HOME   People do good because they are human, not because they are religious! 

Do not give God any credit for the good they do, they did it!

 

Paul denies Jesus lived recently

Many have noted how the writings of the apostle Paul, the first Christian writings, give no indication that Jesus's life and death happened recently. Others think that there are hints that Jesus was believed to be an obscure figure who lived centuries before. Where is the truth?
 
NO FIRST CENTURY CHRIST

The writings of Paul, the first Christian writer deny the view expressed in the gospels that Jesus lived roughly from about 4BC to 33 or whatever AD and don’t even say he lived and died on earth - he could have died in some arcane and magical world. He says that Jesus died and rose from the dead on the third day and then he appeared. But he could have risen the third day centuries before and started only to appear in the early thirties AD. Theodore Parker noticed from the New Testament that Paul’s Jesus was a mythological figure (page 234, Theodore Parker’s Discourses). Paul does state some things about Jesus’ life but he never puts Jesus in any time or place or says that what he knows about Jesus came from historical data. It might have been worked out from Old Testament prophecies or have been disclosed to somebody in visions. There is no evidence against the view from Paul himself that the only revelation Paul got was a sense that God was telling him to interpret the alleged messianic prophecies of scripture as having been fulfilled by an unknown man and that this was the cause of his conversion and he thought the man appeared to him later (page 15, Jesus - One Hundred Years Before Christ). No hint is given that the vision had anything to do with his conversion or that it was even as important as scripture.
 
The Epistles of Paul just say that Jesus was born of woman, lived under the law of Moses, was betrayed, said, “This is my body given for you”, over bread, testified to the faith before Pontius Pilate - did Pilate have a vision of Jesus (Paganism used techniques to induce “visions”) or did he see the real Jesus or did he just hear what Jesus supposedly said through some prophet? (Note: the letter that records this, the first epistle to Timothy, is regarded as a late forgery by most scholars), died on a cross, rose to life and appeared in his time.  Paul’s Jesus could have been born of this woman on another world. The Law of Moses was believed to be a Law that was always in force – because it was really God’s Law - but which was only revealed at the time of Moses so Jesus could have been born under the Law before Moses was even born.
 
Romans 9:5 says that the Jews are descended from the patriarchs and that Christ came from their flesh and blood which seems to contradict the view that Jesus never lived on earth. But God could have taken an embryo to Heaven so that the Christ would be Jewish or made sperm into a body for Jesus in Heaven just like he made Eve from Adam’s rib. Perhaps despite being risen for countless centuries, the risen Jesus had his bodily nature changed after the Israelites came to be so that he was genetically a descendant. Or perhaps because when Paul decreed that Onesimus and Philemon were blood brothers though they were not this is a reflection of that idea. Perhaps Jesus was only a legal descendant but not an actual one.
 
In the Bible, the angels are natural material beings like men and who have bodies but who possess unusual powers.
 
A major proof that the gospels tell nothing but lies is in Romans 13. It goes, “Let every person be loyal subject to the governing (civil) authorities. For there is no authority except from God. Therefore he who resists and sets himself up against the authorities resists what God has appointed and arranged. And those who resist will bring down judgment upon themselves. For civil authorities are not a terror to people of good conduct, but to those of bad behaviour. Would you have no dread of him who is in authority? Then do what is right and you will receive his approval and commendation. For he is God’s servant for your good. One must be subject, not only to avoid God’s wrath and escape punishment, but also as a matter of principle and for the sake of conscience” (1-5).
 
This refers specifically to the corrupt, lying, thieving and brutal Roman empire. Paul would not have written this way had the gospels been telling the truth that Pilate, the Roman governor of Palestine, and the Roman Empire had put Jesus to death. Jesus and his apostles openly defied the authority of the Jewish leaders according to the gospels and they were by no means as despicable as the Romans. Jesus also defied Rome according to the gospels by claiming to be the Messiah, a political title meaning he was saying he was the true king of the Jews not the Emperor, and did what Messiahs do going into Jerusalem on a donkey to claim the city and accept the praises of the people. Jesus claiming to be the Son of God meant he was happy to make the Romans lose faith in their many gods which was also treasonous for the Romans believed that their future in power depended on their gods. Jesus encouraged people to hope the world would end soon which meant he wanted God to come and overthrow the Roman Empire and being in a Roman province that was treason and would rouse a smug attitude towards the Empire and make people less keen on living up to its demands. What this chapter from Romans tells us is that most of what is in the gospels isn’t true. Paul commended the authorities despite their injustice. Despite what the hypocrite says, good people did have to fear the authorities. Had the authorities destroyed the good man Jesus he would not have written this way. He says that his command to obey the authorities is just a good idea. He says it is a matter of conscience. If you disrupt the authorities then you are committing sin – its objectively wrong. He is saying that true Christians cannot break the law of Rome even though Jesus indicates the opposite in the gospels. It makes it more likely that when he said that the authorities or rulers slew Jesus that he did not mean political authorities but that Jesus was slain by supernatural beings who had no real authority though they just had powers. The Jesus of Paul and the primitive Church was not killed by the Romans. His crucifixion must have taken place in the distant past or in a celestial world for a more recent crucifixion would mean the Romans had to have been responsible.
 
Jesus broke Roman and religious law by wrecking the money changing area in the Temple. The fact that he got doing a lot of damage (Matthew 21:12; John 2:15) shows he got others to help him do this. You can’t wreck a public area swarming with people without somebody stopping you immediately. When Jesus got as far as he did it shows he sought and got help. He organised a riot. Had this event really happened Paul would not have been able to write as he did for the gospels may have put in the story to explain why the Jews decided that they would wait no more but get Jesus despatched off to the next world as soon as they could. To deny the possible major cause of the crucifixion could be tantamount to denying that Jesus was crucified on earth at all. Mark 11:16 says Jesus stopped people from carrying vessels in the Temple which indicates that he had a huge pile of manpower, real mean fighting man-machines, which contradicts the fact that they did nothing later to help save him from his death a few days later.
 
That nobody mentioned the cleansing of the Temple outside the gospels shows that it never happened. Josephus writing a few decades later mentioned lesser events happening in the Temple but never mentioned this one. He didn’t have to mention Jesus if he didn’t want to but not mentioning that a riot took place surely shows it never happened. When such a plausible story is false we cannot trust the gospels at all.
 
Paul’s emphasis on living in peace with everybody and even putting up with people who still had superstitious scruples despite being Christians does not fit a Jesus who uses violence, hate speech and gets others involved in them too. The gospel Jesus has been an encouragement to people who believe they have a right to send hate-mail to homosexuals or people of a despised religion and sneer at them on the street.
 
Paul’s stress on faith would be incompatible with the traditional Christian idea of a Jesus who did lots of miracles on earth for Paul wanted a faith nourished by the word of God and not by miracles. He viewed faith as a great blessing and the means of salvation so though he considered visions tolerable too many miracles would be a problem and would block faith.
 
Romans 15:8 tells us that Christ became a servant to the circumcised, referring to the Jews, to show that God was truthful so that the promises made to the patriarchs centuries before would be confirmed. The promises didn’t mention a saviour who would die for sins and rise again. They promised material blessings for Israel and peace with a David ruling it as its just king on earth. Unless you want to believe that Paul thought that Jesus did all this for Israel in some unrecorded time perhaps at least a century before his time you can see that Jesus did not fulfil any of these promises. The alternative is to hold that Paul is a liar or that Romans 15:8 tells us nothing about when Jesus lived for he could have been this servant, that proved these points, after his resurrection or even before his birth as a man. All of the three would indicate that Paul cannot be taken as evidence for the existence of Jesus. In the same chapter Paul called on the Romans to be tolerant with each other after the example of Jesus Christ. But the Gospel Jesus was very intolerant of the Jewish leaders and of hypocrites. He was tolerant of stubborn sinners but the intolerance is what shines through most.

Many think that Paul wrote that when he admitted to having persecuted the Church (Philippians 3:6) that the Church must have existed before him so he was not the inventor of Jesus or the first Christian. He only admits to his bloodthirsty past the once. He immediately added that he was above reproach when it came to justice as the Law of Moses understood it. He then says that he perceived all this as rubbish when the light of Christ shone upon him. The Church could have been just the chosen body that was conscious of garbled new revelation coming through and Paul was chosen as their prophet and seer. He could have been the one that shaped these revelations that became solidified into a new god, a resurrected Jesus Christ. He could still have been the creator of Jesus.

Paul said that Jesus died and rose according to the scriptures. The scripture he had in mind was probably Isaiah 53 which speaks of a man suffering for others as an offering for sin – one of Paul’s major themes about Jesus - and then he gets his reward. It is the best candidate though it is bad enough. Romans 10:16 proves that it is the one. The suffering man is spoken of in the past tense in Isaiah as if it had all happened long ago. Christians say the prophets often predicted future events in the language of the past. Isaiah never did that even if others did so that is improbable. They would have made it obvious that they could not mean the past if they did. Also, the passage could be about the past so it should be taken to mean the past. 53:1 asks who has believed this message about the servant meaning nobody did. We gather then that that generation knew who or what it was about and did not believe it. It was too vague and obscure in itself to be really unbelievable to those who accepted prophets unless it was not vague and obscure to them indicating they knew what and who it referred to. Paul’s use of the text may indicate that he believed that Jesus lived long ago. Paul said that Jesus was a mystery to the ages past but that could refer to the gospel of the resurrection which was only revealed in the latter days by the apparition of Christ. The past tense in Isaiah shifts to the future tense when speaking of the rehabilitation and vindication of the servant indicating that the tenses should be taken literally.

Paul told the Thessalonians that they and he believed that Jesus died and rose again (1 Thessalonians 4:14). You don’t say you believe that John F Kennedy died. You would only say that if you had just the word of a few witnesses for it that he died or if you knew people who thought they had seen his ghost that said he had died on a cross. If Jesus had died in the first century Paul would have written you know that Jesus died and believe that he rose again and not lumped the death and resurrection under belief. The context in which Paul said this was about that there was hope if loved ones die. Yet the hope he gives is one of belief not proof so there was no proof for proof would serve his consoling purpose better.
 
Paul received his entire gospel from a revelation not from men (Galatians 1:12,17). If Paul could have learned things about Jesus’ life the human and mundane way there would have been no visions to teach him though one to convert him would have been required to make an apostle of him. People prefer hard facts to visionary evidence so Paul could not have chosen magical evidence in preference to mundane evidence. He would have used both assuming material evidence existed for the more proof the better. He warned about false visions so he needed some standard to test his visions by so he must have been stuck when he had to have visions to give himself a religious education. The Bible makes it clear that the twelve apostles were the foundation of the Church. Paul was an apostle but could be by no means equal to the other apostles but it seems he did take it that he was equal (2 Corinthians 11). Those who say he broke with them say that he claimed he was. Others say the apostles he said he was equal to were heretical super-apostles. But when Paul did not check his gospel alongside the authority of the twelve and learn from them and state that his vision gave him no authority apart from their approval and consent it seems he was a rebel and a heretic. The apostles would not have wanted him harping on about his visions but to stress the revelations they received as a whole and perhaps for him to see his own as being only an additional witness to their role as divinely appointed witnesses. Paul’s message would have been very different had the apostles taught what the gospels and the Church say about a historical Jesus. So, like Paul, the apostles must have been entirely dependent on visions. It is interesting that the gospels are more focused on the life of Jesus as a man and have very little to say on his life as a risen man which is extraordinary and shows the apostles did not have a lot of visions.

Cephas, James and John were three of the apostles of Jesus. Cephas and John allegedly saw the risen Jesus after his death by crucifixion and were appointed by him to spread the good news that the saviour Jesus was alive.
 
When Paul went to meet them he stated that Cephas (Peter), James and John seemed to be the leaders but added that it made no difference to him what they seemed to be for God has no favourites (Galatians 2). The trio then extended the hand of fellowship to Paul when they saw the grace that was in him and his couple of associates and decided that Paul indeed had a call to preach the gospel.
 
So just because they thought there was grace in him they accepted Paul! In other words, they were claiming to be so righteous that the inspiration of the Holy Spirit was open to them. So it really boiled down to them thinking they had grace in them,
 
Paul pompously agrees that they were right which was why he was saying all this. They were obviously sceptical of Paul when they needed to have the meeting and then when he talked to them and it was a private meeting we are told they were convinced. They were not hard to convince which shows that they were anything but reliable witnesses to the resurrection themselves. The conversation was not very long when Paul didn’t even know if they were the leaders for sure or not. He was not even interested enough to find out which shows that he was hell-bent on going his own way and following his visions and to hell with everybody else. Not the attitude an honest man would be likely to have! (Jesus would not encourage him by appearing to him!) He had no respect for leadership. And he admits he thought they could be the leaders but says he does not care what they were for God has no favourites. But God choosing leaders and people claiming to be leaders does not mean they are his favourites. Paul is rancorously accusing them of claiming to be God’s favourites and he attacks them for that. When Paul asks us to accept him and uses their testimony to him as evidence that we should and then accuses them of being big-headed nitwits who are taking advantage of religion to look down on other people we have every right to be suspicious of Paul himself too. The two-faced beggar even shook hands with them in religious fellowship just for appearances. The men who knew Jesus would have the right in some ways to be superior to Paul if they knew Jesus. His contempt for them shows that he does not care about the historical Jesus or that they knew no historical Jesus and only had visions like himself. The latter is the most likely possibility for nobody could call himself a prophet and ignore the lessons to be learned from the life of Jesus especially one like Paul who had time to go on solitary retreats and even resumed his tent-making as if he had nothing important left to do.

When Paul disrespected Cephas and John asleaders he refused to regard them as reliable witnesses to the resurrection appearances of Jesus. He refused to regard them as leaders in the field. He would not have treated them so nastily had he believed they lived with Jesus. He needed them. He could not afford to affront them. The way he treated them suggests that he believed that his own authority was enough for like theirs it was only based on visions anyway.
 
Small wonder Paul wrote that he wanted to be known for knowing nothing but Jesus and him crucified (1 Corinthians 2:2) in the context of talking about being smart. He said that it was not facts he could present that convinced people but the power of the Holy Spirit showing that there were no facts for the Holy Spirit could make good use of factual knowledge and would have an easier and greater influence on people. The crucified Jesus was more important than the resurrected one because the crucifixion implied the resurrection and it was the crucifixion that took away sins. So Jesus dying for us is more important than him rising for us. The main purpose of the resurrection then was for Jesus to come and tell us what his death had done, so in that sense Jesus rose for our justification. So the resurrection was the only way Jesus could prove to us that his death saved us, his holiness, his teaching, his miracles prove nothing. They would if they happened or if we knew they happened so Paul is indicating that we know nothing and nothing can be known about Jesus’ life. Jesus must have been a person nobody heard of until he started appearing as a resurrected man or he lived centuries before. To say you want to know nothing but the crucified Jesus and to claim God approves would be to say that nothing else said about Jesus has divine authority.  So virgin births and miracle healings are all out.
 
Paul said that he didn’t rely on his own powers to teach this message and came among them to teach it in fear and great trembling. Why would the crucified Jesus story scare him so much? – possibly because it showed that God could ask something awful of you like he did Jesus. It certainly indicates that the Church used fear to get converts and to keep them.
 
The mission fields that Paul worked in would have required him to be able to tell the people about Jesus’ life and there were mystical heretics around who would have liked there to have been Christians who knew nothing much about the Jesus of history. Pagans comprised the bulk of the converts and pagans were heavily into stories about gods and they would not have changed the religious habits of a lifetime. If Jesus had had a story, Paul would have focused on it more. It would be different if Paul admitted that nobody knew anything about Jesus. A Jesus who could be known through visions would have been a big attraction to pagans. A Jesus with stories about him like the gods of the pagans would have been much better.

Paul complained about how hard it was to keep people true to the faith and yet he did not give them the whole verified Jesus story. He wrote to the Thessalonians that they must hold fast to the faith and prove all things in it (1 Thessalonians 5:21). This proof contained nothing then about the life of Jesus. Whatever had to be proven had to be proven by the Old Testament and without the life of Jesus. We see this when Paul complains about his fear that their faith was not firm despite his efforts which betrays a non-intellectual historical basis for that faith (chapter 3). In 2 Thessalonians the concern is that the people will be tricked by forged or altered letters from the apostles that contradict the apostolic doctrine of the second coming and what will happen. This could not happen if they were familiar with the Jesus of history, if that Jesus is the one of the gospels, for the second coming was one of Jesus’ main themes and Jesus went on about it so much that it is clear that he may have thought of rising from the dead and the second coming happening then or that the second coming was not far behind.

Paul centred the Church not on the foundation of Jesus and his history but on Jesus as seen through the apostles and especially himself. This overwhelming dependence on the apostles proves that Jesus was at most a vision that they had and that the gospel history never happened.

Ephesians 4:8 says that Jesus took captives with him when he ascended into the heavens. This proves that the author thought that Jesus must have ascended centuries before because nobody could say he did it some years ago. The saints are not captives. Paul says that Jesus does not drag people kicking and screaming into his friendship. The captives are his enemies who he takes up out of the world but not necessarily to Heaven.

Romans 16:25,26 speaks of the mystery of redemption which was recently unveiled and kept in secret for long ages but is now disclosed through the prophets and scriptures of the Old Testament. The mystery of redemption is very broad and covers the death and resurrection of Christ and the call to the world to be saved through this redemption. Paul is saying that the converts are seeing these doctrines in the Old Testament and the apostles never claimed authority for themselves but always used the Old Testament to support their claims so everything depended on the predictions of the Old Testament. Even Paul himself and the Early Church didn’t believe that their mission was based on the miracles and life of Christ or any gospels. In fact the only thing that counted was the Old Testament prophecies. If it didn’t predict the resurrection of Jesus then it never happened even if the whole of Palestine saw Jesus rise!
 
Paul said that the children of Israel hundreds of years before when Moses was alive drank from the spiritual rock that was Christ and that God was not pleased with any of them (1 Corinthians 10:4). He said that they were lost so he does not mean that they were spiritually sustained by grace but that Christ was there to teach them. Paul was frightened of people twisting his words (2 Thessalonians 2:2) so he wrote what he meant. And especially when he was writing to the Church in Corinth which had many people who believed Jesus was not a material being and that the resurrection was a symbol and not an event. Paul believed that Jesus only appeared to people for a good spiritual reason so he was not talking about apparitions. Jesus lived on earth as a man in the time of Moses. The fact that the deeds of Jesus are not mentioned in the books of Moses was of little consequence to him. The early Church believed the prophet Moses predicted who would be like him was Jesus. Paul knew that when Moses predicted the coming of a prophet like himself that this prophecy was too vague and therefore useless unless you assume that this prophet was alive then which narrows it down a good bit. All the early Christians believed this prophet was Jesus so Paul would have thought Jesus was alive in Moses’ day.
 
Why does Paul when enumerating the gifts of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12) which are to prophesy, preach well, do miracles include the gift of faith? He says this gift is given to some in the Church.
 
Faith is necessary for membership in the Church and for being a Christian. But what is this faith that is given to some of these? How is it different?
 
Now this faith is different from the faith you have to have when you join the Church. It is not normal Christian faith but something more advanced. It has to be when that faith is necessary for membership. Now both kinds of faith are based on evidence and are a gift from God – his guidance makes you see that the faith is true. Let’s call the ordinary faith of Christians normal faith. Let’s call the other charismatic faith. It is a charism – a gift that the Spirit doesn’t give for everybody just like he doesn’t give all the gift of prophecy.
 
So what is different about them? There is only one possible answer.
 
The normal faith of the Christians was based on the apostles’ testimony and on the feeling that God was telling you in your heart that it was true but not on anything concretely evidential. But God was choosing some to receive and or provide proper evidence for the faith of and the existence of Jesus which was charismatic faith. That would only happen if there were no people who saw Jesus do miracles or who knew people who had experienced Jesus’ miracles. It would only happen if there were no people who saw the death of Jesus happen. So God provided evidence for the chosen in the Church by giving them visions of what supposedly actually happened.
 
Paul counselled the Church members to work out their salvation by fear and trembling – Jesus never encouraged fear and often told his followers not to be afraid. When Paul wants the trembling it shows he wanted them to be very afraid. When the first Christian writer urges something that the gospels say Jesus didn’t want then it follows that the gospels are lying. Maybe they are not, but we have to follow the rules of evidence which require us to pay most heed to the earliest testimony. And that testimony is Paul’s.
 
Some say that Paul quoted the historical Jesus in his epistles. 1 Corinthians 9:14 superficially matches Matthew 10:10. 1 Corinthians 10:27 superficially matches Luke 10:7. Romans 13:7 superficially matches Mark 12:13-17; 1 Thessalonians 5:2-5 superficially matches Luke 12:39-40. All of the parallels can be explained without suggesting that they were quotes from the gospel version of Jesus. The gospels came after the epistles and so they probably took some inspiration from the epistles. Some parallels can also be explained as coincidence or are down to expressions like thief in the night which might have been current in the Church and were incorporated into the gospel version of the words of Jesus. The author of Luke was reputed to be a disciple of Paul. None of the verses are presented as quotations so they should not be taken to be quotations. The first selection has Jesus saying something we all say, without intending to quote him or anybody – there are certain things that tend to be expressed in the same words by coincidence – Jesus saying that the worker deserves his wages and Paul puts it like this, that those who preach the gospel should live by the gospel which is too different to be a possible quotation.
 
JESUS LIVED IN ANCIENT TIMES ACCORDING TO PAUL
 
In 1 Thessalonians 2:15,16 states that the Jews killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets, hinder his message and have received the wrath of God. It is not known what this punishment is. The best suggestion is that it means Roman oppression. But the wrath of God must have taken place after the Jews killed Jesus. So it would follow that the epistle is declaring that Jesus died before the Roman occupation of Palestine which oppressed the Jews. This occupation was in place several decades before the time Jesus supposedly lived.
 
In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul tried to prove the resurrection of Jesus to Christian heretics who denied it.
 
He started by saying about the apparition appearances. But he did not use them as evidence but to prepare for the discussion. He didn’t go into any detail. He can’t use them as evidence for if people were denying that Paul was right that Jesus rose then Paul saying things like, “He appeared to me”, isn’t going to help for that is what they are disputing.
 
Then he started saying things like that if Jesus is dead the witnesses are liars and we are still in our sins and the dead are lost and believers are to be pitied above all people.
 
But that is like arguing, “If Jesus is dead that is terrible therefore Jesus is alive.” It shows he was desperate. There was no evidence for the resurrection or Jesus apart from visions of a resurrected Jesus. This points to a Jesus who lived in obscurity before his death or who lived centuries before or both. When a man uses bad evidence it shows there was no good evidence. He was unable to say that Jesus was a good man and a miracle-worker therefore he rose. This shows that the later gospel portrait of Jesus was untrue. If you drop the good works and miracles of Jesus from the gospel there is nothing left.
 
If Jesus is dead, that doesn’t mean somebody else couldn’t have saved us. And Jesus could have saved us without rising again. A resurrection with everybody else in the future would do.
 
Paul thinks that people cannot be saved unless the resurrection of Jesus has already taken place. It must precede. If Jesus hasn’t risen yet it will not do. Paul spoke of people being saved in Old Testament times centuries before. Therefore his Jesus was thought to have lived centuries ago and not in the first century AD.
 
GALATIANS 3

Galatians 3 seems to say that Jesus came sometime after the Law of Moses was given and that the Law came to an end in Jesus’ death.

Paul declared that Jesus was crucified before the eyes of the Galatians (3:1) though they never saw the actual crucifixion. He believed in visions and supernatural experiences so it is simplest to take this as meaning he induced visions of the cross in the Christians. This makes it less likely that Jesus lived recently for he was anxious to create evidence for him. There are other ways to have visions apart from sight. Sometimes you feel your spirit is having a vision though you don’t see anything visual but you see it other ways and sometimes it is clearer than visual. You would express it as a vision for it is impossible to put into words. Liberal Christians have realised there is a problem in determining what kind of visions exactly these resurrection appearances were.

The Galatians were going back to the belief that they had to keep the Law to deserve eternal salvation and Paul informed them that they couldn’t receive the Spirit by doing that but by hearing with faith. He told them that miracles were being done by them through faith not the Law. Instead of proving that Jesus did away with the Law, he asked them to follow what he arrogantly thought their subjective feelings should be saying to them. He ignored the fact that their new religious stance was a product of their feelings too. He could not control them with a saying from Jesus for Jesus never lived recently, but long ago, to be of any use. When a man uses a bad argument instead of a good one and is as experienced a missionary as Paul it says a lot. It says to us that Jesus did not live near his time.

Paul informs us that Abraham was saved because God preached the gospel of faith to him before the apostles came. He stated that the Old Testament teaches salvation by faith and that the Law brings a curse and that Jesus’ goal by dying was to bring salvation to the Gentiles. He then says we were bound under the burden of the Law until Jesus would come to teach us better about faith. The trouble is that even the Jesus of the gospels does not teach the Pauline gospel or stress faith like Paul does so Paul is referring to Jesus coming to him in visions as a teacher of this faith and not a physical coming. Paul may say that we were in bondage until the faith came but he stated that faith was possible even before then meaning that rather than it being a matter of the faith having come it was a matter of the faith being promoted better. That silences those who say the reference to the faith having come refers to Jesus coming to make faith effective for salvation by his death. Since Paul sees faith as having drawn power from the cross to save even before the cross happened nothing in the entire epistle to the Galatians tells us when Jesus is supposed to have lived.

When he says the Law was our custodian until Jesus came he does not mean just his own generation by our but all the generations that were under the Law in the past as well. They are all in the same boat so he can talk in terms of being one of them. Paul believed the Law always existed and was not started with Moses but only revealed to him. He said that the Gentiles had the Law too but in a different way from the Jews. It was in their conscience. Paul could still say the law is the custodian until Jesus if Jesus lived one thousand years before. The law was the custodian until Jesus came in apparitions to convert people and give them the saving gospel.
 
Paul stated that the promise God made to give the land of Israel to the offspring of Abraham referred to Jesus only. Then he argues that if this gift is by the Law it is no longer a promise. “If the inheritance of the land depends on the Law, then it no longer depends on a promise but God in his grace gave it to Abraham through a promise” (Galatians 3:18).
 
It seems that Paul then here is putting Jesus in the time after Abraham. But it doesn’t mean Jesus necessarily lived on earth.
 
He thinks that the promise to give the land would not be fulfilled if it depended on the Law for people would break the Law and lose the entitlement to the land. So the promise is unconditional.
 
But that is not what the Law says. It says the land will be taken from the people if they disobey enough. Though Paul explicitly denies that the Law of God is against the promises of God, it is clear from all this that it is.
 
Galatians denies that Jesus lived in the first century and that anybody knew him when he was alive.
 
 AT HIS APPOINTED MOMENT CHRIST DIED
 
Paul wrote in Romans 5 that our confidence that we are going to be saved forever is not deceptive for the Holy Spirit poured love for God into our hearts. He said then that we were still helpless when at his appointed time, Christ died for sinners. Then he declared that what proves God’s love for us is that Christ died when we were still sinners. He said then that we can count on being saved by Jesus not just because we have been reconciled but because we are filled with joyful trust in God.
 
Paul knew that many groups claimed that their gods made them more loving by coming to dwell in their hearts and that to infer as he did that we know the cross of Jesus saved us because we are more loving and trusting of God is to use a very bad proof. This is a clear admission of empty-handedness when it came to providing evidence for the cross. Paul declared frequently that people believing in their own goodness and virtue was dangerous and deceptive so there is no way he would have invoked such subjective evidence only he knew there was no evidence for the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus except visions reported by the apostles and himself.
 
Paul wrote that it is much easier to die for the just than or the wicked but still Christ died for us when we were bad.
 
God could hate sinners and still send his Son to die on the cross for them so that they might become lovable and that would make dying for evil people easier. Paul disagreed. Paul did see this point for he taught that God hated Esau and abandoned people to sin so when God hated Esau he would hate all sinners and yet he saved them. So why did he say that Jesus dying for sinners proved that God loved sinners before they stopped being sinners? The answer is that Paul thought that since Christians experienced salvation from sin that the saviour must have died on the cross for them in their place to get them off the hook and inject them with God’s life-transforming power. He did not argue that the cross happened therefore sin was forgiven but that sin was forgiven therefore the cross happened. Paul had to tell a little white lie to invent an argument for the reality of the crucifixion. To recap, the white lie was that Jesus died to save Christians because Christians experienced salvation which means that somebody must have died to atone for their sins. The lie was told to provide evidence that the crucifixion happened for there was no material or historic evidence for it and for no other reason. The only other reason could have been was to show that Jesus saved which rested on a subjective feeling of self-righteousness which was against Paul’s own hypercritical theology and so was not the reason.
 
I must add that Paul saying that Jesus dying when we were sinners refers to sinners in general. There would have been sinners having his letter read to them who had been born after Jesus died assuming Jesus died in the thirties AD. It gives no hint if Jesus died in Paul’s day or not. When Paul wrote that when we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son that we were still enemies of God up to then that could still be referring to a saviour who was thought to have lived at the beginning of the human race or long ago when there were lots of people on earth. This we refers to all people who sinned and were saved by the death of Jesus. It means that nobody accepted his grace until after the cross.
 
Paul declared in 1 Corinthians 15 that the Christians had hope for their loved ones who passed away which would make no sense unless it meant a lot of people had died. Paul taught that there were no saved people before the death of Jesus. There was nobody accepting of salvation for all were enemies of God until Jesus brought faith. Not many would have died if Jesus really died in the thirties AD which was too recent. He goes out of his way to comfort his readers implying a lot of deaths had taken place. He says if Jesus hasn’t died and risen we are extremely badly off meaning our loved ones are lost in big numbers. He is thinking of ancestors and all.
 
All that would mean that Christ had saved the world long long ago because Paul couldn’t write that way if he believed that it was only a few years since Jesus supposedly died. There wouldn’t have been enough deaths.
 
So the comfort Paul gave can only work if Jesus did NOT die in the recent past.
 
If Jesus did die in the recent past it would follow that most of their dead would have been dead before 30 AD or the time of the crucifixion according to the standard chronology and so his words would be no comfort to them.
 
The Jews had many saints who Paul acknowledged as such and as saved who lived before the gospels version of Jesus reportedly lived. It follows then that Jesus died at some time there was no saints or possibility of them which would mean centuries before Paul’s birth.
 
Paul holds that there is no salvation if Jesus has not been raised and we can despair about our dead. He clearly suggests that nobody else will do as saviour and we should not wait for the real saviour if Jesus was the false one for that is no help. It can’t be of any help for there was to be no salvation until the saviour died and rose. Time is the key thought now. Now if Jesus is that absolutely essential it follows that since Paul was writing this epistle in about 56 AD which was about 26 years at the most after the alleged crucifixion according to the standard chronology, that most of the dead the Corinthians had to think of would have died before Jesus and so his salvation would be of no comfort to them. And Paul was trying to comfort them which shows that the dead were those who had died since Jesus. It is clear then that Paul talks as if Jesus died long before the first century and rose on the third day and only started appearing in the mid-thirties of the first century.
 
Paul said that the proof that God loves us is that Christ died for us when we were still sinners.
 
Paul agrees with mainstream Christianity that Jesus and God know one another and what one another is planning. Incidentally, if God giving his Son to die for sinners proved his love for nobody wants to die for evil men but would prefer to die for good men as Paul said, then it follows that God was not sure if the death would be any good or not! If he was sure then it is like dying for good people for you are trying to make good people of the bad so the illustration fails for you wouldn’t be doing it unless you knew it was going to be worth it for yourself. That would put both Jesus and the God who put him up to it in a bad light. Also how could a God or a Son of God who finds it a hard sacrifice to die for the evil people to convert them and an easier one to die for the good who don’t need it be good? So that is the kind of God that Paul got from listening to the resurrected Jesus who supposedly appeared to him and the apostles! It does nothing to help Jesus’ credibility or rather the credibility of their visions.

PAUL IN 2ND CORINTHIANS
 
Paul, the earliest Christian writer, had serious problems with the Christians in Corinth. In his first Letter to the Corinthians he castigated them for running after new apostles who were claiming visions of Jesus and new revelations that contradicted his and Christians who couldn’t believe that Jesus really rose from the dead and that the dead rise. In his second letter to them at the beginning of the third chapter he wrote that unlike other messengers who need IDs and letters of recommendation, he and the preachers of Jesus didn’t. What recommended them was the conversion of the believers. So they were claiming to have a new message from God without any written credentials. He says the letters aren’t needed. Christians might say he didn’t say they actually had no such letters. But he definitely did say that even if he had them they didn’t matter. What mattered was the success of the message in converting people. But given the trouble in Corinth among believers the fact that he had to forget about the disasters and paint a rosy picture as evidence for God backing his message it shows there were none. He had to make do with pretend evidence. That Jesus didn’t set up his apostles with documentation and that the apostles weren’t using documentation indicates that they had to do without it for their message had nothing to do with a flesh and blood man they worked with but an apparition of some form. Perhaps they worked out from the Old Testament that there was a saviour who died and rose again and then took what their imagination and instincts told them as revelations from God or visions. The imagination can be a vehicle for seeing visions, according to many mystics. Paul then said that they were qualified to preach by God to teach a new covenant which is not one of written letters but the Spirit for written letters bring death but the Spirit of God brings life. The new covenant is not based on words but on the Holy Spirit. Christians say that even the words of the Bible though God’s word bring death if you don’t let the Holy Spirit speak to you through them and accept him into your heart but that doesn’t mean that words don’t come into it. But the way Paul speaks makes it clear that it does mean that no words come into it. After all he said that the Corinthians were his credential and not any written document because of the Holy Spirit in them.
 
Paul wrote that when he does something he does it and it is not a yes with him and then a no. This led him to express a thought about Jesus. Paul wrote that the Son of God the Christ Jesus that we proclaimed I mean myself and Silvanus and Timothy (2 Corinthians 1) was not yes and no but was always yes. He then wrote that no matter how many promises God made the yes to them all is in Christ which is why we praise God through Christ. Why does he say who he means here? Certainly it was to indicate that the Christs of other preachers might be a caricature and only those three had the right Christ and the right view of him. It is a hint that there were lots of self-styled apostles in those days. No doubt their Christs were all yes to the promises of God as well so why does Paul indicate that they couldn’t have been? The promises refer to the Christ allegedly promised in the Old Testament by prophets to whom God revealed the future. Paul is plainly stating that there were many different versions of Christ being preached but only his version fitted the prophecies. The Christ then is not learned about by delving into history but through prophecy. This can be only true if the story that Jesus lived in Paul’s time is false and he lived aeons before. The other versions indicate that everybody was making up his own Christ in the absence of any history. That is what happens when the subject is unreal or lived long ago.
 
The Gospel Jesus was not always yes. He refused to help a pagan woman and called her a dog. Then he changed his mind when she told him that dogs deserve scraps off the table.

 

CONCLUSION

 

Paul gives no hint that he thought Jesus lived shortly before he wrote.  This is extraordinary but it explains why nobody was asking him for Jesus stories and  he never had to deal with stories about Jesus that were not true.