The New Testament: from the religion of love to the trade in the salvation of souls

Jesus Christ was a reformer who wanted to break with the old order, the one dominated by the Jewish tradition and the priests of the temple, at least up to a point, and he did not hesitate to do so by giving his life .

By Dr. Mounir Hanablia *

L’Old Testament recounts the adventures of the prophets and their families from the Creation of the World (about 5700 before the universal era according to the Hebrew calendar) until Abraham, whose pact with Yahweh constitutes the starting point for the peregrinations of the children of Israel until to the destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem, to their deportation, then to their return and its reconstruction.

The New Testament relates the life and death of the Messiah called in Greek Christ, according to the so-called synoptic Gospels because they are almost identical to the writings transmitted from the testimonies of two of his apostles, Matthew and John, and two of their disciples, Mark and Luke. They also include writings by Saul of Tarsus, better known among Christians as Paul.

These testimonies are selective since only those who have been deemed conforming to the Holy Spirit, by the Christian Church, have been deemed worthy of inclusion in the canonical text; the others were eliminated.

The soil of the Christian faith

The New Testament constitutes the ground of the Christian faith and it remains necessary to understand in what it differs from the Old, in order to know if Christianity constitutes at the time of its appearance a truly new religion, or if it is about a collateral development of Judaism, as a number of Jewish and Christian theologians currently tend to suggest, for essentially political reasons.

From the outset, the change of atmosphere is radical between the two books. God steps back and it is now the Messiah who acts and who speaks, and at the same time, Satan, who we hardly ever heard of in the Old Testament, comes to the fore, intervening in key events of the story. , which is populated by demons that must be exorcised, and references to the day of judgment are frequent.

But the allegorical commentary of the Messiah relative to the non-observance of the fast imposed by the religion of Moses already sets the tone; it says you can’t make new wine out of old, and you can’t patch worn-out cloth with new. In other words, we cannot provide new teaching by using old standards.

Nevertheless many quotations from the Old Testament, particularly the book of the prophet Isaiah, claim to justify the teaching of the Messiah. But to be considered identical, the Gospels do not contain less serious differences. So it is with the (fantastic) birth of the Messiah and the homage of the Magi, the mission of the prophet John the Baptist, the hateful crowd according to Mark calling for death who say they are ready for the blood of the Messiah reflects on his head and that of his children, and more seriously from the fundamental qualification, which only Matthew still reports, of Simon as rock (Peter) on which will rest the Church whose choices will bind in this life, and in the afterlife.

The Messiah facing his opponents

On the other hand, despite the spectacular nature of the miracles he performs, the Messiah generally proves to be concerned with enforcing a certain discretion, without much success, moreover, and it is only in the Gospel of John that this concern does not appear.

Apart from that, the facts whose theater is generally located in Galilee are reported repeatedly: sermons to increasingly large crowds with the use of parables, transfiguration, repeated miracles with healings of the blind, deaf, lepers, epileptics, resuscitation of the dead, exorcisms of all kinds, one of which resulted in the jumping of a herd of pigs into a ravine, and which confirms that in Galilee, at least, not everyone was Jewish.

The sermons are peppered with pernicious questions asked by the Pharisees, who are observant Jews, and by the Sadducees, the priests of the Temple of Jerusalem who, not so curiously, do not believe in the resurrection of the dead. Their purpose is to demonstrate that the Messiah does not observe the Law of Moses and threatens the Roman order. And in both cases, it is punishable by death. In reality, the priests of the Temple feared a revolt of the Jewish population against Rome, led by this character over whom they had no control, who, by putting an end to the established order, would abolish their privileges.

But it is John’s account that proves to be the most complete with respect to the content of the controversy between the Messiah and his opponents. This one claiming to speak as a son of God, relativizes the importance of the Shabbat and therefore of the observance of Jewish Law, and does not hesitate to deal with people deemed impure such as the prostitute who perfumes him, or the Samaritan whose water he drinks, thus breaking another prohibition. He saves an adulteress who was legally to be stoned to death, no one in attendance claiming never to have sinned, and forgives her. He summarizes the law of Moses with a verse from Deuteronomy: love God with all your might, with all your heart, with all your soul, and love your neighbor as yourself. Finally, and this is undoubtedly what will weigh heavily, he affirms that the covenant with God is open to all humans and is no longer the prerogative of Israel alone.

I came to bring not peace but the sword”

It is then that the Messiah is arrested in the middle of the night, far from the crowd of his followers, to be questioned by the High Priest who, faced with his provocative answers regarding the claim to be the king of the Jews, accuses him of blasphemy, and he is then assaulted, almost lynched, by the servants of the Temple.

Then the stories diverge; Luke claims that he was addressed to King Herod who derisively had him clothed in a sumptuous robe before being directed to the Roman governor Pontius Pilate with the accusation of rebellion against Rome, the latter alone having the power to impose the death penalty by crucifixion. The governor, after having questioned him, is not convinced of his guilt but he submits to the injunctions of the crowd worked by the agents of the Temple demanding the execution.

Finally, Jesus is crucified and his body is buried in a cave by a faithful who obtained restitution from the Romans. Three days later, women around him who had come to meditate found the cave open and one or two strange-looking people, angels, told them that he was alive. And in the evening, the Messiah reappears before his assembled faithful, speaks to them and even eats with them. He will reappear at least two more times according to the Gospel of John before disappearing.

All this had been announced to the disciples, the arrest, the judgment, the crucifixion, and the resurrection, but the fact is there, only his disciples testified to his resurrection. And they were ordered to spread the word about it, strong in the support of the Holy Spirit, but also that of the future Paraclete whose coming was announced and awaited.

Who is the Paraclete, the Comforter? The one through whom the word of God is pronounced, and who undoubtedly rehabilitates by defending it the memory of the Messiah, accused by the authorities of the Temple of being a madman, a demon, and whose mother had a tarnished reputation as than Virgin by a smear campaign.

The prophet Mohamed will thus have a good time reciting the Koran, the word of God, and defending the Messiah and the Virgin Mary.

In this drama, the great absentees are obviously the majority of the apostles, those who did not betray. Judah the Iscariot is accused of having delivered his master to the Temple, out of greed, or jealousy, or under the influence of the Devil, and Peter of denying him three times before the rooster crows. As for the others, they did nothing to oppose the course of things, if only verbally. And the crowd so numerous of their followers was not rounded up to free their Master. The next day, it’s another, shouting his hatred and demanding death, which will seal the fate of the man who called himself the son of God.

But to claim that the Messiah was a pacifist would not conform to reality. Thus he does not say:I came to bring not peace but the sword” ? Does he not say as his family comes to visit him: “I have no family; my family are those who hear what I say and take note of it”. And did he not say: “I came to put the division between a man and his father, between the daughter and her mother, between the daughter-in-law and her mother-in-law”?

He was therefore a reformist who wanted to break with the old order, the one dominated by Jewish tradition and the priests of the temple, at least up to a certain point, and he did not hesitate to give his life to do so.

Notably, if he condemned divorce, he never denounced polygamy, nor slavery, and he even advocated respect for unequal wages. But once the Messiah is gone, the operation of the Holy Spirit begins. Paul of Tarsus, a former Jewish persecutor of Christians and converted following a vision, spreads the word among the uncircumcised Greeks. He who claims that with the Messiah there are no longer any Jews, or Greeks, or circumcised or uncircumcised, or masters, or slaves, or men, or women, does not hesitate to take up Sarah’s point of view , the wife of Abraham, according to whom Ishmael, the son of her husband, and her eldest, did not inherit because he was born of a slave girl, Hagar.

By taking up a Jewish theme that he does not recognize, Paul thus inspires the position of radical rejection of Christians vis-à-vis the future Islam (which persists to this day), at the very moment when citing the example of Melchizedek consecrating Abraham , he recognizes the legitimacy of the prophetic mission born outside the Jewish framework, which in addition to its exalted character, earned him wherever he goes lawsuits brought by the Jewish community, and even assassination attempts. Yet it is indeed the advent of the heavenly Jerusalem on the Day of Judgment, certainly without the Temple, that he preaches.

The Multinational of Salvation

Another of Paul’s curiosities is the question of food prohibitions that the Jerusalem community wants to impose on pagans who have become Christians: blood, animal carcasses, animals sacrificed on altars consecrated to other gods, and chastity.

The intruder in food prohibitions is obviously chastity. When we see that these are the same prohibitions, minus the pork, taken up later by Islam, we can suppose that a furtive hand, that of the Christian scribes, once again appeared, to modify the Scriptures in a determined sense, and that originally it was a question of prohibiting the consumption of pork among new non-Jewish Christian converts, in accordance with what the Law of Moses teaches.

Apparently, exempting new converts from circumcision was not considered sufficient. As for Simon Peter, the rock, he dies in Rome, crucified upside down.

After the destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 of the universal era, its facsimile was born, a Multinational of Salvation which in Rome, Alexandria, Antioch, and Carthage, will exert a hold on the spirits by deciding what that it is lawful to believe what is not, and whose power will be multiplied when the Roman emperors embrace the Christian faith. She will be called Church, and her adversaries will sometimes call her the Great Prostitute.

Thus the great revolt against the Temple of Jerusalem in the name of the freedom of interpretation of the Scriptures by Man, led by the Messiah, was led to a dead end, by giving birth to a more repressive structure. with the support and resources of the Roman Empire. Everything had to be redone. The hour of the Paraclete had sounded.

* Free practicing doctor.

The New Testament: from the religion of love to the trade in the salvation of souls – Kapitalis