The Bible Answers Short Questions From Our Readers
Plain Truth Staff
A new book, The Passover Plot, suggests that Jesus, mistakenly believing Himself to be the promised Messiah, schemed throughout His life to manipulate people so that the Old Testament prophecies would be fulfilled. According to the book, Jesus planned to feign His death and resurrection. But, the plan went awry, and He died in the tomb from the spear wound in His side. The author claims to arrive at these conclusions after forty years of research. Would you comment on this? Howard A., Gary, Indiana
Nearly three thousand years ago, Solomon wrote, "Of making many books there is no end," (Eccl. 12:12). Human beings just love to "hear some new thing" (Acts 17:21). Whether that which they discuss is true or not doesn't seem to matter much. That is the case with the book you mentioned! In the first place, it is quite a feat for an unborn baby to "conspire" to be born of a virgin (Isa. 7:14); in the city of Bethlehem (Micah 5:2); of the lineage of David (Isa. 11:1, 10); at the precise moment which would fulfill the requirements of the prophecy in Daniel 9:24-27 — which reveals the exact time the Messiah would first appear! Now, immediately after His birth, the baby Jesus would have had to "conspire" to have Herod kill the children of Bethlehem (Mat. 2:17-18) to fulfill the prophecy in Jeremiah 31:15. (Rachel — for those who read Jer. 31:15 — was buried at Bethlehem, Gen. 35:19-20.) Then, the infant would have had to "conspire" with His parents to take Him to Egypt and then bring Him back to fulfill the prophecy of Hosea 11:1 (Mat. 2:15). Then the family had to journey to Nazareth to fulfill the spoken prophecy that the Messiah would dwell there (Mat. 2:23). From the foregoing, it should be abundantly clear that what the author contends is impossible! But, much more would be required! Christ would have had to bribe John the Baptist to come and preach for a while and baptize Him (Mal. 3:1). Think of all the people He would have had to bribe to support the miracles of feeding four and five thousand people! And what of all the healings and even raising the dead? Did Christ so perfectly counterfeit the hundreds of miracles that He fooled all the huge crowds of people into following Him? Certainly those He healed and raised from the dead knew He wasn't a fake! How about the events of crucifixion week' Did Christ conspire with Judas to go to the officials and talk them into paying exactly 30 pieces of silver for the betrayal to fulfill the prophecy (Mat. 27:9-10; Zechariah 11:12-13; Ps. 41:9), Did He persuade Judas to take the silver back to the priests and then hang himself; then hire the chief priests to use the money to buy the potter's field to bury Judas to fulfill the latter part of Zechariah 11:13? How did Christ do Ibis while He was lying dead in His tomb? Did Christ conspire to have two malefactors crucified at the same time as He, to fulfill Isaiah 53:12 "... and He was numbered with transgressors... " (Luke 22:37)? Did He also conspire with the rich man to bury Him in His own new tomb (Isa. 53:9)? Did He conspire with the soldiers to cast lots for His clothing (Ps. 22:18; John 19:24)? Did He deliberately have them pierce His side and nail His hands and feet to the stake (Zech. 12:10; Ps. 22:16)? The author claims Jesus bungled that one and finally died of the wound! Did He hire dead saints to rise and walk into Jerusalem and appear to "many" (Mat. 27:52-53)? Did Christ hire someone to rip the curtain in the temple as He died? Did He somehow cause a period of darkness, thunder, and earthquakes (Mat. 27:45, 51)? Did Christ fool His own disciples into thinking He had risen and was alive in heaven to such an extent that they willingly carried His message to the world and gave their own lives doing it? Was it so convincing that even a company of the priests believed the story (Acts 6:7)? Remember that there same priests had taken great precautions against anyone stealing the body (Mat. 27:62-66)! Are all the miracles of the book of Acts tricks too? Did Christ — now dead, or so the writer claims — then plot with the Roman government to destroy Jerusalem and the temple thirty-nine years after His own death (Mat. 24:1-2)! What kind of imagination worked forty years to come to the conclusion that all this could have been a massive plot — the greatest trick in history? You answer that! If all these things were a trick, Christ would have had to bribe nearly everyone in that whole nation and in Rome also! Where did He get all that money? He didn't get it by building houses in Nazareth! These things were not done in a corner, but publicly, in full view of all, and all, knew it was genuine (Acts 26:25-28). Who could possibly believe such a preposterous book! Probably not even its own author! But let us not forget — Jesus did know He was the Christ! He voluntarily gave His life up to the Jews and Romans to pay for the sins of the whole world. He was raised from the dead and lives today at God's right hand ruling the universe.
Is it true that many American colonists refused to keep Christmas and New Year's Day because both were derived from paganism? D.H.
Not only did most American colonists reject the pagan customs of observing Christmas and New Year's, but so did the KING OF ENGLAND! Here are the facts of history! During the 16th century Henry VIII of England abolished the observance of Christmas with its attendant revelry. In 1542, the licentious customs of paganism were still firmly welded to December 25. After criticism from his counsellors over the disorders during the Christmas season, Henry proscribed the festival for TWELVE YEARS! It was restored in 1554, after Mary Queen of Scots — a zealous Roman Catholic — took control. In his authoritative book, Survivals of Roman Religion, Gordon Laing reports, "Apparently the compromise made by the early Church in adapting the customs of Saturnalia [Roman solar festival] to Christian practice had little or no effect in checking the license of the festival. This continued through the whole Christmas season and sometimes lasted till the day of Epiphany (January 6)" (page 65, emphasis ours). In order to escape religious bigotry, oppression and persecution, many were forced to escape England and settle in the New World. Francis X. Weiser comments: "In the colonies of New England, however, the unfortunate and misdirected zeal of the Puritans against Christmas persisted far into the nineteenth century. (Handbook of Christian Feasts and Customs, page 65.) Then how did Christmas become the biggest. most expensive holiday in the world'? Again Weiser puts his finger on the source of Christmas customs in the New World when he writes, "It was not until immigrants from Ireland and from continental Europe arrived in large numbers toward the middle of the last century that Christmas in America began to flourish. The Germans brought the Christmas tree" (page 67). It was the Roman Catholics of southern Ireland and German Protestants and Catholics who finally overbalanced the Puritan objection to Christmas and New Year's observance. The Puritans were not the only group to recognize Christmas as BAPTIZED PAGANISM! Today, professing Christians openly acknowledge the pagan origin of these seasonal festivals. See any Encyclopedia, article "Christmas." Most think IT DOESN'T MAKE ANY DIFFERENCE where Xmas or New Year's came from. Don't YOU make that mistake! Write immediately for our free booklet, The PLAIN TRUTH About Christmas! and the free article, "The Truth About NEW YEAR'S!" for more information (see inside front cover for addresses).
Is it all right for a Christian man to wear long hair? Didn't Jesus wear long hair? R.G.
Christ did not look like a beatnik or a beatle! Both the Bible and secular history prove this statement. "Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a SHAME unto him'" (I Corinthians 11:14.) The only Biblical exception to this was the unique Nazarite vow (Num. 6). But, Christ was not under this vow at any time during His life. One under this vow was forbidden to drink wine (Num. 6:3), yet Jesus Himself stated that He drank wine (Mat. 11:19). One under the Nazarite vow was also prohibited from touching a dead body (Num. 6:6-9). But, Christ did touch dead bodies (Luke 7:12-15; 8:49-56). Also, the fact that Judas had to kiss Jesus in order to point Him out in the crowd showed that Christ was dressed and looked like any ordinary man (Mat. 26:48-49). Why do modern pictures depict Christ as a sissy, effeminate, long-haired character? Dr. Farrar, in his authoritative book entitled The Life of Christ as Represented in Art tells us that the earliest pictures of Christ, drawn by professing Christians from word of mouth descriptions, did not show Him with either a beard or long hair. Dr. Farrar says: "He [Christ] is almost invariably [represented as being] boyish and beardless... His hair is SHORT (page 43). Furthermore, Farrar reports that "during the first four hundred years [after Christ's birth] there is probably no representation of Christ as bearded, or as a worn and weary sufferer" (page 52). The world today assumes that Christ looked like a beat dog, a degenerate, long-haired, effeminate person. Why haven't you heard the truth about your LIVING SAVIOR who was, in reality, a clean, robust, short-haired compassionate, and dynamic man? It's high time you knew the TRUTH about what Christ really looked like! Write now for our free, full-length article entitled "Is it Wrong to Have PICTURES of Christ?" It's chuck-full of vital facts and quotes you need. Understand how the REAL Christ looked and what God says about the false pictures that most people assume represent Christ!