Volume. XIX, No. 19
Sunday, 21 November 2004

From the pastors heart: Da Vinci Code solved

I have heard a lot about a book, Da Vinci Code. I did not know what kind of book it was. However, since I came to the States I have been asked about the book so often. When I checked the book in one of the book stores, I noticed that there was a word “novel” on the cover page. I was wondering why so many people had fussed over the book. After all, it was a novel. But, I began to realize that so many readers were confused about historical Jesus and His life and ministry as a result of reading this book. At the same time, I found a book written by Darrell L. Bock, Breaking the Da Vinci Code, (Nelson, 2004). In this book, he pointed out every fallacy he could find from Da Vinci Code. I’ll show you some of his points from this book. Da Vince Code background story is not new at all. In fact, a few decades ago, there was a novel, Holy Blood, Holy Grail, in which the author claimed that Mary Magdalene came to France and carried a baby belonged to Jesus. Please pardon me of this unholy talk. However, if you have ever read the book and have any cloud of doubts in your mind about the truthfulness of the Gospels in the New Testament, this article will provide you with some antidotes to cure your problems. I would not recommend anyone to read Da Vince Code, but if he is interested in reading Darrell L. Bock’s book, I’ll heartily recommend him to do so.

Some people argue that Jesus must have been married to Mary Magdalene and present a few evidences to prove their points. One of them is from Gospel of Philip 63:32-64:10. This text was written in the second half of the third century, which means that it was written at least 200 years after Jesus went into heaven. However, the real problem of this text is that it is not fully known to us. It reads as following: “And the companion of the [ . . .] Mary Magdalene. [ . . . loved] her more than [all] the disciples [and used to] kiss her [often] on her [ . . .].” The brackets indicate broken locations in the manuscript where there is no reading because the manuscript is damaged. The critics of the Gospels say that Mary was the wife of Jesus, though the text does not say so. However, it is the point that the novel like Da Vinci Code appeals to so many people. Karen King, a Harvard professor, wrote a book, The Gospel of Mary of Magdala. In this book, she argues that Jesus kissed Mary on her mouth based on the above passage. She also argues on the basis of Gospel of Philip 58:34-59:4, saying, “For it is by a kiss that the perfect conceive and give birth. For this reason we all kiss one another. We receive conception from the grace which is in one another.” However, there are a few things we ought to know. First, there is no mention of the locale of the kiss in this passage. Second, Karen herself concedes that the kiss in Philip 58-59 is the kiss of fellowship (p. 204). Thus, there is no sexual implication in the text. What we need to understand that this book, like many other Gnostic books, puts lots of spiritual meanings and implications into its contents. It carries a symbolic or spiritual sense over a literal one. There is a particular Greek word, koinonos in its transliterated form, which is not a typical or common term for wife, and this particular word is used to refer to Mary Magdalene. There is no proof that she was a wife to Jesus.

Some others argue that Jesus favored Mary Magdalene. Therefore, she was a special person and it is right to say that she was married to Jesus. On this point, Craig Blomberg reviewed in the Denver Journal as following: “I would add also that with the very early veneration of Mary the mother of Jesus, in Roman Catholicism largely out of a desire to have a quasi-divine female figure along with God the Father, had Jesus ever been married, such a woman could scarcely have disappeared without a historical trace. She would have been celebrated and venerated instead, especially in the very stands of Catholicism that The Da Vince Code pit against the revelation of ‘the truth’ of Jesus marriage.” In other words, the fact that Mary Magdalene got disappeared without a trace is solid proof that she was not married to Jesus.

Some argue that Mary Magdalene was a prostitute. It has been known that Pope Gregory the Great was the first person who delivered such message. The reason is because there is a sinner who anointed Jesus at the house of Simon the leper in Luke 7:36-50. And right after this text, in Luke 8:1-3, Mary Magdalene is named. The woman in Luke 7 is named as a sinner without a real name. The text does not say that she was a prostitute, but it is a pure assumption that she was a prostitute. It is a possible scenario, but there is no definite clue to prove it. There is a general consensus among a majority of scholars that Luke 8:1-3 introduces Mary Magdalene as a new character without tying her to the sinner in the previous chapter. Therefore, we can safely say that Mary Magdalene was not the same woman in Luke 7.

Some people have speculated whether Jesus was married or not. One clear argument against it is that there is no explicit evidence that he was married. As we know, Jesus was 100 percent human. He was thirsty and suffered hunger. He was tired and slept. He had every aspect of human nature. Therefore, if he was really married, theoretically there was no reason to hide it. Theoretically, his marital life could have been another reflection of his humanity. One amazing fact is that people use materials written a few decades or centuries after Jesus’ days to prove their points. Behind their use of these materials, their assumption is that the biblical gospel material is prejudicial. Thus, they reject the canonical records in favoring of extra biblical materials. Some say that Mary Magdalene traveled with Jesus, and it is an indication that she was married to him. They use Luke 8:1-3 as their evidence. However, there are lots of distortions in such understanding because the passage notes three women traveling with Jesus. If traveling with the disciples of Jesus and himself meant to her marriage to Jesus, we would have to link Mary to Jesus exclusively. However, Luke 8:1-3 does not do so. Some also argue that being a single as a Jewish man was very unjewish. We have a record of single life among Jewish men, and they were very highly regarded. Josephus recorded it in Antiquities Jewish men and women lived in the wilderness, and some of them remained in their celibate state as a reflection of their commitment to God’s kingdom. Even a very liberal scholar John Dominic Crossan says, “We also know that a profound utopian theology was the basis for the lifestyle of the Essenes, who lived in Jesus’ time. . . . Judging by their Dead Sea Scrolls and their carefully buried skeletons, those Qumran Essenes were an all-male group living in communal celibacy. . . .” No early Christian text, both biblical and extra biblical, indicates that there was a presence of a wife in the life and ministry of Jesus whatsoever. Whenever the family of Jesus was mentioned, they were his mother, brothers and sisters, and never his wife. When Paul talks about marriage in 1 Corinthians 9:4-6, he does not mention Jesus, though he tells us about Peter. Da Vinci Code is only a novel, one of those very unpleasant kinds. Hope that you can see the problems of it by now.

Lovingly, Your Pastor

More Lively Hope



Shorter Catechism Question 77: What is required in the ninth commandment? The ninth commandment requireth the maintaining and promoting of truth between man and man, and of our own and our neighbour’s good name, especially in witness-bearing.

Please pray for healing for Rev Peter Clements; Sisters Nan van Buuren, Myung Ki, Aranka Rejtoe (who is in Hampstead Hospital) & Susan Varadi “Commit thy way into the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass” (Psalm 37:5).

Please pray for Pastor Ki as he travels to Singapore this week, Sis Jasmin Chua as she transfers to Sydney for work, Rev. George van Buuren returning from Beijing; Year 12, high school, university and Khmer FEBC students preparing for their exams; Bro Hai Seng Lim currently ministering in Thailand and Malaysia; Missions Team’s preparation to Cambodia in Jan 10-31; Preparations for the Christmas Concert 2004

Praise and thank God for journey mercies granted to Bro Jason Tan (Singapore).

Christmas Concert: Saturday, 11 December at Concordia Chapel. Invites are now available on the literature table. All those who are able to assist with ushering and refreshments on the night please see Dn David Yeo.

Looking Ahead: Sunday School Christmas Party on 18 December at 2pm. All those willing to assist please notify Dn Edwin D’Mello.

Please note: Please fill in your name in the hospitality roster found on the notice board for Elder & Mrs Khoo if you would like to invite them for dinner/lunch while they stay in Adelaide.



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