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The problem is that the Bible contains many things that are just plain wrong and any mature person must accept that and learn to deal with it. So I would be very interested to know what you think of the Bible. Do you believe it all? Some of it? How do you understand it? Does it matter what a person believes? If not, then it would seem that there is not much left in the Bible, except perhaps something very mystical. Man, a lot there to chew on. So just like trying to eat an elephant…maybe one bite at a time? Do I believe that salvation is based on belief?

No way. The demons believe and tremble. I take that to mean that just believing is not sufficient. I find it interesting that the Word has much to say about works that the Church today quickly throws aside. I think this is mostly based on the teachings of former Christians 3rd century?? As a former pastor, I know the difference in actual study and in formally recognized processes taught in seminary as substitutes. Paul had much to say about dispensing with the fables of old and to me, the Church has jumped right into that arena along with Judaism. Without the action that puts that belief faith?

A few verses that team together Yeah, I really like what you have done with the Bible Wheel draws a more clear picture I think. I think that the Word is telling me that my belief must be something I put into action or better said my faith; that when I do, He does as He promised. When I rebel, He responds as He promised. Action — reaction, a covenant. Yet, my faith is not enough in and of itself because the requirement is to do James , Micah They may actually love things to be neat and tidy but until they take the action themselves it is useless babble, vain utterances.

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So in the doing of the work keeping the instructions given by Elohim to Moshe I now have an evidence of what I really want. My desire is seen and demonstrated. Yet there is more here. Selfless rather than selfish. So I see salvation as a thing that is not gained in this life as yet. So for me salvation is something that I enter into, a process which moves across the span of my life whatever amount is remaining and is culminated when the proclamation comes forth.

When atonement is announced, am I in the book? As a former Baptist, eternal salvation was the cornerstone for a happy life. Ezekiel 18 tells me all that I need to know about understanding Philippians So, what do yo make of my thoughts on salvation and my rejection of belief being anything to do with it? Is there room in your heart for obedience? If so then the next topic might be the concept of a servant in the doing of the work of salvation, eh? You tell me. I am certain that the point you find yourself in is still within the bounds of brotherhood.

And I am certain that in discussing these things a brother can be restored and that, if nothing else, is the greatest thing that I could ever hope for. No, I am not a Messianic Christian. I am a man who tries to live faithfully, loving others and seeing myself in a community of the upright. I am Hebraic, not Judaic. I am a bond servant who loves his master, his wife and his children. To live is Messiah, to die is gain. I really appreciate your post, but I feel like you have passed the elephant back to me. You brought up many things.

And neither do I believe he will visibly return, and there certainly is no evidence that it would be on Yom Kippur. Now beyond all this, I think you might not have read my previous explanations. The Bible makes many promises about God being like a father who cares for his children and answers their prayers. But that simply is not true. We can do a simple statistical analysis and compare the prayers of Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hebraic Believers — whatever — and we will see that God does not answer any of their prayers.

This has forced me to conclude that the God of the Bible is not true. Nope, but I have to admit that I added some things in my last post to see what your reaction would be. In part to see if I could define a trend and I think I have. I get a hint of your defining me based on what your perception is of others who have similarities to me, e.

I kind of had to smile when I read that…if you only knew. Nevertheless, it does go to strengthen a point that I have been considering. Is your disatisfaction with an Elohim that would tell His people to kill every man, woman and child based on your perception of what a correct moral standing should be? Better said, are you determining what is right in your eyes and then demanding that someone greater than you with a greater perspective must then fit within those parameters?

Did Jesus Exist? Searching for Evidence Beyond the Bible

Yet while they were going through this time you perhaps had a different point of view, you were not mired firsthand in the situation so you could then present a point of view that was more objective? So why do I write to you? To convince you of something? To get a notch in my belt for having triumphed a cause?

Gosh I hope not for any of those. I cannot sway your heart and I cannot judge your heart. That belongs to the Spirit, not me. But I can put you in remembrance of things you already once knew. The difference here is that I might be able to show you somethings that you percieved one way and get you to see them from a different way. If I were to know what congregation you last fellowshipped with I might make the asumption as to what you mean when you type or what you believe and how you think.

I have read your blogs and frankly I see something different in them than you say. Denying Elohim totally would be and that is a lonely road in that you would fail to know Him and to have a relationship with Him. You say that we could use statistical analysis to prove that prayers are not answered. Define a prayer. Define an answer to prayer. Why should He be confined to what church dogma teaches? And more importantly why should you confine your argument to that dogma?

I could type 20, words on the evidence of answered prayer in my life and in the lives of others I know. You could easily dismiss that based on issues with the terminology and concepts that I share. The point then is what do you think. Are we a random accident of discharged gases and pools of oosing fluids, with a little lightening thrown in just like Frankenstein?

Are you alone and isolated and love is a chemical reaction? Is your bride just another accident that lives with you but not much more? Did we invent a god just to feel better about ourselves or to help police ourselves? My faith is my own and yet I am a part of other faithful followers at the same time. I have a defense for what I believe and it is not based on any other persons concepts, only my own. I worship with like-hearted folks. What do you believe? You either make your own decisions or someone does it for you.

So are you suggesting that it is morally OK for God to brutalize his people by commanding them to become heartless cruel cold-blooded killers of women and children? But there is nothing in the Bible that defines the Bible, let alone that tells you how it should be interpreted. Where did you get that idea? Everyone I know is doing just fine, and my wife and I are daily rejoicing in our new found freedom. What did I say that made you think those thoughts? Any insight you might have to offer along these lines would be most welcome.

When I speak of statistics, my point is that the prayers of Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, Christians and everyone else are answered with equal frequency, which is either zero or so close to zero as to be statistically insignificant. This means that the God of the Bible is not true. I define prayer as asking God to watch over, protect, and provide for the earthly needs for me and my loved ones, just like the Bible says.

Pretty simple stuff. That such a God exists is the central claim of both the Bible and Christianity. It is a false claim. Sign me up. Merely using the capital letter does not imply anything about my personal beliefs. As for the Bible, it is a proper noun and should be capitalized. I am not confining myself to church dogma at all. And if ten of those words were objectively verifiable you would be world famous as the first man with proof of God. But I also know that if I were born a mere thousand years ago I would been forced to assume that every creature was directly created by God because I would have known nothing of science.

I also might have believed that the earth was only years old. So I have no discomfort being ignorant about ultimate questions. I am a human and we humans have very little knowledge. I am filled with love and hope and joy and freedom. I love being free from the deception of religion. We all have amazing experiences. If you were Muslim, you would attribute them to Allah.

If Hindu, you would have your whole metaphysical world filled with supernatural beings and gurus guiding you to thank for your amazing experiences. If Christian, you thank Christ. I just am. What more could anyone be? But I am striving to understand reality. And I am very thankful that you are participating in the process. Do I exist? Do you exist?

What proof do you or I have that either of us is a real person? Some data in a cogent fashion that each of us is able to interpret, with a specific destination? That makes us real? Can order come out of chaos? There certainly is no empirical evidence of that occuring in nature that I am aware of. Ever hear of the fibonachi number? That, not to mention your own DNA strand would seem to indicate order, pattern, a governing or directive nature. Has anyone ever told you that something you said or did was an answer to prayer?

I have been told that and I have said that to others because it was true, something they said or did was an answer to a prayer that I had been praying, a request made to Elohim not the person. Does not the Word teach that we are made in the image of Elohim through Adam? So what proof do you require that Elohim does answer prayer? Do you require a visual sighting? Does He have to work in a way that you consider has value, outside of actually answering the prayer?

Have you experienced a prayer that was by your reckoning never answered, or at least not answered as you would have thought it should have been? I actually am thankful for the opportunity to dialogue with you on this. I am certainly thankful that you still are open to discovery. I pray that you will find what you are looking for and that this will include Elohim. As for order coming out of chaos — it happens all the time. It happens in dynamical systems Prigogine got the Nobel for his research on this and it happens in biological evolution.

For example, what happens when you throw iron filings on a piece of paper with a magnet underneath? The filings fall randomly, but they make a pattern that reveals the underlying order imposed by the magnetic field. As for answers to prayer — that happens all the time if you are inclined to believe because then you map whatever seems significant onto your belief.

The problem is that folks are very gullible and they easily fool themselves. For example, the sick would have to be actually healed meaning a doctor could verify it. The conman Benny Hinn claims many headings at every one of his shows. Hank Hanegraaff asked him for his best three headings that could be confirmed by doctors. Benny complied, but not one panned out. It only motivates me to search more to discover the truth. I watched an amazing video series about the de-conversion process. The guy is absolutely brilliant.

Hope you are well. None of his theorhetical assumptions are provable, which means they remain theory and cannot be used for a basis of further extrapolation. He won a man-made prize, awarded by men? Not a defining statement for me in the scope of eternity. As to the magnetic flow, can you undo magnetism? Is it reversible? If you can you are on your way to fame and fortune. How did magnetic lines ever form from a chaotic system?

Magnetism in and of itself represents order, hence the filings on a sheet of paper forming a clear and distinct pattern with a magnet below. The driving force of the resultant order of the filings was already present in the magnetic lines eminating from the magnet. I watched the linked youtube video and have one of my own to share with you.

For me this video is descriptive of what you have presented to me in determing how things work, the logic of the universe, etc. No human has the ability to be greater than the Creator who made him. That Benny Hinn is a fraud, well you have no argument with me. Charlatainism is a vile thing to perpetrate on those who do not understand and an evil we could do without. We are all flawed, so who can do this for you? Any supposition we make is flawed as we are flawed, therefore we cannot define perfection. It requires an innocence rather than intelligence to know Elohim. The more we try to compartmentalize Him the further we get from the Truth.

It teaches us to use our heart. So what does your heart say? A group of people rarely induces truth in my experience ; go for a walk outdoors, look at the things around you that have nothing to do with a human designer. Here is where I think you will find the Truth. I think the Truth you find will be a perspective all your own. No one else on the face of this earth was born to your parents, had the siblings you do if you do , had all of the same experiences you have had, has the exact same physical realities that you do, etc. You are unique and as such your experience of Elohim will also be unique.

Hi Richard, I must say I enjoyed your conversations. I admire your works on the bible wheel, and I am quite surprised by your turn from christianity. I ordered your book a few years back and came back to order a couple more for a couple of my friends that were interested in the study. I was shocked to see the statement why I turned from christianity. You said, I am set free from christianity… May I ask how were you set free from freedom? You were once a bond servant set free from the bonds of sin, and now you want go back into bondage. It reminds me of the Galations who were converting back to the law.

You noted a scripture: Deuteronomy But of the cities of these people, which the LORD thy God doth give thee for an inheritance, thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth: 17 But thou shalt utterly destroy them; namely, the Hittites, and the Amorites, the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee: Did God not destroy the Earth with a flood? Does that make Him evil? Is He not the judge?

Do we deserve death, and if not why did Jesus go to the cross? Why did God come down from His throne to die for you? Even the angels ask God, why do you concern yourself with us humans. How can we being the clay even consider judging the potters intensions or motives? Does He not see whats in your heart before you even see yourself? Surely a person with your intellect has read these scriptures over and over, yet now you recant? What has occurred in your life to release you from the ultimate Love? You have to have kidding me?

I see prayers answered daily! Have you submitted your self completely? Do you put others first? Where is your victory? You talked about the false prophets and people who have claimed to be of our Father, but live otherwise…. I Know I am no match for a debate with you, but consider fasting and praying to your Father for an understanding, instead of seeking other spiritual mediums.

I agree with your statements about many Christians who fail to discern false people who claim they know the end of the world, but did you really believe Harold? I for one am not looking for the end of the world, but the return of our Lord. Finally, I am not here to convince you of anything, but maybe I can get you to use the talent our Father has given you to look take another gander and what your rejecting?

I pray you will seek Him who set you free and ask for Him to reveal His spirit in you to find the answers your seeking. The answers are right inside you, but you are failing to see them. Pray the Father opens the door to your heart to see Him as truth! God bless you brother and I will be praying for you! Wanted to share some resources. Might truth and error together be knowable even in advance by truth? On earth, shall we not expect a saga involving questions between good and evil, and between truth and falsity, and things like that? I really appreciate your heartfelt comments, and I understand where you are coming from.

Tony: May I ask how were you set free from freedom? All honest Christians must admit that they often sin. This is one of the biggest problems I had with Christianity. Folks say words that have no real meaning. I was talking about freedom to think freely and act in accordance with my conscience which was often at odds with Christian doctrines and things taught in the Bible like the doctrine of hell as mentioned in my post.

Tony: Did God not destroy the Earth with a flood? Not necessarily. But that was not my point. If he really wanted them dead, he should have done it himself. This is a real problem that has no solution as far as I can tell. Tony: How can we being the clay even consider judging the potters intensions or motives? We have no choice!

How do you know that the Bible is true? And when you accepted the concept of the Trinity — is that not a judgment that you made about the nature of God? And on it goes, there is no way we can avoid making such judgments unless we choose to be mindless robots. Tony: I see prayers answered daily! Yes, but the kinds of answers you have seen are not objectively verifiable. I have no doubt they seem completely real to you, but Muslims and Hindus say the same thing and if you did a statistical analysis you would find that the prayers of Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, and everyone else are answered with an equal frequency which is statistically indistinguishable from zero.

I hope you see that I am merely speaking truth here. Humans believe what they want to believe and have selective memories. They often believe that their prayers get answered, but then they have elaborate excuses for God when he fails to ever answer any real prayers like those of a mother whose child just lost a leg. God has never restored a missing limb! Please think about that because that is what I mean when I say that God does not, as a general rule, answer prayers.

And this is a huge problem because the Bible tells us that he does. Think about that. Where was God during all those years? What was the fate of the souls that could not come to real faith because they were not able to read the Bible? Your modern concept of Christianity has no foundation in history. Again, I really appreciate your comments, and I know how confusing it must be to see someone like me change my mind. First off you can throw your little bible wheel away. Using gematria from the Hebrew works differently than most Christians realize.

This is because it is likely for a weak believer to be led astray into things like Jewish mysticisms. Your first flaw is using the wheel to help with the bible. It is also clear that you window into the bible must line up with this wheel which is a mistake. The word of God is not something you have to judge to be his word or not. It is something you come to believe by revelation alone.

This revelation is depended on God giving it to you. Salvation cannot be won by man but it is depended on God to reveal himself to man.

“If you can read this sentence, I can prove God exists”

Every revelation in the Old Covent was thru God and then written. God came to man not the other way around. It is why two people can read the same bible and one come away with understanding and another only see rubbish and fables. God clearly states that not everyone who calls him Lord is his in the bible. They are bread to be mindless thru bad doctrines and never grow up in their faith because of evil men or men without understanding.

This is why God says for every idol word a man speaks he will give an account for. However you are not excused from your own walk before God just because someone else is in error. Behold the goodness and severity of God. When you speak of hell and its existence you speak as a human looking thru fallen eyes at a perfect God. You speak as one who has no understanding of the heart of God. He is a God who owed us nothing and gave us all things freely. He gives every human the choice to go to hell or repent. Have you not read that God is not willing that any should parish?

You also have no understanding of sin and its effects on the heart of God my father or how it corrupts everything if allowed to survive. If someone was to come and do your son harm would you not defend him? Would you not do everything in your power to ward off the enemy? Every person would who is in their right mind. When God allows people to be killed or spared you must look at who these people are. God is a good father who knows all things and simply protected his kids from the world that would not receive him from time to time.

By the way, many people did join themselves to the Jewish people in history and God blessed them. In Jonahs day God called to him to tell the people of Nineveh to repent and they did. Do you know these people had a custom of skinning people alive and bragging about how long they could keep them alive while doing so? This is one reason why Jonah was angry and did not want to go to Nineveh. He knew and confessed that God was a good God full of mercy and would relent if Nineveh would repent.

He wanted judgment on these people yet God in his mercy saved them. Jonah was right to feel angry but he lacked the very thing he confessed God to be. He used the situation to teach Jonah and save people. What a good God! People who are Gods are saved from sin but must be cleansed from the effects of sin. Sure there is a bad teaching out there that leads people to run around saying they are free from sin without the work it takes day by day.

If they are Gods however he will help them come to the understanding of this and grow them up. Have you not heard the saying, Count the cost before you take up your cross? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living. You have to fight daily to overcome and slowly you are changed from one measure of glory to another. Likewise you can be a slave to sin knowing the truth. The ones who are free are the ones who obey God and work out their salvation before God over time. People are fickle and like sheep.

In the world we live in we judge others by their actions at the moment they do whatever we see. You follow me! God knows that if we look to the outward man we fall prey to judgments of others that will lead us into a snare. As you have been led into one yourself. With that being said you really have no right to sit as a judge of others because you are limited by being human and fallen. He even said to try the spirits to see if they be of God or not. This is one place where using your brain God gave you is relevant.

So yes you flee from dead works and protect yourself from false things but you also humble yourself as a little child.

Why I quit Christianity

Because the wisdom of men is truly foolishness. The people of the world have no light or understanding apart from the mercy of God. Or did not God say, I rain on both the just and unjust as I see fit? He even will show kindness to those who utterly deny him. In this way no one can stand before him and accuse him. He is a good God who knows all things. You assume too much of your brain and so called freedom. I think you do see error but how you deal with it is where you have fallen. The bible, Old Covenant and New Covenant can have translation difficulties simply because of language gaps.

Here is a few, My mother had a missing tooth and prayed for a new one. She got it. My father ripped his pinky finger out of place and prayed God to heal it because the pain was too great. His finger snapped into place. One day driving down the road a semi almost hit my family and me. I had a praying momma. One day while my sister was out partying I had a dream that she died that night. I prayed in my dream and cried for her. Come to find out she did die and the medics had to use shock paddles to start her heart again. Another time my sister was bit by a brown recluse spider and her skin began to rot.

I went away and prayed for her. Guess what? She was healed in the same hour of her bit. Another time one of my sisters was on a hill cleft diving into a lake. I was behind her and on the way she slipped and fell from the rock. Somehow I was able to hold her entire weight with one hand and as fast as lighting grab a branch to hold both of us with the other hand.

Must have been that daily prayer I pray over my family every day. These are all witnessed by someone other than me and verified. Some prayers deal with things unseen so when they are answered to ask for proof is like asking someone to prove their love for another. Other prayers took 4 years or longer to answer but I assure you God answers my prayers often and with wisdom. I trust him when it takes time for an answer now that I have understanding of his ways and know he is good. I am growing in my faith not losing it praise God.

Proof of God is everywhere you look in everything you see. Even the proof of the devil is found in the world thru the evil you see with your own two eyes. Your folly is the fact that you have failed to know God as anything more than words of a book and a wheel. Some of your experiences thru bad teaching have left you frustrated with people and bad doctrine. Your use of bad tools has left you believing a wheel is more right that a book that has been around and stood the test of time. Your paradigm is flawed because you are a flawed person like everyone else.

Frankly your pride has left you unable to humble yourself. But you are correct in one sense, they are not the words of god, they are the words of God. And even if most words have a counterpart in different languages, some do not. And even the ones that do, often have a slightly different semantic meaning or connotation from one language to the next. So saying the same sentence in one language can provoke a completely different response than it does in another and would likely have been said with different words if it had been originally said in that language.

If you believe and trust in God, then everything will be fine and you will get to go to Heaven. Where to you think we got the phrase In God We Trust? You might want to reread your Bible. Maybe you should read it for the first time since your statement makes it sound like you have never opened the Book.

To go around preaching how great God and the Bible is without ever actually reading the book is pretty damn hypocritical. Where else would that come from?

Comments ( 392 )

Only God. Holly, The concept of trusting God is certainly in the Bible. If you disagree, all you have to do is give book, chapter, and verse please include the Bible translation you use in your reply. Have a blessed day. Seems like a silly thing for your little God to do anyway. Hi Holly; You are on the right path the Bible does tell us to trust in the Lord, mainly in the Psalms. But perhaps not in the very words that are on your bank notes. The Bible does say not to argue about words, and anyone who claims to know there bible would be familiar with Matthew 7: Do not Judge or you too will be judged, For in the same way as you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

There are vicious wolves out there ready to tear you down. Find yourself a small fellowship that wants nothing from you but only to share the word of God with you to build you up in your faith. The enemy wants us to argue over the details and differences in each others interpretation.

Divide and conquer. So regardless how many words each version or translation has. Love God, Love your neighbour, love your enemy… love everyone. Wow — so simple. If all people loved Jesus and all other people we would have heaven on earth today. You can do this without the bible. Hi Jacqueline, I agree it is the right thing to do and that we know it is the right thing to do, but how do we know it is the right thing to do.? From infants we are told what is right and what is wrong, and can you guess how many of those lessons come from the book that you do not want to believe in.

The problem with the Bible is that it is the word of God, it is living and active and sharper than any double edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow, it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. How about we just love each other and treat each other with respect without the threat of eternity damnation and torture to urge us to do so. You want the incentive you hypocritical ass. Hi Anonynn; You are correct in saying that we should love one another and treat each other with respect not because we are told to but because we know it is right; If you know of a religion that threatens you with damnation and torture i would not have anything to do with them.

The Christian faith is based on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ the son of God; Jesus encourages us to love one another and treat each other with respect, he does not threaten us with damnation he offers salvation. If you have not done so already I would encourage you to seek out a Bible believing Christian fellowship and study what the Bible really teaches. But maybe I should to make sure your number is correct. Should I trust your number? How does one actually go about counting the words in the Bible?

So, how did this number get found? People, this is an estimate. There will be a lot to look at that will change the number, but if you take one version of the bible it is quite possible to get an accurate word count for it. Stop complaining and take the information for what it is.

Nobody cares about what your religious beliefs are when they come to this article. Keep your opinions about what religious means to yourself and focus on the question being asked. All these comments make me feel bad for this country. And all because somebody wrote an article about how many words there are in the Bible.

I would have guessed that the Bible had over 1 million words. Wow, I never knew the Bible had this much verses.. Although I thought it would be like a million words, , words are still a lot. James ,A double minded man is unstable in all his ways. I bet most people have never read the entire Bible. Maybe if the Bible was a bit shorter, more people would actually read it. Great to see information about the bible that is useful.

People should know more about the Bible and how it pertains to their lives. I was raised catholic and was an altar boy just like my older brothers. What an honor to serve in the house of the Lord. I kept God in my heart always. When we come back He welcomes us back with open arms. While we wonder off we are subject to attack and losses.

I wondered most of my younger wild days and I still loved God but I did what pleased me not Him. One day I met a Christian woman and I married her. She took me to a well grounded church and I walked out saying Wow what is all this Holy Spirit stuff. Yep God brought me back.

I began to read, ask questions, anything to know God.

Then one day God impressed upon my heart to turn on am radio. Wait a minute I am a rock n roller, FM radio all the way. I listened to God and there t was wlvj family value station Boca Florida All day long. Preacher after preacher learning, learning, learning. God knows just how to feed us. After we worshipped the prophet walked the isles and God healed and spoke to those in need of a word. Wow I was jumping out of my seat, my wife said I was imbarrasing her.

But when the prophet said does anyone need prayer I would have jumped over the chairs to get there. He called my wife to be by my side and told me her name, yep I freaked out. He asked what is wrong and I told him. Here comes the blessing, he said to my wife hang onto your husband cause the blessing will go into you and then into her. She was bouncing all over the floor under the power of the holy spirit. Ready for my reaction the catholic turned christian.

Three weeks to the day when I got home from work I went to the answering machine and there was five jobs on it. From the start I got to see miracles and I kepted seeking God. After twenty five years I can say that the God of Israel, the God of the holy bible is the one and only true God. No other faith can prove the power of any other gods. Why would God say to do that To his children.

Read the bible and quit arguing about it. It is Gods love letter to all of mankind. You can learn as much as you want about God but he first tells us to accept Jesus Christ his son and his forgiveness. God will put in you his spirit to live in you and he will lead you into all truth. See how smart God is, He has it all set up just trust him.

Say Lord Jesus I want to know you I am a sinner and want to be forgiven, I believe you died for me and rose again for my sins to be forgiven Be my Lord and Savior and put your Holy Spirit in me Now help me to grow and live the life you offer and thank you for eternal life. God is love so love everyone. God loves purity so stay pure. Love comes from within you, not from some non existent external force. If you can learn that, then you can give love unconditionally without fear.

Why do you love? God put that love in you just like he put it in all of us, unfortunately most people these days choose not to love. Why did He do that? The bold affirmation of Jesus as Messiah reads as a resounding Christian confession that echoes St. Peter himself! Alternative 1 is clearly out. Regarding Alternative 2—the whole Testimonium Flavianum is a forgery—this is very unlikely. Even more important, the short passage treated above that mentions Jesus in order to identify James appears in a later section of the book Book 20 and implies that Jesus was mentioned previously.

Photo: Codex Parisinus gr. The short reference to Jesus in the later book depends on the longer one in the earlier Book If the longer one is not genuine, this passage lacks its essential background. Alternative 2 should be rejected. Alternative 3—that the Testimonium Flavianum is based on an original report by Josephus 29 that has been modified by others, probably Christian scribes, seems most likely. After extracting what appear to be Christian additions, the remaining text appears to be pure Josephus. As a Romanized Jew, Josephus would not have presented these beliefs as his own.

Interestingly, in three openly Christian, non-Greek versions of the Testimonium Flavianum analyzed by Steve Mason, variations indicate changes were made by others besides Josephus. We can learn quite a bit about Jesus from Tacitus and Josephus, two famous historians who were not Christian.

Almost all the following statements about Jesus, which are asserted in the New Testament, are corroborated or confirmed by the relevant passages in Tacitus and Josephus. These independent historical sources—one a non-Christian Roman and the other Jewish—confirm what we are told in the Gospels: They believed that Jesus later appeared to them alive in accordance with prophecies, most likely those found in the Hebrew Bible. A well-attested link between Jesus and Christians is that Christ, as a term used to identify Jesus, became the basis of the term used to identify his followers: Christians.

The Christian movement began in Judea, according to Tacitus. Josephus observes that it continued during the first century. Tacitus deplores the fact that during the second century it had spread as far as Rome. As far as we know, no ancient person ever seriously argued that Jesus did not exist. Thus his birth, ministry and death occasioned claims that his birth was illegitimate and that he performed miracles by evil magic, encouraged apostasy and was justly executed for his own sins.

But they do not deny his existence. Want more on Biblical figures? Lucian of Samosata c. In two sections of Peregrinus —here translated by Craig A. It was then that he learned the marvelous wisdom of the Christians, by associating with their priests and scribes in Palestine.

And—what else? He interpreted and explained some of their books, and wrote many himself. They revered him as a god, used him as a lawgiver, and set him down as a protector—to be sure, after that other whom they still worship, the man who was crucified in Palestine because he introduced this new cult into the world. For having convinced themselves that they are going to be immortal and live forever, the poor wretches despise death and most even willingly give themselves up.

Furthermore, their first lawgiver persuaded them that they are all brothers of one another after they have transgressed once for all by denying the Greek gods and by worshiping that crucified sophist himself and living according to his laws. Lucian seems to have gathered all of his information from sources independent of the New Testament and other Christian writings.

For this reason, this writing of his is usually valued as independent evidence for the existence of Jesus. Other documentary sources are doubtful or irrelevant. One can label the evidence treated above as documentary sometimes called literary or as archaeological. Almost all sources covered above exist in the form of documents that have been copied and preserved over the course of many centuries, rather than excavated in archaeological digs.

Therefore, although some writers call them archaeological evidence, I prefer to say that these truly ancient texts are ancient documentary sources, rather than archaeological discoveries. The name Jesus was very common at this time, as was Joseph. So as far as we know, these ordinary ossuaries have nothing to do with the New Testament Jesus. Following well established, sound methodology, I do not base conclusions on materials whose authenticity is uncertain, because they might be forged. As a final observation: In New Testament scholarship generally, a number of specialists consider the question of whether Jesus existed to have been finally and conclusively settled in the affirmative.

A few vocal scholars, however, still deny that he ever lived. The article was first republished in Bible History Daily on December 8, Lawrence Mykytiuk is associate professor of library science and the history librarian at Purdue University. He holds a Ph. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, See biblicalarchaeology. John P.

I gratefully dedicate this article to my brother, Thomas S. Mykytiuk, to the memory of his wife, Nancy E.

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Mykytiuk, and to their growing tribe of descendants. I wish to thank Dr. Stuart D. Feldman, for kindly offering his comments on an early draft of this article. That previous article is based on my own research, because few other researchers had worked toward the twin goals I sought: first, developing the necessary methodology, and second, applying that methodology comprehensively to archaeological materials that relate to the Hebrew Bible. In contrast, this article treats an area that has already been thoroughly researched, so I have gleaned material from the best results previously obtained may the reader pardon the many quotations.

Another contrast is that the challenge in the research that led to the previous article was to determine whether the inscriptions down to B. In the present article, most of the documents very clearly refer to the Jesus of the New Testament. Only in relatively few instances, such as some rabbinic texts, is the reference very unclear. The challenge in this article has been to evaluate the relative strength of the documents about Jesus as evidence, while keeping in mind whether they are independent of the New Testament.

Of course, the New Testament is actually a small library of texts, as is the Hebrew Bible. Because Meier only covered writings of the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus, his article stays within the first century. This article covers writings that originated in the first several centuries C. These non-Christian sources deserve to be welcomed and examined by anyone interested in the historical aspect of Scripture. At the same time, Christian sources found in the New Testament and outside of it have great value as historical evidence and are not to be discounted or dismissed.

While allowance must be made for human limitations at least lack of omniscience and bias such as loyalty to a particular person or deity , no good historian would completely discard them. An example that is more to the point is Bart D.

Did Jesus Exist? Searching for Evidence Beyond the Bible - Biblical Archaeology Society

New York: HarperOne, , pp. It is based on New Testament data and is noteworthy for its down-to-earth perception. In the last analysis, all evidence from all sources must be considered. An excellent, up-to-date resource on both Christian and non-Christian sources is Craig A. Evans, ed. Annals XV. Church and William J.

Brodribb, Annals of Tacitus London: Macmillan, , pp. Three that I consider the most important are treated in this note. Although debates will continue, proper use of historical background offers reasonable, tenable solutions that we may hold with confidence while remaining open to new evidence and new interpretations if they are better. Every approach has difficulties to explain. The stone had been trimmed down to be re-used twice, so the first part of the title is broken off, but the title is not in doubt.

Because of the rarity of the name Pilatus and because only one Pontius Pilatus was ever the Roman governor of Judea, this identification should be regarded as completely certain. As emperor until 14 C. But later, Claudius r. Roman governmental procurators managed taxes and estates on behalf of the emperor and had administrative duties. The English verb to procure is derived from the same root. From then on, the title procurator replaced praefectus in many Roman provinces, including Judea. Writing in or C. Even today, we accept titles used anachronistically.

In spoken conversation, people in Rome could easily have mistakenly heard the Latinized foreign word Christus as the familiar name Chrestus. Chrestianoi is to be preferred as the earliest and most difficult reading and is adopted by the three current critical editions and the recent scholarship utilizing them. It also makes better sense in context. See also John P. It is very common for ancient classical writings to be represented by manuscripts that were copied many centuries later.

For example, the earliest manuscript of the Odyssey is from the s C. Similarly, it is not unusual for the earliest surviving manuscripts of various works of the Greek philosopher Plato to date from over 1, years after he wrote. The third difficulty is more apparent than real: Why did it take about 85 years for a classical author such as Tacitus to write about Jesus, whose crucifixion occurred c. The A. As a result, Jesus was born within the years we now refer to as 6 to 4 B. That would put the beginning of his ministry, around age 30 Luke , at c.

The following two observations made by F. Bruce are relevant to works by Tacitus and by several other classical writers who mention Jesus:. Asia was the name of a Roman province in what is now western Turkey Asia Minor. Perhaps he compared it to Roman records, whether in general governmental archives or in records concerning various religions. I have read one analysis by an author who arbitrarily assumes that Tacitus got his information only from Christians—no other source.

He likely had access to some archives through his status, either as Proconsul of Asia, as a senator—or, as is often overlooked, from his connections as a high-ranking priest of Roman religion. In 88 C. Membership in this priestly regulatory group very likely gave Tacitus access to at least some of the accurate knowledge he possessed about Christus.

With characteristic brevity, he reported the facts as he understood them, quickly dismissing the despised, executed Christus from the Annals see Meier, Marginal Jew , vol. Tacitus himself tells us … that in 88 [C. It rather sounds as if he took his religious office seriously …. Tacitus presents himself as a man concerned to preserve traditional Roman religious practice, convinced that when religious matters are allowed to slide or are completely disregarded, the gods will vent their anger on the Roman people to correct their error.

Tacitus was in his twenties in 79 C. Vesuvius annihilated the city of Pompeii. One can reasonably suppose how he might have interpreted this disaster in relation to the Roman gods. Quoted from Theissen and Merz, Historical Jesus , p. Jewish Antiquities , XX. Odd as it may seem, the English name James is ultimately derived from the Hebrew name Jacob. The omitted words indicated by the ellipsis … are in Greek, to let scholars know what words are translated into English.

Winter asserts that Josephus mentions about twelve others named Jesus. Feldman puts that number at Feldman and Gohei Hata, eds. Press, , p. See Meier, Marginal Jew , vol. Richard T. Josephus says James was executed by stoning before the Jewish War began, but Christian tradition says he was executed during the Jewish War by being thrown from a height of the Temple, then, after an attempt to stone him was prevented, finally being clubbed to death.

It was modern scholar John P. Meier who put these passages in italics. Christians believe that Jesus was fully human, but also fully Divine, having two natures in one person. This clause seems intended to lead toward the two boldly Christian statements that come later. This straightforward translation from Greek, in which I have italicized three phrases, is by Theissen and Merz, Historical Jesus , pp. Meier subtracts these three apparently Christian portions from the Testimonium.

What remains is a very plausible suggestion, possibly the authentic, smoothly flowing report written by Flavius Josephus—or very close to it. Here is the remainder:. Around this time there lived Jesus, a wise man. For he was one who did surprising deeds, and a teacher of such people as accept the truth gladly.

When Pilate, upon hearing him accused by men of the highest standing among us, had condemned him to be crucified, those who in the first place came to love him did not give up their affection for him. And the tribe of Christians, so called after him, have still to this day not died out Theissen and Merz, Historical Jesus , pp. Regarding differing religious convictions of readers that have generated disagreements about this passage at least since medieval times, see Alice Whealey, Josephus on Jesus: The Testimonium Flavianum Controversy from Late Antiquity to Modern Times , Studies in Biblical Literature, vol.

In the High Middle Ages c. The problem was that with few exceptions, both sides argued from a priori assumptions with no critical examination of evidence. In the late s and the s, some Protestant scholars made the public charge of forgery. By the mids, based on textual evidence, scholarly opinion had rejected the authenticity of the Testimonium Flavianum and the controversy largely ended for over two centuries.

Theissen and Merz, Historical Jesus , p. Steve Mason, Josephus and the New Testament , 2nd ed. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, , p. According to Theissen and Merz, Historical Jesus , pp. On whether the Testimonium Flavianum interrupts the structure of its literary context, see Theissen and Merz, Historical Jesus , pp. Also see France, Evidence for Jesus , pp. See Theissen and Merz, Historical Jesus , pp. The Syriac language developed from Aramaic and is the or an official language of some branches of Orthodox Christianity.

A passage in a tenth-century Arabic Christian manuscript written by a man named Agapius appears to be a version of the Testimonium Flavianum. Shlomo Pines gives the following translation from the Arabic:. For he says that in the treatises that he has written on the governance [? His conduct was good, and [he] was known to be virtuous. And many people from among the Jews and the other nations became his disciples.

Pilate condemned him to be crucified and to die. But those who had become his disciples did not abandon his discipleship. They reported that he had appeared to them three days after his crucifixion and that he was alive; accordingly, he was perhaps the Messiah concerning whom the prophets have recounted wonders. The writer Josephus also says in his work on the institutions of the Jews: In these times there was a wise man named Jesus, if it is fitting for us to call him a man. For he was a worker of glorious deeds and a teacher of truth.

Many from among the Jews and the nations became his disciples. He was thought to be the Messiah. But not according to the testimony of the principal [men] of [our] nation. Because of this, Pilate condemned him to the cross, and he died. For those who had loved him did not cease to love him. He appeared to them alive after three days. For the prophets of God had spoken with regard to him of such marvelous [as these]. These Latin, Arabic and Syriac versions most likely represent genuine, alternative textual traditions.

Actually, Christians tended to make references to Jesus more glorious. Nor is there any indication that anti-Christian scribes reduced the references to Jesus from glorious to mundane, which would likely have been accompanied by disparagement. They contain variations that exhibit a degree of the fluidity that Mason emphasizes Mason, Josephus and the New Testament , pp. But these versions are not so different that they are unrecognizable as different versions of the Testimonium Flavianum. They use several similar phrases and refer to the same events, presenting phrases and events in a closely similar order, with few exceptions.

Thus, along with enough agreement among the standard Greek text and the non-Greek versions to reveal a noteworthy degree of stability, their differences clearly exhibit the work of other hands after Josephus. In the process of finding the similarities of phrases and references in extant manuscripts, one can come to recognize that the standard Greek form of the Testimonium Flavianum is simply one textual tradition among several. On balance, the Greek version is not necessarily supreme over all other textual traditions Mason, Josephus and the New Testament , pp. Despite a degree of stability in the text, the fluidity that is evident in various textual traditions is plain evidence that what Josephus wrote was later altered.

When viewed from the standpoint of the Latin, Arabic and Syriac versions, the Greek text looks deliberately altered to make Josephus seem to claim that Jesus was the Messiah, possibly by omitting words that indicated that people called him Christos or thought, said, reported or believed that he was. Also, although of course the evidence is the crucial factor, alternative 3 also happens to have the support of the overwhelming majority of scholars, far more than any other view.

Almost all of the following points are listed and elaborated in Van Voorst, Jesus Outside , pp. Van Voorst, Jesus Outside , p. His footnote attached to this sentence states, with reference to Justin Martyr:. Accepting a groundless report, you have invented a Christ for yourselves, and for his sake you are unknowingly perishing.

Even in this statement, in which Trypho tries to imply that an existing report of Jesus as the Christ is erroneous, his reason is not necessarily that Jesus did not exist. Trypho was attempting to raise hypothetical doubt without here stating any actual grounds for doubt. These suggestions, more likely taunts, from Trypho, which he immediately abandons, cannot be regarded as an argument, let alone a serious argument.

The chief difficulty in working with rabbinic writings that might be about Jesus is that. Balaam, Ben Pandira, Ben Stada, etc. Evans, eds. From among the numerous rabbinic traditions, many of which seem puzzling in their potential references to Jesus, a fairly clear example is as follows:. Anyone who knows anything in his favor, let him come and speak concerning him. And they hanged him on the eve of the Passover. Was he not a deceiver? The following paragraph summarizes Craig A. When Judea came under Roman rule, which instituted crucifixion as a legal punishment, apart from the question of whether it was just or unjust, Jews roughly equated it with hanging on a tree.

On Celsus: in c. Prominent among his many accusations to which Origen replies is as follows:. Next he makes the charge of the savior that it was by magic that he was able to do the miracles which he appeared to have done, and foreseeing that others also, having learned the same lessons and being haughty to act with the power of God, are about to do the same thing, such persons Jesus would drive away from his own society. It is unknown whether Celsus became aware of information about Jesus, including reports of his miracles, from the Gospel tradition s or independently of them.

Thus it cannot be said that Celsus adds any new historical material about Jesus, though it is clear that in accusing Jesus of using magic for personal gain, Celsus assumed his existence. Charges that Jesus was a magician are common in ancient writings, and Christian replies have been published even very recently. Green and Max Turner, eds. In his lengthy correspondence with Trajan, titled Epistles , X. They [the Christians] assured me that the sum total of their error consisted in the fact that that they regularly assembled on a certain day before daybreak.

They recited a hymn antiphonally to Christus as to a god and bound themselves with an oath not to commit any crime, but to abstain from theft, robbery, adultery, breach of faith, and embezzlement of property entrusted to them. The things that Pliny wrote about Christians can be found in or deduced from the New Testament. On Suetonius: In c.

How Many Words Are There in the Bible?

Tacitus implicitly corrected the crowd. Here, with Suetonius speaking of events in 49 C. Another logical result would be that the uproarious disputes in 49 C. Actually, among hundreds of Jewish names in the catacombs of Rome, there is not one instance of Chrestus being the name of a Jew Van Voorst, Jesus Outside , p. For this and other reasons, it seems more likely that Suetonius, who often uncritically repeated errors in his sources, was referring to Christus, that is, Jesus, but misunderstood him to be an agitator who lived in Rome in 49 C. Van Voorst, Jesus Outside , pp.

On Mara bar Serapion: In the last quarter of the first century C. For what advantage did the Athenians gain by the murder of Socrates, the recompense of which they received in famine and pestilence? Or the people of Samos by the burning of Pythagoras, because in one hour their country was entirely covered in sand? Or the Jews by the death of their wise king, because from that same time their kingdom was taken away? God justly avenged these three wise men: the Athenians died of hunger; the Samians were overwhelmed by the sea; the Jews, ruined and driven from their land, live in complete dispersion.

But Socrates did not die for good; he lived on in the teaching of Plato. Pythagoras did not die for good; he lived on in the statue of Hera. All we know of the author comes from this letter. It is entirely possible that Mara received some knowledge of Jesus from Christians but did not name him for fear of displeasing his own Roman captors. Doubtful sources include the following:. It might be generally datable to as early as the eighth century C. These additions have no demonstrated historical value.

The Yosippon or Josippon is a medieval source which appears in many versions, often with many additions. The Dead Sea Scrolls contain no contemporary references to Jesus or his followers. Islamic traditions either depend on the New Testament or are not clearly traceable to the early centuries C. Regarding archaeological discoveries, along with many other scholars, I do not find that the group of ossuaries bone boxes discovered in the East Talpiot district of Jerusalem can be used as a basis for any conclusions about Jesus of Nazareth or his family.

See the variety of views presented in James H. Charlesworth, ed. See Nili S. See Craig A. Press, Markham Press Fund, , pp. Regarding identification of the people named in the James ossuary inscription, even if it is authentic, the question as to whether it refers to Jesus of Nazareth has not been clearly settled. Wells and Michael Martin, see Gary R. Rather unexpectedly, Peter meets Jesus, who is traveling in the opposite direction. Outside […]. The writings of Roman historian Tacitus and Jewish historian Josephus, both non-Christians, are more than […].

That is Carl Gustav Jung. The problem is, however, they make absolutely no claim to the truth value of Christian beliefs or the actuality of the historical events that ground them. Archetypes may be historical in the sense that they are expressed throughout history in various cultures, and by various communities in various times and places, but whether they are purely projections of the mind, or whether they have actual referents in the external world, is nebulous at best.

On a Jungian view of religious belief it is almost irrelevant as to whether or not Jesus even existed. The best evidence for the existence of Jesus is not even mentioned in this article: His miraculous image on His burial Shroud. These people have never heard of Tacitus or Josephus. On Tacitus. Any possibility that the bible copied the Annals? Perhaps the Romans, in writing or re-writing the bible decided to borrow historical accounts from Tacitus and other historians? On Josephus. Grasping at straws! Anyway, okay fine. Jesus the man existed.

Now go fetch evidence on the miracles! In fact, exactly the opposite is true, and it takes very little effort to discover this fact. I stopped reading after the second section. The thing is, Tacitus was not a Christian, so why would he even have one of the gospels to cite? There is nothing in his text showing any familiarity with the gospels at all. And there are 2 passages referring to Jesus in Josephus… the second of which is undisputed by all scholars and for which a strong case is made here that it refers back to the disputed passage; the logic stands on its own.

The fact that Tacitus is known as one of the best Roman historian, it is likely that Tacitus only wrote what he verified as true; thus if Tacitus cited the Gospels, he must have taken the Gospel to be true, perhaps only the part where he cited. Tacitus mentions Jesus Christ midst of recording a huge incident that affected Rome. The fact that Tacitus specifies who were in charge of Roman empire when Christ was executed implies that Jesus Christ was not a fictional character. The article is mainly about whether Jesus really exited or not, not about the resurrection yet. People who were contemporaries of Tacitus was not questioning whether Jesus Christ was real or not, but whether he was resurrected from the dead.

I am genuinely glad to read this weblog posts which includes lots of valuable data, thanks for providing such data. Jesus most certainly walked the Earth as reported by various writers. I believe He is the Son of God. I have read the works of Josephus, one paragraph about Jesus probably put in by someone not Josephus. And James the Great, probably the same reason. Allot of Christianity is based on Paul, where is he?

There were Messiahs before Jesus, Rome hated the Jews, they were always rebelling. How true is the Gospels, when they wrote after the descontrution of Judith, the temple. Why would anyone have a good word for anybody destroying your people? But theNT has blame of Rome. Like the Dead Sea Trolls, it all about the Jew. And who wrote the NT? In these times very few educated people. Far As I know there were no New Testament until Constantine commission fifty around the middle of the 4th century.

I think after the destruction of Judith it was just something to hold the Jew together. I hate to say this, but the Bible is like a fairy tale. The graven images of Jesus as a white man continue to be used by Christians when Jesus is black as were Adam and Eve. All colors originate in black and white is the absence of color. Two white people can not produce a black child but two black people can produce every color of child. Israel and Egypt were all black at the time of Jesus. Did Jesus exist? Yes and no.

Yes in the world of Satan and no in the world of God. In a world of Satan all is duality and in a world of God, only righteousness is found. Thus Satanists can argue either way in duality and people of God can say Jesus existed in the light and as son of God. The argument is moot due to whether one lives in the world of Satan or that of God. FYI, Alexander spread white Greeks all over the ancient world.

Brown people can make colored folks, too. Please get the Eden tree correct. I dont believe that book that write from the mankind. Where does the bible say that the earth is flat? The angels… it means that they stand in the north, east, south and west. Its symbolic language. Yes the devil went on a mountain with Jesus, where he could see the kingdoms of the earth. It doesnt have a a literal meaning. The devil more likely showed him the kingdoms in a vision. I have never read a more fair, comprehensive and meticulously researched work which should satisfy even the harshest skeptic that Jesus in fact walked this earth.

Thank you Dr Mykytuik. Thank you. It has first been used in And please, do not even begin to claim the bible tells us the earth is flat. That theory relies on the incorrect translations made by Romans applying Roman belief of the cosmos of the time. The reference to being able to see all the kingdoms of the earth likely refers to the kingdoms of that area which could be looked upon at the highest mountain point use the context of the culture at the time to understand from their point of view. In order to understand what was written down you must first know the beliefs and cultural constructs of the people doing the writing.

Also, Hebrew words often had several different meanings based on the context of the sentence. Without extensive and personal knowledge of the ancient Hebrew language one would essentially be guessing at the true meaning of such words based on the knowledge at that time, and Romans at the time of translation believed the earth to be flat as well as a solid shield covering the earth. They literally believed the stars to be fixed into this globe-like shield and the earth to be the center of the solar system.

Use your brain and research before spreading these ridiculous false claims. I agree with jiko and Ral. The claimant needs to provide the evidence that their claim is indeed true and correct.

Ten of the Top Scientific Facts in the Bible

You actually need to demonstrate that your god exists. This is kindergarten theology. Prove it or shut up. Warner Bros. Religious people make the claim. It is up to them to prove their claims. You say your god exists, I say prove it. Maybe Christian scholars. Objective scholars think they are interpolations. And the second reference to Jesus, and James, is also a forgery and s not even talking about the James of Christian Jesus fame. If God did not create the heavens and the earth and it it is apparent by your comments, all I ask of you is to explain how life on earth got started.

God create our earth but think our earth is flat. According to Christian mythology the earth must be flat. I am a sceptical Christian. Meaning, I seek to find proof behind claims of the bible. It does not in any way attempt to prove the existence of God. That proof, to me, comes from the existence of life itself.

Did it suddenly appear? What science is there to show the possibility of something appearing from absolute nothing?