Conspiracy Theories – Is Jesus a Fictional Messiah?

Atheists sometimes argue against the reality of Jesus of Nazareth as a real historical figure, not to mention being the Son of God. One contention is a conspiracy theory saying “Jesus” and “Christianity” are the result of diverse 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 who would be sellable to the masses of the Roman Empire would have been enormous, especially in an era without any means of electronic communication or media distribution. Choosing to create a messiah named “Jesus” who came from probably the most scorned ethnic group in the Roman Empire – the Jews – alone would been a monumental task.

Creating a “Christian” religion with a Jewish messiah would have been equally extremely difficult considering that Judaism views Christianity’s belief as blasphemous that Jesus is the Son of God. This fact would have had to be spun into a conspiracy story that led to the trial and execution of its false messiah who was then resurrected as the savior for all mankind.

A deity being a god, a god is supposed to be perfect. For the fictional Jewish deity messiah to have merit, a perfect profile would be expected – a flawless ancestral background of pure Jewish lineage lacking any unsavory history; one that never went astray of Jewish Law and traditions.

Complexities of Jewish Biblical history, on the contrary, would have posed yet another enormous complication. Collaborators of the perfect messiah profile would have to weave in a most imperfect yet interconnected 2000-year ancestry going back to Abraham, overcome time and again through redemption and blessings, and reinforced by unwavering promises and prophecies from God.

Weighing the possibilities the alleged collaborators could overcome these challenges requires visiting some of the ignoble storylines pulled from the Old Testament, the Tenakh. One of many is how Jacob, grandson of Abraham, swindled his older twin brother’s inheritance away from their blind father, Isaac.[2] Still, God later blessed Jacob changing his name to Israel who then became the father of the 12 tribes of Israel.[3]

Jacob’s own conniving, jealous sons sold their younger brother Joseph into slavery. Joseph went on to become the second most powerful ruler in Egypt under Pharaoh who then saved his father, brothers and their families from a famine.[4]

Fast forward through the next 400 years to the celebrated story of Moses who led the Exodus from Egypt through the parted sea to Mt. Sinai. In-spite-of the Hebrew’s continued lack of faith, God made five promises of a future for the tribes of Israel. The next chapter begins with two spies and a prostitute.

Israel’s military leader, Joshua, sent two advance spies into the Promised Land to surveil the walled city of Jericho.[5] Hiding at the house of a prostitute named Rahab, word got back to the King who sent his men to hunt down the spies, but Rahab diverted their search outside the city.

Fearing the pending doom of Jericho, Rahab saw this opportunity as her winning ticket to safety. Striking a deal, Rahab agreed to help the spies escape and the spies swore an oath to spare the life of Rahab and her family when the Israelites attacked.

Scaling down the city wall from a window of Rahab’s house, the two spies escaped. Soon thereafter Jericho was attacked by the Israelites, but Rahab and her family were spared from the city’s annihilation.[6]

Salmon, a Hebrew, married the Gentile (non-Jewish) Rahab. Their son was named Boaz who became a wealthy resident of Bethlehem.[7] In the celebrated Jewish story of redemption, Boaz married Ruth, the widowed Gentile daughter-in-law of the Hebrew Naomi. Also a widow herself with no surviving sons, Naomi was at risk of losing her marital inheritance. Boaz’ marriage to Ruth allowed Naomi to redeem her otherwise lost inheritance.[8]

Matthew and Luke genealogies of Jesus include Salmon and Boaz with Matthew calling out both of their Gentile wives by name, Rahab and Ruth – facts repugnant to a Hebrew lineage. Jewish sage Rabbi Rashi reflected 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, one of whose own sons was none other than King David.[10] The prophet Isaiah foretold the Messiah would come from the root of Jesse specifically identified as David in the prophecies of Jeremiah and Zechariah.[11] This seems to suggest David was a faultless king when actually one of the King’s 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 into his palatial bedroom, seduced her and she became pregnant.  Her husband, Uriah, was one of David’s top military officers away fighting a war.[12]

As a cover-up plan, Uriah was summoned by the King from the battlefield to provide an opportunity for marital relations with his wife. It backfired when the loyal Uriah thought it would not be fair to his troops if he were at home enjoying the pleasures of his wife.

David’s back-up plan sent Uriah to the frontlines where he was killed in battle. The murder plot was exposed by God through the prophet Nathan. As punishment, 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] The King’s home life did not bode well producing devious and scheming sons.

Deteriorating with succeeding generations of immoral kings, the House of David split into the Hebrew alliances of either Judah or Israel who eventually went to war against each other.[16] The downward spiral hit an end with King Jeconiah’s curse and the Babylonia captivity.[17]

Counterintuitively for a perfect messiah figure, in reality the Biblical ancestry of Jesus of Nazareth includes perpetrators of acts of stolen identity, scorned inter-marriages, prostitution, infidelity, murder; indulgences in fortune and sex; idol worship and a curse from God.

According to the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, Jesus of Nazareth was born into this flawed royal lineage, one not disputed by Judaism. Does this most imperfect Jewish ancestral legacy fit the profile expectations of a invented perfect deity messiah – or is the ancestral saga of Jesus of Nazareth simply so imperfectly human, it is true?

 

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 – one works backward, the other forward and they are not identical. Thus the controversy that begins with King David and the interim generations down to the birth of Jesus 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, although like Matthew, he ascribes the lineage to Joseph.[2] Many experts believe Luke’s lineage to be that of Mary assumed by Joseph under Judaic Law covering her inheritance rights as a Jewish female only-child.[3]

Matthew and Luke genealogies have three points in common – they both trace to David; they have a common ancestor in Zerubbabel, son of Shealtiel; and they meet again with Joseph’s betrothal to Mary.[4] In the end, both Gospels display genealogies in the House of David.[5]

Perhaps the biggest piece of evidence that demonstrates the royal lineage of Jesus is one veiled fact, one revealed through a rational approach. The archenemies of the Gospel’s message that Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah were in the best and unique position to disprove his royal lineage in the House of David … but they didn’t.

Jewish sages unanimously agree the prophecies define the undisputed requirement for the Messiah is that he must be born in the lineage of King David. If the High Priest Caiaphas and the Jewish Council 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 – end of story. Both Gospel lineages would have been disproven.

Could the High Priest and the Jewish Council have easily proved, were it true, that Jesus was not the Messiah based on his lineage? They were at ground zero, center stage with full control of the Temple and its complete Jewish genealogical records dating back millennia.

All Jewish genealogies including those of Joseph and Mary were readily available in the Temple until it was destroyed by Rome in 70 AD, seven decades after the birth of Jesus.[6] Luke records that Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus were clearly known by the Temple when, in compliance with the Law for a first born male, they paid a redemption price for Jesus to a Temple priest and as well as Mary’s own Temple purification sacrifice ritual.[7] Neither event would have been allowed if the family had not been vetted by Temple officials.

The archenemies of the Gospel’s message that Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah were in the best and unique position to disprove his royal lineage in the House of David … but they didn’t.

Utmost religious importance was placed on Jewish genealogy for the specific purpose of ensuring the purity of the lineage of the priesthood.[8] Jewish historian Josephus challenged anyone who questioned his own heritage to check the public records.[9] As a former Priest and Pharisee insider, he referred to the Jewish genealogical records tracing his family ancestry back 2000 years – the era of Jesus back to the time of Abraham.[10]

To become the wife of a Priest, according to Josephus, a Jewish woman such as Mary was subjected to the scrutiny of her “genealogy from the ancient tables.”[11] Proof was required she was a Hebrew and Josephus points to the gravity of this requirement.[12] 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.” [13]

Hebrew genealogical records were not just limited to the land of Israel. Josephus stated they were tracked for all Jews living “at Egypt and at Babylon, or in any other place of the rest of the habitable earth,” recorded by the priests and prophets who lived there “with the utmost accuracy.”[14]

There can be no doubt that the lineage of Jesus in the House of David was known or could have been easily accessed by the Jewish Council in the Temple genealogical archives. A truism in the world of investigations is that when information is being intentionally withheld, it strongly suggests the information is not wished to be revealed.[17]

What is the likelihood the archenemies of Jesus, the keepers of all Jewish genealogical records and experts in Messiah prophecies, would have taken full advantage of the opportunity to disqualify Jesus as being the Messiah if they could have only exposed that the lineage of Jesus of Nazareth was not of the royal House of David?

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-jesuss-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>
[5] Edersheim.  The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah. Book II, Chapter 4.
[6] 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>
[7] 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.
[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] Josephus. The Life of Flavius Josephus. #1 and footnote t.
[10] Nehemiah 12:23.
[11] Josephus. Against Apion. Book 1, #7.
[12] Josephus. Against Apion. Book 1, #7.
[13] Ezra 2:61-62; Neh 7:63-64. Josephus.  Antiquity of the Jews.  Book XI, Chapter III.10.
[14] Josephus. Against Apion. Book 1, #6-7.
[15] Furst Rachel. “The Mishneh Torah – Maimonides’ halakhic magnum opus.” 2018. MyJewishLearning.com.  <https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/the-mishneh-torah>
[16] Maimonides, Moses.  aka Rambam.  Mishneh Torah.  Ed. Yechezkal Shimon Gutfreund,  “The Law Concerning Moshiach.” Footnote #5. Sichos In English. n.d. <http://www.kesser.org/moshiach/rambam.html#SIE>   Rich, Tracey R. “Mashiach: The Messiah.” Judaism101. 2011. <http://www.jewfaq.org/mashiach.htm>
[17] “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>