October 7, 2016
From the Hewer of Wood
More on Integrity
About the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, "Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?" that is, "My God [Theé], my God [Theé], why have you forsaken me?" (Matt 27:46)
At the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?" which means, "My God [Ó Theos], my God [ó Theos], why have you forsaken me?" (Mark 15:34)
A Psalm of David (Ps 22:1):
My God [El], my God [El], why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?
the last line is the spiritual portion of the couplet
It is unlikely, because of the lateness of composition, that the author of Matthew’ Gospel was the Apostle Matthew, especially considering when this Gospel has Matthew being called:
And getting into a boat He crossed over and came to His own city. And behold, some people brought to Him a paralytic, lying on a bed. And when Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, "Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven." And behold, some of the scribes said to themselves, "This man is blaspheming." But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, "Why do you think evil in your hearts? For which is easier, to say, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Rise and walk'? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins"—He then said to the paralytic—"Rise, pick up your bed and go home." And he rose and went home. When the crowds saw it, they were afraid, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to men. As Jesus passed on from there, He saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth, and He said to him, "Follow me." And he rose and followed Him. (Matt 9:1–9)
For Sabbatarian Christians, some of the most important passages in Scripture are in the Sermon on the Mount, which is not found in either Mark’s or John’s Gospels. But how can Matthew report what he heard if he wasn’t with Jesus and the other disciples at the time? So either Matthew didn’t actually hear any of what is recorded in the Sermon on the Mount, or Matthew heard later what others told him that Jesus had said … there is one other possibility: Matthew did with the Sermon on the Mount what he did with the temptation account, that is, he made it up based upon himself having been born of spirit. For the author of Matthew’s Gospel wrote the technically most sophisticated text in the Christian canon, transforming the earthly man Jesus into the life-giving spirit [pneuma], thereby placing into a text what it means to be truly born of spirit as a younger sibling of Christ Jesus.
Bishop Papias of Hierapolis, as recorded in Eusebius’ Third Book (composed before 109 CE), said that Matthew’s Gospel was written in Hebrew style, a term that has not been well understood; for Hebrew style of composition features an initial physical presentation of an idea, a concept, a thing, followed by a spiritual presentation of the same idea, concept, thing; thus, the first half of Matthew’s Gospel (through the middle of chapter fifteen) is the physical presentation. Then beginning with the story of the Canaanite woman, the spiritual presentation begins. And to complicate the entirety of Matthew’s Gospel, Mark’s Gospel (the source text for Matthew’s Gospel) functions as the physical presentation of the entirety of Matthew’s Gospel, thereby giving to the second half of Matthew’s Gospel the layered depth of meaning found in cubed (eight lines) Hebrew thought-couplet verse.
Mark’s Gospel, with John Mark being its author, according to Bishop Papias as also cited by Eusebius, is “straightening out” of the Apostle Peter’s anecdotal teachings, creating for Peter’s teachings a chronological sequence. And Mark’s Gospel has Jesus forgiving sins before calling the man at the tax booth recorded as thus:
And they came, bringing to Him a paralytic carried by four men. And when they could not get near Him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above Him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay. And when Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, "Son, your sins are forgiven." Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, "Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?" And immediately Jesus, perceiving in His spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, "Why do you question these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Rise, take up your bed and walk'? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins"—He said to the paralytic—"I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home." And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, "We never saw anything like this!" He went out again beside the sea, and all the crowd was coming to Him, and He was teaching them. And as he passed by, He saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax booth, and He said to him, "Follow me." And he rose and followed Him. (Mark 2:3–14)
Is Matthew really Levi, the son of Alphaeus? As there were the brothers Simon and Andrew, the brothers James and John, were there another set of brothers, James the son of Alphaeus (Mark 3:18) and Levi, called Matthew, the son of Alphaeus? Certainly, the tax collector called by Jesus was, in Mark’s Gospel, named Levi, but in Matthew’s Gospel, named Matthew. Regardless, Matthew wasn’t with Jesus when the Sermon on the Mount was allegedly given, which doesn’t mean that Matthew’s Gospel is to be rejected but does mean that this gospel should be treated as a new-form of prophecy, a form in which history is imported inside the chosen one. Instead of history being regional or local as in the creation of the first Adam, the historic creation of a son of God is inside the person who will now experience being called out of Sin [Egypt] when a spiritual infant, baptized to fulfill all righteousness, tempted by the Adversary, then instructed by the indwelling Christ Jesus on the movement of the Law from hand [outer body—the Law as written in a book] to heart [the Law as written on hearts and placed in minds]. And the disciple is still in the physical portion of Matthew’s Gospel.
But back to the question under discussion: the integrity of Scripture. What sort of integrity exists for Matthew’s Gospel if Matthew the Apostle wasn’t called by Jesus until after Jesus delivered the definitive Sermon on the Mount? If you, as a Christian, have not been foreknown, predestined, called, justified, and glorified—and most have not been; few have been—how do you respond to,
Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (Matt 5:17–19)
Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?” And then will I declare to them, “I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.” (Matt 7:21–23)
Have not many Christians prophesied in the name of Christ; have not many done mighty works in the name of Christ; yet have been teachers of lawlessness, teaching their disciples that Christ did away with the Law, that Christ broke down “in His flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that He might create in Himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross” (Eph 2:14–16).
The Sermon on the Mount is not friendly toward either the legalist who believes that by the work of hands and body, the person can compel God to grant the person eternal life; nor is the Sermon friendly toward those who do not strive to keep the Commandments out of love for God the Father and Christ Jesus.
If there is any integrity in Scripture—and there is, but not the sort that Christians expect—then Scripture cannot contradict Scripture. If such a situation were to exist [and it does], then one of the contradicting texts doesn’t belong in Scripture and has been mistakenly canonized … from whom does Joseph, the legal father of Jesus, descend? According to Matthew’s Gospel, Joseph descends from King David through Solomon, the kingly line of the house of Judah (Matt 1:6–11). But according to Luke’s Gospel, Joseph descends from King David through Nathan (Luke 3:31), not of the kingly line. So which is it?
I once entered a believer’s house, and there on the back of a door was an elaborate chart showing the genealogical lineage of Joseph and Mary, with Matthew’s genealogy being assigned to Joseph, and Luke’s genealogy of Joseph being assigned to Mary. The chart appeared “authoritative,” but obviously wasn’t. However, both the person who produced the chart and the person who purchased the chart did not know better than to reconcile an obvious contradiction in Scripture by assigning one of the genealogies to Mary, mother of Jesus. So, which genealogy is correct? First, Joseph wasn’t the father of Jesus so it doesn’t matter from whom he descends. Mary was the mother, and she couldn’t have been a near cousin to Elizabeth, wife of Zechariah, a Levite, if she wasn’t also of Levitical lineage; for Levites were only to marry Levites. So Zechariah and Elizabeth would have been from a long line of Levites. But it is unlikely that a Greek novelist would have known this; for it is unlikely that any Greek not wanting to be a Jewish proselyte would have studied the Hebrew Scriptures—and if the same author that wrote Acts also wrote Luke’s Gospel, then this author was a Second Sophist Greek, and not Luke the physician.
Luke’s Gospel is the only one of the four that gets secular style points by initially stating why the work was being written:
Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught. (Luke 1:1–4)
Any mention of inspiration? No. So why was Luke’s Gospel presumably written: so that you, Theophilus [Lover of God], might have certainty concerning the things you have been taught. Isn’t this close to being a private gospel, a private interpretation? For Luke’s Gospel uses, for the most part, the chronology that John Mark established in putting Peter’s anecdotal teachings in order. But Luke’s Gospel also incorporates more of the oral Gospel than found elsewhere other than in Bishop Papias’ now lost five volume work. And in merging Mark’s Gospel with the oral Gospel, the author of Luke’s Gospel, in excellent Greek—that of a professional writer—presents an uninspired biography of Christ that contradicts Mark’s and John’s Gospels in too many places. For example, when is the holy spirit given to the disciples?
On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, "Peace be with you." When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you." And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, "Receive [pneuma ágion — spirit holy, or holy spirit]. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld." (John 20:19–23)
In agreement with the Sabbaths Moses gave to Israel (Lev chap 23), Jesus as the First of the firstfruits of God—as the reality of the Wave Sheaf Offering (Lev 23:10–14)—should have been waved and accepted by God on the day after the Sabbath that occurs during the Feast of Unleavened Bread [how Sadducees reckoned when the grain harvest should begin]. This is the day when Jesus ascended to the Father and returned to His disciples and “breathed” His breath on them, thereby directly transferring His spirit, a holy spirit, to His disciples. For it is the spirit of God [pneuma Theou] in the spirit of Christ [pneuma Christou] that penetrates the spirit of the person [to pneuma tou ánthropou] to bring forth a new creature inside the soul [psuche] of the person. Therefore, the direct transfer of the spirit of God [again, pneuma Theou] to Christ Jesus was witnessed by John the Baptist as recorded by John Mark in his Gospel:
In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And when He came up out of the water, immediately He saw the heavens being torn open and the spirit descending into [eis] Him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, "You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased." (Mark 1:9–11)
The subject of “he” in verse ten in Matthew’s Gospel is John the Baptist, but is ambiguous in Mark’s Gospel. However, because Mark records the voice from heaven directly addressing Jesus, I have assigned the twice used pronoun to Jesus and as such capitalized the pronoun.
In Matthew’s Gospel, we see the same scene differently,
Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented Him, saying, "I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?" But Jesus answered him, "Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness." Then he consented. And when Jesus was baptized, immediately He went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased." (Matt 3:13–17)
The use of the phrase, This is my Son, versus, You are my Son, changes to whom the voice from heaven [God] directly addresses. In Matthew’s account, God doesn’t speak to Jesus, but to John and whomever else was present; whereas in Mark’s account (and in Luke’s 4th-Century reworked account), God addresses Jesus, who previously was only the Son of the Logos [ó Logos] and not the Son of God the Father. He was, however, always the Beloved of God the Father. … Originally, Luke’s account used the terminology of Hebrews 1:5 and 5:5 — “You are my Son, today I have begotten you.” But as the ending of Mark’s Gospel was rewritten (beginning with verse 9) to make it agree with Luke’s Gospel, the baptism scene in Luke’s Gospel was “adjusted” so that God said the same thing to Jesus in Luke’s Gospel as He said in Mark’s Gospel.
Is this not tampering with the text? How much tampering is acceptable? How much is too much? And to deny that tampering has occurred is to lock your brain along with your keys in your car in the church parking lot. The keys will still work after a locksmith opens your car door; your brain will not, for it has been fried.
And we haven’t even gotten to translation problems; for if God truly protected the integrity of Scripture, would He not have made sure the translation you read is without serious flaw?
Returning to Matthew’s Gospel for a moment: Ebonite Christians—the name scholars have assigned to the predominate sect of fundamentalist Christians in the 2nd and 3rd Centuries—used as their sacred text a Gospel similar to Matthew’s Gospel but without its first two chapters. They sought sincerity but they were not sophisticated readers of texts. They had some spiritual understanding, enough to know that the Law had moved from hand to heart; however, without true literary sophistication they apparently never recognized that the “Jesus” of Matthew’s Gospel was the glorified Christ that dwelt in (through His spirit) every son of God, thereby transforming the person into a fractal of Himself. And even today—after a century of Sabbatarian Christians being told that they individually are the weak of this world—Sabbatarian Christians tend to take pride in their ignorance. At the very least, there is a bias against worldly education, and how better can the Adversary keep the ignorant “ignorant” … the danger that knowledge presents is not having enough knowledge to understand what isn’t self-evident to the ignorant.
I have heard on many occasions the following verses preached:
For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. (1 Cor 1:26–29)
No person who truly believes that Christ Jesus was resurrected from death is wise by worldly standards. No person who refuses to submit to the Adversary will be either wealthy or powerful by worldly standards … since being drafted into the Body of Christ in 1972, I have barely eked out a living, accumulating nothing of significance in this world. Today, I live in the nicest house in which I have ever lived, but the price of this house was less than the price of a decade old two-wheel drive F-150 pickup. And I got up at 5:00 am this morning, with a storm raging outside and sheets of rain hammering the walls of the house, actually vibrating the east wall, to make sure the stovepipe I recently installed was holding up to the storm. It seems to be, but it is still dark outside even though it is 8:15. So do not I, too, fit into what Paul wrote, even if I have some literary sophistication? And what was it that Paul said about himself?
Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God. I have applied all these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, brothers, that you may learn by us not to go beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up in favor of one against another. For who sees anything different in you? What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it? Already you have all you want! Already you have become rich! Without us you have become kings! And would that you did reign, so that we might share the rule with you! For I think that God has exhibited us apostles as last of all, like men sentenced to death, because we have become a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men. We are fools for Christ's sake, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are held in honor, but we in disrepute. To the present hour we hunger and thirst, we are poorly dressed and buffeted and homeless, and we labor, working with our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; when slandered, we entreat. We have become, and are still, like the scum of the world, the refuse of all things. I do not write these things to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children. (1 Cor 4:5–14 emphasis added)
Obviously Paul didn’t preach a name it and claim it gospel. He didn’t preach the prosperity gospel. He preached because he was called to do a work for Christ Jesus—and why him? There were many very-well-educated Pharisees that God could have called. There are many scholars today who can fluently read the oldest manuscripts in their original languages.
Did God call Paul because the Father and Son knew that Paul would do a work without financial reward, without public acclaim; would do a work because the job needed done?
The storm outside is easing—and I have to go get wood for today and tomorrow. So I will quit this Teaching and begin, later today, a Sabbath Reading for tomorrow. Last night, a new home page message was put up on the About Prophecy website—the site was rebuilt, the first significant change to the site since it was put on-line in September 2003.
Paul may or may not have been martyred in Rome. But Paul knew that disciples were individually and collectively the Body of Christ (1 Cor 12:27) and the temple of God (1 Cor 3:16–17) so it would have been very unlikely that we went into the temple at Jerusalem for any reason: he was sent to Gentiles, not Jews. Therefore, the Greek novelist who has his “Paul” being taken and arrested at the temple needs that motif for a Second Sophist novel. This novelist cannot be believed. So the evidence for Paul being martyred at Rome is non-existent despite the Roman Church’s exploitation of the Mamertinum prison site, where Paul was allegedly chained to a post while the world passed overhead, passed him by.
Again, this isn’t to say that Paul wasn’t martyred: no evidence exists. And it would seem that if Paul had been killed in Rome, there would be a written record somewhere of the event; for Romans loved to write.
The integrity of Scripture never was. Yet in the literary sophistication of Matthew’s Gospel is evidence, amidst the simplistic details of a fabricated temptation account followed shortly thereafter by one of the truly great scenes in all of literature—the story of the Canaanite woman being called a “bitch” by Christ Jesus and she not taking offense but taking the opening He presented her and using it to her advantage—that something beyond the words on the pages of Scripture is at work, with this “something” coming from the mind of Christ Jesus, toned down enough that even a hewer of wood can understand what’s in play, salvation.
I will close with citing the story of the Canaanite woman:
And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and was crying, "Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely oppressed by a demon." But He did not answer her a word. And His disciples came and begged him, saying, "Send her away, for she is crying out after us." He answered, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." But she came and knelt before him, saying, "Lord, help me." And He answered, "It is not right to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs." She said, "Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters' table." Then Jesus answered her, "O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire." And her daughter was healed instantly. (Matt 15:22–28)
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"Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved."