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Does the Book of Acts Underplay the Significance of Jesus’ Death?

One of the things that I have found most interesting about doing the blog over these, lo, past five and a half years is that when I decide to write a post on something, I often realize that I need to provide some background that involves something else that, on the surface, may seem unrelated, but that is crucial for understanding the point I want to make.  Which leads me to a different topic and then to another, and so on.    I suppose that’s why I still haven’t run out of things to say (yet); I *thought* I’d have nothing to write about after six months.  But it hasn’t happened yet.

I’ve been talking about the sects within Judaism because I wanted to make a simple point about how widespread the views of “resurrection” were at the time of Jesus and Paul.   This morning it occurred to me that it would be helpful to illustrate the conflict between Sadducees and Pharisees over the issue, as exemplified in a famous passage in Acts 22 where the Apostle Paul manages to split the Sanhedrin by pitting these two groups against each other over whether at the end of time there would be a resurrection or not.

Then I realized that I would have to explain the intriguing and hardly ever noticed (outside of scholarship) point that Paul’s message in Acts is largely about Jesus’ resurrection, not about his death.   That is somewhat odd, given the fact that Paul himself – who does of course say a lot about Jesus’ resurrection – locates the key moment of salvation in Jesus’ death as an atoning sacrifice (without a resurrection, of course, no one would know it was an atoning sacrifice; but the resurrection itself is not what brings salvation for Paul: the death does, as confirmed in the mighty act of God in the resurrection.)

And then I recognized that I should explain how that in fact is what scholars have long said about the book of Acts, that the idea that Jesus’ death as a sacrifice for sins is almost completely lacking – unlike in Paul, and in Mark and Matthew, and 1 Peter, etc.   What Acts focuses on is not Jesus’ death, but his resurrection.   Some scholars have accused the author of Acts of underplaying the importance of the crucifixion in order to promote a “theology of glory.”  What really matters is not Jesus’ suffering, but his victory over death.  The death of Jesus is just a prelude to what really mattered (for Luke): the resurrection.

At first you might think that’s nonsense, but …

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Did Luke Have a Doctrine of the Atonement? Mailbag September 24, 2017
Two Other Ancient Jewish Sects

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Comments

  1. Avatar
    mmns  September 23, 2017

    Professor Ehrman, now on different but related issue, I am assuming that Paul regarded himself as a monotheistic jew both before and after his call (conversion ). Therefore, he believed in one and only YHWA as the ultimate divine, after he came to believe in the salvation by Christ and his atoning death and in view of 1 Corinthians 15:3-5 and Philippians 2 :6-11.
    1- Did Paul consider Christ as equal or slightly less divine than YHWA the father, though co-eternal.
    2- If equally divine, did he give up his monotheism. If not, how he reconciled the fact there are 2 equally divine beings before the doctrine of Tertullian Trinity.
    3- If of lesser divinity, does that make Paul’s christology similar to Arius and Arianism.
    Thank uou.

    • Bart
      Bart  September 24, 2017

      This is the topic I address at length in my book How Jesus Became God. shortly, I think Paul thought of Christ as a second-tier divinity, below God but above all else; this view could certainly lead to an Arian understanding, but it was not expressed in the later sophisticated theological terms of fourth century controversies.

  2. Avatar
    SidDhartha1953  September 23, 2017

    Do you think the author of Acts was attempting to give an accurate account of the early preaching of the apostles, as opposed to what had developed by the end of the first century? Something I have noticed or that has been pointed out to me is that there is no trinitarian formula for baptism in Acts: people are baptized “in the name of Jesus Christ.” (Acts 10:48)

  3. Avatar
    Icanoedoyou  September 23, 2017

    Wow, this raises lots of big questions for me. It’s the issue over which I left a church and eventually Christianity. It’s not the question “what must I do to be saved?” But “what must I believe to be saved?” Do you have any recommended readings on this question? From my experience, there is not a definitive biblical answer to this question, though people like to make lists of the essentials. Creeds may also serve that purpose.

    Thanks for addressing a fascinating topic!

    • Bart
      Bart  September 24, 2017

      I”m not sure what you’re asking for — is it for a theological exposition of what a person needs in order to be right with God? I’m afraid I wouldn’t know the best place to send you for that (since I’m neither a theologian nor a Christian!)

      • Avatar
        Icanoedoyou  September 24, 2017

        You mentioned what Luke required to be right with God as opposed to what Paul required. You really can’t avoid theology when studying the Bible, can you? I’m wondering who has written in more detail on this topic – the various biblical views on what is required to be right with God.

        One of the things that caused me to begin doubting and eventually leave the church was this issue. There were so many different views espoused dogmatically. Plus the doctrine of eternal torment. Plus reading your books! 🙂

        This blog is so amazing! Thanks for all you do to keep it going.

  4. Avatar
    nbraith1975  September 23, 2017

    Hey Bart – The comment I posted yesterday has been removed?

  5. Avatar
    Edward  September 23, 2017

    Christian Theology is All Over the Map. Part 1. Must Christians believe that Jesus’s bloody death had atoning power? https://edward-t-babinski.blogspot.com/2016/01/christian-theology-is-all-over-map-part.html

    What did the author of Luke-Acts believe about the doctrine known as ‘the atonement?’ “There is at present no satisfactory consensus reached regarding the presentation of the death of Jesus in Luke-Acts. Many models have been proposed, but none seem to deal adequately with all that is going on in Luke-Acts.” See, the diversity of opinion in The Atonement in Lucan Theology in Recent Discussion Some argue that the Lucan Jesus is presented as an innocent martyr, righteous, or lowly man, or that Jesusʼs death was simply a means toward resurrection.

    “Many scholars see no atoning significance in the Gospel of Lukeʼs presentation of the death of Jesus and no connection with the forgiveness of sins. There are three passion predictions (9:22; 9:44; 18:31-3), but nothing corresponding to the ‘ransom’ saying in Mark 10:45 and Matthew 20:28, and no ‘cry of dereliction’ from the cross in Luke 23. Even the citations from Isaiah 53 in Luke 22:37 and Acts 8:32-3 are said to demonstrate that Luke is interested ‘not in the atoning death of Jesus but in the fulfillment of scripture in the obedient passion (silence), death (humiliation), and resurrection (taking up from the earth) of the Servant.’” per David Peterson, Atonement in the Synoptic Gospels, who cites Conzelmann, H., The Theology of St. Luke, (trans. G. Buswell; New York: Harper & Row, 1960), 200-1; and, Sylva, D. D. (ed.), Reimaging the Death of the Lukan Jesus (Frankfurt: Anton Hain, 1990) which records a variety of ways in which the death of Jesus in Luke-Acts has been understood; and, Sylva, Reimaging, 146. In ‘Atonement Theology in Luke-Acts: Some Methodological Reflections,’ in P. J. Williams, A. D. Clarke, P. M. Head, D. Instone-Brewer (ed.), The New Testament in its First Century Setting (Grand Rapids/Cambridge: Eerdmans), 56-71.

    Consider the Gospel of Luke where the author mentions that John the Baptist gave his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of sins because of Godʼs tender mercy (Luke 1:76-78), adding that the Baptist preached a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins (Luke 3:2-4); and the Gospel of Luke ends the same way, by stating that “repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his [Jesusʼs] name to all nations” (Luke 24:46-48), but nothing about the atoning power of Jesusʼs blood sacrifice. Same with the prayer Jesus taught others to pray per Matthew and Luke, the ‘Our Father,’ that mentions God granting forgiveness to those who forgive others, i.e., without God requiring a blood sacrifice before forgiving sins.)

    Scholars point out that the author of Luke-Acts neglected to reproduce crucial verses found in Mark//Matthew that describe Jesusʼ death as a ‘ransom.’ Luke reproduces much of Mark in his gospel, including material from immediately before and immediately after the passage below, but omits this particular passage:

    “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
    Mark 10:45 / Matt 20:28

    Also, Luke 22:19-20 says “And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.’” In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.” But some manuscripts only have “And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body.’” that is, they lack the bit about a “new covenant in my blood poured out for you.”

    Bart Ehrman in “The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture,” makes a compelling case for why the shorter reading is the original. And this is the only passage in Luke that suggests Jesusʼ shed blood had magical atoning power.

    Similar to the case found in the Gospel of Luke only a single passage in Acts suggests Jesusʼ shed blood has atoning power:

    “Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.” Acts 20:28

    That is the only verse in Acts that suggests that Jesusʼ shed blood has atoning power, and much like the verse in Luke, there is a good case to be made that these words were not part of the original.

    Without Luke 22:19b-20 and Acts 20:28 there is no concept of blood atonement in Luke-Acts. When Jesus died, according to Luke, it wasnʼt in place of sinners or on their behalf, instead, one need only repent and be baptized in most cases, to accept Godʼs direct mercy.

    So if one need only repent and be baptized what is the cross about according to Luke-Acts?

    Letʼs have a look at the preaching of Peter and Paul in Acts.

    Peter preaches the following in Acts 2, Jesus was a man sent by God. We know he was sent by God because of the miracles. According to Godʼs plan he was killed. God raised him to life. God made him Lord and Messiah. God gave him the Holy Spirit, which he now pours out on his followers. In order to get the Spirit you need to repent and be baptized in Jesusʼs name. Peterʼs message is that forgiveness comes through repentance and baptism and then you get the Holy Spirit.

    In Acts 3, Peter preaches that forgiveness comes through repentance and baptism isnʼt mentioned.

    In Acts 4, Peterʼs message to the Sanhedrin is that salvation is found in Jesus, but this appears linked to his exalted current status, not to his death.

    In Acts 5, Peterʼs words suggest that God exalted Jesus the role of savior after his resurrection, so it was neither the death or resurrection that has saving power, but rather Jesusʼs current exalted status.

    In Acts 7 Stephenʼs preaching does not include a ‘gospel’ message, but it is clear that it is the power of the risen Jesus that matters.

    In Acts 8, the topic is how you get the Holy Spirit. Again, this seems to be the objective of preaching in Acts.

    In Acts 10, Peter preaches to Cornelius, informing him that what God did to Jesus after his ascension is what matters, and believing in the risen Jesus is the way to receive the Holy Spirit.

    In Acts 13 Paul preaches the same message, namely that Jesus was a good man, wrongly killed, vindicated by God, raised, and then made Son of God and Savior.

    In Acts 17 Paul basically repeats his message in Acts 13.

    The preaching of the apostles in Acts repeats the same basic message, Jesus was a good man, wrongly killed. He was vindicated by God and raised from the dead. He became the Son of God and Savior. He can forgive the sins of the repentant and send the Holy Spirit.

    Therefore, scholars have noted that a blood atonement is not the major focus of preaching in Acts. It might not be the focus at all in fact if two questionable passages that mention the ‘blood’ are later additions, as textual scholars suspect they are.

    The gospel message in Luke-Acts is this: repent, be baptized in the name of Jesus and receive the Holy Spirit.

    To add to the above case, note that Luke 19:19ff (NASB), talks about ‘salvation’ coming to Zaccheus after he repents and returns ill gotten gains. This understanding of salvation precedes Jesusʼ death on the cross, and as in every other case mentioned differs from the traditional Christian view that “without shedding of blood there can be no forgiveness of sins.” It also differs from the story of the rich young man in which Jesus told him to give away all of his possessions that he might have treasure in heaven and how difficult it was for a rich man to enter heaven, since Zaccheus only gives away half of what he owns, not all, and still, ‘salvation’ is his. Hereʼs the story in Luke 19:

    He [Jesus] entered Jericho and was passing through. 2 And there was a man called by the name of Zaccheus; he was a chief tax collector and he was rich. 3 Zaccheus was trying to see who Jesus was, and was unable because of the crowd, for he was small in stature. [The Greek is ambiguous as to whether or not Zaccheus or Jesus was ‘small in stature,’ though the former is probably meant, though if the latter is meant, it would be the only time in the New Testament where some description of the physical Jesus is presented. Though like I said, it is probably just talking about Zaccheus.] 4 So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree in order to see Him, for He was about to pass through that way. 5 When Jesus came to the place, He looked up and said to him, “Zaccheus, hurry and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” 6 And he hurried and came down and received Him gladly. 7 When they saw it, they all began to grumble, saying, “He has gone to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” 8 Zaccheus stopped and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, half of my possessions I will give to the poor, and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will give back four times as much.” 9 And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he, too, is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

    Nor does the passage demonstrate that everyone is “lost,” nor do these other Gospel passages:

    “And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.“ Mark 2:17

    “But when he heard it, he said, ‘Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means, “I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’” For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” Matthew 9.12-13

    “And Jesus answered them, ‘Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.’” Luke 5:31-32

    In fact Jesus in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke does not say everyoneʼs heart is evil and wicked above all things, but rather states:

    “A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him.” Matthew 12:35

    “A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” Luke 6:45

    Jesus also says to “love God with all your heart” which seems impossible if the heart can will only evil choices and is desperately wicked in everyone at all times.

    Moreover, the Bible is a big book and you can find passages that put forth the notion that God does not require blood atonement sacrifices because sometimes grain sacrifices are fine, but even more to the point are passages where God directly forgives people who repent. Such passages state outright that repentance and doing good takes the utmost precedence above all types of sacrifices, so at best atonement sacrifices are secondary in Godʼs eyes:

    “For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.” Hosea 6:6

    “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8

    “Hear the word of the Lord, you rulers of Sodom; listen to the instruction of our God, you people of Gomorrah! “The multitude of your sacrifices—what are they to me?” says the Lord. ‘I have more than enough of burnt offerings, of rams and the fat of fattened animals; I have no pleasure in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats. When you come to appear before me, who has asked this of you, this trampling of my courts? Stop bringing meaningless offerings! Your incense is detestable to me. New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations—I cannot bear your worthless assemblies. Your New Moon feasts and your appointed festivals I hate with all my being. They have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them. When you spread out your hands in prayer, I hide my eyes from you; even when you offer many prayers, I am not listening. Your hands are full of blood!’” Isaiah 1:10-15

    “Hear, you earth: I am bringing disaster on this people, the fruit of their schemes, because they have not listened to my words and have rejected my law. What do I care about incense from Sheba or sweet calamus from a distant land? Your burnt offerings are not acceptable; your sacrifices do not please me.” Jeremiah 6:19-21

    Or, to quote Jesus himself…

    “In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”
    Matthew 7:12

    Thatʼs it. Sounds pretty straightforward, not like the the merry-go-round of questions Christian theologians continue to debate, involving questions like, “Do I have enough faith, love, devotion, correct beliefs, etc.” How much and how fervently and exactly what must I believe in order to be saved? How many doubts and questions can I continue to harbor and remain “saved?” etc.

    Also see Christian Theology is All Over the Map. Part 2. How Can One Gain Eternal Life? The Synoptic Road to Salvation vs. The Roman Road to Salvation https://edward-t-babinski.blogspot.com/2016/01/christian-theology-is-all-over-map-part_24.html

    • Bart
      Bart  September 24, 2017

      Some interesting points here. But I’m afraid most people on the blog will not be inclined to read a comment of this length! (Maybe I’m wrong: but at least for future reference…)

  6. Avatar
    turbopro  September 24, 2017

    Prof, I have a couple questions that are sorta related to life after death please: in Exodus 30:12, the KJV reads as follows:
    “When thou takest the sum of the children of Israel after their number, then shall they give every man a ransom for his soul unto the Lord…”

    whereas the NRSV reads:
    “When you take a census of the Israelites to register them, at registration all of them shall give a ransom for their lives to the Lord…”

    I’m curious as to the difference in translations where the KJV says “every man a ransom for his soul,” and the NRSV says “all of them shall give a ransom for their lives.”

    Was the dualist understanding of body vs soul extant when the KJV was penned?
    And, which is it then, the singular “his soul” (KJV), or the plural “their lives (NRSV)”?

    • Bart
      Bart  September 24, 2017

      The Hebrew term here for “soul” and “lives” here is NEPHESH, which is not really to be understood as the “soul” as opposed to the “body,” but is the term for that element of the human that brings animation. Without the nephesh, a person is a cadaver. The NRSV is trying to get to that point. The reason for the difference between the translations giving a singular “his soul” and plural “their lives” is complicated: the Hebrew does give it in the singular, but it is referring not only to one person but to all the “children of Israel,” understood to comprise not only men (“his”) but women as well (“their”).

      • talmoore
        talmoore  September 26, 2017

        A better translation would have been “for each his or her own life,” which is what the Hebrew is really trying to express here.

  7. Avatar
    mannix  September 25, 2017

    What is interesting to me about the Resurrection is the post-Resurrection narrative….specifically the lack of it. It seems to me the return of an executed man from the dead would have attracted considerable attention in the region! Yet there is no mention of any Roman reaction to the reported live exhumation….wouldn’t that have been of interest to Pilate & Co.? And how about the supposed crowds that listened to Jesus’ preaching and participated in the Triumphant Entry into Jerusalem? I would think He would have been mobbed by His thousands of followers and the Romans would have had experienced the “fear of God”. Lastly, what about the Pharisees and Sadducees…if I were one of them I’d be changing my underwear!

    Then there’s the Ascension…the response by the apostles and disciples seems somewhat blasé and underwhelming…”Where’s Jesus?”… “Oh, He ascended into Heaven”… “Oh, OK”. I mean, Jesus returns from the dead, only to split after 6 weeks. One problem with the Resurrection is the Resurrection. What do we do with the perfected body? Will it live forever? Will it age? The apostles could certainly have used Jesus’ advice and guidance in formation of the new Church. Solution: get rid of the body by lifting it into space!

    Has anyone written about what I feel is an underwhelming response to these two stunning/miraculous events?

    • Bart
      Bart  September 25, 2017

      I think there are others that share your befuddlement, but I don’t know of any books dealing directly with it.

  8. Avatar
    Wilusa  September 25, 2017

    Re the perceived importance of the crucifixion…I’ve remembered that when I was a Catholic, there *was* a lot of attention given to the so-called “Stations of the Cross.” A church would have plaques on the walls illustrating such things as “Jesus falls the first time,” “Jesus falls the second time,” “Veronica wipes Jesus’s face,” etc. People were supposed to walk around the church – sometimes in groups – praying (aloud, if there were groups) at each “Station.” I think there were 14 of them.

    I think the intent was, really, a masochistic dwelling on Jesus’s *suffering*. For its own sake! I don’t remember there being any theological “point” to it.

    • Avatar
      mannix  September 25, 2017

      Wilusa, the Stations –all 14 of them– still exist. The last time I attended the ceremony was in grade school. As I recall, most of the “suffering’ was endured by those of us who had to sit through them!

  9. Avatar
    Michael Toon  September 25, 2017

    Absolutely random question, Bart. Unless I missed in your books, how come you never cite Matthew 10:1-23 to help substantiate your views that Jesus is best understood as an apocalyptic preacher who expected the end of the world to transpire in his generation (his lifetime?)? Do these passages not pass the critical historical method for what Jesus most likely would have said?

    • Bart
      Bart  September 26, 2017

      Yes, 10:23 is the key. I haven’t checked, but I’m sure I must have referred to it somewhere. It was the absolute key verse for Albert Schweitzer’s case that Jesus was an apocalypticist.

      • Avatar
        Michael Toon  September 26, 2017

        Thanks! You are the best!

  10. DestinationReign
    DestinationReign  September 26, 2017

    This ties in with the reply just recently posted on the September 24th blog entry. It all deals with the paradigm transition that we are now entering.

    Think about the fact that when Jesus sent the disciples out to preach the coming of the Kingdom (Matthew 10, Luke 9), it was not only before He had been crucified, but it was without the disciples even having any knowledge about the coming crucifixion (Luke 18:33-34)! This is a divine clue; this shows us that the TRUE message of the TRUE Kingdom does not involve the cross. The implications of this fact are rather unbelievable, but UNDENIABLE. Those implications are that Christianity and its core message have been ERRONEOUS for 2,000 years. Christianity’s “Gospel message,” founded on the cross, is IN ERROR. We are now entering the dawn of a new day (the “third day”/third millennium) in which the world must awaken, or “resurrect,” to this fact. But it must begin with Christianity itself first realizing and confessing this to the world, and repenting of its waywardness.

    As you have demonstrated, the earliest presentments about Christ by His original followers, after He departed, focused on His life, NOT His death at the crucifixion. (These presentments were much closer to the Truth than what Christianity has propagated to the world.) Such proclamations were short lived, however, as once Paul introduced his “revelation” of Christ’s atoning death, that view then overtook Christ’s original disciples, as evidenced in their epistles purporting Paul’s salvific views of Christ’s death. (That view has obviously prevailed throughout the history of conventional Christianity.)

    Remember, Christ prophesied in John 9:4-5 that darkness would befall the world after He was to depart. That darkness has hidden the true message of the Kingdom throughout the Church Age dispensation, resulting not only in Christianity’s erroneous “Gospel,” but the tens of thousands of conflicting denominations of Christianity, all seeing different things in the SAME BOOK (the Bible). Christianity, the “Body of Christ,” has been blind and entombed (even as Christ’s “body” was blindfolded and eventually entombed during His afflictions). It MUST be understood and accepted that Christianity itself is the “Mystery Babylon” of Revelation. To “come out of her, my people,” is to awaken and come out of the entombing darkness that has enshrouded the Christian mentality since Christianity’s very inception. Christianity is blind but believes it can see (John 9:41), and hypocritically condemns the world to hell for not having “the truth.” While the King has been away, Christians have all done as they see right in their own eyes (Judges 21:25), as evidenced by the multitudes of disagreeing denominations. The (again, rather unbelievable) fact is that up until this time, the Bible’s true meaning has been IMPERCEPTIBLE to all men during the age of darkness prophesied by Christ. The Word of God has been shrouded in darkness, even as Christ (the “Word of God”) was hidden in darkness until the appointed time.

    There is absolutely a divine Intelligence behind all of this, and it is all happening according to divine timing. These are riddles to be solved in order to come to the realization of man’s own intrinsic divine essence; the realization that will naturally transcend and ultimately obliterate the construct of religion. It is not happenstance that Luke is the only Gospel that describes Adam as the “son of God.” Adam is mankind, and mankind itself has the divine spark within; and Luke is the Gospel pertinent to the time of awakening to these truths as the entombing Church Age draws to a close. (The stone is beginning to be rolled away from the opening of the tomb!)

    Again, man is the collective “son of God” and his divine essence has been dormant (sleeping) within. “Jesus” is the archetype, the “living parable” demonstrating the necessity of awakening to this realization, and of coming out of the tomb (of PERCEPTION) in order to claim our divine offices in the heavenly realms. It’s not about waiting for Him to fly down from the sky, but about experiencing His awakening presence within, at this very time (John 14:19-20). As we enter the “third day,” this is the collective awakening that is set to transpire on a mass scale within humanity. It will truly be the greatest miracle this world has ever seen. (Much more miraculous than a guy with a beard coming back to life “Night of the Living Dead” style!) It happens through placing far less emphasis on the literality and historicity of Scripture, and understanding its higher metaphorical and symbolic meanings through ascended insights.

    To continue emphasizing the supposed redeeming necessity of Christ’s death is to continue to uphold Him as a distant religious icon, as well as to uphold the mentality of the religion construct, which ENTOMBS man’s perceptions. So, just as the “Son of God” came out of the dark tomb on the third day, so is the “son of God” (humanity, “Adam”) set to come out of its dark tomb as we transition to the “third day.” This will culminate with being transformed ALIVE into a glorified, imperishable existence, even as Christ ascended to Heaven after coming out of His tomb.

    And so, Paul was mistaken in even another way: It was not HIS generation “on whom the ends of the ages have come” (1 Corinthians 10:11), but OURS! Those who are now beginning to see these transcendent truths at this divinely appointed time of spiritual awakening.

    It is hoped that you can see the metaphoric relations of all of this, as well as the implications of what awaits once the construct of religion is overcome once and for all!

  11. DestinationReign
    DestinationReign  September 26, 2017

    I think it would also be beneficial to present what is written on pages 314 and 315 of STS on this particular matter. This highlights the importance of Gospel comparisons regarding the necessity of Christ’s death, and the importance of Luke’s dissimilar elements on the matter:

    “Christians will of course cite scriptural references attributed to Jesus Himself, wherein He alludes to the fact that His death would happen as a ransom; a necessary event in God’s eyes to enable mankind entry into heaven. And we do in fact find this ransom notion specifically conveyed in the Gospels— of Matthew and Mark.”

    [In the book, passages from Matthew 20 and Mark 10 featuring Jesus’ “ransom” proclamation are inserted here.]

    “However, what we have firmly and consistently established through the Gospel-comparison template of the Gospel Matrix is that Luke pertains to the current transitional shift that is transcending long-held belief structures. This is at both microcosmic (individual) and macrocosmic (collective) levels. As such, the word “ransom” (Greek lytron) is not found anywhere in Luke’s Gospel. In fact, regarding the above two passages, we can compare a parallel declaration in Luke that contains a textual alteration that excludes the notion of Jesus’ necessary death as a ransom.”

    [Luke 22:25-30 is then cited here.]

    “And as we see, not only does Luke’s alteration exclude Jesus’ inference to dying as a ransom, it in fact replaces it with a praiseworthy declaration to those who will be acclaimed in the Kingdom. This is a notion that is transversely absent from Matthew’s and Mark’s parallel account of the same proclamation. Thus, Luke applies praiseworthy regard to those who do not associate Jesus’ death with a ransom, but instead see it as a symbol of the trials that accompany the archetypal spiritual quest.”

    Matthew > Mark > Luke
    Ransom > Ransom > No ransom, Kingdom conferred

  12. Pattycake1974
    Pattycake1974  September 26, 2017

    Did Paul believe that Jesus became Lord after his resurrection? I assumed he did, but when I was flipping through the pages of How Jesus Became God, it says that he believed Jesus was equal to God after his resurrection. I wasn’t sure if that was the same thing.

    • Bart
      Bart  September 27, 2017

      Yes, God made him the KURIOS (Lord) and gave him the name above all others. The key passage is Philippians 2:6-11.

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