The Mystery of Jesus Christ and the 'False Messiah'
"the mystery of our religion is great"--1Timothy 3:16
The word "mystery" (Gr. mystirion) is a key word in Christianity. It appears in the New Testament 22 times in the singular and 5 times in the plural. The following verses indicate that Christianity was established as a mystery religion: "they [the deacons] must hold fast to the mystery of the faith ..."--1Timothy 3:9 (NRSV) "The mysteries of the kingdom of heaven."--Luke 8:10 (NRSV) "... the mystery, which from the beginning of the world has been hid in God ..."--Ephesians 3:9 (KJV) "This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church."--Ephesians 5:32 (KJV) "... so that we may speak forth the mystery of Christ ..."--Colossians 4:3 (NASB) Although most members of the Christian clergy would deny it, it is clear that Christianity had its roots in and derived its sacrements from the mystery religions of antiquity. All other quotes in the article are taken from KJV.
In recent years it has become common for authors to conclude that Jesus Christ was a mythological character conjured up out of the consciousness of wishful thinking Messianic Jews. Actually the gospel accounts of Jesus Christ are based on the lives of at least 3 distinctly different people, and possibly a fourth. What makes the task of reconstructing events from this time frame so difficult are all of the innumerable edits done to the Christian scriptures by various Judaizing and Hellenizing sects during the second century. There is also the problem that the conspirators committed to the fire anything that they could find that contradicted the approved Roman doctrine after the Council of Nicea. Christian Scholars and Apologists seeking affirmation for the existence of the religious icon of the Christian faith turned to the only reliable source of Israeli history of the period, that being the writings of Josephus. However, it soon became all too evident that when it came to Jesus Josephus was moot with the exception of one famous passage, known as the Testimonium Flavianum, in the final chapter of his final book "Antiquities of the Jews." However, here Josephus is seen affirming that Jesus was indeed the Christ something a pious Pharisaic Jew would never do. So, the debate started. Was it authentic or a latter day Christian forgery? Alas, I think that debate has been resolved since I have read at least 4 versions of this quote. Therefore, at least 3 of them have to be forgeries. Hence, forgery played a role in its creation which makes its value dubious. He also mentions Jesus in an account of the death of James the brother of Jesus, but it is far more likely that the Jesus in question here was Jesus ben Damneus who became high priest, a title often referred to as the Christ or Messiah.
It only seems logical that the Christian religion was named after its founder Jesus Christ, but alas that is not true. The term Christian had been in use for some time already before Jesus was even born. In a letter, written in 134 CE, from the Emperor Adrian to Servianus it is stated: "Egypt, which you commended to me, my dearest Servianus, I have found to be wholly fickle and inconsistent, and continually wafted about by every breath of fame. The worshipers of Serapis are called Christians, and those who are devoted to the god Serapis, call themselves Bishops of Christ". What is confirmed is that, with the advent of Jesus, the Christ or Christos was not a new term, and there were people throughout the empire who were called Christians prior to the time when the name came to be associated with the followers of Jesus. Serapis preceded Jesus by more than two centuries. More important, though, is the fact that the new pagan converts brought their ideas and beliefs pertaining to the Mithraic Christ into the religion of Jesus.
Eusebius, the great historian of the early Church, admits that the religion that is called Christianity was known to the ancients (Eccl. Hist., 1, ch iv) and writes that the religion of Jesus had "...been known among all nations, nevertheless our life and our conduct, with our doctrines of religion, have not been lately invented by us, but from the first creation of man, so to speak, have been established by the natural understanding of divinely favored men of old... What then should prevent the confession that we who are of Christ practice one and the same mode of life and have one and the same religion as those divinely favored men of old? Whence it is evident that the perfect religion committed to us by the teaching of Christ is not new and strange, but, if the truth must be spoken, it is the first and the true religion".
It has always been assumed that the four canonical gospels represented four independent accounts of the Passion of Jesus, however, with the publication of "Caesar's Messiah" by 'Dead Sea Scroll' archivist Joseph Atwill it became clear that they actually stem from one continuous narrative which has been broken up into 4 separate gospels. However, each of these stories were originally intended to cover a distinctly different aspect of the events in the life of Jesus and are not attempts at giving independent accounts of the same story. The gospels have undergone some degree of manipulation to make it seem as if they are 4 complete stories, but originally they were not. The Gospel of Mark once lacked any reference to the resurrection of Jesus, but there are those who believe that a part of the mystical end of the Gospel of John was actually the original ending of Mark. It was only in the late second century that Irenaeus assigned the names of authors to these anonymous works.
The 3 Synoptic Gospels are more Jewish in origin and are influenced by Yeshu, the Essene 'Teacher of Righteousness' and social reformer, who was unceremoniously stoned and hung by the 'Wicked Priest' Aristobulus II c 65 BCE. All we know of the Teacher comes from the Dead Sea Scrolls which indicate that some sort of defining event ocurred among the Essene sect at about that time. The Gospel according to John is a second century Hellenized Gnostic version of a more mythical supernatural Jesus Christ written to appeal to the more secular Greek sensibility. However, the true teachings of Jesus are contained in the Synoptics and reflect the authors Zorastrian Pythagorean Essene background. They also contain certain Buddhist elements pertaining to wealth. This leads to the obvious question, "Where did they come from?" In order to understand where the Christian scriptures originated, it is important that we start with the teachings not of the Old Testament, but of Zoraster and Mithra.
Continued Table of Contents