Chapter 22t - Salvation

Continued from Chapter 22s

Salvation was reserved for the select few

Jesus claimed that he revealed the meaning of his esoteric declarations (the parables) only to his disciples (Matthew 13:10-11; Mark 4:10-12, 34; Luke 8:9-10).

Yet even that was untrue. Jesus knew very well that the disciples did not understand everything he told them (Mark 9:32; Luke 9:45, 18:34) and Jesus said and did things secretively so that the multitudes should not understand him. Why the secrecy? Why not a public proclamation instead? Matthew 12:15-21 attempts to show that Jesus’ appeal to secrecy was a fulfillment of a prophetic utterance found in a passage in Isaiah (Isaiah 42:1-4). However, the passage can only relate to what Matthew infers by the most far-fetched analogy and the use of secrecy would still disqualify Jesus from being the servant. The Gospels’ Jesus demanded that his purported messianic identity and/or ability to cure ailments be kept secret by demons (Mark 1:34, 3:11-12; Luke 4:41), his followers (Matthew 16:20, Mark 8:30, Luke 9:21), and those healed (Matthew 8:3-4, 12:15-16; Mark 1:44, 5:43, 7:36; Luke 5:14, 8:56).

Messianic pretensions

The Gospels state that Jesus claimed that he always spoke openly, yet, he never proclaimed himself publicly as Messiah. According to John, he made a private statement concerning his messianic pretensions to a Samaritan woman (John 4:25-26). But, such news from a Samaritan would not be of any consequence to the Jewish people. When he spoke to Jews his claims were in the form of enigmatic presentations which involved apparent paradoxes regarding the nature and identity of the Messiah; yet they were given without providing a solution (Mark 4:11-12). On a visit to the Temple it is alleged that Jesus was asked to tell “plainly” if he was the Messiah.

He parried the question by presenting an ambiguous answer — “I told you but you do not believe” (John 10:24-25). As we have seen, the Gospels show that he had only given them hints in parables, knowing in advance they would not understand (Matthew 13:13-15, Mark 4:11-12, Luke 8:10). When Peter allegedly declared: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16), Jesus gave specific instructions to his disciples. They were to refrain from disclosing his messianic identity — they were to keep it secret (Matthew 16:20). So much for the lie that he spoke openly.

Who allegedly raised Jesus?

  • Was it God? 

Peter alleges that God raised Jesus from the dead (Acts 2:24; 2:32; 3:15, 26; 4:10; 5:30; 10:40). Paul also agrees with Peter (Acts 13:30, 33, 34, 37, 17:31; Romans 4:24, 6:4, 8:11, 10:9; 1 Corinthians 6:14, 15:15; 2 Corinthians 4:14; Galatians 1:1; Ephesians 1:20; Colossians 2:12; 1 Thessalonians 1:10); Hebrews 13:20 and 1 Peter 1:21 also allege that God raised Jesus up.

  • Was it Jesus?

John’s Jesus says, referring to his own body: “I will raise it up” (John 2:19). If Peter, et al, are correct than John’s Jesus is not only deceptive but a blatant liar.

Lying to Pilate

Did Jesus lead a peaceful group?

According to John 18:36, Jesus said to Pilate: “If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would fight, that I might not be handed over to the Jews.” Jesus implies that his followers knew his kingdom was not of this world and would not use violence. But, the truth is that they expected Jesus to restore the kingdom of Israel in a terrestrial sense (e.g., Luke 24:21). Even after his death Jesus’ followers are said to have looked forward to a speedy return which would usher in the overthrow of the Roman Empire. His followers are said to ask: “Lord will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel” (Acts 1:6). Moreover, just a few hours before his meeting Pilate, Jesus had ordered the disciples to buy swords if they had none (Luke 22:36), and the disciples responded by saying that two swords were available (Luke 22:38). Two swords are said to be available, which may be practical for assassination, but not for much else. Soon after this, it is said that Peter cuts off the ear of Malchus, the servant of the high priest, who came to seize Jesus (Matthew 26:51, Mark 14:47, Luke 22:50, John 18:10). Contrary to Jesus’ statement that “these know what I said” (John 18:21), Peter did not know or obey that since the kingdom was not of this world he should not fight (John 18:36). But, Jesus knew at his trial that Peter had used violence (John 18:11). Jesus lied and said that his followers would not feel the necessity of acting violently since his kingdom was not of this world.

Jesus was aware that his followers would indeed use violence. Yet Jesus persisted in his deceit as he defended himself before Pilate.

A medley of secrets, lies and deception

  • Knowing that Elijah must precede the Messiah (Malachi 3:1, 23), Jesus claimed that John the Baptist was Elijah (Matthew 11:10-14, 17:l0-13) even though John himself denied any connection with that prophet (John 1:21).
  • Jesus’ avowal that the Law will exist “until heaven and earth pass away” (Matthew 5:18) is meant to be misleading.
  • The Law is only meant to continue for a period of a mere three and one half years at most; that is, the duration of his ministry. Why? Paul alleges that Jesus fulfilled all the Law and the Prophets during the so-called first advent. He says: “For Christ is the end of the Law for righteousness to everyone who believes” (Romans 10:4) and in Hebrews 8:13 it states: “In that he says, a new [covenant], he has made the first obsolete. Now that which is made obsolete and growing old is near vanishing away.”
  • According to Paul and the author of Hebrews — the Law is over! But Jesus said it will last “until heaven and earth pass away” Did Jesus lie or did they?
  • Didn’t Jesus deliberately mislead the “thief ” when he said: “Truly, I say you, today you will be with me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43)? Jesus did not go to Paradise on that day — he was dead and supposedly rose three days later.
  • John relates a conversation between Jesus and his physical brothers prior to the Feast of Tabernacles: His brothers … said to him, “Depart from here, and go into Judea … For no one does anything in secret, when he himself seeks to be known publicly. If you do these things, show yourself to the world.”  For not even his brothers were believing in him. Jesus therefore said to them, “…Go up to the feast yourselves; I do not go up to this feast because my time has not yet fully come.” And having said these things to them, he stayed in Galilee. But when his brothers had gone up to the feast, then he himself also went up, not publicly, but as it were, in secret. (John 7:2-10)
  • Didn’t he instruct the parents of the girl he allegedly revived that they should not inform anyone of what was done? (Luke 8:56).
  • Did he not instruct his disciples not to mention that he was “the Christ” (Matthew 16:20)? Yet he declared: “I have spoken openly to the world … I spoke nothing in secret” (John 18:20). Jesus’ actions and instructions say otherwise.
  • Matthew’s Jesus says to those coming to arrest him: “Day after day I sat in the Temple teaching, and you did not seize me” (Matthew 26:55). On the contrary, John says that on one occasion there were those who wanted to stone him while he was in the Temple, but he “hid and went out of the Temple” (John 8:59). Does anyone doubt that the Temple authorities would want to apprehend and interrogate the person who caused a disturbance in the Temple and seized control of part of it (Mark 11:15-16, 18)?

Did Jesus lie? Did he falsely imply that the authorities never attempted to apprehend him? Or did the evangelist lie? This is from one who said: “I spoke nothing in secret.” And this is from one whose followers claim that “neither was there any deceit in his mouth.” Jesus’ secretive and deceitful behavior further disqualifies him from being the servant.

© Gerald Sigal