History Documents Jesus Christ!
Good News Magazine
December 1967
Volume: Vol XVI, No. 12
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History Documents Jesus Christ!
Charles V Dorothy & Lynn E Torrance  

The real facts behind the birth of Jesus and the historic PROOF that Christ lived have been intentionally suppressed! Read these remarkable Bible-confirming records from all over the ancient world!

   HISTORIANS deny that Jesus Christ ever lived! "But then, historians are privileged LIARS" (Wilberforce's Spain, p. 11). Right! Some of these same historians, professors and critics who deny Christ know better! They know Jesus lived — the records of history are full of proof. The truth is available. But the writers of history refuse to tell the whole truth!
   The truth is, exciting history and additional proof of Christ IS MISSING — missing from modern textbooks, pulpits and classrooms! The truth is, in Jesus' day THE WHOLE WORLD expected a Messiah, a world-ruling Savior! The truth is, Jesus' birth was officially recorded by the Romans!
   These startling facts are available. Why haven't historians told you before??

Does History Lie?

   History cannot lie! The trouble is, historians can!
   Take two examples from modern history. Which story would you believe about the Mexico-Texas war? The Mexican version calls the Americans "rebels"; the U. S. version calls the Americans "heroes." Which would you believe: the World War II story — taught in West Germany today — which whitewashes or ignores Hitler? Or the story written by those who died fighting Hitler?
   Obviously, both stories are not completely true... they are "slanted," biased!
   Ancient and famous authorities tell us the same type of slanting was going on in their day!
   Polybius (a very reliable Greek historian of the 2nd Century, about 201-120 B. C.) divides history writers into three classes. Some write and "slant" history for pay; they tell what someone wants to hear. Some write for the vanity of display; they write what sounds good. Lastly, some write for the truth (see Histories, Introduction p. xiv, Loeb edition, Bk. 16.14).
   Three kinds of histories... what kind have you been reading?
   More startling is the story of Procopius. The Roman Emperor Justinian commissioned Procopius to write something glorifying himself, the emperor. Procopius was faced with the same problem all historians face: "If he writes what people wish to believe, he must frequently violate his conscience; if he writes the full truth, A STORM OF INDIGNATION MAY OVERWHELM HIM." Justinian could not stand the truth; Procopius could not afford to risk his own chances for success by publishing truth.
   How did he solve such a frightening problem? "By describing both sides of a question in different volumes" (Atwater's Introduction to Procopius' Secret History, 550 A. D.). Clever Procopius! He wrote a flattering volume to please the emperor — for publication. He wrote the real truth in a private volume (the Anecdota or Secret History) — for safekeeping. (Emphasis ours throughout.)
   Procopius does not prove that history lies — rather, he proves that historians lie. He should know....
   Procopius himself says in his foreword to the Secret History: "You see, it was not possible, during the life of certain persons [the Emperor, etc.], to write the truth of what they did, as a historian should. If I had, their hordes of spies would have put me to a most horrible death. I could not even trust my nearest relatives. That is why I WAS COMPELLED TO HIDE THE REAL EXPLANATION OF MANY MATTERS glossed over in my previous book... I find it hard indeed to have to stammer and retract what I have written before."
   Now you see that motives and prejudices drastically affect what historians write — and what they refuse to write. Now you realize history writers do not always tell the whole story! Now you need to know what historians refused to reveal about the greatest figure who ever lived: Jesus Christ.
   The "missing record" of Jesus will give you unshakable proof — outside of the Bible — that Christ really existed. And do not kid yourself that you "don't need proof" or that you "shouldn't try to prove, just believe"! You — as a human — need proof all right, and God says "Prove all things..." (I Thes. 5:21).

Did Prophecy Fail?

   If historians told all the facts at their disposal, we would know absolutely that a dramatic Bible prophecy about Jesus Christ was literally fulfilled. Refusing to admit historic proof, many Bible translators and historians have rejected the marvellous prediction of Haggai. Some have even concluded that prophecy failed. Not so! You will soon see abundant proof, but first, the prophecy.
   Haggai 2:6-9 gives an amazing prophecy of Jesus Christ. "For thus saith the Eternal of hosts; Yet once, it is a little while... and I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: I will fill this house with glory saith the Eternal of hosts." The King James phrase "the desire of all nations" does apply to JESUS CHRIST! However many commentators reject this translation — through prejudice, or through lack of history to show the truth of it.
   Let's understand. Prophecy is dual. That means prophecy is fulfilled twice: first in a small way, then in a big way. Haggai's prediction was fulfilled for the first time, right on schedule, in the days of Herod and Christ. Of course, the final fulfillment will be even bigger — and it is coming in our day! But the first time is what concerns us now. Here are the predictions, and the facts which fulfill the predictions, as they came to pass.
   "I will shake all nations" — the internal and external wars of Rome in Europe, Britain, the Mediterranean Sea, Egypt, and in Palestine; the fall of three great dynasties: Roman Republic, Egyptian Ptolemies, the Syrian Seleucidae... all in the first century B. C. The Roman Empire dominated the world; therefore the wars which shook Rome at this time shook the earth.
   "The glory of this latter house [built by Zerubbabel] shall be greater than of the former [built by Solomon}." Now although Herod remodelled Zerubbabel's second Temple, he did not surpass the glory of Solomon's Temple. How did God give this inferior Temple more glory than Solomon's first one? (For proof that the second was inferior to the first, see Ezra 3:12, where the people who had seen the first house wept with disappointment at the sight of the second.) How could God make the inferior one into a superior? The answer is simple. Send the Desire of all nations into the Second Temple!!
   Jesus Christ — whom we will soon prove was the "Desire of all nations" — entered that Second Temple and glorified it beyond any building in all history (see Luke 2:22-26). God's very Son announced salvation in that Temple! Read John 7:14-43. Jesus proclaimed, "If any man thirst, let him come unto ME [God} and drink," which showed He was of God, that He had the Holy Spirit to offer, that men could be saved. No wonder the Jews refuse to translate Haggai 2 properly. The "desire of all nations" condemns them.
   While all authoritative Jewish sources (Jewish Encyclopaedia, Talmud, Rabbis) admit Jesus walked in the Second Temple, they reject Him AS the Messiah. They must then reject the prophecy of a Messiah or "Desire," because that Temple was destroyed in 70 A. D.! Either Christ came to the Temple before 70 A. D., or Haggai and the Old Testament are FALSE. Quite a problem for a Jew, isn't it? The Jewish solution is to change the translation of Haggai. God's answer is to prove that prophecy does not fail!

Was Christ "DESIRED"?

   But can you prove that Jesus Christ was desired by the nations of that day? Indeed you can! The historic proof of this startling fact has been cast aside, ignored!
   How many nations desired Christ? Let's begin with the most obvious — the nation of Judah — and work outward to find our answer.
   JEWS — A reliable and great historian, Josephus (who incidentally also says in the Introduction, Antiquities, that some historians falsify facts due to wrong motives) shows the Pharisees who had killed Christ still expected a Savior. "...But what more than all else incited them to war was an ambiguous oracle, likewise found in their sacred scriptures [they knew prophecy], to the effect that at that time ONE FROM THEIR COUNTRY WOULD BECOME RULER OF THE WORLD. This they understood to mean someone of their own race, and many of their wise men went astray in their interpretation of it" (from Wars, 6.5.4, Loeb Translation, Vol. 111, p. 467). See also Antiquities, 17.2.4, where 6,000 Jews clearly believed in "HIM who would some day be set over the people WITH THE TITLE OF KING, FOR ALL POWER WOULD BELONG TO HIM.'' Though these clever Jews misapplied the prophecy to save their own skins, they had knowledge of Christ's coming and they DESIRED HIM.
   Cruel Herod, fully persuaded (and fearing) that the Jewish nation was not only desirous of a divine king, but also expecting him AT THIS TIME (due to Daniel's 70 Weeks' Prophecy which dates Christ's coming), launched a temple-remodelling program intended to show he — Herod — was the fulfillment of Haggai's prophecy! Analyze carefully Haggai's words and Herod's speech in Josephus, Antiquities 15.11.1. There you have absolute proof the Jewish nation awaited the desired Christ. But did pagan nations desire Christ?
   GREEKS — Plato, probably the most famous philosopher of ancient history, and a true representative of Greek culture, shows the Greek desire for Christ. Speaking through the character Alcibiades (on the subject of religion) Plato says: "It is therefore necessary, to wait until One teach us how we ought to behave towards the gods and men. When shall that time arrive and who shall that Teacher be? For MOST GLAD WOULD I BE TO SEE SUCH A MAN." An amazing pagan witness from 300 B. C. to Haggai's prophecy! The Greek world desired Christ!
   ROMANS — But the real rulers of the known world of Christ's day were the Romans. What about them?? Tacitus, the royal historian of Rome, tells us in Histories, 5.13, that in the 60's A. D., the East expected a king to arise from Judea to rule the world! Startling as Tacitus' pagan record is, it does not prove directly that the Romans, but rather that the Jews, awaited the Messiah. Still, we have a more direct proof for the Romans.
   Virgil, the greatest Latin poet, wrote nearly 40 years before Christ "A GOD-LIKE CHILD SHALL BE BORN... COME QUICKLY TO RECEIVE YOUR POWER FOR ALL THE WORLD AWAITS YOU. Oh that I may live to see so noble a subject for my verse!" (Eclogue IV, Lonsdale and Lee's Works of Virgil.) Virgil's remarkable prophecy is based on the revelation of an earlier Roman prophetess: The Sibyl of Cumae.
   According to Suetonius, the Roman historian, the same famous sibyl or woman prophet, said, "Nature is about to bring forth a king to the Roman people" — 63 B. C.! Obviously the king would be divine, since "nature" was to bring Him forth. Obviously a true prophecy, since it came years before Christ's birth. Obviously — since the sibyl was well known — this prophecy was well known and believed by many Roman people. Rome, which included Britain and North Africa, was awaiting, in her limited understanding, for Jesus Christ! But there is more.

The Mysterious East

   "Throughout THE WHOLE EAST, an ancient and constant opinion had familiarly prevailed; that they who proceeded from Judea were fated to OBTAIN THE SOVEREIGNTY OF THE WORLD" (Suetonius, Life of Vespasian, chap. 4). But how far is "the whole east"? Probably Suetonius himself did not realize how jar his own statement applied: all the way to the Pacific Ocean!
   To a Roman of Suetonius' day, the "east" included modern Turkey, Palestine-Jordan, and possibly Iraq to the Euphrates River. At the time of Christ's birth, the Roman Empire extended eastward to Babylon on the Euphrates. Another great empire began right there and spread further eastward into modern Afghanistan, and up to India. That empire was Parthia.
   PARTHIANS — The Magi of Matthew 2 who worshipped Christ were Parthians. The Magi — travelling for nearly six months and 1200 miles — clearly thought Christ was "the Desire of all nations"!
   INDIANS — The priestly ruling class in India was called "Brahmins." Apparently they too desired the Savior — possibly having heard of Christ from the Parthian Magi. The fact is (according to ancient Indian history) the ruler of India sent emissaries to Palestine, 1 A.D., "to know whether the predicted royal child had actually made his appearance" (Jones, Asiatic Researches, Val. X, p. 27-28). But the witness and the desire of Christ had gone even farther in the pagan world!
   CHINESE — Remember the famous sayings and jokes in the name of "Confucius say..."? Well, no joke this time. The Chinese philosopher K'ung Fu-Tze, or Confucius, said in the early 500's B. C.: "The Holy One must be sought in the West." His prophecy was carefully handed down from father to son and, "in the year 64 after the Christian Era, the Emperor Mimti, we are told, under the influence of this ancient expectation, sent messengers westward into India, that there they might inquire for the long predicted Holy One of Confucius" (Du Halde's China, Vol. I, p. 360, 361; Le Compte's China, p. 118, 200). The greatest Chinese thinker speaks for China. The Chinese DESIRE THE HOLY ONE.
   MAYANS (North America) — Spence, in Myths and Legends, says that gods worshipped by this ancient people "had promised not to desert mankind altogether, BUT TO RETURN at some future indefinite period and resume their sway of radiance and peace" (Volume on Mexico and Peru, p. 169). Amazing! Removed by thousands of years and thousands of miles from the Holy Land, the Mayan Indians of Yucatαn, Mexico — from ancient times — expected a divine ruler to set up His government, just as did the Jews.
   There you have it! THE WHOLE EARTH — from America to the Sea of Japan — DESIRES THE CHRIST! Could anything be clearer? Prophecy has not failed! Haggai's words were literally fulfilled (for the first time, or type) when the "Desire" — Jesus Christ — entered the Temple.
   This "desire" in heathen and pagan lands is enough by itself as a proof that Christ lived. But there is stronger proof.

Christ Officially Recorded

   If you were an agnostic or atheist — and open-minded — you would certainly believe Jesus lived, provided you found His name in a Roman Census record — a record recorded on the spot. You would probably doubt that record if a Christian said he saw it. But you would believe — again provided your mind was not closed — if an atheist or Christian-hater said he saw it. Such a person would have every reason to deny a record of Christ's birth, and no reason to tell the world.
   The Roman Emperor Julian (called "the Apostate" because he turned from Christianity to paganism) attempted to destroy the Roman brand of Christianity. He said, arguing for the pagan side: "Jesus, whom you celebrate, was one of Caesar's subjects. If you dispute it, I will prove it by and by; but it may as well be done now. For you yourselves allow that he was enrolled with his father and mother in the time of Cyrenius" (Nathaniel Lardner's Works, Vol. 7, p. 626-627).
   Julian tried to destroy Christianity ... but not by denying Christ. Having possession of all the royal archives, Julian was willing to admit Jesus was real, and was so confident of his sources that he speaks defiantly — challenging Christians to check up if they don't believe. No one would have challenged friend and foe alike to check the files, if they didn't exist. No one would have risked his royal reputation and future, by citing a false or nonexistent document.
   Luke of course records this very census under Cyrenius — in his Gospel, chapter two. But again historians have denied Luke and cried "fraud!" "There is no evidence for this census; therefore it was never taken; Luke is wrong!" — say the critics.
   Their minds closed, the critics can do nothing when the real proof comes in — except reject the evidence. But no fair-minded person can reject Julian's testimony. No fair-minded person can reject the stone — found by archaeologists in Rome, 1764 — which proves Cyrenius did rule Syria twice, exactly when Luke says he did. THE ROMANS HAD THE CENSUS FIGURES OF 4 B.C. IN THEIR ROYAL FILES, WITH JESUS AND HIS FAMILY NAME RECORDED THERE as late as 350 A.D.!
   Now the witness of a much earlier, closer-to-the-fact Christian writer of 105 A.D. Justin Martyr said, "Now there is a village in the land of the Jews, thirty-five stadia from Jerusalem, in which Christ was born, as you can ascertain also from the registries of the taxing under Quirinius your first procurator in Judaea" (First Apology, chapter 34). Justin — defending Christians from government persecution — could make no greater mistake than appeal to public records, UNLESS THESE RECORDS EXISTED. He would be checked up on immediately!
   Why are these absolute historic proofs left out, missing from textbooks, from pulpits, from history?? Now it can be told.

History's Hardest Hurdle

   At last we can understand why historians lie about Jesus Christ. Historians are human. Christ is divine. Humans — in their very nature, their very makeup — DO NOT LIKE the divine. "For the carnal [natural, physical] mind IS ENMITY against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be" (Romans 8:7).
   We now know what historians have done when faced with something they didn't like. They distorted, they twisted, they "slanted," they suppressed and DESTROYED the truth! The trouble with histories you've been reading, or your child has been reading, is that they were written by human beings filled with carnal-minded rebellion against God!
   Beautiful facts, amazing facts, wonderful facts have disappeared because historians refused to accept GOD. Historians choose to ignore this plain evidence because they want the Bible to seem odd, different, religious, removed from real history, from reality! Moreover, other critics are now feverishly trying to destroy even the truth of the Bible. Historians cannot hurdle the barrier of human nature!
   Let us be thankful there is abundant, mountainous, undeniable proof that Jesus Christ lived. Let there be no doubts — God will soon return and literally SHAKE THE HEAVENS AND THE EARTH! (Haggai 2:6.) The "Desire of all nations" will return again!!
   Be sure you are rid of all your — rebellion and human doubts against your VERY CREATOR! History outside the Bible is only intended to bring you to the truth that your Bible is inspired, VITAL TO YOUR VERY LIFE.

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Good News MagazineDecember 1967Vol XVI, No. 12