similar fashion, compare the following similarities between JFK and Abraham Lincoln (below is a short list – for more, refer to the citation):3 Abraham Lincoln was elected to Congress in 1846 John F. Kennedy was elected to Congress in 1946 Abraham Lincoln was elected President in 1860 John F. Kennedy was elected President in 1960 The names Lincoln and Kennedy each contain seven letters Both of their wives lost their children while living in the White House Both Presidents were shot on a Friday


Both were shot in the head Both were assassinated by Southerners Both were succeeded by Southerners Both successors were named Johnson Andrew Johnson, who succeeded Lincoln, was born in 1808 Lyndon Johnson, who succeeded Kennedy, was born in 1908 John Wilkes Booth was born in 1839 Lee Harvey Oswald was born in 1939 Both assassins were known by their three names Both names are comprised of fifteen letters Booth ran from the theater and was caught in a warehouse Oswald ran from a warehouse and was caught in a theater Booth and Oswald were assassinated before their trials Before Lincoln was assassinated, he visited Monroe, Maryland Before Kennedy was assassinated, he visited Marilyn Monroe As shown in the two examples above, one cannot reasonably and accurately claim that the historicity of one figure is based not on history itself but on that fact that both figures share like biographical characteristics. The fact that such similarities exist between two figures neither proves causal connection or dependence of one on the other. As Bruce Metzger states, "It must not be uncritically assumed that the Mysteries always influenced Christianity, for it is not only possible but probable that in certain cases, the influence moved in the opposite direction."4

VII. Concerning Constantine and the Nicean Creed
The Zeitgeist Movie claims that the doctrines of Christianity were established by the Roman Emperor Constantine in the fourth century. True, it was by Constantine’s edict that Christianity became the official state religion of the Roman Empire, but the doctrines of the Christian faith existed centuries before his time.* It was during the time of Constantine that the Council of Nicea was convened and the famous Nicean Creed was formed as a result. Prior to the Nicean Creed, the divinity of Christ, among other doctrines, was already affirmed in the mind of early writers. The purpose of the Council of Nicea was not to determine if Jesus was divine, but in what way He was divine, whether He was as divine as the Father or just shared a portion of the Father's deity. Regarding the claim that Constantine played a part in the fashioning of Christian doctrine, Dr. Ben Witherington III writes: “…most theological issues, including those about Christ’s nature, had taken a rather definite shape and trajectory before Constantine had anything to do with them…At the Council of Nicea, Constantine seems to have favored Christ’s true divinity, but he was no theologian, and it certainly wasn’t he who wrote the Creed of Nicea. Constantine mainly pronounced the benediction on the deliberations that had already been formulated.”1 As Constantine played no part in the formation of orthodox Christian doctrine, he likewise played no role in the formation of the canon of Scripture. It is said by some critics that Constantine suppressed the canonical Gospels in favor of the apocryphal gospels, such as the Gospel of Thomas and the Gospel of Philip, among others. First, the canonical Gospels predate the apocryphal gospels, as will be shown under a later


heading, and were already regarded as authoritative. Second, there is no historical evidence for any such manipulation on the part of Constantine. The early church historian, Eusebius, wrote that Constantine did commission copies of the Scriptures to be produced, but there is no mention of any revision or omission which was to be made to what was already regarded as the authoritative Scriptures, which did not include the apocryphal gospels. In a letter to Eusebius, Constantine gave his instructions for such a task to be done as follows: “I have thought it expedient to instruct your Prudence to order fifty copies of the sacred Scriptures, the provision and use of which you know to be most needful for the instruction of the Church, to be written on prepared parchment in a legible manner, and in a convenient, portable form, by professional transcribers thoroughly practiced in their art. The catholicus of the diocese has also received instructions by letter from our Clemency to be careful to furnish all things necessary for the preparation of such copies; and it will be for you to take special care that they be completed with as little delay as possible.”2 Prior to Constantine becoming Emperor, the canon of Scripture was already close to becoming a settled matter (which happened in 397 A.D.), thereby confirming the contents of the New Testament, as we know it today, had already been established as the authoritative source for Christian doctrine. The official canon of Scripture simply affirmed that which was upheld in the first few centuries. This early affirmation of Scripture is attested to by the writings of the church in the first three centuries. Moreover, even during the writing of the letters which now form the greater part of the books of the New Testament, the Apostle Peter recognized that Paul’s own writings were divinely inspired, as shown in the passage below (emphasis mine): And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also, according to the wisdom given to him, wrote unto you; as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; wherein are some things hard to be understood, which the ignorant and unstedfast wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. (2 Pet 3:15-16 NASB) It is clear from Peter’s letter that he was equating the writings of Paul with “other Scriptures.” Although the word translated “scriptures” in that passage is a word which could just as easily be translated, in a more general sense, as “writings,” Peter is clearly using the word within the context of divinely-inspired writings, such as is indicated by his admission that Paul wrote “according to the wisdom given to him” by divine revelation (compare the following passage below in which Paul mentions the source of his inspiration). For I [Paul] make known to you, brethren, as touching the gospel which was preached by me, that it is not after man. For neither did I receive it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came to me through revelation of Jesus Christ. (Gal 1:11-12 NASB)


The document known as the Muratorian fragment also testifies to early acceptance of the authoritative character of many of the books which would later be named within the official canon. Although the fragment itself dates to the seventh century, characteristics of the fragment suggest that it is copied from a text dating to c.170 A.D.3 The fragment contains a list of books which were regarded as divinely inspired. Among the books listed were four Gospels (the Gospels of Luke and John, as well as two unidentified Gospels), the book of Acts, thirteen of Paul’s letters now contained in the New Testament, the book of Jude, and two other books attributed to John. Likewise, when the Diatessaron, the first harmony of the Gospels, was created by Tatian between 160-175 A.D., the only works which were included therein were the four now-canonical Gospels. Finally, Constantine was not as devout a Christian as some may think, as he still paid tribute to pagan deities even after his conversion. Had he been so devoted to the Apostolic doctrines to the point where he would have formed a creed affirming such doctrines, he would likely have conducted himself without any regard for false gods. * Constantine ruled from 313-337 A.D., but did not assume full control of the Empire until 324 A.D.

VIII. Concerning the Dark Ages, the Crusades, and the Inquisition
Christianity, like any religion, has had its share of black eyes. There have been many zealots and sheep-in-wolves’-clothing within the body of the church. These ones have taken it upon themselves to disregard the teachings of Jesus and act according to their own passions and judgment, rather than looking to the Scriptures as their code of conduct. Such was true in ages past, as in the case of the Inquisition, such was true in more recent eras, during the time of the Salem witch trials, and such is true in more modern times, such as the hostilities between Irish Protestants and Catholics. Jesus referred to the church as His flock and His sheep, but, as with every fold, there are those sheep which go astray. Such straying does not negate the true nature of the fold nor does it discredit the shepherd. One cannot claim that because evils have been done in the name of Christ, that the whole of Christianity is a violent religion whose aim is to crush its opposition. Such efforts do not reflect the commission Jesus gave to His disciples, and to His followers throughout all ages, as shown below: And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’ Amen. (Mt 28:18-20, NIV) All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye so to them; for this is the law and the prophets. (Mt 7:1, NIV) “Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And


the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments. (Mt 22:37-40, NIV) A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also. (Jn 13:34, NIV) You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.' But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. (Mt. 5:38-42, NIV) But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you. (Lk. 6:27-31. NIV) In addition, when one of Jesus’ disciples acted violently, Jesus responded with compassion, as in the passage below. The scene was the garden of Gethsemane and Judas had just betrayed Jesus. What followed was an act of violence by Peter, followed by Jesus’ rebuke and compassion. While [Jesus] yet spake, behold, a multitude, and he that was called Judas, one of the twelve, went before them; and he drew near unto Jesus to kiss him. But Jesus said unto him, ‘Judas, betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss?’ And when they that were about him saw what would follow, they said, ‘Lord, shall we smite with the sword?’ And a certain one of them [Peter] smote the servant of the high priest, and struck off his right ear. But Jesus answered and said, ‘Suffer ye them thus far.’ And he touched his ear, and healed him. (Lk. 22:47-51) Simon Peter therefore having a sword drew it, and struck the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear. Now the servant’s name was Malchus. Jesus therefore said unto Peter, ‘Put up the sword into the sheath: the cup which the Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?’ So the band and the chief captain, and the officers of the Jews, seized Jesus and bound him. (Jn 18: 10-12 NASB) These teachings of Christ reflect the conduct which is expected of a Christian. Anyone who acts in contrast does so apart from the Biblical mandate and is not reflective of the true spirit of the Christian faith.


IX. Concerning the historicity of Jesus
The following claim is made in The Zeitgeist Movie: “Furthermore, is there any nonBiblical historical evidence of any person, living with the name Jesus, the Son of Mary, who traveled about with 12 followers, healing people and the like? There are numerous historians who lived around the Mediterranean either during or soon after the assumed life of Jesus. How many historians document this figure? Not one. However, to be fair, that doesn’t mean defenders of the Historical Jesus haven’t claimed the contrary. Four historians are typically referenced to justify Jesus’ existence. Pliny the Younger, Suetonius, and Tacitus are the first three. Each one of their entries consists of only a few sentences at best and only refer to the Christus or the Christ, which in fact is not name, but a title, meaning ‘Anointed one.’ The fourth source is Josephus and this source has been proven to be a forgery for hundreds of years. Sadly, it is still sited as truth.” In the spirit of fairness, I will grant Zeitgeist this much: the works of Pliny the Younger and Suetonius are said to include a reference of Jesus, but these serve more as a reference to Christianity in general, rather than the historical Jesus. The Negative Evidence Principle Critics appeal to what is known as the Negative Evidence Principle in their attempt to discredit the Gospels as being the account of an historical person known as Jesus of Nazareth. The Negative Evidence Principle is the principle that a claim should be regarded as false if it does not meet three basic criteria. The first criterion is that the supporting evidence for the claim has been proven unreliable. In attempting to use the Negative Evidence Principle to disprove the historicity of Jesus, critics point to the lack of reliable references to Jesus found in ancient writings. At the top of the list are the writings of Josephus, in which are found two references to Jesus of Nazareth. While the Josephan references will be addressed hereafter, I will here briefly preview that address by stating that the first of these references displays characteristics which prove the reference is only partially unauthentic to the hand of Josephus himself. Still, while not serving as the stalwart reference to Jesus that Christian apologists would prefer, it does stand as a reference to an historical figure known as Jesus of Nazareth, and any attempt to regard the whole of this passage as a Christian forgery is unsupported by the evidence contained within the passage itself. The second Josephan passage, in which both Jesus and His brother James are referenced, is rarely contested by critics to be a forgery. Also, there exist references to Jesus in the writings of Tacitus and Lucian, as well as the writings of the church fathers and men regarded as heretics by the church. The silence of other writers concerning Jesus is easily accounted for when one considers that the qualities characterizing the life of Jesus were such that would not have appealed to pagan writers, nor would have been in line with the subjects with which their writings were concerned. The fact that there exists the number of ancient references, as modern man has available to him, concerning Jesus, is more than what should likely exist, in all truthfulness.


Critics also point to the New Testament itself as an unreliable source of information concerning Jesus. For instance, the letters of the New Testament (Romans through Revelation) are largely silent (or so the argument goes) concerning the biographical aspects of the Son of God. For instance, Paul, so they say, never mentions the virgin birth of Jesus, yet the virgin birth is at the core of Paul’s view of Jesus’ sinlessness. Also, the letters were not intended to be biographical sketches of Jesus; but rather, were written to address certain problems or issues facing the churches to whom the letters were addressed. The lack of mention of any of Jesus’ miracles or discourses is absolutely in line with the purpose for which the letters were composed. The second criterion is the lack of evidence which should exist to support the claim, were the claim true. “Why are there so few ancient references to Jesus?” is the cry of the critic. Such a cry is grounded in the supposition that ancient writings should abound with mentions of Jesus, but such an expectation is absolutely unfounded based on the intentions of ancient writers. Again, these writers, and their purposes for writing, will be discussed hereafter; therefore, only prefatory remarks are required here. Many of the writings of ancient times have been either lost or destroyed, yet the references to Jesus within the writings still extant are more than substantial to validate Him as a person of history. The third criterion is that an exhaustive attempt has been made to uncover supporting evidence, wherever such evidence should be found. Among ancient non-Christian historians, there exist a few references to Jesus of Nazareth. Critics delight in pointing to the lack of abundance of such mentions of Jesus, not taking into account the reasons for such silence, and begging the question, “How much water does a glass need to contain before the glass can be said to contain water?” In disregarding the evidence which does exist, critics employ a logical fallacy known as “moving the goalpost,” a form of argumentation which constantly raises the bar on the amount of evidence one needs to present before a claim is to be considered valid. The references to Jesus which does exist within ancient writings are certainly sufficient evidence to conclude the Gospels’ account of Jesus is an account of an historical person from Nazareth and who was crucified in Jerusalem, and it is to these references that our attention will now turn. Ancient non-Christian references to Jesus As stated above, the references by Pliny the Younger and Suetonius are often appealed to by sincere yet overeager apologists who search for references to Jesus among ancient writings. Notable references to Jesus as an historical figure are provided by the historians Tacitus and Josephus The testimony of Tacitus The Roman historian Tacitus spoke of Jesus, referring to Him by His title Christus (the Latinized form of “Christ”) rather than His name, then goes on to describe the persecution suffered by His followers under the thumb of Rome.


“Christus, from whom the name [Christianity] had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular. Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind. Mockery of every sort was added to their deaths. Covered with the skins of beasts, they were torn by dogs and perished, or were nailed to crosses, or were doomed to the flames and burnt, to serve as a nightly illumination, when daylight had expired. Nero offered his gardens for the spectacle, and was exhibiting a show in the circus, while he mingled with the people in the dress of a charioteer or stood aloft on a car. Hence, even for criminals who deserved extreme and exemplary punishment, there arose a feeling of compassion; for it was not, as it seemed, for the public good, but to glut one man's cruelty, that they were being destroyed.”1 Although Tacitus refers to the “Christ,” rather than to the name Jesus, it is clear by the references which follow (and the fact that “Messiah,” or “Christ” was not a title commonly assigned to a person by the Jews) that he is referring to Jesus, rather than another “Christ.” In fact, no one else was referred to as “Christ” until c.132 A.D, fifteen years after Tacitus' death in 117 A.D.. Even so, the only one ever referred to by Christians as the Christ was Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified by Pilate, as Tacitus noted in his record. Also, his use of the title Christus was to indicate the name which resulted in the designation of Jesus’ followers as Christians. In this context, it makes more sense than if he had said, “Jesus, from whom the name [Christianity] had its origin …,” since the title “Christian” comes from the title “Christ,” not the name Jesus. Tacitus researched his subject thoroughly, through the use of personal interviews, the written record, and carefully-guarded Roman archives, which he was privileged to have access. His reputation relied on his adherence to accuracy, and had he written a report concerning a man who did not exist, that reputation would be scarred as a result. Thus, his mention of Jesus as an historical figure testifies to his belief that Jesus did in fact exist, a belief which he would have subjected to the same evidential criteria as his other subjects. In other words, he considered the evidence for Jesus’ existence as a valid reason to accept Jesus as an historical personage. Furthermore, had Tacitus regarded the evidence concerning Jesus to be in error, he would have noted such error in his own testimony regarding Jesus. If the critic wishes to consider Tacitus’ testimony to Jesus’ historicity as being contrary to the truth, then all of Tacitus’ historical writing should be regarded as false information, for the same care was given to each subject to which he devoted research. Finally, the tone of the text does not suggest that a Christian copyist inserted this passage at a later date. The text lacks the glosses which would be present if such a passage had been written by one who was devoted to Jesus. Such glosses are evident in the writing of Josephus, which will be discussed immediately hereafter, but in


Tacitus’ testimony there is no effort to praise Jesus, nor to decry His execution and offer a defense of the Christian cause. The testimony of Josephus The Jewish historian Josephus wrote twice concerning Jesus: “Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man; for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was [the] Christ. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day; as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day.”2 “And now Caesar, upon hearing the death of Festus, sent Albinus into Judea as procurator. But the king deprived Joseph of the high priesthood, and bestowed the succession to that dignity on the son of Ananus, who was also himself called Ananus. Now the report goes that this eldest Ananus proved a most fortunate man; for he had five sons who had all performed the office of a high priest to God, and who had himself enjoyed that dignity a long time formerly, which had never happened to any other of our high priests. But this younger Ananus, who, as we have told you already, took the high priesthood, was a bold man in his temper, and very insolent; he was also of the sect of the Sadducees, who are very rigid in judging offenders, above all the rest of the Jews, as we have already observed; when, therefore, Ananus was of this disposition, he thought he had now a proper opportunity [to exercise his authority]. Festus was now dead, and Albinus was but upon the road; so he assembled the Sanhedrim of judges, and brought before them the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James, and some others; and when he had formed an accusation against them as breakers of the law, he delivered them to be stoned: but as for those who seemed the most equitable of the citizens, and such as were the most uneasy at the breach of the laws, they disliked what was done.”3 In the above two quotations from the writings of Josephus, the first, often known as the “Testimonium Flavianum,” has long been the subject of criticism. Critics believe, with varying conviction, that this particular passage is a forgery, not having been penned by Josephus himself; but rather, is falsely attributed to him. While some believe (most often in an attempt to discredit Christianity) the passage in its entirety is a forgery, others believe that Josephus did write this passage concerning Jesus, but the form in which this passage exists today is an alteration from its original form, having been added to or changed by later copyists. Among reputable historians and Josephan scholars, the major consensus is that the work does contain a few minor alterations, but that the work as a whole is authentic and does stand as a testimony from Josephus to the historicity of Christ. Louis Feldman, a leading Josephan scholar, states, “We must start with the assumption that the Testimonium Flavianum


is authentic until proven otherwise, inasmuch as the manuscript tradition, late though it be, is unanimous in including it.”4 Some obvious Christian revisions include the phrases, “if it be lawful to call him a man,” “He was [the] Christ,” and “He appeared to them alive again the third day; as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him.” Josephus did not regard Jesus as the Christ, and would have offered no praise or acknowledgment to that effect. Still, other marks of the passage refute the theory that the text was composed by a Christian copyist. The reference to Jesus as a “wise man” does not befit the tone of an early Christian writer. Jesus was considered by the Apostles to be the personification of wisdom, not just one who was merely wise in reputation. In fact, human wisdom is portrayed in Scripture in lowly terms and in sharp contrast to the wisdom of God. Additionally, a Christian copyist would not have referred to Jesus as a man, without further addressing His deity. Jesus was not just a man, he was the God-Man, fully human and fully divine. Even the very presence of the phrase “if it be lawful to call him a man” is out of tone with the term “wise man.” If the writer considered Jesus to be more than a man, then why did he make mention of Him as a man in the first place? While the term “wise man” accurately describes Josephus’ view of Christ, the subsequent phrase bears the mark of one other than Josephus. Had a Christian copyist forged this passage entirely, there would not remain mentions of Jesus which correctly reflects Josephus' views, for the whole purpose of forging a document such as this is to make the author say something which he would not have said in the original work. Also, the description of Jesus’ teaching as “pleasing” greatly diminishes the importance of His message and as such does not bear the mark of a Christian writer. Nor is Christ's crucifixion mentioned in terms of its redemptive value; but rather, is merely a passing notation. Had a Christian copyist forged this passage, he would have likely elaborated on the cross as the saving work of Christ, so as not to portray his Lord as a failed Messiah and a convicted criminal Finally, it is unlikely that a Christian copyist would draw attention to the disciples' abandon of Jesus in His hour of trial. Not only would such a statement be embarrassing, but also could possibly serve to diminish Apostolic authority. The earliest extant copy of the Testimonium Flavianum dates to the ninth century, however, early writers, such as Eusebius, Jerome, and Origen, testified to its existence. It has been asked why more early writers did not refer to Josephus’ mention of Jesus. The answer to that question is also a question itself: Why would they feel the need to make use of such a reference? The historicity of Jesus was not in debate in the first few centuries. Other than a testament to the historicity of Jesus, Josephus’ reference holds little to no significance. However, among the early references to Josephus’ testimony, of particular note is the mention of this passage in the writings of the third century church father Origen: “For in the 18th book of his Antiquities of the Jews, Josephus bears witness to John as having been a Baptist, and as promising purification to those who underwent the rite. Now this writer, although not believing in Jesus as the Christ, in seeking after the cause of the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the temple, whereas he ought to have said that the conspiracy against Jesus was the cause of these calamities befalling the people, since they put to death Christ, who was a prophet, says nevertheless — being, although against his


will, not far from the truth — that these disasters happened to the Jews as a punishment for the death of James the Just, who was a brother of Jesus (called Christ), — the Jews having put him to death, although he was a man most distinguished for his justice. Paul, a genuine disciple of Jesus, says that he regarded this James as a brother of the Lord, not so much on account of their relationship by blood, or of their being brought up together, as because of his virtue and doctrine. If, then, he says that it was on account of James that the desolation of Jerusalem was made to overtake the Jews, how should it not be more in accordance with reason to say that it happened on account (of the death) of Jesus Christ, of whose divinity so many Churches are witnesses, composed of those who have been converted from a flood of sins, and who have joined themselves to the Creator, and who refer all their actions to His good pleasure.”5 The second passage quoted above does not bear the weight of criticism as does the first quoted passage. This second quote is commonly recognized by scholars as authentic to the hand of Josephus. Those who reject its authenticity are among those who propose that the Gospel of Christ is nothing more than a copycat of earlier religions. A noteworthy mark of this passage is the mention of James, Jesus’ brother (Matthew 13:55), as well as the identification of this Jesus as the Christ, the "Anointed One.” As with the Tacitus passage, the lack of Christian glosses account stands against the supposition that a Christian composed this passage. In contrast with the first passage attributed to Josephus, in which it is said, “[Jesus] was [the] Christ,” here it is said that He was “called the Christ,” a statement which does not mimic the language of early Christian writers. The earliest non-canonical Christian records The following passages show an early belief not only in the resurrection of Christ, but also in the bodily resurrection of Christ, in stating He was raised from the dead. Barnabus (first century convert) Barnabas, mentioned throughout the book of Acts, was an early Christian, and the first of the Jerusalem Christians to accept the apostle Paul in their congregation (c.35 A.D.), following his transformation as one who persecuted the church to one to preached the Gospel of Christ (Acts 9:27). He accompanied Paul on numerous missionary journeys and participated in the Council of Jerusalem in c.50 A.D. Some believe it was Barnabus who authored the book of Hebrews, a belief held by the Church Father Tertullian. Concerning the historical Jesus, Barnabus states the following: “Wherefore, also, we keep the eighth day with joyfulness, the day also on which Jesus rose again from the dead. And when He had manifested Himself, He ascended into the heavens.”6


Clement (died c.99 A.D.) While the date of his death is fairly certain, the date of his birth is unknown. Clement, also known by Catholics as Pope Clement I, was a Bishop of Rome and is the earliest of the Church Fathers. His succession as Bishop of Rome is believed to have occurred in 88 or 92 A.D. His letter to the Corinthian church is one of the oldest Christian documents still in existence, outside of the cannon of Scripture. He was martyred by drowning in the sea. “Let us consider, beloved, how the Lord continually proves to us that there shall be a future resurrection, of which He has rendered the Lord Jesus Christ the first-fruits by raising Him from the dead. “Wherefore, girding up your loins,” “serve the Lord in fear” and truth, as those who have forsaken the vain, empty talk and error of the multitude, and “believed in Him who raised up our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead, and gave Him glory,” and a throne at His right hand. To Him all things” in heaven and on earth are subject. Him every spirit serves. He comes as the Judge of the living and the dead. His blood will God require of those who do not believe in Him. But He who raised Him up from the dead will raise up us also...”7 Ignatius (c.35-110 A.D.) Ignatius was the third Bishop of the church in Antioch and a disciple of the apostle John, as was Polycarp. A good number of his letters have survived to the present day. “Stop your ears, therefore, when any one speaks to you at variance with Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who was descended from David, and was also of Mary; who was truly begotten of God and of the Virgin, but not after the same manner. … He truly assumed a body; for “the Word was made flesh,” and lived upon earth without sin. … He was crucified and died under Pontius Pilate. He really, and not merely in appearance, was crucified, and died, in the sight of beings in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth. … He also rose again in three days, the Father raising Him up; and after spending forty days with the apostles, He was received up to the Father, and “sat down at His right hand, expecting till His enemies are placed under His feet. … At the dawning of the Lord’s day He arose from the dead, according to what was spoken by Himself, ‘As Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly, so shall the Son of man also be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.’”8 “And I know that He was possessed of a body not only in His being born and crucified, but I also know that He was so after His resurrection, and believe that He is so now. When, for instance, He


came to those who were with Peter, He said to them, ‘Lay hold, handle Me, and see that I am not an incorporeal spirit. For a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see Me have.’ And He says to Thomas, ‘Reach hither thy finger into the print of the nails, and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into My side;’ and immediately they believed that He was Christ. Wherefore Thomas also says to Him, ‘My Lord, and my God.’ And on this account also did they despise death, for it were too little to say, indignities and stripes. Nor was this all; but also after He had shown Himself to them, that He had risen indeed, and not in appearance only, He both ate and drank with them during forty entire days. And thus was He, with the flesh, received up in their sight unto Him that sent Him, being with that same flesh to come again, accompanied by glory and power. … But if they say that He will come at the end of the world without a body, how shall those ‘see Him that pierced Him,’ and when they recognize Him, ‘mourn for themselves?’ For incorporeal beings have neither form nor figure, nor the aspect of an animal possessed of shape, because their nature is in itself simple.”9 “… may I be perfected through your prayers, and become a partaker of the sufferings of Christ, and have fellowship with Him in His death, His resurrection from the dead, and His everlasting life.”10 Polycarp (c.69-c.155 A.D.) Polycarp was the second Bishop of the church in Smyrna and a disciple of the apostle John. He, along with Clement and Ignatius, is recognized as one of three chief Apostolic Fathers. The only of his writings still extant is his letter to the church in Philippi. He was martyred by stabbing, following a failed attempt to burn him at the stake. “I exhort you all, therefore, to yield obedience to the word of righteousness, and to exercise all patience, such as ye have seen [set] before your eyes, not only in the case of the blessed Ignatius, and Zosimus, and Rufus, but also in others among yourselves, and in Paul himself, and the rest of the apostles. [This do] in the assurance that all these have not run in vain, but in faith and righteousness, and that they are [now] in their due place in the presence of the Lord, with whom also they suffered. For they loved not this present world, but Him who died for us, and for our sakes was raised again by God from the dead.”11 Papias (early second century A.D.) Papias was the Bishop of Hierapolis (modern day Pamukkale, Turkey) in c.130 A.D. None of his writings exist in their complete form, although fragments have remained extant. These fragments serve


as a testimony to early acceptance of the accuracy, integrity, and apostolic authorship of the books of the New Testament, as well as the events and doctrines contained therein as that which was traditionally believed within the early church. “But I shall not be unwilling to put down, along with my interpretations, whatsoever instructions I received with care at any time from the elders, and stored up with care in my memory, assuring you at the same time of their truth. For I did not, like the multitude, take pleasure in those who spoke much, but in those who taught the truth; nor in those who related strange commandments, but in those who rehearsed the commandments given by the Lord to faith, and proceeding from truth itself. If, then, any one who had attended on the elders came, I asked minutely after their sayings, — what Andrew or Peter said, or what was said by Philip, or by Thomas, or by James, or by John, or by Matthew, or by any other of the Lord’s disciples: which things Aristion and the presbyter John, the disciples of the Lord, say. For I imagined that what was to be got from books was not so profitable to me as what came from the living and abiding voice.”12 “Mark having become the interpreter of Peter, wrote down accurately whatsoever he remembered. It was not, however, in exact order that he related the sayings or deeds of Christ. For he neither heard the Lord nor accompanied Him. But afterwards, as I said, he accompanied Peter, who accommodated his instructions to the necessities [of his hearers], but with no intention of giving a regular narrative of the Lord’s sayings. Wherefore Mark made no mistake in thus writing some things as he remembered them. For of one thing he took especial care, not to omit anything he had heard, and not to put anything fictitious into the statements.”13 Justin Martyr (c.100-165 A.D.) Justin Martyr is recognized as one of the earliest Christian apologists. His Dialogue with Trypho, the Jew is a discourse with a non-believer concerning the truths of the Christian faith. Whether this dialogue is a transcript of an actual conversation or a contrived discourse with a fictional character, Trypho, remains in dispute. Many of Justin’s writings have survived to this day. “… after He was crucified, even all His acquaintances forsook Him, having denied Him; and afterwards, when He had risen from the dead and appeared to them, and had taught them to read the prophecies in which all these things were foretold as coming to pass.”14


“But now, by means of the contents of those Scriptures esteemed holy and prophetic amongst you, I attempt to prove all [that I have adduced], in the hope that some one of you may be found to be of that remnant which has been left by the grace of the Lord of Sabaoth for the eternal salvation. In order, therefore, that the matter inquired into may be plainer to you, I will mention to you other words also spoken by the blessed David, from which you will perceive that the Lord is called the Christ by the Holy Spirit of prophecy; and that the Lord, the Father of all, has brought Him again from the earth, setting Him at His own right hand, until He makes His enemies His footstool; which indeed happens from the time that our Lord Jesus Christ ascended to heaven, after He rose again from the dead, the times now running on to their consummation.”15 Profession of the presbyters at Smyrna (c.180 A.D.) The church in Smyrna confronted an early heretic named Noetus (c.130-c.200 A.D.) who denied the Trinity and held to a form of doctrine known as patripassianism, which states there is one God who manifests Himself not in three persons, but as one performing three functions. According to this view, the Father, Son, and the Spirit are all the same person, and when the Son died on the cross, the Father and Spirit died with Him. Noetus was summoned before the presbyters of the Smyrna and was questioned concerning his beliefs. During this examination, he denied ever professing such doctrine. Later, after converting others according to his manner of faith, he was summoned again by the presbyters, who then excommunicated him from the church. It was during this examination that the presbyters in Smyrna formulated a profession of faith in their condemnation of Noetus’ heresy. “We also know in truth one God, we know Christ, we know the Son, suffering as He suffered, dying as He died, and risen on the third day, and abiding at the right hand of the Father, and coming to judge the living and the dead. And in saying this we say what has been handed down to us.”16 Irenaeus (died c.202 A.D.) Irenaeus was Bishop of the church in Lugdunum, Gaul (modern day Lyons, France). As was Justin, Irenaeus is named among the early Christian apologists. He was a disciple of Polycarp, who, as stated above, was a disciple of the apostle John. The passage below is evidence not only of his belief in the bodily resurrection of Christ, but also that the church accepted the accounts of Jesus as recorded in the Gospels.


“For, after our Lord rose from the dead, [the apostles] were invested with power from on high when the Holy Spirit came down [upon them. … Matthew also issued a written Gospel among the Hebrews in their own dialect, while Peter and Paul were preaching at Rome, and laying the foundations of the Church. After their departure, Mark, the disciple and interpreter of Peter, did also hand down to us in writing what had been preached by Peter. Luke also, the companion of Paul, recorded in a book the Gospel preached by him. Afterwards, John, the disciple of the Lord, who also had leaned upon His breast, did himself publish a Gospel during his residence at Ephesus in Asia.”17 The Apostles’ Creed and the creed of Hippolytus The earliest Christian statement of faith, outside of Scripture, is the Apostles’ Creed, an early extra-Biblical Christian article of faith, expressing belief in the bodily resurrection of Jesus. The present form of the creed is as follows: I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell. On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic [universal] Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen. The above form of the creed dates back to the sixth or seventh century.15 Tradition states the original form of the creed was formed by the apostles themselves during the first century, on the tenth day following the ascension of Christ, but no evidence exists to support that claim. The substance of the creed does reflect theological formulas found in the writings of the early church during the first two centuries of Christianity. The creed has its foundation in the Interogatory Creed of Hippolytus, a baptismal confession used by the Hippolytus (c.170c.236 A.D.), a Bishop of Rome around the end of the second century. He is believed to have been a disciple of Irenaeus. Under his ministration, a candidate for baptism would be asked to reply to a series of questions concerning specific tenants of his faith. Hippolytus’ creed


dates to c.215 A.D. This creed was submitted by Marcellus to Julius I c.340 A.D., then was later adopted c.404 AD by Rufinus, who used the creed in his own church.16 It is from Rufinus that the present form of the Apostles’ Creed bears its closest resemblance. Hippolytus' account of his baptismal confession is as follows: When the person being baptized goes down into the water, he who baptizes him, putting his hand on him, shall say: "Do you believe in God, the Father Almighty?" And the person being baptized shall say: "I believe." Then holding his hand on his head, he shall baptize him once. And then he shall say: "Do you believe in Christ Jesus, the Son of God, who was born of the Virgin Mary, and was crucified under Pontius Pilate, and was dead and buried, and rose again the third day, alive from the dead, and ascended into heaven, and sat at the right hand of the Father, and will come to judge the living and the dead?" And when he says: "I believe," he is baptized again. And again he shall say: "Do you believe in the Holy Spirit, in the holy church, and the resurrection of the body?" The person being baptized shall say: "I believe," and then he is baptized a third time.18 If Jesus was so great, why is not first century literature filled with mention of His words and deeds? The above heading represents a legitimate question. One would naturally think that if Jesus really performed the miracles He did and really rose from the dead, then early written documentation attesting to such deeds should exist in abundance. Since the death of men like Abraham Lincoln, Henry VIII of England, and even Houdini, the written record of their words and deeds is quite extensive. Why should it not be so for Jesus if He did indeed do the work the Gospel writers attribute to Him? In answer to this question, the following factors must be considered: 1. Much of what was written during the time of Christ is now lost, be it due to intentional or accidental destruction or natural decay. For this reason, there exists no official government document relating to Jesus’ execution. 2. The Biblical books are historical books. They contain the record of real people existing in real places. In fact, the Bible contains record of people and places which were believed to have never existed (such as the town of Nazareth), which later archaeological excavations and discoveries have revealed as people and locations which really did exist. The Bible does not invent its own history. Rather, history validates the Bible. As historical books, the books of the New Testament contain the writings of at least eight first century authors: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, Peter, James, Jude, and the writer of Hebrews (which most scholars believe to be Paul or Barnabus). There is no reason why these authors’ works should be discredited as valid historical documents. The historical character of the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ life is not subject to the reader’s faith. The Gospels stand as historical records despite any effort to debunk their integrity. Historian Michael


Grant states, “But above all, if we apply to the New Testament, as we should, the same sort of criteria as we should apply to other ancient writings containing historical material, we can no more reject Jesus’ existence than we can reject the existence of a mass of pagan personages whose reality as historical figures is never questioned.”19 The critic may ask: How can one hold as historical documents writings which contain such a supernatural flavor? This relates to the integrity of the Biblical books themselves, and this issue will addressed in a later section of this book. 3. Since the Bible is an historical book, there is no need for non-Biblical written evidence concerning the life of Jesus. If one is looking for an early first century historical record, then the books of the New Testament provide the seeker with more than ample evidence. Even if no other early written work supported the Biblical record, the Gospel account of Jesus would still stand, by virtue of its character and integrity, as a record of an historical person. 4. If Jesus did not exist, then opponents to Christianity would surely have supplied us with documentation to that effect, in efforts to counteract this new religion. Granted, much of what was written during and shortly following the time of Christ has been lost; however, many writings have survived the passage of time, and none of these deny the historicity of Christ. In fact, every early non-Christian text which does mention Jesus addresses Him as an historical figure, not a mythical character, and any attack on Him in such texts is an attack on His deity, not his humanity. The lack of such documents denying His existence stands as further evidence that Jesus was an historical person. Also, would the lack of any extra-Biblical documents serve as evidence that Jesus did not exist? For instance, there are more ancient texts regarding Jesus as an actual person than there are regarding Socrates.20 Do we hear anyone claiming that Socrates was a fictitious figure? 5. The fact that that early literature contains any references at all to Jesus is astounding in the least. In the eyes of the non-believer, He was a poor carpenter from a lowly region who gained notoriety as a great teacher, only to be executed as a criminal at the hands of His enemies prior to the establishment of His kingdom. Early historians would observe that Jesus raised no army in His effort to overtake Rome and establish Himself as King of the Jews. For the early pagan historian, Jesus story was an insignificant biography, a biography which would simply not have been on the “bestseller list” among early books. Historians preferred to write concerning heroes or men considered to be nobler or of more import than was Jesus. He was a Jewish Messiah in a Roman Empire. In the mind of the historian of antiquity, Jesus just did not fit among those on a list of people who stood out above others as deserving of literary attention. In order for such a historian to make mention of Jesus, there needed to have been something about this “failed” Messiah which would warrant literary attention, but the fact is that Jesus was despised and rejected by men, and even by the Jews to whom He preached His message of salvation. Additionally, inclusion of Jesus in an early historical writing may have caused the writer to fall out of favor with the populace or, worse, the authority of Rome. It is no secret of history that the Roman Empire, for the first few centuries of the church, was violently


opposed to Christianity. The floor of Roman arenas flowed red with the blood of those put to death in the name of Christ. As the early Christian Tertullian wrote, “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.”21 6. Critics are so eager to regard the number of early literary references to Jesus as a testament against His existence, yet the silence of early authorship speaking out against the historicity of Jesus stands as even greater evidence to His existence than does the written testimony that does exist. If Jesus is a figment of imagination, then His enemies would have spoken out against any claim to the contrary, but the fact is that no such denial exists. Early writers rejected His message, but did not deny His existence. Concerning the so-called “lack” of early literature mentioning Jesus, Dr. Gary Habermas and Michael Licona respond: “What we have concerning Jesus actually is impressive. We can start with approximately nine traditional authors of the New Testament. … Another twenty early Christian authors and four heretical writings mention Jesus within 150 years of his death on the cross. Moreover, nine secular, non-Christian sources mention Jesus within the 150 years: Josephus, the Jewish historian; Tacitus, the Roman historian; Pliny the Younger, a politician of Rome; Phlegon, a freed slave who wrote histories; Lucian, the Greek satirist; Celsus, a Roman philosopher; and probably the historians Suetonius and Thallus, as well as the prisoner Mara Bar-Serapion. In all, at least forty-two authors, nine of them secular, mention Jesus within 150 years of his death.”22 Concerning the small number of early texts as “conclusive evidence” that Jesus did not exist, the above authors apply the same factors to another figure – Tiberius Caesar, whom no critic would suggest did not exist as an historical figure: “…Let’s look at an even better example, a contemporary of Jesus. Tiberius Caesar was the Roman emperor at the time of Jesus’ ministry and execution. Tiberius is mentioned by ten sources within 150 years of his death: Tacitus, Suetonius, Velleius Paterculus, Plutarch, Pliny the Elder, Strabo, Seneca, Valerius Maximus, Josephus, and Luke. Compare that to Jesus’ forty-two total sources in the same length of time (the nine New Testament writers, twenty early Christian writers, four heretical writers, and nine secular writers). That’s more than four times the number of total sources who mention the Roman emperor during roughly the same period. If we only considered the number of secular nonChristian sources who mention Jesus and Tiberius within 150 years of their lives, we arrive at a tie of nine each.”23 First and second century writers who did not mention Jesus, and why The Zeitgeist Movie lists the following first century writers who lived in proximity to the Mediterranean, yet make no mention of Jesus in their writings. This list is based on a list created by John E Remsberg (1848-1912) and published in his book The Christ: A Critical Review and Analysis of the Evidence of His Existence. In that work, the author stated, "The following is a list of writers who lived and wrote during the time, or within a century after the time, that Christ is said to have lived and performed his wonderful works ... Enough of the writings of the authors named in the foregoing list remains to form a library [when considering the actual works produced by these authors, some of which only have one extant title attributed to his name, one must wonder what size library Mr. Remsberg had in mind]. Yet in this mass of Jewish and Pagan literature, aside


from two forged passages in the works of a Jewish author [Josephus], and two disputed passages in the works of Roman writers [Tacitus and Pliny the Younger], there is to be found no mention of Jesus Christ."24 A brief look at each of these individuals (some writing prior to Jesus' public ministry) will shed some light as to why the subject of a Jewish teacher would not have relevance to their topics of interest. One could not expect these writers to make mention of Jesus any more than one could expect Stephen King to write a biography of Gandhi, since the subject matter and genre is simply out of his normal sphere of writing. Additionally, many of these men not only neglect to mention Jesus, but also neglect to mention Christianity in general, yet their silence regarding Christianity is not regarded a testimony against the existence of early Christians. Still, this is the type of inconsistent reasoning that the critics use in order to validate a premise that is in error from the start. Appion of Alexandria (wrote during the second century A.D.) Appion was a Roman historian who chronicled Rome's conquests through the time of Emperor Trajan. Appolonius Remsberg does not specify to which “Appolonius” he was referring when compiling his list. After eliminating those by this name who lived prior to Jesus' ministry, the following individuals remain for consideration. Apollonius Dyscolus (second century A.D.), a grammarian who wrote prolifically on the parts of speech. Only four of his writings are extant, works concerning themselves with syntax, adverbs, conjunctions, and pronouns. Apollonius (writing between 180-210 A.D.), Bishop of Ephesus. His work has been lost; however it has received praise by the early church writer Jerome. Certainly Remsberg did not have this writer in view, for if his writings were extant, they would surely be found to contain mention of Jesus, and perhaps at great length. Apollonius of Tyana (c. 40-c.120 A.D.), Greek philosopher and teacher. Most of his writings are lost to this day, and those which do exist remain so as fragments, the authenticity of which is in dispute. Philostratus, who wrote a biography of Apollonius, describes him as a traveling teacher of Hellenistic philosophy, and also attributed to him miracles and a postmortem assumption to heaven (perhaps in mimic of the growing spread if Christianity and the popularity of Jesus' postresurrection ascension to His Father). Due to the god-like praise Apollonius received by Philostratus, he was afterwards worshiped by some as a deity. The subject of Apollonius' teaching was that God does not seek prayer or the worship of man, but rather desires to be reached through contemplations of the mind. As such, a Jewish miracle-worker did not fit into his agenda. It serves to note that Philostratus is the only ancient source regarding Apollonius, and, interestingly, among ancient writers, less mention is made of Apollonius than Jesus of Nazareth, yet


“Jesus myth” proponents cite Apollonius' lack of mention of Jesus as further evidence that Jesus did not exist. By their own logic, it should be argued that Apollonius did not exist, yet Remsberg and those following in his footsteps delight in naming Apollonius* among early writers who did not mention Jesus, a practice which for the reason just noted does not serve to further their cause. * It seems likely that this is the same Apollonius whom Remsberg had in view- after all, what “Jesus myth” proponent can resist a good biography in which he or she can unjustly see a reason to cry, “Jesus parallel!” Apollonius the Sophist of Alexandria, a famous grammarian who probably lived towards the end of the 1st century A.D. Apollonius (died c.186 A.D.), an early Christian martyr mentioned by Eusebius and Jerome. It is said of him that he was executed after delivering before the Roman Senate an argument for the Christian faith, for which he was sentenced to death. Arrian (c.86-c.146 A.D.) Lucius Flavius Arrianus, also known as Arrian a Roman military historian who focused the subject of his writing on Alexander the Great. Aulus Gellius (c.125-c.180 A.D.) Aulus Gellius was a Latin grammarian, philosopher, and lawyer. A single work, Attic Nights, is attributed to him. This work is a collection of his gleanings from conversation or literature, and involves a wide variety of subjects, such as grammar, philosophy, law, history, and many others. Gellius also included in this work numerous excerpts from authors whose writings are now lost. Of the twenty books contained in this volume, only the eights remains lost. The context of his memoirs was limited to the society in which he lived; therefore, the topic of a Jewish Messiah who lived nearly one hundred years before him was out of his scope of interest. Aulus Persius (34-62 A.D) Aulus Persius Flaccus was a Roman poet and satirist. His first satire is a criticism that the literary habits of his contemporaries were a reflection of their own moral inadequacies. Additional satires deal with one’s relation to the gods, the value of one’s “life’s goal,” liberty, and financial prudence. Caecilius Statius (writing during the first century A.D., according to The Zeitgeist Movie) The truth is that Caecilius Statius died in 166 or 168 B.C. It is certainly no wonder why he didn't mention Jesus.


Columella (4-c. 70 A.D.) Lucius Moderatus Columella devoted his later life to farming, following a stint in the military. He wrote De Re Rustica, a twelve volume work on agriculture, in which he discusses fruits, trees, livestock, and the management of one’s personal affairs. A smaller work bearing his name, De Arboribus, was a work strictly devoted to trees. Damis (early second century figure) Damis is said to have been a lifelong student of the philosopher Apollonius of Tyana (see above). The only written work attributed to him is a diary, not extant, of Apollonius' words and deeds. All that is known of Damis is due to Philostratus, an early third century writer, who penned a biography of Apollonius (Life of Apollonius of Tyana). Due to Philostratus' reputation for inaccuracy and his tendency to fictionalize and embellish his accounts, many scholars today believe Damis was merely a figment of Philostratus' imagination. Concerning Damis' diary, scholarship varies in opinion, but the general consensus is that it is a forgery.12 Some scholars believe the work to be Philostratus' creation, while others believe it was written by an earlier author (not Damis) and used by Philostratus in his biography. Dio Chrysostom (40-112 A.D.) Dio Cocceianus, whose surname was Chrysostom (meaning “goldenmouthed”) was a Greek orator, philosopher, writer, and historian. He composed eighty orations on such subjects as the virtues of sovereignty (as regards to Emperor Trajan), slavery and freedom, and advice to fellow or prospective orators. He also wrote political essays addressing the virtues and vices of particular towns, essays on ethics and the application of philosophy, and various mythological subjects. While he did compose works of an historical character, none of these writings have survived to this day. Dion Pruseus Dion Pruseus is an enigma, for I could find no source of information except by Jesus myth proponents, that he was an historical figure. Until a reliable source surfaces, this so-called early writer will remain in the minds of the mythicists. Epictetus (55-135 A.D.) Epictetus was a Greek philosopher who emphasized the practical aspects of philosophy, teaching it as a way of life. He taught that the events which occur happen by fate and that both prosperity and calamity should be accepted with equal resign. Attempting to fix that which is beyond an individual's control, he said, was the cause of personal distress. No writings are attributed to him, however a pupil by the name of Arrian is said to have preserved Epictetus's teachings in his Discourses of Epictetus, which is


believed to have been compiled from lecture notes taken by Arrian while under Epictetus' tutelage. Favorinus (c.80-160 A.D.) Favorinus of Arelata was an early philosopher and a prolific writer, although his writings exist today as only a few fragments. A member of the skeptical school of philosophy, his most recognized work was the Pyrrhonean Tropes, ten books devoted to showing how the philosophy of Pyrrho applied to legal matters. Gaius Valerius Flaccus (died c.90 A.D.) Gaius Valerius Flaccus was a Roman poet. Only one of his works survives today – The Argonautica, an epic poem recounting Jason's quest fort the golden fleece. Hermogones As with Apollonius, it is unclear to whom the critics are referring when listing him as an early writer. Using the same process of elimination as before, the following two candidates remain: Hermogenes of Tarsus (writing during the latter half of the second century A.D.), was a Greek rhetorician. He is known for writing on such topics as legal issues, effective speaking, styles of argumentation, and rhetorical exercises. Hermogenes, a first century heretic, mentioned by Paul in his second letter to Timothy (1:15). Aside from Paul's mention, no further information is given about Hermogenes, and no writing is ever attributed to him. Gaius Valerius Flaccus (died c.90 A.D.) Gaius Valerius Flaccus was a Roman poet who wrote during the reign of Vespasian and Titus. Only one of his works is extant, the Argonautica, a poem narrating Jason's (of Argonaut fame) quest for the Golden Fleece. Justus of Tiberius (lived during the second half of the first century A.D.) Justus was a Jewish historian and rival of Josephus. He wrote a history of the First Jewish-Roman War (66-73 A.D.), in which he blamed Agrippa and Josephus for national calamities, as well as for his own personal troubles during the war. He also wrote A Chronicle of the Kings of the Jews, a history of the Jews from Moses to the time of Agrippa II. Today, both of these works exist only in fragments. Although Jesus was called King of the Jews, this was done in mockery by His accusers. No early historian regarded Jesus among those regarded as kingly rank, and therefore would not name Him in a work devoted to Hebrew royalty.


Juvenal (wrote during the late first and early second century A.D.) Juvenal was the author of the Satires, a collection of sixteen poems divided into five books, written to the Roman elite, focusing on threats to their social well-being. Since Jesus did not pose a threat to the social structure of Rome's upper class, there was no place for Him in Juvenal's satires. Livy (59 B.C.-17 A.D.) Zeitgeist is correct is saying that Livy was a contemporary of Jesus Christ; however, Livy did not live after Jesus nor during His public ministry. When Livy died, Jesus was only about twenty-two years of age and still just an obscure carpenter, not one recognized as the Jewish Messiah. Since Livy died prior to Christ’s public ministry, the content of his writing is irrelevant. Jesus was not heralded publicly as the Messiah until after His baptism just prior to age thirty, in 25 or 26 A.D. Lucius Florus (c.70-c.140 A.D.) Lucius Florus was a Roman historian. His history of Rome concerned the time from Rome’s foundation to the closing of the temple of Janus by Augustus in 25 B.C. He also composed a poem dedicated to the Emperor Hadrian. His Epitome of the Histories of Titus was an historical work with a focus on military and warfare. Marcus Annaeus Lucanus (Nov 3, 39 A.D. – Apr 30, 65 A.D.) Marcus Annaeus Lucanus, also known as Lucan, was a poet whose only surviving work is Bellum Civile, also called Pharsalia, a poem concerning the civil war between Caesar and Pompey. Other writings known to have been composed by him are De Incendio Urbis, concerning the burning of Rome in 64 A.D., Catachthonion, concerning the underworld, Iliacon, concerning the legend of Troy, Medea, an unfinished play, Laudes Neronis, written in praise of Nero, Saturnalia, Medea, Orpheus, Letters from Campanalia, and Silvae, a ten volume poetic work. Jewish history and society were simply not his area of interest. Martial (born c.38-41 A.D., died c.102-104 A.D.) Marcus Valerius Martialis, also known as Martial, was a Latin poet, known for his Epigrams, twelve books satirizing everyday life in the city of Rome. He was not concerned with the goings-on outside of his own city. Paterculus (wrote in 30 A.D.) Paterculus was a historian who concerned himself with the history of Rome. The time of his writing was just after Jesus' resurrection and before Christianity became a force to be reckoned with in regions north of Palestine.


Pausanias (second century A.D.) Pausanias was a Greek geographer. He is known for his Description of Greece, a collection of observations gleaned during his travels throughout Greece. At times he engages himself in reflections on the mythology and history which shaped a certain region as he traveled throughout Greece (as previously referenced in Part one under the heading of “Virgin birth” Attis). His travels did not take him to Palestine, so it is no wonder why we find no mention of Jesus in his contemplations on Greek religion. Petronius (c.27 A.D.-c. 66 A.D.) Petronius was a novelist; therefore, his works were that of fiction. He was not concerned with writing histories or biographies. His principal work was Satyricon, describing the antics of a pair of homosexuals, Encolpius and Giton. Phaedrus (15 B.C.-50 A.D.) Phaedrus is widely known as the first writer to translate Greek fables into Latin. The fables he translated were not his own invention, but were merely translations of fables already in existence. His writings were neither historical nor original in nature. Philo Judeaus (died c.45-50 A.D.) Philo was a contemporary of Christ and was greatly concerned with the Hebrew religion as well as Greek philosophy. He wrote numerous expositions on the Hebrew Scriptures, writing on topics such as creation, Moses and the Law, anthropology, cosmology, theology, and ethics. He considered the Hebrew Scriptures the source of truth, although his acceptance of Greek philosophy did not gain him favor with mainstream Judaism. Given his literary attention to Judaism, it may seem likely that he would have written about someone who was heralded as the Jewish Messiah promised by the prophets of old. However, there is no mention of Jesus in the writings of Philo, much of which has been preserved thanks to the early Christian Church Fathers. However, Jesus is not the only first century person left out of Philo's cast of characters. In addition to Jesus, there is no mention in Philo’s writings of Gamaliel, a prominent scholarly figure in Judaism during the time of Christ, nor does he mention the apostles Peter or Paul, yet the historicity of these men is not in dispute, even by those who deny the historicity of Christ based on the same so-called evidence from silence. Also, Philo died sometime between 45-50 A.D., prior to the time Christianity became major influence throughout the Mediterranean region. The public ministry of Christ did not begin until about 26 A.D., when Jesus was near His thirtieth birthday. The resurrection occurred three years later around 29 A.D., which only gives fifteen to twenty years for the spread of the Gospel before Philo’s death. In its infancy, the Christian church was located in Palestine, whereas Philo resided in Alexandria, Egypt. The apostle Paul did not embark on his first missionary journey until around 46


A.D., and this journey took him to points north of Palestine, not south towards Egypt. By the time Christianity was well-known in Alexandria, Philo had already passed off the scene. Some have claimed Philo’s philosophy was the forerunner of Christianity and that the apostles borrowed from his school of thought when composing the letters which now make up the books of the New Testament. Particular attention is drawn to Philo’s doctrine of the Logos and his personification of wisdom. The Greek word “logos” is translated as “Word” in John’s Gospel where it is said “the Word [Logos] became flesh,” (Jn 1:1) a reference to the incarnation of God in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. The Logos, according to Philo, was the sum of the divine attributes. This Logos he terms the “word of the eternal God” and the “high priest,” which some have likened to Jesus’ position as the High Priest, as described in the book of Hebrews. Philo regarded the Logos as the one through whom sins are forgiven and who serves as a mediator on the behalf of mankind (again, bearing a strong similarity to the language of Hebrews). He also believed wisdom was a form higher than the Logos and that the latter proceeds from the former. The personification of wisdom is not a new concept in Hebrew thought. In ancient Hebrew poetry, Proverbs especially, wisdom is often referred to by the use of personal pronouns. In the Gospel of John, the apostle states the “Word” (or “Logos”) became flesh and dwelt among man. The difference between the Logos of Philo and John is that Philo never conceived the Logos as being incarnated into literal human flesh and blood. In fact, the very idea of such an incarnation of the divine attributes would have been blasphemous to someone such as Philo, as it was to the ruling Judaic religious authorities who sought to have Jesus executed for blasphemy when He claimed equality with God. Phlegon (lived during the second century A.D.) Phlegon was a Greek historian. His primary work was the Olympiads, composed of sixteen books chronicling the first to the 229th Olympiad, spanning the time between 776 B.C. to 137 A.D. He also wrote On Marvels, concerning stories of ghosts, human deformities and abnormalities, and On Long-lived Persons, concerning individuals who had lived past the age of one hundred. In addition, he composed works on Roman festivals, Sicily, and the topography of Rome. However, contrary to critics' claim that Phlegon did not mention Jesus, we do have secondary sources, in the form of quotations by other early writers, that indicate Phlegon did in fact mention Jesus, and these quotations will be addressed shortly hereafter. Pliny the Elder (c.23-79 A.D.) Gaius or Caius Plinius Secundus, also known as Pliny the Elder, was a historian and philosopher. His historical works include History of the German Wars, composed of twenty books, and History of His Times, composed of thirty-one books and chronicling the time between the emperors Nero and Vespasian. He also wrote Studiosus, a work on rhetoric, and Dubii sermonis, a work not extant to this day, as are many of his


writings. His magnum opus, Naturalis Historia, or Natural History, was an encyclopedic work in which he draws on much of the knowledge of his day with regards to such topics as cosmology, astronomy, meteorology, geography, anthropology, mammals, fish, fowl, insects, botany, agriculture, horticulture, medicine, diseases, and precious minerals. In his later life, he turned his attention from natural history to literature. It was in this interest that he composed three books: The Scholar, a training manual (of sorts) for orators, Problems in Grammar, and A Continuation of the History of Aufidius. Plutarch (46-c.122 A.D.) Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus was a Greek historian, biographer, and philosopher. He is best known for his Moralia, or Customs and Mores, and Parallel Lives, containing biographies of well-known Greeks and Romans. The former work varies in scope and contains essays on ethics, politics, literature, and consolation. Moralia is a philosophical work, written for the purpose of providing moral education to his readers. Essays contained within this volume include: On Fraternal Affection - a discourse against sibling rivalry On the Fortune or the Virtue of Alexander the Great On the Worship of Isis and Osiris On Peace of Mind Odysseus and Gryllus - a conversation between Odysseus and one of Circe's pigs. The latter work, containing the biographies of prominent historical figures, was also written as a moral treatise. While the subject concerns that of history, the focus and purpose of the biographies was to illustrate both good and bad moral character through the lives of the people he portrayed in his work, such as Solon, Themistocles, Aristides, Pericles, Alcibiades, Nicias, Demosthenes, Philopoemen, Timoleon, Dion of Syracuse, Alexander the Great, Pyrrhus of Epirus, Gaius Marius, Sulla, Romulus, Pompey, Mark Antony, Marcus Junius Brutus, Julius Caesar, and Cicero. Plutarch’s modus operandi in this work was to pair a Greek and Roman who shared like biographical characteristics or qualities, write separate biographies for each, then compare one against the other to examine the virtues and vices to be learned from each. Biographies of at least twelve other figures (such as Heracles and Philip II of Macedon) were written, but are no longer extant. The biographies which have survived, have not survived without alteration by later writers. Since Jesus was neither Greek nor Roman, He was of no interest to Plutarch when he composed his biographies.


Pomponius Mela (wrote c.43 A.D.) Pomponius Mela was the earliest Roman geographer. He is known for a single work, De situ orbis libri III, less than one hundred pages long devoted strictly to geography. Ptolemy (c.83-c.168 A.D.) Claudius Ptolemaeus, commonly known as Ptolemy, was a mathematician, astronomer, geographer and astrologer. He was not engaged in historical writings. It has been asked why he did not mention the star of Bethlehem or the geological and astronomical occurrences on the day of Jesus' death. It must be remembered that Ptolmey was not witness to either of these events. By his time, any mention of such was considered the babbling of Christians. Publius Papinius Statius (c.45-96 A.D.) Statius was a Roman poet known for his epic poems The Thebaid, recounting the tale of Thebes, and the Achilleid, devoted to Achilles. Statius also wrote the Silvae, a collection of poems ranging in subject matter, including flattery for the Emperor, reflections on death, consolation for the grieving, and congratulatory remarks to his friends, along with descriptions of his their villas and gardens. Quintus Curtius Rufus (wrote during 41-54 A.D.) Quintus Curtius Rufus was a Roman historian with only one extant work, Historiae Alexandri Magni, a Latin biography of Alexander the Great. Quintilian (35-100 A.D.) Marcus Fabius Quintilianus was a Roman rhetorician. His only extant work is Institutio Oratoria, a textbook on rhetoric. He is believed to have written an earlier book, written as a preface to Institutio Oratoria, delineating views later expressed in work still extant. Institutio Oratoria deals with various topics strictly relating to rhetoric, such as emotion, language, delivery, expression, and forms of argumentation. Seneca the Younger (4 B.C.-65 A.D.) Lucius Annaeus Seneca was a Roman philosopher, dramatist, and statesman. In addition to twelve philosophical essays and one hundred twenty-four letters addressing moral issues, he composed nine tragedies, a satire, and an essay in meteorology. Some have asked why Seneca would not have mentioned the star that guided the magi to Bethlehem, or unnatural the darkness that occurred during the day Jesus died on the cross. Seneca was concerned with addressing observable natural phenomena, not with cataloging supernatural occurrences.


Silius Italicus (c.25-101 A.D.) Tiberius Catius Silius Italicus is known for his epic poetry. The single extant poem bearing his name is Punica, concerning the Second Punic War, which may or may not have been scribed by Silius Italicus himself, although the oral form of the poem is attributed to him. Theon of Smyrna (c.70-c.135 A.D.) Theon of Smyrna was a Greek philosopher and mathematician. Of his three works on Platonic philosophy, only On Mathematics Useful for the Understanding of Plato remains today. This work is comprised of three parts: the first, devoted to numerology; the second, devoted to music; the third, devoted to the “music of the cosmos.” Another work known to have been attributed to him was a book devoted to astronomy. Valerius Maximus (20 A.D.) As with Livy, the early date associated with Valerius Maximus makes his writings irrelevant to any discussion of Jesus’ influence. Known early manuscripts verifying Jesus was an historical person The early church fathers: Tertullian, Chrysostom, Athanasius, Clement, Ignatius, Polycarp, Irenaeus, Martyr, Origen, etc. Inscriptions in the Roman Catacombs The writers of the Apocrypha The Jewish Talmud “On the eve of the Passover, Yeshu [the Hebrew spelling of Jesus’ name] was hanged*. Forty days before the execution took place, a herald went forth and cried: ‘He is going forth to be stoned because he has practiced sorcery and enticed Israel to apostasy. Any one who can say anything in his favour, let him come forward and plead on his behalf.’ But since nothing was brought forward in his favour he was hanged on the eve of the Passover.”25 “R. Shimeon ben Azzai said: ‘I found a genealogical roll in Jerusalem wherein was recorded, Such-an-one is a bastard** of an adulteress’”26 “[Mary] who was the descendant of princes and governors***, played the harlot with carpenters.”27 “[Jesus’] mother was Miriam, a women's hairdresser. As they say, ... ‘this one strayed from her husband.’”28 * Hanging was a term used in reference to crucifixion. (cf Jn 19.14, Acts 5:30, Gal 3:13)


** The reference to Jesus as a “bastard” is an attempt to refute the church’s claim that He was virgin-born. *** Such a mention corresponds with the New Testament’s claim that Jesus was a descendant of King David. The Acts of Pilate, a book of the New Testament Pseudepigrapha. It is not regarded as an official document from Pilate himself, but is believed to be derived from official documents preserved in the praetorium at Jerusalem. The oldest section is titled The Report of Pilate to the Emperor Claudius, and is dated to the second century A.D. The text is as follows: “There befell of late a matter which I myself brought to light (or, made trial of): for the Jews through envy have punished themselves and their posterity with fearful judgments of their own fault; for whereas their fathers had promises (al. had announced unto them) that their God would send them out of heaven his holy one who should of right be called their king, and did promise that he would send him upon earth by a virgin; he then (or this God of the Hebrews, then) came when I was governor of Judea, and they beheld him enlightening the blind, cleansing lepers, healing the palsied, driving devils out of men, raising the dead, rebuking the winds, walking upon the waves of the sea dry-shod, and doing many other wonders, and all the people of the Jews calling him the Son of God: the chief priests therefore, moved with envy against him, took him and delivered him unto me and brought against him one false accusation after another, saying that he was a sorcerer and did things contrary to law. But I, believing that these things were so, having scourged him, delivered him unto their will: and they crucified him, and when he was buried they set guards upon him. But while my soldiers watched him he rose again on the third day: yet so much was the malice of the Jews kindled that they gave money to the soldiers, saying: Say ye that his disciples stole away his body. But they, though they took the money, were not able to keep silence concerning that which had come to pass, for they also have testified that they saw him arisen and that they received money from the Jews. And these things have I reported (unto thy mightiness) for this cause, lest some other should lie unto thee (Lat. lest any lie otherwise) and though shouldest deem right to believe the false tales of the Jews.”29 The Didache (c.80-120 A.D.) Works by Gnostic authors: (The Gospel of Thomas, Treatise on Resurrection and, Apocryphon of John) Dead Sea Scrolls, containing over one thousand manuscripts dating prior to 68 A.D. (“Crucified Messiah” Scroll, “Son of God” Scroll, 4Q246 Scroll, Cave 7 Scroll, 7Q5 Scroll).


The Qur'an, the scriptures of Islam. Ecclesiastical History, by Eusebius of Caesarea, an early church historian The Gospel of Marcion, written by an early second century heretic who was expelled from the Christian church Celsus, a second century opponent of Christianity, accused Jesus of being a bastard and a “mere man.”30 Lucian, a Roman historian who was very concerned with accuracy, made the following mention of Jesus: “The Christians, you know, worship a man to this day — the distinguished personage who introduced their novel rites, and was crucified on that account… You see, these misguided creatures start with the general conviction that they are immortal for all time, which explains the contempt of death and voluntary selfdevotion which are so common among them; and then it was impressed on them by their original lawgiver that they are all brothers, from the moment that they are converted, and deny the gods of Greece, and worship the crucified sage, and live after his laws.”31 Although Lucian did not mention Jesus by name, it is evident he is referring to Jesus of Nazareth, since no other crucified individual was worshiped by Christians. If he did not believe that Jesus was an historical figure, then he would not have mentioned Jesus’ crucifixion as an historical fact. Also, if he regarded the person of Jesus as a nonhistorical personage, he would have called attention to the Christians’ misguided belief in a person who he believed did not exist, as he did with the Christians “misguided” belief system. Mara Bar-Seraphon, in a letter to his son (73 A.D.), wrote, “What advantage did the Jews gain from executing their wise king?...Nor did the wise king die for good; he lived on in the teaching which he had given." Some critics challenge this claim since it does not mention which “king” it was who was executed, but in so doing, they are unable to suggest a person, aside from Jesus, who could be called a “king” and who was executed by his own people. Only Jesus fits this description. Phlegon, a first century slave born c.80 A.D. His writings exist today only as quotes found in other ancient texts, as in the following citations: “Now Phlegon, in the thirteenth or fourteenth book, I think, of his Chronicles, not only ascribed to Jesus a knowledge of future events (although falling into confusion about some things which refer to Peter, as if they referred to Jesus), but also testified that the result corresponded to His predictions.”32 “And with regard to the eclipse in time of Tiberius Caesar, in whose reign Jesus appears to have been crucified and the great earthquakes which then took place,


Phlegon too, I think, has written in the thirteenth or fourteenth book of his Chronicles.”33 “Phlegon records that, in the time of Tiberius Caesar, at full moon, there was a full eclipse of the sun from the sixth to the ninth hour.”34 “He imagines also that both the earthquake and the darkness were an invention; but regarding these, we have in the preceding pages, made our defense, according to our ability, adducing the testimony of Phlegon, who relates that these events took place at the time when our Savior suffered. And he goes on to say, that “Jesus, while alive, was of no assistance to himself, but that he arose after death, and exhibited the marks of his punishment, and showed how his hands had been pierced by nails.”35 Thallus, a Samaritan historian, writing c.52 A.D. While none of his writings have survived to this day, excerpts have been found quoted in the writings of other ancient authors. Julius Africanus (c.221 A.D.) quoted Thallus’ contemplation concerning the darkness which occurred when Jesus hung on the cross, and the subsequent earthquake, as stated in the Gospel accounts. And it was now about the sixth hour, and a darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour, the sun’s light failing: and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst. And Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said this, he gave up the ghost. (Lk 23:44-46 NASB) Concerning this darkness as described in the Gospels, Julius quotes Thallus as saying: “On the whole world there pressed a most fearful darkness; and the rocks were rent by an earthquake, and many places in Judea and other districts were thrown down. This darkness Thallus, in the third book of his History calls, as appears to me without reason, an eclipse from the sun.”36


The Zeitgeist Movie states the following: “The fact of the matter is, there are dozens of virgin-born, crucified saviors from all over the world who fit these descriptions.” As I have shown, these claims are false or misconstrued, to say the least. My suggestion to the critics: go examine your sources. You will see they are not accurate. However, knowing their sources are inaccurate, many of the proponents of the copycat theory intentionally misrepresent the truth with the intent to deceive or sway others who they know will not put their claims to the test. In this section, I will examine some of the practices often employed by these self-proclaimed scholars.

I. Proper use of terminology is often disregarded in claims which attempt to liken events in the life of Christ to events which occur in pagan mythology
Many of the attacks which claim Christian beliefs are fabrications, having their origin in pagan myth, often use terms out of context in an attempt to suggest that one practice is merely a mirrored rip-off of another. Critics use terms such as “resurrection” and “baptism” loosely and in an attempt to strengthen their argument and apply the concepts to events which do not reflect the true meaning of either term. They do so in order to establish a false relationship between one thing and another, thereby leading their audience to consider the critic’s theory is true based on such a fabricated relationship. They deliberately use terminology heard in Christian churches in order to strengthen their argument and establish a foundation for their claim, a claim which has no foundation in truth whatsoever – except in the minds of those who blindly accept their teaching. For example, the word “resurrection,” or even the concept thereof, may not exist within a particular myth, yet critics will insert it in their own exposition of the same myth in order to formulate the correlation they need to back up their words. Virgin birth Quite often, as shown in this book, a critic will attempt to liken the birth of Jesus to the birth of a pagan god by virtue of a virgin birth. In so doing, they loose sight of the concept of virginity altogether, for the mothers of pagan deities are often married to a mortal man at the time of insemination, or are women of promiscuity, and therefore not virgins. In order for a birth to be considered truly virginal, two qualifications must first be met: first, the mother must not have had any sexual interaction at any time prior to the birth, and, second, the child’s conception must have occurred without any male seed, preserved or otherwise. Also, the nature by which these women are impregnated is quite unlike the placing of the fetal Jesus in the womb of Mary. Pagan deities impregnate their subjects through sexual intercourse, which quite often involves some form of deception or rape. In all of pagan mythology, only a small few deities are said to have been born of a virgin, and all such attempts at magnifying such a claim of virginal conception is the result of one’s lack of research in the field or an intentional misrepresentation of the truth. Also, what many critics claim to be a virgin birth is nothing more than a miraculous birth, for, while the circumstances of a conception may be considered extraordinary, the conception itself may have occurred by some form of insemination. Such is the


case with the sons of Zeus, who were born as a result of Zeus’ sexual interaction with women. In other words, a truly virginal birth constitutes a supernatural birth, but a supernatural birth does not constitute virgin birth. For instance, in the Horus myth Isis conceives Horus after fashioning a custom-made phallus for her dead husband Osiris (therefore supernatural birth), then drawing seed (therefore non-virginal birth) from the dead body, by which she became impregnated. Thus, Horus' conception, although supernatural, was not a virgin birth since it still involved an interaction of male seed, the natural agent of insemination. By analogy, in fertility clinics a sample of male seed may be used to impregnate a woman, regardless of whether the donor is still living. Also, such modern use of male seed to impregnate a woman constitutes neither supernatural birth nor virginal birth, since the acquisition of the donor's seed was through natural, not miraculous, methods and the very presence of male seed in insemination, artificial or not, is not within the realm of virginal birth. Baptism In the New Testament there are three types of baptism mentioned: baptism by fire, baptism by the Holy Ghost, and baptism by water. In the case of the first two mentioned, the baptism is symbolic and without a material element, such as fire. The baptism we are concerned with here in this work is the latter, water baptism. The first mention in the New Testament of someone baptizing with water was John the Baptist. Following the ascension of Christ into heaven, Christians began baptizing with water, as mentioned in the book of Acts where entire families, including infants, were baptized with water. The mode of baptism employed, whether sprinkling or immersion, is outside the bounds of this discussion, except to state the element of water was present. Concerning the symbolic meaning behind the ritual, for now it will suffice to say that in the New Testament, baptism replaced the Old Testament rite of circumcision as the sign of the covenant between God and His people. The meaning of baptism was consecration and a giving of oneself to the will of God. My purpose here is to simply draw attention to the fact that baptism is not merely contact with water, as many of the proponents of the “copycat theory” seem to believe. Baptism cannot be equated with stepping into a bath. Although a cleansing does occur in both instances, the cleansing achieved through baptism has spiritual symbolism as its root, not physical cleansing. Many critics of Christianity make feeble and far-reaching claims that contact with water can be considered parallel to baptism, and so it is that they liken Christian baptism to a pagan ritual bath. While water has long been a cross-cultural element used for cleansing and purification, participation in ritual baths cannot correctly be called baptism. Communion Many religions have some form of communal meal, but such is different from the observance of communion in the Christian church. For the Christian, communion is a remembrance of the sacrifice Christ made on the cross, with the bread being symbolic of the body of Christ which was bruised for our iniquities, and the wine symbolic of His blood, shed for the remission of sin. It is, in essence, a covenant meal. In the Old Testament when two parties entered into covenant with each other, they often shared in a meal as a symbolic memorial of the contract. In Jerusalem, the


night before Jesus was executed, he shared in a meal with his disciples and in that room He instituted the ordinance of communion. For I [the apostle Paul] have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come. (1 Cor 11:23-26 NASB) At the meal Jesus shared with His disciples, He stated He was making a new covenant with them. The wine represented the blood of the covenant, blood which He shed on the cross. Thus, Jesus instituted the observance of communion as a memorial of His redemptive work. Such communal meals were common among various cultures. In Biblical times it was common for parties having made a covenant between themselves to sit down for a meal or feast afterwards, as a means of signifying the covenant between them. In the case of Abimelech and Isaac, the two sat down for a feast after making a covenant between themselves (Gen 26:26-31). In the New Testament, the “Last Supper” Jesus had with His disciples was a covenant meal, signifying the new life He gave to mankind through His death and resurrection (2 Cor 11:23-25). Such ritual meals were common in cultures throughout the world, as H. Clay Trumbull notes in his book The Blood Covenant: “Among the Araucanian, of South America, the custom of making brothers, or brothers-friends, is called Lacu. It includes the killing of a lamb and dividing it — ‘cutting’ it — between the two covenanting parties; and each party must eat his half of the lamb — either by himself or by such assistance as he chooses to call in. … if they exchanged names, there would be a covenant meal. Usually in this covenant meal they would feed each other bread, saying, ‘You are eating me.’ Then they would drink from the same cup and say, ‘You are drinking me.’ Sometimes the drink in the cup was mingled with blood.”1 Manfred Clauss also testifies to the universality of the communal meal: “The offering of bread and wine is known in virtually all ancient cultures, and the meal as a means of binding the faithful together and uniting them to the deity was a feature common to many religions. It represented one of the oldest means of manifesting unification with the spiritual, and the appropriation of spiritual qualities.”2 Even in modern times, many people, regardless of faith, have shared in such a communal meal, even if they have never sat through a church service. When a man


and woman are married, they enter into a covenant, complete with oaths and vows. In some ceremonies the bride and groom sip from a single chalice or cup as they stand before the crowd of witnesses. Following the ceremony, they host a reception for the wedding party and guests. During this reception, a meal and beverages of some sort are provided. Such a gathering reflects a memorializing of the covenant which just took place between the bride and groom, and it is this same fashion that covenant makers in many cultures share a ritual meal following the binding of their covenant. Such traditions testify to the universality of the practice of communal meals and it should come to no surprise to find such a practice in the Bible and among a people who placed high regard and importance of the binding of a covenant. Finally, the significance of the Christian communion service (or Eucharist, in some denominations), is that the elements represent the body and blood of Jesus, who, by the giving of His life, made atonement, or reconciliation and reparation between God and man, for the guilt of sin. The communal meals of pagan religion and culture hold no such significance, and without that aspect any such practice becomes devoid of comparison with the Christian communion service. Savior Many deities are called savior, but not in the same sense in which the title is ascribed to Christ. Proponents of the copycat theory often use the word “salvation” when referring to the benefit provided as a result of the actions of a pagan deity, however, they use the term in a very loose sense. While there are pagan deities who do provide salvation from oppression, from darkness, or from some form of pestilence, they do not provide salvation from sin by the offering of themselves as a sacrifice for sin. In the case of Christianity, the salvation afforded to believers on account of Christ is eternal rather than temporal. Neither the annual renewal of vegetation (which is commonly referred to as the “saving” work of a pagan deity) nor freedom from tyranny can be considered “salvation” in any theological sense. Jesus was the Christ, the Anointed One of God. He alone saves from sin and damnation. He alone provides a kind of salvation unlike that provided by any deity in world mythology. He alone is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Salvation Oftentimes, when critics claim that Jesus can be paralleled with a pagan deity who is said to provide salvation, the term “salvation” is applied to any act which results in another's rescue, preservation, protection, or deliverance. While salvation, broadly speaking, is a term which denotes such concepts, simply claiming that one manner of salvation is capable to be likened to another, regardless of the style or type of salvation offered, is to draw a parallel based on an improper analysis of the facts. The “salvation” typically provided by pagan deities is reflective of the annual regrowth of crops, since many pagan deities are representative of the rotation of the seasons. Other times, the salvation provided is said to be deliverance from an earthly king or tyrant, or from a form of natural disaster. Does this rightly constitute a parallel to Jesus? Of course not! When a mother feeds her child, it can be properly said that she is saving her child from starvation, but can the mother of the child be thought of as a parallel to the Son of God, by virtue of the provision she provides to her infant? Again, the answer is in the negative. Still, critics attempt to create a


parallel between Jesus and pagan deities based on such loose association of terms. The salvation provided by Jesus is an eternal salvation, guaranteeing a restored relationship with God, the eventual resurrection of the body, the final glorification of the believer, and the enjoyment of everlasting and unhindered communion with God. None of the pagan deities can be said to offer an equivalent form of salvation. In order for a parallel to be drawn between one deity and another, it is not enough to merely say that each provided salvation. If such a parallel is to exist, the comparison must lie in the manner and effect on each deity's salvation, not in their mutual recognition as a “savior.” Resurrection Many of the deities who are said to be resurrected did not undergo an experience which can be likened to the resurrection of Jesus. The resurrection of many pagan deities, especially the various sun and sky gods, is merely a metaphor for the changing of seasons and the renewal of vegetation. The resurrection stories of pagan deities reflected the changing of the seasons and the regenerative powers of nature, in regards to the continuance of human generation and the annual renewal of the natural world through the changing of seasons. Devotees of these deities took comfort in the myths of resurrection, knowing that they could rely on the deity to continue his work in bringing relief from annual drought and the dying of crops. Their faith in these deities gave them strength and confidence in future prosperity and the continuance of life. A resurrection in pagan mythology often refers not to a bodily resurrection from the dead; but rather, merely to one of the following scenarios: 1. The deity enters the Underworld without ever having died in the first place, then leaves the Underworld as alive and well as he was when he first entered therein. 2. The deity experiences a postmortem existence in a non-bodily form, such as reigning in spirit as lord of the dead. 3. The deity is reincarnated or re-created as a different person and/or in a different body. 4. The deity is raised to life, only to die again at a later time. 5. The deity undergoes a change or experience which was only “likened unto” death, then is awakened or revived from a suspended state. As shown above, what the critic typically refers to as a resurrection is, in truth, not a resurrection at all. For instance, Dionysus is torn apart by the Titans then later reborn from the side of Zeus. Such an experience does not constitute a resurrection, since his original body was not restored; but rather, remained in the bellies of the Titans. Thus, his experience is a re-birth in a new body, not a resurrection of his original constitution. Turning to Egyptian mythology, Osiris was dismembered by


Set, following which he descended, in spirit, to the underworld as lord of the dead – an experience which speaks to the immortality of the soul, but not to the resurrection of the body. Concerning Orpheus, he descended to the land of the dead in order to persuade Hades to allow his dead wife to return to the land of the living. Since Orpheus entered the underworld without having died in the first place, his descent and subsequent return from the underworld is nothing more than a round trip journey, rather than a resurrection. These are just a few of the many examples where a critic labels a particular deity’s experience as a resurrection, when in fact the experience in question is nothing more than a reincarnation, re-birth, or a journey not involving the death of the traveler. Also, the so-called “resurrections” in pagan mythology did not result in anyone’s salvation, nor did they exist within history or were witnessed by hundreds of the deity's followers, whereas each of these qualities characterizes Jesus’ bodily resurrection from the dead.

II. Many of the suggested pagan parallels to the life of Christ are based on non-existent texts or misuse or alteration of existing texts
Many proponents of the “copycat theory” make their claims on secondary sources rather than referring to the religious texts. When pressed for the source text on which they make their claim, they are unable to produce evidence, simply because the evidence does not exist. The sources on which they do base their statements are versions of the original source material which have been altered over time. In fact, many of their sources postdate the time of Christ. When the original sources are examined, their claims are found wanting for validity. Their case against Christianity is merely a house built on sand, and when the foundation is easily washed away, the house is reduced to rubble as a result. As in the case of Horus, the deity to whom critics give much attention, characteristics which are said to have been true of Horus and copied to Christ simply do not exist in the ancient texts relating to Horus. These ancient texts are not without abundance, and they are of varying types: hymns, mortuary texts, ritual texts, Old Coptic texts … the list goes on. Nowhere in these texts, nor even in Plutarch’s On Isis and Osiris, (c. 46-120 A.D.) the most complete account of the Horus myth to be found in ancient literature, is it said that he was born of a virgin, announced by a star, visited by wise men, etc. Such is an example of a favorite tactic used by critics – to fabricate or alter a myth in order to establish a false correlation to the account of Christ, then to make absolute statements based on these lies.

III. Other favorite tactics used by critics of Christianity
Failure to distinguish opinions and theories from what the sources and evidence used actually state. Omission of important sources and evidence. Misuse of the sources employed in backing up their claims. The use of suspect sources.


Forming conclusions and theories which often far exceed what the evidence justifies. Speculations and sound theories are treated as having equal value. Statements grounded solely in the critics’ imagination and their distortions of the truth are declared on a matter-of-fact basis. They accuse Christians of distorting truth, all the while acting in that very same fashion. Critics draw conclusions which cannot logically be drawn from the cited sources. The conclusions they form are the result of interpreting the source material based on what they want others to believe, rather than what the source actually states. Rather than drawing from the source, they input their own subjective ideas into the material and claim that the source contains ideas not actually found in the material. Critics often preface statements with the condition of them being spoken in an “exact,” “broad,” or “general” sense. For example, they will say, “Broadly speaking, the story of Horus is as follows,” then go on to list things such as virgin birth, crucifixion, and resurrection as being elements of his story, when, in truth, none of these elements apply to the subject in question, neither in a broad nor exact sense. When they say “broad sense,” they are really saying “no sense,” in the hopes that their readers will believe them blindly rather than searching for the truth themselves.

IV. Logical fallacies employed by the critics
Critics of Christianity employ numerous fallacious forms of logic in their efforts to persuade others that their claims are valid. In this section, I will briefly list the many ways in which their arguments take shape, and provide examples in which these erroneous forms of persuasion are employed by the ever-so-earnest critic. Ad hominem: An ad hominem (Latin, “to the man”) argument is an attack not on the claim itself, but on the person making the claim. By attacking the claimant’s character or level of expertise, the attempt is made to make his or her claim invalid, without presenting evidence against the validity of the claim itself. An ad hominem argument is most evident when the claimant’s opponent is unable to present evidence against the claim and, consequently, must resort to less respectful means of argumentation in an attempt to render the claim invalid. An example of this is to attack an opponent’s claims based on a lack of credentials to his name. For instance, when Christians (to turn the tables for a moment) denounce the documentary concerning the “lost tomb of Jesus” and bring to light the fact that the film was produced by a Hollywood movie director and a journalist, neither of whom have credentials in the field of archaeology, history, or Biblical studies, such information is irrelevant to the claims of the film. An opponent’s claims must be answered in light of the evidence itself, not on the level of expertise of the claimant. By contrast, the claims of one who has doctorate degrees in archaeology or history cannot be regarded as valid based on the claimant’s credentials. While his credentials speak to the formal training and education the claimant has received, it said nothing about the claimant’s application of such knowledge. If the claimant’s application does not stand up against solid evidence, then his claims must be abandoned, despite the credentials the claimant has to his name. Credentials are not the same as credibility. One’s credentials cannot give credibility to his claims, unless his claims are valid. If his claims are found to be in want of supporting evidence, then all the credentials in


the world will not give credibility to his claims. It must be noted there are instances when the claimant’s character may be brought into question for valid reasons, such as making known one’s propensity for manipulating information to suit his or her own purposes, however, this should not be done to the exclusion of the evidence against the claim itself. Likewise, when responding to an opponent’s claims, appealing to the claimant’s bias is appropriate only so far as it is evident that such bias is affecting his claims, otherwise such an appeal is an attack on the claimant himself rather than on the claim made by him. Ad populum: An ad populum (Latin, “to the majority”) argument is an attempt to validate or invalidate a claim based on the number of people who believe it to be true or false, respectively. This form of argumentation, as with the argumentum ad hominem, bypasses the evidence for the claim itself in order to appeal to secondary or circumstantial evidence, which, in this case, is the number of individuals who hold either to the truth or falsity of the claim. Critics employ this fallacy when discussing early written evidence for the historicity of Jesus, being hasty to claim that Josephus’ mention of Jesus is “widely” considered among “scholars” to be a forgery. The truth is that the majority of scholars regard portions of such reference to be a later addition to Josephus’ original penmanship, but do not regard the whole of the text to be a forgery. However, regardless of how many do believe the text to be entirely forged, the textual and contextual evidence speaks to the contrary (as has already been discussed), making such a view invalid, and thereby making any appeal to majority no more solid than a house built on sand. An ad populum argument is only valid when the majority view is accompanied with solid evidence to back its substance. Finally, validating a proposition on the claim that “many” scholars hold a proposition to be true, without naming who those “many” ones are, does not lend to the credibility of the proposition itself. Such an appeal is only valid as a statistic, rather than as supporting evidence by a given authority. A statistic, as such, should not be presented as a form of proof, but rather as a notation to support a premise which is just as solid without the statistic being presented. For instance, claiming that “everyone” loves mom’s cooking speaks only to the quality of the meals prepared by mom, rather than to “everyone’s” judgment or good taste. Whether or not anyone outside of mom’s household tastes her food, the quality of her cooking is not affected by the number of guests who have ever sat at her table. Appeal to authority: An appeal to authority is an argument which also bypasses the evidence available and instead attempts to validate a claim based in the authority of the claimant. The higher the claimant is held in esteem or authority, the more valid is his claim. One of the critics’ heroes and champions for their cause is Kersey Graves, who wrote the controversial book The World’s Sixteen Crucified Saviors. Graves’ book is praised by critics (although not universally) as be a source of truth and reflective of an accurate and scholarly expression of comparative religion. The fact is that Graves draws conclusions based on an improper analysis of evidence and draws parallels where no parallels exist. An appeal to any authority, regardless of the credentials of such an authority, is only as good as the substance of the evidence presented by such a one. If the evidence presented by a scholar, when examined further, is found contrary to what really is the case, then no matter how many degrees


one has in his name or the level of experience or field work that he can claim, his conclusions must be regarded as unsubstantiated by evidence to the contrary. As a final note, critics make an appeal to individuals such as Kersey Graves, Gerald Massey, and D. M. Murdock, none of whom have the credibility to support their claims, since such individuals' conclusions are not based on accurate research and deduction. Any appeal to authority should carefully consider the authority to whom the appeal is made (for not all authorities are authoritative), prior to making such an appeal, and should not regard such an appeal as conclusive in and of itself (for any authority is still subject to human error or predisposition which threatens his or her analysis). Appeal to consequences: Appeal to consequences is an attempt to invalidate a claim based on undesirable consequences which would occur if the claim were proven true. It is a type of appeal to emotion, which will be discusses immediately hereafter. Critics use this claim when discussing the justice of God, by making Him out to be a deity who is unjustly harsh and who dispenses punishment beyond what is required for the offense. The argument is often made, “How can a loving God condemn people to an eternity of torment?” However, such an objection is based on a finitely human understanding of God’s person, which considers His justice apart from other facets of His being, such as holiness and righteousness. It is because God is just that He must dispense eternal punishment to some and eternal blessing to others. If God did not punish the guilty, then His lack of justice would violate His righteousness, for God cannot reward guilt. Nevertheless, the appeal is made to influence one to draw a conclusion on a premise, based on a negative consequence that such a premise brings, without pausing to consider whether or not the cause and purpose for such consequence is just or unjust. In the end, through use of this fallacy, a conclusion is made regarding a claim, without considering the specifics of the claim itself. Appeal to emotion: Appeal to emotion is a manipulative form of argumentation which attempts to invoke either positive or negative emotion concerning the validity of a claim, thereby clouding one’s judgment when considering the evidence for the claim itself. Such a fallacy is very similar to an appeal to consequence, in that the conclusion made regarding a claim is based on how one is led to feel about the claim itself. For instance, when questioning the sovereignty of God, critics ask, “How could an all-powerful and loving God allow evil, or permit the occurrence of tragedies or calamities?” The presence of evil (be it evil caused by the wickedness of man, or by natural disaster) is due to man’s own sin. Were God to eradicate evil altogether, such an act would be a violation of His justice in granting mankind reprieve from the curse that he brought upon himself as the consequence for his own sin. Additionally, the critic, in being quick to accuse God of causing evil, fails to consider the alternative to his theory. If God removed wickedness from the heart of man, then man would lack responsibility and individuality, being made into an organic automaton and living a life characterized by programmed responses, rather than by choices made through an inclination either to the good or the bad. Man’s ability to choose between the moral and immoral is part of that which constitutes the image of God, in which all men were created. Rather than accepting a claim based on whether or not the claim causes sugarplums to dance within one’s head and evokes a


warm, pleasant feeling, the substance of the claim itself must be considered and conclusions drawn based on what is seen beyond one’s initial feeling regarding the claim. Appeal to motive: Appeal to motive is a form of the ad hominem argument, where an attempt is made to render a claim invalid based on the suspect motives of the claimant. Again, this form of argumentation can have a certain measure of validity, when used accurately, and without excluding solid evidence. For instance, if a claimant is known for presenting a biased and manipulative argument in order to persuade others to his way of thought, then such a motive should be considered. However, at all times, the suspect motive of the claimant himself must not constitute the primary substance of the argument against his claim, otherwise his opponents would be employing an ad hominem argument, in which the claimant himself is attacked without respect to the claims made by him. Critics employ an appeal to motive when making the claim that the writers of the Gospels fabricated their own story of a messiah and intentionally misled their congregations to believe in what was really a false Gospel (an address on the evidence concerning the integrity of the Gospels is forthcoming in Part five). If one’s motive cannot be determined on circumstantial or solid evidence, such as would be indicated by a pattern of presenting false information to further a claim, then any appeal to the claimant’s assumed motive is purely speculative and is no basis on which to form an argument. Appeal to novelty: An appeal to novelty is an attempt to validate a claim based on the newness of a concept. This is most often employed when the critic appeals to “ground-breaking” or “innovative” means of research that has been used to test their theories. While there is truth in the notion that new technology lends itself to more detailed research, the results of such research is only valid if it is accompanied by supporting evidence. Such was the case with the purported Jesus family tomb. DNA analysis was done on two of the remains, supposed to be Jesus and Mary Magdalene, and, as a result, it was determined the two were not blood related, a fact which is in agreement with the proposition that they were husband and wife. However, such scientific analysis does not validate the claim that the remains did in fact belong to Jesus and Mary, nor the notion that the relationship between the two, whoever they were, was that of husband and wife. If a proposition is faulty at the outset, then no research, regardless of how new and innovative, will serve to substantiate that proposition. Appeal to ridicule: A critic employs appeal to ridicule when he attempts to present his opponent’s views in a nonsensical fashion. A prime example of this is the opening segment of The Zeitgeist Movie, which makes use of a commentary by the late comedian George Carlin, and is even accompanied with a laugh track, when presenting Biblical truth. Later in the film, when mentioning Justin Martyr’s explanation for pagan parallels to the Gospels, it is said that his answer was “the devil made them do it.” While it is true that Justin blamed “wicked devils” for influencing pagans towards fashioning myths which may bear some resemblance to the Gospel, the segment on Justin includes a cartoon Satan appearing on the screen, thereby leading one to regard his explanation as nonsense. Also, in the same film, the


horrors contained in the book of Revelation are described as “cartoonish depictions.” Such is the tactic: to present views in such a way that the uninformed target audience is led astray to the biased views of the one making use of the tactic known as Appeal to Ridicule. Association fallacy: An association fallacy, also known as “false analogy,” is one which asserts a claim is either valid or invalid based on its resemblance or association with another claim. When this form of argument is used to render a claim invalid, the goal is to do so by making the claim guilty by association, as when critics discredit Christianity as a whole based on such negative history as the inquisition or the Salem witch trials. While those involved in these events did act in the name of Christ, their conduct is not representative of the type of conduct delineated in Scripture, and such figures and events should not be used as a means of evaluating Christianity as a whole. The problem with the association fallacy is that two things may appear similar, but, upon further analysis, are seen to be quite distinct one from the other. For instance, the Egyptian deity Osiris is described to have been “revived” after being dismembered, but his revivification was not a bodily resurrection to the existence he possessed before being chopped into pieces; but rather, was his elevation to the position of ruler of the dead. In the case of Jesus, He rose from the dead in the same flesh-and-bone body which died on the cross. In similar fashion, concepts such as virgin birth are applied to births that have a supernatural character, but cannot rightly be called virgin births. This is done in order to draw a false association between a non-virginal birth of a pagan deity and the virgin birth of Jesus, thereby leading others to believe that one is merely a derivative of the other, when in fact the two are clearly distinct. Also, when critic D. M. Murdock states, “If the myths of Osiris, Isis, Horus and Set, etc., are largely astronomical in nature; and if Christianity is highly influenced by—and is a fulfillment of—the Egyptian religion in significant part; then Christianity too must represent astronomical myth or astrotheology.”1 Such a claim is fallacious since it is based on a premise which is unsupported – nay, even contradicted – by evidence. Cherry picking: Cherry picking occurs when a person attempting to validate or invalidate a claim draws only on the evidence which suits his or her position, while excluding evidence to the contrary. A prime example of this fallacy is the claim that the early Christian apologist Justin Martyr stated that certain Christian doctrines were identical to doctrines believed by the pagans. While Justin did draw comparisons between certain doctrines, a further reading of his apology reveals he regarded such similarity as merely superficial, and the thrust of his argument was not that the pagan doctrines themselves were parallel to Christian doctrine; but rather, was an accusation against the hypocrisy of the pagans in condemning Christians for believing in things similar, but not identical, to pagan deities. For instance, Justin claims that Perseus was born of a virgin, as was Jesus, but he later states that Jesus is the only true son of God and that Christian doctrine is ”alone true,” as opposed to the pagan doctrines which were a misinterpretation, by “wicked devils,” of Hebrew messianic prophecy. In “picking” out single statements from Justin’s overall argument, critics mislead others into believing Justin regarded Christianity as identical to pagan religions, when a reading of the same statement within its


surrounding context reveals nothing of the like. A pristine example of this fallacy in action is the claim by D. M. Murdock that “the authoritative Catholic Encyclopedia states: The earliest rapprochement of the births of Christ and the sun is in [the writings of Church father] Cyprian [200-258 A.D.]…’O, how wonderfully acted Providence that on that day on which that Sun was born…Christ should be born.’”2 Her attempt is to show that the early church fathers regarded Christ as representative of the sun, rather than an actual historical person. In such an attempt, she makes an appeal to the online Catholic Encyclopedia, which also states, on the very same page as the above quote,3 that the statement was “written in 243 and falsely ascribed to Cyprian.” Rather than presenting evidence that the early church practiced sun worship, Murdock has successfully refuted her own claim by appealing to a source which states her claim is invalid. Cum hoc ergo propter hoc: Cum hoc ergo propter hoc (Latin , “with this, therefore because of this”), also known as “correlation proves causation,” attempts to link two related things to each other in a cause-and-effect relationship, and is similar to the association fallacy. The Egyptian sun god Horus is said, according to the critics, to have risen from the dead. Horus’ so-called “resurrection” merely refers to the reemergence of the sun upon every new dawn. The argument is then made that Jesus is also a solar deity, being the “sun of God,” whose resurrection bears astrological, rather than redemptive, meaning. False analogies and associations are drawn in order to portray Jesus as nothing more than one of the many solar deities named throughout pagan religions and mythology, despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Critics attempt to frame the Gospel accounts of Jesus into a pattern which fits a certain astrological scheme, all the while distorting the true meaning of the Gospel texts, and claim that because Jesus fits into a pattern reflective of solar deities, or so their misinterpretation goes, then the historical character of the Gospels should rather be perceived as a metaphorical account of a messiah who did not physically exist. Equivocation: Equivocation occurs when a word, having multiple meanings, is used ambiguously or in a misleading fashion in order to emphasize one’s intended meaning for the word. Such is the case when critics claim that Attis was crucified to a tree, when in fact the Attis myth contains no crucifixion account. Likewise, the term “salvation” is used flippantly to liken any form of deliverance by a pagan deity to the redemption provided by Christ’s sacrifice. A myth containing an account of a deity ridding a people of a tyrannical king cannot rightly be compared to the eternal salvation provided by the shedding of Jesus’ own blood and consequent death on the cross in order to justify those who, in and of themselves, do not deserve such justification. Nevertheless, such terms are used in order to draw parallels between two very distinct types of salvation, being distinct by means of such factors as the work of the savior, the scope of the salvation provided, and the benefits and longevity secured by such salvation. False attribution: The fallacy of false attribution is an attempt to validate a claim by appealing to a source which is unqualified in the field of study or which is unidentified by name. This is not to say that a claim such as “ancient Egyptians


worshiped the sun” is invalid because no “ancient Egyptian” is identified by name, since substantial evidence exists to back such a claim. The fallacy of false attribution is used when a claim is made based purely on an unidentified or unqualified source. For instance, when critic D. M. Murdock states, concerning the procession of the equinoxes, that a “ruling elite and priestly faction” knew of such things before its discovery by Hipparchus during the second century B.C., she is making such a claim which is unsupported by historical evidence. She goes to no length to identify just who these individuals were, nor does she provide support for her claim. The point she was attempting to make is that the Ages of the Zodiac were known prior to their reported discovery, thereby making plausible the claim that ancient Egyptians fashioned their mythology after such concepts, setting the stage for an adoption of such concepts by the Gospel writers in composing their account of Jesus of Nazareth. An “appeal to motive” could correctly be employed in responding to her claim, since there is no evidence to support her statement, which ever-so-conveniently makes valid her otherwise implausible argument. In short, such a use of the fallacy of false attribution is nothing more than pulling a magical name out of a hat and claiming that such person(s) give credibility to a particular claim, reducing the evidence to nothing more than a “because he said so” argument. False dilemma: The fallacy of a false dilemma arises when only two possible options are considered when there are indeed other alternatives. For instance, the claim that there is either no God or that God is harsh and overly judgmental, based on passages in Scripture in which divine punishment is carried out, fails to consider other passages in Scripture which portray God as loving and full of mercy. Likewise, the claim that either there is no God or God is the cause of evil, since He if the First Cause of all things, fails to consider that evil is not a “thing” and does not take into account the true origin of evil. A false dilemma also arises when derived conclusions creates a negative situation that does not actually exist. Hasty generalization: Hasty generalization is an attempt to validate or invalidate a claim without reviewing or considering the full evidence for or against the matter. In this form of fallacious logic, conclusions are reached on a he-said-so basis. Regardless of the validity or accuracy of the information provided by the entrusted source, if no further evidence is reviewed then the conclusions are reached hastily and on an uninformed basis. A perfect example of this fallacy is the suggestion that since Jesus’ birthday is celebrated on December 25th, the date that many ancient cultures held celebrations in honor of a solar deity, that such is further evidence Jesus is nothing more than another sun god. However, when one researches this claim further (and one would not need to search for long), it would be discovered that the attribution of December 25th to the date of Jesus’ birth is a later addition to Christianity and is not reflective of the date, nor likely even the season, when Jesus was really born. Incomplete comparison: An incomplete comparison is drawn when something is affirmed about a thing, in comparison with another, without providing reasons for that which is being affirmed. Such a fallacy is evident when a critic suggests that the Christian observance of the Lord’s Supper is a practice adopted from pagan


communal rituals, without further exploring the meaning and significance of each observance. Upon further investigation, it would be discovered that the pagan ritual in view bears characteristics which make it distinct from the Lord’s Supper. It would further be observed that the Lord’s Supper is a continuation of the covenant meals described in the Old Testament. Many cultures memorialized a covenant with a meal shared between the participants, and such is the practice of the Lord’s Supper. Still, the Lord’s Supper, while being a communal meal by definition, does not possess the same religious or spiritual characteristics as pagan communal meals. The Lord’s Supper can only be compared to pagan communal meals in a very superficial sense, for beneath the appearance of a gathering of participants to observe a ritual with respect to their deity, the Lord’s Supper is a reminder of the sacrifice that God made in the giving of His own body and blood for the lives of the participants, and such is not characterized by communal meals observed by pagan religions. Judgmental language: An argument using judgmental language is that which attempts to invoke a biased conclusion in others by rendering a claim invalid based on how one is made to feel about the claim, based on the prejudicial comments being made with regard to the claim itself. This is similar to the fallacy known as appeal to emotion. This fallacy is employed in The Zeitgeist Movie when, after presenting falsified evidence in favor of the filmmakers’ claims, Christianity is declared to be “the fraud of the age.” Such invokes a conclusion by the viewer, without the viewer feeling persuaded to put such claim to the test, or to do so after being manipulated to a predisposed mindset that Christianity is likely a fraud. Moving the goalpost: Moving the goalpost, also known as “raising the bar,” is a type of argumentation in which the opponent of a claim requires evidence greater than what which was already presented, and following the presentation of the greater evidence, the opponent challenges the claimant to present even further evidence to validate the claim, thus constantly “raising the bar” on the level of evidence which must be presented, or changing the “goal” which must be achieved, before the claim is considered valid. In so doing, the evidence already presented in favor of a claim is regarded as insufficient and further evidence is demanded, so beginning a neverending cycle of burden of proof. This argument is used by critics who deny the historicity of Jesus and continue to demand evidence that He did in fact exist, despite the hard data which does exist within ancient writings. If the honest critic is in search of an ancient text referencing Jesus as an historical figure, then one needs to look no further than the Gospels themselves. Yet, the critic dismisses such solid evidence and seeks further texts, which, when presented, are again dismissed by a biased judgment. While references to Jesus are not abundant among ancient writers, critics fail to consider the reasons why Jesus would not have been a hot topic among such writers. Rather than seeking the reasons for the silence, they claim that such silence is evidence that Jesus did not exist, all the while dismissing, on false grounds, the documentation that does exist within ancient texts. Negative proof: The Negative Proof fallacy is the assertion that a claim is false because it cannot be proven true, or proven true because it cannot be proven false. This often takes the form of an argument from silence, in which the lack of


references to an event is perceived as an indication that such an event never took place. An example of the critics’ use of this argument is the claim that Herod’s massacre of the children in and around Bethlehem is a fictitious event described in Matthew’s Gospel. Since the event is only recorded by Matthew, and no other ancient writer, it is assumed that Matthew must have simply made it up. However, the critic, in employing this fallacy, fails to ask the question why should there be an extra-Biblical mention of this occurrence? The event was in line with Herod’s character, and likely was regarded as being of such little significance in antiquity, it is not likely it would have merited a place in a history or commentary of the time. Also, the critic fails to regard the Biblical books as historical books, thus clouding his or her judgment in the search for historical data. Poisoning the well: Poisoning the well, similar to the fallacy known as “appeal to ridicule,” is an attempt to discredit a claim by poking fun at, or by discrediting, either the claim or the claimant, or to present such in a negative light, thereby clouding the minds of those to whom the argument is being presented. Such a form of argumentation is employed when a critic accuses Christianity of being a prejudicial and condemning religion, based on events or people throughout church history who have acted in a less-than-favorable manner in the name of Christ. So it is that such things as the Inquisition, the Salem witch trials, or hypocrisy among modern day believers fuel the fire for such an argument. The fallacy in presenting such an argument is not the drawing of attention to such things, for indeed there have been, since the days of the early church, those who have performed truly wicked acts in the name of Christ, all the while waving the banner of the Lord or clinging a Bible to their chest. Rather, the fallacy is in recognizing such as a true expression of the Christian spirit, and to present it as typical of the Gospel of Christ. Post hoc ergo propter hoc: Post hoc ergo propter hoc (Latin, “after this, therefore because of this”) is an attempt to render a claim invalid by attributing to it a causeand-effect relationship to an earlier claim, making the latter merely the result of the former, by virtue of temporal sequence and without regard to evidence to the contrary. The distinction of this argument from a “cum hoc ergo propter hoc” argument is the placement of events within a temporal sequence. Quoting out of context: Quoting out of context, also known as “contextomy,” is a fallacy in which words are isolated from their surroundings and used on a standalone basis, in which they appear to state something other than what was stated in their broader form. By using this form of argumentation, a claimant can manipulate evidence, such as the words of a person of authority in the matter, to suit his or her purposes. This fallacy is similar to “cherry picking” in that a statement is isolated or misapplied to serve a purpose for which, in truth, it does not serve. Such is the case with the claim that the Apostle Paul believed in a spiritual resurrection, rather than a bodily resurrection, based on a passage in his letter to the Corinthian church (2 Cor 15: 35-58 For an analysis of this passage, see Part four under the heading “Jesus’ resurrection was a bodily resurrection”).


Straw man argument: A straw man argument is one in which an opposing claimant’s argument is intentionally misrepresented in order to better refute the argument. This is done by devising an argument similar, on the surface, to the claimant’s position, but bearing major differences underneath its surface resemblance. This fabricated argument is then erected, as a “straw man” or scarecrow, and presented as the claimant’s actual position, while in fact bearing only an insignificant resemblance to that which he or she believes to be true. The purpose for such a device is to formulate an argument which lacks the persuading force of the claimant’s original position, and is then easier to refute. In the end, the claimant’s original argument remains uncontested, as the “straw man,” or fabricated claim, is not identical to the claimant’s original position. This is yet another fallacy critics employ when appealing to statements by Justin Martyr that Christian and pagan doctrines are virtually identical (see above under “Cherry picking”). In to doing, the critic presents Justin as making an argument which, in truth, is not being made by him. It is essentially “putting words in his mouth” by presenting him in such a light so as to support the critics’ claim that Christianity is a derivation of pagan religions, thereby providing the critic with an advocate (in this case, Justin) among those otherwise regarded as being on the opposite side of the argument. Style over substance: The fallacy known as “style over substance” concerns itself with the presentation of the claim, rather than the claim itself. Thus, a claim presented in a sloppy fashion is regarded to have little validity, despite the solidity of the claim’s content. This form of argumentation can sometimes be an “ad hominem” form of argumentation, in which the one presenting the claim is presented as one unqualified to do so. An example of this fallacy in action is the attack critics make against Christian apologist Lee Strobel, the author of The Case for Christ. In his book, he conducts interviews with leading apologists and scholars in his presentation of evidence to the historicity of Jesus. The critic, rather than considering the validity of the evidence presented, disregards such evidence and asks, “Why did he not interview a skeptic?” In so doing, the substance of Strobel’s argument is set aside and the focus of the critic’s argument is instead concentrated on the manner by which Strobel presented his case. Wrong direction: A wrong direction fallacy is one in which the cause of a thing is said to be its effect, thereby reversing the sequence of temporal events. This fallacy attempts to argue using the “post hoc ergo propter hoc” method, but rather than referencing an earlier event (Event A) and suggesting it is the cause of a later event (Event B), this fallacy borrows a later Event B and displaces it in time to a point prior to Event A. Such reasoning is called anachronistic, for its reversal of the natural chronological order of events. This fallacy is evident in the critics’ suggestion that the Roman Mithraic religion was an inspiration for the Gospel writers, despite the fact that Mithra was not introduced to Roman religion until after the Gospels had been composed. If anything was borrowed one from the other it would have been the Mithraists borrowing doctrine from the Christians.


V. Parallel vs. commonality
In their attempts to prove that the Gospel is a reworking of pre-Christian pagan myths, critics muddle the definition of the word “parallel” in their claims that so-called “counterpart” pagan deities were the inspiration for the Gospel writers. In order for a thing to be parallel to another, the two must share elements which are nearly identical in their very essence. By contrast, a commonality or similarity between one thing and another is based on elements which place the two in a relationship which may seen as similar, but not so far as would cause those elements to be considered analogous to each other. For instance, critics claim that the Christian theme of a resurrected Savior is merely a reworking of such pagan myths as Osiris and Tammuz, both of whom, they say, rose from the dead, however, an examination of the myths themselves reveal that Osiris’ resurrection is just an expression of his postmortem life as ruler of the Underworld, and Tammuz’ resurrection is merely reflective of the changing of the seasons. Likewise, as explained under a previous heading, critics apply terms such as “savior,” “baptism,” and “virgin birth” to figures or things to which such terms do not rightly apply. In so doing, they are comparing the proverbial “apples to oranges.” In order for two concepts to truly form a parallel, the parallel must exist beneath the surface, or beyond what merely appears to be the case to someone not well-educated in such concepts. Such is a snare of critics whose intent it is to deceive the public by drawing parallels between things or concepts which do not share the same essential qualities or attributes. The truth is that the parallels which critics make between Jesus and pagan deities lack the characteristics of a true parallel. While the myth concerning a pagan deity may contain an aspect or trait which is similar, in a superficial sense, to the Gospel account of Jesus, it requires much more resemblance between the two before one can truly be considered a parallel to the other. Additionally, the traits of pagan myths (such as virgin birth, for instance) which are perceived to be similar to the Gospels, when examined further, bear very little resemblance at all to what Scripture says concerning Jesus (since many so-called “virginborn” pagan deities were in fact not born of a virgin), reducing to a minimum the degree of comparison between the two.


Note: Many of the references in this section will have emphasis added, and all such emphasis is added by the present writer. “Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.” ~ The Westminster Shorter Catechism How is Jesus distinct from these other so-called “virgin-born, resurrected saviors?” This section will discuss the superiority of Christ over pagan deities. In his book The Knowledge of the Holy, A. W. Tozer opens his first chapter by saying, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.”1 Anselm, an eleventh century philosopher, once said, “… let me seek thee in longing, let me long for thee in seeking; let me find thee in love, and love thee in finding.”2 The pursuit of God is a journey which rewards everyone who embarks on such a quest, provided that the seeker sets sail with a heart longing for the truth. Ravi Zacharias, reflecting on his conversion to Christianity, states, “I came to Him because I did not know which way to turn. I have remained with Him because there is no other way I wish to turn. I came to Him longing for something I did not have. I remain with Him because I have something I will not trade. I came to Him as a stranger. I remain with Him in the most intimate of friendships. I came to Him unsure about the future. I remain with Him certain about my destiny.”3

I. The Son of God is one with the Father and the Spirit
A proper discussion on the person of Jesus the Messiah must address the doctrine of the Trinity. Briefly stated, the Trinity refers to the three-fold nature of God, as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. These three exist not as three separate beings, but as one being with three persons. Each person is as much God as the others, each possessing the fullness of all the attributes, or inherent qualities, of God. The Trinity does not refer to a hierarchy of deities, although the Son is said to have been “begotten” of the Father, and the Holy Spirit is said to be “sent” by the Son. Such descriptions refer to a purpose (that is, their role in God’s work of redemption) rather than denoting a state of inferiority either in essence or being. There is one God Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. (Isa 43:10) Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. (Jas 2:19) God is a spirit God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. (Jn 4:24) Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. (2 Cor 3:17)


There are passages in Scripture which refer to God as having physical characteristics, such as hands or a face. Such depictions are known as anthropomorphisms, the application of human qualities to a non-human thing or being, as in Isaiah 31:3, where it is stated, “…the LORD shall stretch out his hand.” God is a being whose nature is so far above human understanding, that He uses such language in order to make Himself known to the finite human mind in ways which we would not otherwise be able to comprehend. God is a person and performs functions in accordance with personality He thinks and possesses knowledge O Lord, thou hast searched me, and known me. (Ps 139:1) I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings. (Jer 17:10) He formulates plans So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. (Isa 55:11) And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. (Rom 8:28) He has emotions The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn thee. (Jer 31:3) Thus shall mine anger be accomplished, and I will cause my fury to rest upon them, and I will be comforted: and they shall know that I the LORD have spoken it in my zeal, when I have accomplished my fury in them. (Ez 5:13) Nevertheless for thy great mercies’ sake thou didst not utterly consume them, nor forsake them; for thou art a gracious and merciful God. (Neh 9:31) He interacts with others And the LORD said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows; And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey. (Ex 3:7-8) Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name. (Ps 91:14)


He is actively working O LORD, how manifold are thy works! In wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches. (Ps 104:24) For the LORD thy God hath blessed thee in all the works of thy hand: he knoweth thy walking through this great wilderness: these forty years the LORD thy God hath been with thee; thou hast lacked nothing. (Deut 2:7) And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding: (Dan 2:21) God is more than one person And God said, Let us make man in our image. (Gen 1:26) Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech. (Gen 11:7) The word translated “God” in the above two passages is the Hebrew word “Elohim,” which is the plural form of the word El and is the name of God as the Creator and Judge of the universe. The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool. (Ps 110:1) Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel [meaning “God with us”]. (Isa 7:14) For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. (Isa 9:6) Here, a prophecy foretelling the birth of Christ, the Son of God, identifies Him as God. Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS. (Jer 23:5-6) Again, here is a prophecy concerning Christ, in which the Lord (God the Father) declares that Christ (God the Son) is “Lord.” God is identified as three persons Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. (Mt 28:19) Note that the three designations (Father, Son, and Spirit) are identified as having one name, not three different names.


And Jesus [the Son of God], when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice [God the Father] from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. (Mt 3:16) And the angel answered and said unto [Mary], The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest [God the Father] shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. (Lk 1:35) But when the Comforter {the Spirit of God] is come, whom I [Jesus, the Son of God] will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me. (Jn 15:26} The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen. (2 Cor 13:14) The mention of the three persons of the Trinity was a common salutation among the early Christians, as shown in many of the letters comprising the New Testament books. For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word [identified as Jesus; cf. Jn 1:1], and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.(1 Jn 5:7) Each of the three persons of the Godhead does the work of God Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied. (1 Pet 1:2) If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. (Jn 14.15-23) Each person of the Godhead was involved in the creation of the universe Concerning the Father And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. (Gen 2:7)


I said, O my God, take me not away in the midst of my days: thy years are throughout all generations. Of old hast thou laid the foundation of the earth: and the heavens are the work of thy hands. (Ps 102:24-25) Concerning the Son All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. (Jn 1.3) For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him. (Col 1.16) Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds. (Heb 1.2) Concerning the Holy Spirit And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. (Gen 1:2) The Hebrew word used here for “moved” means to “to brood” and carries the connotation of a nurturing hen warming the eggs from which her offspring would come forth. The spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life. (Job 33:4) None of the divine persons are inferior to another, but are each equal in essence and authority The Son is not inferior to the Father But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work. Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the Sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God. … For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth: and he will shew him greater works than these, that ye may marvel. … For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: That all men should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He that honoreth not the Son honoreth not the Father which hath sent him. (Jn 5:17-18, 20, 22-23) I [Christ] and my Father are one. (Jn 10:30) Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen. (Rom 9:5) For in [Christ] dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. (Col 2:9)


The totality of the essence of the Godhead was contained in the human body fashioned for Jesus Question: How are the following two passages reconciled if the Son is not inferior to the Father? I [Christ] and my Father are one. (Jn 10:30) Ye have heard how I [Christ] said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I. (Jn 14.28) Christianity has historically recognized a distinction between the relationships of the divine persons of the Trinity, in differentiating between their essence and their work. In regards to the essence of God, His persons are ontologically equal; that is, each is equal in His being or equal with regards to who each one is in essence or nature. However, the persons of the Godhead may be subordinate one to another in relation to their work or modes of operation, thus making the Son economically subordinate to the Father, and the Spirit, economically subordinate to the Son, while each remains ontologically equal to the other persons. Thus, the Son is sent by the Father, who is equal in essence to the Son, and the Spirit is sent by the Son, who is equal in essence to the Spirit. While there does not exist a hierarchy within the Godhead, there does exist an order of authority by which the works of each person are accomplished. The Spirit is not inferior to the Son And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man [Christ], it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come. (Mt 12:32) Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied. (1 Pet 1:2) For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: (1 Pet 3:18) But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: (Jn 15:26)


Some special considerations What is meant by “person?” These three persons of the Godhead are not merely three facets of one personality. Christians speak of God as being three persons, but personality, when attributed to God, is not like the personality attributed to a human being. A “person” is defined as an individual, and individuality cannot properly be attributed to the persons within the Godhead, for not one of the three divine persons exist separately from the others. God is not three separate persons, but three distinctions within one being. The description of God as three persons is the result of an attempt by the human mind to understand that which a finite mind cannot understand. God is so above even our highest of thoughts; therefore, in understanding who God is, we need to think of Him in ways which we can comprehend, yet in ways which cannot fully and most properly describe His essence. Each member of the Godhead possesses qualities inherent in personality, such as mind, emotion, and will, and while each are referred to by the use of individual pronouns (I, You, He), each member is not to be thought of as an separate individual. The illness known as schizophrenia is described as the presence of more than one personality within a single human mind, in which more than one personality exists within one person, and each personality has its own interests, passions, temperament, and will – which may or may not be in harmony with those of another personality within the same mind. Any understanding of the Trinity must not be likened to such a condition. In the case of the illness, the personalities do not act or think in concurrence with one another, nor do they often converse with one another. When conversation does occur, the personalities in conversation shift in and out of existence depending on which personality is speaking at the time. Typically, each personality is unaware of the presence of the other personalities contained within the same mind. However, the persons of the Godhead are aware of each other, converse with one another, and work with one another, and this they do in perfect unison, one never opposing or challenging the other. Additionally, the conversation among the Godhead is very much unlike the dialogue which occurs between humans. As A. W. Tozer explains, “the persons of the Godhead do not speak in time, but in immediate communion which knows not sound, effect, or motion.”4 It is proper to say that the members of the Godhead are both separate and inseparable; that each is self-existent, yet inherently united in being with the others; that each operate in a personal manner, yet in unison and conjunction with the whole of the Godhead. Ultimately, man cannot understand who God is, but he can try to come to an understanding, and in the trying he comes to find that the divine union is so much greater than he will ever comprehend, and it is this vast gulf between divinity and humanity which is most impressive and compulsive to the seeker of truth. That is the mystery of the Godhead: that such a one would not only be concerned with and interested in such lowly a creature as man, but that He would pour all of His love and affection on man, take on such a lowly form as man, and shed His own blood so that those who would otherwise surely perish would be blessed with everlasting life.


Is Christianity to be considered monotheistic or polytheistic? Monotheistic religion is a religion which recognizes one deity, whereas polytheistic religion recognizes more than one deity. Many world mythologies, such as Rome and Greece, contain a pantheon of gods and goddesses, and these deities sire offspring who become deities themselves. Christianity is a strictly monotheistic religion, despite its recognition of a three-fold Godhead, since the persons of the Trinity comprise a single supreme being. The Father is God, not a god; the Son is God, not a god; and the Spirit is God, not a god. How can a father and a son be one and the same? In answering this question, it must first be considered what is meant by sonship, in relation to Christ. For the ancient Hebrew, to be a “son of” another meant to be “of the order of” that one. Thus, in the first book of Kings (20:35) it is said that “a certain man of the sons of the prophets [denoting similarity of office, not lineage or biological relation] said unto his fellow by the word of Jehovah, Smite me, I pray thee.” The term “son of God” is used in Scripture as a reference to both men and angels. Both sonship and fatherhood carried more than a genealogical meaning to the ancient mind, for it also denoted similarity or sameness in nature or being. In Isaiah, the coming Messiah, the Son of God, is also named as the “Everlasting Father,” denoting His eternal nature – that He is one with eternity; that He is the Eternal Father; that He and eternity are inseparable. Christ, as the only “Son of God,” is one who shares the nature of God, in a full and complete sense, unlike men, who merely bear God's image or likeness in a greatly diminished sense. In the same fashion, Christ is also named as the “Son of Man,” in that He “took on the likeness of sinful flesh” and “was tempted in all points as are we,” as stated by the apostle Paul. If the terms Son of God and Son of Man referred to a relationship consisting of actual physical and ontological, or real, generation or procession, then one relationship would of necessity negate the other, since no person physically born of one being can rightly be said to have been born of another being in addition. In the relationship between God the Father and God the Son, sonship does not denote inferiority to fatherhood, but oneness with fatherhood, since the Son shares in the essence and being of His Father. In referring to Jesus as the Son of God, Scripture is not identifying Him as one sired of God, as Perseus was sired of Zeus. His sonship with the Father does not make Christ the Father's offspring, since sonship is not a quality the second Person of the Trinity assumed when He was conceived in Mary's womb. Christ never became the Son of God; rather, He always was the Son of God, by virtue of His eternal, unchanging nature and oneness with the Father. When He was sent to this world and assumed mortal flesh, He was sent as one who had always been God's Son. Likewise, since He has eternally been the Son of God, or one who shared in the divine nature, the Father has eternally been Christ's Father. Eternal sonship is eternally united with eternal fatherhood. If Christ's sonship to the Father is eternal, why is He referred to as firstborn and begotten? Christ is referred to as God's “only begotten Son” in the following passages:


And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. (Jn 1:14) No man hath seen God at any time, the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. (Jn 3:16-18) In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. (I Jn 4:9) In Word Meanings in the New Testament, Ralph Earle states that the oldest Greek manuscripts of John 1:14 read monogenes theos, literally “only begotten God,”5 a clear reference to Christ's deity. The book of Hebrews also uses the word monogenes (“only begotten”) in reference to Isaac, the son of Abraham. By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son. (Heb 11:17) Abraham was the father of both Isaac and Ishmael, so Isaac was not literally his “only begotten” son. Isaac was also the younger of the two sons. Thus, Isaac was neither the “only begotten” nor “firstborn” of Abraham. The significance of Isaac is that he was the child of promise. Isaac was the son through whom God's promise was fulfilled to Abraham. As such, Isaac became Abraham's heir, not because he was the oldest of Abraham's sons, but because he was the son selected to be heir. Christ is the only begotten of God in that He was the promised Messiah, and through Him alone does salvation come to God's elect. In the following passages, Christ is said to be “Firstborn”: Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature. (Col 1:15) And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. (Col 1:18) For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son? And again, when he bringeth in the first begotten


into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him. (Heb 1:5-6) And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead. (Rev 1:5) In ancient times, the identification of a child being “firstborn” was not strictly a reference to birth order; but rather, to the child's position as heir to his father's inheritance. Even if a son was an only child, he was still referred to as firstborn, since he was his father's heir. At times, when there were two or more sons born in a family, the oldest son would not be considered “firstborn” if he was not the one to whom was granted the father's inheritance. The “firstborn” was the father's heir by virtue of His father's selection, not by virtue of an earlier date of birth. Ralph Earle, in the work cited above, states that the word translated “firstborn” in Colossians (1:15) is prototokos, which “suggests both priority and supremacy,”6 rather than a temporal point of origin. In naming Christ as the firstborn of every creature, Scripture is not saying that Christ was the first created being, created before anything else. The apostle Paul stated that Christ possessed the fullness of the Godhead, which includes eternality, and thereby negates any notion of a point of origin for such a being. Rather, the point is that Christ existed before creation, not existing as one who had previously been created, but as one who had always existed, as the uncreated Creator of all things. However, although the Son is equal with the Father in nature, it has pleased the Father to grant supremacy to the Son, and in this sense, the Son is the heir, as a firstborn, of all creation. Later in Colossians (1:18) and in Revelation, Christ is named as “firstborn” and “first begotten” of the dead. This does not mean that He was the first person to ever have experienced a resurrection, for others had been resurrected before Him, by the prophet Elijah and also by Christ Himself, in the case of Lazarus. These resurrections were unlike that of Christ, and the distinctions will be discussed later in this work. Here, it only need be said that the references to Christ as “firstborn of the dead” is a reference to His preeminence over all things. He is “firstborn” (KJV) in order that he “might have supremacy” (NIV) or “have first place” (NASB). The references to Christ being firstborn of creation, of angels, or of the dead are declarations that He is supreme and that to Him has been granted the highest position of all. The broader context of the passage in Hebrews, below, illustrates that Christ's identification as “firstborn” and “first begotten” is directly related to His inheritance and elevation as the Son of God. God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high: Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. For unto


which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son? And again, when he bringeth in the first begotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him. (Heb 1:1-6) It is because of this supremacy, or His status as firstborn or heir of all things, that it can be said that the Father “hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Phil 2:9-11) A note on Horus and Osiris In her booklet The Companion Guide to Zeitgeist Part 1, D. M. Murdock states, “As we explore the original Egyptian mythos and ritual upon which much of Christianity was evidently founded, it needs to be kept in mind that the gods Osiris and Horus in particular were frequently interchangeable and combined, as in 'I and the Father are one.' (Jn 10:30) In fact, as part of the mythos, Osiris was "re-born under the form of Horus," as we have seen.”7 In the Egyptian myth, Horus and Osiris are father and son, but they are not one being. Horus was born by Isis after she was impregnated by the post-mortem Osiris, as detailed in Part one of this book. Prior to this birth, Horus did not exist, and he was born as a figure who was separate from Osiris. A mere perusal of the Horus myth will denounce any suggested correlation between the relationship of Horus to his father and the relationship of Jesus to His Father. In addition, the phrase “I and my father are one,” or any alternate form thereof, is not stated in the Horus myth. In later mythology, Horus and Osiris were indeed merged, but this was a common practice to merge one deity with another as religious beliefs evolved. At times, a deity from one pantheon, such as Egyptian, would be merged with a deity belonging to another pantheon altogether, such as Grecian. Such a merger was not due to any pre-existing relationship between the two figures; but rather, to a change in the deities' personages or representations. Within pagan mythology, Egyptian or otherwise, a deity commonly undergoes alterations. Sometimes this constitutes a change in form, a change in symbolism and representation, a change in worship, and a change in name. No such alteration can be said of Jesus of Nazareth, since the Gospel of Christ does not change. What was taught by Jesus and His disciples is still taught today by those who believe in Him. Whereas a pagan deity may change from one age to the next, Jesus has always been, and will forever be, the eternal Son of God the Father.

II. The Son of God is pre-existent
In pagan mythology, anyone who is said to be a son of a god always had a definite beginning. Pagan mythology does not contain mention of any sons of god who existed prior to conception. Such is not the case with Jesus, the Son of the one, true God.


As the second Person of the Trinity, Jesus existed before being born to Mary The testimony of prophets concerning the coming Messiah The testimony of Isaiah For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isa 9:6) “Everlasting Father” is a phrase which literally means “Father of Eternity.” It has been asked, if Jesus is the Son of God, how can He be referred to as a Father? It was a Hebrew idiom to use the position of fatherhood to denote ownership, in addition to a relationship with another person. Thus, to be the father of a thing is to be the owner of that thing. It is an expression somewhat similar to the concept of Father Time, in that “Father Time” is a personage who is said to own and control time itself. In referring to the Messiah as the Father of Eternity, Isaiah is literally identifying Him as “He who possesses eternity,” something which can only be said of God, the only eternal being. In the Jewish targums, Aramaic translations of the Hebrew Bible, the expression “Father of Eternity” is translated as “he who lives forever.” The testimony of Micah But thou, Beth-lehem Ephrathah, which art little to be among the thousands of Judah, out of thee shall one come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting. (Micah 5:2) The phrase ”from of old” literally means “days of immeasurable time”1 The testimony of John the Baptist On the morrow [John] seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold, the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world! This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man who is come before me: for he was before me. (Jn 1:29-30) It must be remembered that John was six months older than his cousin Jesus (see Lk ch 1), yet here he declares that Jesus came “before” him. The testimony of Jesus Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my [Jesus’] day; and he saw it, and was glad. The Jews therefore said unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was born, I am. They took up stones therefore to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple. (Jn 8:56-59)


[Jesus said,] And now, Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was. (Jn 17:5) As Creator Jesus – the Word, the only begotten of the Father – was present “in the beginning,” at creation. In Genesis (1:1) it is said “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” The Hebrew word translated “God” there is the word “Elohim,” which is a plural name, a reference to the Trinity. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld his glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father), full of grace and truth. (Jn 1:1-2, 14) for in him were all things created, in the heavens and upon the earth, things visible and things invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers; all things have been created through him, and unto him. (Col 1:16) God, having of old time spoken unto the fathers in the prophets by divers portions and in divers manners, hath at the end of these days spoken unto us in his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom also he made the worlds. And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning didst lay the foundation of the earth, And the heavens are the works of thy hands. (Heb 1:1-2, 10) As the Word In the Old Testament, the Logos, or Word of God, is used metaphorically, but in John’s Gospel, the Logos is identified as the second person of the Trinity. The Word was with God before time began, since He was with God in the beginning, when time began. As words convey the mind of a man, so does the Word of God reveal the mind and purpose of God. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. … And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld his glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father), full of grace and truth. (Jn 1:1-2, 14) And I saw the heaven opened; and behold, a white horse, and he that sat thereon called Faithful and True; and in righteous he doth judge and make war. And his eyes are a flame of fire, and upon his head are many diadems; and he hath a name written which no one knoweth but he himself. And he is arrayed in a garment sprinkled with blood: and his name is called The Word of God. (Rev 19:11-13)


All things have been delivered unto me of my Father: and no one knoweth who the Son is, save the Father; and who the Father is, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son willeth to reveal him. (Lk 10:22) No longer do I call you servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I heard from my Father, I have made known unto you. (Jn 15:15) As the Angel of the Lord A theophany is a physical manifestation of God. Such a manifestation may be an appearance in physical form, either human form or an element known to man, such as smoke or fire. The instances in Scripture when God appeared as a man, it was just that – as a man, not taking on actual flesh and bone (as was the case when Jesus was born of Mary). Some Old Testament examples of theophanies are: the cloud and the pillar of fire which guided the Hebrew people through the wilderness after their exodus from Egypt, the burning bush, and the lamp which appeared to Abraham (Gen ch 15). In the Old Testament, the principal theophany is the Angel of the Lord, also known as the Angel of Yahweh. It was in this form which God appeared most often. Also, it is important to distinguish an angel of the Lord from the Angel of the Lord. No mere angel is referred to as the Angel of the Lord or the Angel of Yahweh. An angel, in the commonly-understood sense of the word, is a created being; therefore, God cannot be properly called an angel according to the most common understanding of the word. However, the word “angel” refers to an office, not a state of being. The English word “angel” comes from a Hebrew word meaning “messenger.” Angels, by definition, are messengers of God, which was the precise function of the Angel of the Lord. What distinguishes the Angel from other angels is that the Angel of the Lord is God Himself, or, to be more precise, the Son of God, Jesus the Messiah. No mere angel is referred to as the Angel of the Lord or the Angel of Yahweh. The Angel of Yahweh is identified as God The Angel identifies Himself using the very name of God – I AM (YHWH) Now Moses was keeping the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the back of the wilderness, and came to the mountain of God, unto Horeb. And the angel of Jehovah appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed. … And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? What shall I say unto them? And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou


say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you. (Ex 3:1-2, 13-14) Withholding Isaac from the Angel of Jehovah is the same as withholding him from God And the angel of Jehovah called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham. And he said, Here I am. And he said, Lay not thy hand upon the lad, neither do thou anything unto him. For now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son, from me. (Gen 22.11-12) Being in the presence of the angel of the Lord is the same as being in the presence of God But the angel of Jehovah did no more appear to Manoah or to his wife. Then Manoah knew that he was the angel of Jehovah. And Manoah said unto his wife, We shall surely die, because we have seen God. (Judg 13:21-22) The Angel of the Lord made promises on His own authority, promises which only God could cause to be fulfilled And the angel of Jehovah said unto her, I will greatly multiply thy seed, that it shall not be numbered for multitude. (Gen 16.10) The Angel of the Lord forgave sin, which only God can do Take ye heed before him, and hearken unto his voice; provoke him not; for he will not pardon your transgression: for my name is in him. (Ex 23.21) The Angel of the Lord received worship, which angels do not receive The Angel of the Lord (identified here as the Prince of Jehovah’s host) received worship from Joshua, whereas ordinary angels rebuked man when he responded in worship. Also, the Angel echoed the same words spoken to Moses, at the burning bush, concerning the ground on which Joshua stood as being holy ground. And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries? And he said, Nay; but as prince of the host of Jehovah am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my lord unto his servant? And the prince of Jehovah’s host said unto Joshua, Put off thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place


whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so. (Josh 5:13-15; cf. Ex 3:5) The Angel of Yahweh is identified as a being other than God The passages above identified the Angel as God. Yet, elsewhere the Angel is described as a Person distinct from God in that the Angel interacts with Jehovah. Such passages illustrate Old Testament allusions to the divine Trinity – that God is one being consisting of three distinct persons. The angel of Yahweh intercedes to Yahweh for Israel. Then the angel of Jehovah answered and said, O Jehovah of hosts, how long wilt thou not have mercy on Jerusalem and on the cities of Judah, against which thou hast had indignation these threescore and ten years? (Zech 1:12) Both the Angel and Jesus have an intercessory ministry The angel of Yahweh intercedes to Yahweh for Israel. Then the angel of Jehovah answered and said, O Jehovah of hosts, how long wilt thou not have mercy on Jerusalem and on the cities of Judah, against which thou hast had indignation these threescore and ten years? (Zech 1:12) For there is one God, one mediator also between God and men, himself man, Christ Jesus. (I Tim 2:5) These things spake Jesus; and lifting up his eyes to heaven, he said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that the son may glorify thee: … And I am no more in the world, and these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep them in thy name which thou hast given me, that they may be one, even as we are. (Jn 17:1, 11) Wherefore also [Christ] is able to save to the uttermost them that draw near unto God through him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. (Heb 7:25) My little children, these things write I unto you that ye may not sin. And if any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. (I Jn 2:1) The Angel of the Lord is not mentioned in Scripture following Christ’s incarnation The Angel no longer appears after the incarnation of Christ. After His incarnation in human flesh, Jesus continued His activity as the incarnate Son of God. The New Testament makes references to ordinary angels sent by God, but never refers to the Angel of the Lord.


The description of the Angel of the Lord mirrors the description of the risen Christ Description of the Angel of the Lord – I lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and, behold, a man clothed in linen, whose loins were girded with pure gold of Uphaz: his body also was like the beryl, and his face as the appearance of lightning, and his eyes as flaming torches, and his arms and his feet like unto burnished brass, and the voice of his words like the voice of a multitude. (Dan 10:5-6) And above the firmament that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone; and upon the likeness of the throne was a likeness as the appearance of a man upon it above. And I saw as it were glowing metal, as the appearance of fire within it round about, from the appearance of his loins and upward; and from the appearance of his loins and downward I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and there was brightness round about him. As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of Jehovah. And when I saw it, I fell upon my face, and I heard a voice of one that spake. (Ez 1:26-28) Description of Christ – And his head and his hair were white as white wool, white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; and his feet like unto burnished brass, as if it had been refined in a furnace; and his voice as the voice of many waters. And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth proceeded a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength. (Rev 1:14-16) The titles of the Angel of the Lord mirror the titles of Christ Both called God – And she called the name of Jehovah that spake unto her, Thou art a God that seeth: for she said, Have I even here looked after him that seeth me? (Gen 16:7,13) Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. (Jn 20:28)


Both called I AM – And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you. (Ex 3:2-14) Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was born, I AM. (Jn 8:58) Both identified as Redeemer – In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them: in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old. (Isa 63:9) Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself up for it. (Eph 5:25) Both named as Commander of Lord’s Army – And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries? And he said, Nay; but as prince of the host of Jehovah am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my lord unto his servant? (Josh 5:13-14) And I saw the heaven opened; and behold, a white horse, and he that sat thereon called Faithful and True; and in righteous he doth judge and make war. And his eyes are a flame of fire, and upon his head are many diadems; and he hath a name written which no one knoweth but he himself. And he is arrayed in a garment sprinkled with blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which are in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and pure. (Rev 19:11-14)

III. Jesus' birth was not the product of a lustful god
In pagan mythology, any son of a god was born through the god’s sexual union, in some fashion, with a mortal woman. In these cases, the union was often spontaneous and due to the god’s burning lust for a woman. Often, the god would satisfy his lust by taking the woman against her will or, once seducing her, treating her in a less-than-friendly manner. At times, the union between the god and the mortal would take the form of incest


or rape. Nothing of this like can be said of the conception of Jesus in the womb of Mary. The birth of Jesus was not the result of God’s whim or lust; but rather, was part of His redemptive plan, a plan established before creation itself. ... but when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, that he might redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. (Gal 4:4-5) And all that dwell on the earth shall worship him, every one whose name hath not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb that hath been slain. (Rev 13:8) Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ: even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blemish before him in love: having foreordained us unto adoption as sons through Jesus Christ unto himself, according to the good pleasure of his will. (Eph 1:3-5) ... knowing that ye were redeemed, not with corruptible things, with silver or gold, from your vain manner of life handed down from your fathers; but with precious blood, as of a lamb without spot, even the blood of Christ: who was foreknown indeed before the foundation of the world, but was manifested at the end of times for your sake. (I Pet 1:18-20) The selection of Mary was not due to her beauty or position. She “found favor” with God, but not due to any outward appearance (for God looks not on outward beauty, but on the heart) or place of high nobility. God formed the fetus of Jesus in her womb, not through forceful intrusion, but with her consent to submit herself to the will of God. Mary was humbled by her selection as the one who would bear the infant Messiah, and as such, she was, as her cousin Elizabeth proclaimed, “blessed among women.” Also, the birth of Jesus was for the salvation of man, unlike the births of pagan sons of god, whose births either served the selfish desires of the god or served no specific purpose at all. In contrast, Jesus was formed in Mary so that He would “save His people from their sins.” (Mt 1:21) Jesus never forced people to worship Him. He never used His divine abilities to turn his enemies into less-than-human creatures. Any anger He displayed was motivated by righteous indignation, not simply because someone rubbed him the wrong way. Finally, In the Jewish mind, any thought of God producing an offspring, via sexual union or otherwise, was utter blasphemy. No Jew in his right mind would fashion such a tale and expect it to be accepted by the populace, were it not true. Rather than his tale being upheld as a great truth, it would spell his certain death, the legal penalty for blasphemy. … for there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. (Lk 2.11) For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, Which thou hast prepared before the face of all peoples; A light for revelation to the Gentiles, And the glory of thy people Israel. (Lk 2:30-32)


The thief cometh not, but that he may steal, and kill, and destroy: I came that they may have life, and may have it abundantly. (Jn 10:10) I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me may not abide in the darkness. And if any man hear my sayings, and keep them not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. (Jn 12:46-47) Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end have I been born, and to this end am I come into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. (Jn 18:37) For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God, sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: that the ordinance of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (Rom 8:3-4) … but when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, that he might redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. (Gal 4:4-5) And ye know that He was manifested to take away sins; and in Him is no sin. (1 Jn 3:5) Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (I Jn 4:10)

IV. Jesus took part in bringing about His own birth, death, and resurrection
Pagan sons of deity were birthed solely through the interaction of the god with a woman. None of the resulting offspring had anything to do with his conception. Jesus, on the other hand, chose to become man. Human flesh and blood was a form which He took upon Himself – it was not a form into which He was placed through workings not of His own doing. So it was with His death and resurrection. He gave His life away, it was not taken from Him. When He “gave up His spirit” (Jn 19:30) and his human body died, it was a willing surrender of His life, rather than a natural expiration of His body. He intentionally remained alive on the cross until the moment His work was “finished,” (Jn 19:30) at which time He voluntarily “commended” His spirit to His Father (Lk 23:46), having completed the work of redemption. He was not suddenly caught off guard as was Krishna, Attis, Osiris, or any other pagan deity who is said to have suffered death. His death, as well as every event of His life, was self-orchestrated. Jesus took part in bringing about His own birth Have this mind in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, existing in the form of God, counted not the being on an equality with God a thing to be grasped, but


emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men (Phil 2:5-7) Since then the children are sharers in flesh and blood, he also himself in like manner partook of the same [flesh and blood]; that through death he might bring to nought him that had the power of death, that is, the devil. (Heb 2:14) Jesus took part in bringing about His own death and resurrection And Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said this, he gave up the ghost. (Lk 23:46) When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up his spirit. (Jn 19:30) Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. The Jews therefore said, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou raise it up in three days? But he spake of the temple of his body. (Jn 2:19-21) Therefore doth the Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I may take it again. No one taketh it away from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment received I from my Father. (Jn 10:17-18)

V. Jesus foreknew the time of His death and resurrection
Krishna did not foresee he would be hit with an arrow. Dionysus had no prior knowledge he would be rent limb from limb. The fact is, none of the pagan gods had any prior knowledge of the time, place, or manner of his death. For them, death came as a shocking surprise. Jesus, on the other hand, knew He would be executed in Jerusalem after arriving at the city for the last Passover Feast that He would attend with His disciples. He knew the manner of His death – He would be “lifted up” (a reference to crucifixion) If I told you earthly things and ye believe not, how shall ye believe if I tell you heavenly things? And no one hath ascended into heaven, but he that descended out of heaven, even the Son of man, who is in heaven. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up; that whosoever believeth may in him have eternal life. (Jn 3:12-15) He knew the time of His death Ye know that after two days the Passover cometh, and the Son of man is delivered up to be crucified. (Mt 26:2)


He knew the place of His death Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be delivered unto the chief priests and the scribes; and they shall condemn him to death, and shall deliver him unto the Gentiles. (Mk 10:33) He knew the circumstances surrounding His coming trial And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders, and the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. (Mk 8:31) He knew the time of His resurrection For he taught his disciples, and said unto them, The Son of man is delivered up into the hands of men, and they shall kill him; and when he is killed, after three days he shall rise again. (Mk 9:31) The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and the third day be raised up. (Lk 9:22)

VI. Jesus' birth, life, death, and resurrection were foretold long before His arrival
Jesus claimed to be the theme of the entire Old Testament. Think not that I came to destroy the law or the prophets: I came not to destroy, but to fulfill. (Mt 5:17) And beginning from Moses and from all the prophets, he interpreted to them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself. … And he said unto them, These are my words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must needs be fulfilled, which are written in the law of Moses, and the prophets, and the psalms, concerning me. (Lk 24:27, 44) Ye search the scriptures, because ye think that in them ye have eternal life; and these [the prophets of old] are they which bear witness of me. (Jn 5:39) Then said I, Lo, I am come (In the roll of the book it is written of me) To do thy will, O God. (Heb 10:7) The Jews divided what Christians call the Old Testament into only two sections: the Law and the Prophets. In saying He is the sum of each, Jesus is saying He is the sum of the entire Old Testament. But does His claim really hold up? The Old Testament contains numerous prophecies concerning events or characteristics which would be a part of the life of Christ. The list below is not all-inclusive by any means, but it serves as an example of just some of the ways in which Jesus fulfilled the prophecies of ancient times. No such impressive list of prophecies precede the lives of any pagan deity. Some critics have claimed Jesus’ fulfillment of the Old Testament Messianic prophecies was merely a


coincidence. Statistically, the odds that He would fulfill all of the prophecies are so great against such fulfillment, that such a feat would be impossible by human standards. Mathematicians have stated that the odds are astronomically against Jesus fulfilling even a dozen of the stated Messianic prophecies, much less all.1 Another attempt of the critic is to claim that the Old Testament prophecies were fulfilled intentionally, as if a naturallyconceived Jesus could control the circumstances and events which led to his crucifixion, among other things. How could an ordinary man take such matters into his own hands? Who was it who placed the star in position and drew the magi to Bethlehem in search of a Messiah? What did Mary and Joseph do to cause the massacre of the infants at the behest of Herod? How did Jesus control the circumstances and events on the night of His betrayal and the following day on which He was executed? What more – why would a normal man, even if he could cause such things to happen, willingly subject himself to such torture merely for the purpose of deceiving others into believing himself to be the promised Messiah? If Jesus knew He was not the Messiah, then He certainly would not have endured the pains which He endured under Roman law. It is absolutely unreasonable to suggest that a normal man could bring about the necessary circumstances in his life so as to fulfill each and every Messianic prophecy written in the Old Testament, yet the fact of the matter is these very prophecies were fulfilled intentionally – not through human manipulation and direction, but through divine providence. Yes, Jesus did fulfill all these prophecies intentionally. He formed the star which guided the magi. He directed the Roman taxation which brought Mary to Bethlehem. He decreed the sufferings which He endured. He did all these things according to the will of the Father and for the love of those whom He would die to redeem – those who deserved no redemption whatsoever. As said above, by human standards it is impossible that one man could fulfill all the ancient prophecies – but with God, nothing is impossible. Foretold in the Old Testament Gen 3:15 Ps 132:11, Jer 23:5 Isa 7:14 Isa 7:14 Mic 5:2 Ps 72:10 Jer 31:15 Hos 11:1 Zech 11:12 Isa 52:14, 53:3 Isa 50:6 Ps 22:16 Isa 53:12 Ps 22:18 Isa 53:12 Cross-reference with the New Testament Gal 4:4 Acts 13:23, Rom 1:3 Mt 1:22-23, Lk 2:7 Mt 1:22-23 Mt 2:1, Lk 2:4-6 Mt 2:1-11 Mt 2:16-18 Mt 2:15 Mt 26:15 Jn 19:5 Mk 14:65, Jn 19:1 Jn 19:18, 20:25 Mt 23:32-33 Mt 27:35 Mt 27:50

As the seed of the woman As the seed of David Born of a virgin Called Immanuel Born in Bethlehem of Judea Notable people coming to adore him Massacre of the children of Bethlehem Sojourn in Egypt Sold for thirty pieces silver His visage being marred His being spit on and scourged Hands and feet being nailed to the cross He was crucified with thieves Garments being parted His Death


Foretold in the Old Testament That none of His bones should be broken His being pierced His resurrection His ascension Ex 12:46, Ps 34:20 Zech 12:10 Ps 16:10, Isa 26:19 Ps 68:18

Cross-reference with the New Testament Jn 19:33, 36 Jn 19:34, 37 Lk 24:6,31, 34 Lk 24:51, Acts 1:9

VII. Jesus' death was voluntary, sacrificial, and redemptive in nature
Whether one is discussing Osiris, Krishna, Dionysus, Attis, or any of the other pagan deities who are said to have died, he cannot accurately make the claim that any of these pagan gods willingly gave his life for the benefit of others. Contrary to Gerald Massey’s book The World’s Sixteen Crucified Saviors, Jesus is, in fact, the only crucified Savior the world has ever known. Only by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ can anyone be said to gain eternal blessing and salvation from sin. Jesus was not murdered, as were the gods of the pagans – He gave His life of His own accord and did so that those who turned their back on their Creator would receive forgiveness for their transgression. I [Jesus] am the good shepherd: the good shepherd layeth down his life for the sheep. … I lay down my life, that I may take it again. No one taketh it away from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment received I from my Father. (Jn 10:11-18) And it came to pass, when the days were well-nigh come that he should be received up, [Jesus] steadfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem. (Lk 9:51) [Christ] humbled himself, becoming obedient even unto death, yea, the death of the cross. (Phil 2:8)

VIII. Jesus' death was a victory, not a defeat
Unlike the pagan deities, Jesus was not murdered, nor did His death come unexpectedly. Through His death and resurrection, Jesus made void the curse of death with respect to those He redeemed. Because of His victory, the people of God need not fear death, for in passing from this earthly existence, they enter into the presence of the one who gave His all so that they would never be condemned to an eternity of condemnation. But when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting? The sting of death is sin; and the power of sin is the law: but thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Wherefore, my beloved brethren,


be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not vain in the Lord. (1 Cor 15:54-58) And you, being dead through your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, you, I say, did he make alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses; having blotted out the bond written in ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us: and he hath taken it out that way, nailing it to the cross; having despoiled the principalities and the powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it. (Col 2:13-15) Be not ashamed therefore of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but suffer hardship with the gospel according to the power of God; who saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before times eternal, but hath now been manifested by the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death, and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. (2 Tim 1:8-10) For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. (Phil 1:21)

IX. Jesus' resurrection was a bodily resurrection
Jesus physically arose from the dead. He did not merely enter into a new spiritual existence, as did Osiris when he descended into the underworld after being rent into pieces. Still, some critics claim that the apostle Paul preached Jesus was resurrected only in a meta-physical or spiritual sense, while His physical body remained dead in the tomb. They claim the belief in Jesus’ bodily resurrection was a later doctrine which evolved from a misunderstanding of a belief in an exclusively spiritual resurrection. In support for their argument, they turn to the very words of Paul in his first letter to the Corinthian church: “it [the body] is sown [that is, buried] a natural [physical] body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.” (1 Cor 15:44) Paul's belief in the bodily resurrection In this passage Paul addresses the resurrection of the dead; that is, the belief that the bodies of believers will one day be resurrected from the grave, as Christ was resurrected from His tomb. He begins the chapter by laying the foundation for his argument – that the resurrection of Christ was a certainty. He then answers those who claim there will be no such resurrection for believers. Following that, Paul addresses the principal questions concerning belief in the resurrection of believers: “How [or, by what power] are the dead raised?” and, “With what manner of body do they come [that is, “in what form are they raised”]?” (v. 35) In his response to the first of these two questions (by what power are they raised), Paul provides a word of rebuke by pointing out their hypocrisy in believing that God has the power to maintain the annual death and rebirth of crops, but is lacking in such power concerning the raising of the dead. The very same power which brings dead grain to life, holds the same power to raise human beings from death to life (vs 36-37).


Thou foolish one, that which thou thyself sowest is not quickened except it die: and that which thou sowest, thou sowest not the body that shall be, but a bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other kind. (vs 36-37) In his answer to the second question (in what form will they be raised), he elaborates by discussing the change which will be manifest in the bodies of the believers, once resurrected. Paul alludes to the varieties of forms found in the physical world, that not all humans are alike, not all animals are alike, nor birds, fish, and even the various celestial bodies – each one possesses qualities and distinctions all its own (vs 38-42). But God giveth it a body even as it pleased him, and to each seed a body of its own. All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one flesh of men, and another flesh of beasts, and another flesh of birds, and another of fishes. There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differeth from another star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption. (vs 38-42). Paul then likens the burying of a body to sowing, that it may be brought forth in a more glorious form – an incorruptible form – than that which was buried – a corruptible form (vs 43-44). As he states elsewhere: “[Christ] shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body.” (Phil 3:21) That which was corruptible, weak, and vile, shall be remade into that which is incorruptible and glorious. As a caterpillar enters a cocoon to re-emerge as a more glorious creature, yet in the same body, so shall Christians be raised from a mortal, earthly form to a more glorious, immortal form, yet in the same body. The change is in form, not being. That which was material does not become immaterial. Rather, that which was material, yet mortal, shall become immortal, yet remain material. It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: it is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. (vs 43-44) He then contrasts Adam and Christ (vs. 45-49). From Adam, the first man, everyone in successive generations gained a mortal, corrupted body, destined for the grave. However, it is from Christ, the second Adam, those who have faith are given the promise of a glorified, immortal body. As Adam was of earth, he passed on to those after him a sort of bondage to the earth, in that all men must eventually die, but as Christ was raised from the dead, He passed on to those after Him (those who have faith in Him) the surety that they, too, will one day be


raised from the fate set for them by virtue of their connection with the first Adam. So also it is written, The first man Adam became a living soul. The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. Howbeit that is not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; then that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is of heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. (vs 45-49) Following that, Paul offers a concluding statement in his answer: “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.” (v.50) That is the reason for the transformation – that nothing corruptible, as mortal flesh, shall enter into the presence of God. The body which was once a dying, fading being shall now become a glorious, everlasting being, yet the body itself never ceases to be. What was once lying dead in the grave is now raised to new life, never again to see death. Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. (v 50) Having responded to the question regarding in what form the believer will be raised, Paul provides the Corinthian Christians with a summation of what has just been said, along with an exhortation in relation to the resurrection: He reminds them of the surety of the resurrection: Behold, I tell you a mystery: We all shall not sleep, but we shall all be changed. (v 51) He specifies the manner of the resurrection: In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. (v 52) He restates the reason for the resurrection: For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. (v 53) He elaborates on the effect of the resurrection: But when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting? The sting of death is sin; and the power of sin is the law. (vs 54-56) He gives thanks to the One Who will bring about the resurrection:


But thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (v 57) He gives charge concerning proper living in view of the promise of resurrection: Wherefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not vain in the Lord. (v 58) The Greek phrase translated “spiritual body” is “soma pneumatikon.” In Scripture, the use of the word soma is almost always a reference to the physical body. The context of this passage is the contrast between the physical and the spiritual bodies of man. Greeks referred to the natural body, the flesh and bones, as soma psuchikon, literally translated as “soulish body.” It is this body which is “sown,” or buried, in the earth when the life of the body expires. It is this body, the physical “soulish body,” which is resurrected and transformed from that which was natural to that which is supernatural – yet, still physical. Body which was “sown” is the same body which is experiences resurrection, rather than resurrection resulting in a new spiritual body. Despite the resurrected body still being physical, it is able to transcend the bounds of that which is material and therefore able to make its entrance and exit in ways which the natural body (the body which man possesses before death) cannot. Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. (Jn 20:19) The two bodies to which Paul is here referring, the natural and the spiritual bodies, are the same body, but with different characteristics or states of being. The “spiritual body” is a physical or natural body which is able to transcend the laws of the natural world. Bodily death and resurrection go hand-in-hand In Scripture, the death of the body is the necessary prerequisite for resurrection. If one does not physically die, then there is no state from which one can be resurrected. As mentioned in the previous section, the other resurrections of Scripture were resurrections from bodily death. In each case, the person raised had died physically, and so it was with the Son of God. The Gospels clearly describe Jesus as suffering physical death on the cross, following which time His body underwent the customary burial preparations, and was then was placed in a sealed tomb. It was after this death, the death of His body, that Jesus arose from the dead. And when even was now come, because it was the Preparation, that is, the day before the Sabbath, there came Joseph of Arimathaea, a councilor of honorable estate, who also himself was looking for the kingdom of God; and he boldly went in unto Pilate, and asked for the body of Jesus. And Pilate marveled if he were already dead: and calling unto him the centurion, he asked him whether he had been any while dead. And when he learned it of the centurion, he granted the


corpse to Joseph. And he bought a linen cloth, and taking him down, wound him in the linen cloth, and laid him in a tomb which had been hewn out of a rock; and he rolled a stone against the door of the tomb. And Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Jesus beheld where he was laid. (Mk 15:42-47) He [Joseph of Arimathaea] came therefore, and took away his body. And there came also Nicodemus, he who at the first came to him by night, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds. So they took the body of Jesus, and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as the custom of the Jews is to bury. Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new tomb wherein was never man yet laid. There then because of the Jews’ Preparation (for the tomb was nigh at hand) they laid Jesus. (Jn 19:38-42) and [Christ] died for all, that they that live should no longer live unto themselves, but unto him who for their sakes died and rose again. (2 Cor 5:15) For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also that are fallen asleep in Jesus will God bring with him. (1 Thess 4:14) The spirit of man does not die and is in no need of any sort of resurrection Christian doctrine holds that the spirit of man does not die following the expiration of the body. At death, the spirit is removed from the body to receive either blessing or curse, depending on the object of one’s faith. There is no need for a spirit to be resurrected, since the spirit itself does not die. Therefore, any truly Christian concept of resurrection must of necessity refer to the resurrection of the body, the only part of man which really suffers death. It is this type of resurrection which Jesus brought about on Himself following His death and burial. For the Christian, death is a relocation of the spirit, moving from this earthly existence to being in the very presence of God. Being therefore always of good courage, and knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord (for we walk by faith, not by sight); we are of good courage, I say, and are willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be at home with the Lord. (2 Cor 5:6-8) Oxford’s Dictionary defines resurrection as “resurrection from the dead” and “revival after disuse, inactivity, or decay.” Following the death of His body, Jesus’ spirit remained alive and active. As Peter states, Jesus’ death was “in the flesh,” not a spiritual death. Because Christ also suffered for sins once, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God; being put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit; in which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison. (1 Pet 4:18-19)


Jesus demonstrated He was not raised as a spirit Once He was resurrected, Jesus appeared in a physical body. He had real flesh and bones, not just the appearance of such. He could be held and touched by others. He ate fish with His disciples. The resurrected body was the same one which had previously been embalmed and laid to rest in the tomb, but in His resurrected body the corruption brought about by death was no more. In His resurrected form, His body did not bear the decay or stink of death. Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and his feet. And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here any meat? And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb. And he took it, and did eat before them. (Lk 24:39-43) And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshiped him. (Mt 28:9) The resurrection of believers in the last days will mirror the resurrection of Christ Scripture teaches that the bodies of believers will one day be raised from the dead to a state of everlasting glorification. For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself. (Phil 3:20-21) Here, the word translated change is the Greek word metaschema which means “to change the figure of, transform,” or “transfer.” The idea here is not a total transformation from one being into another, from body to spirit; rather, it is the transformation of a mortal body to a glorified body, yet the body itself is the same flesh-and-bone body which previously existed as mortal. It is a transformation of the same body, not an exchange of bodies or reconstruction of one body from another. What is the “second death” referred to in Scripture? Scripture speaks of a second or spiritual death which the unredeemed man will endure. And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne; and books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of the things which were written in the books, according to their works. … and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death, even the lake of fire. And if any was not found written in the book of life, he was cast into the lake of fire. (Rev 20:12-15)


Here, “death” does not refer to an expiration of either the body or spirit; but rather, to the utter abandonment of both by God. This death is God’s final judgment on sin, in which the guilty are permanently and completely removed from the grace of God to which He extends to all men, Christian and pagan. Christian doctrine refers to this grace as “common grace” – the grace by which God grants man breath day by day and governs the regularity of the seasons and all that is required for the maintenance of life. This is the final death of the whole of fallen man, body and spirit. Belief in bodily resurrection is essential to the Christian faith That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. (Rom 10:9) And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. ... And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. (1 Cor 15:14, 17)

X. Jesus' resurrection is a fact of history
The character of the Gospels’ narrative of the resurrection, and events following, account for nothing less than a bodily resurrection. These aspects of the narratives make anything other than a bodily resurrection unreasonable and illogical, yet skeptics have proposed the following theories in order to account for the resurrection of Jesus as stated in the Gospels. Theory 1: The disciples stole the body of Jesus in order to fake a resurrection Following the death of Jesus, the chief priests and the Pharisees requested that Pilate seal the tomb and place a Roman guard there, for fear that the disciples would attempt such a feat as to steal the body of Christ. In order for the disciples to steal the body, their first task would be to deal with the Roman guard. Given the fear the disciples, even Peter (who certainly was not lacking in zeal), displayed the night of Jesus’ trial, it would be a wonder where they would muster enough courage to overtake trained, armed Roman centurions. Some have said the guards fell asleep and this gave the disciples the opportunity to act, but any Roman soldier knew he would face harsh penalty, even death, for abandoning his post or falling asleep during his watch. The fate the disciples met later in life refutes any theory that they stole the body of Jesus. The early Christian historian Eusebius describes the violent deaths which met the disciples of Jesus. If the disciples intentionally faked a resurrection of Christ in order to establish a religion which they knew was based on falsehood, they would surely not have given their lives for something they knew was a lie. Foxes Book of Martyrs describes the fate which met the apostles and other writers of the New Testament*: James – death by the sword Phillip – crucified


Matthew – beaten to death Andrew – crucified Peter – crucified Bartholomew – crucified Thomas – death by a spear James – stoned Jude – crucified Mark – dismembered Paul – beheaded Luke – hanged * John was boiled in oil, but survived. He is believed to have died of old age while residing in Ephesus. It may correctly be argued that just because a man gives his life for his faith does not make his faith valid. The terrorists who executed the 9/11 attacks were certainly not justified in their actions based on the assumption that they believed they were acting for a just and righteous cause. Simply because they gave their lives for a religious cause does not justify and validate that cause. However, their martyrdom does testify to their belief that their cause was a true cause. They died believing that their actions reflected the desire of god. Likewise, the martyrdom of the New Testament writers is evidence that they did not invent the Gospel accounts. They believed that what they wrote was the truth, and it is for this reason that they gave their lives. If they stole the body, they would have obviously known their Gospel to be false, and would have recanted their faith when faced with death. Also, had the disciples felt the need to fabricate evidence that Jesus arose from the dead, an empty tomb would not have served their purpose, as evidenced by their lack of faith following Jesus’ resurrection. The faith of the apostles was such that an empty tomb would not serve to solidify public recognition of Jesus as the Messiah. Both James and Thomas needed to see the risen Christ even after hearing and seeing the tomb was empty. Likewise, Paul was a persecutor of Christians prior to his conversion. He was present at the stoning of Stephen, whose clothes were laid at Paul’s feet after Stephen lie dead. Following Paul’s conversion, the Christians in Jerusalem at first feared to have him among their congregation, believing his supposed conversion to be a trick by which they would be arrested and convicted of blasphemy. The empty tomb did not convince Paul that Jesus was the Messiah. It was not until Paul saw the risen Christ that he came to realize the truth of Christianity. The lack of faith the disciples displayed following news of the resurrection is such that does not bear the mark of fabrication, for such lack of faith stands to their discredit and embarrassment. Had they invented the Gospel story, surely the events after the resurrection would not involve the element of unbelief on the part of Jesus’ disciples. As it is implausible to claim the disciples stole the body, it is even more implausible to claim the Romans or religious leaders stole the body of Christ, for in so doing, they would create the primary evidence of the validity of the Christian faith – the evidence of the empty tomb. Only Jesus’ disciples and followers would benefit from the empty tomb, for such would make their faith sure. However, the enemies of


Christ desired that Jesus’ body remain in the grave (hence, the reason for the Roman guard at the tomb), knowing that an empty tomb would serve to strengthen this new “Jesus movement” which they so desired to quench. This theory is not new. In fact, it’s been around since the day Christ rose from the dead. It was the very first attempt to discredit Christianity. Now while they were going, behold, some of the guard came into the city, and told unto the chief priests all the things that were come to pass. And when they were assembled with the elders, and had taken counsel, they gave much money unto the soldiers, saying, Say ye, His disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept. And if this come to the governor’s ears, we will persuade him, and rid you of care. So they took the money, and did as they were taught: and this saying was spread abroad among the Jews, and continueth until this day. (Mt 28:11-15) Theory 2: The women and disciples went to the wrong tomb When the women arrived at the tomb at dawn, the stone was rolled away, leaving the tomb unsealed. They were not looking for an unsealed tomb, but a sealed tomb. Besides, they had been there only three days before. It is not likely they would have forgotten the place where their Lord lay buried. When they arrived at the tomb, seeing it unsealed, an angel made known to them that Jesus had rose from the dead, confirming they had arrived at the right tomb. Had they gone to the wrong tomb, opponents of Christianity, either Pilate or the Jewish religious authority, would have taken swift action to announce the correct tomb, in which the body of Jesus would still remain, and present His corpse as evidence that He was still dead. Rather, since they knew the actual tomb of Jesus was now empty, they fabricated their “disciples stole the body” story as a way to explain the absence of any body in Jesus’ tomb. Also, it should be noted that the women and disciples who saw Jesus following His resurrection did not recognize Him until He made Himself known. As with the disciples’ unbelief following the news of the resurrection, such a detail stands to their embarrassment and does not bear the mark of a fabricated story. Theory 3: Those who saw the risen Jesus experienced a hallucination Jesus appeared not only to His core disciples and followers, but also to over five hundred others as well. After that, [Jesus] was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. (1 Cor 15:6) Hallucinations vary from one person to another and the form they assume are based on one’s own experience. A hallucination is merely a perceived reality, it not visually setting one’s sight on what really is; therefore, no two people can imagine the same hallucination under the same circumstances. What more, it is a medical impossibility for a multitude of people, ranging in age and experience, to have the very same hallucination. Neither did Jesus' contemporaries see what they merely thought was


Jesus – they saw Him, risen in the flesh, not as a cloud formation that “sort of” looked like Jesus, or a shadow out of the corner of their eye, or an image on a piece of toast that resembled the shape of a bearded male. Also, it must be noted that the women who first arrived at the tomb, as well as Jesus’ disciples, did not expect a resurrection. The religious leaders understood His teaching that He would rise on the third day following His death, but the disciples missed this meaning until after the fact. Their journey to the tomb the morning Jesus arose was so that they may tend to the body, having rushed the burial in order to finish the task before the Sabbath. Their reaction does not describe individuals who arrived at a scene which met their expectations. Later, when the women told the disciples that Jesus was risen, they went to the tomb to see for themselves, since they disbelieved their story. And they went out, and fled from the tomb; for trembling and astonishment had come upon them: and they said nothing to any one; for they were afraid. Now when he was risen early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons. She went and told them that had been with him, as they mourned and wept. And they, when they heard that he was alive, and had been seen of her, disbelieved. And after these things he was manifested in another form unto two of them, as they walked, on their way into the country. And they went away and told it unto the rest: neither believed they them. (Mk 16:8-13) Theory 4: Jesus only collapsed on the cross, falling in a state of supposed death, only to revive three days later The Roman guards inspected the bodies of Jesus and the thieves with whom He was crucified while they were still on the cross. The practice was if the condemned man did not perish after a time of being in a crucified state, his legs would be broken so that he would be unable to lift his torso in order to breathe, thus resulting in suffocation. When they came to Jesus, they saw He was already dead, but, just to be sure, they pierced His side with a spear, and out flowed blood and water. Medical knowledge states that the flow of blood and water from such a wound would only occur if the sac around the heart were punctured and if the body was already in a state of death.1 Such medical knowledge would not have been known to the early Gospel writers and an inclusion of such a detail would not have been included were it not factual. The wounds Jesus received were severe. In recent cinema the movie The Passion of the Christ depicted the last hours of Jesus. The film received much attention and criticism for its graphic portrayal of the crucifixion, yet, even as bloody and violent as Mel Gibson’s depiction was, it still does not quite meet up to the vision of Isaiah, who prophesied the Messiah’s visage would be marred beyond recognition. Behold, my servant shall deal wisely, he shall be exalted and lifted up, and shall be very high. Like as many were astonished at thee (his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men). (Isa 54:13-14)


When Jesus rose from the dead He was not recognized by the women at first. He looked as a normal man, not one who had endured Roman torture and crucifixion only three days earlier. In His resurrected body, the only visible signs of His sufferings were the scars in His hands* and His side. Had He been an ordinary man, buried alive, it would have been impossible for Him to roll away the stone from inside the tomb once He revived to consciousness. Even a man in no such weakened and mutilated condition as was Jesus would have been unable to move the stone on his own, the stone being too heavy for one man to move independently, as was typical in ancient times of a stone covering the entrance to a tomb. * The scars did not remain due to an inability to fully heal His body. Rather, they remain as a mark of the covenant God made with man. In ancient times, when two men “cut a covenant” with one another, they often made an incision in the wrists and joined hands, the commingling of their blood being a sign of unity between covenant partners – they now shared one another’s nature, or essence, in the sharing of blood. Following the rite, the scars remained as a visible sign, or reminder, of the oath made between the two. As such, the scars in the hands of Jesus serve as a sign to His redeemed that the sacrifice made on their behalf would never be forgotten or revoked. The covenant God made in the presence of Abraham, and to men and women of faith throughout every generation, will endue for all eternity, being upheld and maintained by the power of God alone. Theory 5: The resurrection of Jesus was a story which arose as a legend Legends develop over long periods of time, not over the course of a mere decade or two, and have their basis in history, as opposed to myths, which have their basis in fantasy. While the basis for a legend is historical, the elements of the legend itself may be exaggerated, such as the legend of Johnny Appleseed, based on an actual pioneer named John Chapman (Sept 26, 1774- Feb 18, 1845). It may be said that Jesus was a “legend in His own time,” as were Martin Luther King, John F. Kennedy, and Mother Teresa, but such a characterization is based on verifiable evidence regarding one’s words, deeds, influence, or effect. Any legendary status attributed to a person within or shortly after his or her life is due to what that person really accomplished, rather than being exaggerated versions of the truth. In that sense, Jesus was a legend in His own time, since He really did rise from the dead and remained among man for a period of time. Also, legends do not have the advantage of eyewitness testimony to the truth. When the Gospels were written, there were still many eyewitnesses who would have been able to testify to the truth of the Gospels, as well as many opponents who would have surely exposed the Gospels for lies, were they not historically accurate. The apostles were the authoritative leaders of the early church. During their lifetime, nothing that was not true of Christ would have been accepted by the church. In fact, the early church rejected those who denied the bodily resurrection of Christ, as it was the resurrection which was at the heart of apostolic preaching.


Written evidence for belief in Christ's resurrection can be dated to within only twenty years following the fact Jesus was born in 4 or 5 BC, which places the resurrection at 28 or 29 A.D. Written evidence for belief in Christ's resurrection can be dated to within a short time following the fact. The earliest of the Gospel accounts of the resurrection is the Gospel of Mark, written between 64-69 A.D., approximately forty years after the resurrection. The letters of Paul can be dated even earlier than the Gospels, since Paul was martyred in 62 A.D. The book of Acts was written around 64 A.D., and Luke, the author of Acts, wrote that book after composing the Gospel which bears his name, placing the writing of his Gospel around 60 A.D. Concerning the letters of Paul, It is generally agreed among scholars that the earliest of them is Galatians, written in the late 40's A.D., only twenty years after the resurrection.2 Oral evidence for belief in Christ's resurrection can be dated to within only a few years following the fact While the earliest written evidence dates twenty years after the time of Christ, oral tradition can be dated even earlier. In his letters to the Philippians, Colossians, and Corinthians, it is believed that Paul utilizes existing church creeds in his writing. The Philippian creed (c.61 A.D.) Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Phil 2:5-11) The Colossian creed (c.58-62 A.D.) Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in him were all things created, in the heavens and upon the earth, things visible and things invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers; all things have been created through him, and unto him; and he is before all things, and in him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. For it was the good pleasure of the Father that in him should all the fulness dwell; and through him to reconcile all things unto himself, having made peace through the blood of his cross; through him, I say, whether things upon the earth, or things in the heavens. (Col 1:15-20)


The Corinthian creed (c.55 A.D.) For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. (1 Cor 15:3-7) The testimony of John (c 85-95 A.D.) That which was from the beginning, that which we have heard, that which we have seen with our eyes, that which we beheld, and our hands handled, concerning the Word of life (and the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare unto you the life, the eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us); that which we have seen and heard declare we unto you also, that ye also may have fellowship with us: yea, and our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. (1 John 1:1-3) The testimony of Luke In Luke’s Gospel (c.60 A.D.) Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to draw up a narrative concerning those matters which have been fulfilled among us, even as they delivered them unto us, who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word, it seemed good to me also, having traced the course of all things accurately from the first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus; that thou mightest know the certainty concerning the things wherein thou wast instructed. (Lk 1:1-4) In Luke’s account of the Acts of the Apostles (c.64 A.D.) The former treatise I made, O Theophilus, concerning all that Jesus began both to do and to teach, until the day in which he was received up, after that he had given commandment through the Holy Spirit unto the apostles whom he had chosen: To whom he also showed himself alive after his passion by many proofs, appearing unto them by the space of forty days, and speaking the things concerning the kingdom of God: and, being assembled together with them, he charged them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, said he, ye heard from me. (Acts 1:1-4) This Jesus did God raise up, whereof we all are witnesses. (Acts 2:32)


And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the country of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom also they slew, hanging him on a tree. Him God raised up the third day, and gave him to be made manifest, not to all the people, but unto witnesses that were chosen before of God, even to us, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. (Acts 10:39-41) The testimony of Paul (c.35 A.D.) In the passage just quoted, Paul states, “I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received.” (1 Cor 15:3) What he received was the doctrine that “Christ died for our sins … was buried, and that he rose again the third day.” The question then is when did he receive this doctrine, and from whom? Concerning the latter question, Paul gives his answer is his letter to the church in Galatia: For I make known to you, brethren, as touching the gospel which was preached by me, that it is not after man. For neither did I receive it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came to me through revelation of Jesus Christ. (Gal 1:11-12) Concerning the latter question regarding the time of the revelation, the book of Galatians states that Paul journeyed to Arabia “straightway” (that is, immediately) following his conversion, where he “conferred not with flesh and blood.” But when it was the good pleasure of God, who separated me, even from my mother’s womb, and called me through his grace, to reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the Gentiles; straightway I conferred not with flesh and blood: neither went I up to Jerusalem to them that were apostles before me: but I went away into Arabia; and again I returned unto Damascus. Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas, and tarried with him fifteen days. (Gal 1:15-18) The indication in the passage above is that Paul likely received the revelation of doctrine during this time in Arabia. He then returned to Damascus and “straightway” began preaching the Gospel (Acts 9:19-20). While the duration of his stay in Arabia is not specified, it is certain that his preaching in and around Damascus occurred within three years following his conversion (Gal 1:18), after which time he escaped to Jerusalem upon threat of his life (Acts 9:23-26). Assuming 29 A.D. as the date of the resurrection, Paul would have been converted about 32 A.D. His arrival in Jerusalem would have been around 35 A.D., therefore his early preaching ministry occurred between 32-35 A.D.


The testimony of Peter (c.29 A.D.) For we did not follow cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. (2 Pet 1:16) The following passage is an extract from the first recorded public sermon by Peter following the ascension of Christ, and well before the conversion of Paul. Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it. For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved: Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope: Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance. Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulcher is with us unto this day. Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. (Acts 2:22-32) The earliest non-canonical records Early Christian writings, dating within a generation of Christ and continuing through the early church era (c.30 A.D.-313 A.D.) display an early belief not only in the resurrection of Christ, but also in the bodily resurrection of Christ, in stating He was raised from the dead. These excerpts from the early church Fathers has been previously listed in the section titled “Concerning the historicity of Jesus” and here I will merely invite the reader to refer to the material contained within that portion of this book.


XI. The characteristics of the original source material regarding Jesus stands as added testimony to its reliability
The primary source of information concerning Jesus is the Bible. How can we trust it as a reliable source? In the next section, we will turn our attention to the source itself.


Are the Gospel accounts accurate in their depiction of the life of Jesus, both in their relation to each other and to the rest of Scripture, and also in their historical accuracy? Regardless of one's view of the truthfulness of Christianity, it must be admitted that Christians, since the days of the New Testament writers and the early church, believe Jesus of Nazareth was the incarnation of the only begotten Son of God, born of the virgin Mary, lived a sinless life, performed miracles, was crucified, as both He and the prophets foretold, and was later resurrected as the Redeemer of man, for whom He now acts as Mediator between man and God the Father. Since this is so, then why are these beliefs held with such firmness? Is it the result of the life of Christ being “the greatest story ever sold,” as the critic D. M. Murdock claims, or is it believed because it is the truth? Does the account of Jesus’ life, as portrayed in the Gospels, describe the actual events of His life? In answering this question, we must consider the earliest source material from which we have record: the Bible itself and the documents of the early church.

I. The early date of the Gospel records testify to their historical accuracy
What has been said previously on this matter needs only be stated here in summation. The earliest written record of Jesus' life is the Gospel of Mark, written about forty years after Jesus' death and resurrection. While the date of the remaining three Gospels have been in debate, it is certain that all were completed no later than the mid 80s A.D. (see previous discussion on canonical dating), or no later than sixty years after Christ. Such a length of time is not sufficient for one's biography to become tainted by myth or legend. The supernatural elements of the narrative were either a work of fiction or historical fact. If fiction, such a record would not have survived without early refutation, of which no such response exists within early literature. At the time of the writing of the Gospels, eyewitnesses, including disciples, skeptics, and opponents of Jesus, were still living and able (and certainly willing) to decry such a record of Jesus' life as false, had the Gospel writers embellished their accounts. If the apostles had made use of embellishment, then certainly the ruling political or religious powers would have exposed the Gospels as nonhistorical writings, in order to quench the rise of Christianity. Finally, the writings the early church fathers testify to the authenticity of the Gospels' authorship. Of particular note if the writing of Papias, Bishop of Hierapolis in the second century. “But I shall not be unwilling to put down, along with my interpretations, whatsoever instructions I received with care at any time from the elders, and stored up with care in my memory, assuring you at the same time of their truth. For I did not, like the multitude, take pleasure in those who spoke much, but in those who taught the truth; nor in those who related strange commandments, but in those who rehearsed the commandments given by the Lord to faith, and proceeding from truth itself. If, then, any one who had attended on the elders came, I asked minutely after their sayings, — what Andrew or Peter said, or what was said by Philip, or by Thomas, or by James, or by John, or by Matthew, or by any other of the Lord’s disciples: which things Aristion and the presbyter John, the disciples of the Lord, say. For I imagined that what was to be got from


books was not so profitable to me as what came from the living and abiding voice.”1 “Mark having become the interpreter of Peter, wrote down accurately whatsoever he remembered. It was not, however, in exact order that he related the sayings or deeds of Christ. For he neither heard the Lord nor accompanied Him. But afterwards, as I said, he accompanied Peter, who accommodated his instructions to the necessities [of his hearers], but with no intention of giving a regular narrative of the Lord’s sayings. Wherefore Mark made no mistake in thus writing some things as he remembered them. For of one thing he took especial care, not to omit anything he had heard, and not to put anything fictitious into the statements.”2

II. Concerning the supposed silence of the remainder of the New Testament regarding Matthew and Luke’s virgin birth narratives
Of the four Gospels, only Matthew and Luke contain an account of Jesus' birth. Given the unique manner of His conception, and His resulting two-fold nature, why did not Mark and John include the account in their Gospels as well? Furthermore, some have asked, why does the remainder of the New Testament seem to remain silent concerning the manner of Jesus’ conception? Does the remainder of the New Testament discredit Matthew and Luke's narratives by virtue of such silence? First, the critic must admit that silence, if such silence exists, is not ample evidence for an admission of denial. Second, indirect affirmations of the virgin birth are found in the writings of the other New Testament books. Concerning Mark Mark's purpose in writing his Gospel was not to give an account of the life of Jesus, but to give an account of His public ministry, as noted in the outset of his Gospel: “The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” (1:1) For that reason, Mark begins his account with Jesus' baptism, the event which officially marked the beginning of His public ministry. Additionally, two passages in Mark make reference to Jesus' parentage. Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him. (Mk 6:3) Is not this the carpenter’s son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things? (Mk 13:55-56) In the first instance, Mark refers to the actual parentage of Jesus, when he speaks of Jesus as the “son of Mary,” but not the son of Joseph. In the second, he refers to


Jesus’ assumed parentage as “the carpenter’s son,” as Jesus’ virginal conception was not a thing of public knowledge during His ministry. Had Jesus been conceived naturally by Joseph and Mary, there would be no need for the distinctly different references concerning whose son Jesus really was. Concerning John There are several reasons why John would not have included an account of Jesus’ conception and birth. First, Matthew and Luke had already composed their Gospels at the time of John's writing; therefore, there already existed two separate witnesses to the truth, and there was no need for a third. In the Makkot (the fifth volume in the Nezikin, the code used by the Sanhedrin), the testimony of two witnesses was considered sufficient testimony to the truth, so long as their testimonies were in agreement.1 It is this judicial standard which Paul makes reference to in his letter to the Corinthian church. This is the third time I am coming to you. At the mouth of two witnesses or three shall every word established. (2 Cor 13:1) The fact of the matter is, even if all four Gospels included an account of the birth of Christ, those hostile to Christianity would still be blind to the truth, for it is their lack of faith, rather than a lack of evidence, which serves as their condemnation. Second, John was devoted to the truth, and had he believed the two previous records contained false information, he would have surely written to their correction. In fact, Polycarp (a disciple of Ignatius, who was a disciple of John) testifies that when Cerinthus of Ephesus began teaching that Jesus was not virgin-born (he taught that Jesus was a normal man upon whom the Divine Christ descended at His baptism), John publicly opposed him, so far as to not even be in Cerinthius' presence.2 Additionally, while Jesus hung on the cross, He committed his mother Mary to John's care (Jn 19:26), therefore, John had close ties with Jesus' mother and would certainly have known the truth concerning the manner of Jesus' conception. If Mary knew the accounts in Matthew and Luke’s Gospel to be an embellishment of the true manner of Jesus’ conception, John would have been aware of this embellishment and would have written to their correction. An early church tradition holds that Mary resided with John in Ephesus in her latter years. Third, the opening of John's Gospel assumes that Jesus' origin was supernatural. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. he same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. (Jn 1:1-3) John clearly believed in Jesus’ pre-existence and oneness with deity. In accordance with such a belief, the incarnation of God as a human being conceived through normal means becomes a thing which must be denied, so as not to elevate am ordinary man to divine status. Fourth, John makes no reference to Jesus' conception at all, whether natural or supernatural. If his silence is presumed as evidence that John did not believe Jesus was virgin-born, so may it be presumed that John did not believe Jesus was born at


all, but was just a manifestation of God as a man; however, a reading of John's Gospel clearly indicates he believed Jesus to be a real man having flesh and blood. Fifth, John's Gospel is the most theological of all four Gospels, with an emphasis on Jesus' work as man's Redeemer. John explicitly stated the purpose for his Gospel in the passage quoted below: And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.(Jn 20:30-31) Having an emphasis on Jesus' teaching rather than His actions, John's Gospel contains lengthy discourses not found in the other Gospels. With such an emphasis on Christ's deity, although not with lack of recognition of His humanity, the birth of Jesus was simply outside the scope of John's purpose. Sixth, a large portion of John's Gospel (chapter twelve onward) takes place during the week prior to Jesus' death. With such an emphasis on a short period of time, John excludes details, in addition to Jesus' birth, that the other Gospel writers chose to include in their work. As John's silence concerning certain miracles or discourses is not a denial of the historicity of those events, so is true of his silence concerning the virgin birth. Seventh, John records Jesus' teaching on the state of natural-born man. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. (Jn 3:6-7) If John truly believed the words of his Lord, then he recognized that a man born of normal human conception was not suited as one who could redeem other men, for he would be in need of redemption himself. Also, John would have also been aware of Paul’s letters which state the human sinful condition is one passed through the seed of Adam. Paul was martyred in c.62 A.D., twenty to thirty years before the writing of John’s Gospel. Had Paul made an error in his view of the doctrine of original sin, John would have discussed the correct doctrine in his Gospel, being a Gospel greatly concerned with theological issues. Concerning the book of Acts The author of the book of Acts was the evangelist Luke, the same one who wrote the Gospel of Luke and gave an account of Jesus' birth. Luke wrote the book of Acts following his Gospel. Since he already gave an account of the birth in his previous work, there was no need to repeat it in his second work (see Acts 1:1). Whereas Luke's first work was concerned with the activity of Jesus during His time on earth, Acts is concerned with the activity of the early days of the church, with particular attention to apostolic preaching and the spread of Christianity. While the doctrine of the virgin birth is a doctrine essential to the Christian faith, it is not essential to one's understanding of the Gospel message, and therefore was not a topic of apostolic preaching. Even Peter's sermon in Acts chapter two makes no mention of Christ's conception. Rather, the focal point of apostolic preaching found in Acts is Christ's


resurrection – not that it is the only essential doctrine, but that it is the doctrine essential to the message of salvation. Salvation comes by faith in the fact that Jesus died for the sin of man. Jesus' virgin birth is essential to His role as Savior, Mediator, and High Priest, in that it made Him suited for such roles, but it is not essential to one's initial act of faith in Christ. Concerning the writings of Paul Paul does not give an account of Jesus birth in any of his letters, nor is the virgin birth a topic to which he focuses his attention. However, the writings of Paul are in accordance with a belief that Jesus was born through virginal conception. . First, Paul makes no specific mention of the virgin birth; however, neither does he make mention of a natural conception of Jesus. Some of Paul's letters were written after Matthew and Luke composed their birth narratives, yet, as is the case with John, Paul makes no effort to state either of the two evangelists was in error in their account. Furthermore, the language Paul uses in his creedal formulas display a belief in the virgin birth. The Galatian creed But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law. (Gal 4:4) The phrase “made of a woman” is an allusion to the virgin birth of Christ, although not an express reference to it, since John the Baptist is also referred to as being born “of a woman.” (Mt 11:11) In this statement, the key word is “made,” in contrast with the word “born” used in Matthew's Gospel. According to Strong’s Lexicon, the meaning of the word “born” (Greek: gennētos) in the Matthean text is “to be born or begotten,” denoting normal human generation. However, in the Pauline text, he uses “made,” (Greek: ginomai) which means “to become, to begin to be; to appear in history, to come upon the stage,” a reference to one's being or existence, rather than to the manner in which that existence began. The same word is used in Paul's letter to the Romans when he said Christ was “made of the seed of David according to the flesh.” (Rom 1:3) In other words, in the case of Jesus, He who had previously existed was then “made of a woman.” The Philippian creed But made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men. (Phil 2:7) The word here translated “made” is the same word used in the Galatian text (Greek: ginomai), meaning “to become, to begin to be; to appear in history, to come upon the stage.” Elsewhere, the same writer speaks of the birth of Abraham's sons Isaac and Ishmael, yet uses different terms in reference to their births. For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born


after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. ... Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now. (Gal 4:22-23, 28-29) Both Isaac and Jesus were children of promise. God promised Abraham that through Isaac would Abraham’s seed be blessed. God also promised Israel that through the Messiah would He provide salvation for His people. Yet, Paul uses different language when speaking of the manner in which these ones came into being. In the case of Isaac and Ishmael, he uses gennaō (a derivative of ginomai, above), meaning “to be born or begotten,” but when referencing the conception of Jesus, Paul uses a word which denotes pre-existence rather than an origin due to normal human conception. In the above passages, John the Baptist, Isaac, and Ishmael are said to have been born as human beings, but Jesus is said to have become a man. The distinction is that in the case of Jesus, He, Who already existed as the Son of God, took on a human nature, thus becoming man. Had Paul not believed in the supernatural origin of the man Jesus, such a distinction in his terminology would be needless. Second, Paul did not write biographical narratives, as did the Gospel writers. Rather, his focus was on doctrine and, as stated previously, the focal point of early Christian preaching was Christ's death and resurrection. Third, the evangelist Luke accompanied Paul on many of his travels (Acts 16:10–17; 20:5—21:18; 27:1—28:16). Paul would have also come in contact with Matthew in his association with the disciples at Jerusalem. It is unlikely that neither of them would have not discussed with Paul the manner of Jesus' conception. James Orr, professor of apologetics and systematic theology at the United Free Church College of Glasgow, Scotland, notes similarities in terminology between Luke and Paul when discussing the Person of Jesus Christ.3 Parallels between Luke and Paul Luke And behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Most High: … The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee: wherefore also the holy thing which is begotten shall be called the Son of God. (Luke 2:31-32, 35) Paul concerning his Son, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness. (Rom 1:3-4)


Fourth, Paul's theology requires that he believe Jesus was not conceived by normal means. Paul's teaching on sin was that it was a state into which every man is born. Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned. ... For if by one man’s offense death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) Therefore as by the offense of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. (Rom 5.12, 17-19 NASB) Paul taught that sin was passed onto everyone by virtue of normal human generation, everyone having their ultimate ancestry in Adam, being the first man. If Jesus was born of natural generation, then he would not have been “obedient” or “righteous” and one through whom justification comes to “all men” (that is, all men who are united with Christ through faith). Paul had to have believed that Jesus' conception was supernatural; otherwise, his own theology would be self-contradictory in nature.

III. Concerning the supposed silence of the New Testament letters regarding Jesus' humanity
Critics have pointed to the lack of biographical information concerning Jesus found in the New Testament outside of the Gospel record. Whereas the Gospels concern themselves with accounts of Jesus' life, the remaining books of the New Testament appear to be silent on a great number of such events, such as Jesus' nativity, the miracles He performed, the speeches He delivered, His acts of healing and compassion, and His arrest, trial, execution, and burial. The Christ of the New Testament letters (Romans through Revelation), they say, is a being who did not exist as an historical figure, but as a spiritual or mystical being who interacted in a metaphysical fashion with man. However, New Testament letters' silence regarding an historical Jesus is not as sparse as the critics would have us believe. Before considering just how silent these letters are regarding Jesus' life, a few considerations are first in order. The recipients of the letters The recipients of the New Testament letters were Christian churches or individual believers. The letters of Romans, Corinthians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Thessalonians were written to churches in each of the cities referenced in the letter's title (that is, Romans was written to the church at Rome; Ephesians, to the church at Ephesus, etc.). Likewise, the letters of Timothy, Titus, and Philemon were written to individual Christians from whom each letter eventually received its title. The letters of Hebrews and James were addressed to an unidentified group of Jewish Christians. The letters of Peter were addressed to churches in Asia Minor. The first, second, and


third books of John were addressed, respectively, to the churches in Asia Minor, an unidentified body of believers, and to Gaius, believed to be one of John's converts. The book of Jude was written to an unidentified group of believers, presumably of Jewish heritage. Finally, the book of Revelation was addressed to the seven Christian churches mentioned in the second and third chapter divisions of the book, with the remainder of the book intended for the church at large. As letters addressed to a Christian or group of Christians who knew and believed the account of Jesus' life, it was not necessary to elaborate on history familiar to them. By analogy, a lecturer at a gathering of Edgar Rice Burroughs' fans, speaking on the influence of the Tarzan character and believing that his audience is familiar with the character, may not feel the need to discuss how it was that Tarzan came to raised by apes in the jungle, yet that does not mean the lecturer is unfamiliar with Tarzan's origin story or finds it insignificant. However, if he compares Tarzan with other pulp fiction characters, such as Solomon Kane or Kull, a little elaboration on the character's history may be in order, since fans of Edgar Rice Burroughs may not be as familiar with the characters of Robert E. Howard. The entire argument from silence is based on the notion that the apostles needed to include such information about Jesus, and such was not the case. The scope of Apostolic preaching In the book of Acts, the Apostles' preaching was evangelical in nature, not for the purpose of instructing unconverted Jews and pagans in systematic theology. As such, they did not preach He was virgin-born, since belief in the virgin birth is not essential to one's initial act of faith leading to repentance. In Acts, the history of Jesus is briefly recounted in sermons given by the Apostles, and this history largely focuses on Jesus' resurrection. It was the resurrection, not Jesus' birth, miracles, or sermons, which was at the center of Apostolic preaching; therefore, the exclusion of such in the Apostles' preaching is in line with their message at hand. In fact, Peter's sermon in Acts chapter two does reference Jesus' working of miracles, but does not refer to a specific instance. The focus in the New Testament books following the book of Acts is on the deity of Jesus, not His humanity. When the humanity of Jesus is mentioned in the New Testament letters, it is mentioned in the context of His redemptive work, in the shedding of His blood on the cross. In order to make it clear that Jesus did in fact suffer, bleed, and die, it needed to be said that He was a man, possessing literal flesh and blood. Still, even when Jesus' humanity is mentioned in these letters, it is within the framework of His divine nature, which He possessed before taking on flesh and blood. The purpose of the letters Second, the purpose of the letters of the New Testament were to address doctrinal and practical matters, not to supply historical narratives. Outside of the Gospels, the only New Testament book which bears an historical character is the book of Acts, which is largely concerned with the history of the early church during the years immediately after Jesus' ascension. Since the author of Acts was Luke, the same evangelist who penned the third Gospel, there was no need to repeat the history given in his previous work. Concerning the remainder of the New Testament (Romans through Revelation), these letters were intended to address specific issues faced by


the recipients, and none of these issues involved a dispute over the historicity of Jesus. The purpose of these letters is as follows: Romans – In preparation for his upcoming first trip to Rome, Paul sends this letter before him to outline his doctrine, to separate true doctrine from the doctrine of false teachers. After Clausius exiled the Jews from Rome in 49 A.D., the leadership of the Roman church transitioned from Jewish to Gentile, resulting in some conflict and errors within the church with respect to their conduct. 1 Corinthians – Paul wrote this letter in response to errors he observed within the church at Corinth. The church there had become divided into sects, each following the teaching of an erred believer in Christ. Paul then wrote this letter as an exhortation to unity and to correct false doctrine which had arisen within them. 2 Corinthians – After the reception of his first letter, Paul saw the need to write this second letter to further defend his apostleship and affirm his love for the Corinthians. Galatians – Paul wrote this letter to counter a false gospel which had been adopted by the church in Galatia, which concerned itself with salvation through the keeping of the law, rather than by grace alone. Ephesians – The church at Ephesus was composed of a multicultural body of believers, and Paul send this letter as an exhortation to unity. Philippians – The church at Philippi sent Epaphroditus, one of their own, to minister to the needs if Paul. In response, Paul replies with this letter of gladness over their love for him, and his purpose is to instill like joy in them also. Colossians – Paul had received from Epaphras a report that the church at Colosse had fallen prey to false teachers, and he admonishes them to cling to Christ, as the head of all things. 1 Thessalonians – Timothy had reported to Paul that the church at Thessalonica had misunderstood certain aspects of Paul's teaching, specifically regarding the afterlife and the promised resurrection of the dead, while he was in their company. Paul then writes this letter to correct these errors and exhort them in right living. 2 Thessalonians – After it was reported that the Thessalonians misunderstood Paul's teaching, and after he sent a letter to clarify what he meant, it was reported that the Thessalonians then misunderstood Paul's letter. Therefore, he sent this second reply to further clarify his teaching on the second coming of Christ


1 Timothy – Timothy was the bishop or pastor of the church at Ephesus. Paul sends this letter to admonish him to continue his good work there. Special attention is given in this letter to church organization. 2 Timothy – Nearing the end of his life, Paul sends this letter to Timothy as some final exhortations to remain diligent in his ministry, abstain from false teachers, and be patient in persecution. Titus – Titus was placed sole charge of the churches on the island of Crete. Paul send him this letter to provide counsel and encourage him to perform his duty in the spirit of an apostle. Philemon – Philemon was a runaway slave of Onesimus, a fellow Christian, and had been converted to Christianity after coming in contact with Paul. This letter is sent to Onesimus on Philemon's behalf in the hopes of effecting reconciliation between the two believers. Hebrews – Hebrews was written to an unidentified group of Christians who were persecuted to the point of facing execution if they did not renounce their faith. The author of this letter (widely thought to be Paul or his companion Barnabus) wrote to encourage them to endure whatever persecution they face and not renounce the cross of Christ. James – James, the brother of Jesus, sent this letter to an unidentified group of believers, believed to be facing persecution, in order to address a variety of issues relating to the standard of conduct befitting a believer, and to admonish them to remain patient in the face of persecution. 1 Peter – After receiving a report of persecution which faced the churches in Asia Minor, Peter sends this letter as words of comfort and strength, along with exhortations to be faithful, patient, and live in purity. 2 Peter – Peter composed this letter to correct doctrinal errors within the church at large. 1-2 John – John (the same John who penned the fourth Gospel) writes to correct errors concerning the incarnation of Christ. False teachers had arisen proclaiming that Christ did not come literally in the flesh, but had only appeared in the likeness of flesh. If any of the letters of the New Testament could conceivably digress into an historical narrative of Jesus' life, it would perhaps be the letters of John. However, the appearance of Christ as a man was not in debate; but rather, the manner in which He walked among man was the subject in question. False teachers did not deny the events as told and witnessed by the Apostles. Rather, they denied that Christ performed these deeds in a physical body, proposing that He remained a spiritual being who only appeared human. In response to this, John writes to exalt the bodily incarnation of Jesus (without the need to appeal to specific events in Jesus' life) and to proclaim the imitation of Christ's love as the mark of a true believer.


3 John – John writes this letter to Encourage Gaius, a fellow believer, and to warn him against the followers of a false teacher named Diotrephes. Jude – Jude, believed to be Judah, also known as Judas (not Iscariot, the betrayer), a brother of James and Jesus, writes this letter to warn of false teachers and exhort Christians in general to be steadfast in their faith. Revelation – John wrote this letter after receiving a revelation from the Lord. The first two chapters concern itself with specific issues facing seven local churches, many of which had fallen into one error or another. The remainder of the letter details the revelation he received from the Lord. The church at large was experiencing a violent persecution, and the vision John received was to strengthen the church during its persecution, provide hope in the eventual glorification of believers, and ensure the church of Christ's final victory over their enemies. As seen above, the events concerning Jesus' life were not of immediate relevance to the point at hand. As letters addressed to a Christian or group of Christians who knew and believed the account of Jesus' life, it was not necessary to include within these letters a biographical sketch of Jesus, any more than it would befit the paragraphs here to elaborate on specific events in Jesus' life, for such a digression would stray from the issues under discussion. Since the focus of the letters above are doctrinal and/or practical in nature, the focus on Jesus throughout these letters is on His deity, rather than His humanity. When His humanity is referenced, it is done so only in terms of His redemptive work. For instance, His role as Mediator and High Priest, as discussed in the book of Hebrews, is as much dependent on His humanity as it is on His divinity. Also, His shedding of blood and death on the cross required that He possess a human nature. Having examined the occasion and purpose of the New Testament letters, is is now time to turn the attention to the supposed silence itself concerning the biographical aspects of Jesus' life. The writers of these letters are seven in number (or six, if Paul is indeed the author of Hebrews), two of whom also penned two of the four Gospels: Luke, Paul, James, Peter, John, Jude, and the writer of Hebrews. Here, the writings of each of these writers will be considered separately in order to determine just how silent each one was concerning Jesus' historicity (emphasis, when added, is mine). Luke He referred to Jesus as a man from Nazareth who lived and experienced bodily death and resurrection. Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know. (Acts 2:22) Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given


assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead. (Acts 17:31) He identified Jesus as having flesh and blood relatives These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren. (Acts 1:14 ) Paul He referred to Jesus as a man and mentions him with Adam, the first man, in a comparison/contrast. The contrast was between Adam's disobedience and Jesus' obedience, while the comparison was concerning the human nature possessed by these two men. But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one [Adam] many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. (Rom 5:15, 19) For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. (1 Cor 15:21-22) But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. (Phil 2:7-8) For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus. (1 Tim 2:5) He identified Jesus as a literal flesh and blood man who experienced physical death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh. (Rom 8:3) And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight. (Col 1:22) For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. (Col 2:9) He identifies James as Jesus' earthly sibling. It has been argued that the brotherhood Paul was referring to when speaking of James was the brotherhood shared among believers of the same faith, however, immediately before his reference to “James, the Lord's brother,” he makes reference to Peter and the apostles, yet neglects to mention them as sharing in the brotherhood that he associates with James.


Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days. But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord’s brother. (Gal 1:18-19) He makes reference to Jesus' final meal with His disciples and His betrayal by Judas. For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. (1 Cor 11:23-24; cf. Mt 26:26, Mk 14:22, Lk 22:19) He makes reference to Jesus' death by crucifixion, His burial, His three days in the tomb, and His appearances after His resurrection. And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. (Phil 2:7-8) For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day [cf. Mk 9:31, Lk 9:22] according to the scriptures: And that he was seen of Cephas [Peter; cf. Jn 21:1-14], then of the twelve [cf. Mt 28:9, Mk 16:14, Jn 20:19, 26]: After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once*; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time. (1 Cor 15:3-7) Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. ... But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. (1 Cor 15:12-14, 20-21) *This instance is not mentioned in the Gospels, however, in Jn 21:25 and Acts 1:3, Johna and Luke, two of the Gospel writers, confirm that many of Jesus' acts, including those post-resurrection, were not recorded in the Gospels. Peter He confirms Jesus' bodily death by crucifixion. Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree*, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. (1 Pet 2:24)


For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit. (1 Pet 3:18) *A common reference to crucifixion. He confirms Jesus' demeanor during His trial. For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: 2:22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: 2:23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously. (1 Pet 2:21-23; cf. Mt 27.12, Lk 23:9) The writer of Hebrews He makes reference to Jesus' human nature. Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. (Heb 2:14-17) Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: ... Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. (Heb 10:5, 9-10) John He refers to Jesus as a literal human being. That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) (1 Jn 1:1-2) Some have argued this passage does not reference a physical Jesus; but rather, could just as easily refer to His appearing in spiritual form as a man, as He did to the Old Testament patriarchs, kings, and prophets. However, this passage bears a striking resemblance to another passage penned by the same author, in which he specifically makes reference to the incarnation of the Word into literal human flesh. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. ... And the Word was made


flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” (Jn 1:1, 14) When considering the two passages together, along with other passages in 1 John, it is clear that the author had a bodily appearance in view when speaking of Jesus' manifestation. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin. (1 Jn 1:7) Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: 4:3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. (1 Jn 4:2) For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. (2 Jn v.7) It is clear from these last two passages what import John places on the belief in Jesus' human nature, going so far as to identify the denial of Jesus' bodily incarnation as a mark of an unbeliever. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth. (1 Jn 5:5-6) James and Jude It is true that neither James nor Jude, the brothers of Jesus (by majority scholarship consensus), does not make reference to the human nature of Jesus, nor to any events of Jesus' life, in their writings. Then again, it must be asked, why should they make such a reference? The purpose of neither apostle was to provide a biographical sketch of his brother, nor to write an apologetic work defending Jesus' historicity. Both authors had a similar purpose in view, and neither one requires an historical narrative, or even mention of events in their brother's life. In the case of James, his purpose was to emphasize a lifestyle proper to a man of faith. His focus is not on faith, but on works as a byproduct of one's faith. Even still, contextual similarities exist between James' letter the Jesus' sermon on the mount, with James echoing the words spoken by the Lord during public ministry (1:2, 4-5, 9, 20; 2:13-14; 3:17-18; 4:4, 10-11; 5:2, 10-11; cf. Mt 5:3-7:27)1. In a similar fashion, Jude's purpose for writing is specifically stated in v.3-4: Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.


While Jude had intended to write concerning the salvation he shared with his recipients, he thought it necessary instead to write of false teachers which had crept into the church. These teachers were attempting to convince believers that since the guilt for their sin had been borne by Christ, thereby making them forever righteous in the sight of God, that a manner of living separate from sinful pleasures was not needful for them. It was in response to this false doctrine that James wrote this letter, so that he might exhort his readers to continue steadfast in their proper manner of conduct. Some have pointed to Jude's identifying himself as “the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James” (v.1) as his denial that Jesus possessed a human nature. If Jude and Jesus were half-brothers by blood, why would Jude neglect to identify himself as Jesus' brother, especially when, immediately after, he took care to identify James as his brother? Likewise, why did James identify himself as Jesus' servant, rather than His brother, a relationship which, it would seem, would be held with honor among believers? In both cases, their apostleship rested not on a blood relation with the Lord, but on their service to Him. It was because they were faithful servants of Jesus, not simply because they could cry “brother,” that they were recognized as pillars (Gal 2:9) within the early church and given apostolic authority. Additionally, their acceptance of Jesus as God incarnate served to minimize their blood relation to Him. Jesus' relationship to them as their Lord served to override His relationship to them as their brother. While both James and Jude remained Jesus' brethren, they became, first and foremost, His servant, through their faith in Him as their Lord. In conclusion, it has been shown that five of the seven writers (again, six, if Paul wrote Hebrews) of the New Testament books outside of the Gospels made reference to Jesus' existence as an historical flesh and blood figure. It has also been shown that, while these references are not in abundance compared to the whole of the books beyond the Gospel record, the writers' occasions for composing their works did not require the inclusion of such biographical data regarding Jesus. However, when such information does appear in their letters, it appears in corroboration with the Gospel record, as a doctrine essential to the faith, and, at times, as a very mark of a true believer. Therefore, it is absolutely untenable to suggest that these writers not only did not believe Jesus was made manifest in the flesh, but also did not regard His bodily incarnation as absolute truth. Finally, it has been shown that the two New Testament writers who did not include mention of Jesus' earthly existence (each of whom wrote very little when compared to Luke, John, and Paul – five chapters attributed to James; one chapter to Jude) did so because it was outside the scope of their purpose for writing. Yet, the critics persist to declare, futilely so, that these writers remain silent regarding Jesus as an historical figure. The truth is, the Gospels are silent on one thing: the idea that Jesus never existed or existed only as a spiritual manifestation as a man. However, when it comes to their recognition of Jesus as an historical figure, the truth is loud and clear: that Jesus of Nazareth was the virgin-born, God-incarnate son of Mary, who lived a sinless life, who was crucified, and who rose from the dead in absolute accomplishment of the redemption of God's people.


IV. Concerning the Gospels’ references to Jesus being of human descent
The Gospels contain references to Joseph being the biological father of Jesus. Some of these references are by the same writers who penned Jesus’ virgin birth narratives. How can the two views on Jesus’ conception be reconciled? And coming into his own country he taught them in their synagogue, insomuch that they were astonished, and said, Whence hath this man this wisdom, and these mighty works? Is not this the carpenter’s son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joseph, and Simon, and Judas? And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things? (Mt 13:54-56) And he began to say unto them, To-day hath this scripture been fulfilled in your ears. And all bare him witness, and wondered at the words of grace which proceeded out of his mouth: and they said, Is not this Joseph’s son? (Lk 4:21-22) Philip findeth Nathaniel, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph. (Jn 1:45) The Jews therefore murmured concerning him, because he said, I am the bread which came down out of heaven. And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? how doth he now say, I am come down out of heaven? (Jn 6:41-42) And he came in the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, that they might do concerning him after the custom of the law, … And his parents went every year to Jerusalem at the feast of the Passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up after the custom of the feast; and when they had fulfilled the days, as they were returning, the boy Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and his parents knew it not. (Lk 2:27,41-43) Ye men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God unto you by mighty works and wonders and signs which God did by him in the midst of you, even as ye yourselves know. (Acts 2:22) Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh. (Rom 1:3) First, the virgin birth of Jesus was not known publicly during His lifetime. For all we know, while Jesus was living, the only two who knew of the manner of His conception were Mary and Joseph. It is likely Mary told Elizabeth, but such is not explicitly stated in Luke’s account. She may have confided in those closest to her,


being her parents, some relatives, some of Jesus' female followers, and certain of Jesus’ twelve core disciples, however, who or how many people knew of it during Jesus’ lifetime is a thing that cannot be known today. All that we can be certain of is that the perception of Jesus’ contemporaries was that Joseph was Jesus’ natural father, a perception expressed by those in the majority of the above passages. However, in the second chapter of Luke’s Gospel, Luke refers to Joseph and Mary as the parents of Jesus, and such description is apparently stated as Luke’s own view, rather than the view of those who simply did not know any different. It must be remembered that Joseph, although not the biological father of Jesus, was His legal father, which made him as much Jesus’ father as it would had he actually sired the boy, and so it was proper for Luke to refer to he and Mary as Jesus’ parents. While Joseph’s paternity to Jesus was by adoption, the adoption was only known to Joseph and Mary when Jesus was presented in the Temple as an infant, for the natural assumption of the officiating priests would have been that Joseph was Jesus' natural father. In a physical sense, it could not be said that Joseph was Jesus’ father any more than could be said of another man. However, in a legal sense, Joseph was Jesus’ father as if he were related to Him by blood. The same is true even today concerning the relationship between a man and his adopted son. The adoptive parent is referred to as the child’s father, and upon him is conferred parental rights equal to those of a biological father. As stated before, the adoption was only known by a select few, if any at all, other than Joseph and Mary, but by the time of the writing of Luke’s Gospel, such had been made known, at least among those named within the church. Second, even in Nazareth the assumption would have been that Jesus was naturally conceived. The Nazarenes would have known Mary’s conception was premarital, but the circumstances surrounding that conception would remain a mystery to them. Third, the mention of “Jesus of Nazareth” in the book of Acts does not negate Bethlehem as Jesus’ birthplace. Remember, Acts was written by Luke after he had penned Jesus’ birth narrative; therefore, the author of Acts certainly knew Jesus’ birthplace to be Bethlehem. Here, he is merely making reference to where Jesus was raised and had spent most of His life. Also, Luke is here relating a sermon by Peter, given shortly after Jesus’ resurrection. Peter also knew Jesus was born in Bethlehem; otherwise, Jesus would not have met the qualifications for the Messiah, whose birthplace in Bethlehem was foretold by the prophet Micah (Micah 5:2) Fourth, Paul's mention in his letter to the Roman church of Jesus being of the “seed of David” is not an admission to belief in a natural human conception for Jesus. Mary, the mother of Jesus, was betrothed to Joseph at the time of Jesus' conception (Lk 1:27) and the two later became husband and wife prior to Jesus' birth (Mt 1:25). Luke records that Joseph was of the lineage of David (Lk 1:27), which was also the reason they needed to travel to Bethlehem, the city of David, to register according to their ancestry (Lk ch 2). When Joseph and Mary presented the infant Jesus in the Temple for circumcision and naming, Joseph became the legal, and presumed, father to Jesus. Therefore, Jesus, although virgin-born through Mary, was legally of the seed of David through Joseph. It is speculated by many that Mary was also of Davidic descent and that their marriage was inter-tribal, both spouses being of the same ancestry. Were that the case, Jesus would also be genetically of the seed of David. Since legal Davidic ancestry is all that was needed to fulfill God's covenant to


David that the Messiah would come from his lineage, and since genetic lineage is not in view in Paul's writings, the ancestry of Mary is not relevant in proving Paul did not believe Jesus to be of normal human generation. Even if Mary was not of Davidic descent, Jesus would still be “of the seed of David,” through Joseph's legal paternity, as well as being born “according to the flesh,” through Mary's human paternity.

V. The authenticity and integrity of the Gospels
Some critics have argued that the birth narratives of Matthew and Luke were later additions to the Gospels and are not the original writing of the apostles. However, early belief in the virgin birth is a matter beyond dispute. It has already been shown that the remainder of the New Testament supports the birth narratives. It has also been shown that early church writings support not only the virgin birth, but also the authorship of the Gospels. Early church testimony Justin Martyr (c.100-165 A.D.) attests to original apostolic authorship when he states that the Gospels were “memoirs of the apostles.” “For the apostles, in the memoirs composed by them, which are called Gospels, have thus delivered unto us what was enjoined upon them; that Jesus took bread, and when He had given thanks, said, ‘This do ye in remembrance of Me, this is My body;’ and that, after the same manner, having taken the cup and given thanks, He said, ‘This is My blood;’ and gave it to them alone.”1 “And we afterwards continually remind each other of these things. And the wealthy among us help the needy; and we always keep together; and for all things wherewith we are supplied, we bless the Maker of all through His Son Jesus Christ, and through the Holy Ghost. And on the day called Sunday, all who live in cities or in the country gather together to one place, and the memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read, as long as time permits; then, when the reader has ceased, the president verbally instructs, and exhorts to the imitation of these good things.”2 “For we know that the fathers of women are the fathers likewise of those children whom their daughters bear. For [Christ] called one of His disciples — previously known by the name of Simon — Peter; since he recognized Him to be Christ the Son of God, by the revelation of His Father: and since we find it recorded in the memoirs of His apostles that He is the Son of God.”3 “For this devil, when [Jesus] went up from the river Jordan, at the time when the voice spake to Him, ‘Thou art my Son: this day have I begotten Thee,’ is recorded in the memoirs of the apostles to have come to Him and tempted Him, even so far as to say to Him, ‘Worship me;’ and Christ answered him, ‘Get thee behind me, Satan: thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve.”4


Papias (early second century A.D.) also testified to the early acceptance of the accuracy, integrity, and apostolic authorship of the books of the New Testament. “But I shall not be unwilling to put down, along with my interpretations, whatsoever instructions I received with care at any time from the elders, and stored up with care in my memory, assuring you at the same time of their truth. For I did not, like the multitude, take pleasure in those who spoke much, but in those who taught the truth; nor in those who related strange commandments, but in those who rehearsed the commandments given by the Lord to faith, and proceeding from truth itself. If, then, any one who had attended on the elders came, I asked minutely after their sayings, — what Andrew or Peter said, or what was said by Philip, or by Thomas, or by James, or by John, or by Matthew, or by any other of the Lord’s disciples: which things Aristion and the presbyter John, the disciples of the Lord, say. For I imagined that what was to be got from books was not so profitable to me as what came from the living and abiding voice.”5 “Mark having become the interpreter of Peter, wrote down accurately whatsoever he remembered. It was not, however, in exact order that he related the sayings or deeds of Christ. For he neither heard the Lord nor accompanied Him. But afterwards, as I said, he accompanied Peter, who accommodated his instructions to the necessities [of his hearers], but with no intention of giving a regular narrative of the Lord’s sayings. Wherefore Mark made no mistake in thus writing some things as he remembered them. For of one thing he took especial care, not to omit anything he had heard, and not to put anything fictitious into the statements.”6 Origen (185–c.254 A.D.) rebuked the second century Epicurean heathen Celsus for his attacks against the integrity of Scripture. “After these assertions, he takes from the Gospel of Matthew, and perhaps also from the other Gospels, the account of the dove alighting upon our Savior at His baptism by John, and desires to throw discredit upon the statement, alleging that the narrative is a fiction. Having completely disposed, as he imagined, of the story of our Lord’s birth from a virgin, he does not proceed to deal in an orderly manner with the accounts that follow it; since passion and hatred observe no order, but angry and vindictive men slander those whom they hate, as the feeling comes upon them, being prevented by their passion from arranging their accusations on a careful and orderly plan. For if he had observed a proper arrangement, he would have taken up the Gospel, and, with the view of assailing it, would. have objected to the first narrative, then passed on to the second, and so on to the others.”7 “For Celsus, who is truly a braggart, and who professes to be acquainted with all matters relating to Christianity, does not know how to raise doubts in a skillful manner against the credibility of Scripture.”8


Manuscript evidence The earliest extant copy of a portion of the New Testament is the John Ryland’s Papyri, containing a portion of John chapter eighteen, and dated to c.125 A.D., approximately twenty-five to thirty years after the original writing of the Gospel. Bodmer Papyrus II (150-200 A.D.) – containing most of John’s Gospel Chester Beatty Papyri (200 A.D.) – containing major portions of the New Testament Codex Vaticanus (325-350 A.D.) – containing almost the entire Bible Codex Sinaiticus (350 A.D.) – containing all of the New Testament and half of the Old Testament Codex Alexandrinus (400 A.D.) – containing almost the entire Bible Codex Ephraemi (400s A.D.) – containing most of the New Testament Codex Bezae (450 A.D.) – containing the four Gospels and the book of Acts The early date of these manuscripts provides evidence that the New Testament in its present form is the same, in meaning, as the original. As shown above, numerous copies of the Bible, in whole or in part, can be dated to within the first five hundred years of Christianity. In contrast, the earliest extant copy of Homer’s Illiad dates to five hundred years after Homer penned his epic poem,9 yet the authorship of the Illiad is not questioned by critics, as is the authorship of the New Testament books. Below is a comparison of the survival of the New Testament compared to the writings of other ancient works10: Author/ Historian Plato (Tetralogies) Pliny (History) Suetonius Demosthenes Caesar Tacitus Aristotle Sophocles The New Testament Date 427-347 BC 61-113 AD 75-160 AD 383-322 BC 100-44 BC 100 AD 384-322 BC 496-406 BC 64-85 AD Earliest Copy from Original 900 AD 850 AD 950 AD 1100 AD 900 AD 1100 AD 1100 AD 1000 AD 120-150 AD Time Span 1,200 750 yrs 800 yrs 1,300 yrs 1,000 yrs 1,000 yrs 1,400 yrs 1,400 yrs 56 - 65 yrs # of extant Copies 7 7 8 8 10 20 49 193 over 20,000


Version evidence The virgin birth narratives are contained in the following early translations of the Gospels. All the Latin versions Jerome’s Vulgate The Old Latin versions dating as far as the days of Tertullian (c.160 – c.220 A.D.) All the Syriac versions All the Egyptian (Coptic) versions The Diatessaron, an early harmony of the Gospels completed by Tatian in 160 or 170 A.D. Tatian eliminates the genealogies, leaving the remainder of the Gospels intact. Textual evidence The birth narratives penned by Matthew and Luke are found in the first two chapters of each book. Beyond these two opening chapters, each book contains internal evidence that the birth narratives were original to these works. Evidence in the Gospel of Matthew The third chapter of Matthew begins with “in those days,” a reference to a preceding portion of the Gospel. The authorship of the third chapter is not disputed by the same ones who dispute the birth narrative in the first two chapters of Matthew’s Gospel, yet this third chapter contains a clear reference to a preceding portion of the book. The fourth chapter of Matthew makes reference to Jesus leaving Nazareth, yet the only previous of Nazareth in the Gospel is in 2:23, where Joseph and Mary are said to return to Nazareth after their return from Egypt. Now when he heard that John was delivered up, he withdrew into Galilee; and leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum. Mt (Mt 4:12-13) The language of the birth narrative of the first two chapters mirrors the language of the remainder of the Gospel, particularly with respect to Matthew’s use of the writings of the prophets. Matthew chapters one and two contain quotes from the Old Testament Scriptures, each quoted in the same formulaic manner. Now all this is come to pass, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, … (Mt 1:22 NASB) That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, … (Mt 2:15 NASB)


Then was fulfilled that which was spoken through Jeremiah the prophet, saying, … (Mt 2:17 NASB) The Old Testament quotes in other portions of the Gospel are presented in the same Matthean formula That it might be fulfilled which was spoken through Isaiah the prophet, saying … (Mt 3:3 NASB) That it might be fulfilled which was spoken through Isaiah the prophet, saying … (Mt 8.17 NASB) That it might be fulfilled which was spoken through the prophet, saying … (Mt 13.35 NASB) Evidence in the Gospel of Luke In attempting to discredit Luke’s account of Jesus’ virgin birth, critics have directed their attacks to two verses in particular, claiming that they were not original to the Gospel. And Mary said unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee: wherefore also the holy thing which is begotten shall be called the Son of God. (Lk 1:34-35) Not only are these verses included in almost all early manuscripts and versions, but, as Orr notes, other passages in the text indicate that the verses 34-35 were original to the Gospel (James Orr, The Virgin Birth of Christ, p 54), as shown below: Luke 2:5 states that Mary was “betrothed” to Joseph. If she had conceived within the bonds of matrimony, then “betrothed” in 2:5 would need to be changed to “wife.” Also, were these verses removed, then Luke 1.27 would also need to be removed, since there Mary is declared to be “a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph.” If these verses were added to the original Gospel text, Luke’s apostolic contemporaries would have challenged him and the early church writers would have corrected the addition. Yet, the remainder of the New Testament supports Luke’s virgin birth and the early church fathers are silent about any alleged addition to the original narrative.


The virgin birth narratives are historical accounts Unlike the rest of the New Testament, the Gospels are largely historical in nature; however, allegations have been made that the Gospels’ contain historical inaccuracies. The enrollment of Quirinius Luke mentions that Jesus was born during a Roman census conducted by Quirinius, the governor of Syria. Now it came to pass in those days, there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be enrolled. This was the first enrollment made when Quirinius was governor of Syria. (Lk 2:1-2 NASB) According to Josephus, Quirinius’ enrollment occurred in 6 A.D.11, yet Jesus was born in 4 or 5 B.C. However, Luke also stated that the enrollment was the “first” enrollment. According to Orr, the German scholar A. W. Zimpt discovered that Quirinius was twice governor of Syria, with his first governorship being between 1 A.D. and 4 A.D.12, yet this is still too late to give accuracy to Luke’s statement. Historians have learned, from census papers found in Egypt, that a Roman enrollment was attributed to the governor under whose rule the census was finished, even if the census had begun under a previous governorship.13 Varus was Quirinius’ predecessor, and it is likely that the census mentioned in Luke began under Varus, at the time when Christ was born, but was then later completed by Quirinius several years later under Quirinius’ first government. The massacre of the innocents Matthew mentions that in order to kill the infant Jewish Messiah, Herod sent his soldiers to slaughter all make children two years and under in Bethlehem and the surrounding vicinity. This event is not recorded in any other historical record, with the possible exception of an allusion made by the Roman grammarian Macrobius, writing in the firth or fifth century A.D.14 First, lack of mention does not discredit the event as an historical account. There are many events in history which have a single historical mention, yet the historicity of these events is still without question. However, it seems odd to some that such a crime against humanity would go unnoticed by ancient secular historians. Even the noted historian Josephus does not mention the massacre, nor does Philo, although as noted previously, Philo’s histories were biographies of Greeks and Romans. Philo’s writing concerning Judaism was of theological, rather than historical, interest. Herod was a vile man. His cruelty was a thing widely known. Many people were murdered at his behest, including his own wife and children. Herod knew the Jews despised him, therefore, shortly before his death, he ordered that some of the most noble and respected Jews in Judea were to be killed upon his passing, so that the people of Judea would have cause for mourning, rather than joyfulness (fortunately, his order was not carried out, for fear of uprising). Among the many atrocities committed by Herod, the slaughter of the children in


Bethlehem, tragic as it was, pales in comparison, for the victims of this atrocity may not have been as large in number as some may think. Bethlehem did not have a large population, and among those residing therein (including the surrounding area), there may have been only a few dozen male children two years and under who were murdered at Herod’s decree. Even if news of the event traveled far and wide, which is unlikely due to the scope of the slaughter, it may have been regarded as just one of his many cruelties, and not worthy of great notation in comparison to other of his atrocities. In a recent comparison, there were many evil acts done against the Jews by Adolph Hitler, and no doubt there are stories of his cruelty which have never been told, not because these stories are any less wicked, but because they are simply considered as having less historical import. The existence of Nazareth Until the mid-twentieth century there was no extant record that Nazareth existed as a settlement prior to the sixth century A.D. That changed in 1962 when the ruins of a synagogue in Caesarea was discovered and in it was found a marble fragment, dating to the third or fourth century, naming Nazareth as a town which was the residence of Happizzez, one of the twenty-four priestly divisions.15 Nazareth is not mentioned in the Old Testament, the Talmud, or in any of Josephus’ writings, however, so are many other ancient Palestinian cities and towns. The status of Nazareth was not one which would merit the attention of any ancient author. It was a small town, having less than five hundred residents.16 Nazareth was also a town generally regarded as a place of ill repute, being known for the lack of moral virtue of its inhabitants. Additionally, the Anchor Bible Dictionary states that archaeological excavations in Nazareth have uncovered Herodian tombs dating to the time of Jesus,17 thus serving as evidence that Nazareth was a settlement prior to Christ being born.

VI. The characteristics of the person of Jesus, as portrayed in the Gospels, contradict popular Judaic concepts and, as such, could not have been a product of invention
It has been argued that the incarnation of the Son of God in human flesh is a doctrine which later emerged as a mythological element in the biography of Christ. First, it must be reiterated that myths do not develop over a mere thirty or forty years – the time between the death of Jesus and the writing of the Gospels. Second, the character of the incarnation is contrary to any Messiah that the Jews would devise of their accord, as will be shown below. Had the Jews fabricated the idea of the incarnation on Christ, they would have done so by one of two means: either 1) according to their own religious preconceptions of how the Messiah should be born, or 2) by borrowing the idea from pagan mythology and applying such concepts to the promised Messiah.


Jewish origin The incarnation of God did not arise from pre-existing Judaic beliefs concerning who the Messiah would be or how He should be born. The concept of the incarnation was a natural offense to the Jewish way of thinking about God Some have argued that the incarnation of Christ is a doctrine which grew out of Paul’s theology. Paul stated that anyone born of man is born in sin; therefore, the Messiah could not have been born of man. A problem which this theory cannot overcome is the fact that at the time of the alleged “conception” of the virgin birth doctrine, there were still plenty of individuals who would have been able to refute such a claim, were it untrue. That aside, the concept of the incarnation is not a concept the Jews would have accepted or devised on their own, for it stands in contrast with other Judaic concepts. First, the Jews abhorred the very notion of reducing God to a human level. It was for that reason they sought to kill Jesus for blasphemy when He declared oneness with God (Jn 9:53-59) The Judaic concept of God was so high that they even feared to speak His name, lest they speak it in vain. That God would be born of a woman, with or without human seed, was a concept not only foreign to their pre-conception of the person of the Messiah, but more-so contrary to their entire theological framework. A devout Jew would believe such a thing as the incarnation if only it were true. Second, Jews upheld the institution of marriage and did not regard virginity as a thing to be favored. Had the incarnation been a fabricated element of the Gospels, then Christ would have been conceived not only in a natural fashion, but to a woman bound in marriage. They would not have made the Messiah a figure who could be likened to a bastard conceived outside the bonds of marriage. Also, such a thing would have been a shame to Mary. Although she is blessed among women as the mother of the human nature of Jesus, her premarital conception would serve to her shame, even if it had been the result of sexual abuse. The virgin birth lacks precedent in Judaism There is no precedent for the Jews fabricating the incarnation. In the Old Testament, Isaac, Samuel, and Samson were all children of promise whose birth was foretold, yet each was conceived naturally and within wedlock. If the Jews decided to give supernatural origin to the birth of the Messiah, it would have taken the same form as previous children of promise. Also, following that same pattern, the Messiah would have been born an ordinary human being, not a merger of both divine and human natures. None of these promised children were regarded as God in the flesh. Even in the case of Samson, his great strength was due to the power of God being given to a normal human being. In all likelihood, Samson’s form did not resemble that of Arnold Schwarzenegger; but rather, that of a man of ordinary build. Samson was not mighty because he was God, but because he was chosen by God. The fact of the matter is that in all of Judaic


literature, historical or otherwise, the only mention of a virgin birth prior to Christ is by the prophet Isaiah when he prophesied concerning the coming of the Messiah. Although the prophet Isaiah foretold of Christ’s virgin birth, the true meaning of the prophecy was not understood until after Christ. Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. (Isa 9:14 NASB) In the original Hebrew, the word translated “virgin” literally means a “marriageable young woman.” As such, the person in view may or may not be a virgin. However, the word is used to refer to virgins elsewhere in Scripture (Gen 24:43, Ex 2:8, Song of Sol 1:3, 6:8, Prov 30:19). Likewise, Isaiah’s use of the word specifically refers to a virgin; otherwise, the “sign” mentioned by Isaiah would not be a sign at all, for there is nothing significant about a non-virgin birth. In Talmudic literature, this verse did not have Messianic import, and while many Old Testament passages were considered in pre-Christian times as a reference to the coming Messiah, the passage in Isaiah was not among them. Gentile origin As the incarnation did not have Jewish origin, neither did it have pagan origin. Jews had no liking for pagans, especially given their prior captivity and their later Roman occupation. The Romans, with their deeply mythological religion and their pagan ceremonies, did not cease to exercise their religious influence even in Palestine, and the Jews held deep resentment for them because of it. It was due to such contempt that Herod erected a Roman amphitheater in Jerusalem and hung a golden eagle, a Roman symbol, on the Temple as a sign of Roman supremacy. The religion of Rome was a thing absolutely contrary to anything that a devout Jew would believe, with its polytheistic framework, immoral gods, and emperor and idol worship. Even German theologian and church historian Adolf von Harnack (1851– 1930), who was no friend of the doctrine of the virgin birth, said, “The unreasonable method of collecting from the mythology of all peoples parallels for original church traditions, whether historical reports or legends, is valueless.”1 The apostles were men steeped in Judaism, and would not have adopted a concept abhorrent to such a system of belief. Had the biographical elements of Jesus’ life been a product of imagination, it would certainly bear no resemblance to pagan myth. Take heed lest there shall be any one that maketh spoil of you through his philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. (Col 2:8 NASB) Greek and Roman origin The gods of the Greeks and Romans, with their self-satisfying passions, abuse of women, and vile tempers are nothing like the God of Israel who is a just Judge, dealing to men and women as they deserve, and has a people whom He cherishes and gave His own blood to protect.


First, in pagan mythology, whenever a human is born of the result of a union between god and man, it often is the result of the god suddenly finding himself burning with lust for a mortal woman, then doing with her as he pleases (with or without her consent), with no divine purpose in view for the offspring. Sometimes the god deceives the woman into mating with him, by taking the form of her husband or another being. It would be an insult to God and blasphemy for a Jew to compare the virgin birth to such an immoral and selfish union. Second, the women who give birth to these god-men are nowhere found to be virgins; but rather, married women. Third, the stories of supernatural births in Greek and Roman mythology are stories that do not have any reference to history. They take place in the past, in a time unknown, and often involve people or places which did not exist. In all of their mythology, there is not a single instance where the event occurs in a time and place where real people are able to testify as eyewitnesses. How contrary this is to the Gospels, which were written shortly after Jesus’ resurrection and during a time when a multitude of people were able to testify to their historical accuracy, or denounce them as fiction. Interestingly enough, no such denunciation exists. Fables of heroes Many heathen cultures claim their kings or heroes were men of divine origin or position, as was the case with men such as Alexander the Great and Plato. It was claimed that Alexander was a son of Zeus, and Plato, a son of Apollo, but these legends formed over a lengthy period of time, not shortly after their passing and certainly not when any of their contemporaries were still alive. In each such legend, the mother was not a virgin, and the divine paternity was regarded as a blessing. Jesus, on the other hand, was ridiculed and eventually executed for claiming oneness with God. The legend of Buddha Buddha lived from c.563 B.C. to 483 B.C., according to most historians. His birth took on a legendary character two to three hundred years after his death, when it was said that his mother, who was not a virgin, became pregnant after having a dream that a white elephant entered into her through her side. Apart from having no similarity whatsoever to the virginal conception of Jesus, this story would not have been known in the region occupied by the apostles during the time when they composed their Gospels. Egyptian origin Egyptians believed their Pharaohs were the sons of Ra, the sun god, however, there was no elaboration on just how these men became related, in a paternal sense, to deity – they were simply god’s son, and that’s all there was to know. There was no effort to alter the normal circumstances of their birth in order to


raise them to a son-of-god status, and therefore no virgin birth stories exist in ancient Egyptian mythology. Babylonian origin The Jews were in Babylonian captivity for a fifty-eight year period prior to Christ. Some have alleged that during this captivity, Persian myth and concepts crept into Judaic thought and later found its way into the accounts of the virgin birth of Jesus. It is true that during this captivity, influence was greatly exerted, but not on the part of the Babylonians. Rather, Judaism crept in to Babylonian thought, largely due to the high ranking status of the Hebrew prophet Daniel. It was due to such influence that magi from the east came to worship the Jewish Messiah after following a sign in the heavens, a sign which they believed was foretold in the books of Moses (Numbers 24:17-19). Still, the primary religion of Babylon was Zoroastrianism, which does include a virgin-born Messiah, although the manner of his birth and the character of his work are strikingly different from Christ. The messiah of Zoroastrianism is a Saoshyant, one of three messiahs, each appearing after a set interval. It is believed he will be a direct son of Zarathushtra, since his mother will become impregnated after entering a lake in which has been preserved the seed of Zoroaster (Denkard 7.10.15ff). Although his mother is virgin-born, the Saoshyant is not a son of god, since his mother is impregnated not by Ahura Mazda, the highest of the Zoroastrian deities, but by the seed of Zarathushtra himself, who was purely human. In addition, it is said that Saoshyant’s body will shine like the sun, unlike the veil of flesh which covered, in a sense, Christ’s divine glory.

VII. The characteristics of the life of Jesus, as portrayed in the Gospels, possess elements which do not bear the marks of invention
Had the Gospel writers invented invented their account of Jesus' life, certain elements which exist in the narratives would surely have been omitted. Some of these items have already been touched upon elsewhere in this volume, therefore, it will suffice to list these items here in summation. The hometown of Nazareth The town of Nazareth was a lowly town, known for its corruption, and is not a likely first choice for the town in which to raise the promised Messiah. Also, the prophet Micah foretold Jesus would be born in Bethlehem, which is in accordance with both birth narratives; however, this leaves us without an explanation as to why Jesus was said to have relocated from Bethlehem to Nazareth, unless the evangelists Luke and Matthew were reporting events as they actually occurred. We know why Joseph and Mary left Bethlehem (at the behest of the angel), but no explanation is given as to why they chose not to return to Bethlehem, which was their intention, after the death of Herod, and instead choosing to return to Nazareth. Were the Gospels fabricated, any


relocation from Bethlehem would have likely been to Jerusalem, the holy city and religious center of Judaism. Jesus' baptism Why would the Messiah subject Himself to baptism? Although Jesus gave an answer to John to that very question, it seems unlikely that the Gospel writers would have placed John in a position above Jesus in this one instance. Jesus' mission in Galilee Jesus was from Galilee, the northern portion of Palestine, and such was generally regarded as uneducated and of a much lower estate than those of the southern region of Judea, as a result of the prevailing prejudice in the land at the time, not too unlike the hostility between the north and south during the American Civil War. Jesus' journey through Samaria It was not common for a Jew to take the road which led through Samaria. Although this road was the most direct route between Jerusalem and certain points north, the common practice of the day was to travel the longer route, thus avoiding the Samaritans, for fear of hostility or rebuke. The unbelief of Jesus' family and His disciples Jesus' own siblings at first rejected Him as the Messiah. Their rejection is understandable, if the account is historically accurate. I can only imagine what my own brother and sister-in-law would say if it was suddenly proclaimed to them that I was God incarnate, came to save the world. I can picture a smirk, a, “yeah, right,” and eventually some words of rebuke if I persisted in my Messianic claim. However, I cannot picture them on bended knee, and so it was with Jesus' siblings and fellow Nazarenes. Two of His brothers, James and Jude, were later writers of two of the books of the New Testament. Had their attitude been falsely represented in the Gospels, they would likely have written to their correction. Also, the disciples did not believe that Jesus was resurrected from the dead until after they saw the physical proof, in His appearance to them. It is not likely that a historian would distort events, and in so doing make himself look bad in the public eye. The Gospels lack certain elements found in the remainder of the New Testament, and vice-versa The New Testament, following the Gospels, mentions the disciples speaking in tongues, which is not found in the Gospels. Likewise, the Gospels include Jesus' teaching on the “kingdom” and His referring to Himself by titles which do not appear in the rest of the New Testament. Were the Gospels fabricated, one would expect to see more conformity on the whole in these regards.


Jesus' prayer in Gethsemene In His prayer in the garden, Jesus prayed to the Father that His “cup,” or the manner in which He would bear man's sin, would pass from Him. While His request was a product of His human nature, it is completely untenable that the Gospel writers would have their Messiah praying such a thing, unless He actually uttered those words. Judas' betrayal The idea that Jesus was betrayed by one within His own inner circle of disciples does not do much to account for the other disciples' ability to judge another's character. If the Gospel accounts were fabricated, it is not likely that the writers would have portrayed themselves, and their Messiah (as some would suspect), as so easily duped by one of their own. The disciples' abandonment of Jesus in His hour of trial Similar to the argument relating to their unbelief, the disciples would not have portrayed themselves as cowards and deserters after Jesus' arrest. The crucifixion Crucifixion was the punishment of slaves and criminals. The worst of the worst and the most lowly were given a place of ill repute on the cross. If the Gospels were fabricated, not only is Jesus' execution unlikely, but more so His manner of death. Also, why did He remain silent before His accusers, rather than give a long sermon about His mission? Why did the disciples not seem to expect that Jesus' death was the ultimate act of the Messiah? Why did He not take over the Temple priesthood and claim Himself as the object of the sacrificial system? Jesus' burial Jesus was buried, not in a family tomb, as was the custom, but in a tomb purchased by a member of the Sanhedrin, most of whom who were regarded as Jesus' enemies. Also, Jesus was buried not in the town of His birth, or even in Nazareth, but in the city in which He was only ever a visitor. The account of Jesus’ resurrection Nowhere in the four Gospels is Jesus’ actual resurrection depicted. After His burial, the next event portrayed is the discovery of the empty tomb. The Gospel writers were not afraid to portray the life of Jesus in a supernatural fashion, as attested by the many miracles depicted in their writings. It seems unlikely that they would have left out how the actual resurrection took place, since that event is the most important event in the New Testament. Surely, if the Gospel writers were nothing more than writers of fiction, such an event would have found its way into their account. The testimony of the women Ancient Palestine was a patriarchal society in which women were held in lower esteem than men. Even in a court of law, the testimony of a woman was often inadmissible simply because those of the feminine gender were regarded


as less credible. Nevertheless, in the Gospel accounts, it is the female disciples of Jesus who first bear witness to the empty tomb.


Spiritual blindness: the true stumbling block According to The Zeitgeist Movie, "The fact of the matter is, there are dozens of virgin-born, crucified saviors from all over the world.” The present work has shown this supposed “fact” to be anything but factual, and contrary to Kersey Graves’ imagination, the world has not known “sixteen crucified saviors.” The true fact of the matter is that the evidence surrounding Jesus of Nazareth reveals that the account of His life as presented in the Gospels reflects an historical account of the incarnation of God in human flesh, born of a virgin, crucified, dead for three days, then rose from the dead, ascending to heaven where He presently serves as High Priest and Mediator in God’s everlasting covenant which He made for His elect. The length to which a person will go in an attempt to expose Christianity as a fraud is a testament to his or her spiritual blindness. Salvation comes through faith. If one has no faith, then regardless of how clear the truth is presented or how many evidences are shown to validate the Christian faith, the understanding of that one will remain darkened and the heart hardened against the truth. As one apologist stated, truth cannot penetrate their hearts and minds any more than a dart can penetrate a brick wall, simply because the surface of the wall is such that it is unable to receive the dart1 So it is true with the critic so steadfast in and devoted to his prejudice against Christianity. He is unable to see the light of truth because he does not want to see it, for in the seeing does his own shortcoming become evident. When faced with the reality of who God is, the natural result is the opening of the eyes to one’s own sin and need for a Savior. Yet, because of the grace of God, the story does not end with the sinner on his face before God, crying, “Woe is me, for I am undone,” as did Isaiah upon his vision of God’s glory. Rather, the nail-scarred hands of Christ extends to the sinner and raises him to new life in which all the former trespasses are forgiven and he who formerly stood as one guilty of the most reckless of abandon now stands as one named among the children of God. “The evidence is already there. The denial of Christ has less to do with facts and more to do with the bent of what a person is prejudiced to conclude.”2 The inevitable triumph of truth The fact that Jesus Christ is the world’s only crucified Savior is a fact in which everyone will eventually come to believe, but, for some, this belief will come past the point of no return. One day, every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. Even the critic most hostile to Christianity will one day face the very God he denies, but for him, when that day comes, there will be no hope – and he will have only himself to blame, having chosen in life to wallow in his own vomit and abandon the only hope he has for a blessed eternity. For now, those hostile to the Christian faith prefer to stand as archers with the points of their arrows aimed at the heart of the Christian faith. Yet, in the end, it will be truth, not the inventions of deceivers, which will conquer all.


“Who do you say that I am?” During Jesus’ ministry, He questioned His disciples concerning the various opinions circulating as to His identity, for some believed Him to be the prophet Elijah. He then asked His disciples who they believed Him to be, as narrated in Matthew’s Gospel, below: Now when Jesus came into the parts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Who do men say that the Son of man is? And they said, Some say John the Baptist; some, Elijah; and others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But who say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. (Mt 16:13-16) The most important question that everyone will need to answer is, “Who do you say Jesus is?” The answer to that question is of cosmic importance, for in the answering one either condemns his soul or receives grace and freedom from the guilt of sin. For this reason, the Biblically illiterate need to check everything carefully when making outlandish claims that the Gospel of Christ is nothing more than a myth, for the so-called facts on which their argument is based is nothing more than quicksand into which they will drown. Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, and the Gospel of Christ is logical, coherent, and reasonable. The critic would take heed to consider the truth of Christianity, lest he perish in his own misconceptions. The awful wrath of God There are three kinds of people: those who hold to the truth, those who seek the truth, and those who despise the truth. The first class need not fear death, for in dying are they raised to everlasting blessedness. The second class, if sincere in their quest for truth, will find the truth by which they will be set free. The third class, being so darkened in their understanding and deluded in their reasoning, should tremble in terror at the thought of death, for in dying they will face terrible wrath of God, by which they will be justly condemned for their own unbelief. As J.I. Packer stated, “As Judge, [Christ] is the law, but as Savior He is the Gospel. Run from Him now and you will meet Him as Judge then – and without hope. Seek Him now, and you will find Him, and you will then discover that you are looking forward to that future meeting with joy.”3 The nonsense of grace Why would God redeem man? Even more, why would He create man, only for man to turn his back on his Creator? To the human mind, this makes no sense, and yet, God has mercifully decreed it to be so. I am really not surprised at the fact that God knows everything, or is everywhere, or is all-powerful. God should be those things. That only makes sense. Someone who is so supremely sovereign and free and limitless should have those attributes. I don't know all the implications involved with saying that God knows everything, or that he is everywhere-present, or that he is all-powerful, but I do understand that He is and that He should be these things. If He was any less, that would be a cause for surprise. What does leave me stumped is His grace. Unlike grace, God's justice in condemning a covenant breaker makes perfect sense. He should punish those who break His covenant, which we all have done. The thing about Scripture that is absolutely nonsense to my mind is also that which is at the core of Scripture: grace. It is


not a wonder that unregenerate people do not believe the Gospel – it infinitely transcends that which understandable by a finite mind. What logic is there in condemning Jesus – the only one who has ever perfectly kept the Law in full obedience? What justice is there in giving the innocent plaintiff the death penalty and allowing the convicted defendant to go free, especially when you consider the depth and severity of the crime? Only God understands why He became man, bled and died, so that sinners would be set free. Grace is the one thing about God and His Word that is senseless. But, in being senseless, His grace truly does become the most amazing truth in the universe. I do not know why God redeems man, but if there’s one thing I do know, it’s that God is good and His promises are sure. The awesomeness of God Wherefore, receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us have grace, whereby we may offer service well-pleasing to God with reverence and awe. (Heb 12:28 NASB) Christian churches sing, “Our God is an awesome God, ” but I cannot help but wonder how often those words grasp the mind of the worshiper. What does it mean to be truly awesome? The word is used so flippantly today. Many things are called awesome – a good movie, a book, a fun roller coaster ride, grandma’s home cooking, the list goes on. But, how often do these things, and others, really fill a person with awe? Do they paralyze the tongue and swell the eyes with tears? Scripture describes men who truly realized that God is an awesome God, and the effect that realization had upon them. When Isaiah saw a vision of God, he cried, “Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.” (Isa. 6.1-6 NASB) Likewise, the apostle John, when he received a revelation of the risen, glorified Son of God, he “fell at His feet as one dead.” (Rev 1:12-17 NASB) God is awesome, in the truest sense of the word. His grace is that which is beyond comprehension. His love is greater than any love man has ever known, and for this reason believers can proclaim His amazing grace, which can save the most wretched of sinners. When a person is confronted with the greatness of God, it is evident just how awesome He is, and it is this realization which brings one to lay himself bare before God and in utter helplessness. All of Grace Although man is unable to help himself, he is not without hope, for he is not left to lie with his face on the ground, but is changed and so completely transformed, so that he who was formerly clothed in his own righteousness, which is as filthy rags, is now clothed with the righteousness of Christ. He who was once ridden with sin is now made clean and spotless in the sight of God. He who was formerly found guilty and sentenced to everlasting damnation is now acquitted of all charges against him, freed from the sin which once held him chained and in slavery to sin, being then made as one worthy to abide in the presence of God. This worth by which he stands before God is not his own worth, but is the worth of the one who gave His life so that those unworthy can live in peace and joy with Him. This is what gives man cause to gaze in wonder at the grace of God, and stand in awe that such a one, infinitely holy, infinitely pure, and infinitely just would humble Himself as He did and bear the brunt of His own wrath against sin, so that


those whom He loves will never need endure such agony. That is the power of God unto salvation, the power which can cleanse the vilest of sinner, forgive the most wicked and repetitious sin, and give such a one a place of honor at His table. The second book of Samuel narrates an instance during the reign of King David when he took in Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan, with whom David made a covenant. And David said, Is there yet any that is left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan’s sake? And there was of the house of Saul a servant whose name was Ziba, … and Ziba said unto the king, Jonathan hath yet a son, who is lame of his feet. And the king said unto him, Where is he? And Ziba said unto the king, Behold, he is in the house of Machir the son of Ammiel, in Lo-debar. Then king David sent, and fetched him out of the house of Machir the son of Ammiel, from Lodebar. And Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, came unto David, and fell on his face, and did obeisance. And David said, Mephibosheth. And he answered, Behold, thy servant! And David said unto him, Fear not; for I will surely show thee kindness for Jonathan thy father’s sake, and will restore thee all the land of Saul thy father; and thou shalt eat bread at my table continually. And he did obeisance, and said, What is thy servant, that thou shouldest look upon such a dead dog as I am? Then the king called to Ziba, Saul’s servant, and said unto him, All that pertained to Saul and to all his house have I given unto thy master’s son. And thou shalt till the land for him, thou, and thy sons, and thy servants; and thou shalt bring in the fruits, that thy master’s son may have bread to eat: but Mephibosheth thy master’s son shall eat bread alway at my table. Now Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants. Then said Ziba unto the king, According to all that my lord the king commandeth his servant, so shall thy servant do. As for Mephibosheth, said the king, he shall eat at my table, as one of the king’s sons. And Mephibosheth had a young son, whose name was Mica. And all that dwelt in the house of Ziba were servants unto Mephibosheth. So Mephibosheth dwelt in Jerusalem; for he did eat continually at the king’s table. And he was lame in both his feet. (2 Sam 9:1-13) As David took in the lame, lowly son of Jonathan and gave to him all that was due to Jonathan, so does the God the Father take in all those whom His Son has redeemed, to make whole their infirmities and grant unto them the honor and blessings due to the Son, in whose name they stand before the Father, just and free. One preacher tells a story of a reporter speaking to a Christian, a Muslim, and an orthodox Jew and inquiring each concerning his eternal destiny. The reporter comes up to the orthodox Jew and says, “Sir, if you died right now, where would you go?” The orthodox Jew says, “Well, I’d go to paradise.” Reporter: “Why?” Jew: “Well, I love the law of God. I study the law of God. I meditate on the law of God. I’m obedient to the law of God.”


Reporter: “Okay. Makes sense.” [He] comes to the Muslim. “Sir, if you died right now, where would you go?” Muslim: “I’d go to heaven.” Reporter: “Why?” Muslim: “Well, I love the Koran. I obey the Koran, and I am a righteous man, and I’ve made the pilgrimages, and I’ve given alms to the poor, and I’ve done this and that. I am a righteous man.” The reporter goes, “Okay. Makes sense to me.” [He] comes to the Christian. “Sir, if you died right now, where would you go?” Christian: “To heaven, to paradise.” Reporter: “Well, why.” Christian: “In sin did my mother conceive me and in sin was I brought forth. I have broken every law that God has ever given. I deserve the every depths of …” Right there, the reporter stops and says, “Sir, you’re confusing me. The other two guys I understand. I asked them where they are going and they said they're going to heaven and they’re right with God. And I asked them why. Because they’re righteous men in themselves. They have virtue. They have merit. So, they’re going to heaven. Sir, I come to you and you declare with a smile on your face you’re going to heaven. And yet, you claim to have no virtue or personal merit before God. How are you going to heaven?” And the Christian says, “I am going to heaven based upon the virtue and the merit of another, Jesus Christ, my Lord. Nothing in my hands I bring.” The grace of God is free to all who come to Him. All one needs to do is come. A final word to the Christian Until the end of time, critics will present their arguments against Christianity. They will devise their arguments and craft them in such a way to appeal to the common layman. As Christians, it is our all-too-natural tendency to shun such arguments and regard them as simply the product of a darkened mind, thereby blindly clinging onto our own understanding and textbook answers to such objections. When the critic presents what he or she claims to be evidence against Christian beliefs, it is not enough to merely reply, “the Bible tells me otherwise.” How do you know that what you believe is true? Do you know whether or not you are understanding the Bible in its historical context? Or, are you settling for being spoon-fed from behind a pulpit? When seemingly solid evidence is presented by the critic, how is such evidence answered only by an appeal to faith? The evidence presented by the critic must be examined – not for your sake only, but also for the sake of your neighbor. When the critic claims, “Hey, I found Jesus' tomb!” it is not


enough to reply with a “Bah humbug” and say, “That can't be, because the Bible says Jesus rose from the dead!” As believers in Christ, it is our duty to meet these arguments face to face. If the evidence is indisputably solid, then pack up your Bible and become an atheist. If the evidence is faulty, then your faith will be made stronger. If the Gospel of Christ is true, then what have we to fear by considering the claims to the contrary? If fear keeps you from diving into such an investigation, then perhaps it is time to examine your measure of faith and determine if you believe what you do because it is what you were told or raised to believe, or because you have studied the Scriptures, sought out the proofs for Christianity, and know in your heart and mind that it is the truth. Too many Christians today suffer from a dumbed-down measure of faith that does not exceed much beyond a Sunday School level of understanding. Such a measure of faith is suited for children, but not for teens and adults capable of conducting an in-depth analysis of a topic. We should properly respond to critics by being open-minded in listening to their claims. However, do not confuse open-mindedness with naivety. In examining the critics' claims, it is sometimes best to approach the issue from a non-Christian point of view and play devil's advocate with your own faith. If the claims of the critic are invalid, then the evidence against them will surface and you will emerge with your feet more firmly planted on the solid rock of Christ. It is by faith alone that we are saved, but it is not by faith alone that we live. The Gospel of Christ is a rational and logical system of belief, and in the working out of one's faith, logic should not be shunned as a humanistic philosophy. Logic is based in truth, and truth comes from God. When Jesus appeared to Thomas, Jesus did not stand from across the room and say, “Believe it or not.” Rather, he called Thomas to touch His hands and see the nail prints in His hands, and He did this so that Thomas would believe. When Paul preached to the Greeks, he did not recite the words of Christ and simply hoped for the an affirmative response. Rather, he held dialogues with the Greeks, using reason and philosophy, and showed them from the Scriptures why he made the claims he did. Likewise, the Bereans, mentioned in Acts chapter seventeen, accepted the message of the Apostles with all “readiness of mind” and consequently searched the Scriptures daily to verify if what they believed was true. So should it be today. Claims against the faith should not be met with fear, discouragement, apathy, or predetermined resolve. Rather, such claims should be seen as an opportunity to put your faith to the test, for in so doing, not only may your faith be strengthened, but you may find that doors will open to present the truth to others, which is exactly what we, as Christians, are to do. Simply put, the church has fallen asleep, and it is time to awaken. If God be for us, who can be against us? A final word to skeptics and critics For those who are uncertain what to believe, or have already made up your mind that Christianity is a bunch of malarkey, then perhaps you have already fallen prey to one or more tactics used by those who denounce Christianity. The critic most hostile against the Christian faith is equipped with a utility belt full of snares, deceptions, and agendas. If you have determined that Christianity is false because of what you have heard in a documentary or have read in a book or magazine, then you have likely chosen the easy route to atheism or some other form of religion. As has been shown throughout this book, much of what has been said against Christianity and the authority of Scripture bears the character of deception or faulty research and assumptions, which ultimately lead to faulty conclusions. Just as the Christian should not settle for a dumbed-down version of his


faith, so should the skeptic or critic not settle for an uneducated form of atheism. Consider this: what if you are wrong? If so, when do you intend to validate your beliefs? As it is said in Scripture, there is a way that seems right to man, but the end thereof is the way of death. Contrary to prevailing notions, eternity is no laughing matter, and there is only one life in which to say yea or nay to Christ. If you have examined the evidence for yourself and, after thorough and honest research, you remain convinced that Christianity is a fraud, then nothing more can be said. Some people simply will not believe the Gospel, no matter what. If you fit that description, and if the reasons for your conviction do not constitute the same deceptions of critics as those delineated in this book, then it can only be urged of you to tread cautiously, lest you become ensnared further by such deception. Be sure that your convictions are not based on what has been inferred; but rather, what is indisputable. Do not be so devoted to your convictions that you fail to consider the alternative when new revelation is presented to you. Do not become disillusioned with Christianity based on the state of the church of the modern age, or by the televangelist who seeks to empty the pockets of his congregation rather than further the church of Christ, or by the Christian who wields a Bible as if it were a baseball bat. The Gospel of Christ is based on faith, but it is a personal faith. Jesus asked His disciples, “Who do men say that I am,” but the question did not stop after He received the answer, for He then asked, “Who do you say that I am?” One's verdict concerning Christ must not be based on either the Bible-thumping, over-eager Christian nor the critic claiming the Gospels are nothing more than fables. What does the Bible and the evidence say about Christ? Furthermore, what does it say about you and the world you live in? That is the Gospel of Christ, that “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved. He that believes on Him is not condemned: but he that believes not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” (Jn 3:16-18)


The Journey
Pilgrims in a foreign land Throughout the Bible believers have expressed their journey through life as a pilgrimage, and men of faith as strangers and pilgrims traveling in a foreign land. And Pharaoh said unto Jacob, How many are the days of the years of thy life? And Jacob said unto Pharaoh, The days of the years of my pilgrimage are a hundred and thirty years: few and evil have been the days of the years of my life, and they have not attained unto the days of the years of the life of my fathers in the days of their pilgrimage. (Gen 47:8-9) …and having confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things make it manifest that they are seeking after a country of their own. And if indeed they had been mindful of that country from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return. But now they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed of them, to be called their God; for he hath prepared for them a city. (Heb 11:14-16) In The Christian Pilgrim, Jonathan Edwards states, “In confessing that they were strangers, they plainly declared that this is not their country; that this is not the place where they are at home. And in confessing themselves to be pilgrims, they declared plainly that this is not their settled abode, but that they have respect to some other country, which they seek, and to which they are traveling.”1 The concept of the Christian life as a pilgrimage is most vividly expressed in John Bunyan’s allegorical book The Pilgrim's Progress from This World to That Which Is to Come, first printed in 1678, and has since been translated into more than two hundred languages. Pilgrim’s Progress chronicles the travels of Christian, a man from the City of Destruction, who finds himself under the weight sin, depicted as a heavy burden borne upon Christian’s back. Christian is advised by Evangelist to journey to the Wicket Gate, where Good Will (later revealed to be Jesus) directs him to the “place of deliverance,” or the cross, where the straps which holds his heavy burden break, causing the burden to fall off his back. Upon being freed from his burden, Christian is given a passport to the Celestial City, or heaven, and his journey thereunto is chronicled in the remaining first part of Bunyan’s book. However, his journey is not without trials and anguish, as he must contend with such villains as Giant Despair and Apollyon, yet he is given companions, such as Faithful and Hopeful, to aid him in his journey to the Celestial City, a place where he arrives at the end of his story. The question remains: Why is it that the Christian life is depicted as a pilgrimage from a foreign land to a land more suited to his habitation? The answer lies in the transformation which a person undergoes upon placing his or her faith in Christ. When the Spirit of God calls a person and bestows faith upon him, by which he is awakened to his own corrupt condition, along with the desire to turn to God, his only hope of deliverance from such a condition, the man is changed to the uttermost. He is changed


from a child of wrath into a child of God, a transformation which Scripture speaks of as a remaking or rebirth into a new creature. Wherefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature: the old things are passed away; behold, they are become new. (2 Cor 5:17 NASB) For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God afore prepared that we should walk in them. (Eph 2:10 NASB) This new identity in which the believer is fashioned connects him with Christ in an everlasting union, and results in the believer sharing in Christ’s possessions. It is said in Scripture that Christians are remade in the likeness of Christ’s righteousness, and share in the inheritance given to Him. We were buried therefore with him through baptism unto death: that like as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we also might walk in newness of life. (Rom 6:4) The Spirit himself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are children of God: and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified with him. (Rom 8:16-17) It is because of this union with Christ that the believer’s allegiance is altered and he is given a newfound citizenship in heaven. Whereas he was once bound to sin, in a natural state of condemnation, and alienated from heaven, he is now bound to God, reborn into a state of grace and blessing. What was once his natural habitation now becomes a land foreign to him, for his new home is the abode of God, a home from which he was formerly alienated, but now exists as his promised rightful inheritance. Until the day when that inheritance is made reality, the Christian lives as a pilgrim in his present land, awaiting the day when he will awaken to new life and see God face to face. In Scripture, this pilgrimage of the Christian is expressed in nationalistic terms, as when the believer is said to be a member of a holy nation, and an ambassador in his present world, an office which, by nature, requires the one holding that office to abide in a foreign land, as one representing the ruler of his true home. But ye are a elect race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, that ye may show forth the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light: who in time past were no people, but now are the people of God: who had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. Beloved, I beseech you as sojourners and pilgrims, to abstain from fleshly lust, which war against the soul. (1 Pet 2:9-11) So then ye are no more strangers and sojourners [with God], but ye are fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God, being built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the chief corner stone. (Eph 2:19-20)


For our citizenship is in heaven; whence also we wait for a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. (Phil 3:20) We are ambassadors therefore on behalf of Christ, as though God were entreating by us: we beseech you on behalf of Christ, be ye reconciled to God. (1 Cor 5:20) Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of God; and such we are. For this cause the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we children of God, and it is not yet made manifest what we shall be. We know that, if he shall be manifested, we shall be like him; for we shall see him even as he is. (1 Jn 3:1-2) The pursuit of God As pilgrims in a foreign land, Christians are to spend their effort and time in earnest pursuit of God, a pursuit which, once embarked upon, rewards the seeker with the abiding presence of God. Long ago, the Jews were once strangers in the land of Egypt and in bondage to an earthly master, only later to be called out of that land and into a land of promise, given them by virtue of their inheritance as the seed of Abraham. Likewise, the Christian pilgrim has been called out from his land of captivity and into a land of promise. Yet, his journey is not without challenge. As the Hebrew people left Egypt to spend forty years wondering in the wilderness, so does the Christian wander through this earthly realm, but he does not wander alone, for the Creator of the cosmos and the Redeemer of man guides his steps and gives strength in times of weakness. In the end, the seeking pilgrim will surely reach the land of his inheritance and dwell in the house of the Lord forever. If then ye were raised together with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated on the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things that are above, not on the things that are upon the earth. (Col 3:1-2) As the hart panteth after the water brooks, So panteth my soul after thee, O God. (Ps 42:1) O God, thou art my God; earnestly will I seek thee: My soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee, In a dry and weary land, where no water is. (Ps 63:1) And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. (Jer 29:13) One thing have I asked of Jehovah, that will I seek after; That I may dwell in the house of Jehovah all the days of my life, To behold the beauty of Jehovah, And to inquire in his temple. (Ps 27:4) Such is the journey upon which the Christian embarks, but what it is that sets his feet upon such a path? As Bunyan’s Christian was given a passport to the Celestial City, so does the believer in Christ receive the Spirit of God as the guarantee by which he is assured that there is an everlasting rest at the end of his journey. Still, what is it that sets


his sight on such a pursuit and urges him to fervently engage himself in matters respecting this quest? The story of the Christian pilgrim is a story of grace and love, of freedom from bondage, of death and new life, and of an everlasting habitation before the face of God. It is the greatest story ever told, for it is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. “In the beginning . . .” In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth (Gen 1:1). As the culmination of His creation, He fashioned man in His image, and man lived in perfect fellowship with God, enjoying unhindered union and communion, free of all shame (Gen 1-2). God gave one ordinance: that man should not eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. So long as man lived in obedience to the law of God, his relationship with God remained unbroken. This is the fellowship that God desires of His people, that they live free of guilt, shame, and death. A people in exile Adam and Eve, the first man and woman, succumbed to temptation and broke the law of God (Gen 3:6). In so doing, they became so alienated from God that all former union and communion was completely eradicated, replaced with shame and guilt. Their very nature became corrupt, thus meriting the righteous anger of God for their sin, the consequence of which was certain death (Gen 2:17). The sin of man requires his blood and, consequently, his life.(Heb 9.22) Following their sin, a curse was placed on man and his every succeeding generation, (Romans 5:12-14) so that they shall live a life foreign to God, as ones in exile from their former state of fellowship with God, only to suffer death in the end. It is because of this curse that every person is born in a state of sin, (Ps 51.5) spiritually dead to God, but “alive unto sin.”(Rom 6.11) The vanity of fallen man is most expressed in his contentment with his present state of being, in living a life foreign to that which he was created to lead – a life without the abiding presence of God. Man’s inability to embark on the journey Having set himself on a path of destruction, man then became unable to right his wrongs, to regain his footing on the path of righteousness. Still, he tries his best to set his path straight. This he does by attempting to perform good deeds, think proper thoughts, and have proper desires, however, only blood can provide the required payment as the penalty for iniquity, and so man remained sinful, despite his most earnest effort to restore communion with God. (Rom 3:23) In an act of grace, it was promised to man that one day God Himself, in the person of Jesus Christ, would right the wrongs done from the heart of man, (Jn 1:29) since the righteousness gained by man, through good deeds, is righteousness in man’s eyes only, but to God, is as filthy rags. (Isa 64:6) With respect to the promise of a coming Deliverer, God instituted a sacrificial system, in which man offered the blood of animals as a sacrifice for sin. (Lev 4:27-31) These sacrifices served only as a shadow of the coming reality, for the blood of lambs was not sufficient to eradicate man’s guilt. Rather, they served to make man aware of his sin and to give him hope in the one future sacrifice by which man’s guilt would be completely wiped clean. So it was that man continued for many of his generations, living under the shame brought by sin, but in faith and hope in the coming Messiah who would save them.


The way to the Promised Land One day, in a small village named Bethlehem, God took on human flesh and was born of a girl named Mary. He grew as would any other boy, yet with the knowledge that He was sent to be the Lamb of God who would take away the sin of the world. As the GodMan, he gained many disciples and performed miraculous works. Still, He was rejected, for He did not meet the Jews' preconception of what the Messiah should be like, since Jesus was a man with no home of his own and from a poor family. The life Jesus lived was a life of perfect obedience to the Law, (Mt 5.17) a life which man became unable to live after his fall into sin. It is often said that Jesus was “born to die,” and it was in His eventual crucifixion that He was offered as the spotless Lamb, not shedding His blood for sin of His own, but for the sin of whose whom He came to save. (Lk 24.45) Having shed His innocent blood for the sin of others, He cried, “It is finished,” and with that declaration, the work of man’s redemption was accomplished. The salvation that man could not earn for himself was then earned for Him, by the only one who did not share in man’s guilt. This is why God became man, that He could shed His own blood and provide a sacrifice which held enough value to cleanse man’s sin. (Heb 9.13-14) However, the story does not end with the cross, for three days later, He arose from His grave in complete victory over the curse of death, (Jn 20-21) and not for Him only, but for all those whom He came to redeem. In His death, He guaranteed salvation for His people, and in His resurrection, He provided the surety of His claim to be the Lamb of God, for if Christ were not risen, then Christians would be without hope entirely. Journeying down a better road Having provided the perfect and effectual sacrifice for man’s sin, man is now drawn to God upon the leading of the Spirit of God. Man no longer needs to strive to perform works unto the attainment of salvation, for Jesus performed the work Himself. All that now remains is to trust in His work and cling to Him by faith. Salvation has been provided for man, and by man’s faith is that salvation applied to man’s account. Once this salvation is applied, the man becomes a new creature, no longer a slave to sin, but free unto God, and made a citizen of heaven. This is where man embarks on his pilgrimage, from this world to a better world, a world where God and man can once again speak face to face and walk side by side, man being able to see God as He is. It is this goal which the Christian pursues, for such a life is so much greater than even the life of the wealthiest of earthly kings. As Edwards stated, “Therefore it becomes us to spend this life only as a journey towards heaven, as it becomes us to make the seeking of our highest end and proper good, the whole work of our lives, to which we should subordinate all other concerns of life.” The contentment that man once had for the land in which he had his former citizenship is now replaced with a longing for his new home, a home for which his journey is now set. Along this journey, and having his hope set on that which is to come, all earthly pleasures should become as that which passes with the blowing of the wind, for in them rests not the hope of eternity with God. The pilgrim is then equipped with all that is necessary for the journey, being equipped with the armor of God and a heart turned from stone to flesh. Therefore let us also, seeing we are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let


us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising shame, and hath sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Heb 12:1-2) Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world-rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Wherefore take up the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and, having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; withal taking up the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (Eph 6:10-17 NASB) As new-born babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby. (1 Pet. 2:2) Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. (1 Cor 10:31) Journey’s end As Bunyan’s pilgrim finished his journey and entered into the Celestial City, so shall the Christian enter into everlasting, either as a good and faithful servant or as one who has never entered into a personal relationship with the King of the universe. The work of Christ was a perfect sacrifice; therefore, the Christian has the surety that the blessing conferred by virtue of that sacrifice is his everlasting possession. “They shall hunger no more nor thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne, shall feed them and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.” (Rev. 7:16-17) All that it takes to begin this pilgrimage to heaven is to place your trust in the sacrifice of Christ as the perfect sacrifice for sin. Confess yourself as a sinner before God and believe that Jesus is the only hope for your salvation. Such a confession does not involve praying in “thee’s” and “thou’s,” as expressed in the old English versions of the Bible. All that is takes is faith, for by grace are you saved, through faith, not of yourselves. It is the gift of God. Confess –Believe – Trust – Hope. That’s the simple truth. Salvation is free to all those who believe that Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and that there is salvation in no other name but His. For questions or more information on what it is to become a Christian, please write to


About the Author
Michael holds a bachelor's degree in commercial art and has been a lay student in theological studies for more than twenty years. Presently, Michael is a candidate for a Master of Divinity degree. He has spent the past decade working on various book projects with friend and fellow artist Jonathan Myers. He is also the graphic designer for a card game based on Tom Kidd’s masterwork Gnemo. In the year 2000 Jonathan and he founded Ambition Studios, through which they published the black and white graphic novel Swamp Fox: Birth of a Legend, a Disneyesque revision of the adventures of Revolutionary War hero Francis Marion. The project received critical acclaim through local media and industry reviewers, and is currently being remodeled into a full color book. In November 2008, Michael formed Light and Life Graphics, through which he published his first book A Sure Foundation: Answering the Charge Against Christianity. A proficient oil painter, he continues to work on projects of his own making, as well as in conjunction with other studios. Formerly a Pittsburgh, PA native, Michael currently resides in upstate New York with his five cats: Toby, Pippin, Merry, Mooch (the stray), and Nikki, and is the proud uncle of two nieces, Emily and Sara, and a nephew, Matthew.


Introduction 1. Smith , Jonathan Z. The Encyclopedia of Religion. Edited by Mircea Eliade, Article titled "Dying and Rising Gods", volume 4, New York: MacMillan Publishing Company, 1986. pp. 521-522. 2. <> Accessed August 10, 2008. 3. <> Accessed August 10, 2008. 4. <> Accessed August 11, 2008. Part 1: Gospel or Myth? Virgin birth 1. Plutarch. A Hymn to Osiris and a Legend of the Origin of Horus. <> July 16, 2008. 2. Article from History News Network, <> Accessed July 16, 2008. 3. Plutarch. On Isis and Osiris, Moralia V, 18. 4. Lesko, Barbara S. Great Goddesses of Egypt. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1999. p. 162. 5. Dunand / Zivie-Coche. Gods and Men in Egypt. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2005. p. 39. 6. Acharya S, The Companion Guide to Zeitgeist Part 1. Seattle: Stellar House Publishing, 2008. p. 41. 7. ibid., p. 39. 8. Plutarch, op. cit., ch. 9. 9. Acharya S, op. cit., p. 40. 10. ibid., p. 39. 11. <> Accessed December 30, 2008. 12. <> Accessed January 1, 2009. 13. Acharya S, op. cit., p.42. 14. Mahabharata, 12.68. 15. Srimad Bhagavatam, 10.2.17-18. 16. ibid., 10.3.15 17. 17. <> Accessed July 13, 2008. 18. Clauss, Manfred. The Roman Cult of Mithras. New York: Routledge, 2001. pp. 62-63. 19. Commodianus, Instructions 13. 20. Encyclopedia Britannica. Article entry: “Mithraism” Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2004. 21. Clauss, op. cit., p. 168-169. 22. Pausanias, Description of Greece 7.17.8.


23. ibid., 7.17.10-12. 24. Euripides, The Bacchae. 25. Encyclopedia Mythica, Article titled “Zeus”, <> Accessed December 8, 2008. December 25th date of birth 1. Plutarch, op. cit., ch 65. 2. <> July 23, 2008. 3. <> Accessed July 23, 2008. 4. <> Accessed July 25, 2008. 5. The New Catholic Encyclopaedia Vol. III, 1967 edition, p. 656. 6. Josephus, Wars of the Jews, 2.1.3. 7. Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, 17.8.1. 8. Brown, William. The Tabernacle: Its Priests and Its Services. Peabody: Hendrickson Publishers, 1996. p. 129. 9. Ramsay, Sir William. Was Christ Born at Bethlehem. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1979. p. 193. 10. Machen, J. Gresham. The Virgin Birth of Christ. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1930. pp. 240-243. 11. Manual of Liturgical History, 1955, Vol. 2, p. 67. 12. Acharya S, op. cit., p.24. 13. <> Accessed January 12, 2009. 14. <> Accessed January 12, 2009. 15. Acharya S, op. cit., p.25. 16. ibid. 17. ibid., p. 33. 18. ibid. His mother was named Mary 1. <> Accessed December 12, 2008. 2. <> Accessed December 12, 2008. 3. Acharya S, op. cit., p. 36 4. ibid. 5. Ovid, Metamorphoses, 10.298-518. 6. Buddha-karita, 1.9, 15, 19-20. 7. Edersheim, Alfred. The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah. Peabody: Hendrickson Publishers, 1993. p. 104. 8. Acharya S, op. cit., p.40. 9. ibid., p. 44. 10. <> Accessed December 12, 2008.


He was born in a manger or a cave in the “house of bread,” also translated as “Bethlehem” 1. Strong, James, S.T.D. Strong's Exhaustive Concordance. Peabody: Hendrickson Publishers, 2007. 2. <> Accessed July 21, 2008. 3. Targum Jonathan on Micah 5:2 in the Tanakh. 4. Jerusalem Talmud, Berakoth. 5. Abarbanel, Mashmiah Jeshua, fol. 62, c. 2. 6. Edersheim, Alfred. Sketches of Jewish Social Life. Peabody: Hendrickson Publishers, 1994. p. 49. 7. Josephus, op. cit., 8.1. 8. Buttrick, George Arthur, ed. The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible: An Illustrated Encyclopedia. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1962. p.97. At age thirty, He began His ministry after being baptized 1. Acharya S, op. cit., p.19. 2. ibid., p. 18. 3. ibid., p. 22. 4. ibid. He had twelve disciples 1. Encyclopedia Mythica, Article titled “Horus”, < horus.html> Accessed July 13, 2008. 2. <> Accessed July 13, 2008. 3. <> Accessed July 13, 2008. 4. <> Accessed July 14, 2008. 5. Acharya S, op. cit., p.19. He performed miracles, such as walking on water or turning water into wine 1. Pausanias, op. cit., 6.26.1-2. 2. Pliny the Elder, Natural History, 2.106. He was known by titles such as “King of Kings” and “Alpha and Omega” 1. <> Accessed August 2, 2008. 2. Acharya S, op. cit., p. 12. 3. ibid., p. 13. 4. ibid., p. 14 5. ibid., p. 23 He held a communal last supper with His disciples 1. Clauss, op. cit., p. 109.


He was crucified 1. <> Accessed July 23, 2008. 2. Mahabharata, 16. 4. 3. Ovid, Fasti, 4.221. 4. <> Accessed July 23, 2008. 5. Pausanias, op. cit., 7.19.9-12. 6. <> Accessed July 23, 2008. 7. Pausanias, op. cit., 7.17.9-10. 8. Herodotus, Histories 1.34-45. 9. Arnobius, Adversus Gentes, 5.5-7. 10. <> Accessed July 24, 2008. 11. Guthrie, W.K.C. Orpheus and Greek Religion. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993. p. 265. 12. Acharya S, op. cit., p. 43. 13. <> Accessed August 4, 2008. Concerning the constellation Crux as being the supposed origin for the crucifixion of Jesus 1. Ptolemy, Amalgest, 8.1.H161-162. 2. < (cf. Ptolemy, Amalgest, 8.1.H161-1622) > Accessed Aug 14, 2008. 3. <> Accessed August 15, 2008. He was dead for three days 1. Mahabharata, Book 16.4. 2. <> Accessed August 18, 2008. 3. Henry, Matthew. Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible, Complete and Unabridged in One Volume. Peabody: Hendrickson Publishers; 1st edition , 1991. p. 1475. He was resurrected from the dead 1. Acharya S, op. cit., p. 14. 2. ibid. 3. <> Accessed August 23, 2008. 4. Mahabharata, 16.4. 5. Ovid, op. cit., 4.221. 6. <> Accessed August 23, 2008. 7. Pausanias, op. cit., 7.19.9-12. 8. <> Accessed August 25, 2008. 9. Pausanias, op. cit., 7.17.9-10. 10. Herodotus, op. cit., 1.34-45. 11. Arnobius, op. cit., 5.5-7.


12. Gasparro, G. Sfameni. Soteriology: Mystic Aspects in the Cult of Cybele and Attis. Boston: Brill Academic Publishers, 1997. p. 198. 13. ibid., p. 198. 14. Firmicus Maternus, Error of the Pagan Religions, 3.1-2. 15. <> Accessed August 28, 2008. 16. Diodorus Siculus, Historical Library, p. 203. 17. Schaff, Philip, ed. Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 3. Tertullian, Prescription Against Heretics, ch 40. AGES Software. 18. Spiedel, Michael P. Mithras-Orion, Greek Hero and Roman Army God. Boston: Brill Academic Publishers, 1997. p 172. 19. McGrath, Alister. Intellectuals Don't Need God and Other Modern Myths. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1993. p. 121. 20. Smith, Jonathan Z. Drudgery Divine: On the Comparison of Early Christianities and the Religions of Late Antiquity. Chicago: University Of Chicago Press, 1994. p. 101. Concerning Sunday as the sacred day of worship 1. Rosen, Ralph Mark, ed. Time and Temporality in the Ancient World, University of Pennsylvania Press. 2004 pp.192-207. Part 2: Shattering the Mirror – Debunking the Claims of the Critics Concerning suspect confession of Justin Martyr 1. <> Accessed September 16, 2008. 2. <> Accessed September 16, 2008. 3. Schaff, op.cit., Vol. 1, Irenaeus, Against Heresies. 2.22. 4. ibid., ch 20, 22. 5. ibid., ch 22. 6. Schaff, Philip, ed., Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Series 2, Vol. 1. Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, 3.23. AGES Software. 7. Henry, op. cit., p. 1974. 8. Schaff, Philip, ed., Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 1. Irenaeus, Against Heresies, 2.22.6. AGES Software. 9. ibid., 3.17.2. 10. ibid., 2:22:3. 11. <> Accessed September 17, 2008. 12. Schaff, Philip, ed., Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Series 2, Vol. 1. Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, 1.4. AGES Software. 13. ibid., ch. 5. 14. ibid., 1.3. 15. ibid. 16. ibid., 1.4. 17. ibid. 18. Kuhn, Alvin Boyd. Shadow of the Third Century. Quezon City: Theosophical Publishing House, 1949 p. 3.


19. <> Accessed September 19, 2008. 20. Schaff, op. Cit., Series I, Vol 1. The Letters of St. Augustine; Letter 102 . 11-15. AGES Software. 21. ibid., Vol 4. Anti- Manichaen & Anti- Donatist Writings, The Manichaean Heresy, ch 8. 22. Wheless, Joseph. Forgery in Christianity. New York: A. A. Knopf, 1930. p. 147. 23. Schaff, Philip, ed., Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 3. Tertullian. Ad nationes, 1.13. AGES Software. 24. ibid., Vol. 3. Justin Martyr. First Apology, ch 21. 25. ibid., ch 22. 26. ibid., ch 24. 27. ibid., ch 21. 28. ibid., ch 23. 29. ibid. 30. ibid., Vol. 3. Justin Martyr. Dialogue with Trypho, ch 70. 31. ibid., First Apology, ch 64. 32. Machen, op. cit., p. 336. 33. Schaff, op. cit., ch 117. Concerning the similarities between the Epic of Gilgamesh and Noah’s Flood 1. <> Accessed September 16, 2008. 2. <> Accessed September 16, 2008. 3. ibid. 4. <> Accessed September 16, 2008. 5. <> Accessed September 16, 2008. 6. <> Accessed September 17, 2008. 7. ibid. Concerning the claim that the account of Moses’ life in the Pentateuch is a fabrication of existing motifs 1. <> Accessed October 2, 2008. 2. <> Accessed October 2, 2008. 3. <> Accessed October 2, 2008. 4. ibid. 5. <> Accessed October 2, 2008. 6. <> Accessed October 3, 2008. 7. <> Accessed October 3, 2008. 8. Schaff, op. cit., Vol. 2. Theophilus to Autolycus, 3.23. 9. <> Accessed October 3, 2008.


Concerning the proposed relationship between Jesus and the signs and ages of the Zodiac 1. Ulansey, David. The Origins of the Mithraic Mysteries. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989. p. 76. 2. <> Accessed October 8, 2008. 3. <> Accessed October 8, 2008. 4. Ulansey, op. cit., p. 79. 5. Josephus, Wars of the Jews. 4.9.3; 2.14.3. 6. Edersheim, Alfred. Sketches of Jewish Social Life. Peabody: Hendrickson Publishers, 1994. p. 92. 7. Edersheim, op cit., p. 47. 8. Schaff, op. cit., Vol. 1. The First Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians, ch 5. Concerning the proposed similarity between various Biblical concepts and preexisting beliefs and icons 1. Lloyd, Alan B. Ancient Egypt: A Social History. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983. ch 4. Concerning the claim that the life of Jesus is merely a revision of the life of Joseph 1. <> Accessed September 30, 2008. 2. <> Accessed September 30, 2008. 3. Nash, Ronald. Article titled "Was the New Testament Influenced by Pagan Religions," Christian Research Journal, Winter, 1994. Concerning Constantine and the Nicean Creed 1. Witherington, Ben, III. The Gospel Code: Novel Claims About Jesus, Mary Magdalene and Da Vinci. Downer’s Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2004. pp. 63-64. 2. Philip Schaff, ed., The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Series 2, Vol. 1. The Writings of Eusebius, Tertullian. Life of Constantine, 4.36. AGES Software. 3. <> Accessed October 5, 2008. Concerning the historicity of Jesus 1. Tacitus, Annals 15.44. 2. Josephus, Antiquities 18.63-64. 3. ibid., 20.200. 4. Feldman, Louis. Josephus and Modern Scholarship, 1937-1980. Berlin: Walter De Gruyter, Inc., 1984. p. 690. 5. Schaff, The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 4. Origen, Against Celsus. 1.47. 6. Schaff, op. cit., Vol. 1. The Epistle of Barnabus. 7. ibid., The First Epistle of Clement, chapter 24. 8. ibid., The Epistle of Ignatius to the Trallians, ch 9. 9. ibid., The Epistle of Ignatius to the Smyrnaeans, ch 3. 10. ibid., The Epistle of Ignatius to the Ephesians, ch 9.


11. ibid., The Epistle of Polycarp to the Philippians, Ch 9. 12. ibid., Fragments of Papias, From the Exposition of the Oracles of the Lord, Fragment 1. 13. ibid., Fragment 6. 14. ibid., Justin Martyr, First Apology, ch 50. 15. ibid., Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho, the Jew, ch 32.5. 16. Leith, John H. Creeds of the Churches: A Reader in Christian Doctrine, from the Bible to the Present. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1983. p. 18. 17. Schaff, op. cit., Irenaeus, Against Heresies, 3.1.1. 18. ibid., pp. 22-24. 19. Grant, Michael. Jesus: An Historian’s Review of the Gospels. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1977. pp. 199-200. 20.<> Accessed October 4, 2008. 21. Schaff, op. cit., Vol. 3. Tertullian, Apologeticus, Ch 50. 22. <> Accessed October 4, 2008. 23. ibid. 24. <> Accessed October 6, 2008. 25. The Jewish Talmud, Sanhedrin 43a. 26. The Babylonian Talmud; b.Yebamoth 49a; m Yebam. 4:13. 27. ibid.; b. Sanh. 106a. 28. ibid.; b. Sabb. 104b. 29.< ._James_translation)> Accessed October 6, 2008. 30. Anthropoetics - The Electronic Journal of Generative Anthropology, Vol III, No 1. 31. <> Accessed October 7, 2008. 32. Schaff, op. cit., Vol. 4. Origen, Against Celsus. 2.14. 33. ibid., 2.33. 34. ibid., Vol. 6. Julius Africanus, Extant Fragments, 18.1. 35. ibid., Vol. 4. Origen, Against Celsus. 2.59. 36. ibid., Vol. 6. Julius Africanus, Extant Fragments, 18.1. Part 3: Snares of the Deceivers Proper use of terminology is often disregarded in claims which attempt to liken events in the life of Christ to events which occur in pagan mythology. 1. <> Accessed August 18, 2008. 2. Clauss, op. cit., p. 112. Logical fallacies employed by the critics 1. Acharya S, op. cit., p. 8. 2. ibid p24 3. <> Accessed September 5, 2008.


Part 4: The Supremacy of Christ The Son of God is one with the Father and the Spirit 1. Tozer, A. W. The Knowledge of the Holy. London: Harper Collins, 1992. p. 1. 2. Geary, Patrick J. Readings in Medieval History. Ontario: Broadview Press, 1998. p. 11. 3. Zacharias, op. cit., p. 6. 4. Tozer, op. cit., p. 22. 5. Earle, Ralph. Word Meanings in the New Testament. Peabody: Hendrickson Publishers, 1986. p. 82. 6. ibid., p. 349. 7. Acharya S, op. cit., p. 17. The Son of God is pre-existent 1. Rhodes, op. cit., p. 39. Jesus' birth, life, death, and resurrection were foretold long before His arrival 1. <> Accessed October 15, 2008. Jesus' resurrection is a fact of history 1. <> Accessed October 17, 2008. 2. Strobel, Lee. The Case for Christ. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1998. p. 33. Part 5: The Gospel Record The early date of the gospel records testify to their historical accuracy 1. ibid., Fragments of Papias, From the Exposition of the Oracles of the Lord, Fragment 1. 2. ibid., Fragment 6. Concerning the supposed silence of the remainder of the New Testament regarding Matthew and Luke’s virgin birth narratives 1. <> Accessed October 9, 2008. 2. Schaff, op. cit., Irenaeus, Against Heresies, 3.3.4. 3. Orr, James. The Virgin Birth of Christ. New York: C. Scribner's Sons, 1907. p. 121. Concerning the supposed silence of the New Testament letters regarding Jesus' humanity 1. Bagster's Bible Handbook. New Jersey: Fleming H. Revell Co., 1983. p. 78. The authenticity and integrity of the Gospels 1. Schaff, op. cit., Justin Martyr, First Apology, ch 66. 2. ibid., ch 67.


3. ibid., Dialogue with Trypho, the Jew, ch 100. 4. ibid., ch 103. 5. ibid., Fragments of Papias, From the Exposition of the Oracles of the Lord, Fragment 1. 6. ibid., Fragment 6. 7. Schaff, op. cit., Vol. 4. Origen, Against Celsus, Book 1, ch 40. 8. ibid., Book 2, ch 32. 9. <> Accessed October 10, 2008. 10. <> Accessed October 10, 2008. 11. Josephus, op. cit., 18. 12. Orr, op. cit., p 70. 13. <> Accessed October 10, 2008. 14. Ramsay, op. cit., p. 219. 15. < 1847> Accessed October 10, 2008. 16. Kesich, Veselin, Kesich, Lydia W. Treasures of the Holy Land. New York: St Vladimir's Seminary Press, 1997. p. 27. 17. Freedman, David Noel. Anchor Bible Dictionary, K-N: Vol. 4. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1992. The characteristics of the person of Jesus, as portrayed in the Gospels, contradict popular Judaic concepts and, as such, could not have been a product of invention 1. Quoted by J. Gresham Machen, Princeton Theological Review, Jan., 1906, p. 74. Conclusion 1. <> Accessed October 21, 2008. 2. Zacharias, op. cit., p. 50. 3. Packer, op. cit., p. 147. The Journey 1. <> Accessed October 21, 2008.


Online resources for further study
Dare 2 Share; Training Teenagers to transform their world. Also excellent for adults, providing information on various ways to share your faith with others. Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry; From the site: CARM offers a concise, comprehensive explanation of the Christian faith along with logical analysis of errors in popular beliefs, both secular and sacred. It is easy to use, written for the layman, and covers a huge range of topics. Tekton Apologetics Ministries; Featuring the latest in Christian apologetics. Hall of Church History; An impressive archive of some of the best in Christian reading, both ancient and contemporary. Christian Classics Ethereal Library; A massive collection of writings covering numerous theological, historical, and church related topics. The Ligonier Study Center; The home of Dr. R. C. Sproul, featuring archives of streaming audio and video from his Renewing the Mind radio broadcast. Top notch material. Project Gutenberg; A literary hub featuring hundreds of titles in the public domain, Christian and secular. Providence Baptist Ministries; A collection of writings from classic theologians such as John Gill, A. W. Pink, and R. L. Dabney The Calvinist Corner; A good starting point for those who wish to learn more about Reformed theology or Calvinism. Center for Reformed Theology and Apologetics; Containing a wealth of information, this site could not be any more highly recommended. The Ultimate Christian Apologetics Website; A wealth of articles concerned with the defense of the fChristian aith.


Internet Sacred Text Archive; A massive literary hub of both Christian and non-Christian writings, sacred and non-sacred.. Christian Answers; From the site: Our primary goal is to provide accurate, biblical answers on a wide variety of questions asked by Christians and non-Christians. Academy of Christian Apologetics; From the site: The Academy is a ministry to the body of Christ whose goal is to provide each and every Christian with the materials needed to learn how to articulate and defend their faith in a way that stands up to intellectual criticism. Lion of Judah Christian Apologetics; An excellent site to equip the Christian with answers for his faith. Rational Christianity Christian Apologetics; A good site to dive into when combating skepticism.; From the site: Some of our broadcasters include R. C. Sproul, Sinclair Ferguson, Bob Jones University, Ian Paisley, Alan Cairns, Albert Martin, Clarence Sexton, Joel Beeke, John Barnett, Eric J. Alexander, Ken Ham, Jay Adams, Jeff Noblit, and a host of "classic" sermons by Spurgeon, A. W. Tozer, Jonathan Edwards, and many more.. Rich's Hone Page for Reformed Theology; An excellent site with archives of Christian literature and links to various areas of study in theology.; A community of online ministries.

Recommended resources for children
A Kid's Heart; Featuring Bible studies, games, activities, and helpful resources for parents and teachers. His Kids Radio; From the site: is an alliance of ministries whose cornerstone is Jesus Christ and whose passion is reaching kids with Biblical truth through excellent media resources. We've gathered the best in children's Christian programming and put it in one place so you can easily find safe, entertaining, and enriching content just for kids! Our alliance of broadcasters and partners work hard to make a place you and your child want to be.


Photo Credits
Page 73 - Amulet depicting crucified Dionysus: <> Page 76 - The cross of the Zodiac: <> Page 143 - The Ark of the Covenant: <> Page 143 - Egyptian ark thrones: <> Page 143 - Cave painting of the throne of Rameses III: <>



Special thanks to: Jonathan Myers and Tim Spanjer

For your contributions, your devoted friendship, and the enrichment you bring to my life.



ay the Lord bless you and keep you;

ay He make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you;

ay He turn His face toward you and give you peace.

Numbers 6:24-26