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SYMPATHY FOR JESUS
God works in a mysterious way. He inspires the soldiers to think that the victim is “dead already” so as not to break his legs, but at the same time inspires another to lance him on the side1 with a spear, and . . .
“. . . FORTHWITH came there out blood and watery.” (HOLY BIBLE) John 19:34
It is a Blessing of God that when the human body cannot endure further pain or agony, unconsciousness supervenes. But immobility, fatigue and the un-natural stance on the cross2 must have slowed down the blood-circulation. The lancing came to the rescue. By “blood-letting”, the circulation could regain its rhythm. We are assured in the Encyclopedia Biblica, under article “cross,” column 960, that “Jesus was alive when the spear was thrust”. This also confirms the statement of John that the flow of “water and blood” was instantaneous. In his own words he says: “FORTHWITH” — stralght-away, immediately, which was a sure sign that Jesus was ALIVE!
But why the “Water and the Blood”? Dr. W.B. Primrose, a Senior Anaesthetist of the Glasgow Royal Infirmary, gave his expert opinion: In the “Thinkers Digest”, London, Winter 1949 issue, he said that “THE WATER WAS A RESULT OF THE NERVOUS UPSET OF THE BLOOD VESSELS LOCALLY DUE TO THE OVER-STIMULATING EFFECT OF THE SCOURGING BY STAVES”. This may be an extreme case, but so was his sweating, like “great drops of blood, falling down to the ground”, when Jesus was in agony in the Garden of Gethsemane. Medical authorities also confirm the latter phenomenon.
1. The “side” of his body and not the front.
2. See at the end of this book for illustration reproduced from “A Campus Crusade” publication where a “born-again” cultist after 1000 hours study of the cruci-FICTlON is inspired to draw that caricature of Jesus.
The Gospel-writers are not unanimous regarding the time when Jesus was hoisted onto the cross. But John tells us that Jesus (pbuh) was still before Pilate in the praeto-rium at 12 noon: “. . . and about the sixth hour (Hebrew time), he saith unto the Jews, Behold, your King!” — (John 19:14). And after much wrangling he was handed over for crucifixion. Imagine the disorderly mob, the heavy cross which Jesus himself is supposed to have been loaded with. The long climb to Gol’gotha could never have been accomplished in minutes. And the saddling, the tying and the lifting must have taken some time. On TV shots, they can do it all in 30 seconds! But we know that in real life it does not happen that fast. The author of John’s Gospel failed to record the time when “Jesus gave up the ghost” (John 19:30), but the synoptists seem to be agreed that it was around the “ninth hour”, meaning 3 p.m.
Dean Farrar, in his “Life of Christ”, says on page 421, that “JESUS WAS ON THE CROSS FOR ONLY THREE HOURS — WHEN TAKEN DOWN”.
PONTIUS PILATE MARVELS
We are told in the Gospels, in varying terms, that between the “sixth” and the “ninth” hours, there was THUNDER, an ECLIPSE and an EARTHQUAKE! — Without purpose? No, to disperse the sadistic mob after their enjoyment of a Roman holiday. To enable the hands of mercy, his “secret” and faithful disciples, to come to his succour.
Joseph of Arimathe’a together with a sympathetic Roman centurion who had declared: “Truly this man was the Son of God” (Mark 15:39), went to Pilate to claim the body of Jesus, and:
“Pilate marvelled if he were already dead, and to him the centurion, he asked him whether he had been any while dead.”
(HOLY BIBLE) Mark 15:44
What was the reason for Pilate’s amazement? Why did he marvel? He knew from experience that normally no man would die within 3 hours on the cross, unless the “crurifragium” was resorted to, which was not done in the case of Jesus; unlike in that of his “crossmates”, who were given the treatmentbecause they were still ALIVE!
REASON FOR MARVELLING
It stands to reason, that if a man faces a firing squad, and shots are fired into his body, and he dies, there would be nothing to “marvel” about. If a person is taken to the gallows and is hanged, and he dies, there is nothing to “marvel” about. But should they survive, after our common knowledge expects them to die, then there is much to MARVEL about. Conversely, Pilate expects that Jesus should be ALIVE on the cross, and not dead as he is being told, therefore his marvelling is only but natural. He had no special reason for verifying whether Jesus was dead or alive. If he was ALIVE — so what? Had he not found Jesus innocent of the charges levelled against him by the Jews? Did his wife not warn him against doing any harm to “that just man”? Was he not blackmailed into surrendering to Jewish clamour? So if Jesus was alive — Good Luck to him. Pilate grants permission for Joseph to have the body.
SO HE HAD “SECRET” DISCIPLES
The so-called disciples of Jesus, whom he called “my mother and brethren!” 1 (in preference to his own mother and his uterinal brothers and sisters), were nowhere in sight when he was most in need. His “secret” disciples, Joseph of Arimathe’a and Nicodemus, would never have been heard of had it not been for Jesus’ ordeal. And they were the only persons to handle the body of Jesus, with Mary Magdalene and the other Mary(s) 2 as the only spectators.
To satisfy the religious scruples of the Jews — the burial bath, the anointing and the shrouding — would well-nigh have taken more than two hours. If there were any signs of life in the limp body, no one was foolish enough to shout to the retreating curiosity mongers: “He is ALIVE! He is ALIVE! They knew that the Jews would then make doubly sure that that life was snuffed out.
1. Matthew 12:49.
2. Mark 15:47.
WHY THE INVERTED COMMAS “. . . “?
JEWS SUSPICIOUS AND UNEASY
We must not suppose that Jesus was buried 6 feet underground. The sepulchre was a big, airy chamber and not a grave. Jim Bishop (a Christian authority of note), in his book “The Day Christ Died,” gives the dimensions as 5 feet wide by 7 feet high by 15 feet deep, with a ledge or ledges inside, which any “pondokkie” dweller in our slums would have been happy to own as his residence. The Jews were suspicious. It was all very “fishy.”
(a) The tomb within easy reach.
(b) Helping hands of his “secret” disciples.
(c) His “crossmates” still alive.
(d) His legs not broken, whereas those of his “crossmates” were!
(e) Quick and easy permission granted by Pilate to obtain the body of Jesus.
For these and many more reasons, the Jews were suspicious. They felt that they had been cheated. Jesus was ALIVE! (?) So they ran to Pilate. But they had missed the bus again! They were 24 hours too late!
“Now the NEXT day . .. the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate,
Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said . . .
Command, therefore, that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest . . .
the LAST error shall be worse than the FIRST (error).”
(HOLY BIBLE) Matthew 27:62-64
The Jews are talking about “first” and “last”, not realising that in all their nervous haste they had made another slip. They had gone to Pilate only the NEXT day. They wanted to close the stable-door after the horse had bolted. Pilate was not interested in their childish plots. He had had enough of them. So he says to them:
“… Ye have a watch; 1go your way, make it as sure as ye can. “
(HOLY BIBLE) Matthew 27:65
He was not going to pander to their whim. He had more than enough reasons to hate them.
1. From the word “watch” in the King James Version of the Bible, and “guard” of the Roman Catholic Version; the 32 Christian scholars of the R.SV. have now interpolated the words, “of soldiers” after the word“GUARD”, reading “guard of soldiers”. There is no end to Christian theological ingenuity! As was discussed earlier; the revisers have now re-revised the R.S.V. and have re-inserted the spicy verses about the women “caught in the act” once more into their 1971 Version.
What the Jews did or did not do after Pilate’s curt reply is immaterial. They had already lost a day! But the Christian cultists clutching at straws, transform the Jewish temple “guard” to soldiers, and make these “soldiers” into “Roman” soldiers. Then fill pages expounding the efficiency of the Roman military machine; that it can never be caught napping or caught off-guard! And the dire consequences in store for any that slipped. Did all this make the Roman soldier impeccable, faultless (?). By the time the unwary and weary reader wades through the profuse irrelevant details, he is ready to swallow everything hook, line, and sinker uncritically. It is a deception they have developed as an art!
What was the FIRST “error” that the Jews made in wanting to eliminate Jesus? The first was that they had permitted Jesus to be brought down from the cross without breaking his legs, under the false assumption that he had died. The LAST would be to allow the “secret” disciples of Jesus to render help to the wounded man, by NOT sealing off the tomb. But in the meantime, they made another mistake by approaching Pilate the “NEXT” day which was TOO LATE!God works in a mysterious way. His Ways are not our ways. He says:
It was Sunday morning, the FIRST day of the week, according to Hebrew calculations, with Saturday the Sabbath as the seventh, when Mary Magdalenealone (Mark 16:9 and John 20:1) visited the tomb of Jesus.
The question arises: “Why did she go there?” “TO ANOINT HIM”, Mark 16:1 tells us. The Hebrew word for anoint is “masaha”, which means to rub, to massage, to anoint. 1 The second question is: “Do Jews massage dead bodies after 3 days?” The answer is “No!” “Do the Christians massage dead bodies after 3 days?” The answer is again, “No!” Do the Muslims (who are the nearest to the Jews in their ceremonial laws) massage dead bodies after 3 days? And the answer is again, “No!” Then why should a Jewess want to massage a dead, decaying body after 3 days? We know that within 3 hours rigor mortis sets in — the stiffening of the body after death. In 3 days time, the body would be fermenting from within — the body cells would be breaking up and decomposing. If anyone rubs such a decaying body, it will fall to pieces. Does the rubbing make sense? No!
It would, however, make sense if she was looking for a LIVE person. You see, she was about, the only person besides Joseph of Arimathe’a and Nicodemus who had given the final rites to the body of Jesus. If she had seen any sign of life in the limp body of Jesus when he was taken down from the cross, she was not going to shout, “HE IS ALIVE!” She returns after 2 nights and a day, when the Jewish Sabbath had passed, to take care of Jesus.
1. This aspect is dealt with in greater detail in a book: “WHO MOVED THE STONE”.
STONE REMOVED — WINDING SHEETS UNWOUND
She was sorely amazed to find on arrival, that somebody had already removed the stone and, on peeping into the tomb, she finds that the winding sheets (shroud) were folded up inside. More questions arise? “Why Was the stone removed?” Because for a resurrected body, one which had conquered death, it was not necessary for the stone to be removed for it to get out, nor was it necessary for the winding sheets to- be unwound for it to move. Because, for a spiritualised body: “STONE WALLS DO NOT A PRISON MAKE, NOR IRON BARS A CAGE.”
The removal of the stone and the unwinding of the winding sheets was the need of a physically resuscitated body, not that of a resurrected1 body! The empty tomb was an anti-climax to what she had expected! So the hysterical woman (Jesus had had to cast out of her “seven devils” – Mark 16:9) breaks down and sobs. Jesus was all the while watching her from the vicinity — not from heaven, but from earth.
This burial vault (tomb) was a privately-owned property belonging to Joseph of Arimathe’a (a very rich, influential Jew), who could afford to carve out of rock the big roomy chamber. 2 Around this tomb was his vegetable garden. Please do not try to tell me that this Jew was so generous that he was planting vegetables 5 miles out of town, for other people’s goats and sheep to graze upon. Surely, he must also have built gardeners’ quarters for his labourers and his own country home for himself and his family to relax during the weekends?
1. See “RESURRECTION OR RESUSCITATION?”
2. Dimensions already given earlier.
A PRACTICAL JOKE
Jesus is there! He is watching this woman. He knows who she is, and he knows why she is there. He approaches her from behind, and finds her crying. So he asks her:
“Woman, why wee pest thou? Whom seekest thou? —
(HOLY BIBLE) John 20:15
Before she replies, allow me to interject: “Why does he ask what appears to be silly questions? Doesn’t he know the obvious reasons? Of course he does! Then why the silly questions?”
The answer is that in reality they are not silly questions, though they appear to be so. He knows that this woman is looking for him, and she is disappointed on not finding him; hence the weeping. But he also knows that because of his heavy disguise she would not be able to recognise him. So metaphorically speaking he is pulling her leg. In describing this incident John, referring to Mary Magdalene, says:
“She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him”.
(Still John 20:15)
Now why should she suppose that he is a gardener? Do resurrected persons look like “gardeners”? Nol! Then why does she suppose him to be a gardener? Because he is disguised as a GARDENER! Why is he disguised as a gardener? Because he is afraid of the Jews! Why is he afraid of the Jews? Because he did not die and did not conquer death! If he had died, and if he had conquered death, then he would not be afraid anymore. Why not? Because a resurrected body cannot die twice! Who says so? The Bible says so. Where? In the Book of Hebrews 9:27. It says:
“. . . It is ordained unto all men ONCE to die, and after that the judgement.”
BACK FROM THE DEAD
But what about the hundreds of people who have come back from the “dead”? We read about them daily in our newspapers. Those persons who were certified dead, by medical men, and who subsequently came back to life;
were not really DEAD, in the sense of DEATH AND RESURRECTION. Our Doctors have erred and will continue to make mistakes; it cannot be helped. But I want you to note the word “dead” on page 63, and “Corpse” on page 22, and “crucifixion” on page 85. All these words are in inverted commas. The honest and alert newspaper reporter in each case is telling us, very subtly, that the “DEAD” was not really dead. That the “CORPSE” was not really a corpse, and that the “CRUCIFIXIONS” were not really crucifixions but cruel-fictions! They were SO-CALLED dead, the SO-CALLED corpse, the SO-CALLED crucifixions, etc. But from the newspaper circulation point of view, the word “SO-CALLED” would greatly diminish the sensationalism, lessen the news value, and reduce possible sales. After all business is business! Hence the inverted commas “…” In actual fact, no man ever dies twice. No matter how many death certificates are issued.
THE DRAMA CONTINUES
Mary supposing the disguised Jesus to be a gardener, says unto him:
“Sir, if you have taken HIM hence, tell me where have you laid HIM . . .”
(HOLY BIBLE) John 20:15
She is not looking for a corpse, for “it”. She is looking for a LIVE person, for “HIM”. And further, she wants to know as to “where have you ‘LAID’ him?” (i.e. To rest, to relax, to recuperate!) NOT, “where have you BURIED him?”
“So that I might take HIM away.”
(HOLY BIBLE) John 20:15
Take HIM away, where? What would she want with a dead (?), decomposing body? She could only bury it. Who dug the grave? Carrying a corpse is one thing for an American Super-woman, but another for this frail Jewess; carrying a corpse of at least a hundred and sixty pounds. That weight plus another 100 pounds of medicaments (according to John 19:39) would make a neat load of 260 pounds. Carrying would be one thing, but burying? She would have to dump it in a hole! Does it make any sense?
The prank that Jesus was playing upon this woman had gone too far. The woman had not been able to see through the disguise yet and Jesus was “laughing under his breath”, but could restrain himself no longer. He blurts out: “M-A-R-Y!” Only the one word! But it was enough. This one word, “Mary!”did what all the exchange of words failed to do. It enabled Mary to recognise her Master. Everyone has his or her unique and peculiar way of calling one’s nearest and dearest. It was not the mere utterance of the word “Mary”, but its deliberate intonation which made her respond: “Master! Master!”. Mad with happiness, she lunges forward to grab her Master, to pay reverence. Jesus says,
“Touch me not!”
(HOLY BIBLE) John 20:17
Why not? Is he a bundle of electricity, a dynamo, that if she touches him, she might get electrocuted? No! “Touch me not!”, because it would hurt. Though he appears normal to all intents and purposes, he had, nevertheless, been through a violent, physical and emotional ordeal. It would be excruciatingly painful if he allowed her any enthusiastic contact. Jesus continues:
“For I am not yet ASCENDED unto my Father.”
(HOLY BIBLE) John 20:17
She is not blind. She can see the man standing there before her. What does he mean by “not yet ascended” — GONE UP — when he was DOWN right there? He is, in fact, telling her that he is not RESURRECTED from the DEAD. In the language of the Jew, in the idiom of the Jew, he is saying: “I AM NOT DEAD YETl” — He is saying: “I AM ALIVE!”
“And they (the disciples), when they heard that he was ALIVE, and had been seen by her (Mary Magdalene),they BELIEVED NOT.”
(HOLY BIBLE) Mark 16:11
JOURNEY TO EMMAUS
That very day, on the way to Emmaus, Jesus joins two of his disciples and discourses with them for 5 miles without being recognised by them! What a perfect masquerade! On reaching their destination, the disciples persuade the Master to join them for a meal.
“And it came to pass, as he sat EATING with them, he took bread and blessed it, and broke it, and gave it to them”
(HOLY BIBLE) Luke 24:30
By the manner in which he brake bread (meaning the way he blessed it), “their eyes were opened”. Did they walk from Jerusalem to Emmaus with closed eyes? No! We are being told that the disciples recognised him only at that juncture. Luke continues with his story, that when they recognised him, “he vanished out of sight”. Did he do the Indian “Rope Trick”? Please don’t be ridiculous! What it means is that he went away. He went out of their sight.
Full of excitement, the two disciples rushed up to that upper room, where the other disciples were:-
“And they went and told it unto the residue (of the disciples), NEITHER BELEIVED they them”
(HOLY BIBLE) Mark 16:13
What is wrong with these disciples of Jesus? Why are they reluctant to believe? What is their difficulty? The problem is that they are confronted with evidence that Jesus is ALIVE! Not resurrected (i.e. not spiritualised), but evidence that he is the same physical Jesus, flesh and bones as any one of them! — Eating food! In disguise — but not a spirit and not a ghost. This is what they could not believe. If they were told that Mary had seen the ghost of Jesus, they would have believed. If the above two had told the rest that they too had seen the ghost of Jesus, they would certainly have believed that. They were a people who had seen spirits going into pigs and stampeding two thousand of them to destruction — (Mark 5:13). They had seen spirits going into trees and drying them up from their very roots overnight — (Mark 77:20). They had seen “seven devils” coming out of Mary Magdalene — (Mark 76:9). All this was quite natural to their age. Spirits, ghosts and devils! They could accept that which was believable at that time and age. But a LIVE Jesus? A physical Jesus? One who had escaped the stings of death — (Acts 2:24)? This was too heavy for their “little faith” — (Matthew 6:30; 8:26; 74:37; 76:8; and Luke 72:28).
(a) Mary Magdalene testifies that Jesus is ALIVE. 1
(b) The disciples from Emma us testify that he is ALIVE!
(c) Angels said that Jesus was ALIVE! (Luke 24:23).
(d) Two men that stood by told the women “why seek ye the living among the dead?” That he is ALIVE! (Luke 24:4-5).
Yet they will not believe!! Let us see whether they will believe the words of their own “Lord and Master”, in the following chapter.
1. ALIVE: Here as well as in every other place where this word “alive” occur, it has been faithfully reproduced from the Christian Scriptures, and it is not any interpretation of mine. If these verses were inspired by God, then, it seems, that the poor “Hotv Ghost” did not have the word “RESURRECTED” in its vocabulary!
JESUS NO PHANTOM
The two from Emmaus,
“rose … and returned to Jerusalem, and found the ELEVEN gathered together, and those who were with them”
(HOLY BIBLE) Luke 24.33
Which “eleven?” They “found the eleven.” Did they include themselves in the number they FOUND? Even then the disciples there (of the elected twelve of Jesus) could never be more than 10 altogether. Because on this first visit of Jesus to that upper-room. Judas and Thomas were definitely not present. But Luke was not an eyewitness to this scene. He is simply copying verbatim from Mark 16:14 who said. “he (Jesus) appeared unto the ELEVEN as they sat eating.”
Now listen to Paul,. the thirteenth self-appointed apostle of Jesus. He says that after three days of hibernation. “(Jesus) was seen of Cephas (meaning Simon Peter), then to the TWELVE” — (1 Corinthians 15:5). Which “twelve?” The word “THEN” here, excludes Peter! But if you add him on, and with all good luck, you can still never get the “CHOSEN TWELVE” together to see Jesus, because the traitor Judas had committed suicide by hanging —(Matthew 27:5), long before Jesus1 alleged resurrection.”
We are dealing here with a strange mentality, where “Eleven” does not mean ELEVEN — (Luke 24:33).”Twelve” does not mean TWELVE, and “Three and three” means TWO AND ONE!’ Jesus would truly sympathise with us:
“it is hard for you to kick against the pricks” —
(HOLY BIBLE) Acts 9:5 2
1. This conundrum is discussed further on, under the heading: “What was the Sign of Jonah?”
2.Paul says that these words were spoken to him by Jesus, originally in the Hebrew tongue — (Acts 26:14).
Whilst the two are telling their sceptical audience about their encounter with a physical, living Jesus (one who was eating food with them), “IN WALKS JESUS” (these are my words) 1 the doors being shut for fear of the Jews. The Christian controversialist says: “No! our records state that Jesus simply ‘STOOD IN THEIR MIDST2; he did not WALK in!” It was a question of disappearance from Emmaus and a reappearance in Jerusalem — like the “Invisible Man”, like the “Indian Rope Trick”, like “Star Trek” ( a science-fiction fantasy where people are “beamed” from Space Ships to planets and back again). You acutally “see” people disappearing in your very sight and materialising in another place. People who believe this to be real are victims of their own delusions. They have seen too many films and viewed too many TV programmes.
1. “Came Jesus and stood in their midst” — (John 20:19).
2. In John 20:79, 24. 26, the word “CAME”, “CAME”, “CAME”, contradict the notion that he simply appeared, meaning that he materialised out of thin air.
THE HARE AND THE TORTOISE
But why did it take Jesus (pbuh) so long to reach the upper-room? He had “vanished” before the “two” made a beeline for Jerusalem, and yet Jesus had not preceded them. He was late in coming. It reminds one of the story of the hare and tortoise. Could it be that he was nursing his wounds on the way?
The cultists imagine that Jesus was floating around from place to place, appearing and disappearing at will. Jeffrey Hunter, the handsome young actor, playing the role of Jesus Christ in the film, “King of Kings”, made a very sensible observation after climbing Mount Zion for the scene of the “temptation”of Jesus by the Devil. After heaving and hoving, sweating and panting for breath while climbing the hill, he remarked, “FOR THE FIRST TIME IN MY LIFE I REALISED HOW HUMAN JESUS WAS!”
Neither Luke nor John, who record this episode of Jesus’ visit to the upper-room, venture to tell us that he simply o-o-z-e-d through the key hole, or that he oozed through crevices in the wall. O! But why did they deprive us of this vital information? Because no oozing happened! But the problem remains — how did he get in when the “doors where shut’? — (John 20:19). Amazingly, Luke 24:36, who also records this incident word for word did not think fit to add,” the doors were shut.” It was unimportant to him! Why? Because it was irrelevant! Claiming an “orderliness” and judiciousness for his writing, he would not confuse the issues – (Holy Bible, Luke 1:3)
This abode in question, is alternatively described as a “guest chamber” and as a “large upper-room” — (Mark 14:14-15). It is not the whole residence. It is part of a mansion. Do I have to prove this to you? Could this be the only room upstairs? Taking into account that this particular room contained a table big enough to seat at least 14 people on 14 clumsy chairs — Jesus and his 12 disciples making the “unlucky thirteen”, and John the“diciple whom Jesus loved” being the owner of the house and “leaning on Jesus’ bosom” (John 13:23) making fourteen in all.
Can you imagine the size of this “guest room”? — With pantry, and kitchen, and other facilities; and downstairs, where the owner’s family and servants resided. It was like a small palace! Jesus was familiar with this mansion. He had visited Jerusalem often for the feast of the Passover. Remember how he directed his disciples to find the place? — (Luke 22:10).
My own humble abode has four entrances. Perhaps John’s “GUEST CHAMBER” had only one main-entrance with 2 doors. But was there a need to seal it off from the rest of the house? For the visitor, the front doors were sufficient for all their needs — entry and exit. And Eastern guests do not pry into passages, attics and apartments of their hosts! They are easily gratified with every little hospitality bestowed. But Jesus was no stranger to the house. He was like a member of the family of the disciple Jesus loved. He had no need to knock at bolted doors to terrify his timid flock. There were more ways than one of getting in. If there was any misgiving on the part of the disciples for his sudden appearance in their midst, he was quick in dispelling it.
“Peace be unto you”, he cried;
but his little lambs “were terrified!”
(HOLY BIBLE) Luke 24:36-37
OPPOSITE REACTIONS ON RECOGNISING JESUS
Remember at the break of dawn that very morning, a lone woman, Mary Magdalene, was mad with glee on recognising him around the tomb. And she had to be stopped in her stride from embracing him. But these ten heroes who were rattling sabres in this very room were now petrified on recognising their Master. Why was there opposite reactions between the men and the woman? — Men terrified, woman not afraid? The reason is that the woman was an eye-witness to all the happenings around calvary, whereas the men were nowhere in sight. Therefore the woman went to the tomb with the intention of meeting a LIVE Jesus, and her joy on meeting him. But the ten were not witnesses to the happenings, hence their supposition about seeing a ghost. They were physically and emotionally on the verge of breaking down. Luke succinctly describes their condition:
“But they were terrified and affrighted and supposed that they had seen a spirit.”
(HOLY BIBLE) Luke 24:37
REASON FOR FEAR
The reason for their terror was that they thought that the man they saw standing in their midst was not Jesus himself but his ghost. Ask your “BORN-AGAIN” friends who want to share heaven with you, the reason for the disciples thinking that Jesus was a spirit. Ask them, “Did he look like a spirit?” And though misguided as they may be, you will hear their answer — “No!” Then why did the disciples of Jesus think that Jesus was a spirit, when he did not look like one? There is no answer! They are speechless. Please help them. Free them from their infatuation. If you don’t, they will harass us and our people till kingdom come. They will steal our children (as they are doing now in Muslim lands), in the guise of feeding hungry children, and at times with our own money: Have you heard of “World Vision” and the like? Crusades once more but with arms invisible.
The reason the disciples of Jesus were afraid was that they had learned by hearsay that their Master was killed by being fastened to the cross — that he was crucified. 1 They had learned by hearsay that he had “given up the ghost”: that he had died. They had learned by Hearsay that now he was –”DEAD AND BURIED” for three days. A man with such a reputation, would be expected to be decomposing in his tomb. FOR ALL THEIR KNOWLEDGE WAS FROM HEARSAY! — What they had heard! Because none of them was there to witness what was really going on with Jesus at Golgotha. In the most critical juncture in the life of Jesus:
“. . . THEY ALL FORSOOK HIM AND FLED.” 2
(HOLY BIBLE) Mark 14:50
1. “Crucified”: Later on, ‘”CRUCIFIED OR CRUCIPLAYED” is discussed. The Gospel writers had not known the use of inverted commas to imply, that this is what other, say, or this is the ”so-called”.
2. Even more explicit, is Mathew “…Then all the disciples forsook him and fled.” Mathew 26:65
THE GENUINE DISCIPLES
Mark is talking about the chosen “twelve”. Not about Jesus’ “secret” devoted ones like the other John who took Mary the mother of Jesus home, and Nicodemus1 and Joseph of Arimathe’a and the like. In view of the dastardly desertion by the other “twelve”, I am loathe to call these “men” disciples. Or is Mark lying? When he said all, did he not mean “All”? There was no come-back with these heroes. The author of the fourth Gospel lists a number of women from Jesus’ entourage. Among them three Marys, “and the disciple whom Jesus loved”. He repeats this phrase a number of times without actually identifying him as JOHN their benefactor in Jerusalem. Why? If that John is the author himself of the fourth gospel, then why does he not say so. Why is he so shy? He was not very bashful when asking Jesus to make him and his brother sit: “One on thy right hand, and the other on thy Jeft hand in thy Kingdom” – (Mark 10:37). The reason for his reticence is that the “beloved disciple” is his namesake, i.e. his name is also lohn! The rest of the disciples were nowhere to be found when he (Jesus) was most in need. They all had, as Mark says, “forsaken him and fled!” — (Mark 14:50).
1. Nicodemus: A selfless soul, who, having risked his all in associating with a man (Jesus) condemned by a Roman Court for treason, is deliberately blotted out of the 26 Books of the N.T. “It is difficult to avoid concluding that the omission in the synoptic tradition of the mysterious disciple was intentional,” says Dr. Hugh J. Schonfield, one of the world’s leading, one of the world’s leading Biblical scholars.
WHAT WOULD YOU CALL THIS – “CRUCIFIXION or CRUCI – FICTION ? “
JESUS NOT RESURRECTED
A PHYSICAL, LIVE JESUS!
After the due greetings of “Shaloam”, Jesus begins calming the disciples’ fear for taking him to be a ghost. He says:
“Behold (have a look at) my hands and my feet, that it is I myself (I am the same fellow, man!): handle me and see; for A SPIRIT has no flesh and bones, as you see me have. . .
And he showed them his hands and his feet.”
(HOLY BIBLE) Luke 24:39-40
What was the man trying to prove? That he had been resurrected from the dead? — That he was a spirit? — What has the demonstration of hands and feet to do with resurrection? “It is I MYSELF!” Can’t you see, you fools!? “For a SPIRIT …” — any spirit, has “NO flesh and bones, as YOU see ME have!”. This is an axiomatic, self-evident truth. You do not have to convince anybody, whether Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Jew, Atheist or Agnostic. Everyone will acknowledge without any proof that A SPIRIT HAS NO FLESH AND BONES!
WHY BELABOUR THE OBVIOUS?
Then why does Jesus need to belabour the point? It is simply because the disciples were thinking that he had returned from the dead, that he had been resurrected, and if so he would be in a spiritual form — A SPIRIT! And Jesus is telling them that he is NOT that — he is not a spirit — NOT resurrected! The above verses in their original, in every language, are so vivid, so simple, so clear that you do not need a dictionary nor a D.D. to explain them to you.
Why don’t you (dear reader) memorise just this one verse. In your own language — English, Arabic, Zulu or Afrikaans, and with just this one verse you can take the wind out of the missionaries’ sail. You can “CRACK HIS SKULL”, exactly as young David, with his little pebble did to Goliath. The pleasure is yours… Allah is giving you the opportunity, in this day and age to disabuse the Christian mind from his fantasies!
I have asked learned giants of Christendom to tell me whether in their language, when a man says, “A Spirit has NO Flesh and Bones,” that it means — A Spirit HAS Flesh and Bones! In debates, no opponent of mine has ever had the courage to tackle the question. As if pretending that the words were never uttered.
VIVID EXPLANATION … I AM ALIVE!
If 1 tell you in English that “Because I have flesh and bones — I am not a SPIRIT, I am not a GHOST, I am not a SPOOK!”— is that what it really means in your language? You say, “Yes!” (This reasoning equally applies to every language under the sun). In other words, Jesus was telling his disciples, when he said: “Behold my HANDS and my FEET”, that the body he wanted them to see, feel and touch was not a SPIRITUAL body, nor a METAMORPHOSED body, nor a RESURRECTED body. Because a resurrected “body” becomes spiritualised!
WHO SAYS SO?
The argumentative Crusader asks: “Who says that resurrected persons will be spiritualised?” I say, “Jesus!” He asks: “Where?” I say: “In the Gospel of Luke; go back four chapters from where Jesus said: “A spirit has no flesh and bones’, that is, to Luke 20:27-36, and you will see. . .”. The Jews were coming to Jesus again and again with posers and riddles, like:-
(a) “Master, must we pay tribute to Ceaser or not?”
(HOLY BIBLE) Matthew 22:77
(b) “Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act,”
(HOLY BIBLE) John 8:4
(c) “Master, what commandment is the first of all?”
(HOLY BIBLE) Mark 12:28
Now they come to him concerning a Jewess who had seven husbands, according to a Jewish practice — if one man dies leaving no offspring behind, then the 2nd brother of the deceased husband takes her to wife, to give her his seed. But when he fails and dies, the 3rd takes her on; and so on and so on. In the case before Jesus, seven brothers had this one woman, one after another. All the seven brothers died, and in time, the woman also died. There was no problem while each was trying to fulfil his duty — it was ONE by ONE! But the question of the Jews was that, at the RESURRECTION, which one was going to have this woman, because they had all “HAD” her here! The picture the Jews are trying to conjure up in Jesus’ mind is that if the seven brothers are resurrected simultaneously at the RESURRECTION, and the woman also, then there will be a war in heaven among the seven brothers, all claiming the woman as his own wife, because they had “all had her”. In short, which fellow will have this woman as his wife in heaven? In answer to that, Jesus says:“Neither shall they die anymore” — meaning that the resurrected persons will be immortalised: needing no food, no shelter, no clothing, no sex, no rest.“For they are equal unto the angels,” meaning that they will be ANGEL1SED, they will be SPIRITUALISED, they will become SPIRITUAL CREATURES, they will be SPIRITS! As regards himself, four chapters further on he says: “A spirit has no flesh and bones, as you see me have” — I am NOT a spirit, I am NOT a ghost, I am NOT a spook, I am NOT RESURRECTED! I am the same living Jesus — ALIVE! 1
“And when he had thus spoken, he showed them his hands and feet.”
(HOLY BIBLE) Luke 24:40
1. Paul is more specific and succinct on this matter. He says in 1 Corinthians 15:35-46. “But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? And with what body do they come?…so also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption…It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual”.
THE DISCIPLES’ FEAR SUBSIDES
The disciples were “overjoyed and wondered”, what could have happened? They had thought that he was dead and gone, but here with them stands their Master, with flesh and bones — with 100% characteristics of a man ALIVE!
To assure them further, to calm their shaky nerves, he asks: “Have you here any meat’, i.e. anything to eat? “And they gave him a piece of broiled fish and of a honeycomb, and he took it, and DID EAT before them.”
(HOLY BIBLE) Luke 24:41-43
To prove what? That he is RESURRECTED? Why does he not then say so instead of proving everything to the contrary? Presenting his physical body for examination, eating and masticating “broiled fish and honeycomb”. Is all this an act, a pretence, a make-believe, another “leela” as the Hindus might say? “No!” Said Schleliermacher a hundred-and-sixty-five years ago. Albert Schweizer in his book, “In Quest of the Historical Jesus”, page 64, quotes him:-
“IF CHRIST HAD ONLY EATEN TO SHOW THAT HE COULD EAT, WHILE HE REALLY HAD NO NEED OF NOURISHMENT, IT WOULD HAVE BEEN APRETENCE — SOMETHING DOCETIC”
What is wrong with our Christian brethren? Jesus says that a spirit has no flesh and bones, they say that it has! Please ask your friends among them; Who is lying? Jesus or you, the billion so-called followers of his? This is the result of two thousand years of brain-washing or “programming” as the American would say. Salvation is cheap in Christianity! The Christian does not have to fast, and pray, and strait-Jacket his life as the Muslim is obligated to do. He merely has to BELIEVE and salvation is his. For us, all our efforts, all our good deeds are “like filthy rags”, he says. You better re-programme him, or he will programme you. He will never be satisfied with us, never mind how far backward we bend to appease him. Allah says:
It’s either you change them, or they change you! If you want peace – Salaam – ISLAM!
1. Later on you will see the story of multiple cruci-fictions on the Philippines.
THE ONLY MIRACLE PROMISED
VATICINIUM EX EVENTU
The hot-gospeler and the Bible-thumper does not tire of quoting statements, alleged to have been made by Jesus, that he was going to Jerusalem to die, and on the third day he would come back to life. The Gospels, any Christian scholar will confirm, were first penned decades and centuries after Jesus. In his lifetime, not a word was written, nor did he instruct anyone to write a word! Taylor in his commentary on the Gospel of St. Mark, page 437, discounts the so-called prophecies regarding the “crucifixion” as vaticinium ex eventu meaning “prophecy after the event”. That the Gospel writers fabricated words and sayings, and put them into the mouth of Jesus, as if he had foretold the happenings.
The Christian missionary, the evangelist, the crusader, is reluctant to give a hearing to any Christian scholar despite the latter’s sincerity or greatness of calibre — whether Taylor, or Schweizer, or Brandon or Anderson he may be. As soon as they say a word which goes against their pet prejudice, they will discount them all as “external source” and “minority 20th-century speculation”. Therefore, I am constrained here to catch the proverbial “Bull by the Horn” and take him to the drinking trough.
DEMAND FOR A MIRACLE
The Jews had murmured in the wilderness against Moses (pbuh). They had given him endless trouble, and now his successor, the Messiah is given no lesser parrying. In their bouts of harassing questionings, they come to him, now, sounding most respectable and polite:
“Master, (Hebrew — Rabbi, meaning Teacher) we would have a sign of thee”
(HOLY BIBLE) Matthew 12:38
All his teaching and preaching, and healing were not enough to convince the Jews that he was a man sent by God; that he was their Messiah. Now they are asking for a “SIGN” — a Miracle — such as flying like a bird, or walking on water; in short, anything they considered IMPOSSIBLE.
Before you proceed any further in the discussion with the Christian, please make sure that he understands the word “sign” in the above verse to mean a “miracle”. This simple English word from the King James Version of the Bible, which every other Version seems to have copied is creating difficulty in the grasping of its true significance. In the “New International Version”, supported by Baptist, Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian and Reformed churches, the word is expanded as “miraculous sign”, thank God! Not just any sign, or road signs — “Stop, Yield or Go!”
It is also necessary for us to try and define what is meant by a miracle. One of the simplest and truest of definitions is that given by Dr. Lyttelton in, “The Place of Miracles in Religion”, that is:-
“AN ACT BEYOND HUMAN POWER.”
This is exactly what the Jews wanted from Jesus. An act which they, the Scribes and the Pharisees, could not duplicate. On the face of it the request seems quite fair, but it is a sick mentality which craves for “tricks” which every sceptic and materialist can rationalise.
NO “SIGN” BUT ONE!
So Jesus reacts:
“. . . An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign (miracle), and there shall no sign (miracle) be given to it, but the sign (miracle) of the prophet, Jonah.”
(HOLY BIBLE) Matthew 12:39
What was the “sign” or the miracle that Jonah performed that Jesus now proposes to emulate? To discover this miracle, we have to go to the “Book of Jonah”, in the Bible. But this “Book” is very elusive! it happens to be a single leaf, with four short chapters, and is difficult to find in any encyclopedia of a thousand pages, such as the Christian Bible. But you do not have to go to the Book itself. Every Christian child who ever attended Sunday-school, knows the whole story.
BACKGROUND TO THE “SIGN”
To refresh your memory, let me tell you that God Almighty commands Jonah (pbuh) to go to Nineveh (a city of a hundred thousand people) and warn themto “repent in sack-cloth and in ashes”. That is, to humble themselves before the Lord, or God will destroy them.
Jonah feels despondent, fearing that the materialisic Ninevites will not listen to him; they will make a mockery of him. So instead of going to Nineveh, he goes to Joppa and sets sail to Tarshish. At sea there is a terrible storm and, according to the superstition of the mariners, whoever runs away from his “Master’s Commands” creates such a turmoil at sea. An enquiry begins and Jonah realises that he is the guilty party, that as a prophet of God, he was the soldier of God. And as a soldier of God he had to obey the Commands of God. He had no right to act presumptously. So he volunteers and makes a manly comeback. He feared that God was after his blood, and in wanting to kill him. He will sink the boat, and innocent people will die. Jonah reasons, that it will be better for him to be thrown overboard, and thus avert the disaster overtaking them.
CASTING OF LOTS
These “pre-exilic”1 people, eight centuries before Christ had more sense of Justice and fairplay than modern civilised (?) man. They felt that Jonah wanted to commit suicide, and perhaps wanted their helping-hand. They were not going to aid and abet in his folly. So they said that they had a system of their own, to discover right from wrong, by casting “lots”, something like our tossing of the coin — “head or tail”! And according to their primitive system the lot fell against Jonah, who was discovered as being the guilty man. So they took him and threw him overboard!
1. Before the Jews were carried away into exile under Nebuchadnezzar.
DEAD OR ALIVE?
The question arises that, when they threw Jonah overboard, was he dead or was he alive? To make it easy for you to get the right answer, let me help you by suggesting that Jonah had volunteered; when he said:
“. . . Take me up, and cast me forth into the sea; so shall the sea be calm for you; for I know that for my sake this great tempest is upon you.”
(HOLY BIBLE) Jonah 1:12
When a man volunteers, one does not have to strangle him before throwing him; one does not have to spear him before throwing him; one does not have to twist his arms or legs before throwing him. Everyone agrees that that is so.
Now once more the question: Was Jonah dead or alive when he was thrown into the raging sea? We get a unanimous reply — that he was ALIVE! The storm subsides, perhaps it was a coincidence. A fish comes and swallows him. Was he dead or alive? And again everyone says ALIVE! From the fishes belly he prays to God for help. Do dead men pray? “No!” So he was ,.. ALIVE! On the third day the fish vomits him onto the seashore — dead or alive? And the reply again is ALIVE! It is a miracle of miracles! The Jews say that he was ALIVE! The Christians say that he was ALIVE! And the Muslims say that he wasALIVE! Little wonder that Jesus chose the “SIGN” (miracle) of Jonah as his only “SIGN” (miracle): 1 Something on which the followers of three major religions are agreed.
Let me recapitulate this Mighty Miracle from the Book of Jonah:
1. When you throw a man into a raging sea, he ought to die. Because Jonah did not die, therefore, it is a MIRACLE!
2. A fish comes and gobbles the man; he ought to die. He did not die. It is now therefore, a double MIRACLE!
3. Because of heat and suffocation in the whale’s belly for three days and three nights, he ought to die. He did not die, therefore, it is now a miracle of MIRACLES!
When you expect a man to die, and he does not die, only then is it a MIRACLE. If a man faces a firing squad and six bullets are pumped into his body at the given signal, and the man dies. Is it a miracle? “No!” But if he lives to laugh it off, would that be a miracle? Of course it would be a MIRACLE. We expected Jonah to die each time, but he does not die; therefore, his is a multiple MIRACLE.
1. For a detailed explanation, see “What was the Sign of Jonah?”
JESUS LIKE JONAH
Jesus too, after the ordeal he is supposed to have gone through, ought to die. If he died it would be no miracle. But if he lived, as he had himself foretold, and proved “according to the scriptures”, it would be a “sign” — a MIRACLE! And these are his words:
. . . “For as Jonah was . . .” (English), “Want soos Jonah . . .” (Afrikaans), “Ngokuba njengo Jonah . . .” (Zulu).
“For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the whale, so shall the son of man be . . .”—
(Matthew 12:40). How was Jonah in the whale’s belly for three days and three nights — Dead or Alive? The Muslims, the Christians and the Jews again give a unanimous verdict of A-L-1-V-E! How was Jesus in the tomb, for the same period of time — Dead or Alive? Over a thousand million Christians, of every church or Denomination give a unanimous verdict of D-E-A-D! Is that like Jonah or un-like Jonah in your language? And everyone whose mind is not confused, says that, that is very UN-LIKE Jonah. Jesus said that he would be “LIKE JONAH” and his infatuated followers say that he was “UN-LIKE JONAH!”. Who is lying — Jesus or his followers? I leave the answer to you!
But religion is good business. In the name of Christ they are making a mint of it. The crusaders say that we have got it all wrong. They say it was the time factor that Jesus was prophesying about, and not whether he would be Dead or Alive. They say, “Can’t you see that he is emphasising the time factor? He repeats the word, “three”, four times.” These are drowning men clutching at straws, drowning women do the same! What did Jesus say?
“For as Jonah was THREE days and THREE nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the son of man be THREE days and THREE nights in the heart of the earth.”
(HOLY BIBLE) Matthew 12:40
Jesus was nowhere near the “heart of the earth”; he was supposed to have been in a tomb, which is well-above ground-level. Maybe he was speaking figuratively.
Three and three are no doubt repeated four times, but there is nothing miraculous about a time factor. The Jews were asking Jesus for a “sign” — a miracle and there is nothing to make THREE days, or THREE weeks or THREE months into a miracle. The first time when I went to Cape Town from Durban, thirty years ago, was by train, and the train took exactly THREE days and THREE nights to reach there. Hooray! It’s a Miracle! Nonsense you will say, and I am forced to agree.
But it is not so easy for the Christian to agree because his salvation hangs upon a thread. Therefore he must hold on for dear life. We can afford to be charitable. So let us humour him! So was it the time factor that Jesus was out to fulfil? “Yes!” Says the Christian. When was he “crucified”1? The bulk of Christendom believes that it was on a Friday afternoon some two thousand years ago.
1. “Crucified”: The wisdom of the inverted commas will become apparent when you read the chapter “Crucified or Cruciplayed?” later on.
Click to go to Chapter 1-4
Click to go to Chapter 5-9