Bible Secrets Revealed?: A Response to the New History Channel Series (Part 4)

Jesus

This is the fourth installment of a new series reviewing the History Channel series entitled Bible Secrets Revealed (for others, see here, here and here).  The newest episode is entitled, “The Real Jesus,” and addresses the question of what we can know about the historical Jesus.

Not surprisingly, the tenor of this latest episode is the same as the other episodes, namely that the accounts of the Bible (in this case, the Gospels) cannot be trusted.  This documentary catalogs a number of places where (it claims) the Gospels are simply mistaken.  Let’s run through some issues that are raised.

1. The Virgin Birth.  Almost from the start, the documentary brings up the issue of Jesus’ birth and whether he was really born of a virgin.  In particular it makes the observation that the virgin birth was only recorded in Matthew and Luke’s gospel.  If it really happened, wouldn’t it have been included in the other gospels?

But, this whole line of reasoning is fallacious.  First, there are all kinds of events that some gospels record and others do not.  That is the nature of historical records–they are inevitably limited and selective.  So, the lack of mention by Mark and John means nothing.

But, more than this, the documentary fails to mention that Mark and John don’t even have birth accounts!  They just don’t tell that part of Jesus’ story.  Thus, it is hardly surprising they wouldn’t mention the fact that his birth was of a virgin, when they don’t really mention his birth at all.

2. The Gnostic Gospels.  The narrator mentions the discovery of the so-called “Gnostic Gospels” at Nag Hammadi, Egypt (the most famous of which is Thomas).  In an effort to present these gospels are more historically credible than the canonical gospels, he then claims that these manuscripts are older than the oldest copies of the New Testament.

The problem with this claim is that it is patently false.  These manuscripts, written in Coptic, date mostly to the fourth and fifth centuries, whereas we have NT manuscripts from as early as the second century. Once again, one wonders about the historical accuracy of the Historical Channel when mistakes like this are made–mistakes that just happen to be in favor of the more radical version of the historical Jesus.

3. Teachings of Jesus.  At one point the narrator says that we cannot be sure of much regarding Jesus, but we can be sure that he taught ” a profound religious philosophy,” namely he taught about the “divine nature of mankind.”

What?

Anyone who has read the canonical gospels knows that Jesus did not in fact teach the humans were divine or that they had the divine inside of them.  On the contrary, Jesus often made such claims about himself as the unique, divine son of God.

If one wants to find a gospel that teaches that we are all divine, then the Gospel of Thomas is the place to turn.  Unfortunately, the documentary is once again profoundly mistaken about the nature of the canonical gospels.

The documentary also works very hard to portray Jesus as a just a spiritual leader working toward the goal of social equality.  Jesus is more Martin Luther King than he is son of God.  However, no real attention is given to Jesus’ own claims about himself throughout the gospels; claims which simply do not fit with someone only interested in social reform.

4. Mary Magdalene.  Once again, the documentary makes the suggestion that Jesus had a special relationship with Mary and was probably even married to him.

The problem of course, is that that historical evidence for this claim is so very thin, that even Bart Ehrman argues against it in the documentary.  This reveals how very tendentious this claim actually is.  When Ehrman is taking the more conservative position, then you know the evidence for the other view must really be lacking.

5. The Resurrection.  Not surprisingly, this episode ends by casting doubt on the resurrection itself.  However, I was disappointed by the trite (even flippant) alternative explanations given for the empty tomb. They are just not sufficient to explain the early Christian belief in the resurrection.

For example, James Tabor argues that the tomb was empty on Sunday morning because Jesus’ followers had simply moved his body to a more permanent location.  In other words, the resurrection is explained as just a big misunderstanding.

But, Tabor leaves a number of important factors unexplained.  For one, which of the followers of Jesus would have moved the body? The disciples were hiding, fearing for their lives. The women were coming to anoint him and the body was already gone when they arrived. If Joseph of Arimathea had moved the body, this is surely not something he would have hidden from the disciples.  Moreover, how does this account for the resurrection appearances? This explanation simply fails to convince.

Ehrman argues that the followers of Jesus just began to think they saw him alive and this explains the rapid spread of the resurrection idea.  But, this implies the disciples were prone or inclined to see Jesus alive after his death.  All evidence is to the contrary.  His followers were so crushed by his death that they didn’t recognize him when he was standing right in front of them (e.g., disciples on the road to Emmaus, Mary at the tomb).

In sum, this episode once again is a mixed bag.  It raises a number of intriguing and important questions about Jesus as a historical figure.  But, unfortunately, all the “answers” are given with the same objective in mind, namely to undermine the validity of the canonical gospels regarding the person of Jesus.

Comments

Bible Secrets Revealed?: A Response to the New History Channel Series (Part 4) — 37 Comments

  1. ” In particular it makes the observation that the virgin birth was only recorded in Matthew and Luke’s gospel. If it really happened, wouldn’t it have been included in the other gospels?

    But, this whole line of reasoning is fallacious. First, there are all kinds of events that some gospels record and others do not. That is the nature of historical records–they are inevitably limited and selective. So, the lack of mention by Mark and Luke means nothing.”

    Mark and John not Mark and Luke?

  2. Again, this episode didn’t reveal any secrets, thoughts, philosophies, etc. that hasn’t been explored (and disproved) before. Again, the producers give a lot of credence to sources that are not as reliable as the source they are casting doubt on. This episode tried to cast a lot doubt on Jesus Christ but it really seems to throw a lot of mud on the wall, hoping something will stick. Suggesting Jesus had some type of sexual relationship with Mary Magdalene is simply unfounded guesswork. In the culture of that day, this sexual impropriety would not happen and it would have been known because of the how close people were to Jesus all of the time. In the religious world of that day, Jesus would have been killed by people for the type of relationship described by this episode (but he was killed for something entirely different).

    Again, this series tries to explain age-old religious aspects through the eyes of people in today’s USA culture with a mindset of today’s culture (that is striving to become less moral and equalize any belief system). Sadly, people in the USA don’t read the Bible and won’t know how off this series continues to be.

  3. Good for you in not letting a deceptive program exist without a valid rebuttal.

    4. Jesus loved the Beloved Disciple, she was Mary of Bethany and she was the unnamed Disciple of John the Baptist and she wrote the Gospel of John (the Baptist) and she wrote revelation and she is the woman these verses reference.

    2Jo:1:1:
    The elder unto the elect lady and her children,
    whom I love in the truth;
    and not I only,
    but also all they that have known the truth;

    2Jo:1:13:
    The children of thy elect sister greet thee.
    Amen.

    Lu:10:39:
    And she had a sister called Mary,
    which also sat at Jesus’ feet,
    and heard his word.

    Lu:10:42:
    But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.

    5. You need all 4 references and then blend them together to get the story of what happened the morning of the resurrection. You also need to solve a little problem of what Apostle wrote what book. Peter should be credited with Matthew because he was there as the first Apostle and Mark and Luke would have been written by the brothers James and John as each of those 3 Gospels cover two events as eye-witnesses, the vision on a mountain where Moses and Elias appeared and the resurrection of a girl. James and John would have been filled in by their mother who was at the cross and at the tomb, Peter would have been filled in about the cross by Mary M. and the Beloved Disciple was the witness in the Gospel of John.
    It shows that before dawn after the regular weekly Sabbath the same group that was at the cross headed out of Jerusalem to go to the tomb. Mary M. goes ahead and gets there first and sees the stone is moved so she runs back and tells the ‘group’ and Peter and the Beloved Disciple run to the tomb and a woman in love will out-run a ‘best friend’ any day of the week. A bit of time is spent at the tomb for the whole group and then the group heads back to town leaving Mary M. behind and that is when she has the talk with Jesus. She catches up to the group and relays the message about the evening meeting in Jerusalem. Jesus ascends that morning and is back by the afternoon for the stroll with Peter and another Apostle and that night the Apostles and the Beloved Disciple get baptized with the Holy Spirit. Thomas is not their that night but he is at the meeting that takes place a week later.

  4. A while back google & apple maps in Australia had people ending up in wrong destinations due to improper research & data. The same can be said of our learning, its a world wide situation. Thankfully Scripture remains as Jesus said it would & there are those ready to defend its inspired pages of wisdom & truth.As much as I enjoy various aspects of technology this article & comments are like more oil for my lamp.

  5. I agree with your pts 2, 3, and 4, but not 1 and 5. On 1, the fact that two authors don’t write on the birth is massively important. Mark writes the first gospel and likely has no clue any others will be written. How do you write a bio (of sorts) and forget to mention he had a virgin birth? You might forget to mention he had a pet, but likely not this. Paul too shows no awareness of the virgin birth. When he alludes to Jesus’ birth on two occasions he speaks of its lowness (of the flesh) and contrasts it to the resurrection. Admittedly he’s not explicit, but you’d think if the birth was miraculous he would reference it differently.

    As for 5, the killer question is always this: why do Xns find the resurrection stories of Jesus such compelling evidence but do not find this true for other resurrection stories. There are innumerable people in human history who have been claimed by their followers to have survived death. That does not prove the Xn story is false, but just that “eyewitness accounts” are accepted seemingly on one criteria – whether they are about Jesus or not.

    • Which leaders of a worldwide religion came back from the dead? The coming back from the dead of a leader such as Jesus Christ first occurred with Christ. How long were those who “survived death” actually dead? I have heard many stories of people who have died (some for hours) and come back to life, with witnesses.

      After the death of Christ, the disciples were hiding, afraid for their lives. These people/disciples were hoping to fade into obscurity because their messiah just died. Then, these same people boldly go into the known world proclaiming Jesus as the messiah and Christianity flourishes. These disciples didn’t have the boldness to proclaim a false resurrection and turn it into a world religion on their own after agreeing together to tell a lie, even if being brutally tortured and killed for such a lie.

  6. Tell your life story to your grandkids and tell them to pass the stories down to their grandchildren and after 200 years pass write down the stories…..things will be left out and changed. Now take that book and get someone from Japan who knows little English to translate it to Japanese. That’s the bible.

    • Thanks, Kevin, for the comment. But, I am afraid you have a very limited understanding of the way oral tradition worked in the ancient world. Several factors you have left out: (a) the role of memorization in the ancient world is quite sophisticated and faithful (see the work of Gerhardsson here) and does not at all match your “tell your story to your grandkids” analogy; (b) Oral tradition often worked alongside written texts. The two could exist at the same time. So it was not ONLY oral tradition that was operative in early Christianity; and (c) 200 years did not pass by before these things were written down. In the first century, we have good reasons to think accounts of Jesus were probably written down right away. Our earliest gospel, Mark, may have been written as early as the 50’s, putting it only 20 years after the life of Jesus. In historical terms that is negligible; and nowhere close to your claim of 200 years.

      • Michael – good pts. However, I would add: i) that the written can trump the oral. The writers lived often in far away places and whether what Mark wrote (say in Rome) mirrored what the folks in Jerusalem thought is totally lost to us; ii) the oral is not about recording history but about persuading outsiders. Stories get adjusted, wording is played with, etc. in order to have the desired effect. This is not history; iii) your suggestion that Mark wrote in the 50s is quite outside the bell curve. Paul shows no recognition of ever coming across Mark. Hints in the text have virtually all scholars suggesting 65-70.

        • Sure, the written can trump the oral, but you have to ask whether that actually happened in the case of the gospels. All the evidence suggests that the gospels are actually the embodiment of oral tradition. Thus, the two should not be pitted against one another. As for oral tradition being about “persuading outsiders,” that is simply not the case. Oral tradition was about preserving the teaching of the community for future generations. Yes, it was proclaimed publicly, but did not have the apologetic bent you suggest. As for Mark’s date, there are many scholars who think the 50’s is quite compelling. If the abrupt ending of Acts suggests it was written contemporaneously with the events of Paul’s life (as many scholars do), then that puts Luke in the early 60’s. And if Luke used Mark, then that puts Mark in the 50’s. Regardless, even a date in the 65-70 is not problematic for the preservation of Christian tradition given the points I made in my prior comment.

      • I cannot understand how you think the oral wasn’t about “persuading outsiders.” What religious group in its infancy is not almost solely about this task? What was Paul doing travelling around the Roman empire? Seeking historical facts? It’s ALL about persuasion. I don’t mean they deliberately lied, but any knowledge of oral story-telling shows that the stories morph and change. All the more so when the story-telling is saturated with personal (even cosmic) meaning for the teller. If dropping a detail helps, you drop it next time. If rephrasing Jesus’ words a bit makes it more impactful, you rephrase. Half of this isn’t even likely to be that conscious. Someone just says something in a way that resonates and so the hearers pick up that phraseology. This is basic oral culture.

        As for saying “all the evidence suggests the gospels…embody [the] oral” – what evidence is there? The only evidence for the oral you have is what the gospels show. It is logically impossible for them to show what oral tradition they parsed, dropped, etc. And we can see even when Luke and Matt copy Mark that they often drop bits that make Jesus look unkind or show the disciples in a bad light. And that is deliberately editing the written text in front of you. It’s even easier to do so with the oral.

        Your dating is unheard of by me. If there are texts in the 50s, even by Luke, how is it that Paul never mentions them even in the 60s? As for Luke, when he writes Acts, it sure appears that Paul is dead. He deliberately changes facts in Paul’s letters to show Peter and Paul more on the same page with respect to ditching Jewish law. Looks exactly like what you do after both figures are passed and you want Peter to support Paul’s view. The dating is not the be all and end all, but it does matter.

        • It is clear that you are not aware of the nature of oral tradition and how it worked in the ancient world. You make assumptions about the primary purpose of oral tradition being persuasion, but you have no evidence for that. You just assume that Jesus’ words were always changed and modified in substantive ways. Where is your evidence for that? Just because you think things ought to be a certain way, doesn’t make them that way.

          As for the gospels containing oral tradition, that is the consensus of modern scholarship today. Everyone from Bultmann and Dibelius to Dunn and Gerhardsson acknowledge that the Gospels contain oral tradition. You need to do some more background reading in this area.

          If an early date for Mark is “unheard of” by you, then again you need to do some more reading. And you make assumptions about Acts that are entirely unfounded. You say that Paul appears dead, but that is not what the text says.

          • I didn’t say that the gospels do not have oral tradition but that you have no idea of the editing process. You also ignore how the oral tradition itself is an editing (and creative!) process. As for evidence, I gave you some in my other post. Look at the birth stories. Any university program will show this to the students in the first month of a course on the gospels. Those stories clearly do not agree. And on the lengthy lists of ancestors tying Jesus to David, there is obvious fabrication. The lists don’t agree. One list is 50% longer than the other. And no peasant can track his ancestry for 1000 yrs.

            As I’ve pointed out, Luke and Matt even edit Mark and they do this knowing you will be able to see their edits. How much easier when you won’t see how they play with the oral tradition; or how the oral retellers themselves edit and change. No one tells a story exactly the same twice. Crossan cited a Harvard study even of professional storytellers in the Balkans back a century ago that shows even these oral telling virtuosos edit their stories. More tellingly – when faced with recordings that showed the stories changed, they still didn’t perceive there to be a difference. In oral cultures, the meaning matters more than facts. You can see the same process in the early stages of modern religions where the record keeping is better (e.g. look at the changing founding vision by Joseph Smith of Mormonism).

          • I accidentally hit enter too soon and meant to end:

            I have done my reading sir.The texts show clear evidence of creativity, and of editing. The studies of other traditions and oral cultures show similar malleability. You treat this tradition differently for reasons of faith.

      • Curious: how do you show such faith in the gospels’ accuracy given even basic issues like the two different birth stories? Or even as monumental a fact as to whether Jesus’ conflict in the temple fosters his death (3 gospels) or happens years earlier (John)? I mean if they can’t agree on such massive facts as to what precipitates his death or the basic facts of his miraculous birth, how can we trust word by word quotations?

        • Understanding the Gospels is easier if you accept that they claim to be eye-witness events and as such the names have to match the players. Matthew , Mark and Luke have 2 events in them that only the same 3 Apostles saw. Peter was at the wedding in the Gospel of John so he would have gotten the ancestry of Joseph at the event where the barrels of wine. Mark and Luke were written by the brothers James and John. Luke gives the family line based on His mother Mary and her fathers tree back to Adam because she was a Daughter of Aaron just like the mother of John the Baptist. It is that John that is related the the Gospel of John as it is the unnamed disciple of his that is known as the Beloved Disciple. Once that is done the stories are blended together rather than being in conflict with each other.
          Isaiah:53 is the prophecy about His death, without that event the bruise to the heel would not have been a completed event.

    • The perspective is quite different when a person considers God to have directed the Bible versus a group of men establishing a religion by getting together and telling stories. It may be (see below) impossible for men to pass down tradition accurately over thousands of years BUT can an all-powerful God control His revelation? Of course, this brings us back to the TV Series and how it casts aspersions upon the Bible being writings of men and NOT from God. A big push is happening in the USA to equalize all beliefs (and lifestyles, although there are some limits) but in doing so, pushing Christianity below others.

      I have traveled to a remote island and met the chief of the island. The primary responsibility of the chief is to continue the oral tradition of his people. With this particular group, the stories are told in songs and each chief for generations has had to learn, sing and teach the songs perfectly. Other people in the community recognize whether or not the songs are sung correctly. The oral history is taken very, very seriously by the chief and his people.

      • The only problem with that is the story of the first 5 Books was a completed story in the beginning so how did that just appear in 40 years.
        If it was kept letter perfect how could they have departed from it to the extent that God had Neb remove them from the promised land?
        Daniel was visited by (real) Angels and the OT was in written form at the end of the first 70 years of exile so it stands to reason that Daniel also fixed up the OT so it was again back to being as perfect as Moses’s version and all the other Prophets. In Daniel’s book he also says he was writing things down that he was clueless about, that can’t happen if there is conspiracy by the writers.

        Da:7:28:
        Hitherto is the end of the matter.
        As for me Daniel, my cogitations much troubled me,
        and my countenance changed in me:
        but I kept the matter in my heart.

        • “If it was kept letter perfect how could they have departed from it to the extent that God had Neb remove them from the promised land?” – You want to know how depraved mankind can get? Turn on the TV or visit the dark side of the Internet (no, don’t really do it) and you can see how depraved mankind can be.

          • That doesn’t address the point that an oral book cannot be kept letter perfect for 1,000 years, If it could there would have been no reason to ever put it into print and it would make the Priest almost super human and they weren’t back then and they aren’t today. Nor can it be shown that Greek Scholars can’t copy a text exactly when using just Greek from the original document to a Greek document.
            The preface of the 1611KJV says the original Greek was used for the NT and translated by those Scholars and the original Hebrew for the OT was translated by Jews in Jerusalem at that same time so are you going to promote that the Jews could keep an oral book in perfect condition for as long as they did but suddenly can’t accurately translate it into the English language?

            What is the ‘dark side of the net’ because denial and poor reading comprehension seems to be what is the greatest barrier to understanding what is written.
            How could anybody (honestly) say the verses below were written by anybody but an eye-witness?

            Joh:21:24:
            This is the disciple which testifieth of these things,
            and wrote these things:
            and we know that his testimony is true.

            1Jo:1:1-3:
            That which was from the beginning,
            which we have heard,
            which we have seen with our eyes,
            which we have looked upon,
            and our hands have handled,
            of the Word of life;
            (For the life was manifested,
            and we have seen it,
            and bear witness,
            and shew unto you that eternal life,
            which was with the Father,
            and was manifested unto us;)
            That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you,
            that ye also may have fellowship with us:
            and truly our fellowship is with the Father,
            and with his Son Jesus Christ.

          • I’m not sure letter perfect is necessary for oral tradition as it is needed for written copies. I gave an example of the importance of keeping the oral tradition very accurate and it is possible. Yes, as life progresses, putting things in writing becomes important to keep the accounts forever, even if the culture disappears.

            Any kind of human depravity can be found on the Internet, that is what I meant by the “dark side.” I don’t encourage people to explore depravity in person or digitally.

            I haven’t said the aren’t verses written by eye witnesses. I believe the Bible is the most accurate ancient book ever created.

  7. Luke:21:12-24 is about the Apostles from the time of the cross until 70AD and the scattering that was a prophecy in De:4:30. The Bible doesn’t do prophecy in hindsight so Luke was written long before 70 AD and the Apostles would have been at the event in Acts:2 that had many receive the gift of languages and that was not just for that one night. That is how the 4 Gospels could first appear in flawless Greek by the time Acts:10 unfolded 3 1/2 years after the cross. The first verse in James (the Apostle and not the brother of Jesus) says the scattering had already taken place so that would be slightly after 70AD.

    To think the Greek NT could not be copied flawlessly is an error in thinking as that would make them idiots rather than experts in languages. To thing the oral books of the OT could be kept in the exact state that Moses gave them is also a flawed though because the 12 Tribes were not super humans and the exile into Neb’s Babylon shows they got away from the original teachings. However Daniel and 3 friends were in Babylon and were visited by angels so the text that was in writing by the end of the exile would have been written by those inspired people bringing the OT back into the same exact wording and jots as Moses gave. That basically means the OT and the NT are in perfect condition and the 1611 KJV is based on those original documents and it was Jews in Jerusalem who did the translation from Hebrew into English, just like the preface to that Bible states. If any errors exist it is because Jews didn’t do a perfect job in their translation and I’m sure there will be some arguments that they could and did do a perfect job in that task, just like the translation from Greek into English was done perfectly jot for jot.

  8. Dr. Kruger, I have enjoyed thus far your responses to the History Channels series on the supposed “Secrets of the Bible”. Your insightful critiques are right on target. I have taken the liberty of sharing your posts with my church family to alert and inform them about what is being passed off erroneously as factual history. I might even add that one of your recent books (The Question of Canon) was on my Christmas list, and thankfully is now in my hands. I am a fan.

    However, an important concern for me is seeking to make doubly sure that statements we make about Biblical events and the texts we offer as support for those statements stand up to scrutiny. With that in mind, one small section of your response #4 (above) stood out as I read it as being a bit “wobbly”. Here is the section of which I speak:

    “His followers were so crushed by his death that they didn’t recognize him when he was standing right in front of them (e.g., disciples on the road to Emmaus, Mary at the tomb).”

    I do agree that Jesus’ followers were indeed crushed and distraught by his death, but it’s the two examples you give to support this statement that I think are questionable.

    Was it really the case that the emotional state of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus caused them not to recognize Jesus even though he stood right in front of them (even more, he walked and talked with them for some time)? The text (Luke 24:16) specifically says that they did not recognize Jesus because “… their eyes were prevented from recognizing Him” (NASB). Now one might hold that it was their emotional and mental state that did this, but it would seem, based on the wording and the full story of the encounter, to be much more likely that it was instead the result of some supernatural act on the part of Jesus himself. This view is also consistent with what is said of the two disciples when they do finally recognize Jesus. The text (Luke 24:31a) says that “Then their eyes were opened and they recognized Him …” (NASB). In both comments by Luke, it would seem that the two were the passive objects of divine action rather than victims of a distraught emotional state. Therefore, this example does not well support the point that Jesus’ followers were emotionally crushed by his death upon the cross.

    The reference to Mary at the tomb fares a bit better, but still has problems when it is pressed to be an example of someone who was unable to recognize a person standing in front of them due to emotional trauma over that person’s assumed death. In the account, in the moment immediately preceding Mary’s encounter with the risen Lord, she exchanges words with one of two angels which she see inside the tomb. The text describes her position as at the entrance to the tomb, stooping to look inside (John 20:11). Upon peering into the tomb she discovers the two angels and notices that Jesus’ body is gone (verse 12). She apparently continues to stoop and peer as she and the angel speak to one another. Before the conversation begins, however, Mary begins to cry. The angels seeing this, ask her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” (verse 13 NASB). Mary responds with the reason for the intense concern that has pushed her to tears by replying “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him” (verse 13 NASB). At this point, we have Mary stooping in front of the tomb entrance and in tears due to her concern over Jesus’ missing body. Now surely, the recent trauma of Jesus’ death in the previous few days had placed her into a weakened emotional state and made her especially vulnerable to further stress, but at the moment described in these verses, it was not an emotional crushing from the death of Jesus that was bearing down upon Mary, but, in her own words, it was anxiety over the question of what had happened to his body. Further, as the actual encounter unfolds in the next few verses, it seems that it does not fit into a generic “face-to-face” mold. While it is true that verse 14 tells us that Mary next turns around and sees Jesus (possibly hearing his footsteps, or noticing a shadow from someone behind her), it would seem that this was a brief, momentary turn and glance. Why? Verse 15 goes on to say that Jesus addresses her first, asking why she is crying and for whom does she look. The same verse continues on telling us that Mary already assumed that this man was the gardener, and likely through tear-filled eyes failed to get a very good look at him. Just as she had told the angel, she mentions her concern for the whereabouts of the body of Jesus and asks the man if he knows anything about it. Jesus responds in the next verse (verse 16) simply saying her name, “Mary”. Verse 16 then goes on to tell us what Mary does. She is said to “turn around” AGAIN and only then fully recognize who is talking to her. Somewhere between the “turn around” from the tomb entrance at the beginning of the encounter (verse 14) and the “turn around” upon hearing her name spoken (verse 16), Mary had apparently turned away from Jesus and had her back to him once again. It is quite possible that this unspoken turning away from him happened after only a very brief turn and glance through teary eyes mentioned in verse 14. I would speculate that it was only on hearing a stranger whom she had assumed was the gardener call her by name did she realize that she was addressing someone who actually knew her, and turning to take a good look, then recognized it to be Jesus himself. Therefore, this account, while better than that of the Emmaus encounter, is still not the best example that might be put forward of the non-recognition of Jesus by his followers in a face-to-face encounter with Jesus due to a crushed emotional state on their part in light of his crucifixion. The face-to-face/”standing in front of them” aspect is spotty and the stated emotional condition does not relate directly to his death.

    Might I humbly suggest as a viable alternative example the encounter between the risen Lord and his disciples behind closed doors as described in Luke 24:36-39?:

    “[Luke 24:36-39 NASB] 36 While they were telling these things, He Himself stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be to you.” 37 But they were startled and frightened and thought that they were seeing a spirit. 38 And He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39 “See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself; touch Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.”

    In this case there is no mention of any divine “hiding” of Jesus from their eyes, nor is there any problem with blurred, teary vision, or face-to-face posture between the Jesus and his followers. While not perfect, I think it supports your point about the crushed emotional state of Jesus followers in the days after his crucifixion much more satisfactorily than either of the other two examples.

    Call it knit-picking on my part if you will, but I am sure you are well aware that knit-picking is precisely what skeptics will do with any words written or spoken in defense of the gospel and we would do well to make our “knits” as “pick proof” as possible if we wish to maintain a high degree of credibility in their eyes.

    I hope your Christmas was a joyous one and very much looking forward to your next “secrets” installment. Blessings to you.

    • In the spirit of discussion I hope you will welcome these comments. 1611KJV text

      “Now one might hold that it was their emotional and mental state that did this, but it would seem, based on the wording and the full story of the encounter, to be much more likely that it was instead the result of some supernatural act on the part of Jesus himself. “

      On the morning of the resurrection Jesus was there but in a different body than the one He took to the grave so He appeared to be a different person altogether when viewing the physical form but the recognition came from when He spoke and the style would have been in the form some of them had heard for 3 ½ years. The Beloved Disciple (Mary of Bethany, Disciple of John the Baptist) was the first to recognize that it was Jesus speaking rather than a ‘stranger’. The change in appearance would towards the description when He was with Moses and Elias (and Re:1) rather than in the physical form Jesus has as it would have had to conform to the prophecy below. (it will be no different for our glorification as our various physical defects will be repaired)

      Isa:53:2-3:
      For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant,
      and as a root out of a dry ground:
      he hath no form nor comeliness;
      and when we shall see him,
      there is no beauty that we should desire him.
      He is despised and rejected of men;
      a man of sorrows,
      and acquainted with grief:
      and we hid as it were our faces from him;
      he was despised,
      and we esteemed him not.

      “In both comments by Luke, it would seem that the two were the passive objects of divine action rather than victims of a distraught emotional state. Therefore, this example does not well support the point that Jesus’ followers were emotionally crushed by his death upon the cross. “

      The crushed part was when they ran away during the arrest in the garden. The prophecy fulfilled was the creation of the ‘little ones’ in Zec:13 which is when Peter began to teach the Gentiles in the last portion of Acts:10. The last action for Jews was in the first part, all Gentile food being made clean.

      Mary M. was the first to arrive that is why she was given the vision and the message, she then went and told the main group (all the women at the cross plus Peter) and it was the Beloved Disciple (Mary of Bethany) who won the foot-race with Peter as to who got there first. Peter and the BD left with all the women, like His mother, and Mary M. stayed behind and was given a message to deliver rather than she being invited to the first baptism of the Spirit. She and many others would have been at the one in Acts:2. The 2 on the road would be Peter and the BD as they are the only ones mentioned as being at the resurrection and this was their first look at a resurrected and glorified Jesus. They would both have been at the event in this verse but later that same evening.

      Joh:20:22:
      And when he had said this,
      he breathed on them,
      and saith unto them,
      Receive ye the Holy Ghost:

      Knit-picking is good, if you don’t you can’t weed out the false doctrines and in the case of this whole series the number conflicts makes it pretty evident that is not a fluke and there is a design to the whole series to redefine the ‘whole Bible’ into something spiritual rather than literal and even more importantly removed the supernatural element out of it so that men alone could make it appear that they alone are doing the deeds that only a god could do. Rather than keep the suspense in the air only the same ones that bankrolled the creation of this current Israel in the 1880’s can bring about some ending that could be passed off as being an ending that is ‘newly understood’ by some method or other.

  9. Wayne,

    “The crushed part was when they ran away during the arrest in the garden.”

    Yes, I don’t disagree that they were crushed due to his arrest and crucifixion. My point was only that the encounter on the road to Emmaus is not a good reference to give support to the fact that they were crushed. Rather their non-recognition of Jesus in this instance was due to a supernatural act on Jesus part. The text says that “their eyes were prevented” from recognizing Jesus. It was not due to his being in a different form or appearance than he had been prior to his death.

    The main problem I have with your discussion of Mary M. and Mary of Bethany is that I believe they were actually the same person. There is no place in the new testament where the two appear together. Why? Because Mary M. is Mary of B.

    In fact, I follow the lead of John Wenham here according to his book “The Easter Enigma”. The scenario of Easter morning would run something like this in a nutshell:

    Mary M. (who is Mary of B.), Mary the wife of Cleopas, Salome the wife of Zebedee, one Joanna and possibly one named Susanna are the first to arrive at the tomb early in the morning. It is likely that their points of origin were as follows: the two Marys and Salome departing from John’s house in the city, while Joanna and Susanna departing from the court of Herod. The two parties likely met at an agreed upon meeting place within the city before they proceeded outside the gates toward the tomb. They were concerned about how they would move the stone to enter the tomb. Upon arrival, they find to their surprise that the stone has already been removed and the tomb is open. They are confronted by two angels within the tomb. They are told that Jesus is risen and to go and tell the disciples. Mary M. (who is Mary of B.) is the youngest of the group and she runs ahead of the others and arrives at what is likely John’s home in the city where she tells the two disciples who did not run during the arrest in Gethsemane. Note Mary’s words in John 20:2:

    [Jhn 20:2 KJV] 2 Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and WE know not where they have laid him.

    She indicates that she did not initially go alone to the tomb. Note carefully that she says “WE” do not know where they have laid Jesus’ body. This makes it clear that although she is the first to bear the message to Peter and John, she was accompanied by others when she went to the tomb and found it empty.

    John who was also present at the cross along with Peter who was likely brooding in shame after his thrice denial of Jesus were the only two disciples who did not flee at the time of the arrest in Gethesemane, but remained within the city of Jerusalem. Meanwhile the other women had by then entered the city, and arrived at John’s home and added their confirmation to Mary M.’s (who was Mary of B.) account of what they had found at the tomb.. John and Peter set out for the tomb with Mary M. later deciding to follow behind them. The two men arrive at the tomb first with their head start and peer inside to find the body of Jesus gone. They both head back into the city pondering the meaning of the empty tomb. After they had left the tomb, Mary M. (who is Mary of B.) arrives a second time at the tomb, this time alone, and encounters the angels in the tomb. After exchanging words with them, she begins to weep over the missing body. At this time, Jesus appears to her and, after exchanging words, she comes to recognize him. Later, Mary M. (who is Mary of B.) and the other Mary (wife of Cleopas) set out to Bethany to tell the happenings to the other disciples who had fled from Gethsemane upon Jesus’ arrest there. It is likely that the other disciples retreated over the Mount of Olives to the town of Bethany on the other side, and found shelter there at the home of Mary M. (who is Mary of B.) and her sister Martha who lived there. On their way to Bethany, Jesus appears both of them as well. Later that same day, Jesus appears to the two disciples (Cleopas and and an un-named person) on the road to Emmaus who hastily return to Jerusalem to tell the others now all assembled there about their experience.

    I believe I have relayed Wenham’s scenario as he wrote in his book accurately, and I find it very plausible and conforming well to the nuances of people and events as described in the four gospels as a group.

    In any case, it is certain that the “beloved disciple” / “disciple whom Jesus loved” was not Mary M., or Mary of B. or anyone outside the inner circle of Jesus’ 12 disciples. As Jesus sat with his disciples in the upper room and ate the last supper with them, Matthew clearly says he did so with the twelve alone.

    [Mat 26:20 KJV] 20 Now when the even was come, he sat down with the twelve.

    Mathew 10:2-3 lists the names of the 12 and there is no one named Mary on the list:

    [Mat 10:2-3 KJV] 2 Now the names of the twelve apostles are these; The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James [the son] of Zebedee, and John his brother; 3 Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James [the son] of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus;

    John indicates that the same beloved disciple was one of the twelve who ate that final meal with Jesus.

    [Jhn 21:20 KJV] 20 Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on his breast at supper, and said, Lord, which is he that betrayeth thee?

    John further identifies the disciple whom Jesus loved as being a male for when Jesus entrusted the care of his own mother into that disciple’s hands, he calls him a “son”.

    [[Jhn 19:26 KJV] 26 When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son!

    Therefore, the extreme weight of evidence runs counter to your claims and I cannot agree with what you suggest.

    • “The text says that “their eyes were prevented” from recognizing Jesus. It was not due to his being in a different form or appearance than he had been prior to his death.”

      There was a change in His appearance that made the difference in them knowing and not knowing it was Jesus, it was the same routine that was introduced at the last supper that allowed them to ‘connect the two events’ as being done by the same person.

      “The main problem I have with your discussion of Mary M. and Mary of Bethany is that I believe they were actually the same person. There is no place in the new testament where the two appear together. Why? Because Mary M. is Mary of B.
      [Jhn 20:2 KJV] 2 Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and WE know not where they have laid him.”
      You posted the verse that puts the Beloved Disciple and Mary M. in the same place at the same time so they cannot be one and the same. The verses below also confirms that they are two different people and that no Apostles were at the cross.

      Joh:19:25-26: Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother,
      and his mother’s sister,
      Mary the wife of Cleophas,
      and Mary Magdalene.
      When Jesus therefore saw his mother,
      and the disciple standing by,
      whom he loved, he saith unto his mother,
      Woman, behold thy son!

      Lu:24:10:
      It was Mary Magdalene,
      and Joanna,
      and Mary the mother of James,
      and other women that were with them,
      which told these things unto the apostles.

      “Mary M. (who is Mary of B.), Mary the wife of Cleopas, Salome the wife of Zebedee, one Joanna and possibly one named Susanna are the first to arrive at the tomb early in the morning. It is likely that their points of origin were as follows: the two Marys and Salome departing from John’s house in the city, while Joanna and Susanna departing from the court of Herod. The two parties likely met at an agreed upon meeting place within the city before they proceeded outside the gates toward the tomb. They were concerned about how they would move the stone to enter the tomb. Upon arrival, they find to their surprise that the stone has already been removed and the tomb is open. They are confronted by two angels within the tomb. They are told that Jesus is risen and to go and tell the disciples. Mary M. (who is Mary of B.) is the youngest of the group and she runs ahead of the others and arrives at what is likely John’s home in the city where she tells the two disciples who did not run during the arrest in Gethsemane. ”
      It was only Mary M. that arrived before anybody else and she then went back to where the main group was which would include Peter and the Beloved Disciple (the un-named Disciple of John the Baptist from John:1) who would have been comforting Mary the mother of Jesus. Mary B. is the one who out ran Peter, the same Mary as in the verse below.

      Lu:10:38-39:
      Now it came to pass,
      as they went,
      that he entered into a certain village:
      and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house.
      And she had a sister called Mary,
      which also sat at Jesus’ feet,
      and heard his word.

      “She indicates that she did not initially go alone to the tomb. Note carefully that she says “WE” do not know where they have laid Jesus’ body. This makes it clear that although she is the first to bear the message to Peter and John, she was accompanied by others when she went to the tomb and found it empty.”

      When there is a ‘we’ it is when the whole group was assembled which would be all the women that were at the cross plus Peter.

      “John who was also present at the cross along with Peter who was likely brooding in shame after his thrice denial of Jesus were the only two disciples who did not flee at the time of the arrest in Gethesemane, but remained within the city of Jerusalem. ”
      Peter wasn’t at the cross”

      Lu:24:10:

      “Meanwhile the other women had by then entered the city, and arrived at John’s home and added their confirmation to Mary M.’s (who was Mary of B.) account of what they had found at the tomb.. John and Peter set out for the tomb with Mary M. later deciding to follow behind them. The two men arrive at the tomb first with their head start and peer inside to find the body of Jesus gone. They both head back into the city pondering the meaning of the empty tomb. After they had left the tomb, Mary M. (who is Mary of B.) arrives a second time at the tomb, this time alone, and encounters the angels in the tomb. After exchanging words with them, she begins to weep over the missing body. At this time, Jesus appears to her and, after exchanging words, she comes to recognize him. Later, Mary M. (who is Mary of B.) and the other Mary (wife of Cleopas) set out to Bethany to tell the happenings to the other disciples who had fled from Gethsemane upon Jesus’ arrest there. It is likely that the other disciples retreated over the Mount of Olives to the town of Bethany on the other side, and found shelter there at the home of Mary M. (who is Mary of B.) and her sister Martha who lived there. On their way to Bethany, Jesus appears both of them as well. Later that same day, Jesus appears to the two disciples (Cleopas and and an un-named person) on the road to Emmaus who hastily return to Jerusalem to tell the others now all assembled there about their experience.”

      “I believe I have relayed Wenham’s scenario as he wrote in his book accurately, and I find it very plausible and conforming well to the nuances of people and events as described in the four gospels as a group.
      In any case, it is certain that the “beloved disciple” / “disciple whom Jesus loved” was not Mary M., or Mary of B. or anyone outside the inner circle of Jesus’ 12 disciples. As Jesus sat with his disciples in the upper room and ate the last supper with them, Matthew clearly says he did so with the twelve alone.”
      Thomas was missing from the first gathering, he did not see Jesus until a week later.

      Lu:24:33:
      And they rose up the same hour,
      and returned to Jerusalem,
      and found the eleven gathered together,
      and them that were with them,

      “[Mat 26:20 KJV] 20 Now when the even was come, he sat down with the twelve.
      Mathew 10:2-3 lists the names of the 12 and there is no one named Mary on the list:

      John further identifies the disciple whom Jesus loved as being a male for when Jesus entrusted the care of his own mother into that disciple’s hands, he calls him a “son”.
      [[Jhn 19:26 KJV] 26 When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son!
      Therefore, the extreme weight of evidence runs counter to your claims and I cannot agree with what you suggest.”
      It was giving Mary the authority to care for His mother in the same capacity as the eldest son. The additional verses just show that a woman was very involved in gathering Gentiles to God. Mary and Martha were there to serve the meal at one occasion shortly before the last supper, you cannot eliminate them from being there at that time and Mary is said to have sat in on the private teachings rather than it being a one time event.

      Joh:4:1:
      When therefore the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John,

      2Jo:1:1:
      The elder unto the elect lady and her children,
      whom I love in the truth;
      and not I only,
      but also all they that have known the truth;

      2Jo:1:13:
      The children of thy elect sister greet thee.
      Amen.

      • Wayne,

        Let me clarify a few things first that you seem to have misunderstood.

        I said:

        ““John who was also present at the cross along with Peter who was likely brooding in shame after his thrice denial of Jesus were the only two disciples who did not flee at the time of the arrest in Gethesemane, but remained within the city of Jerusalem. ”

        To which you replied:

        Peter wasn’t at the cross”

        I didn’t say Peter was at the cross along with John. What I said was:

        John (who was also present at the cross) along with Peter (who was likely brooding in shame after his thrice denial of Jesus) were the only two disciples who did not flee ….”

        My point was that John and Peter were the only two disciples who did not flee. John was actually present around the cross while Peter was elsewhere, likely brooding in shame. Hopefully my insertion of the parenthesis will make this clear to you.

        I said:

        “In any case, it is certain that the “beloved disciple” / “disciple whom Jesus loved” was not Mary M., or Mary of B. or anyone outside the inner circle of Jesus’ 12 disciples. As Jesus sat with his disciples in the upper room and ate the last supper with them, Matthew clearly says he did so with the twelve alone.”

        To which you replied:

        “Thomas was missing from the first gathering, he did not see Jesus until a week later.”

        Here you seem to be a bit confused.

        No, Thomas WAS NOT missing from the last supper. That was BEFORE the crucifixion.

        He WAS, however, missing from the group of disciples gathered together after the resurrection. That was obviously a time AFTER the crucifixion.

        So you have mixed apples and oranges here.

        You said:

        “You posted the verse that puts the Beloved Disciple and Mary M. in the same place at the same time so they cannot be one and the same. The verses below also confirms that they are two different people and that no Apostles were at the cross.”

        No, you are assuming that Mary of B. is the beloved disciple. She is not. The verse I posted puts the beloved disciple (note the text makes no mention of Mary of Bethany) with Mary M. Show me a verse that mentions by name Mary of B. and Mary M. together. You won’t find one because Mary M. is Mary of B. They are very likely the same person.

        However, even if that were not the case, there is even more evidence that indicates that the beloved disciple is not Mary of B.

        For instance, further proof that Mary of B. is not the beloved disciple is the fact that Mary of B. is simply called “Mary” in no less than 8 times in John’s gospel:

        [Jhn 11:1 KJV] 1 Now a certain [man] was sick, [named] Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha.

        [Jhn 11:2 KJV] 2 (It was [that] Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.)

        [Jhn 11:19 KJV] 19 And many of the Jews came to Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother.

        [Jhn 11:20 KJV] 20 Then Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met him: but Mary sat [still] in the house.

        [Jhn 11:28 KJV] 28 And when she had so said, she went her way, and called Mary her sister secretly, saying, The Master is come, and calleth for thee.

        [Jhn 11:31 KJV] 31 The Jews then which were with her in the house, and comforted her, when they saw Mary, that she rose up hastily and went out, followed her, saying, She goeth unto the grave to weep there.

        [Jhn 11:32 KJV] 32 Then when Mary was come where Jesus was, and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying unto him, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.

        [Jhn 11:45 KJV] 45 Then many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on him.

        Why does John not refer to Mary of B. as the “beloved disciple” in any of these verses? The obvious answer is that she is in fact not the beloved disciple.

        Further, Mary of B. cannot be the disciple to whom Jesus entrusted his mother. As I mentioned before, the disciple is specifically referred to by the male term “son” in John . And this is not simply a symbolic term for one who holds the rank of an “eldest son”. The very next verse says that the disciple from that day took Mary into “HIS” own home:

        [Jhn 19:27 KJV] 27 Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own [home].

        Further, scripture continues to refer to the beloved disciple using masculine terminoloy indicating a male identity.

        When Mary Magdalene runs from the tomb to tell the news that the body is missing, John 20:2 says this:

        [Jhn 20:2 KJV] 2 Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him.

        (About this verse you said:

        “When there is a ‘we’ it is when the whole group was assembled which would be all the women that were at the cross plus Peter.”

        Incorrect. Please note that Mary is telling this TO Peter and the beloved disciple. Until she ran to tell them this news, Peter was not even aware that the body was missing and is not part of the group that knows the body is gone, but not where it has been taken. It is true that Mary’s “we” does refer to some of the other women who had stood around the cross, but only those who had accompanied her back to the tomb on Easter morning, finding it empty with no sign of the whereabouts of the body.)

        As I mentioned before, when Mary says “we” know not where they have laid him, she is referring to others who were with her when she initially went to the tomb. She says “we” meaning she and the other women accompanying her as mentioned in various passages had discovered the empty tomb and did not know the whereabouts of Jesus body.

        Note also in the verse that Mary tells the news to two specific people: Peter & the other disciple, who was the one Jesus loved. What happens next? John 20:3 tells us:

        [Jhn 20:3 KJV] 3 Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulchre.

        Peter and the beloved disciple both run to the tomb.

        Next we are told:

        [Jhn 20:4 KJV] 4 So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre.

        The beloved disciple arrives at the tomb first, and Peter second. What does the beloved disciple do?

        We are told:

        [Jhn 20:5 KJV] 5 And HE stooping down, [and looking in], saw the linen clothes lying; yet went HE not in.

        Note, the beloved disciple is referred to by the masculine pronoun “HE” not once but TWICE in this verse. Scripture clearly says that the beloved disciple is a man, not a woman.

        In verses 6 & 7, we are told about what Peter did when he arrived at the tomb. In verse 8, the focus shifts back again to the beloved disciple. The verses says this:

        [Jhn 20:8 KJV] 8 Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and HE saw, and believed.

        Once again, the beloved disciple is referred to by the masculine pronoun “HE”. It is simply impossible to be faithful to scripture and maintain that the beloved disciple is Mary of Bethany or any other woman. I suggest strongly that you abandon the idea.

        The other verses I posted listing the 12 disciples and the verse indicating that the inner circle of disciples (the twelve men listed in Matthew 10:2-3) were the only ones at the last supper. Mary of B. is not listed by Matthew as being one of the twelve. Peter mentions that the beloved disciple reclined close to Jesus at the supper. Therefore, Mary of B. is again shown to be disqualified to be identified as the beloved disciple. She could not have reclined close to Jesus because she is not listed as one of the 12 who were the only ones there with Jesus. If you’d like to prove otherwise, then I ‘d like to see a text that says that there were others beyond the twelve who were present there at the supper with him. I am aware of no such verse.

        Finally, I am not sure what you believe the references to II John prove. One thing they surely cannot do is change “he” to “she”, “his” to “hers”, or “son” to “daughter”. And if they cannot do that, then they cannot make Mary of Bethany into the the beloved disciple.

        • Hi Joe,

          “I didn’t say Peter was at the cross along with John. What I said was:

          John (who was also present at the cross) along with Peter (who was likely brooding in shame after his thrice denial of Jesus) were the only two disciples who did not flee ….”

          My point was that John and Peter were the only two disciples who did not flee. John was actually present around the cross while Peter was elsewhere, likely brooding in shame. Hopefully my insertion of the parenthesis will make this clear to you.”

          Much better, sorry for my mistaking what the context meant. However there is still a problem with your theory that the Apostle John was at the cross. The verse below makes it quite clear who was there and who was not there.

          Lu:24:10:
          It was Mary Magdalene,
          and Joanna,
          and Mary the mother of James,
          and other women that were with them,
          which told these things unto the apostles.

          You are stuck with the Apostle John being the author of the Gospel of John. (and Revelation and the 3 Epistles and that just doesn’t fit the text)
          Peter and the brothers James and John were at 2 events that were covered only in Matthew, Mark and Luke so if you take the Gospels to be true then thopse 3 Gospels are written by those 3 Appostles. James and John would have been informed by their own mother as to what happened at the cross and Mary M. or Joanna would have told Peter and that would have been written in Matthew as Peter was the chief Apostle so I’m giving him the biggest and more detailed book of those 3.

          That leaves the Gospel of John and who wrote that book as being the one in the two verses below if it was an eyewitness account and it certainly reads that way for all 4 Gospels.
          (John in that one Gospel always refers to John the Baptist BTW)

          Joh:1:35-37:
          Again the next day after John stood,
          and two of his disciples;
          And looking upon Jesus as he walked,
          he saith,
          Behold the Lamb of God!
          And the two disciples heard him speak,
          and they followed Jesus.

          Joh:1:40:
          One of the two which heard John speak,
          and followed him,
          was Andrew,
          Simon Peter’s brother.

          Joh:21:24:
          This is the disciple which testifieth of these things,
          and wrote these things:
          and we know that his testimony is true.

          “Here you seem to be a bit confused.

          No, Thomas WAS NOT missing from the last supper. That was BEFORE the crucifixion.

          He WAS, however, missing from the group of disciples gathered together after the resurrection. That was obviously a time AFTER the crucifixion.

          So you have mixed apples and oranges here.”

          Part of my reply also said Martha and Mary served supper in John:12 and that was 6 days before the Passover so it would not be impossible that they were also serving for that meal and never sat down with the 12 Apostles. My comment was about Thomas not being there for the baptism that took place the evening of the day of His resurrection.

          If Judas and Thomas were missing there should be 10 ‘disciples’ and the wording doesn’t eliminate ‘disciples of John the Baptist’ from being there especially when it says ‘them that were with them’. The part after the ‘eight days’ specifically says ‘his disciples’ and that would eliminate any disciple of John tha Baptist. If John’s disciples were not traveling around with them how would they know this part?

          Lu:24:33:
          And they rose up the same hour,
          and returned to Jerusalem,
          and found the eleven gathered together,
          and them that were with them,

          Joh:20:24-26:
          But Thomas,
          one of the twelve,
          called Didymus,
          was not with them when Jesus came.
          The other disciples therefore said unto him,
          We have seen the Lord.
          But he said unto them,
          Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails,
          and put my finger into the print of the nails,
          and thrust my hand into his side,
          I will not believe.
          And after eight days again his disciples were within,
          and Thomas with them:
          then came Jesus,
          the doors being shut,
          and stood in the midst,
          and said,
          Peace be unto you.

          M’t:9:14:
          Then came to him the disciples of John,
          saying,
          Why do we and the Pharisees fast oft,
          but thy disciples fast not?

          “No, you are assuming that Mary of B. is the beloved disciple. She is not. The verse I posted puts the beloved disciple (note the text makes no mention of Mary of Bethany) with Mary M. Show me a verse that mentions by name Mary of B. and Mary M. together. You won’t find one because Mary M. is Mary of B. They are very likely the same person.”

          I wasn’t using that to show the beloved disciple was Mary B. I used that and the other reference to show that Mary M. and the beloved disciple could not be the same person as it was Mary M. who told the 2 that then ran to the tomb, that being Peter and the beloved disciple. The other reference is below and the ones after that mention ‘another Mary’ who and you cannot eliminate that from being a reference to Mary B.

          Joh:19:25-26:
          Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother,
          and his mother’s sister,
          Mary the wife of Cleophas,
          and Mary Magdalene.
          When Jesus therefore saw his mother,
          and the disciple standing by,
          whom he loved,
          he saith unto his mother,
          Woman,
          behold thy son!

          M’t:27:61:
          And there was Mary Magdalene,
          and the other Mary,
          sitting over against the sepulchre.

          M’t:28:1:
          In the end of the sabbath,
          as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week,
          came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.

          “Why does John not refer to Mary of B. as the “beloved disciple” in any of these verses? The obvious answer is that she is in fact not the beloved disciple.”

          Why did you leave this reference out?

          Joh:11:1-2:
          Now a certain man was sick,
          named Lazarus,
          of Bethany,
          the town of Mary and her sister Martha.
          (It was that Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment,
          and wiped his feet with her hair,
          whose brother Lazarus was sick.)

          Joh:11:5:
          Now Jesus loved Martha,
          and her sister,
          and Lazarus.

          Perhaps if you took the chapter as a whole it would become clearer. When the ‘sisters’ sent word it was Mary who carried that information and after she told Jesus there was a delay of a few days before He headed to their place and as they got close Mary went ahead and Marth told her that thier brother was dead. Mary stayed at the house and Marth went to tell Jesus that their brother had died. Word was sent to Mary to rejoin the group and when she got there she chastised Jesus for the delay that caused Lazarus to die rather than being healed. That comment was so intense that it caused Jesus to cry. Nobody else that that kind of power with Jesus.

          “Further, Mary of B. cannot be the disciple to whom Jesus entrusted his mother. As I mentioned before, the disciple is specifically referred to by the male term “son” in John . And this is not simply a symbolic term for one who holds the rank of an “eldest son”. The very next verse says that the disciple from that day took Mary into “HIS” own home:”

          Do you think the RCC would allow it to reference a woman?
          The term could also be used to hide her identy from ‘the ones that were persecuting Christians’ as the Apostles all had various names so why not the woman He loved.

          “As I mentioned before, when Mary says “we” know not where they have laid him, she is referring to others who were with her when she initially went to the tomb. She says “we” meaning she and the other women accompanying her as mentioned in various passages had discovered the empty tomb and did not know the whereabouts of Jesus body.”

          There is nobody with Mary M. when she first arrives at the tomb, Peter and the BD were with the main group, including Mary the mother of Jesus and that group eventually arrived at the tomb and there was nothing they could do with the spices and such.

          Joh:20:1:
          The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early,
          when it was yet dark,
          unto the sepulchre,
          and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre.

          Lu:23:55:
          And the women also,
          which came with him from Galilee,
          followed after,
          and beheld the sepulchre,
          and how his body was laid.
          Lu:23:56:
          And they returned,
          and prepared spices and ointments;
          and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment.
          Lu:24:1:
          Now upon the first day of the week,
          very early in the morning,
          they came unto the sepulchre,
          bringing the spices which they had prepared,
          and certain others with them.
          Lu:24:2:
          And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre.
          Lu:24:3:
          And they entered in,
          and found not the body of the Lord Jesus.
          Lu:24:4:
          And it came to pass,
          as they were much perplexed thereabout,
          behold,
          two men stood by them in shining garments:

          “Note, the beloved disciple is referred to by the masculine pronoun “HE” not once but TWICE in this verse. Scripture clearly says that the beloved disciple is a man, not a woman.”
          Then who was it because it certainly wasn’t the Apostle John and the named disciple of John became as Apopstle, where did the other go if they were not the author of the Gospel of John?

          11 Apostles and ‘them that were with them’ would certainly include any disciple of John the Baptist. Mary was more aware of coming events than the Apostles were.

          Lu:24:33:
          And they rose up the same hour,
          and returned to Jerusalem,
          and found the eleven gathered together,
          and them that were with them,

          Joh:12:2:
          There they made him a supper;
          and Martha served:
          but Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with him.
          Joh:12:3:
          Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard,
          very costly,
          and anointed the feet of Jesus,
          and wiped his feet with her hair:
          and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment.

          Joh:12:7:
          Then said Jesus,
          Let her alone:
          against the day of my burying hath she kept this.

          Here is the other (partial) version of that event.

          M’t:26:10:
          When Jesus understood it,
          he said unto them,
          Why trouble ye the woman?
          for she hath wrought a good work upon me.
          M’t:26:11:
          For ye have the poor always with you;
          but me ye have not always.
          M’t:26:12:
          For in that she hath poured this ointment on my body,
          she did it for my burial.
          M’t:26:13:
          Verily I say unto you,
          Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world,
          there shall also this,
          that this woman hath done,
          be told for a memorial of her.

          The woman in II John is the same person mentioned in a letter to the beloved disciple from Peter in the verses below, the one writer who saw more that Peter did.

          1Jo:1:1:
          That which was from the beginning,
          which we have heard,
          which we have seen with our eyes,
          which we have looked upon,
          and our hands have handled,
          of the Word of life;
          1Jo:1:2:
          (For the life was manifested,
          and we have seen it,
          and bear witness,
          and shew unto you that eternal life,
          which was with the Father,
          and was manifested unto us;)
          1Jo:1:3:
          That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you,
          that ye also may have fellowship with us:
          and truly our fellowship is with the Father,
          and with his Son Jesus Christ.

          • Wayne,

            There are a lot of issues that need to be dealt with here.

            Let’s start with the issue of gospel authorship.

            Wayne said –

            “You are stuck with the Apostle John being the author of the Gospel of John. (and Revelation and the 3 Epistles and that just doesn’t fit the text)
            Peter and the brothers James and John were at 2 events that were covered only in Matthew, Mark and Luke so if you take the Gospels to be true then those 3 Gospels are written by those 3 Apostles.”

            Joe’s Response –

            John as the author of the Gospel, Revelation and (likely) the 3 epistles actually fits quite well. Your conclusion about who wrote what based simply on who was present at a few events and where those accounts are described is an extreme oversimplification.

            You speculate that Peter wrote the gospel that we call Matthew. Then you assign the other two synoptic gospels that we call Mark and Luke to James and John (not necessarily in that order).

            Your speculation runs into immediate problems.

            Take a close look at Luke. It is addressed to someone named Theophilus.

            [Luk 1:3 KJV] 3 It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus,

            The writer says that he writes his gospel after “having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first”. This actually translates as “having made a through investigation of the chain of events back to their very beginnings” as made clear by the NASB’s version:

            [Luk 1:3 NASB] 3 it seemed fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in consecutive order, most excellent Theophilus;

            The writer first conducted an investigation into the events of Jesus’ life and ministry and only then did he feel able to write about those events accurately and in order. The point is: the writer of this gospel specifically admits that he himself is NOT an eyewitness, but that he was able to obtain his information directly from those who were eyewitnesses. The writer cannot be John, James or Peter.

            Notice also, that the book of Acts is written by the same author to the same recipient as the gospel of Luke. Both writings are addressed to the same Theophilus, and Acts even refers to the earlier gospel as “the former (or previous) treatise”.

            [Act 1:1 KJV] 1 The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach …

            When reading through the book of Acts the writer is sometimes a traveling companion of Paul, and when he is accompanying Paul, his narration speaks of the movements of the group as “we”. In some instances, the writer separates from Paul and in those points refers to the movements of Paul and his other companions as “they”. This would indicate strongly that both the gospel of Luke and the book of Acts could not be written by James, John, or Peter since NONE of them is ever mentioned as being a traveling companion of Paul. Therefore, you need to look to someone other James, John, or Peter to find who wrote the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles. Luke fits the bill perfectly.

            The fact is that much of what is reported in the gospels is drawn from a collective knowledge shared by the entire group of Jesus’ inner circle of the twelve. While it is true that there are some “holes” (ex. the trials before Pilate and Herod, the activities around the cross and the placing of the body in the tomb), the 12 as a group jointly witnessed the bulk of what Jesus did and said during his 3 year ministry just prior to the crucifixion, and those things witnessed by only a few were certainly shared with the others without hesitation. The term “the twelve” actually became somewhat of a technical designation for the group whether they were all present or not. When Judas was no longer part of the group, the technical term for the group became “THE eleven” and that too was used as a reference to the group even if not every single member was present. For example, my nephew was in school choral group called “Top 21”, but there were actually more than 21 people in the group.

            Note carefully that Paul says that the resurrected Jesus appeared to “the twelve”.

            [1Cr 15:5 KJV] 5 And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:

            If “the twelve” must be taken as a referring to the actual number of people in the group, what twelve people is he talking about? At the time of this appearance no one had been added to take Judas’ place. That spot remained unfilled until after Jesus’ ascension and as described in Acts 1:24-26:

            [Act 1:24-26 KJV] 24 And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all [men], shew whether of these two thou hast chosen, 25 That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place. 26 And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

            The answer is that the term “THE twelve” and, later minus Judas, “THE eleven” were simply the names used to refer to the inner circle of those Jesus chose to be his closest disciples. One more example may help to illustrate. If I were to say the Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Cleveland Browns last week, I don’t mean that every single person on the Pittsburgh Steelers team played an active part in defeating every single person on the Cleveland Browns team in a football game. Some of the members of the teams were actually on the injured reserve list and may not have even been at the game. Yet, I use the names Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns to refer to the teams whether every member is present or not. See what I mean?

            Now returning to the issue of gospel authorship, in the case of the gospel we know as Matthew, there is information given early in the account that is not found in any of the other gospels. I’m referring here to the first two chapters where we learn of the angel’s pre-marriage appearance to Joseph, and the visit of the Magi which led to the sudden departure of Joseph, Mary and Jesus to Egypt for a temporary visit that they might avoid the hand of Herod. This fits well with the authorship of the gospel by Matthew since he was the son of one Alphaeus. Alphaeus has been identified as a variation of the name Cleopas or Clopas. Early historic witnesses have this Cleopas as being identified as the brother of Joseph (Jesus’ legal father), and Matthew as very possibly being Cleopas’ eldest son. This would make Matthew a paternal cousin to Jesus, in a similar way that John the Baptist was a maternal cousin. It would be therefore very understandable that Joseph would have confided in is brother Cleopas about the angel’s visit that led him to proceed with his marriage to Mary, and also about the reason for their hasty departure to Egypt and later return. If Cleopas had at some point decided to pass this information on to anyone else, the prime candidate would certainly be his eldest son, Matthew. What we have here is the community knowledge of Jesus’ later years and ministry augmented with “family” knowledge about his earliest years by someone who was in a unique position to know these things. Therefore, Matthew is indeed the likely author of the gospel that bears his name. If you disagree, then may I ask: what is your explanation for the fact that the gospel of Matthew is the only one to report these two events? Neither Peter, nor John, nor James was there to see any of that, and Joseph, Jesus’ legal father, was apparently not around late in Jesus’ life to tell anyone about the events at that time.

            Of the three synoptic gospels (Matthew, Luke, and Mark) this leaves only the gospel of Mark to identify. It is here that I think your claim that Peter is behind at least one of the three synoptic gospels is correct. It is not that Peter actually wrote the gospel of Mark, but rather that Mark, while accompanying Peter, put to paper what he heard Peter say, and, by doing so, he produced the gospel that bears his name. Based upon the items about Peter that are omitted and included in Mark’s gospel, the mix strongly suggests that Peter is Mark’s primary information source for the bulk of what he writes. An excellent article that details the evidence for the Petrine source of Mark’s information is one by J. Warner Wallace:

            http://pleaseconvinceme.com/2012/marks-gospel-is-an-early-memoir-of-peter-2/

            There is historical confirmation of this (as mentioned in Wallace’s article) from one Papias who wrote circa 100 A.D. Papias had this to say:

            “And the elder [John] used to say this, Mark became Peter’s interpreter and wrote accurately all that he remembered, not, indeed, in order, of the things said and done by the Lord. For he had not heard the Lord, nor had followed him, but later on, followed Peter, who used to give teaching as necessity demanded but not making, as it were, an arrangement of the Lord’s oracles, so that Mark did nothing wrong in thus writing down single points as he remembered them. For to one thing he gave attention, to leave out nothing of what he had heard and to make no false statements in them.”

            Therefore, Peter did contribute one of the synoptic gospels to us, but only indirectly through Mark’s writing.

            This leaves only John among the 4 gospels to be identified. A telling fact about the gospel we know as John is that John the brother of James, and one of the original inner circle of 12, although mentioned many times in Matthew, Mark and Luke is not mentioned even once by name in the gospel of John. You are observant here when you say “(John in that one Gospel always refers to John the Baptist BTW).” That is correct, but that begs the question. Why isn’t John the son of Zebedee and brother of James mentioned in the gospel of John even though he is mentioned BY NAME in all of the the other gospels a total of 20 times (Matthew 3 times, Mark 10 times, Luke 7 times)? What happens to him in the gospel of John?

            On the flip side, someone known as “the disciple Jesus loved” and “the beloved disciple” mysteriously appears in that same gospel, but not in any of the other gospels. A coincidence? Not likely. The obvious reason is that John the son of Zebedee and brother of James is none other than the “beloved disciple”.

            The bottom line is that Matthew, Mark, Luke and John actually did write the gospels that bear their names. Plain and simple.

            There is more to say in response to some of your assertions. The most important being in my opinion:

            You hold that Mary M. went alone to the tomb before any of the others. There are serious logical problems with that idea when all four accounts of that first Easter morning are examined together.

            You hold that Mary of B. is the “beloved disciple”. The problem (and I have pointed to a few examples, but there are others as well that I will put forward) is that there are things said about the “beloved disciple” that simply do not make sense in reference to Mary of B. let alone any other woman.

            I’ll address these and a few others in subsequent posts.

          • Wayne,

            Let us now progress on to examine the happenings around the cross to see what we can determine about who was there and who was not.

            Wayne said –

            “However there is still a problem with your theory that the Apostle John was at the cross. The verse below makes it quite clear who was there and who was not there.

            Lu:24:10:
            It was Mary Magdalene,
            and Joanna,
            and Mary the mother of James,
            and other women that were with them,
            which told these things unto the apostles.”

            Joe’s Response –

            No, the verse does not tell us who was around the cross. Rather it tells us who went to the tomb on Easter morning, found it empty and, as the verses actually says “told these things (the tomb is open and the body is gone) unto the apostles”. Luke 24:10 is a resurrection morning scene, not a cross scene.

            There are actually four descriptions of who was around the cross, one in each gospel:

            [Mat 27:55-56 KJV] 55 And many women were there beholding afar off, which followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto him: 56 Among which was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee’s children.

            [Mar 15:40-41 KJV] 40 There were also women looking on afar off: among whom was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the less and of Joses, and Salome; 41 (Who also, when he was in Galilee, followed him, and ministered unto him;) and many other women which came up with him unto Jerusalem.

            [Luk 23:49 KJV] 49 And all his acquaintance, and the women that followed him from Galilee, stood afar off, beholding these things.

            [Jhn 19:25 KJV] 25 Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the [wife] of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene.

            Mathew mentions women around the cross and describes at least some of them as those who followed Jesus from Galilee. He specifically mentions three names: Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joses and the wife of Zebedee.

            Mark also mentions many women watching near the cross. He too describes one group among the larger as those who followed and ministered to Jesus while he was in Galilee. Like Matthew he mentions three names: Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the less and Joses, and Salome (the wife of Zebedee and therefore the mother of James and John).

            Luke mentions no one by name, but indicates that there were two separate and distinct groups watching the crucifixion: 1.) Jesus’ acquaintances and 2.) Some of the women that followed him from Galilee. This is significant. Jesus acquaintances are those who he knew on a more intimate basis. They would include his mother and others with whom he shared family ties, whether on the basis of blood or legal family status. The group called “the women who followed him from Galilee” would be made up of the following individuals according to Luke:

            [Luk 8:1-3 KJV] 1 And it came to pass afterward, that he (Jesus) went throughout every city and village, preaching and shewing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve [were] with him, 2 And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils, 3 And Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others, which ministered unto him of their substance.

            Luke here gives names of the most prominent of the women who followed Jesus as he ministered in Galilee: Mary Magdalene, Joanna the wife of Herod’s steward, and Susanna. Notable is the fact that, unless Mary of B. is the same person as Mary M., she appears nowhere in this group.

            John gives no description of the wider audience around the cross but simply lists four names: Mary (Jesus’ mother), her sister (Salome), Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. The list is identical to that found in Matthew and Mark along with the addition of Mary, Jesus’ mother.

            An interesting insight here is the fact that Salome (Mark), the wife of Zebedee, and the mother of James and John (Zebedee’s children – Matthew) is called Jesus’ “mother’s sister”(John). In other words, Salome is Jesus’ aunt, and, therefore, James and John are both cousins by blood to Jesus.

            Of the four women that John names as looking on around the cross, it is certain that tw0 of them (Mary who is the mother of Jesus, and Salome) cannot be Mary of B. And according to you, Wayne, Mary Magdalene is not Mary of B. either. That leaves only one possibility: Mary, the wife of Cleophas who is also the mother of James the lesser and Joses.

            This is the Mary that Matthew refers to in the following two verses as “the other Mary”:

            [Mat 27:61 KJV] 61 And there was Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, sitting over against the sepulchre.
            [Mat 28:1 KJV] 1 In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first [day] of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.

            (Note in Mat 28:1, Mary Magdalene is actually said to be accompanied by “the other Mary” in her initial visit to the tomb, from which she then turns and runs back to tell Peter and “the beloved disciple” what she has found. I’ll survey the likely sequence of events and those who participated in them in a subsequent post and illustrate the difficulties your Mary of B. theory faces.)

            She is said to be looking on around the cross, observing along with Mary Magdalene some of the other women the burial tomb as Jesus’ body is placed inside, and then she is listed as one of those who returns on Easter morning with spices to anoint the body. The fact that she is said to be the wife of Cleophas makes it all but certain that she cannot be Mary of B. Nowhere in any verse of scripture is Mary of B. said to have a husband. Further, this Mary of Cleophas is not only married, but she has two sons: James the less and Joses according to both Matthew and Mark (see above). James the less appears to be the 2nd James in Jesus inner circle of “the twelve” and is said in the various listings of that group to be the son of Alphaeus (as I mentioned in my previous post, an apparent variation of the name Cleophas or Cleopas). Note:

            [Mat 10:3 KJV] 3 Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James [the son] of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus;

            It should be quite clear that the other Mary cannot in any way be identified as Mary of B.

            In view of all of this then, it is actually your view, and not mine that is in a bit of conundrum when it comes to the gospel descriptions as to who was around the cross.

            John as a blood relative of Jesus qualifies perfectly as one of the “acquaintance” group around the cross and would also be in that same cluster of people along with Jesus’ mother Mary, also a blood relative. She, therefore, would have been in close proximity to John when Jesus committed her into his care, much more so than if he had been speaking to Mary in the acquaintance group and directing her to some one in the separate cluster of Galilean women likely clustered some distance of away. The fact that Mary was John’s maternal aunt would also have lent to the idea that he was now to take her into his own care.

            Mary B. on the other hand does not qualify as an “acquaintance”. She is neither a blood relative nor a legal relative of Jesus. Nor does she qualify as one of the women who came to follow Jesus while he was in Galilee and who came to look on around the cross. That is she doesn’t qualify as being around the cross according to the gospel descriptions unless, of course …. she is the same person as Mary M. If that is correct (I think the weight of the evidence says that it is) then Mary of B. cannot be the “beloved disciple” because, as you are well aware, it was Mary M. (along with “the other Mary, and the other women from Galilee) who finds the tomb open and the body missing, and who then runs back into Jerusalem to tell Peter and the “beloved disciple” the news.

            A post or two more and I should be quite done.

        • I read most of the comments above. Sometimes, we look for the difficult and ignore the easy. We need to remember what Jesus looked like when he was buried. He did not look the same as when he was at the last supper. He had been thoroughly beaten, on multiple occasions. His body was bruised and swollen all over, his beard pulled from his face and his body bore stripes from a brutal lashing. He did not look like the Jesus on the cross in all of the Catholic (later on, Protestant) paintings and pictures. Isaiah 52:14 is the prophecy, the Gospels reveal all of the beatings that took place.

          The last image of Christ seen by those who approached the tomb was not of the transfigured Christ from the meeting with Elijah and Moses (and God) BUT of the destroyed body they lovingly prepared for burial. Of course, they did not recognize him. Then, add in the emotional element of the situation.

          On to this idea of Mary being the beloved disciple. The TV series (and others) forget the events happened in the Jewish culture of about 30AD. Women had little to no rights, little authority and very limited position. Giving a mother to another woman for care simply did not happen if there was a man as the option. John would be able to take care of Mary as a first son can do. First daughters did not have this responsibility, or the ability to do so (unless all other options were exhausted). Men were in control of the society, and only men. IF Jesus had given the position of one of the 12 disciples, who preached, healed, cast out demons, etc., The religious leaders of that day would have been all over Jesus for giving this authority to a mere woman. The modern western world has given position and authority to women that still doesn’t exist in many other cultures in the world. How many female imams do you know?

          • How unimportant was a daughter of Aaron or a disciple of John the Baptist? Who is the ‘elect lady/sister if not a woman who brings Gentiles into the flock?’

            Lu:1:5:
            There was in the days of Herod,
            the king of Judaea,
            a certain priest named Zacharias,
            of the course of Abia:
            and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron,
            and her name was Elisabeth.

            Joh:3:25:
            Then there arose a question between some of John’s disciples and the Jews about purifying.

            2Jo:1:1:
            The elder unto the elect lady and her children,
            whom I love in the truth;
            and not I only,
            but also all they that have known the truth;

            2Jo:1:13:
            The children of thy elect sister greet thee.
            Amen.

            I’m not trying to be hard-headed about this single point but if the current proposed doctrines are wrong then all the errors have to be brought to light. That would also include Daniel’s 70th week being fulfilled by 3 1/2 years after the cross and Rome being the little horn in Daniel 8. That alone messes up 90% of the currently held beliefs. I would be willing to discuss this at length if a suitable forum could be found. That would include supplying my e-mail if that would be helpful.

          • Christianity gave women more opportunity than they had before Christianity. Some say Jesus Christ was the biggest influence of women’s rights until recent (in an historical context) times in Western culture. In Luke, the man is mentioned first with his title and the wife second. John 3:25 is about water baptism. Other Scriptures in the New Testament after the Gospels show a change in how women were treated positionally but with much of the positional focus still being on men, in the Jewish culture. The gentile culture had different views of women (although not that different for the most part).

            In the beginning stages of Christianity, this new belief system was willing to take in anyone who would believe in Jesus as the Messiah: male/female, jew/gentile, slave/free, all socioeconomic levels. God still accepts all people, provided they believe Jesus is the Messiah and serve God.

            This brings us to another point. The difference in Christianity in a Jewish context versus a Gentile context as discussed at the council in Jerusalem. The determination was that Gentiles do not have to follow all of the cultural laws of Judaism. For Gentile women, they were not forced into a Jewish culture that limited them (again, women were still much more limited than today). I have traveled to many countries and worshiped with Christians in many different cultures and they all have their own unique styles.

            Talking about Daniel, Revelations and end times events takes us way off topic for the TV series. It has been many years since I studied the various philosophies and thoughts on end times events. I made up my mind on most of those issues long ago. I’m not sure anyone knows for certain other than God and He has it all worked out.

  10. I tried to watch the next two episodes and they don’t seem to be available. Has the History Channel ended this series?

    • I was able to watch the 5th one and it is even more bizarre than the first 4 if that is even possible.