The purpose of this presentation of the first four books of the New Testament is to try to assist in recovering something extremely valuable that has been lost.
What extremely valuable thing has been lost?
Before we investigate what extremely valuable thing has been lost, let us first take a small but important digression. Most people are familiar with the expression, “you should not throw the baby out with the bathwater”. It is an effective saying to teach the principle of not dismissing a true or valuable or important thing (the baby) that might be surrounded by, or associated with, false or valueless or unimportant things (the dirty bath water). I would ask the reader to please apply this principle to the person of Jesus (or Joshua) of Nazareth. In other words, before you throw the baby (Jesus of Nazareth) away with the bathwater (bible-christian-messianic beliefs and religion), you ought to take a careful look at the baby. After all, what do you have to lose by reading Joshua’s words, teaching and life story? It won’t take you long to read, and you will be one of an increasingly few number of people who actually read his words and teachings.
This author would suggest that it is unfair to throw away ‘the whole jesus religious thing’ as irrelevant to your life or as ‘a bunch of silly or hypocritical rubbish’ without first giving his words and teachings a honest and fair read. It is also irrational to deny that the person known as “jesus christ” has had a very significant impact on both human history as well as countless millions of individuals. You should be curious as to why, and as a person that might be seeking truth, it would be unreasonable to avoid his own words in order to understand the very important ‘why’ question. Even if you are a skeptic or critic, if you don’t read Joshua’s own teachings, then at best you are a lazy and poor quality skeptic or critic who doesn’t bother to go to the source of the object of your skepticism or criticism. Please, be a diligent skeptic or critic and search Joshua’s teachings YOURSELF for the faults and errors in his person or teachings that you assume account for the mess that covers much of the planet and is known as ‘christianity’ or bible based religious groups.
OK, let’s end the first digression. So, what extremely valuable thing as been lost? Please allow me digress again before answering that question in order to briefly address those reading who have not seriously looked into the life and teachings of Jesus (or Joshua) of Nazareth. (This author will use “Joshua” instead of the popular “Jesus” in order to refer to the person who is the subject of the first four books of what is referred to as the “new testament”. I do this because Joshua is a better translation of his name, and because of all the religious junk associated with the name “Jesus”.)
Every living person has hope in something because it has been proven time and time again that a person without any hope (some self perceived purpose for their life-existence) will seek to destroy themselves through suicide or other destructive behavior in order to try and end the inner emptiness of life-level hopelessness. The reader should ask why that is. Why is it that human’s alone (not animals) need a future reason for living (known as hope or purpose) or else they seek to end their existence?
What is your hope in dear reader?
Some ‘better’ material tomorrow…a better house, car, or vacation…a more ‘successful’ career? Is your hope in a better education and thus more opportunity to accumulate wealth or influence over other people? Is your hope in some better form of pleasing yourself or entertainment? Is it in the next movie or the newest electronic device that you believe is somehow going to make your life more meaningful? Is it in sporting events, challenges, vacations, hobbies or activities yet to come? Do you find your purpose in life through the primary work that you do? Is your hope in a person, like yourself, or a spouse, friend or partner? Is your hope in your family or children? Is your hope in religious beliefs or practices?
Has having your hope in any of these things ever satisfied your soul in a deeply meaningful and permanent way? Or does the pleasure of the pursuit or aurora of the lesser-hope fade as it passes, and you find yourself dissatisfied or somewhat empty until the next time? When you largely accomplish your goals associated with your hope or purpose, what happens then? Do you just pick up a new temporary one without thought to the fact that it too will end? Do you ever take the time to just sit back and ask the import questions of life like why am I here? What is the purpose of my life? What does my existence mean? If you don’t, why do you think that is so? Are those not really important matters that deserve attention?
Looking at this important topic from another perspective, have you come to the sad place of believing you are nothing more than a random accumulation of molecules with no soul and little or no meaningful purpose? Or do you realize something fundamental is missing from your life? Have you come to the place of acknowledging that your own efforts to run your life are not working well? Have you come to the place of understanding that what is most important in life is relationships with other people? That whatever pain or stress or anxiety or conflict or frustration or failure you are experiencing normally has to do with how you are relating to other people or even how you are relating to yourself? Is there a right way and a wrong way to relate to people, and if so, where can I find that way or standard? Can I be rightly related to all the people that I know and thus be a nearly perfect person and have a justifiably clear conscience? Wouldn’t that be wonderful?
Everyone has beliefs about what the purpose of their life is, including atheists (those who believe there is no God) and agnostics (those who believe one cannot know if God exists). Many atheists and agnostics are physicalists, meaning they believe a person’s self-expression (or personality) can be accounted for by physics-chemical reactions alone – this author believes that is an un-reasonable belief. By definition, however, a physicalists purpose for their life must end when their life ends, and thus their hope can only be in temporary things listed above which will undeniably end. They (and we) will die. Their body will decay and return to dust. In their belief, all the events, emotions, friendships, relationships, expressions of love and good in their life, all the special experiences they had and all the good things they accomplished – all will be gone forever, and perish with their death and the death of those who knew them…there will be nothing but the black, dark, void of existential destruction…for to lose something valuable is to have it destroyed. This is hopelessness – a meaningless-ness to life that is typically denied and buried under daily busyness, noise, entertainment and a denial of most things important – never peering over the edge of the approaching and undeniable event called death.
Most physicalists are relativists, meaning they believe there is no absolute truth. They say each person makes up their own reality. Is that true? No, because the relativist’s clearest statement, like, “No absolute truth exists” is a self-defeating statement. That means that the laws of logic demonstrate that statement to be false. Can you see it? For if the relativist makes the statement, “no absolute truth exists”, one only need ask them, ‘is that statement absolutely true’? If they answer, ‘yes’, then at least one absolute truth exists and thus their statement is false. And if they answer, ‘no’, then they acknowledge the statement to be false. It is undeniable that absolute truths exist, and it is reasonable to deduce that someone (a master Programmer?) created reason and logic to be based on absolute truth.
The fact that it is undeniable that absolute truth exists - that everything is not relative according to a person’s (or even a collective culture’s) perspective or experiences - has a very significant implication. That implication is that it is possible (even reasonable) that a Creator of that absolute truth has an absolute standard of truth which human’s will be judged by. For if we do have a metaphysical part (beyond being able to sense with our five senses) to our person (often referred to as a soul, spirit or personality), and that part does survive physical death, then what becomes of us? Is religion the place where I will find those answers, or can I find those answers somewhere else? What is the truth regarding these matters? To ignore those questions and not seek answers is to live less than a full life…it is to refuse to take life’s most important journey.
And this brings us to a person, not a religion, who said, “I am the Truth”. No matter what you think about that claim, it is a very important claim that warrants investigation. While anyone (and many have) can make that claim, the same one who said that also defeated death, at least according to the account of his life, and that makes his claim worthy of sincere investigation. No one else in human history defeated death in as genuine, authentic and validated way.
Religion in a general sense is human’s attempt to understand the purpose of their existence – the why’s of life. More specifically, religion is often people’s attempt to be accepted by their God or god(s) so that when they die, their existence will continue typically in a more favorable manner than their existence has been on the earth.
From the student of Joshua’s viewpoint, religion is the things that people believe and do in order to answer the why questions of life or to be accepted by their god(s), by means other than what Joshua has taught. Please re-read that carefully.
There are many religions and many people who hold to their religion’s beliefs and practices. But there is only one person who – in a genuine, authentic way - defeated death to prove all he said and did is true, and he is not a religion! While this person has been wrongfully used to create religion, he not only does not support that religion, but he rebukes it and its practices time and time again in his teachings. No, he doesn’t rebuke bible-based christian religion’s failures, hypocrisies, faults and abuses, but rather he rebukes the very essence, beliefs and practices which the religious leaders of the bible-based religious system build their kingdoms (or denominations or churches) on. If this is true, this should impact the reader.
You have no doubt heard of the person of Jesus of Nazareth (Joshua is a more accurate translation of his name than “Jesus”), the person that the christian religions claim as their figure head. But of all the hundreds of millions of people claiming to be some type of ‘christian’ or somehow claiming that ‘Jesus Christ’ is important to them, probably less than two percent have taken seriously the reading of his life and teachings, let alone trying to understand him or do what he says. If this is true, this should also peak your curiosity, for it certainly doesn’t make sense. And perhaps this is one of the reasons for the obvious failures and powerlessness of bible or christian or church religion to change people towards the Standard of perfection that God has given mankind – the person of Joshua of Nazareth?
So, in your hands you have the Words of Joshua of Nazareth, the one who said, “I am the Way (Home to your Father), I am the (absolute) Truth (that eternally matters), and I am Life (Everlasting)”. But he not only said that (for anyone can say that), but he performed many miracles, including defeating death, to prove that all he said and did was true, including what was just quoted.
No one else in history has done that.
Joshua addresses the most important questions of life, directly, head on, and gives clear answers. Can I have a Hope that will last? What is the purpose to my life? If I have a soul and it survives death, what becomes of me? What is true love, and can I experience that and live that out? Can I have proper relationships with all the people in my life? Can I have inner peace and joy in my life on the earth? Where can I get the power to change myself to be the way I know I ought to be? Is there a superior form of love, and if so, how can I experience it? Joshua answers all these questions and point’s people to the source of power to change.
This author can testify to this truth. I was once chasing the American dream and all it entails, and to a large measure, I had attained it. However, that pursuit and it’s ‘success’ only left me empty, selfish and hopeless. People viewing my life from the outside would say how successful I was, but I knew the truth. One beautiful day, however, as my life was spiraling downward (even while people said I was climbing the ladder of success), I met the Person Joshua of Nazareth. I testify that he has changed my life in a way I could never have done myself, for I had not the wisdom nor the power to fix my broken and hopeless life. Empty and circular psychological beliefs or legally prescribed emotion controlling drugs are not the answer to your problems. Alcohol, drugs, busyness, materialism, entertainment-ism or other means to try and dull or hide the hopelessness are not the answer either.
So, dear reader, please don’t be afraid to read and seek to understand Joshua of Nazareth’s…he is NOT a religion, but rather a person like no other. And the chances are very good that the real Joshua of Nazareth is nothing like you have experienced through most christian or bible religious people…he is not the “Jesus Christ” of the christians/biblians or church people. He is not someone handing out free passes to ‘heaven’ to those who believe certain facts about him. Rather, he has the solution to your deepest need and is eager to provide it to you…he can clean your soul and bring your spirit alive!
Does YOUR life need fixing? What have you got to lose, and perhaps, you’ve got everything to gain?
Do you want true freedom? You can have it, but it does cost something. To gain the Life which you really need, you must be willing to forsake the temporary and that which this world (and yourself) considers valuable.
"He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal.”
"If you continue in my word, then you are truly disciples of mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."
May the Words of the Rescuer, the Freedom and Life Giver in the pages to come do their beautiful work in your life!
To those who think they know “Jesus Christ”, the following illustrations will help you understand that which has been lost.
Imagine you were kidnapped and put in a horrible place, and other than the kidnapper, there was only one person on the planet who knew where you were. Fortunately, this person cared about you and although they were half way around the planet, they knew someone near you who could rescue you. So, they wrote a message to the prospective rescuer, telling him exactly where you were and how you could be rescued. They then mailed the message to the prospective rescuer. The message arrived safely at the remote post office, however the post office employee only delivered mail to the rescuer occasionally. So, he took the letter and placed it in a large envelope with many other letters to the rescuer, and on the outside of that envelope was written, “Important Messages”. By the time the rescue letter was delivered to the rescuer, it was just one note among many hundreds in the large envelope labeled, “Important Messages”. Therefore, your note was ‘drowned’ is a sea of other people’s notes, and thus you had little hope of being free from your bondage any time soon if at all.
Here is another illustration to help you understand what has been lost.
Imagine you are stranded on a remote island with only one piece of paper, pen and bottle. So you write a note to tell those who find the bottle where you are and your situation and you throw the bottle into the ocean. The bottle finds a current which carries the bottle towards land, but there are thousands of other bottles in that current as well. It seems there were many people who, while not desperately needing to be rescued like yourself, never-the-less greatly enjoyed putting messages in bottles and throwing them in the ocean. Unfortunately for you, all those other bottles found their way to the same current which carried your bottle, and thus your bottle arrives at the beach with thousands of other like bottles containing ‘urgent’ (but pretend) messages. Thus, you have little hope of your message being found anytime soon, and little hope as well of getting free from the island.
Perhaps the most accurate illustration of that which has been lost, would be as follows. Let us say you wandered into a large and dangerous city and got yourself lost in a maze of streets, and you desperately need directions out of the city. Let us say that a person who knows the way out of the dangerous city has clearly and concisely written the directions down in two sentences on a page of paper. That person makes those clear directions available to any who request them and many groups and organizations of people take the directions and use them for their own purposes. In your case, the person you request the directions from is a member of one of those organizations, and they feel they need to add to the directions, even though they don’t know for certain the way out of the city because they have never been out of the city. So they write, on a copy of the correct directions, their beliefs on how to get out of the city. And so, when you are handed the one page document, the two sentences containing the way to freedom are surrounded by many sentences which contain errors and which at best confuse you and at worst, hide the truth in the two sentences of the way out of the dangerous city. Thus, you don’t find your way out of the dangerous city because in your sincere efforts to read the directions, you get more and more lost due to the errors surrounding the fact.
To continue that illustration, let us say that many people regularly get lost in the large and dangerous city, and so there is a regular need for clear directions out of the city. However, the main authority of the city benefits economically from having more people in their city, even if some are lost and don’t want to be there. The paper with the two sentences of clear directions becomes well known amongst the city dwellers, as well as the one page that contains both the two sentences of clear directions surrounded by the erroneous opinions of others. The city authority wants to give to those people lost in their city, the confused one full page of ‘directions’ instead of the two clear sentences out, since they gain city members and make more money that way. So that authority formally makes a diligent practice of telling the people that the one page document is one-hundred percent truth and they ought to believe all that is written on that page. They also tell the people that the page with the two clear sentences of correct directions is ‘inadequate and incomplete’ and people should not rely solely on that document or its instructions. Now, if a person looking to escape the city respects that authority-person more than wanting to know truth (correct directions), then what will happen to their ability to find their way out of the city? Will it not be compromised at best, or destroyed at worst? If disagreeing with the authority will have uncomfortable consequences, or even cost the person something they value, won’t they be in even a worse situation to find the truth buried in that one page?
One final step to complete the illustration…
In the same way, what if there is a book which contains sixty-six chapters, and only four of the sixty-six chapters contain what you need to be set free. And what if an authority that many people respect including yourself, and who claims to know the book better than you, tells you that all sixty-six chapters contain the truth that you need to be set free. And what if they tell you that the four chapters which contain what you need to be set free are “inadequate and insufficient” in-and-of themselves? If you respect the authority more than wanting to know the truth, then what will happen to your ability to find the actual truth in the four chapters? Will it not be compromised at best, or destroyed at worst? And what if the cost of rejecting the authority’s beliefs about the book will mean you will be rejected by friends and family? Perhaps you will pretend the dangerous city is not so bad after all? Or perhaps you will believe that the dangerous city or places just like it, is all that is available on the earth? Or perhaps you actually like the dangerous city and thus you are not looking to be set free since you see no need to be?
This brings us to that which is most valuable and has been lost.
What if there was a man who said…
“I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, and no one gets to the Father except through me.”
"If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."
…and he performed many miracles including defeating death to prove what he said was true…
…but other’s come along after he leaves and place his Words in a big book with many other people’s words and say, ‘this whole book is truth’, not just the person who says, “I am the truth”…
…and the religious authorities who like exercising authority over others say, ‘you need more than the red letters, you need the whole counsel of God’s Word, and you need us to understand it’…
…and as years, decades and centuries pass, the book is handed down from generation to generation, each generation before it saying that the whole book is the truth that people need. And if a person can’t understand the book due to the errors and contradictions, the people’s religious leaders say, “well, you need us or christian leader so-and-so or bible scholar so-and-so to properly understand the book”…
…and the religious leaders, whose authority the people respect, point people to the book as well as many other voices, both dead and living, in addition to the one who says, “I am the truth”, and say, “the book and all these other voices which quote the book are “the truth” you need to be set free, not just the one who says, “I am the Truth” … not just the one who says, “If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed”.
If this happened, then isn’t the truth of the statements above by the one who says, “I am the truth”, LOST as the people look to the book and other’s words and other voices, and those other words and voice’s nullify, cancel or make of no effect the one who says:
“I am the Way, the Truth and the Life…”, and “All who are of the truth listen to MY voice.” ?
Those eternally valuable truths…
“I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, and no one gets to the Father except through me.”
"If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."
…have been drowned out … buried … LOST.
And so, that which is extremely valuable - and which as been lost - has been revealed. The Creator/Father sent One beloved, error-free Messenger who can bring freedom from your hopelessness, bondage or pain, but his voice has been drowned out, hidden, obscured, spoken over, ignored…lost.
It is a difficult truth to receive, but in truth, the teachings of the One who calls himself the Light of the world have been covered, buried and for all practical purposes, lost. His Voice has been drowned out by thousands of other voices. In fact, at the most essential level, his Voice has been replaced by a book, ‘the Bible’, by a clever slight-of-hand which says that the book IS (or accurately represents) his voice.
His statement, “All who are of the truth listen to MY voice”, has been changed (and thus corrupted) to, ‘All who are of the truth listen to the bible’ with all its millions of words and its many contradictory precepts, accounts and teachings. Perhaps the reader has believed the lie that the bible has no contradictions? Here is just one of many:
“Do I not hate those who hate You, O LORD? And do I not loathe those who rise up against you? I hate them with the utmost hatred; they have become my enemies.” (Psalms 139:21-22)
"You have heard that it was said, 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.' "But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. (Matthew 5:43-45)
One can pretend there is no contradiction, but that only proves that one is NOT listening to the one who says, "I am the Truth". Paul’s teaching of all scripture being inspired by God has God inspiring David to express his justified hatred for his enemies. Contrast that to the voice of truth which says, “Love your enemies”.
And so, the time for the printing of this book is quite long overdue. It should be curious to the reader that there are no similar books easily available given the thousands of books about “christ” and many dozens of bible versions available. Why is it that so very few are concerned about focusing whole-heartedly on his person and teachings ONLY? Perhaps, just perhaps, these things are true…
"This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.”
"But because I speak the truth, you do not believe me.”
Maybe the truth is that the one Voice that brings freedom, offends the vast majority (especially the religious people who claim him as their ‘Lord’ and “God”), and they do not want to let his simple and uncompromised truth shine forth? Perhaps most christians/biblians are especially loath to turn to the Light because they very much like believing they are “saved” and “heaven bound” while they continue to ignore the real Light of the world and instead live the way they want?
…beware of the all too common self-justification and self-deception of, ‘oh yes, that is true, but not of ME or MY church’…
This commentator hopes that those who are in the darkness of bible and christian religion will allow the Light of the world to shine on their hearts. Seek to understand this key saying of his…
"He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal.”
…and then, please, come, follow HIM!
1. Give Joshua an open, honest, innocent read.
If we approach Joshua and his teaching as a child that really wants to hear what he has to say, then we will hear what he has to say. Try not to listen primarily with your intellect, but rather with your heart. Young children don’t question a mature adult’s teachings. If you are truly open-minded, then you will give Joshua the best part of that open mindedness. This is the most important principle for hearing and understanding Joshua and his teachings.
See supporting principle in Matt. 11:25.
2. Only Joshua knows for certain the reasons or answer to the ‘why’ questions of what he said and did, therefore listen to him only to understand him.
Nobody knows Joshua better than Joshua, so listen to HIS words and teachings only. Only he knows for certain the “why” behind what he said, taught or did. The book author’s – like Matthew, Mark, Luke and John – recorded what Joshua said and did, but they had their own religious beliefs through which they viewed Joshua. There are many examples of the book author’s not having a proper understanding of what Joshua was trying to convey due to their bringing what THEY wanted to hear versus letting HIM shape their beliefs. For example, see Luke 9:54. Avoid the second greatest error of listening to others tell you what THEY think Joshua means, instead of listening to Joshua in context to understand Joshua.
See supporting principle in Matt. 11:27 and 17:5.
3. Read things in context.
Without context, things are easily distorted. For example, Joshua says, “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” This saying is very often used by those who love money and material things to justify a selfish, materialistic life. They twist that saying to mean God wants people to be materially wealthy. That saying was taken from John 10, and in context, that saying has absolutely nothing to do with having material wealth. Rather it is clearly a contrast between one who seeks to bring death and the only Good Shepherd/Pastor who brings life – the Life he speaks of elsewhere in John 4:14.
4. Try and adjust your understandings to Joshua’s view of the important things of life instead of trying to force Joshua to fit your understandings of the important things of life.
You can ‘approach’ Joshua in two basic ways. You can bring your religious and/or spiritual beliefs to him and try and use his teachings to sort through your beliefs. Or, you can try and start with a clean slate and allow him to give you your spiritual/metaphysical beliefs (or at least sincerely consider his teaching without undo bias). The latter method is the one that will allow you to hear what he says. The former method will, at a minimum, hide things he wants to convey, and at worst, prevent you from understanding perhaps the most important things he has to say.
See supporting principles in John 14:6 and Matt. 24:35
5. Just because Joshua went to the Jewish people does not mean he endorses all their religious beliefs and practices.
Joshua came to a religious people, the Jews. They had many religious beliefs and practices that were interwoven into their culture. Joshua taught the people the eternal truths and principles he wanted and without unnecessarily offending their religious beliefs. Therefore, he did not address those things which he viewed as not interfering with his primary teachings. He certainly did, however, address those religious beliefs and practices which interfered with his primary teachings, and this is what angered the religious leaders so much. Joshua was killed because he contradicted the religious leader’s beliefs about who God is, what He is like, and what He wants. For example, God does not care about keeping a day (the revered sabbath) but He is very concerned about people loving one another.
See supporting principle in Mark 7: 1-13; John 8:31-32.
6. Just because Joshua visits a certain place or was present at a particular event does not mean he endorses the traditions of that place or the religious beliefs or practices associated with that place.
Because Joshua went to that area of the earth does not mean he does not care about the other people of the earth. Because Joshua visited the places people used to ‘worship’ or do God things (like the Jewish synagogue or temple) does not mean he wants people to congregate in synagogues. Because Joshua was present during certain religious feast days of the Jews does not me he advocates, approves or teaches they ought to be observed. All it means is that he went where people were congregating to try and reach them with his message…Joshua was regularly thrown out of, or forced to leave, the places of religious practices. God is not constrained to a particular people group, but rather “loved the people of the earth” (John 3:16). This author’s opinion is that God sent his messenger to Israel because He knew His Son’s life and teachings would be accurately recorded and preserved that way.
See supporting principle in Luke 4:28-30; 20:9-16.
7. Just because Joshua mentioned in his teachings certain famous or revered people of the Jew’s scripture does not mean he says to look to those people to understand his Father.
For example, Joshua did speak about Moses, but he certainly does not point to Moses as someone to look to in order to know God or what God wants. See Matt. 5 to make this abundantly clear as he corrects Moses’ unfulfilled, incomplete and imperfect view of what God wants of people.
See supporting principle in Matt. 5:21-44; 12:38-42.
8. Joshua’s commands, directives and instructions are plainly given.
A directive or instruction is a simple teaching of the nature, “Do this” or “Don’t do that”. Very important directives or instructions that he is especially concerned that people get are preceded by something like, “This command I give you…” A primary error people make is to turn something that is not a command or directive, into a command or directive. For example, Joshua says in regard to the sabbath, “The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the sabbath.” This is clearly not an instruction or directive, let alone a command. His point in context is clear. Moses gave the sabbath for people to rest, not for men to be ruled by a day. And Joshua is over – not ruled by - even their beloved sabbath. Yet those who seek to have Joshua affirm their religious day, will say this saying is a “command” of his. Clearly it is not. Rather, it is a teaching of his regarding his position to something, in this case a revered religious day, the sabbath- and he is a ruler over this thing not given by God, but rather by Moses.
The four books are called "gospels" which means 'good news'. They are called that due to the content of the book which provides good news for human beings.
The authors of the four gospels as as follows:
John: The author is believed to be Joshua’s disciple John, who lived and traveled with Joshua for over three years as Joshua brought his message to the world, starting with the people of Israel.
Luke: The author is a man named Luke, assumed to be a non-Jew,
who lived at the same time and in the same area that Joshua lived, and
who probably had encounters with Joshua. Luke was thought to be a
physician based primarily on this comment of Paul in the new testament
book of Colossians:
Colossians 4:14 “Luke, the beloved physician, sends you his greetings, and also Demas.”
Luke opens his book with these words about his reason and methods for writing it:
“(1:1) Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile an account of the things accomplished among us, (2) just as they were handed down to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word *1, (3) it seemed fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in consecutive order, most excellent Theophilus; (4) so that you may know the exact truth about the things you have been taught.”
Mark: The author of Mark is a man named Mark who lived at the same time and in the same area that Joshua lived. Mark is thought to be the nephew of Simon Peter who was one of the twelve whom Joshua chose to teach and train for over three years. If Mark was Peter’s nephew, then he would likely have had regular contact with Joshua.
Matthew: A disciple (or student) of Joshua, Matthew was a Jewish tax collector for the Roman govenment who left that life to follow Joshua. He lived and traveled with Joshua for over three years as Joshua brought his message to the world, starting with the people of Israel.
These book authors no doubt had most things correct about Joshua since they were either with him and taught by him for over three years (Matthew and John) or they had access to the original disciples (called apostles or sent ones) and many others who were eyewitnesses of Joshua's words and actions. This commentator believes that they accurately remembered and wrote down what Joshua said and did (John 14:26). However, the reader must understand the distinction between their accurately recording what Joshua said and did versus their having a perfect understanding of what Joshua said and did. For example, a person can see a man running down a street in an urgent fashion yelling ‘fire’. The person witnessing the man running can accurately identify the time and place and other facts associated with the event, but the witness cannot know for sure why the man is running and yelling ‘fire’. It could be a house is on fire. It could be he ate a really hot pepper. It could be he is yelling at someone else nearby who has a gun demanding they 'fire'.
In like manner, let the reader understand, all men, including the men who were with Joshua (and including this commentator) - had beliefs, religious baggage so to speak – that hindered them from having a perfect understanding of Joshua and his purpose. They, like us, had minds containing things (particularly religious things) which are not from Joshua, which things they could not reconcile with some of the things Joshua said (one example is Acts 1:6), even while they accurately recorded what he said and did. Therefore, the reader should place full confidence in Joshua and his Words only, in terms of having as close to a perfect understanding of Joshua as is possible. This means that while the authors set the context of the time and place of the words or actions of Joshua or the events he created or participated in, you should not look to the authors as being 100% accurate as to understanding of the WHY Joshua did what he did or said what he said. This is only reasonable as no one but Joshua could have a perfect understanding of Joshua.
Stated another way, while the author’s narrative and commentary (in contrast to Joshua’s own words and teachings) is almost certainly accurate in regard to historical details of the circumstances of Joshua’s Life, only the Words of Joshua alone should have the reader’s full trust in regard to understanding Joshua and his purposes…revealing the ‘why’s’ regarding Joshua’s words and actions. To assist the reader in this endeavor, Joshua’s words are in bold in this publishing of Matthew’s book.
This commentator’s comments are italicized and either contained in parenthesis or preceded by a superscripted number. Sections of text that are in title case (where the first letter of each word in a phrase or sentence is capitalized e.g. The Gospel of Luke According to Luke), are the gospel author's quotes of the Old Testament scripture.
The purpose of this commentator’s comments is threefold:
First, is to try and define terms according to Joshua’s own usage in the four gospels and to do so using simpler or clarified terms or phrases that avoid religious or unfamiliar words/vocabulary. This is necessary for readers with little or no exposure to concepts they have not encountered before or terms or concepts that have been given an incorrect meaning through current religious culture. For example, an important concept – “religious leaders” - has been hidden by using the name of a specific religious sect’s leadership, the “Pharisees”. The modern reader will have little idea what “Pharisees” were, but they can certainly grasp the concept, “religious leaders”, which is exactly what the Pharisees were.
An example of a term that has been modified by current religious culture would be “prophet”. This term has come to mean in the current religious culture, a person who foretells future events. The term as Joshua uses it, simply means someone who speaks God’s truths.
Second, is to bring to the reader’s attention the important teachings of Joshua which are nullified (cancelled out, or made of no effect) by contradictions with other passages in the bible or by contemporary religious teaching. This is not exhaustive, but rather brings to light the contradictions which, in this commentator’s opinion, nullify some of the more important teachings of Joshua.
Third, is to ‘clear the dirt off Joshua and his sayings’, so to speak, for those who want to hear but have been confused or deceived by the myriad of other voices that claim they understand Joshua better than Joshua understands Joshua. For those people who participate in the religious system, perhaps the most commonly used mantra of the bible based religious system’s leadership is, “Jesus doesn’t mean that…you need us, your educated clergy, to understand what Jesus really meant”. This commentator has news for you – Jesus does mean that! No, I don’t mean that you turn figurative language into literal language, like when he says, “if your right eye causes you to sin, rip it from your head”. Rather, I am referring to his teachings that go against human kind’s normal inclination or that challenge some aspect of the way I am living. For example, the simple teaching, “love your enemies”. Yes, it does mean that…and no, joining a military and killing the ‘enemy’ cannot be reconciled with “love your enemies”.
You may not like what Joshua has to say, but let him say it and don’t twist his words. After all, if Joshua is who he says he is, we would do well to listen!
I highly recommend reading the gospels in this order.