Sunday, August 23, 2015

Are Matthew, Mark and John Authentic? - First Thoughts

Matthew, Mark and John
This is a continuation of a series of refutations against a list published by a person claiming to be one of Jehovah's Witnesses (but who is not) who attacked the Bible. My Words are in bold. (Also The Self-Harmony of the Bible can be found in the downloads page, a link to which is on the right.)

Out of the four Gospel books, (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John,) only the book of Luke can be considered authentic. The writers of the books of Matthew, Mark and John are unknown. Luke walked with Paul. (2 Timothy 4:11; Colossians 4:14) Paul was selected by the holy spirit. (Acts 13:12) Therefore it is reasonable to conclude that the one who walked with someone who had the holy spirit will produce an accurate and inspired account of Jesus’ life. Demas walked with Paul, yet he defected, so I suspect that you ought deny Luke on that reason. However the gospels are well attested as can be seen almost anywhere.

1)     Matthew 27:7-10 says that the Scripture there was written by Jeremiah. However, it was based on Zechariah 11:12, 13. See The Self-Harmony of the Bible

2)    There is an error in Mark 14:29, 30, which says: "But Peter said to him: “Even if all the others are stumbled, I will not be.” At that Jesus said to him: “Truly I say to you that today, yes, on this very night, before a rooster crows twice, you will disown me three times.”" This was said to have been fulfilled in Mark 14:71, 72: "But he started to curse and swear: “I do not know this man of whom you speak!” Immediately a rooster crowed a second time, and Peter recalled what Jesus had said to him: “Before a rooster crows twice, you will disown me three times.” And he broke down and began to weep." However, Luke 22:33, 34 says: "Then he said to him: “Lord, I am ready to go with you both to prison and to death.” But he said: “I tell you, Peter, a rooster will not crow today until you have denied knowing me three times.”" In other words, not that a cock will crow once or twice before Peter denies knowing Jesus, but a cock will not crow at all in all the land until Peter denies Jesus. Any half-rate apologist from centuries ago could explain this, but I do not wish to at this time. I will in a later post (and will update this one in a link), or in The Self-Harmony of the Bible – Part Two.

3)    John 2:18, 19 contains a controversial verse which could not have been said by Jesus who was the Son of God. It says: "Therefore, in response the Jews said to him: “What sign can you show us, since you are doing these things?” Jesus replied to them: “Tear down this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”" Why? Jesus “rasied” himself up in the same way that the woman with a flow of blood “healed” herself. That is, Jesus provided a basis for his resurrection as the woman’s faith provided a basis for her to be healed. See Of the Trinity.

4)    Another controversial text is John 6:53-56. If you are rash it is, but if you see that Jesus was being figurative then you see that it is not a controversial text.

5)    Also, John 8:15b and John 14:19. When Jesus was impaled, an inscription was written at the top of the stake: ““This is the King of the Jews.”” (Luke 23:38) However, the book of John says this is what was written: "It was written: “Jesus the Naz•a•rene the King of the Jews.." (John 19:19)  Both Statements are truthful, such minor difference were not looked down upon in their culture (or in our own).

6)    The book of John does not agree much with what is in the book of Luke. However, there are also errors in it. Differences in the gospels can be attributed to their culture, their purpose and their audience and their style, for example none are strictly chronological, and John is primarily a teaching gospel.

7)    In Luke 22:17, 18 Jesus says: “Take this and pass it from one to the other among yourselves, for I tell you, from now on, I will not drink again from the product of the vine until the Kingdom of God comes.” Thus Jesus was no longer going to drink wine. (Psalm 69:21) However, this is what John 19:29, 30 says: "A jar was sitting there full of sour wine. So they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop stalk and held it up to his mouth. When he had received the sour wine, Jesus said: “It has been accomplished!” and bowing his head, he gave up his spirit." The context of Luke shows that Jesus is saying that Jesus would not eat This Passover until it was fulfilled in the Kingdom of God, or This product of the wine (the wine used in the Lord’s evening meal) until he drank it a new in the Kingdom of the Father (that is in a figurative sense). (Matthew 26:29) This is important because Jesus didn’t say that he wouldn’t eat bread or wine (bead being part of the Passover) every again, but that he wouldn’t share this meal, either the Passover or his Evening Meal until later (and even thin in a figurative way). For example if we have a get together, a monthly company lunch, but for some reason the next one won’t be for two months and I say “We won’t have another lunch,” I am not saying that I or any of us won’t eat lunch for two months, but I am saying that we won’t have this special lunch until then. There is no contradiction.

8)   Matthew 8 is in conflict with Luke 8. Matthew 8:28 says: "When he came to the other side into the region of the Gad•a•renes′, two demon-possessed men coming out from among the tombs met him. They were unusually fierce, so nobody had the courage to pass by on that road." However, Luke 8:26, 27 says: "And they put in to shore in the region of the Ger′a•senes, which is on the side opposite Gal′i•lee. As Jesus got out onto land, a demon-possessed man from the city met him. For a considerable time he had not worn clothing, and he was staying, not in a house, but among the tombs.." Therefore, it was not the country of the Gadarenes, but it was the country of the Gerasenes. Also, it was just one man that came to meet Jesus, not two men. Too the first claim I say: There are two common and reasonable explanations. In Notes on the New Testament: Matthew and Mark Albert Barnes writes (on page 91): “Gadara was a city not far from the Lake Gennesareth, one of the ten cities that were called Decapolis. Gergesa [probably a variation of “Gerasa"] was a city about 12 miles to the south-east of Gadara, and about 20 miles to the east of the Jordan. There is no contradiction, therefore, in the evangelists. He came into the region in which the two cities were situated, and one evangelist mentioned one, and the other another. It shows that the writers had not agreed to impose on the world; for if they had, they would have mentioned the same city; and it shows, also, they were familiar with the country. No men would have written in this manner but those who were acquainted with the facts.” Or it could be that the words “Gergesenes” and “Gerasenes” refer to people from Gadara and are different variations of the word “Gadarenes.” And, to briefly counter the claim concerning the number of men, I will say that there were two men, one writer focuses on one, and the other on both. Watchtower Library (and common sense) has more to say, and I will soon.

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