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Is Jesus A Myth?

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Is Jesus A Myth?

Skeptics claim the Jesus Christ of the Bible is pure fiction. Yet you can know for certain!

Learn the why behind the headlines.

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Websites claim that Jesus Christ is a myth. Books say His extraordinary encounters with people in the Holy Land are mere inventions. Documentaries assert His execution under the rule of the Roman government is false.

Their explanations for the true origin of arguably the most influential religious figure range from bizarre to just plain silly. One theory is that Jesus and His life are merely a personification of the symbols contained within the cross of the zodiac in astrology. His role as the “Son” and His travels with 12 disciples are believed to be a metaphor for the movement of the “sun” through the 12 constellations.

In short, the worship of Christ is just a continuation of mankind’s fascination with the stars.

Another claim is that Jesus is a composite of several real-life first-century figures. Supposedly the notable deeds of these individuals were combined and mythologized into the person of Jesus Christ. Related is the thought that He is a character cobbled together from “inauthentic and over-interpreted” sayings.

One particularly odd rationale is that Jesus, a man known to advocate peace, was a fabrication of the Roman government. Crafty officials invented Him as a way to control their subjects with an alternative to the more threatening revolutionaries stirring up first-century Israel and posing a threat to Rome.

If any of these ideas were true, it would render numerous religious texts worthless and simultaneously shatter the hopes of billions of faithful followers. It is one thing to disagree with Jesus Christ’s teachings or to reject Christianity as a whole, but to dismiss Him as fantasy is another matter entirely.

Though their opinions about His role may differ, most followers of the world’s major religions—Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, among others—accept that a man known as Jesus walked the Earth during the first century. This is over three-quarters of the population alive today.

Most do not question the existence of a literal Jesus Christ. Nevertheless, books and other scholarly works maintaining He never lived are on the rise.

What is troubling is that proponents of the “Christ myth” sound so confident. Their bold assertions fill an increasing number of books and articles. They seem so sure of their conclusions that they can almost sound plausible.

These cunning arguments plant doubt in the minds of an increasingly unchurched generation and further disaffect those fed up with the hypocrisy of mainstream religion. Even those certain of Jesus Christ’s literal existence can get hung up searching for ways to counter these claims.

The principal reasons people claim Jesus is imaginary stem from three major premises: (1) the charge that there is no secular or non-biblical proof of His actual existence; (2) claims that the Bible’s New Testament record has no legitimate historical value; and (3) criticisms that Jesus Christ’s profile borrows heavily from ancient paganism predating Christianity.

Most recognize the claim that Jesus never existed for what it is—absurd. They have no need to be sold otherwise. However, going through the exercise of dismantling the supposedly “overwhelming evidence” can still be beneficial.

Doing so will not only increase your conviction that Jesus Christ actually existed as a man, but will also help you understand who He really was.

Historical Evidence

Advocates of the Christ myth say there are no sources outside the Bible that corroborate His existence. This is patently false.

The following are a few of the historical accounts recorded soon after Christ’s life.

  • Tacitus: As a Roman historian who lived from about AD 56-117, he mentioned the person of Jesus Christ and His execution by the Roman governor Pontius Pilate in his extensive record known as the Annals, which cover the history of the Roman Empire from AD 14-68.
  • Suetonius: Another Roman historian who lived from about AD 70-140, he referenced Jesus Christ in his AD 121 work titled The Twelve Caesars, a set of 12 biographies of Roman emperors considered a primary source of Roman history.

In a section on Emperor Claudius, he references Jews being expelled from Rome since they “constantly made disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus.” “Chrestus” is commonly seen as a reference to Christ.

Within the section on Emperor Nero, Suetonius further speaks of inflicting punishment on “Christians…given to a new and mischievous superstition.”

  • Pliny the Younger: A Roman governor of the Bithynian province who lived from AD 61-113, he wrote a letter around AD 112 to Roman Emperor Trajan about dealing with “Christians” in his province. He noted that this group met “on a certain fixed day” and sang a “hymn to Christ as to a god.” In addition, he explained their commitment “not to do wicked deeds, never commit fraud, theft, adultery, not to lie nor to deny a trust.” Pliny’s remedy for dealing with Christians refusing to worship Roman gods was execution.
  • Flavius Josephus: This well-known Roman-Jewish historian and scholar wrote Antiquities of the Jews, a 20-volume historiographical work on the Jewish people. Within it is written, “Jesus, a wise man…who performed surprising deeds and was a teacher…He won over many Jews and many of the Greeks.” The text continues “…Pilate had condemned him to a cross, those who had first come to love him did not cease.”

Despite the controversy on the authenticity of these direct references to Jesus Christ, indirect mentions of His person in other sections such as a reference to “James the brother of Jesus” are less disputed.

In each case listed, it should be noted that the scope of the works of these individuals goes well beyond defending or refuting the existence of Jesus Christ. His literal presence was simply acknowledged as an accepted point of history.

While admitting that unbiased men did mention Christ in their writings, determined skeptics still argue that they were not actual eyewitnesses of His life, and therefore cannot be believed.

Think about what is being said, though. By this standard, any historical record, often a result of compiling oral and written records spanning many years, could be dismissed as untrustworthy because the person compiling it did not actually see the subjects mentioned.

Eventually, denials from skeptics of a literal Jesus become ridiculous, proving that even an established truth can be made doubtful if a person tries hard enough.

Also, everyone acknowledging the literal existence of Jesus cannot be branded “pro-Christian.” One would be hard-pressed to describe Muslims, Hindus or Jews as such. Muslims commonly recognize Jesus as an important prophet and Hindus acknowledge His teachings and effect on history.

The case for the Jews is even more powerful. They had a hand in His execution because He did not meet their standard as the coming Messiah. They have every incentive to deny the existence of a man named Jesus given the criticism they have received and their continued belief in a coming savior. Though they may not have seen Him as the “Son of God,” even they acknowledge He existed.

Overall, many religious alternatives to the Christian faith could easily dismiss Christianity as a serious religion by simply agreeing that the figure central to its belief system never lived—but they do not.

Book of History?

Bible critics are also wrong to believe the New Testament has no historical value. The New Testament records provable historical facts such as the construction of Herod’s temple, the wall and foundation of which can still be seen today.

There are also multiple references to Roman rule and the destruction of Jerusalem to name a few, which are all facts of history. Even Christ’s human genealogy is listed in the gospels. Therefore, the book that details the birth, life and death of a literal man named Jesus cannot simply be written off as one giant fairy tale.

In addition, archaeologists of every stripe and flavor agree that the Bible contains quite a bit of factual information.

Millar Burrows, a professor who worked at Yale University stated in his book What Mean These Stones?: “On the whole…archeological [sic] work has unquestionably strengthened confidence in the reliability of the Scriptural record. More than one archeologist [sic] has found his respect for the Bible increased by the experience of excavation in Palestine.”

Later in the book, he wrote, “Archeology [sic] has in many cases refuted the views of modern critics.”

William F. Albright strengthens this case in his book The Archaeology of Palestine: “The excessive scepticism shown toward the Bible by important historical schools of the eighteenth-and-nineteenth centuries, certain phases of which still appear periodically, has been progressively discredited. Discovery after discovery has established the accuracy of innumerable details, and has brought increased recognition to the value of the Bible as a source of history.”

Jonathan L. Reed observed in The HarperCollins Visual Guide to the New Testament: “The many archaeological discoveries relating to people, places, or titles mentioned in Acts do lend credence to its historicity at one level; many of the specific details in Acts are factual.”

Yet even more than simple historical facts, you can prove the Bible is God’s Word.

What sets Scripture apart from all other history books is prophecy, history written in advance. Events foretold hundreds of years before they actually occurred show that the Bible was divinely inspired.

In Isaiah 46:9-10, God challenges skeptics to place fulfilled prophecy next to the record of history. The booklet Bible Authority...Can It Be Proven? will remove any doubt of this Book’s validity. Read it or request a copy.

Another Jesus

What about the supposed pagan roots of Christianity? A warning from the apostle Paul in II Corinthians begins to answer this question: “But I [Paul] fear, lest by any means, as the serpent [Satan] beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that comes preaches another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if you receive another spirit, which you have not received, or another gospel, which you have not accepted, you might well bear with him” (II Cor. 11:3-4).

Did you catch that? This passage does not describe someone preaching against the true Jesus Christ. Instead, it describes a totally different being altogether. This “Jesus,” empowered by a different spirit, and bringing a different gospel, was being received by true believers.

As shocking as it may sound, this counterfeit Jesus Christ deceives millions today—and he does have pagan roots!

Why would Satan bother to spread the idea of “another Jesus?” Why not promote another false god entirely unrelated to Jesus Christ?

As any con man will tell you, the most effective lies are those that contain elements of truth. What better way to deceive millions about the true Jesus Christ than to come up with an alternative bearing similarities to Him—even down to His very name! It is no accident that the devil is known as a master deceiver and the father of lies (John 8:44).

In fact, as Paul stated in II Corinthians 11, the devil has done this from the beginning. He deceived Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden into eating fruit from “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” (Gen. 2:17; 3:6). Recognize that this tree was said by God to have some “good” in it.

This false Jesus is a relative clone of many pagan gods in ancient societies such as Babylon and Egypt. It is this character described in the “Christ myth” theories. Millions throughout history have been deceived by this phony Jesus.

Christianity and Mythology explains the heathen connection: “…the conception of a Saviour-God was quite normal in the ancient pagan world…a conception of salvation underlies the notion of such Gods as Osiris, Attis, and Adonis…”

Why are there so many stories similar to Jesus’ death and resurrection? The short answer is that instead of paganism influencing Christianity as many claim, it is actually the other way around. God’s plan for mankind long pre-dated paganism. God’s promise of a savior, for instance, was first revealed in the Garden of Eden (Gen. 3:15). Further prophecies foretold Christ’s coming: Genesis 12:3, 49:10; Numbers 24:17; Deuteronomy 18:15, 18; and Isaiah 7:14, 9:6-7, 11:1-5.

All similar pagan stories rip-off what God said He would do!

Perhaps the most popular examples of the worship of the false Christ is the observance of Christmas and Easter. Both of these holidays are deeply rooted in paganism.

Christmas is a combination of several pagan symbols and principles. It has no actual Christian connection outside of the partial truths from the birth account of the child Jesus (think “knowledge of good and evil”) later attached to it. The supposed December 25 birth, for instance, is a continuation of the Roman observance of Saturnalia, which involved worshipping a sun god. The Christmas tree is a holdover from a Babylonian idol to which people bowed down.

Easter observance began anciently as a tribute to the “goddess of spring” or “queen of heaven” for the arrival of the spring season. The name Easter came from the Germanic goddess of fertility Austron. She bears an obvious resemblance to the ancient figures of Ishtar, Ashtoreth and Astarte.

The concepts of a “mother and savior” and a “savior-god,” prevalent in ancient cultures, were combined with facts about the true Jesus Christ’s torture and death and eventual resurrection to form the modern observance of Easter.

This explains why both Christmas and Easter celebrations are so inconsistent with the worship of God in Scripture. Christmas trees and mistletoe? Santa Claus and reindeer? Easter eggs and bunny rabbits? Sunrise services and hot-cross buns? These “Christianized” symbols are all absent from the Bible, but found in pagan observances.

To expose the pagan roots of Christmas and Easter is not new. Countless numbers of people have heard this before and more discover it every year. Some deny or choose to ignore this connection in an effort to continue keeping these days. But many openly admit their true origins. They justify keeping them by claiming they are “not actually worshipping false gods” but “worshipping Jesus Christ” instead.

The God of the Bible speaks against this practice: “…This people honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. Howbeit in vain do they worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men…Full well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your own tradition” (Mark 7:6-7, 9).

God never commanded the observance of these days—in fact He rejected it! Tragically, people think they are honoring the God of the Bible with these celebrations, but their worship is in vain.

All Christian practices and beliefs with pagan roots describe another Jesus. Such facts give anti-religious skeptics fodder to poke holes in supposed Christianity.

How could this happen?

It is clear evidence of the incredible power of Satan, who the Bible says “deceives the whole world” (Rev. 12:9). The devil is such an effective counterfeiter of truth that he has successfully deceived millions into unwittingly worshipping false gods!

True Savior

In II Corinthians, Paul reveals the reason the devil is bent on keeping mankind away from the true Jesus: “In whom the god of this world [Satan] has blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them” (II Cor. 4:4).

The devil’s goal is to keep people ignorant of a major reason Jesus Christ came to Earth as a human being—to announce the gospel or good news of the coming kingdom of God. Christ was a messenger of the wonderful opportunity for mankind to inherit eternal life!

Related to His gospel message is the fact that the true Jesus Christ, who is God (John 1:1), allowed Himself to be killed, thus becoming the perfect sacrifice required to redeem a sinful mankind cut off from God the Father. His shed blood was the payment required to deliver man from the death penalty due to sin (Rom. 6:23).

If Jesus Christ never existed and is simply a made-up idea, mankind could have no relationship with God!

Satan also does not want mankind to realize that the true Jesus Christ is the God or “Lord” of the Old Testament. Scripture reveals that it was Jesus Christ, in His pre-human form, who delivered Moses and the Israelites from Egypt (I Cor. 10:4). It was also Christ who interacted with Moses in the burning bush and Adam in the Garden of Eden.

Most professing Christians believe it was God the Father who filled this role. This is not true. The God of the first 39 books of the Bible was the same Jesus Christ who died for our sins as human beings. This understanding ties the entire Bible together and flies in the face of those quick to write the Old Testament off as “done away.”

Recognizing the true Jesus Christ is also the only way to acknowledge the one Church that He said He would build and that would never be destroyed (Matt. 16:18). Finding and being part of this Church is how it becomes possible to realize the tremendous opportunities available in God’s Plan.

Are you beginning to see why Satan is determined to keep mankind separated from the true Jesus Christ preached in the Bible? It is his most effective weapon in preventing man from realizing all the wonderful things God has put in place for human beings.

Inherent within Paul’s warning to the Corinthians about worshipping the wrong Jesus is the fact that there must be a way to tell the difference. As confusing as it may be to wade through the vast amount of information on the subject, there is a path to learning and understanding the true Jesus Christ.

There is a vast difference between the popular Jesus Christ known to most and the true Jesus Christ who walked Earth. The true Jesus Christ was not a weakling with long hair who taught people that God’s Law was done away. Instead, He was a powerful figure, known for His ruggedness and masculinity, who taught that God requires obedience to His Commandments.

Perhaps the most vital difference between the two Jesus figures is that people believe they are saved by the false one’s blood. This is not what the Bible teaches. God’s Word clearly states man is “saved by His life” (Rom. 5:10), while he is “reconciled to God” and “justified by His blood” (vs. 9).

The false Jesus is a myth—an utter fabrication! Yet the true, living Jesus Christ reveals the abundant life (John 10:10) for all those who follow His teachings.

This only begins to demonstrate the contrast between the two. Much more than you may realize is at stake for not following the correct one.

Determine to know the truth! Order Mr. David Pack’s thorough book titled, The True Jesus Christ – Unknown to Christianity. The only book of its kind, it lays out in detail the life of Christ.

After reading this book you will be able to recognize the true Jesus Christ among the counterfeits. You will also have a better understanding of His purpose for coming to Earth and how belief in Him can lead to a lifetime of happiness and a sense of purpose.

The true Jesus Christ is unknown to almost all—but He can be known to you!

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