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LETTER TO THE HEBREWS DENIES ANY EVIDENCE FOR JESUS

THE UNSUBSTANTIATED CHRIST IN HEBREWS

The early letter, the epistle to the Hebrews, raises some challenges to the notion that Jesus lived in the first century and that the account of the gospels is true.

The epistle to the Hebrews is so closely entwined to Pauline thought that most Christians have surmised that it is Paul’s own work. It was probably written before 70 AD and is older than the gospels because it is not marked by the traditions that produced the gospels. The argument of the epistle is that Jesus was a better priest than the Jewish priesthood and it never speaks of the Temple. It speaks as if it were written before the Temple was built. In 7:27, it says that the High Priest offered sacrifice for sin every day. This was never done in the Jewish Temple (page 58, The Historical Evidence for Jesus). In Hebrews 9:3 he writes that the altar of incense was in the Holy of Holies, the most sacred part of the Tabernacle. It was never put there in the Temple. The epistle speaks as if it were written before the time of Solomon's Temple when the Jews were using a tent called the Tabernacle for worship. The author was trying to plot the gospel of Jesus and the salvation won by him in those times. He was testifying that Jesus lived centuries before the time Christians want to believe he lived.

Hebrews says that Jesus did away with the need for sacrifices by his death and was a descendant of Abraham (Hebrews 2). None of this proves that Jesus was an earthly man nor does it indicate that Jesus was born after Abraham’s time and was literally of his seed. Even if it did, the Law of Moses holds that it is possible for other races to become Jews not by having their flesh changed but legally which means that they can become descendants of Abraham by right and not by blood. God could turn a man who was not descended from Abraham into a physical and blood descendant by changing his flesh. God knowing Jesus would offer the sacrifice would always have considered other sacrifices unnecessary so that gives us no clue as to whether Jesus was born after Moses set up the sacrifice system or before.
 
Nothing in Hebrews 2 indicates when Jesus lived and Jesus could have been a man who lived in another world. It considers first of all how Jesus was not like the angels and spends time on it indicating that Hebrews was written for those who saw Jesus as a otherworldly being. So it sees the need to establish Jesus’ humanity. Now when Hebrews says that Jesus had to be flesh and blood in order to have compassion on our frailties by being frail himself it is obvious that the Hebrews author is grasping at straws to prove that Jesus was a fleshly being. Had Jesus lived recently there would have been no need for that. And Jesus could have been able to understand us without taking our nature. An alien with feelings could understand us to have compassion on us despite being a totally different kind of being.

We are told that Jesus had to take flesh and blood like us so that he might destroy the power of Satan by his death (v14). Jesus did not have to do this at all. As long as he had some kind of a body he could have suffered and died for us so are we taught the absurdity that it needed to be human flesh and blood? I believe that the Christian doctrine that Jesus needed to have flesh like us and not just any kind of flesh arises from the desire to prove theologically that there was a man called Jesus. The logic was that since there was no evidence for such a man the evidence had to be manufactured theologically.

The same chapter also relates that because Jesus was perfected through suffering he sanctifies others and he and the others have the same origin which is why he can call ordinary people brothers. The author quotes Psalm 22:22 as the words of Jesus as proving that Jesus regards all mankind as brothers. It might mean that Jesus wrote the psalm when he was on earth which would place him well before the time he was said to have lived. If Jesus wrote the Psalm which may have been preserved and edited by David in the book of Psalms and if he suffered that much before his crucifixion then we are not dealing with the Jesus of the gospels here but a nebulous figure from long long ago. Now when the letter does not hint when Jesus lived it is plain that it must be understood to be saying that Jesus did physically write the psalm. Remember, different authors must be put into their own individual contexts. Don’t do what the Christians do and interpret each author in the light of other authors. That’s deception.

Hebrews 5:1-6 tells us that every high priest has been taken out of mankind to act for men in their relationship with God and to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. So he can sympathise with those he acts for because like them he suffers from ignorance and uncertainty which causes weakness. Because of his ignorance and uncertainty which produce weakness he has to make sacrifices for his sins as well as those of others. It then goes on to say that no priest takes this honour to himself but has to be called by God and even Jesus was no exception. (Incidentally, Jesus then could not have been God. If he was God and a man then he had to have been a priest automatically for he would naturally offer his sufferings and works as a man to God.)
 
This says that ignorance and uncertainty cause weakness and weakness causes sin. The gospel Jesus never made any claim to know all. In fact he listened to the Devil’s temptations which shows that there was weakness there and that he wanted to be tempted which is a sin in itself. This Jesus from Hebrews who didn’t need to make sin offerings for himself is definitely not the Jesus of the gospels. The gospels were lies. Hebrews says that men priests are necessarily ignorant and weak. So he is denying then that Jesus was a man like us that way. He might have been another species of man living on another world or at the gate of Heaven but he wasn’t a man like us that way.

The Law of Moses speaks of sin not necessarily as doing wrong deliberately but as making mistakes as well. That is why it made provision for unknown offences. This totally contradicts all human laws of decency and fairness for nobody should be punished or have to pay for unknown or unintentional mistakes to God. (We might have to make people pay for mistakes on earth but that is so that the suffering caused may be corrected but our mistakes do God who is all powerful no harm.) We have enough to worry about without that nonsense. Hebrews seems to be speaking of that kind of sin, unintentional sin, here. It speaks of ignorance and uncertainty causing the weakness that results in sin so it must be on about unintentional sin primarily. If Jesus was free from this kind of sin then he wasn’t ignorant or uncertain about anything. He wasn’t like us that way. Nobody could write that way about a man that had actually lived recently and if the gospels were even partly true.
 
Hebrews 7:23 states that the reason there had to be a huge number of priest under the old covenant was because the priests were subject to dying. But Christ because he doesn’t die never loses his priesthood. The old covenant could have had the one priest only. When he dies then replace him. God ordains priests so God can decide how the successor priest is ordained perhaps by election or something. One priest would have been a better picture of the priesthood of Christ assuming that Christians are right in saying that the Old Testament priesthood existed only to point to the work of Christ whether these priests realised it or not. Hebrews is actually being silly in saying many priests were needed because priests die and the supply had to be kept up. It was an attempt to justify the idea that Jesus wasn’t dead anymore. Again this desperation to show that Jesus was alive speaks of how poor the evidence for his resurrection was. Also Jesus must have lost his priesthood when he died so is Hebrews accidentally telling us that Jesus never died? If it is then the gospel evidence for Jesus is nonsense for if the death was doubtful though it was the main event in these works then everything else is more doubtful. Is it the reflection of a tradition in Christianity that Jesus never died?
 
If Jesus became a priest after his death when he became alive again then the gospels are lying that Jesus offered his death to God before it happened.
 
If Jesus brought in the New Covenant in which he is the High Priest and the Priest of God meaning that the priests of the Old Covenant which was abolished by the New does that mean that Jesus lived and died in the latter times – say a few decades or so before Hebrews was written. It still could have been centuries before for the old priesthood continued to the day of the author of Hebrews not knowing it was abolished or so we are led to believe!
 
Now if 7:23 says that the number of priests had to be big because they were dying and ceasing to be priests and Christ holds his priesthood forever for he doesn’t die again then we see something interesting. It is necessary for Christ to live forever to be a priest forever. This is nonsense. A priest can be a priest whether he exists or not. If I was born or if I offered sacrifice and I die nothing can change the fact that I was a born person or a priest. Incidentally it shows that there are no real priests but Christ and that being in danger of death or if death is possible indicates that one cannot be a true priest. It refutes the Roman Catholic doctrine that Christ lets men share in his priesthood so that they can offer his sacrifice, the sacrifice he made of his life on the cross, with him in the Mass. These priests die so they are not priests.
 
The suggestion of all this is that Jesus’ death didn’t happen on earth or in time but outside of time. Jesus is a priest forever for he is outside time and offers his death timelessly. Its like in dying he rose again to offer this death so that both are present forever. In timelessness two separate events can happen at the one time. The view that Jesus died in time and rose in eternity to offer his sacrifice forever has the following problem. It doesn’t explain why he had to live forever to be a priest and Hebrews says that Jesus had to live forever to hold his priesthood forever. Jesus could be a priest once and he would be one forever like a man offering a sacrifice is a priest forever for nothing can change his having made the sacrifice. But Hebrews means though his death is once for all its actively offered to God so it’s a timeless event and Jesus rises again timelessly so both happen at once. The death of Jesus and his resurrection were not events in time. This denies the gospel Jesus.
 
The author of Hebrews asserts that the gospel, a term exclusive of anything other than the teaching of Jesus Christ, was known among the ancients of Moses’ day (4:2). It says it was preached to them as it was to us. Paul said that it was all a mystery to ages past but he regarded some people as exceptions for he said so. Hebrews goes on to say that they heard the gospel but did not believe it like Joshua and Caleb did. This would imply that the gospel has been excised from the Old Testament for God would not leave it out unless men hacked it out. Jesus said the Old Testament was perfect and entire for he said the new revelations he gives only back it up so the Old Testament is the important section of the Bible.

Hebrews says that Jesus would not be a priest if he were on earth for there are priests to offer sacrifice (8:4). Now the only reason that could be was if God needed for some mysterious reason, to prevent the other priests doing their job for Jesus to do his. This denies that Jesus was on earth and died in sacrifice in that century or indeed since Moses’ time.

Hebrews 11 explains what faith is and what it can do.

Hebrews 11 never says that you must test faith or seek evidence. It says you must just have faith and if you trust God you will find out later that it must be true. Noah for example trusted what his visions told him about the flood even though the evidence was against the flood happening. Abraham sought no evidence that the voice he heard telling him to kill his son was from God. These examples appear in the chapter. For Hebrews, faith is its own proof and if you want evidence you have to get it later. So having faith in the religion of Jesus makes it true even before any proof or evidence comes.  The examples are really about promoting faith in Jesus which means it is good as an admission that there was no evidence and that nobody cares and nobody should care. 

Hebrews gives us several interesting clues about the falsity of the Christian chronology with its Jesus who had lived not long before Hebrews appeared. It defines faith as the assurance that we will get things hoped for and is the conviction that invisible things really exist. It says that it is by faith that we perceive that God created the world. At least it admits that creation does not prove God exists. Verse 11 says that by faith Sarah was able to conceive despite being barren and old. So God would not have given her a baby had she doubted. God had made a very important promise to Abram that Sarah would conceive and the promise was conditional on her belief. This is a strange doctrine and means that the plan of salvation (for Jesus the descendant of these people as predicted by God who could come to save the world from sin) would have collapsed had she changed her mind about trusting God. By implication then, if Jesus had not kept true to his beliefs he would not have been raised from the dead and God’s alleged promises about it would not have been fulfilled. This opposes the gospel Jesus where no convincing attempt was made to show that he was faithful. You cannot accept both the gospels and Hebrews as scripture. Hebrews would have centred on the evidences of God rewarding Jesus’ faith if it was able. Instead it chose some pathetic examples from the Old Testament. Abraham going where God told him to go while knowing nothing of the future was applauded. But Abraham could have found a way to be okay anyway so his action was not that laudable – it was worthy of condemnation for how did he know that the being talking to him was God. 11:7 commends Noah for building the Ark when he had no evidence whatsoever that the revelation from God warning him about the flood would come true. Hebrews 11 is not just commending faith. It is blind faith it sanctions. It commends it to the Church meaning that the Church must believe in the death and resurrection of the Messiah Jesus just because God says they happened for there is no other reason. There is no evidence. The visions of the apostles concerning the risen Jesus arose from a sense that God was talking to them and they probably had the visions in their imaginations which they considered a valid vehicle of revelation for unsubstantiated faith was a virtue. The epistle regards fanatical suffering for blind faith as a good thing. Christianity in its earliest days was infested with hard-line fanaticism.

The author says that it is worse to ignore the voice of Jesus from Heaven than it is to ignore what Jesus said on earth (presumably what he said in visions on earth which need not mean he came personally to earth for God can project his image from Heaven to earth) in verse 12:25. The people ignored the latter and God shook the whole world and Heaven to punish them. This shows that there was no Jesus on earth as an ordinary man in the first century. He lived even before the flood for there is no record of the global shaking disaster. Some interpret the passage as saying that God came to earth to speak to Israel and they ignored him and so a worse punishment will come upon those who ignore Jesus the speaker from Heaven. The reason this will happen is because you have to go up to Heaven to hear the voice of Jesus and when you go there it is vile in the extreme to neglect the gospel afterwards. In the context of Jesus speaking, the writer said Jesus’ blood speaks more eloquently than the blood of Abel (v24). So Jesus and his blood speak in Heaven. The reason God was said to have spoken on earth to ancient Israel was that God descended from Heaven in visions to talk to Moses and others. So Jesus then did not appear on earth. Since Jesus did it differently, the apostles if they saw him must have ascended to Heaven. This denies the gospel account. It also implies that they were secretly using drugs to have visions in which they thought they had out of body experiences and were in Heaven to see him and hear him or perhaps the earthly visions of Jesus were projections from Heaven and Jesus wasn’t personally on earth. The crucifixion was perhaps believed in because a vision of it was seen in Heaven too. The author of Hebrews advocates credulity for he says that we should be hospitable for some entertained angels unawares that way (13:2). So they were perfectly capable of believing that a stranger they met at the well was Jesus appearing to them. The early Church saw a great need for credulity and tried to imbue it wherever possible which shows that Jesus might not have existed.

Hebrews 12 says we must not forget Jesus who took on the shame of the cross for the sake of the joy that lay beyond it. This implies that Jesus was not God for God has the joy all along and that Jesus as man would have experienced suffering but in his divine side he would have experienced the joy and it is mad to think that God would need to suffer and die on a cross to win the joy back especially when it was available all the time.

Hebrews speaks of Jesus entering the Heavenly Tabernacle. Just like Moses had a tabernacle set up in the wilderness so there is one in Heaven. There is no reason to believe that the Heavenly one is merely symbolic so it is not. The Jewish laws about what priests do is said in Hebrews to picture what Jesus does. The priest sacrifices animals in the Tabernacle before the most holy section and puts their blood on the tabernacle before he enters it. Jesus does the same according to Hebrews 9:12 therefore Jesus did not die and rise on earth but in Heaven. This must have been made known on earth by visions. Hebrews is saying that there is no evidence that Jesus lived apart from religious experience. And that is not much good to wiser people. The gospel stories about the healing miracles, the empty tomb and the resurrection are all shown to be fraudulent.

Hebrews 9:24-27 says that if Jesus had to offer more than one atonement sacrifice he would have been sacrificing and dying over and over again from the foundation of the world. What a strange statement. Why bring in the reference to the foundation of the world? Why not say if Jesus died in 30AD or whenever he would have to die again and again from then on? If Jesus had to die over and over again he didn’t need to start at the foundation of the world unless he came at the foundation of the world and died first then. If he died in 30AD for the first time and died forever and ever all over and over again it would still make an infinite number of deaths so the when doesn’t matter in itself. Hebrews by saying Jesus would have to die over and over again forever after his first death and that he would have been dying from the foundation of the world is saying that was when he died the first time.
 
Clearly the author is suggesting that Jesus died at the start of the universe. The flesh Jesus had is probably not human flesh as we know it.
 
The warning that there is no repentance for apostates in chapter 6 totally contradicts the gospel Jesus who forgave readily and declared repentance open to all. If you accept the teaching of chapter 6 you automatically deny the authenticity of most of what is in the gospels. It accuses Paul and the other apostles of being religious liars for saying the same as the gospels about divine readiness to forgive even those who tried to destroy the faith.

Hebrews 13 says Jesus died outside the gate like the animals that were slain as sacrifices to God in the Old Testament and then it says he died outside the camp. This puts Jesus in a time before the city of Jerusalem was built. The words look as if they refer to the camp the Israelites made after they departed from Egypt but they could be any camp – even a prehistoric one or a heavenly one. The camp may even be one in another world perhaps where the Tabernacle that Jesus ministered in is.

Hebrews says that Jesus was in this world but how long and if this can be backed up by historical evidence is not specified. As Jesus was the saviour he had to appear on earth or communicate with it some time so the author of Hebrews may be just assuming he appeared or communicated and working it out from his belief that Jesus was the saviour. To interpret this otherwise to refuse to take the epistle literally and it is being taken figuratively just because it is assumed the New Testament always agrees with itself and so it is unacceptable and deceptive. Now, Hebrews may say that Jesus was on this world but it does not say he was born on or died on this world or that he appeared after his death on it. He was never a priest on this world.
 
Some think that the only thing we are told about when Jesus came to earth is that it was after the covenant was made with Moses for Jesus is said by the epistle to have ended that covenant by his death (9:15). But Jesus could have died before then while the intentions for which he made the sacrifice were not implemented and actualised until later. The letter speaks of Jesus putting his own blood on the Heavenly Sanctuary implying he was activating the blessings won by his atonement. Hebrews 9 says that Jesus’ blood had to purify the Tabernacle and the utensils in it just like the blood of animals had to do in the earthly Tabernacle that Moses built implying Jesus was killed in Heaven as a human sacrifice and was treated exactly like the animal sacrifices. Jesus could sacrifice himself by rising perhaps spiritually from the dead as soon as he kills himself or is killed (if he was killed he let the killers do it and inspired them so this amounts to the same thing) putting the blood of the body on the altar and on the Tabernacle. Certainly the author of Hebrews though he never defends the view of a physical resurrection believed that death was not the end of Jesus. In reply the Church says the heavenly sacrifice and Tabernacle were symbols and poetry and the author of Hebrews did not mean us to think they were real. Hebrews itself says that if anything was a symbol it was the earthly Tabernacle and the rites both of which God instructed Moses to create for they reflected and were poor imitations of the one in Heaven (8:5).

The research of Earl Doherty has shown that Hebrews 8:1-6 which says that Jesus could not be a priest if he sacrificed on earth and not in Heaven for there are priests (indicating that Hebrews is provably earlier than the gospels for the priests ministered before the cataclysm of 70 AD) in the earthly sanctuary who serve a poor copy of the sanctuary in Heaven implies that Jesus never gave his life for sinners on earth but in Heaven (A Sacrifice in Heaven,
 http://human.st/jesuspuzzle/supp09.htm). This also denies that Jesus was literally God for God can atone for sin by giving his life wherever he is and even if there are priests on earth for he is the one that enables them to minister and makes them priests. If priests on earth stopped Jesus offering his life here then he atoned for sins by his blood in Heaven or some celestial world. The translators change the bit saying Jesus would not be a priest if he were on earth for there are priests on earth to that he would not be a priest if he were still on earth which obviously makes no sense. If Jesus had been on earth before and was a priest him still being on earth would not stop him being a priest now for there are priests on earth even to the time the writer of Hebrews was engaged in his little book. The translators just assume the still should be in there as Doherty’s research has noted. The grounds they present for that is that the context meaning the setting of the whole letter demands it which is untrue. So they assume Hebrews has a Jesus who was sacrificed on earth and because they want Hebrews to say that they feel entitled to make 8:1-6 fit the assumption by adding the word still for without that word it denies that Jesus was on earth.