Keith Hunt - Missing 18 years of Jesus' Life #3 - Page Three   Restitution of All Things

  Home Previous Page Next Page

The Missing 18 Years of Jesus' Life #3

Ministry and Death #1

        
THE MISSING 18 YEARS OF JESUS' LIFE #3

Continued from previous page:


Phoenician and Carthaginian vessels crossed the Atlantic
throughout the first millennium B.C., and Roman vessels also
learned the routes in later centuries.
     Records exist that the Romans had ocean-going vessels as
large as 1200-1600 tons displacement, and that such vessels could
be 180 feet in length, have a beam of 45 feet and a cargo hold 44
feet deep. 50 Josephus records that he rode in a Roman passenger
ship carrying 600 people, 51 and Acts 27:9-36 records that Paul
rode in a Roman vessel carrying 276 people in a dangerous sailing
season (when a reduced passenger total was likely). Roman
artifacts have also been found in the New World. Boland comments
on Roman artifacts found on the American east coast. 52 In Saga
America, Dr. Fell documents that Roman coins, artifacts and
inscriptions have been found in the American states of Alabama,
Tennessee, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Georgia,
and others. 53 Dr.Fell's comments on Jewish coins (second century
A.D.) being found in Kentucky, and the Missouri-Arkansas border
region confirm that sailing routes from Judea to ancient North
America were known in the early Christian era. 54 DrYell also
wrote concerning a Hebrew inscription found in Tennessee:

"...the Bat Creek stone from Tennessee, supposed by the
Smithsonian finders to be Cherokee, but recognized by all Hebrew
scholars who have studied it as a Hebrew text of the first
century A.D. Dr. Robert Stieglitz of New York reads it as A comet
for the Hebrews," with reference to Halley's comet, which 'hung
over Jerusalem like a flaming sword' in the year 69 A.D. during
the first revolt ... The evidence suggests that Kentucky and
Tennessee became havens of refuge for persecuted Hebrews ...55 

     The above piece of evidence places Judean Jews travelling to
ancient North America in the first century A.D. (Just decades
after Jesus Christ's lifetime). From this evidence, it can be
seen that transatlantic routes existed during the lifetime of
Jesus Christ. Since Joseph of Arimathea was involved in an
international trading firm which necessitated long oceanic
voyages, Jesus would have ready access to sailing routes to North
America. If Joseph was also a Roman official (a "decurio"), he
would have had privileged access to Rome's knowledge of routes to
North America.
     There is an episode in the Bible which indicates that Jesus
was physically adapted to the effects of long ocean voyages. Mark
4:35-41 describes an event in which Jesus and his disciples were
crossing the Sea of Galilee and were caught in a storm. Verse 37
states: "there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat
into the ship, so that it was now full." Afraid for their lives,
the disciples found Jesus "in the hinder part of the ship, asleep
on a pillow." After being forceably awakened by the disciples,
Jesus commanded the wind to "be still," and an immediate calm
prevailed. Apparently Jesus was sleeping in a lower deck. Hebrews
4:15 tells us that Jesus was a human being as well as the Son of
God, and that he "was in all points tempted like as we are." If
Jesus experienced all the sensations which humans experience, his
human body was subject to seasickness and nausea. That Jesus was
able to sleep on a ship that was rolling and pitching in a severe
storm indicates that his human body had previously become adapted
to the buffeting of waves and the movements of sea swells. His
involvement with Joseph of Arimathea's international trading
business would have given him ample time to get his "sea legs."
While the context of this account shows that this storm was the
most severe experienced by these fishermen on an inland lake, it
was likely less severe than the storms and sea swells experienced
by Jesus on the open ocean (enabling him to sleep through a storm
on an inland lake).
     Another biblical account also supports the concept that
Jesus was outside of Palestine during the "hidden years." In John
10:16, Jesus had a discourse with the Jews in which he said:

"And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold, them also
must I bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be
one fold, and one shepherd."

     In Matthew 10:6 and 15:24, Jesus referred to the "lost
sheep" of the House of Israel (the ten tribes of Israel). In Mark
6:34, Jesus regarded the multitudes who followed him as "sheep,"
and most of those multitudes would have been Jews of Judea. Since
sheep dwell in "folds," what was meant by Jesus' imagery of John
10:16 that he had "sheep" in more than one "fold?" Jesus refers
to Judea (the land of the Jews) as "this fold," but informs them
that they are not the only "fold." Clearly, the other "fold" was
where the descendants of the ten tribes of Israel lived. Since
Jesus told them "Other sheep I have [in other folds]," his use of
the present tense indicates that it was already an accomplished
fact: he already had "sheep" (followers) in a "fold" other than
Judea. Since there is no evidence of Jesus being in Judea from
ages 12 to 30, he had plenty of time to visit and preach to the
descendants of the ten tribes of Israel during those eighteen
years.
     The Gospel books of the Bible (Matthew-John) are eyewitness
accounts of Jesus' ministry to the House of Judah, which lasted 3
and 1/2 years. None of his ministry to the House of Israel is
recorded for us in the Bible even though the Bible implies it had
occurred prior to Jesus' ministry in Judea. The life of Jesus, as
presented in the Bible, is like a book in which only the first
and the last few chapters are included, with all the middle
chapters (the majority of the book) left out! The Apostle John
wrote that the Gospel accounts did not provide a comprehensive
account of the life of Christ. John 21:25 states:

"there were also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if
they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world
itself could not contain the books that should be written."

     Johns assertion that the life of Jesus was extraordinarily
active and eventful is significant in light of the fact that the
Bible says nothing about his life from age 12 to age 30. It is
logical that many of Jesus' undescribed activities spoken of by
John 21:25 were not done in Judea, or they would have been
discussed in the "eyewitness" gospels. Many of Jesus' unwritten
exploits must have been performed outside of Judea, and this is
consistent with legends that Jesus travelled to many parts of the
ancient world.
     There are reasons to believe that the response of the ten
tribes of Israel to Jesus was favorable. Since some of Parthia's
ruling class worshipped Jesus when he was a child, they likely
welcomed him eagerly in Parthia's Asian empire when he was a
young man. The positive legends about the first Quetzelcoat
(which parallel many biblical facts about Jesus' life) indicate
that he made a lasting, favorable impression in the New World.
The Druids of the British Isles and Northwest Europe had long
expected a savior named Yesu (Yeshuah), and the legends of early
Briton record a warm response to Joseph of Arimathea and other
early Christians. It seems apparent why Jesus told the Jews he
had "sheep" in other "folds."
     The New Testament records that Jesus was well-received by
the common people of the House of Judah. (Indeed, who could
respond negatively to one who miraculously healed so many
people?) It was the Jewish hierarchy which reacted negatively to
Jesus. The reason is simple. The nations of the ten tribes of
Israel were sovereign nations at the time Jesus visited them.
Therefore, they didn't resent that Jesus' mission did not include
physical "salvation" from oppressors. They didn't need any! In
sharp contrast, the House of Judah (the portion that lived in
Judea) was hungry for physical "salvation" from Roman oppression.
Their rulers had little interest in a message of spiritual
salvation; they wanted a Messiah bringing physical salvation from
Rome!
     As Jesus approached age thirty, he said good-bye both to his
great-uncle's international mining and trading business, to his
"sheep" living in the "folds" of the ten tribes of Israel, and
returned to his native land of Judea. The satisfying years of
international responsibility and warm welcomes among many diverse
and distant people were over. The difficult years of his earthly
mission were now ahead of him, and he knew it.
     The New Testament teaches that if Jesus Christ had failed in
his mission (to atone for mankind's sins) God the Father (the
"Most High God" of the Old Testament), would not have permitted a
single human being to ever taste eternal life since mankind would
have had no atoning sacrifice. If Jesus failed, all mankind died
with him. This young Jewish man, with the royal blood of King
David in his veins, and filled with the Holy Spirit of his Father
(the "Most High God"), must have had a tremendous load on his
mind as he made what was to be his last trip home. He must have
felt like he was "carrying the world on his shoulders" as he
returned to Judea, for so he was.


PART THREE: HIS MINISTRY AND DEATH

     The Bible asserts that Jesus Christ began his ministry at
the age of thirty (Luke 3:23). This is significant because the
Old Testament required a man to be thirty years old in order to
serve in the priesthood (Numbers 4:3). Jesus Christ, who was God
in the flesh, was not subject to the normal human maturation
schedule. His discourse with the Temple elders indicated that he
was spiritually mature at the age of twelve. However, due to the
sensitivities of the Jewish community in Judea, Jesus did not
enter their culture in a priestly role until he attained the age
of thirty.
     When Jesus returned to Judea, one of his first public acts
was to be baptized by John the Baptist in the Jordan River
(Matthew 3:1316). This affirmed the ministry of John the Baptist,
and set an example for his future followers concerning the
necessity of water baptism. Since he went to the Jordan River to
be baptized, and Matthew 3:16 states "Jesus, when he was baptized
went up ... out of the water," it is clear that Jesus' baptism
was by immersion.
     After his baptism, Matthew 4:1-11 and Luke 4:1-15 tell us of
a direct confrontation between Jesus and Satan the devil. Satan
repeatedly tempted Jesus in an effort to entice him into doing
something sinful or idolatrous. If Jesus had failed the test, he
could not have served as the sinless "passover lamb" which
mankind needed for its salvation. Luke 4:2 asserts that Jesus
fasted for 40 days to prepare for his spiritual battle with
Satan. Fasting is frequently discussed in the Bible as a means of
drawing nearer to God.
     One of Satan's temptations involved his showing Jesus "all
the kingdoms of the world," and saying:

"all this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that
is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. If thou
therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine." 

     Satan claimed to be the unseen ruler of the earth, who had
the authority to select national leaders as he wished.
     Furthermore, he was offering temporal power over all the
earth to Jesus if he chose Satan as his lord. Significantly,
Jesus did not dispute Satan's claim to being the unseen lord of
all the world's nations, and that he had the power to select
their human rulers.
     Jesus, in resisting these temptations, was qualifying to
replace Satan as the ruler of the earth, but the Bible is clear
that the actual rulership of Christ will not occur until his
second coming. His first coming was to qualify to replace Satan
as world ruler, and to become an atonement for all mankind so
they could have eternal life. The Bible acknowledges Satan as the
"prince of this world" (John 12:31 and 14:30), and acknowledges
him as "the prince" of this world even after the death of Christ
(Ephesians 2:2). He will remain the "prince" of this world until
Jesus dethrones him at his second coming, at which point
Revelation 20:1-3 states that Satan will be imprisoned and
restrained from invisibly manipulating the nations.
     Consider Satan's sweeping offer and Jesus' response. Jesus
did not challenge Satan's right to give the world rulership which
he offered; however, he declined a temporal world rulership under
Satan's auspices in favor of a future, eternal world rulership
under God (Revelation 19:11-16, 20:1-6).
     Remember these facts: (A) Jesus had already been worshipped
by some of the kingmaking Magi of Parthia (an ancient
"superpower"), and his status as a relative of the Arsacids made
him eligible for Parthia's throne, (B) Jesus had been
well-received in Briton, and his Hebrew name identified him as
the promised Messiah (the "Yesu") expected by the Druids, (C)
Jesus had already gained a following in the New World, and was
likely the subject of the first Quetzelcoatl legends, and (D) the
Jews were expecting the Messiah during his lifetime due to the
timetable of Old Testament prophecies. In other words, Satan's
offer was quite practical in human terms. The physical conditions
were already in place for Jesus to be made a powerful world
leader! Satan was offering his services to use the above
circumstances to make Jesus a world emperor if he was willing to
choose short-term gain instead of long-term good. Thankfully,
Jesus resisted his offer.

     It should now be apparent that Jesus Christ was hardly an
obscure carpenter in Galilee. At the time he began his ministry,
he had concluded visits to the far-flung ten tribes of Israel,
utilizing his excellent relations with the Parthian Magi to
travel east into Asia as well as the transoceanic routes
available to him via Joseph of Arimathea's business to travel
westward to Europe and the New World. Jesus would have been known
to the influential classes of the Parthian Empire, Briton, the
New World, and also the Roman officials of the countries in which
Joseph's mining and trading company conducted business. Luke 2:52
hints that he was well-liked wherever he went. Luke wrote that
after Jesus amazed the teachers in the Temple with his precocious
wisdom at age twelve, he:

"...increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and
man." 

     Luke's comment that Jesus' wisdom and favor (fame) continued
to increase after age twelve contradicts the modern viewpoint
that Jesus' went "dormant" to live as an obscure carpenter in
Galilee until he "burst" onto the scene at age thirty. Since
Jesus was unknown in his Judean hometown at the time he began his
ministry at age thirty, it is apparent that the "favor" he had in
the eyes of "man" occurred in regions far from Judea and Galilee.
After the confrontation between Jesus and Satan, Jesus began his
ministry with miraculous events and numerous appearances in
synagogues (Matthew 4:23-25 and Luke 4:14-15). He did mighty
miracles, and people "glorified" him (Luke 4:15). Luke 4:16-30
then describes his visit to the synagogue in Nazareth (his home
town) where they tried to kill him. This event contained several
harbingers of the future impact of Jesus' ministry in Judea.
Luke 4:16 begins by stating that Jesus "came to Nazareth, where
he had been brought up." Notice that Luke did not say Nazareth
was "where Jesus lived," but rather that Nazareth is "where he
had been brought up." This language indicates that Jesus had
lived in Nazareth only during his formative years. Indeed, the
Living Bible renders this passage as "he came to the village of
Nazareth, his boyhood home." Luke's comment clearly indicates
that Jesus did not live in Nazareth as a young man or adult!
Luke then tells us that Jesus "as his custom was, went into the
synagogue on the Sabbath Day, and stood up for to read." Jesus
was still loyal to the religious traditions taught him by his
parents, and it was customary for Jesus to observe the Sabbath
Day. In other words, Jesus was acting as would any devout Jew of
the period. If Jesus had been present in his hometown synagogue
from age twelve to age thirty, his wisdom and fame (attested to
by Luke) would have been well-known to them as Jesus (even at age
twelve) was making no effort to conceal his spiritual maturity.
Yet verse 22 shows that the congregation "wondered at the
gracious words" of Jesus and said "Isn't this Joseph's son?" To
reiterate an earlier argument, the local congregation had not
experienced Jesus' power or wisdom during the intervening years,
and were struggling to identify him. Clearly, Jesus had not been
there in many years! If Jesus lived in Nazareth, one must also
believe that God's Spirit, which moved Jesus so powerfully at age
twelve, went completely dormant for eighteen years and suddenly
reawoke in him after a long hiatus. This author finds such a
viewpoint untenable. All scriptural examples show that once God's
Spirit is moving a person, it either waxes stronger or is
"quenched." It is not a commodity that can stagnate or go dormant
for almost two decades. Indeed, in the parable of the talents
(Matthew 25), Jesus regarded a servant who "went dormant" with
his gift to be worthy of punishment! It is impossible that Jesus
"went dormant" for eighteen years!
     Jesus then read (and applied to himself) a passage from
Isaiah 61 which states: "the spirit of the Lord is upon me
because he [God] bath anointed me to preach the gospel..." Jesus
openly claimed to be the Messiah, the "anointed one" of God when
he stated: "this day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears."
     In verse 23 Jesus tells them "Ye will surely say unto me
this proverb, Physician, heal thyself." Jesus is here speaking in
the future tense, indicating he already knew he would be mocked
during his eventual suffering on the cross.
     Mark 6:4 parallels Luke's account, and quotes Jesus as
saying: "a prophet is not without honor, but [except] in his own
country, and among his own kin, and in his own house." This
speaks volumes. Jesus affirmed that he was a prophet, but
predicted that his own nation (the Jews), his own community and
his own relatives would not recognize him as the Messiah. There
is another implication of this statement which could easily be
missed. This statement also implies that while he would not be
honored in his own country as a prophet, he would be honored
outside his own country, community and family (he would not be
"without honor").
     Jesus then ended his message to his home-town folk by
mentioning an account in which Elijah healed and saved a gentile
from Sidon rather than any of his own countrymen. This
foreshadows the historical fact that while being generally
rejected by his countrymen (the Jews), the benefits of Jesus'
ministry would be received by those outside of Judea. This
happened when Paul, the Apostles and others spread the message
that he was the Messiah to all lands while the Jews mostly
rejected him.
     Jesus' message infuriated his listeners. They attempted to
kill him, and Jesus escaped this "lynch mob" by "passing through
the midst of them." The fact that those who sought to kill him
did not recognize him as he passed through the angry crowd
further illustrates two points. It confirms the contention that
he had been gone from his home-town a long time (otherwise they
would have recognized him easily), and it also shows that Jesus
was an averagelooking Jew who did not stand out in a crowd.
That Jesus was an average-looking Jew debunks a modern myth about
him. The average Jew of Jesus' day did not have "hippie"length
hair, as Jesus is depicted as having on modern pictures. If his
hair were inordinately long, he would have easily been recognized
in a crowd of Jews. Since Paul the Apostle observed in I
Corinthians 11:14 that it is a "shame" for a man to have long
hair, it is evident that Jesus could not have had long hair. Some
confusion on this matter may result from a misunderstanding of
the terms "Nazarite" and "Nazarene." A "Nazarite" was one who,
during the length of a vow, refrained from drinking alcohol or
cutting his hair (Numbers 6:2-5). Since growing long hair would
separate them from the rest of the male population, Nazarites
could easily be identified by their long hair. Jesus was a
"Nazarene" (indicating that he was from Nazareth), but he was no
Nazarite, since he drank alcohol (Matthew 11:19 shows that Jesus'
detractors called him a "winebibber" because they thought he
drank too much wine).
     This episode is atypical of Jesus! It shows Jesus going to
the synagogue of his boyhood home and rebuking them so strongly
that even the "religious" people of the synagogue tried to murder
him! This would sound strange if it were not for several hints in
the text. The account of this episode in Mark 6:1-6 shows that
the while the locals voiced no ill feelings toward his mother and
siblings, verse 3 states that the townspeople "were offended" at
Jesus! Why?
     There is a strong implication here that when Jesus left
Nazareth soon after age twelve, his memories of Nazareth were not
happy ones. Indeed, since Jesus had the Spirit of God from birth,
there are many ways in which Jesus would not have "fit in" with
the attitudes, actions and interests of the other children in the
area. Since Jesus lived a sinless life, he would have been
unwilling to participate in the usual trouble-making and mischief
that characterize young boys, making him a target of considerable
"hazing" by the other children. Also, since he could confound the
Temple elders at age twelve, Jesus was "light years" ahead of his
peers in maturity, and would have had almost nothing in common
with other boys his age. Also, the strange visit of foreign
dignitaries (the Magi) to lavish gifts on Jesus as a little child
would have made some townspeople jealous or suspicious of him. If
the Magi continued to send emissaries to him over the years (a
distinct possibility), this action would have further complicated
his life in a rural town of Galilee.
     After the death of Joseph, his step-father, his mother Mary
may have thought it was best for Jesus to leave the area, and
become an "apprentice" to his great uncle and international
businessman, Joseph of Arimathea. When Jesus came back to his
home area after an eighteen year absence, many of the people in
that synagogue were likely the very ones who had hazed and
ostracized Jesus when he was a boy. When he claimed to be the
Messiah, their reaction was "Oh no, not him!" They were
"offended" when they learned that the marvelous new teacher was
the same Jesus they had hazed and taunted years ago. The above is
supported by Luke 4:15 which indicates that Jesus was "glorified"
in all other synagogues, and rejected only in his own hometown.
     Another early act of Jesus was his selection of twelve men
to serve as the initial apostles of his church (John 1:35-51).
Since Jesus knew that each of these men would serve not only as a
contemporary spiritual leader, but also as future kings over the
tribes of Israel after his second coming (Matthew 19:28), he was
selecting people who would fit the distinct temperaments and
needs of each of the twelve tribes of Israel! Where had Jesus
gained a knowledge of the unique personalities of the various
tribes of Israel so he could select a suitable future king for
each of them? He obtained such knowledge during his visits to
them between ages twelve and thirty. Since only two of the tribes
of Israel were present in Judea at the time of Jesus (a fact
confirmed by Josephus), the only way he could have gained
personal knowledge of each tribe's needs was via international
travel!
     Before proceeding further, it is worth recalling that
Josephus, the Jewish historian who wrote soon after the death of
Jesus, did not doubt that Jesus was the Messiah. Josephus openly
stated of Jesus - "He was [the] Christ." 56 He also affirmed the
divine miracles of his life with the words "he was a doer of
wonderful works," and confirmed the resurrection of Jesus as a
historical fact with the words "for he [Jesus] appeared to them
[his followers] alive again the third day, as the divine prophets
had foretold..." 57
     Josephus, a prominent Jewish leader and historian of that
time acknowledged that Jesus was the promised Messiah, and since
the Bible records that he was widely "glorified" among the
masses, it would seem that many Jews did perceive Jesus to be the
promised Messiah. Even some Jewish religious leaders accepted
Jesus as one sent by God.
     John 3:1-3 states "there was a man of the Pharisees, named
Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews [who] came to Jesus by night, and
said unto him, Rabbi, We know that you are a teacher come from
God: for no man can do these miracles that you do, except God be
with him." Interestingly, Nicodemus came to Jesus "by night,"
implying that he was on a secretive mission. He was representing
Jewish rulers, because he spoke for a group in saying "we
know..." The leaders of the Jews were not ignorant men; they
could see from the Old Testament prophecies that the Messiah was
due in their time period, they could see that Jesus was doing
miracles that only someone with the power of God could do, and
they could see that Jesus was fulfilling Messianic prophecies.
The words of Nicodemus make that evident. Then why did they later
kill Jesus when they knew he was sent from God? There are two
plausible answers.
     One possible answer has been offered by William Steuart
McBirnie, in his book The Search for the Twelve Apostles. He
states:

"As ... history's long judgment has since confirmed, the greatest
reason for his condemnation was the fact that Jesus had lanced
through the swollen hypocrisy of the Jewish political and
ceremonial religion and the religious bureaucracy of professional
priests, Pharisees and Sadducees. So all the main Jewish leaders,
including the official party of the Herodians ...consented to or
sought his death." 58

     Josephus essentially agreed with the modern opinion of
Stuart McBirnie in stating:

"He [Jesus] was the Christ; and when Pilate, at the suggestion of
the principal men among us had condemned him to the cross..." 59 

     This is a very candid statement by Josephus. After declaring
the righteousness of Christ and affirming the status of Jesus as
"the Christ" (the "anointed one"), Josephus acknowledges that the
"principal men among us" (the Jewish leadership) arranged for the
death of Christ. The Jewish religious leaders and their allies
held much power over the Jewish people in Judea. Their conduct
clearly showed that they were more interested in selfishly
clinging to their power than in serving the people by a fair
administration of the laws of God as given through Moses. Because
Jesus was exposing their hypocrisy and venality, the religious
leaders saw Jesus as the symbol of a "reform movement" which
could sweep them from power. The Bible records that Jesus was
generally "glorified" in the Jewish
..........

To be continued


  Home Previous Page Top of Page Next Page

 
Navigation List:
 

 
Word Search:

PicoSearch
  Help