The idea of a misleading message of Jesus has a sound basis of scriptural truth. The answer lies in the book of Matthew, the first book of the New Testament. This book tells us that during the initial period of his ministry, Jesus wandered the provinces of Judea, Samaria, and Galilee, preaching, teaching, performing miracles, and training his twelve apostles to continue and further his ministry. During this time he commanded them to only spread his teachings among Jewish peoples.
And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease. Now the names of the twelve apostles are these; The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus; Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him. These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. (KJV Bible, Matthew 10:1-7)
This is strange, here is Jesus telling his disciples not to spread his message among the Samaritans or Gentiles. Samaritans were a race of half-breed Jews living in a region to the north of Judea. Aside from being half-breeds, they also committed the unpardonable crime of heresy, because although they practiced Judaism, it was a different form of Judaism to that practiced by the pureblood Jews in Judea. And Jesus was a pureblood Jew, born and raised in Judea. Gentiles were not descended from the twelve tribes of Israel, nor did they practice any form of Judaism at all. Accordingly they were not deemed worthy of the same consideration as Jews, which is why the message of Jesus was not intended for them either. That is probably the background to this command of Jesus of Nazareth to his apostles.
Some undetermined time after giving this command, Jesus was crucified for being a rabble-rouser and general troublemaker. The Bible tells us he rose from the dead three days afterwards, and told the women visiting his empty tomb that he wanted to meet his apostles on a specific hill in Galilee. Jesus appeared to his apostles there, and made a really surprising statement before ascending to heaven.
Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted. And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.(KJV Bible, Matthew 28:16-20)
Astounding: is the only word capable of fitting such a change of instruction. So while he was still alive and physically present on this world, Jesus told his apostles specifically not to spread his teachings among Samaritans and Gentiles. Yet when appearing to his apostles after his resurrection, these prejudices were all gone, and he told them to spread his teachings to all peoples. A truly dramatic change of attitude, and one with profound consequences! And, it is unlikely that this is merely a difference of emphasis between two different books of the Bible - this is a profound change of message reported by the same writer who reported what he saw and remembered in the book of Matthew. So what we have here is a true change of message - and as I said before - a change with profound and obvious consequences.
How could this inconsistency arise? God interacts with human prophets by inspiring them to communicate the teachings of God to other humans. This single basic fact means these divine inspirations and teachings must first undergo translation within the brains of these prophets to something understandable to the prophets themselves. Human prophets are made of material flesh, which means they can only make their divine inspirations and teachings known to others by means of the mechanisms of their material brains and material bodies - by means of speech, writings, and deeds. The mechanisms of the material human body are wondrous, but sometimes function imperfectly. This means errors of interpretation, as well as in the communication of the teachings of God by human prophets are possible. Jesus, whom many Christians say is the Son of God, recognized the basic fact of the fallibility of the mechanisms of the material human body (Bible, Matthew 26:41). Saint Paul even emphasized that the erratic and sinful character of human nature is a natural consequence of the functioning of the material body.
Now, even though Jesus was the Son of God, and presumably had a rather more direct communication with God than other humans, he still had a material human body with resulting human nature. Jesus was raised as a material child made of flesh and blood in an environment surrounded by the normal prejudices current in Judea at that time. So his first command issued to his apostles, while he was still incarnated in a physical body before his crucifixion, was presumably a misinterpretation of the wishes of God made while under the influence of his human nature, which is why he told them his teachings were not intended for Samaritans and Gentiles. After he rose from the dead, his body was no longer physical, and accordingly no longer subject to errors of interpretation due to the imperfect functioning of his material body, so he was able to give the correct and true message of God to his disciples when they met on the hill in Galilee. This is why he then told his apostles to spread his teachings to the peoples of all the nations of the world.
But if Jesus misinterpreted this particular message of God while in his physical body of flesh, what then of all the other statements of Jesus? Here we have here one very glaring example of misinterpretation of the true message God, so can we actually trust the meanings of the other statements and deeds of Jesus while he was on this world as a physical being of flesh and blood? After all, they too may have been influenced by the functioning of his material body and his upbringing on this world. This means we cannot really trust the message of Jesus in the New Testament, nor can we trust the messages revealed to us by all other physical prophets, because they too were certainly prone to just the same errors of interpretation of God's message to humankind as those made by Jesus. In short, the message of Jesus has mislead humankind for more than 2000 years! Moreover, this message of Jesus has also mislead the prophets of Jesus for the same length of time. Likewise, the messages of all the other prophets in the Bible are also prone to these same errors of interpretation.
All these things mean we cannot trust many of the revelations of any of the prophets in the Bible. But which revelations can be trusted? Can we even trust the Bible? This is food for thought for all thinking persons ... Read more about the inconsistencies in Christianity in The Unholy Legacy of Abraham.
This page last modified 21 June 2008