- 1 Lesson 12 – The Books of the New Testament
- 1.1 Introduction to the Synoptic Gospels
- 1.2 Preparation of Jesus
- 1.3 Jesus in his mission: his inaugural speech (Matthew 5,1 – 7,29)
- 1.4 Jesus and John the Baptist (Matthew 11,1-15)
- 1.5 How the Apostles conceived the Messiah (Matthew 16)
- 1.6 Why did the Christ have to be put to death?
- 1.7 When should we forgive or judge?
- 1.8 Jesus and the rich (Matthew 19,16-26)
- 1.9 The Curse of the fig tree (Matthew 21,18)
- 1.10 Taxes (Matthew 22,13-17)
- 1.11 The truth about Judas
- 1.12 The end times (Matthew 24)
- 1.13 Acts of the Apostles
Lesson 12 – The Books of the New Testament
Jesus in prayer
The New Testament consists of 27 books, some of which do not exceed a few lines (2 & 3 John and Jude). To study them, we will divide them as follows:
- Lesson 12: The Synoptic Gospels & the Acts of the Apostles.
- Lesson 13: The Gospel of John and the Epistles of the Apostles.
- Lesson 14: The small Book of Revelation.
The Synoptic Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles
Introduction to the Synoptic Gospels
Gospel literally means “Good News” (of the Greek: “Ev”: good and “angelos”: message or news). It is the proclamation of the “Good News” of the Advent of this Messiah, awaited with so much thirst.
There are four Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The first three are more or less similar and constitute a biography of Jesus. They share the same major concern: to show that Jesus is really the Messiah awaited by the Jews, even if he did not “liberate Israel” politically (Luke 24,21), or “restore the (political) royalty in Israel” (Acts 1,6). This point of view is common in these Gospels, and it is the reason why they are called the “Synoptic” Gospels, from the Greek “syn”, which means “same”, and “optikos”, which means “point of view”. These three Gospels present a human biography of Jesus. This is their common point of view. On the other hand, John reveals, above all, the divinity of Jesus.
I will present to you the Synoptic Gospels together, taking the Gospel of Matthew as a basis. Then, I will speak to you of the common points that he has with Mark and Luke. But first, I present to you each of these three Evangelists. After the Synoptic Gospels, is the study of the Gospel of John.
He was one of the twelve Apostles of Christ. He is mentioned in Matthew 9,9 and 10,3. He is Jewish and was hated by the Jews because he was “publican”, ie he levied the fiscal taxes imposed by the Romans from the public. He therefore collected from the Jews to give to the Romans, he who was Jewish. But when Jesus invited Matthew to follow him (Matthew 9,9), he answered the call at once, leaving everything. Mark and Luke call him by his Jewish name: “Levi” (Mark 2,13-14 / Luke 5,27-28).
Matthew is the first to write a narrative of Jesus. He intended it for the Jews who had become Christians; this is why he writes in Hebrew (Aramaic) and often refers to the prophecies of the Old Testament to demonstrate that Jesus fulfilled what was already predicted (Matthew 1,22 / 2,5-6 / 2,15-18 / 3,3 / 4,14-16 etc). Matthew’s Gospel is the only Book of the New Testament written in Aramaic, all the others were written in ancient Greek, the international language of the time, and which the Apostles learnt in order to preach (Acts 21,37-40).
He is not of the group of the Apostles, but joined their ministry after the resurrection of Jesus (Acts 12,12). He followed Paul and aided him (Acts 12,25), he then followed Peter who considered him as “his son” (1 Peter 5,13). He was his secretary to some extent. Inspired by Peter, Mark wrote his Gospel and considered by some as being, indirectly, that of Peter. Many biblical commentators think that the “young man” mentioned, without being named, by Mark (Mark 14,51-52), is none other than Mark himself, because this detail does not deserve to be mentioned if it had not been experienced by the writer himself.
Luke was a pagan doctor. He got to know Christ through Paul and became his travel companion (Colossians 4,14) and faithful collaborator, when others abandoned him (2 Timothy 4,9-11). Influenced by Paul, he wrote his Gospel in Greek to a noble named “Theophilus” (Luke 1,3). His Gospel is, indirectly that of Paul, just as the Gospel of Mark reflects Peter’s teachings.
You will notice that Luke writes with the concern to be precise in the truth which he reports to Theophilus, “exactly as these were handed down to us by those who from the outset were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word (the Virgin Mary, Peter, etc… Luke 1,2-3), I, in my turn, after carefully going over the whole story from the beginning”. He is the only one who gives us details on the birth of John the Baptist, the Annunciation made to Mary and the childhood of Jesus (Luke 1 and 2). That is due to his medical and scientific formation which leaves nothing to chance.
Luke also wrote the Book of the Acts of the Apostles, which he also addressed to the noble “Theophilus” (Acts 1,1), to inform him of the story of Jesus and his disciples, after the Ascension of Jesus to Heaven (Acts 1,1-11). So then, the Book of Acts can be considered as the sequel to the Gospel of Luke. I recommend you to study it with the other Synoptic Gospels before the Gospel of John.
Now, starting with the Gospel of Matthew, we will familiarize ourselves with these first three Gospels: The Synoptic Gospels.
The Jews, as you know, knew that the Messiah would be a descendant of David. Also, Matthew hastens to calm them by specifying that Jesus is a descendant of king David. So, he starts his Gospel by giving the “genealogy of Jesus Christ, son of David, son of Abraham, etc…” (Matthew 1,1) Most of the names mentioned by Matthew in this genealogy are found in the Old Testament, mainly those of the kings of Judaea, from David to the deportation, until the return from exile with Zerubbabel (Matthew 1,12).
Luke also mentions the genealogy of Jesus (Luke 3,23-38). But instead of listing the names from Abraham to Jesus as Matthew did, Luke starts, on the contrary, from Jesus to Abraham and goes up to “Adam, son of God” (Luke 3,38). The difference in the names of the ancestors is due to the fact that Luke says that Jesus is son of David by “Nathan, son of David” (Luke 3,31), whereas Matthew presents him as son of David by Solomon, son of David (Matthew 1,6-7). You will find the name of Nathan in 2 Samuel 5,14 and 1 Chronicles 3,5; he is one of the sons of David born in Jerusalem, and older than Solomon. Whether Jesus descends from one or the other does not matter, nevertheless he is “descendant and son of David”. Moreover, notice that Luke, seeking precision in his information, says that Jesus “was believed to be son of Joseph, son of Heli, etc…” (Luke 3,23) This “believed to be” adds an important nuance and invites us to go beyond the strict and meticulous human genealogy of names. Jesus is, above all, Son of God!
This nuance invites us above all, not to stop at the human genealogy, but to go up, as John does in his Gospel, to the divine genealogy by saying: “At the beginning was the Word (Jesus) … and the Word was God… (John 1,1) … And the Word was made flesh and lived among us…” (John 1,14) The importance of this last genealogy totally eclipses the first and Jesus invites us Himself to consider it by saying to the Jews: “If David calls him (Jesus) Lord how then can he be his son?” (Matthew 22,41-46 and Psalm 110,1).
Some Jews seize this text to claim that Jesus “acknowledges” not to be the son of David. It is not so! For Jesus does not say that he is not that too, but that he is even more than that being the “only Son of God”, the only one to have been miraculously conceived in the world by God, in the womb of a woman still virgin, without the intervention of a man. And, above all, that He already existed before incarnating.
I dwelled a bit on the issue of genealogy, because people weak and immature men in faith, and many enemies of the Gospels, use as a pretext the “difference” between the genealogy of Matthew and that of Luke to claim that the Gospels are false, proof of this is this “divergence” between the two Evangelists on this point. It is a superficial criticism convenient to people unable to go deep. It is necessary however, that you had to be warned and attentive.
At this stage, you can read the texts on the genealogy in Matthew and Luke as well as the other texts mentioned. But do not read the Gospels entirely yet before studying my explanations.
I shall point out from Matthew’s Gospel, the points which are in most need of clarification.
Preparation of Jesus
Before assuming his mission, Jesus withdraws to the desert. This retreat is a period of transition between his life as a carpenter -a life of social and public integration common to all men- and his life as the Messiah who must manifest a new personality, unknown and unsuspected by his entourage. To assume this serious and heavy burden -and prepare society to become aware of it- it was necessary to break away from daily, professional, and routine life. This is why Matthew and the other Evangelists tell us that it is “the Spirit (of God) which leads Jesus to the desert” (Matthew 4,1 / Mark 1,12 / Luke 4,1).
Every Apostle must experience, in one way or another, this momentary rupture with society and make a spiritual retreat to deepen and understand God’s call, before facing his mission.
The devil always intervenes to disturb this solitude and prevent the soul from capturing God. He deafens the ears by his noise and his deception. Also, before serving God, one must triumph over his enemy, the devil, who is also the enemy of God’s beloved.
Jesus “was tempted by the devil” in 3 points:
Act at the request of the devil, not of God
“Tell these stones to turn into loaves”, Satan orders (Matthew 4,3-4). Jesus is able to do this miracle. Now, he does not want to act at the devil’s request, but according to the divine plan, and when the hour of God strikes. Then he will multiply bread and fish so that others may be nourished from it in the desert (Matthew 14,13-21). You must refuse to act, however good it may seem, if it is not inspired by the Divine Spirit. This is a lesson for those who indulge in the condemnable practices of “black” magic, or so-called “white” magic.
Palestine map in Jesus’ time
Do not put God to test
“If you are Son of God, throw yourself down…”, the devil tells Him again (Matthew 4,5-6). “You must not put the Lord your God to the test”, replied Jesus. If we are to trust God, we must not, on the contrary, abuse that trust. That would be defying God, putting Him to the test. God does not allow himself be influenced by blackmail. Many believe that they are chosen by God and allow themselves irregularities condemned by God. For example: God refuses a kingdom of Israel, but the Israelis insist on establishing it while continually proclaiming themselves the “chosen people” of God. They are in perfect illusion. By establishing this political kingdom -contrary to God’s Will- they will not obtain his blessing either. We cannot force the hand of God nor put him before a fait accompli. If Jesus had listened to Satan and thrown himself down, God would have let him fall, even though it is written: “He will put you in his angels’ charge, and they will support you on their hands… etc”, because this dive was inspired by the devil, not by God. Moreover, this verse invites us to have full confidence in God during the trials -permitted by Him- that assail us. But God does not assist us in the foolishness we commit to show, with pride, that God will protect us and that He is at our service. In such a case, God abandons us. A person driving like crazy at 200 km/h under the pretext that God is protecting him is deceived. For we must not put God to the test. We should make use of the virtues of prudence, of wisdom, etc… In this case God protects us.
The Kingdom of God is internal
“I will give you all these (kingdoms)”, says Satan to Jesus (Matthew 4,8-11). It is the Zionist empire that the devil offers to Christ, a political power, that which the Israelis covet. Jesus is not fooled; He refuses it. His Kingdom is not of this world, it is internal, in the hearts (John 18,36 / Luke 17,20). Defeated, the devil flees without being able to resist the command of Christ: “Be off, Satan!” (Matthew 4,10) This means that Jesus permitted the devil to test him for a profound wisdom: to teach us how to act in the face of this evil one.
The devil went off, but, Luke specifies, “to return at the appointed time” (Luke 4,13). This return of Satan was done by the Jews who wanted to crown Jesus as Zionist king, by force, as we learn from John. But, “Jesus, who could see they were about to come and take him by force and make him king, escaped back to the hills by himself.” (John 6,14-15) Again Jesus refused to be a king of an Israeli empire that the devil had already offered Him.
When choosing the Kingdom of God, we must always prepare for the ordeals that the devil and the lovers of the kingdom of the earth will impose on us. “My son”, says the Book of Ecclesiasticus, “if you aspire to serve the Lord, prepare yourself for an ordeal. Be sincere of heart, be steadfast, and do not be alarmed when disaster comes.” (Ecclesiasticus 2,1-2) This is what Jesus teaches us practically through temptation, to which he has willingly submitted himself, for us. It was only victorious after the trial that “Jesus, with the power of the Spirit in him, returned to Galilee” (Luke 4,14). It is with this divine spiritual Power that he undertakes his mission. We too must be careful, not to act and commit ourselves without ensuring the indispensable aid of God. So we must know how to discern God’s Spirit in us. It is a grace to ask. We must have the Holy Spirit in us; this is the first spiritual treasure that Jesus recommends us to ask our Heavenly Father (Luke 11,13 / Matthew 7,11).
Jesus in his mission: his inaugural speech (Matthew 5,1 – 7,29)
Jesus does not begin his mission in Nazareth, his village, but farther away, in Capernaum, where he settled (Matthew 4,12). It is Peter’s and the first Apostles’ village, all fishermen on the Lake of Galilee which lies along Capernaum to the north (See on the chart). This village became his base of operations. The miracles of Jesus made him known throughout the whole region (Matthew 4,23-25). This was the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy, which designated the land of Zebulon and Naphtali (Galilee), as the center from which the Great Divine Light will shine (Isaiah 8,23 – 9,1).
The crowds followed Jesus who seized the occasion to preach his great inaugural speech, known as the discourse of “the Beatitudes”. It entails revolutionary lessons for the Jewish society of the time. It is revolutionary because it is anti-Zionist and anti-racist, intended for the salvation of all men, not exclusive to the Jews.
Luke specifies that Jesus addresses himself to the Jews who came to listen to him: “But I say this to you (the Jews) who are listening: Love your enemies (the Palestinians) …” (Luke 6,27) Jesus knew that those who were listening to him were all Zionist Jews who believed that all non-Jews are hateful enemies. He wants to break the ghetto psychology in which his audience was trapped in for many long centuries; this is why He says: “You have learned how it was said: You must love your neighbor (the Jew like you) and hate your enemy (all non-Jews: Leviticus 19,17-18 / Deuteronomy 15,3). But I say this to you: love your enemies (those whom you consider such) and pray for those who persecute you (they do not persecute you, but defend themselves against your wickdness. Think of the Palestinians persecuted by the Israelis and who are considered as ‘terrorists’) …” Jesus would say to modern Jews: “Pray for your Palestinian enemies, be good to them, offer them the other cheek if they strike you, because they are the ones who are right. Give them the land that they ask for because it belongs to them”. Remember well that it is to the merciless Zionists that Jesus addresses: “I say this to you who are listening…”
“If your uprightness goes no deeper than that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven”, Jesus says again to them, because this so-called “uprightness” is racist and prefers the Jew, with all their faults, over innocent non-Jews (Matthew 5,20). Today, this phrase could be translated as follows: “Men, if your uprightness goes no deeper than that of all theologians and clergy, you will never approach God, whatever your faith… If you do not love the upright, whether he is Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Eastern or Western, North or South, vain is your faith”.
The Jews hated the Samaritans. It is why Jesus gave the parable of the “Good Samaritan” (Luke 10,29). He gave this parable to a Jewish jurist who, it should be noted, “was anxious to justify himself” for not being ready to rescue a non-Jew, not defined as his neighbor. This Jewish jurist does good only according to Jewish racist law: we must overcome this inhuman law if we want to enter God’s house.
By teaching these things, Jesus “does not abolish the Law (Torah) but completes it, on the contrary, by a Law of Love”, which the Jews misinterpreted. “I have come not to abolish but to complete them” said Jesus. He comes to perfect (Matthew 5,17-20). Not only, “you shall not kill”, but “you shall not insult” your brother (Matthew 5,21-26). And your brother is any man of virtue. You too must be virtuous and able to understand this noble truth.
For the Jews, as for many believers even today, sin is in the performance of the act materially. Now, Jesus comes to overturn this concept: evil is already in the intention of performing an act: “If a man looks at a woman lustfully, he has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5,27-28). It is not wrong to look, but to look with desire and work to achieve it. So, even if we fail in doing the action, the sin is already accomplished in us. If I plan to steal an object, but I am unable to do so for one reason or another, it is considered an evil act already done in my conscience. As the Kingdom of God is in us, so too is evil in us.
These are the most misunderstood lessons of the “Beatitudes”. The rest is easy to understand.
Also keep in mind that, “to present the other cheek to whoever strikes you”, is a commandment addressed to unjust people and does not mean that honest and innocent men should be weak before injustice. One must know how to defend himself, self-defense is a duty, especially when one must protect his family, his children and his own life against aggressor criminals. The Apocalypse, speaking of the Antichrist, invites us to pay her “double the amount she exacted”, and even to give her a “double strong cup” for the torments she caused to others (Revelation 18,6-7).
In this regard, I invite you to meditate on the attitude of Jesus in front of one of the guards who slapped him when he was arrested (John 18,19-23); he did not present his other cheek, but asked the one who slapped him unjustly to render count for his act. We must guard our dignity and our pride in the face of violent injustice, that too is humility and greatness of the soul. As for the attitude of presenting the other cheek, it must be that of the one who has committed an injustice towards someone who reproaches him for it. The culprit must humble himself and admit guilt, he must redeem himself, and be grateful to those who reprimand him and slap him with the word of justice to rectify him.
Jesus and John the Baptist (Matthew 11,1-15)
John the Baptist was announced, as previously explained, by Malachi “to clear a way before the Messiah” (Malachi 3,1). Jesus himself refers to this prophecy (Matthew 11,10). This forerunner of the Messiah was, according to the Israeli concept, to prepare the Jews for the Messiah King of Israel, who would restore the kingdom to Israel, a political kingdom of David’s dynasty. John the Baptist himself did not understood that the Messiah’s Kingdom is spiritual and universal. Matthew relates that “John in his prison had heard what Christ was doing” (Matthew 11,2). These works had nothing political about them: neither an armed rally to depose Herod who was not of David’s dynasty, nor a cry of violent resistance against the Romans, as the Zealots wanted (Jewish nationalist party to which the apostle Simon the Zealot belonged: Matthew 10,4), but forgiveness of sins, cure of the sick, and kindness towards Roman officers, considered by Jesus as having a fervent faith: “nowhere in Israel have I found faith like this.” (Matthew 8,5-13)
In his prison, John the Baptist expected to be freed by a revolutionary uprising led by Jesus. And yet, what Jesus “was doing”, was nothing to do with nationalism, and surprised him and scandalized many other Jews. The Forerunner prisoner sends some of his disciples to ask Jesus: “Are you the one who is to come (the ’nationalist‘ Messiah), or have we got to wait for someone else?” (Matthew 11,3) This question pestered John the Baptist’s disciples, who in their turn harassed their master. They trusted him, he had told them that the expected Messiah was Jesus whom “he was not fit to carry his sandals” (Matthew 3,11). So, they asked themselves, why is this Messiah not working to restore the kingdom to Israel? What is he waiting for? How is it that he is kind to the Romans and visits the Pagans to cure the sick, like the Gadarenes (Matthew 8,28-34) and Sidonians (Matthew 15,21-28)? All this scandalized the fanatic Jews.
Jesus’ response to the envoys of John the Baptist aims to break the nationalist and fanatical spirit in the Jewish hearts who, of good faith, were led astray by Zionism: “Go back and tell John what you hear and see; the blind see again… etc… (as Isaiah had predicted: Isaiah 29,18 / 35,5) … the Good News (of the Advent of the Messiah) is proclaimed to the poor (not to the rich who thought themselves privileged: Isaiah 61,1); and happy is the one who does not lose faith in me (in me not being a nationalist activist too).” (Matthew 11,4-6) This response could only upset John’s envoys.
Jesus, in stressing that John the Baptist is a prophet and even that “of all the children born of women, a greater than him has never been seen” (Matthew 11,9-11), invites his listeners to believe in the testimony of this prophet who considered himself “not fit to carry the sandals of Jesus” (Matthew 3,11). He invites them to believe that He, Jesus, is truly this awaited Messiah, even if they find his non-political deeds strange. However, Christ is quick to point out that John the Baptist, despite his greatness, is “the least in the kingdom of Heaven” (Matthew 11,11). The reason? It is because the least in the Kingdom of Heaven (not of Israel) understood that Jesus is king, not of a political State, but of an inner spiritual life, non-nationalist, as the good in faith, the great John the Baptist and the Apostles of Jesus themselves believed in good faith in the beginning.
John the Baptist also owes his greatness to the fact that he closes an era, that of the concept of the nationalist Messiah: “It was toward John that all the prophecies of the prophets and of the Law were leading” (so that he may bear witness to the Messiah, this Jesus, who is neither a military man, nor a politician like an Ariel Sharon, an Itzhak Shamir or a Shimon Peres today). But from John, a new concept of messianism begins: “Since John the Baptist came, up to this present time (and still till today), the Kingdom of Heaven has been subjected to violence and the violent are taking it by storm.” (Matthew 11,12-13) Why? Because the Jews had to do violence to themselves, to shake themselves violently to liberate themselves from prejudice and preconceived ideas, and from a whole mental inheritance which shaped and distorted their comprehension of messianism. They let themselves be led collectively to expect a Zionist Christ in spite of the many repeated warnings of the prophets, and the refusal, frankly declared by God and Samuel, of an Israeli king.
It is difficult to part from a nationalist mentality. However, if one wants to be part of the Kingdom of God, as God sees it, one must force oneself, one must give up any political idea that he has of it. The Jews imprisoned by the idea of an Israeli State, the Christians who believe in the State of the Vatican (so-called Christian but become political), and the Muslims who campaign to establish Islamic monarchies or republics must, today, all “do violence” to themselves to be freed from the chains of these deviationist ideas if they want to enter the spiritual Kingdom of Heaven.
In terms of daily and personal life, we often have to shake ourselves, “to subject oneself to violence” to get out of the indolence that paralyses us and thus resist the materialistic current that entrains the weak. They blindly follow the majority, without reflection, and without being able to freely choose a personal life, different from that of others, and more useful for the heart and the soul.
John the Baptist was, in the end, “this Elijah who was to return”, explained Jesus (Matthew 11,14 / 17,11-13). I had explained that the precursor of Jesus was to present himself in the world “with the spirit and power of Elijah” (Luke 1,17). It is spiritually then, that we must interpret the prophecy of Malachi 3,23 and not textually, as do those who await Elijah’s return in person, his reincarnation. Such was John’s intention by saying that he was not Elijah (John 1,21).
An important point needs to be well understood: John the Baptist marked the Jews deeply, to such an extent that many believed that he was the Messiah. It is the reason for which this precursor did not fail to stress that he was not the Messiah: “I am not the Christ” he said (John 1,20). “Why are you baptizing if you are not the Christ and not Elijah?” the priests asked him (John 1,25). He answered: “I baptize you in water for repentance, but the one who follows me is more powerful than I am… He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and Fire.” (John 1,26 and Matthew 3,11)
John’s baptism is thus a preparation, a call to repentance. That of Jesus gives the grace and the forgiveness that John the Baptist could not grant. This is the reason why Jesus’ baptism is more powerful than his precursor’s. To obtain it, it must fall on an already repentant heart. John, therefore, calls to repentance with a baptism of water that will no longer have its purpose after the Advent of the Messiah. Jesus inaugurates in the world a new, spiritual baptism, for all men who repent and decide to change for the better.
Many Jewish pilgrims came to Jerusalem during the religious festivals. Some from Ephesus had met John the Baptist and, impressed by him, recognized the importance of his baptism. So they were baptized by him and then returned home. This category of Jews formed the nucleus of the first Christians. They were visited by the Apostles who explained to them the insufficiency of John’s baptism and the importance of that of Jesus: “When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus… the Holy Spirit came down on them” (Acts 19,1-7). With the Apocalypse, in our time, the concept of baptism is taken to a higher spiritual level.
How the Apostles conceived the Messiah (Matthew 16)
The Apostles -like the whole of Jewish society of yesterday and of today- did not at all expect the kind of Messiah that they saw in Jesus. It took great pedagogy and a lot of tact on the part of the Carpenter of Nazareth to introduce into the Jewish mentality, very politicized, the concept of the modest and humble Messiah, spiritual and universal.
Under several forms, Jesus presented to his disciples his non-temporal Kingdom, open to all men, that this young and modest carpenter came to inaugurate. Talking to them about the Kingdom they thought was political, he said to them: “there will be no one to say, ‘Look here! Look there!’ For, you must know, the kingdom of God is among you.” (Luke 17,21) It should therefore not be sought after outside, in a geographical place, in Jerusalem or in Samaria. Moreover: It should therefore not be sought after outside, in a geographical place, in Jerusalem or in Samaria. And even: “People from east and west, from north and south, will come to take their places at the feast in the Kingdom of God.” (Luke 13,29) Thus the subjects of this universal Kingdom will not only be the Jews since “many who are last (the Pagans who came to the faith after the Jews) will be first, and the first (the Jews) will be last” (Matthew 19,30 / Luke 13,30). The messianism explained by Jesus was unthinkable for all Jews, imbued with their nationalist and patriotic ideas. Still today, the idea of such a messianism does not come to mind with the Israelis.
After two years in the company of his Apostles and their preparation, and a year before being delivered to the crucifixion, Jesus probes his Apostles. They had seen his miraculous works, but had they understood his teachings and the subtleties of his insinuations too? They had to understand two things:
1- That Jesus, in this modest appearance, is the expected Christ.
2- That Christ’s mission is not to restore the State of Israel, contrary to their hopes. The Messiah had to confirm his Apostles in their total faith in him so that they would not disavow him after his apparent “defeat” on the cross, and that they would continue to believe in him despite the fact that he had not restored the Israeli State (see Luke 24,21 and Acts 1,6).
Jesus therefore asks, a year before being put to death: “‘But you, who do you say I am?’ Then Simon Peter spoke up, ‘You are the Christ’” (Matthew 16,15-20). Jesus praised his apostle because, through the appearances of poverty, Peter recognized in Jesus the Messiah who, however, was expected to be of noble, or even royal stock according to the world. Now, no luxurious aspect whatsoever distinguished this humble and modest carpenter of Nazareth; his nobility was internal. Peter discerned in his Master the Messiah, nothing less than “the Son of God”, despite the simplicity of his clothes. This is why Jesus said to him: “It was not flesh or blood (not from the aspect of human glory), that revealed this to you but my Father in Heaven.” It was a strong inner intuition, a powerful and deep spiritual light that prompted Peter to speak up.
Yet, paradoxically, Christ was quick to “give the disciples strict orders not to tell anyone that he was the Christ.” (Matthew 16,20) Why? Because the crowd would come and force him as political king of Israel as already happened before (John 6,15). Not only did he ask for their total discretion, but, “from that time Jesus began to make it clear to his disciples that he was destined to go to Jerusalem and suffer grievously at the hands of the elders and chief priests and scribes, to be put to death and to be raised up on the third day.” (Matthew 16,21)
At these words, flesh and blood took over from Peter; he no longer heard anything that the Heavenly Father could inspire in him. Convinced that the Messiah was to restore the kingdom to Israel, he could not imagine that this savior of “the nation” was to be put to death. With a forceful gesture, Peter, “taking him aside, started to remonstrate with him (reprimand, scold) by saying “this must not happen to you!!” (Matthew 16,22) If this was the attitude of the Apostles after two years of initiation, imagine what the other Jews with Jesus were thinking… and Judas Iscariot in particular, he who aspired only for the kingdom of Israel.
After having praised Peter for having recognized him as the Messiah, Jesus reprimands him for having “remonstrated” with him. The Messianic concept of Peter was still earthly. “Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle in my path, because the way you think is not God’s way but man’s!” (Matthew 16,23) The Israelis have been seeking, since Samuel, an Israeli kingdom that God condemns.
By this fact of the condemnation of the State of Israel, God establishes in the world a new principle of judgment of the consciences. This principle is valid for us, people of the 20th century, it is a criterion, a measurement of true faith. Men who have worked -and are still working- for the edification and the permanence of Israel do not think like God, but like men, as Jesus said to Peter. John’s Revelation tells us that at the end of time, God will charge his Envoys “to measure the Temple”, ie to probe the consciences of men, especially of the believers represented by the “Temple” (Revelation 11,1 / 21,15). This probe is currently being carried out through the State of Israel: those for this State are against God and those who resist Israel are serving God’s universal plan of salvation.
The examination of conscience operated by Jesus to his Apostles through the question: “But you, who do you say I am?”, revealed that they understood that he was the Christ… but, that according to them, he had to restore the Israeli kingdom. Before his Ascension, they still asked him: “Lord, has the time come for you to restore the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1,6) So they had not understood the Master’s thoughts despite that “he had shown himself alive to them after his Passion by many manifestations: for forty days he continued to appear to them and tell them about the (spiritual) Kingdom of God.” (Acts 1,3).
The probe carried out by Jesus with his Apostles revealed their unshakable faith in him: “You are the Messiah!” After two years of formation, only this first step was overcome. The second -namely that the Messiah is not a nationalist- still remained to be done. But the Apostles were unable at this moment to advance any further, paralyzed by the age-old concept -erroneous but nonetheless traditional- that the Messiah was to be the temporal king of Israel. For all the Jews this was self-evident and was not even discussed.
So it was already enormous for Peter to have the certitude that Jesus was the Messiah. It was based on this certitude that the rest could be edified: “I still have many things to say to you”, Jesus says to the Twelve, “but they would be too much for you now” (John 16,12). At this moment, they could not, indeed, understand that the one in whom they had put all their hopes in to establish the Israeli empire, will end up tragically nailed to a cross.
Also, it is only after having guaranteed the solidity of their faith in his person that Jesus “started” to reveal to them the plan of God: “I will suffer and be put to death…” (Matthew 16,21-23) To explain to them that this tragedy has deep reasons, that he freely accepts it for their own good, and that he is powerful enough to avoid it, Christ transfigured himself before them in light “six days after” having declared to them his death, this humanly overwhelming outcome of his messianism. But they had to know that, if he wanted to, he could have escaped this ignominious death, he who had transfigured himself before them, he who had risen from the dead. It is for their own sake that he submitted himself -freely- to this sacrifice: “It is for your own good that I am going” (John 16,7), Jesus tells them. And also: “I lay down my life… No one takes it from me; I lay it down of my own free will, and as it is in my power to lay it down, so it is in my power to take it up again” (John 10,17-18). “I have told you this now before it happens, so that when it does happen you may believe.” (John 14,29).
So keep in mind that it was to save his disciples that Jesus voluntarily accepted to deliver himself to his torturers. But it was first necessary to guarantee their faith in his messianism. After having been assured of this faith with his Apostles, he tested his intimate friends: “I am the resurrection… Do you believe this?” He asks Martha “Yes Lord! I believe that you are the Christ…”, she answers (John 11,25-27). What was Jesus going to save them from? From the Zionist lie, from the seduction of nationalism, from the pretense in which they wandered, believing they were the only chosen people and more important in the eyes of God than non-Jews. In summary, Jesus frees from the fire of fanaticism and materialism all those who truly believe in him.
To consolidate the faith of his Apostles, Christ wanted to show them the power of his body over the elements of nature. They witnessed this by seeing him walk on water, something Peter was unable to replicate. This had contributed in the increase of their faith (Matthew 14,25-33).
A second time Jesus reminds his Apostles of his killing being close “and a great sadness came over them” (Matthew 17,22-23), especially since it occurred right after the Transfiguration.
A third time Jesus repeated: “The Son of man is about to be handed over to the chief priests and scribes… and will be crucified” (Matthew 20,17-19). “But”, Luke adds, and despite all these warnings, “they could make nothing of this; what he said was quite obscure to them, they did not understand what he was telling them” (Luke 18,31-34). They were obsessed with the Israeli kingdom and imagined (that with Jesus) the illusory Israeli kingdom was going to appear instantly (Luke 9,11).
For the Jews, the “Kingdom of God” (or “of Heaven”) on earth meant the kingdom of Israel in Palestine. For Jesus, it is not so. How do you understand this Kingdom, you?
The whole of Jewish society was so thirsty and blinded by political power, that even the mother of two Apostles -James and John- came to Jesus, right after the third announcement of his passion to claim a material favor for her two sons: “Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came with her sons to make a request of him… ‘Promise that these two sons of mine may sit one at your right hand and the other at your left in your kingdom’… When the other ten heard this they were indignant with the two brothers.” (Matthew 20,20-24) Believing that this kingdom was of a temporal and immediate nature, the disciples were competing for first place, each one seeing himself more apt to be the Prime Minister, or wanting important ministerial positions.
To the question posed by the Apostles: “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of Heaven?”, Jesus did not answer: “It is you, Peter, or you x”, but “he called a little child… ’The one who makes himself as little as this little child is the greatest…” (Matthew 18,1-4) And, in response to the request of the mother of James and John, Jesus says: “their great men make their authority felt. This is not to happen among you. No, anyone who wants to be great among you must be your servant…” (Matthew 20,24-28).
To remove any illusion from his Apostles, Christ invites them to follow him in the way of sacrifice, not that of glory according to the world: “If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross and follow me… What, then, will a man gain if he wins the whole world (as the Israelis covet) and ruins his life?” (Matthew 16,24-26) Hadn’t Christ rejected the empire of the world which Satan offered him (Matthew 4,9-10), and subsequently the Jews (John 6,15)? On the contrary, the Antichrist will accept this same empire of the “Dragon” (Satan) in the apocalyptic era that we live in (Revelation 13,2).
Most of Jesus’ teachings aim to destroy the ghetto and tribal, or familial cast mentality which the Jewish society sank into. It was precisely to break this fanatical mentality that Jesus had told his Jewish listeners: “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace (the “Israeli shalom”, a kind of Pax Israeliana) to the earth, it is not peace I have come to bring, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother… A man’s enemies will be those of his own household.” (Matthew 10,34-36) The sword which Jesus speaks of is that of the word of truth which cuts through.
The Jews reproached Jesus for these words which, according to them, are contrary to the divine commandment to respect parents. This has nothing to do with it, because what Christ wants to say by this, is that parents will rise up against their children when they see them follow the non-political teachings of Jesus, considering them against the Jewish nation and unpatriotic. Also, those who will let themselves be intimidated by their parents to the point of deviating from Christ, are unworthy of him: “No one who prefers father or mother to me is worthy of me” (Matthew 10,37). God is the first to be served, and it is by doing violence to oneself to break the chains of human traditions that prevent us from gaining the Kingdom of God (Matthew 11,12).
Most modern societies, even those that claim to believe in God and democracy, are damned because of fanaticism. What would the Israelis, Christians, Muslims and the whole world say of Jesus today, hearing the Messiah speak this way? What would the Jews of the 20th century in Palestine say, today, hearing Jesus deny them a divine right to establish an Israeli State in Palestine? What would the Christians say, hearing Jesus condemn the State of the Vatican become political and Christian worship in general, become pagan? Who is able to detach himself from his own family to follow Jesus freely? A few people truly.
Why did the Christ have to be put to death?
By dying without restoring the temporal kingdom to Israel, Jesus delivered the fatal blow to the concept of a Zionist Messiah. After his death, his disciples continued, indeed, to believe that he was the Messiah, despite the fact that he had not restored the kingdom of the dynasty of David.
Jesus had to die in this way to kill, by dying on the cross, Jewish nationalism. He thus gives life again to the essence of true Judaism which is spiritual, non-political.
It is by his death that Jesus liberates his people by revealing himself as a spiritual and universal Messiah who came to the world for the whole of mankind, not exclusively for the Jews. It is upon the death of Jesus that a non-Jew must possess the Bible. This Book was jealously detained by the Jews before Jesus. Jewish priests and scribes concealed and made inaccessible the words of the prophets because they condemned them. The Jewish chiefs did not want to expose their shame to the world.
This made the Bible inscrutable not only for non-Jews, but also for the large majority of the Jews themselves. Hosea reproached the priests for leaving the people in ignorance (Hosea 4,4-6) and Malachi condemned them for having imprisoned the knowledge of God behind bars of their lips (Micah 2,7-9). Jesus also rose against the clergy, accusing them “for having taken away the key of knowledge! You have not gone in yourselves, and have prevented others going in who wanted to”, He tells them (Luke 11,52 / Matthew 23,13). By giving the “keys of Heaven” to Peter, Jesus opened the door of knowledge of God to the people of the whole world (Matthew 16,19), freeing these keys from the hands of the fruitless Jewish cast of clerics.
It took Jesus immense, if not infinite love, and indomitable courage to confront the Israelis. Jesus did not hesitate to go through this burning fire to obtain for us the Light through the Israeli iron curtain: “Yes, God loved the (whole) world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him may not be lost but may have eternal life.” (John 3,16).
What would the Jews of Israel do today, especially the Rabbis, to a Jew who presents himself as the Messiah and who refuses any form of Jewish nationalism, of an Israeli State? All the evil comes from the fact that the Jews persist in establishing such a political State. This State was the central conflict between Jesus and the Jews, as it was between them and Samuel… and between them and God (1 Samuel 8). If the Israelis had been able to accept divine, apolitical messianism, there would have been no reason for Jesus to go through physical death. He would have continued to teach peacefully and to proclaim the spiritual path open to all men, aided in this by the entire Israelite community.
Now, it is the disciples of Jesus, they only, who made faith accessible to Pagans, and this to the great surprise of some Jews and a great scandal to the majority (Acts 10,34-48 / 11,1-8 / 14,27 / 15,7-12 / 26,23…) He had to go to the cross to kill political and fanatical messianism, but the “Key” entrusted to Peter produced a lot of fruit (Matthew 16,19).
When should we forgive or judge?
Some misunderstand Jesus’ teaching on forgiveness and judgement. They believe that one must always forgive everything to everyone, unconditionally, without ever judging. Such an attitude is an alienation of oneself, a renunciation of man’s dignity and a green light given to evil in the world.
Here is Christ’s intention concerning forgiveness and judgement:
It is only granted under certain conditions: “If your brother does something wrong, go and have it out with him alone… If he listens to you, you have won back your brother. If he does not listen… report it to the community; and if he refuses to listen to the community, treat him like a pagan or a tax collector.” (Matthew 18,15-17) Pagans and tax collectors were rejected by the community of believers.
That means that we should not be resentful and stop at the fault, but to open one’s heart to the other by forgiving if the reprimand is heard. If there is repentance, then we must forgive for us to obtain forgiveness too: “Yes, if you forgive… your heavenly Father will forgive you yours; but if you do not forgive others, your Father will not forgive your failings either.” (Matthew 6,14-15) But if the offender does not regret their fault, then they must be rejected since they would be considered a Pagan.
To forgive then, does not mean having a weak attitude since:
- The sinner must be reproved, openly and publicly if need be, and
- If he persists in his errors, you must break with him since he refuses to listen.
“If your brother does something wrong, reprove him”, says Luke, “if he wrongs you seven times a day and seven times comes back to you and says, ’I am sorry,‘ you must forgive him.” (Luke 17,3-4) The reprimand must thus be followed by tender forgiveness, if the repentance is sincere.
The role of John the Baptist was precisely an invite to repentance to merit forgiveness.
However, there is such a sin that is not forgivable “neither in this world nor in the next”, says Jesus, it is the sin “against the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 12,31-32). This consists in opposing one’s ideas, one’s thoughts, to those of God. There is no forgiveness possible in this case because there will never be true repentance. Jesus, in saying these words, was addressing the Pharisees who resisted him, and who attributed his miraculous power to the devil, not “to the Spirit of God” (Matthew 12,22-28). It is unforgivable for so-called religious persons not to discern the Spirit of God in divine works. This is one aspect of sin against the Spirit. Pride and egoism are other examples. The Book of Revelation draws up a list of this kind of sin (Revelation 21,8).
This grave and unforgivable sin is made up of the over-proud and illogical refusal of the evident truth. To divert eyes from one’s wrong doing, to say that Beauty is ugly and that truth is false are sins against the Divine Spirit: “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil, who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness”, says Isaiah (Isaiah 5,20). To attribute to yourself the right to judge without having recourse to God is to eat from “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil… for on the day you eat of it shall most surely die” (Genesis 2,17) for having given yourself the freedom to judge superficially, according to your own human mentality -often distorted- without referring to the Spirit of God as a criterion for judgment.
John asks us to pray for a brother who “commits a sin that is not a deadly sin, God will give life to this brother (by the grace of repentance)”. But he does ask us on the other hand, “there is a sin that is death, and I will not say that you must pray about that.” (1 John 5,16-17) It is about the sin against the Divine Spirit for which God is inexorable. For only the enemies of God commit this kind of serious fault, even if they present themselves as believers. True children of God do not commit such faults: “We know that anyone who has been begotten by God does not sin, because the begotten Son of God (Jesus Christ) protects him, and the Evil One does not touch him”, John adds (1 John 5,18-19). Indeed, to pray for the enemies of God is to offend God: “You, for your part must not intercede for this people… for I will not listen to you”, says the heavenly Father to Jeremiah (Jeremiah 7,16).
To recognize a forgivable sin from an unforgivable one, we must have the Spirit of God in us. God gives his Spirit to his true children (Luke 11,13). It is in the light of God and in the general attitude of the person that we perceive the heart in depth and that we recognize if repentance is sincere or of self-interest, or if the individual clings to his errors with no hope for change.
Many think -wrongly- that Jesus prevents believers from judging others when he says: “Do not judge, and you will not be judged yourselves; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned yourselves” (Luke 6,37).
Now, to recognize any sin, you have to pass judgment. Jesus, in advising not to judge, addresses his interlocutors accustomed to condemning others lightly, to appreciate them according to what suits their interests and their ways of thinking. They rejected Jesus, judging him on superficial grounds, on his poor appearance, which did not match with their pompous concepts of messianism. The Jewish chiefs did not judge Jesus according to the Messianic prophecies and the criteria of justice which demand absolute objectivity.
Such objectivity is only obtained after having emptied the prejudices and blind passions. As long as this purification is not achieved, one must abstain from judging the behavior of others: “Do not keep judging according to appearances”, said Jesus, but immediately added: “let your judgment be according to what is right.” (John 7,24).
One must above all judge himself, to recognize his defects, to correct them in order to see clearly and, then, judge others, but “in justice”, not according to our opinion. And justice prescribes to blot out the evil which is in us, “and then you will see clearly enough to take the splinter out of your brother’s eye”, Jesus had also said (Matthew 7,5).
Jesus prescribes “not to give dogs what is holy; and do not throw your pearls in front of pigs” (Matthew 7,6). To practice this, we must judge who is a “dog” and who is a “pig”.
We must therefore conclude that judging is a duty we should not abstain from, but that our judgments must be put forth in the Light of God, according to his perfect Justice.
Jesus and the rich (Matthew 19,16-26)
Christ is not against the fact of possessing material wealth, but against the fact of being attached to money, like the avarice, preferring it over spiritual values: “You cannot be the slave both of God and of Mammon.” (god of money: Matthew 6,24).
When Jesus invited this rich young man to follow him as an apostle, but only if he stripped himself of his possessions for the poor, the latter, instead of rejoicing, “went away sad, for he was a man of great wealth.” He was not ready to give it up for spiritual wealth (Matthew 19,22).
“It is hard for someone rich to enter the kingdom of Heaven”, said Jesus (Matthew 19,23), not because he is rich, but because he places all his confidence in his material wealth, not in God: “Watch, and be on your guard against avarice of any kind, for a man’s life is not made secure by what he owns”, He said (Luke 12,15). Also, “Warn those who are rich in this world’s goods… not to set their hopes on money… but on God… they are to do good, and be rich in good works… if they want to make sure of the only life that is real (Eternal Life).” (1 Timothy 6,17-19).
There were rich persons among Jesus’ disciples, but who made good use of their material assets: “A rich man of Arimathaea, called Joseph”, placed the body of Jesus in his own tomb (Matthew 27,57-60). Lazarus too, and his two sisters, Mary and Martha, were rich, and Zacchaeus, “a wealthy man” (Luke 19,2), who was saved for having decided “to give half of my property to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody I will pay him back four times the amount.” (Luke 19,1-10) (See 2 Corinthians 8,13: seek equality, but without breaking the bank).
The Apostles, like all the Jews, believed that material wealth was a sign of blessing. So they were shocked by the words of Christ regarding the rich and asked him: “Who can be saved, then?”, since the rich themselves have such difficulty (Matthew 19,25). Now Jesus had already mentioned to them Isaiah’s prophecy: “The Good News is proclaimed to the poor” (Matthew 11,5 / Isaiah 61,1). This is why “Jesus gazed at them (them, the poor). ’For men (even though they are rich)‘, He told them, ’this (salvation) is impossible; for God everything is possible.‘” (Matthew 19,26) It is to tell them that God preferred them, they the poor who had given up everything (even though they had little) to follow him, over the rich who refused to be his disciples.
To summarize, there are some rich people who are also rich spiritually as they put their money to good use. These follow Jesus. There are wealthy people who are spiritually miserable because they are attached to their money on which their security depends. On the other hand, there are poor people who are spiritually rich because they know how to trust in God who never disappoints them (Matthew 6,25-34). There are some poor people who are doubly miserable because they are thirsty for money and are ready to do anything -even injustice- to always have more, instead of relying on God.
The Curse of the fig tree (Matthew 21,18)
This curse is real, but it is above all symbolic. Note that it follows the expulsion of the merchants from the Temple and precedes the return of Jesus to the Temple, where he was intercepted by the religious chiefs (Matthew 21,23-27) who questioned him maliciously. The fig tree (like the vine) is a symbol of Israel. By cursing it, the Jewish chiefs felt targeted (as would -for example- the Lebanese feel targeted when the Cedar, symbol of Lebanon, is cursed). This curse on the scribes and the “hypocrite” Pharisees becomes obvious in chapter 23 of Matthew, devoted to the condemnation of these “serpents, brood of vipers”, whose blood they shed, “and so will draw down on them”, and ends with a condemnation of Jerusalem (Matthew 23,33-39), symbolized by the cursed fig tree. But “It was not the season for figs”, says Mark (Mark 11,13); So Jesus knew that he could not find figs on the fig tree in this season. The symbol is therefore clear: as the fig tree had no figs and deceives people by hiding this nudity with leaves, so does Jerusalem disguise itself to dissimulate its wickedness and its innumerable crimes (see Jeremiah 4,30 and Matthew 23,37). Read the parable of the sterile fig tree (Luke 13,6-9).
Finally, note the hidden moral of this story: “… if you have faith and do not doubt at all, not only will you do what I have done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ’Get up and throw yourself into the sea‘, it will be done.” (Matthew 21,21) The “Fig tree” and the “Mountain” are two symbols of Israel. Jesus spoke “as he was returning to the city” (Jerusalem: Matthew 21,18), and looked at it while speaking. It, this “mountain”, mentioned in the Book of Revelation, “was hurled into the sea” (Revelation 8,8). It is the Beast of Revelation against which one must resist and vanquish by faith which is not hesitant to “throw it into the sea” from whence it came (Revelation 13,1). This is the moral of the story, the moral to be applied today, after the return of this accursed mountain which have deceived people of little faith. (Mount Zion is often mentioned by the Bible as a symbol of Israel: Micah 3,12 / Joel 2,1 / Daniel 9,20).
Taxes (Matthew 22,13-17)
The Romans collected taxes from the countries it occupied. In Palestine, the Jews paid their taxes in the available currency which was, in Roman times, carved with the effigy of Caesar. There was no Israeli currency, despite the fact that apparently, there was an Israeli kingdom under king Herod.
The Jews considered the duty of paying such taxes as an insupportable alienation. The Romans charged Jewish civil servants, Publicans, to collect these taxes from their fellow citizens who hated them. Jesus, in choosing Matthew (a publican) defied and irritated many Jews (Matthew 9,9-11).
“Then the Pharisees went away to work out between them how to trap him in what he said. And they sent their disciples to him, together with the Herodians (sect under the pay of king Herod who, knowing that he was not loved by the people, had his men spy in the Temple and in the villages), to say: ’… Is it permissible to pay taxes to Caesar or not?‘” (Matthew 22,15) Had he answered “Yes”, Jesus would have been accused of treason to the Jewish nation and would have attracted the animosity of the people who admired him, destroying himself, “taken in by the trap of his word” like the Pharisees wanted. Had he answered “No”, He would have been accused by the Romans as a revolutionary who prevents the people from paying taxes. The trap was well prepared.
The Jews would have liked Jesus to be this nationalist revolutionary. They would have supported him. Hadn’t they tried to make him king of Israel? (John 6,15) It is only after having understood his apolitical intentions that they decided to forfeit him; even accusing him of what they really wanted him to do: a sedition against Rome. Hypocrites! Note indeed that it was towards the end of Jesus’ mission that this episode took place, after the Jews, disappointed, realized that his mission was not nationalist. They then decided to do away with him.
Jesus thwarted their cunning: “But Jesus was aware of their malice and replied, ‘… Let me see the money you pay the tax with… Whose head is this?’ ‘Caesar’s,’ they replied.” So, the money handled in Israel was carved out with Caesar’s effigy, not that of Herod, or any Jewish king of the past. Jesus’ thrashing response struck down his detractors: “Pay Caesar what belongs to Caesar and God what belongs to God!” It was not without some embarrassment that the Herodians had to report these remarks to their king.
The Jews, by agreeing to sell and buy in Roman currency, should accept to pay taxes to Rome in the same currency.
The truth about Judas
Why did Judas betray Jesus?
Few people can clearly answer this question. Try to answer this before resuming your reading.
Why did Judas follow Jesus?
The answer to this question enables us to respond intelligently to the first.
All that Judas wanted from Jesus was the national restoration of the Davidic kingdom. He expected that Jesus will put all his spiritual power in the service of this political goal, hoping to feature among the most brilliant figures. The miracles of Christ and their spiritual significance barely interested him; neither did they arouse his admiration or an enthusiasm able to raise his judgment spiritually. He remained earthly.
After the multiplication of bread, the crowds followed Jesus in admiration to proclaim him king. He hid himself. Going in search for him, they found him, but only to hear a remonstration from his part: “You are not looking for me because you have seen the signs, but because you had all the bread you wanted to eat… work for food that endures to eternal life” (John 6,26-27).
Like Judas, the whole crowd was only interested in the material benefits. Proof of this is that when he spoke of the real food which gives eternal life to the soul, he was no longer listened to and Jesus concluded: “But there are some of you who do not believe”. John further explains: “Jesus knew from the outset who did not believe and who was to betray him” (John 6,64-71).
Judas was therefore among those who did not believe in the profound signification of the miracles of Jesus, in spite of his presence on site where they were performed. Graver than his indifference, was the fact that he continued to follow Jesus without believing in him. He should have left with the crowds when Jesus asked the Twelve: “What about you, do you want to go away too?” (John 6,67) Why did Judas stay? It was because he was too attached to the advantages that would come to him from a possible political kingdom that he hoped to see established by Jesus. Nothing else mattered for him.
Jesus understood the real intentions of this false disciple and says: “Did I not choose the Twelve of you? Yet one of you is a devil”. John does not let us guess who this “devil” was and adds: “He meant Judas son of Simon Iscariot, since this was the man, one of the Twelve, who was to betray him” (John 6,67-71).
When Peter became irritated with Jesus for having announced his imminent death, Jesus retorted: “Get behind me, Satan!” (Matthew 16,23) But Peter ends up accepting the spiritual kingdom of Jesus. Of the Twelve, only one attached himself to his demon: “One of you is a devil”, Jesus specified, only one: Judas Iscariot.
Another difference between Peter and Judas is that Peter, in denying knowing Jesus (Matthew 26,69-75), was in a state of surprise. But Judas betrays Christ by cold and calculated premeditation. Peter’s sin is of the forgivable kind. That of the traitor, Judas, is against the Holy Spirit, an unforgivable sin (Mark 3,28-30 / John 15,22-24 / 1 John 5,16).
Judas decided to deliver Jesus when he lost all hope of seeing him carrying out his most cherished wish: the kingdom of Israel. The decision gradually germinated in the heart of Judas and the desire to move on to the act was triggered during supper in the house of Lazarus, “six days before the Passover” (John 12,1-11), that is five days before the crucifixion and four days before the betrayal in the Garden of Olives. During supper at Lazarus, “Mary brought in a pound of very costly ointment, pure nard, and with it anointed the feet of Jesus… Then Judas Iscariot… said, ‘Why wasn’t this ointment sold for three hundred denarii, and the money given to the poor?’ He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief; he was in charge of the common fund and used to help himself to the contributions.” (John 12,3-6) Such is the unknown aspect of Judas; his true face of “thief” revealed by the Apostle John who knew him well.
Jesus responded to the indelicate remark of Judas: “Leave her alone; let her keep it for the day of my burial. You have the poor with you always; you will not always have me” (John 12,7-8). It was with his powerful and penetrating gaze that Jesus addressed these words to him who was to betray him and who seized all the overwhelming weight in his conscience. Judas could not bear this markdown in place, nor the praise that Jesus made of Mary, that he, on the contrary, wanted to take back: “I tell you solemnly, wherever in all the world this Good News is proclaimed, what she has done will be told also, in remembrance of her.” (Matthew 26,13) It is “then”, says Matthew “that one of the Twelve, the man called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests” to deliver them the Messiah (Matthew 26,14-15). His pride could not bear this insult in public.
Judas’ hypocrisy is also apparent when Jesus announces to the Apostles: “One of you is about to betray me.” They were greatly distressed and started to ask him in turn, “Not I, Lord, surely?” At his turn, Judas (knowing well that he was the target), asks him: “Not I, Rabbi, surely?” “‘They are your owns words,’ answered Jesus.” (Matthew 26,20-25)
In delivering Jesus, Judas hoped to be restored in the confidence of the Jewish clergy. Realizing that he had lost the esteem of the Apostles and the Jews, he went to hang himself, gnawed by despair, knowing full well that he had delivered an innocent man to the malice of his executioners (Matthew 27,3-4).
Judas did not expect such a dramatic outcome. He may have been considering putting Jesus up against the wall by handing him over, believing that this would force him to come to an agreement with the religious chiefs to restore the kingdom to Israel. But one cannot force the hand of God and cause him to do our own will, even under the threat of death. “You will not put the Lord your God to the test!” Judas put God to the test. And this, in his own interest, being too attached to his dream of being among the powerful of this world.
Also, Judas “was filled with remorse”, regret for having followed Jesus, only “when he found that Jesus had been condemned” to death (Matthew 27,3). This definitively put an end to his dream. This is the real cause of his regret. He had no repentance, which would have earned him divine forgiveness and salvation. All what was left for him was to choose death to escape reality. He committed suicide!
This suicide is the symbol of the final fate of old and modern Zionism. By dying, Jesus puts an end to the false Zionist hopes that lead to spiritual suicide: “Through his death, Jesus has conquered death”, says the liturgy of Easter. The Jews attached to Jesus were saved from an inevitable spiritual death. “Death, where is your sting?”, said Paul after his conversion to Jesus (1 Corinthians 15,55) This is why “it was ordained that the Christ should suffer” and know death (Luke 24,26). Having annihilated the Zionist illusion with his cross, Jesus resurrected to give back to Judaism its true face and to his faithful the true hope.
Like Judas, others think of following Jesus, not for spiritual reasons, but nationalist. Matthew reports two cases (Matthew 8,18-22):
- The scribe who says to Jesus “Master, I will follow you wherever you go.” At this moment Christ had just performed several miracles and the spirits were inflamed in his favor. When he “saw the great crowds all about him he gave orders to leave for the other side” of the Lake Tiberius. Now this area was pagan, despised by the Jews and unsavory to them. In the general enthusiasm, this scribe distinguished himself by offering his services and to follow Jesus “wherever he goes”, even to impure pagan country, banned by the Torah. Note that it is a scribe, full of himself with Israeli prejudice and patriotism. He was ready to follow Jesus as any other patriot would follow a revolutionary military leader who rushes forward to free the homeland, arms in hand. Now, Christ’s Homeland is heavenly, not geographic. That, the scribe had not envisaged. Also, Jesus lets him understand that he will have no earthly glory in joining him: “The Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head”, that means: why then would you follow me? Some believe that Jesus refused the offer of this scribe. Such is not the case, he only mirrored his conscience, in two words, the real requirements and sacrifices which one must consent to for him to be a disciple of the Messiah. We must assume that this scribe withdrew his proposal, because had he followed Jesus, he would have figured among the Apostles. So it was the scribe who retracted, not Jesus who rejected him.
- This further explains that “another man, one of his disciples” who, after having heard Christ’s response to the scribe, says to him: “Sir, let me go and bury my father first.” He too wanted to withdraw elegantly: “Follow me, and leave the dead to bury their dead”, Jesus then retorted, to annul his pretext (Matthew 8,21-22).
It would have been better if Judas dismissed himself too, in time, like many others (John 6,60-71). But, guided by his materialistic lust, he preferred to continue to hope and wait… unwillingly… until despair, treason, and suicide.
The end times (Matthew 24)
A few days -three or four- before the end of his terrestrial life, Jesus spoke to the Apostles of another end, that of the Temple, therefore of the Israeli State, both destroyed in the year 70 of our era, about 35 years after this prophetic announcement. This was the second “end” of Israel.
By speaking of the prophet Ezekiel, I had mentioned that he too had predicted, in his time, the end of Israel, which occurred in 586 BC. This was the first “end” of Israel.
In our times -specifically since 1948- and for a third time, an Israeli State exists in the world, 2000 years after its second destruction. It will see its near end like the two previous times. For when Jesus speaks of the end, he means to say, like Ezekiel, the end of Israel, that State which obstructs God’s plan.
It was destroyed a first time to show the Jews that God’s goal is not Hebrew nationalism; that the expected Messiah should not be viewed as a “Jewish patriot” who sets out to conquer the world by military means to expand an Israeli empire (Zionism). Israel was destroyed a second time (70 AD) to show that the Messiah had already come into the world in the person of Jesus. It will be annihilated a third and final time -and forever- never to return again. This third and ultimate end of Israel informs men of the spiritual Return of Jesus as He Himself had announced in the Gospels.
AA few days before being delivered by Judas, Jesus was with his Apostles in Jerusalem. They were admiring the Temple building, embellished by Herod the Great, but were immediately reprimanded by Jesus: “You see all these? I tell you solemnly, not a single stone here (in Jerusalem) will be left on another: everything will be destroyed!” (think of Judas’ secret indignation upon hearing this) They then asked him: “Tell us, when is this going to happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the world?” (Matthew 24,2-3)
Pay attention to the question posed by the Apostles: they wanted to know “when is this (the destruction of the Temple) going to happen”, and to know too, “what will be the sign of your coming (political, they believed) and of the end of the world”, the pagan one. They understood that Jesus would reign, but after the destruction of this beautiful Temple. According to their mentality, Jesus would restore, following this, the Israeli kingdom, as it was in the time of David and Solomon. He would thus put an end to the power of the pagan nations, Rome in mind. But Jesus wanted to speak of the destruction of the Temple and of the political end of Israel, of this kingdom which, according to God, paradoxically embodies paganism. Did Christ not say that the Roman officer, a pagan nonetheless, had more faith than all the Israelis, “subjects of the kingdom who will be turned out into the dark” because of their rejection of Jesus? (Matthew 8,5-13)
Today, especially after the reappearance of Israel, we are able to understand, much better than in the past, the eschatological prophecies of Jesus which are found in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke. John does not speak of them because he wrote his Gospel well after the Synoptic ones (approximately 45 years), and knew they were found therein.
Jesus answered the Apostles’ question (“when is this going to happen?”) in a much bigger way than they imagined. His answer englobes not only the Temple’s destruction and the second end of Israel (occurring some 35 years later), but future events too. These will take place after the third advent of Israel in 1948, and will precede its third and ultimate fall.
The third reappearance of the Zionist State has specific, universal and spiritual importance: it just precedes the Return of Christ in the consciences. This Return began with the revelation of the Apocalyptic Mystery on May 13, 1970. The third and ultimate end of Israel is very close at hand.
The signs of the times
Chapters 13 of Mark and 21 of Luke revert to these eschatological prophecies (of the end times), whose principal signs are the following:
Persecution of the Apostles
Before the second fall of Israel, the Apostles were persecuted as predicted (Luke 21,12). Likewise today, Israel persecutes its enemies who resist it in justice. It is the prelude to the end of the State of Israel.
Jerusalem invaded by the Pagans and false christs
The Pagans in Jerusalem are a sign of its near downfall. Yesterday, the Pagans were the Romans who, having invaded the city, burnt it with its Temple and dispersed the Jews in the world (Luke 21,23-24). Today, instead, the Pagans are the so-called Jews who invade Jerusalem: they are the modern Pagans (because of their rejection of Jesus). Their massive presence in Palestine and in the Holy City signifies the near and ultimate end of the State of Israel: “Jerusalem will be trampled down by the pagans (the ’false Jews’ which the Book of Revelation 2,9 and 3,9 speak) until the age of the pagans is completely over.” (Luke 21,24) It will therefore be the end of the visible and occult Zionist power in the world.
False christs will appear saying that “the time (the time of the Zionist Messiah) is very close”. They are false prophets (the current Zionists) who see in the State of Israel a “proof” that the time of the advent of the Israeli Messiah has arrived, that he is at the gate, and that he will soon declare himself in front of the whole world. Indeed, Jesus had said: “Many will come using my name and saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will deceive many (Matthew 24,5) … If anyone says to you then, ‘Look, here is the Christ’ or, ‘He is there’, do not believe it” (Matthew 24,23-24). We have heard the Israelis say that the Messianic time has finally arrived, that Ariel Sharon was the Christ, others said that Menahem Begin was the Christ, still others say that Rabbi Meïr Kahana was the Christ, the king of Israel. We know that Jesus is the only Christ of God and that the Messianic time was inaugurated by him 2000 years ago.
International tensions and nuclear threat
“On earth nations in agony, bewildered by the clamor of the ocean and its waves; men dying of fear as they await what menaces the world (nuclear wars: Luke 21,25-26) … Nation will fight against nation… (Matthew 24,7) … And then they will see the Son of Man (Jesus) coming… (Luke 21,27)” This is why we say that these events are the “signs of the times”, because they signal the time of the return of Jesus.
Universal propagation of the Gospels
“This Good News of the kingdom (the good news that the Messiah, Jesus, has come into the world) will be proclaimed to the whole world as a witness to all the nations. And then the end will come.” (the third and ultimate end of Israel: Matthew 24,14) Today, the Gospel is widespread all over the world. It is translated into more than 360 languages and 1500 dialects. The end of the Israeli Antichrist is very close at hand, as well as the “New Heaven and Earth” announced by Revelation and by Peter (Revelation 21,1 / 2 Peter 3,13).
The Apostles of the end of times
Jesus says: “And then… they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven… And He will send his angels with a loud trumpet to gather his chosen from the four winds…” (Matthew 24,30-31).
These “angels” are persons sent by God during the end times “to awake” people of goodwill in the world by reminding them of the eschatological prophecies, demonstrating their fulfillment with the “signs of the times” (the return of Israel, world persecution of its enemies, international tensions, fear of nuclear war, universal propagation of the Gospels).
The “sounding trumpet” which awakens “the sensible bridesmaids” of the parable (Matthew 25) is the Apocalyptic Message. It reveals the identity of the Antichrist, the “Beast of Revelation” (Revelation 13) who succeeded by misleading and putting them to sleep. Revelation of the Apocalyptic mystery is this “cry of midnight” (Matthew 25,6), when everyone is fully asleep, to wake up from their numbness, all souls of good faith deceived by the satanic wiles of the Zionist “Beast” (Matthew 25,1-7).
Only Matthew speaks to us of the Apostles of the end of times. Indeed, he informs us that Jesus, speaking of these times, says: “… at harvest time (final selection of the elect in the end of the world) I shall say to the reapers (so it is Jesus himself who will send his ‘reapers’, the Apostles of the end of times): First collect the darnel and tie it in bundles to be burned, then gather the wheat into my barn.” (Matthew 13,30) He also says: “Just as the darnel is gathered up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of time. The Son of Man will send his angels and they will gather out of his kingdom all things that provoke offenses (‘the darnel’) and all who do evil, and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth.” (Matthew 13,40-42). “This is how it will be at the end of time: the angels (Apostles of the end of times) will appear and separate the wicked from the just” (Matthew 13,49-50). Now read Matthew chapter 13.
Useful clarifications on Matthew 24
The Abomination of desolation installed in the Holy Place, in the Holy Land (Palestine), represents Israel, the pinnacle of abomination because, rejected by God, this State presents itself as the “chosen people” and the work of God in the Holy Land of the Bible.
This State, which has caused countless destruction and horror, presents itself in “sheep’s clothing” and accuses others of terrorism, when it is but a “ravenous wolf” that one can easily “recognize by its fruits”, murderous, despite its disguise as an innocent sheep (Matthew 7,15-16). The Israeli crimes committed in Palestine, known and seen by the whole world, make Israel this “Abomination of desolation” -the pinnacle of horror- in the Holy Land, predicted by Daniel (Daniel 9,27 / 11,31 / 12,11) and recalled by Jesus (Matthew 24,15).
“Alas for those with child…” because their flight will be harder than that of others due to their pregnant condition. Jesus is not threatening pregnant women, he sympathizes with them. We must translate it as “I pity those with child, or with babies at the breast, when those days come” because these days will be difficult for them in particular (Matthew 24,19).
“Pray that you will not have to make your escape on a Sabbath”: irony on the part of Christ, because on the Sabbath, Jews must not walk more than a kilometer… And yet, they will have to flee by traveling very long distances to escape their enemies… (Matthew 24,20).
Now you can undertake the systematic reading of the Synoptic Gospels without encountering any major difficulties. Then, you will be able to move on to the Book of the Acts of the Apostles, which you will read after having consulted my explanations.
Acts of the Apostles
This book is the continuation of the Gospel of Luke and was written by him. It was the second book sent to “Theophilus” to inform him of “everything Jesus had done and taught from the beginning… until the day he was taken up to heaven” (Acts 1,1-2). It can be considered as the continuation of the Gospel of Luke. It informs us of what the Apostles did after Jesus, until around the year 62 AD, just before the martyrdoms of Peter and Paul which took place in 64 AD in Rome.
Historian of the Apostles, Luke teaches us that he writes as Paul’s traveling companion. After having spoken of Paul in the 3rd person, in the singular: “He crossed Syria… He went to Derbe… He took Timothy with him… They traveled through Phrygia…”, Luke speaks in the first person in the plural, thus including himself in Paul’s group: “We lost no time in arranging a passage to Macedonia, convinced that God had called us to bring them the Good News.” (Acts 16,1-10) It is in Troas, currently in Turkey, that Luke joined Paul (see the biblical chart).
After having informed Theophilus of the Advent of the Messiah in his “first Book”, namely his Gospel, Luke, in his second book to Theophilus (the Acts of the Apostles), reports to him the propagation of the evangelical message “not only in Jerusalem, but throughout Judaea and Samaria, and indeed to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1,8), ie up to Rome. He informs him about the resistance of the fanatic Jews against the universal and non-racist message of Jesus. This resistance went as far as the persecution and the killing of several Apostles and disciples by these Jews. You will read the story of the conversions of many Jews and Pagans and their union in the person of Jesus.
I will point out to you the most salient points of the book, what you need to understand to grasp the essentials and the spirit that Luke wants to communicate to his reader. Then, read this book attentively. It is of huge interest to us today because of its great actuality now with the reappearance of Israel. The continual resistance of modern Israelis and their subtle to Jesus and real persecution of the disciples of Jesus, make the message of the Book of Acts current and impactful.
The Apostles did not yet understand (Acts 1,6)
At the Ascension of Jesus, the Apostles had not yet understood the interior spiritual dimension of the Kingdom of God and still ask Jesus: “Lord, has the time come? Are you going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” After three years of formation and “brainwashing” after the crucifixion, the resurrection of Christ and his miraculous stay with them for 40 days, the Apostles are still at a standstill. It took the intervention of the Holy Spirit, and time, for them to realize the true nature of the Kingdom of God and its true “restoration” (Acts 3,21).
God gives his Spirit, his “mentality”, to the Apostles 50 days after the Resurrection (Easter). This corresponded to the Jewish feast of the “Harvest”, thus symbolizing the spiritual harvest by the Gospels, the selection of the chosen by the gift of the Holy Spirit to those who believe in it (John 4,34-38 / Luke 10,2 / Matthew 13,30 / Revelation 14,15-16). Disbelievers do not benefit from this Spirit which heals, which gives Eternal Life and happiness to the soul.
The Apostles are then understood by all who do not speak Hebrew, not only by Hebrews. It is a form of restoration after the confusion of Babel, where men no longer understood each other (Genesis 11,1-9).
strong Jewish opposition to the message of Jesus
This opposition runs throughout the Book of Acts and makes Peter say: “In this very citY (Jerusalem) Herod and Pontius Pilate made an alliance with the pagan nations and the peoples of Israel (Jews everywhere), against your holy servant Jesus…” (Acts 4,27) “Against Jesus” means “Anti-Christ”: it is of them that John speaks by indicating the Antichrist (1 John 2,22 / 4,1-6 / 2 John 1,7). In these end of times, the same anti-Christ league is formed by the Israelis of the world who, while disavowing Jesus, rally behind the so-called Christian nations (see the texts “Christians and Israel” and “The Antichrist and the Return of Christ”). The opposition of the Jews led to the persecution and martyrdom of the Apostles and the disciples of Jesus. Stephen was the first martyr (Acts 7 and Acts 12,1-2).
The conversion of Paul to Christ
Luke insists on Paul’s conversion to Christ. Paul “approved of the killing (of Stephen)” (Acts 8,1) and “was still breathing threats to slaughter the Lord’s disciples.” (Acts 9,1) He repeats the story of his conversion three times (Acts 9,1-19 / 22,5-16 / 26,10-18), after pointing out that this spectacular upheaval of Paul took place after he “began working for the total destruction of the Church; he went from house to house arresting both men and women and sending them to prison.” (Acts 8,3) But Paul was acting in good faith, convinced that he was serving God’s cause; he was moved by love for God, not by hatred of Jesus like the other persecutors of the disciples. This is why he deserved to be enlightened by Christ Himself, directly, not by men, because God, He alone, could convince him of his error (Galatians 1,11-17 / 1 Timothy 1,12-16).
The Faith communicated to the Pagans (Acts 10,1-11 and 10,18)
It took divine intervention at the same time with the Pagans (Acts 10,1-8) and Peter (Acts 10,9-24) so that the Biblical Message -knowledge of the one God- kept hermetically sealed by the Jewish clerical cast, passes to the Pagans, then to the world.
The first Jewish disciples of Jesus were themselves shocked that this knowledge was extended to non-Jews: “God can evidently grant even the pagans the repentance that leads to life!” (Acts 11,18) For the Jews believed -and still believe today- that non-Jews, not having a spirit like Jews, live only for this earth and do not have access to eternal life and the resurrection, their fate is similar to that of animals, which do not have an eternal soul.
This contempt for Pagans -due to the fanaticism of the Hebrew clergy- made the mission of the Apostles quite painful, particularly in the Jewish community. Indeed, the evangelical message had to pass through the thick barrier of Jewish extremism, this impassable psychological border set up by the Israelite clergy, and which God alone could break. He did this by intervening, at the same moment, with a Pagan: the centurion Cornelius, and with an Apostle, Peter. But this did not pass without astonishment on the part of well-intentioned Jews, and without resistance from fanatics of the same community (Acts 22,21-22). Without this direct divine intervention, the Evangelical Message would never have passed to the Pagans.
This ferocious resistance from the Jews to the divine message of the Apostles of Jesus manifested under several forms:
- The persecution of the Apostles as well as believers as previously shown. We should not be surprised because the prophets too, were persecuted in Israel.
- Infiltration within the Christian ranks to bring back the disciples of Jesus to the practice of the Law of Moses (Acts 15,1-5 / 20,28-30). This insidious method succeeded with some Apostles who, themselves, ended up inciting the practice of Mosaic worship, ineffective for salvation, as Paul said (Galatians 3,11). They yielded thus, to the pressures of “some who do not really belong to the brotherhood and have furtively crept in to spy” on the Christian community from the onset (Galatians 2,4). We thus see the Apostle James himself, who was nothing less than the chief of the Christian community of Jerusalem, demanding Paul to sacrifice to the Mosaic cult as did “the thousands of Jews who have now become believers (in Jesus), all of them staunch upholders of the Law (of Moses)” (Acts 21,17-26). Paul had to submit to the demands of James, but that did not prevent the Jews from pursuing him, “to seize him and kill him” (Acts 21,30-31).
- Jewish infiltration into the Christian community was denounced by Paul (Galatians 1,7 / 2,4 / 6,12 / Titus 1,10-14 / 2 Corinthians 11,13-15 / Colossians 4,11), by Peter (2 Peter 2,1) and by Jude (Jude 1,4 and 12; compare with 1 Corinthians 11,17-33).
- Jewish incitement of the Pagans against the Apostles (Acts 14,2 / 17,5-9).
- Paul was accused of being “a ringleader of the Nazarene sect” (Acts 24,5), thus giving the Romans the impression that it is a political party which opposes Caesar to proclaim another king, Jesus, instead of the Emperor (Acts 24,14 / 17,7 / 25,8). This was the same trick employed by the Jews against Jesus (John 19,15). It is the weapon employed today by Christians against the Apostles of the end of times, whose mission is to denounce the Antichrist: Israel. They are accused of “playing politics”, they who denounce the politicization of the spiritual by the Zionists and their so-called Christian allies.
“According to Scripture” (Acts 17,2-3)
“Paul… developed the arguments from Scripture for them, explaining and proving how it was ordained that the Christ should suffer and rise from the dead” (Acts 17,2-3), and Believers “every day studied the Scriptures to check whether it was true” (Acts 17,11). Every true Christian must be able “to demonstrate from the Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ” (Acts 18,28), and that Israel (which denies that Jesus is the Christ) is the Antichrist announced by John (1 John 2,22).
Peter recommended to “always have your answer ready for people who ask you the reason for the hope that you all have.” (1 Peter 3,15)
We cannot defend our faith while in ignorance of the Holy Scriptures. It is through Biblical Knowledge that we can be Apostles of Jesus, the true and unique Messiah.
The goal of this Biblical Course is to give this knowledge to those who are called to be disciples of Jesus and who want to respond to this divine call.
Paul’s first missionary journey (46-48 AD).
Paul’s second missionary journey (49-52 AD).
Paul’s third missionary journey (53-57 AD).
Paul’s fourth missionary journey (59-62 AD).