Many desire to know the truth about Jesus Christ. But do their ideas measure up to what God’s Word says?
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For some, the idea that Jesus Christ walked the Earth 2,000 years ago—turning water to wine, healing the lame, raising the dead—is just too fantastical to be true.
In fact, some believe that Christ was a hoax devised by the Romans. The thought is that, since the Jews were expecting a heroic savior to liberate them, the Romans invented an opposing belief system that taught adherents to “turn the other cheek” (Matt. 5:39) and “render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s” (22:21). Thus, Rome would have pacifist taxpayers in Judea.
While this idea is far-fetched (why would the Romans murder Christians if they created the religion?), it is indicative of the many titillating theories out there. They promise to provide secret knowledge that is often scandalous.
Most, including Christian and secular scholars, believe that Jesus did exist. But no one seems to agree on the exact details surrounding His life. In fact, there is an endless array of competing theories.
One retired professor of religion and culture at Oregon State University proclaimed that Christ “did not ‘die for the sins of the world,’ but he was killed by the powers that ruled his world. His followers found meaning in his death.” He also stated that Christ likely considered Himself a prophet, but titles such as “the Messiah” and “Son of God,” as well as accounts of the miracles He performed, came posthumously.
This is just one more conflicting idea about the carpenter from Nazareth. Others include that He had a wife and family, that He was a violent revolutionary, or that He was just a moral philosopher with some nice “Kumbaya” ideas.
How can you separate truth from men’s ideas? Can you know for certain?
The short answer: Yes! The longer answer: To do so, you will need to work, study and prove who Jesus Christ was and His purpose on Earth.
David C. Pack’s book The True Jesus Christ – Unknown to Christianity can help you do just that. It pairs plain Bible truths with solid historical evidence to remove all doubt about the life of Jesus.
What follows is an excerpt from this eye-opening book, starting with the ideas surrounding Jesus’ birth…
Most people are, to varying degrees, familiar with the story about Joseph and the pregnant Mary journeying to Bethlehem, a small village just outside Jerusalem, to register in an empire-wide census decreed by Rome. According to the account, the couple arrived to find Bethlehem filled with visitors from the region, leaving the young couple without a place to stay at the local inn. Ever resourceful, Joseph and Mary decided to temporarily stay in a stable, where the young mother supposedly gave birth to Jesus on December 25.
Then shepherds out in the fields and pastures witnessed a stunning supernatural event—a great star in the heavens—a sign that the Christ child was born. Also, the supposed three “wise men” from the East came to Bethlehem to honor Jesus. Herod, Rome’s client king over Judea, felt threatened by Jesus’ existence. Since he could not find the child, Herod decided to massacre all baby boys that were estimated to be Jesus’ age.
Or so went the account, which grew over the centuries, weaving chapters from the Bible with Christmas myths originating from Babylonian mystery religions practiced by idol worshippers since the tower of Babel! To understand the events surrounding Jesus Christ’s birth and His early years, we must separate fact from fiction.
First, despite what billions today believe, Jesus was not born on December 25, or even in winter. He was, in all likelihood, born in early autumn.
The Adam Clarke Commentary states: “It was custom among the Jews to send out their sheep to the deserts, about the passover [early spring], and bring them home at the commencement of the first rain.” The first rains began in early to mid-fall.
Continuing with this same quote: “During the time they were out, the shepherds watched them night and day. As…the first rain began early in the month of Marchesvan, which answers to part of our October and November [begins sometime in October], we find that the sheep were kept out in the open country during the whole of the summer. And as these shepherds had not yet brought home their flocks, it is a presumptive argument that October had not yet commenced, and that, consequently, our Lord was not born on the 25th of December, when no flocks were out in the fields; nor could he have been born later than September, as the flocks were still in the fields by night. On this very ground, the nativity in December should be given up. The feeding of the flocks by night in the fields is a chronological fact…”
Luke 2:8 explains that when Christ was born “there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.” Note that they were “abiding” in the field. This could not have happened in December, or even close. Both Ezra 10:9-13 and Song of Solomon 2:11 show that winter was the rainy season, and shepherds could not reside in cold, open fields at night.
Numerous encyclopedias plainly state that Jesus was not born on December 25. Even The Catholic Encyclopedia confirms this!
Then from where did the festival associated with this date originate?
Read the following quote from Encyclopaedia Britannica, under “Christmas”: “In the Roman world the Saturnalia (December 17) was a time of merrymaking and exchange of gifts. December 25 was also regarded as the birthdate of the Iranian mystery god Mithra, the Sun of Righteousness. On the Roman New Year (January 1), houses were decorated with greenery and lights, and gifts were given to children and the poor. To these observances were added the German and Celtic Yule rites when the Teutonic tribes penetrated into Gaul, Britain, and central Europe. Food and good fellowship, the Yule log and Yule cakes, greenery and fir trees, gifts and greetings all commemorated different aspects of this festive season. Fires and lights, symbols of warmth and lasting life, have always been associated with the winter festival, both pagan and Christian.”
Next is a quote from a December 1984 Toronto Star article titled “We owe a lot to Druids, Dutch,” by Alan Edmonds: “The Reformation cast a blight on Christmas. By then, of course, clever ecclesiastical politicians had adopted the Pagan mid-winter festival as the alleged birthdate of Jesus of Nazareth, and thrown in a few other Pagan goodies to make their takeover more palatable.”
Understand. December 25 was not selected because it was the birth of Jesus Christ or because it was near that date. It was selected entirely because the 25th of December coincided with the idolatrous pagan festival Saturnalia!
In any event, we do not know the exact date of Jesus’ birth (though He was most likely born in the fall). While God certainly could have made it clearly known, He chose to hide it from the world’s eyes.
For years, the birth of Jesus has been shrouded in the pagan trappings of Christmas, whose traditions and practices predate Christ’s earthly ministry by thousands of years!
Billions around the world exchange gifts with each other every December 25, believing they are following the “three wise men’s” custom of giving birthday gifts to Jesus. Yet the “three wise men” of the Xmas myth are simply called “wise men” in the gospel of Matthew, the only book in which they are mentioned.
The term “wise men” is translated from the Greek word “magos,” meaning “by implication a magician” according to Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible. These were likely astrologers, who were considered nobles, from the East. Scripture does not specify how many visited Jesus. Also, the men gave gifts to the Christ child out of respect and royal tradition. They acknowledged Him to be a king, and thus treated Him as such, practicing the custom of giving gifts to a royal ruler. These were in no sense birthday gifts.
By the time the men visited Jesus, He and His parents were no longer in the stable. They were in a house, and the Bible refers to Christ as a “young child” (Matt. 2:8, 11), not a baby. Much time had passed between Jesus’ birth and the “wise men’s” visit. This is why Herod slaughtered all baby boys up to two years old—it was not evident to him how many years had passed since Jesus had been born!
When we separate fact from fiction—that is, biblical truth from the lies and deceits of pagan myth and legend—we get a better, much clearer view of the true Jesus Christ!
When the wise men asked Herod, “Where is He that is born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the east, and are come to worship Him” (Matt. 2:1-2), Herod “was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him” (vs. 3).
Why? Herod learned from the Jewish religious leaders that Christ was foretold to be born in Bethlehem—this came from God’s Word. You would think that Herod and “all Jerusalem with him” would be excited over the news, not “troubled.”
Yet Herod and the religious authorities of the day felt threatened by Christ’s existence—why?
The story of Jesus Christ’s miraculous conception and birth is known worldwide and has been taught from generation to generation for nearly 2,000 years. But what did it mean? What was its true significance?
The Bible identifies Jesus in His existence before human birth as “the Word,” an eternal, all-knowing, all-powerful God-being who “was with God, and…was God” (John 1:1). “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us” (vs. 14)—He voluntarily lowered Himself to become limited, corruptible flesh, subject to weariness and death.
The varying and competing denominations, sects, arms, churches and movements of professing Christianity preach that Jesus came to save the whole world. “For God so loved the world,” their pastors, teachers and religionists frequently recite, “that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
Even those who have never opened a Bible are familiar with the biblical account in the book of Genesis, in which Adam and Eve ate forbidden fruit, thus cutting themselves off from the utopian Garden of Eden—and more importantly, from the One who created it: God.
Subsequently, every man, woman and child for the past 6,000 years has had at least one thing in common: “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). “All” means ALL—not “some,” not “most.” Every human being—even Noah, Abraham, Moses, Job, Daniel and other righteous, faithful servants of God—has sinned.
But what is sin?
The leaders and instructors of the world’s two-billion-plus professing Christians talk almost endlessly about sin—more accurately, they talk around sin, freely promoting their own interpretation and personal opinion of what sin is—yet they do not stand before their listeners, open their Bibles, and read aloud I John 3:4—“Whosoever commits sin transgresses also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.”
Grasp this important biblical truth!
Sin is the breaking of the Law—God’s Law, which is “holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good” (Rom. 7:12) and is “spiritual” (vs. 14). Religionists preach a message of “come as you are,” shamelessly proclaiming that “Jesus did away with the Law” and has removed “the terrible burden of keeping it.”
Yet the Word of God—“quick [living], and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword” (Heb. 4:12), which “cannot be broken” (John 10:35)—declares the opposite: “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments: and His commandments are not grievous” (I John 5:3). But many believe they are!
Breaking even one of God’s commandments earns the offender the same penalty as breaking all of them. Notice: “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For He that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if you commit no adultery, yet if you kill, you are become a transgressor of the law” (Jms. 2:10-11).
The penalty of sin—the wages that one earns for breaking God’s Law—is plainly defined: “For the wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23). Some critics have sought to rationalize this verse. “This doesn’t literally mean death,” they claim. “It means being cut off from God.”
Yet God declares that man is already cut off from Him! Notice: “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither His ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear” (Isa. 59:1-2).
Because of sin, of lawlessness, humanity is already separated from God. Death is the ultimate state of being cut off from our Maker. This is twice reiterated in the Old Testament: “The soul that sins, it shall die” (Ezek. 18:4, 20).
There are two ways to satisfy the wages of breaking the laws of God:
(A) One can die for his own sins and thus pay the penalty. But there is the obvious problem: Once a sinner is dead, he stays dead.
(B) Another living being can die in that person’s stead. However, the rest of Ezekiel 18:20 shows that a human being cannot pay for the sins of others; each person can only pay for his or her own transgressions.
It takes the death of a supreme, innocent, eternal God-being to satisfy the penalty for the sins of all human beings—past, present and future.
Humanity needed a Savior!
Read the full context of what the apostle John wrote: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God” (John 1:1-2). Two divine Beings, both called God.
In Genesis 1:26, it was God—Elohim, a uniplural term in the original Hebrew, indicating more than one were present—who said, “Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness.” So few seem to notice the three plural pronouns.
Through the Word, “All things were made…and without Him was not anything made that was made” (John 1:3)—“For by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him, and for Him” (Col. 1:16).
The Word voluntarily decided to be born of a woman, to become God in the flesh. Because He was the Supreme Creator, His divine life far out-valued His creation. And because He was physical—subject to pulls of the flesh—He was capable of committing sin. Yet if He never strayed, never broke God’s laws, as a God-Being in the flesh, He could offer His sinless, innocent life as the ultimate and perfect sacrifice.
Man would have a Savior.
But human beings, who love to go to extremes, focus almost exclusively on Jesus’ role as Savior—and ignore that He was born to be a king! False religious leaders, whether knowingly or unknowingly, assert that Christ’s role as Savior is the “climax of the plan of God for humanity.”
This is not the climax—it is the beginning of God’s Plan and purpose for mankind. A Divine Savior is necessary for sins to be forgiven, for people’s lives to be wiped clean, no longer under the penalty of death. Yet religionists and theologians leap to the conclusion that “the forgiveness of sin will solve man’s problems.” The trends, problems, troubles and ills saturated throughout man’s governments and societies will not suddenly disappear if everyone simply said, “I accept Jesus as my Savior,” and asked God to forgive their sins.
Something else must take place, and Christ set the pattern to follow: One must conform to the laws and ways of the Kingdom of God. Throughout His earthly ministry, Jesus preached the gospel of the Kingdom of God. He was sent to qualify to replace Satan as world ruler. After His arrival to Earth the second time, Christ will establish God’s government on the Earth to rule all nations.
During His First Coming, Jesus represented God’s Kingdom and instructed all whom His Father would call (John 6:44). He taught them how to obey the gospel (Rom. 10:16; II Thes. 1:8; I Pet. 4:17)—to come out of the world’s ways and become ambassadors of God’s government of peace, following Christ’s command to, “Be you therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matt. 5:48).
Before Christ was conceived, Gabriel told Mary that God would give her Son “the throne of His father David: and He shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of His Kingdom there shall be no end” (Luke 1:32-33).
At the end of His ministry, Jesus said before Pilate, “My kingdom [government] is not of this world” (John 18:36). When asked by Pilate if He were a king, Christ responded, “You say that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause [reason] came I into the world” (vs. 37).
This was foretold in the book of Isaiah: “For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His Name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even forever” (9:6-7).
For this reason, Herod and “all Jerusalem with him” were troubled. They feared losing their positions of civil and religious leadership that Rome permitted them to enjoy. They were also fearful of how the Roman Empire would react to the appearance of a “rival king” claiming rulership over Judea. Yet these carnal minds did not understand that Christ would not set up His Kingdom from Jerusalem in their lifetimes.
Jesus Christ was born into humble circumstances, yet His life and ministry laid the groundwork for man’s incredible future and potential!
To continue learning the complete, true story of Jesus Christ—His earthly upbringing, His message about the Kingdom of God, and so much more—request the comprehensive book The True Jesus Christ – Unknown to Christianity.