Is 1 Kings 7:23 wrong about Pi?

Mathematics are great! Aren’t they? Many people are at the very least somewhat capable of performing mathematics, and there are some very simple things in math, such as multiplication or calculating Pi. We can all calculate for Pi right? The circumference of a circle divided by its diameter? But wait… Can God do math?

Christians understand that the Holy Bible is the inerrant Word of God, but the non-believers come up with some of the most ridiculous accusations of Biblical errors at times. For example, they claim and tell us that the Holy Bible does not even get Pi correct, based on 1 Kings 7:23. Now, let us investigate this accusation, as to behold whether or not it holds merit.

[1 Kings 7:23]  He made the cast metal reservoir, 10 cubits from brim to brim, perfectly round. It was 5 cubits high and 30 cubits in circumference.

Now, we all know (or have we already forgotten here??) that if you divide the circumference of any perfect circle by its diameter, you will come up with 3.141596… And so on, otherwise known as pi. However, it seems that the Holy Bible gives us false calculations here! How egregious! The Holy Bible tells us that this object, which is perfectly round, has a circumference of 45 feet and a diameter of 15 feet, but 45/15=3, not 3.14! Therefore, the non-believer will exclaim to their foolish audience, the Holy Bible is in error regarding mathematics.

Hmm… So why is claim false? The trick here is to… Read a few verses on to 1 Kings 7:26.

[1 Kings 7:26]  The reservoir was a handbreadth thick, and its rim was fashioned like the brim of a cup or of a lily blossom. It held 2,000 baths.

The key part of this verse is where we are told its rim (the top of the object) was fashioned like the brim of a cup. In other words, this is what Biblical Scholars believe this object looked like:

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As you can see, although the circumference was of a perfect circle, it expanded outwards near the top, like a cup, so the circumference did not correlate with the diameter, meaning the calculation for Pi cannot be applied to this object initially if the diameter was measured from brim to brim. I hope this makes sense to everybody. No error here, the Holy Bible beats off the accuser yet again.

 

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READ MORE:

God and Pharaoh’s Free Will

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Historical Evidence for the Exodus

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Earliest reference to Jerusalem found?? (History I)

Well, it’s another day of Biblical Archaeology and the archaeologists have found more archaeological evidence for the Bible! Check it out!

Read it in this link right here:
http://www.jns.org/latest-articles/2016/10/26/earliest-reference-to-jerusalem-found-in-rare-ancient-papyrus#.WBUlE_orLIU

Here’s a picture of it to prove it!

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It’s 2,700 years old. A reference to Jerusalem 2,700 years old. So, this is the earliest reference to Jerusalem in history, correct?
NO.

As much as I love Biblical archaeology, and this does in fact help corroborate the Bible, this is just not the very first reference to Jerusalem. A ton of outlets are claiming that it is even though it isn’t. Jerusalem is recorded 3,300-3,400 years ago, at least 600 years before this reference, in the Amarna Tablets. Technically, it’s spelled Urusalim in the Amarna Tablets, but Scholars still know it means Jerusalem. I suppose, because of this variant spelling, technically this manuscript is the first unequivocal reference to Jerusalem, or perhaps the earliest reference in Hebrew, even though it isn’t the earliest in general. This discovery was made a few days ago. Like 3 days or something. At least we have even more evidence for the Bible know (even though there have been around 4-5 major discoveries in the last three months alone that each verify a serious major Biblical narrative to be historical… you can send me an e-mail if you want to know about them, that are of course much more serious than this one).

You might be thinking as well, that these kind of posts aren’t what I usually do. Whatever, I’ll have a real post later today or tomorrow.

EXTRA POINT:

If you wanted me to respond to any objection to Christianity (the Bible or anything), or prove anything about Christianity being true, just post a comment and I may add it to a list of some of my posts coming to the future. For example, if you want to see me prove that the Gospels were written by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John — just post a comment! (although I already did that here, but a part two and three will eventually be posted i guess) Thanks for the read!

Evidence for the Exodus

God guided the Israelite’s through the Exodus, where He defeated Pharaoh’s army at the Red Sea. This is indeed one of the greatest narratives found throughout the entirety of the Holy Bible, and contains some of God’s greatest signs, as when He allowed Moses to split open the Red Sea, allowing the Israelite’s to pass through the enormous water mass.

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The Israelite’s were free from Pharaoh’s tyranny when they were being led by Moses, by God’s greatness.

It is, of course, unfortunate, however, that there exist a people who wish to deny the historicity of this great event, being at the heart of the Book of Exodus and one of the greatest acts of God in the entire Holy Bible. Indeed, there exists a charge against God’s words that the events within, such as the Exodus, are nothing more than historical fiction rather than events that have truly occurred in reality. Regarding these charges, we shall now respond to them, and show that exodus is not a mere fiction in the Holy Bible.

To begin, the first thing we will do is find out when the exodus took place. Now, Scholarly research has shown that the reign of king Solomon began in 970 BC. Let us now read a passage from 1 Kings.

[1 Kings 6:1] Solomon began to build the temple for the Lord in the four hundred eightieth year after the Israelites came out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of his reign over Israel, in the second month, in the month of Ziv.

Thus, according to 1 Kings 6:1, the fourth year of the reign of Solomon (which would be 966 BC) came 480 years after the Israelite’s came out of the land of Egypt. So, when did the Exodus begin? We merely add 480 years to 966 BC (966 BC was again, the fourth year of Solomon’s reign), and we get a date for the start of the exodus at 1446 BC. There are some out there who think the number of 480 years in 1 Kings 6:1 is not literal and merely represents twelve generations of forty years each, forty years being a representation of a length of a generation — however this proposition has been entirely rebutted, as would be expected of such a random assertion. Another point to make is that the phrase four hundred and eightieth year in 1 Kings 6:1 is ordinal, not cardinal (480th year, not 480 years), which shatters any attempt to interpret it as a representation of twelve generations rather than a precise counting of years, and therefore we can know for sure that 1 Kings 6:1 establishes the exodus as occurring 1446 BC, which would be 480 years before the fourth year of the reign of Solomon. The next passage to look at is in the Book of Judges;

[Judges 11:26] While Israel lived 300 years in Heshbon and its villages, in Aroer and its villages, and in all the cities that are on the banks of the Arnon, why didn’t you take them back at that time?

Now, Judges 11-12:7 took place at the time of Jephthah, who was one of the judges in the Book of Judges over Israel, and under him, the Ammonites were defeated. Dating the time of the judges is not an easy task, but Jephthah is generally thought to have lived somewhere around 1100 BC. Generally, it can be assured that it was at least somewhere between 1130 BC – 1070 BC. Now, according to Judges 11:26, the conquest of Joshua began 300 years prior to Jephthah’s judging, meaning Joshua’s conquest, according to Judges 11:26, started around 1430 BC – 1370 BC. Now, the exodus would have started at least over 40 years prior to Joshua’s conquest, because the Hebrews wandered throughout the Sinai for forty years after the exodus according to the exodus account. Setting the date another 40 years back, we get a date of the start of the exodus, according to Judges 11:26, between 1470 BC – 1410 BC, comfortably over the 1446 BC dating we got from 1 Kings 6:1. The third passage we will use to date the exodus is 1 Chronicles 6:33-37.

[1 Chronicles 6:33-37] Here are the men who served, together with their sons: From the Kohathites: Heman, the musician, the son of Joel, the son of Samuel, the son of Elkanah, the son of Jeroham, the son of Eliel, the son of Toah, the son of Zuph, the son of Elkanah, the son of Mahath, the son of Amasai, the son of Elkanah, the son of Joel, the son of Azariah, the son of Zephaniah, the son of Tahath, the son of Assir, the son of Ebiasaph, the son of Korah,

In 1 Chronicles 6:33-37, we are given 18 generations from Korah in the time of Moses to Heman in the time of David, meaning Moses and David were separated by 18 generations. Thus, this would be 19 generations between Moses and Solomon  (because Solomon was David’s son). One generation usually lasts about 25 years. Assuming 25 years per generation, for 19 generations, we get 475 years between Solomon and Moses. Assuming, let’s say, a 40 year range to ensure accuracy, we’ll estimate 455-495 years for these 19 generations to pass by. So according to 1 Chronicles 6:33-37, Solomon and Moses are separated by about 455-495 years, in which is almost exactly the same as the 480 year difference we are given between Solomon to Moses in 1 Kings 6:1. 1 Chronicles 6:33-37 would put the exodus perhaps anywhere between 1480 BC – 1440 BC. The final passage we will be using as a dating method for the exodus is Ezekiel 40:1.

[Ezekiel 40:1] In the twenty-fifth year of our exile, at the beginning of the year, on the tenth day of the month in the fourteenth year after Jerusalem had been captured, on that very day the Lord’s hand was on me, and He brought me there.

Ezekiel 40:1 records the 17th jubilee. But how do we know Ezekiel 40:1 represents a jubilee at all? The phrase “at the beginning of the year” in this verse, translates to Rosh Hashanah in the Hebrew, which was a phrase used to represent the very beginning of the New Year. If you focus on the details of this verse, however, you’ll realize that the verse says it is “on the tenth day of the month”. One may ask, how it can be the beginning of the year if it is on the tenth of the month rather than the first? An Old Testament Scholar, Rodger C. Young explains in a paper (pg. 271) that the only time such an event occurs on the Jewish calendar is when it is the year of the jubilee, meaning that Ezekiel 40:1 represents a jubilee year. So, exactly what year was Ezekiel 40:1 representing? Another hint in the verse is when the verse says “on the tenth day of the month in the fourteenth year after Jerusalem had been captured.” Ezekiel 40:1 represented the year that would come fourteen years after the capture of Jerusalem. Scholars generally contest either a dating of 587 BC, or 586 BC, but in the same paper, Rodger C. Young establishes based on Ezekiel 40:1 that Jerusalem must have been captured in 587 BC.

So, if Ezekiel 40:1 represents fourteen years after 587 BC, 587 BC being the first year, we realize 574 BC is the fourteenth year that Ezekiel 40:1 represents. Now that we know this, we understand Ezekiel 40:1 represents both the year 574 BC and the 17th jubilee. One Jubilee is 49 years, and so 17 Jubilees would span 833 years (17 x 49). If we go back 833 years from 574 BC, starting at 574 BC for the first year, it is evident that the counting of the jubilees begun at 1406 BC. Rodger C. Young concludes;

But when we combine this with the Seder ‘Olam’s (and the Talmud’s) statement that Ezekiel’s Jubilee was the seventeenth Jubilee, then the fact that this gives 1406 as not just the start of a cycle, but the start of the very fast cycle, in agreement with the date of 1406 for Israel’s entry into the land as measured by an independent method, then it logically follows that the counting really did begin in 1406, and the Levitical priests were faithfully measuring the Sabbatical and Jubilee years over all the time that Israel was in its land. (pg. 276)

So, as the Israelite’s started counting their jubilees at their entry into the holy land from the exodus in 1406 BC, we can simply go 40 years back from 1406 BC to get the date of when the exodus started, and behold, we arrive to find the exodus started at 1446 BC.  Thus, we have utilized four independent dating methods to quantify when the exodus began, from 1 Kings 6:1, Judges 11:26, 1 Chronicles 6:33-37 and Ezekiel 40:1, and we have unanimously come to the same time in history about when the exodus began. The fact that four independent dating methods for the beginning of the exodus bring us to the same time period in regards to when the exodus began shows that the exodus was a true historical event, for coincidences do not simply add up like this.

An important area of research to look at when determining the historicity of the exodus is Joshua’s conquest of Canaan, said to commence almost immediately after the Israelite’s entered the Jordan (1406 BC). We have extraordinary historical attestation to the annihilation of Canaanite cities dating to and right after the 1400’s BC when Joshua’s conquest was to take place. Some think that we would expect to see the complete destruction of Canaanite cities around 1400 BC, but unfortunately for these people, this is not what the Biblical text says happened. In  his book Kingdom and Priests: A History of Old Testament Israel, Eugene H. Merrill, an Old Testament scholar explains in the following statement:

Signs of major devastation in the period from 1400 to 1375 would be an acute embarrassment to the traditional view because the Biblical witness is univocal that Israel was commanded to annihilate the Canaanite populations, but to spare the cities and towns in which they lived. And the record explicitly testifies that this mandate was faithfully carried out. The only exceptions were Jericho, Ai, and Hazor. (pg. 90)

In other words, the Exodus narrative only says that the cities Jericho, Ai and Hazor underwent destruction, whilst other Canaanite cities themselves were spared though they had their populations annihilated. And in fact, this is exactly what we see — the only Canaanite cities during the time of Joshua that were actually destroyed align perfectly with the Exodus narrative. In perfect alignment with the Biblical record, the only cities that underwent destruction in the time of Joshua were Jericho, Ai, and Hazor. Let’s discuss all three of them, starting with Jericho.

The first man to date the destruction of Jericho was John Garstang, placing the violent crushing of this city at about 1400 BC. After Garstang had concluded that this was the date of the destruction of Jericho, Palestinian archaeology underwent major advancement and seeing his work was critiqued, he asked a woman named Kathleen Kenyon to re-examine his work and update his findings. After she did so, she ended up seeing that the destruction must be re-dated to 1550 BC, which ended up being accepted by the academic community during her time. This initially posed a problem to the biblical account. Fortunately, decades later an archaeologist named Bryant G. Wood examined her publications, and utilizing new information on top of even newer technology, he concluded that the destruction of Jericho should be dated back to 1400 BC in coordination with Garstang’s initial dating of the destruction of Jericho. Excavations earlier lead by John Garstang had found four royal scarabs that post-date 1550 BC in the site of Jericho, including a scarab from the reign of Hatshepsut (c. 1506-1488 BC) a scarab and a seal from the reign of Thutmose III (c. 1506-1452 BC), and two scarabs from the reign of Amenhotep III (c. 1408-1369 BC). This would imply continual occupation of the site of Jericho up until about c. 1400 BC.

Radiometric dates at the site of Jericho have often yielded a destruction date of 1550 BC, which mainly contributed to Kenyon’s dating of Jericho’s destruction during this time. However, it has recently been revealed that radiometric dates have an offset of about 150 years on average before 1400 BC. Applying a 150-year offset to the radiometric dates of Jericho’s destruction of 1550 BC, we arrive almost too coincidentally at a corrected date of 1400 BC. The archaeological evidence indicates a destruction of Jericho during 1400 BC, at the end of the Late Bronze Age I Period.

Now that we’ve discussed all that, let’s discuss the city Ai. Recent excavations have shown to be very promising. Take a look at the biblical city of Ai.

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The city of Ai (modern day Khirbet el-Maqatir) perfectly establishes Joshua’s conquest. Excavations in Khirbet el-Maqatir reveal many finds, including a fortress and scarab that date to the Late Bronze Age I that conclusively date the destruction of Ai to about 1400 BC, perfectly paralleling the time of the conquest.

As for Hazor, Hazor contains two destruction layers — one in the 15th century BC and 13th century BC. Coincidentally, if the exodus dates to 1446 BC then the following Biblical narrative would necessitate Hazor be destroyed twice, once under Joshua in the late 15th century BC in Joshua 11 and the second time under Deborah and Barak in the 13th century BC in Judges 4. Therefore, the evidence conclusively establishes that archaeology abundantly testifies to the confirmation of the account of Joshua’s conquest, and exactly when it happened, thereby providing great validity for the Exodus account.

Now, some extraordinary findings have been recently made. Originally, it had been assumed that the Merneptah Stele is the earliest reference in archaeology to Israel, dating back astonishingly early to 1200 BC. But it gets better. In 2001 and 2010, two publications were made that found a reference to the existence of Israel as early as 1350 BC on an ancient topographical relief known as the Berlin Statue Pedestal Relief 21687, located in the Berlin Museum. The first paper was written by Manfred Gorg, and second paper was also written by Manfred Gorg along with Christopher Theis and Peter van der Veen. Both papers established a reading of the ancient Berlin Pedestal most likely read an archaic form of the name Israel, making it an astonishingly early reference to the Israelite nation. In further confirmation of this reading, a 2012 paper published a 3D laser scanning of the Berlin Pedestal Relief that reaffirmed the reading of the two previous papers, further conclusively showing that Israel is in fact referenced in the Berlin Pedestal Reliefestablishing the earliest recording of the nation of Israel in history. Now, why is this important? According to the Exodus, the Hebrews left Egypt and entered into the promised land (Israel) in 1406 BC. This means that almost immediately after the nation of Israel is established, according to the Exodus, the first reference to the nation appears in the archaeological record. The chronology of the Exodus is confirmed by such findings.

Not only do we have historical confirmation of these segments of the Exodus narrative, but the massive sites and regional locations in which would be required for such an extraordinary amount of Israelite’s to travel from Egypt are also attested to. This is an image of the Oasis of Hazeroth, which according to the Bible was one of the locations that the Israelite’s passed through during the exodus, abundantly recorded in various passages of the Pentateuch (five books of Moses).

There are various Biblical passages that mention the Oasis of Hazeroth. These include Numbers 11:35, Numbers 12:16 and Deuteronomy 1:1. This means the locations of where the Bible told us the Israelite’s went through during the exodus not only exist, but are capable of containing such an abundant amount of peoples. No one will question the humor that some people expect remains of extensive farming locations, numerous altars, amongst other things left by the Israelite’s during the exodus, even though it is virtually impossible for such things to survive (or exist in the first place) as a result of several hundred thousand Israelite’s living in a semi-nomadic lifestyle for a mere forty years, which would have much clues covered up by over 3,000 years of heavy erosion and the shifting and alternating desert sands.

Moving forwards, we shall now look at the amazing convergence of the Exodus narrative and Egyptian archaeology. Now, before the exodus, or before 1446 BC, the Israelite’s were foreign slaves to the Egyptians, being forced to build cities for them, amongst other things.

[Exodus 1:11] So the Egyptians assigned taskmasters over the Israelites to oppress them with forced labor. They built Pithom and Rameses as supply cities for Pharaoh.

This is the record of the Holy Bible. What about the Egyptian record? Now, the tomb of vizier Rekhmire, from 1460 BC depicts foreign slaves with an inscription on it saying “making bricks for the workshop-storeplace of the Temple of Amun at Karnak in Thebes.” These are Egyptian inscriptions of foreign slaves in Egypt. The amazing thing is that this inscription is dated to c. 1460 BC (reign of Thutmose III), which parallels the Biblical account of the exodus in which we know the Israelite’s were foreign slaves to the Egyptians just prior to 1446 BC. In other words, we know that the Egyptians had foreign slaves in the exact time that we are told in the Book of Exodus that the Israelite’s were slaves to the Egyptians.

As is also noted by the inscription on the tomb of vizier Rekhmire, Egyptian slaves were engaged in brick-making. It is also known that Egyptian slaves were engaged in both construction work and fieldwork, and all of this is what the Hebrews are described to have been doing in the Book of Exodus. The very architect of Ramesside chronology himself, Kenneth Kitchen in a study titled From the Brickfields of Egypt, has also demonstrated that Egyptian brick-makers had to meet quotas for their brick production — a fact that is highly reminiscent of Exodus 5:4-19.

Now, assuming the date of the exodus is 1446 BC, the pharaoh of the time of the exodus would be Amenhotep II. This is where the Egyptian record continues to confirm with the narrative of the Book of Exodus in the Old Testament. Amenhotep II was the pharaoh of the exodus, yes? May I ask the question, which pharaoh came after Amenhotep II? It was Thutmose IV. There is yet another Egyptian record known as the Dream Stele, and according to the Dream Stele, Thutmose IV, the heir of Amenhotep II, was not the legal heir to the throne of the pharaoh. This is precisely because Amenhotep II’s eldest son would have died in the tenth plague according to the exodus.

[Exodus 11:1-8] The Lord said to Moses, “I will bring one more plague on Pharaoh and on Egypt. After that, he will let you go from here. When he lets you go, he will drive you out of here. Now announce to the people that both men and women should ask their neighbors for silver and gold jewelry.” The Lord gave the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians. And the man Moses was highly regarded in the land of Egypt by Pharaoh’s officials and the people. So Moses said, “This is what Yahweh says: ‘About midnight I will go throughout Egypt, and every firstborn male in the land of Egypt will die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sits on his throne to the firstborn of the servant girl who is behind the millstones, as well as every firstborn of the livestock. Then there will be a great cry of anguish through all the land of Egypt such as never was before, or ever will be again. But against all the Israelites, whether man or beast, not even a dog will snarl, so that you may know that Yahweh makes a distinction between Egypt and Israel. All these officials of yours will come down to me and bow before me, saying: Leave, you and all the people who follow you. After that, I will leave.’” And he left Pharaoh’s presence in fierce anger.

As we can see, the Biblical account records that pharaoh’s son died during the exodus, and the Egyptian account readily confirms this Biblical fact as a historical fact. Another striking parallel between history and the Bible that affirms its reality and the reality of the exodus.

Now, one of the first few pharaoh’s after the exodus took place was pharaoh Akhenaten, who reigned from around 1353 BC to 1336 BC.

Now according to the Amarna Letters, which we’ve discussed before, very shocking information is revealed to us. Akhenaten actually converted to monotheism (the belief that there is one God), and even tried to convert all of Egypt to monotheism (giving him the title of the ‘Heretical King’ after his death). Before him, all of the Egyptian pharaohs and peoples were polytheistic, believing in many gods, although the Israelite’s only believed in one true God. Right after the exodus takes place and as the God of Israel defends the monotheistic Hebrews against the army of pharaoh, we note that one of the first few pharaoh’s to reign thereafter shockingly converts to monotheism. This perhaps indicates Akhenaten realizing that his false gods were inferior to the one true God of Israel. The crushing defeat of Egypt could have influenced the theology of Akhenaten, causing him to convert to monotheism.

Now, there is a claim that there is absolutely no archaeological evidence of a mass exodus of people during the time in which the exodus had supposedly taken place or that the Egyptian army as recorded in Exodus 14:26-28 was utterly destroyed. Contrary to these claims, recent findings of archaeology show this is absolutely not true.

Verily, archaeology gives fantastic insight and confirmation to the account of the exodus. Manfred Bietak, a highly respected scholar, excavated the ancient city of Avaris, a major city and military base of Egypt during the 18th Dynasty that had approximately 25,000 inhabitants. Bietak’s excavations revealed that the entire city of Avaris was abandoned at once. Indeed, in a paper titled Perunefer: the principal New Kingdom naval base, Bietak explains the following in a report regarding some geophysical investigations at Avaris;

 Another important matter is the stratigraphy, which shows the abandonment of the site of Tell el Daba/Ezbet Helmy after the reign of Amenhotep II and its reactivation in the late Eighteenth Dynasty. (pg. 17)

Indeed, Bietak’s excavations at ancient Avaris (biblical city of Rameses, modern Tell el-Dab’a) reveals it was entirely abandoned at one point in history. Bietak says that this abandonment occurred after the reign of Amenhotep II (transition between Amenhotep II and Thutmose IV), but in a paper titled Toward Pinpointing the Timing of the Egyptian Abandonment of Avaris During the Middle of the 18th Dynasty by the scholar Douglas Petrovich, the abandonment of Avaris was subsequently shown to have happened during the reign of Amenhotep II himself, rather than during Amenhotep II’s transition with Thutmose IV (or even the actual reign of Thutmose IV). So, during the reign of Amenhotep II, the pharaoh of the exodus, tens of thousands of people abandon an entire major Egyptian city! Coincidentally, the Book of Exodus tells us that under the reign of the exodus-pharaoh, tens of thousands of Hebrews abandon Egypt. There are some people I’ve met who claim that this abandonment of Avaris was actually related to the Hyksos, but this is impossible, as the Hyksos had been removed from Egypt during the reign of Ahmose I (1550 BC), more than a century before the reign of the pharaoh Amenhotep II, which is when the abandonment of Avaris took place (1450-1440 BC?). The abandonment of Avaris during the reign of Amenhotep II establishes solid evidence for the historicity of the exodus from Egypt.

In fact, during the reign of Amenhotep II and thereafter, the Egyptian army suddenly transitioned from invading and conquering their dissenters, to making peace treaties. As recorded in the Amarna Letters, specifically El-Amarna Tablet 109;

Previously, at the mere sight of an Egyptian, the kings of Canaan would fl[ee before him, but] now the sons of ‘Abdi-Asirta make men from Egypt prowl [like do]gs.

Thus we see that the Egyptian army was once extraordinarily powerful having absolutely no rivals, even the kings of Canaan fleeing before the power of Egypt. Suddenly, at least by the 14th century BC, Egypt was greatly reduced, so that Canaan no longer feared Egypt. In fact, we can see this fact corroborated by the fact that Egypt suddenly started trying to create peace treaties following the height of their military glory rather than invading whomever it pleased under Amenhotep II’s reign. Douglas Petrovich, in the paper mentioned above, says the following statement;

Once the native Egyptians eradicated the foreign invaders who had dominated their landscape for a century, they quickly moved to rebuild the destroyed city and establish it as a storehouse, eventually to be utilized as a military garrison with weapon-making facilities. Peru-nefer/Avaris became the most vital cog in the unprecedented military campaigning under the reigns of Thutmose III and Amenhotep II. Yet during the height of Egypt’s enterprise and glory, her naval base was abandoned mysteriously, and her imperialistic machinery ground to a halt. Egypt suddenly sought to make treaties rather than seize what she desired. (pg. 21)

In other words, Egypt, during the height of its empire and imperialistic glory was suddenly diminished and it’s major naval base of Avaris is suddenly abandoned, and therefore Egypt could not continue invading what it wanted to conquer. This is corroborating confirmation of pharaoh’s army being heavily defeated during the event of the exodus.

[Exodus 14:26-28] Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea so that the waters may flow back over the Egyptians and their chariots and horsemen.” Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and at daybreak the sea went back to its place. The Egyptians were fleeing toward it, and the Lord swept them into the sea. The water flowed back and covered the chariots and horsemen—the entire army of Pharaoh that had followed the Israelite’s into the sea. Not one of them survived.

Finally, the Pentateuch (books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy), contain a vast knowledge regarding the customs, geography, and etymology of ancient Egypt. Joshua Berman states the following; “At best, we have a text—the Hebrew Bible—that exhibits a good grasp of a wide range of fairly standard aspects of ancient Egyptian realities.”

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One thing to note is the usage of strictly Egyptian names in the Book of Exodus, that primarily and only existed in usage in Egypt in the mid-second millennium BC. As the renowned scholar, Richard Hess puts it,

Although many of these names remained in use later as well, some of them, such as Pinḥas, show an explicit connection with Egyptian personal names at the period in question, and a few, including Ḥevron (Exodus 6:18) and Puah (Exodus 1:15), are attested as personal names only in the mid-second millennium (that is, the 18th to the 13th centuries BCE). The use of other Egyptian words found in the early chapters of Exodus but nowhere else in the Bible similarly supports the view of a connection with Egypt in the same period. Such pieces of incidental information, which would not have been known to a later scribe, point to an antiquity and authenticity in the Exodus account that is difficult to explain otherwise.

Furthermore, the books of the Pentateuch exhibit great knowledge of the geography of Egypt. For example, Genesis 13:10 says “…the entire Jordan Valley as far as Zoar was well watered everywhere like the Lord’s garden and the land of Egypt…” Steven Collins, a specialist in the region of the Jordan Valley comments on this in his book Discovering the City of Sodom regarding the passage Genesis 13:10;

“Here, the well-watered kikkar is compared to (lower) Egypt and the Nile River, which flows northward, dividing into a series of channels in the Nile Delta as it empties into the Mediterranean Sea. The parallels are striking. Both the Nile and the Jordan empty into saline waters. And — on a much smaller scale — the Jordan, like the Nile, also has an alluvial “delta” through which it empties into the northern end of the Dead Sea. Additionally, in antiquity both rivers underwent an annual inundation due to rainfall and snowmelt far upstream. It seems that the writer of Genesis was familiar with the lower Nile area and viewed the Jordan as a ‘Nile in miniature.'” (pg. 117)

In other words, the author of the Pentateuch seems to be highly familiar with the land of Egypt and its geography, including the Nile River. Another fact in the account of the Exodus that confirms the authors specialized knowledge of geography and political state of ancient Egypt is Exodus 13:17, that tells us when the Israelite’s are leaving Egypt, they avoided the northern route in order to avoid military engagement. Joshua Berman also notes that the”…discovery of extensive Egyptian fortifications all along that route from the period in question confirms the accuracy of this observation.” This is consistent with Moses, who was “trained in all the wisdom of the Egyptians” (Acts 7:22) according to the Bible.

Even more evidence of the Pentateuch’s considerable knowledge of ancient Egypt’s customs and geography in the time of the Exodus remains plentiful. For example, you’ll notice in the entire Pentateuch, the name of the Egyptian pharaoh is never given, even though later biblical books like 1 and 2 Kings give the name of the pharaoh they describe (Shishak; 1 Kings 14:25, Necho; 2 Kings 23:29). If the Exodus account was invented, we would expect the Pentateuch to simply make up the name of the pharaoh. However, it seems that the author of Pentateuch employed an Egyptian type of writing custom that only existed in the 15th – 11th centuries BC in Egyptian literature, in which the name of Egypt’s king is never mentioned, rather he is simply referred to by the title of ‘pharaoh’.

Throughout ancient Egyptian literature in the second millennium BC, the power of the king of Egypt is portrayed in Egyptian texts as existing through pharaoh’s arm. In a paper titled The Arm of God Versus the Arm of Pharaoh in the Exodus Narratives by James Hoffmeier, one of the renowned scholars of our day, James quotes many of these Egyptian texts, including two relevant ones here which speak about Amenhotep II (pg. 381);

The accompanying inscription reads: ‘Amenhotep… who smites foreign rules of the far north, he is a god whose arm is great’. He is also called the ‘good god, strong of arm who achieves with his arms’ (pg. 381)

However, something important that James Hoffmeier points out is that Moses does the exact same thing with God. In the Book of Exodus Moses writes the following;

[Exodus 13:14] “In the future, when your son asks you, ‘What does this mean?’ say to him, ‘By the strength of His hand the Lord brought us out of Egypt, out of the place of slavery.

Moses portrays God’s power by God’s arm (so to speak). This is indeed no coincidence. James Hoffmeier points out that Moses wrote in this kind of language as to show that Yahweh’s power is greater than the power of pharaoh, and therefore defeated pharaoh and his gods, and therefore the arm of Yahweh overpowered the arm of pharaoh. James Hoffmeier thus says;

“The drama of the exodus narratives in describing the struggle between God and Pharaoh’s arms is heightened when it is realized that the arm of the Egyptian king was thought to be infused with strength of the supreme god Amun, or the war gods Seth or Montu. The polemical and legitimizing value of these expressions, which appear to go hand in hand, would have had special significance for the reader or hearer of the exodus narratives. By extending his victorious arm, God showed his superiority over pharaoh and the gods of Egypt.” (pg. 387)

The evidence shows that the author of the Pentateuch is highly familiar with the customs, literature, and geography of Egypt of the second millennium BC, in the time of Moses, showing that the account of the Exodus is a highly, highly trustworthy source.

Indeed, there is great historical confirmation of the Exodus of the Holy Bible and the Book of Exodus in the Old Testament deriving from the historical record, indeed bearing much evidence in showing it is the truth of history, rather than anything else. But considering this was initially told to us by God in the first place, what else could we have expected?

It is evident that the narrative of the Bible is clearly and plainly historical fact, and this is being recognized at a greater and greater amount as time passes on. Hallelujah!

[Jeremiah 10:10] But Yahweh is the true God; He is the living God and eternal King. The earthquakes at His wrath, and the nations cannot endure His rage.

God and Pharaoh’s Free Will

Graciously, God has given us free will. God has free will, and thus we also have free will for we are made in God’s image.

[Genesis 1:26] Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness. They will rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the livestock, all the earth, and the creatures that crawl on the earth.”

God blessed humanity with free will. Those who stand against Christianity on the other hand, deny God’s gracious gift of free will even existing, thereby love to point out how God hardened Pharaoh’s heart in the Book of Exodus in his decisions, forced him to besiege Israel, even though he was not going to do so himself. Based on this, they conclude there is no free will. Inside the Holy Bible, the following verse are what give rise to such charges against God.

 [Exodus 10:16-20] Pharaoh urgently sent for Moses and Aaron and said, “I have sinned against Yahweh your God and against you. Please forgive my sin once more and make an appeal to Yahweh your God, so that He will take this death away from me.” Moses left Pharaoh’s presence and appealed to the Lord. Then the Lord changed the wind to a strong west wind, and it carried off the locusts and blew them into the Red Sea. Not a single locust was left in all the territory of Egypt. But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he did not let the Israelites go.

Truly, can one not see? Pharaoh wanted to repent to the Lord, Yahweh, but the Lord ended up hardening his heart, forcing him to continue his pursuit of the Israelite’s. Do such verses cast doubt on free will? The heathen say so. For how can there be free will if God forces humans to do things they otherwise would not have done? In fact, God does this more than once to Pharaoh…

 [Exodus 14:8l The Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he pursued the Israelites, who were going out triumphantly.

Verily, in order to understand this, we must investigate the Book of Exodus in its entirety and not only a few verses, because I tell you, the charges are false. Let us all bear witness to the following verse from the Holy Bible…

[Exodus 7:22] But the magicians of Egypt did the same thing by their occult practices. So Pharaoh’s heart hardened, and he would not listen to them, as the Lord had said.

Interesting, is it not? “Pharaoh’s heart hardened”, Pharaoh hardens his own heart in this passage because this time God has nothing to do with it. The solution became clear to me from here on out during my investigation and study of these passages, and it has to do with a pattern in the Biblical narrative of the Book of Exodus, involving Pharaoh and his pursuit of Moses and the Israelite’s. The discovery of this pattern makes it clear to understand how this is not a problem with free will at all, and I will now show it for you all. It is important to note something. The verses where Pharaoh hardens his own heart include Exodus 7:137:228:158:198:329:79:349:35. On the other hand, the verses in the Holy Bible where Pharaoh hardens his own heart include Exodus 9:1210:110:2010:2711:10, 14:8. Do you notice something? Entirely, with the exception of Exodus 9:12, the narrative of when Pharaoh hardens his own heart COMPLETELY PREDATES when God starts hardening Pharaoh’s heart. Somewhere in Exodus 9, the narrative suddenly shifts from who is doing the hardening. What does this mean?

Very simple. Pastor Greg Laurie has recently pointed out that a better translation of the word ‘hardened’ could be ‘strengthened’, so in these verses God would be strengthening Pharaoh’s heart, in other words, he would be strengthening the decisions that Pharaoh has chosen to make. When Pharaoh was hardening his heart, he was of himself denying God. This is why very soon after Pharaoh continued doing this, God starts to begin hardening his heart instead of Pharaoh hardening his own heart, deciding that He shall make Pharaoh go through with his own decisions. Never did God make Pharaoh do something he otherwise would not have, God knew that Pharaoh was going to continue denying Him and besieging the Israelite’s, and so God strengthened Pharaoh’s heart and his decisions to do what he was already going to do. Thus, God did not take away Pharaoh’s free will, for Pharaoh was never going to stop besieging the Israelite’s in the first place. In fact, we see that God hardens Pharaoh’s heart after Pharaoh already has decided to persecute and besiege the Israelite’s and Moses.

[Exodus 14:5-8]  When the king of Egypt was told that the people had fled, Pharaoh and his officials changed their minds about the people and said: “What have we done? We have released Israel from serving us.” So he got his chariot ready and took his troops with him;  he took 600 of the best chariots and all the rest of the chariots of Egypt, with officers in each one. The Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he pursued the Israelites, who were going out triumphantly.

In Exodus 10:16-20, Pharaoh had already decided not to let Israel go and continue besieging and persecuting Israel, even before God hardened his heart. God then strengthens Pharaoh’s decision to besiege Israel. Thus, God never took away Pharaoh’s free will, God simply strengthened Pharaoh’s decision in what he was already going to do. God has graciously given us free will.

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Matthew, Mark, Luke and John – Authors of the Gospels?

5431649-the-gospel-according-to-john-grungy-background-stock-photo-bible

Matthew, Mark, Luke and John – Authors of the Gospels?

Truly, the knowledge of the authors of the documents of the Holy Bible, especially those of the four Gospels in the New Testament, has been included in some of the most important discussions and debates involving the historicity of the New Testament documents in recent centuries. Christian Scholars, Bible Scholars and Historians have gone back and forth on this issue, coming to the four proposed authors for the Gospels in the Holy Bible, being Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. If the four Gospels are not ascribed to these four men, then the Gospels are anonymous. Now, we shall begin examining the extensive historical record and much evidence confirming the authors of the Gospels are Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

To begin with, one must note that the Holy Bible says absolutely nothing about who wrote the four Gospels. From the beginning to the end, there is not a single verse throughout the entire Holy Bible that says anything about Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John writing any of our Gospels. This claim is not a religious belief, it is not a Christian belief, it is not a doctrine of Christianity by the slightest conceptual idea, it is a claim of antiquity, one of history. In knowledge of this, any claim that these people wrote the Gospels is a historical claim, not a theological one. Secondly, we shall also define who these figures are, before establishing their authorship of the Gospels.

Historically speaking, Matthew was a tax collector, meaning he was both literate in the Greek and Hebrew languages, and he is also the only author we are talking about who is actually mentioned in his own Gospel, in Matthew 9:9. He was also of the twelve disciples. Mark was the interpreter of Peter. Luke was both a historian and physician, and John, as far as we know of, was just a disciple whom Jesus loved. To note, only Matthew and John knew and saw Jesus, whilst Luke and Mark are not eyewitnesses, but were merely historically associated with the twelve disciples to some degree, such as Peter and Paul (although Paul himself wasn’t a disciple either). Now, let us begin with the evidence. To confirm the authorship of these men, we shall behold both external and internal evidence.

Matthew

External Evidence

Throughout the early ages of the expansion of Christianity, the ancient authors who confirmed the historicity of Matthew’s writing of a Gospel, and thus establish much sources and records showing Matthew wrote the Gospel attributed to him, are very great. We will now document them.

Papias, writing from 95-110 AD, says this:

“Matthew compiled the sayings in the Hebrew language and each interpreted them as best he could”

-preserved in Church History, Book 3, Chapter 39, Verse 16

Papias tells us about his reliability as well in the following manner;

“But I shall not hesitate also to put down for you along with my interpretations whatsoever things I have at any time learned carefully from the elders and carefully remembered, guaranteeing their truth. For I did not, like the multitude, take pleasure in those that speak much, but in those that teach the truth; not in those that relate strange commandments, but in those that deliver the commandments given by the Lord to faith, and springing from the truth itself.”

-preserved in Church History, Book 3, Chapter 39, Verse 3

Irenaeus, writing in 180 AD, whom knew a student of the disciples named Polycarp, writes;

“Matthew also issued a written Gospel among the Hebrews in their own dialect, while Peter and Paul were preaching at Rome, and laying the foundations of the Church. After their departure, Mark, the disciple and interpreter of Peter, did also hand down to us in writing what had been preached by Peter.”

Against Heresies, Book 3, Chapter 1

Tertullian, in 200 AD, writes about how the Matthew, Mark, Luke and John wrote the Gospels and the variation of the order of the narratives of the Gospels by these men;

“Of the apostles, therefore, John and Matthew first instill faith into us; while of apostolic men, Luke and Mark renew it afterwards. These all start with the same principles of the faith, so far as relates to the one only God the Creator and His Christ, how that He was born of the Virgin, and came to fulfill the law and the prophets. Never mind if there does occur some variation in the order of their narratives, provided that there be agreement in the essential matter of the faith, in which there is disagreement with Marcion…

… Inasmuch, therefore, as the enlightener of St.Luke himself desired the authority of his predecessors for both his own faith and preaching, how much more may not I require for Luke’s Gospel that which was necessary for the Gospel of his master.”

Against Marcion, Book 4, Chapter 2

Origen, writing from 185-254 AD, writes;

“In his first book on Matthew’s Gospel, maintaining the Canon of the Church, he testifies that he knows only four Gospels, writing as follows: Among the four Gospels, which are the only indisputable ones in the Church of God under heaven, I have learned by tradition that the first was written by Matthew, who was once a publican, but afterwards an apostle of Jesus Christ, and it was prepared for the converts from Judaism, and published in the Hebrew language.”

preserved in Church History, Book 6, Chapter 25, Verses 3-4

Internal Evidence

Now, we shall attest to the great internal evidence confirming this. To note, Matthew is this mans Greek name, whilst his Hebrew name was Levi, and so he is also mentioned and historically confirmed as a tax collector in passages that you may not have known of, such as Mark 2:14 and Luke 5:27. Matthew was also a Palestinian Jew, and as a tax collector, would have known both Hebrew and Greek (for to maintain this occupation, he would need to be working for Greek-speaking Romans and collecting taxes from Hebrew-speaking Jews). We have attested this, as it is important information for showing the internal evidence that proves Matthew wrote the Gospel of Matthew.

For one, is the fact that in Matthew’s own Gospel in verses we have already shown, such as Matthew 9:9 and Matthew 10:2-4, he used the name for himself Matthew, whilst outside his Gospel in Mark 2:14 and Luke 5:27, the name Levi was used. This is because Matthew believed his apostolic name was nobler than his other name, Levi, and so it was common for authors to use their nobler names in their own writings. For example, in Paul’s epistles, he always refers to himself as Paul, even though his previous name was Saul [of Tarsus]. Paul viewed his apostolic name as nobler, and thus he used it. Another example is Peter, in 1 Peter 1:1, Peter uses his apostolic name (Peter), instead of his common name which was Simeon (or Simon), even though outside of Peter’s writings, he was referred to as Simeon, such as in Luke 7:43 or Acts 15:14 (although at times ‘Peter’ was also used). Likewise, the fact that in the Gospel of Matthew, the apostolic name for Matthew is used, whilst the other Gospels use his apostolic name as well as his common name when referencing him, shows Matthew was composing this document and attributing to himself what he viewed as his nobler name.

Furthermore, as Matthew is a tax collector, we would expect him to be very knowledgeable  and interested in financial manners. Indeed, we see in numerous Matthean passages (17:24-27; 18:23-35, 20:1-16, 26:15, 27:3-10, 28:11-15) the discussion financial manners, which attests to Matthew being the author of the Gospel of Matthew. Furthermore in regards to financial manners, let us read another of Matthew’s passages on this, not mentioned above.

[Matthew 22:19]  Show Me the coin used for the tax.” So they brought Him a denarius.

Now, what is interesting about this verse? When the term ‘coin’ comes up, we do not see the simple Greek word used for this, being δηνάριον (dēnarion), but rather a more precise term,  νόμισμα (state coin). In contrast, the other Gospels, such as in Mark 12:15 and Luke 20:24 when they describe this same event, they never use the more advanced financial term νόμισμα, rather they only use δηνάριον. This provides further confirmation of Matthew, as a tax collector, being the author of the Gospel of Matthew, because as as Keith Thompson notes;

“This lends more evidence towards the position that we are dealing with Matthew the tax collector who was familiar with and concerned about accuracy regarding financial terminology”

Moving forth, as Thompson continues to note, Matthew’s Gospel is the only one to mention Jesus saying ““give no offense to them [tax collectors]”, and also to pay the temple tax in the region of Capernaum when they are asked to. This phrase concerns tax collectors, so Matthew himself being a tax collector would feel the need to mention this saying of Jesus. Matthew’s Gospel is also the only Gospel to refer to gold, silver, and copper (such as in Matthew 10:9).

Moving forth, let us re-note that the historical Matthew was a Palestinian Jew. As David Malick notes, whom has a Masters in Bible Exposition and has received honors from Dallas Theological Seminary, Matthew’s Gospel bears great knowledge in Palestinian geography  (Matthew 2:1,23; 3:1,5,13; 4:12,13,23-25; 8:5,23,28; 14:34; 15:32,39; 16:13; 17:1; 19:1; 20:29; 21:1,17; 26:6), Matthew’s Gospel is very familiar with Jewish tradition, customs, and classes of people (Matthew 1:18-19; 2:1,4,22; 14:1; 26:3,57,59; 27:2,11,13), is familiar with Old Testament scriptures (Matthew 1:2-16,22-23; 2:6,15,17-18,23; 4:14-16; 8:17; 12:17-21; 13:35; 21:4-5; 27:9), and even his terminology is Jewish (Matthew 2:20,21; 4:5; 5:35,47; 6:7,32; 10:6; 15:24; 17:24-27; 18:17; 27:53). David Malick has thus provided us with great substantiation that the author of the Gospel of Matthew is indeed Matthew.

Donald Guthrie concludes;

“there is no conclusive reason for rejecting the strong external testimony regarding the authorship of Matthew”

-Donald Guthrie, New Testament Introduction, [InterVarsity Press, 1990], p. 53

Matt Slick, whom has a Masters in Divinity, notes the following

“The early church unanimously held that the gospel of Matthew was the first written gospel and was penned by the apostle of the same name”

Mark

External Evidence

Moving forwards, we shall now list the documentation of the authorship of the Gospel of Mark, showing that Mark is indeed the man who wrote the Gospel of Mark.

Papias writes, in 95-110 AD;

This also the presbyter said: Mark, having become the interpreter of Peter, wrote down accurately, though not in order, whatsoever he remembered of the things said or done by Christ. For he neither heard the Lord nor followed him, but afterward, as I said, he followed Peter, who adapted his teaching to the needs of his hearers, but with no intention of giving a connected account of the Lord’s discourses, so that Mark committed no errorwhile he thus wrote some things as he remembered them. For he was careful of one thing, not to omit any of the things which he had heard, and not to state any of them falsely.

-preserved in Church History, Book 3, Chapter 39, Verse 15

Irenaeus, writing in 180 AD, states;

“After their departure, Mark, the disciple and interpreter of Peter, did also hand down to us in writing what had been preached by Peter.”

Against Heresies, Book 3, Chapter 1

Tertullian, writing in 200 AD states;

“that which Mark published may be affirmed to be Peter’s whose interpreter Mark was.”

Against Marcion, Book 4, Chapter 5

Clement of Alexandria, writing in 180 AD, states;

“The Gospel according to Mark had this occasion. As Peter had preached the Word publicly at Rome, and declared the Gospel by the Spirit, many who were present requested that Mark, who had followed him for a long time and remembered his sayings, should write them out. And having composed the Gospel he gave it to those who had requested it.”

-preserved in Church History, Book 6, Chapter 14, Verse 6

Origen, writing from 185-254 AD writes;

” The second is by Mark, who composed it according to the instructions of Peter, who in his Catholic epistle acknowledges him as a son, saying, ‘The church that is at Babylon elected together with you, salutes you, and so does Marcus, my son.’ ”

-preserved in Church History, Book 6, Chapter 25, Verse 5

According to an anti-Marcionite Prologue from 160-180 AD;

“Mark declared, who is called ‘stump-fingered’ because he had short fingers in comparison with the size of the rest of his body. He was Peter’s interpreter. After the departure of Peter himself, he wrote down this same gospel in the regions of Italy.”

-Anti-Marcionite Prologue to Mark quoted in Adam Winn, The purpose of Mark’s Gospel: An Early Christian Response to Roman Imperial Propaganda, [Mohr Siebeck, 2008], p. 47

David Malick writes;

“EXTERNAL EVIDENCE strongly supports John Mark as the author of the Gospel of Mark in association with the Apostle Peter”

Justin Martyr, writing in 150 AD, affirms Mark’s writing based on Peter’s memoir;

And when it is said that He changed the name of one of the apostles to Peter; and when it is written in the memoirs of Him that this so happened, as well as that He changed the names of other two brothers, the sons of Zebedee, to Boanerges, which means sons of thunder; this was an announcement of the fact that it was He by whom Jacob was called Israel, and Oshea called Jesus (Joshua), under whose name the people who survived of those that came from Egypt were conducted into the land promised to the patriarchs.

Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho, Chapter 106

Internal Evidence

According to Philemon 1:24, the actual Mark was placed to be residing in Rome, and we know this is where Peter lived during the latter of his life [1], meaning that Mark was in the correct location to receive the Christian traditions from Peter in order to write a biography. Furthermore, in 1 Peter 5:13, Peter refers to Mark as his son (Keith Thompson notes this likely is meant to be taken in a ministerial sense, not biologically).

This is confirmation that Mark was associated with Peter, and evidence that the author of the Gospel of Mark utilized Peter as an authority is very strong, especially because of the fact that the author of the Gospel of Mark utilizes inclusio in regards to Peter. What inclusio is, is a literary device, in this case, where someone would reference the inspiration of their work in the beginning and ending of the document. We do indeed see Peter (or as we noted earlier, his other name being Simeon/Simon) being mentioned in the Gospel of Mark around the beginning of this Gospel (Mark 1:16) and around the ending of it (Mark 16:7), showing that Peter was the authority witness that was used by the author of the Gospel of Mark, which perfectly fits with the extensive historical records that confirm above that Mark was the interpreter of Peter, and transcribed his Gospel by Peter’s sayings to him.

Further confirming Peter as the authority behind the Gospel of Mark, F.F. Bruce says this in his book The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable;

“Further confirmation of the Petrine authority behind Mark was supplied in a series of acute linguistic studies by C.H. Turner, entitled ‘Marcan Usage’, in the Journal of Theological Studies for 1924 and 1925, showing, among other things, how Mark’s use of pronouns in narratives involving Peter seems time after time to reflect a reminiscence by that apostle in the first person. The reader can receive from such passages ‘a vivid impression of the testimony that lies behind the Gospel: thus in 1:29, “we came into our house with James and John: and my wife’s mother was ill in bed with a fever and at once we tell him about her” ”

In consideration of all this information, it is greatly evident that the author of the Gospel of Mark, is indeed Mark.

Luke

External Evidence

We shall now see the lengthy historical records affirming that Luke has indeed authored the Gospel of Luke.

Irenaeus, writing in 180 AD states;

“Luke also, the companion of Paul, recorded in a book the Gospel preached by him.”

Against Heresies, Book 3, Chapter 1

An early canon written in 170 AD documents;

“The third book of the gospel is according to Luke. This Luke was a physician who Paul had taken after the ascension of the Christ to be a legal expert. Yet he had not seen the Lord in the flesh. So, as far as he could, he begins his story with the birth of John.”

The Muratorian Canon

According to an anti-Marcionite Prologue written in 160-180 AD;

“Luke, a Syrian of Antioch, doctor by profession… Luke, under the impulse of the Holy Spirit, wrote his gospel in the region of Achaia.”

-Anti-Marcionite Prologue to Luke quoted in Vincent P. Branick, Understanding the New Testament and its Message: An Introduction, [Paulist Press, 1998], p. 138

Tertullian, writing in 200 AD states;

“the evangelical Testament has apostles for its authors, to whom was assigned by the Lord Himself this office of publishing the gospel… therefore, John and Matthew first instill faith into us; while of apostolic men, Luke and Mark renew is afterward… Now, of the authors whom we possess, Marcion seems to have singled out Luke for his mutilating process.”

Against Marcion, Book 4, Chapter 2

Origen, in 185-254 AD states;

“And the third by Luke, the Gospel commended by Paul, and composed for Gentile converts. Last of all that by John.”

Church History, Book 6, Chapter 25, Verse 6

Internal Evidence

As we shall see, the internal evidence is also greatly favoring Luke as the man who transcribed the Gospel of Luke.

First of all, it is important to note that the author of the Gospel of Luke is also the same man who is the author of the Book of Acts. Scholars entirely agree on this, as there the confirmation is simply undoubtable, as we can see when we contrast Luke 1:1-4 with Acts 1:1-3. Moving on, Paul makes it clear to us that he is with Luke, in various places, including  very notably Colossians 4:14Philemon 1:24 and 2 Timothy 4:11. Allow us to quote just one of these passages;

[2 Timothy 4:11] Only Luke is with me. Bring Mark with you, for he is useful to me in the ministry.

Paul claims only Luke is with him here, thus we can know that Paul associated himself with Luke.

Now, there is something very interesting about the Book of Acts. Michael A. Reynolds says the following about what are called the ‘we’ passages in the Book of Acts;

The “we” passages are found in the second half of Acts in 16:10-17, 20:5-15, 21:1-18,and 27:1-28:16As introduced above, these passages are ones in which Luke uses the first-person plural pronouns “we” and “us” unexpectedly and without explanation. They all take place in the context of a voyage (especially 27:1-28:16) or a travel narrative, and all include sea travel in particular.

Biblical Scholars and Historians of the New Testament have recognized a set of passages in the context of a voyage in the work of the Book of Acts, in which the author employs the term “we”, in which he is suddenly accompanied by an un-identified traveler on his voyage. One must simply ask, who is this traveler, accompanying the author of the Gospel of Luke and Book of Acts? We know the author of Luke-Acts is one of the men on this voyage, but just who is this other figure with him? The answer is… Paul.

 [Acts 16:10-17] After he had seen the vision, we immediately made efforts to set out for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to evangelize them. Then, setting sail from Troas, we ran a straight course to Samothrace, the next day to Neapolis, and from there to Philippi, a Roman colony, which is a leading city of that district of Macedonia. We stayed in that city for a number of days. On the Sabbath day we went outside the city gate by the river, where we thought there was a place of prayer. We sat down and spoke to the women gathered there. A woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who worshiped God, was listening. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was spoken by Paul. After she and her household were baptized, she urged us, “If you consider me a believer in the Lord, come and stay at my house.” And she persuaded us.  Once, as we were on our way to prayer, a slave girl met us who had a spirit of prediction. She made a large profit for her owners by fortune-telling. As she followed Paul and us she cried out, “These men, who are proclaiming to you the way of salvation, are the slaves of the Most High God.”

In this passage, the author of Luke-Acts identifies himself as on part of the trip with several uses of the word ‘we’, and we are also made abundantly clear that Paul was also on this trip. So, the author of Luke-Acts was travelling with Paul, according to the author of Luke-Acts, and Paul was travelling with Luke, according to Paul as we have seen. The other we passages that confirm Paul being associated with the author of Luke-Acts in the Book of Luke including Acts 20:5-15Acts 20:1-18 and Acts 27Acts 28:16, giving us astonishing confirmation of this. Thus, to sum up, Paul claims to be travelling with Luke, the author of the Gospel of Luke claims to be travelling with Paul. This is unambiguous confirmation of Luke having authored the Gospel of Luke. In fact, Irenaeus in 180 AD, whom we have already quoted several times so far, has called Luke and Paul “inseparable companions” [2]. Michael A. Reynolds thus concludes;

“The conclusion that Luke was present in the “we” passages and was writing as an eyewitness to the events at hand is the most reasonable conclusion to arrive at in the midst of the current arguments.”

John

External Evidence

Irenaeus, writing in 180 AD, states;

“John, the disciple of the Lord, who also had leaned upon His breast, did himself publish a Gospel during his residence at Ephesus in Asia… those who were conversant in Asia with John, the disciple of the Lord, [affirming] that John conveyed to them that information. And he remained among them up to the times of Trajan… Then, again, the Church in Ephesus, founded by Paul, and having John remaining among them permanently until the times of Trajan, is a true witness of the tradition of the apostles.”

Against Heresies, Book 3, Chapter 1, Verse 1

Tertullian, writing in 200 AD writes;

“The same authority of the apostolic churches will afford evidence to the other Gospels also, which we possess equally through their means, and according to their usage — I mean the Gospels of John and Matthew…”

Against Marcion, Book 4, Chapter 5

Clement of Alexandria, writing from 180 AD says;

“John, perceiving that the external facts had been made plain in the Gospel, being urged by his friends, and inspired by the Spirit, composed a spiritual Gospel.”

-preserved in Church History, Book 6, Chapter 14, Verse 7

Origen, from 185-254 AD writes;

“Last of all that by John”

-preserved in Church History, Book 6, Chapter 25, Verse 6

An anti-Marcionite Prologue from 160-180 AD writes;

“John the apostle, whom the Lord Jesus loved very much, last of all wrote this gospel, the bishops of Asia having entreated him, against Cerinthus and other heretics…”

Anti-Marcionite Prologue to John quoted in Ben C. Smith, The Latin Prologues (textexcavation.com/latinprologues.html)

Theophilus of Antioch affirms John as the author of the Gospel of John when he writes the following;

“And hence the holy writings teach us, and all the spirit-bearing [inspired] men, one of whom, John, says, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, showing that at first God was alone, and the Word in Him.”

Tu Autolycus, Book 2, Chapter 22

An early canon from 170 AD writes;

“John, one of the disciples, wrote the Fourth Gospel. When his fellow disciples and the bishops urged him to do so, he said, ‘Join me in fasting for three days, and then let us relate to one another what shall be revealed to each.’ The same night it was revealed to Andrew, one of the apostles, that John should write down everything in his own name, and they should all revise it.”

The Muratorian Canon

Internal Evidence

In the Gospel of John, the author identifies himself as the “disciple whom Jesus loved”.

 [John 21:20-24] Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on his breast at supper, and said, Lord, which is he that betrayeth thee? Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do? Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me. Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said not unto him, He shall not die; but, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? This is the disciple which testifieth of these things, and wrote these things: and we know that his testimony is true.

So, can it be shown that “the disciple whom Jesus loved” was John? Before this is done, we must first note that in this passage, John 21:20-24, the author identifies himself as an eyewitness either way. However, can it be shown that this is John in specific? F.F. Bruce argues for this very fact, in the following manner;

“… of the twelve, there were three who were on occasion admitted to more intimate fellowship with the Master – Peter, James and John. It was these three, for example, whom he took to keep watch with Him during His vigil in Gethsemane after the Last Supper (Mk 14:33). We should naturally expect that the beloved disciple would be one of the number. He was not Peter, from whom he is explicitly distinguished in John 13:24, 20:2, and 21:20. There remain two sons of Zebedee, James and John, who were included in the seven of chapter 21. But James was martyred not later than AD 44 (Acts 12:2), and therefore there was little likelihood that the saying should go abroad about him which went abroad about the beloved disciple, that he would not die. So we are left with John.”

-F. F. Bruce, The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable?, [Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1981], p. 45

Bruce seems to provide us with very good evidence and argumentation that this eyewitness who wrote the Gospel of John, is in fact John. Thus, it may seem that we have thoroughly shown that true authors of the four Gospels, are the traditional authors that we hold to today — that being Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

Indeed, we have endless early attestation of the original authors of these four writings. Furthermore, there exists no competing tradition on who truly wrote these documents, meaning that as any Scholar would admit, the entire early Church was in complete agreement that Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John wrote these four Gospels. Thus, Christians can understand that our scriptures are written by eyewitnesses to the events that they write of, whom are Matthew and John, and that one of the other authors of our Gospels is both a Historian and physician, being Luke, whom was greatly associated with Paul, and the last of our authors of scripture was a student and interpreter of Peter, whom himself was one of the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ, our God, Lord, and Savior. Concluding, our scriptures are very reliable, and are in fact evidence for Christianity, for the Gospels were written by those who were directly associated of the Christian miracles, such as the Resurrection. Just to note, John was John the Elder, not John son of Zebedee. John son of Zebedee was one of the actual twelve disciples of Jesus, whereas John the Elder was a different John but still knew Jesus. John the Elder wrote the Gospel of John, 1 John, 2 John and 3 John, whereas John son of Zebedee wrote Revelation. This thesis, that the Gospels can be traced to eyewitness testimony, is supported by the book Jesus and the Eyewitnesses, a book published in 2006 by the world-class scholar Richard Bauckham, described by academics in the field as the most important contribution to the entirety of New Testament scholarship in perhaps the last century.

Note : Good credit to Keith Thompson,  whoms work greatly helped me find many sources in which I used to produce this blog from this link that I cited earlier.

  1. Keith Thompson writes; “Writing to the Christians in Rome in the 1st century Ignatius of Antioch states “I do not command you, as Peter and Paul did” (Ignatius, Letter to the Romans, Ch. 4). In the 2nd century Irenaeus reports that “…the greatest and most ancient church known to all, founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul…” (Irenaeus, Against Heresies Book 3 Ch. 3). Eusebius reports a tradition provided by Dionysius (A.D. ? – 171) bishop of Corinth: “And that they both suffered martyrdom at the same time is stated by Dionysius, bishop of Corinth, in his epistle to the Romans, in the following words: You have thus by such an admonition bound together the planting of Peter and of Paul at Rome and Corinth. For both of them planted and likewise taught us in our Corinth. And they taught together in like manner in Italy, and suffered martyrdom at the same time” (Eusebius, Church History, II.25.8).”
  2. https://books.google.ca/books?id=xHU93Uevss4C&pg=PA8&lpg=PA8&dq=irenaeus+says+luke+and+paul+were+inseparable+companions&source=bl&ots=7XJlv_LOe4&sig=NxIDzQ4MPkbhhltg5Qzqv-jxses&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiR-7L_0ODPAhVDw4MKHRdcBlgQ6AEIJTAB#v=onepage&q=irenaeus%20says%20luke%20and%20paul%20were%20inseparable%20companions&f=false

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READ MORE:

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God and Pharaoh’s Free Will

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Jesus Claimed To Be God

It’s a well known Christian doctrine that Jesus was God, and part of the Trinity. However, dissidents from both Islam and Atheism have come to claim that the historical Jesus did not actually claim to be the Son of God, God in the flesh. Rather, they propose — He merely claimed to be an apocalyptic prophet and the Messiah. As decades passed by, His theology evolved over time much like how Hercules (a once real historical figure) was deified after his death into a God. Therefore, the Christian doctrine bears no historical validity on who Jesus was! Unfortunately for these sappy conspiracy theorists, it is simply false that Jesus did not claim to be God.

We will start with the Gospel of John. The evidence for the divinity of Jesus in the Gospel of John is, on its face, irrefutable and undeniable.

[John 1:1] In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

So, it is simply not debatable that the Word mentioned in John 1:1 is in fact God. A few verses later, it is made abundantly clear who the Word is.

[John 1:14] The Word became flesh and took up residence among us. We observed His glory, the glory as the One and Only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

There you have it, the Word is Jesus Christ, and Jesus is God. There are a few other verses in John’s Gospel which simply eliminate any possibility of Jesus somehow not claiming to be God, and this being the clear view of Jesus’ followers. Such would include the following claims made by Jesus:

 [John 20:30-31] Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of His disciples that are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may believe Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and by believing you may have life in His name.

[John 14:6-7] Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. “If you know Me, you will also know My Father. From now on you do know Him and have seen Him.”

[John 10:25-33]“I did tell you and you don’t believe,” Jesus answered them. “The works that I do in My Father’s name testify about Me. But you don’t believe because you are not My sheep. My sheep hear My voice, I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish—ever! No one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all. No one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.“The Father and I are one.” Again the Jews picked up rocks to stone Him. Jesus replied, “I have shown you many good works from the Father. Which of these works are you stoning Me for?” “We aren’t stoning You for a good work,” the Jews answered, “but for blasphemy, because You—being a man—make Yourself God.”

[John 14:8-9] Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.” Jesus replied, “Philip, I have been with you all this time, and still you do not know Me? Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?

[John 8:58-59] Jesus said to them, “I assure you: Before Abraham was, I am.” At that, they picked up stones to throw at Him. But Jesus was hidden and went out of the temple complex.

In case you are not entirely sure where Jesus claims to be God in John 8:58-59, it’s when He says “I am”, which was how God identified Himself in Exodus 3:14 in the Old Testament. That’s also why the Jews tried to stone Him for saying it — because He made Himself equal with God. In fact, the Jews are outright said to be trying to kill Jesus, our Lord, for making Himself equal with God in John 5:16-18.

So really, John makes it indescribably clear that Jesus was God. However, this is where critics like Bart Ehrman jump in, and claim that John is the latest of the four Gospels, and thus obviously evolved from the other Gospels, and then Bart Ehrman claims that the other Gospels are the ones that do not identify Jesus as being God. Now despite this being irrelevant because of the extensive historical documentation that shows the author of John was indeed the historical John the Elder, meaning that the author of this Gospel was not writing of a developed theology, rather a first-hand experience and following of Jesus, let us play along with the claims of these deniers.

So, do the other Gospels make it explicitly clear that Jesus is the Son of God? Yes. Let us see some examples of Jesus clearly saying and being clearly said to be God or equal to God in the rest of the four Gospels.

[Matthew 11:27] All things have been entrusted to Me by My Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son desires to reveal Him.

[Matthew 28:19] Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,

[Matthew 16:13-17] When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist; others, Elijah; still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” “But you,” He asked them, “who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God!” And Jesus responded, “Simon son of Jonah, you are blessed because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father in heaven.

[Mark 1:1] The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

 [Mark 14:60-64] Then the high priest stood up before them all and questioned Jesus, “Don’t You have an answer to what these men are testifying against You?” But He kept silent and did not answer anything. Again the high priest questioned Him, “Are You the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?” “I am,” said Jesus, “and all of you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power and coming with the clouds of heaven.” Then the high priest tore his robes and said, “Why do we still need witnesses? You have heard the blasphemy! What is your decision?” And they all condemned Him to be deserving of death.

In fact, all the Gospels, aside from John, even record God the Father in heaven declaring that Jesus is His Son.

[Matthew 3:17] And there came a voice from heaven: This is My beloved Son. I take delight in Him!

[Luke 9:35] A voice came from the cloud, saying, “This is My Son, whom I have chosen: Listen to Him!”

[Mark 1:11] And a voice came from heaven: “You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased.”

It is thus extraordinarily evident that all the Gospels record Jesus as God. Wait a minute! What about the rest of the New Testament? The Gospels are just four books of the New Testament, in which there are twenty-seven! Surely, if Jesus was God, all these other books would also record Jesus is God, correct?! Correct.

[Hebrews 1:7-8] And about the angels He says: He makes His angels winds, and His servants a fiery flame but to the Son: Your throne, God, is forever and ever, and the scepter of Your kingdom is a scepter of justice.

[Titus 2:13] while we wait for the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.

[Romans 9:5] The ancestors are theirs, and from them, by physical descent, came the Messiah, who is God over all, praised forever. Amen.

 [2 Peter 1:1-2] Simeon Peter, a slave and an apostle of Jesus Christ: To those who have obtained a faith of equal privilege with ours through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ. May grace and peace be multiplied to you through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.

[Colossians 2:9] For the entire fullness of God’s nature dwells bodily in Christ,

[Phillipians 2:5-6] Make your own attitude that of Christ Jesus, who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be used for His own advantage.

[James 1:1] James, a slave of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ: To the 12 tribes in the Dispersion.

[Revelation 22:12-13]“Look! I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me to repay each person according to what he has done.  I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.

[Revelation 17:14] “These will wage war against the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, because He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those who are with Him are the called and chosen and faithful.”

[Phillipians 2:10-11] so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow—of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth— and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

(these verses are written by Peter, James, the author of Hebrews, Paul, and John)

So, outside of the Gospels, Jesus is declaring Himself as Alpha and the Omega (which is a title that was used to describe God the Father), and Jesus was being declared as the King of kings and Lord of lords (which was another title used to describe God the Father).

Hold on! Surely, if Jesus, the prophesied Messiah was God, it would be attested to in the Old Testament as well? For if the coming Messiah, redeemer of all men was God, this MUST be something told to us in the Old Testament! Is this not true?

The question now is, does the Old Testament make it clear Jesus is God? Yes. For one, the Old Testament says the following about the coming Messiah:

[Isaiah 9:6-7] For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us, And the government will rest on his shoulders; And his name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. The dominion will be vast,
and its prosperity will never end. He will reign on the throne of David
and over his kingdom, to establish and sustain it with justice and righteousness from now on and forever. The zeal of the Lord of Hosts will accomplish this.

Furthermore, it is a well known fact that Jesus references Himself as the Son of Man, at least 80 times in the New Testament (despite conspiracy theorists on this issue like Bart Ehrman). Now, it may seem as if the title ‘Son of Man’ shows Jesus is not God, however we should not rest on our own understanding of the concept of the Son of Man, instead we must go to the Old Testament to understand who the Son of Man actually is.

[Daniel 7:13-14] I continued watching in the night visions, and I saw One like a son of man coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was escorted before Him. He was given authority to rule, and glory, and a kingdom; so that those of every people, nation, and language should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and His kingdom is one that will not be destroyed.

So, according to the Old Testament, the son of man is clearly a God-like figure, who approaches the Ancient of Days (the Father), and is given authority to rule a divine kingdom, eternally. This figure is clearly God! And Jesus CONSTANTLY references Himself as the Son of Man, over 80 time in the Bible, meaning Jesus is claiming to be in all four Gospels the figure of the Old Testament who will be given authority and dominion over all peoples of all nations of all languages, for all eternity. This is a clear case of Old Testament confirmation of the divinity of Jesus. Furthermore, the Old Testament possesses the full theology of the Trinity, so there’s that too. Continuing, we are told in the Old Testament that only God has the ability to forgive sins, as well as this being reiterated in the New Testament.

[Isaiah 43:25] “It is I who sweep away your transgressions for My own sake and remember your sins no more.

[Mark 2:7] “Why does He speak like this? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”

Although this, Jesus moves on to claim that He has the power to forgive sins as well, meaning He is God as Jesus is claiming a task of God upon Himself.

[Mark 2:10] But so you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins,” He told the paralytic,

The Old Testament obviously says Jesus is God. It is true that Jesus is the divine Son of God. The evidence for this continues piling up. Dissenters of this irrefutable Biblical concept also claim Jesus did not say to be worshiped, however Jesus accepted and received worship all the time.

[Matthew 2:11] Entering the house, they saw the child with Mary His mother, and falling to their knees, they worshiped Him. Then they opened their treasures and presented Him with gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

[Matthew 28:9] Suddenly Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” They came to Him, grasped His feet, and worshiped Him.

This shows Jesus is God, as when an angel was worshiped, the angel stopped the person from worshiping him and said only God is to be worshiped.

[Revelation 22:8-9] I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. When I heard and saw them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who had shown them to me. But he said to me, “Don’t do that! I am a fellow slave with you, your brothers the prophets, and those who keep the words of this book. Worship God.”

However, Jesus accepted all worship. This would mean in accordance with the Book of Revelation (the final book of the New Testament) that Jesus is God. Now, I can cite many other verses in the Gospels and New Testament to continue proving that Jesus is God, such as Matthew 14:33, John 20:28, and 1 Timothy 3:16, but the point has been made obvious, Jesus is and claimed to be God. Now, we will look at the historical evidence for this claim and see that the earliest Christian writers outside of the authors of the New Testament, all thought Jesus was clearly God.

Clement of Rome, whom according to the historical evidence wrote as early as 70 AD, says this:

[1 Clement: Prologue 1] The Church of God which sojourns at Rome, to the Church of God sojourning at Corinth, to them that are called and sanctified by the will of God, through our Lord Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, from Almighty God through Jesus Christ, be multiplied.

As early as 70 AD, historical Christians have quickly recognized Jesus as God. This was likely before John even wrote his Gospel. Let us see some other writers. Polycarp, writing in 130 AD, says this in the Martyrdom of Polycarp, Chapter 14, Verse 1:

So they did not nail him, but tied him. Then he, placing his hands behind him and being bound to the stake, like a noble ram out of a great flock for an offering, a burnt sacrifice made ready and acceptable to God, looking up to heaven said: “O Lord God Almighty, the Father of Your beloved and blessed Son Jesus Christ, through whom we have received the knowledge of You, the God of angels and powers and of all creation and of the whole race of the righteous, who live in Your presence;

Justin Martyr, writing from anywhere between 100-165 AD, in First Apology writes:

For, in the name of God, the Father and Lord of the universe, and of our Savior Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Spirit, they then receive the washing with water.

Ignatius of Antioch, writing in 96 AD, says this:

We have also as a Physician the Lord our God Jesus the Christ the only-begotten Son and Word, before time began, but who afterwards became also man, of Mary the virgin.  For ‘the Word was made flesh.’ Being incorporeal, He was in the body; being impassible, He was in a passable body; being immortal, He was in a mortal body; being life, He became subject to corruption, that He might free our souls from death and corruption, and heal them, and might restore them to health, when they were diseased with ungodliness and wicked lusts.

Irenaeus, writing in 180 AD, says in his book, Against Heresies, Book 1, Chapter 10:

The Church, though dispersed throughout the whole world, even to the ends of the earth, has received from the apostles and their disciples this faith: . . . one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are in them; and in one Christ Jesus, the Son of God, who became incarnate for our salvation; and in the Holy Spirit, who proclaimed through the prophets the dispensations of God, and the advents, and the birth from a virgin, and the passion, and the resurrection from the dead, and the ascension into heaven in the flesh of the beloved Christ Jesus, our Lord, and His manifestation from heaven in the glory of the Father ‘to gather all things in one,’ and to raise up anew all flesh of the whole human race, in order that to Christ Jesus, our Lord, and God, and Savior, and King, according to the will of the invisible Father, ‘every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth, and that every tongue should confess; to him, and that He should execute just judgment towards all

Other early Christian writers like Tertullian in 200 AD and Origen in 180-250 AD, Mathetes in 160 AD, the Shepard of Hermas as early as 80 AD, Tatian in 170 AD, Athenagoras in 177 AD, Theophilus of Antioch in 180 AD, amongst many others all record Jesus as being God.

So, as we have seen, the New Testament without doubt makes Jesus as God, the Old Testament says Jesus is God, and all the earliest Christians in the historical record think  Jesus is in fact God. It’s a common myth that Jesus’ divinity was made up in the Council of Nicaea, in 325 AD. In reality, people who claim this have no idea what actually happened at the Council of Nicaea — every single one of the hundreds of people that were present at the Council, except three Arians (whom were heretics) accepted the divinity of Jesus. If you want to know what really happened at the Council of Nicaea, click here. To be fair, there was indeed one early Christian who didn’t think Jesus was God — that would be Marcion. Although to be even more fair, Marcion was declared a heretic by almost the entire early Church. Some heathen also try to spuriously use some verses in the New Testament to try to claim Jesus says He was not God. One such example is:

[Luke 18:18-19] A ruler asked Him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “Why do you call Me good?” Jesus asked him. “No one is good but One—God.

Contrary to the claims of the heathen, Jesus in no way denies His being God here. Rather, Jesus is simply instructing this man that if he were to call anyone good, it would be the same as calling them God. That is all Jesus was saying. In fact, this proves Jesus is God, because Jesus IS GOOD! Indeed, Jesus is entirely sinless (1 Peter 2:22, 2 Corinthians 5:21, Hebrews 4:15, 1 John 3:5), and thus Jesus is good. In fact, Jesus even called Himself good, which decimates this argument and shows Jesus is God.

[John 10:11] I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.

Some other heathen try to claim Jesus is not God, because of instances like when Jesus said only the Father knows the day and the hour and not Himself, when Jesus said that the Father was greater than Him, or when he had to eat and sleep (in which God doesn’t need to do), or that when He died for our sins (and God cannot die). However, all these people forget that according to the Bible, Jesus was temporarily lowered from Godhood to manhood when He came to Earth (Hebrews 2:91 Timothy 3:16), He became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14), and while temporarily lowered, He was temporarily below God, and thus did things like pray to the Father. However, after He rose from the dead, He ascended back into Heaven, at the right hand of the Father as God (Mark 16:19), and at the Ascension, once He ascended back into heaven, He was then again fully God and ceased doing all these things. In fact, Jesus even told us to pray to Him in His name, and we see people praying to Jesus in the Holy Bible.

[John 14:14] If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.

[1 Corinthians 1:2] To God’s church at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus and called as saints, with all those in every place who call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord—both their Lord and ours.

Also remember you can also pray to the Father (Psalms 116:41 John 5:142 Chronicles 6:24Jeremiah 29:12). Anyways, this argument against Jesus being God entirely ignores that these things only applied to Jesus while He was temporarily man, but no longer any more from now and forever on. Some claim that Jesus becoming man shows He is not God, because God does not change (Malachi 3:6), however Christians have already solved this problem for centuries with the knowledge of Hypostatic Union, which is to say, Jesus was both fully God and fully man at the same time whilst on Earth. However, the heathen are not done here — they then claim the idea that Jesus was fully God and fully man at the same time is a self-contradiction! Saying Jesus is God and man is like saying a square circle can exist,  right? No. Remember, according to the Trinity, God is one being, three persons. Jesus is fully God in being, fully man in person, so there is no contradiction.

In conclusion, Jesus is God. The New Testament says so, the Old Testament says so, all the early Christians say so, Jesus says so, and we’ve seen all the arguments against this fail. Next time you hear someone claim that Jesus is not God, remember the following verse from the Holy Bible.

[1 John 2:22] Who is the liar, if it is not the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, who denies the Father and the Son.

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Matthew, Mark, Luke and John – Authors of the Gospels?

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