The Message of the Colossians
When Christ was born, the Romans hunted down and killed the child Joseph and hid his body for three years. Because Joseph was the son of a Roman, all that followed was murder and conspiracy. This story is one of the foundational myths that dominates the religion for many nations and ages, covering almost all of the world, including the Catholic Church. The supposed miracle of the baby Jesus being born out of the woman’s womb, which is referred to as the mother of Jesus, is one of the most popular episodes in Christian history. The most widely known version of this story is the birth certificate of Jesus, which can be found in numerous churches.
But how accurate is this account? Are the accounts of His presence in the Garden of Gorges with Joseph correct? Did He rise from the dead at Easter? Did His mother Mary actually die by crucifixion? Was He simply an elaborate Christian symbol used by the church to represent Jesus as a savior?
The most thorough study of the writings of the Second century AD reveals a detailed, although sketchy account of the empty tomb. In fact, the Colossians 42 does not record the details of the empty tomb. This is an enormous departure from the way that tradition remembers and relates the Death of Christ. There is no historical continuity between the Gospels and the words of the Colossians 42.
Two other books that deal with the early Church are The Wisdom of Solomon and Hippias. Hippias lived during the fifth and sixth centuries before the birth of Jesus, but his works are centered on his role as a teacher. His work The Essay on the Resurrection highlights his teaching that Christ was raised from the dead. His Against Aphorisms features a detailed description of how the Ancilia, or thief, painted an image of Jesus on a stake. These works provide insight into the practices of the early Church, but they offer no information regarding the empty tomb.
The letters of Ignatius, written around 120, are important for understanding the development of the beliefs and practices associated with the Gospel. He records his journey to Rome as he struggled against the Roman Catholic Church. He defends the right of the bishops to interpret the Bible, which the Roman Emperor refused to do. He strongly denounces Episcopalianism, or the view that the Church was founded by men (the fathers) rather than God. This is a subtle but important break from Origenism, which taught that the Holy Spirit himself generated the Word of God.
Then there is the Second Letter of John, also written by Ignatius. John demonstrates the uniqueness of Christ through his gospel. The early Church put much emphasis on John’s Gospel, comparing it to the Book of Revelation. It was also rumored that John, like Matthew, wrote the book of Revelation. Though this idea is not clearly regarded as either factual or apocryphal, the church still revered John as the greatest interpreter of the Bible.
The last of the three letters, recorded in Acts, is most interesting in terms of understanding the role of the Church in the future. The opening paragraph of Acts reads as follows: “The Holy Spirit went unto him and wrought a great change in his manner of life. He was angry because of the people’s hardness, and he cried out with a loud voice, and said, That God is God of peace, and that he is come down to prepare a people in the day of Jesus Christ to take deliverance into His hands.” This passage obviously foreshadows the future of the Church.
The House of Israel, which existed after Jesus’ arrival, was destroyed in 70 A. D., the date the passover occurred. The Jews were scattered around the world. No longer able to count themselves as Israel, they became seekers of the world. They embraced Hellenistic philosophy and culture, including its liberal principles, in order to seek knowledge. John the Beloved, who is identified as the follower of Jesus, gave his life to spread the word of God among his fellow students. He lived and died as an herald of God’s truths.