Tag Archives: Gospel

Eternal Hell

But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation: (Mark 3:29)

Hell seldom comes up as a topic of interest. The notion of hell congers up unpleasant images of souls tortured by unquenchable flames and taunted by merciless devils with pitchforks. Heaven makes a more pleasant topic of conversation. I cannot wait to get there!

So, when a social media contact posted his take on a less-than-eternal nature of hell, I could not help (against my better judgment) to try and briefly correct his erroneous conclusions. I tried to keep it brief, but after his second response, I thought it best to conclude the discussion, and take Paul’s advice to “strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers” (2 Timothy 2:14). These kinds of discussions usually remain unresolved and provide a poor witness to bystanders. (On social media, one can never tell who is “listening.”)

Anyway, this gentleman (I’ll call him Aloysius (“famous warrior”) or Al for short) has apparently labored intensely on the subject of hell and arrived at the conclusion that hell is not eternal. He based his conclusion on the Hebrew word ‛ôlâm and the Greek word aiōnios, both of which are often translated as “forever” or “everlasting.” Al correctly pointed out that both of these words have several shades of meaning. Depending on the context, ‛ôlâm can mean “concealed, vanishing point, eternity, always, or perpetual,” according to Strong’s. Brown-Driver-Briggs’ defines it as “long duration, antiquity, forever, ever, everlasting, evermore, or perpetual.” As for  aiōnios, Strong’s defines it as “perpetual, eternal, everlasting, or forever.” Thayer’s Greek Definitions renders it, “without beginning, without end, never to cease, everlasting.”

Al failed to see the inconsistency in his argument. He defined ‛ôlâm and aiōnios as “eternal” when applied to God or heaven, but temporal when applied to hell. He did not reject the concept of hell, just the idea of an eternal hell. I did not pursue the question as to how he arrived at that conclusion, but perhaps his revulsion to the notion of an eternal damnation conflicted with his idea of a loving God. I understand why someone would feel that way, but we are not in a place to make that decision for God.

The Bible clearly teaches that heaven and hell are real places and they are eternal. All humans will end up in one place or the other for eternity. One verse from Jesus’ own lips easily exposes the contradiction in Al’s argument. In His discourse concerning the separation of the sheep and the goats,[1] Jesus sums up the destiny of both. “And these [goats] shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous [sheep] into life eternal” (Matthew 25:46, emphasis mine). In this verse, aiōnios defines the duration of “punishment” (i.e., hell) and “life.” Seeing that the same word is applied to both, they must mean the same thing. If hell is not eternal then neither is life (i.e., heaven). If heaven is eternal, then so must be hell. Keep in mind that this verse is in the same context, so the word cannot have different meanings.

Related to aiōnios is the Greek word aiōn, which means “an age, perpetuity, continuing, or everlasting.” This word is often translated as “for ever” in the King James Version (KJV). When rendered as such, aiōn is usually preceded by the preposition eis, which means “to or into.” Together, eis aiōn could be translated “into the ages,” “into perpetuity,” or “to eternity.”

The Book of the Revelation explains the eternal nature of hell. In the Fourteenth Chapter, those that take the Mark of the Beast are condemned to eternal hell.[2] “And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name” (Revelation 14:11, emphasis mine). The repletion is emphatic, εις αιωνας αιωνων – “into the ages of the ages.” Satan, the Beast (Antichrist), and the False Prophet earn the same reward. “And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever” (Revelation 20:10, emphasis mine). Again, the eternal nature of hell is described: εις αιωνας αιωνων – “into the ages of the ages.” Then those who reject Christ will be judged at the Great White Throne.[3] “And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:15, emphasis mine).

I understand Al’s desire that hell be temporary. That those who go there stay just long enough to pay their debt and get vaporized. I do not cherish the thought of anyone going to that place even for one minute. The Bible tells us that “God is love,”[4] and that “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9, emphasis mine). However, God is eternal – without beginning and without end. Therefore, when we offend the eternal God, we offend Him eternally, and the punishment, therefore, must be of eternal consequences.

The Bible says that we have all offended God. “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one … For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:10, 23). However, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16, emphasis mine). The eternal God took on human flesh[5] and shed His precious, perfect blood to cover our sins. His sacrifice provides for us the eternal atonement, covering, to satisfy our eternal offense against Eternal God. But we have the choice to believe or disbelieve, to accept or reject. “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13).

Al is wrong. Hell is eternal. Please do not go there. Read my page on “Securing Eternal Life.”

Notes:


[1]  Matthew 25:31-46

[2]  Revelation 14:9-11

[3]  Revelation 20:11-15

[4]  1 John 4:8

[5]  John 1:14; Philippians 2:5-11

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It’s the Word!

So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. (Isaiah 55:11)

This past Saturday morning, I met with my Gideon[1] brothers for our weekly breakfast gathering at IHOP.™ Frankly, I did not feel like getting up that early on a Saturday morning. It was damp and gloomy and not very inspiring for an early morning rising. I knew it would be that way from the previous day’s weather forecast, so I made up my mind that I would skip this meeting unless God woke me up to get me to go. At six A.M. God woke me up, but I rolled over in bed and told Him I really didn’t feel like going. Then at 6:15 A.M., the alarm clock, which neither my wife nor I had set, went off, so I said, “OK, Lord. I’ll get dressed and go.” I am learning not to argue with God when He wants me to do something.

The meeting was typical. We read Scripture, offered praises and prayer requests, and then enjoyed fellowship over breakfast. In the course of conversation, one of my Gideon brothers asked if any of us had heard about the sexual misconduct allegations recently made about Ravi Zacharias.[2] Zacharias, who died on May 19, 2020, was previously accused by a woman of inappropriate advances in an email scandal of which he was later cleared. Now, almost a year after his death, other questionable women, “massage therapists,” have come out accusing the evangelist of inappropriate touching, rape, and “spiritual abuse.” The ministry (RZIM) launched an investigation into the matter and issued an open letter[3] regarding the findings of the investigation.

Regardless of the findings of the investigations or RZIM’s renouncement of Ravi’s alleged misconduct, I am not prepared to assign guilt. As I told my Gideon brothers, we cannot know the facts. We take the accusers’ words at face value without knowing the motive behind the accusation or whether the misconduct really took place. The man is dead. He cannot defend himself. Why bring up these charges now?

This I know. “… [A]ll have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). “There is none righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10). No man is above sin. The allegations against Ravi Zacharias, may be true, and if true any heavenly rewards he earned here on earth will probably be cast aside as “wood, hay, and stubble,”[4] but “he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.”[5] God will make that determination.

I also know this. Satan is a liar and the father of lies.[6] Ravi had a powerful apologetics ministry. He destroyed enemies of the Gospel with his tremendous intellect and logic, and nothing would give Satan greater satisfaction than to destroy Ravi’s ministry and legacy, especially in these Last Days when the return of our Lord draws near.

This, too, I know. Regardless of the man, God’s Word will remain true. God promised, “For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it” (Isaiah 55:10-11, emphasis mine). Jesus put it this way, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away” (Matthew 24:35).

The human source from which God’s Word procedes matters not. It is God’s Word that will prevail. Consider the false prophet Balaam.[7] He was hired by Balak, the king of Moab, to curse the children of Israel, but every time Balaam opened his mouth, nothing but blessings came forth. Consider King David. He committed adultery with Bathsheba, had her husband Uriah killed, took a census of Israel that God did not authorize. Yet, he was called a man after God’s own heart, and he wrote, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, most of the psalms in the Hebrew Psalter that bless us today. Take, also, Jonah as another example. God told him to go preach to the people of Nineveh, but Jonah boarded a ship bound for Spain in direct opposition to God’s command. Jonah became fish bait and fish vomit, but eventually, he preached to the people of Nineveh and they repented. God’s Word prevailed.

I also recall a modern-day evangelist, by the name of Bob Harrington.[8] He was known as the “Chaplain of Bourbon Street” because he would go into New Orleans strip clubs and witness to the ladies that danced there. Harrington would draw large crowds in his evangelistic campaigns. I first heard him preach while I was stationed in San Diego in the Navy. His messages were powerful, and he preached the Gospel straight. Many came to the Lord through his preaching of God’s Word. Later in life,[9] Harrington renounced the faith and pursued worldly pleasures, but that does not negate the Word he preached, or cancel the salvation of those who received the message he preached and accepted Christ because of it.

All of God’s messengers are flawed, and we, as Christians, need to take care not to allow them to become idols. They are fallen men, but it’s the Word of God they preach that matters. I do not know if Ravi Zacharias is guilty of the charges brought against him. However, I suspect that it is a ploy of the Devil to denigrate the Word of God. “God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged” (Romans 3:4, emphasis mine). Men will always let you down, but God’s Word will always be proven true. It’s the Word, not the man. It’s the message, not the messenger. 

Notes:


[1] The Gideons International – https://www.gideons.org/

[2]  Ravi Zacharias International Ministry – https://www.rzim.org/

[3]  Open Letter/Board Statement – https://www.rzim.org/read/rzim-updates/board-statement

[4]  1 Corinthians 3:12

[5]  1 Corinthians 3:15

[6]  John 8:44

[7]  Numbers 22-24

[8]  “ ‘Chaplain of Bourbon Street’ dies at 89” – https://www.baptistpress.com/resource-library/news/chaplain-of-bourbon-street-dies-at-89/

[9]  “My Renewed Life Story” – http://www.thechaplain.com/testimony.htm

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Feet Only

Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all. (John 13:10)

On the evening before His crucifixion, Jesus celebrated Passover with His disciples. The Apostle John records in his Gospel that Jesus “laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself” (John 13:4) and proceeded to wash the feet of His disciples.

In those days, the majority of travel was done on foot. The footwear of the day protected only the sole of the feet leaving the rest of the feet exposed to the elements. Most of the roads were no more than dirt trails so that feet collected a good amount of road dirt.

It was customary for the host of a house to welcome the traveler by washing the road dirt off their feet. This task was assigned to the lowest servant or the youngest member of the household. For whatever reason, no one performed the customary foot washing at this house, perhaps because it was a private gathering not hosted by the homeowner.

Whatever the reason, Jesus chose this time to give an object lesson. Jesus rose from the table, removed his outer garment, took a towel, and some water, and performed the task of the lowliest servant. Jesus washed all of the disciples’ feet, but when he got to Peter, Peter protested. “Lord, dost thou wash my feet?” (John 13:6). Peter was not being “holier than thou,” in his refusal to have Jesus wash his feet. Perhaps, as he watched Jesus wash the other’s feet, he thought, “Why didn’t someone else do that? The Master should not be the one doing that! Maybe I should be the one washing feet.” Whatever may have crossed his mind, it was obvious that he was humiliated that his Lord should lower Himself to that position.

“Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter” (John 13:7). We seldom know what God is doing in our lives when we go through trials, but when we look back on our lives, we can see how God directed our circumstances for our good.[1] Peter did not get the lesson; “Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me. Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head. Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all.” (John 13:8-10).

Jesus washed all of the disciples’ feet. They did not need a bath; only their feet needed washing, but Jesus said not all were clean. The unclean one to whom Jesus referred as Judas Iscariot who would betray Him. It’s not that Judas failed to take his Sabbath Day mikvah; Jesus referred to Judas’ spiritual condition, not his physical cleanliness. Therefore, the significance of the foot-washing act goes deeper than road grime.

The disciples were “clean” because they believed that Jesus was their expected Messiah. When Jesus had asked, “Whom do you say that I am?” Peter confessed, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16). The key to salvation (i.e., cleansing) is “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved” (Romans 10:9). Obviously, Judas had not believed: therefore, he was not clean.

As we traveled to Washington, D.C. for the Franklin Graham 2020 Prayer March[2] last week, this topic came up in our conversation. My brother Eli made a very interesting analogy applicable to the Church today. Like Jesus’ disciples (and we too are disciples) we walk around in this filthy world every day, and the grime of the world cannot help but stick to our “spiritual feet.” Then, every time we gather for worship and fellowship, we have the opportunity to wash each other’s feet. We do not need a bath because the Bible says that “ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:11). Our “spiritual” feet only need washing. Therefore, the Bible encourages us to gather together. “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure waterNot forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:22, 25, emphasis mine). Our gathering together is the way we wash each other’s feet by praying for each other and encouraging one another in the faith.

Another parallel that can be drawn from this account is that not all are clean. The twelve apostles walked with Jesus for three years of His earthly ministry, yet one of them was lost, i.e., not clean, the entire time. In the same way, not all within the Church are all saved. Some practice all the “right things” on the outside, but inwardly they have not truly believed. Jesus referred to these as “tares.”[3] When He returns for His Bride, the Church, these will be left behind. For now, feet only need washing if you have placed your trust in Jesus Christ. If not, you need a bath. If you are not sure of your standing before God, please read my page on “Securing Eternal Life.”

Notes:


[1]  Romans 8:28-29

[2]  https://erniecarrasco.com/2020/10/01/reflections-on-the-washington-2020-prayer-march/

[3]  Matthew 13:24-30

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Killing Jesus: A Review

V06N25 Killing Jesus Cover

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)

Since Bill O’Reilly, commentator and host of the O’Reilly Factor on the Fox News Channel, came out with his latest book, Killing Jesus: A History, Christian “Evangelicals” have turned out to opine on the work. Some, like the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas have given the book rave reviews and even encouraged Christians to buy and read the book. Others have not been so kind. Since the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Dallas happens to be my pastor, I thought I would take him up on his recommendation. Having done so, I will now attempt to offer my hopefully “fair and balanced” review of the book.

First of all, I will say that Mr. O’Reilly and co-author Martin Dugard make an excellent writing team. I first experienced their work in Killing Lincoln, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Killing Jesus is no exception. The text flows very smoothly, and it entices the reader to continue non-stop. Had I the luxury of uninterrupted time to sit with a book, I might have been tempted, but alas, I had to consume it in short bursts. That gave me the advantage of time to ruminate on the content so that I am less likely to give a knee-jerk assessment of the work.

For what it is, I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys historical or biographical genres. It is not a spiritual book or a book that it is written in a way that honors or glorifies Jesus of Nazareth for Who He is – the Creator, Savior, and King of kings and Lord of lords – nor is it blasphemous in any way. It is just matter-of-fact. The authors present Jesus as an actual historical personage who impacted the world in a significant way. “To say that Jesus of Nazareth was the most influential man who ever lived is almost trite. Nearly two thousand years after he was brutally executed by Roman soldiers, more than 2.2 billion human beings attempt to follow his teachings and believe he is God” (p. 1).[1] The authors admit: “We do not address Jesus as the Messiah, only as a man who galvanized a remote area of the Roman Empire and made very powerful enemies while preaching a philosophy of peace and love” (p. 2). This approach should not come as a surprise since O’Reilly has often expressed and asserted his conviction that Scripture is allegorical and not to be taken literally. That brings into question his use of the Gospels as a historical resource. Indeed, he admits, “Of course we have the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, but they sometimes appear contradictory and were written from a spiritual point of view rather than as a historical chronicling of Jesus’s [sic] life” (p. 1) If the Gospels are allegorical, as O’Reilly claims, then this book, as a history, is not worth the paper it is written on. Would a true historian rely on allegory to construct a factual account? To be fair, the authors also rely on extra-biblical sources to compose their story. It seems, however, that the Bible is only used to “fill in” where secular historians are silent. But, let us set that aside for the moment.

Evidently, the Gospel account failed to provide sufficient content to accomplish the purpose of this book, so the authors devoted the first third of the book to early Roman history to help set the stage for the main course and perhaps to add a little spice with the depravity of the Roman emperors. I am not a historian, so I will defer to Mr. O’Reilly on the accuracy of these accounts. My strength is in Scripture, and in that regard I can give an honest assessment.

The authors get the Gospel account right for the most part. I was especially surprised by a footnote that informs us that “The Gospels clearly state that Jesus had four brothers: James, Joseph, Judas, and Simon. They also mention that he had sisters, but the number is not specified” (p. 79). O’Reilly and Dugard are both practicing Roman Catholics and for that reason the admission is remarkable. The footnote continues: “The Roman Catholic Church believes Mary remained a virgin throughout her entire life. This doctrine was first put forth four centuries after Jesus lived by an early leader in the Church named Simon. The Church considers the siblings mentioned by the Gospels to be Jesus’s [sic] cousins” (p. 79).

The authors also get it right when they describe two separate temple cleansings by Jesus, one at the beginning of His ministry and one at the end (pp. 126, 192-193). Many Bible scholars miss this point, but sadly, the authors attribute this to error rather than accept it as fact. “Before being written down, the Gospels were oral histories. This might explain some discrepancies among them. The story of Jesus and the money changers is placed at the beginning of Jesus’s [sic] ministry in John (2:14-22), while [the other Gospel writers] all place it at the end. This has led some to speculate (emphasis added) that Jesus performed this cleansing twice, as specific details of the various Gospels account differ” (p. 126). Had the authors taken the time to seek a resolution to the “discrepancy,” as any good historian should do, they may have discovered that John was with Jesus from the very beginning. Matthew came along after the fact, and Mark and Luke were not a part of the original group of disciples. To these men, the last cleansing was most significant because it occurred in Jesus’ final week. All the Gospel writers had differing objectives in relaying their message, and so they tell the story from their individual perspectives. John’s purpose for his Gospel was to present Jesus as God. For him, the first cleansing establishes Christ’s divinity from the very beginning. You will recall John 1:1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” There is no discrepancy here, except in the minds of these authors. But they should at least get credit for recording two separate events (pp. 192-193). Since John wrote his Gospel last, surely he had access to those written previously, so his placement of the temple cleansing was not by mistake. John had a point to make as did the other Gospel writers, and all were accurate in their record.

Another point missed by many Bible scholars is in trying to synthesize the different accounts of Jesus’ anointing into one event. O’Reilly and Dugard at least distinguished two different accounts: the anointing at the house of Simon the Pharisee in Galilee before the Transfiguration (Luke 7:36-50, p. 144) and the anointing at the house of Simon the Leper in Bethany following Jesus’ Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem (Matthew 26:6-13, Mark 14:3-9, p 209). It is easy to see how these two separate events could be confused since both hosts are named Simon, but O’Reilly and Dugard correctly identified the two as separate events. However, they failed to include a third anointing which took place in (supposedly) the house of Lazarus, whom Jesus raised from the dead. This account is found in John 12:1-7 and precedes the Triumphal Entry. Martha, as usual, is serving and Mary, her sister, performs the anointing. I cannot be too critical of the oversight, since many Bible scholars make a worse mistake by trying to reconcile the three separate events as one.

The authors accurately record the Gospel accounts for the most part, but given O’Reilly’s presuppositional conviction on the allegorical nature of Scripture, several errors creep into this work. Take for example the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist (p.103). The Gospel of John 1:29-40 records the baptism, but does not record the interchange between The Baptist and Jesus. As stated earlier, John’s purpose in writing his Gospel was to demonstrate the deity of Christ, and so minor details are unimportant to his account. Instead, John focuses on the Spirit of God descending upon Jesus in the form of a dove. The other Gospel writers also record a voice from heaven saying, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17; Mark 1:11; Luke 3:22). But instead, John focuses on the words of John the Baptist: “And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God” (John 1:34, emphasis added). In this passage, we learn that John, the writer of this Gospel, was a firsthand witness from the very beginning. “One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother” (John 1:40). The “one” not mentioned is John who never mentions himself by name throughout his Gospel.

Because of their myopia to the literal accuracy of the Gospel text, the writers of Killing Jesus appear somewhat incredulous that a dove coming out of nowhere should light upon Jesus and remain on him. “Suddenly a dove lands on Jesus’s [sic] shoulder. When Jesus makes no move to shoo it away, the bird is quite content to remain there” (p. 103). Looking at it that way, I believe I would be a little incredulous myself. These kinds of errors are systemic throughout the book. 

Another kind of error in this book is that of adding to Scripture. For example, on the account of the baptism of Jesus as He comes out of the water, the writers say, “The believers drop to their knees and press their faces into the earth. Jesus does not react to this sign of worship. He does nothing to discourage it either.” (p. 104). That is nowhere to be found in Scripture, certainly not in any of the Gospels, but the authors cite no references to substantiate that detail. The writers quote John 1:34 (quoted above) and then add, “The crowd remains on its knees as Jesus steps onto the shore and keeps on walking” (p. 105). This must be something the authors learned in catechism, which perhaps explains why no reference is cited, but it has no basis in Scripture.

I understand that the authors are attempting to keep a detached and “objective” perspective, but I found one statement to be rather insulting to our Lord. In telling about the calling of Peter and Andrew (Matthew 4:18-22; Mark 1:16-18; Luke 5:4-10) They recount that Jesus got into Peter’s boat and asked him to push away from the shore so that He could speak to the crowd that had assembled, “Though he [sic] knows next to nothing about fishing” (p. 136). In the first place, Jesus grew up in Nazareth, which is not that far from the Sea of Galilee; I am sure He would have known something about fishing. Furthermore, this is God who created fish and fishermen. That He knows something about fishing is demonstrated in that He gave instructions to lower the nets after the men had fished all night and came up empty, and the catch was more than they could handle. So, I find the assessment that Jesus “knows next to nothing about fishing” a little demeaning. In the same account, the authors claim that Peter was “A fisherman in his early twenties” (p. 137). Most scholars believe that Peter was probably around Jesus’ age or perhaps a little older. Again, the authors cite no references for this claim.

Other errors include the claim that the raising of Lazarus from the dead is a “legend” (p. 199 footnote). They mistake Jesus’ assessment of the Greatest Commandment as a “new” law, but oddly, in the footnote they cite Deuteronomy 6:5 (p. 205). This Greatest Commandment was nothing new; the Deuteronomy reference harkens back to the First and Second Commandments (Exodus 20:3-4). They also confuse Jesus’ agony in the Garden of Gethsemane as “panic” (p. 212). Jesus knew His mission from the very beginning. Luke records: “And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem” (Luke 9:51, emphasis added) indicating that Jesus was determined to go through with His sacrifice. There was no “panic” in Him. Finally, in the “Afterword,” the writers wrongly attribute the description of “a woman clothed with the sun” in Revelation 12:1 to Mary, the mother of Jesus. This obviously comes from the authors’ Roman Catholic doctrine. More than 1920 years after the time of Christ, “On November 1, 1950 the Roman Catholic Church decreed that [Mary’s] body had been ‘assumed into heaven’” (p. 265). If the authors had bothered to research this in greater depth, they may have learned that the “woman” described in Revelation is Israel, not Mary, and the child she bore is Jesus. The reason nothing more is heard of the woman, is because she, Israel, has not, and will not be destroyed as a nation. However, I would not expect Mr. O’Reilly to accept that explanation.

My final assessment of Killing Jesus: A History is that it is a well written book, easy to read and entertaining. I would not take it seriously as a “history” given that the authors view the Bible as allegory, and allegory is a highly questionable resource when trying to document real history. Admittedly, the authors assert that this is not a spiritual book, and because of that this book has little value from a spiritual perspective. Some supposed Christians claim that the book has strengthened or renewed their faith. That may be true if the “Christian” doubted the historicity of Jesus in the first place. This book might have some value in that regard. I would not recommend this book as a “witnessing” tool as it gives a very poor witness. As I stated at the beginning, the authors are not blasphemous in any way, but at the same time, they do not give Jesus His proper due. He is presented as a mere man on a mission who got on the wrong side of the governing and religious authorities. There is more to Jesus than these authors portray. The book presents Him as a victim ignoring His very words, “I lay down my life for the sheep … No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself” (John 10:15, 18).  Jesus is God, whether “some” believe it or not, and the Bible is not allegory. Killing Jesus might have been a better book, if the authors had taken the Gospel account seriously and literally. That said, I would not discourage anyone from reading it, but I would caution against taking it seriously.


[1] Direct quotes are denoted with the page number on which they are found in the book.

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