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Chapter 14

Joseph Wheless

                47 page printout, page 259 - 305
                           CHAPTER XIV


                   OF THE LIFE OF JESUS CHRIST

     THE life and times of Jesus of Nazareth, the Messiah, the King
of the Jews, the Savior of the world, are preserved in four short
monographs, called after their Greek title gospels, which means
"good news." The earliest of these biographies, "The Gospel
according to Mark," was written, at the earliest, about the year 70
of the new era, some forty years after the death of Jesus, when a
whole new generation had come upon the scene of the events of his
life and death therein reported.

     In these biographies their subject is claimed by the writers
to be the "Son of God" -- the Hebrew Yahveh; as "conceived by the
Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary," working wonders, crucified,
rising from the dead, and ascending into heaven, where he sitteth
on the right hand of his Father Yahveh, until he shall "come again
to judge the quick and the dead" -- which he asserted would be very
shortly, in the lifetime of his hearers.

     In his brief career, between two or three Jewish passovers
only, he is recorded to have wrought "great signs and wonders" --
miracles; to have raised the dead; cured incurable diseases by a
word or a touch or the simple faith of the patient or of his
friends, or by his potent command "casting out devils" which caused
the ailments; to have been tried and condemned by a Roman
magistrate, and crucified by Roman law; on his death to have caused
a great eclipse of the sun; to have rent in twain by earthquake the
veil of the holy temple, causing innumerable graves to open, whose
sheeted dead came forth and walked the streets of the Holy City, in
full view of the populace; to have risen from the dead under the
eyes of an armed Roman guard, specially stationed at his grave to
prevent all tampering; and to have -- on the same or the next day,
or forty days afterwards -- ascended to heaven at four different
times and places, before the eyes of four different sets of
spectators, and under four totally different sets of circumstances.

     Not a word of any of these transcendent wonders is to be found
in all the historic records or contemporary annals of that great
city and age. The Roman philosopher Pliny, some forty years after
the Crucifixion, about the time the first gospel is thought to have
been written, lost his life seeking to investigate the very minor
event of an eruption of Vesuvius which destroyed -- and preserved
for future confirmation -- the unimportant Roman town of Pompeii.
Of this event ample contemporary historical records abound. Flavius
Josephus, a contemporary, the greatest historian of Jewry, records
the minutest facts and even myths of Hebrew history from the
earliest ages down to his own times. But there does not exist a
word of any record, human or divine, concerning this God made man
and his wondrous works outside of a notoriously forged and meager
reference, in a book written some sixty years after the death of
Jesus, and stuck between incongruous paragraphs of one of the works
of Josephus (Antiquities of the Jews, Bk. xviii, chap. iii, 3), and
outside the pages of these so-called gospels and epistles, and the
Apocalypse or Revelation.

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     This Jesus was Incarnate God on earth, or lived as a man and
teacher (if be ever lived) in one of the most brilliant ages and
cultured societies in ancient history: in the reign of Caesar
Augustus, an epoch illustrious as the golden age of Roman imperial,
legal, literary, and cultured civilization.

     Judaea was then a Roman province, Jerusalem a Roman capital.
Its ruler, at the time of the traditional advent of the Nazarene,
was Herod the Great, celebrated by the Jewish historian Josephus as
one of the great if wicked men and rulers of the age. Learning and
literature, of the elegant Roman and brilliant Greek types,
flourished. But there is nowhere a scrap of papyrus whereon even
the name of this God, or of this miracle-working man, is so much as
mentioned, except in the passage referred to in an old manuscript
of Josephus, held by most scholars to be spurious.

     The tales of the Christ are marvelous and incredible,
impossible, according to all human standards of reason, as shown in
every circumstance of the confused and contradictory records of the
four gospels. We have seen their subject stripped of every vestige
of claim to be the fulfillment of prophecies appealed to by his
four posthumous biographers in support of their accounts of the
most salient features of his life and acts. No less unreal will be
found the "harmony of the gospels" with respect to his birth, life,
trial, crucifixion, death, resurrection, and ascension. Such
events, so contradictorily chronicled and vouched for, could not be
accepted as truth if testified on oath before a court of human
justice. The rule of logic and of law: "Of two contradictories, one
must be false" makes their "harmony" and truth incredible and

     We shall take up these diversely recorded incidents one by
one, and submit them to candid judgment.

                      THE DATELESS NAZARENE

     Biographers of celebrated men are careful to state with
exactness, or to approximate, the dates of the birth and death and
of the principal events of the lives, of their subjects. The
inspired biographers of the Son of God, for Christians the most
momentous figure of history, ignore such dates or muddle them
beyond even approximate probability. Only Matthew and Luke essay to
tell of the birth of the God made man; there are at least thirteen
years difference between the times of birth recorded by them. Like
conflicts persist as to the duration of his ministry, and his age
at various periods, as at the beginning of his ministry and at the
time of his death.

     According to Matthew, "Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea,
in the days of Herod the king" (Matt. ii, 1). Herod died in the
year 4 B.C. But Jesus was born at least two years before the death
of Herod, for Herod is recorded by Matthew as long waiting for the
return of the "wise men" to report on the new-born King of the
Jews, and as massacring all the children "from two years old and
under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of 

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the wise men" (Matt. ii, 16). Jesus was thus born at least six
years B.C., if Herod died immediately after the massacre of the 
Innocents, which is not likely. Matthew thus lays the birth of
Jesus in 6 B.C. at the earliest.

     Luke makes out the birth to have been at earliest in the year
7 A.D. or thirteen years later. Luke tells of Joseph and Mary's
going from Galilee to Bethlehem to be taxed, and says that Jesus
was born while they were in Bethlehem on this fanciful mission.
For, he says, "in those days. ... there went out a decree from
Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (And this
taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria)" (Luke
ii, 1-7). It is well known that Galilee was annexed to Syria and
Cyrenius (Quirinius) made governor in A.D. 7. A classic authority
may be taken, out of many, to fix this date. Josephus relates: "And
now Herod altered his testament and granted the kingdom to
Archelaus. ... When he had done these things he died. (Antiq., Bk.
xvii, chap. vii, sec. 1). "But in the tenth year of Archelaus's
government" the Jews "accused him before Caesar" who banished him
to Vienna in Gaul (Id., chap. xiii, sec. 2). "So Archelaus's
country was laid to the province of Syria; and Cyrenius, one that
had been consul, was sent by Caesar to take account of people's
effects in Syria, and to sell the house of Archelaus" (Id., chap.
xiii, sec. 5). "Moreover, Cyrenius came himself into Judea, which
was now added to the province of Syria, to take an account of their
substance" (Antiq., Bk. xviii, chap. i, sec. 1). "When Cyrenius had
now disposed of Archelaus's money, and when the taxings were come
to a conclusion, which were made in the thirty-seventh year of
Caesar's victory over Anthony at Actium" (Id., chap. ii, see. 1).
Luke's taxation was then at a period thirty-seven years after the
historic battle of Actium, which took place September 2, 31 B.C.;
the thirty-seventh year after would therefore be between September
2, A.D. 6 and September 2, A.D., 7, in which year Luke says Jesus
was born.

     A word may be added about Luke's "decree from Caesar Augustus,
that all the world should be taxed" (Luke ii, 1), and about the
journey of Joseph and Mary from their home in Galilee to Bethlehem
of Judea "to be taxed" (Luke ii, 4, 5). No such decree of Augustus
is known to secular history; the provinces were taxed locally and
at such different times as the local authorities decreed. If Jesus
was born, as Matthew says, "in the days of Herod," Joseph, whether
a resident of Galilee or of Judea, could not have been subject to
such a Roman tax, for neither of these Jewish districts, belonging
to Herod's kingdom was then a part of the Roman empire or of its
province of Syria, being added thereto only in 7 A.D. Nor would
residents of Galilee have gone to Judea to be taxed, either when
both districts were separate governments, or after both were parts
of Syria; citizens are taxed in the places of their actual
residence, not in the town, in a different government, where they
chanced to have been born. In all respects, "the account of Luke
rests, therefore, on a series of mistakes" (Encyc. Bib., Vol. I,
col. 808).

     The age of Jesus at the beginning of his ministry is left in
like uncertainty. Luke says: "In the fifteenth year of the reign of
Tiberius Caesar. ... Jesus himself began to be about thirty years 

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of age" (Luke iii, 1, 23). The reign of Tiberius began in 14 A.D.;
the fifteenth year of his reign would be 29 A.D. If Jesus was born,
as Matthew says, "in the days of Herod the king" (Matt. ii, 1), and
was thus born in or before 6 B.C., as Matthew's account works out,
Jesus would be thirty-five years of age in A.D. 29 and not "about
thirty." But if Jesus was born, as Luke says, "when Cyrenius was
governor of Syria" (Luke ii, 2), which was in A.D. 7, Jesus would
be but twenty-one or twenty-two years of age in the fifteenth year
of Tiberius, 29 A.D., when his ministry began. The Jews took
exceptions to the remark of Jesus: "Before Abraham was, I am."
"Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and
hast thou seen Abraham?" (John viii, 56-58). Thus Jesus, at least
by appearance, must have been nearly fifty years of age during his

     Jesus, according to Luke, began his ministry very shortly
after John began his, which was in the time of Tiberius, as above
shown, "Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests" (Luke iii, 1, 2,
23; iv, 1, 14, 15). This is another inspired impossibility: two
high priests never held the office jointly. It is as if a history
of the United States should read: "Washington and Monroe being
Presidents," there being about the same space of time between the
two presidents and the two high priests. Caiaphas was the high
priest at the time indicated, and three others had held the office
between Annas and Caiaphas (Josephus, Bk. xviii, chap. ii, sec. 2).
At the time when Caiaphas was high priest, John the Baptist, cousin
of Jesus, began his tour of preaching, just when "Jesus himself
began to be about thirty years of age" (Luke iii, 1-3, 23), and
immediately afterwards Jesus was baptized (Luke iii, 21), and began
his own ministry (Luke iv, 1, 14, 15). But according to Matthew,
Jesus was but about two years old at the death of Herod and his
return from Egypt, when "in those days came John the Baptist,
preaching in the wilderness of Judaea" (Matt. ii, 19-23; iii, 1).

     The ministry of Jesus lasted, according to Matthew, Mark, and
Luke, for only one year; according to John it covered at least
three years. The former writers record but one visit of Jesus to
Jerusalem; John brings him there at least four times (John ii, 13;
v, 1; x, 22, 23; xii, 12). In this brief space of one or three
years, so great was his activity, says John, that besides all the
things which he relates in his gospel, "there are also many other
things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every
one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the
books that should be written" (John xxi, 25)! But in the very next
book of the Bible, it is avowed by Luke that in his "former
treatise" -- that is, the Gospel of Luke -- he had recorded "all
that Jesus began both to do and to teach, Until the day in which he
was taken up" (Acts i, 1, 2). These things which Jesus both did and
taught will now be examined as they are recorded by inspired pens.

                   THE "BLESSED NAME" OF JESUS

     It may be noted first, in passing, that the name of the
"Christ," whether God or man, was not, to himself and his own
family and people, Jesus at all. His given name in Hebrew, or
Aramaic, the language in which be spoke, is Yehoshua (plain Joshua)

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-- exactly the same as that of the old heathen worthy for whom the
sun and moon stood still upon Gibeon. The meaning of the name is
"Yahveh is salvation"; Jesus is the later Greek form of the name

     The added title "Christ" is another Greek translation or
substitute for the Hebrew Scripture word "Messiah," which means
"anointed." John, if he wrote the gospel attributed to him, himself
a Hebrew but writing in current Greek, correctly explains this when
he tells of Andrew's coming to his brother Simon Peter and
announcing: "We have found the Messiah, which is, being
interpreted, the Christ" (John i, 41). Both words, the Hebrew
Mashiach and its Greek equivalent Christos, mean simply "the

     The Galilean bearer of this name (Hebrew, Joshua; Greek,
Jesus), by this token cannot be the virgin-born subject of the
"prophecy" of Isaiah, as claimed by Matthew; for Isaiah declares
that his virgin, bearing a son, "shall call his name Immanuel"
(Isa. vii, 14; quoted in Matt. i, 23). This name, as Matthew
explains in the same verse, "being interpreted is, God [El] with
us" (Matt. i, 23); whereas Joshua (Jesus) means, as we have seen,
"Yahveh is salvation." So the virgin-born Joshua or Jesus of
Matthew cannot be possibly -- all other proofs aside -- the same
infant as the virgin-born Immanuel of Isaiah.

     It has already been fully proved that Isaiah's unfulfilled
"prophecy" regarding his "sign" of the outcome of the war of the
two kings against Jerusalem does not at all refer to the child of
Mary, 750 years later. We need not dwell again here on this
prophecy of miraculous birth, but proceed to other as compelling
proofs of the persistent errancy and inconsistency of Matthew and
his fellow propagandists of this Jesus as the Christ.

     The great national hero who should come to avenge the Chosen
People of Yahveh against the Assyrians and other oppressors is not
once intimated in the Hebrew Scriptures to be any other than a
human being, "of the seed of David," who, as a king, should re-
establish the throne of David on earth, as so often promised and
proclaimed by Yahveh (e.g., Isa. xi, 1; Luke i, 32; Acts ii, 30).
Never once is it hinted that Yahveh himself, "Man of war" though he
was, would come in person to accomplish the liberation and
restoration of his Chosen People, after failing so signally to save
them from destruction and captivity. Nor is there so much as an
ambiguous or doubtful bit of revelation that Yahveh had a son by
the name of Joshua, whom he would send at some time in the future
to fill the role of the promised hero, and either re-establish the
throne of David on earth, or set up a new religion promising a
kingdom in heaven to the disappointed expectants of the renewed
earthly Kingdom of Israel.

                      GENEALOGIES OF JESUS

     The pedigree of Jesus causes the next notable conflict,
between Matthew and one of his colleagues, Luke, who contradicts
him, and between both of them and the Old Testament records. The
chief of the essential qualifications of the expected Jewish 

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Messiah was that he should be of the house and lineage of David the
King, and should as king "re-establish the throne of David
forever." This descent in unbroken line must be proved of Jesus the
Son of Joseph or of Yahveh, or of any other who would successfully
claim to fulfil the promise of the Messiah as an earthly king.
Matthew therefore begins his biography with "The book of the
generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham"
(Matt. i, 1). Beginning with Abraham, he comes in a direct line of
"begettings" to David, and from David, through Solomon and Roboam,
to one Jacob: "And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom
was born Jesus, who is called Christ" (Matt. i, 16); and he
declares specifically, after naming all by name, that from David to
Christ there are twenty-eight generations (i, 17). Matthew says
that from Abraham, with whom his genealogy begins, to Jesus there
were forty-two generations; but his own list (i, 2-16) shows only
forty-one. He seems to have counted someone twice.

     Matthew divides his genealogy into three periods, from Abraham
to David, from David to the carrying away into captivity, from the
captivity to Jesus; and he declares that in each of these periods
"are fourteen generations" (Matt. i, 17) -- twice seven, the sacred
number of the Jews. But in order to get this fanciful uniformity of
numbers, Matthew deliberately falsifies the records of the Old
Testament. The inspired, and supposedly official, Davidic genealogy
"from David until the carrying away into Babylon," -- according to
Matthew, "fourteen generations" -- is recorded in 1 Chronicles
(iii, 1, 5, 10-16), the first name being David and the last -- up
to the "carrying away" -- Zedekiah. But when Matthew gets to Joram,
he begins to falsify, and he says, "and Joram begat Ozias" (Matt.
i, 8), and then proceeds with his list. In doing this, Matthew
purposely Omits four generations -- after Joram, "Ahaziah his son,
Joash his son, Amaziah his son" (1 Chron. iii, 11, 12) -- three
kings of David's direct line whose combined reigns were seventy
years; then, after Josias, who, he says, "begat Jechonias" (Matt.
i, 11), he omits Jehoiakim (1 Chron. iii, 16), who reigned three
months. Without going further into details, instead of there being,
as Matthew says (Matt, i, 17), exactly "fourteen generations" for
each period, the true tally is: Abraham to David, 13; David until
the "carrying away," 19; thence to Jesus, 13; a total of forty-five
instead of the forty-two stated and forty-one recorded by Matthew,
as any one who will delve into the tortuous records may verify.
Matthew in his pre-Davidic list puts in the names of four women (an
unprecedented thing for Jewish genealogies). Of more unsavory
repute than these four ancestresses of the Son of God no females
could be: Thamar, double daughter-in-law of Judah, who tricked him
into incest with her; Rachab, harlot of Jericho, public prostitute;
Ruth, young widow avid for another man, who stole in the dark into
Boaz's bed in the barn and slept with him for incitation to
marriage; Bath-sheba, adulteress with David, who connived at
David's murder of her husband Uriah that she might have the "man
after Yahveh's own heart" with impunity. To him she bore the
bastard Solomon. As for Rachab, Matthew commits a gross inspired
anachronism, and records her as the mother of Boaz and hence second
mother-in-law of Ruth -- "Salmon begat Booz of Rachab" (Matt. i, 5)
-- and only three generations from David; whereas Rachab was the
"harlot of Jericho" who entertained the "spies" of Joshua (Joshua
ii, 1), nearly four centuries earlier.

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     Luke, in chapter iii of his equally inspired and credible
biography, produces the genealogy of his subject, but in inverse
order, from Jesus to David, instead of, as in Matthew, from David
to Jesus. Luke carries the line of begettings directly back to
David via one Mattatha, "which was the son of Nathan, which was the
son of David" (iii, 32), instead of from David through Solomon and
Roboam, like Matthew. Luke names and specifies forty-three
generations from David to Jesus, instead of Matthew's twenty-eight;
and only three names of the two contradictory lists are the same,
except David at one end and Jesus at the other; the immediate
ancestry at both ends is totally different. For comparison, here
are the sacred genealogies as vouched for by the two inspired

                        MATTHEW (i, 6-16)

     1.  David           11. Ezekias         21. Sadoc
     2.  Solomon         12. Manasses        22. Achim
     3.  Roboam          13. Amon            23. Eliud
     4.  Abia            14. Josias          24. Eleazar
     5.  Asa             15. Jechonias       25. Matthan
     6.  Josaphat        *16. Salathiel      26. Jacob
     7.  Joram           *17. Zorobabel      27. Joseph
     8.  Ozias           18. Abiud           28. Jesus
     9.  Joatham         *19. Eliakim
     10. Achaz           20. Azor

                        LUKE (iii, 23-31)

      1.  David           17. Elmodam        33. Naum
      2.  Nathan          18. Cosam          34. Amos
      3.  Mattatha        19. Addi           35. Mattathias
      4.  Menan           20. Melchi         36. Joseph
      5.  Melea           21. Neri           37. Janna
     *6.  Eliakim        *22. Salathiel      38. Melchi
      7.  Jonan          *23. Zorobabel      39. Levi
      8.  Joseph          24. Rhesa          40. Matthat
      9.  Juda            25. Joanna         41. Heli
      10. Simeon          26. Juda           42. Joseph
      11. Levi            27. Joseph         43. Jesus
      12. Matthat         28. Semei
      13. Jorim           29. Mattathias
      14. Eliezer         30. Maath
      15. Jose            31. Nagge
      16. Er              32. Esli

     *Indicates names which occur in both lists.

     This proves entire want of truth in one or the other of these
fictitious and contradictory genealogies; and, curiously, both at
the most critical point break the circuit of the direct descent of
Jesus from David. For if Jesus was not the carnal son of Joseph,
but was the incarnate Son of Yahveh by his Holy Ghost and the yet
virgin Mary, he could not, by any possibility of human descent, be 

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a blood descendant of David, whose line of generation ended with
Joseph -- if Joseph was not the carnal father of Jesus. So in no 
sense could Jesus be a "Son of David," and so fill the first and
essential requirement of the promised Messiah.

     The "genealogies of Jesus," fictitious compilations of a
century more or less after Jesus, ipso facto prove that at the time
they were composed Jesus was regarded simply as a man "born of the
seed of David after the flesh"; else why human genealogies? A God
could have no ancestors. The truth is thus declared: "The genealogy
could never have been drawn up after Joseph ceased to be regarded
as the real father of Jesus" (Encyc. Biblica, Vol. III, col. 2960).

     Jesus himself denies positively that he is a "son of David";
for, "while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them,
Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto
him, The son of David. He saith unto them, How then doth David in
spirit call him Lord? ... If David then call him Lord, how is he
his son?" (Matt. xxii, 41-43, 45; Mark xii, 35-37; Luke xx, 41-44).
This was a good deal of a conundrum, "for no man was able to answer
him a word" (Matt. xxii, 46). Nor can I. But John the Divine, about
one hundred years later, quotes Jesus as saying in heaven: "I am
the root and the offspring of David" (Rev. xxii, 16); but this was
in a dream.

     Luke says that this controversy as to whether Jesus was a "son
of David" was, not with Matthew's Pharisees, but between Jesus and
"certain of the scribes" (Luke xx, 39-44); though Mark records no
controversy at all, but says that Jesus, "while be taught in the
temple," talking to "the common people," himself proposed the
conundrum ("How say the scribes that Christ is the son of David?"
Mark xii, 35-37) and answered it himself, and no one else said a
word. Mark quotes Jesus as saying that David said all this about
the Lord "by the Holy Ghost" (Mark xii, 36); but Matthew says Jesus
said: "How then doth David in spirit call him Lord" (Matt. xxii,
43); Luke says simply that Jesus said that "David saith in the book
of Psalms" (Luke xx, 42).

     Matthew adds to his account that after the dispute about the
"son of David" matter with the Pharisees, "neither durst any man
from that day forth ask him any more questions" (Matt. xxii, 46);
but Mark records that it was "one of the scribes" who argued with
Jesus about the commandments, and "no man after that durst ask him
any question" (Mark xii, 28-34); Luke declares that it was after a
controversy with the Sadducees regarding the resurrection, and
"after that they durst not ask him any question at all" (Luke xx,

                      VIRGIN BIRTH OF JESUS

     The reputed virgin birth of Jesus we have already fully
disproved as having been prophesied by Isaiah, Matthew to the
contrary notwithstanding. We shall briefly consider the miraculous
pregnancy of the Ever-Virgin Mother (who had more than half a dozen
children), and the circumstances of the birth of her first-born,
Joshua or Jesus.

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     Matthew again is our inspired historian. He relates that,
"When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came
together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost" (Matt. i,
18); that Joseph felt quite naturally disposed to "put her away
privily"; but that he dreamed that an angel of Yahveh told him to
fear not to accept his wife Mary, "for that which is conceived in
her is of the Holy Ghost" (i, 20). This dream seems to have quite
satisfied Joseph, though he had never heard of a Holy Ghost, and no
such person of the Christian Trinity is recorded in the Hebrew
Scriptures. A curious grammatical consideration tends to disprove
that Gabriel told Joseph (Matt. i, 20), or Mary (Luke i, 35), that
the Holy Ghost would be the father of her child. In the Hebrew, or,
Aramaic, spoken by these peasants, the word "spirit" or "ghost"
(ruach) is of the feminine gender, and would never be thought of as
indicating a potential father. But in Greek the word (pneuma) is
masculine, so that the Church Father who forged the tale might with
grammatical propriety, however fictitiously, say that the hagion
pneuma (Holy Ghost) begot Jesus. So Joseph, "being raised from
sleep, did as [he dreamed that] the angel of Yahveh had bidden him,
and took unto him his wife: And knew her not till she had brought
forth her firstborn son" (i, 24, 25; cf. Luke ii, 7).

     Thus we learn, from Matthew, that the news of this pregnancy
of his wife by the Holy Ghost was first broken to Joseph in a
dream. When he dreamed this Inspiration does not directly tell; but
it is readily deduced that it was not till at least three months
after the secret visitation by the Holy Ghost took place, as will
appear below. That it was several months after is also indicated by
the fact that Joseph then took her unto himself, "and knew her not
till she had brought forth her firstborn son" -- evidently a
considerable space of time, as the fact of Joseph's marital self-
restraint is specially noted.

     This (parenthetically) disproves too the dogma that Mary
remained immaculate and ever-virgin: for, that Joseph knew her not
"till" she had given birth to her first-born son, argues that he
did "know her" carnally thereafter; and her "first-born" son argues
others born thereafter. So a favorite fallacy of the celibate
Fathers is exploded; to say nothing of the virginity-destroying
effects of the births of half a dozen brothers and sisters of
Jesus: "his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas, and
his sisters," (Matt. xiii, 55, 56; Mark vi, 2, 3); and Paul speaks
of seeing his friend the apostle "James the Lord's brother" (Gal.
i, 19).

     Luke as usual contradicts Matthew's story of Joseph's dream of
the origin of his wife's pregnancy. Luke goes into much detail,
relating that the angel Gabriel, in the sixth month after his like
mission to Mary's cousin Elizabeth, was sent from Yahveh to
Nazareth, "to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, ...
and the virgin's name was Mary" (Luke i, 26, 27). Gabriel announced
to Mary that "the Holy Ghost shall come upon thee," and that she
should "bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus." And
Gabriel told her that the same kind of thing had already happened
to her cousin Elizabeth six months before; and be departed. Mary, 

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with true womanly instinct, arose and went with haste into the hill
country, to the town of Elizabeth, to congratulate her and to break
the news of her own like expectation; they both celebrated
exultantly "with a loud voice" (i, 42).

     Mary's hymn of praise at the "annunciation" is not a
spontaneous and original jubilation; it is almost word for word
copied from the song of Hannah over the similar annunciation of the
birth of Samuel (cf. 1 Sam. ii, 1-5; Luke i, 47-55).

     Whether the annunciation was made by an angel to Mary or in a
dream to Joseph, there is little difference; Luke's angels are of
the same sort of stuff as Matthew's dreams, and everyone is coming
now to know that angels's tales and Bible visions are but as "the
baseless fabric of a dream."

     That Mary had not told Joseph of the "visitation" of the Holy
Ghost to her, and that he was ignorant of it for at least three
months, is very evident from Matthew's inspired record. The promise
was no doubt performed to Mary at the time of the "visitation" of
the angel, related by Luke. It was three months later, when Mary
returned to Joseph, or later still, that Joseph, by some means not
revealed, "found" that Mary was "with child of the Holy Ghost."
Really what Joseph found was simply that his wife "was with child,"
without his knowing by whom or what. For Joseph was thereupon, and
naturally, "minded to put her away privily," so as not to "make her
a public example" and create a scandal, as Matthew says. So Joseph
could not have known, at the time of his discovery of the
pregnancy, who was its author. It was only later, when he was
sleeping on the matter, that he dreamed that he was told: "That
which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost" (Matt. i, 20). That
the suspicions of Joseph should have been so easily allayed by a
dream may appear queer. Both Joseph and Mary, as Luke elsewhere
relates, disclaim the whole story of the intervention of the Holy
Ghost in the conception of Jesus, and themselves assert their own
human and natural parenthood of the Child (Luke ii, 48-50).

     We may here note for what it is worth in support of the
orthodox faith that there was no novelty at all in virgin births
from gods in the ancient religions. They were commonplace
happenings which any superstitiously inclined pagan or Hebrew would
readily accept in fullness of faith. Even the Hebrew Yahveh, who is
not revealed to have had any heavenly spouse, is credited with
numerous offspring -- the "beni ha-Elohim, sons of the-Gods," of
Genesis and Job, who sported with the daughters of men, producing
the demigod giants. To Yahveh also is credited the miraculous
conceptions of Isaac (Gen. xviii, 10, 11; xxi, 1-3); of Samson
(Judges xiii, 2, 3, 24); of Samuel (1 Sam. i, 9-11, 20); and of
John the Baptist (Luke i, 7-13). A similar miracle does not
therefore prove Jesus divine; and Jesus evidently was not the "only
begotten Son" of Yahveh God.

     The great god of the Greeks, Zeus, was also prolific author of
virgin births, of which we cite only the well-known and highly
accredited instances of his copulation in the form of a swan with
Leda, the miraculous product of which was the twins Castor and
Pollux, and his intrigue with Io, which resulted in a son Epaphus. 

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The Roman war-god Mars likewise kept amorous tryst with the vestal
virgin Rhea Silvia, from which the twins Romulus and Remus
resulted. The great hero Achilles was also the product of the
amours of, this time, a human father and the immortal sea-goddess
Thetis. Divine hybrids in human form resulted. Alexander the Great
was reputed son of his mother Olympias and Jupiter Ammon, as that
god himself declared. The Egyptian Pharaohs and the Roman emperors
were gods, the former by birth, the latter by apotheosis, just as
are saints by canonization. The Son of Yahveh and Mary could not
have been altogether "Very God," but was half human, and so only a
demigod. Either virgin births by gods were very frequent
actualities in the good old Hebrew-pagan times, or priestly
assurance and popular credulity passed them as miraculous events
worthy of faith. It is all the same, so far as they may serve as
precedents for faith in the virgin birth of the reputed Son of

     The only authentication which we have of this much
controverted event is sundry "proofs of Holy Writ," consisting of
very contradictory scraps of inspiration in the New Testament.

     Peter, at Pentecost, when all were filled with the Holy Ghost,
preached his first sermon, in which by plenary inspiration he
declared: "Ye men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth,
a man approved of God among you," etc. "The patriarch David. ...
Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an
oath to him [Psalm cxxxii, 11, 12], that of the fruit of his loins
according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his
throne" (Acts ii, 22, 29, 30). What could be more positive proof of
humanity and disproof of divine paternity than this first avowal of
Peter, perverted by his successors? And Paul, if he wrote the
Second Epistle to Timothy, says: "Jesus Christ of the seed of
David" (2 Tim. ii, 8). And John of Patmos: "I Jesus ... am the root
and the offspring of David" (Rev. xxii, 16). A god cannot be crazy;
but Mark records (Mark iii, 21; cf. John x, 20) that the family and
friends of Jesus thought him so and went to arrest him as a madman:
"And when his friends [margin: relatives] heard of it, they went
out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is beside himself"
(Greek: existemi, to be out of one's wits, distracted, beside
oneself). Thus his own family knew him for human and knew nothing
of the fabled paternity of the Holy Ghost.

     Paul, the most dogmatic theologian of them all, admits that
Jesus Christ was altogether human in origin, for he "was made of
the seed of David according to the flesh" (Rom. i, 3), and was
simply "declared to be the Son of God [Yahveh] with power,
according to the spirit of holiness" (i, 4). Paul admits the
manhood of the Christ: "There is one God, and one mediator between
God and men, the man Christ Jesus" (1 Tim. ii, 5). The Christ of
Peter and Paul was not a god, but a mere man, "approved of God,"
and endowed with divine gifts, but yet a mere human being. Mark,
the earliest of the gospel biographers, mentions no miraculous or
virgin birth at all, either of Jesus or of John; Mark is therefore
a potent witness 'ab silentio' against the controverted fact. Luke,
after quoting Gabriel in chapter i (28-36), seems to forget all
about him in chapter ii, where he simply relates that Joseph went
from Nazareth to Bethlehem "to be taxed, with Mary his espoused 

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wife, being great with child. ... And she brought forth her
firstborn son" (Luke ii, 5, 7). Luke also relates the visit of
Simeon to the temple to see the Child. Simeon indulged in ecstasies
very like those of Gabriel. It is recorded: "And Joseph and his
mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him" (Luke
ii, 33). Why should they marvel at what they already knew from
Gabriel? It is evidence that Gabriel hadn't told them, and that
they knew the child was their own son.

     John says not a word of miraculous or virgin birth; be says:
"I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God [Yahveh]" (John
i, 34). But what John meant by "Son of God" he has previously
defined, and the expression is clearly shown by his own words to be
used in a metaphorical, or Pickwickian, sense -- for all believers
are sons of God: "But as many as received him, to them gave he the
power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his
name [even the devils believe and tremble]: Which were born, not of
blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of
God" (i, 12, 13).

     Thus two of the four gospel biographers wholly ignore -- and
so tacitly deny -- any pretence of miraculous or virgin birth --
the most transcendent dogma of later Christian faith; and Paul and
Peter, the greatest authors of dogma, expressly declare Jesus to
have been of purely human procreation and birth -- "made of the
seed of David according to the flesh" -- as he could not have been
if of Yahvistic paternity. And if he was not, through Joseph, "of
the seed of David," every inspired "prophecy of the Messiah" fails

                      THE STAR OF BETHLEHEM

     The signs and portents attendant upon the miraculous birth of
Joshua-Jesus give occasion for another clash between the
inspirations of Matthew and of Luke, and lead into several tangles.
Matthew alone of the four gospel historians relates that mysterious
phenomenon of the heavens, the "star of Bethlehem"; and so relates
it that we know it never was seen by eye of "wise men" or foolish,
but was only a vision of inspired imagination. The East was
celebrated for its zeal in the science of astronomy; but never an
astronomer of Eastern antiquity saw or recorded that extraordinary
star. Nor did anyone else ever see it, outside the mind's eye, as
is evident enough from the inspired account of it.

     In his second chapter Matthew essays to tell how certain "wise
men from the east" (but from where in the East be does not say)
came to Jerusalem "when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea," and
went about asking: "Where is he that is born King of the Jews?
"for," they explained, "we have seen his star in the east, and are
come to worship him" (ii, 1, 2).

     It is clear therefore, that this "star" was no bright and
flaming sidereal luminary; it was not visible on the meridian of
Jerusalem; no one but the "wise men" is recorded to have seen it at
all; and they saw it only "in the east." Proof of this is that
Herod "was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him" (ii, 3) when they
heard about the strange star. Herod "gathered all the chief priests

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and scribes," and inquired about the alleged new King of the Jews
(ii, 4); then he "privily called the wise men," and "enquired of
them diligently what time the star appeared" (ii, 7). Neither Herod
nor any of "all Jerusalem" had seen this marvel or there would have
been no need to "diligently enquire" as to the when and where of
the phenomenon, which had now entirely disappeared from human view,
else Herod could have seen it for himself.

     It is clear too that this "star" was not the guiding pilot
that it is popularly supposed to have been, leading the "Wise men"
from the East to Jerusalem, or to the new-born King. It is not
visible in Jerusalem; the "wise men" claimed only to "have seen his
star in the east," somewhere far away. And they came to Jerusalem
(not "to Bethlehem where the child was"), wholly ignorant of his
whereabouts; so that they had to go about asking anybody they met
on the streets, just as a stranger in town asks the corner
policeman: "Where is he that is born King of the Jews?" (ii, 2).
How these pagan down-easters were inspired to know or care anything
about an unheard-of baby King of the Jews, or to know what the
alleged "star in the east" signified with respect to him, and to
journey across the burning deserts to "worship" him is curious to
inquire, but is not revealed. Nor was the miraculous "star" itself
very revealing. Though hung up in the Eastern skies for their own
special benefit and guidance, it led them not to the Babe King in
Bethlehem, nor even to Jerusalem; they had to go about and ask:
"Where is he that is born King of the Jews?" But no one in all
Jerusalem had seen the star or knew of the new-born King.

     The sequel proves that wicked Herod was now himself to be
"numbered among the prophets"; for he "gathered all the chief
priests and scribes of the people together," and "demanded of them
[a very curious and 'inspired' sort of question] where Christ
should be born?" (ii, 4). Surely Herod never asked such a question.
It was thirty-odd years afterwards that (to believe the story at
all) Jesus was first "Christ"-ened, or "anointed," and thus first
became "Christ," or "the Anointed." Unless Herod was inspired by
prophetic vision, and could foresee thirty-odd years into the
future, and behold in his mind's eye the very variously related
incident of the woman breaking the alabaster box of ointment over
the head -- or the feet -- of the Babe of Bethlehem, he could not
ask such a question; and we may be sure that he did not. It is Luke
who says that the Babe was born in a manger; Matthew declares that
the "wise men" came "into the house" where the Child and mother
were (Matt. ii, 11) and gave their presents. Luke says the Child
was "laid ... in a manger; because there was no room for them in
the inn" (Luke ii, 7). But there were no inns in Jewry at that
time; the story betrays its fabrication by some Greek Father in a
foreign country, who knew nothing of such details.

     As the star had not led them right, the "wise men" had to
pursue their quest for the object of their search. It required the
whole assemblage of priestly wiseacres of Jerusalem to answer, by
the aid of an errant prophecy, that the "Governor" was to be born
in Bethlehem of Judea (ii, 5, 6). And even now the "star" did not
help or guide them to their goal. It was Herod himself, when he got
the report of the priestly conclave, who "sent them to Bethlehem"
(ii, 8) to find the young Child, and return and report to him. 

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Then, "when they had heard the king, they departed" (ii, 9) on
their now well-directed way; and 'mirabile dictu,' "lo, the star,
which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and
stood over where the young child was" (ii, 9). Thus the wonderful
star, till now wonderfully inefficient as a guide when the Wise Men
needed guidance across the deserts, now when it was no longer
needed as a guide, Herod himself having located the place, flared
up before their eyes and flitted along before them on their journey
to Bethlehem, a little suburban town just across the creek from

     This fabled "star of Bethlehem" was evidently merely a sort of
flighty will-o'-the-wisp, not a regular star; for the nearest star
in the heavens is some twenty trillions of miles away from earth,
where it can be seen of all men, wise or otherwise, and neither
goes before people, to guide them where they do not need a guide,
nor comes and stands for their accommodation when they get there.
However, it is curious to note that the "wise men," who are said to
have seen the star "in the east" before coming to Jerusalem, now
seem to have seen it for the first time as they left Jerusalem and
as it "went before them"' Bethlehem-ward; for, "when they saw the
star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy" (ii, 10).

     When the "wise men" had at last found the young Child, they
duly worshipped it, and delivered their gifts; then, dreaming of
some heavenly warning not to return to Herod, they "departed into
their own country another way" (ii, 12) -- so as to fool Herod, who
was said to be awaiting their return to go himself and worship the
baby King to be (ii, 8). This is the faithful record of Matthew.

                       THE SHEPHERD CHOIR

     But, according to the record of Luke, it did not happen this
way at all. There was no star of Bethlehem; there were no "wise
men" from the East; simply a group of lowly "shepherds abiding in
the field, keeping watch over their flock by night" (Luke ii, 8).
To them an anonymous angel came, scaring them very badly, and told
them that "a Savior, which is Christ the Lord" (thus again
anticipating the anointing), was born unto them that day. And of a
sudden a whole angel choir, a "multitude of the heavenly host,"
winged down to earth from the heavens, over 1,000,000 light years
away, and sang wondrously in the cold night air: "Glory to God in
the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men" (ii, 13, 14)
-- an angelic prophecy never yet realized on this war-racked, hate-
filled earth. It was the shepherds, according to Luke, who came
with haste to Bethlehem to investigate the angelic report; and when
they had found "the babe lying in a manger," they straightway
broadcast the news throughout all those parts (ii, 16, 17). The
reader may choose whether to accept Matthew's star or Luke's angel
choir. It is curious to note that in Matthew every communication
regarding the Child Jesus is through dreams; in Luke through the
agency of angels -- but both alike unreal.


     Another highly important conflict of inspiration occurs here,
in connection with the early life of the Child Jesus. Mark, who 
wrote first, omits all the childhood of his subject, beginning his

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biography with "the beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the
Son of God" (Mark i, 1). But Matthew seeks to supply many items --
as is not infrequent with biographers. The cherry-tree episode of
the youthful Father of his Country is an instance. But Matthew's
"sources" were not ample, or his imagination lagged; so he sends
the Holy Family and the Child to Egypt for some years, in
fulfillment, he says, of another "prophecy," which we have
elsewhere seen was not one at all. In any event, Luke says it was
not true, as we shall presently see.

     According to Matthew, immediately after the '(wise men" had
departed for their own country, as a result of their dream of
warning (Matt. ii, 12), another dream caused another hegira, thus

          "When they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord
     appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the
     young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou
     there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young
     child to destroy him. When he arose, he took the young child
     and his mother by night [that same night], and departed into
     Egypt: And was there until the death of Herod: that it might
     be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet,
     saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son." (Matt. ii, 13-15)

     They stayed in Egypt until after the death of Herod, some
unknown time later. Then they were told to return (Matt. ii, 20) in
the same words in which Yahveh had commanded Moses to return to
Egypt (Ex. iv, 19).

     We have already examined the so-called "Out of Egypt" prophecy
of Hosea (Hos. xi, 1), and have seen that it meant nothing whatever
about Jesus. It is pleasing to know from Luke that we are right on
this point. For Luke goes inspiredly into the young life of the
Child, and relates it in no little detail. We see Luke's shepherds
find the Babe in his manger (Luke ii, 16); then, still there, eight
days afterwards the Child is circumcised and named Jesus (ii, 21);
and then the Virgin Mother, dogmatized as immaculate and ever-pure,
remained there for another thirty-three days, purging herself for
her "purification according to the law of Moses" (ii, 22; Lev. xii,
2-4). Then followed the several visits of Simeon (ii, 25-35) and of
Anna (ii, 36-38), how long they lasted being unrevealed. Before
either of the visits, however we have at least forty days in which
the Child remained in his lowly Bethlehem manger, instead of
flitting to Egypt the night of the visit of the Magi. All this
time, too, the Immaculate Mother of God was "unclean" by the holy
law, and could not so much as touch her own Holy Child (Lev. xii,
4) -- a truly godly prohibition to a mother with a new born babe.
And then, Luke assures us: "When they had performed all things
according to the law of Yahveh, they returned into Galilee, to
their own city Nazareth" (ii, 39).

     So they did not flee into Egypt, as Matthew records. For upon
returning directly to their home in Nazareth (Luke ii, 39), there
they remained throughout the childhood and youth of their son
Jesus, and there "the child grew, and waxed strong" (ii, 40), never
leaving home except once a year to go to Jerusalem with his
parents, says Luke:

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          "Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the
     feast of the passover. And when he was twelve years old, they
     went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast." (Luke ii,
     41, 4-2)

And they took the young Jesus along with them, at least on this
occasion, for "when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned,
the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his
mother knew not of it" (ii, 43), and did not discover that the
child was missing until the next day: "But they, supposing him to
have been in the company, went a day's journey" (ii, 44). Not
finding him, "they turned back again to Jerusalem," and "after
three days" of search, "they found him in the temple" arguing with
the doctors (ii, 45, 46). So for at least twelve years there was no
midnight flight to Egypt to escape Herod; and they could not have
remained there "until the death of Herod" (Matt. ii, 15), for Herod
died in the year 4 A.D., during the twelve years that the Holy
Family remained at home in Nazareth, as Luke testifies. That Jesus
was not born in the year 1 of his era, but some 6 to 10 years B.C.,
is now generally known.

     There in the temple, when the Child was found, Mary herself
positively denies the divine paternity of her Child, and rightly
calls Joseph its father; for when she found the Child, she said:
"Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father [Joseph]
and I have sought thee sorrowing" (ii, 48). Jesus here seems to
deny the paternity of Joseph, saying: "Wist ye not that I must be
about my Father's business?" (ii, 49) or, as the Revised Version
honestly translates: "I must be in my Father's house." But both
Joseph and Mary "understood not the saying which he spake unto
them" (ii, 50) -- thus proving that they knew him for their own
flesh-and-blood Child, and had no thought or knowledge of the dogma
of divine paternity.

     Even now they did not go to Egypt, for "he went down with
them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them" (ii, 51).
And there he remained until he began to teach and preach when he
"began to be about thirty years old," after his baptism by John. So
the prophecy "Out of Egypt have I called my Son" is shown to be
another instance of errant inspiration.

     Here we may notice another radical contradiction. Luke makes
Joseph and his family residents of Nazareth, and says they went
from there to Bethlehem to be taxed, and then "they returned into
Galilee, to their own city Nazareth" (Luke ii, 4, 5, 39). But
Matthew makes Joseph and his family resident in Bethlehem, whence
they fled into Egypt. When Herod was dead, they returned and "came
into the land of Israel" (Matt. ii, 21), but hearing that Archelaus
was king in Judea, in which Bethlehem is situated, "he was afraid
to go thither." After another dream-warning "he turned aside into
the parts of Galilee: And he came and dwelt in a city called
Nazareth" (Matt. ii, 22, 23), that another specious prophecy might
be fulfilled. This indicates that Galilee was outside of Herod's
kingdom, and discredits the story of the family's going to
Bethlehem "to be taxed," because Judea and Galilee were separate
governments, and people are always taxed in their own country, not
in a foreign land.

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     The amazing statement of Matthew that when Herod "saw that he
was mocked of the wise men, [he] was exceeding wroth, and sent
forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all
the coasts thereof, from two years old and under" (Matt. ii, 16;
may be dismissed with bare mention. That a Roman king, under the
great Roman peace of the golden age of Augustus, could execute such
a wholesale massacre of the subjects of the empire proves itself
impossible. No human history records such a massacre in Judea; not
even Josephus, who relates in forty chapters of his Antiquities of
the Jews the most trifling details of the life and reign of Herod
and dilates upon his many crimes, has a word of this tremendous
murderous event. But why argue such a statement of even an inspired
author? The story, moreover, involves other serious contradictions.
Matthew says that Herod commanded the massacre of all the children
of the district "from two years old and under"; consequently Jesus
was at least two years old at the time, and, curiously enough,
Herod must have patiently waited quite two years after being
"mocked of the wise men," before he got so "exceeding wroth" as to
commit this amazing, and unrecorded, crime. Nor was there any need
for this long wait and general massacre: Herod could easily have
caught the child in Jerusalem, for just after the "purification"
"they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to Yahveh" in the
temple (Luke ii, 22, 27). But, what is more serious, the massacre
never occurred at all; for Luke expressly asserts that immediately
after the forty days "purification" of the Immaculate Virgin, and
after the visits of Simeon and Anna, Joseph and Mary "returned into
Galilee, to their own city Nazareth," and remained there
continuously. This wholly discounts Matthew's visit of the Magi,
the flight to Egypt, the "mocking" of Herod, and Herod's massacre
of the Innocents. So this bloody blot is removed from wicked
Herod's escutcheon.


     The first thing recorded by inspiration in regard to Jesus --
after his return from Egypt, or after be did not go to Egypt but
"began to be about thirty years old" at home in the carpenter's
shop of Nazareth is his reputed baptism by his cousin John the
Baptist, in the Jordan. John himself is the subject of much
uncertainty, into which we may for a moment inquire. His paternity
is involved in curious obscurity, very like that of ancient Isaac.
His parents were "both now well stricken in years," and his mother
was "barren," like old Sarah. Angels, too, had to come and prophesy
a child to them and some sort of divine agency is apparent in the
fulfillment of the prophecy, for the child was "filled with the
Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb" (Luke i, 5-15). By special
orders of Gabriel the child was named John; he wasn't really John,
however, but, miraculously, the ancient prophet Elijah, alias Elias
-- if his cousin Jesus is to be believed against the positive
denial of the Baptist. For Jesus, inspired with all truth, says and
repeats explicitly of John: "This is Elias, which was for to come"
(Matt. xi, 14; xvii, 11-13); and Matthew to prove it -- as if the
word of Jesus needed proof -- invokes a prophecy of Malachi:
"Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of
the great and dreadful day of Yahveh" (Mal. iv, 5). But John as 
categorically twice denies the imputation:

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          "And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am
     not the Christ. And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias?
     And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he
     answered, No." (John i, 20, 21)

     So with this positive "He is" of Jesus and the equally
positive "I am not" of John, who ought to know, we must leave the
identity of the Baptist in doubt, but the "great and dreadful day
of Yahveh" did not come in John's time, nor did Jesus fulfil the
role of him of whom Elijah was to be the precursor. We pass to the
proofs of the baptism and some of its contrary incidents. Matthew
tells us:

          "In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the
     wilderness of Judaea [and many came], And were baptized of him
     in Jordan. ... Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto
     John, to be baptized of him. But John forbad him, saying, I
     have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? And
     Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now. ...
     Then he suffered him. And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up
     straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened
     unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove,
     and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying,
     This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." (Matt.
     iii, 1, 6, 13-17)

     So John the Baptist knew and recognized Jesus, talked with
him, and modestly protested against baptizing the Son of Yahveh,
"whose shoes I am not worthy to bear" (iii, 11); and John saw the
dove from heaven, and heard the voice from heaven proclaiming the
God-Man. Mark (i, 9-11), Luke (iii, 21, 22), and John (i, 25-32),
all relate the same inspired incident, and John the Evangelist,
whose "record is true," as he himself admits, emphasizes the
Baptist's knowledge of the divine identity of Jesus, and quotes the
Baptist as proclaiming his knowledge that it was the Christ who
came to him to be baptized -- but whom he evidently did not
baptize, for he does not mention this, which would have been the
most signal event of his life. Let us try to get this straight; the
story is very tangled. The Evangelist John, first speaking of, then
quoting John the Baptist, says: "John bare witness of him, and
cried, saying, This is he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me
is preferred before me ... And of his fullness have we received,
and grace for grace" (John i, 15, 16). John could not have said
this; it was before the alleged baptism of Jesus, and before Jesus
began his "ministry of grace," and hence could not have been said
at that time. The Baptist is further quoted by the Evangelist as
declaring to sundry Pharisees who came to ask who he was and why he
baptized: "John answered them, saying, ... There standeth one among
you, whom ye know not; He it is, who coming after me is preferred
before me" (John i, 24-27). This a clear and unequivocal
recognition by the Baptist of the Christ.

     The Evangelist then says: "These things were done in Beth-
abara beyond Jordan, where John was baptizing" (John i, 28). The
Greek Father who wrote this tale did not know Jewish geography;
there is no such place in Jewry as Beth-abara; it was in Perea, far
from the Jordan. So the Revised Version changes the name to 

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Bethany; but this does not help, as Bethany is a suburb of
Jerusalem and not "beyond Jordan," nor near the Jordan. The
Evangelist proceeds: "The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto
him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin
of the world. This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man
which is preferred before me" (John i, 29, 30) -- another explicit
recognition. Then the Baptist twice says: "And I knew him not"
(John i, 31, 33), until he saw the promised "sign" of the dove
descending from heaven upon Jesus (John i, 32, 33). Upon seeing the
sign, John says: "I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of
God" (John i, 34). But he says not a word of a miraculous voice
from heaven proclaiming: "This is my beloved Son," nor records that
he baptized Jesus; a rare omission on both points, for John is the
only one of the disciples who was present at the scene. If John
heard the voice from heaven, he evidently did not believe it, as
his next recorded action proves.

     Notwithstanding all the foregoing explicit testimonials,
inspiration contradicts them all, makes it clear that John did not
baptize or even know Jesus, and makes John have to send a special
embassy from prison to Jesus to inquire about his identity:

     "Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he
sent two of his disciples, And said unto him, Art thou he that
should come, or do we look for another?" (Matt. xi, 2, 3; Luke vii,

     The clearest inference from this passage is that the Baptist
did not baptize or even know Jesus, his own cousin, and did not
"bear record" that "this is he who cometh after me" -- "this is the
Son of God." So whether Jesus was ever really baptized at all is
very doubtful. John the Baptist certainly, on the gospel word of
two of the four gospel biographers, did not baptize him; for he
could not have done so and borne such witness, and then forget all
about it, and send to inquire as about a total stranger.

     Naturally the Baptist could not have "heard in the prison the
works of Christ" (Matt. xi, 2) until the Christ had begun his
ministry and had performed "works" or miracles -- so that, says
Luke, "this rumor of him went forth throughout all Judea and
throughout all the region round about. And the disciples of John
shewed him of all these things" (Luke vii, 17, 18). And Matthew
confirms the idea that the imprisonment of John was after Jesus had
chosen and commissioned his disciples and had started his preaching
tour (Matt. xi, 1), though be seems to contradict this in an
earlier chapter, saying immediately after the account of the
temptation in the wilderness: "Now when Jesus had heard that John
was cast into prison, be departed into Galilee" (Matt. iv, 12), and
"From that time Jesus began to preach" (Matt. iv, 17) -- thus
beginning his ministry after John was in prison. But John the
Evangelist contradicts this; according to him, Jesus had called his
disciples and turned water into wine at Cana (John ii, 1, 2); had
travelled around Galilee and Judea (John ii, 12, 13); had cleansed
the temple (John ii, 14-16); had performed many miracles at the
passover in Jerusalem (John ii, 23); and had come with his
disciples again to Judea, and baptized (John iii, 22). "And John
also was baptizing in Enon ... For John was not yet cast into 

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prison" (John iii, 23, 24)! Luke records that just after John had
begun his preaching and baptizing, and had announced that "one
mightier than I cometh" (Luke ii, 16), Herod the tetrarch, "being
reproved" by John, "shut up John in prison" (Luke iii, 19, 20) --
thus before Jesus was baptized (by whom does not appear; Luke iii,
21, 22), and before the temptations in the wilderness (Luke iv,
1-13). But Mark says that the imprisonment of John was after the
temptations and before be began to preach; for he records the
temptations (Mark i, 12, 13), and declares: "Now after that John
was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee preaching" (Mark i, 13,


     Most bizarre of the recorded events of the life of the Christ,
the "mighty One of Jacob," the "Prince of Peace," the "Son of God,"
are his unique adventures with the Devil in the wilderness of Judea
and other places. Immediately after the dubious baptism above
noticed, the three synoptists say that Jesus was either "led"
(Matt. iv, 1; Luke iv, 1) or "driven" (Mark 1, 12) by the spirit of
God into the wilderness "to be tempted of the Devil"; but they no
sooner get him there than all sense of "harmony" is lost, and with
vivid picturesqueness of inspiration and quaint and varied
embellishment of detail they diversely draw the picture of the
"strong Son of God" in the toils of the Evil One.

     Mark wrote the story first; he relates the baptism of Jesus,
and says "immediately the spirit driveth him into the wilderness.
And he was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted of Satan;
... and the angels ministered unto him" (Mark i, 12, 13). Thus the
temptings were during the forty days; the "angels ministered unto
him" food and drink, but not a word of the manner or eerie form of
the temptations is hinted. But such a prosaic account does not suit
the vivid inspiration of Matthew: "And when he had fasted forty
days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungered. And when the
tempter came to him" (Matt. iv, 2, 3) -- thus Jesus wasn't
ministered to by the angels; and the temptations were not during
forty well-fed days, but after forty days and nights of fasting and
hunger. Luke mixes both temptations and fasting; he says that Jesus
was "forty days tempted of the devil" (Luke iv, 2); that is, he was
being tempted daily during the forty days. "And in those days he
did eat nothing: and when they were ended, he afterward hungered.
And the devil said to him" (Luke iv, 2, 3) -- thus the first
temptation, after forty days of temptations.

     Mark gives no details of the temptations, but Matthew revels
in them, as is his wont, as also does Luke, differently. Both make
the first temptation after the forty-day fast, and appropriately,
being hungry and in the desert, it was: "Command that these stones
be made bread" (Matt. iv, 3); but Luke says the Devil said: "If
thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread"
(Luke iv, 3).

     But now we have the most amazing spectacle on record: the
great fiend of hell, like a monster sinister pterodactyl, seizes
the poor bleating "Lamb of God," the mighty "Lion of Judah" --
pardon the inspired mixed metaphors -- tucks him under his vast 

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wing or dangles him from a mighty claw, springs from earth into the
air, and with soaring, flight heads for the Holy City, circles with
diabolic sweep of wing over the heads of the gaping populace,
swoops down upon the holy temple, and perches the captive Son of
God "on a pinnacle of the temple" (Matt. iv, 5; Luke iv, 9). This
is Matthew's second, Luke's third temptation; the Devil, according
to both, tempting his victim to cast himself down to the street
below, so that the angels might break his fall. Then, says Luke,
the temptations ended, and the Devil departed for a season (iv,
13). Both Matthew and Luke say "upon a pinnacle of the temple"; but
no Jew could have written that, even without inspiration, for the
sacred pile had but one pinnacle. After 1800 years the Holy Ghost
discovered its architectural mistake, and in the Revised Version
substituted "the" for "a." The Catholic Version hasn't yet done so.

     The temptations must have happened in a certain order, which
even inspiration couldn't alter -- but Matthew's third is Luke's
second. The Satanic cicerone with his divine burden wings his
cloud-like flight to the top of an "exceeding high mountain"'
whence in vast panorama -- Luke says: "in a moment of time" (iv. 5)
-- could be seen "all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of
them" (Matt. iv, 8); and all these kingdoms, some of them in the
America of the Incas and Montezumas, the Devil shawed the God, and
offered to him, for, he said, "that is delivered unto me; and to
whomsoever I will, I give it." Comment on this bit of inspiration
is supererogatory.

     But this amazing spectacle was never presented to eye of
Christ or man, if we believe the inspired author of the Gospel of
John, and Jesus was never in the wilderness with the Devil at all.
After recording the descending of the dove upon Jesus (without the
voice from heaven or the baptism), it is declared that "the next
day after" occurred the episode of Andrew and Simon Peter (John i,
35-42); and that "the day following" occurred the incident of
Philip and Nathaniel (John i, 43-51). "And the third day there was
a marriage in Cana of Galilee; ... and both Jesus was called, and
his disciples, to the marriage" (John ii, 1, 2), and were there
present; and there Jesus did his first miracle, making water into
wine. He could not have been in the wilderness, ahungered and
thirsty, with the Devil, while he was with the demon rum at a party
in town. Thus the historicity of the temptation in the wilderness
is seriously discounted, and inspiration is badly out of joint.

                       THE APOSTLES CHOSEN

     The "calling of the Apostles" should, it would seem, be one of
the simplest narratives that truth-inspired gospel historians could
relate if they knew what they were talking about, or were inspired.
But it is as sadly mixed and muddled as any narrative in the books,
when there is more than one inspired recorder of the same alleged
fact -- for no two ever tell the same thing the same way.

     Matthew is inspired to relate that immediately after the
baptism by John, and the fantastic "temptation in the wilderness"
by the Devil, Jesus, "leaving Nazareth. ... came and dwelt in
Capernaum" (Matt. iv, 13) -- a town of which the identity and even
the existence are dubious -- in order to fulfil another pretended 

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prophecy. "From that time Jesus began to preach" (iv, 17). And
Jesus, "walking by the sea of Galilee" (evidently alone), saw two
fishermen, brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother,
"casting a net into the sea"; and he saith unto them: "Follow me,
and I will make you fishers of men"; and the two "straightway left
their nets, and followed him" (Matt. iv, 18-20). Then, the three
"going on from thence" -- or, as Mark says, "when he had gone a
little farther thence" (Mark i, 19), showing that it was not at the
same point where he had met Peter and Andrew -- he saw two other
fishermen who were brothers, James and John Zebedee, "in a ship
mending their nets"; and "he called them. And they immediately left
the ship and their father, and followed him" (iv, 21, 22); and they
"went about all Galilee teaching" (iv, 23).

     Thus we have two separate and distinct pairs of fishermen,
found successively some distance apart, both pairs expressly
"called" by Jesus, and straightway leaving their jobs and following
a total stranger on a novel kind of man-fishing expedition.

     But Matthew's persistent contradiction of Luke relates the
incident quite differently, but by the same inspiration. In his
chapter v, Jesus, now evidently in a big crowd, "as the people
pressed upon him to hear the word of God," "stood by the lake of
Gennesaret, and saw two ships standing by the lake: but the
fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets" (v,
1, 2) -- not here "casting their nets into the sea," as Matthew
says. And Luke says that at the bidding of the stranger, Jesus,
Simon the fisher let down his net, and "inclosed a great multitude
of fishes: and their net brake" (v, 6); and the fish "filled both
ships, so that they began to sink" (v, 7). But John says there were
only 153 fishes, but big ones, "and for all there were so many, yet
was not the net broken" (John xxi, 11). Aren't fishermen the liars!
This happened at the very beginning of Jesus' ministry -- just
after he had gone to Simon's house and healed Simon's mother-in-law
(Luke iv, 38, 39), but before Jesus met and "called" Simon (Luke v,
1-10). John, however, says that it was after the resurrection, on
the occasion of his "third appearance" (John xxi, 14). Aren't
evangelists inspired!

     But to return to the contradictory accounts of the "calling."
Jesus "entered into one of the ships, which was Simon's, and prayed
him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And he sat
down, and taught the people out of the ship" (v, 3). And James and
John, the Zebedees, were there with Peter and Andrew -- "their
partners, which were in the other ship" (v, 7); and it is repeated,
for our greater credence: "James, and John, the sons of Zebedee,
which were partners with Simon" (v, 10). And here it was that
"Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from hence forth thou shalt catch
men" (v,10). Then (after a fish story extraordinary, which we shall
soon tell), "when they had brought their ships to land, they Tall
four together] forsook all, and followed him" (v, II) -- this time
without being "called" or asked at all. So Matthew and Luke here
again inspiredly contradict each other; but again John breaks into
the narrative and flatly contradicts them both.

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     And this is the "true record" of the "calling" -- which was
not a calling at all. John the Baptist was beside the Jordan, 
baptizing all comers; and as "John stood, and two of his disciples"
(John i, 35) -- there by Jordan, and not on the Sea of Galilee or
Lake Gennesaret -- Jesus walked by, evidently all alone; and [John]
"looking upon Jesus as he walked, [John] saith, Behold the Lamb of
God!" (i, 36). And John's "two disciples heard him [John] speak,
and they followed Jesus. Then Jesus turned, and saw them following,
and saith unto them, What seek ye? They said unto him, Rabbi, ...
where dwellest thou? He saith unto them, Come and see" (i, 37-39).
And the two went home with Jesus "and abode with him that day."

     Here comes the most surprising feature of this inspired
record: "One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him
[Jesus], was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother!" (i, 40) -- here
following John by the Jordan, not fishing with Brother Simon on the
Sea of Galilee. And Simon Peter was not there fishing either. For
Andrew, says John, then went off somewhere and "findeth his own
brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messiah. ...
And he brought him to Jesus" (i, 41, 42). No truly inspired records
could possibly be more diverse than these three; two of them must
undeniably be wholly untrue. But it is a safe assertion that Andrew
did not say to Peter, as he is quoted to have said: "I have found
the Messiah." It was on the very next day (i, 35) after the
uncertain baptism of Jesus by John, at the very beginning of the
public activities of Jesus, that this scene is laid; Jesus was not
Messiah, or Christ (i, 41), until he was "anointed" long afterward.
Jesus beheld Simon and said to him: "Thou art Simon the son of
Jona" (John i, 42). Later he addresses him as "Simon, son of Jonas"
(John xxi, 15). The Revised Version in both passages reads "Simon,
son of John"; but the two names are not the same, or even related.
Jona (Jonah) and Jonas mean "a dove"; John means "grace of God."
Inspiration is here sadly at loggerheads with itself, even on the
highly important point of the "calling" of Simon Peter the
fisherman to be the founder of the whole apostolic succession.

                          "THE TWELVE"

     Before leaving the apostles to shift for themselves, we may
briefly notice several other flaws of inspiration relating to them.
Matthew, who was one of them, surely ought to know his own name,
and how he came to be numbered among the chosen Twelve. We have
seen already the conflicting accounts given by him and by Luke and
John as to the "calling" -- or volunteering -- of Andrew, Peter,
James and John. As for himself, Matthew says modestly: "And as
Jesus passed forth from thence [where be had healed the man with
the palsy], he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of
custom; and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose, and
followed him" (Matt. ix, 9), But Mark tells us that "as [Jesus]
passed by [after the healing], he saw Levi, the son of Alphaeus
sitting at the receipt of custom," and called him (ii, 14). And
Luke (v, 27) corroborates Mark, as usual contradicting Matthew,
even as to his own name.

     This little tangle does not end here: Matthew gives a list of
the twelve apostles; among the others he lists "Matthew the
publican"; two Simons, one surnamed Peter, the other the Canaanite 

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(the whole race of Canaanites having been exterminated by Joshua);
two Jameses, the son of Alphieus, and the son of Zebedee; and one
"Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus" (x, 2-4). Luke omits
Lebbaeus, and substitutes a second "Judas, the brother of James,"
besides Judas Iscariot (vi, 16). So we do not really know who
composed the Twelve.

     As for James, his identity is very confused, as is also that
of the second Judas. Matthew (xiii, 55) and Mark (vi, 3) say that
both James and Judas were sons of the Virgin Mary and brothers of
Jesus; and Paul affirms that James was "the Lord's brother" (Gal.
i, 19). But later both Matthew (xxvii, 56) and Mark (xv, 40)
contradict themselves and say that this James was the son of some
other Mary. If James and Jesus were sons of the Virgin Mary, their
father was of course Joseph the carpenter; but Matthew (x, 3) and
Mark (iii, 18) say that James and Judas were the sons of Alphaeus.
If they were the sons of Alphaeus, they were brothers of Matthew,
alias Levi, the publican; for Mark declares (ii, 14) that Levi was
the son of Alphaeus. Judas, according to Luke (vi, 16), was "the
brother of James"; the Revised Version says: "Judas, the son of
James." James is not once mentioned in the gospel of his brother

     Again, Matthew and John, as we have seen, represent the Twelve
picked up, one, two, or four at a time, at various times and
places; but Mark and Luke say that they were all chosen together at
one and the same time, from a large number of disciples: Jesus
"went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in
prayer. And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and
of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles" (Luke vi, 12,
13; Mark iii, 13, 14); and then follows the list of names we have
just seen to differ from the other two lists. So the whole matter
of the apostles is left a puzzle, except in one point, the personal
character of these sainted gospel propagandists.


     Two of them, Peter and John, are expressly declared to be
"unlearned and ignorant men" (Acts iv, 13); all twelve were of the
same type and well matched. They were variously picked up from
among the humblest and most superstitious of the Jews of the time,
naked fishermen and peasants, "called" personally, we are told, by
the Son of Yahveh, the King of the Jews, to be his counsellors and
friends in the establishment of his earthly and heavenly kingdoms.
They saw this carpenter's Son of Nazareth acclaimed by the desert
dervish John as the Son of Yahveh, the long-promised and never-
realized Messiah, the King of the Jews. This John was the own
cousin of Jesus, born within six months of Jesus' birth, and
brought up in intimate association; yet John avers and repeats: "I
knew him not," until the dove flew down and lighted on him (John i,
29-34), and thus gave divine "sign" of the truth of his claim. But
any signs are good to the ignorant and superstitious; and none at
all are needed to gather followers for curiosity or hope of reward.

     The hope of reward was the inspiredly recorded motive of these
peasants who left their petty crafts for greater profit by
following the lowly king-to-be. The greed and zeal for personal 

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aggrandizement of the chosen Twelve is constantly revealed
throughout. Hardly had the Twelve got organized and into action
before the cunning and crafty Peter, acting as spokesman, boldly
advanced the itching palm: "Then answered Peter and said unto him,
Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have
therefore?" (Matt. xix, 27). Here for once is complete "harmony of
the gospels"; all three record the demand and the promise of
reward, though still variantly (Mark x, 28; Luke xviii, 28). The
Master responded splendidly with the promise: "Verily I say unto
you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the
Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit
upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel" (Matt.
xix, 28) -- which seems to indicate that the ten tribes were not so
lost as has been generally supposed. Still, this reward of reigning
in future glory was naturally dampening to the spirits of those who
had abandoned fishnets and the like to follow one proclaimed King
of the Jews, whose earthly throne was to be established forever,
there on earth. The other two inspired recorders assert that the
promise was for reward both on earth and in the hereafter: that
they should "receive an hundredfold now in this time; ... and in
the world to come eternal life" (Mark x, 30; Luke xviii, 30). But
even these brilliant rewards could not satisfy the greed of the
holy ones, and led, not to gratitude, but to greater greed and

     The mother of James and John, probably inspired by them, and
zealous for their greater glory, came secretly, with her two sons,
to Jesus, "worshipping him, and desiring a certain thing of him";
and when Jesus asked her what it was, "She saith unto him, Grant
that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the
other on the left, in thy kingdom" (Matt. xx, 20, 21). But Mark
contradicts the assurance of Matthew that it was Mrs. Zebedee who
made the request; and says that "James and John, the sons of
Zebedee, come unto him, saying, Master, we would that thou
shouldest do for us whatsoever we shall desire," and themselves
stated their modest demand for preferment (Mark x, 35-37) -- which,
if granted, would have ousted Yahveh God from his proper seat (Mark
xvi, 19). But both agree that "when the ten heard it, they were
moved with indignation against the two brethren" (Matt. xx, 24;
Mark x, 41).

     Nor during the whole year or two of association with their
Master did these holy apostles abate their greed and strife.
Several disputes are recorded among them as to "who should be
greatest" among them (Matt. xviii, 1; Mark ix, 33, 34; Luke ix,
46). Here again the gospels harmonize in asserting the constant
inharmony of the apostles. Even at the Last Supper, when Jesus had
announced that one of them would that night betray him to death,
"there was also strife among them, which of them should be
accounted the greatest" (Luke xxii, 24,). And great was the disgust
of the Master at his miserable apostles, and especially at the
craven and crafty Peter. When first Jesus began to foretell that he
must be put to death -- thus putting an end to their hopes of
reward -- Peter, more knowing than his own Lord, "began to rebuke
him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto
thee"; and Jesus turned on him with blasting scorn, "and said unto
Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me" 

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(Matt. xvi, 22, 23); and again the gospels are in harmony (Mark
viii, 33). Such are the holy apostles of Jesus Christ, painted by
some of themselves through inspiration. This "Satan" Peter, later
self-appointed "Saint" Peter, deserves our mention again.

     But we shall now point out some other of the more glaring
contradictions and obviously impossible truths of the inspired
gospels. All their fables and superstitions it is impossible on
account of their number even to mention. We limit instances to
reputed incidents of the life of Christ.

                     OTHER APOSTOLIC TANGLES

     Immediately after the calling of Peter, Andrew, James, and
John, according to Mark (i, 16-20), "they went into Capernaum ...
and entered the synagogue, and taught" (i, 21); but Luke says that
Jesus went to Capernaum and taught in the synagogue alone (iv, 31)
and before "calling" these four fishermen (v, 1-11). Jesus
plaintively said that the foxes have boles and the birds have
nests, but "the son of man hath not where to lay his head" (Luke
ix, 58), as if he were a homeless wanderer and outcast. Mark,
however, tells us that "as Jesus sat at meat in his own house, many
publicans and sinners sat also together with Jesus and his
disciples" (ii, 15). This was his permanent dwelling house; for
"leaving Nazareth he came and dwelt in Capernaum" (Matt. iv, 13).
According to this, Jesus had a spacious home, and could entertain
large companies, though Luke says the dinner was given by Levi in
his own house (Luke v, 29).

     Before the "calling" of the Twelve Jesus performed no
miracles, according to John, for "the third day" after his baptism
Jesus and his disciples were invited to the wedding in Cana, and
there Jesus turned the water into wine. "This beginning of miracles
did Jesus in Cana" (John ii, 1-11). But according to all the
others, as we have seen, Jesus did not go to Cana and perform there
his first miracle, but into the wilderness for forty days; and
according to Matthew (iv, 18-23) and Mark (xiv, 12-20, et seq.),
immediately after the temptation Jesus "called" the first four
disciples and then began his miracles in Capernaum. But Luke brings
him to Capernaum, gives him a long list of miracles, and reports
his casting out devils and healing Peter's mother-in-law and his
preaching throughout Galilee (Luke iv, 31-44) before he "called"
the big four (v, 1-11).


     The Sermon on the Mount is the most beautiful and lofty
discourse in Christian history. Very little of it is original; as
the marginal references show, a great part of it is the stringing
together of odd scraps of moralizing taken bodily from the Old
Testament. Matthew sets it out in extenso, and lays the scene just
after the temptation in the wilderness, and the "calling" of Peter,
Andrew, James, and John, but before the "calling" of Levi (Matt.
v-vii; ix, 9). According to Luke (v, 27; vi, 17-20) it was after
Levi was "called." He declares that "seeing the multitudes, [Jesus]
went up into a mountain: and, when be was set, his disciples came
unto him: And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying" (Matt. 
v, 1, 2) -- here following in three chapters the justly celebrated
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     But Luke tells the whole affair quite differently. It was not
on the mountain, where Jesus spoke seated; it was down in the
plain, where Jesus stood and spoke. It was after all the Twelve had
been chosen and commissioned, which, according to Luke, as we have
seen, took place while Jesus was up on the mount in prayer all
night (Luke vi, 12-16). Then, "He came down with [the Twelve], and
stood in the plain, and the company of his disciples, and a great
multitude of people" (vi, 17). There, standing, "he lifted up his
eyes on his disciples, and said" (vi, 20) -- and here follows the
selfsame sermon but abbreviated. Again inspiration clashes with
inspiration, and we are left in doubt of truth.

                       THIS LORD'S PRAYER

     A beautiful part of Matthew's Sermon on the Mount is the
Lord's prayer. Jesus told the multitude of the vain public prayers
of the heathen and of the hypocrites, and said: "Be not ye
therefore like unto them. ... After this manner therefore pray ye:
Our Father which art in heaven," etc. (Matt. vi, 8, 9) Luke again
gives a different origin for this cherished story; laying the scene
long after the Sermon on the Mount or the Plain, under totally
different circumstances, and making it a prayer delivered as a
model, on request, to only a few disciples. As if by plenary
inspiration Luke says: "And it came to pass, that, as [Jesus] was
praying in a certain place, when he ceased one of his disciples
said to him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his
disciples. And he said unto them. When ye pray, say, Our Father,"
etc. (Luke xi, 1-2) Every circumstance of the two origins is in
conflict. Even this masterpiece of devotion is in two totally
different settings, and in two different versions -- and like the
whole sennon, is a composite of ancient sayings of the Scriptures.
It is said to be practically identical with the Kaddish of the

                         CHRIST ANOINTED

     Let us witness the much celebrated "Christening" or anointing
of the Messiah-King of the Jews. Inspiration is strangely at
variance as to when and where it happened, and how. If the great
Yahveh of heaven had sent his only begotten Son on special mission
to earth as the long-prophesied Messiah, to re-establish the throne
of David forever and sit upon it as king, it was a very sorry
ceremonial, at best, for the anointing of a king, earthly or

     Matthew states that two days before the passover (at which he
was to be betrayed) "Jesus was in Bethany, in the house of Simon
the leper"; and "there came unto him a woman having an alabaster
box of very precious ointment, and poured it on his head, as he sat
at meat"; whereat "his disciples ... had indignation" for the waste
(Matt. xxvi, 6-8). Mark's account is the same, in substance (Mark
xiv, 1-4), but he specifies that the box of ointment was "of
spikenard, very precious" (xiv, 3), and that only "some" of the
disciples were annoyed at the waste. Both lay the scene, as we have
seen, two day's before the last passover at which Jesus was ever
present, just before his betrayal and death and after his triumphal
entry into Jerusalem, and in the house of Simon the leper.

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     But Luke (chapter vii) makes a very different story of it: the
time was early in Jesus' ministry, just after John the Baptist had
sent two of his disciples to Jesus, in the earliest days, to
inquire: "Art thou he that should come? or look we for another?"
(vii, 19, 20). Then "one of the Pharisees desired him that he would
eat with him. And he went into the Pharisee's house [in "a city
called Nain" (vii, 11)], and sat down to meat" (vii, 36). Now and
here it was that "behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner"
came in with the alabaster box of ointment; and she washed "his
feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and
kissed his feet, and anointed them [his feet] with the ointment"
(vii, 37, 38). Nobody said anything about the waste -- the
disciples were not even invited to the dinner. The Pharisee is here
called Simon, but could not have been the leper, for lepers were
"unclean," and no one would have eaten with them. Moreover this
dinner was two years before the last passover; and the feet, not
the head, were anointed.

     But the greatest surprise comes from the inspired record of
John (chapter xii). The event takes place "six days before the
passover," and before the entry into Jerusalem and in the house of
Lazarus "which had been dead, whom he raised from the dead. There
they made him a supper; and Martha served: but Lazarus was one of
them that sat at the table with him. Then took Mary a pound of
ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus,
and wiped his feet with her hair" (xii, 8). It was "one of his
disciples, Judas Iscariot" (xii, 4), who alone complained about the
waste, and said that the ointment should have been sold and the
proceeds given to the poor (xii, 5). In chapter xi, John tells of
a sick man named Lazarus and of "Mary and her sister Martha" (xi,
1); and makes the positive identification: "It was that Mary which
anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair"
(xi, 2) -- though the story of her doing it is deferred until the
next chapter. We are pardonably surprised to learn that it was this
friend of Jesus who was the "woman of the city, which was a sinner"
(Luke vii, 37), for we had not previously suspected her virtue, and
had thought it was Mary Magdalene, the "soiled dove" out of whom he
had "cast seven devils" (Mark xvi, 9; Luke viii, 2). Inspiration is
here again seriously at odds.

                    JESUS -- KING OF THE JEWS

     The saddest, sorriest mockery in the reputed life of the
humble Nazarene was his tawdry entry into Jerusalem as the arrived
Messiah -- the King of the Jews. Great must have been the
obsession, the delusion, of the poor Wayfarer, who had no place
even to lay his head, and had to catch a fish to find a penny to
pay his pittance of a poll-tax -- and must needs borrow an ass's
colt to make his mock-triumphal entry into his kingdom -- for one
day. The discrepancies of the four inspired accounts of it are
rather trifling, but they exist, and may be noted in passing the
pitiful scene.

     In Matthew xxi, Jesus having arrived, with disciples and a
rabble, at Bethphage, by the Mount of Olives, sent "two disciples,
Saying unto them, Go into the village over against you, and
straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose 

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them, and bring them unto me" (xxi, 1, 2). The two disciples went
and "brought the ass, and the colt [two animals], and put on them
[both animals] their clothes, and they set him thereon" (xxi, 7) --
thus riding both ass and colt. The rabble followed behind, shouting
Hosannas to their King (Mark xi, 10). Our poor Nazarene, the man
who would be King, jogged with his shouting rabblement into
Jerusalem, and all the city wondered, saying: "Who is this?" and
for answer the rabble replied: "This is Jesus the prophet of
Nazareth of Galilee" (Matt. xxi, 10, 11). And with his inveterate
habit of warping ancient sayings into "prophecies fulfilled by
Jesus," Matthew says: "All this was done, that it might be
fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying. ... "Behold, thy
King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt
the foal of an ass" (xxi, 4, 5). But after a big flourish of mock
authority by driving the money-changers from the temple, the very
same day, the uncrowned King "left them, and went out of the city
into Bethany; and he lodged there" (xxi, 17). Years later, another
king made a like grand flourish, and

                              "... with four thousand men,
          Rode up the hill, and then rode down again."

The God-sent King who was to establish his kingdom and reign
forever over Israel did not fulfill the principal part of the

     Mark, who wrote the story first, says that Jesus said: "Go
your way into the village over against you and ... ye shall find a
colt tied; ... bring him. ... And they brought the colt to Jesus"
(Mark xi, 2, 7); but as this would not fulfill the prophecy of "an
ass and a colt," Matthew, in copying Mark, added the ass and the
prophecy. Luke tells only of the colt (Luke xix, 29-40). John, who
tells us that he always tells the truth, says that it was "on the
next day" (John xxi, 12) after the "six days before the passover"
(xii, 1) when Mary anointed the feet of Jesus; "much people that
were come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to
Jerusalem, Took branches of palm trees, and went forth to meet him,
and cried, Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel." Thus the city
rabble took the initiative in the farce-comedy. John assures us:
"These things understood not his disciples at the first" (xii, 16),
whereas the other three make it the disciples who brought the ass,
or ass and colt, or colt, and put their own clothes thereon, and
themselves began the whole scene. Until another revelation, we
shall never know the details exactly.

     The "purging of the temple," says John, occurred only a few
days after the wedding at Cana, and therefore at the beginning of
Jesus, ministry (John ii, 1-22); but the other three (Matt, xxi,
12-16; Mark xi, 15-18; Luke xix, 45-48) all place it at the close
of his career, just before his last passover. The next day after
the purging, Jesus is recorded as cursing the fig tree (Matt. xxi,
18, 19); but Mark says the cursing came first; then Jesus went into
Jerusalem (but not on his triumphal entry, which had taken place
the day before; Mark xi, 1-11) and cleaned out the money-changers
(xi, 12-19). According to Matthew, the fig tree was blasted by the
curse immediately, before the eyes of the disciples (xxi, 19, 20);
but Mark says that it was not till the next day after the cursing 

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that the disciples, as they passed by, saw the fig tree dried up
(xi, 19, 20). Mark says that Jesus and his company, being hungry
"and seeing a fig tree afar off," went to it to find figs, but
found none, "for the time of figs was not yet" (xi, 12, 13). Then
Jesus cursed it (xi, 14). As this happened at the time of passover,
in March or April, naturally there would be no figs, which are
summer fruit; and one would think that the all-wise Son of Yahveh,
who could read the innermost thoughts of man, would know this
simple fact of nature, as well as whether there were figs on the
tree without going to find out by inspection. The omniscient God
searching for figs in March, and disappointed at not finding them
-- creating a tree to bear fruit in the summer and cursing it for
not bearing in the spring! Jesus cursed a living tree and it died;
Mohammed blessed a dead tree and it lived.


     The Gospels simply cannot tell the truth. Scarcely a thing is
stated by one inspired writer which is not denied or contradicted
by one or more of the others. To cite them all would lead beyond
reasonable limits of space; but to show further the incessant
inharmony of inspired truths even in minor details, I shall pick at
random a number of instances, with bare citation of subject,
chapter, and verse.

     Jesus cured Peter's mother-in-law after he cleansed the leper
(Matt. viii, 2, 3, 14, 15); or before (Mark i, 29-31; 40-42; Luke
iv, 38, 39; v, 12, 13). The leper was cleansed after the Sermon on
the Mount (Matt. v, 1; viii, 1-4); or before (Luke v, 12-14; vi,
20-49). Peter's mother-in-law was healed before Peter was "called"
(Luke iv, 38, 39; v, 10); or after (Matt. iv, 18, 19; viii, 14, 15;
Mark i, 16, 17, 30, 31). James and John were with Jesus when he
cured this woman (Mark i, 29); they were not, as they had not yet
been called (Luke iv, 38, 39; v, 10, 11). The centurion's servant
was healed between the cleansing of the leper and the curing of
Peter's sick relative (Matt. viii, 2-14); it was not until after
both these cures (Luke iv, 38, 39; v, 12, 13; vii, 1-10). The
centurion came to Jesus (Matt. viii, 5); he did not; he sent Jewish
elders for Jesus (Luke vii, 2-4). This miracle was performed in
Capernaum (Matt. viii, 5; Luke vii, 1); but it was in Cana (John
iv, 46). Jesus stilled the tempest before Matthew was called -- he
says so himself (Matt. viii, 23-27; ix, 9); but it was after (Mark
ii, 14; iv, 35-41). Matthew also says that Jesus cast out the
devils that entered into the herd of swine before he was called as
a disciple (Matt. viii, 28, 33; ix, 9); but it was not until after
(Mark ii, 14; v, 1-13; Luke v, 27; viii, 26-33). This legion of
devils was cast out of one man (Mark v, 2; Luke viii, 27); but it
was "two possessed with devils" out of whom the legion was cast
(Matt. 8, 28). The possessed said his, or the devils' name was
Legion, a Latin military term. The Gospels were written in Greek;
but the disciples and the devils spoke Aramaic, and the devils
would hardly have had a Latin name, which the Galilean peasant
apostles would not have understood. There were about two thousand
swine (Mark v, 13); the devils asked and the Christ graciously
granted permission to the devils to enter into the swine. If each
hog got only one devil in him there were about two thousand devils;
the possessed must have been a very large man to house so many 

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devils, or the devils must have been very small ones. If Jesus
could grant this permission, he could have refused it. To grant it
and so destroy a great herd of hogs would be a felony in any
civilized country; it was gross malicious mischief even in
Palestine. But hogs are an abhorrence' to Jews, forbidden by their
law of Moses; it is odd that such extensive hog raising should have
flourished in their country. The Jews did not really raise hogs at
all. All these stories of devil-exorcism are told by the
synoptists; not one is mentioned by John.

     At Nain Jesus raised a dead man to life (Luke vii, 12-15), but
this great miracle is mentioned only by Luke; all the others ignore
the stupendous feat. The disciples of John asked Jesus about
fasting (Matt. ix, 14); but it was the scribes and Pharisees who
made the inquiry (Luke v, 33). Jesus is credited with raising the
daughter of Jairus from the dead. Matthew quotes Jairus as saying:
"My daughter is even now dead" (Matt. ix, 18); but he said: "lieth
at the point of death" (Mark v, 23); or "lay a dying" (Luke viii,
42). Whether Jesus raised a dead girl to life or simply healed a
sick one is uncertain. Peter, James, and John witnessed this
miracle (Mark V, 37-40; Luke viii, 51); John, who was the only
gospel writer present, does not mention it at all. When Jesus first
sent out the Twelve, he said: "He that receiveth you receiveth me,"
etc. (Matt. x, 40; Luke x, 16); but Jesus used these words at the
Last Supper (John xiii, 20). When sending the Twelve on their first
crusade, Jesus told them to take "neither shoes, nor yet staves"
(Matt. x, 9, 10; Luke ix, 3); but he commanded them to take shoes
and staves and nothing else (Mark vi, 8, 9). He also commanded them
not to go among the Gentiles, "and into any city of the Samaritans,
enter ye not" (Matt x, 5); but straightway both Jesus and the
disciples went to Samaria to Sychar, and they "abode there two
days" (John iv, 3-5, 8, 40). Jesus told the multitude: "From the
days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth
violence" (Matt. xi, 12). The words "from the days of John the
Baptist until now" would indicate that a long period of time had
elapsed since the days of John; yet on the very day on which Jesus
uttered these words, Matthew himself records a visit to Jesus of
the disciples of John, who was yet living (Matt. xi, 2, 3). The
disciples said to Jesus: "Master, the Jews of late sought to stone
thee" (John xi, 8); the disciples were themselves Jews; such
language would never be used by Jews, but rather by the Greek
Father who wrote the "Gospel according to John." When Herod heard
of the wonderful works of Jesus, he said: "This is John the
Baptist; he is risen from the dead" (Matt. xiv, 2); here we have
the Christian doctrine of bodily resurrection avowed by the pagan
tetrarch. The account given by Matt. (xiv, 6-11) and Mark (vi,
21-28) of the time and the reason for Herod's beheading of John is
entirely at variance with that of the greatest Jewish historian,
Josephus (Antiq., Bk. xviii, chap. v, sec. 2). John is said to have
baptized "Jerusalem and all Judea" (Matt. iii, 5; Mark i, 5); this
is of course at least mildly exaggerated; if Jesus and his
disciples "made and baptized more disciples than John" (John iv, 1,
2), where did these latter come from? Of his mightier successor,
John said: "Whose shoes I am not worthy to bear" (Matt. iii, 11);
what John said was: "The latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to
stoop down and unloose" (Mark i, 7), which is John's own report
(John i, 27). John also said of Jesus: "He shall baptize you with 

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the Holy Ghost" (Mark i, 8; John i, 33); but he said that the
baptism should be "with the Holy Ghost and with fire" (Matt. iii,
11; Luke iii, 16) -- the latter an element not recorded as having
been used, unless the reference is to hell fire, which Jesus

     The loaves and fishes to feed the multitude were provided by
the disciples (Matt. xiv, 15-17; Mark vi, 35-38; Luke ix, 12, 13);
but they were furnished by "a lad" (John vi, 9). The miraculous
feast was enjoyed by "about five thousand men" (Mark vi, 44); but
this was "beside women and children" (Matt. xiv, 21). This miracle
occurred in "a desert place belonging to the city called Bethsaida"
(Luke ix, 10); but when the repast was furnished, Jesus
"constrained his disciples to get into the ship, and go to the
other side before unto Bethsaida" (Mark vi, 45); if the miracle was
performed in a desert of Bethsaida, the disciples were already
there and did not cross the sea to reach the place. Then, after the
feeding, Jesus "sent the multitudes away" (Matt. xiv, 22; Mark vi,
45); he did not, but withdrew himself into a mountain (John vi,
15). Jesus went into this mountain to pray (Matt. xiv, 23; Mark vi,
46); he went to the mountain to escape the multitude who wished to
"take him by force, to make him a king" (John vi, 15). Jesus had
sent his disciples by ship across the sea; he went into the
mountain to pray; "and when the evening was come, he was there
alone. But the ship was now in the midst of the sea" (Matt. xiv,
22-24; Mark vi, 46, 47); on the other hand, "as he was alone
praying, his disciples were with him" (Luke ix, 18). Jesus
commanded his disciples, after the feeding, to sail "unto
Bethsaida" (Mark vi, 45); they steered their course "toward
Capernaum" (John vi, 17); and this erratic course brought them
"into the land of Gennesaret" (Matt. xiv, 34). Walking on the
water, Jesus overtook the shipload of disciples "in the midst of
the sea" (Matt. xiv, 24-26; Mark vi, 47, 48); but it was as they
were nearing the land (John vi, 19-21); thus, according to John,
Jesus walked entirely across the sea, not merely half way, as in
the other record. Peter tried to imitate his Master and walk on the
stormy waters, according to Matthew (xiv, 29-31); none of the
others report this interesting adventure.

     After feeding five thousand with five loaves in the wilderness
of Bethsaida, Jesus proposed to feed four thousand with seven
loaves; at this the disciples expressed their surprise, and asked:
"From whence can a man satisfy these men with bread here in the
wilderness?" (Mark viii, 4, 5) After this second miraculous
feeding, Jesus "came into the coasts of Magdala" (Matt. xv, 39);
the Revised Version reads "borders of Magadan"; but he really came
"into the parts of Dalmanutha" (Mark viii, 10).

     The scribes and Pharisees complained to Jesus that his
disciples violated the traditions by eating with unwashed hands
(Matt. xv, 1, 2; Mark vii, 1, 2); but it was a certain Pharisee who
made this complaint to Jesus because he himself ate without washing
(Luke xi, 37, 38). A "woman of Canaan" besought Jesus to cast the
devil out of her daughter (Matt. xv, 22); "the woman was a Greek"
(Mark vii, 26).

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     On the way to Caesarea Philippi, Peter makes a great
discovery. Asked by Jesus, "But whom say ye that I am?" Peter
replied: "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus
answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona; for
flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which
is in heaven" (Matt. xvi, 16, 17). And as a reward for his
supernatural perception, Jesus conferred on him the keys of heaven
and hell. Both Jesus and Matthew must have forgotten that just
before, when Peter was about to sink as he tried to walk to Jesus
on the water, and Jesus rescued him and brought him aboard the
ship, "they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying,
Of a truth thou art the Son of God" (Matt. xiv, 29-33). So that
Peter's information was not a divine revelation but the common
gossip of the whole crew of fishermen. And at the very beginning of
the ministry of Jesus, before Peter was "called," and when his
brother Andrew went and found him to bring him to Jesus, Andrew
said to Peter: "We have found the Messias, which is, being
interpreted, the Christ" (John i, 41). On the next day Nathaniel
said to Jesus; "Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King
of Israel!" (John i, 49). Peter's "revelation" thus loses credit
for originality.

     The Transfiguration occurred "after six days" from the
announcement by Jesus of his immediate "second coming" (Matt. xvi,
28; xvii, 1; Mark ix, 1, 2); but "it came to pass about an eight
days after" (Luke ix, 27, 28). Peter, James, and John were with
Jesus there; "And his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment
was white as the light" (Matt. xvii, 2); "The fashion of his
countenance was altered, and his raiment was white and glistening"
(Luke ix, 29). But it was only the clothing of Jesus which was
affected: "And his raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow"
(Mark ix, 3). A voice from the clouds declared: "This is my beloved
Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him" (Matt. xvii, 5); but
the voice only said: "This is my beloved Son; hear ye him" (Mark
ix, 7; Luke ix, 35). As at the baptism, when the same voice was
heard to say the same thing, it probably only thundered, and any
interpretation could be given to the noise by superstitious
peasants. Moses and Elijah joined the transfiguration group, and
Peter, ambitious always for a speaking part, proposed to build
three tabernacles for the heavenly visitors; this proposal was made
in the awful presence and hearing of Moses and Elijah (Matt. xvii,
3, 4; Mark ix, 4-8); but Peter did not say this until "as they
departed from him" (Luke ix, 33). Moses and Elijah talked with
Jesus "and spake of his decease which he should accomplish at
Jerusalem" (Luke ix, 31); but I cannot understand how Luke knew
what the conversation was about, as he was not present. Peter,
James, and John "were heavy with sleep" (Luke ix, 32), and so could
not have heard the conversation; and the proposal for the
tabernacles came only afterwards "when they were awake" (Luke ix,
32). But the three disciples were not asleep at all; they were
quite awake and saw and heard all that passed (Matt. xvii, 2-7;
Mark ix, 2-8). John was the only Gospel historian who was present
at this tremendous scene; he mentions not a word of it. Of this and
of all similar situations said to have been witnessed by John, an
authority has said: "All the events said to have been witnessed by
John alone are omitted by John alone. This fact seems fatal either
to the reality of the events in question or to the genuineness of 

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the fourth gospel." [W.R. Greg, Creed of Christendom.] Immediately
after the disappearance of Moses and Elijah the conversation turned
upon the tradition that "Elias must first come"; and Jesus replied
that "Elias is come already and they knew him not. ... Then the
disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist"
(Matt. xvii, 10-13). Jesus would seem to recognize thus the
doctrine of transmigration of souls; but if Elijah had been before
their eyes at the transfiguration, this conversation could not well
have followed.

     After the transfiguration Jesus cured a lunatic (Matt. xvii,
15); he was an epileptic (Revised Version); but he had "a dumb
spirit" (Mark ix, 17). The tax collector of Capernaum demanded a
poll-tax of Jesus; he told Peter to go fishing "and take up the
fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth,
thou shalt find a piece of money; that take, and give unto them for
me and thee" (Matt. xvii, 27). But Matthew leaves us genuinely
curious as to what kind of "fisherman's luck" Peter had this time,
whether he caught the fish and got the money or not: there are
limits even to fishermen's tales. After leaving Galilee Jesus went
"into the coasts of Judaea beyond Jordan" (Matt. xix, 1). The
inspired writer again did not know geography; there were no "coasts
of Judaea beyond Jordan"; Jordan was the eastern boundary of
Judaea; the coasts were some fifty miles to the west. On his way to
Jerusalem to attend his last passover, Jesus "passed through the
midst of Samaria" (Luke xvii, 11); but he "cometh into the coasts
of Judaea by the farther side of Jordan" (Mark x, 1); these are two
totally different routes. "And Jesus entered and passed through
Jericho" (Luke xix, 1). This contradicts Luke's statement that
Jesus "passed through the midst of Samaria" (Luke xvii, 11), as
Jericho was not on the route from Samaria, but was on the route
described by Mark (Mark x, 1). On whichever of these routes he was,
Jesus in the way healed ten lepers (Luke xv.ii, 12-14); this
wholesale miracle is recorded by no other gospel; it is declared to
be "absolutely unhistorical" (Bible for Learners, Vol. iii, p.
310). I see no reason why the learned divines who edited the Bible
for Learners should have singled out this one miracle to criticize
as "unhistorical"; they were all so. On the way also "blind
Bartimaeus" sat begging, and he cried out: "Jesus, thou son of
David, have mercy on me" (Mark x, 46, 47; Luke xviii, 35-38); but
it was not one but two blind men who cried: "Have mercy on us, O
Lord, thou son of David" (Matt. xx, 30). This dubious episode
occurred "as he was come nigh unto Jericho" (Luke xviii, 35); it
occurred "as they departed from Jericho" (Matt. xx, 29; Mark x,
4?6). Mark agrees with Luke and disagrees with Matthew as to the
number of men, and agrees with Matthew and disagrees with Luke as
to the time of the occurrence.

     Speaking of divorce, Jesus said: "Whosoever shall put away his
wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her. And if a
woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she
committeth adultery" (Mark x, 11, 12). A Jew could not have said or
written this, for by the Jewish law a woman could not put away her
husband at all. Matthew puts in a proviso which is a notable
contradiction of Mark; be quotes Jesus as saying: "Whosoever shall
put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry
another, committeth adultery" (Matt. xix, 9). According to Mark a 

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man who divorces his wife for any cause whatever cannot lawfully
marry another; according to Matthew if the divorce is for cause of
the wife's fornication the man may lawfully marry again. In his
conversation with the rich man, answering his question as to what
be should do to inherit eternal life, Jesus told him that be must
keep the commandments; the rich man asked which. In reply Jesus
named five as essential and sufficient for the inheritance of
heaven. What these commandments are no two of the synoptists agree;
Matthew and Mark each give a commandment not given by either of the
others (Matt. xix, 18, 19; Mark x, 19; Luke xviii, 20). The special
significance of the reply of Jesus is that it asserts that keeping
a few commandments is all that is required to go to heaven: thus
repudiating the necessity of "articles of faith necessary to
salvation"; and it invalidates his own repeated assertion, "He that
believeth not is damned."

     Jesus affirmed of the mustard seed that it "indeed is the
least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among
herbs" (Matt. xiii, 32). Everyone knows that the mustard seed is
not the "least of all seeds"; neither is the plant "the greatest
among herbs." A celebrated saying of Jesus is "If ye have faith as
a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove
hence to wonder place; and it shall remove" (Matt. xvii, 20; Mark
xi, 23), but Matthew makes a mountain out of a much less thing; for
what Jesus said was: "Ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou
plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it
should obey you" (Luke xvii, 6). The time and circumstances of the
incident are also entirely different in each report.

     In the parable of the great feast, the function was a wedding
dinner given by a king for the marriage of his son (Matt. xxii,
2-4); it was simply a "great supper" given by "a certain man" (Luke
xiv, 16). The king sent "his servants" and then "other servants" to
invite the guests (Matt. xxii, 3, 4); but the "certain man" only
"sent his servant" (Luke xiv, 17). The uncivil invited guests of
the king seized the royal servants "and slew them" (Matt. xxii, 6);
Luke says that the one servant returned unharmed and reported (Luke
xiv, 21). Upon his invitation's being refused, the king "was wroth:
and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and
burned up their city" (Matt. xxii, 7); a very drastic procedure,
especially during a marriage feast, considering that the city of
the murderous guests must have been also the city of the king.
Evidently the guests invited to the wedding lived in the same town,
for the dinner was already prepared, "and all things are ready"
(Matt. xxii, 4); though it would seem to be unusually late to
invite guests to a royal wedding. The king sent "his servants"
others than those slain -- into the highways to pick up wayfarers
for emergency guests, and they were herded "both bad and good" to
the banquet. His majesty came in to inspect them and "saw there a
man which had not on a wedding garment: And he saith unto him,
Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment?"
The guest "was speechless," as he might well be at such an inquiry,
for no one would expect a lot of transient wayfarers to go about
dressed for a royal wedding. The king ordered his servants: "Bind
him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer
darkness" (Matt. xxii, 9-12). Every circumstance of this "twice
told tale" is different in each of the two gospels.

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     In the parable of the wicked husbandmen, the owner of the
vineyard sent "his servants" to collect the rent, and the evil
farmers "took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and
stoned another" (Matt. xxi, 33-35); however, only one servant was
sent and they only "beat him, and sent him away empty" (Mark xii,
3). In the parable of the talents, a man who was going on a journey
had three servants; "And unto one he gave five talents, to another
two, and to another one" (Matt. xxv, 15); but the master, who was
a nobleman, going off to take over a kingdom, really had ten
servants, and to each of them he delivered one pound (Luke xix, 12,
13, 16). Two of the three servants each doubled his money (Matt.
xxv, 16, 17), thus returning ten and four talents respectively; of
the ten servants one reported a gain of tenfold, the second of
fivefold (Luke xix, 16, 18). The "unprofitable servant" of Matthew
"digged in the earth, and bid his lord's money" (Matt. xxv, 18);
the same servant in Luke returned his pound "which I have kept laid
up in a napkin" (Luke xix, 20).

     A lawyer had an interview with Jesus in regard to the two
great commandments; the lawyer "asked him a question, tempting him,
saying, Master, which is the great commandment in the law?" and
Jesus stated the two great commandments (Matt. xxii, 35-40; Mark
xii, 28-31); but when the lawyer asked the question, Jesus in turn
asked: "What is written in the law? how readest thou?" and the
lawyer himself in reply stated the two great commandments (Luke x,
25-27). The lamentation of Jesus over Jerusalem (Matt. xxiii, 37)
was delivered in the temple at Jerusalem" (Matt. xxi, 10, et seq;
xxiv, 1); it was delivered in a synagogue in Galilee before he went
to Jerusalem (Luke xiii, 34; xvii, 11). While Jesus was at
Jerusalem there came "a voice from heaven"; "the people therefore,
that stood by, and heard it, said that it thundered: others said,
An angel spake to him. Jesus answered and said, This voice came not
because of me, but for your sakes" (John xii, 28-30); if the people
who heard the "voice" could not distinguish it from thunder, of
what benefit was it to them -- "for your sakes?"

     The last prayer of Jesus was uttered in the Garden of
Gethsemane (Matt. xxvi, 36, 39; Mark xiv, 32, 35; Luke xxii, 39,
41); but the last prayer is reported as made in Jerusalem before
going to Gethsemane (John xvii; xviii, 1). During the last prayer
in the garden Jesus was in agony, "and his sweat was as it were
great drops of blood falling down to the ground" (Luke xxii, 44).
Luke was not one of the Twelve and was not present; Jesus was
"withdrawn from them," praying alone. And when he rose up from
prayer, and was come to his disciples, he found them sleeping"
(Luke xxii, 41, 4:5). How Luke knew of this unusual form of
perspiration is not revealed.

     Baptism being declared by Jesus to be an essential to
salvation (Mark xvi, 16), naturally he and his disciples must have
performed this ceremony from the beginning of the ministry, every
time the "fishers of men" caught a peasant; and John says so. Just
after the wedding at Cana and the meeting with Nicodemus, "came
Jesus and his disciples into the land of Judaea; and there he
tarried with them, and baptized" (John iii, 22); though John later
tells us, in parentheses, "Though Jesus himself baptized not, but
his disciples" (John iv, 2). At least, then, the disciples baptized

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from the start. But it was not until after the resurrection of
Jesus that he first commissioned them to baptize (Matt. xxviii, 18;
19; Mark xvi, 15, 16). The formula of baptism is expressed, outside
of one reference in the gospels, by Peter only; all were to be
"baptized in the name of Jesus Christ," or "of the Lord Jesus"
(Acts ii, 38; viii, 16; x, 48; xix, 5). The formula "in the name of
the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost" (Matt. xxviii,
19), put by Matthew into the mouth of Jesus, is self-evidently a
much later forgery, made after the Trinity had been invented.

     In the beginning of his ministry and immediately after the
wedding at Cana, Jesus foretold his death and resurrection (John
ii, 18-22); but it was late in his ministry, just before the
transfiguration, that "From that time forth began Jesus to shew
unto his disciples, how that he must ... be killed, and be raised
again the third day" (Matt. xvi, 21; Mark viii, 31; Luke ix, 22).
The parting command of Jesus to his disciples was: "Go ye into all
the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. ... And they
went forth, and preached everywhere" (Mark xvi, 15, 20). This is
totally irreconcilable with early church history; for, some ten
years after the death of Jesus Christ, Peter is accused and
condemned by the "apostles and brethren" because they had "heard
that the Gentiles had also received the word of God" (Acts xi,
1-19). And the "second coming" had not yet arrived, though Jesus --
limiting their mission to the "lost sheep of Israel" -- had told
Peter and his confreres: "Ye shall not have gone over the cities of
Israel till the Son of man be come" (Matt. x, 23). In contradiction
of this positive assurance he had declared: "The gospel must first
be published among all nations" (Mark xiii, 10).

     The prime endowment to the disciples was, or was to be, the
gift of the Holy Ghost, which was conferred in a manner strangely
reminiscent of the breathing of life into Adam; and this supreme
gift was bestowed upon ten of the Twelve by Jesus himself at the
time of his second appearance after the resurrection: "He breathed
on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost" (John xx,
22). Thomas Didymus (the Twin) never received any Holy Ghost, as he
was not present (John xx, 24). But forty days later Jesus made one
of his numerous post-mortem appearances, and "commanded them that
they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of
the Father. ... Ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many
days bence. ... Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost
is come upon you" (Acts i, 3-5, 8). "And when the day of Pentecost
was fully come, ... they were all filled with the Holy Ghost" (Acts
ii, 1, 4). This was quite seven weeks after the resurrection. There
is much doubt as to how the Holy Ghost was sent upon the disciples
and by whom. Before personally bestowing it on the resurrection
day, Jesus had promised "the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost,
whom the Father will send" (John xiv, 26); but a little later Jesus
said: "I will send him unto you" (John xvi, 7); and later yet we
have seen that Jesus in person bestowed "him" by blowing on the
disciples (John xx, 22). It's quite a puzzle. The only effect of
getting the Holy Ghost was that they "began to speak with other
tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance" (Acts ii, 4), and they
acted so crazily that everybody thought they were drunk and
drivening, saying: "These men are full of new wine" (Acts ii, 13);
but this imputation Peter denied as unreasonable, since it was too 

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early to be drunk, "seeing it is but the third hour of the day"
(Acts ii, 13), or only 9 a.m. But maybe the effect was that of "the
morning after."

     This must end, for "There are also [so] many other things
which Jesus did" and said -- which are so contradictorily related
by inspiration -- that while it cannot without some exaggeration be
said that "the world itself could not contain the books that should
be written" -- at least one ample volume such as this would not
contain them.

                           ECCE HOMO!

     Many superlatives of laudation and magnification are applied
to Jesus the Christ: the mighty God, eternal, self-existent,
omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, infinite in wisdom, infinite
in goodness, infinite in mercy, gentle and loving. His own words
and deeds contradict each of these fanciful attributes.

     Was Jesus self-existent? "The living Father hath sent me, and
I live by the Father" (John vi, 57); and of him Paul said: "He
liveth by the power of God" (2 Cor. xiii, 4). Was he omnipotent?
"The Son can do nothing of himself ... I can of mine own self do
nothing" (John v, 19, 30). Was Jesus omniscient? Speaking of his
own second coming, notwithstanding his many assertions that it
should be very soon, he said: "But of that day and that hour
knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the
Son, but the Father" (Mark xiii, 32). This seems to indicate that
Father and Son are two quite distinct persons. Also he did not know
that there were no figs on the tree which he cursed, for "he came,
if haply he might find anything thereon" Mark xi, 13), and was
disappointed when he found none. Also, if Jesus was omniscient, it
is odd that he should have chosen Judas for the first church
treasurer, who "was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put
therein" (John xii, 6). Was Jesus omnipresent He travelled about
the country like any other man; he said: "I am glad for your sakes
that I was not there" (John xi, 15). "Ye shall seek me, and shall
not find me: and where I am, thither ye cannot come" (John vii,
36). "And now I am no more in the world" (John xvii, 11).

     Infinite wisdom is absolute; but Jesus "increased in wisdom"
(Luke ii, 52); therefore he had less wisdom at one time than at
another, and his knowledge was limited, not infinite. Was Jesus
infinite in goodness? He denies this. "Why callest thou me good?
there is none good but one, that is, God" (Mark x, 18) -- which
again admits that Father and Son are separate and distinct. Far
from infinity of mercy, he reiterates his mercilessness: "He that
believeth not shall be damned" (Mark xvi, 16); Depart from me, ye
cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his
angels" (Matt. xxv, 41); "and these shall go away into everlasting
punishment" (Matt. xxv, 46). These words are those of the fiercest
fanaticism, fearfully false and merciless; they are the words
either of a deluded madman or of lying priests, used to frighten
superstitious dupes into subjection of mind and soul; they are not
of incarnate God, but of incarnadine Devil.

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     The family or "kinsmen" of Jesus thought him insane and "went
out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is beside himself" (Mark
iii, 21); and "many of [the people] said, He hath a devil, and is
mad" (John x, 20). Peculiarities of conduct began to show
themselves early in his life, and were persistent. At the age of
twelve he eluded his parents and stayed behind in Jerusalem, and
had them frantically seeking him for three days. When he was found,
in the temple, his mother gently chided him: "Thy father and I have
sought thee sorrowing"; he replied only: "How is it that ye sought
me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?" (Luke
ii, 42-49). The next thing we hear of him, at the beginning of his
ministry, he is a guest at the wedding at Cana. His mother came and
said to him: "They have no wine"; Jesus answered: "Woman, what have
I to do with thee?" (John ii, 4). Never again is he recorded as
seeing or mentioning his mother, until one of his biographers
records the curt remark from the cross, "Woman, behold thy son"
(John xix, 26); the other three do not say that she was even

     Apparently forsaking home and parents and family, Jesus spent
his entire period of ministry travelling barefoot (Matt. x, 10),
over Palestine, followed by a troupe of twelve nondescripts;
"'unlearned and ignorant men,' chosen from the humblest of the
people," says Canon Farrar, -- "a dozen knaves, as ignorant as owls
and as poor as church mice," says Voltaire. Most intimate of his
friends were two females, Mary Lazarus, "a woman of the city, which
was a sinner" (Luke vii, 37), and Mary Magdalene, "out of whom went
seven devils" (Luke viii, 2). With. this entourage "he went
throughout every city and village, preaching. ... And certain
women. ... Mary called Magdalene ... And Joanna the wife of Chuza
Herod's steward [or cook], and Susanna, and many others, which
ministered unto him of their substance" (Luke viii, 1-3). The son
of God wandering about Jewry with such a retinue and supported by
a rabble of women, including married women led away from their
husbands, is not a spectacle to delight the contemplative mind.
With a rabble such as this, augmented by a bosanna-shouting mob of
the backwash of the city and of the countryside, astraddle of an
ass and an ass's colt, Jesus King of the Jews invaded the Holy
City. Pushing with his yelling suite through the astonished throng
he entered the sacred temple; making a whip of cords he lashed the
sellers of animals for the sacrifices and the changers of money,
poured out their money, drove out the sacrificial animals and
doves; and it may safely be surmised, raised a general riot (John
ii, 13-16; Matt. xxi, 12, 13; Mark xi, 15-18; Luke xix, 45, 46).
Suppose a zealous young Zionist from the Bowery, astride a
peddlar's donkey or enthroned in a dilapidated "Lizzie;" surrounded
with a screeching mob of Yiddish paddlers and East Side
tatterdemalions, acclaiming their leader as King of Manhattan,
invading the Stock Exchange in Wall Street, knocking over the
tickers, destroying all available furniture and personal property,
and thrashing the brokers; the Tombs or the psychiatric ward at
Bellevue arise in the mind's eye as marking the close of the
performance. Witnessing the scene as it was enacted, the disciples
recalled the prophetic writing: "The zeal of thine house hath eaten
me up" (John ii, 17).

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     The repute publicly won by Jesus was that of being "a man
gluttonous, and, a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners"
(Matt. xi, 19; Luke vii, 34). By ancient and laudable social custom
"the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands oft,
eat not, holding the tradition of the elders"' (Mark vii, 3). Great
was the offence which Jesus and his peasant disciples gave to the
well-mannered gentry by their constant violation of this first
precept of cleanliness and decency, because they "eat bread with
defiled, that is to say, with unwashen, hands" (Mark vii, 2; Matt.
xv, 2). Invited by a courteous Pharisee to dine at his home with a
polite company including lawyers, Jesus "went in, and sat down to
meat. And when the Pharisee saw it, he marvelled that he had not
first washed before dinner. And the Lord said unto him, Now do ye
Pharisees make clean the outside of the cup and the platter; but
your inward part is full of ravening and wickedness. Yefools ...
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! ... Woe unto you
also, ye lawyers!" (Luke xi, 37-40, 44, 46). Pious people smirk and
applaud as if this were a genteel act and speech; if any other
guest at the table of a gentleman and in polite company should sit
down unwashed and use like language to his host and guests, some
plain but cultured people might think it the most uncouth insolence
and unpardonable coarseness.

     The meek and gentle Jesus made fluent use of a vocabulary
which, if it were used by a Billingsgate fishwife, would be deemed
vituperative abuse of a shocking kind. Here are some choice bits
which he dealt out to people who did not entirely appreciate and
agree with him: "Ye fools and blind" (Matt. xxiii, 17, 19); "Ye
serpents, ye generation of wipers, how can ye escape the damnation
of hell?" (Matt. xxiii, 33) this chapter xxiii is a rare study in
fervid philippic); "All that ever came before me are thieves and
robbers" (John x, 8).

     How sweet the oft-quoted unctuous words of the Master: "Suffer
little children to come unto me." If he said it he meant little
Jewish children only; others he spurned with disdain. When the
woman of Canaan came and worshipped him, begging that he would heal
her daughter, "grievously vexed with a devil," the great Specialist
in devil-exorcism retorted to the stricken mother: "It is not meet
to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs" (Matt. xv,
26)! a truly Christlike rebuff. And that those deemed unworthy
should receive no charity, he prescribes the general principle:
"Neither cast ye your pearls before swine" (Matt. vii, 6).

     Shiftlessness and poverty are inculcated as moral virtues for
his indigent followers: "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon
earth. ... Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or
what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on.
... Take therefor no thought for the morrow" (Matt. vi, 19, 25,
34); and this never yet realized promise is added for better
persuasion: "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and all these
things shall be added unto you" (Matt. vi, 33). One instance,
related by himself, belies his own assurance. Lazarus died a
beggar, and, besides the crumbs from the rich man's table,
inherited only the kingdom; he "was carried by the angels into
Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died; ... And in hell he lift up
his eyes, being in torments" (Luke xvi, 22, 23). Thus is vagrancy 

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exalted and thrifty respectability decried. Poverty is further
encouraged as an essential to salvation, though the Christ falls
into a contradiction. The rich ruler asked: "Good Master, what
shall I do to inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him ...
Sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor" (Luke xviii,
18, 22). But another rich man volunteered: "Behold, Lord, the half
of my goods I give to the poor. ... And Jesus said unto him, This
day is salvation come to this house" (Luke xix, 2, 8, 9). 'Such
good works should be publicly displayed before men, that they may
see your good works (Matt. v, 16); though to do so is forbidden
under penalty of God's reprobation: "Take heed that ye do not your
alms [Revised Version, righteousness"] before men, to be seen of
them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in
heaven" (Matt. vi. 1).

     Jesus spread abroad the doctrines of class hatred and set the
poor against the rich, the shiftless vagabond against the prudent
provider for his family. In the second version of his Sermon on the
Mount (this time on the plain) he preached: "Blessed be ye poor:
for your's is the kingdom of God. ... But woe unto you that are
rich! for ye have received your consolation" (Luke vi, 20, 24);
though the Wise Man declared: "The rich man's wealth is his strong
city: the destruction of the poor is their poverty" (Prov. x, 15).
Thus the Christ contrasts the present earthly condition of his
paupers and of the evil well-to-do with their respective lots in
the hereafter, and to the unlucky former class holds out the lure
of future "consolation," while here they may find solace in pious
gloating over the woeful prospects of the latter: "Blessed are ye
that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep
now: for ye shall laugh" -- in another and better world after the
poor victims with their broken hearts have starved to death. It may
be preferable, with Omar the Seer, to "take the cash, and let the
credit go."

     The Kingdom of God is declared a happy realm of paupers and
vagrants: "A rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of
heaven. ... It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a
needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God"
(Matt. xix, 23, 24). To fit the earthly vagrant the better for the
joys of his Lord, "Whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away
even that he hath" (Matt. xiii, 12); though ex nihil nihil. The
approved Christly and clerical way of accomplishing this feat and
deepening poverty -- for the benefit of the soul and of the priest
-- is taught in the narrative of the givers to the temple treasury,
where the poor "widow's mite" -- "even all her living" -- is
commended above the much of the rich (Mark xii, 41-44; Luke xxi,
1-4) -- an example illustrative of the credulous generosity of the
priest-taught poor and of the heartless greed of the priesthood and
church; a sacred text which through the ages has enabled a horde of
indolent and faking priests to batten upon widows and orphans, to
"filch the scanty earnings of the poor, and live like parasites
upon the weak and sickly calves of humanity." Yea, Lord, how long?

     Domestic strife and family division and hatreds are time and
again inculcated by the Master in furtherance of the propaganda of
his cult: "If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and
mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and

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his own life also, he cannot be my disciple" (Luke xiv, 26; Matt.
x, 37). Again: "I am come to send fire on the earth; and what will
I, if it be already kindled? ... Suppose ye that I am come to give
peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division: For from
henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against
two, and two against three. The father shall be divided against the
son, and the son against the father; the mother against the
daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law
against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her
mother in law" (Luke xii, 49, 51-53; cf. Matt. x, 34, 35)! For once
the Christ and his gospels spoke true: these accursed teachings of
the Christ have borne the bitterest fruits of human woe, misery,
and destruction throughout the ages wherever his falsified gospels
have been preached and heeded. Read Lecky's History of European
Morals for fearful instances -- or recall your own observations or
experiences. The rules of proselytism, as laid down by the Christ,
are all-embracing and sophistically contradictory, as usual: "He
that is not with me is against me" (Luke xi, 23); "He that is not
against us is for us" (Luke ix, 50); it's "catch as catch can."

     In the exalted zealotry of propaganda the Christ did not
hesitate to enjoin the most frightful and fatal deeds of abject
submission to his superstition; be taught that, marriage was evil,
celibacy a sacred piety, and horrid self-mutilation a pious,
acceptable sacrifice "for the kingdom of heaven's sake." For those
"to whom it is given" to "receive this saying," the Christ agrees
"it is not good to marry"; and he says: "There be eunuchs, which
have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He
that is able to receive it, let him receive it" (Matt. xix, 10-12).
Paul is credited with having followed this infamous precept and
himself put this "thorn in the flesh," as also the childless Father
Origen, and hosts of other church fanatics. The great Pascal said:
"Marriage is the lowest and most dangerous condition of
Christians." Fanaticism in the name of Jesus, for the principles
taught by Jesus, can go no further than these desperate and
suicidal precepts: "Blessed are ye when men shall revile you, and
persecute you ... for my sake" (Matt. v, 11); "He that loseth his
life for my sake shall find it" (Matt. x, 39); a fearful bid for
self-destruction which has its climax in Paul's frantic Christ-
incited exhortation: "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the
mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice,
holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service" (Rom.
xii, 1). Countless thousands of fanatic morons have gone to torture
and to death, their bodies living sacrifices, acceptable to the
Juggernaut fetish of Jesus the Christ.

     "My friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body" (Luke
xii, 4), with mock heroism the Christ cajoles others; but as for
himself, "After these things Jesus walked in Galilee: for he would
not walk in Jewry, because the Jews sought to kill him" (John vii,
1). When the scribes and Pharisees "took up stones to cast at him.
... Jesus hid himself" (John viii, 59); again, after an argument
with the people, "Jesus ... departed, and did hide himself from
them" (John xii, 36). When Jesus heard that John had been
imprisoned, "he departed into Galilee" (Matt. iv, 12); when John
was beheaded, he "departed thence by ship into a desert place
apart" (Matt. xiv, 13). When the Pharisees held a council how they 

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might destroy him, "when Jesus knew it, he withdrew himself from
thence"; and when people followed him, he "charged them that they
should not make him known" (Matt. xii, 14-16). At Gethsemane, in an
agony of fear at his coming betrayal and death, Jesus "fell on his
face" and prayed that the cup might pass from him (Matt. xxvi, 39).
After his crucifixion, his cowardly disciples who had fled and
deserted him in his dire need, were found by him huddled in a room
of which "the doors were shut ... for fear of the Jews" (John xx,
19). On Calvary the dying God frantically cried: "My God, My God,
why hast thou sacrificed me?" -- a cry which "could never be wrung
from the lips of a man who saw in his own death a prearranged plan
for the world's salvation, and his own return to divine glory
temporarily renounced for transient misery on earth. The fictitious
theology of a thousand years shrivels beneath the awful anguish of
that cry." [W.R. Greg, Creed of Christendom.] "Even in those days
there were those who could "point to others the steep and thorny
path to heaven, but reck not their own rede."

     In his divine egoism the Christ proclaimed: "I and my Father
are one" (John x, 20) here announcing at least the partial unity of
the Godhead; though this he later repudiates, and admits "My Father
is greater than I" (John xiv, 28), thus confessing again two
distinct persons and again putting his identity with God in doubt.
But without hesitation he avows of himself: "Behold, a greater than
Solomon is here" (Matt. xii, 42), as he admits that he is also
greater than Jonah (Matt. xii, 41).

     Some of the precepts of Jesus might be regarded as very
peculiar if they were emanations of the mind of an ordinary
teacher. Is poverty of spirit a blessing? Then, "Blessed are the
poor in spirit" (Matt. v, 3). Resistance to wrong he taught was
wrong: "Unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the
other" (Luke vi, 29). Reckless waste of substance is specially
recommended: "Lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall
be great" (Luke vi, 35), and "Give to every man that asketh of
thee" (Luke vi, 30). To this he adds the doctrine of submission to
theft and robbery: "Of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not
again" (Luke vi, 30); and "him that taketh away thy cloak forbid
not to take thy coat also" (Luke vi, 29). The return of good for
evil is indeed enjoined -- upon others; but for himself Jesus did
not practice this preaching: "Whosoever shall deny me before men,
him will I also deny before my Father" (Matt. x, 33); and,
referring to his disciples: "I pray for them: I pray not for the
world" (John xvii, 9).

     The principle is inculcated, that because the judge may not be
free from some sin or error the accused must go free; the concrete
case is the woman taken in adultery (John viii, 3-11). The general
adoption of this principle would free every criminal and close the
courts and jails, for judges are human and fallible. Though man
cannot punish sin because not free from sin himself, yet God, the
author of all sin, is regarded as quite just in punishing man
eternally for his sins, even for the sin of doubt.

     Jesus declared: "They that take the sword shall perish with
the sword" (Matt. xxvi, 52); and as if presaging the general havoc
which he had declared he had come to bring about, he straightway 

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commanded his disciples. "He that hath no sword, let him sell his
garment, and buy one" (Luke xxii, 36). The sword was never out of
the hand of his apostolic church till stricken from it by force. To
those who would violate every sacred tie of life and bond of
humanity the Christ speciously promised great earthly reward:
"There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or
father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and
the gospel's, But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time,
houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children [but
not wives], and lands" (Mark x, 29, 30). This has never been known
to have been made good. To Paul, at least, the Christ made this
promise in a dream: "I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee
to hurt thee", (Acts xviii, 10); but this is Paul's own report: "I
am ... in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in
deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save
one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned" (2 Cor. xi,
23-25). This shows how foolish it is to believe in dreams -- or in
the promises of Jesus the Christ!

     Christ Jesus was not always as free from what may be called
dissimulation or deception as a Son of God should be -- but think
what his Father Yahveh was! At the grave of Lazarus, "Jesus lifted
up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard
me. And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the
people which stand by I said it" (John xi, 41, 42). Jesus told his
brethren: "Go ye up unto this feast [of Tabernacles]: I go not up
(yet) unto this feast. ... But when his brethren were gone up, then
went he also up unto the feast" (John vii, 8, 10). The word "yet"
is not in the text, as the American revisers pointed out; but while
retaining it, the Revised Version puts into the margin: "Many
ancient authorities omit yet." After his resurrection, when he
intended to stop at Emmaus with Cleophas and his companion, "He
made as though [i.e., pretended] he would have gone further," but
his companions begged him, "and he went in to tarry with them"
(Luke xxiv, 28, 29).

     These are isolated instances of what Jesus himself avows was
his constant and purposeful practice -- to mislead or deceive his
hearers. Jesus spoke "unto the multitude in parables; and without
a parable spake he not unto them" (Matt. xiii, 34); and when his
disciples asked him: "Why speakest thou unto them in parables?"
(Matt. xiii, 10) Jesus said unto them: "All these things are done
in parables: That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and
hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they
should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them" (Mark
iv, 11, 12)! Can a more monstrous thing be imagined? The Son of God
who pretended to have come "to take away the sins of the world"
purposely deceiving the poor morons that he might have the pleasure
of seeing them damned!

     "This is Jesus the King of the Jews."

                        SECRECY ENJOINED

     It is singular that the Messiah, so long prophesied and
awaited, so often proclaimed by long-distance voices from his
Father Yahveh in heaven: "This is my beloved Son ... hear ye him," 

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and now making his triumphal entry into Jerusalem as the arrived
Messiah and king, should so often have denied his divine identity
and enjoined silence and secrecy about it. Time and again, as in
the anguish of mortal fear, he charged his disciples "that they
should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ" (Matt. xvi, 20;
xvii, 9; Mark viii, 30; et passim); and he suffered not even his
very active and efficient witnesses the devils to testify for him,
"for they knew that he was Christ" (Luke iv, 41; Mark i, 25, 34, et
passim). Before Caiaphas and Pilate, who asked him "whether thou be
the Christ" (Matt. xxvi, 63), and "Art thou the King of the Jews?"
(Matt. xxvii, 11), he hesitated, and equivocated, and answered
only: "Thou sayest" (Matt. xxvii, 11) or "If I tell you, ye will
not believe" (Luke xxii, 67). He allowed no one to witness his
resurrection, in the dead of the night; and when he was risen from
the dead, be showed himself, equivocally, but to one or a variously
related number of private persons, never in public, as the Son of
God triumphant over death.


     A discrediting aspect of the personality of the proclaimed Son
of Yahveh, who knew all things, even the hidden thoughts of men, is
that be believed and declared so many things, which were current
beliefs among the ignorant of his times, but are known by all
school-children to-day to be fables and superstitions, and which
the all-knowing mind of a God would always, even then, know to be
impossible and untrue. Multiplied instances abound in the four
inspired biographies.

     The Christ warns against all others who should claim to be
Christs, offering his own credentials: "If any man shall say unto
you, Lo, here is Christ, or there, believe it not. For there shall
arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs
and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive
the very elect" (Matt. xxiv, 23, 24). We all know that miracles do
not happen; that, as Hume justly said: "No testimony can prove
miracles, for it is more probable that the testimony is false than
that the miracles are true." But, even otherwise, how could "great
signs and wonders" be worked, great and deceptive miracles be
wrought, by impostors in whom the power of God is not? Signs and
wonders, miracles, were the very sign-manual of the identity of
Jesus with the Christ: "for no man can do these miracles that thou
doest, except God be with him" (John iii, 2). "Believe me for the
very works' sake" (John xiv, 11), is the Christ's special challenge
for faith to the doubting. Yet he concedes to impostors and to
devils the very same power to work miracles which is his own
special patent of divinity.

     It is this same token of the authenticity of his divinity that
he sends to the doubting Baptist, who sent to inquire: "Are thou he
that should come? or look we for another?" The only answer which
Jesus returned, the only proof he deemed necessary, was a report of
his miracles: "Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear
and see" -- reciting a list of the miracles he had done (Matt. xi,
4, 5). And it is the same all-sufficient answer which be flung back
at Herod: "Go ye, and tell that fox, Behold, I cast out devils,"
etc. (Luke xiii, 32); and throughout, the signs and wonders" which 

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he worked are the test and authentication of the divinity of the
Christ. "Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe"
(John iv, 48), Jesus himself declared.

     Yet, a thousand times, the "false Christs" and the devils do
the miracles of Yahveh, and are in this respect his successful
rivals. The Devil leads the Christ into the wilderness, and up on
a high mountain, and sets him on the pinnacle of the temple, and
"tempts" him, claiming undisputed dominion over the kingdoms of the
world (Matt. iv, 1-11). Jesus "cast out devils" by the legion from
disordered persons, and held argument with the devils, recognizing
their existence, intelligence, and power (Matt. viii, 28-32,
passim); he enjoins his followers to "fear him which is able to
destroy both soul and body in hell" (Matt. x, 28); he proclaimed
that there is "everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his
angels" (Matt. xxv, 41); and as the badge of their divine mission
and authority, he gave to his disciples "power and authority over
all devils" (Luke ix, l) -- and so on ad infinitum; though God and
intelligent persons know there are no devils and no hell of fire --
and that devils and false Christs cannot work miracles.

     With all the assurances of Jesus himself as to his manifold
"Signs and wonders" and with the four gospels replete with records
of his miracles, we are amazed to hear the positive words of the
Master denying that he performed or would perform any miracles at
all: "They said therefore unto him, What sign shawest thou then,
that we may see, and believe thee? what dost thou work?" (John vi,
30). The answer is not here explicit, but is reported by the other
biographers: "And he sighed deeply in his spirit, and saith, Why
doth this generation seek after a sign? verily I say unto you,
There shall no sign be given unto this generation" (Mark viii, 12).
To this refusal Matthew adds the embellishment: "An evil and
adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign
be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: For as Jonas was
three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son
of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth"
(Matt. xii, 39, 40; xvi, 4). And Jonah is a poor sign for any

     Scores of other superstitious legends and fables, Jesus also
constantly appeals to as living truths: Abel, Noah and the Flood,
Lot, and his wife turned to a pillar of salt, Moses and the burning
bush, Jonah swallowed by the fish -- a whole congeries of ancient
fables the Son of Yahveh takes as gospel truth which God knows
never were true. Even the Christ was infected with that "strong
delusion to believe lies" sent by his Father upon men, "that they
may all be damned."

                  THE "SECOND COMING" OF CHRIST

     The crowning disproof of the divinity, even of the common
sense, of the Christ, and a sad proof of the serious delusion which
he suffered, is the stupendous assertion which he made of his
immediate Second coming to earth in all the glory of his triumphant
kingdom. He never said a more positive and explicit thing --
incapable of being misunderstood or of double meaning -- than this:

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          "Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here,
     which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man
     coming in his kingdom." (Matt. xvi, 28; Mark. ix, 1)

          "Verily I say unto you, that this generation shall not
     pass, till all these things be done." (Mark xiii, 30)

          "But I tell you of a truth, there be some standing here,
     which shall not taste of death, till they see the kingdom of
     God." (Luke ix, 27)

     So soon should the "second coming" be that when the Twelve
were sent out on their first preaching tour in little Palestine,
the Master assured them: "Ye shall not have gone over the cities of
Israel till the Son of man be come" (Matt. x, 23). But the Christ
himself contradicted this promise, and postponed indefinitely his
coming again: "The gospel must first be published among all
nations" (Mark xiii, 10).

     Caiaphas, the high priest before whom Jesus was led after his
capture in the garden, solemnly appealed to him for truth:

          "I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us
     whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God.

          "Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say
     unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the
     right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven."
     (Matt. xxvi, 63, 64, Mark xiv, 61, 62)

     And in these nineteen hundred years this supreme prophecy of
the Son of Yahveh has gone unaccomplished. No more is needed to
convict the inspired records of utter falsity and discredit, to
prove that the lowly Nazarene was no God, was no promised Messiah
-- was himself a "false Christ," who has deceived the very elect
who have misplaced faith in his Holy Word.

                          ****     ****

                        IS IT GOD'S WORD?
                         Joseph Wheless


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