The belief Jesus was “pure spirit” was prevalent in early Christian history
- N. B.
“For many deceivers have gone out into the world, men who will not acknowledge the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh; such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist.”
2 John 1:7 (RSV)
“By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit which confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit which does not confess Jesus is not of God. This is the spirit of antichrist, of which you heard that it was coming, and now it is in the world already.”
1 John 4:2-3 (RSV)
In its article on the Second Epistle of John, even Wikipedia gets it right that, for some peculiar reason, the belief “that the human person of Jesus was actually pure spirit” was “prevalent quite early in the history of Christianity.” This sort of Gnostic lingo is a polite way of saying that early Christians perceived their savior as a non-corporeal, mystical, spiritual, allegorical and, ultimately, mythical figure. If Jesus has been a historical person and had done all manner of miracles and magic tricks widely seen “in the flesh,” there could be no logical reason for some of the earliest beliefs in him to be non-literal and spiritual.
A close scrutiny of the historical record reveals non-historical deities and saviors with numerous of essentially the same attributes and adventures. From this admission of early Christian “Gnosticism,” we can see how this non-historical mishmash of religious and mythological concepts included in the New Testament was increasingly historicized over the decades, during the second century AD/CE.
In any event, the Second Epistle of John provides evidence for this development, which means that the gospel story is myth historicized, not literal history or history mythologized.
Also significant is the clear warning against paying heed to those who say that Jesus was not a flesh-and-blood figure: “For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh.” This establishes that, from the time the epistle was first written, there were those who had docetic Christologies, believing that the human person of Jesus was actually pure spirit.
Alternatively, the letter’s acknowledgment and rejection of gnostic theology may reveal a later date of authorship than orthodox Christianity claims. This can not be assured by a simple study of the context. Gnosticism’s beginnings and its relationship to Christianity is poorly dated, due to an insufficient corpus of literature relating the first interactions between the two religions. It vehemently condemns such anti-corporeal attitudes, which also indicates that those taking such unorthodox positions were either sufficiently vocal, persuasive, or numerous enough to warrant rebuttal in this form. Adherents of gnosticism were most numerous during the second and third centuries.
Thus, in regard to this matter and this document, either one of two explanations is commonly held:
- Docetic and/or gnostic teachings were prevalent quite early in the history of Christianity, and these views were considered heretical and dangerous by the proto-orthodox Christian church.
- A late date of the composition (which often accompanies assertions of pseudepigraphal attribution).
The best explanation for this warning against those who said Jesus was not flesh and blood – i.e., historical – is what I’ve stated above: To wit, Jesus Christ was a mythical compilation increasingly historicized, not the other way around. These epistles are undoubtedly later and pseudepigraphical writings, reflecting what was happening during the second century, which, in reality, is when Christianity began to take shape, because it was not based on a historical person who lived during the previous century. The Johannine epistles with their “warnings” against the “anti-Christs” who say Christ had not come in the flesh serve as evidence of this early mythical origin of Christianity.
This “pure spirit” or “celestial being,” as some are calling it, turns out to be a typical solar hero or sun god in significant part, as the sun in antiquity possessed many of the same attributes as claimed of Jesus in the gospel tale.
Jesus as the Sun throughout History
21 thoughts on “The belief Jesus was “pure spirit” was prevalent in early Christian history”
I was just reading my Bible and realized that Jesus of the canonical gospels are just sanitized versions of the Gnostic ideas, like the ones from Marcion the heretic.
“I and the Father are one.” -John 10:30
“…God is Spirit…” -John 4:24
“See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself; handle me, and see; for a spirit has not flesh and bones as you see that I have.” – Luke 24:39; I think this verse is an attempt to sanitize the Gnosticism within the gospels, but I could be wrong.
This is a really good article on the spiritual nature of the Gnostic version of the Christ. I am showing it to my partner, who is himself a Catholic, in order to show that the earliest Christians were not literalists who thought that Jesus was a historical figure. I know it will be illuminating to him.
I was just reading 1 Corinthians 15 and came across this astounding mythicist passage: “35 But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come?” 36 How foolish! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. 37 When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or of something else. … 40 There are also heavenly bodies and there are earthly bodies; but the splendor of the heavenly bodies is one kind, and the splendor of the earthly bodies is another. 41 The sun has one kind of splendor, the moon another and the stars another; and star differs from star in splendor.42 So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable… 44 it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 45 So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. 46 The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. 47 The first man was of the dust of the earth; the second man is of heaven. 48 As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the heavenly man, so also are those who are of heaven. 49 And just as we have borne the image of the earthly man, so shall we bear the image of the heavenly man. 50 I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.”
Reading the Bible in an astrotheological key is highly informative. My view is that this reading presents a way to reform Christianity to align with scientific knowledge.
Paul says explicitly that the resurrected Christ is purely heavenly and spiritual, and not natural or earthly. This aligns to a Gnostic and Docetic understanding and contradicts literal orthodoxy.
In Romans 5:19 Paul sets out how Christ supposedly cancels Adam’s sin: “Just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous”. 1 Corinthians 15:22 says “as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.”
Christian literalism has systematically failed to understand these Gnostic ideas, putting the political power of the church before the salvation of humanity.
Paul argues that Christ saves by enabling people to shift their focus from matter to spirit, from selfish interests to good ideas, from Adam’s fallen path to Christ’s path of grace. But Paul intended these contrasting paths identified with Adam and Christ as mythical types, intended as a teaching guide, not as a description of historical individuals. In his distinction between the spiritual and the earthly, Paul advocates a Docetic reading of Christ as pure idea or spirit.
Paul’s ideas about Christ propound the central Gnostic view that ignorant ‘hylic’ literal opinion driven by natural material instinct is a path of destruction (Adam), whereas enlightened ‘pneumatic’ symbolic knowledge driven by conscious spiritual reason is the path of truth (Christ).
The great tragedy of Christianity is that the church has chosen the hylic over the pneumatic. The irony in this damning choice is that the spiritual vision of the Gnostics is actually deeply natural and pantheistic, whereas the material vision of the orthodox rests on delusional fantasies about supernatural beings.
The existence of this explicit Gnostic intent in Paul’s epistles is discussed by Professor Elaine Pagels in The Gnostic Paul and by Tim Freke and Peter Gandy in Jesus and the Goddess. It appears the confronting nature of this Gnostic interpretation of Paul by these distinguished best-selling scholars is something that literal believers, mired in what Paul might call Adamic matter, are unable to understand.
Meanwhile, some relative from US gave me late mythmas gifts and I can’t believe that one of her gifts to me is Bart Ehrman’s trashy book “Did Jesus Exist”. Holy s***t! I no longer believe that he is an agnostic or an atheist. His book actually panders to the devout Christian fundamentalist. I mean the first few chapters are very sloppy, filled with fallacies. I’m no biblical scholar, historian, or classicist, but pages 127-169 where he attests that Acts of the Apostles, Pauline epistles, and the pastorals are evidences for the historical Jesus.
I think I’m ready to write my essay rebutting Paul’s historicity. His discussion about Acts written by Luke as evidence is very egregious. I know I’m late to this debacle but damn! I really wish that the people buying this book is would consider reading the writings of the authors Ehrman claims he debunked. But I’m optimistic that his crappy polemic will just make mythicism more popular.
What you think about this? Lol- There’s more than what I quoted within the site below.
” Dating the Birth of JesusThe winter solstice may be the wrong date for the birth of Jesus
Whether or not Jesus was born in the winter is subject to controversy. The Catholic Encyclopedia points out that midwinter would be the only time people could leave their fields for a census yet it’s an unlikely time for shepherds to stay out nights with their flocks. The Baptist Pastor Greg Wilson in Let’s Keep Christ out of Christmas argues that the whole Christmas celebration is a pagan borrowing and that winter is an unlikely time for Roman citizens to have had to make the trek to their hometowns for the tax-census. The selection of the solstice birthdate for Jesus may be based on the birthdate for Mithras.”
” Did Joseph, Foster Father of Jesus, Really Exist?Artifact offers possible evidence
By Cynthia Astle, Ancient/Classical History Expert
In 2002, an extraordinary artifact made its first public appearance at a Toronto museum: a limestone ossuary, or bone box, that purported to hold the bones of the apostle James, a leader of the early Christian church. What made this find so extraordinary was the inscription on the outside: “James, son of Joseph, brother ofJesus.” The box, now known as the James Ossuary, may not provide incontrovertible proof that Joseph existed, but it has focused new attention on him and his role in the story of Jesus.”
“According to the Gospel of Luke, Joseph also saved Jesus’ life when he took the infant and Mary to Egypt to save them from Herod the Great. The timeline of Herod’s life and rule sets his death in 4 B.C., so recent timelines have been revised to set Jesus’ birth sometime in the period of 7 – 4 B.C.
Seen amid these settings of Jewish religious authority and oppression by the Roman Empire’s vassal Herod, Joseph’s actions take on a new courage and importance.
Joseph As Carpenter and Family Man
Joseph’s profession of carpentry also played a role in Jesus’ identity, since Jesus often has been identified as a carpenter or the son of a carpenter. What has puzzled historians is why Joseph, if the family were safe in exile in Egypt, would undertake a second arduous journey back to Nazareth. One answer now suggested by archaeologists and historians makes sense: Joseph took his family back to Nazareth to find work in a nearby city, Sepphoris.
Today the ruins of Sepphoris lie about four miles from Nazareth, which in its time was a tremendous city in the Galilean hills. Archaeologist James Strange of the University of South Florida in Tampa has been excavating Sepphoris for 30 years. He supposes that Joseph and Jesus could have been among the dozens of workers hired to help rebuild the city after Herod the Great’s son, Herod Antipas, had it razed because of a revolt there.
Unfortunately, none of the gospels record anything that Joseph said or when he died. Luke’s gospel says that Joseph was still living when a 12-year-old Jesus taught theology to the elders in the Temple in Jerusalem, but after that Joseph fades from view.
The Inscription on the Bone Box
So what about the startling inscription on the James Ossuary? Scholars have debated for centuries whether Joseph and Mary had sexual relations after Jesus’ birth. Catholics in particular insist that Mary remained a virgin. Historians say it would have been highly unusual for Joseph and Mary to refrain from sex because Jewish culture placed a high emphasis on having children. Other scholars speculate that Joseph could have been married previously. Therefore, any brothers and sisters ascribed to Jesus then would have been his step-siblings from Joseph’s previous marriage. Mark 6:3 and Matthew 13:55 name Jesus’ siblings as James, Joses, Judah, Simon, and unnamed sisters.
Unfortunately, the James Ossuary provides no clues to whether James was Jesus’ older step-brother or younger brother. What the box does claim is that James and Jesus were related in some way through Joseph. The little-known foster father may yet be proven by archaeological evidence to be an important link in Christian history.”
More of the same horse hockey that passes itself off as “history” for the gullible and those of average IQ.
The bone-box has been thoroughly discredited:
Jesus’s (and his father’s) “carpenter” status is clearly part of mythography, in which the god is a “craftsman” or “carpenter”:
Rather than being a “real person,” the figure of Joseph may be based on Egyptian mythology:
In John 3:30 John the Baptist said, “He must increase but I must decrease.”
I like to think of John the Baptist as Anubis the firstborn (female) and Jesus as Horus the second born (male). The character Isaac matches the great Hathor of Egypt and Ishmael matches Horus/Jesus as her son and consort. Horus is his own father = the father and I are one. The sun and moon are happily married and each morning Moon Mary our Mary Magdalene gives birth to our baby sun. Baby sun Jesus grows up and makes whoopee with mom and the cycle goes on and on. Isis/Mary the Virgin conceives him but it is Nephthys/Mary Magdalene who gives birth. Mary the Virgin and Mary Magdalene are the two sisters of Lazarus/Osiris. How about the story of Jesus/Horus going to bed with Lazarus’/Osiris and Jesus teaching YOUNG Lazarus about god. Young Lazarus/Osiris is none other than Horus’/Jesus. The writer is saying “go have sex with yourself.”
But the initiated knows the event relates to an orgasm within the room upstairs.
It appears that Jesus the spirit became “historical” in 681 A.D. at Istanbul Turkey.
I think you are referring to Jesus the Gnostic solar deity historicized. If you look at certain pericopes from the Gospel of John like 1:14, it only shows that the Gospel of John is not only appealing to pagans in Egypt, it is also a polemic against the Gnostics and Marcionites. It is one of the clues why the canonical gospels only pranced in the historical record until mid-to-last quarter of the 2nd century. But I don’t think that Jesus was historicized in 681 AD. The Early Church Fathers are already defensive of a Jesus with flesh who walked in Nazareth during the early to mid second century.
Another thing is that neither Paul nor the Epistles are mentioned by Early Christians. It is only during the time of Irenaeus when the epistles are first quoted verbatim. It is safe to assume that Early Christians are actually repulsed by the Epistles and the only time it becomes part of the canon is during Irenaeus, where they attempted to sanitize the Gnostic elements (not all).
What are your thoughts on CNN’s Finding Jesus? http://edition.cnn.com/videos/tv/2015/02/26/finding-jesus-season-1-episode-1.cnn
CNN’s Finding Jesus …
For me, it was a total disappointment as they assumed, a priori, that Jesus must have existed, that the shroud must be evidence of Jesus and the blood was Jesus’s. That’s outrageous! There’s just no way on earth they could even prove such a thing. All of those claims have already been debunked.
Is the Shroud of Turin Real?
Bone-Box No Proof of Jesus
Basically CNN is pandering to the devout Christians. I wouldn’t be surprised. Maybe because many of their viewers are the likes of fundies in the deep South like North Carolina, Tennessee, and Florida. It is such a shame that they would not want to hear the side of people who have gone into great lengths of intensive research to show that Jesus of NT didn’t existed. Just imagine if they have added the discussion when did the canonical gospels pranced out in the historical record. They could have used Acharya’s WWJ and Dr. Price’s The Pre-Nicene New Testament.
The Gospel is self authenticating. It’s like a good novel, or song, or art piece, or bar of soap – it just speaks for itself. It’s a knitted jewel wrapped in love and forgiveness and lead by the good shepherd that does not drive His flock with proof, as would a cowboy drive a heard from the rear, but leads those that hear his voice with their willfull following. If there were proof of the gospel, there would be no free choice.
Furthermore, pasture John Piper said that if the gospel were made up, then he would follow it anyway, because he loved the people that made it up.
The Lord makes it very clear – His sheep are those that hear His voice (John 10).
From the biblestudytools.com we read about sheep and the shepherds that lead them – a real live experience told by a man who has interacted with a shepherd and his flock:
If you want proof of the possible miraculous powers of Jesus, why not start with some anomalies that have been documented by honorable men of the medical establishment. For even more evidence, read “You Are The Placebo” by Dr. Joe Dispenza. If I’m correct, Dr. Dispenza states that faith is an important part of healing – and if so, why can’t it be an important part of living?
Not an honorable man of the medical profession… The spirit of the anti christ there
◄ Hebrews 8:4 ►
“And if he were on Earth, he would not be a Priest, because there have been Priests who have been offering gifts according to what is in The Law.”
◄ Acts 9:7 ►
“The men with Saul stood speechless, for they heard the sound of someone’s voice but saw no one!”
~ doesn’t this show a celestial Jesus more than a human one? Bright lights but no one was there!
My Prayers for Lovely AS and her family – she is so beautiful!
No Melancholy, unfriended, and almost endless way lies before His disciples. Nay, He Himself is
with them always, even unto the end: He guides His sheep through the wilderness of life, gently leading those that are with young, and carrying the lambs in His bosom. He has not only borne the sins of His people, but will also sanctify them wholly, spirit soul and body, and present them faultless before the presence of His glory, with exceeding joy, by that mighty working whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto Himself.
Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift!
George H. Pember, Earth’s Earliest Ages
Hey there, can someone please answer this Christian? I’m being told I’m wrong, so I want to redirect them to where the evidences may be…
“Most of these videos are like anything else though someones ideas built upon mysteries. yet no real solutions. Some of the stuff is built upon assumptions that are not proven.
It’s like those websites… that you use to say KRST means Christ and they build up some theme to it when in fact KRST is not a title. Rather, it is the word for burial and has been put on many ancient Egyptian coffins. KRST does not mean “anointed” like Christ does in Greek But you will argue that based upon that stuff you read, What I am telling you can be found in Egyptology in real museums.
I find most things out there far less believable then the Christian Story and I would say that that is an amazing group of stories that come together as one. You can say what ever you want Horus and your other guys in the band you follow are not as your Gerald Massey from the 1800’s is laughed at by most renowned professional Egyptologists who have largely ignored his work. Your picking someone that rang a bell in your pants and saying oh Oh like that… It was a pretty dead issue until Bill Maher In the 2008 did a documentary film Religulous (whose name is a combination of religion and ridiculous) Zeitgeist was born…
Why don’t you stop trying to prove the bible is wrong and study the real horus information at a decent place known and respected for years like The Oxford Guide to Egyptian Mythology)”
Rapture, your questions have been addressed at the forum already just search around, for example:
“People tend to get confused on its meaning because the meaning changes slightly depending on the determinative in Egyptian. A determinative is the symbol, usually in red, placed at the end of a word, phrase, hieroglyph etc, imparting further meaning and clarification. KRST can mean several things relating to funeral preparations for the deceased such as “embalmment,” “mummy,” meaning “to wrap up in bandages,” among other things. But, one pertinent point to make here is that mummification also includes anointing the body with oils and spices, which include frankincense and myrrh – precisely as was said of Jesus.
“KRST is quite possibly the derivation of Christ.” “Osiris was an anointed figure called KRST long before Jesus. In Hebrew and Syrian messiah, meshihha, in Arabic masih, signify anointed.”
“In the Pyramid Texts (e.g., PT 576:1511a/P 518), the Osiris is anointed with oil, essentially making him a “messiah” or “Christ,” as those two words both mean “anointed one.” We have also seen that in BD 145 it is Horus who is anointed, thus rendering him likewise a Christ.”
This subject is highly detailed in Christ in Egypt, 313 to 321….”
Osiris the Christ/KRST?
Christ in Egypt: The Horus-Jesus Connection
Rapture: “Gerald Massey from the 1800’s is laughed at by most renowned professional Egyptologists who have largely ignored his work”
LOL, people who makes those contemptible type of comments don’t know what they’re talking about and merely display their ignorance on the subject as Gerald Massey was heavily peer reviewed by the top Egyptologists of his day:
Who Is Gerald Massey?
Rapture: “Why don’t you stop trying to prove the bible is wrong and study the real horus…”
Why do Atheists care about Religion?
If religion is so special to people – and it is, then, accuracy and honesty should also be equally just as important but, for some deceitful reasons far too many don’t seem to care that most claims throughout the bible are allegorical and mythological and have no basis in reality – like the existence of the New Testament Jesus. Here’s what scholars say about Jesus:
“The only definite account of his life and teachings is contained in the four Gospels of the New Testament, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. All other historical records of the time are silent about him. The brief mentions of Jesus in the writings of Josephus, Tacitus and Suetonius have been generally regarded as not genuine and as Christian interpolations; in Jewish writings there is no report about Jesus that has historical value. Some scholars have even gone so far as to hold that the entire Jesus story is a myth.”
– The Universal Jewish Encyclopedia
Rabbi: Did Jesus actually exist?
Bart Ehrman: Gospels not written by eyewitnesses, no Jesus in historical record
Rebuttal to Dr. Chris Forbes
On Zeitgeist part 1:
Primary sources and scholar commentary on them support Zeitgeist Part 1:
ZG1 Sourcebook (transcript, sources, citations & images)
Primary Sources & Scholars cited in the ZG1 Sourcebook
No, Zeitgeist has not been refuted!
Zeitgeist Part 1 & the Supportive Evidence
In Acharya’s latest book, Did Moses Exist? The Myth of the Israelite Lawgiver, she demonstrates the Old Testament trends that led to the origins of Christianity based on worship of the stars. The difference is that the Jews are not so blatantly dishonest about it and even concede:
Star Worship of the Ancient Israelites
Thank you friend…I know most of what you said & I agree that it’s Astrological concepts & Jesus is the personified Sun. I have done alot of researching/studying in the last few years. I’ve talked with Murdock on a few other posts & I sometimes talk to Ken Humphreys & Truth surge & Derek Murphy. I have advanced with help in the last few years & have learned so much. Some is still speculation but I know Jesus wasn’t real & some of Mudocks claims aren’t so easy to find. I have an atheist friend who thinks I’m very knowledgeable with this Mythology & other ancient beliefs, history etc…But he frowns upon Murdock while I defend her. He says she’s not taken serious by the populace & the credentials. He gave an example of Horus being born on Dec 25th which people can’t find. I gave a link to the Zeitgeist source book…Anyway I know she is smart & knows things…In any case I wanted to thank you for the reply & I have trouble shooting with the forums. I’ll sometimes stumble upon ones that are interesting but sometimes to find the exact topic, or answer, it’s difficult to cipher through & I can’t reply for some reason. Is there a special sign up for the forums? I don’t know much about it but I have read many conversations. Murdock’s books are expensive on Amazon compared to others but I know they are worth it. I do know a few who like her work. I read truthbeknown.com materials & I so My own work as well. I constantly Facebook stuff. I like Timothy Freke work too…ok so back to the questions: It’s more of The Egyptian Christ thing. My Father & I argue alot because I was raised Christian but I’m no longer of the faith. I don’t say I’m Atheist because I don’t know for sure on a God, so more Agnostic with Atheistic statements. However, I always say: I don’t have to know what’s true, I know what’s not. I don’t always know what I believe but I do know what I don’t believe… I also thought Gerald Massey was well respected & I asked for the references because it’s probably the fervent Fundies & other ignorant Bigots…Email me at abridge2strong@Gmail.com so we can discuss somethings. Also My Facebook is
A page I started recently is – https://m.facebook.com/illuminatedEyes4U/
Your friend doesn’t know me, my work or the subject matter. I have diligently backed up the vast majority of my claims, including about Horus in a nearly 600-page book, Christ in Egypt: The Horus-Jesus Connection. Your friend knows nothing about that book – and there is no excuse for such ignorance, since it’s been out since 2009 – and his comments reflect he also doesn’t know anything about the subject, as he would know where to find all that information. My scholarship and credentials are therefore far superior to his own, and by his own credentialist fallacy, we therefore can dismiss his opinions.
This information can be found freely on my websites as well, so there is no excuse for ignorance. Instead of thinking for himself, your friend is simply repeating trashy internet rumors from Christian fanatics and jealous competitors whose work is inferior.
You can find out what people who have actually studied my work say about it, instead of listening to the opinions of ignoramuses, here:
What people are saying about the work of D.M. Murdock/Acharya S
Many of these people are credentialed and know what they are talking about, unlike your friend.
Thank you AS. I think your credible & I have sent some links to your sites but of course they just Ignore it all. I don’t know this friend all that much & I told him to look into it. Unfortunately most tend to go with Your Slanderous tounges. You know how many Christians I have shown just the Bible to them & said “look it’s sun-worship” & they just side step it & say it’s My interpretation & tell me Revelation is really happening today, lol I laugh saying “It’s symbolical imagery of the stars & you take it literal? Plus war proves nothing, there will always be war & blood moons.”
Hope your feeling better
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