Jesus enters Jerusalem

None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who believe they are free.
-Johann Goethe

This page is the first of a series on gospel falsities starting from the time Jesus enters Jerusalem. We can get an accurate sense of gospel discrepancies by comparing parallel verses and supporting prophecies.

Do the gospels contain historical truth? Are they the word of God? Or are they legends or allegories? On the surface, they appear to have an historical basis because they mention names and places verified by outside sources. Other factors belie claims that the gospels have historical validity. While it is entirely possible there was a man named Jesus who died on the cross at the hands of the Romans, it could not have been the Jesus described in the gospels. The literary form of the gospels is either legend or allegory. Let's list the ways.

1. Mark is believed to be written from oral accounts about 40 years after Jesus' alleged death. Matthew follows about ten years later almost copies Mark with some additions. Luke follows roughly ten years later with about half of Mark and additional material. John follows by another ten years, at odds with the first three. I say "believed" because that is an assumption on the part of scholars who assume the biblical Jesus actually existed.

The dates are optimistic guesses based on the authors’ knowledge of the fall of Jerusalem in 70 CE. They could have been written many decades later. Matthew and Mark are first mentioned in extant literature by an obscure author named Papias about 120-130 CE. But the Matthew written in Greek we have today does not appear to be what Papias described. Papias described Matthew as composed of sayings and written in Hebrew. Similarly because Papias doesn’t provide quotes, we have no way of knowing if the Mark he mentioned is the same Mark we have today. The names of the four gospels don’t appear until about 185 CE by a Christian bishop named Irenaeus.

2. The gospels have no reliable eyewitness accounts and the authors are unknown, though we the biblical names for convience. Luke professes to writing "an orderly account" from "eyewitnesses and ministers of the word." His many sources and their variations are unknown, as well as the correctness of his judgment. Hearsay testimony is not acceptable in a court of law and if we are interested in truth we have to be aware of its weaknesses.

1Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things which have been accomplished among us,
2just as they were delivered to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word,
3it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus,
4that you may know the truth concerning the things of which you have been informed. (Luke 1:1-2)

3. Because the gospels were written so long after the time of Christ, the dialogue and events cannot be historically accurate. They are products of the authors' imaginations and/or the result of decades of oral transmission. Each gospel has a different spin. In Mark, Jesus was a man of God who met an untimely end. Matthew was written to appeal to Jews with Jesus being half man half god. Luke was written to appeal to gentiles with Jesus being half man half god. In John, Jesus is a spiritual character.

4. The gospels were selected by the Bible's editors out of a collection of works, some of which are extant. As such, the gospels mask a much wider range of thought on the nature of Christ. It wasn't until the time of Roman emperor Constantine, 300 years later when Christianity dogma narrowed to a single doctrine on the nature of Christ. In 367 CE, the first time the 27 books of the New Testament are listed is by Athanasius the bishop of Alexandria. See Lost Christianities by Bart D. Ehrman.

5. Paul was clear that the Jesus he knew came by way of visions, revelation and Scripture. In Romans he declared that Jesus came in the likeness of sinful flesh. The direct testimony of Paul is the best evidence we have that Jesus was not a real person. Paul's letters were written around 50 CE before the gospels, leading to the probability that he had some influence on the gospel writers.

3For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do: sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh,
4in order that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. (Romans 8:3-4)

6. The evidence shows that the gospels did not fulfill any so-called prophecies; most of them weren't even predicting anything. Instead they were cherry picked from the Old Testament verses and called prophecies. The gospels writers believed that "the word of God" is subject to interpretation. So they ignored context and interpreted them for what they wanted them to say. The result is a false assertion that the Jewish Bible was predicting the coming of a new religion.

7. There are sections where the author says Jesus took a certain action to fulfill a prophecy. We could read into that two ways: that Jesus took a certain action to fulfill the prophecy, or that the author wrote the account to fulfill the prophecy. Assuming that a prophecy was actually predicting an event in the distant future, we can't rule it valid if either the actors or the author were using it as a script.

This took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet,

8. The synoptic gospels have elements of astral myth. In Gospel Zodiac, Jesus personifies the sun's path around the zodiac; Jesus is a sun hero. It was a time when the sun was passing from the Age of Aries to the Age of Pisces. In astrological terminology, this is a 25,920 year called a Great Year. Each Age lasts 2160 years going in reverse from the solar zodiac cycle. Pisces would be associated with the beginning of winter and what I suspect was what ancients believed was coming of the end of he world.

9. Christians believe the gospel miracles to be in contradiction to the laws of nature. Such feats are impossible and didn't happen. This is where the allegorical nature of the gospels becomes transparent. With Jesus representing the personified sun, walking on water symbolizes the sun's reflection on water. In ancient lore, the sun died on the winter solstice and went below into the underground. It was reborn on the third day. The sun is in opposition to the darkness of evil. The sun brings life, supplies food and heals the sick.

10. The Bible was hand copied until the invention of the printing press in the fifteenth century. No two Bibles were alike. They were mostly copyist mistakes, but there were intentional changes as well. As one example, the last twelve verses of Mark are not in the early texts; they were added by a later scribe. See Misquoting Jesus by Bart D. Ehrman.

By comparing the gospels with each other and by comparing them with the Old Testament supporting prophecies, a picture emerges of a sloppiness in language logic that doesn't hold up to today's standards of truth. The Jesus described in the gospels did not exist. The fact that millions of people throughout the centuries have believed them doesn't make them true. The fact that church authorities and academics who have studied the Bible to exhaustion believe them doesn't make them true. In addition to the points raised above, it is the abundance of contradictions that falsifies the gospel accounts. In the real world, the evidence is the authority and truth has no contradictions. See also Did Jesus Christ Really Live?

The Route

They left Jericho.

29And as they went out of Jericho, a great crowd followed him. (Matt. 20:29; Mark 10:46; Luke 19:1)

Then they went to Bethpage to the Mount of Olives.At the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples.

1And when they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, to the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, (Matt. 21:1)

Contradictions

Mark and Luke say they went through Bethpage, then Bethany on the way to Jerusalem. They erred on Judean geography. From Bethpage to Bethany leads away from Jerusalem.

1And when they drew near to Jerusalem, to Bethphage and Bethany, at the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, (Mark 11:1; Luke 19:28-29)

John says Jesus came from across the Jordan, then to Bethany to raise Lazarus, then to Jerusalem.

40He went away again across the Jordan to the place where John at first baptized, and there he remained.
1Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead.
12The next day a great crowd who had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. (John 10:40, 12:1, 12)

Prophetic fallacies

Zechariah describes Mount of Olives as a mountain range on the east side of Jerusalem. Therefore the gospel writers wrote that the Messiah would come from Mount of Olives.

4On that day his feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives which lies before Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives shall be split in two from east to west by a very wide valley; so that one half of the Mount shall withdraw northward, and the other half southward. (Zech. 14:4)

What was to occur "on that day?" The verses preceding v4 explain. There was to be a battle during which the city shall be taken, houses plundered, women ravished and half the city shall go into exile.

1Behold, a day of the LORD is coming, when the spoil taken from you will be divided in the midst of you.
2For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city shall be taken and the houses plundered and the women ravished; half of the city shall go into exile, but the rest of the people shall not be cut off from the city.
3Then the LORD will go forth and fight against those nations as when he fights on a day of battle. (Zech. 14:1-3)

Horse and Rider

Jesus sent two disciples to go to the village opposite them where they will immediately find an ass tied, and a colt with her, and bring them to him. This was to fulfill a prophecy.

2saying to them, "Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find an ass tied, and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to me.
3If any one says anything to you, you shall say, 'The Lord has need of them,' and he will send them immediately."
4This took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet, saying,
5
"Tell the daughter of Zion, Behold, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on an ass, and on a colt, the foal of an ass." (Matt. 21:2-5)

The disciples brought the ass and the colt, put garments on them and Jesus mounted. - We might wonder how a man can ride two animals at the same time. It is explained below.

6The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them;
7they brought the ass and the colt, and put their garments on them, and he sat thereon. (Matt. 21:6-7)

Contradictions

Mark and Luke say Jesus sent for a colt.

2and said to them, "Go into the village opposite you, and immediately as you enter it you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever sat; untie it and bring it.
3If any one says to you, 'Why are you doing this?' say, 'The Lord has need of it and will send it back here immediately.'"
4And they went away, and found a colt tied at the door out in the open street; and they untied it.
5And those who stood there said to them, "What are you doing, untying the colt?"
6And they told them what Jesus had said; and they let them go.
7And they brought the colt to Jesus, and threw their garments on it; and he sat upon it. (Mark 11:2-7; Luke 19:30-36)

John says Jesus came into Jerusalem by foot, then found a young ass and sat on it.

12The next day a great crowd who had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem.
13So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying, "Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!"
14And Jesus found a young ass and sat upon it; as it is written,
15
"Fear not, daughter of Zion; behold, your king is coming, sitting on an ass's colt!"
16His disciples did not understand this at first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that this had been written of him and had been done to him. (John 12:12-16)

Prophetic fallacies

Matthew 21:4 refers to Isaiah 62:11, supposedly meaning Jesus is the salvation that comes.

11Behold, the LORD has proclaimed to the end of the earth: Say to the daughter of Zion, "Behold, your salvation comes; behold, his reward is with him, and his recompense before him." (Isaiah 62:11)

Isaiah had the salvation of Jerusalem in mind. At the time Jerusalem was under threat from the Assyrians.

1For Zion's sake I will not keep silent, and for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest, until her vindication goes forth as brightness, and her salvation as a burning torch. (Isa. 62:1)

Matt. 21:5 misreads Zechariah to mean an ass and a colt when the last phrase was describing what kind of ass.

9Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Lo, your king comes to you; triumphant and victorious is he, humble and riding on an ass, on a colt the foal of an ass. (Zech. 9:9)

The four verses following Zechariah 9:9 above explain that the Messiah was to be an earthly king and a military leader who would lead a rebellion - David was a Judahite and Joshua was an Ephraimite (Josh. 19:50). Zechariah 9:9 has no bearing on Jesus.

10I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim and the war horse from Jerusalem; and the battle bow shall be cut off, and he shall command peace to the nations; his dominion shall be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth.
11
As for you also, because of the blood of my covenant with you, I will set your captives free from the waterless pit.
12
Return to your stronghold, O prisoners of hope; today I declare that I will restore to you double.
13
For I have bent Judah as my bow; I have made Ephraim its arrow. I will brandish your sons, O Zion, over your sons, O Greece, and wield you like a warrior's sword. (Zech. 9:10-13)

Astrological meaning of Matthew 21:2-5

When Jesus told his disciples they will immediately find an ass and a colt at a village opposite them, it meant some other constellation opposite Libra at the same time of day. Whether Jesus rode on one ass or two, there are two asterisms in Cancer called Asellus Borealis and Asellus Australis. Asellus means donkey in Latin. As for the "village opposite" definition, when the sun rises in Libra in the east, Cancer is setting in the opposite side of the horizon in the west. Since the perceived direction of rotation is from west to east, the stars in the west move ahead of the stars in the east.

The welcome

Most of the crowd spread their garments and cut branches on the road before him. They praised him as the Son of David.

8Most of the crowd spread their garments on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road.
9And the crowds that went before him and that followed him shouted, "Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!" (Matt. 21:8-9; Mark 11:8-10)

Then when he entered Jerusalem, the crowds said he is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth of Galilee.

10And when he entered Jerusalem, all the city was stirred, saying, "Who is this?"
11And the crowds said, "This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth of Galilee." (Matt. 21:10-11)

Contradictions

1. Luke says it was Jesus' disciples who were praising him. They praised him as the King who comes in the name of the Lord.

37As he was now drawing near, at the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen,
38saying, "Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!"
39And some of the Pharisees in the multitude said to him, "Teacher, rebuke your disciples." (Luke 19:37-39)

2. John says the crowd came because they were impressed by his raising of Lazarus. The Pharisees said the whole world has gone after him.

17The crowd that had been with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead bore witness.
18The reason why the crowd went to meet him was that they heard he had done this sign.
19The Pharisees then said to one another, "You see that you can do nothing; look, the world has gone after him." (John 12:17-19)

Prophetic fallacies

Matt. 21:8-the verse is about a king named Jehu.

13Then in haste every man of them took his garment, and put it under him on the bare steps, and they blew the trumpet, and proclaimed, "Jehu is king." (2 Kings 9:13)

Matt. 21:9-Psalm 118 is described as a hymn of thanksgiving. It predicts nothing.

25Save us, we beseech thee, O LORD! O LORD, we beseech thee, give us success!
26
Blessed be he who enters in the name of the LORD! We bless you from the house of the LORD. (Psalms 118:25-26)

Matt. 21:11-I will raise up for them a prophet like you among their brethren.

18I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brethren; and I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. (Deut. 18:18)

Who is this prophet? Two verses later it says if the prophet does not speak in God's name, he shall die. Jesus died because he did not speak for God?

20But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in my name which I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die.' (Deut 18:20)

Luke 19:39-44-the days shall come when your enemies will surround you on every side and dash you and your children to the ground.

39And some of the Pharisees in the multitude said to him, "Teacher, rebuke your disciples."
40He answered, "I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out."
41
And when he drew near and saw the city he wept over it,
42saying, "Would that even today you knew the things that make for peace! But now they are hid from your eyes.
43For the days shall come upon you, when your enemies will cast up a bank about you and surround you, and hem you in on every side,
44and dash you to the ground, you and your children within you, and they will not leave one stone upon another in you; because you did not know the time of your visitation." (Luke 19:39-44)

This is one of those statements that lead scholars to believe that the gospels were written after the Roman destruction of Jerusalem in 70 CE. It is commonplace in biblical literature for the writers to be writing about an earlier time as if they were witnesses in that time.

The Temple

He entered the temple and overturned the tables of the money-changers.

12And Jesus entered the temple of God and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons.
13He said to them, "It is written, 'My house shall be called a house of prayer'; but you make it a den of robbers." (Matt. 21:12-13; Mark 11:15-17; Luke 19:45-46)

Jews who came to the temple to sacrifice commonly bought their animals at the temple. It was sacrilege to buy the sacrificial animals with Roman money, so the moneychangers exchanged them for Jewish money. It was a legitimate practice sanctioned by the high priests.

Contradictions

Mark says he entered the temple, looked around and came back the next day.

11And he entered Jerusalem, and went into the temple; and when he had looked round at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve.
12On the following day, when they came from Bethany, he was hungry.
15And they came to Jerusalem. And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold and those who bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons; (Mark 11:11, 12, 15)

John says Jesus went into the temple and drove the money-changers out with a whip, and poured out the coins and overturned the tables. This was during his first trip to Jerusalem, not his last.

13The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
14In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers at their business.
15And making a whip of cords, he drove them all, with the sheep and oxen, out of the temple; and he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables.
16And he told those who sold the pigeons, "Take these things away; you shall not make my Father's house a house of trade." (John 2:13-16)

Jesus said we should turn the other cheek to evil.

39But I say to you, Do not resist one who is evil. But if any one strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also; (Matt. 5:39)

Prophetic fallacies

Matt. 21:13-Isaiah supports the practice of worship in the temple. Jesus' actions would have thwarted legitimate worship.

7these I will bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer; their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples. (Isa. 56:7)

Jeremiah defines "den of robbers" as those who commit real crimes and worship other gods.

11Has this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, I myself have seen it, says the LORD. (Jer. 7:11)

8"Behold, you trust in deceptive words to no avail.
9Will you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, burn incense to Baal, and go after other gods that you have not known,
10and then come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, 'We are delivered!'-only to go on doing all these abominations? (Jer. 7:11)

Malachi 3:1 leaves to wonder what it means by "messenger of the covenant"?

1"Behold, I send my messenger to prepare the way before me, and the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the LORD of hosts. (Mal. 3:1)

We read later that it is about the Hebrews not keeping the covenant.

7From the days of your fathers you have turned aside from my statutes and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you, says the LORD of hosts. But you say, 'How shall we return?' (Mal. 3:7)

Making Enemies

He healed the blind and the lame. When the chief priests saw his miracles, they were indignant.

14And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple, and he healed them.
15But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying out in the temple, "Hosanna to the Son of David!" they were indignant; (Matt. 21:14-15)

Contradictions

Mark and Luke say when the chief priests and scribes heard his teaching; they decided right then and there that they wanted to destroy him.

18And the chief priests and the scribes heard it and sought a way to destroy him; for they feared him, because all the multitude was astonished at his teaching. (Mark 11:18, Luke 19:47-48)

According to John, there was no reaction from the chief priests at this time. Instead, Jesus promised he could raise the temple in three days if it is destroyed.

17His disciples remembered that it was written, "Zeal for thy house will consume me."
18The Jews then said to him, "What sign have you to show us for doing this?"
19Jesus answered them, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up."
20The Jews then said, "It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?"
21But he spoke of the temple of his body.
22When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this; and they believed the scripture and the word which Jesus had spoken. (John 2:17-22)

Prophetic fallacies

John 2:17- his disciples quote Psalm 69:9 but reverse the tense from "has consumed" to "will consume."

9For zeal for thy house has consumed me, and the insults of those who insult thee have fallen on me.
10
When I humbled my soul with fasting, it became my reproach. (Psalm 69:9-10)

Conclusion

From which direction did Jesus come into Jerusalem? From Jericho? From the Jordan?

Who welcomed him? A large crowd? His disciples?

Who did they think he was? A prophet from Nazareth? The Son of David? A king who comes in the name of God? The man who raised Lazarus?

Did he ride in on an ass and a colt? Or was it a colt? Or did he come in by foot?

Did Jesus enter the temple after his last trip to Jerusalem? Or was it his first?

Did he chase out the moneychangers? Or did he just take a look around?

Did he chase them out on his first time in the temple? Or his second time?

Did he use a whip? Or did he not?

Was it the popularity of his miracles that the chief priests feared? Or was it his teachings?

Did they plot to kill him then? Or not?

If you answered all of the above, you would be right.

Do any of so-called prophecies have anything to do with Jesus?

If you answered no, you would be right.

Next, the Passover and the arrest