The disclosures made in New Revelation cast a new light on the origins of the Gospels and on their subsequent fate. Many erroneous theories can now be put aside. Serious significance attaches to the fact that at last, after the Second Vatican Council, Catholic scholars are also able to admit that the bishops made arbitrary changes in the Gospels during the early centuries, distorting their meaning, as reported in New Revelation. Historical research has in this case, too, confirmed that the statements made in New Revelation are reliable and correct.
Large parts of the early Christian centuries are covered in obscurity for us. By the year A.D. 200, none of the originals of the Gospels were still in existence. "We can find no definite trace, even for the first century, that the originals were still extant." 14
The oldest complete copies, on which the New Testament is based, are from the 4th century. Numerous mistakes were made in copying. The general estimate is 250,000 errors, and according to the Catholic theologian Henri Daniel-Rops, about two hundred fity of these are substantial changes. 15 Unpalatable facts were sometimes changed to the opposite. When Paul had a fierce argument with Peter and some other "important apostles", he did not accord Peter supremacy and said, in his Letter to the Galatians 2, 5: "to them we did not yield submission even for a moment". Several codices, for instance Codex D (from about A.D. 500), present the argument exactly the other way round. 16 The word "not" was emitted in these copies, so that papal authority, at that time already considered desirable, might not be prejudiced. (These distortions were not, however, included in the New Testament.)
The faithful were not made aware that there are numerous instances where the evangelists say quite different things when reporting the same event. Yet these divergences were discussed by St. Ambrose, Bishop of Milan, in his gospel commentaries in the 4th century.
Below, some examples are given, demonstrating quite clearly that the gospel cannot have been based on verbal inspiration by the Holy Spirit, free from all error.
The day of Jesus' death is given differently in the synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke) as compared to John. The synoptic Gospels state that Jesus was crucified on a Saturday, which is quite unthinkable, that date being a major feast day. According to the Gospel of St. John, Jesus died on a Friday. As to the time of day when Jesus was crucified, we read in Mark 15, 25: "And it was the third hour (9 a.m.) when they crucified him." According to the witness John (19, 14), it was about the sixth hour (12 o'clock) when Pilate sat in judgement over Jesus.
Again quite different times are given for the women setting out to visit the tomb. John writes: "whilst it was still dark" (20, 1), Mark on the other hand: "when the sun had risen" (16, 2).
According to Matthew, the women saw an angel sitting on the stone rolled back from the sepulchre (28, 2). Mark tells that the women only saw the angel on entering the tomb (16, 5).
Reading the Gospel of Luke, one would conclude that Jesus only was in Jerusalem once during the time of his teaching mission, yet according to the Gospel of John - and this agrees with New Revelation - he was there several times during the three years.
Matthew (27, 44) and Mark (15, 32) say that the robbers who were crucified with Jesus reviled him. Luke says the opposite. According to him, only one reviled Jesus, and the other rebuked him.
According to Luke (24, 50), the ascension took place near Bethany, according to the Acts of the Apostles (1, 12), on the mount called Olivet near Jerusalem.
The differences in statements about the same events confirm what New Revelation says, that the evangelists did not always have the most reliable of informants.
The experts are also long since agreed on the interpolations and changes mentioned in New Revelation. This is not new, but the facts have merely been kept from the people in the church. Even Origen, the famous Bible scholar (A.D. 250) had come to the conclusion that some of the reports in the Bible had been invented. 17
After the Second Vatican Council, Catholic scholars, too, were at last able to acknowledge the truth, saying openly what they had known for a long time. Before that, the Encyclical issued by Leo XII (d. 1903) and other decrees of the Catholic Church had made this impossible. The above anti-modernist Encyclical of Leo XIII "Providentissimus Deus" taught that the Gospels with unfailing truth said everything (!) God had told them (the evangelists) to write, and only what he had told them to write. 18 Albert Schweitzer succinctly commented: "Rather than giving the truth its due ... it was evaded, twisted or covered up." 19
As late as 1962, Professor Karl Rahner SJ had to take into account the teaching of Leo XII, Benedict XV and Pius XII and write, in theological dictionaries, that Inspiration covered all parts of scripture, including statements relating not to the message of salvation but to natural historye All this, he had to write, came directly from God and was free of error. 20 Rahner, Brinkmann and other scholars did of course know that the New Testament writings contained numerous contradictions and errors. They had to resort to sophist means to solve these problems.
There were hard battles with the Papal Court, and then, after many centuries, a turning point came with the last Council. Many bishops declared that scientific research had made much of what had so far been maintained untenable. Cardinal Koenig (Vienna) for instance referred to a whole list of historical errors found in the Bible." There could be no question but that not all texts were reliable, and the exegetes were asked in the constitution, to take a more historical view of the events described particularly in the Old Testament. Now Catholic scholars were able to say openly what they had already known, and had had to present differently in Catholic reference works, against their own convictions. In Herders Theologisches Taschenlexikon (Herder's Theological Pocket Dictionary) published in 1972, Rahner was now able to write: "Text criticism (lower criticism) endeavors to determine, as accurately as possible, the original text of the books of the Bible, on the basis of manuscripts that have come down to us. This is necessary, because the text underwent many changes on being copied, either in error or deliberately. 22
In the new edition of the Katholisches Bibellexikon (Catholic Bible Lexicon), edited by H. Haus SJ, Einsiedeln, 1968, a sentence included in earlier editions has been omitted: "The integrity of the gospels is on the whole established."
Professor Geiselmann now says straight out that the present version of the gospel has been subject to a number of revisions. 23 "All that has to go," the Lord said to Lorber. "Let us give space to science, for it is an effective tool to sweep away the rubbish." (Gr XI p. 279)
It took almost a hundred years until these words in New Revelation came true in the Catholic Church, against violent opposition from Roman integralists, and Catholic scientists were allowed to practice Bible criticism, carrying out relevant researches, and publish their findings.
The hierarchy was aware of the contradictions in the gospel and the manipulations it had been subject to, but, exerting their powers, threatening eternal hellfire, they demanded that it should be believed that every word was free from error, inspired by the Holy Spirit, and that the Gospels must be considered completely infallible, without exception. The misrepresentations had made the good tidings into tidings of intimidation. The God of limitless love was made into an Old Testament God of revenge, imposing eternal punishment in hell if the rules of the church were offended against.
To prevent doubt arising among the people through reading the Bible, the church forbade the reading of Holy Scripture for centuries. In Spain, owning a Bible was a crime punishable by death. 24
This fact, known to scholars, was dictated into Lorber's pen more than a hundred years ago: "Rome has strictly forbidden the people to read the whole of the gospel, and also the scriptures of the Jews, even punishing those who went against this with death."(Gr XI p. 282)
To prevent investigations based on the Greek New Testament manuscripts, the University of Paris (Sorbonne) even forbade study of the Greek language, designating it heresy punishable by death. 25 The ban on reading the Bible was constantly reinforced, right into the 19th century. Even around the turn of the century, in 1902, the Jesuit L. Billot (later a Cardinal) stated that theology students had no problems with Bible research, as there was and indeed could be no such science (in the Catholic Church, author). "I have been teaching for twenty years", Billot wrote. "My students do not even know that there is a problem concerning the Bible." 26
Further remarkable evidence for the spirit of the rules for training young clergy comes from a description given by Ernesto Buonaiuti, who was a friend of the later Pope John XXIII when a student at the seminary. He writes that none of the theology students were allowed to own a New Testament. It only got into their hands when a kind prefect made a present of it to them on their ordination into the lower clergy. 27
A quote from Hieronymus, 4th century Doctor of the Church, "those who do not know Holy Writ, also do not know Christ", could never be referred to for a long period, into the 20th century. Today, Catholics, too, are permitted to know that the Bible is the word both of God and of man. In order not to upset the older generation, this is not often and not very explicitly referred to in speech or writing. Most of the faithful are not yet aware of the break in the system. The dogmatic constitution "Dei verbum", finally arrived at as a compromise formulation after violent disputes with the Papal Court, uses cautious phrases to express deviation from what has been taught before. This change, achieved after hard struggles and in the course of time, once again confirms the statement made by Professor Hans Kueng: "Long indeed is the list of points in which the heretics were afterwards shown to be right." 28
The damage nevertheless seems irreparable. The young generation - particularly university students - is aware of the fundamental significance of this, with the question of veracity now in the full spotlight. They will draw their own conclusions.
At a much earlier time, however, dogmatism and the suppression of freedom of conscience had had another kind of consequence. The writings produced during the age of Enlightenment (Germany, 17th and 18th c.) were on the whole a reaction to the apologetic soporific handed out by the church. "The enemy", Amos N. Wilder wrote, "should be identified as stultification, superstition, ignorance, dogmatism, and all the tyrannies of soul and spirit." 29 Rationalism therefore came to the fore, with consequences that are apparent to this day.