Are There Four Gospels? Or Only One Gospel?
The Four Gospels
The First New Testament Marcion's "The Gospel Of The Lord"
The Gospel Truth
© 2013 VVeasey Publishing
Did you know that before the creation of the first Christian New Testament, featuring the four Gospels, they were literally hundreds of Gospels being used by the various Christian and Gnostic Christian groups?
Did you know that one of the reasons, that, out of all of the "Gospels" that were around at that time, that only four were picked as the "true" Gospels, was because, there was only four winds and four directions?
So "logically" there could only be four "true" gospels? Hahahaha...scuse me for laughing...but that just struck me as funny!
Irenaeus Of Lyons
Irenaeus Of Lyons
The person doing the cherry picking was the Christian Apologist, Irenaeus Of Lyons, who, lived around 140 or160 CE, who tells us in his " Adversus Haereses" the reasoning behind his conclusion that there could only be four Gospels: "The Gospels could not possibly be either more or less in number than they are. Since there are four zones of the world in which we live, and four principal winds, while the Church is spread over all the earth, and the pillar and foundation of the Church is the gospel, and the Spirit of life, it fittingly has four pillars, everywhere breathing out incorruption and revivifying men. From this it is clear that the Word, the artificer of all things, being manifested to men gave us the gospel, fourfold in form but held together by one Spirit. As David said, when asking for his coming, 'O sitter upon the cherubim, show yourself'. For the cherubim have four faces, and their faces are images of the activity of the Son of God".
" For the first living creature, it says, was like a lion, signifying his active and princely and royal character; the second was like an ox, showing his sacrificial and priestly order; the third had the face of a man, indicating very clearly his coming in human guise; and the fourth was like a flying eagle, making plain the giving of the Spirit who broods over the Church. Now the Gospels, in which Christ is enthroned, are like these". (3.11.8)
He goes into more rationalizing as to why, there should only be four gospels,
"... As is the activity of the Son of God, such is the form of the living creatures; and as is the form of the living creatures, such is also the character of the Gospel. For the living creatures were quadriform, and the gospel and the activity of the Lord is fourfold. Therefore four general covenants were given to mankind: one was that of Noah's deluge, by the [rain] bow; the second was Abraham's, by the sign of circumcision; the third was the giving of the Law by Moses; and the fourth is that of the Gospel, through our Lord Jesus Christ". (3.11.8)
Picked By Divine Inspiration
We've been told that the 4 gospels were picked by divine inspiration by divinely inspired men. This certainly sounds like this was a divinely inspired process, doesn't it? Of course I joke.
I don't think so
The Apostle Paul
According to the Apostle Paul
There is only one Gospel, inspired or otherwise.
The one that he preached.
He never mentions the Gospels when preaching or talking about his message. It's always the Gospel.
"I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel 1:7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.1:8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed". (Galatians 1: 6-8)
Paul says, even if an angel preached any other Gospel besides the one he or his associates preached, let him be accursed!
So there must have been other writings called Gospels around at time, that's why Paul is emphasizing the point that his Gospel is the only true Gospel.
Jesus backs Paul up saying that“...The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel”. (Mark 1:15)
So there you have it. Both Paul and Jesus tell us to believe and accept the "Gospel" not the "Gospels".
The Christian "Gospels" were written well after "Jesus' " supposed death and resurrection. So how can they be the Gospel that Jesus and Paul are talking about?
Houston! I think we have a problem!
Paul's Gospel Written Before The 4 Gospels
Biblical scholars say that Paul's writings were written well before the Christian Gospels. So apparently, there was originally only one Gospel, as Jesus and Paul both attest.
This wasn't a Christian Gospel, because at that time, Christianity didn't exist.
We saw earlier how the four "God Inspired" Christian Gospels came about. I almost have to laugh when I say "God Inspired" when we see the rationale Irenaneus used to pick them.
Isn't it looking little like Christians have been duped, about the "Gospels" being God"inspired" and about how they came to be the only "true" Gospels?
"No...No...No that can't be!" Some of you may scream at your computer screen! "Nothing can shake my faith!" You say! Of that....I have no doubt. Nothing can shake the faith of true a true believer, because their faith is not based on truth or facts but on belief. Belief doesn't need a real object. person, place or thing to sustain it. All it needs to sustain it in the face of truth or doubt, is self generated ideas in the mind of the believer.
True believers aren't open to being updated with new information about what they believe, especially, if it contradicts their firmly held beliefs (faith).They live in a self insulated mental environment, that protects them from the "hard" cruel world of facts, reality and doubts. Like a butterfly in a cocoon or an infant in its mother's womb.
They believe in a subjective reality that has no corresponding objective reality.I'm not saying this to be insulting or mean.This is just my psychological view of the subject
We can have faith in the most absurd things that we believe are actual realities.
As we did when we were kids and believed in the Easter bunny, the tooth fairy and Santa Claus, and that he had flying reindeer and lived at the North Pole.Just as when you've had a dream so "real", you thought it was "real", until you awoke to find, it was just a dream!
How many of you have done that? Show of hands please!
But as Paul said "When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things". New American Standard Version (1995) And so should we.
But before we end our journey. Let's give some props to the man who compiled the the first "New Testament".
Marcion Of Sinope
Marcion of Sinope
The first New Testament You say? "I never heard of that before!" "I thought there was only one New Testament."
I know, I know, that's why I'm bringing this to your attention.
The man's name was Marcion of Sinope, and was a so-called "heretic Christian", who lived about 140-160 CE. the same time period as our friend, Irenaeus.
(Heretic 1. "a professed believer who maintains religious opinions contrary to those accepted by his or her church or rejects doctrines prescribed by that church. 2. Roman Catholic Church . a baptized Roman Catholic who willfully and persistently rejects any article of faith.3..anyone who does not conform to an established attitude, doctrine, or principle"
(Origin 1300–50; Middle English heretik < Middle French heretique < Late Latin haereticus < Greek hairetikós able to choose ( Late Greek: heretical), equivalent to hairet ( ós ) that may be taken (verbal adjective of haireîn to choose).
In other words a heretic is a free thinker. One who thinks for themselves...is not a sheep and doesn't just follow the herd.
Marcion's “New Testament” was called "The Gospel Of The Lord" and contained what would later become the rewritten "Gospel Of Luke" and ten of the Paul's letters, but no Hebrews or the pastorals and varied quite a bit from the later produced Orthodox “New Testament” writings.Which was created to counter Marcion's “New Testament” by orthodox Christians like, Irenaeus, because Marcion's New Testament was very popular and so was Marcion and his teachings.
Marcion created over a hundred churches and had hundreds of followers, and was definitely a threat to the Orthodox Roman Christians. Many of ancient "Christian" churches discovered by archaeologists, have been Marcion Christian churches.
Marcion didn't believe that the Old Testament should be part of his Bible, because of the brutality and cruelty depicted in it. (Makes sense to me)
He taught that Jesus come to bring the knowledge of an unknown god to the world, who was different from the brutal God of the Hebrew Bible (the Christian Old Testament).
He taught that the god of the Old Testament was a jealous, wrathful, cruel God, who created the material world as a place of suffering and misery. (sounds right to me)
He taught that Jesus was not the Messiah of the Jews, because the Jewish Messiah was to be a warrior King, like King David and Solomon (right again).
He said Jesus' mission was to make people aware of the Good God of light and pure mind and lead them out of subjugation to the material world and the wrathful creator God of the Old Testament. (Sounds good to me) To prove his point Marcion contrasted the Good God that Jesus taught with the bad God of the Old Testament...who actually if you really look at, has many of the characteristics attributed to the Devil.
The following is a sample of the differences between the good God of Marcion's New Testament and the evil God of the Old Testament pointed out by Marcion:
The Good God vs The Bad God
The Old Testament God
"And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil". Gen 2:9
The Good God
"For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit". Luke 6:43
"Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit". Matthew 12:33
The Old Testament God
"Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot", Exodus 21:24
The Good God
"And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloak forbid not to take thy coat also". Luke 6:29
The Old Testament God
"And Elijah answered and said to the captain of fifty, If I be a man of God, then let fire come down from heaven, and consume thee and thy fifty. And there came down fire from heaven, and consumed him and his fifty". Kings 1:10
The Good God
"And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did?But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of.For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them. And they went to another village".
The Old Testament God
"And he went up from thence unto Bethel: and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head.24 And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the Lord. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them". 2 Kings 2:23-24
The Good God
"And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them.14 But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God".
The Old Testament God
"I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things:. Isaiah 45:7
The Good God
"This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all". 1 John 1:5
Be honest now...which God seems more like the devil and is evil?
Have we been fooled into mistaking the Devil for the good God that Marcion said that Jesus brought to light? Why have you never heard of Marcion or this history?
Because when Roman Christianity was made the official religion of the Roman Empire, 400CE, this gave the officials of the Roman Catholic church the power to stamp out all competitors to their version of Christianity.
They burnt Marcion's and other heretic Christian books, imprisoned and killed their leaders and followers and stigmatized them as heretics, (meaning those who oppose Roman Catholic Christianity) and Pagans, (meaning those who venerated the natural world that they depended on for their life and sustenance).
There's a whole lot more to this story than I can go into in this hub. Research it yourself, if you doubt or disbelieve what I'm saying.
Jesus Chrest vs Jesus Christ
Marcion called Jesus, Iesus Chrestus, Latin for Jesus Chrest, meaning the good or benevolent one. This goes along with Marcion's idea of God being the Good God.
When the Hebrew bible ( the Christian old testament) was translated in Greek in 200 BC the Hebrew name Yeshua was transliterated to Iesous (pronounced i ee sous). When the Roman Catholic Christians came to power and the Old Testament was translated into Latin, Iesous became Iesus.
The New Testament was written in Greek so the name of person who would later be called Jesus, was Iesous Christos. And when the Greek New Testament was translated into Latin to be part of the Latin Vulgate, the first Christian Bible. the name that would become Jesus' was translated a Iesus Christus. When the Latin Vulgate was translated into English Iesus Christus became Jesus Christ.
The Roman Christians leaders wanted Iesus to be a King, like the rulers of ancient Israel, like King David and Solomon.This goes along with their belief in the God of the Old Testament, who's character seems to have been based on some of the autocratic and brutal rulers of the empires and kingdoms of those times
So which is the real spiritual word of God? the four "God' inspired, Gospels and the brutal Old Testament God? Or is it the "Gospel" of the Good God that Paul, Jesus and Marcion taught?
Something to consider
If you want to see some of the contradictions between the Old Testament and the New Testament's views of God click this link to read my hub on the subject
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