The early letter, the epistle to the Hebrews, raises some challenges to the notion that Jesus lived in the first century and that the account of the gospels is true.  While it seems confused about when and where Jesus was it does nothing to locate him in that timeframe.

The epistle to the Hebrews is so closely entwined to Pauline thought that most Christians have surmised that it is Paul’s own work. It was probably written before 70 AD and is older than the gospels because it is not marked by the traditions that produced the gospels.

The argument of the epistle is that Jesus was a better priest than the Jewish priesthood and it never speaks of the Temple. It speaks as if it were written before the Temple was built.

In 7:27, it says that the High Priest offered sacrifice for sin every day. This was never done in the Jewish Temple (page 58, The Historical Evidence for Jesus).

In Hebrews 9:3 he writes that the altar of incense was in the Holy of Holies, the most sacred part of the Tabernacle. It was never put there in the Temple. The epistle speaks as if it were written before the time of Solomon's Temple when the Jews were using a tent called the Tabernacle for worship. The author was trying to plot the gospel of Jesus and the salvation won by him in those times. He was testifying that Jesus lived centuries before the time Christians want to believe he lived.

Hebrews says that Jesus did away with the need for sacrifices by his death and was a descendant of Abraham (Hebrews 2). None of this proves that Jesus was an earthly man nor does it indicate that Jesus was born after Abraham’s time and was literally of his seed. Even if it did, the Law of Moses holds that it is possible for other races to become Jews not by having their flesh changed but legally which means that they can become descendants of Abraham by right and not by blood. God could turn a man who was not descended from Abraham into a physical and blood descendant by changing his flesh. God knowing Jesus would offer the sacrifice would always have considered other sacrifices unnecessary so that gives us no clue as to whether Jesus was born after Moses set up the sacrifice system or before.
Nothing in Hebrews 2 indicates when Jesus lived and Jesus could have been a man who lived in another world. It considers first of all how Jesus was not like the angels and spends time on it indicating that Hebrews was written for those who saw Jesus as a otherworldly being. So it sees the need to establish Jesus’ humanity. Now when Hebrews says that Jesus had to be flesh and blood in order to have compassion on our frailties by being frail himself it is obvious that the Hebrews author is grasping at straws to prove that Jesus was a fleshly being. Had Jesus lived recently there would have been no need for that. And Jesus could have been able to understand us without taking our nature. An alien with feelings could understand us to have compassion on us despite being a totally different kind of being.

We are told that Jesus had to take flesh and blood like us so that he might destroy the power of Satan by his death (v14). Jesus did not have to do this at all. As long as he had some kind of a body he could have suffered and died for us so are we taught the absurdity that it needed to be human flesh and blood? I believe that the Christian doctrine that Jesus needed to have flesh like us and not just any kind of flesh arises from the desire to prove theologically that there was a man called Jesus. The logic was that since there was no evidence for such a man the evidence had to be manufactured theologically.

The same chapter also relates that because Jesus was perfected through suffering he sanctifies others and he and the others have the same origin which is why he can call ordinary people brothers. The author quotes Psalm 22:22 as the words of Jesus as proving that Jesus regards all mankind as brothers. It might mean that Jesus wrote the psalm when he was on earth which would place him well before the time he was said to have lived. If Jesus wrote the Psalm which may have been preserved and edited by David in the book of Psalms and if he suffered that much before his crucifixion then we are not dealing with the Jesus of the gospels here but a nebulous figure from long long ago. Now when the letter does not hint when Jesus lived it is plain that it must be understood to be saying that Jesus did physically write the psalm. Remember, different authors must be put into their own individual contexts. Don’t do what the Christians do and interpret each author in the light of other authors. That’s deception.

The author of Hebrews asserts that the gospel, a term exclusive of anything other than the teaching of Jesus Christ, was known among the ancients of Moses’ day (4:2). It says it was preached to them as it was to us. Paul said that it was all a mystery to ages past but he regarded some people as exceptions for he said so. Hebrews goes on to say that they heard the gospel but did not believe it like Joshua and Caleb did. This would imply that the gospel has been excised from the Old Testament for God would not leave it out unless men hacked it out. Jesus said the Old Testament was perfect and entire for he said the new revelations he gives only back it up so the Old Testament is the important section of the Bible.

Hebrews says that Jesus would not be a priest if he were on earth for there are priests to offer sacrifice (8:4). Now the only reason that could be was if God needed for some mysterious reason, to prevent the other priests doing their job for Jesus to do his. This denies that Jesus was on earth and died in sacrifice in that century or indeed since Moses’ time.

Hebrews 11 explains what faith is and what it can do.   It is far back history to make a point about faith being grounded in actions God has actually performed in history. It refutes liberal lies that tales about Abraham etc were symbolic or non-historical.  Why are examples from Jesus' history not mentioned? Are there none?   In chapter 11, it gives strained and pathetic and long-winded examples of how to have faith and never uses Jesus as an example.  Abraham and other bad choices appear here showing the author had to make do with what he had.  The statement that if Sarah had not believed God's promise God would not have sent her a son miraculously as good as says that if Jesus had not been faithful he would not have risen even if God promised it.

Hebrews 11 never says that you must test faith or seek evidence. It says you must just have faith and if you trust God you will find out later that it must be true. Noah for example trusted what his visions told him about the flood even though the evidence was against the flood happening. Abraham sought no evidence that the voice he heard telling him to kill his son was from God. These examples appear in the chapter. For Hebrews, faith is its own proof and if you want evidence you have to get it later. So having faith in the religion of Jesus makes it true even before any proof or evidence comes.  The examples are really about promoting faith in Jesus which means it is good as an admission that there was no evidence and that nobody cares and nobody should care.  

Faith as in taking the Bible stories at face value is advocated but as an argument for trusting in God without evidence.  So there are two types of faith: one evidence based and the other not.  Faith in Hebrews is based on alleged historical events that God acted in. It is trusting in God because of how he acted in history. This is actual history we are talking about. So faith in that sense is not subjective - it is a response to facts and God's historical activity.

The author says that it is worse to ignore the voice of Jesus from Heaven than it is to ignore what Jesus said on earth (presumably what he said in visions on earth which need not mean he came personally to earth for God can project his image from Heaven to earth) in verse 12:25. The people ignored the latter and God shook the whole world and Heaven to punish them. This shows that there was no Jesus on earth as an ordinary man in the first century. He lived even before the flood for there is no record of the global shaking disaster. Some interpret the passage as saying that God came to earth to speak to Israel and they ignored him and so a worse punishment will come upon those who ignore Jesus the speaker from Heaven. The reason this will happen is because you have to go up to Heaven to hear the voice of Jesus and when you go there it is vile in the extreme to neglect the gospel afterwards. In the context of Jesus speaking, the writer said Jesus’ blood speaks more eloquently than the blood of Abel (v24). So Jesus and his blood speak in Heaven. The reason God was said to have spoken on earth to ancient Israel was that God descended from Heaven in visions to talk to Moses and others. So Jesus then did not appear on earth. Since Jesus did it differently, the apostles if they saw him must have ascended to Heaven. This denies the gospel account. It also implies that they were secretly using drugs to have visions in which they thought they had out of body experiences and were in Heaven to see him and hear him or perhaps the earthly visions of Jesus were projections from Heaven and Jesus wasn’t personally on earth. The crucifixion was perhaps believed in because a vision of it was seen in Heaven too. The author of Hebrews advocates credulity for he says that we should be hospitable for some entertained angels unawares that way (13:2). So they were perfectly capable of believing that a stranger they met at the well was Jesus appearing to them. The early Church saw a great need for credulity and tried to imbue it wherever possible which shows that Jesus might not have existed.

Hebrews 12 says we must not forget Jesus who took on the shame of the cross for the sake of the joy that lay beyond it. This implies that Jesus was not God for God has the joy all along and that Jesus as man would have experienced suffering but in his divine side he would have experienced the joy and it is mad to think that God would need to suffer and die on a cross to win the joy back especially when it was available all the time.
The warning that there is no repentance for apostates in chapter 6 totally contradicts the gospel Jesus who forgave readily and declared repentance open to all. If you accept the teaching of chapter 6 you automatically deny the authenticity of most of what is in the gospels. It accuses Paul and the other apostles of being religious liars for saying the same as the gospels about divine readiness to forgive even those who tried to destroy the faith.

Hebrews 13 says Jesus died outside the gate like the animals that were slain as sacrifices to God in the Old Testament and then it says he died outside the camp. This puts Jesus in a time before the city of Jerusalem was built. The words look as if they refer to the camp the Israelites made after they departed from Egypt but they could be any camp – even a prehistoric one or a heavenly one. The camp may even be one in another world perhaps where the Tabernacle that Jesus ministered in is.

Hebrews says that Jesus was in this world but how long and if this can be backed up by historical evidence is not specified. As Jesus was the saviour he had to appear on earth or communicate with it some time so the author of Hebrews may be just assuming he appeared or communicated and working it out from his belief that Jesus was the saviour. To interpret this otherwise to refuse to take the epistle literally and it is being taken figuratively just because it is assumed the New Testament always agrees with itself and so it is unacceptable and deceptive. Now, Hebrews may say that Jesus was on this world but it does not say he was born on or died on this world or that he appeared after his death on it. He was never a priest on this world.
Some think that the only thing we are told about when Jesus came to earth is that it was after the covenant was made with Moses for Jesus is said by the epistle to have ended that covenant by his death (9:15). But Jesus could have died before then while the intentions for which he made the sacrifice were not implemented and actualised until later.

The letter speaks of Jesus putting his own blood on the Heavenly Sanctuary implying he was activating the blessings won by his atonement. Hebrews 9 says that Jesus’ blood had to purify the Tabernacle and the utensils in it just like the blood of animals had to do in the earthly Tabernacle that Moses built implying Jesus was killed in Heaven as a human sacrifice and was treated exactly like the animal sacrifices. Jesus could sacrifice himself by rising perhaps spiritually from the dead as soon as he kills himself or is killed (if he was killed he let the killers do it and inspired them so this amounts to the same thing) putting the blood of the body on the altar and on the Tabernacle. Certainly the author of Hebrews though he never defends the view of a physical resurrection believed that death was not the end of Jesus. In reply the Church says the heavenly sacrifice and Tabernacle were symbols and poetry and the author of Hebrews did not mean us to think they were real. Hebrews itself says that if anything was a symbol it was the earthly Tabernacle and the rites both of which God instructed Moses to create for they reflected and were poor imitations of the one in Heaven (8:5).

So we see that Hebrews treats Jesus in a very magical and fantastical way and locates him out of time and space and even the world.  Why?  Because the more concrete Jesus of the gospels is just a fiction.


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