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Who is Jesus Christ?
The Gospel According to Matthew

The first book of the New Testament is the Gospel According to Matthew, said to have been written by Jesus's disciple Matthew, who was a tax-collector. The story in Matthew states that Jesus was a Jewish peasant, the stepson of a carpenter, born at Bethlehem in Judea, a region in Israel or what was then called Palestine. According to the Bible, Jesus was a descendant of the mighty Israelite King David, who was a descendant of the most holy Abraham, the father of two nations, the Israelites and the Ishmaelites, the ancestors of the Jews and Arabs. According to the book of Matthew, Jesus is descended from King DavidB as the Jewish Messiah was prophesied to be in the Old TestamentB through Joseph, Mary=s husband but not Jesus=s Areal father.@Luke also traces Jesus=s Davidic lineage to Joseph. In Matthew, it is related that the Aangel of the Lord@ appeared to Joseph in a dream, calling him Ason of David,@ and telling him that Jesus was begotten unto Mary by the Holy Ghost. JesusBmeaning "Savior," so-called because Ahe shall save his people from their sins.@Matthew remarks that Aall this was done@ as fulfillment of the prophecy (at Isaiah) that Aa virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name >Emmanuel= or >God is with us.=@

According to the gospel of Matthew, Jesus was born at Bethlehem sometime during the reign of AKing Herod.@The divine babe was shortly sought after by three Awise men from the east,@ who claimed to have Aseen his star in the east.@Matthew also claims that Jesus=s birth in Bethlehem was also prophesied. Upon hearing that the Jewish Messiah had been born in Bethlehem, Herod became agitated and sent the wise men out to find Jesus and send him back their word where he was. The wise men continued to follow the star and found Jesus. They then fell to their knees in from of the divine child and presented him with gold, frankincense and myrrh. The wise men were warned by God in a dream not to go back to Herod. While Joseph was likewise warned by the Lord to flee to Egypt with Mary and Jesus because A Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.@Jesus and his family escape to Egypt until Herod dies, at which point they return, so that, Matthew says, Ait might be fulfilled the prophecy that Aout of Egypt I have called my son.@

An outraged Herod next ordered the massacred of Aall the Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under...@ After this tragedy and Herod=s death, Jesus and his family returned to Israel and moved to the northern area of Galilee, to avoid Herod=s brother in Judea. Specifically, Jesus was to live in the city of Nazareth, so that the prophecy could be fulfilled that he would be called a ANazarene.@

Back in Judea, in the wilderness, John the Baptist was preaching and baptizing. John had to be the Avoice in the wilderness@ in order to fulfill a prophecy in Isaiah. John was dressed in a camelskin loincloth and ate locusts and honey. Matthew states that Aall Judea,@ including the city of Jerusalem, as well as parts of the country of Jordan, Awent out to him@ to be preached to and baptized. John attacked the Jewish priests who came for baptism, the Pharisees and Sadducees, called them a Ageneration of vipers.@In his scolding, John claimed Aone who is mightier@ than he Awill come to baptize them@ with the Holy Ghost and with Afire.@

Shortly afterward, Jesus arrived from Galilee to be baptized by John, but John objected that Jesus made him to do it. When Jesus was baptized, he rose out of the water and Athe heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the spirits of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him.@Then a Avoice from heaven@ said, AThis is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.@

After that acknowledgment of his divinity, Jesus was Ainto the wilderness,@ or, presumably, farther into it, Ato be tempted by the devil.@The devil took Jesus into the AHoly City@ and tried to get him to Acast himself down.@Jesus replied with famous line, AThou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God,@ which means AYou will not tempt the Lord your God.@It also means that Jesus acknowledged that he himself was God. Next, the devil took Jesus to an Aexceedingly high mountain@ so he could see Aall the kingdoms of the world.@

After rejecting the devil= s offer of all the kingdoms, Jesus returned to Galilee, after hearing that John the Baptist was in prison in Jerusalem. Jesus ended up in Capernaum, to fulfill a prophecy in Isaiah, which supposedly described the AGalilee of the Gentiles.@Here Jesus began his preaching, telling people to repent, AFor the kingdom of God is at hand.@

Walking by the Sea of Galilee, Jesus drew in two brothers who were fishermen, Simon called Peter and Andrew. The three were joined by the fishermen brothers James and John, sons of Zebedee.

Next, Jesus preached Aall over Galilee, in all the synagogues, preaching the gospel@ (Mt. 4:23) Healing Aall manner of sickness and disease,@ Jesus became famed Athroughout Syria.@(Mt. 4:24) Great multitudes of people from Galilee, Decapolis, Jerusalem and Jordan began to follow him.

In front of these multitudes, Jesus climbed a hill and gave the ASermon on the Mount.@Among other things, Jesus said that he did not come to destroy the Law, meaning the Jewish code of laws found in the Old Testament, but to fulfill it.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says that the A poor in spirit@ are blessed, as are those who are in mourning, as well as the meek and those who are reviled and persecuted. Those who Ahunger and thirst after righteousness,@ the merciful, the Apure in heart@ and the peacemakers are also blessed. Jesus also tells us that we are the Asalt of the earth@ and the "light of the world": ALet your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.@Later (Mt. 6:1-2), Jesus admonishes that we must not pray in public or expose our alms-giving. He warns not to Alet your left hand know what your right hand is doing, Aso that your alms may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.@ Jesus promises a reward also for fasting in secret, advising us to anoint our heads and wash our faces first.

In speaking of the commandment not to kill, which brings with it judgment, Jesus remarked that someone who becomes Aangry with his brother@ would also Abe liable to judgment@ and Awhoever insults his brother shall be liable to council.@Jesus admonished us that whoever says, AYou fool!@ will be Aliable to the hell of fire.@

In discussing adultery, Jesus asserted that merely looking at a woman with lust Ahas already committed adultery with her in his heart.@He then advised us to pluck out our eyes and throw them away if they cause us to sin. We are also to cut off our hands for the same reason. Jesus also stated that divorcing a woman for any reason other than lack of chastity Amakes her an adulteress@ and that Awhoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.@

The Lord Jesus also admonished us, ADo not swear at all@ and then stated, ALet what you say be simply >Yes= or >No=; anything more than this comes from evil.@

Jesus advises, ADo not resist one who is evil. But if any one strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also...@He commands us to give our cloak to anyone who sues for our coat and to go an extra mile with someone who forces us to go one mile. AGive to him who begs from you, and do not refuse him who would borrow from you.@ (Mt. 5:38-42)

During the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus also uttered those immortal words: ALove your enemies and pray for those who persecute you...@Jesus says that this kind of behavior will make us sons of our Father in heaven. He also said, AYou, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.@

The Sermon on the Mount contains many famous sayings such as the Lord=s Prayer:

Our Father who are in heaven,
Hallowed be they name.
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
And forgive us our debts,
As we also have forgiven our debtors;
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.

The Lord also advised us to Alay up@ treasures for ourselves not on Earth but in heaven.@Moreover, the Lord stated, AYou cannot serve God and mammon,@ which has been translated as Atreasure@ or Ariches.@ Jesus advised, ATake no thought for your life..." and not to be Aanxious about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink, or what you shall put on.@ He pointed to the birds as being well taken care of by God. How much more valuable are we? Those who are concerned with what they eat, drink or where possess little faith, since God knows we need them. Instead, we are to seek after righteousness and not be anxious about tomorrow, Afor tomorrow will be anxious for itself.@

One of the most important passages in Jesus= s Sermon is AJudge not, that you be not judged.@Next, Jesus tells his followers, ADo not give dogs what is holy; and do not throw your pearls before swine...@In his saying about knocking and having the door open, Jesus also says, AIf you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!@He next recites what is known as the AGolden Rule@: ADo unto others as you would have them do unto you.@But he declares that Athis is the law and the prophets.@

Next, Jesus advised us to AEnter by the narrow gate,@ which refers to the sin-free way of living, as wide pathBfull of sin and temptationBleads to destruction. The sinless path to heaven is difficult and for the few.

We are also warned to beware of false prophets, who are wolves in sheep=s clothing, and that we will Aknow them by their fruits.@Jesus reminded us that not everyone who calls him Lord will enter into the kingdom of heaven Abut he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.@Lastly, Jesus tells the parable of the wise man who builds upon a rock, rather than the foolish upon sand, wise words indeed!

After Jesus was finished with his sermon, Athe crowds were astonished by his teaching,@ and when he came down the mountain he was followed by Agreat multitudes.@A leper approaches him, and Jesus heals him. Jesus then instructs him to Atell no man@ about his healing.

When Jesus returned to Capernaum, he healed the servant of a centurion from afar, marveling at the centurion=s faith, and then proceeded to Peter=s house, where he healed Peter=s sick mother-in-law. That night many others, including people possessed by demons, were healed by Jesus, a fulfillment of a prophecy in Isaiah. Afterwards, a scribe asks to follow Jesus, who responds that Afoxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man has nowhere to lay his head.@The scribe then requests that he be allowed to return home first in order to bury his dead father, to which Jesus responds with the famous line, ALet the dead bury the dead.@

After that, Jesus got into a boat with his disciples following him. While in the sea, a big storm came and swamped the boat, but Jesus was sleeping. The disciples woke him up and begged him to save them from drowning. Jesus awakes and utters the famous words, AO ye of little faith!@ before calming the storm, an act that caused his disciples to be even more amazed by him.

Jesus then proceeded to the Acountry of the Gadarenes,@ where he cast the demons out of two menacing persons, into a herd of swine, after the demons beg Jesus to do so, specifically calling him ASon of God.@The herd then jumped into the sea and drowned, while Athe herdmen fled, and going into the city they told everything.@The Bible recounts that Aall the city came out to meet Jesus; and when they saw him, they begged him to leave their neighborhood.@

Jesus then got back into his boat and returned to A his own city,@ Capernaum, where he cured a paralyzed person, declaring that his sins were forgiven. Some scribes there claimed that Jesus was Ablaspheming.@Knowing or seeing their thoughts, Jesus accused them of Athinking evil in their hearts.@Jesus then again declared himself the ASon of man@ and said that he had authority to forgive sins. The paralytic got up and walked, causing great fear in the crowds, who nevertheless praised the Lord.

At this point, Jesus finally encounters Matthew, the tax collector, who was sitting at his office. Jesus commands Matthew to rise and follow him. Jesus is criticized for associating with Atax collectors and sinners,@ to which he replies, AI came not to call the righteous, but sinners.@

After explaining to his critics why his disciples do not fast, Jesus healed a women who had been bleeding for 12 years, when she touched his garment. Arriving at a certain ruler=s house, the Lord next raised his daughter from the dead, and Athe report of this went through all that district.@Jesus also healed two blind men, who called him ASon of David.@After this miracle, Jesus Asternly charged@ the men not to tell anyone about it, but they ran off and Aspread his fame through all that district.@ When Jesus casts a demon out of a mute man, who is then able to speak, the crowds were amazed and said, ANever was anything like this seen in Israel.@The Pharisees, one of the major priestly sects of Judaism, were not impressed and claimed that Jesus was casting out demons Aby the prince of demons.@ (Mt. 9:32)

The Bible reports that Jesus then traveled about A all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, healing every disease and every infirmity.@He set himself up as the shepherd to lost sheep and told his disciples to Apray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.@ At this point, Jesus called to himself the 12 disciples, giving them authority to do miracles, including curing diseases of all manner. These disciples are recorded by Matthew as Simon called Peter, Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew, James, Thaddaeus, Simon and Judas. Jesus sent these 12 out, telling them not to go among the Gentiles and Samaritans, i.e., non-Jews, but, rather, to go to the Alost sheep of the house of Israel.@He further charged them to urge these lost sheep to repent, that the kingdom of heaven was at hand and to heal the sick and raised the dead. The disciples were to do all this without any pay, Ano gold, nor silver, nor copper in your belts, no bag for your journey, nor two tunics, nor sandals, nor a staff.@They were further to find Awhoever was worthy@ in any given town and stay with him. If a place did not welcome them, the disciples were to A shake off the dust@ from their feet at they left the place, which would suffer a worse fate than Sodom and Gomorrah on Judgment Day. Jesus then exhorts his disciples that they were will sorely abused in his name but if they endured Ato the end@ they would be saved. Jesus also tells them to flee to another town if they are persecuted in one and that they Awill not have gone through all the towns of Israel, before the Son of man comes.@ Jesus also admonished them that whoever denied him Abefore men,@ he would also deny Abefore my Father who is in heaven.@

At this point, Jesus made his famous remarks as follows:

ADo not think that I have come to bring peace on earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daugher-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man=s foes will be those of his own household.

AHe who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and he who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for my sake will find it.@

After Jesus was done teaching his disciples, he went into their cities to Ateach and preach.@Meanwhile, John the Baptist was in prison, hearing about Jesus= s deeds. Although John had already pronounced Jesus the son of God for whom John was the messenger, having witnessed the remarkable events in the Jordan when the skies opened up, Jesus went up into the air and the dove and voice, he sent word to Jesus, asking, AAre you he who is to come, or shall we look for another?@Jesus then pronounces that, Aamong those born of women there has risen no one greater than John the Baptist...@He even states that John is AElijah who is to come!@

After that, Jesus became very angry and started condemning the cities in which he had been preaching, saying that Ait shall be more tolerable on the day of judgment or the land of Sodom than for you.@ Jesus also says that Aall who labor and are heavy laden@ should go to him and that he will give them rest. ATake my yoke,@ says Jesus, Aand learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.@

On the sabbath day, Jesus and his hungry disciples went into the grainfields and began to pick grain to eat. The Pharisees saw them and told Jesus that it was unlawful for them to be doing that on the sabbath. Jesus recited a story of how a hungry King David went into the temple and at the Abread of the Presence,@ an act lawful only for priests. Jesus then informed them that Asomething greater than the temple is here,@ referring to himself. He said, AFor the Son of man is lord of the sabbath.@

Jesus then proceeded into the Pharisees= synagogue and healed a man with Aa withered hand.@Again, he was asked if healing, which could be considered work, was lawful on the sabbath. Jesus wondered if his questioners would rescue one of their sheep if it had fallen into a pit on the sabbath and then asked if a man were not worth more than a sheep. Nevertheless, the Pharisees began to conspire against Jesus.

Because Jesus knew they were conspiring against him, he left the area, with many following him. Jesus Ahealed them all, and ordered them not to make him known.@He also spoke several parables to the crowd, before entering into Athe house,@ where his disciples beseeched him to explain to them the parable of the Aweeds of the field.@Jesus explained that Athe good seed means the sons of the kingdom,@ while Athe weeds are the sons of the evil one,@ having been sowed by the Aenemy,@ the devil. AThe harvest,@ said Jesus, Ais the close of the age, and the reapers are angels.@(Mt. 13:39) At this point, Jesus stated, AThe angels will come out of and separate the evil from the righteous, and throw them into the furnace of fire; there men will weep and gnash their teeth.@

After Jesus said these things, he went back to A his own country,@ where he began to teach in the synagogue, astonishing the people. They asked who he was, remarking AIs this not the carpenter=s son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? And are not all his sisters with us?@(Mt. 13:55-56) It was at this point that Jesus uttered the famous words, AA prophet is not without honor except in his own country and in his own house.@

When Herod Athe tetrarch,@ or Agovernor of the fourth part of a region,@ heard that Jesus=s fame, he remarked that the latter was John the Baptist raised from the dead. Herod was the one who had imprisoned John, because John had upbraided Herod for having with him his brother=s wife, Herodias. In exchange for doing a dance for Herod, Herodias in turn asked Herod for the Baptist=s head on a platter, which the king reluctantly did. After John was killed, his disciples buried his body and then told Jesus about it.

Hearing this sad news, Jesus went in a boat to a deserted area. The multitudes, however, found out where he was and followed him, so that when he set ashore he was besieged by the crowds, whom he compassionately healed. At night, the disciples came to Jesus and advised him that the crowds needed to return to their villages, as there was no food in that uninhabited place. At this point, Jesus performed the famed miracle of multiplying the fishes and the loaves. Jesus took the five loaves the disciples had and broke them apart, giving them to the disciples to distribute to the crowd of about 5,000, which was miraculously fed by them all. In fact, after the crowd was satisfied there remained 12 baskets of pieces left over!

Next, Jesus sent the disciples back into the boat and sent the crowd away, after which he went into the hills alone to pray. After a while, the disciples in the boat looked up to see Jesus walking on the water towards them, a sight that terrified them, as they thought he was a ghost. Peter asked Jesus to allow him to walk on the water as well, and the Lord assented. But while Peter was on the water, he became afraid of the wind and yelled, ALord, save me!@Jesus caught him but castigated him for his lack of faith. After this miracle, the disciples agreed that Jesus truly was the Son of God.

When they landed at Gennesaret, more people crowded around Jesus and were healed, many by just the touch of his clothing.

Certain Pharisees from Jerusalem approached Jesus and asked why his disciples did not wash their hands before eating, thus transgressing the Atradition of the elders.@Jesus answered by asking them why they themselves transgressed God= s command to honor their mothers and fathers. He also told them that it is Anot what goes into the mouth@ that Adefiles a man, but what comes out of the mouth.@Jesus further explained what defiled a man, such as Aevil thoughts, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander,@ but not eating with unwashed hands.

When Jesus left that place, he went to Tyre, in Phoenicia, where he was approached by a Canaanite woman who told him that her daughter was possessed by a demon. Jesus ignored this woman, however, and told his disciples that he was here only for the Alost sheep of the house of Israel.@When she continued to beg him, Jesus told the woman that it was not fair Ato take the children=s bread and throw it to the dogs,@ calling the woman a dog and saying that she was unworthy of his blessing. The woman countered that even the dogs received crumbs from their master=s table, at which point Jesus praised her for her faith and healed her daughter.

Jesus proceeded to the Sea of Galilee, went into the hills and sat down, after which the multitudes approached him with their sick and diseased. The Lord healed many that day, amazing them and causing them to glorify the God of Israel. Jesus then called his disciples and expressed concern that the crowd had nothing to eat, at which point the disciples worried about where they would get enough to feed them all. Again, Jesus took a few loaves and, breaking them, was able to feed the crowd, this time of 4,000. This time, seven baskets of bread pieces were left over.

Jesus returned to the boat and went to another region, where again he was confronted by the Pharisees and Sadducees, who wanted to test him with a Asign from heaven.@Jesus responded that Aan evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no shall be given except the sign of Jonah.@When the disciples forget the miracle of the multiplying of the loaves, Jesus blames the Pharisees and Sadducees.

Proceeding to Caesarea, Jesus challenged his disciples by asking them who they thought he was, to which Peter responded that Jesus was Athe Christ, the Son of the living God.@Peter=s name means Arock,@ and Jesus replied that he would build his church upon Athis rock,@ which would never succumb to death. Jesus also gave Peter the Akeys of the kingdom of heaven,@ after which Ahe strictly charged the disciples to tell no on that he was the Christ.@(Mt. 16:20)

Jesus next revealed to his disciples that he would have to go to Jerusalem Aand suffer many things from the elders and the chief priests and the scribes@ before being killed and rising again on the third day. Upset at this revelation, Peter cried out that such a thing would never happen to Jesus. Jesus seemed to become angry with Peter, saying, AGet behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me; for you are not on the side of God, but of men.@(Mt. 16:22)

Next, Jesus told his disciples that they should deny themselves and Atake up their crosses@ and follow him. AFor whoever would save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it,@ Jesus said. (Mt. 16:25) He then predicted that before some of those present had died, they would Asee the Son of man coming in his kingdom.@

Six days later, Jesus took Peter, James and John up a mountain, where Jesus was transfigured, Aand his face shone like the sun,@ while his clothes became Awhite as light.@Next to him appeared the Old Testament figures Moses and Elijah, having a conversation with Jesus. The disciples heard an overhead cloud announce, AThis is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.@The disciples, hearing these words, fell to the ground in awe. Jesus reassured them, bidding them to stand up and not to be afraid. When they rose, Jesus was alone.

As the four were descending the mountain, Jesus instructed the disciples not to tell anyone about what they had seen, until he had been resurrected from death. When the disciples asked about Elijah coming again, as the scribes had written, Jesus replied that Elijah had come again but Athey did not know him.@He then stated that he too would Asuffer at their hands.@The disciples understood that Jesus was referring to John the Baptist, when he said that Elijah had come again.

When they arrived in front of a crowd, a man approached Jesus and begged him to heal his son, who suffered from epilepsy. The man said he had asked the disciples for help but they were unable to heal him. Jesus remarked about a Afaithless and perverse generation,@ before he exorcized a demon from the son. In private, Jesus told the disciples that they could not cast out the demon and heal the boy because they didn=t have enough faith. He then stated that with faith the size of a grain of mustard see they would be able to move a mountain. Jesus also said that nothing would be impossible for those who had this tiny bit of faith!

At a gathering in Galilee, Jesus told his followers that he would be Adelivered into the hands of men,@ who would kill him, after which he would resurrect on the third day. Jesus= s words very much upset his followers.

In the town of Capernaum, the tax-collectors approached Peter and asked him if Jesus paid his taxes. This question led to a discussion with Jesus regarding taxes and, although Jesus did not agree with the tax, in order not to offend the collectors, he had Peter throw a line into the sea and pull out a fish with a coin in its mouth to give to them.

In response to the disciples question as to A Who is the great in the kindgom of heaven?@, Jesus responded that we should all become like children or else we will never enter the kingdom. AWhoever humbles himself like this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.@(Mt. 18:4) Jesus also said that whoever welcomed an innocent child in his name welcome him as well and that whoever caused Aone of these little ones@ who believe in him to sin would be better off with a Amillstone@ around his neck and drowned in the sea. Jesus then stated that a tempter would experience great woe and repeated that if one=s hand or foot caused one to sin one should cut it off and throw it away. He also repeated that we should pluck out our eyes if they cause us to sin, because it is better to be blind than to be Athrown into the hell of fire.@

Jesus also said that if someone=s brother sinned against him, he should confront him, with witnesses if necessary. If the brother didn=t repent, the offended person should confide in the church, but if the offender doesn= t listen, said Jesus, Alet him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector,@ which are bad things. Still, when Peter asked Jesus how many times he should forgive his brother=s sins against him, Jesus replied that it should not be seven times but Aseventy times seven.@(Mt. 18:22) He then told a story about a king who was owed money by a servant but who would forgave him the debt until the servant attacked another servant who owed him money and then had him put in prison. Jesus then stated that his heavenly Father would imprison us in the same manner, if we do not forgive our brothers Afrom our hearts.@

After Jesus finished speaking, he left Galilee and went to Judea, followed by the multitudes, whom he healed. The Pharisees again approached him, testing him by asking him about divorce. Jesus replied that in the beginning God made humans male and female, and said, A What therefore God has joined together, let no man put asunder.@The Pharisees responded that Moses had allowed a Acertificate of divorce,@ to which Jesus replied that Moses had done so on account of his followers= Ahardness of heart.@Jesus then reiterated that Awhoever divorces his wife, except for unchastity, and marries another, commits adultery.@

At this point, the disciples objected that it would be better not to marry. Jesus replied that it would be best for men to become eunuchs, which means that they should be castrated. (Mt. 19:19)

After that, Jesus healed some children, even though some disciples scolded the people for bringing them to Jesus.

One of the crowd asked Jesus what good he should do to attain to eternal life. Jesus wondered why the man was asking this question, but replied that he should keep the commandments: AYou shall not kill, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.@(Mt. 19:18-19) The man replied that he had already kept all those commandments and then asked what he was still lacking. Jesus responded that if he Awould be perfect,@ he would have to sell his possessions and Agive to the poor.@He should thus lay up his treasures in heaven and should follow Jesus. As this youth was rich, he left feeling despondent.

Jesus then made his famous speech about the rich man not being able to enter into the kingdom of heaven. AAgain I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.@This remark astounded his disciples, who wondered who, then, could be saved? Jesus replied that Awith God all things are possible.@When Peter objected that the disciples had left everything abandoned everything to follow Jesus, the Lord replied that they would be rewarded in the Anew world,@Anew birth@ or Aregeneration,@ where they would Asit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.@ (Mt. 19:28) Jesus also said, AAnd every one who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name=s sake, will receive a hundred-fold, and inherit eternal life. But many that are first will be last, and the last first.@(Mt. 19:29-30)

In describing the kingdom of heaven, Jesus told the parable of the householder who hired laborers for his vineyard. The householder went out several times during the day, hiring laborers at various times, but when he went to pay them, he gave them all the same amount, which made the earliest laborers grumble. Jesus finished by saying, ASo the last will be first, and the first last.@(Mt. 20:16)

After this story, Jesus and his disciples headed off for Jerusalem, with Jesus reiterating that he would be handed over to the chief priests, condemned to death and delivered Ato the Gentiles to be mocked and scourged and crucified,@ to be resurrected on the third day.

At some point, the mother of James and John asked Jesus to make sure her sons were placed his his right and left hands in the kingdom, Jesus replied that he could not guarantee it would be so, because it was up to the Father. Jesus then told his other disciples, who were angered by James and John, that Awhoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave; even as the Son of man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.@

When Jesus left the town of Jericho, he was followed by a crowd, passing two blind men on the side of the road, who shouted, AHave mercy on us, Son of David!@The crowd hushed them up, but they cried out again, at which point Jesus asked them, A What do you want me to do for you?@Of course, they wanted their eyesight back, Jesus touched their eyes and restored their sight.

When Jesus and the disciples came to the Mount of Olives, near Jerusalem, he sent two of them into the nearby village so that they could get an ass and her colt tied there. He instructed them to respond, if they were challenged, that the ALord has need of them,@ which would be in fulfillment of the prophecy that the king of the Jews would come A mounted on an ass, and on a colt...@(Mt. 21:5) After the ass and colt were brought to him, Jesus mounted them, in preparation for his entrance into Jerusalem. The crowd spread their clothing and branches on the road in front of him, following him and shouting, AHosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!@

Jesus proceeded to the temple, where he drove out all the merchants and overturned the tables. He stated that the temple was supposed to be a house of prayer but that they had made it into a Aden of robbers.@ Remaining in the temple, Jesus healed the sick, while children shouted, AHosanna to the Son of David!@Their cries angered the chief priests and scribes, who approached Jesus and asked him if he heard what they were shouting. Jesus responded with the famous line, AOut of the mouth of babes...@Then he left to go to Bethany, where he stayed the night.

Upon returning to Jerusalem in the morning, Jesus was hungry, so he stopped at a fig tree, which bore leaves but no fruit. Jesus then cursed the fig tree, saying, AMay no fruit ever come from you again!@Jesus used this occurrence to illustrate a point about faith, again saying that if your faith is strong enough, you could do the same to the fig tree, or even say to the mountain, ABe taken up and cast into the sea,@ and it would be done. He then stated that whatever we ask in prayer, we will receive, if we have faith.

As Jesus returned to the temple, he was once again accosted by the chief priests and elders who once again asked him by whose authority he performed his deeds. When Jesus responded by asking them by whose authority did they believe John the Baptist performed baptism, by that of heaven or man, they hesitated. They did not want to answer Aheaven@ because then Jesus would ask them why they didn=t believe him, but they didn=t want to answer Aman@ because they were afraid of the crowds, Afor all hold that John was a prophet.@So, they answered that they did not know, to which Jesus responded that he too would not tell them by whose authority he preached and did miracles.

Jesus also told these priests and elders that they would not enter into the kingdom of heaven before the tax-collectors and harlots, because these people believed John the Baptist, whereas the priests and elders did not. Jesus told two parables about vineyards to illustrate his point, and then referred to himself as Athe very stone which the builders rejected,@ which became Athe head of the corner.@The Ahead of the corner@ is also translated as the Acornerstone@ or Achief cornerstone.@He then said, ATherefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a nation producing the fruits of it.@(Mt. 21:43) Having understood his parables, the chief priests and elders were offended by these remarks, but they were afraid to arrest him because of the crowds, who considered him a prophet.

Jesus next told the parable of a man who was bound and thrown out of a wedding because he was not wearing proper clothing. The Lord used this parable to illustrate his famous scripture, AFor many are called but few are chosen.@(Mt. 22:14) Jesus=s words once again irritated the Pharisees, who tried to trip him up by sending their disciples to him to ask him difficult questions. One of these questions was whether or not Jesus believed it to be lawful to pay taxes to Caesar. Jesus replied by asking them whose image was on the coins, to which they responded that it was Caesar. At that point, Jesus said his famous line, ARender therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar=s, and to God the things that are God=s.@(Mt. 22:21) The Pharisees= disciples were amazed by his response.

Jesus was also approached on the same day by the Sadducees, who traditionally did not believe in the resurrection. They asked the Lord a question about a woman who was married and widowed seven times, saying, AIn the resurrection, therefore, to which of the seven will she be wife? For they all had her.@(Mt. 22:28)

Jesus rebuked them, saying that they did not know the scriptures, Anor the power of God,@ claiming that in the resurrection there is no marriage but that the righteous would A be like angels in heaven.@In addressing these Sadducees= lack of belief in the resurrection, Jesus remarked that his Father was called the A God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob,@ implying that these Old Testament heroes must still be alive, since AHe is not the God of the dead, but of the living.@(Mt. 22:32) Once again, Jesus=s words astounded the crowd.

The Pharisees returned to Jesus and asked him which was the greatest commandment, to which Jesus responded, AYou shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.@The second greatest is that you should love your neighbor as yourself. AOn these two commandments,@ said Jesus, Adepend all the law and the prophets.@

At this point, Jesus turned the tables on the Pharisees and asked them the question of who they thought the Christ was. Their reply was that he was the son of David. Jesus then wondered why David himself, Ainspired by the Spirit,@ called the Christ ALord.@ AIf David thus calls him Lord, how is he his son?@ asked Jesus. No one, the Bible tells us, was able to answer him, and they stopped asking him questions.

Jesus then told his disciples and the rest of the crowd that they should follow what the Pharisees and scribes preach but not what they practice. He also stated that they were pretentious in the religious practices and that they loved being called rabbi, but that his disciples should not be called rabbi, Afor you have one teacher, and you are all brethren.@(Mt. 23:8) He also said that we should Acall no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven.@(Mt. 23:9) He also said that we have only one master, the Christ, and he repeated that whoever is greatest among us will be our servant and whoever is exalted will be humbled, while whoever is humble will be exalted.

Jesus also castigated the Pharisees for closing off the kingdom of heaven to others, claiming that they were hypocrites who made their proselytes or followers into A children of hell.@Jesus also criticized their temple practices, preferring that they not swear by the earthly things of the temple and altar but by him who dwells in the temple. Jesus said that Ahe who swears by heaven, swears by the throne of God and by him who sits upon it.@ Jesus further scolded these pious Jews for tithing Amint and dill and cummin,@ while neglecting the Aweightier matters of the law, justice and mercy an faith.@He said that they were Ablind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel!@ Jesus further scolds the priests by saying that they may be clean on the outside, referring to their ritual washing, but that they are Afull of extortion and rapacity.@He also says that they are Alike whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within they are full of dead men=s bones and uncleanness.@(Mt. 23:27) ASo you outwardly appear righteous to men,@ Jesus stated, Abut within you are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.@

Jesus stated that these priests were the sons of the men who murdered the prophets, and then remarked, AYou serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell?@ (Mt. 23:33) He said that he sends them prophets and wise men and scribes but they kill and crucify some of them, scourging and persecuting them. For these offenses, Jesus told Jerusalem, their house or temple was Aforsaken and desolate.@He then stated that they would not see him again, until they said, ABlessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.@(Mt. 23:39)

Jesus also stated that not one stone of the temple would be left standing. When his disciples asked him for signs of his coming and of the end of the age, Jesus admonished them to let no one lead them astray. He said that many would coming saying that they were Christ and that they would lead many astray. Jesus then made his famous remarks:

AFor nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places; all this is but the beginning of the sufferings. Then they will deliver you up to tribulation, and put you to death; and you will be hated by all nations for my name= s sake. And then many will fall away, and betray one another, and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because wickedness is multiplied, most men=s love will grow cold. But he who endures to the end will be save. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, as a testimony to all nations; and then the end will come.@(Mt. 24:7-14)

Jesus also said that fleeing at the wrong time will bring a great tribulation, Asuch as has not been seen from the beginning of the world until now...@ Jesus then said that after the tribulation the sun and moon would darken and the stars would fall from heaven, as the powers of heaven would be shaken. (Mt. 24:29) At this point, the sign of the Son of man would be seen in heaven, and Aall the tribes of the earth will mourn,@ as the Son of man appeared on the clouds, sending forth his angels Awith a loud trumpet call.@These angels will gather Jesus=s Aelect@ from all over. Jesus then declared that before this generation passed away, all these things would take place. But, he said, no one knew when that would occur, not even him, the Son. Because this is so, Jesus admonished that we should always be ready for his coming.

Jesus told two more long parables about Awise and foolish maidens@ and about money, so that he could impress the following lesson: AFor to every one who has will more be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away.@He then said that when Athe Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne.@He stated that all the nations will be gathered in front of him, and as the shepherd he will separate the sheep from the goats, placing Athe sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left.@Jesus refers to himself in the third person as Athe King,@ saying that Athose at his right hand@ had given him food when he was hungry, drink when he was thirsty, clothing when he was naked, and had welcomed him when he was a stranger. Jesus also said that they visited him when he was sick and in prison. (Mt. 25:34-36) The disciples objected that they had never done any of those things, to which Jesus replies that if they have done it Ato one of the least of the brethren,@ they have done it to him.

Jesus then stated that those at his left hand would be cursed and condemned to Aeternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels,@ because they did not feed him, give him drink, clothe him or visit him when he was sick or in prison. Again, it is the others whom they did not take care of, being reflected in Jesus. To these will be eternal punishment, while to the others, eternal life.

After he was done with these sayings, Jesus reminded his disciples that, during the Passover in two days, he would Adelivered up to be crucified.@(Mt. 26:2) Meeting in the palace of the high priest Caiaphas, the chief priests and scribes plotted to arrest Jesus and kill him. However, they decided not to do it during the Passover because it would upset the mobs.

Meanwhile, Jesus was in Simon= s house in Bethany, when a womanBwhom most think is Mary Magdalene, although she is not namedB approached him with an alabaster jar of expensive ointment, which she poured over his head, thus anointing him for burial. The disciples were angered, claiming that this expensive ointment was wasted, when it could have been sold and the money given to the poor. Jesus responded that the woman had Adone a beautiful thing@ to him, and responds that the disciples will always have the poor, but they would not always have him. Christ then stated, ATruly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.@(Mt. 26:13)

After this, Judas went to the chief priests and offered to hand Jesus over to them, for a price. They gave him 30 pieces of silver, after which Judas waited for his moment to betray Jesus.

During the celebration of the Unleavened Bread, the disciples asked Jesus where they would eat their Passover meal. Jesus told them to go into the city and tell someone that the Teacher related that his time was near and that he would celebrate passover at this person= s house.

The Passover celebration became the ALast Supper,@ as Jesus sat with his 12 disciples, telling them that one of them would betray him. Jesus knew exactly who it was, and said that Ait would have been better for that man if he had not been born.@

Jesus broke the Passover bread and spread it among his disciples, saying, ATake, eat; this is my body.@Then he took a cup and passed it around, saying, ADrink of it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many of the forgiveness of sins.@He stated that this would be the last time he would drink wine with his disciples until he saw them in his Father=s kingdom.

The gathering then sang a hymn and went to the Mount of Olives, where Jesus told them that they would Afall away@ that night because of him, citing scripture that when the shepherd is struck, the sheep will be scattered. He then promised that after he was resurrected he would appear to them in Galilee. Peter objected that he would never Afall away@ because of Jesus, but Christ responded that Peter would indeed deny him, three times before the cock crowed the next day, which would be before sunrise. Peter again declared his loyalty, saying he would die with Jesus, as did the other disciples.

They next proceeded to Gethsemane, where Jesus told them to sit while he went to pray, taking with him Peter, James and John. While alone with them, Jesus A began to be sorrowful and troubled@ at his pending death, and he wanted the three disciples to remain with him. Jesus then fell to his face and prayed, AMy Father if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt.@(Mt. 26:39) Jesus then approached the disciples, hoping they would stay awake with him, but they could not, so he went and prayed again, twice more asking his Father to absolve him for his coming duty.

When it was time, Jesus woke up the disciples and told them the betrayer was on his way, at which point Judas arrived, with a mob carrying swords and clubs, including the chief priests and elders. Judas had told them that he would kiss Jesus to show them who to seize. As the betrayer kissed him, Jesus asked why he was there, and then was seized. As this was happening, one of Jesus= s followers took out a sword and cut off the ear of the high priest=s slave. Jesus reprimanded him, saying A...all who take the sword will perish by the sword.@Jesus also told this man that if he wanted to stop the proceedings, he could appeal to his Father, who would immediately send Amore than 12 legions of angels.@But, if he did that, the scriptures would not be fulfilled. (Mt. 26:56) At this point, all the disciples fled from him.

Jesus was taken before the high priest Caiaphas, Awhere the scribes and the elders had gathered.@Following behind was Peter, who sat nearby. The authorities gathered attempted to find somone who would provide false testimony against Jesus, so they could lawfully kill him. Two false witnesses came forward, one of whom stated that Jesus had said he would destroy the temple and raise it again in three days. Jesus said nothing in response. Caiaphas again confronted him, saying, the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.@ (Mt. 26:63) Jesus replied, AYou have said so... hereafter you will see the Son of man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.@(Mt. 26:64) There remarks caused the high priest to tear his robes and declare that Jesus had Auttered blasphemy.@He then said that they needed no more witnesses and asked the council for their judgment. They declared that Jesus deserved death. The story next relates that the council members spat in his face and slapped him.

After this terrible occurrence, a woman approached Peter in the courtyard and stated that he had been with Athe Galilean,@ meaning Jesus. Peter walked away, denying it, but another woman pointed him out and told the crowd that he had been with Jesus Athe Nazarite.@Again, Peter denied it, saying, AI do not know this man.@Other people in the crowd approached Peter and said that his accent gave him away as A one of them.@(Mt. 26:75) Peter once again, for the third time, denied that he knew Jesus, and he recalled Jesus=s words that, before Athe cock crows,@ or the morning, he would deny him three times. This realization made Peter weep.

In the morning, the chief priests and the elders decided to kill Jesus, so they tied him up and took him to the Roman governor, Pilate. Seeing Jesus condemned like this, Judas repented and returned the silver to the Jewish authorities, declaring that he had sinned Aagainst innocent blood.@(Mt. 27:4) As they would not take back the blood money, Judas threw it down, left and then hung himself. Since the money was blood money, the authorities determined it was not legal to place it into the temple treasury, so they bought a Apotter=s field@ in which strangers were to be buried, a place they called the AField of Blood.@(Mt. 27:8)

Standing before Pilate, Jesus was asked, AAre you the King of the Jews?@Jesus replied, AYou have said so.@When his accusers spoke, he did not respond, so Pilate asked him if he did not hear all the testimony against him, but Jesus would not answer.

The Bible then says that during the Passover feast it was the governor=s custom to release any prisoner the crowd desired. Pilate gave them the choice between Jesus Barrabas, a Anotorious prisoner,@ and AJesus who is called Christ.@Pilate knew that the crowdBwho had followed Jesus as begged for his healingBhad handed him over out of envy. Pilate=s wife had told the governor not to have anything to do with Jesus, because of a troubling dream she had about him. When Pilate asked them again, the people responded that they wanted him to release Jesus Barrabas, at which point Pilate asked what he should do with Jesus Christ. The crowd all said, A Let him be crucified.@Pilate next asked them, AWhat evil has he done?@But the crowd was still more agitated, shouting, ALet him be crucified.@

Fearing a riot, Pilate washed his hands and said, A I am innocent of this man=s blood,@ and gave him over to the crowd, who shouted, AHis blood be on us and on our children!@(Mt. 27:25)

Despite Pilate washing his hands of the affair, his soldiers took Jesus off to the praetorium, or common hall, where they stripped off this clothes and placed on him a scarlet robe and a crown of thorns. They also gave him a reed to hold in his right hand, like a scepter, and then made fun of him, saying, AHail, King of the Jews!@(Mt. 27:29) Then they spat on him and hit him in the head with the reed. Finally, they removed the robe, put his own clothes back on and took him away to be crucified.

While they were proceeding to Golgotha, also called Calvary, the Aplace of the skulls,@ where the condemned were to be crucified, a man named Simon was forced to carry Jesus= s cross. Finally, at Golgotha Jesus was given a drink of wine or vinegar, mixed with gall or bile. Tasting it, Jesus did not drink it. After Jesus was crucified, the soldiers shared his clothing among themselves, by casting lots to see who would get what. Setting up their post in order to watch him, the soldiers also placed a sign over his head that read, AThis is Jesus the King of the Jews.@On either side of Jesus were crucified two robbers. People passing by Jesus hanging there ridiculed him for saying that he would destroy the temple and rebuild it himself but that he couldn= t even save himself. AIf you are the Son of God,@ they said, Acome down from the cross.@The chief priests and elders also made fun of him, noting that he claimed to be able to save others but that he couldn=t save himself. They too wanted him to come down from the cross and then they would believe in him. Even the thieves crucified with him tormented him in the same manner.

For three hours while Jesus was on the cross, darkness fell upon the earth, and Jesus finally cried out, AMy God, my God, why have you forsaken me?@Because he used the Syrian word AEli,@ for AGod,@ people thought Jesus was talking to the prophet Elijah. At this point someone filled a sponge with vinegar and tried to get Jesus to drink it. Others wanted to wait to see if Elijah would come save him. But, with a loud voice, Jesus cried out and passed away.

At this very moment when Jesus gave up the ghost, the temple was ripped into two pieces, Afrom top to bottom.@This tragedy was accompanied by an earthquake and rocks splitting, as well as tombs opening up and many dead saints being resurrected and appearing in Jerusalem to many people. Because of these events, the Roman soldiers became awed and said, ATruly this was the Son of God!@

Matthew related that many women followers of Jesus watched from afar, including Mary Magdalene and AMary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee,@ who are James and John. (Mt. 27:55)

That evening, a rich disciple of Jesus named Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for Jesus=s body, which Pilate consented. Joseph wrapped Jesus=s body in a shroud and placed it in Joseph=s own new tomb, after which he rolled a rock in front of it and left. Sitting outside the tomb were Mary Magdalene Aand the other Mary.@

The following day, the Pharisees and chief priests approached Pilate and reminded him that JesusBAthe impostor,@ they called himBhad claimed he would rise again after three days. They were that his disciples would steal his body, and then claim he had risen from the dead, so they asked for the tomb to be guarded. Pilate consented and sent guards to the tomb.

During the dawn following the sabbath, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see Jesus=s tomb. There occurred a great earthquake, and angel came from heaven and rolled the stone away, afterwards sitting upon it. AHis appearance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow.@ The guards became afraid of the angel, who told the women not to fear because he knew they were seeking AJesus who was crucified.@The angel then told them Jesus was not there because he had risen, as he said he would. Next he showed them the spot where Jesus=s body had been placed and instructed them to go tell his disciples that he had resurrected and was on his way to Galilee, where they would see him. Joyfully, the two Marys quickly went off to inform his disciples, but they were greeted by Jesus, who said to them, AHail!@Falling to his feet, the women worshipped him, and he told them not to be afraid but to go tell his brothers to meet him in Galilee.

As the women departed, some of the guards went into Jerusalem and told the chief priests what had happened at the tomb. The Jewish authorities decided to bribe the soldiers with some money so that they would tell the people that the disciples had stolen the body while they were sleeping. As Matthew says, the guards followed his instructions, and Athis story has been spread among the Jews to this day.@

Heeding Jesus=s instructions, the remaining 11 disciples went to a mountain in Galilee, where he appeared to them. Upon seeing him, they worshipped him, although some doubted him. In any event, Jesus then said to them:

AAll the authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.@ (Mt. 28:18-20)

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"Murdock's scholarship is relentless! ...the research conducted by D.M. Murdock concerning the myth of Jesus Christ is certainly both valuable and worthy of consideration." —Dr. Kenneth L. Feder, Professor of Archaeology, Central Connecticut State University, Frauds, Myths, and Mysteries: Science and Pseudoscience In Archaeology

"I find myself in full agreement with Acharya S/D.M. Murdock... I find it undeniable that...many, many of the epic heroes and ancient patriarchs and matriarchs of the Old Testament were personified stars, planets and constellations..." —Dr. Robert M. Price, The Pre-Nicene New Testament

"I can recommend your work whole-heartedly!" —Dr. Robert Eisenman, James the Brother of Jesus and The New Testament Code,

"...I have found Murdock's scholarship, research, knowledge of the original languages, and creative linkages to be breathtaking and highly stimulating." —Rev. Dr. Jon Burnham, Pastor, Presbyterian Church, Houston, TX

"Acharya S deserves to be recognized as a leading researcher and an expert in the field of comparative mythology, on a par with James Frazer or Robert Graves—indeed, superior to those forerunners in the frankness of her conclusions and the volume of her evidence." —Barbara Walker, The Women's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets and Man Made God

"I've known people with triple Ph.D's who haven't come close to the scholarship in Who Was Jesus?" —Pastor David Bruce, M.Div, North Park Seminary, Chicago,

"Thirty years ago, when in divinity school, I might have had second thoughts about becoming an Episcopal priest if a book like D. M. Murdock's Who Was Jesus? had been available to me." —Bob Semes, Retired university professor of History and Religion, Founder and Executive Director of The Jefferson Center

"Ms. Murdock is one of only a tiny number of scholars with the richly diverse academic background (and the necessary courage) to adequately address the question of whether Jesus Christ truly existed as a walking-talking figure in first-century Palestine." —David Mills, Atheist Universe

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