Whatever your particular Faith may be, or whether you even have one, the fact remains, the most significant human being ever to have been said to walk the surface of our planet is the individual known as Jesus Christ (JC), also Jesus of Nazareth. Whenever this subject is raised, skeptics, scoffers, cynics
& detractors are apt to say;
'but there isn't any proof he even existed',
& to be fair, they have a point, to a point.
To be sure, there isn't much to
go on outside of the New Testament,
however I still think we can build a fairly decent argument for the affirmative if we rummage through the annals as it were.
Then again, it's not imperative we do or even try, as no one can
or ever will prove the reverse either, in fact it shouldn't really be an issue as the whole thing is a matter of faith anyhow & should be left there. Thus it's merely to my own satisfaction I'm choosing to do this because as usual in this friggin world, there's far-reaching agendas afoot, gnawing away at these topics,
so I suppose we must at least try.
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In the farthest eastern reaches of the 1st Cen AD Roman Empire, there sprang up a sect of Judaism referring to themselves as 'Christians'. Their doctrine was in part;
The God of the Jews had sent His redeemer son (JC)
as promised to cleanse the sins of the world,
whereby whomsoever believed in the teachings & person of JC & did repent of their sins, would be saved from perdition & abide for eternity in the Fathers own house or Heaven when they died. JC was ultimately put to death & resurrected so that his blood would atone for our sins. During his sojourn on earth he taught people to; 'Do unto others as you would do unto yourself', do not love the things of the earth, 'love ye one another', do not judge people, be meek in spirit, be merciful etc... as well as performing many miracles along the way. He preached through parables the folly of acting selfishly, avariciously etc & basically told us
to do good works....;
'Straight is the way, narrow is the gate' he said. Do this & you will receive your eternally just reward in Heaven after all this
perishing business is done with.
According to modern astrologers JC was born in Bethlehem in Judea, Palestine circa 6BC (I know), & taken immediately to Egypt then raised to manhood in his earthly parents home of Nazareth in Galilee to the north of Judea. Though brief, JC's ministry from the age of 30 -33 was cut short (as he promised) by Jews who saw him as a blasphemer. As he travelled the country, news of the latest prophet reached the Sanhedrin (governing body of Judaism) in Jerusalem who coaxed the Romans into having JC arrested, tried & executed, who obliged. JC however went along with the conspiracy, in full knowledge he'd be risen from the dead again on the third day, & so he was. Then after a short while spent training his beligured disciples into what they were to do, he ascended back to His Father in Heaven, & dutifully sent back the Holy Spirit to teach the disciples further on their mission,
again as he promised he would.
It appears JCs' promise of redemption credo hit a chord
in people, & Christianity (the new sect) immediately spread like wildfire throughout the Empire. Emissaries or missionaries were sent from Jerusalem to all parts of the known world, Africa, the Far East, Greece & of course some headed straight to Rome itself, including the two most famous Apostles of them all, Peter & Paul.
Despite the Good News as they called it, Christians (Jews by birth themselves) were immediately seen by many Jews as Heretics & persecuted. Indeed, they soon fell into disrepute with the Romans who looked upon them as recalcitrant recidivists, thus most of the original disciples were eventually martyred for their faith,
as were many others.
So goes the story.....
Regarding the earliest texts pertaining to the life of JC, as one would expect much speculation now exists regarding the authorship of most, as in the instance of the Petrine (St Peter) epistles (letters), some of whom are found in the Acts Of The Apostles of the New Testament. Despite this, they were widely quoted by many of the early Church Fathers in their efforts to build the Christian religion, thus they are of great antiquity & would have to date to a period prior to the middle of the 2nd Cen AD, otherwise any doubts as to their authenticity would have been in circulation by then.....but none was. Considering Peter was said to have been martyred in Rome mid-60's, 1st Cen AD, this gives only a window of at most 80yrs for someone else to have written them, & only then provided no other Church Father who is lost to our records wasn't quoting them, which seems
impossible to me at least....how did they come down to the Church Fathers who were quoting them? In any event, the Petrine Epistles include the stories of the other Apostles including Paul & James.
Religiously speaking, the Pauline Epistles are another kettle of fish, whilst there's a number of 'scholars' who question the authorship of these letters in the same manner as they do other books of the NT, many still hold them as the authentic writings of the man known to history as St Paul of Tarsus (modern Southern Turkey). Paul was most definitely a Pagan (probably Gnostic) who interprets the teachings of Jesus in a mystical sense. He first comes to our attention whilst persecuting Christians in Jerusalem, aiding in the stoning of the first martyr St Stephen according to the NT, then famously converting to Christianity on the road to Damascus,
marking the beginning his ministry.
Be that as it may, Pauls writings are important
to us as he, like Peter mentions
other Apostles & corroborates their epistles, including St James The Just, said to be the brother of JC
& first Bishop of Jerusalem. Whilst it's true, certain strands of Gnosticism have always taught that JC should be considered a non-historical figure, it's also true that the works of Paul are considered to be Gnostic, yet Paul's story is contingent on the other Apostles who were never thought of as Mystics to my knowledge.
James was regarded as an historical figure to the Romans as was
Peter & Paul, & all these men were believed to have died as a result of the Roman persecutions of Christianity.
However, the main point for me is that even with the mystical leanings of Paul, each Apostle
corroborates the other.
So we have the texts of the Apostles extant by the 2nd Cen AD, purportedly written mid-1st Cen AD. Next we have the writings of one of the first Holy Fathers of Rome; Pope Clement I (died 99 AD). He is universlly regarded as an historical figure & naturally mentions JC & the Disciples in his writings.
Then we have the first of the Synoptic Gospels written by Mark circa 70 AD, written only some 30-odd years (perhaps less) after the ministry of JC. According to the 3rd Cen Church Father Eusebius, Mark accompanied Peter to Rome, then returned east to Alexandria to found a new church there in 43 AD.
'To get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt & inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Chrestians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus...'
- Tacitus Annals 15:44 (circa 100 AD)
The 'guilt' he refers to is for starting the Great Fire of Rome, July 64 AD. Tacitus is one of Romes foremost historians & would not have fabricated the story, Peter & Paul were Nero's most renown victims according to the Early Church Fathers & James is said to have suffered martyrdom at still an earlier date in Jerusalem (see below).
But apart from the writings of Peter, Paul & James, there are many others relating to the life of JC & are said to have have originated at the same time, some included in the NT, others left out by the
early Church (i.e. Apocryphal Books). These Apocrypha, like Paul have a mystical tynge to them which leads me to suspect there could be fabrication involved in their story as I'll explain later.
Further evidence for these people may be found in Josephus,
a Palestinian who took part in the Jewish Revolt of 66-73 AD in Palestine, then wrote about the history of the Jews whilst living (comfortably) in Rome. Writing towards the end of the 1st Cen AD, he mentions the death of James & other NT personages including JC himself & John The Baptist. So we have by the end of the 1st Cen, outside of Christianity itself, an admittance of the life of Jesus
& the Acts of the Apostles by more than one source.
Moreover, wouldn't the destruction of Jerusalem & much of Palestine have laid waste to many of the writings pertaining to the life of Jesus? I think so. There's even a famous arch (like the Arc de Triomphe) depicting the sacking of Jerusalem & the carrying off of the spoils thereof built in Rome in 81 AD, testifying to the persecutions of the Christians & Jews alike....not just Jews.
Without wishing to labour the point too much, my purpose is to establish the existence of certain players in the story of JC as certain, & as their writings mention JC as well as both John & James, it should be clear to anyone that these men cannot be fictitious if also mentioned in the annals of the Romans & in the work of Josephus in his Antiquities Of The Jews.....
Christians were dying for their Faith since its inception, beginning with the real first Christian Martyr, John The Baptist. They died for holding true to the teachings of a man named Jesus Of Nazareth, some of whom, who's lives we've
been recounting said they knew personally
......how could so many, so willingly die for a mere phantom, a spectre or an abstraction
as the meta-physicians would say?
No way, something concrete must have given them their steadfast loyalty to die as they did, something definite must have been the source of the Faith that spread like wildfire throughout the ancient world, unlike say,
Judaism (no offence!).
Furthermore, as the story of Paul testifies, the persecution of the Christians began in Judea itself, which may be a clue into why the Christian message spread so far so quickly, because as we all realise, a guilty conscience can perform Herculean tasks in order to rid itself of some stigma or other. Incidentally, one of the Apocryphal books above mentioned are a number of epistles (letters) from Paul to Emperor Nero's mentor Seneca, who eventually died by his own hand (a la Socrates) for his
alleged hand in the failed plot to assassinate Nero in AD65, i.e.
the same time & place as Peter & Paul.
The early Christians must have had leaders, 1st Cen Jewish (Josephus) & Christian tradition has it that the aforementioned men were the leaders of this new religious sect, but no, 1000's of years down the line, historians (scholars) are attempting to inculcate the belief that not only did JC never live, neither did the Apostles, despite an actual, tangible religion arising based
on the actions of these people, regardless of identities....
at the time.
Many ancient figures accepted as being historical personages don't have as much as JC going for them in terms of evidence.
Many Christians were in Rome in 64 AD spreading the good news, & the news they were circulating concerned the life & teachings of a man who'd lived within living memory in the Middle East. Palestine was on the outer perimeters of the Empire, & if not directly concerning the business of the Empire, news did not travel fast then, there were no chroniclers or historians around to bear witness to JC's trial, JC himself never wrote anything down, as didn't Socrates & many more before him. Pythagoras left no writings & what we know of him supposedly came through the writings of his disciples, yet his existence is never in question,
the same with Buddha.
Suffice to say, had the power of his teachings not become so prevalent, there would be none of the enquiry into JC's life as we're witnessing today. In any event, perhaps it's right & proper that the life of Jesus is just that extra mile out of reach
to reinforce the FAITH of the;
Nevertheless, this world being as it is, all trace of faith in the good things of the past are in the
process of being erased;
'In bourgeois society,' Marx wrote, 'the past dominates the present; in Communist society, the present dominates the past.'
So if there is an agenda, we know who's behind it & why
'We will not be saved by a risen Redeemer any more than by a resurrected earth Mother, but only by a reconciliation by the gods & goddesses within us. The West was lost because of an unwarranted outward turn of consciousness; it may be regained by an establishment of balance attendant upon of inward realities. It is the present writer's conviction that the Lost Gospels could play a vital role in the reclaiming of the lost wholeness of the West. When illumined by the insight of Jung, these documents & the tradition they represent can serve to supply the missing element for the alchemical opus
of our personal & collective individuation.'
Stephan A. Hoeller - Jung & The Lost Gospels (1989).
The Lost Gospels (notice how everything is Lost to these people?) referred to by Stephan Hoeller are the Apocryphal books I mentioned before, found in Nag Hammadi southern Egypt in 1946, in the most improbable circumstances I think I've ever heard.
The Dead Sea Scrolls were found in Palestine months later,
one said to be (mystically) Christian, the other Jewish in origin.
Be that as it may, there are aspects to JC's life as delniated in the New Testament that do test the bounds of credulity, including his comparison to the actual sun; 12 Apostles (Horoscope), the son is risen, 30-33 (degrees of the sun at the meridian), his mention of the 'man with the water pitcher' (Aquarius), Son/Sun etc...;
Whilst somewhat puzzling, it could on the other hand be one of those freaks of nature that necessarily begets such similarities owing to the nature of JC's mission, i.e. being a redeemer,
he resembles the actual sun in many ways. I'm sure there's numerous persons in history whose numerolgy/actions in life starkly resemble various qualities of the moon, 28 days, noxious light, lunacy, luminosity or whatever, Edward Alexander Crowley for example;
What is clear however is the life of JC (as recounted in the Gospels) was subsequently embelished to resemble some qualities of the sun, the halo/25th December..., as many of the early Church Fathers were also practicing Pagans. This we concede, however, the merger between the orthodox Christian community with those of Paganism in the form of the Catholic Church came about as an expedient measure by the Roman Empire itself to save it from breaking up, in other words it was political & had nothing to do with the original Faith, this has to be taken into account, besides, we'll never know how much has been changed from the originals over the centuries because every new edition is different from the last, for instance, the King James Bible of 1611 differs in language from the
Tyndale Bible of 1526 by about 20%.
So then, to summarise;
- The Books of James, Peter & Paul in the NT are dated from AD 33-68
(As are the Apocryphal Gospels of Thomas, Nicodemus etc...)
- The first record of the life of Christ date from the Gospel Of Mark circa 70 AD.
- (Pope) Clement, Christian writer active late 1st Cen AD (There were other Popes before him such as Linus according to early Christian tradition).
- Jewish historian Josephus mentions Jesus & other persons of the NT circa 90 AD.
- Roman chroniclers Tacitus & Suetonius (circa 100 AD) ascribe Christian persecutions to the reign of Nero (54-68).
- Early Church Fathers refer to all the above in their writings 2nd Cen AD, however, no record of the original Christian & Jewish Biblical sources are known to have survived except for a fragment believed to be from the Gospel of John.
- Both theologians & historians have edited the Synoptic Gospels
throughout the last 2000yrs, adding confusion to the mystery no end.
- Christian persecution continued in the Roman Empire till early 4th Cen AD.
As I said, it shouldn't really matter nowadays whether anyone can prove whether he lived or not, his words of truth should suffice, regardless of whence they came. Indeed I doubt those many-1000's who gave their lives willingly in the arena would have done so if it were not the case, nor do I think those words would have held so much power back then either had they
not stemmed from a living example.
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What we haven't mentioned of course is the;
'Jesus was a mushroom' hypothesis, or the Jesus was/is Lucifer, Hermes & the many others surfacing around this subject. They come from the Myst-ery Schools of course, who have a vested interest in dismantling the Christian religion which indeed it is trying to do by placing the JC story into the realm of mysticism or simply discrediting the story by interpolating absurdities. They are the ones from whence the yarn of JC married Mary Magdalene & sired children who's descendants became the Royal Households of Europe emanated. However, there may be some truth to their claim that the same people who wrote the Bible are the same people who wrote the Corpus Hermeticum, one of the core texts of Paganism (dated 3rd/4th Cen BC), we know some of it is, as in the Book Of Revelation,
& it's from this work the loudest claim for
Jesus being Lucifer is gleaned.
'Satan is Hermes' - Madame Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine (1888).
What I'll say is, the Mysteries practice Demonology, & have done since the time of the writing of the Corpus Hermeticum (Greco/Egyptian writings) because it delineates the process of demon invocation throughout its pages, including in the Asclepius by the way; http://esoteric.msu.edu/VolumeII/Sympdevil.html
......whereas Jesus banished them.
So we have a dichotomy here. Incidentally the Asclepius has a graphic passage called the Apocalypse (Revelation), detailing prophecy not too dissimilar (at all) from the one in the Bible.
Regarding their claim that in the Book Of Revelation
Jesus is Lucifer,
the Jesus here refers to himself as the; Morning Star, as is the Lucifer described in the Book Of Isaiah in the Old Testament.
Yet, possibly one if not the foremost Luciferians ever,
Manly Hall, claims the Book Of Revelation to be a description of a Pagan ritual, & he also conflates both Satan with Lucifer & both with the Devil when he recounts the
Fallen Angel story in his Faust lecture
......whereas Jesus was tempted by this entity in the desert,
who offered him the thrones of the earth;
'Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God,
& him only shalt thou serve.'
One can take it or leave it, to me & others, the message of JC is all that matters, regardless of his actual name or circumstances in which the story has come down to us, it doesn't come into play with Confucious or even Abraham does it?
So my assumption is, the continuing focus on these matters are
from factions who wish to see the message itself discredited
by appending it with spuriosity. In fairness, many members
of the Mystery Schools have upheld the story of Jesus as
historical, which to my mind at least, settles the issue,
after giving the matter a little study.