3.1 A Matter of History?
“For the king [Festus] knows about these matters,
and I speak to him also with confidence,
since I am persuaded that none of these things escape his notice:
FOR THIS HAS NOT BEEN DONE IN A CORNER.” Acts 26:26.
“To be or not to be,” said Shakespeare.
For centuries the world has paraphrased this to read, “Was he or wasn’t he?” For you see, both the believer and the non-believer in the Messiah have difficulty with the “historical” Messiah. Was He a genuine historic figure or wasn’t He?
The simple answer to the matter is, “Yes, He was an historical personality.”
We must, however, define what we mean versus what the world means by the term “historical.”
We mean He was historical in that He literally existed and walked upon the face of the earth among men.
The world means, “Are there any written records, outside of the New Testament, to prove the Messiah actually existed?”
The simple answer to that question is NO. There are no other reliable records outside the New Testament.
This debate has raged down through history between believer and non-believer – in fact, even among those who claim to be believers. The world will not face the fact of the truth and the ABSOLUTE reliability of the Bible. The believer will not accept the fact that the records regarding the Messiah were actually destroyed! Believe it or not, they were actually destroyed by the very authority of YHWH Himself. Once both sides understand the truth of the above simple yes and no answers, the real knowledge of who the True Messiah IS will come to light. In fact, the Word of Scripture will become a more SURE WORD OF TRUTH to all of us.
The wonderful discovery of the truth of the above statement is a fascinating story of intrigue and treachery. It is more exciting than a mystery or spy story. So let’s begin to understand. We will begin with what the world has found and what the believer is afraid to see and admit.
Festus told the Apostle Paul that he must be out of his mind to believe such nonsense. The world echoes the same old story today. “You people must be out of your minds. There is no reliable record of the Messiah anywhere. Your tale is a lie.”
3.2 A FRUITLESS SEARCH?
Go to any library you wish. Look at the shelves filled with volume after volume on the life, history and character of the man Yahshua, or as the world would label Him, Jesus. Pick up one here, one there and skim the contents. No matter who wrote it, there is NO real substantial secular proof from any source about this man. Let’s read a few quotes ourselves.
“Those who are familiar with the history of the innumerable controversies which have raged round the question of ‘christian’ origins, are aware that some of the disputants, appalled by the mass of mythic and mystic elements in the Gospel narratives, and dismayed at the contradictions in the apparently most simple data furnished by the evangelists, have not only not hesitated to reject the whole account as devoid of the slightest historical value, but have even gone so far as to deny that Jesus [Yahshua] of Nazareth ever existed.
“Most of these writers had presumably devoted much labor and thought to the subject before they reached a so startling conclusion; but I am inclined to think that their minds were of such a type that, even had they found less contradiction in the purely objective data of the Gospel documents, they would probably have still held the same opinion. Not only was their historic sense so distressed by the vast subjective element with which it was confronted that it could find relief only in the most strenuous efforts to reduce the historic validity of the residue to zero, but it found itself strongly confirmed in this determination by the fact that it could discover no scrap of unassailable external evidence, either in presumed contemporary literature, or even in the literature of the next two generations, whereby not merely the soberest incidents recounted by the Gospel writers, BUT EVEN THE VERY EXISTENCE OF JESUS [YAHSHUA] COULD BE SUBSTANTIATED.” (Did Jesus Live 100 B.C., G.R.S. Mead, pp. 28-29.)
You see, the world gropes for “proof” it cannot find. And the believer refuses to accept reality in this matter. His desperate wish is for there to be proof, so he argues that a few ancient records such as those of Josephus and Tacitus mention the Messiah. Both have been tampered with.
If the believer KNEW his Bible and who the True Messiah IS, the mystery would be cleared up. But before answering this age-old question with the Bible answer, let’s see more of what the world finds.
“Was the Gospel Jesus [Yahshua] man or myth. . . Why does the Bible contain no dates as to his birth and death? And, why was the date of his birth not known nor fixed until 532 A.D.? Why was December 25th selected as the date?
“Why was it that the figure of a Lamb appeared on the Christian Cross until 630 A.D.? When the Sixth Ecumenical Council, held at Constantinople in that year, ordained that, in place of a Lamb, the figure of a man should be portrayed on the Cross?
“By these facts of history, we learn when and at what period of time the story of the ‘alleged’ crucifixion of [Messiah] was formulated. We see that this story did not appear in the Bible until the year 680 A.D.
“For sixteen hundred years the church, after it was founded in 325 A.D., (i.e. the Catholic Church) has taught that [Yahshua] was not only a man, a great man, the greatest who ever lived, but that he was the Savior of Mankind, and ‘washed us from our sins in his own blood.’ (Rev. 1:5).
“It is STRANGE THAT A MAN SO GREAT SHOULD HAVE NO HISTORY AT ALL OUTSIDE OF THE NEW TESTAMENT. . . “ (Mystery Man of the Bible, p. 1).
Are you beginning to see why the world stumbles at the very “foolishness of preaching” about the Messiah? You are reading the facts, as the world perceives the facts. Here’s more.
“Enough of the writings of the  authors named in the foregoing list [i.e. authors who lived and wrote during the time or within a century after the time of the Messiah] remain to form a library. Yet in this mass of Jewish and Pagan literature, aside from two forged passages in the works of a Jewish author [Josephus] and two disputed passages in the works of Roman writers. THERE IS TO BE FOUND NO MENTION OF JESUS CHRIST [YAHSHUA MESSIAH.] (The Christ, Remsburg, p.25).
“Great is our disappointment of finding nothing in the works of Philo [Jewish philosopher contemporary with Messiah] about the ’Christians,’ their doctrines, or their sacred books. About the books indeed we need not expect any notice of these works, but more about the ‘Christians’ and their doctrines. His silence is more remarkable, seeing that he was about sixty years old at the time of the crucifixion of Jesus [Yahshua], and living mostly in Alexandria, so closely connected with Judea, and the Jews could hardly have failed to know something of the wonderful events that had taken place in the city of Jerusalem.” (Hebrew and Christian Records, Dr. Giles, vol. 2, pp. 61).
The world is in confusion over this matter, and the “proofs” of the believer to the contrary do not give any better answers. For, in actual fact, there are no historical records, outside the Bible.
3.3 NO SAVIOR – NO SALVATION!
If there be no historical Messiah, says the world, then there can be no resurrection from the dead. And if no resurrection from the dead, there is no salvation for mankind.
If all that is true, where do we stand – we who claim there is a Saviour.?
The foundation of our faith and doctrine rests upon the story of the resurrection given in the New Testament. It is related in the four Evangels and by the Apostle Paul in his writings. It is by this fantastic, miraculous event that Yahshua “has abolished death, and has brought life and immortality to light through the message.” (II Tim. 1:10). “For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Messiah shall all be made alive.” (I Cor. 15:21-22).
SO, WHAT’S THE ANSWER?
The answer to this centuries old debate is vital to both believer and non-believer. It is vitally important and the answer, “only believe, in faith,” is just not enough. This is why it is vital to know who the True Messiah IS. Because, it is the story of the Messiah that is preached that leads the world to salvation. It is the telling of that story that is part of, and the beginning of, the CALL to salvation.
The called are so because they have heard the message about the Messiah. But, what do we tell them in light of the above information? It is important to know the answer. In the next chapter we will show you the full and complete, simple solution to the question of centuries. Then we will continue with the history of deception beginning with a discovery made in 350 B.C.