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AUTHOR’S ARTICLES

THE CRUCIFIXION OF CHRIST: MYTH OR REALITY?

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ANSWERS TO THE QUESTIONS OF THE READERS
ARE GIVEN BY THE AUTHOR, ANGELIKI ANAGNOSTOU
BASED ON THE WORLD-PERCEPTION VIEW OF HER BOOK:
“CAN YOU STAND THE TRUTH? – THE CHRONICLE OF MAN’S IMPRISONMENT”

Greek Version of this article


QUESTION:
I recently watched a documentary in which the life of Christ was described based on the Nag Hammadi manuscripts. Some people claim that Jesus Christ did not really die on the cross, but merely fainted. Others say that He might not have been crucified, but exchanged places with Simon of Cyrene. I would like your opinion on that.


ANSWER:

The best hiding place for a truth is between two lies.

As a start, I want to clarify that NOT all Nag Hammadi manuscripts declare the Truth. There are very few that tell the Truth, mainly the ones written by Christ’s disciples.

Many people wrote their views about Jesus and His life, apart from His disciples. These writings are not Gospels, but simply scripts of Nag Hammadi.

Secondly, many of these scripts are unsigned; namely they are not of a specific author. They were written by unknown people, expressing an opinion or their perception of the teachings and the life of Christ. Other scripts, were compiled by various groups that misunderstood the work as well as the teachings of Christ.

So, to acquire a better understanding of the teachings and the life of Jesus Christ, we must focus primarily on the scripts of His disciples, which (by the way) might have also been tampered with to a great extent.

Consequently, we categorize the findings of Nag Hammadi into:
(1) The gospels of His disciples and
(2) Simple scripts, signed or unsigned

Conclusively, we should not consider any script found in the Nag Hammadi area as godsend, but always take the author’s credibility into account.

Now regarding the rumors that are circulating, about the Christ dying on the cross or not, and therefore not having resurrected, they are recently formulated:

This hypothesis -because it is a hypothesis – was first proposed by an adventurer and prime Bible challenger, the German Protestant, Karl Friedrich Bahrdt (1741-1792). A fairly controversial figure of his time, who claimed that Jesus only fainted on the cross and was thus considered dead.

Another refuter of the death and resurrection of the Christ, was David Strauss 1808-1874, who, despite his doubts wrote:

“It’s unlikely that someone who had just come half-dead out from the grave, who was crawling weak and sick, who needed medical attention, strengthening and care and who eventually succumbed to his injuries, could ever give his disciples the impression that he was a winner of death and of the grave, that he was the Prince of Life”.

Those who doubted the resurrection of the Christ, simply hypothesized without referring to any historical references. This view is not found in any of the Nag Hammadi scripts and of course, in any Gospel. Following that, dark individuals, took this unsubstantiated hypothesis and changed it into a banner.

Historians of that time however, mention Jesus Christ, His crucifixion as well as His Resurrection:

―Cornelius Tacitus (54-117 AD), a Roman historian, referring to the first Christians and the founder of their faith says: “he was put to death by Pontius Pilate, governor of Judea during the reign of Tiberius» (Annals XV44).

―Lucian of Samosata, a Greek satire writer of the second century, in his work “Death of Petritis 11-13”, refers mockingly to Christians who “love someone who was crucified, a crucified wise man.”

―Gaius Suetonius, a Roman historian and judicial officer during the reign of the Emperor Hadrian, refers to “the Christ of the Jews” as well as the Christians who suffered and died for their faith. He also says that the Christ lived, died and was resurrected from the dead.

―Pliny the Younger (112 AD), commander of Bethany in Asia Minor, in a letter of his to emperor Trajan recounts details of the life of the first Christians and mentions the Christ as the resurrected founder of their faith.

So, let’s examine the issue of the crucifixion:

The process of crucifixion, included:
Firstly whipping (…forty minus one); but not necessarily to all who were to be crucified.

Then the candidate had to carry the cross alone, and because it was often quite heavy, he only carried the horizontal part of it (the cross).
When the condemned one arrived at the place of martyrdom, he was undressed, and his clothes were given out to the executioners.

In order for the candidate to remain quiet during the process of the crucifixion, without creating problems to his executioners, he was given a narcotic concoction of strong wine or vinegar mixed with gall or myrrh to drink, which caused him a simple narcosis; he didn’t fall into a coma! Some call this concoction carrot acid (= hypnotic, narcotic vinegar).

This drink was given AT THE BEGINNING of the crucifixion, and not after, because the purpose of the crucifixion was the torture and the suffering of the condemned and not the alleviation of his pain.

  • [Mathew 27:33-35]] “And when they were come unto a place called Golgotha, that is to say, a place of a skull,(before the crucifixion)
    They gave him vinegar to drink mingled with gall: and when he had tasted thereof, he would not drink. And they crucified him…”
  • [Mark 15:22-23] “And they bring him unto the place Golgotha, which is, being interpreted, The place of a skull.And they gave him to drink wine mingled with myrrh: but he received it not.”

In the scripts it’s clear that the vinegar or the wine mixed with myrrh or bile, which JESUS REFUSED TO TAKE, were given to Him when He arrived at the place of execution, at the beginning, and BEFORE His crucifixion.
After the crucifixion was completed, the texts of the scriptures indicate the climate of ridicule that prevailed there:

  • [Mathew 27:46] “And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
    47. Some of them that stood there, when they heard that, said, This man calleth for Elias.
    48. And straightway one of them ran, and took a sponge, and filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink.
    49. But the rest said, “Let’s see if Elijah comes to save him.
    50. But Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and gave up his spirit.”

The mockery is even clearer, in the Gospel of Luke, where the translation of the Septuagint (Nestle version) uses the typical word: “derided Greek= Εξεμυκτήριζον ” = express contempt with grimace of the nose, in words or deeds.

  • [Luke 23:35] “And the people stood beholding. And even the rulers also with them derided (scoffed) him, saying, He saved others; let him save himself, if he be Christ, the chosen of God.”

So here we have a scene where the executioners and also the crowd of Pharisees who were standing there, WERE MOCKING Jesus.
Everyone laughed at Him and mocked Him. Then one of them, wanting to humiliate Him even more, gave him vinegar to drink.

Note here that the vinegar was offered straight, without the mixture of gall or myrrh, which was given at the start of a crucifixion.

Besides, the custom in those areas to give gall and vinegar for torture, was old and can be found in the book of Psalms (David) of the Old Testament:

  • [Psalms 69:21] “They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.”

It would be therefore impossible for someone to have supplied a drug formulation that would have relieved Him, because at the time there was an intense mocking climate! Also, with the presence of so many people and with all their attention on Jesus Christ, it would be almost impossible for someone congenial, to give Him drugs secretly, because the whole gesture: with the tall pole dipped in the liquid would be impossible to be performed secretly.

At that time, they were all amused by the deprivation of the Christ, and they wouldn’t want to spoil their enjoyment, by tranquilizing Him.

The martyrdom of crucifixion was an absolutely disgraceful procedure and did not include the slightest relief of the convicts, but the exemplification and intimidation, inflicting the utmost torture.

Many times, in fact, to magnify the torment of crucifixion, the cross was placed at a low height above the ground, so that the crucified would get eaten by passing wild beasts. In no way was there any intent to relieve the condemned!

Therefore, we could only characterize Karl Friedrich Bahrdt’s proposal as malignity, when he claims that after Jesus was nailed onto the cross, He was given a narcotic substance that made Him lose His consciousness and was thus considered dead.

This then, would result to a convenient version for some: since Christ did not die, of course, He was not resurrected either…

… And afterwards inside the grave … -After waking up from His supposed narcosis- (being so exhausted as He was, wounded, hungry and without water for three days) He would push the undraggable marble plate that sealed the entrance of the tomb and appear with clean clothes -resurrected- in front of the dazzled Roman guards???

Or is it maybe that the trained Roman guards placed there because of the fear that some were planning/directing a resurrection were misled by some Essenes or by Jesus’ disciples or by some other interested ones, and they all moved the heavy tombstone, gave Christ clean clothes, and somehow forged a resurrection???

All these are unrealistic, unsubstantiated, absurd and groundless lies.

The Gospel of Peter from the Nag Hammadi manuscripts further says that the heavy stone that blocked the tomb was sealed in a way that it was impossible to open, and that in the next day that was Saturday, crowds of people went to ascertain that the tomb plate was properly sealed:

Gospel of Peter

[28] “But the scribes and Pharisees and the elders, having gathered together with one another, having heard that all the people were murmuring and beating their breasts, saying that “If at his death these very great signs happened, behold how just he was”

[29] feared (especially the elders) and came before Pilate, begging him and saying,

[30] ‘Give over soldiers to us in order that we may safeguard his burial place for three days, lest, having come, his disciples steal him, and the people accept that he is risen from the death, and they do us wrong.’

[31] But Pilate gave over to them Petronius the centurion with soldiers to safeguard the sepulcher. And with these the elders and scribes came to the burial place.

[32] And having rolled a large stone, all who were there, together with the centurion and the soldiers, placed it against the door of the burial place.

[33] And they marked it with seven wax seals; and having pitched a tent there, they safeguarded it.

[34] But early when the Sabbath was dawning, a crowd came from Jerusalem and the surrounding area in order that they might see the sealed tomb”.

Additionally, the death of Christ was confirmed by the wound created by the spear that pierced Him. From this wound ran “blood and water”, proof of His death.

  • [John 19:34] “Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water.”

Let us now examine the other hypothesis that wants Christ to have been replaced on the cross by Simon!

While Jesus was ascending Golgotha whipped and wounded, carrying His cross, Simon of Cyrene was forced by the Romans to relieve Him, by carrying the cross for some time because Jesus was completely exhausted by then.
A testimony that is not found in the Gospel of John, but in the other three Gospels.
The most faithful disciple of Jesus, John, who -unlike the rest of the disciples- followed Jesus all the way to His crucifixion, does not mention the case of Simon.
In the Gospel of John, Jesus carries His cross all by himself, to the place of crucifixion.

All this talk and rumor started from a single unsigned (of an unknown author or authors) Nag Hammadi script entitled “The Second Treatise of the great Seth” (190-230 AD).
So, on this, SINGLE AND UNSIGNED DECLARATION, some based their entire theory.

The entire controversial script –in which Jesus Christ himself appears to speak – describes the crucifixion of a material body, a projection of the True / Spiritual Christ. What is described –albeit a bit clumsily- is that in fact, the Spiritual Christ wasn’t tortured and crucified, but only the body of flesh that surrounded Him. At one point He even clarifies:

“And I did not die in reality, but in appearance”..”

(The True Spiritual Christ did not die. ONLY HIS PHYSICAL BODY DIED, His appearance)

So, the critics ignored this quite clear point of view and distorted the essence of the entire text!

If someone else was crucified –because of some magic “trick” – instead of Christ, wouldn’t this become common knowledge after the crucifixion?

The “victim’s” relatives -the sons of Simon of Cyrene, Alexander and Rufus- wouldn’t they have realized it at some point?

This definitely would have become an issue and would have automatically canceled the “alleged” resurrection of Christ…

Some consider that the Christ engineered a scam for someone else to be tortured in his place, willingly or unwillingly!!!

This whole affair, surely cancels the previous ridiculous view that wants the Christ to not have died on the cross but to have been drugged; so that afterwards he could mislead by appearing “risen from the grave.”

Therefore, they suggest that another person actually died (in Christ’s place) on the cross WITHOUT PROTEST, to give the opportunity to a charlatan -because that’s how Christ is presented; to have staged a false resurrection!!!
Well NO ONE would have made such a sacrifice without any benefit! Neither personal nor ideological … Because with his death he would only cover an impostor!!!

Or was it a conspiracy by some to build a new religion???

If that was the case, then the path to the new religion would have been laid with rose petals. Such a complex and difficult undertaking could only have been carried out by high-ranking initiates who held high positions of power in the priesthood. Then, the Scribes and the Pharisees would have first applauded such an event!

The Christ not only knew of His tragic fate, but He caused it himself, leading the events exactly where He wanted.
He could have easily avoided His visit into “the mouth of the wolf”, namely Jerusalem. But He did not! Because this was precisely HIS MISSION: “TO GIVE (ON HIS OWN) HIS LIFE AS RANSOM FOR MANY.” How could it then been possible to give His place to someone else???

Also, during the time that Christ’s agony was peaking at the garden of Gethsemane, He had –if He so desired- ample time and opportunity to escape!!! But again He did not, but was driven patiently “as a lamp to the slaughter,” to His Golgotha, because “the prince of this world”, demanded this sacrifice as payment for letting the men/hostages he held prisoners in the “Matrix” or the “Cave” (of Plato) return to their Spiritual Homeland.

…Now if after this sacrifice, “the prince of this world” again took control of the situation in his defiled hands – because he was naturally “playing” in his own camp- usurping Christ’s personality and distorting His teachings, this is another case, that its analysis requires a lot of ink…

Also proof of the Christ’s agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, is the fact that his sweat had turned into drops of blood: a well-documented medical condition where people that are under tremendous physical and psychological pressure, sweat blood when small veins break at the glands and pour out blood as sweat.

  • [Luke 22:44]“And being in anguish, he prayed more intensively, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling onto the ground.”

This assumption, that Simon took the place of Jesus on the cross, is in its basis completely un-grounded and is rebutted by the following fact.

Before His crucifixion Jesus was subjected to flogging.

  • [Mark 15:15] “Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.”

Flogging was a special way of whipping, where the whip consisted of leather strips that had small sharp animal bones, blades and small leaden balls tied to the edges. They whipped the whole body, from the shoulders to the calves. From the very first strokes with the flagellum, the flesh was ripped and stripped off the bones of the body.There are many cases of convicts who died during flogging.

The following video shows exactly what “Roman flogging” means.

So, this process gives us irrefutable proof that the Christ was nailed to the cross with His body covered in blood (from the flogging), and not the UN-WHIPPED Simon. An obvious difference that would have been noticed immediately.

On the Shroud of Turin,, there are signs of the flogging.

On the Shroud of Turin, that was proven to be the burial cloth of Christ, 98 wounds have been counted. The wounds -as shown on the shroud- are so deep, that they reached the bone removing bone fragments.

Recent discoveries on the Shroud of Turin, prove beyond any doubt that THIS was the actual burial cloth of the Christ, that the Light of Resurrection, converted it (the Shroud) into something like a “photographic film” onto which the body of Jesus Christ was depicted…

More information, analysis and proofs in the Book:
Can You Stand The Truth? The Chronicle of Man’s Imprisonment

 

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