Gospel of Judas?

Recently the media has been publically hyping the publication of the "Gospel of Judas," as well as promoting the new movie "DaVinci Code".  The DaVinci Code and the Gospel of Judas are both based on the ancient gnostic religious cult which idolized not only Judas but Cain, who murdered his brother Abel.  In fact, many of the early gnostics called themselves "Cainites" after Cain.  According to the Cainites, the God of the Hebrews is not the same God as that of Jesus.  They believed that the God of the Hebrews is a wicked God and that Cain's disobedience was a act of rebellion against an injust God.

Gnostic heresy has existed from the earliest days and has been the basis for some of the most bizarre cults known to man, including Luciferic cults which make God and Satan brothers.  The "Gospel of Judas" makes Judas the most faithful of Jesus' disciples.  What is interesting is how the media has tried to spin the book.  According to the Dallas Morning News "some religious views became the accepted norm while others were declared heresy."  This is obviously a trivializing and misleading statement designed to imply that the Bible handed down to us was merely the product of politics, public opinion, and luck.  In fact, the science of textual criticism has demonstrated beyond a reasonable doubt that the gospels found in the Bible are the product of the actual disciples and eye witnesses, whereas the "Gospel of Judas" is a deliberate fraud which did not exist until a hundred years after Judas had died! 

As the allegation that gnosticism simply became declared a heresy by some early bishops, any educated Bible scholar should be acutely aware of the fact that the first condemnation of gnosticism occurs in the book of Colossians by the apostle Paul himself.  In 1:19-20 Paul declares, "For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fulness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven."  This statement is a direct challenge to the mystical views of the gnostics who believed that no man can be "full" of God so long as he dwells in the flesh.  They spoke of hidden mysteries which only their sect could reveal (a forerunner of many later mystery cults) to which Paul declared that ALL mysteries have been revealed through Christ and revealed to us in Him and no one else.  Furthermore, in direct contrast to the gnostic belief that all flesh is evil, including Jesus' physical body (they denied that Jesus' death on the cross provided redemption for man), Paul declared, "He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death" (Colossians 1:22).  Note the emphasis on "fleshy."  Gnostic heresy has no roots in the disciples or in the followers of Jesus but was an attempt to merge Christianity with the eastern mystery and magic cults of ancient Persia and Babylon.  Some even speculate that Simon the Magician of the book of Acts may have been an early advocate, but he was condemned by the apostle Peter!

The fact is that the gnostic rhetoric being pushed so hard by the media today is little more than an occult sect which uses the name of Jesus but rejects everything that the disciples taught.  However, one would never know this by reading the DaVinci Code.  The DaVinci Code mixes history with pure fiction and leaves the reader with many false impressions.  For example, the reader is led to believe that the Bibles we have today come from the Roman emperor Constantine the Great.  It implies that Constantine altered the Bibles to create his own Catholic Church.  Although this sort of rhetoric has been long promoted by cutls such as the Jehovah's Witnesses, true Bible scholars know that there are nearly a hundred Bible fragments which predate Constantine, many by more than a hundred years.  There is no complete copy older than Constantine's day, but there does not need to be since we could compile a complete copy from the existing fragments.  The truth is that the early Christians were careful to make sure that the Bible was not tampered with and the early Church father Origen even compiled an early form of "textual criticism" which compared all the copies which existed in his day (and he had access to far more than we do today).  His work helps to substantiate that the copies handed down to us today are faithful to the originals, as does the discovery of many ancient texts including at least one text which some scholars (admittedly not many) believe could date the time of the original manuscipt itself!

As the gospel is increasingly coming under attack the media will increasingly use absrub conspiracy theories like those promoted in the DaVinci Code to imply that we do not know what the disciples of Christ really believed, but one only has to look to the frivolous lawsuit filed against Dan Brown (the author of the DaVinci Code) to see that his sources were themselves fraudulent.  I refer to the author of the "history"  book "Holy Blood, Holy Grail" who filed a suit against Dan Brown claiming plagerism.  What is absurd is that he claims his book is a history book, but if it is a history book then its author cannot claim a copyright on history!  I am a published historian.  Could I sue someone who made a movie out of Charlemagne?  Of course not!  The only way that the author could accuse Dan Brown of plagerism is if the book is a work of fiction!  In other words, the author is inadvertantly admitting that "Holy Blood, Holy Grail" is more fiction than history! 

Gnosticism is not only a cult, it is a dangerous cult that has formed the basis for some of the bizarre cults in history.  Its resurgence today is disturbing, as is its dishonest promotion of the liberal media.  If you want to know what Jesus taught and believed, then there is only one way to know.  It is not through mystery cults, or conspiracy theories, but through the writings of those who lived and worked with Jesus and who stood by him for years.  Those who were taught by Jesus would be qualified to know what he believed, and no one else.  The writings of these apostles exist in their original form.  No evidence exist to show deliberate tampering with the texts and much evidence exist to show that we have faithful copies of the original manuscipts (see by articles on textual criticism for more).  It is to the Bible that we must look; not the writings of conspiracy theorists who believe that they know more about what happened two thousand years ago than those who were there and eyewitnessed the events recorded in the Scriptures.

Copyright = David Criswell = 2006 = All rights reserved

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