Summary2

Then do they not reflect upon the Qur’an? If it had been from [any] other than Allah, they would have found within it much contradiction. [Qur’an, Chapter 4, verse 82]

One of the proofs for Muslims that the Qur’an is of divine origin is that it contains no contradictions. This is all the more remarkable when one considers the way in which the Qur’an was revealed. In spite of being revealed in gradual stages, a few verses at a time over a period of 23 years, there is not a single verse which contradicts another.

The purpose of this article is to apply the Qur’anic standards for divine legitimacy to the New Testament.

DOES THE NEW TESTAMENT CLAIM INERRANCY

Many Christians believe in the inerrancy of the New Testament, meaning it is perfect and free of any errors, because of the presence of passages like the following:

In 2 Timothy 3:16, we are told that all Scripture is inspired. The Greek word used for inspiration is ‘theopneustos’ which means “God-breathed,” implying that what was written had its origin in God Himself:

“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness”

In 2 Peter 1:21 we read that the writers were “carried along” by God. Thus, God used each writer, including his own human personality, to accomplish a divinely authoritative work:

“For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”

Now, when inerrantists are confronted with an irreconcilable contradiction, a typical reaction is to shift their argument to one of “the New Testament contains no contradictions of consequence”, meaning that whilst they acknowledge the existence of contradictions, they don’t consider them to be an issue because they don’t relate to theological issues and therefore don’t impact the overall truth of what the New Testament is teaching.

THE STAKES

This article will focus on one major contradiction in a critical area of Christian theology, the Resurrection. As Paul himself concedes:

“But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.” [1 Corinthians 15:12-14]

The Resurrection is the bedrock of the Christian faith. If the writers of the Gospels can’t get these details right, then it casts doubt on their credibility as inspired writers, and therefore the reliability of the New Testament as a whole. The stakes are high indeed.

DEFINING TERMS

Before getting into details of the contradiction, first we need to define what is meant by a contradiction:

The Law of non-contradiction is one of the basic laws in classical logic. It states that something cannot be both true and not true at the same time when dealing with the same context. In the law of non-contradiction, where we have a set of statements about a subject, we cannot have any of the statements in that set negate the truth of any other statement in that same set.

For example, let’s take a look at a commonly alleged New Testament contradiction. We have a set of two statements about the death of Judas:

1. Judas hung himself: “So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself” [Matthew 27:5]

2. Judas fell down and his bowels spilled out: “With the payment he received for his wickedness, Judas bought a field; there he fell headlong, his body burst open and all his intestines spilled out” [Acts 1:18]

Neither statement about Judas contradicts the other. That is, neither statement makes the other impossible because neither excludes the possibility of the other. The statements can be harmonised by stating: Judas hung himself and then his body fell down and his bowels spilled out. In order to make the set of statements contradictory, we would have something like: 1) Judas hung himself. 2) Judas did not hang himself. Since either statement excludes the possibility of the other, we would then have a contradiction since both could not be true. However, to say that Judas hung himself and Judas fell are not contradictory since both could occur.

THE MARY MAGDALENE PROBLEM

The various Gospel accounts of the resurrection are so different that it’s hard to know what to focus on, but the visit of Mary Magdalene to the tomb of Jesus is central. In particular, the account of Matthew chapter 28 cannot be harmonised with that of John chapter 20.

Here is Matthew’s account of the tomb visit:

“Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it” [Matthew 28:1-2]

But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. See, I have told you” [Matthew 28:5-7]

So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. And behold, Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him. [Matthew 28:8-9]

So, in Matthew’s account Mary Magdalene is presented as having seen an angel at the tomb and heard the angel announce the resurrection of Jesus. After which she actually encountered Jesus as she was running away from the tomb in order to inform the disciples about what had happened.

Now here is John’s account of the tomb visit:

Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon, Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him” [John 20:1-2]

In John’s Gospel, however, Mary Magdalene is presented as having found the tomb empty, after which she ran to the disciples and told them that the body of Jesus had been stolen.

The problem is obvious: if Mary Magdalene met Jesus at the tomb, as Matthew says, then why does she report that the body had been stolen according to John?

Since it’s important to have a firm grasp of the chronological sequence of events as described in Matthew and John, I have summarised the key information in a diagram (please click on picture to enlarge):

Summary

CHRISTIAN REFUTATION

The best refutation of this contradiction by Christians that I have seen is the following:

John’s Gospel describes two visits by Mary Magdalene to the tomb. It is this second visit that was described in Matthew 28:

“But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb. And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet” [John 20:11-12]

When we factor in a third Gospel account of the story, that of Mark, then Mark’s Gospel illuminates for us that there were at least three women that headed to the tomb on the first visit (Mary Magdalene, Salome and Mary the mother of James), and not only two as Matthew mentions:

When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him [Mark 16:1]

So, with the additional knowledge of the second visit to the tomb described in John and the extra detail about the third lady Salome being present among the women as described in Mark it might now be possible to piece the different Gospel accounts together to create a harmonious picture. This is the chronological sequence of events:

1. At least 3 women, including Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome, prepare spices to go to the tomb to anoint the dead body of Jesus (Matthew 28:1; Mark 16:1).

2. An angel descends from heaven, rolls the stone away from the tomb entrance, and sits on it. (Matthew 28:2).

3. The women arrive at the tomb and find it empty. Mary Magdalene leaves the other women there and runs to tell the disciples that the body of Jesus is missing (John 20:1-2).

4. The other two women still at the tomb (Salome and Mary the mother of James) see two angels who tell them that Jesus is risen and instruct them to tell the disciples to go to Galilee (Matthew 28:5-7).

5. The women leave to bring the news to the disciples (Matthew 28:8).

6. The women, on their way to find the disciples, see Jesus (Matthew 28:9).

7. Mary Magdalene later returns to the tomb on a second visit. She sees the angels, and then she sees Jesus (John 20:11-12).

I have summarised the Christian explanation in the form of a diagram (please click on picture to enlarge):

Summary2

WHY THIS EXPLANATION DOES NOT WORK

Credit must be given to Christians for managing to come up with a seemingly coherent sequence of all these contrasting Gospel accounts. The sequence portrayed above, while creative, is simply impossible when we analyse Matthew and John’s accounts in a bit more detail:

1). Firstly, while it is true there are two visits to the tomb by Mary Magdalene in John, Matthew’s account has to be talking about the first visit. This is because in John 20:1, the stone was removed before Mary Magdalene’s first visit. This mirrors Matthew 28:2 which says that the stone was removed as Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were arriving; so Matthew must be talking about John’s first visit, not John’s second visit.

2). Secondly, Matthew mentions the day of the visit to the tomb (“after the Sabbath”), as does John (“first day of the week”). In the Jewish calendar the day after Sabbath is therefore the first day of the week. So we know Matthew and John are referencing the same day. Moreover, Matthew mentions the time of the visit to the tomb (“towards the dawn of the first day”), as does John (“while it was still dark”). Thus it is reasonable to conclude that both Matthew and John’s timelines are in perfect synchronisation.

3). Thirdly, it’s certainly true that Mark’s account mentions a third woman, Salome. But Matthew does not, so it’s reasonable to assume that he intended for his readers to interpret “they” as referring to Mary Magdalene and the other Mary, who are the only women he mentions (I have emphasised in uppercase letters certain words to call attention to them):

Matthew 28

1 Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, MARY MAGDALENE AND THE OTHER MARY went to see the tomb.

2 And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it.

3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow.

4 And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men.

5 But the angel said to THE WOMEN, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified.

6 He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay.

7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. See, I have told you.”

8 So THEY departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples.

9 And behold, Jesus met THEM and said, “Greetings!” And THEY came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him.

10 Then Jesus said to THEM, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.”

This establishes that Matthew intended for his readers to understand that Mary Magdalene didn’t just hear the angel announce that Jesus had been raised from the dead but that she also saw him and touched him after she had run from the tomb.

So, the contradiction still stands in spite of the attempted Christian refutation: if, according to Matthew, Mary Magdalene had seen Jesus and touched him after leaving the tomb, then why, according to John, did she go tell the disciples that the body of Jesus had been stolen.

CONCLUSIONS

As has been demonstrated, the New Testament contains an irreconcilable contradiction in a major area of Christian theology, the Resurrection. Therefore it can be concluded that unlike the Qur’an, the New Testament is not 100% the word of God, nor is it 100% inspired by God, because God is perfect and does not inspire mistakes.

A wider issue emerges when we consider that the Resurrection is the bedrock of the Christian faith. If the writers of the Gospels can’t even get the details of this significant event right, then it casts doubt on their credibility as inspired writers, and therefore the reliability of the New Testament as a whole. Why should anything that they recorded about Jesus be accepted as a reliable account? Mankind should rely on the Qur’an as an accurate and reliable source of information about the life and teachings of Jesus, peace be upon him, because the Qur’an is free of contradictions.

Recommended resources for contradictions in the New Testament

http://errancy.org/

Written by Many Prophets One Message
A CALL TO THE TRUTH

    21 Comments

  1. mrquestioner2013 April 6, 2014 at 5:35 pm Reply

    “Credit must be given to Christians for managing to come up with a seemingly coherent sequence of all these contrasting Gospel accounts.”

    not coherent. they have CREATED 2 trips for peter. notice that mary fetches peter ONCE and then when she DEPARTS WITH THE other women FOR A second time (LUKE) she informs PETER the same thing AGAIN.

    • manyprophetsonemessage April 7, 2014 at 12:04 pm Reply

      Thanks for your comment.

      I want to understand your point better but I’m finding it a little confusing to wrap my head around. Could you please provide more detail and include the Bible verse references? Thanks.

      • mrquestioner2013 April 7, 2014 at 2:00 pm Reply

        if you still don’t understand then my english is to blame.

    • Jay September 19, 2015 at 2:02 am Reply

      If you just take both accounts as a telling of the same event in different perspective both accounts make sense. John 20 is obviously the more detailed account. Matthew picks up at the time where the angels appear and give Thier message to mary. Matthew’s Account could easily refer to later in the day as it says light was breaking and not before dawn. Looking from this perspective all points line up. In both accounts Peter only makes one trip. After Mary sees the angel in both accounts the narrative switches to the angels . In Matthews account it jumps from the angels scaring the jailer to talking to mary. It doesn’t use wording that both events coincided with each other. So in this unspecified about of time the events described in John could take place I believe that is reasonable

      • Many Prophets One Message September 19, 2015 at 11:09 am Reply

        Hi Jay,

        Thanks for your thoughts.

        I don’t think your solution works.

        In Matthew’s account, it says:

        “toward the dawn of the first day of the week…”

        This is just another way of saying “in the latter part of the night, as light was breaking…”.

        John says “whilst it was still dark”, implying it was late into the night.

        For example, look at this quote by the poet Rabindranath Tagore:

        “Faith is a bird that feels dawn breaking and sings while it is still dark”

        In any case, it’s what happens after that is the problem. Both accounts make the point of highlighting that they saw the stone rolled away. Unless you are going to argue that the angel rolled the stone away from the entrance of the tomb twice, then your interpretation doesn’t make sense – it’s desrcibing the exact same sequence of events, an identical timeline, with the outcome that is the contradiction. Notice the wording in Matthew:

        “So they [Mary Magdalene and the other Mary] departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples…”

        Focus on that last part, “and ran to tell his disciples”. Their immediate intention as they left the tomb was to go meet the disciples. John lines up with this:

        “So she ran and went to Simon, Peter and the other disciple…”

        The contradiction is that straight after departing, Mary Magdalene meets Jesus as stated in Matthew, but in John she reaches the disciples and tells them he is missing.

        • Jay September 19, 2015 at 1:32 pm Reply

          You are making to much conjecture. In John 20:2 it merely said she observed that the stone was moved. Had she saw the angel then there would be no mystery of where jesus is. The angel doesn’t appear until Mary is again alone. Now in Matthews 28 again it doesn’t say Mary saw the angel. It describes the soldiers reaction. Then the account picks up where the angel makes contact with mary. There is nothing in Matthews 28 that nullifies john 20, neither makes the assertion Mary saw the angel move the stone which if she did nullifies both scripture

          • Many Prophets One Message September 19, 2015 at 7:21 pm

            This seems to be your proposed reconciliation, here are the John and Matthew accounts in chronological order:

            – John 20:1-10 – MM goes to empty tomb for first time. Tells the disciples who then run to the empty tomb.

            – John 20:11-17 / Matthew 28:1-10 – MM goes to empty tomb later. Sees angel, meets Jesus.

            Basically, your reconciliation has MM’s interaction with the angel in Matthew coinciding with the second tomb visit (and angel encounter) in John.

            Now the problem with your reconciliation is that it creates an absurdity in the story when we factor in Luke’s account. What you end up doing is having MM report the missing body to the disciples twice, and Peter visit the tomb twice. Here are the John and Luke accounts according to your understanding, again in chronological order:

            – John 20:1-10 – MM goes to empty tomb for first time. Tells the disciples who then run to the empty tomb. Peter “saw the strips of linen lying there”

            – Luke 24:1-12 – MM goes to empty tomb. Sees angel, tells the disciples who then run to the empty tomb. Peter “saw the strips of linen lying by themselves”

            Your reconciliation makes MM report the same news to the disciples twice, as well as Peter perform two identical tomb visits along with two identical linen observations. You are proving my conclusions in the article, there is no way of reconciling these different accounts without creating absurdities in the story. It’s a contradiction, plain and simple!

          • rob August 23, 2016 at 12:56 pm

            “Now in Matthews 28 again it doesn’t say Mary saw the angel.”

            “4 For fear of him the guards shook and became like dead men. 5 But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. 6 He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he[a] lay.”

            Notice that in marks version the women do not seem to be afraid of the man in the tomb, but in matthews version the angel says ,( after flooring the guard,) “do not be afraid….”
            What in the context of matthew would cause the women to be AFRAID?

            Without injecting mark or luke or john into the text what would be the cause of being afraid????
            The angel is telling the women not to be afraid. You don’t tell them not to be afraid if they did not witness the flooring of the guards. They witnessed the flooring of the guards and then are told to “come, see the place…” You don’t say , “come , see the place, when according to mark, both marys enter the tomb and angel says, ” see the place…”

            So marks version indicates that in the tomb the location of where the body was placed was seen and that’s why they are told to “see the place…”
            In matthews version, the location of the body is not seen, because they (the women ) are with the angel standing outside of the tomb and are told to come into the tomb to see the location of the body.

            – John 20:1-10 – MM goes to empty tomb for first time. Tells the disciples who then run to the empty tomb.
            – John 20:11-17 / Matthew 28:1-10 – MM goes to empty tomb later. Sees angel, meets Jesus.

            Here is the first problem. Why did the angel in matthew say, “come , see the place where he lay, when she already knew that he wasn’t in the tomb and reported that the body was stolen” ????

            Why is mary after being told that the body has been risen sticks to her beliefs, even after seeing jesus, that they robbed jesus? Why does matthew show no indication that mary believed that the body was stolen????

            Notice john does not need his angels to give a response to mary because his account has jesus verify himself, his version doesn’t need the verification from the angels, they are there just to add “side order” to the story

          • rob August 24, 2016 at 2:32 pm

            what we have is mary rush off to peter, peter check the tomb and then goes back to his house . mary stays behind and by this time knows the body is not in the tomb and is waiting for matthews angel to speak to her

            he tells her that the body is not in the tomb , “come see the place…”

            why? she already freakin, according to harmonisation knows that it is empty and already seen the place…

        • rob August 23, 2016 at 2:44 pm Reply

          the funny thing is that if you assume this :

          – John 20:1-10 – MM goes to empty tomb for first time. Tells the disciples who then run to the empty tomb.
          – John 20:11-17 / Matthew 28:1-10 – MM goes to empty tomb later. Sees angel, meets Jesus.

          then the angel tells the woman what she already knows

          “he is not here…”

          then she clings to her belief that the body is stolen even after she heard matthews angel
          then she runs from the tomb in joy that the body is missing

  2. mrquestioner2013 April 7, 2014 at 1:24 pm Reply

    QUOTE:
    3. The women arrive at the tomb and find it empty. Mary Magdalene leaves the other women there and runs to tell the disciples that the body of Jesus is missing (John 20:1-2).

    7. Mary Magdalene later returns to the tomb on a second visit. She sees the angels, and then she sees Jesus (John 20:11-12).

    END QUOTE

    1. who OTHER than john gave a HINT that mary m departed? none of the synoptics give a hint about mary m’s sudden departure.

    2.
    luke:

    1On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. 2They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3but when they entered, they did not find the body of jesus. 4While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. 5In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? 6He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: 7‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ” 8Then they remembered his words.

    9When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. 10It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles. 11But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense. 12Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened.

    who are the WOMEN in verse 1?
    Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others.

    so are the christians assuming that MARY M done a quick EXIT while the other women were wondering/perplexed?

    notice that when they WONDER , KAI idou /behold MEN appear from out of nowhere. this is CONNECTED chronology. women WERE perplexed and then all of a SUDDEN two men appear out of no where. there is ABSOLUTELY no hint that luke thought that mary m departed when they were wondering what was going on.

    notice that in verse 10, mary M and the other women REPORT to pete and deciples. this would be pete’s SECOND visit because according to christian harmonization, she ALREADY ran to peter before.

    look at their harmonization

    mary departs and tells peter (john)

    So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”

    VISIT 1 , peter runs to the tomb

    So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. (john)

    Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first.

    He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in.

    Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there,

    then finally

    Then the disciples went back to where they were staying.

    so how come peter and team didn’t FIND the perplexed women IN the tomb? where did they go? he ran ahead and got to the tomb BEFORE mary. another deciple OUTRAN pete.

    LUKE:
    When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. 10It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles.

    according to the harmonization, peter ALREADY knew that the TOMB was empty and the linen CLOTHES were LYING around.

    luke says:

    Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened.

    so pete DOES A second visit and DISCOVERS THE SAME thing he discovered on his FIRST visit. NOTHING new.

    first visit EMPTY tomb
    2nd VISIT nothing new. no angels and no jesus.

    poor peter makes 2 VISITS and no angel appears to him.
    maybe he shouldn’t have denied jesus with an OATH?

    • manyprophetsonemessage April 7, 2014 at 8:43 pm Reply

      That was clear, thanks for taking the time to explain it in such detail.

      Seems like you’ve discovered an additional problem with their attempted harmonisation. It’s a very good observation, I will look into it in further detail and may even add it to the article. Thanks for the feedback :-).

      Are there any Christian readers who can harmoniously merge Luke’s account, in particular Peter’s two visits to the tomb, into the narrative?

      • mrquestioner2013 April 9, 2014 at 5:45 pm Reply

        1 Inasmuch as many have taken in hand to set in order a narrative of those things which have been fulfilled[a] among us, 2 just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word delivered them to us, 3 it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write to you an orderly account, most excellent Theophilus, 4 that you may know the certainty of those things in which you were instructed.

        all this unknown research conducted and luke thought that it is not WORTH including the ” i am ” statements?

        The two biggest declarations of being OTHER THAN human are in John are made in public (Jn 8:57–59; 10:19–30).

        but luke gave it a miss?

        • manyprophetsonemessage April 13, 2014 at 10:04 am Reply

          Very good observation. The same would apply to Mark and Matthew. Mark dedicates a large chunk of his Gospel to Jesus going around and casting out demons, but chooses not to include any statement of Jesus claiming to be God. I think there are a million and one oddities such as this throughout the texts.

      • mrquestioner2013 April 9, 2014 at 5:48 pm Reply

        here is some more INTERESTING stuff

        i quote:

        John weeds out all the parables and exorcisms, but still comes out longer than Mark because of new dialogues, long ones, as well as new miracles and tales added to the Jesus story. John probably eschewed exorcisms and talk of a temptation or struggle or binding of Satan because his Jesus was viewed as incomparable with no possible rival entities and the Logos is above temptation, regally in control even during his garden prayer before his execution, and during his arrest where he simply says “I am” and the soldiers fall down. Neither does this Jesus need to speak in parables, since the message by John’s time is believe who we say Jesus is, or you are “condemned already.” It’s the “believe such and such about Jesus” or be damned Gospel. He who does not acknowledge Jesus is “the vine” will be cut off and burned. Neither does the fourth Gospel’s Jesus command love of neighbor or enemy compared with the earlier synoptics. See this essay that include insights from a social science examination of the fourth Gospel…

        The Gospel of John consists of “anti-language” say Social Scientists

        There is no command in the fourth Gospel [the Gospel of John] to love neighbors or enemies. Instead, it states, “He who believes not is condemned already” (John 3). The fourth Gospel more so than the earlier three teaches that one is either God’s friend or God’s enemy, one must “believe” rightly, or, be “damned.” “Eat the flesh and drink the blood,” or you “have no life within you.” It does not say people will be judged according to their “works” as in Matthew. Additional passages in the fourth Gospel state…

        No one is able to come to Me unless the Father Who sent Me attracts and draws him and gives him the desire to come to Me, and [then] I will raise him up [from the dead] at the last day.
        John 6:44

        You do not believe because you are not of my sheep.
        John 10:26

        My command is this [spoken to his sheep, not spoken to “the world”]: Love EACH OTHER as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. [not for one’s neighbor or enemy]… You are my friends if you do what I command [love EACH OTHER]… You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you… This is my command: Love EACH OTHER.
        John 15:14,16-17

        This is “in-group” speech as Malina and Rohrbaugh point out in their Social Science Commentary on the Gospel of John. Love other members of one’s in-group. The discourse even states it is being spoken to the in-group, not to a crowd, since it explains in John 13: “[Now] before the Passover Feast began, Jesus knew the time had come for Him to leave this world and return to the Father. And as He had loved THOSE WHO WERE HIS OWN in the world, He loved them to the last and to the highest degree.” The in-group speech begins there and runs several chapters. God gives certain people to Jesus, even before Jesus has died on the cross: “To all whom Thou [God] has given him (Jesus), He may give eternal life” (John 17:2). Those are the ones Jesus loves, the true believers, and they are commanded to love one another. Nonbelievers are “already condemned,” or they do not abide in the True Vine and their “branches will be cut off and thrown into the fire.”

        Jesus’ discourse to his true-believing followers winds down with John 17:22-23 where Jesus prays, “That they may be one [even] as We are one: I in them and You in Me, in order that they may become one and perfectly united, that the world may know and [definitely] recognize that You sent Me.” (But if it takes Christians loving one another in “perfect unity,” so that the world can “know” that “God sent Jesus,” then doesn’t that mean the world has little chance of “knowing” for sure that “God sent Jesus,” because churches, sects, denominations have continued to splinter ever since Jesus’ day just as they have in other major religions?)

        A passage in the fourth Gospel that universalists cite is John 12:32, “And I, if and when I am lifted up from the earth [on the cross], will draw and attract all men [Gentiles as well as Jews] to Myself.” The Amplified Bible editors added the statement in brackets, suggesting that this passage is not about universalism. Whether the bracketed interpretation is correct or not, it does appear like the author of the fourth Gospel has made it clear that God has only given Jesus “some” but not all of “man”kind. The rest are “damned already” because they “do not believe” (John 3) or, “You do not believe because you are not of my sheep” (John 10).

        Malina and Rohrbaugh in their Social Science Commentary on the Gospel of John “show that the Christian community of John’s Gospel was an ‘anti-society,’ which in social science speak is a consciously alternative society consisting of exiles, rebels, or ostracized deviants. They note parallels between different anti-societies, such as reform-school students in Poland, members of the underworld in India, and vagabonds in Elizabethan England. Like other anti-societies, the folks who penned the fourth Gospel had acquired their own unique ‘anti-language,’, that is, a resistance language used to maintain their anti-society’s highly sectarian religious reality. This accounts for many of the strange expressions found in the fourth gospel. For instance, the Christians refer to outsiders as people of ‘this world,’ or, ‘the world.’ They believed that members of wider society — especially ‘the Jews’ — lay outside the scope of redemption and were completely beyond the pale if they didn’t “believe” rightly. Like all anti-societies, they overlexicalized their language, which basically means that they used redundant euphemisms. Thus, ‘believing into Jesus,’, ‘abiding in him,’ ‘loving him,’ ‘keeping his word,’ ‘receiving him,’ ‘having him,’ and ‘seeing him’ all meant the same thing. Likewise, ‘bread,’ ‘light,’ ‘door,’ ‘life,’ ‘way,’ and ‘vine’ were all redundant metaphors for Jesus himself. These redundant euphemisms formed an anti-language outside of “the world’s,” and served to maintain inner solidarity in the face of pressures (or perhaps even persecutions) from society. Unlike the religious language found in the Synoptic Gospels or Paul’s letters, John’s language would have been meaningless in the context of wider Judeo-Christian society (‘this world’). Understanding this social background is crucial for interpreting the gospel as a whole and controversial passages in particular.” In short, the fourth Gospel a greater number of specialized theological terms not seen in any of the earlier Gospels, all terms that would be meaningful particularly to an in-group seeking to maintain a strong cohesion including condemnation of outsiders, like members of an exclusive gang with loads of code words, shibboleths, etc.

        So the reason the fourth Gospel does not include Jesus’ teaching that one must love one’s neighbor (and even one’s enemy) and that loving one’s neighbor is “the law and the prophets” (as in Matthew’s Sermon on the Mount) is that your neighbor might not share your “beliefs” about Jesus, and the most important thing according to the author(s) of the fourth Gospel is to “believe” the right things about who Jesus was… or else. It is a lesson the author of the fourth Gospel repeats ad nauseum, “Anyone who does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned.” (a verse that came in handy during the Inquisition). “Those who do not believe are condemned already, because they have not believed in the name of the only Son of God.” You must even believe the right liturgical things concerning the Lord’s Supper, because “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.” Speaking of right belief, the Gospel says it was composed “that ye may believe,” and starts off telling everyone what to believe about Jesus, and has the disciples call Jesus the messiah and much more the instant they meet him, and even has John the Baptist declare what one must believe about Jesus right from the start (a line of the Baptists’ found in no other Gospel), namely that Jesus is “The lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world,” something one “must” believe per John 3.

        end quote

      • mrquestioner2013 April 13, 2014 at 9:02 am Reply

        manyprophetsonemessage, there is something else i have discovered. i was reading someone’s article on how luke changes jesus’ last words , on the cross, in mark.

        here is what i discovered.

        And Jesus cried [aphiemi: uttered/let go/departed (“went out”)] with a loud voice [phone-megas] and gave up the ghost. (Mark 15:37)

        the ghost DEPARTED

        He saw the heavens parting and the spirit descending [falling down] into [eis] him like a dove . . . and immediately the spirit drove [ekballo: cast] him into the wilderness (Mark 1:10, 12)

        THE spirit entered

        And when the unclean spirit [pneuma] had torn him, and cried out with a loud voice [phone-megas], he came out of him. (Mark 1:26)

        UNCLEAN spirit CAME OUT WITH A WORDLESS LOUD VOICE

        And cried with a loud voice [phone-megas] . . . and the unclean spirits [pneuma] went out . . . (Mark 5:7-13)

        AGAIN WORDLESS LOUDVOICE

        when mark USES “PHONE” he QUALIFIES IT with WORDS. example, jc cried OUT with a “PHONE MEGAS” , “my god, my god, why have u forsaken me” AND “there came a VOICE/”phone” out of the CLOUD …this is the son of me .. the beloved” . the interesting THING is that he DOESN’T QUALIFY “phone” with words on other oCcaSsions. FOR EXAMPLE ,

        “And when the unclean spirit [pneuma] had torn him, and cried out with a loud voice [phone-megas], he came out of him. (Mark 1:26)”

        (WORDLESS LOUD CRY)

        “And cried with a loud voice [phone-megas] . . . and the unclean spirits [pneuma] went out . . . (Mark 5:7-13)”

        (WORDLESS LOUD CRY)

        .. NOTICE that the voice IS NOT qualified with words? the UNCLEAN ones just cry out with a LOUD VOICE/PHONE MEGAS.

        MARK used “PHONE” 7 times. when jc DEPARTEd with a loud VOICE , he departed without WORDS. This is easy to understand. EARLIER in the account , mark qualified his “phone” WITH the WORDS ,”why have u forsaken me” ,but when his jc is ABOUT TO die he has him UTTER a loud cry/voice like the unCLEAN devils.

        MARK HAD NO REASON TO put words in jc’s mouth when jc WAS at deaths door, he had his “phone” qualified with WORDS in the 9th hour .

        when his unclean spirit/jesus was close to EXIT/departure , he has them go out/depart with a LOUD
        voice/CRY WITHOUT words.

        it clearly seems like a PATTERN in mark

        VOICE WITH WORDS WHEN IN THE BODY, THEN when about to LEAVE/EXIT /DEPART, LOUD VOICE WITHOUT WORDS.

        the devils DO the same

        when they are in the body, the SPEAK, but when they are ABOUT to depart they cry with a LOUD voice which is WORDLESS.

        think about it

        mark didn’t have his jesus go OUT with , “father into your hand i…” or anything like that, he had him go out with a LOUD cry without words.

      • rob August 24, 2016 at 2:37 pm Reply

        hello

        the harmonisation make the gospels into a comedy movie

  3. mrquestioner2013 April 9, 2014 at 5:43 pm Reply

    they make the gospels into a comedy movie. mary m does a b line from the tomb, leaving the perplexed women.

    i have heard some christians say that mary m heard the words , ” you are looking for jesus of nazareth….” before the angel COMPLETE his sentence, mary m legs it in the middle of the angels proclamation. mary m does not hear the COMPLETE sentence.

    so the angel does a long pause and then continues when mary m arrives.

    the bible receives no respect from christians.

    if they can play with thier texts today one wonders how much playing they were doing when these stories were not even written on paper. james white talks about UNCONTROLLED transmission, i wonder how much control they had on thier oral traditions.

    • manyprophetsonemessage April 13, 2014 at 9:58 am Reply

      Yes, one should take a step back and reflect on why they are reduced to such speculation, conjecture and mental gymnastics when interpreting these texts. It’s a good indication that something is not right, especially when many Christians believe that the authors were supposedly divinely inspired with the Holy Spirit.

  4. rob August 24, 2016 at 2:38 pm Reply

    add in marks account and you have mary asking the dumb question who will role away the stone when she already knows
    she will know that the tomb is empty and the angel tells her what she already knows

    what she already knows

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