Saturday, March 25, 2017

"between some of John's disciples and the Jews" - Question about Resurrected Jesus

Tsukiji Wholesale Market, Tokyo

Question about Resurrected Jesus

Christ Jesus resurrected or came back to life after the Crucifixion.  And, He ate fish and honeycomb.

Luk 24:39 Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.
Luk 24:40 And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and his feet.
Luk 24:41 And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here any meat?
Luk 24:42 And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb.
Luk 24:43 And he took it, and did eat before them.

So, physically he came back to life.  But Christ Jesus never repeated His mission in the same manner that he had preached before the arrest, trial, and execution.  Instead, reportedly He, with His physical body,  ascended to Heaven.  But why?

So, most of Bible readers must think that Christ Jesus eventually died, since He only appeared several times to His disciples after the Resurrection.

But even if Christ Jesus repeated His mission like he had done before the Crucifixion, He should have been arrested again and this time He might have been beheaded like John the Baptist.  So, He had to leave Jerusalem and even Galilee.  Yet, He could have traveled preaching like Paul or Peter.  If resurrected Christ Jesus had launched a new mission, all the people must have admitted that He had really come back to life from the death.  But, He had eventually gone somewhere or ascended to Heaven.

So, we have to think about why resurrected Jesus did not repeat His mission like Paul or Peter.   Then, there must not be any controversy about His resurrection.  More people must believe in Christianity with more confidence.

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Joh 3:25 Then there arose a question between some of John's disciples and the Jews about purifying.
Joh 3:26 And they came unto John, and said unto him, Rabbi, he that was with thee beyond Jordan, to whom thou barest witness, behold, the same baptizeth, and all men come to him.
Joh 3:27 John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven.

Friday, March 24, 2017

"all the prophets from Samuel" - Christ Jesus as a Great Teacher of Morality

Mountain Area Northwest of Tokyo

Christ Jesus as a Great Teacher of Morality

The Gospel according to Luke was written in Rome while Paul and Peter were there.

Luke was intended to help Romans understand Christianity, so that the Roman authority would not regard Christianity as a dangerous cult.  However, the Gospel must have provoked some Romans and even Emperor Nero.

Luk 6:24 But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation.
Luk 6:25 Woe unto you that are full! for ye shall hunger. Woe unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep.
Luk 6:26 Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.

These passages in Luke are clearly against the value system of Romans.  The teachings of Christ Jesus introduced in Luke  were clearly against the rulers of this world including the Roman Empire.
Luke needed to define the position of Christians in relation to two political and social entities, the Roman Empire and Judaism. Regarding the Empire Luke makes clear that, while Christians are not a threat to the established order, the rulers of this world hold their power from Satan, and the essential loyalty of Christ's followers is to God and this world will be the kingdom of God, ruled by Christ the King.

So, eventually the Roman authority came to regard Christians as their enemies.  Especially Empire Nero who loved  luxury and riches must have felt that he was criticized.  And, it is very likely that some Roman officials or Nero himself read the following sentence.

Luk 12:49 I am come to send fire on the earth; and what will I, if it be already kindled?  

So, when a big fire occurred in Rome, Nero accused Christians of arson.

Luke and other Gospels contributed propagation of Christianity among Roman citizens, but the Gospels also provoked Roman emperors and elites, resulting in severe persecution sometimes.

In this context, the core of Christianity is not theology but an ethic or morality, since the Roman authorities were tolerant to religions but they could not yield to a high-level of requests to abandon worldly wealth and have righteous lives.  

This applies even to today's situations.  Some people, including priests and bishops, learn well religious aspects of Christianity with detailed knowledge but do not have a high-level of morality.

Even if you have no ethic, you can learn any religion, including Christianity, as a target of your intellectual work.  However, Christ Jesus was first of all a great teacher of morality.

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Act 3:24 Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days.
Act 3:25 Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed.
Act 3:26 Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

"Jesus and his disciples into the land of Judaea" - Mark and Literacy of 1st-Century Judaists

The Sea of Japan

Mark and Literacy of 1st-Century Judaists

The Dead Sea Scrolls (found in Qumran caves), the the Nag Hammadi library (found in upper Egypt), and inscriptions on the ossuaries (found around Jerusalem) all suggested that there were a significant number of Judaists who could read or write in the first century.

It means that most probably Christ Jesus could read and write.  However there are some scholars who claim that Christ Jesus must not have been able to read and write.  In such a claim, they injured reputation and holiness of Christ Jesus.  Nonetheless, there must have been much more people who could not read and write in Palestine and the Roman Empire at the time.  Jesus Christ had more concern with those poor people, so that He directly spoke and preached to them.

But it does not mean that no followers of Christ Jesus took a note of His words, although there are no such descriptions in the Gospels.  Nonetheless it was about 30 years after the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Christ Jesus that the Gospels were written.  So, it is one of big mysteries of Christianity why no followers, no Apostles, and no disciples of Christ Jesus would not write a gospel on Christ Jesus till decades had passed since the death of Christ Jesus.

Even the Gospels according to Mark, Luke, Mathew and John were written in Greek but not Aramaic, the prevalent language in Palestine at the time.  It means that these Gospels were not written under authority of the early Christian church in Jerusalem.  For example, although Mark wrote his Gospel in Greek mainly targeting Roman citizens, he might have written an Aramaic version of his Gospel and sent it to  the Christian church in Jerusalem for obtaining authorization or official approval, since it is apparent that at the time the Jewish-Roman War did not break out yet and the Christian church in Jerusalem was functioning as the center of Christians or Christian Judaists.  It also suggests that Christian authority in Jerusalem was against an idea of writing Gospels.

One of the key factors is that Christian Judaists thought that the end of the world was near, since Christ Jesus as a prophet came to them for preaching that the judgment day and the end of the world were close.  So, Christ Jesus said to repent before being judged by God.  If the end of the world was so near, it would not have much meaning to write Gospels about Christ Jesus.  Christian Judaists must have been busy preparing themselves or other Judaists for the end of the world.

But the end of the world had not come for 30 years after the death Christ Jesus.  The focus must have shifted from preparation for the end of the world to understanding what Christ Jesus said and what Christ Jesus was.  Especially gentiles or Roman citizens must have needed to know what Christ Jesus said and what Christ Jesus was before they started to believe in the saint of Judaists. 

So, whatever the direct reason for Mark's writing a Gospel, an idea of writing a Gospel came to be accepted by Christian Judaists living in Rome and other regions in the Empire far from Jerusalem.

But, writing a Gospel about Christ Jesus without consent of the church in Jerusalem means a start of separation from the church in Jerusalem.  Peter and even Paul could not explicitly support such a movement.  Therefore, these Gospels did not mention that they were realized by support from Peter and Paul.  It also means that there was a crucial reason for Mark to write the first Gospel even taking a risk of sparking fury of Christian Judaists in the church of Jerusalem.

Or at least, Mark wrote his Gospel by permission of Peter, the leader among Apostles, since Mark is said to have been an interpreter of Peter.  Then why did Peter give permission to Mark, while he knew that it was against the will of the church of Jerusalem?

The biggest factor to consider is the coming trial of Paul.  To save Paul from persecution by the Roman authority in the trial, Peter allowed Mark to write the Gospel.  Indeed, Paul had been indicted due to opposition to his teaching from non-Christian Judaists, Mark had to clearly explain why Paul had been accused by non-Christian Judaists like Christ Jesus Himself had faced antagonism of some non-Christian Judaists.  And Mark also intended to explain what Christ Jesus had done in Palestine to the Roman authority, proving that Christ Jesus was not a dangerous man to the Roman Empire.

 The Gospel according to Mark was essentially written to save Paul in the trial.  So, the Gospel was intended to be read by Roman elites who had compassion to Paul and other Christians and who might have some influence on Emperor Nero and other Roman authorities.  Therefore, the Gospel did not explain the teaching of Christ Jesus in a detailed manner or the human backgrounds of  Christ Jesus, since Roman authorities were interested only in whether or not Christ Jesus and thus Paul were dangerous in their religious activities to the Empire.    
Another point is that Mark should have relied on a certain source document that reported the activities of Christ Jesus in His mission, not only relying on Peter's memory.  The source document, probably in Aramaic, which was actually translated into Greek by Mark, must have been written by somebody closer to Christ Jesus than Peter.  And the mystery remains about who the author of the source document was, although there must have been not a few Judaists with literacy ability at the time especially around Jerusalem and Qumran.

So, it is no wonder if the author of the source document for Mark was Christ Jesus Himself.

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Joh 3:22 After these things came Jesus and his disciples into the land of Judaea; and there he tarried with them, and baptized.
Joh 3:23 And John also was baptizing in Aenon near to Salim, because there was much water there: and they came, and were baptized.
Joh 3:24 For John was not yet cast into prison.

"he that doeth truth cometh to the light" - Another Religion to the Mankind

Local Area Northwest of Tokyo

Another Religion to the Mankind

There is a theory that it was Judaists but not early Christians that severed the tie between Judasim and Christianity after the Jewish-Roman War.

Judaists had to reorganize its religion since it lost the temple in Jerusalem while Judaism at the time was structured around the temple.  Through its reorganization, new Judaism came to disqualify Christian Judaists, namely Judaists who accepted the teaching of Christ Jesus and followed Him.    Accordingly, while Christians included the Old Testament in its holy books,  Judaists came to totally neglect Christianity.

It means that Judaism split into two in the first century: Christianity and new Judaism.  Indeed, if there had been no Jewish-Roman War and the temple of Jerusalem had continued to function as the center of Judaism, there should have been Christian Judaists for centuries or even to date.

Conversely, for Christianity to be completely separated from old Judaism, the Jewish-Roman War had to erupt and the temple of Jerusalem had to be destroyed.

This providence is very profound.  God probably intended to use Christianity as a common religion of the mankind, since Judaism lacked something important to the eyes of God.  For this purpose, Christianity had to be separated from Judaism.

But, God also gave Islam, another religion subject to the same God of Judaists and Christians, to Arabs, etc. in the 7th century.  It is as if God had judged that there were some deficiencies in Christianity around the 7th century.

And, there is no denying that God might further give another religion to the mankind that is subject to the same God as that of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, since Islam cannot completely complement Judaism and Christianity.

Or is the mankind expected to read the Old Testament, the New Testament, and the Koran on the same level and with the same passion to each?

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Joh 3:21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

Monday, March 20, 2017

"the multitude cometh together again" - Mystery of St. Paul

Mountainous Area North of Tokyo

Mystery of St. Paul

Paul is a key person in establishment of Christianity.  A half of the documents included in the New Testament is said to have been written by Paul.  But Paul was not the direct follower of Christ Jesus.  He never saw or heard Christ Jesus preaching in his life.  But Paul became the most influential person in early Christianity.  Why?  This is one of the most crucial mysteries of Christianity.

It is said the one day Paul encountered the Spirit of Christ Jesus.  Then, Paul suddenly became the passionate follower of Christ Jesus, though he had been persecuting followers of Christ Jesus before the incident.

How could a man who had hated a saint turn to be a passionate follower of the saint only because he encountered the Spirit of the saint.  Moreover, Paul developed and expanded contents of the teaching of Christ Jesus to the extent that he could teach the theology of Christianity to other Judaists and Roman citizens.

Paul did not know what Christ Jesus said and preached. But suddenly he became a fluent interpreter of the words of Christ Jesus, and Paul became a teacher to others.  While Paul did not know the background, circumstances, and contents of the mission of Christ Jesus, how could he become a master of Christianity?

Paul must have learnt about who Christ Jesus was and what He was in a detailed manner somewhere.  Otherwise, Paul could not have taught Christianity to others with such confidence.

It is reported by Paul himself that he spent three years in Arabia after his encounter with the Spirit of Christ Jesus on his way to Damascus for arresting and punishing Christians.  And then he returned to Damascus to preach the Gospel.  But he faced a threat on his life by his old fellows.  So he fled to Jerusalem to meet Peter and James, a brother of Christ Jesus.  Paul spent 15 days with them and left for his home town in today's Turkey and Antiochia in today's Syria.

Paul did not go to Jerusalem to meet Peter and James for the purpose of learning about Christ Jesus from them.  It means that Paul had enough knowledge about Christ Jesus.  So, where did he learn about Christ Jesus?  It must be in "Arabia."  But it doesn't make any sense since there were no Apostles or Jesus' family members in "Arabia" who could teach the life, the mission, and the teaching of Christ Jesus to Paul.

The only reasonable judgment is that Paul went to Qumran where Essenes lived and practiced their school of Judaism.   And in Qumran, there was somebody who could teach the life, the mission, and the teaching of Christ Jesus to Paul.  Having learnt in Qumran for three years, Paul got knowledge and religious contents as much as Peter and other disciples who had actually followed Christ Jesus.  So, Paul could stand on  even ground with  Peter and those disciples.        

But Paul's confidence was extraordinary.  Paul showed great confidence in his knowledge about Christ Jesus.  So, it is natural to think that Paul was taught in Qumran by somebody that was closer to Christ Jesus than Peter and those disciples.

In my theory, Paul was secretly given a document written by Christ Jesus himself in Qumran.  He studied the document for three years to fully understand the contents of the document.  And, when Paul got confidence, he left Qumran to preach Christianity.

So, St. Paul became the only Apostle of Christ Jesus after his Resurrection.  And the document that was presented to Paul in Qumran became the so-called Q-source or the original text that was later translated into Greek by Mark and other Gospel authors.

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Mar 3:20 And the multitude cometh together again, so that they could not so much as eat bread.
Mar 3:21 And when his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is beside himself.
Mar 3:22 And the scribes which came down from Jerusalem said, He hath Beelzebub, and by the prince of the devils casteth he out devils.
Mar 3:23 And he called them unto him, and said unto them in parables, How can Satan cast out Satan?

Sunday, March 19, 2017

"for all the evils which Herod had done" - Significance of the Split of the Roman Empire

Tokyo Bay

Significance of the Split of the Roman Empire

One of the factors for the fall of the Western Roman Empire, many scholars admit, is the split of the Roman Empire into the Western and Eastern ones in 395.

As a result of this split of the Empire, Christianity was also divided into the Rome-centric Christianity and the Eastern Orthodox Church.  The two church systems developed almost independently to date.  So, their status of being independent from each other of today is a historical proof on how Christianity was influenced by the split of the empire.

If the Christian church system had not been divided into Rome-based one and Constantinople-based one, Christianity should have been more powerful and influential.  The integrated Christian church might have contributed more to security of the whole Roman Empire.  If so, the Western Empire should not have fallen 80 year after the split in 476.

Indeed, in the later centuries the Vatican could not prevent may wars and the Eastern Orthodox Church could not, either.

In my opinion, God rather wanted Christianity to be integrated with Judaism.  Instead, it split into two.  So, God allowed the emergence of Islam in the 7th century when the Eastern Orthodox Church changed its official language from Latin to Greek.

So, the split of the Roman Empire must be more important than the fall of the Western Empire.

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Luk 3:19 But Herod the tetrarch, being reproved by him for Herodias his brother Philip's wife, and for all the evils which Herod had done,
Luk 3:20 Added yet this above all, that he shut up John in prison.