King David was not Jewish. He was 'a Samaritan' (descended from a mixed marriage between a Moabite woman, Ruth, and her Jewish husband). This means that if the Messiah was 'the son of David' the Messiah was also a Samaritan. To the rascists in Israel at the time this would be similar to saying that their Messiah was a half Palestinian who came from Gaza, or something like that. For this reason the gospel of Matthew was edited by a later redactor who inserted the 'denial of David' into the manuscript leading to all sorts of interesting internal contradictions in the manuscript. The virgin birth story was also inserted in this late editorial redaction for the Messiah was not a Samaritan, for the Messiah, you see, was 'born of a virgin'. He had no human father and thus was certainly not the Son of David.
My purpose in making this point is to make it self evident that the classical orthodox Christian doctrines are actually just human inventions. What this means is that the entrenched interpretation is futile, for it teaches that God forgives sin by killing a sinless god like being (this is called the substitution doctrine), this doctrine being a merger of a second century rascist forgery in the gospel of Matthew with some old Leviticus sacrificial cow doctrine.
Now it is interesting that we should find such murdered cow doctrines to be matters of hot controversy in religion to this very day, for it turns out that this kill the cow substituion doctrine was controversial even in Judaism, before the time when it was run through a blender with some forgery to create 'orthodox Christianity'. It was considered 'orthodox Judaism' in its original form, but only by the priests and the followers of the Pharisees. It was rejected by the prophets and anyone else who could respond properly to an appeal to human reason.
A summation of this sort of criticism is found in the 50th Psalm.(God says) I will not accept a bull from your house, or goats from your folds. For every wild animal of the forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills. I know all the birds of the air, and all that moves in the field is mine. If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for the world and all that is in it is mine. Do I eat the flesh of bulls, or drink the blood of goats?
This theme was carried on by the prophets, and one of the most infamous examples is found in the seventh and eighth chapters of Jeremiah (note that if you look up this passage in the NIV it has been deliberately mistranslated, this being the only deliberately dishonest translation out there, and you will find many other things just like that for it was translated by a dogmatic fundamentalist sect of the religious right. Avoid this translation.)Burn your whole offerings and eat the flesh yourselves for ior on the day that I brought your ancestors out of Egypt I gave them no instructions or commands concerning whole offerings and sacrifices. (note that what the prophet is saying here is that books such as Leviticus are fraudulent) But they refused to listen and proceeded ahead with their own plans with the most stubbornly wicked and evil hearts, and they were contrary and kept going backwards and not forwards. From the day that your ancestors came out of the land of Egypt until this day, I have persistently sent all my servants the prophets to them, day after day; yet they did not listen to me, or pay attention, but they stiffened their necks. They did worse than their ancestors did. So you shall speak all these words to them, but they will not listen to you. You shall call to them, but they will not answer you. You shall say to them: This is the nation that did not obey the voice of the Lord their God, and did not accept correction and now truth has perished from their lips and is no longer heard in their land.
(the prophet next goes on to condemn the laws concerning burning at the stake found in the Bible law) And they go on building the high place of Topheth, which is in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire—which I did not command, nor did it come into my mind. Therefore, the days are surely coming, says the LORD, when it will no more be called Topheth, or the valley of the son of Hinnom, but the valley of Slaughter: for they will bury in Topheth until there is no more room. The corpses of this people will be food for the birds of the air, and for the animals of the earth; and no one will frighten them away. And I will bring to an end the sound of mirth and gladness, the voice of the bride and bridegroom in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem; for the land shall become a waste.
(The prophet then summarizes the point by explicitly condemning the Bible law booksWhy then has this people turned away in perpetual backsliding? They cling to deceit, they have refused to return. I have given heed and listened, but they do not speak honestly; no one repents of wickedness, saying, "What have I done!" All of them turn to their own course, like a war horse plunging headlong into battle. Even the stork in the heavens knows its times; and the turtledove, swallow, and crane observe the time of their coming; but my people do not know the requirements of the LORD.How can you say 'We are wise, for we have the Torah (the law books at the beginning of the Bible) when actually the lying pen of the scribes has falsified it? The wise shall be put to shame, they shall be dismayed and taken; since they have rejected the word of the LORD, what wisdom is in them? Therefore I will give their wives to others and their fields to conquerors, because from the least to the greatest everyone is greedy for unjust gain; from prophet to priest everyone deals falsely. They have treated the wound of my people carelessly, saying, "Peace, peace," when there is no peace. They acted shamefully, they committed abomination; yet they were not at all ashamed, they did not know how to blush. Therefore they shall fall among those who fall; at the time when I punish them, they shall be overthrown, says the LORD. When I wanted to gather them, says the LORD, there are no grapes on the vine, nor figs on the fig tree; even the leaves are withered, and what I gave them has passed away from them.
The point that I am trying to make here is that to attack this virgin birth mythology and the Leviticus cow theology that has attached itself to this myth, is to carry on an ancient tradition, and the purpose at the end of it all is the clear away the weeds and thorns so that the truth may be revealed.
The denial of David is closely related to the forgery found at the very beginning of the Gospel of Matthew. Based upon a literary analysis of the manuscript I conclude that the story was a forgery which was added to the manuscript at a later time. This literary analysis is confirmed by the findings of archeology. We know from the discoveries of ancient manuscripts that copies of the Gospel of Matthew continued to circulate in the second century which do not include the Virgin Birth forgery, which was added to manuscript many decades after the original was produced.
The image above is of a manuscript of Matthew from the second century, and which is a ‘critical edition' in that it incorporates all the variant versions of the manuscript relating to the text in question. Here there is no virgin birth story, but rather there is a genealogy in variant forms wherein Joseph is the father of Jesus, and not God or a holy ghost. Variant A became the traditional text which now concludes the genealogy in our ‘authorized' copies of Matthew. At point B the text diverges to list the variants in the different manuscripts. C denotes the Syriac variant from the second century, wherein Joseph is explicitly referenced as the father of the Jesus figure. The Greek variant (D) is an abbreviated version of the Syriac text, and states "And Joseph begat Jesus, the one called Christ." Both the Syriac and Greek variants have no ‘virgin birth myth', which is an indication that the virgin birth mythology had not become a part of the authorized lexicon of the Matthew gospel during the second century, but that copies of the manuscript without the virgin birth story were still extant and circulating at that time.
Above is an image of the Syriac variant, which is the source of the abbreviated Greek reading above. The Syriac manuscript includes no virgin birth mythology, since once again it was Joseph who ‘begat Jesus', and the genealogy, in part, reads in translation, ": "Eliud begat Eleazar, Eleazar begat Matthan, Matthan begat Jacob, Jacob begat Joseph; Joseph, to whom was betrothed a young woman, Mary, begat Jesus who is called Messiah."
Versions of the manuscript which were still circulating in the second century without the virgin birth story, which had not at that time become part of the canonical and thus accepted rendition of Matthew (itself a product of cutting pieces from all the variants to come up with a standard version ... this is not in itself a simple task, given the hundreds of thousands of variant readings for all New Testament manuscripts in existence, the scale of this problem being very familiar to translators but less well known to the average Bible reader ... the end product is the result of innumerable human value judgments, with what we would call a canon becoming a formal creation only in the fourth century).
It is sometimes said that one opinion is as good as another, or again, everyone is entitled to their opinion. This is a very reactionary position, since it would seem to me that it would make more sense to say that all opinions are equally worthless until proven otherwise.
There is no suggestion of a virgin birth in Mark's gospel, and the first we hear of it is in the Gospel of Matthew. Mark's gospel tells the story of a radical Jewish rabbi who led his people in rebellion against the religious system of the day, and was crucified for this very reason. Like a good Jew, in Mark's gospel Christ insists that no one call him good, ‘for there is no one good except God alone,' and that if you want to find salvation and enter the kingdom of heaven, you should keep the commandments of God (a very Jewish response which you can contrast with the later Christian theological description of salvation described in the formula ‘believe in me and thou shalt be saved.' This concept is alien to Mark's gospel, and is also uncharacteristic of the other synoptic gospels.) Mark's Christ is a very Jewish rabbi and revolutionary, while Matthew's Christ becomes a divine being incarnated. At the same time, it would seem from certain statements in the gospel, that Matthew was himself an extremely orthodox Jew. What could have motivated Matthew to introduce such a concept in the first place?
It is one of the great myths of Christian theology that the New Testament presents a unified picture of the divinity of Christ. Actually the Bible contains many different opinions on this matter, and actually insists that Christ was not a god, that Christ was born in the usual way, in that Joseph was his father, that Christ was in subordinate position to God, among other things.
In Mark's gospel Christ is 'the son of man' and is angered to be called 'good', much less to be called a God. If you want to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven 'keep the commandments', Mark teaches, while in John's gospel Christ becomes the incarnate Greek 'logos' and you are saved by 'believing in him.' Notice that in the following passage a man rushes forward to kneel in a worshipful way before Christ, and calls him 'good' provoking Christ to anger...When asked the 'big question' which is 'what must I do to be saved' Christ answers him curtly in such a way as to suggest that he already knows the answer to that question (so why did he bother to ask?)
"And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, "Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" And Joshua said to him, "Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: ‘Do not kill, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.’" (Mark Chapter 10 verse 17)
Compare this doctrine to that of classical Christian theology. Christ was good, in fact he was perfectly good and completely infallible in his god like perfection, being God incarnate and born of virgin. You are not saved by keeping the commandments. As the church dogma states, 'even the unsaved good burn in hell without Christ.' You are only saved by 'believing in Christ.' The gospel of Mark was written long before the church developed theology, purportedly based on the 'teachings of the divine and inerrant scriptures' and so we see that Mark was entirely unfamiliar with this later dogma. Ask a church 'what must I do to be saved' and they will damn the good who keep the commandments and insist that that 'only by believing that Christ was God incarnate can you be saved.' (You are saved then not on the basis of your good deeds, but rather on the basis of which dogma concerning Christ you believe.) I have also listened to churches insist that the 'deceived' are those who wrongly believe that those who do good are saved 'apart from Christ'. So you can see how Mark's gospel could very well 'deceive' whole boat loads of 'heathens' and drag them down into the pits of hell along with Mark himself, who was also 'deceived' in this way, and unfamiliar with the later dogmas developed by Augustine and the other church fathers.
The dogma of 'believing in Christ' and 'being saved', and most particularly 'believing that Christ was God incarnate' and being saved by 'believing' that particular dogma of the church, is not found in the synoptic gospels, but rather is peculiar to the gospel of John among the gospels. (Note that John's gospel contradicts the synoptics on so many points that it seriously distract from the point of this essay to list them all here, and this subject alone is enough for another long, long essay...)
This concept of 'the logos' is not unique to Christianity, but actually predates the church by centuries, emerging in earlier works of Greek philosophy. The church certainly recognized this fact, and that is why the church through the ages always had a fondness for Greek philosophy. If you attended what was a university in those days, or a seminary, you would study the Bible and theology of course, but you would also study Greek philosophy, Aristotle and Plato among others, because the Christian doctrine and theology became so intimately intertwined with Greek philosophy in the Gospel of John. Christ also becomes an incarnate God in Matthew's gospel, and in Luke's gospel this theme is picked up and continued, with Mary becoming a kind of substitute for goddess worship in other religions (Luke was a very shrewd propagandist, as the continuing popularity of goddess worship in the church now, and down through the ages proves so well).
In Mark's gospel, Joshua is not a god, and he is not even good. In Matthew's gospel he becomes a god incarnate, born of a virgin. In John's gospel he becomes the Greek 'logos' incarnate (the 'word' which was with God eternally, since before the world began.) This doctrine is not unique to Christianity, nor did it even originate with the church. The term 'logos' was first known to be used by Heraclitus in the sixth century B.C.E. There are numerous parallels between the description Heraclitus gave of the logos and verses in the gospel of John. For example, 6 centuries before the church ever began, Heraclitus said that the logos was eternal but people are unable to understand it. Even though all things were created and came into being through this logos, it remains a stranger to humanity, and they do not recognize it. (John Chapter 1 verse 3) Indeed it can be seen that most people remain hostile to the logos, and set themselves against it. (John Chapter 1 verse 10) He insisted that the logos was the criterion of truth and that only by participating in this logos that people could come into fullness of the truth. (John 1:9, 1:12, 3:5) Philo was the first to refer to the logos as God's 'sub lieutenant', helping to govern the universe, being "his own logos, his first-born son, who is to receive the charge of this sacred company, as the lieutenant of the great king." (John Chapter 1 verse 1)
You can see then that not only well known historical differences are found when comparing the gospels, but also differences in theological position between the different churches that produced the gospels. Christ is no god in Mark's gospel. He is not even good. Only God is good. One of the reasons the churches squabbled and fought so furiously for four centuries before finally establishing a dogmatic, 'orthodox' theology, is because the very 'heresies' (as they are called) are found in the Bible itself, thus giving lots of ammunition to 'heretics' and making nothing simple to establish for a church looking for dogmatic rigidity in orthodox belief.
The 'subordinationist heresy' (also known as the Monarchist or Arian heresy) is supported by the Bible (so Mark was not the only 'heretic' to write 'sacred scripture'). An author in Corinthians is careful to point out that while God 'puts everything under his (Christ's) feet, it is obvious that this does not include God, under whom even Christ is in subjection. Christ is intended to fulfill a useful purpose, and once that purpose is complete he will step down and become a subject of God himself. ""For God has put all things in subjection under his feet." But when it says, "All things are put in subjection under him," it is plain that he (God) is not included who put all things under him. When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him (God) who put all things under him, that God may be everything to every one." (1 Corinthians Chapter 15 verse 27)
It was passages like these that fueled the endless squabbling in the church over 'correct doctrine'. Even after the fourth century the squabbling and quarrelling in the churches did not end, but rather violent arguments continued about the 'nature' of Christ (human, divine, or human/divine and in what proportion) and over 'the will' of Christ (human, divine, or human/divine and in what proportion), all of this fueled by 'heretical scripture' as I point out above. These quarrels became so heated and violent that in 648 B.C.E. the Emperor Constans the 2nd outlawed even discussing these articles of theology. About twenty years later it all started up again under a new emperor and the hot tempered feuding over Bible verses which purported to describe the 'divinity' (or lack thereof) of Christ carried on until 680 B.C.E. when the third council at Constantinople declared the point of view of some the above passages found in Mark and Corinthians to be 'heresies' which they remain to this very day.
The Bible does not present any consistent view of Christology, as is demonstrated by over eight centuries of feuding over Bible verses like those above, and the Bible also does not present a consistent and unitary picture of 'the plan of salvation'. As I note in my discussion of the two versions of the Abraham story the scriptures do not only teach "believe in me and thou shalt be saved." For,
And the following passage is also a 'heresy' that stands in sharp disagreement with the gospel of John...
"What if some did not believe? Will their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God. Certainly not." (Romans Chapter 3 verse 3)
"For God is the savior of everyone, but especially of those who believe." (1 Timothy Chapter 4 verse 10)
The church dogma which states that the Bible presents a single unitary portrait of the divinity of Christ and a single, simple 'plan of salvation' is false. The Bible proves to be as conflicting and diverse in matters of theology as it is in matters of history.
There are notable inconsistencies in the presentation of Jews and Gentiles in Matthew's gospel, something that also becomes apparent when you consider the falsified, polemical genealogy that opens the book. (see below) This is not the only example of doctrinal contradictions in the manuscript. You can also consider Matthew's statement on the 'infallible inerrancy' of the scriptures found in the Sermon on the Mount.It is self evident that the bible is not 'infallibly inerrant' no matter who was alleged to have taught this false doctrine.
Matthew's sermon on Torah regulations opens with a declaration of infallibility, inclusive of both prophets and the Torah, parts of which the prophets condemned, and which was also condemned by the early church, and the gospels, making this statement incongruous to the least. This is then followed by a number of rejections of Torah ideology expressed in the formula 'you have heard it said (ie. in the Torah) ... but what I say to you is this.' For example you have heard it said (in the Torah) 'an eye for an eye' but 'what I say you is this ... resist not evil ... turn the other cheek.' There are a number of such statements found in Matthew chapter five, and one has to wonder just how the Torah can be both 'infallible' and how not one rule can be relaxed, and then what follows is nullifications and rejections which go beyond mere relaxing. These comments on the Torah are made according to the following formula. You have heard it said in the Torah that you should do this, but what I say to you is that you should not do that, but rather you should do this other thing instead. So a good case could be made that the verse extolling Biblical infallibility was a later interpolation recognizable, as such interpolations always are, by the contradictions in doctrine they introduce.
There are two points of view expressed on the Torah in Matthew's gospel (for Torah reform and a reactionary defiance which declared the 'infallible inerrancy' of the Bible). This reactionary element stood outside the radical stream of tradition found in both the radical Jewish prophets and in the radicalism found in the early church. As just one example of what I mean, you can consider the protest writings of the prophet Jeremiah, who insisted that the Torah regulations were not given to Moses and that the scribes were falsifying the laws of God.
"Thus says YAHWEH of hosts, the God of Israel: "Add your burnt offerings to your sacrifices, and eat the flesh yourselves. For in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, I did not speak to your ancestors or command them concerning burnt offerings and sacrifices ... How can you say, ‘we are wise, for we have the law of Yahweh, when, actually, the lying pen of the scribes has worked falsely?" (Jeremiah 7:21, 8:8)
This radicalism was characteristic of the school of thought found in Mark's gospel and also in the letters of Paul, and the radical school of thought that carried on his traditions. For example, in the following passage Paul is discussing the Torah regulations regarding circumcision and insists that to keep that rule means you then must keep every rule. He continues:
"You are cut off from Christ, you who would be justified by the Torah; you have put yourselves outside of God's grace ... the only thing that matters is faith, working through love. You were running well; who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion did not come from him who calls you. A little yeast raises the whole lump of dough. YAHWEH gives me confidence that you will take no other view than mine, but whoever is troubling you must bear God's judgment. But if I am still preaching circumcision, then why I am being persecuted. To do that would be to remove the offence of the cross. I wish that those who upset you would go all the way and mutilate themselves. For you were called to freedom." (Galatians 5:4)
Paul's radicalism was characteristic of the stream of radicalism found in both the earlier prophets and in the early church (it was only later that the church became so oppressive and reactionary and left their radical roots behind). Mark's gospel shows that he was in the mainstream as far as this radicalism was concerned, but Matthew's gospel shows that certain elements of the Jewish community were out of step with those churches, and were reactionary and conservative in their point of view, and rejected the radicalism of Jewish prophecy. In the following passage the Matthew gospel insists that not even a single dot over one letter ‘i' could ever be abolished from the Torah, and he also makes the incongruous statement that both the law and the radical prophets who condemned the law would be ‘fulfilled' (an impossible ‘harmonization' if there ever was one, something that Paul certainly recognized.)
"Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 5:17)
So you can see here that this element of the Jewish community belonged to the reactionary movement in the early church, and you can also tell how little they thought of Paul (it turns out that this denigrating of Paul's radicalism is also a characteristic they share with Luke, but that is a subject for another page.)
These inconsistencies in the gospel of Matthew leave one to ask which point of view was original and which was a later addition. It would seem to me to be the best explanation of the gospel to assume that originally the Matthew gospel was 'pro-Gentile' as a way to 'shame' elements of the Jewish community who were not believers, and it also makes sense that the original gospel was for Torah reform and the reactionary elements were added later. This would explain why in Matthew's gospel, Christ is 'sent to the Jews only' and yet Matthew follows the basic outline of Mark's gospel, by opening Christ's ministry in northern Gentile territory. It would also explain why Matthew follows Mark's attack on the ritual washing laws, and the 'clean and unclean' regulations. If the Torah was 'infallible' in the original Matthew gospel, Matthew's inclusion of Mark's attack on these regulations needs to be explained.
"How right Isaiah was when he prophesied concerning you, saying, 'this people pays me lipservice, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain, for they teach as doctrines thecommandments of men.' You neglect the commandments of God, in order to maintain yourhuman traditions. How clever you are at setting aside the commandment of God in order tomaintain your traditions...In this way by your traditions, handed down among you, you makeGod's word null and void. And you do many other things just like that. After He called the crowd to Him again, He began saying to them, "Listen to Me, all of you, and understand: there is nothing outside the man which can defile him if it goes into him; but the things which proceed out of the man are what defile the man. If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear." When he had left the crowd and entered the house, His disciples questioned Him about the parable. And He *said to them, "Are you so lacking in understanding also? Do you not understand that whatever goes into the man from outside cannot defile him, because it does not go into his heart, but into his stomach, and is eliminated?" (Thus He declared all foods clean.)" (Mark 7:6)
This doctrine was not unique to Mark's gospel but was also acknowledged by Paul.
"Everything I know about Messiah Joshua convinces me that nothing in itself is unclean(prohibited); but only if someone gets the idea into their heads that a thing is unclean' (prohibited)then for them it becomes unclean." (Romans 14:14)
So thorough was Paul's rejections of these Torah regulations after he became a believer that looking back on it all he called it 'sheer rubbish'.
"Circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew born of Hebrews; as to the law a Pharisee, as to zeal a persecutor of the church ... I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ..." (Philippians 3:5)
The reference Mark makes to nullifying prophets is reference to the radical school of prophecy mentioned above. The Matthew gospel repeats Mark's attack on the Torah, (Matthew 15:1) and also makes reference to this radical school which attacked the Torah and joins in the chorus with Mark's gospel in attacking the Torah regulations, and the nullification of the radical stream of prophecy that went with this practice, making one wonder how 'infallible' every last dot over every last 'i' in the Torah could be, and indicating that these verses were later interpolations into the Matthew gospel Sermon on the Mount (and easily recognized as such by the internal inconsistencies such later nullifying redaction always brings with it).
The Matthew gospel is not an internally consistent piece of work as an analysis of its position on Torah reform indicates (being both for and against reform of the Torah) and as its position on Gentiles and Jews also demonstrates ('to the Jews only' and 'against the Jews'). The best explanation for these inconsistencies is that the original Jewish community that produced the gospel were for Torah reform and did not produce the 'to the Jews only' passages in the gospel, but that the reactionary defence of the 'inerrancy' of the Torah and the doctrine that Gentiles were dogs were added later by a reactionary segment of the community, into whose hands the gospel was eventually passed. It is more than likely the case that this segment of the Jewish congregation were also responsible for the 'Gentile dog' parable found in Matthew's gospel, and thus being against Torah reform and for the 'infallible inerrancy' of scripture and against Gentiles, they could also not have been responsible for the genealogy which opens the book. This bigotry can be traced back to their reactionary defense of the perfection of the Torah. Examples abound of racism and bigotry which represent one school of Jewish tradition (and only one school) and is characteristic of both the Holy War ideology of the Torah and the Holy War school of the prophets. For an interesting example of this sort of thing you can consult my commentary on Ezra-Nehemiah included with my discussion on dating the Torah composition.
As one good example of the fact that one cannot have their cake, and eat it, too, you can consider the conflicts in the Bible between the radical stream of Jewish prophecy, encapsulated in the book of Ruth, and the Torah regulations banning Moabites forever. Ruth was David's grandmother, and she was a Moabite. She is presented as the most righteous of women. David was ‘a half breed' of the type condemned in both the Torah regulations banning mixed marriages, and in the political polemics found in Ezra-Nehemiah which refer constantly to these laws banning contact with the Gentiles. So you can't have the prophets and the Torah at the same time, but nevertheless certain reactionary elements in the early Jewish church were going to put on face of doing just that.
Now King David was ‘a half breed Moabite.' One example of these racist, anti-Gentile laws (Gentiles were ‘unclean dogs') is found in considering the following law from the Torah.
"No Ammonite or Moabite shall enter the assembly of YAHWEH; even to the tenth generation none belonging to them shall enter the assembly of YAHWEH for ever ... You shall not seek their peace or their prosperity all your days for ever." (Deuteronomy Chapter 23 verse 3)
One must wonder what Boaz, David's Jewish grandfather was doing showing constant concern for the welfare and prosperity of Ruth, the Moabite, given this regulation. One must wonder just what a Moabite ‘half breed' was doing sitting on the throne of Judah, and establishing a dynasty in Judah. These racist laws are addressed, and rejected by the radical book of Ruth. Obviously certain reactionaries choose these racist regulations and rejected the radical stream of prophecy and the book of Ruth. Their view of ‘Gentile dogs' was also shaped by such regulations in the Torah as the following.
"You must utterly destroy them; you shall make no covenant with them, and show no mercy to them. You shall not make marriages with them, giving your daughters to their sons or taking their daughters for your sons." (Deuteronomy Chapter 7 verse 2)
It is this ideological outlook that informs the gospel of Matthew's anti-Gentile polemics, including the ‘Gentile dog' parable. Nevertheless they appear to have absorbed something of the radical tradition, encapsulated in Ruth, in that they keep the attitude that Gentiles are dogs, but if they acknowledge their dog-like state, and lower themselves into the dust, then perhaps they can be thrown some scraps from the table. This strange ‘harmonization' constitutes keeping both the Torah and the prophets, at least in the gospel of Matthew.
"And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and cried, "Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely possessed by a demon." But he (Christ) did not answer her a word. And his disciples came and begged him, saying, "Send her away, for she is crying after us." He answered, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." But she came and knelt before him, saying, "Lord, help me." And he answered, "It is not fair to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs." She said, "Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters' table."" (Matthew Chapter 15 verse 22)
It was quite clear then that the Jewish people were the masters of the house, and Canaanites, not to mention Ammonites and Moabites and so on, were the household dogs. In contradiction to Mark's account, this reactionary element found in Matthew will insist that Christ was ‘sent only to the Jews' which is a reflection of their own ideological outlook, and not a rendition of historical fact.
The insertion of the 'gentile dog' parable into Mark's gospel (Mark Chapter 7 verse 25) is one of the most obvious examples of scribal harmonization of the gospel parables. In Mark's gospel this parable becomes the story of Christ calling a ‘Syro-Phoenician' Gentile woman ‘a dog' who he could not bother to help. (Christ was sent only to Jews, not to the dog Gentiles.) This is a version of parable that appears in the gospel of Matthew, with the difference that in Matthew's version the woman who Joshua calls a dog is a ‘Canaanite'. The theme of Christ preaching in Judea, and only to Jews in any case, even when he toured the northern Gentile territories, is a feature of Matthew's gospel, not Mark's. Joshua does not even go near Judea in Mark's gospel until the very end of his life. Furthermore, in Mark's gospel Joshua preaches to entire cities in Gentile territory, and thus it seems strangely out of place for Mark to suddenly sound like Matthew and start calling Gentiles ‘dogs'. Whenever such inconsistencies are found in Biblical manuscripts it is an indication that inconsistent passages have been introduced into a manuscript by scribes.
In Mark's gospel, Christ is portrayed as preaching to cities of people in Syria and in Phoenicia. Thus in the ‘dog' parable in Mark's gospel the ‘Canaanite' dog of Matthew's gospel becomes a ‘Syro- Phoenician' dog (and this is no coincidence. This is a rather transparent attempt to nullify Mark's earlier presentation by suggesting that while Joshua preached in these Gentile lands, violating the dogma and contradicting the presentation of the mission in Matthew's gospel, he really thought that Syrians and Phoenicians were dogs, and no doubt was spending all his time 'preaching to the Jews of those towns only'. This ‘harmonization' fails to adequately ‘harmonize' Mark's Gentile mission with Matthew's ‘only Jews' version of events, but such harmonizations in the Bible seldom achieve their ends, and only introduce (so called) enigmatic passages which ‘puzzle' later readers.)
In addition Joshua heals in Gentile territory twice in the sequence surrounding this dog parable (and the interpolation of the ‘dog' parable, wherein Christ refuses to heal Gentiles seems even more incongruous when considered in this light.) For example we are told that Christ landed on Gentile territory and they ‘scoured the countryside, bringing him everyone who was sick.' It is rather unlikely that only Jews got sick in those days in the Decapolis or Gennesarat or Phoenicia. In Matthew's gospel, Christ refuses to even preach to Gentiles, but in Mark's gospel when Christ entered a Gentile town ‘the whole town was there, and he healed them.' Mark Chapter 1 verse 33 That Capernaum, for example, was a Gentile town, and not a town full of Jewish people, is something even the Jewish community that produced the Matthew gospel had to recognize. The Matthew gospel then damns those same Gentile towns to hell (demonstrating that they read Mark's gospel, remembered the names of those Gentile towns, and didn't like it), and all this is not ‘harmonized' with the contradictions in Mark's gospel by the ridiculous interpolation of Matthew's dog parable in Mark's gospel. The division is too deep between these two gospels to be so simply fixed by such a clumsy attempt at ‘harmonization' by later scribes in the church.
In a previous section I noted that Canaanites, Syrians, and Phoenicians were banned as 'dogs'. In Matthew's gospel, Samaritans are, of course, included on the list of banned ‘dog-type' peoples.
"These twelve Jesus sent out, charging them, "Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." (Matthew Chapter 10 verse 5)
This would be a good time to point out once again the inconsistencies in Matthew's account. In the opening chapters of Matthew's gospel he follows Mark in opening the ministry in Gentile territory, and then goes so far as to suggest that the sending of the Messiah to the Gentiles was in fact the great fulfillment of a prophecy of Isaiah.
"And leaving Nazareth he went and dwelt in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, that what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: "The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, toward the sea, across the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles— the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned." (Matthew 4:13)
We are told in Matthew's gospel that Gentiles were 'dogs' that he could not bother even talking, too, much less heal. Then again we are told that,
"And he went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every infirmity among the people. So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, demoniacs, epileptics, and paralytics, and he healed them. And great crowds followed him from Galilee and the Decapolis and Jerusalem and Judea and from beyond the Jordan." (Matthew chapter 4 verse 23)
You might note that Syria, Galilee ('of the Gentiles'), the Decapolis, and the lands 'beyond the Jordan' are Gentile territories.
We are told in Matthew's gospel that the Torah is infallible, and that the Torah requires reform. We are told in the Matthew gospel that the gospel is for the Jews only, and that Gentiles and Samaritans are 'dogs' who must be avoided. Then again we are told that Gentiles are to inherit the Kingdom of Heaven and that it is the Jewish people who will be cast out (presumably into hell, where they will 'weep and grind their teeth'). In Matthew Chapter 8:5-13 we are told the story of a Roman (Gentile) centurion who received a miracle, and furthermore is presented as holier than the Jewish people.
"As he entered Capernaum, a centurion came forward to him, beseeching him and saying, "Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, in terrible distress." And he said to him, "I will come and heal him." But the centurion answered him, "Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; but only say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes, and to my slave, ‘Do this,’ and he does it." When Jesus heard him, he marveled, and said to those who followed him, "Truly, I say to you, not even in Israel have I found such faith. I tell you, many will come from east and west (ie. Gentiles) and sit at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, while the sons of the kingdom (ie. the Jewish people) will be thrown into the outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth."" (Matthew Chapter 8 verse 5)
If we assume that the original Matthew was 'pro-Jewish' then the parable of the Centurion, which is pro-Gentile, would be a later interpolation by the church fathers. Another possibility is that the parable was original to Matthew, and the 'Gentile dog' and other reactionary material were later interpolations by certain reactionary elements in the Jewish congregation that inherited the manuscript. This seems to me to be the most likely scenario since it would then be the original ideological outlook that the Matthew gospel was being critical of Jewish reaction and rejection of Joshua as Messiah, was for Torah reform, against the Pharisees, and was employing this 'pro-Gentile' parable as a means to shame and pressure the rest of the Jewish people. It would also explain the presence of 'master-slave' parables in the gospel (the Jewish people were being invited to consider themselves slaves who being taking beatings for the rejection of Christ). The reactionary elements that were then found in the gospel which introduce such complexities and inconsistencies into the manuscript could then be considered the polemical response of that segment of the Jewish community who had to live with the reaction Matthew's original gospel provoked in the Jewish community (they backed off Torah reform by asserting the infallible inerrancy of the Bible, they tried to downplay the criticism of the Jewish community by introducing strong anti-Gentile polemics, all this in response to the the dynamics of a changing situation).
Whatever the actual explanation may be, Matthew's gospel proves to be very complex. Previously I held to the theory that the bigoted reactionary elements in this gospel were 'original Matthew' and that anything inconsistent was 'added by the church fathers'. However this simple model is an inadequate explanation for the inconsistencies in thought that are found in the Matthew gospel. It is a complex work. These anti-Gentile elements are uniquely Matthew, and in the gospel of Luke it is my (preliminary) analysis that Luke attempts to reconcile and harmonize the divergent accounts that emerge when comparing Mark's account with Matthew's account, and when considering the inconsistencies in the Matthew account itself. For example, in line with the thinking found in Matthew's 'Gentile dog' parable, Luke retells the story of the Centurion in such a way that Christ needs to be convinced to help the Gentile. Luke's version sounds like more like the Matthew who forbids contact with Gentiles and will not help Gentiles than the gospel of Matthew does itself. In the Matthew gospel Christ simply responds to the plea for help by saying, 'I will go.' The 'Matthew-like" addition to this parable found in Luke reads as follows:
"And they, when they came to Jesus, besought him earnestly, saying, He is worthy that thou shouldest do this for him; for he loveth our nation, and himself built us our synagogue." (Luke Chapter 7 verse 4)
In Luke's version then, Luke sounds more 'Matthew' than Matthew himself, and this is a good example of what I mean by Luke's attempts to 'harmonize' both the internal inconsistencies in the Matthew gospel itself, and Matthew with the Mark account (by disagreeing with Mark and sending Christ to Judea at the beginning of his gospel, for example).
In Mark's version, naturally, no ban on Gentiles is mentioned. In Matthew, complicated as the manuscript proves to be, Gentiles and Samaritans are both banned (or maybe they are the righteous ones). In John's gospel, Christ, as in Mark, ministers to a whole town full of Samaritans, who become believers. One Samaritan, makes note of the fact that the Jewish people, like those in the Matthew gospel who were responsible for these anti-Gentile polemics, refused to have anything to do with Samaritans, but Christ was different, not sharing the bigotry that might be found among others Jews of that time, and the woman finds this quality of his quite remarkable and worthy of note.
"The Samaritan woman said to him (Joshua), "How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?" For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans ... Many Samaritans from that city believed in him because of the woman's testimony, "He told me all that I ever did." (John Chapter 4 verse 9, 4:39)
So this reactionary element in Matthew sits in isolation from Mark, and in isolation from John, and who can forget Luke's memorable parable of ‘the good Samaritan.' On the one hand, Luke attempts to out Matthew Matthew himself by 'harmonizing' Matthew's centurion parable with Matthew's 'begging Gentile dog' parable. But Luke clearly distances himself from the Matthew gospel bigotry in this matter. As In Mark's gospel, Joshua ministers to Gentiles and heals Samaritans in Luke's version, and Luke also puts some distance between himself and Matthew by specifically sending first disciples to Samaria, and then Christ himself.
"And he (Joshua) sent messengers ahead of him, who went and entered a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him ... Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus' feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan." (Luke Chapter 9 verse 52, Luke Chapter 17 verse 15)
"(Note: A number of Jewish religious authorities pass by an injured man by the side of the road.) But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was; and when he saw him, he had compassion, and went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; then he set him on his own beast and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back. Which of these three, do you think, proved neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?" (Luke Chapter 10 verse 33)
We can see that not only is this reactionary stream of tradition found in Matthew isolated from the radical stream of tradition in the early church, it is also isolated in its bigoted viewpoint against Gentiles and Samaritans (and the incongruous ‘harmonization' attempted by adding his dog parable to Mark's Gentile gospel, only serves to draw attention away from their isolation, at least, until the parable is recognized for what it so clearly is (an obvious editorial interpolation) and disposed of, leaving the gospel of Matthew alone on this matter, as it was in the beginning, and as it should be. (I really am opposed to this ‘harmonizing' done by the church fathers, particularly in the fourth century.)
It should be noted that the Samaritans split off from the rest of the Jewish people and to this day, maintain a distinctive culture in Israel. Samaritans are distinct from the rest of the Jewish people only by the fact that their religion is different from mainstream Judaism, but there was a propaganda assault made against them that suggested that they were ‘half breed Jews.' The source for this erroneous belief was a propaganda story composed against them and included in the book of Kings. Samaritans, we are told, came into being when a bunch of Gentiles were brought into Israel and then a priest was sent to teach them the ways of God since they were ‘defiling' the land. As time went by, these Gentiles then interbred with true Israelites, producing a race of ‘half breeds'. (This story is political and religious polemic against the schismatic sect of Samaritans, and should be recognized as such, but since it bears on the discussion at hand, I bring it to your attention since it was a prevalent belief during the time of the early church that Samaritans were a kind of ‘half breed Jew'.)
"And the king of Assyria brought people from Babylon, Cuthah, Avva, Hamath, and Sepharvaim, and placed them in the cities of Samaria instead of the people of Israel; and they took possession of Samaria, and dwelt in its cities. And at the beginning of their dwelling there, they did not fear YAHWEH; therefore YAHWEH sent lions among them, which killed some of them. So the king of Assyria was told, "The nations which you have carried away and placed in the cities of Samaria do not know the law of the god of the land; therefore he has sent lions among them, and behold, they are killing them, because they do not know the law of the god of the land." Then the king of Assyria commanded, "Send there one of the priests whom you carried away thence; and let him go and dwell there, and teach them the law of the god of the land." So one of the priests whom they had carried away from Samaria came and dwelt in Bethel, and taught them how they should fear YAHWEH." (2 Kings Chapter 17 verse 24)
In the opening chapters of the book, the gospel of Matthew attempts to tie Christ to Jewish history by creating a genealogy divided into segments of fourteen, starting from Abraham.
"So all the generations from Abraham to David were fourteen generations, and from David to the deportation to Babylon fourteen generations, and from the deportation to Babylon to the Christ fourteen generations." (Matthew Chapter 1 verse 17)
The obvious point being made here is that Christ came at just the right time, thus making all those fourteens turn out just perfect. The only problem here is that if you consult the book of Chronicles, you will see that the author changes the genealogy and drops a number of names, when it is convenient, in order to get those fourteens to turn out right. So someone proved to be quite nimble in the use of scriptures, even from the very first chapter of the book. (This is one of the reasons that Matthew's genealogy conflicts with the genealogy found in the gospel of Luke, which, by the way starts from ‘Adam', not Abraham, because Luke is concerned with showing that Christ was ‘savior of all humanity' and ‘son of Adam, son of God' and is not concerned with ‘the Jews only,' which is one ideological outlook found in Matthew's gospel.) Chronicles lists 18 names, where the Matthew genealogy drops 4 and only lists 14. Compare 1 Chronicles Chapter 3 verse 10-16 with Matthew Chapter 1 verse 6-11.This is not the only example of conflicting genealogies in the Bible.
The falsified genealogy that opens the book of Matthew is an interesting enigma. (For more information on the problems such genealogy introduce see the page on chronological problems in the Bible comared in chart form to Matthew's genealogy or the page on conflicting genealogy of the Bible. In Matthew's version of the lineage of the messiah we are told that Christ was descended from both Rahab the harlot (a Gentile in Jericho) and Ruth the Moabite (another Gentile). In other parts of the book we are told that Gentiles are dogs and also that the Torah, which also condemns Gentiles, is infallible, perfect, and without error, right down to the last dot over the last letter 'i'. The genealogy is obviously false in many ways (the story of Rahab the harlot is separated by a lot more than just a generation from that of the time of Ruth). It is interesting to note that the author of this genealogy mentions men, which is characteristic of all other Bible genealogies, and then makes a point of mentioning a harlot and a (supposedly eternally cursed) Moabite woman. Christ then, the genealogy makes a point of telling us, was a descendant of Gentile women, and this makes us wonder why, if Christ had that Gentile dog flowing through his own veins, as the author of this genealogy makes a point of saying was true, then one must wonder how arrogant Christ could have been to later on starting calling those same Gentile women dogs? The genealogy can be seen to introduce even most contradictions and even moral hypocrisy into the manuscript and it certainly conflicts with the ideology that Christ was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel presented later in the book (the suggestion in this passage and in the parable in which Christ calls Gentile women dogs is that Christ was himself a pure bred Jew, as white as wool, as shown by his arogant bigotry in the matter.) The function of this genealogy and the time of its composition remains mysterious to me, but it obviously could not have been composed by the same groups who rejected David (see below) and rejected gentiles and considered Gentiles dogs, and held the Bible to be 'infallibly inerrant' (that the author of this genealogy falsified the Bible in more ways than one is obvious on consideration of that genealogy, and so a mind set of Biblical inerrancy is out as far as that author was concerned - the genealogy was obviously a polemic of some kind.) I bring to mind just to point out to the reader just how complex the Matthew manuscript proves to be on examination.
There is much internal contradiction in the Matthew gospel, and this all indicates that the manuscript was subject to heavy redaction by reactionaries during a time of backlash (backlash always accompanying reform, as we see time and time again throughout history).
The end result of all this conflicting editorial activity is that there is also evidence for moral hypocrisy in the finished manuscript. In the Sermon on the Mount we are told to never, ever call anyone 'a fool', which is name calling. This sort of thing is strictly prohibited. But apparently you can call someone a dog, which is also name calling, but at least its not the case that you were calling someone 'raca', because that is prohibited. So one great lesson in morality that we can learn from the Matthew gospel is that one must always hold to the letter of the law, and not the Spirit of the law. After all, if we hold to the Spirit of the law that would exclude calling someone a dog, now wouldn't it, and it is clear from the Matthew gospel, that while 'fool' is out as name calling, calling someone a dog is just fine. We are told never to hate, but rather to love our enemies. Do good to those who persecute you, bless those who persecute you, so that you can be children of God. Never, ever repay evil with evil, but rather with good. This is after all the famous Sermon on the Mount. And we know, that while dog name calling is alright, 'fool' is definitely out, being expressly banned, after all. However, you can call Pharisees 'fools' and you can curse them, repay them evil for evil, because they were persecuting you, right? So we can summarize the great morality of Christ, as presented in the Matthew gospel, using the following formula. Do as I say, not as I do.
The gospel of Matthew opens with a falsified genealogy. After being this nimble, the Matthew account then proceeds to twist and pervert a mistranslated verse from Isaiah found in the Greek Septuagint. By twist and pervert I mean that the verse is obviously taken out of context and then employed as ‘a prophecy of Christ' and, in particular, for reasons peculiar to one segment of the Matthew community and their ideological outlook, as a prophecy of the virgin birth of Christ. They then prove to be equally nimble in proceeding to make up a story no person on the face of the earth has ever heard of, Herod's massacre of babies, to explain why Christ's good Jewish family were forced to live up North in Gentile dog country, and then they prove to be equally nimble in making up a false prophecy no one else ever heard of (‘he shall be called a Nazarene') to help justify the story. They are forced to be nimble with this ‘virgin birth prophecy', and twist the meaning of this particular passage in Isaiah and employ it is ‘a prophecy of the virgin birth' simply because they are really, really hard up for ‘prophecies of Christ' that they can use to support their ideological position in this matter, thus forcing them to go looking for a passage, any passage they can find to defend their doctrine. First the Matthew gospel tells us that Joseph found out that Mary was pregnant before they got married, but an angel came and told him that it was alright, because she got pregnant from the Holy Ghost. Furthermore, Joseph did not have sexual relations with Mary until after the time that the child was born, thus, the gospel makes clear, this was a virgin birth for sure.
"All this took place to fulfill what YAHWEH had spoken by the prophet: "Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his Emmanuel" (which means, God with us). When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of YAHWEH commanded him; he took his wife, but knew her not until she had borne a son; and he called his name Joshua." (Matthew Chapter 1 verse 22)
The word ‘virgin' in the Greek Septuagint translation of the Hebrew scriptures is a mistranslation. The Hebrew word ‘almah' (translated ‘virgin' in the passage in Isaiah in the Septuagint) is a generic term that refers to a girl or any young woman, married or unmarried, virgin or not. The Hebrew language has a specific term used to refer to a virgin, and that word is ‘betulah,' employed in many other passages, and correctly translated as ‘virgin' (this example of ‘almah' becoming ‘virgin' being that one example of when a word must be incorrectly translated for doctrinal reasons, simply because the nimble Matthew gospel used the mistranslated version as ‘a prophecy of Christ.')
This is only the first problem with Matthew's virgin birth prophecy. The passage is not only mistranslated, it is also ripped out of context. You see that passage has nothing to do with the future messiah, and certainly nothing to do with a virgin birth, but as I noted above, someone is being particularly nimble, especially when they are hard up for a line of prophecy, and the fact that no such prophecy is found in Isaiah does not stop such a nimble verse quoter.
When you actually put that (mistranslated) stripped out single verse back into context in Isaiah, what it actually means is as follows. Around 742 B.C.E. the King of Judea, King Ahaz, was under threat of attack by an alliance of Rezim, the King of Aram, and Pekah, the King of Israel. Although their planned attack against Jerusalem did not at first succeed, Ahaz was fearful of their future plots against his kingdom. The prophet Isaiah then attempted to calm the king, and he proved to be an astute analyzer of the current political situation. He prophesied to the King that a young woman would have a child, and before the child was old enough to tell right from wrong, both Pekah and Rezim would get their comeuppance at the hand of the Assyrians. The young woman would call the child ‘Immanuel' which means, ‘YAHWEH is with us,' and as the King saw those two Kings being destroyed by the rising power of Assyria, he would know that God was with them. (Note that the Matthew gospel twists this part in using this line of prophecy, to read ‘they shall call his name Immanuel' since it was obvious that Mary called his name ‘Joshua', not Immanuel, and someone was going to have call his name ‘Immanuel', so ‘they' did, in Matthew's nimble style of using prophecy.) As the prophecy was in the process of being fulfilled, Isaiah named his next child Maher-shalal-hashbaz., which means, ‘the spoil speedeth, the prey hasteth.' In other words, these prophecies would be hurriedly fulfilled and not delayed (for centuries, as in the Matthew gospel's forced interpretation). The prophecy was for Isaiah's time, and was directed at the King of Judah (as Isaiah told him, that was a sign for the King of Judah at that time). The prophecy was also poetic, and not strictly literal, as the child ‘Immanuel' was 10 years old when the kingdom ruled at that time by Rezim fell to the Assyrians, and 21 years old when Israel fell. So we actually have two children given prophetic names in this prophecy, both Immanuel and Maher-shalal-hashbaz and both children were given prophetic names significant to the times they lived in, as the unfolding nature of the prophecy is described in Isaiah in the verses that follow. (The Matthew author had no use for Maher-shalal-hashbaz, and so that child goes unmentioned. But then they had no use for the whole rest of that prophecy, no use for that second concluding reference to that child ‘Immanuel' at the end of the prophecy, the entirety of the prophecy not being much of a ‘prophecy of Christ' after all. They just needed that one line.)
"And it came to pass in the days of Ahaz the son of Jotham, the son of Uzziah, king of Judah, that Rezin the king of Aram, and Pekah the son of Remaliah, king of Israel, went up to Jerusalem to war against it; but could not prevail against it ... Then said YAHWEH unto Isaiah: ‘Go forth now to meet Ahaz ... and say unto him: Keep calm, and be quiet; fear not, neither let thy heart be faint, because of these two tails of smoking firebrands, for the fierce anger of Rezin and Aram, and of the son of Remaliah ... ‘Ask thee a sign of YAHWEH thy God: ask it either in the depth, or in the height above.' But Ahaz said: ‘I will not ask, neither will I try YAHWEH.' And he said: ‘Hear ye now, O house of David: Is it a small thing for you to weary men, that ye will weary my God also? Therefore YAHWEH Himself shall give you a sign: behold, the young woman shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel ... Yea, before the child shall know to refuse the evil, and choose the good, the land whose two kings thou hast a horror of shall be forsaken ... And it shall come to pass in that day, that YAHWEH shall hiss for the fly that is in the uttermost part of the rivers of Egypt, and for the bee that is in the land of Assyria ... And YAHWEH said unto me: ‘Take thee a great tablet, and write upon it in common script: The spoil speedeth, the prey hasteth ... And I went unto the prophetess; and she conceived, and bore a son. Then said YAHWEH unto me: ‘Call his name Maher-shalal-hashbaz.For before the child shall have knowledge to cry: My father, and: My mother, the riches of Damascus and the spoil of Samaria shall be carried away before the king of Assyria.' ... Now therefore, behold, YAHWEH bringeth up upon them the waters of the River, mighty and many, even the king of Assyria and all his glory; and he shall come up over all his channels, and go over all his banks ... And he shall sweep through Judah overflowing as he passeth through he shall reach even to the neck; and the stretching out of his wings shall fill the breadth of thy land, O Immanuel." (Isaiah Chapter 7 verse 1)
On consideration of this matter it should be obvious to anyone who is not fond of dogmas, and has a truly open mind, that the single verse taken out of context and twisted and perverted to become a 'prophecy of Christ' was no prophecy of Christ, but rather something else was going on here.
For their own ideological reasons, elements of the Matthew community required a 'virgin birth', or better said, for their own reasons they required God as the Father of Christ (literally) and a single line from Isaiah was the only prophecy they could find to twist and take out of context in the Greek Septuagint, and the fact that Mary then became a virgin in the process was actually inconsequential. You see, what was first and foremost in their minds was that God be the Father of Christ, not that Christ have a ‘virgin birth.'
Now as I related in previous sections, the Matthew gospel is complex, containing both reform and reaction, and certain elements of that Matthew community had this terrible character flaw in that they were under the influence of Torah ‘Holy War' ideology and the Torah racism that went with this particular strand of tradition, and, as I pointed out, this personality characteristic was entirely unique to them, and a product of their ideological viewpoint, not to mention the result of standing outside the radical traditions of the prophets and the early church as well.
We are told that Mary and her cousin Elizabeth were from the tribe of Levi, and were Levites (not then, children of David, which would have required them to be from the tribe of Judah). Elizabeth was a descendant of Aaron the Levite, and Mary, the mother of Christ was her cousin.
"In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, of the division of Abijah; and he had a wife of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth ... And behold, your (Mary's) cousin Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren." (Luke Chapter 1 verse 5, verse 36)
Now in the Book of Romans, Paul tells us that Christ was descended from David, of the tribe of Judah, and from the gospel accounts we know that Joseph, Christ's father, was from the tribe of Judah, as well as being a direct descendant of King David. (If the Holy Ghost was Christ's father, then Christ could not have descended from King David, since Mary was a Levite.) Paul also states that Christ was a descendant of King David, ‘according to the flesh' which indicates that Joseph was in fact his father. He then declares that Christ was declared Son of God by his resurrection from the dead.
"The gospel concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and designated Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Joshua Messiah our Lord." (Romans Chapter 1 verse 3)
" Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, descended from David, as preached in my gospel." (2 Timothy Chapter 2 verse 8)
In speaking of Christ as being ‘descended from David, according to the flesh' but being ‘declared Son of God in power' Paul is referring back to the Psalms.
"I have set my king on Zion, my holy hill." I will tell of the decree of YAHWEH: He said to me, "You are my son, today I have begotten you. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession." (Psalm Chapter 1 verse 6)
So then, here we see that it was common thought in the early church that Christ was ‘descended from David, according to the flesh.' And, in accord with streams of thought in the psalms, on the day of his rising from the dead he was taken in as God's son. Now we have already seen how isolated this one Matthew community was in some of their viewpoints in the gospel. It turns out, that once again, the Matthew gospel is found disagreeing with everybody else in the early church. Christ was not the Son of David according to Matthew.
""What do you think of the Christ? Whose son is he?" They said to him, "The son of David." He said to them, "How is it then that David, inspired by the Spirit, calls him Lord, saying, ‘YAHWEH said to my Lord, Sit at my right hand, till I put thy enemies under thy feet'? If David thus calls him Lord, how is he his son?" And no one was able to answer him a word, nor from that day did any one dare to ask him any more questions." (Matthew Chapter 22 verse 42)
At this point I should note that the denial of David is found in Luke's gospel, but this is no surprise, since Luke practices 'harmonization' and also picked up on the Matthew communities story of non-Davidic origins and the virgin birth. Incongruously, this statement is also found in Mark's gospel, thus causing Mark to also disagree with Paul and the early church (note that the gospels accounts with all their internal inconsistencies and contradictions were not written by apostles, or eye witnesses, but were later compositions by churches. The letters of Paul are the earliest documents the church possesses.) Mark has no reason to deny David. There is no mention of a virgin birth in Mark's gospel, and Mark does not regard Christ as a god, (indeed Christ was offended to be called good, and would have been more offended to be called 'God'.) In Mark's gospel, Christ was originally referred to as 'son of man', a term borrowed from the book of Daniel. In the opening line of Mark's gospel we read that this is 'the beginning of the story of Joshua Messiah, the son of God.' The phrase 'the son of God' is not present in the earliest manuscripts and was added later by the church to harmonize Mark's 'godless' account with later developments in church theology, not to mention later developments in church gospels. Similarly the denial of David has no purpose in Mark's gospel, and is unique to Matthew's gospel in its origins, something I will clarify. The denial of David was a later interpolation into Mark's gospel.
So then, in their own inimitable way, the Matthew community finds some scripture quote, as they did in using Isaiah, this time from the psalms, (and assumes that all psalms were written by David, by the way) and then ‘proves' that Paul and everybody else in the early church was wrong and that Christ certainly could not be the Son of David. Now we must ask why it is so important and so peculiar to this community of Matthew that Christ not be the son of David, so important, in fact, that they will twist Isaiah and fish for other quotes to prove that this just wasn't the case.
In the Matthew gospel we are told both that Christ is the son of David and then again that Christ was not the son of David, but rather God was literally the father of Christ. Yet the early church insisted that Christ was the son of David and thus the Matthew Jewish community had to move out of the mainstream of Christian thought to make this assertion, taking one more stand against the apostle Paul, something which seemed typical for them to do (because in this case they represented a reactionary backlash movement in the early church among conservatives, something easy to demonstrate.)
In order to understand what is going on here, you must remember that certain elements of this Jewish community were terribly bigoted against Gentiles. And they held to the infallible inerrancy of the Torah, right down to the last dot over the last letter ‘i'. And you might recall how Moabites and their descendants were banned from the assembly forever and ever and ever. And you might recall how David was a Moabite ‘half breed'. Now Joseph was a descendant of David, and thus Joseph was tainted with that bad, bad Moabite mixed blood, and was also, by the way, under the eternal Moabite curse of the infallible Torah, at least in their mind, thus there was no way on God's green earth that they were going to allow Joseph to be Christ's father, or to allow Christ to be a Son of David, even if they had to condemn Paul and the rest of the early church and twist and pervert prophecies from Isaiah and the other prophets, they were not going to allow Joseph, the tainted cursed Moabite half breed and his descendant Joseph to be the father of Christ. The Messiah, carrying that tainted half breed Moabite blood line. God forbid. Now most of what could be used as messianic prophecies are 'pro-David' and mention David, and this explains why this one segment of the community were forced to take passages out of context to make their case. They went searching for some prophecy or anything they could lay their hands on to prove that ‘God was Joshua's father' (literally) and certainly not that tainted Joseph, and in the process they found a verse in Isaiah that they could twist and use, and in the process, by coincidence, Mary, the Levite, became Mary, the Levite Virgin, because the passage was mistranslated in the Greek Septuagint. The fact that Mary became a virgin in the process was unimportant to them whose only real concern was finding someway, anyway, to ditch Joseph and his half breed ancestor, David, as Christ's ancestors. You see, they had a terrible character flaw, in that they were just that bigoted, and that is why the church today has a virgin birth story. (Peculiar tale, is it not?)
The fact that some controversy existed over Christ's ‘half breed' status is also found in the gospel of John. You might recall the story in Kings, quoted previously, that suggested that Samaritans were themselves a kind of bastardized half breed of a Jew. Some of the Jewish people were attacking Joshua and calling him ‘a Samaritan' (translate, in the light of Kings quoted above, and this means they were calling him some bastardized, Gentile dog mixture of a Jew).
"The Jews answered him, "Are we not right in saying that you are a Samaritan and have a demon?"" (John Chapter 8 verse 48)
These would be those same Jewish people who just didn't have anything to do with Samaritans or other Gentile dogs. So someone came to ‘the rescue' and out the door goes Joseph, and in comes the Holy Ghost to get that job of impregnating Mary done to their satisfaction. So the virgin birth story originated in a bigoted mind, and in his whose eyes, even King David was unsuitable as a father for Joshua Messiah. The virgin birth story was not original to the Matthew gospel but a later interpolation, and this explains why Christ was not a descendant of David and yet at the same time throughout the Matthew gospel his is called ‘the son of David' (a messianic title) both at the same time. This reactionary element would have also have been responsible for inserting the inconsistent statement regarding the infallible inerrancy of the Bible into the Sermon on the Mount, so as to keep the whole Torah and the prophets, including the prophets who condemned the Torah, both at the same time, a fine example of how dissonant things can somehow miraculously coexist in the mind of bigoted person, and no big surprise really. Mark heard nothing about a virgin birth, and has nothing to say about it, Paul doesn't mention it, and as for Luke picking up on that story and spinning it out even further, well, Luke did a lot of things with the gospel, and that was just one of them (and a story for another page).