Over the last 150 years, there has been an all-out attack not just on the divinity of Jesus Christ of Nazareth but on his existence. All through flurries of assaults have come none more so, as when Darwin’s ‘On the Origin of Species’ was published in 1859. With the infiltration of Jesuit Education in the form of Evolution, to your badly researched book the “Christ Conspiracy” and the result, Zeitgeist, a Freemason and theosophical mindset rolled into one documentary, that just about every anti-religious atheist will quote.
Let’s go back to the time of Christ and the new testament, you have 27 books in total that were in circulation before the end of the first century, we have four gospel’s that’s four accounts of Jesus’ life three Matthew, Mark and Luke are the synoptic Gospels. Synoptic meaning of or forming a general summary or synopsis.
The date of the Synoptics range from as early as 50 A.D to round about 70 A.D. The only thing hotly disputed was did Matthew and Luke use Mark as a source some think so, others say all three worked off an unknown original source this has become known as the Q document. If all three were eye witnesses this could be possible as being guided by the holy Spirit The Early Christian theologian and apologist, Tertullian (160-225AD), Wrote a book “Against Marcion” and stated
“While that [gospel] which Mark published may be affirmed to be Peter’s whose interpreter Mark was.”
So Mark was Peters pen Matthew the Tax collector.
“In his first book on Matthew’s Gospel, maintaining the Canon of the Church, he testifies that he knows only four Gospels, writing as follows: Among the four Gospels, which are the only indisputable ones in the Church of God under heaven, I have learned by tradition that the first was written by Matthew, who was once a publican, but afterwards an apostle of Jesus Christ, and it was prepared for the converts from Judaism, and published in the Hebrew language.
The second is by Mark, who composed it according to the instructions of Peter, who in his Catholic epistle acknowledges him as a son, saying, ‘The church that is at Babylon elected together with you, salutes you, and so does Marcus, my son.’ 1 Peter 5:13 And the third by Luke, the Gospel commended by Paul, and composed for Gentile converts. Last of all that by John.”
Recently found in the lining of an Egyptian mask of a mummy a page of the gospel of mark dated to the mid 1st century.and the book of John we have a Greek, papyri in the John Rylands Library, Manchester. one being p-52 dated between 117-128 A.D John died in 100 A.D.
The First Letter to the Corinthians written by Paul of Tarsus most historians and Christian theologians agree the First Epistle to the Corinthians is dated to 53–54 A.D and in Verses 1-14 we have the earliest Creed that Jesus was born died and was resurrected on the third day witnessed by the 12 and a further 500 This creed is the Essence of our Christian Faith. So we have a creed that goes back to the book of Acts Chapter 2, 40 days after the cross.no time for a so called Legend to form.
EARLY CHURCH FATHERS
After the Great Commission:
“And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth,. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”
Matthew 28 v 18-20
The disciples had disciples and they had disciple
- Clement of Rome (Unknown – 99 A.D), a disciple of Peter. He may also be the same Clement mentioned by Paul in Philippians 4 v 3 There is also a letter called 2 Clement, but it is generally believed to have been written by a later author.
- Polycarp (69 – 155 A.D) was a disciple of John, and a martyr in the early second century.
- Ignatius of Antioch (35 – 110 A.D), who was also martyred in the early second century. He was a friend of Polycarp and probably a disciple of John.
- Papias of Hierapolis (70 – 163 A.D), Fragments of the writings of Papias of Hierapolis. Papias is known to have written five books, which were often quoted by later Christians. Papias’ own writings have since been lost, but the quotes from them survive in later works. Papius was also a disciple of John.
- Justin Martyr (100 – 165 A.D),is regarded as the foremost interpreter of the theory of the Logos in the 2nd century.
- Irenaeus of Lyons (early 2nd century – 202 A,D), He was a notable early Christian apologist. He was also a disciple of Polycarp.
- Epistle of Barnabas (c. 70 to 130 AD) Not to be confused with the Gospel of Barnabas that the Muslims use that turned up in the 18th Century said to of came from a 16th or 17th Century Manuscript.
If we lost every copy of the Bible all 26,000 Manuscripts we could construct the Bible from the quotations of the early church Fathers who spanned from 50 A.D to 750 A.D there are far too many to name but every one of them bar some who would be deemed heretical glorified the Lord Jesus Christ as fully divine and fully man.
We have Account’s from various Historians, I will mention the ones closest to the time of our Lord and Saviour’s ministry bearing in mind these writers had no reason to write about Jesus no agenda most are critical and would not have mentioned him if he didn’t exist.
- Thallus (Unkown – 52 A.D) this account comes via Julius Africanus (221 A.D) as the work of Thallus does not seem to be about anymore. If there was maybe he wrote some more on Christ but we can gather from this paragraph that he was crucified at the time of an earthquake mentioned in Matthew 27 v 54
“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 of the sun.” (Julius Africanus, Chronography, 18:1)
- Tacitus (56- 120 A.D) Cornelius Tacitus was well-known historian who abhorred Christians and in his work “Annals’ of 116AD, he describes Emperor Nero’s response to the great fire in Rome and Nero’s claim that the Christians were to blame:when in fact it was Nero as he wanted to build on the land. this tells us that christ was tried by Pilate and he had followers.
Neither human effort nor the emperor’s generosity nor the placating of the gods ended the scandalous belief that the fire had been ordered . Therefore, to put down the rumor, Nero substituted as culprits and punished in the most unusual ways those hated for their shameful acts … whom the crowd called “Chrestians.” The founder of this name, Christ [Christus in Latin], had been executed in the reign of Tiberius by the procurator Pontius Pilate … Suppressed for a time, the deadly superstition erupted again not only in Judea, the origin of this evil, but also in the city [Rome], where all things horrible and shameful from everywhere come together and become popular.
- Mara Bar-Serapion (70 A.D) a prisoner of war held by the Romans, wrote a letter to his son in a way that seems to indicate Jesus by the name the “Wise King”: persecuted by the Jewish authorities and that his teachings lived on through his followers
“What benefit did the Athenians obtain by putting Socrates to death? Famine and plague came upon them as judgment for their crime. Or, the people of Samos for burning Pythagoras? In one moment their country was covered with sand. Or the Jews by murdering their wise king?…After that, their kingdom was abolished. God rightly avenged these men…The wise king…Lived on in the teachings he enacted.”
- Pliny The Younger ( 63 – 113 A.D) Roman governor and friend of Tacitus Nephew of Pliny the Elder, Pliny the Younger, in a letter to the Roman emperor Trajan, describes the lifestyles of early Christians that they met to worship Jesus and believed in his divinity
“They (the Christians) were in the habit of meeting on a certain fixed day before it was light, when they sang in alternate verses a hymn to Christ, as to a god, and bound themselves by a solemn oath, not to any wicked deeds, but never to commit any fraud, theft or adultery, never to falsify their word, nor deny a trust when they should be called upon to deliver it up; after which it was their custom to separate, and then reassemble to partake of food—but food of an ordinary and innocent kind.”
- Phlegon (80 – 140 A.D) Julius Africanus and Origen also mentions Phlegon who wrote in 140 A.D they mention’s that Jesus made certain predictions which had been fulfilled.With Mention of the Darkness the wounds of Christ and that he suffered under Emporer Tiberius Caesar
“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.” (Africanus, Chronography, 18:1)
“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.” (Origen Against Celsus, Book 2, Chapter 59)
“Now Phlegon, in the thirteenth or fourteenth book, I think, of his Chronicles, not only ascribed to Jesus a knowledge of future events . . . but also testified that the result corresponded to His predictions.” (Origen Against Celsus, Book 2, Chapter 14)
- Suetonius (69 – 140 A.D) A Roman writer, lawyer and historian, And in two separate accounts he talks of the followers of Christ and how they were prepared to put up with Nero’s punishment they were willing to die to think that some of these martyrs would have heard the stories of Christ so close the time of the Saviour himself.
“Because the Jews at Rome caused constant disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus (Christ), he (Claudius) expelled them from the city (Rome).” (Life of Claudius, 25:4)
“Nero inflicted punishment on the Christians, a sect given to a new and mischievous religious belief.” (Lives of the Caesars, 26.2)
- Flavius Josephus (37 -101 A.D) Now for the most inciteful yet debated text to have been preserved by the Jewish Historian Flavius Josephus who wrote for Emperor Vespasian. There are two passages in question the first describes Jesus brother James the leader of the Christians as he is brought before the Sanhedrin there is no contention with this passage.
“Being, therefore this kind of person [i.e., a heartless Sadducee], Ananus, thinking that he had a favorable opportunity because Festus had died and Albinus was still on his way, called a meeting [literally, “sanhedrin”] of judges and brought into it the brother of Jesus-who-is-called-Messiah … James by name, and some others. He made the accusation that they had transgressed the law, and he handed them over to be stoned.”Antiquities of the Jews book 20 chapter 9
The Second passage is the one that raises a few eye brows as some think there was an addition at a later date as the wording is suspicious of a Jew as he would not use the phrase when talking of Jesus and to hint at his deity by making the claim of Jesus rising on the third day sounds to Christian for some whether altered or not the first is accepted by the academic world.
“About this time there lived Jesus, a wise man, if indeed one ought to call him a man. For he was one who performed surprising deeds and was a teacher of such people as accept the truth gladly. He won over many Jews and many of the Greeks. He was the Christ. And when, upon the accusation of the principal men among us, Pilate had condemned him to a cross, those who had first come to love him did not cease. He appeared to them spending a third day restored to life, for the prophets of God had foretold these things and a thousand other marvels about him. And the tribe of the Christians, so called after him, has still to this day not disappeared.” Antiquities of the Jews Book 18 Chapter 3.3
And the Arabian Version.
“At this time there was a wise man called Jesus, and his conduct was good, and he was known to be virtuous. Many people 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 reported wonders. And the tribe of the Christians, so named after him, has not disappeared to this day.”
(Antiquities XVIII, 63 from Josephus: The Essential Writings by Paul L. Maier, page 264-265; this text is from An Arabic Version of the Testimonium Flavianum and Its Implications by S. Pines [Jerusalem, 1971]; another translation of above found in Van Voorst, page 97; for a different version of the text infamously interpolated by later Christian editors, see discussion in Van Voorst, page 85ff; also full discussion in A Marginal Jew, volume 1 by John P. Meier, pages 56ff)
We have not exactly gave an exhaustive list as there are other sources like the Babylonian Talmud the jews mention him as a sorcerer and leading Israel astray and we have the Gnostic Gospels: Thomas, Mary Philip and Peter and there are others I may add at a later date or a more in-depth post but we have seen that the outside sources talk of his existence his divinity his death and resurrection.
I think we have got our creed from the outside sources there is mention of an earthquake and darkness both mentioned in scripture and to finish off in the archives of the Vatican document’s written by the Roman historian Marcus Velleius Paterculus witnessed in 31 A.D Jesus bringing a child back to life so just after the Saviour’s lifetime we have more than a few documented proofs.
Did you know the work of Alexander The Great, his story was written 400 years later? The first biography of Muhammad was written in 833 by Ibn Hisham based on work from Ibn Ishaq, that don’t exist, it’s safe to say we have more evidence that Christ existed than any other in history.
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