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The Forgery of Matthew 23
Written by Abdullah Kareem
Jesus opposed and rebuked the Pharisees for breaking the Law and for hypocrisy. The chapter of Jesus’ aggressive behavior towards the Pharisees is Matthew 23. What about Jesus’ character of love and mercy? He referred to the Gentiles as “dogs” (Matt. 7:6, 15:26). He also ignored a Gentile woman pleading for help (Matt. 15:23-25). Jesus acted in a ruthless manner (John 2:15). Jesus said “But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me” (Luke 19:27). And Jesus also killed children (Rev. 2:23) for the sins of their mother. Yet the Old Testament says “The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin.” (Deu 24:16). We are responsible for our own sins (Deu 24:16, Ez. 18:20, Jere. 31:30, Ps. 40:6, Isa. 1:11, Micah 6:7-8, Matt 9:13, 12:7, Heb. 5:7), so Christianity is rendered false. Also, there is no historian who mentioned Jesus’ resurrection 1, so Christianity becomes even more useless.
"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men's faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.
"Woe to you, teachers of the
law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single
convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as
"Woe to you, blind guides!
You say, 'If anyone swears by the temple, it means nothing; but if anyone
swears by the gold of the temple, he is bound by his oath.'
You blind fools! Which is greater: the gold, or the temple that makes the gold sacred? You also say, 'If anyone swears by the altar, it means nothing; but if anyone swears by the gift on it, he is bound by his oath.' You blind men! Which is greater: the gift, or the altar that makes the gift sacred? Therefore, he who swears by the altar swears by it and by everything on it. And he who swears by the temple swears by it and by the one who dwells in it. And he who swears by heaven swears by God's throne and by the one who sits on it.
"Woe to you, teachers of the
law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill
and cummin. But you have neglected the more important
matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced
the latter, without neglecting the former. You blind guides! You strain out a
gnat but swallow a camel.
"Woe to you, teachers of the
law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish,
but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First
clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.
"Woe to you, teachers of the
law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of
dead men's bones and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you
appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and
"Woe to you, teachers of the
law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You build tombs for the prophets and
decorate the graves of the righteous. And you say, 'If we had lived in the days
of our forefathers, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the
blood of the prophets.' So you testify against yourselves that you are the
descendants of those who murdered the prophets. Fill up, then, the measure of
the sin of your forefathers!
"You snakes! You brood of
vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell? Therefore I am sending you
prophets and wise men and teachers. Some of them you will kill and crucify;
others you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town. And so
upon you will come all the righteous blood that has been shed on earth, from
the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Berekiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the
altar. I tell you the truth, all this will come upon
So much for Jesus’ passive character of love and mercy
(9:13, 12:7), he condemned the Pharisees in a very harsh manner. But are these passages historically true?
Did Jesus reject the Pharisees as “hypocrites” and “brood of snakes?”
The reality is Jesus was a Pharisee himself, he never condemned the Pharisees, and so the chapter Matt 23 is a forgery.
The whole picture of Jesus at loggerheads with the Pharisees is the creation of a period some time after Jesus’ death, when the Christian Church was in conflict with the Pharisees because of its claim to have superseded Judaism. The Gospels are a product of this later period; or rather, the Gospels consist of materials, some of them deriving from an earlier period, where edited in an anti-Pharisee sense. Thus it is possible to refute the anti-Pharisee picture in the Gospels themselves, which even after their re-editing retain many details from the earlier accounts which show that Jesus was not in conflict with the Pharisees and was a Pharisee himself. (Hyam Maccoby, The MythMaker: Paul and the Invention of Christianity, p. 29)
The process of re-editing is not just an hypothesis; it can be plainly seen within the Gospels by comparing the way in which the various Gospels treat the same incident. The fact that there are four Gospels, instead of just one, makes the task of reconstructing the original story much easier, especially when one bears in mind the results of modern scholarship, which have shown in what order the Gospels were written. According to the most firmly based scholarship Mark is the earliest Gospel, so we can often be enlightened just by comparing the version of Mark with that of any later Gospel. (ibid p. 35)
What was the motive for the
re-editing of stories about conflict between Jesus and the Sadducees so that he
was portrayed as in conflict with the Pharisees instead? The reason is simple.
The Pharisees were known to be the chief authorities of the Jews, not the
Sadducees. In fact, at the time that the Gospels were edited, Sadducees had
lost any small religious importance that they had once had, and the Pharisees
were the sole repository of religious authority. As we shall see shortly in
more detail, it was of the utmost importance to the Gospel editors to represent
Jesus as having been a rebel against Jewish religion, not against the Roman
occupation. The wholesale re-editing of the material in order to give a picture
of conflict between Jesus and the Pharisees was thus essential. Also, since it
was known that the Sadducees were collaborators with
An important indication that the stories about Pharisee opposition to Jesus on the question of Sabbath healing are not to be taken at face value is the fact that there is no mention of this charge at Jesus’ trial. If Jesus, as the Gospels represent, actually incurred a capital charge in Pharisee eyes because of his Sabbath activities, why was this not brought against him at a time when he was on trial for his life? Why, in fact, is there no mention of any charges brought specifically by the Pharisees at Jesus’ trial? As we shall see in the next chapter, Jesus’ trial was not on religious charges at all, but on political charges, though the Gospels, pursuing their general aim of depoliticizing Jesus’ aims, try to give the political charge a religious favor. Yet, if the trial really had been a religious one, who better than the Pharisees, the alleged bitter religious enemies of Jesus, to play the most prominent part in the proceedings? (ibid p. 36)
The scholar Hyam Maccoby proves the Pharisee passages are forgeries. This
means the Gospels are baseless, they contradict each other
and misquote the Old
Testament, they contain historical errors and discrepancies 
The anti-Pharisee passages were penned by Pauline Christians who hated the Jews and Hebrew Christians. On the same level, the Semitic passages were penned by Hebrew Christians who believed Jesus was not God (Matt 9:8, 12:18, 19:17, 23:9, 24:36).
The Gospels were written under Paul’s influence, and the Jewish sects of
After Jesus’s time, there came to be two sects of Christians: those who followed
The Gospels were written by people more interested in a living Lord present in their midst than in Jesus the historical man from
The Gospels, however, were religious dramas used for worship and as a form of evangelism. They were meant not to impart history but to buttress and convey belief. The editor of John’s Gospel (the least historical of them all) boldly and honestly states his aims in the text itself when he says, “But these things are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah”. The goal is to establish the faithful and to create new converts, not to create an authentic biography. (Tom Harper, The Pagan Christ, p. 126)
The New Testament contains unreliable surmises…Let me cite one fairly typical and significant example, from the opening page of the first chapter of Norman Perrin’s important and influential book, Rediscovering the Teaching of Jesus. Perrin gives his reasons why teaching ascribed to Jesus is likely to be rather a teaching that stems from the early Church, not from Jesus himself. I quote the first three reasons, “The early Church made no attempt to distinguish between the words the earthly Jesus had spoken and those spoken by the risen Lord through a prophet in the community…” “The early Church absolutely and completely identified the risen Lord of her experience with the earthly Jesus of
There is a mixture of Jewish and
Gentile material. For example, the passage Matthew 5:17-20 was penned by
a Jewish Christian, but Jesus’ praise for wine (Matt. 9:17, Mk. 2:22, Lk 5:37) and glorifying the Roman emperor (Matt. 22:21, Mk
12:17) is penned by a Pauline. The Old Testament condemns wine (Lev. 10:9, Prov 4:17, 20:1, Isa. 28:7, Hos. 4:11, Joel 1:5), the Jews opposed Roman taxes in 6 CE
under the leadership of Judas the Galilean, so how could Jesus say “Give to
Caesar what is Caesar’s?” when the Israelites expected the opposite? According
to Isaiah 42, Micah 5:2, the Messiah is supposed to destroy the foreign
occupiers; not bow down to their taxes. Jesus said he was not a political Messiah: “My kingdom is not of this world” (John
18:36). The Jews rejected Jesus for not driving out the Romans, they probably
felt betrayed when Jesus said “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s” because they
expected a political Messiah (Matt. 27:41-43, Mk. 15:30-31, Lk.
23:35-36, 38-39, Ps. 18:50, 20:6) but Jesus was the exact opposite! At least
600 years later, the figurative Messiah (Islam) liberated the
According to Jewish conceptions
the only way to distinguish between a true and a false Messiah was success: He
who does not succeed in overthrowing the Roman yoke cannot be the Messiah, and
vice-versa. Hence, the Jews claimed that Jesus was an impostor because he could
not lead them to a successful revolt against
There are no legitimate prophecies of Jesus’ death in the Old Testament.
The verse “On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise
him, he was named Jesus,” (Luke 2:21) is penned by a Jewish Christian (Gen
7:14), but Paul abrogated the Circumcision (Gal. 5:2), because it was no longer
required. Jesus turning water into wine (John 2:1-10), and saying “All foods
are clean” (Mk 7:18-20) is penned by a Pauline. The deceiver Paul said all foods are clean (Rom 14:14, 20), but
Jewish Christians abstained from pork and only ate kosher meat (Lev. 11:7). The Old Testament condemns wine (Lev.
10:9, Prov 4:17, 20:1, Isa.
28:7), Paul said it was okay (1 Tim 5:23), so the Gospels have Jesus praise and
glorify wine (Matt. 9:17, Mk. 2:22, Lk. 5:37, Jhn 2:1-10). Yet, Jesus preached the Law and Prophets (Matt
5:17-20) that condemned wine! The pagan god Dionysus transformed water into
wine hundreds of years before Jesus . The command to “baptize
the world” (Matt. 28:19) is from a Pauline Christian who believed Jesus ought
to share the Gospel with gentiles, yet Jewish Christians wrote: "Do not go
among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. Go rather to the lost
"It cannot be directly proved that Jesus instituted baptism, for Matthew 28:19 is not a saying of the Lord. The reason for this assertion are: (1) It is only a later stage of the tradition that represents the risen Christ as delivering speeches and giving commandments. Paul knows nothing of it. (2) The Trinitarian formula is foreign to the mouth of Jesus and has not the authority of the Apostolic age which it must have had if it had descended from Jesus himself. On the other hand, Paul knows of no other way of receiving the Gentiles into the Christian communities than by baptism, and it is highly probable that in the time of Paul all Jewish Christians were also baptized. We may perhaps assume that the practice of baptism was continued in consequence of Jesus' recognition of John the Baptist and his baptism, even after John himself had been removed. According to John 4:2, Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples under his superintendence. It is possible only with the help of tradition to trace back to Jesus a "Sacrament of Baptism," or an obligation to it ex necessitate salutis, through it is credible that tradition is correct here. Baptism in the Apostolic age was in the name of the Lord Jesus (1 Cor. 1:13; Acts 19:5). We cannot make out when the formula in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit emerged" (History of Dogma, Vol. 1, Adolph Harnack, 1958, page 79).
“All but the most conservative of
scholars agree that at least the latter part of this command (Matt. 28:19) was
inserted later” (Tom Harper, For Christ’s
Sake, p. 84)
"The historical riddle is not
solved by Matthew 28:19, since, according to a wide scholarly consensus, it is
not an authentic saying of Jesus, not even an elaboration of a Jesus-saying on
baptism" (The Anchor Bible Dictionary, Vol. 1, 1992, page 585).
"It has been customary to
trace the institution of the practice (of baptism) to the words of Christ
recorded in Matthew 28:19. But the authenticity of this passage has been
challenged on historical as well as on textual grounds. It must be acknowledged
that the formula of the threefold name, which is here enjoined, does not appear
to have been employed by the primitive Church, which, so far as our information
goes, baptized 'in' or 'into the name of Jesus' (or 'Jesus Christ' or Lord
Jesus': Acts 2:38, 8:16, 10:48, 19:5, 1 Cor. 1:13,
15) (The Dictionary of the Bible, 1947, page 83).
Matthew 28:19, "the Church of
the first days did not observe this world-wide command, even if they knew it.
The command to baptize into the threefold name is a late doctrinal expansion.
In place of the words "baptizing... Spirit" we should probably read
simply "into my name," i.e. (turn the nations) to Christianity,
"in my name," i.e. (teach the nations) in my spirit" (Peake's Commentary on the Bible, 1929, page 723).
Jesus’ ignorance of the Gentile woman (Matt. 15:24, 26, Mk
7:25-28) indicates he was only sent to
“…The same goes for a more familiar passage, the Great Commission to preach the gospel among the nations (Matt. 28:19). If Jesus had really said this, how can we imagine the controversy over Peter preaching to the Gentile Cornelius (Acts 10-11) ever having risen? How can Peter have been initially reluctant? How can his colleagues in
It doesn’t make sense for Jesus to avoid the Gentiles (Matt.
7:6, 10:6-7, 15:24, 26, Mk 7:25-28) and then allow preaching. Matt. 28:19 is a
desperate forgery by the Pauline Christians who put the words “Go ye therefore,
and teach all nations” into Jesus’ mouth.
In reality, Jesus never commanded his disciples to “teach all nations”. But Paul corrupted the Gospel and created a new religion, preached the name of Jesus to the Gentiles, violating Jesus’ own words (Matt 7:6, 10:6-7, 15:24, John 4:22). Peter preached the True Jesus to the Gentiles (Acts 10:9-23) and the Law, and he was rebuked for doing so (Gal 2:11). The point is that Jesus never included the Gentiles, only the Jews!
For this is my
blood of the new testament, which is
shed for many for the remission of sins. (Matthew 26:28, Mark 14:24)
Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many. (Matthew 20:28, Mark 10:45)
The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! (John 1:29)
He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. (1 John 2:2)
John is the last gospel, dating from 100 CE, and there was a
sudden change from “many” to the “world”. Where is the formula “Jesus died for
the sins of mankind” in the synoptic Gospels? There is no statement because it
does not exist.
Christians changed the word “many” to “the world” to include the Gentiles! They also blamed the death of Jesus upon the Jews (Matt. 27:25) to exonerate the Romans.
The story of Barabbas
has special social significances, partly because it has frequently been used to
lay the blame for the Crucifixion on the Jews and justify anti-Semitism.
Equally, the social significance of the story to early hearers was that it
shifted blame away from the Roman imperium, removing
an impediment to Christianity's eventual official acceptance. (*)
The Gospels all state that there
was a custom at Passover during which the Roman governor would release a
prisoner of the crowd's choice. Mark 15:6; Matt. 27:15; John 18:39; Luke 23:17
(though this verse in Luke is not present in the earliest manuscripts and may
be a later gloss to bring Luke into conformity) The gospels differ on whether
the custom was a Roman one or a Jewish one…However, no such release or custom
of such a release is recorded in any historical document, not even as a passing
This practice of releasing a prisoner is said by some analysts to be an element in a literary creation of Mark, who needed to have a contrast to the true "son of the father" in order to set up an edifying contest, in a form of parable. 
Pontius Pilate, as he is depicted
in the Gospels, appears to be a decent person who consents only reluctantly to
the crucifixion of Jesus. History paints a different picture of him. He was a
Apparently, the Gospels were penned by Christians of pagan
descent, they had to exonerate the Romans.
Let us recognize Luke 16:16-17 as a changed text of Matt. 5:17-20, a Pauline Christian altered the Law-passage. We can give more examples of alteration by the Church.
"As the brethren desired me
to write epistles (letters), I did so, and these the apostles of the devil have
filled with tares (changes), exchanging some things and adding others, for whom
there is a woe reserved. It is not therefore, a matter of wonder if some have
also attempted to adulterate the sacred writings of the Lord, since they have
attempted the same in other works that are not to be compared with these."
(Dionysius, Bishop of
For we, brethren, receive both
Peter and the rest of the apostles as Christ Himself. But those writings which
are falsely inscribed with their name, we as experienced persons reject,
knowing that no such writings have been handed down to us. (Serapion
"And yet these are veritable
fables, which have led to the invention of such stories concerning a man whom
they regarded as possessing greater wisdom and power than the multitude, and as
having received the beginning of his corporeal substance from better and
diviner elements than others, because they thought that this was appropriate to
persons who were too great to be human beings. (Origen,
254 CE) 
The truth of these matters must lie in that which is seen by the mind. If the discrepancy between the Gospels is not solved, we must give up our trust in the Gospels, as being true and written by a divine spirit, or as records worthy of credence, for both these characters are held to belong to these works. (Origen, Commentary on John, [online Source]
"Whether a Church which stands convicted of having forged its Creed, would have any scruple of forging its Gospels, is a problem that the reader will solve according to the influence of prejudice or probability on his mind." (Rev. Robert Taylor, The Diegesis p. 10) 
"It is clear to me that the writings of the christians are a lie, and that your fables are not well-enough constructed to conceal this monstrous fiction: I have even heard that some of your interpreters, as if they had just come out of a tavern, are onto the inconsistencies and, pen in hand, alter the originals writings, three, four and several more times over in order to be able to deny the contradictions in the face of criticism." (Celsus 178 CE) 
"Orthodox theologians were tempted, by the assurance of impunity, to compose fictions, which must be stigmatized with the epithets of fraud and forgery. They ascribed their own polemical works to the most venerable names of Christian antiquity." (Edward Gibbon, History of Christianity, p. 598)
"[the New Testament had] in many passages undergone such serious modification of meaning as to leave us in painful uncertainty as to what the Apostles had actually written" Secrets of Mount Sinai, James Bentley, p. 117
In all, Tischendorf uncovered over 14,800 "corrections" to just one ancient manuscript of the Bible, the Codex Sinaiticus (one of the two most ancient copies of the Bible available to Christianity today), by nine (some say ten) separate "correctors," which had been applied to this one manuscript over a period from 400AD to about 1200AD. Tischendorf strove in his dealings with his holy texts themselves to be as honest and sincere as humanly possible. For this reason he could not understand how the scribes could have so continuously and so callously. 
Possibly, no Jewish Christian got his hands on the Greek gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) but Gentile authors inserted the Jewish material by their own pens. According to Papias, Matthew preached the Logia to the Hebrews, who transmitted the Logia to the Gentiles, so the verses (e.g. Matt 5:17, Lk 2:21) are based on the Logia. But the Church believed the “heretics” were corrupting the Gospels by adding Jewish material.
Metzger states, "Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian,
Eusebius and many other Church Fathers accused the heretics of corrupting the
Scriptures in order to have support for their special views". Burgon Says, "Even the orthodox were capable of
changing a reading for dogmatic reasons. Epiphanius
states that the Orthodox deleted ‘he wept' from Luke 19 :
41 out of jealousy for the Lord's divinity."
(130 - 200) A western Father. He was born in
Ignatius, bishop of
But these “heretics” were the True Christians (Acts 22:4, 24:14) who followed the Law.
The Ebionites were stigmatized by the Church as heretics who failed to understand that Jesus was a divine person and asserted instead that he was a human being who came to inaugurate a new earthly age. Moreover, the Ebionites refused to accept the Church doctrine, derived from Paul, that Jesus abolished or abrogated the Torah, the Jewish law. Instead, the Ebionites observed the Jewish law and regarded themselves as Jews. The Ebionites were not heretics, as the Church asserted, nor 're-Judaizers', as modern scholars call them, but the authentic successors of the immediate disciples and followers of Jesus, whose views and doctrines they faithfully transmitted, believing correctly that they were derived from Jesus himself. They were the same group that had earlier been called the Nazarenes, who were led by James and Peter, who had known Jesus during his lifetime, and were in a far better position to know his aims than Paul, who met Jesus only in dreams and visions. Thus the opinion held by the Ebionites about Paul is of extraordinary interest and deserves respectful consideration, instead of dismissal as 'scurrilous' propaganda -- the reaction of Christian scholars from ancient to modern times… The Ebionites are thus by no means a negligible or derisory group. Their claim to represent the original teaching of Jesus has to be taken seriously (Hyam Maccoby, The Myth Maker: Paul and the Invention of Christianity)
The Nazarenes/Ebionites were labeled as “heretics” because they refused to accept the innovations of Paul. The early Jewish sects identified Jesus as Messiah, but they rejected the Pauline New Testament .
In the solitude of the
None of these doctrines are to be found within the gospels. They were not taught by Jesus. They were the fruits of Paul’s innovations and the influence of Greek culture and philosophy. Paul never experienced the company nor the direct transmission of knowledge from Jesus. Before his conversion, he vigorously persecuted the followers of Jesus, and after it he was largely responsible for abandoning the code of behaviour of Jesus when he took “Christianity” to the non-Jews of
Jesus was teaching his disciples in the outer court of the
Christianity, or one would rather say "Christianities," of the second and third centuries were a highly variegated phenomenon. We really can't imagine Christianity as a unified coherent religious movement. Certainly there were some religious organizations.... There were institutions developing in some Christian churches, but only in some. And this was not universal by any means. We know from, for example, the literature recovered at Nag Hammadi, that gnostic Christianity didn't have the kind of clear hierarchy that other forms of Christianity had developed. They still clung to a charismatic leadership model. And so there was a lot of variety in 2nd and 3rd century Christianity 
Here is what they believed about Paul:
or Nazarenes, who were the first Christians, rejected all the Epistles of
Paul and regarded him as an imposter. They reported, among other things, that
he was originally a pagan; that he came to
'They declare that he was a Greek ... He went up to Jerusalem, they say, and when he had spent some time there, he was seized with a passion to marry the daughter of the priest. For this reason he became a proselyte and was circumcised. Then, when he failed to get the girl, he flew into a rage and wrote against circumcision and against the sabbath and the Law' (Epiphanius, Panarion, 30.16.6-9)
The Greek version of Matthew is allegedly a translation of a previous gospel called “Gospel According to Hebrews”.
The Gospel According to the
Hebrews was a work of early Christian literature, already known by the mid 2nd century
AD, to which reference is frequently made by the church
fathers during the first five centuries of the Christian era, andlgk of which some twenty or more fragments,
have been preserved by quotations in their writings.
The book itself has completely
disappeared. All that survives to us from the 'Gospel of the Hebrews' are the
quotations, made by Clement, Origen, Jerome, and
Cyril of Jerusalem. Jerome took a lively interest in this book, an Aramaic copy
of which he found in the famous library at Caesarea in
Many scholars reject the idea that Matthew is a translation.
Distinct unity of plan, an artificial arrangement of subject-matter, and a simple, easy style--much purer than that of Mark--suggest an original rather than a translation.
Although the phraseology is not
more Hebraic than in the other Gospels, still it not much less so. To sum up,
from the literary examination of the Greek Gospel no certain conclusion can be
drawn against the existence of a Hebrew Gospel of which our First Gospel would
be a translation; and inversely, this examination does not prove the Greek
Gospel to be a translation of an Aramaic original. (The Catholic Encyclopedia, 
Most contemporary scholars, based on analysis of the Greek in the Gospel of Matthew and use of sources such as the Greek Gospel of Mark, conclude that the New Testament Book of Matthew was written originally in Greek and is not a translation from Hebrew or Aramaic. If they are correct, then the Church Fathers such as Clement of Alexandria, Origen, and Jerome possibly referred to a document or documents distinct from the present Gospel of Matthew. A smaller number of scholars believe the ancient writings that Matthew was originally in Aramaic, arguing for Aramaic primacy. These scholars normally consider the Peshitta and Old Syriac versions of the New Testament closest to the original autographs. 
The Gospel of Matthew is not a translation, the “Gospel
According to Hebrews” was probably a gospel based on oral traditions.
Matthew put together the oracles
[of the Lord] in the Hebrew language, and each one interpreted them as best he
could. (Fragments of Papias 
Yet, the Dutch scholar Erasmus (1516 CE) said:
"It does not seem probable to me that Matthew wrote in Hebrew, since no one testifies that he has seen any trace of such a volume." 
It is possible the gospel Matthew borrowed from the “Gospel of Hebrews” because the gospel was quite similar. The Greek Matthew contains 2500 lines; the Hebrews gospel had only 2200 lines. Yet, the Hebrews gospel was compiled by Hebrew Christians, the Greek Matthew is compiled by Gentile Christians.
"The ancient tradition that the author was the disciple and apostle of Jesus named Matthew (see 10:3) is untenable because the gospel is based, in large parts, on the Gospel according to Mark (almost all the verses of that gospel have been utilized in this) and it is hardly likely that a companion of Jesus would have followed so extensively an account that came from one who admittedly never had such an association rather than rely on his own memories. The attribution of the gospel to the disciple Matthew may have been due to his having been responsible for some of the traditions found in it, but that is far from certain." (The New American Bible, Introduction to Matthew)
"Early tradition ascribed this Gospel to the apostle Matthew, but scholars nowadays almost all reject this view. The author whom we can still conveniently call Mathew has plainly drawn on the mysterious 'Q', which may have been a collection of oral traditions." (Bilal Philips, The Message of Jesus Christ, p. 23)
The scholar Robert Price casts doubt on Papias:
was the bishop of
But are we sure Papias is even referring to our familiar gospels of Matthew and Mark? From his description of the Peter-Mark document, he might as easily be talking about the Ebionite work The Preachings of Peter. And as D.E. Nineham notes, our Mark does not sound like anyone’s table talk. And Matthew? Our Matthew was certainly not originally composed in Hebrew or Aramaic, for the simple reason that most of it is the reproduced text of the Greek Mark! (For the same reason, the evangelist cannot have been the disciple Matthew, since an eyewitness of Jesus would scarcely crib from a book written by someone who hadn’t been one!)
There remains one last consideration. It is striking to realize that we have no actual text of Papias, only a set of quotations in various ancient authors, and it seems rather strange that we do not have it. After all, it would seem to have been a widely respected and nonheretical repository of lore from the earliest days of Christianity. If it ever existed, that is. It seems worth asking if “Papias” simply functioned as a blanket attestation for any stray bit of lore or speculations about early Christianity and its heroes…
Since we have no text of Papias at all and no manuscript of Irenaeus as old as Eusebius, it becomes reasonable to treat the passages we have quoted from Papias and Irenaeus as no older than Eusebius’s Ecclesiastical History. For us, they are no more than apologetical garnishes to that fourth-century treatise and may be no older. (The Incredible Shrinking Son of Man, pp. 37-38)
The disciple Matthew didn’t write Matthew (the Greek version), nor did Matthew compose the “Gospel according to Hebrews” but Papias reports he merely preached the Logia to the Hebrews. Subsequently the Hebrews produced the gospel in written form. The disciple was already dead when the Greek gospel was forged in his name.
Most date Matthew about 80 C.E. because Matthew uses Mark, almost all of Mark. Essentially he was producing a corrected and expanded edition of Mark for the use of his own missionaries (analogous to the circle of missionaries supervised by the Elder in the Johannine Epistles). Apologists figure they have to allow a decade from the early date assigned to Mark to give Matthew time to have gotten hold of Mark, become familiar with it, and worked up a new version. But this is way too early. We must allow more than a decade, in all probability, for the Matthean revision of Mark to have gone through at least two stages. For instance, someone had added the regulation that missionaries not go among unwashed Samaritans and Gentiles (10:5), while a later Matthean redactor has opened up the evangelistic mission to all the nations (28:19). The original section contrasting true piety with hypocritical (6:1-6, 16-18) has been interrupted by verses 7-15, addenda on prayer that ruin the structure. And as Arlo J. Nau has demonstrated, an initial Matthean redactor must have rehabilitated Mark’s insulting portrait of Peter, while a later Matthean redactor has gone and punctured Petrine pretensions anew. How long before Matthew even got a look at Mark? Then how long had it been used in his church community before someone felt the need to revise it? And then how long, in how many stages, did it take? Matthew must at the earliest have appeared in the mid-second century. (Robert Price, The Incredible Shrinking Son of Man, p. 33)
The first historical mention of the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, was made by the Christian Father, St. Irenaeus, about the year 190 A.D. The only earlier mention of any of the Gospels was made by Theopholis of Antioch, who mentioned the Gospel of John in 180 A.D. 
None of these authors identifies himself. Who were they? Were they honest? Did they have first-hand knowledge or accurate sources? We don't know. The first record we have of anybody clearly associating the names of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John with these books was Irenaeus in 180 AD, a century and a half after the reported events. 
In fact, none of the Gospels were produced in the 1st
“In reality, the four gospels
selected for inclusion in the New Testament do not make any appearance in the
literary and archaeological record until the last quarter of the 2nd century,
between 170 and 180 C.E., and even then they are not much mentioned for a
couple of decades. In this regard, Church Fathers and archbishop of
Constantinople John Chrysostom (c. 347-407) stated
that the names traditionally attached to the canonical gospels were first
designated at the end of the second century” (Acharya
S, The Suns of God)
"The Four Gospels were unknown to the early Christian Fathers. Justin Martyr, the most eminent of the early Fathers, wrote about the middle of the second century. His writings in proof of the divinity of Christ demanded the use of these Gospels had they existed in his time. He makes more than 300 quotations from the books of the Old Testament, and nearly one hundred from the Apocryphal books of the New Testament; but none from the four Gospels. (The Book Your Church Doesn’t Want You to Read, (*)
The Hadith of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is based on isnad (chain of narration). But Jesus’ traditions have no isnad; the sources of the Gospels are Q, Mark, L, and M according to the Four-Source Hypothesis.
The two-source hypothesis states that Matthew and Luke independently copied Mark for its narrative framework and independently added discourse material from a non-extant sayings collection called Q. Much work has gone into the extent and wording of Q, particularly since the discovery of the Gospel of Thomas which attests to the sayings gospel genre. Holtzmann's 1863 theory posited an Ur-Marcus in the place of our Mark, with our Mark being a later revision. Some scholars occasionally propose an unattested revision of Mark, a deutero-Mark, being the base of what Matthew and Luke used. Streeter (1924) further refined the Two-Source Hypothesis into a Four-Source Hypothesis, with an M and an L being a unique source to Matthew and Luke respectively, with Q and L combined into a Proto-Luke before Luke added Mark. 
The Gospels were not handed down (person by person) through
a chain of narrators. The Hadith of the Prophet
Muhammad (pbuh) are reliable because we can verify
its authenticity. Also, we know the reporter’s name whereas the Gospels are
How do we know what Jesus (peace
be upon him) said? (It is impossible to know for certain whether the sentences
attributed to Jesus (peace be upon him) in the NT were actually uttered by him.
This is because missionaries have no isnads to trace Jesus's (peace be upon him) words back to him!)
What is isnad?
Isnad is the chain of narration. The Christians have
the matn (text) of their scripture but no isnad (chain of narration). Hence it is impossible to trace
back the alleged words attributed to Jesus (peace be upon him) all the way back
to his mouth. How can it be known that the Christian material is not mixed with
falsehood when there is an absence of isnads and no
verification checks in place at all. Hence the
believers in the NT are all following utter conjecture and anonymous words
whose source we cannot know and neither can we trace back the words or verify
The Christian 'hadîth'
is composed of matn (text) but no isnad
(chain of narration). Without isnad, as cAbdullah b. al-Mubarak said,
anyone can claim anything saying that it is coming from the authority. The
authorities in the case of Christian 'hadîth' are the
Apostles and later day Church Fathers. But how can one be sure that the
Christian 'hadîth' is not mixed with falsehood
without the proper isnad and its verification? 
Most Greek-speaking authors heard these
traditions in the Aramaic vernacular and committed them to writing in Greek.
None of these writings is dated prior to the year 70 C.E.; there is not a single
instance in these works where the author has cited an authority for an event or
maxim attributed to Jesus (peace be upon him) in order that we might construct
a chain of transmission. Furthermore, even their works have not survived.
Thousands of Greek manuscripts of the New Testament were collected, but none of
them is older than the fourth century C.E.; rather the origin of most of them
does not go beyond the period intervening between the 11th and the 14th
Now take the second attribute of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) by which he stands unique among all Prophets(pbut) and leaders of religion. Just as the Book transmitted to him, amounts of his character have also been preserved to serve as a beacon for us in all walks of life. From early childhood to the close of his life, a large number of those who saw him, witnessed the events of his life and heard his conversation, addresses, exhortations or warnings, had retained them in memory and passed them onto their successors. Some of the research scholars believe that the number of those who had passed on to the next generation eyewitness accounts or reports of events that they had heard during the lifetime of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) number a hundred thousand people. The Holy Prophet (pbuh) himself dictated some commands and handed or dispatched them to certain people. These were later bequeathed to the succeeding generations.
There were at least six Companions (pbut) who had recorded the Traditions of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) and tested the authenticity of their records by reading them out to the Holy Prophet(pbuh). These writings were also inherited by posterity. After the death of the Holy Prophet(pbuh), some fifty Companions (pbut) undertook to collect accounts of the circumstances and incidents of the Prophet's life and his holy utterances. The material gathered from this source also came into the hands of those who later accomplished the task of collecting and compiling the Traditions of the Holy Prophet (pbuh).
Besides, as I have mentioned earlier, the number of the Companions who transmitted orally their knowledge of the Holy Prophet's character(pbuh) runs to one hundred thousand, according to the estimate of some researchers. Little wonder, when we take into account the fact that the Holy Prophet (pbuh) performed his last Hajj, known as the Farewell Pilgrimage, in the company of one hundred and forty thousand people! All these believers saw him at the time of Hajj, learned from him the rituals of Hajj and listened to the addresses which the Holy Prophet (pbuh) delivered during this last Pilgrimage. It is improbable that when this assembly, who had attended such an important occasion as the Hajj, disperse to their own homes, their friends, relations and fellow-citizens should not have questioned them on the circumstances of their journey or failed to ascertain from them the injunctions about Hajj. One can well judge from this, after the Holy Prophet (pbuh) had departed from the world, how eagerly the people must have questioned those who had seen him and listened to his speech, on the details of his life, his sacred utterances, commands and instructions.
The procedure that had been adopted from the beginning regarding the traditions bequeathed to the later generations by the illustrious Companions(pbut) was that whoever ascribed an event or saying to the Holy Prophet(pbuh) had to state his source and furnish a chain of evidence. In this way, the sources of a particular tradition were traced through all connecting links back to the time of the Holy Prophet(pbuh) in order to determine whether their connection with the person of the Prophet of God (pbuh) was demonstrably true. If any links were found to be missing in the chain of transmission, the authenticity of the tradition fell into suspicion. When in the cast of a tradition, a complete line of evidence had been set up to the time of the Holy Prophet(pbuh), and even one of the reporters along the line had been recognized as unreliable, the tradition was discarded. If you ponder this a while, you will realize that circumstances relating to no other man in history have been recorded with such rigorous scrutiny. It is the distinction of Muhammed (pbuh) that no tradition ascribed to him has been accepted, save on authority. And while looking for the authority of a tradition, it was not considered sufficient to establish a chain of evidence up to the time of the Holy Prophet(pbuh) , but each one of the successive transmitters was carefully scrutinized as well so as to determine his or her reliability. For this purpose, the circumstances of all the reporters were thoroughly investigated and full-scale books were compiled. Setting forth details as to who was trustworthy and who was not; what sort of character and personality each of them had; whose memory was sound and whose weak. (Abul Ala Mawdudi, The Message of the Prophet’s Seerah, 
Here is good explanation of Luke 1:3 by brother A Muslim:
Luke is not inspired by God nor receives any revelations from God, Luke simply says that it will be good for him to also write an account of things that happened, the things which are believed among the people. Also note Luke writes this Gospel simply for a man named Theophilus so that he believes in these things. So basically the Gospel of Luke was written addressed to one man, and simply a work of collecting quotes, and information from eye-witness accounts.
There is nothing inspired in Luke,
nor is anything revealed from God unto Luke, Luke is simply making an account
of how things happened. In fact the work Luke does here is very similar to the
works of Bukhari and Muslim in how they collected and
made volumes of hadiths. They collected sayings of
the prophet Muhammad from his companions and eye-witnesses, and also showed
stories as told by eye-witnesses and so on. This is exactly as the Gospel of
Luke, the only difference is that we do not call the hadiths
the word of God, like Christians do with the Gospel of Luke…So one must ask how
in the world is the Gospel of Luke an inspiration and revelation from God?
We don’t know exactly who
translated the Logia (words) of Jesus to the Gentile community (Asia Minor,
Jesus taught his disciples as he moved about, and his words were first passed around by word of mouth. The gospels portray Jesus as one who speaks, not as one who writes. Jesus' native tongue was Aramaic. We do not know whether he could speak Hebrew as well. His words have been preserved only in Greek, the original language of all the surviving gospels. If Jesus could not speak Greek, we must conclude that his exact words have been lost forever. (Robert W. Funk, The Five Gospels, p. 1p. 3)
Jesus spoke Aramaic; therefore the general implication that arises is that his gospel would be in Aramaic, which is very close to Arabic, the language of the Koran. However, all the manuscripts of the present-day New Testament are in Koine Greek. If Jesus spoke Aramaic, why are his gospels in Greek? Why are there gospels in the plural when Jesus spoke of one gospel (Mark 10:29etc.)? Which gospel is the "word of God" since they add or take away from each other and even contradict each other? (Muhammad Asadi, Is the Bible God’s Word?)
Due to passage of time, the Logia (words) of Jesus were changed and distorted. The Jesus Seminar confirms the sayings of Jesus are lost forever as the result of translation.
Jesus wrote nothing, so far as we know. We do not know for certain that Jesus could write; we are not even positive that he could read, in spite of suggestions in the gospels that he could. His first followers were technically illiterate, so writing did not become a part of the Christian movement until persons like Paul became involved. Orality and memory Jesus taught his followers orally. He was a traveling sage who traded in wisdom, the counterpart of the traveling merchant who traded in soft and hard goods. Jesus taught his disciples as he moved about, and his words were first passed around by word of mouth. The gospels portray Jesus as one who speaks, not as one who writes. Jesus' disciples also responded to his teaching orally: they repeated his most memorable words to one another and to outsiders. They, too, adapted Jesus' words to new situations, improvising and inventing as the occasion demanded. Transmitters of oral tradition do not ordinarily remember the exact wording of the saying or parable they are attempting to quote. They normally have no written records to which they can refer, and the versions they themselves had heard varied from occasion to occasion. (Robert W. Funk, The Five Gospels, p. 1)
Some readers of this work will
perhaps be surprised or embarrassed to learn that certain of Jesus’ sayings,
parables, or predictions of His destiny were not expressed in the way we read
them today, but were altered and adapted by those who transmitted them to us.
(Maurice Bucaille, The Bible The Quran and Science, p. 88)
There is hardly any record of his code of behavior. The books in the New Testament do not even contain eye-witness accounts of his sayings and actions. They were written by people who derived their knowledge second-hand. These records are not comprehensive. Everything which Jesus said and did which has not been recorded has been lost forever”. (Muhammad Ataur-Raheem, Jesus Prophet of Islam, p. 195)
The Gospels were written by people
more interested in a living Lord present in their midst than in Jesus the
historical man from
“It is difficult to know whether the words or sayings attributed to Jesus are written exactly as he spoke them. (St. Joseph Medium Size Edition, p.23)
“His pure and true words were
adulterated and mixed with legend” (David Benjamin, Muhammad in the Bible, p.
Some of the events in the early mission of Jesus] were not strictly true but were added to the story of Jesus by the early Christians to express their faith in him as a Messiah." [London Daily Mail, page 12, 15/July/1984]
Only 16% of all events whereby Jesus was the principal actor are historically accurate and only 18% of the Jesus sayings—primarily parables and aphorisms- are historically accurate 
Mark contains the earliest words of Jesus, so Matthew and Luke changed the sayings for their own purpose. The NT manuscripts are not identical.
There was little hesitation in
reshaping materials to exclude whatever did not suit the particular editor’s
point of view, or in substituting other formulae of his own composition and
expanding or abridging after his own pleasure. The proof of this, for
contemporary New Testament scholars and even the attentive lay student, can be
seen in the somewhat cavalier way in which both Matthew and Luke treat the
Gospel of Mark (which both, quite obviously, had before them as they compiled
their own); they leave material out, make changes, and add to it at will.
Elaine Pagels, author of Beyond Belief: The Secret
Gospel of Thomas, reminds us that “what survived as
orthodox Christianity did so by suppressing and forcibly eliminating a lot of
other material”. (Tom Harper, The Pagan
Christ, p. 142)
“Thus Gospels were produced which clearly reflected the conception of the practical needs of the community for which they were written. In them the traditional material was used, but these was no hesitation in altering it or making additions to it, or in leaving out what did not suit the writer’s purpose. (T.G. Tuncker: The History of the Christians in the Light of Modern Knowledge, p. 320)
There is naturally much more manuscript variation in the gospel sayings than in the narrative sections, since it was the sayings that were repeatedly reinterpreted. Such variants are to be expected in any text which existed only as different manuscripts for many hundreds of years before it could be printed in the form of thousands of identical copies; for every single manuscript is the artifact of an individual scribe, who could introduce errors or what he—or his patron or his particular religious community—took for improvements. (G.A. Wells, The Jesus Myth, p. 4)
"There is considerable
manuscript variation in what Jesus says on divorce, and whether Luke has a
doctrine of the atonement depends on which manuscripts of his account of the
Last Supper are to be taken as giving the original reading...The International
Greek NT's apparatus of Luke provides what the Birmingham theologian D. Parker
reckons to be "upwards of 30,000 variants for that Gospel, so that we
have, for example, 81 in the Lord's Prayer." He adds:
"We do not possess the Greek New Testament. What we have is a mass of manuscripts, of which only about three hundred date from before A.D. 800. A mere thirty-four of these are older than A.D. 400, of which only four were at any time complete. All these differ, and all at one time or another had authority as the known text." [ D. Parker, 'Scripture is Tradition', Theology, 94 , p. 12. Cf. P.M. Head's article 'Christology and Textual Transmission: Reverential Alterations in the Synoptic Gospels' (Novum Testamentum, 35 , p. 111). 
The immediate disciples of Jesus were the 12 apostles who
preserved the Logia (words) of Jesus.
Eventually, the Logia passed to the Gentile Christians, the followers of
As the Pauline Church grew more
established, it became increasingly hostile to the followers of Jesus. It
aligned itself more and more with the rulers of the
From the time Jesus left earth to the second half of the Second Century, there was a struggle between two factions. One was what one might call Pauline Christianity and the other Judeo-Christianity. It was only very slowly that the first supplanted the second, and Pauline Christianity triumphed over Judeo-Christianity. (Maurice Bucaille, The Bible, The Quran, and Science, p. 70)
The Roman Catholic Church destroyed the Hebrew gospels of the Ebionites, eradicating the original sayings of Jesus. Only the four Gospels were accepted and the rest were destroyed as forgeries. How do we know the Gospels are not also forgeries? The reason why the Church selected these Gospels is because they were favored by the Church fathers Origen, Clement, and Iranaeus.
In 325 A.D., the famous Council of
Nicea was held. The doctrine of the Trinity was
declared to be the official doctrine of the Pauline Church, and one of the
consequences of this decision was that out of the three hundred or so Gospels
extant at that time, four were chosen as the official Gospels of the Church.
The remaining Gospels, including the Gospel of Barnabas, were ordered to be
destroyed completely. It was also
decided that all Gospels written in Hebrew should be destroyed. An edict
was issued stating that would found in possession of an unauthorised
Gospel would be put to death.
According to one source, there were at least 270 versions of the Gospel at this time, while another states there were as many as 4,000 different Gospels... It was decided that all the Gospels remaining under the table should be burned... It became a capital offence to possess an unauthorised Gospel. As a result, over a million Christians were killed in the years following the Council's decisions. This was how Athanasius tried to achieve unity among the Christians “…Unfortunately, books like The Travels and Teachings of the Apostles were destroyed by the Pauline Church, once it had adopted the doctrine of Trinity, in its attempts to eliminate any record which contradicted this dogma. Therefore, much that was known about Barnabas and the early Christians has been lost. (Jesus Prophet of Islam)
Here is exactly what happened, the powerhouse of fraud was
“Christianity began as a cult with
almost wholly Pagan origins and motivations in the first century, “and by the
fourth it had utterly turned its back on Paganism and repudiated very hint of.
. . connection with it, loading it with contempt from that day to this” (Tom
Harper, The Pagan Christ, pp. 51)
“The Christian writers… not only introduced new doctrines, legends, miracles and so forth – most of which we can trace to antecedent Pagan sources – but they took pains to destroy the Pagan records and so obliterate the evidence of their own dishonesty”. (Edward Carpenter, Pagan & Christian Creeds, p. 205)
The author Lloyd Graham explains:
The destruction of all evidence of Christianity’s Gnostic and pagan source was “the first work”. It was the evangelists themselves who started it, in
The early Church tried to destroy the parallels by book burning, assassination, and other fraud. Now if Christianity were true, the Christians wouldn’t have any reason to destroy the pagan documents, they obliterated the evidence to COVER UP the fraud.
We recommend the following books:
The Bible Fraud, by Tony Bushby
The Egyptian Origin of Christianity by Lisa Ann Bargeman
Paganism Surviving in Christianity by Abram Herbert Lewis
Paganism in Our Christianity by Arthur Weigall
Christianity: The Origins of a Pagan Religion by Philippe Walter
Jesus Christ, Sun of God by David Fideler
Book Your Church Doesn't Want You to Read by Tim C. Leedom
The X-Rated Bible: An Irreverent Survey of Sex in the Scriptures by Ben Edward Akerley
The Great Deception: And What Jesus Really Said and Did by Gerd Ludemann
Really Happened to Jesus: A Historical Approach to the Resurrection by Gerd Ludemann
Other great books on Christianity:
Jesus Versus Christianity by Alfred Reynolds
Paul: The Founder of Christianity by Gerd Ludemann
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