Conspiracy Theory – Jesus a Fictional Messiah?

Adversaries of Christianity argue against the reality of Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah, even as a real historical figure. One contention is based on a conspiracy theory saying “Jesus” and “Christianity” are the result of various groups colluding to invent a morphed deity image of a messiah, the Son of God:[1]

“…Christianity and the story of Jesus Christ were created by members of various secret societies, mystery schools and religions in order to unify the Roman Empire under one state religion.  …this multinational cabal drew upon a multitude of myths and rituals that existed long before the Christian era, and reworked them for centuries into the religion passed down to us today.” – Acharya S.

Challenges to create a fictional deity messiah figure would have been enormous, especially in an era without any means of electronic communication, media, even the printed word. Just the opposite, Rome was compelled to quell the rapid rise of the new belief by killing many who were deemed to be Christians.

Creating a Christian religion with a Jewish messiah ups the ante to the highest degree. Not only were the Jews probably the most scorned ethnic group in the Roman Empire, Judaism itself viewed as blasphemous Christianity’s belief that Jesus is the Messiah.

Jewish leadership, in essence, would have to be considered as co-conspirators because of the role they played by placing Jesus on trial and compelling him to be executed . So Jewish was Jesus, that he was called “teacher” by Jewish leaders. The biggest part of the image that could be considered unique to Christianity is the Resurrection accounts of Jesus necessitating the many witness accounts to be refuted.

For a fictional Jewish messiah – a deity or god – to have merit, a perfect profile would be expected. A fictitious image would call for a flawless ancestral background of pure Jewish lineage, not to mention a flawless ancestral history free of unsavory or illegal activities.

Reality that earthy ancestral perfection was not possible, collaborators would then be compelled to weave into a false narrative the 2000-year old lineage timeline going back to Abraham . The detailed lineage accounts of Jesus of Nazareth included blessings, faith, forgiveness, miracles, prophecies issued and fulfilled along with the most ignoble examples of disobedience to God. Disgraceful accounts pulled straight from the Old Testament, the Tenakh, include deception, lies, a prostitute, Gentile intermarriages, voyeurism, adultery, murder, greed, etc.

Grandson of Abraham, Jacob swindled his older twin brother’s inheritance through a deception perpetrated on their aged, blind father, Isaac.[2] Still, God later blessed Jacob changing his name to Israel who went on to become the father of the 12 tribes of Israel.[3]

Jacob’s own conniving, jealous sons sold their younger brother Joseph into slavery and lied to their father saying he had been killed by a wild animal. Better than a movie script, Joseph went on to become the second most powerful ruler in Egypt under Pharaoh who eventually saved his father, brothers and their families from a famine.[4]

Israel’s military leader, Joshua, sent two advance spies into the Promised Land to surveil the walled city of Jericho.[5] Word reached the King who dispatched a manhunt for the spies. Hiding at the house of a prostitute named Rahab, she struck a deal with the spies in exchange for helping them escape – they would spare the lives of her and her family when the Israelites attacked.[6]

Salmon, a Hebrew, married the Gentile (non-Jewish) Rahab and bore a son named Boaz who became a wealthy resident of Bethlehem.[7] A widow herself, Naomi had no surviving sons placing her at-risk of losing her marital inheritance.

Boaz married the Gentile Ruth, Naomi’s daughter-in-law, allowing Naomi to redeem her otherwise lost inheritance in the celebrated Jewish story of redemption.[8] Jewish sage Rabbi Rashi displayed his distaste of having Ruth in the prophetic lineage of the Messiah in his commentary on the Micah 5:2 Bethlehem prophecy:[9]

“you should have been the lowest of the clans of Judah: [Rashi] You should have been the lowest of the clans of Judah because of the stigma of Ruth the Moabitess in you.” – The Complete Jewish Bible

Grandson of Boaz and Ruth was Jesse. [10] The prophet Isaiah foretold the Messiah would come from the root of Jesse, later identified as King David in the prophecies of Jeremiah and Zechariah.[11] David was not a faultless King, his dastardly deeds would be scandalous in any century.

David’s voyeurism led him to discover his soon-to-be paramour as he watched her taking a bath from his palace rooftop. Using his celebrity and power, the King seduced the married Bath-Sheba and she became pregnant. Her husband, Uriah, was one of David’s top military officers away fighting a war.[12]

Uriah was sent by the King to the front lines of the army with the hope he would be killed in battle – and he was. As punishment from God, Bath-Sheba’s illegitimate baby died, yet while being consoled in her grief by David, she conceived another son named Solomon who would become the next king of Israel.[13]

Solomon’s wisdom and wealth became legendary, even attracting a visit from the Queen of Sheba.[14] He indulged in the pleasures of 700 wives and 300 concubines, many of whom were Gentiles who brought with them heathen idolatry influences.[15] Yet, Solomon built and consecrated the Temple.

Deteriorating with succeeding generations of immoral kings, the House of David split into two kingdoms, Judah and Israel, eventually going to war against each other.[16] The downward spiral hit an end with King Jeconiah’s curse and the Babylonian captivity.[17] The curse on Jeconiah expired and soon Jerusalem and the Temple were rebuilt.

According to the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, Jesus of Nazareth was born into this flawed Jewish royal lineage and its past. Alleged conspirators could not undo this nearly two-millennia history to create a false Messiah and as such, it would all have to be tied together.

What is the extreme improbability that alleged conspirators over centuries, most alleged conspirators not ever knowing the other, could interweave such a complex history to invent a false Messiah narrative?

 

Updated November 17, 2021.

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

REFERENCES:

[1] Acharya S. (Murdock, D.M.)  The Christ Conspiracy. Google Books advertisement. n.d. <https://books.google.com/books/about/The_Christ_Conspiracy.html?id=KnIYRi3upbEC
[2] Genesis 25; 27-28.
[3] Genesis 28; 32; 35.
[4] Genesis 37; 41-46.
[5] Joshua 2.
[6] Joshua 6.
[7] Ruth 4; I Chronicles 2.
[8] Ruth 2-4.
[9] The Complete Jewish Bible with Rashi’s Commentary. Micah 5:2 Rashi commentary.
[10] Ruth 4; I Chronicles 2.
[11] Isaiah 11; Jeremiah 23, 33; Zechariah 12.
[12] 2 Samuel 11.
[13] 2 Samuel 12.
[14] 2 Samuel 12.
[15] 2 Chronicles 9; I Kings 10.
[16] 1 Kings 11.
[17] I Kings 12, 16, 21, 22.
[18] Jeremiah 22.

The Veiled Royal Genealogy Fact

Anyone who reads the Matthew and Luke Gospel genealogies of Jesus of Nazareth can see they are listed differently – Matthew chronologically works forward starting with Abraham, Luke works backward all the way to Adam…and they are not identical.

Variation occurs with the interim generations between King David  and the birth of Jesus. Thus it launches a controversy leading detractors to say the lineage inconsistency proves the inaccuracy of the Gospels.[1]

Luke traces the lineage of Jesus back to David through his son Nathan, not Solomon – a different lineage path that is ascribed to Joseph.[2] Many experts believe Luke’s lineage is that of Mary assumed by Joseph under Judaic Law covering her inheritance rights as a Jewish female only-child.[3]

Matthew and Luke genealogies still have three points in common. Both Gospels display genealogies back to the House of David; both have a common ancestor in Zerubbabel, son of Shealtiel and they meet again with Joseph’s betrothal to Mary.[4]

Jewish sages unanimously agree the prophecies define the undisputed requirement that the Messiah must be born in the lineage of King David. If Jesus of Nazareth was not born in David’s lineage, he could not be the Messiah.

Lineage of Jesus in the House of David was easily accessible by the Jewish leadership in the genealogical archives. Archenemies of Jesus as the Messiah, the Jewish leadership, were at ground zero with full access to the Temple’s complete Hebrew genealogical records dating back millennia.

If the High Priest Caiaphas or the Jewish leadership had simply demonstrated that Jesus of Nazareth did not have royal legal rights to the House of David, it would have ended any speculation that Jesus is the Messiah. There are good reasons why this didn’t happen.

Jewish historian Josephus challenged anyone who questioned his own heritage to check the public records.[5] As a former Priest and Pharisee insider, Josephus referred to the Jewish lineage records tracing his family ancestry back 2000 years equating to the time span from Jesus back to Abraham.

Hebrew genealogical records were not just limited to the land of Israel. Josephus wrote they were tracked and recorded by local priests and prophets for all Jews living “at Egypt and at Babylon, or in any other place of the rest of the habitable earth…with the utmost accuracy.”[6]

All Jewish genealogies were readily available in the Temple until it was destroyed by Rome in 70 AD, seven decades after the birth of Jesus.[7] Utmost religious importance was placed on Hebrew genealogy for the specific purpose of ensuring the purity of the lineage of the priesthood.[8]

To become the wife of a Priest, a Jewish woman was subjected to the scrutiny of her “genealogy from the ancient tables.” Proof was required that a female was a Hebrew thus necessitating documented credible lineage history.

A historical Hebrew instance was used by Josephus to make his point. After the release of the Jews from Babylonian captivity, 565 priests were disqualified from the priesthood “having married wives whose genealogies they could not produce.”[9]

Talmud Sanhedrin 43a, the tractate falling victim to the Censor in the Middle Ages, strongly inferred that Jesus was of royal lineage. An exception was granted for Yeshu (Jesus) from the Jewish Law that required execution for blasphemy or idolatry because Jesus was associated with the government or royalty.[10]

Sanhedrin 43a Gemara

“With Yeshu however it was different, for he was connected with the government [or royalty, i.e., influential].’” – Soncino Babylonian translation

Rather, Jesus was different, as he had close ties with the government…” – William Davidson translation

Jewish sage Rabbi Maimonides, some 1200 years after the birth of Jesus, produced his renowned work, Mishneh Torah. In it, the Rabbi denounced Jesus as one from the Davidic dynasty who had “aspired” to be the Messiah.[11]

“If he did not succeed to this degree or he was killed, he surely is not [the redeemer] promised by the Torah. [Rather,] he should be considered as all the other proper and legitimate kings of the Davidic dynasty who died. Jesus of Nazareth who aspired to be the Moshiach and was executed by the court…”

Hebrew history and the Bible provide more corroborating evidence that Jesus was born in the lineage of David. Since all Jewish genealogy records were maintained in the Temple, these records had to include both Joseph, Mary and the birth of Jesus.[12]

Luke records that Joseph and Mary paid a redemption price to a Temple priest for Jesus in compliance with the Law for a firstborn male and as well as for Mary’s own Temple purification sacrifice ritual.[13] Neither event would have been allowed if the family had not been genealogically vetted and approved by Temple officials.

A truism in the world of investigations is that when information is being intentionally withheld, it strongly suggests the withheld information is damaging.[14] In this case, direct acknowledgement of the lineage of Jesus is rare, practically unspoken.

What is the likelihood the archenemies of Jesus would have taken full advantage of the opportunity to disqualify Jesus as being the Messiah if they could have only exposed Jesus of Nazareth was not of the royal House of David?

 

Updated August 2, 2022.

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

REFERENCES:

[1] Lippard, Jim. The Secular Web. 2004. “The Fabulous Prophecies of the Messiah.”  https://infidels.org/library/modern/jim_lippard/fabulous-prophecies.html> “Contradictions Part 6: Jesus’s Genealogy.” Finding Truth. 2011. <https://findingtruth.info/2011/03/11/contradictions-part-6-jesus-genealogy
[2] “Historical Commentary:  The Birth of Jesus.” Producer John Heyman. Film, Event 3. HistoricJesus.com. <http://www.historicjesus.com/3/history.htmlNet.bible.org. Luke 3:23-38 footnotes 69 – 82.  Life Application Bible – New International Version (NIV).  “The Birth of Jesus” (Luke 2:1-20) History and Commentary.” Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton Illinois, and Zondervan Publishing House. 1991, 1790.  Ryrie Study Bible.  Ed. Ryrie Charles C.  Trans. New American Standard. 1978. Matthew 1:1 Luke 3:23 Footnotes.
[3] Edersheim, Alfred. The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah. 1883. Book II, Chapter 4. <http://philologos.org/__eb-lat/default.htm> Maas, Anthony. “Genealogy of Christ.” Catholic Encyclopedia. 2009. Volume 61909.  <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06410a.htmClarke’s Commentary on the Bible. Luke 3:23.  BibleHub.com.  n.d.  <http://biblehub.com/commentaries/clarke/luke/3.htm>  Gloag, Paton J. Introduction to the Synoptic Gospels. Edinburgh:  T & T Clark.  1895. “Introduction to the Synoptic Gospels.” Online Books Page. Pages ix, 39. <http://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/008728595>
[4} Matthew 1:1-16; Luke 3:23-38.  Dolphin, Lambert.  “The Genealogy from Adam to Jesus Christ” Idolphin.org. 2011. <http://ldolphin.org/2adams.html>  Edersheim.  The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah. Book II, Chapter 4.
[5] The Life of Flavius Josephus. #1. CR  footnote “t; Nehemiah 12:23.
[6] Josephus. Against Apion. Book 1, #6-7.
[7] I Chronicles 1:24 – 2:10; II Chronicles 2:1-10; Ruth 4:18-21; Matthew 1:5; Luke 3:32. “Genealogy.” Jewish Encyclopedia. 2011. <http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/6577-genealogy>  “Siege of Jerusalem.” Encyclopædia Britannica. 2018. <https://www.britannica.com/event/Siege-of-Jerusalem-70>
[8] Josephus, Flavius. Antiquities of the Jews. Book III, Chapter XII.2.  The Complete Works of Josephus. 1850. <http://books.google.com/books?id=e0dAAAAAMAAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false>  Josephus, Flavius. Against Apion. Book 1, #6-7. The Complete Works of Josephus. 1850. <http://books.google.com/books?id=e0dAAAAAMAAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false> “Genealogy.” Jewish Encyclopedia.
[9] Ezra 2:61-62; Nehemiah 7:63-64. Josephus.  Antiquity of the Jews.  Book XI, Chapter III.10.
[10] Soncino Babylonian Talmud. Ed. Epstein, Isidor. “Introduction to the Seder Nezikin.” Soncino Babylonian Talmud.  Shachter & Freedman. “Introduction to Sanhedrin.” Soncino Babylonian Talmud. Sanhedrin Chapter VI, Folio 43a. Greenberg, Eric J. “Jesus’ Death Now Debated by Jews.” Jewish Journal. 2003. Reprinted from The Jewish Week.  <http://jewishjournal.com/news/world/8546>
[11] Maimonides, Moses. (aka Rambam.) Mishneh Torah. Ed. Yechezkal Shimon Gutfreund, Brooklyn, NY:  Sichos in English. “The Law Concerning Moshiach.” Kesser.org. n.d. <http://www.kesser.org/moshiach/rambam.html#SIE> Maimonides. Mishneh Torah. Moznaim Publications. Jewish year 4937 (1177 AD). Trans. Eliyahu Touger.  Chabad.org.  2015. “Sefer Shoftim” > “Melachim uMilchamot.” <http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/682956/jewish/Mishneh-Torah.htm>
[12] I Chronicles 1:24 – 2:10; II Chronicles 2:1-10; Ruth 4:18-21; Matthew 1:5; Luke 3:32. “Genealogy.” Jewish Encyclopedia. 2011. <http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/6577-genealogy>  “Siege of Jerusalem.” Encyclopædia Britannica. 2018. <https://www.britannica.com/event/Siege-of-Jerusalem-70>
[13] Luke 2. “First-born, Redemption of.” Jewish Encyclopedia. 2011. <http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/6138-first-born-redemption-of>  Edersheim. The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah. Book II, Chapter 7.
[14] “Deception in Research Guidance.” University of Wisconsin-Madison|KnowledgeBase. 2016. <https://kb.wisc.edu/page.php?id=68286>  Sapir, Avinoam. LSI Laboratory for Scientific Interrogation, Inc. n.d. <http://www.lsiscan.com/index.htm>  “SCAN – Scientific Content Analysis (Statement Analysis).” Advanced Polygraph. 2011. <http://www.advancedpolygraph.com.au/scan.htm> Lesce, Tony. “SCAN:  Deception Detection by Scientific Content Analysis.” LSI Laboratory for Scientific Interrogations, Inc. 1990. <http://www.lsiscan.com/id37.htm>  Gordon, Nathan J.; Fleisher, William L. Effective Interviewing and Interrogation Techniques. p12.  2011. <https://books.google.com/books?id=JuMzKpFu93IC&pg=PA86&lpg=PA86&dq=interrogation+if+they+didn%27t+answer+the+question,+they+just+did&source=bl&ots=V4cf3Z1kjl&sig=NeRLKyFKMRr66SWtUQxbLrByKrY&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi_2Z3phb_aAhVBgK0KHWMQDOA4FBDoAQgtMAE#v=onepage&q=concealing%20information&f=false>  Napier, Michael R. Behavior, Truth and Deception. 2017. “Nonresponsive Subject.” p56. <https://books.google.com/books?id=eEUrDwAAQBAJ&pg=PT95&lpg=PT95&dq=Sapir+if+they+didn%27t+answer+the+question&source=bl&ots=95gjQFQYg9&sig=gUOEC7Aiq-yFgqUEA4VClHyzNhA&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjspeHFkr_aAhVwjK0KHab-DF0Q6AEIRjAC#v=onepage&q=nonresponsive&f=false>