Da Vinci Code Two


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Slide 2: 

Is the Bible reliable? …or are there other ‘gospels’ we should be looking at?

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In The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown, one of the major character (Sir Leigh Teabing) has this to say: The Christian Scriptures “evolved through countless translations, additions, and revisions. History has never had a definitive version of the book.” “The Bible, as we know it today, was collated by the pagan Roman emperor Constantine… (he) commissioned and financed a new Bible, which omitted those gospels that spoke of Christ’s human traits and embellished those gospels that made Him godlike. The earlier gospels were outlawed, gathered up and burned.”

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In The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown, one of the major character (Sir Leigh Teabing) has this to say: “Anyone who chose the forbidden gospels over Constantine’s version was deemed a heretic… Those who chose the original history of Christ were the world’s first heretics.” Some of the gospels Constantine tried to destroy “managed to survive. The Dead Sea Scrolls were found in the 1950s… And, of course, the Coptic Scrolls in 1945 at Nag Hammadi… The Vatican, in keeping with their tradition of misinformation, tried very hard to suppress the release of these scrolls… the earliest Christian records.”

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What in the world is this all about? Well… in order to understand all this and in order to get to the bottom of this we need to know a couple of things… We need to know a little bit about something called Gnosticism… We need to know a little bit about these other ‘gospels’… And we need to know why we can consider the Bible - especially Matthew, Mark, Luke & John - to be the best reliable sources for knowing Jesus.

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Gnosticism Gnosticism was one of the first challenges that the early Christian Church had to face. The word ‘Gnosticism’ is derived from the Greek word for knowledge (gnosis). Its followers believed that salvation came through a higher and secret knowledge divinely revealed truths about the nature of reality. Gnostics believe such things as the idea that all human souls had originally existed in the spiritual realm of light but, because of tragedy, became imprisoned in fleshly bodies on earth. All physical matter is fundamentally evil to them.

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Gnosticism Gnostic ‘salvation’ equals the liberation of the soul from the body. To achieve such enlightenment (notice the similarities to Buddhism) one must know the truth about God, themselves and life. Gnostics believe in two gods: a good deity of light and an evil deity of darkness. The good god (all-father) who is the epitome of love. He, however, did not create the world. Rather, he created the other god (the bad one) who actually is responsible for the world. It is this second god that seeks to keep us from returning to the other god and being united with him.

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Gnosticism “Gnostic Jesus” came to impart knowledge. He was a completely spiritual being (an aeon). He was not truly present in the flesh because all flesh is evil. He only appeared to be physical. His mission was twofold: 1) To reveal the truth about our ‘former state’ - the state that people had forgotten - thus pointing the way back to god; and 2) to release the divine spark of light within us that has been imprisoned in matter (our human flesh).

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Gnosticism Gnosticism tried to worm its way into Christianity, Judaism and other religions of its day. Eventually, it failed to gain a foothold and was essentially eradicated from Christianity. The beginnings of Gnosticism can be seen in New Testament times with such books as Colossians, 1,2 & 3 John and the Gospel of John all touching on Gnostic teachings and tendencies. One thing that’s important to note is that Gnostics did NOT believe that Jesus was human… in spite of what Leigh Teabing says! The Gnosticism of The Da Vinci Code is not the Gnosticism of actual history!

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Why does knowing about Gnosticism matter? Because the so-called earlier gospels that Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code refers to were all Gnostic gospels. These ‘gospels’ do not, per se, deny the divinity of Jesus. They deny the humanity of Jesus! In addition, these ‘gospels’ are not the earliest Christian writings. They’re actually a couple of hundred years later than the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke & John!

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The other gospels These so-called gospels were not written by the person whose name is attached. They couldn’t have been. These ‘gospels’ only exist is one or two badly damaged manuscripts each. (Unlike the thousands of ancient manuscripts we have for our New Testament.) Finally, these ‘gospels’ were known by and rejected by Christians well before 325 A.D. when Constantine supposedly banned them (which he didn’t, by the way).

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The other gospels In general, these ‘gospels’ represent a feeble attempt to imitate the Gospels of the New Testament while, at the same time, trying to infiltrate Christianity with the decidedly non-Christian views of Gnosticism. Here’s what some of them look like…

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The other gospels It is through water and fire that the whole place is purified - the visible by the visible, the hidden by the hidden. There are some things hidden through those visible. There is water in water, there is fire in chrism. Jesus took them all by stealth, for he did not appear as he was, but in the manner in which they would be able to see him. He appeared to them all. He appeared to the great as great. He appeared to the small as small. He appeared to the angels as an angel, and to men as a man. Because of this, his word hid itself from everyone. Some indeed saw him, thinking that they were seeing themselves, but when he appeared to his disciples in glory on the mount, he was not small. He became great, but he made the disciples great, that they might be able to see him in his greatness. The Gospel of Philip

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The other gospels Jesus said to his disciples, "Compare me to something and tell me what I am like.” Simon Peter said to him, "You are like a just messenger.” Matthew said to him, "You are like a wise philosopher.” Thomas said to him, "Teacher, my mouth is utterly unable to say what you are like.” Jesus said, "I am not your teacher. Because you have drunk, you have become intoxicated from the bubbling spring that I have tended.” And he took him, and withdrew, and spoke three sayings to him. When Thomas came back to his friends they asked him, "What did Jesus say to you?” Thomas said to them, "If I tell you one of the sayings he spoke to me, you will pick up rocks and stone me, and fire will come from the rocks and devour you.” Jesus said to them, "If you fast, you will bring sin upon yourselves, and if you pray, you will be condemned, and if you give to charity, you will harm your spirits. The Gospel of Thomas

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The other gospels When the soul had overcome the third power, it went upwards and saw the fourth power, which took seven forms. The first form is darkness, the second desire, the third ignorance, the fourth is the excitement of death, the fifth is the kingdom of the flesh, the sixth is the foolish wisdom of flesh, the seventh is the wrathful wisdom. These are the seven powers of wrath. They asked the soul, Whence do you come slayer of men, or where are you going, conqueror of space? The soul answered and said, What binds me has been slain, and what turns me about has been overcome, and my desire has been ended, and ignorance has died. In an aeon I was released from a world, and in a Type from a type, and from the fetter of oblivion which is transient. From this time on will I attain to the rest of the time, of the season, of the aeon, in silence. The Gospel of Mary Magdalene

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The other gospels Jesus said… “A great angel, the enlightened divine Self-Generated, emerged from the cloud. Because of him, four other angels came into being from another cloud, and they became attendants for the angelic Self-Generated. The Self-Generated said, ‘Let […] come into being […],’ and it came into being […]. And he [created] the first luminary to reign over him. He said, ‘Let angels come into being to serve [him],’ and myriads without number came into being. He said, ‘[Let] an enlightened aeon come into being,’ and he came into being. He created the second luminary [to] reign over him, together with myriads of angels without number, to offer service. That is how he created the rest of the enlightened aeons. He made them reign over them, and he created for them myriads of angels without number, to assist them. The Gospel of Judas

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The other gospels Are you ready to include any of these in the New Testament? I didn’t think so.

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So what about our Gospels? How do we know they’re ‘legit’? Is the Bible, particularly the New Testament Gospels, a reliable witness to Jesus of Nazareth - the one we call Savior and Lord?

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The reliability of the Bible It is an amazing thing to see how God preserved and transmitted His Word to us. Making sure that His Word got… from this point to this point

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The reliability of the Bible We’ve already mentioned the thousands of manuscripts that have been passed down from generation to generation. Some of them are complete, some are fragments. But what’s truly amazing to consider is that with all these hand-copied manuscripts… There are relatively few, minor discrepancies! (Even when hundreds of years separate one manuscript from another!)

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The reliability of the Bible Not only that, but from the earliest times in early Church history we find this to be true…. That the second generation of Christians… People who lived only one generation removed from the time of Jesus and the Apostles… Are in complete agreement as to the authorship and authenticity of the Gospels! (And they didn’t even vote!)

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The reliability of the Bible When you compare these truths about our New Testament with what was happening in our ancient literature… The astounding thing is that no other ancient literature - including that of other, major world religions - can make the same claim! Christianity stands alone in the sheer volume and in the incredible accuracy of its Bible! OUR Bible!

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And why is this important? As John, the Gospel writer, wrote toward the end of his Gospel: “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”

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And why is this important? Or as the Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy, his friend… “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.”

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And why is this important? It’s all about Jesus! It’s all about eternal life! It’s all about salvation! It’s all about forgiveness! It’s all about you and your everlasting relationship with God!

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The Da Vinci Code All in all, a pretty good mystery/thriller You might even want to read it someday But you won’t want this book to replace….

Slide 28: 

This book… The Book. God’s mighty (and reliable) Word Amen.

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