The Development of Christianity: Part 3

by Joshua Tilghman on January 9, 2016

gospel of markIn the first two posts of this series we laid some important groundwork about Paul and Gnosticism. Today I’m going to lay a little more groundwork about the synoptic Gospels and the Gospel of Thomas. This is all necessary before we get into the meat of how Orthodox Christianity and the Early Church formed.

Let’s do a brief recap.

We’ve already focused on Paul and his Christ. I presented both scriptural and historical evidence to support the conclusion that Paul’s Christ was the mystical Christ born within us. In addition, almost all scholars, both Christian and secular, agree that Paul’s Epistles were written before any of the Gospels. By Paul’s own admission, his gospel was received through direct revelation. He wasn’t influenced by any man (including the apostles and Jesus himself). Paul never mentions the Virgin Birth or Christ’s lineage, which seems a bit odd considering his prolific writing. These points set the stage for more oddities as it concerns the first synoptic Gospel to be written.

The Gospel of Mark

I want to focus on two key details concerning the Gospel of Mark: Its date of writing and the author’s theology.

It was once accepted that the Gospel of Matthew was written first, based on Orthodox tradition and the words of early church fathers. Almost all scholars unanimously agree that is now false. Mark was written first. In fact, strong evidence suggests Mark was compiled from an earlier source known as “Q.” The length of this post will not allow getting into that evidence, but it is more than compelling. But even if the Gospel of Mark were not taken from an earlier source, we still have what I see to be a glaring problem.

Mark was compiled about 65 AD. That’s about thirty years after the supposed death and resurrection of Jesus. This is significant because Paul’s epistles were composed between 50 and 55 AD, and came before any Gospel account. My glaring problem is this: Not only do Paul’s epistles (the first text written about Christ) not contain any Virgin Birth account or valid genealogies, but neither does the first Gospel account!

This is not a fact we can whisk away with theological retort. Believe me, I’ve seen all the arguments from both scholars and laymen on both sides of the fence. But I believe that anyone who dismisses this point as unimportant is only fooling themselves. Think about it: if the miraculous Virgin Birth really happened, it should be included in ALL narrative accounts of Jesus’s life, not just Luke and Matthew. In addition, it should be in the FIRST Jesus narrative account. It isn’t. But wait. The evidence continues to build. I believe the theological context of Mark’s Gospel also supports the fact that it was meant to be allegorical, and never addressing a historical person.

Mark’s gospel presents Jesus the miracle-worker and exorcist. The actions of Jesus in Mark, such as when he uses spittle to heal a blind man, are much akin to a magician. This imagery and method agrees with other mythological saviors across a broad range of religions at the time. In other words, it was a common story.

Jesus also conceals his identity. Even the disciples have a hard time understanding who he really was based on the parables that he uses. Again, this seems to paint the picture of a mythical person. Could Jesus be the inner light that is concealed behind the ego that makes up us all?

I will admit that Mark’s Gospel mentions the resurrection in chapter 16. It is widely believed that verses 16:9-20 are spurious, which basically means they were not part of the original and added later. Verse 9 mentions Jesus (although the word Jesus is omitted from the earliest texts) and seemingly tries to establish a historical view. But, Mark 16:1-8 attests to Jesus’ resurrection through an angel figure. In allegorical spiritual literature, angels were symbols of spiritual influences that minister to the soul. According to Gaskell, “They are messengers of the inner light to arouse the higher faculties.” In other words, angels are aspects of the higher-self received through mental impressions upon the waking conscious.

Isn’t it odd that the earliest Christian manuscripts, first Paul’s letters and then the first Gospel, never mentions the Virgin Birth or try to establish Jesus’ lineage? Perhaps at this time in history it wasn’t yet important to think of Jesus in this way. Perhaps that came later with tradition.

Now we can get into the real meat of this post which should give everyone lot’s to considerJ

The Gospel of Thomas

The Gospel of Thomas is a Gnostic work discovered in a little town of Egypt called Nag Hammadi in 1945. It has taken scholars years of interpretation to put all the pieces of the puzzle together, and there is still much interpretational work to be done. However, one thing is clear: it is one of the earliest Gnostic works ever complied and clearly depicts Jesus Christ as a mythical character that equates as the inner light we all contain. Jesus is seen as a wisdom teacher never meant to be literal, lacking any type of narrative.

Consider a quote from Elain Pagels work, the Gnostic Gospels:

“Quispel and his collaboraters, who first published the Gospel of Thomas, suggested the date of c. A.D. 140 for the original. Some reasoned that since these gospels were heretical, they must have been written later than the gospels of the New Testament, which are dated c. 60-110. But recently Professor Helmut Koester of Harvard University has suggested that the collection of sayings in the Gospel of Thomas, although compiled c. 140, may include some traditions ever older than the gospels of the New Testament, ‘possibly as early as the second half of the first century” (50-100)—as early as, or earlier, than Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John” (Pagels, 16-17).

In other words, like the “Q source” that was used to compile the Gospel of Mark, the Gospel of Thomas was compiled from earlier sources.

But Pagel’s is generous here of the date. According to Wikipedia:

Valantasis [Richard] and other scholars argue that it is difficult to date Thomas because, as a collection of Logia without a narrative framework, individual sayings could have been added to it over time. Valantasis dates Thomas to 100-110 A.D, with some of the material certainly coming from the first stratum which is dated to 30-60 AD.”

It is the bolded part of that last statement which is important and presents a problem for the orthodox view. Valantasis and others have argued that some of the source sayings from Thomas are earlier than anything from Mark and Paul. Even if Pagel’s more generous later dating is correct, that still puts the Gospel of Thomas as early as 50 AD, about the time of Paul’s epistles. Hmm?

Again, isn’t it odd that the earliest sources for Jesus, both Gnostic works and those considered non-Gnostic by the Orthodox, never mention genealogies or the Virgin Birth account?

Most striking is the fact that if Valatasis and a few other recent scholars are correct, the Gospel of Thomas was compiled from the oldest source.

The Gospel of Mark and Thomas compared

The evidence keeps building when we compare Mark and Thomas: The sayings contributed to Jesus are over 50% identical.

It is possible that either the author of the Gospel of Thomas drew from Mark or that the author of Mark drew from the Gospel of Thomas. There is still much debate on who drew from what. But in the end it doesn’t really matter, because neither include a Virgin Birth story or genealogy of Christ! Why would the manuscripts which have the earliest sources to date for the compilation be lacking these?

My conclusion here cannot not as yet be proved on evidence alone, but it certainly can be argued intuitively; something is amiss. So let’s summarize:

  1. Paul’s epistles, written before any Gospels, don’t mention a genealogy or Virgin Birth.
  2. Mark’s Gospel, which is the first, doesn’t either.
  3. Mark’s Gospel was most likely compiled from an earlier “Q” source that scholars argue would be similar to logia, or wisdom sayings of Christ, not a historical narrative.
  4. The Gospel of Thomas most likely was compiled from sources earlier than any Gospel. These sayings had nothing to do with a literal figure, but rather a wisdom teacher in the form of myth.

Differences between the genealogy of Matthew and Luke

Now we come to the Gospels of Matthew and Luke which scholars believe to have been written between the 80’s and 90’s AD. That’s another generation AFTER Mark and Thomas. But herein lies another problem. The genealogies between the two don’t agree. In Matthew, Jesus’s genealogy is from Joseph’s bloodline whereas in Luke it’s from Mary. In Matthew, Jesus’s bloodline is considered from Abraham to Joseph, while in Luke’s chronology it is considered from Adam to Mary. Nathan, not King Solomon, is the important link in Luke’s chronology. What’s the deal?

According to Wikipedia:

In Matthew’s genealogy, “The total of 42 generations is achieved only by omitting several names, so the choice of three sets of fourteen seems deliberate. Various explanations have been suggested: fourteen is twice seven, symbolizing perfection and covenant, and is also the gematria (numerical value) of the name of David.”

We should note that three wicked kings are omitted in the line above: Ahaziah, Jehoash, and Amaziah. These are deliberate omissions and point to an allegorical interpretation, not a literal one.

Luke’s genealogical record for Jesus is the only Gospel, (starting with Jesus and working back through Adam), that agrees completely with the Old Testament. Wikipedia further states:

“Modern scholarship tends to see the genealogies of Jesus as theological constructs rather than factual histories: family pedigrees would not usually have been available for non-priestly families, and the contradictions between the two lists are seen as clear evidence that these were not based on genealogical records.”

Of course these two accounts were not based on true genealogical records. We can see that Matthew’s record, with the omission of three kings, was only recorded in the way presented to satisfy and allegorical and mystical viewpoint, which compares Jesus to David, possibly as Paul did in Romans 1:3.

As I have emphasized many times on this site, none of this information diminished the greatness and authority of the Bible. In fact, in my own opinion it strengthens its authenticity. How? Because the Bible was never meant to be interpreted literally. To do so greatly diminishes its true intent. The original intent was to cause us to look within to find the truth, because that is where the Kingdom truly lies. As Jesus plainly tells us in Luke 21:17:

“Neither shall they say, Lo here! Or, lo there! For behold, the kingdom of God is within you.”

Many orthodox believes have stated that phrase means God and Jesus live in your heart. That sounds a lot like a Gnostic idea to me.

I have no problem with a literal Jesus if he were a real man. If I ever find out I was wrong, I would certainly pay all due respects. But my endless search throughout the years points toward and inward truth, not an outer one.

As always, comments are appreciated, even if you completely disagree. Robert had a great comment on the last post and certainly makes some compelling comments, but I still don’t think they outweigh the Gnostic alternative.

Conclusion

So Paul’s epistles were written first. They do not include a historical narrative of Jesus. Mark’s Gospel came before the others, and, it, too, does not include a genealogy or Virgin Birth narrative. In addition, Paul’s epistles, while used by the Orthodox Church for instructional pieces on theology and church structure, have too many Gnostic ideas to be considered purely orthodox. Not to mention that some of Paul’s epistles which deal with church structure, such as 1st and 2nd Timothy, were clearly forgeries in Paul’s name. Matthew’s genealogical record seems to indicate an allegorical interpretation and greatly differs from Luke. And it is possible that the Gospel of Thomas was compiled from the earliest material about Jesus of all. Something is amiss with the Orthodox view.

I would also like to say that I do not believe the Orthodox Church participated in some grand conspiracy in the first century to cover up the Gnostic view. I will explain more in the next post.

In the next series we will get into Marcion, Valentinus, and Irenaeus. The battle between the Gnostic and Orthodox Jesus truly begins to rage at the beginning of the 2nd century.

Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4 / Part 5

{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

Alvin Davis January 9, 2016 at 9:50 pm

Jesus is the manifestation of the Holy Spirit

Reply

CC Lucas January 10, 2016 at 1:19 am

Keep it coming! I am learning much. Your teachings are new to me… I grew up in mainstream Christianity, left it behind and studied under Jewish Rabbi for 7 years who taught Christ within. I discovered you through my son who posted your Ark of the Cov. on FB….I am so inspired by your teachings and filled with gratitude to know that I am able to come out of bondage and take the inner spiritual pathway. I never thought about which came first ….gospels or Pauls epistles, but I see how important it is to understand the more solid timeline which enables one to understand Pauls teachings more clearly. Blessings to you. CC

Reply

Joshua Tilghman January 10, 2016 at 11:39 am

CC,

It is important to know the timelines in order to get to the bottom of the truth. Often we are conditioned to think a certain way through tradition. There were obviously many political reasons for the Orthodox Church to order the Bible as they did, one of them being it makes more chronological sense if Jesus were really a historical figure. Maybe more text and other evidence will found soon that will forever settle the matter. Blessings!

Reply

SS January 10, 2016 at 11:00 am

Wow! I love reading your articles and am learning myself with many things, too. I love Gnostic once I understood the terms mean. Christ mystical teachings is the way to understand of who we truly are and learn to be Christ ourselves, too.

Would like to share with you of parts that are confusing. Take it or leave it. I’ve learned there are many type of Gnostic sects. Sounds like you are researching one type of Gnostic that taught Docetism which means Jesus seems human but has phantom body. I was confused with that for a long time but found other things that did not make sense, too.

Edgar Cayce who was the sleeping prophet and had psychic ability received the message directly from Jesus…Jesus told him that he himself did teach Gnostic to his disciples. That he was very much human on earth, was affiliated with Essene sect, and he was called son of Man. Later He also did attained Christ (higher) consciousness as Paul taught “Christ mind” which made him became as Son of God. Jesus did not want to be worshiped. He was trying to teach others so they can become as he did, meaning we all can become Christ, too! We all are sons and daughters of God. Jesus is our elder brother who came to be can example for us to follow as he did. Cayce made a distinction between Jesus and “the Christ.” He said that “Christhood” is the goal which every human should strive for. Jesus was simply the first evolved human to attain it. http://www.near-death.com/reincarnation/jesus/edgar-cayce-on-the-past-lives-of-jesus.ht

Jesus was from Essene sect. http://www.sacred-texts.com/chr/jae/jae03.htm

Majority of people who had near death experience would, too, tell you that he was a man and had experience as a human like us. http://www.near-death.com/science/research/jesus.html

Now if Jesus didn’t existed then what’s the point of the story if ALL is in allegory, symbolic, etc. ? Wasn’t there someone who actually had experience Christ consciousness and shared his experience? Paul had what you had mentioned “direct revelation” and he was in Christ mind and shared it. http://www.near-death.com/reincarnation/history/early-christianity.html#a07 Otherwise, we would have to say Paul don’t exist, either.

To me, it’s true that we are not to go by literal reading for it killth the spirit. However, Jesus was human and experienced Christ consciousness and was trying to teach us about it. We need to understand this Christ spirit for it would teaches us who we truly are!

God bless you in your learning too!
SS

Reply

Joshua Tilghman January 10, 2016 at 7:20 pm

SS,

Thanks for your comment. I am glad you have learned from the site. About the different sects of Gnosticism: yes, there were many. They had many different rituals, some of which we might find quite strange today. That being said, I don’t think a lot of scholars truly understand the early Gnostics. It has been said that they believed in a spirit being with a phantom body, but I don’t think this is what the earliest Gnostics really believed. Even when they spoke of Jesus in such terms, they were veiling language. According the scholar Quispel, Valentinus’ Jesus was the “Paraclete of the unknown…who reveals the divine spark within you.”

Alvin commented earlier that Jesus was the Holy Spirit. This would agree with Quispel, but what they considered the Holy Spirit to be might be of a very different concept than what we have been taught. For example, the Paraclete might have been more akin to a subconscious or unconscious impulse revealing truth to the waking conscious.

Edgar Cayce was a very interesting man. I only wish he was still alive and I could have a beer or two with him over a meal. I would very much love to pick his brain about some issues. As far as him sayin Jesus was a real human, I’m not sure about that one. It’s possible, but I’m not willing to accept that yet. What I might be willing to accept is that the story of Jesus is based on an individual who reached a very high level of consciousness, but I don’t believe he walked on water or really changed water into wine, etc.

You ask what is the point of all the allegory and myth if Jesus didn’t really exist. My answer would be that Jesus is an allegorical interpretation of everyone who has the divine spark within and can attain higher levels of consciousness through Jesus’s example. But that doesn’t mean that the Jesus that is presented in the Gospels to us had to be literal.

Many blessings, and thanks again for the in-depth comment!

Reply

SS January 10, 2016 at 11:31 am
Joshua Tilghman January 10, 2016 at 7:27 pm

Thanks for the link. I’ll check it out.

Reply

Michelle January 10, 2016 at 3:33 pm

Every name in the bible has a meaning. If you look up the hebrew meaning of each name for the 72 names in the genealogy from Adam to Jesus they spell out sentences. It is crazy! It also works with the 12 disciples as shown below. If you take any group of names in any book of the bible they spell out hidden messages!! I believe you are right there was no literal person Jesus. But unless you start to open the third eye and see things from a spiritual perspective you miss the truth. The literal kills the spirit. The first lie of ego is we are a body.
This is what the meaning of the 12 disciples names spell out:
“Listen bravely one who follows the gift of God. God is gracious to those who love the flesh. Listen Son of God who is single-minded and devoted to untruth, when you break off from the ignorance of the world. Gods gift is he will replace you with a mirror image of himself when you declare trust in Gods wisdom!!!!! ”

12 is the number of perfection in the bible

What do you think?

Reply

Joshua Tilghman January 10, 2016 at 7:26 pm

Michelle,

This is one of the most interesting comments I have received. I really don’t have any experience with this sort of thing, but I would love to know more. The meaning of the 12 disciples names spelled out aligns with Gnosticism. But what method is used to get these messages. Do you know how to do this yourself, or are you getting the info from someone else? I would just simply like to know more about it. Thanks for commenting!

Reply

Frank January 12, 2016 at 2:01 am

Josh,
I would suggest the Metaphysical Bible Dictionary by Charles Filmore. You can still find this on Amazon. It has all the esoteric meaning for names, places, and other strange words in the Bible. This is a wealth of information for the truth seeker….706 pages.
Frank

Reply

Joshua Tilghman February 23, 2016 at 9:49 pm

Frank,

Just checked this out. Incredible. Although I have ascertained the meanings of many of the Biblical names through intuition after studying esoteric principles, I can honestly say that this work has filled in quite a few gaps that I would have had to spend many more hours of contemplative study plus research. Thank you. An indispensable work for any serious student of esoterics.

Blessings, my friend.

Reply

Michelle January 10, 2016 at 9:32 pm

Joshua,
Once I realized that every name had a meaning I thought what if I looked up the Hebrew meaning of each name. It was then that I realized there was a hidden meaning. I then started to look up the hebrew meaning of names starting from Adam. I googled it because I thought there has to be other people who have discovered this and I ran into a website bible-codes.org. It is a Christian website but the guy stumbled on the hidden meanings from Adam through Jesus. It is too long to list so you will need to visit the site yourself but it is amazing (go to #6 on the website for the name codes). He has other codes but you need a computer to find them. Of course he views it as a message from God proving Jesus was a literal being. But the “God man” that is spoken about is us!!! All you need to do to find the name codes is to google the Hebrew meaning of each name and put the pieces together. It works for the new and old testament. Any time you see a place, an animal, a name it has a Hebrew meaning or symbol!!! It is so amazing and so fun to do!!! Below are my notes on the 12 disciples.

Listen bravely one who follows
Simon Andrew James

James son of Zebedde One who follows gift of God

John god is gracious

Philip horse lover Horses are used in the main to represent a carnal strength, a trusting in flesh

a son that suspends the waters. Bartholomew
suspend
verb
1 the court case was suspended: adjourn, interrupt, break off, postpone, delay, defer, shelve, put off, put on hold, intermit, prorogue, hold over, hold in abeyance; cut short, discontinue, dissolve, disband, terminate, table; informal put on ice, put on the back burner, mothball, take a rain check on.

A son of God that breaks off from ignorance (water is a sign of ignorance)

twin Thomas
twin
noun
a bedroom that was the twin of her own: duplicate, double, carbon copy, exact likeness, mirror image, replica, look-alike, doppelgänger, clone; counterpart, match, pair; informal dead ringer, spitting image.

We are a mirror image of God that is his gift

gift of God Mathew

James the son of Alphaeus means “supplanter, changing
supplant |səˈplant|
verb [ with obj. ]
supersede and replace: another discovery could supplant the original finding.

Thaddeus is: That praises or confesses
Confess:
• admit or acknowledge something reluctantly, typically because one feels slightly ashamed or embarrassed: [ with clause ] : I must confess that I was slightly surprised | [ no obj. ] : he confessed to a lifelong passion for food | [ with direct speech ] : “I needed to see you, too,” he confessed.
• [ with obj. ] declare (one’s religious faith): 150 people confessed faith in Christ.
• declare one’s sins

Simon the zealot Listen fanatic
fanatic |fəˈnatik|
noun
a person filled with excessive and single-minded zeal

Judas Iscariot praised lie
Devoted to untruth

confessed faith in Christ.

You declare trust in Gods Wisdom!!!!!!!!

This is what the meaning of the 12 disciples names spell out:
Listen bravely one who follows the gift of God. God is gracious to those who love the flesh. Listen Son of God who is single-minded and devoted to untruth, when you break off from the ignorance of the world. Gods gift is he will replace you with a mirror image of himself when you declare trust in Gods wisdom!!!!!

12 is the number of perfection in the bible

disciple is follower of the truth

Joshua,
Applying this “Key” when reading the stories in both the New and Old Testament has opened up a whole new understanding!!

Reply

Joshua Tilghman January 10, 2016 at 11:50 pm

Michelle,

Thanks for the response. I have a busy day tomorrow and Tuesday, but I’ll review this as soon as I can and get back to you with my thoughts. Thanks again!

Reply

Tommy January 17, 2016 at 4:04 pm

Enjoying the series, Josh!

The motifs of a virgin birth and resurrection are found in ancient Egyptian mythology and other mystery religions thousands of years before the Gospel period. These motifs are timeless archetypes. They metaphorically represent the moment of Christ-consciousness and subsequently our Soul’s freedom from the bodily-material condition, even before physical death. One who is “born of the Holy Spirit” has experienced the “virgin birth.” One who is “resurrected” transcends mortal boundaries.

Was there a teacher as described in the Gospels? Yes. Many of them. If one of these teachers was crucified for the things he taught, it’s plausible the narrative of such a life was worth remembering and later wrapped in mythological archetypes and the things he taught in secret.

I’m inclined to believe a real life is at the root of the literature we call “Gospels,” be they canonical or Gnostic. The good news is, there’s no need for argument. No one has to believe in a historical Yeshua to “be saved!”

Blessings!

Reply

Robert January 18, 2016 at 11:43 am

Not so fast about the virgin birth being a myth.

Something to reconsider is that although the theme of ancient gods being born of virigns is common, there is a distinctness of how this is presented in the Gospel of Luke. And although Luke’s gospel may have actually been written in its present form later than the wrtitings of Paul, it is clear from passages of all the New Testament that Paul was a contemporaory of Luke. And Paul does mention:

Galatians 4:4-5
But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.

So Paul is referring to a flesh and blood Jesus born of a woman, born under the law. Interesting that he does not mention Jesus’s father under the law anywhere in his writings.

Remember, Paul was the apostle to the Gentiles, to whom matters of Jewish genealogy was about as important as a pork chop to Prime Minister Netanyahu. The fullfillment of OT prophecies, such as the virgin birth, was also not a big selling point for Paul to use on his missionary trips.

Also consider that Paul affirms Jesus was a descendent of David.

Romans 1:1-4
Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which He promised beforehand through His prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning His Son, who was born of a descendant of David according to the flesh, who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Thus, Paul, who was once a Pharasee, was quite familar with th importance of lineage and does indeed mention it in his witings. Also remember, Jesus descendence becomes an important factor in disqualifying Joseph, Mary’s husband, as the natural father of Jesus, because Joseph’s decendence is from David but through King Jaconiah, who God thorugh his prophet promised that no descendent of Jeconiah would sit on the throne of David.

Jeremiah 22:30
“Thus says the LORD, ‘Write this man down childless, A man who will not prosper in his days ; For no man of his descendants will prosper Sitting on the throne of David Or ruling again in Judah.’ “

Reply

william louth January 28, 2016 at 6:00 am

I am 85 years old and have been a part of the establishment since birth. I am now confused about Jesus, was he a real live person? or am I to discard all teaching I have been subjected to over the years. This is serious, for my faith is now being tested to the limit. Please enlighten me regards my situation Best wishes and regards. William.

Reply

Joshua Tilghman February 6, 2016 at 1:34 pm

William,

You say your faith is being tested to the limit. Do you mean faith in orthodoxy?

Reply

Paul February 9, 2016 at 9:57 am

Hi William:

With apologies for the late reply, I will refer you to my article on this site, “Who or What is God and Christ.” In that article I go to great lengths to show through the Scriptures what God and Christ represent. It goes contrary to the professions of organized religion. Unfortunately, we have all been conditioned by those who we trust to teach us spiritual things, but the Scripture clearly tells us that “There is none that understands, there is none that seeks after God (Rom. 3:11).It further emphasizes that concept by saying no, not one (Rom. 3:12).

Further scripture does tell us we are gods:

I have said, Ye [are] gods; and all of you sons of the most High. (Psa. 82:6)

This is repeated by Jesus in the NT:

Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?” (John 10:34)

It is my hope that you will find value in the article. It is critical that we come to understand biblical symbology, as Scripture tells us that the natural man cannot understand the things of God because those things are to be spirituallydiscerned (1 Cor. 2:14).

Please don’t hesitate to let us know if you have any questions.

Blessings!

Reply

April February 2, 2016 at 11:31 pm

William, I am writing this to you only with kindness, and all due respect, for Joshua and his opinions, even though I disagree with Joshua’s viewpoints. Initially, I had no intention of commenting on his site. But after reading your comment, I had to reply to you, especially since no one else has taken the time to do so. After looking over this website, I can tell you that I’m quite certain that you aren’t the first person he’s confused, and you most probably will not be the last.

In this article, Joshua specifically mentions the Gospel of Mark and Matthew. To understand these writings, believe it or not, you’ll need to read them LITERALLY, and in the proper CONTEXT.

The Gospel of Mark was targeted to the Romans who, of course, were gentiles, not Jews. They more than likely had never read the Tanakh and would have had no idea of the lineages or prophecies included within. This means that they would have had no idea about the prophecy of the virgin birth and the Jewish Messiah, or recognize the lineage from which He came.

The Gospel of Matthew was targeted to the Jews. The virgin birth was included here since Jesus’ lineage would have been easily appreciated by, and meaningful to them. The prophecy of the virgin birth also was documented in their Tanakh, so they would have appreciated this too. The main purpose of the Gospel of Matthew was to show the Jews that their Messiah-King had come, the Lion of Judah.

I have been on this site a few times over the last week due to my sister in law asking me what I thought about it. Unfortunately, after browsing around for a while, I have to say that I believe I would lump this website in with all the others out there on the internet who try and take an already amazing book, containing already amazing true stories, and twist them into something they are not. I do believe the Bible should be read literally, as do most people. I also know that there are parts of the Bible which are meant to be interpreted figuratively, only when they obviously don’t make sense literally, such as when Jesus speaks in parables. Regardless, people have been trying to find secret codes and secret meanings in the Bible since, well, forever. The Bible is amazing enough as it is. It’s the greatest love story ever documented. Apparently that’s not enough for some people, so they have to turn it into something else. Secrets. Codes. Confusion. Nonsense.

On this site, Joshua and others mention belief in reincarnation. They make it sound like it’s in the Bible, but it’s not. Let me tell you that just because God uses a few people such as Enoch and Elijah to come back and perform special tasks for Him, does not in any way, for one shred of a second, mean that everyone (or anyone) will be reincarnated. Enoch and Elijah came back to serve a special purpose for God, they didn’t come back “to get their life right” or for “spiritual growth” so that they could move on. The Bible states that it is appointed for each man to die once. And furthermore, if any person is trying to “interpret” the Bible, but doesn’t believe it’s central tenant that Jesus was God in the flesh (a real person) who was crucified for their (our) sins, then I’m not sure how they can be taken seriously anyway.

In addition, I’ve seen here on this site the belief that we’re all gods or are going to be gods. Really? This statement cannot be supported with scripture. In fact, the Bible clearly tells us that we are SINNERS IN NEED OF A SAVIOR. Nowhere in the Bible does it say we will ever be gods. The Bible shows us how we are indeed sinners and gives us the roadmap through Jesus alone for our salvation.

There is so much more I could go into here, but refuting everything on this website would be a full time job and I already have one.

My purpose for going into all of this detail for you is to show you that you don’t need codes or secret information in order to be saved. You don’t need an “establishment” in order to be saved. You don’t need the Pope in order to be saved. You don’t need Joshua Tilghman in order to be saved. Only the blood of the real man Jesus Christ can wash away your sins and make you worthy to get to the Father. You have to believe you’re a sinner. You have to believe that you need a savior. You have to believe that Jesus Christ is the Savior who came as God in the flesh to die on the cross and rise again to pay for your sins. If you believe these things sir, then you are right where you need to be. No secret knowledge needed. Please do not let the opinions on this website test your faith.

Best wishes to you William. God bless.

Reply

Michelle February 4, 2016 at 1:49 pm

William I’m 55 years old and I always believed there was a real Jesus I am just now starting to think that everything I had been told wasn’t true and I’ve done a lot of research and found that I believe The writers of the Bible hid messages in scripture from our ego so that we would have to look beyond our carnal mind to find our true spiritual path. no one can tell you this you must search the truth out for yourself.

Reply

Robert February 11, 2016 at 5:44 am

William,

I have been following Josh’s teachings for years and have written many articles on this blog. A year ago I began questioning Josh’s premise about Jesus not being literal and not undergoing the death and resurrection as atonement for sin. I am 67, have a PhD in chemistry and an avid interest in theology. My conclusions after meticulously pondering Josh’s approach is that Jesus is literal, the gospel accounts took place as written, and Josh and Paul may be too invested in the premises of Gnosticism to agree with me so far. Josh and Paul have been my good friends and we have all encouraged each other many, many times. I respect their choices, and their logic, sincerity, and their capacity to serve others is of the highest quality. But the truth about Jesus is not found with logic, sincerity, and a capacity to serve others. It is revealed in your heart by the Holy Spirit, which the bible says is the Spirit of Truth. When I have found myself straying or being pulled away from that simple truth, the confusion has been resolved by crying out to Jesus with the intensity of Jonah in the stomach of the whale, as I have done when beset with other major crises, and the one I cry out to hears me and delivers me in amazing ways. Jesus did not teach us to go out and find our own path, He told us to follow Him. Peter the disciple did not want to, but Jesus told him if he loved him, he would. Eventually he did.

Reply

Robert February 11, 2016 at 10:34 am

William,

Just a thought. It is one thing to know about Jesus , it is another thing to ask Jesus into your heart. He promises to save you from sin and give you the gift of eternal life. My 93 year old father-in-law also knows about Jesus, but he has not asked him into his heart. He can be very grouchy and snippy when this subject is approached. But he is currently in the hospital with a broken hip, and I have been reluctant to bring it up again with him even though this could be his last chance. When I reread my last message to you, I noticed I brought up Jonah and Peter, the reluctant messengers. It seems the Holy Spirit has been reaching me through my writing when I reach out to others. Its awesome.

Jesus message in his day was not about being a part of the establishment, but about embracing a belief that was so radical to the establishment that he was persecuted.

Reply

william louth February 14, 2016 at 12:34 am

Thanks to those who have responded to my question regarding Jesus. I have resolved to leave my life in the hands of mighty eternal God, and live each day as it comes enjoying life with the knowledge that He is in total command and I can be at peace.

Reply

John January 7, 2017 at 1:15 pm

Josh, I am blown away and astounded by your site, over 30 yrs of searching and finally something to bring it all together! I know in my heart and mind that the Universe and Life are a Manifested Living Idea, perfect in its creation and operation! Always learning and expanding in every facet of itself! What strikes me is “The Threads” that runs thru it, never losing anything incorporating it all! It would seem that Scripture does the same thing!It shows me that the Idea is the power,and ideas are the most powerful dynamic in the universe! I have been on your site for he last 3 days,and there is no letting up! I also was thinking about Dispensations and their overlap and how they are similar. Davids Tabernacle, John the Baptist etc. in regards to Universal Revelation. Considering the Age Of Aqurius is son upon us. Bless You and all your endeavors to be fruitful!!!

Reply

Joshua Tilghman March 1, 2017 at 9:19 pm

Thanks for your comment, John. Sorry this is so late a reply, sometimes comments get buried. But I know what you mean, about dispensations and the new age we are in. Many blessings!

Reply

Cecil February 9, 2017 at 9:39 am

Are you familiar with Eastern Orthodox Christianity view on the incarnation? Eastern Christians teach that the Incarnation means the embodiment of divine grace. The incarnation brought the physical and the spiritual in union. The literal incarnation paved the way for a literal humanity to ascend to God. The incarnation changed everything on an ontological level. The Church Fathers say that God became man in order to make man a god. Man would not be able to attain deification (gr. theosis) if God had not become incarnate.

Reply

Joshua Tilghman February 24, 2017 at 8:01 pm

Cecil, I am a little familiar with the Eastern Orthodox view on incarnation, and while much sounds great, I have still have a few hangups overall. Not to say that I am correct, but to reconcile the greater picture does present problems in my view. That being said, it is a higher understanding than the standard Christian model.

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: