Miracles and Biblical Infallability

Ruby Gray

Member
I was once a sceptical and mildly rebellious adolescent myself, with a keen reactionary streak against injustice and illogic and empty tradition, who flouted convention by refusing to attend the Methodist Church's confirmation classes, since they made no sense to me.
Now I am just ageing, sceptical and mildly rebellious, etc etc.
But un-Jerry-like, I always loved reading the Bible, preferably one not peppered with archaic English. The mysteries of Revelation enthralled me at age 10. Since then, I have delved into many more of its mysteries, and found them only to reinforce the coherence of the 66 books authored by scores of writers (one of whom was Nebuchadnezzar himself) over the millennia.My amateur studies of archaeology and astronomy and ancient history and literature also serve to vetify its text. I find no reason to disbelieve the Bible, particularly for instance, Psalm 4, or if you prefer, Psalm 53.
Prophecy, both fulfilled and pending, is always an absorbing subject. This is one of the areas where I find that astronomy is useful.
My approach (as with taxi drivers) is to take the testimony at face value, and follow the evidence through to a conclusion on its own terms, not as interpreted throughout the distorting lens of some religious or political ex-cathedra pontification.
"Let us not indulge in crazy conspiracy theories."
Indeed not! The truth is quite extraordinary enough, without delving into any of the faithless reconstructions appended to it. I deplore the Roman arrogance that claims to have an unbroken succession of authority for the past 20 centuries. Also the many 19th century aberrations which proliferated, mostly in America, each claiming to have the exclusive divine mandate to restore truth after centuries of heresy.
The Bible, like the taxi, speaks for itself.
 

Richard Stanley

Administrator
I find no reason to disbelieve the Bible, particularly for instance, Psalm 4, or if you prefer, Psalm 53.
Right, like Psalm 104, The Hymn of Aten.

Because Jerry is such a 'harsh' taskmaster, I am now an atheist (in terms of Abrahamic-ism and other god-isms) believer in the Bible.

I am curious, though how you evaluate Genesis 47, the 'glorious' enslavement of humanity - by the most worthy ones of course. And of which the 'nice' Romans re-used to implement Feudalism in Europe.

Or, for instance, Isaiah 45:7, where God correctly declares that he is the author of everything, Good and Evil. Which means that he also gave us Satan, one of his prior begotten sons (of a prior age of course).
"Let us not indulge in crazy conspiracy theories."
That's why Jerry and I are conspiracy factualists.
I deplore the Roman arrogance that claims to have an unbroken succession of authority for the past 20 centuries.
Maybe it's arrogant, but it's true right?

Well, from a perspective of Tasmania I can likely see why you think that. But, the USA is indeed the current (since WWI's end) militant tip of Rome's spear. This is true in iconic imagery, real history (not the stuff you learn in school), patriotic attitude of the plebes, and the fact that we are mostly Christians (ignorant followers of Christ Titus, the Son of God and the first Second Coming).

Find the link here for Saussy's Rulers of Evil, an otherwise hard book to find these days.
Also the many 19th century aberrations which proliferated, mostly in America, each claiming to have the exclusive divine mandate to restore truth after centuries of heresy.
But how can you have a Futurist Second Coming today without such 'aberrations', as you call them?

How can you claim such as you do and deny the 'fake' 'divine' Revelation 12 astrology of September 23, 2017. Clearly you saw that I proved definitively (with a computing device of course) that there has been no alignment even close to that day since the 'prophecy', as you call it was made back in the time of Domitian Flava-flav.

And is it a coincidence that on September 25, 2015 that the current Pope's NYC mass announced the coming of the next Savior by the reading of Isaiah 9 (in Espanol no less). Who reads Bible verses in Spanish in NYC? And reading a traditional 'Christmas' passage in September? After just having stopped and peered down into the Bottomless Pit, the 9/11 Memorial -- where you cannot see the bottom.

The Abyss:

440

Was (Zeus) Jupiter smack in the middle of his Gemini sons, Castor and Pollux, as per the myth of their killing, on 9/11/2001? https://postflaviana.org/911-a-malapropic-myth-raic-mass/
See also: https://postflaviana.org/community/index.php?threads/from-chrest-to-christ.2462/ especially for the relationship of the 'Divine Twins' to Christ, but also for the relation to the Flavians.
This is one of the areas where I find that astronomy is useful.
Indeed. Especially if you have an 'AntiKythera Mechanism' or similar. That is, if you want to make astronomy based prophecy, and not after the fact which is usually the case, as with the first Second Coming, but not the second Second Coming.
 

Jerry Russell

Administrator
Staff member
No interest?
I'm sorry. With all the excitement on other threads, I let this fall through the cracks.

I do indeed see the resemblance between the clouds, and the gentlemen. But it's far from perfect. The first one: the chin is misshapen, the eyebrows and ears are too big, and in all honesty I don't think I would see anyone in that cloud at all, except that it's been pointed out to me. The second one is much better: the eyes and nose and mustache are all perfectly clear, and the hair looks pretty good. But there's some object that looks like a loaf of bread lying across the man's right cheek, and an oversize cleft of the chin, to mar the perfection.

Furthermore, it's well known that children see all sorts of things in the clouds. It's inevitable that any cloud is going to call some well known object to mind. In typological work, it helps to identify some interpretable meaning to what otherwise might be just a coincidence.

For example: in Homer, a ship was involved in a naval battle, and the men on the enemy ship were thrown overboard. The sailors on the victorious ship then went "fishing for men" in the sea, hauled them in, and cannibalized them.

Dennis MacDonald noticed a parallel to Jesus's call for his disciples to be "Fishers of Men", and argued that the Gospel authors knew of the story in Homer, and used it, while giving it a new higher spiritual meaning.

Joe Atwill turned this on its head, when he realized that Josephus had also used the "Fishing for Men" trope. But in his version, the men were Jewish zealots who had been driven into the Sea of Galilee, and they were being fished out and killed by the Romans. It's all happening at exactly the same place where Jesus told his disciples to go fishing. In that light, the true meaning of Jesus's parable turns into a horror show. Apparently the Christian Church is 'fishing for men' (that is, Jews) in order to destroy them, or at least neutralize their role as enemies of Rome.

The parallel language and events are undeniable, the interpretation is clear, and yet it's almost impossible to convince some Christians about what's going on here. Go figure.

Getting back to the images. Given the circumstances of 9/11, is there any interpretable significance to the appearance of Mr. George Washington and Mr. Mark Twain? I mean, given that most any cloud can be interpreted as an image of some random thing, why is it surprising that these particular clouds look like these famous Americans? Or, if Mr. Washington looks more like Marge Simpson to me, who's to say I'm wrong? If the men in the clouds were Donald Rumsfeld and the Saudi King Faisal, then maybe they would be trying to tell us something. But, what do Marge Simpson and Mark Twain have to do with 9/11 conspiracies?

I think this might touch (indirectly) on our discussion about Lloyde England and Pentagon 911. I'm not saying that when you say you see Lloyde England's taxi in a video, that you're wrong. But can you see why others aren't convinced? And perhaps if they realize that you also see porrtraits of famous Americans in random clouds, there's some danger they'll conclude that you just have an overactive imagination?
 
Last edited:

Ruby Gray

Member
I'm sorry. With all the excitement on other threads, I let this fall through the cracks.
Of course, as usual you are 90-something percent rational and correct.
Do bear in mind that these 2 images are screenshots selected from fleeting frames of videos taken on 9/11, and that there is considerable variation from one moment to the next.
They are also but 2 examples from hundreds that I have collected, not the sum total.
Many of the images morph progressively for several frames or seconds, while others appear and vanish again in an instant.
That they are formed from billowing nebulous clouds of smoke and / or dust, makes it astonishing that we should be able to see anything recognisable at all.
Not just once or twice, but hundreds of times.
The reason I posted these particular examples, is that they are the first human likenesses to appear in the very first few seconds after the impacts into the north and south towers.
This was in response to Richard's comments re the pope gazing into the Bottomless Pit created on the site of these towers, which of course, is evocative of the scriptural reference,

Revelation 9:2,3
He opened the shaft of the Bottomless Pit, and from the shaft rose smoke like the smoke of a great furnace, and the sun and air were darkened with the smoke from the shaft.
Then from the smoke came locusts on the earth, and they were given power like the power of scorpions of the earth.

So I could just as validly claim, from my knowledge of the sheer number of teeming images which came tumbling out of this hellish smoke,

"The parallel language and events are undeniable, the interpretation is clear, and yet it's almost impossible to convince some atheists about what's going on here. Go figure."

Here, I am not formulating a solid doctrinal statement, but sharing an interesting trend which occurred throughout the visual record of the aftermath of impacts at New York and less so at Arlington.
 

Richard Stanley

Administrator
Well, all Americans know that George Washington is a god, as was Romulus. This is a proven fact as demonstrated by the divine artwork of The Apotheosis of George Washington, displayed on the ceiling of the Capitol Rotunda. Besides being a high ranking mason, as were many Founding Fathers, GW was also a high ranking Norman (as are such as the Russell's and Stanley's BTW).

Twain was high-ranking?

...
After bestowing this gift upon his lodge, Twain apparently had little more to do with Freemasonry (aside from occasional allusions to it in his writing). In fact, according to an article entitled “Alas: Poor Mark!” in the Masonic New Yorker, A Journal of Masonic Information (March 15, 1907), the “great Apostle of Prevarication” seems to have provoked the ire of his former brothers after dismissing Freemasonry as “foolishness.” The Masonic correspondent found it “pitiable” that “the brother who charmed us with his humor” would “slap in the face the institution before whose alter he had thrice knelt.” ...

486

Whose face is that?

(While one might be tempted claim the above is some work of a artisan's hands, it is really a photograph using a camera obscura, like was done with the Shroud of Turin, by Leonardo da Vinci. Except that LdV used a double exposure, of course, with his own head imposed on top of a dead corpse.)

It is a well known fact that these patriot masons were also frequently Protestant ministers. During such as the Revolutionary and Civil War, masons on both sides would take occasional breaks from fighting each other to share fellowship with each other. This is no small thing.

Pilgrim's? I was recently surprised to learn that the House of York had not really been completely obliterated by the rude deposing of Richard III. It seems that the surviving lord went on to break bread with the Pilgrims. His descendants quietly ended up in some small remote town in Australia.

Most all foundations of major Protestant sects have a connection to some noble house, or high ranking connection. Because this is what religion is in reality, a veiled vehicle for organizing mostly unwitting humans who think they are some spiritual journey of some sort. If some 'respected' entity puts a gloss of divinity on it is much more likely to be sustained (the problem for today's so-called secular churches).
 

Jerry Russell

Administrator
Staff member
So I could just as validly claim, from my knowledge of the sheer number of teeming images which came tumbling out of this hellish smoke,

"The parallel language and events are undeniable, the interpretation is clear, and yet it's almost impossible to convince some atheists about what's going on here.
Why did you mention atheists? I had thought you were arguing that these images resulted from some sort of high-tech shaped explosive technology, or holographic projection, or high speed Photoshop video editing. Are you saying, instead, that God literally used His or Her special and miraculous powers to direct the shapes of the clouds, to form these images of famous Masons?

My prediction, on the contrary, is that if you look at any similar low-resolution video of an explosion, you will see shapes and faces popping in and out of the clouds.

Whereas if you start taking random samples of natural language texts, you will rarely if ever see such compelling and interpretable parallels as you find threaded among Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, Old Testament, Josephus, and New Testament. The parallels are so thick that there's hardly any space between them.
 

Ruby Gray

Member
"After bestowing this gift upon his lodge, Twain apparently had little more to do with Freemasonry (aside from occasional allusions to it in his writing). In fact, according to an article entitled “Alas: Poor Mark!” in the Masonic New Yorker, A Journal of Masonic Information (March 15, 1907), the “great Apostle of Prevarication” seems to have provoked the ire of his former brothers after dismissing Freemasonry as “foolishness.” The Masonic correspondent found it “pitiable” that “the brother who charmed us with his humor” would “slap in the face the institution before whose alter he had thrice knelt.” ...

(While one might be tempted claim the above is some work of a artisan's hands, it is really a photograph using a camera obscura, like was done with the Shroud of Turin, by Leonardo da Vinci. Except that LdV used a double exposure, of course, with his own head imposed on top of a dead corpse.)

It is a well known fact that these patriot masons were also frequently Protestant ministers. During such as the Revolutionary and Civil War, masons on both sides would take occasional breaks from fighting each other to share fellowship with each other. This is no small thing.
I am glad to hear this about Mark Twain, if true. The bloodcurdling oaths of Freemasonry don't jibe well with children's fiction. I did read something somewhere to the contrary regarding him, however, about his masonic involvement when he was travelling through Europe I think. Of course it is a secret society about which nobody else knows anything at all, and Freemasons are sworn on pain of death against revealing the mysteries (tongue in cheek).

Many good and loyal Americans will swear that Washington had nothing to do with Freemasonry, although the streets of Washington are built on a grid representing the pentagram of Baphomet, the square and compass etc. Then of course the Krem - I mean the Pentagra - I mean the Pentagon mirrors this, and is situated across the road from the country's largest and perpetually expanding skull & bones memorial to the umpteen thousands of its finest dead patriotic citizens mostly sacrificed on the altar of rapacious greed. And the Egyptian obelisk casts its influence over all.

The Freemasons taking brotherhood breaks during the Civil War sounds like the story I heard about warring Maori tribes. If one side ran out of ammunition or daggers or whatever they used, bloodletting would go into recess until the other side had replenished them. No sense spoiling a good fight to the death for a shortage of weapons.

I don't know whose that face is. Presumably one of the many Americans about whom Aussie kids are taught nothing in school.

Interesting about Leonardo and the Shroud. I understand he invented the spinning wheel, but had not heard this. What would have been the chemistry used then, to produce this image on linen? Was silver nitrate technology already in use? I know that various samples have been tested, but I thought the mechanism by which the image was created, was inconclusive.
 

Ruby Gray

Member
Why did you mention atheists? I had thought you were arguing that these images resulted from some sort of high-tech shaped explosive technology, or holographic projection, or high speed Photoshop video editing. Are you saying, instead, that God literally used His or Her special and miraculous powers to direct the shapes of the clouds, to form these images of famous Masons?
...
Whereas if you start taking random samples of natural language texts, you will rarely if ever see such compelling and interpretable parallels as you find threaded among Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, Old Testament, Josephus, and New Testament. The parallels are so thick that there's hardly any space between them.
Apparently on 9/12/2001, American newspapers carried photographs of Satan's face, which had been photographed as it appeared in the smoke on the side of one of the burning towers. This was a fortuitous still photograph, so there were claims that it had been manipulated and faked. There were also other images of a fiery imp, trident in hand. I never saw any of these images at that time. I heard about them years later, but never saw them until 2 or 3 years ago.

Even then, the first ghostly face I saw in a photograph of firemen in the rubble, was neither of these. Eventually I watched a video of the burning towers where that iconic satanic face morphed on the tower in real time. No, I do not suggest that any of these anatomically correct, startlingly recognisable and sometimes identifiable images was in any way created by human agency, which would surely be an impossibility. Nor do I ascribe their appearance to God.

However I cannot dismiss the spiritual aspect behind their manifestation, especially as a typological fulfilment of the prophecy in Revelation 9:1-3. I do not suggest that 9/11 was the ultimate fulfilment, but that it was certainly a portent of something far more momentous to come. It was the 3rd millennium's genesis of the New World Order foretold by Skull & Bones GWHB, and implemented by his Skull & Bones offspring GWB, both presumably mere puppets of the One World Government machinery behind the scenes. The Illuminati is certainly a powerful spiritual entity, a Luciferian religion. Bible prophecy describes it as possessing great miraculous power that will deceive the majority of the population.

That first image of Satan was not the only representation of this face. It appeared at least twice more in separate locations.

https://flic.kr/p/2gEYA8h
I do peruse pyroclastic clouds and explosions for potential facial apparitions, but so far, have been disappointed.

I have read vast chunks of Josephus, and apart from the fact that, as a Pharisee, he was describing the religion of his fathers as already laid down in the Hebrew scriptures, the "parallels" with the Pauline writings do not jump out at me. There is nothing that would convince me Paul's letters and Josephus' works were penned by the same hand. One is a chronicler of the history of a religious people; the other is a spiritual teacher and evangelist.

Nor can I reconcile the anachronisms.
Paul was born possibly about 1 to 5 AD in Tarsus, Cilicia; he studied under the great teacher Gamaliel the grandson of Hillel, who are historically attested, and was executed by the Romans in about 68 AD.
Josephus was born about 38 AD in Jerusalem, and died early in the second century.
 

Richard Stanley

Administrator
http://www.picknettprince.com/turin.htm

The above is the link to the book on the subject. I forget what chemicals (not silver nitrate) were used, but they were available to LdV at the time. Pinknett's and Prince's test chemicals were mixed into egg whites as I remember and then coated onto the fabric.

Interesting to know that for most of the shroud's known history it was under the control of the Savoys, ... Sabeans.
 

Ruby Gray

Member
Yes, interesting. I have hand developed thousands of negative images in my day, so I am intrigued at how this was done.
 

Jerry Russell

Administrator
Staff member
I have read vast chunks of Josephus, and apart from the fact that, as a Pharisee, he was describing the religion of his fathers as already laid down in the Hebrew scriptures, the "parallels" with the Pauline writings do not jump out at me. There is nothing that would convince me Paul's letters and Josephus' works were penned by the same hand. One is a chronicler of the history of a religious people; the other is a spiritual teacher and evangelist.
The parallels that I quoted from Ellis above, were related to the biographical details of Paul and Josephus's respective life stories. Are you saying you don't find them convincing?

For what it's worth, I agree that the style of the Pauline letters seems very different from Josephus's histories. It seems to me that Ellis's list of parallels should be taken typologically rather than literally.

Biblical Paul may be a fictional character. If in fact Jesus Christ was a fictional character invented after 70 AD, then obviously there was no evangelist preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ around the Mediterranean starting around 35 AD. Roman Piso thinks that the Pauline Epistles were written by Pliny the Younger. Robert M. Price thinks they should be dated even later, written by Marcion or his school, possibly based on originals by Simon Magus. Such speculations are all in good fun, but I have no idea how to settle the question.

Ralph Ellis does think that Paul and Josephus were one and the same person, who was the author of both the epistles and the histories. I don't know of anyone else who agrees.

The Gospels, Paul and Josephus all share a strongly pro-Roman slant. They all support the concept that Titus was the Messiah -- either overtly, or using veiled parabolic language.
 

Jerry Russell

Administrator
Staff member
No, I do not suggest that any of these anatomically correct, startlingly recognisable and sometimes identifiable images was in any way created by human agency, which would surely be an impossibility. Nor do I ascribe their appearance to God.
I have to remind you, then, of Rick's question:

I am curious, though how you evaluate Genesis 47, the 'glorious' enslavement of humanity - by the most worthy ones of course. And of which the 'nice' Romans re-used to implement Feudalism in Europe.

Or, for instance, Isaiah 45:7, where God correctly declares that he is the author of everything, Good and Evil. Which means that he also gave us Satan, one of his prior begotten sons (of a prior age of course).
Because it seems to me that the Biblical God cannot escape responsibility for the actions of His anointed Kings and Emperors on Earth, nor from the actions of Satan himself. That is, according to the plain and simple words of the Bible.

Not that clouded apparitions are going to convince me of anything, except that humans have vivid imaginations. Of course our critics say the same about our offerings of typological parallels.

I do peruse pyroclastic clouds and explosions for potential facial apparitions, but so far, have been disappointed.
Be sure you are looking at suitably low resolution images. If there's a lot of detail in your images, the detail will swamp the broader shapes.
 

Ruby Gray

Member
Do you have any images of clouds etc with statistically-probable images? I'd be interested to see them.

Sorry I had overlooked Rick's questions.

Re Genesis 47.
I'm not sure why he phrased it, "The glorious enslavement of humanity". Yes, it may have been glorious for Pharaoh.
As so often, scripture does not make a moral or political judgement on the actions of characters in its stories. It merely records pertinent details. As a historical document, this chapter tells us much about the origins of the powerful world empire of Egypt. Widespread famine for 7 years destroyed agricultural crops, and the people literally sold their souls to Pharaoh for bread. I wonder what the peasants were doing wrong to cause such pronounced climate change. They must not have learned their lesson because the OT records more widespread famines after this.

Isaiah 45:7
A fascinating passage. This is a verse within a striking prophecy about Cyrus the Great. Isaiah lived and wrote over 200 years before Cyrus was born, yet he named Cyrus and described him and his conquest of Babylon. His detailed prophecy seems obscure until compared with archaeological discoveries of records of Cyrus's successful attack on that great and supposedly impregnable walled city. The Persians diverted the flow of the river Euphrates which ran through the city. A gatekeeper was drunk and forgot to lock the gates that night. The Prince Regent, King Belshazzar, had been left in charge of Babylon while his insane father Nabonidus was in Tema, Arabia. He was hosting a great feast one night, when a human hand wrote on the palace wall, words which the prophet Daniel interpreted as saying that the king would die that night, and his kingdom be given to the Medes and Persians.
Cyrus's army, led by his general Darius the Mede, stormed into the city via the dry river bed and unlocked gate, and killed Belshazzar, just as Isaiah prophesied.

Verse 7:
"I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the LORD, who does all these things."
I prefer the English Standard Version.
The KJV's archaic language frequently has words whose meanings have morphed beyond recognition or relevance over more than 4 centuries.
The Hebrew word ra'ah translated "evil" in the KJV, in this context means "adversity, affliction, calamity, sorrow, trouble," etc etc etc, rather than the implication that God behaves in a way that is morally wrong, which by definition, cannot be. God claims to be righteous and holy, and it is a brave or foolhardy man who dares challenge that.

Satan cannot be "a prior begotten son of God" as God has only one begotten son, Jesus.
A "begotten son" is one born in the manner with which we are all familiar. Both a father and a mother are required to produce a begotten son. This never applied to Satan or any other created angels. They had no existence before their sovereign creation, whereas of Jesus it is said that he always existed in the form of God.
John 1
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 He was in the beginning with God.
3 All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.
4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men.

So God's son was only "begotten" when Mary conceived Jesus.

Now I know you told me you don't accept miracles, but I am just presenting the scriptural perspective here.

As for God being responsible for the actions of beings created by him, this is surely not logical. Even the best parents can produce children who defy them and cause havoc. Do we not have the choice to make good or bad decisions? Why should God be blamed for someone who disobeys him? This is discussed here:

Deuteronomy 30:16
"If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you today, by loving the Lord your God, by walking in his ways ... then you shall live and multiply ...
17 But if your heart turns away, and you will not hear, but are drawn away to worship other gods and serve them,
18 I declare to you today, that you shall surely perish ...
19 I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live."

It's quite simple. Choose to live right, and live, or choose rebellion, and perish. The good choices made by the father cannot be enforced on the wayward son, and the father cannot be blamed for the son's bad choices. It is all a matter of personal responsibility for our own decisions.

JERRY:
"Not that clouded apparitions are going to convince me of anything, except that humans have vivid imaginations. Of course our critics say the same about our offerings of typological parallels."

Not that I would ever wish to criticise you, but I can see how critics might say that.
 

Ruby Gray

Member
The parallels that I quoted from Ellis above, were related to the biographical details of Paul and Josephus's respective life stories. Are you saying you don't find them convincing?

For what it's worth, I agree that the style of the Pauline letters seems very different from Josephus's histories. It seems to me that Ellis's list of parallels should be taken typologically rather than literally.
The parallels are interesting, but can simply be explained as due to two separate Hebrew men having had similar privileged backgrounds, being born with Roman citizenship, exposure to cosmopolitan cultures, advanced educations and being multilingual. The anachronisms of their birth and death dates alone are fatal to the suggestion that Paul could be Josephus. And this is just the first of countless details which could be used to distinguish them.

Biblical Paul may be a fictional character. If in fact Jesus Christ was a fictional character invented after 70 AD, then obviously there was no evangelist preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ around the Mediterranean starting around 35 AD. Roman Piso thinks that the Pauline Epistles were written by Pliny the Younger. Robert M. Price thinks they should be dated even later, written by Marcion or his school, possibly based on originals by Simon Magus. Such speculations are all in good fun, but I have no idea how to settle the question.
I'm not familiar with Piso, and I seriously doubt that Pliny would have had the Hebrew education to make him so familiar with that religion as to be capable of authoring the Pauline epistles. However Pliny did write a complimentary letter to Emperor Trajan, describing the wholesome lifestyle of the Christians, who believed in Jesus as God.

But I have read all the Early Church Fathers and many of the later writers. The Apologists from the first 2 centuries or so are very orthodox, expounding the Hebrew faith, the gospels and the epistles, and also quoting the apostles themselves, or those who were acquainted with them, or who succeeded them in their ministries.

But as time progressed, heretics abounded increasingly, among whom were reckoned the Magians and Marcionites. Nothing good was said of them and their predicted fate.

As for Jesus being a fictional character created after 70 AD - well then in that case, many people from various nations and eras must have colluded to create a wealth of documentary evidence suggesting that he was one of the most well-attested men ever to have lived.

It is said that there is more literary evidence for the existence of Jesus than for any other character in ancient history. He was written of by friend and foe.

The JewishTalmud abounds with references to him, albeit not of a complimentary nature, however, the miraculous nature of his existence is recorded.

Thallus (52AD) was quoted by Julius Africanus (221 AD) about the darkness which occurred at the crucifixion, which was experienced by observers far from Jerusalem.

Phlegon (80-140 AD) also wrote about this darkness, again quoted by Julius Africanus:

"Phlegon records that, in the time of Tiberius Caesar, at full moon, there was a full eclipse of the sun from the 6th hour to the 9th hour."

Of course they knew that a regular solar eclipse cannot possibly occur at full moon, and nor can it last for 3 hours. This event was so extraordinary and inexplicable that it was remarked upon and dated.

Origen wrote:

"With regard to the eclipse in the time of Tiberius Caesar, in whose reign Jesus appears to have been crucified, and the earthquakes which then took place ..."

Cornelius Tacitus (56 - 120 AD) wrote,

"... Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular."

The Nativity was fixed by several Early Church Fathers as having occurred in the 28th (solo) or 41st (joint) year of the reign of Augustus. This tallies with 5 BC, shortly before Herod's death.This was recorded by Irenaeus, Tertullian, Clement, Julius Africanus and Eusebius. It was even stated that the official records of Jesus's birth were still extant in the City of Rome, for the perusal of anybody who wished to check the facts for himself, until the fire of Rome destroyed these records. This was possible due to the census which was taken by Augustus, see Luke 2:1-7. Joseph and Mary were obliged to travel to Bethlehem to register in this Roman census, and Jesus was born while they were there.

Ralph Ellis does think that Paul and Josephus were one and the same person, who was the author of both the epistles and the histories. I don't know of anyone else who agrees.

The Gospels, Paul and Josephus all share a strongly pro-Roman slant. They all support the concept that Titus was the Messiah -- either overtly, or using veiled parabolic language.
Hmmm, I never heard of anyone agreeing either.

I agree that Josephus wrote very respectfully of the Romans, or at least very tactfully. His first allegiance was to his Hebrew heritage, but he had no desire to alienate the Romans who spared his life and allowed him to write the chronicles of his religion.

The gospels do for instance, quote Jesus's words to a would-be rebel, "Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's", and probably describing conscription by the Roman military, "If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles". But the New Testament is a strongly Hebrew book, particularly the gospels. The Romans were the enemy, a divine judgement on Israel. Within 40 years of the crucifixion, Israel's autonomy in its own land was utterly destroyed by the Romans.

The Christians had all fled Jerusalem a few years earlier in response to Jesus's prophecies about the coming calamities, and this faith was dispersed among all nations, using the lingua franca of that time, Greek. Early Christianity was much more Greek than Roman.The Greek Orthodox church existed long before the Roman Catholic church, which was not established until about the 4th century. It only retrospectively claimed apostolic lineage from Peter, revered as the first "pope". That Jesus forbade his disciples from calling any man "father", and that Peter was married with at least one son, and that Paul directed that any church elder must be the husband of one wife, all repudiate the theory of Roman Catholicism being the original Christian faith. It is the gaudy counterfeit of the original. Hence, "Antichristian," in the sense of the Greek "anti" meaning not just "against," but "standing in the place of".

As for the idea of the NT or Josephus confusing the Messiah with Titus - this is unthinkable! The concept and title "Ha Mashiach" is very explicitly and exclusively Hebrew. It means, "The Anointed". The typology of the coming Messiah runs through the Hebrew scriptures from Genesis to Malachi. The Messiah is from the tribe of Judah, of the royal house of David, and therefore must have appeared prior to 70 AD, as all genealogical records were destroyed with the Temple. Jesus could prove his ancestry through the temple records as he was born prior to 70 AD, but nobody who came after 70 AD, could.

Just so, the coming Antichrist cannot be any ethnicity but Hebrew. It is prophesied that he will deceive the majority of the Jews when he appears, and no Jew would ever accept a Messiah, true or false, who was not a Jew.
 

Jerry Russell

Administrator
Staff member
Hi Ruby,

Do you have any images of clouds etc with statistically-probable images? I'd be interested to see them.
Examples are not hard to find on the web.

http://www.messagetoeagle.com/12-amazing-images-of-faces-in-the-sky-observed-worldwide/
https://weather.com/news/news/face-in-the-clouds-20120814#/22
https://www.amusingplanet.com/2012/04/clouds-that-look-like-things.html

Wikipedia has an article about such manifestations, including an analysis of high and low resolution images of the famous "Face on Mars":

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pareidolia

Pareidolia (/pærɪˈdoʊliə/ parr-i-DOH-lee-ə) is the tendency to interpret a vague stimulus as something known to the observer, such as seeing shapes in clouds, seeing faces in inanimate objects or abstract patterns, or hearing hidden messages in music.
Last but not least, members of the Pastafarian Church have collected an amazing 29 pages of sightings of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, even including some obvious fakes.

https://www.venganza.org/category/sightings/

Re Genesis 47.
I'm not sure why he phrased it, "The glorious enslavement of humanity". Yes, it may have been glorious for Pharaoh.
As so often, scripture does not make a moral or political judgement on the actions of characters in its stories.
You're saying that there's no praise for Joseph and his descendants in the scriptures? Famines were a routine occurrence in ancient agrarian societies, and not necessarily a manifestation of climate change, or divine retribution. But, when Joseph "gathered up all the money that was found in the land of Egypt", so that "the money failed" -- well, this was a scheme that central bankers rinse and repeat down to this day.

Scripture may not make any moral or political judgment about this, but I certainly do.

The Hebrew word ra'ah translated "evil" in the KJV, in this context means "adversity, affliction, calamity, sorrow, trouble," etc etc etc, rather than the implication that God behaves in a way that is morally wrong, which by definition, cannot be. God claims to be righteous and holy, and it is a brave or foolhardy man who dares challenge that.
Isn't it morally wrong for an all-powerful being to inflict adversity, calamity, sorrow and trouble against hapless lesser beings? By definition, God has the capability to prevent all those things, yet he chooses instead to be an active instigator. If that isn't evil, I don't know what the word even means. I'm not being either brave or foolhardy, just applying basic logic.

It is said that there is more literary evidence for the existence of Jesus than for any other character in ancient history. He was written of by friend and foe.
There might be a lot of (very late) literary discussions, written by friend and foe. But that's not the same thing as primary source evidence. Our arch critic, Richard Carrier, has some excellent analysis about this.

https://www.richardcarrier.info/archives/7924
https://www.richardcarrier.info/archives/7862

Criticizing an article "Sources for Caesar and Jesus Compared" by Darrell Bock, Carrier says:

So take note: we have actual coins and inscriptions dating from Caesar’s time and the time of his contemporaries. None for Jesus. We also have several eyewitness accounts. Caesar’s own, as Bock mentions (although he omits the most important one, the Civil War) and Cicero’s and Sallust’s, as Bock also mentions (although he omits the most important one, Cicero’s Letters). But also Pompey (surviving collections of Cicero’s letters include letters from Pompey) and Augustus (Caesar’s adopted son and successor, who commissioned many inscriptions and coins). And Livy, a contemporary of Caesar, covers Caesar in his histories—and in their poetry, so do contemporaries Virgil, Ovid, and Catullus. The Gospels are not eyewitness sources, name no eyewitness sources, and have no verifiable eyewitness sources. There are no eyewitness sources for Jesus. There are at least nine for Caesar. Bock mentions but does not make anything of this crucial distinction. It seems to be irrelevant to him. But I’m here to tell you, it isn’t to historians.
At most Bock tries to claim the Gospels are eyewitness sources by just handwaving to the opinions of conservatives, and gullibly trusting the report of Papias, which we know is false because it contradicts all the data. Hence his attempts to assert the Gospels are eyewitness sources I refute, and document all mainstream scholars balk at, in Chapters 7.4 and 8.7 of On the Historicity of Jesus. He has no other arguments. He doesn’t interact with mainstream scholarship or the abundant refutations of this claim in the literature. He just vaguely alludes to the fact that his claims contradict the mainstream consensus, and with that fine confession, tries a Plan B by naming some books that argue the Gospels nevertheless must contain reliable oral tradition, even though other than books he wrote or co-wrote himself, the authors he names (e.g. Dunn) do not in fact come to that conclusion (they conclude, instead, that some of what’s in the Gospels might go back to eyewitness sources through considerably distorting lenses, a fact Bock seems not to know, or else suspiciously forgets to mention).

Thallus (52AD) was quoted by Julius Africanus (221 AD) about the darkness which occurred at the crucifixion, which was experienced by observers far from Jerusalem.
Actually Africanus was quoted by Syncellus in the 9th century AD, so this is third-hand news that's chronologically as far from the original source as we are from the Crusades. What is more likely: that the earth stopped spinning on its axis for three hours, or that something got misquoted or mistranslated?

Furthermore: if you are going to accept miraculous accounts as being literally true, there's no end to the rabbit-holes that you're going to get yourself into. Every ancient religion, and most modernly invented ones too, have their miracle stories. The Bible itself even warns of false miracle workers. They say to judge the fruits. How do you compare the fruits of the greater and lesser world religions, sects and cults? As far as I'm concerned, the Eight Condiments of the Flying Spaghetti Monster can hold their own against any other deity's produce.

As for the idea of the NT or Josephus confusing the Messiah with Titus - this is unthinkable!
For Josephus, this is a well known fact, referring in this case to Titus Flavius Vespasianus.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vespasian#Great_Jewish_Revolt_(66–69)

Josephus (as well as Tacitus), reporting on the conclusion of the Jewish war, reported a prophecy that around the time when Jerusalem and the Second Temple would be taken, a man from their own nation, viz. the Messiah, would become governor “of the habitable earth”. Josephus interpreted the prophecy to denote Vespasian and his appointment as emperor in Judea.
source: Josephus, War of the Jews 6.5.4
 
Last edited:

Jerry Russell

Administrator
Staff member
Do you have any images of clouds etc with statistically-probable images?
We had a cloudy day today. I saw one lizard-face, and one broad smiley face that reminded me a little of Fred Flintstone. But I have to admit I didn't see anything near as convincing as Mark Twain on 911.
 

Ruby Gray

Member
Last but not least, members of the Pastafarian Church have collected an amazing 29 pages of sightings of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, even including some obvious fakes.
"Obvious fakes"?? Surely not!

What is more likely: that the earth stopped spinning on its axis for three hours, or that something got misquoted or mistranslated?
That answer presupposes that the only way the darkness could have happened is due to the rotation (or not) of the earth.
Of course similar events have occurred, such as the Dark Day in New England on 19 May 1780, when extensive total darkness descended over a widespread area of New England for about 12 hours, caused by forest fire smoke, fog and clouds which attentuated the sunlight. This was thought at that time to be a divine sign of the impending end of the world. The SDA church epecially still refers to this event as a proof of scripture prophecy fulfilled, even though nothing came of it. It remains part of their convoluted false theology. Yes, humans do have good imaginations.

Furthermore: if you are going to accept miraculous accounts as being literally true, there's no end to the rabbit-holes that you're going to get yourself into. Every ancient religion, and most modernly invented ones too, have their miracle stories. The Bible itself even warns of false miracle workers. They say to judge the fruits. How do you compare the fruits of the greater and lesser world religions, sects and cults? As far as I'm concerned, the Eight Condiments of the Flying Spaghetti Monster can hold their own against any other deity's produce.
I would counter that you do indeed believe in miracles, Jerry. To believe that in the beginning there was nothing, which exploded for no reason, and that life spontaneously self-generated from inanimate chemistry, and that moral values and love and "goodness" have any value since they originated from cold hard matter the same as anarchy, hatred and cruelty, and that physical laws inexorably and repeatably govern the characteristics and behaviour of all the random atomic particles of this universe, which came about without rational thought or design or input of energy, and that knowledge is real, or that a single cell (which has the irreducible complexity of the city of New York) could "evolve" through multitudes of intermediate forms into a human being ... and of course I could go on and on ... that takes a strong belief in the miraculous. But ultimately pointless.

So I will continue to post the results of my own studies, taking the bible at face value, and see where this leads. I agree of course that the plethora of mostly recently-formed and mutually exclusive religions all claiming biblical mandates for their existence, is diagnostic of the counterfeit nature of at least all minus one of them.
The bible does define its own doctrinal standards by which churches are to be judged.
The exhortation to judge "them" by their fruits, refers to false prophets, which suggests individuals.

Matthew 7
15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing
but inwardly are ravenous wolves.
16 You will recognize them by their fruits.
Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?
17 So, every healthy tree bears good fruit,
but the diseased tree bears bad fruit.
18 A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit,
nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit.
19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit
is cut down and thrown into the fire.
20 Thus you will recognize them by their fruits."

Of course, many a false prophet has inaugurated a church on the basis of his false prophecies, then the same applies to that church. So in America especially in the mid 1800s, there were many false prophets who became figureheads of fake churches on the basis of bible prophecies falsely intepreted. They were indeed "ravening wolves," fleecing the flock. These diseased tree have produced rotten fruit from inception, no matter how sanitised and orthodox these churches may now appear to be. It is part of a global trend that we are warned about.
Luke 18:8 "When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith in the earth?"
 
Top