In his 60 Minutes interview Sunday, Bill O’Reilly said “the Jews” in Jesus’ time, meaning the Pharisaic leaders, cruelly taxed the Jewish people. Jesus, he said, “interrupted the money flow” of the Pharisees, beginning by overturning their tables in the temple. This led to His death.
O’Reilly says the Holy Spirit inspired him to write his new book, Killing Jesus: A History, but he admits “picking and choosing” which parts of the New Testament to believe. For example, he denies that Jesus said on the cross, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” He says that the lungs of people dying of crucifixion are too exhausted for speech. Could not the Creator of the universe empower an exemption to the laws of nature?
The ascended Jesus, in Revelation, lays a dreadful curse on those who detract from Scripture, saying their names will be erased from Jesus’ book of salvation. O’Reilly’s claim to divine inspiration has more of the ring of the cash register than the truth. He was paid $10 million for rights to the book.
Do you want on-the-scene facts concerning who master-minded and persuaded the Romans to kill Jesus? It’s in the New Testament. Here is my updated article about who killed Christ, straight from the Bible.
The Holy Spirit didn’t allow the writers of the New Testament privileges to “pick and choose” what they would relate, or monetary compensation—only assurance that their names would never be taken from Jesus’ book of life. Does O’Reilly have that much?
The New Testament repeats its charge of Jewish guilt in about 40 different passages. Nothing could be clearer than that long before the crucifixion the pharisaic leaders were wanting to kill Jesus and maneuvering toward that end. Fairly soon in Jesus ministry we are told the Pharisees “planned together to kill Him” (John 11:47-53, John 18:14). Their goal was to have Him “delivered to the chief priest and condemned to death" (Mark 10:33, Matt. 20:18-19, Luke 18:31-33). “And they plotted together to seize Jesus by stealth and to kill him” (Matt. 26:4, Luke 22:2, John 7:1). This was “to obtain false testimony against Jesus in order that they might put him to death” (Matt. 26:59). Because their intention was obvious, Jesus asked them, “Why do you seek to kill me?” (John 7:19). It was obvious also to the people, who asked, “Is not this the man they are seeking to kill?” (John 7:25). Accordingly, the “chief priests and elders took counsel against Jesus to put him to death” and “delivered him to Pilate” (Matt. 27:1-2, Mark 15:1, Luke 23:1).
At this point we encounter first mention of a Roman in this conspiracy. Yet Pilate confirms that the animus and energy toward Christ’s murder is coming entirely from Jewish leaders. “Pilate knew that because of envy they had delivered him up” (Matt. 27:18, Mark 15:10). “The chief priests and scribes were seeking how they might put him to death” (Matt. 26:15, Mark 14:10-11, Luke 22:2-6) and were “seeking to destroy him” (Mark 11:18, Luke 19:47). As a result, Pilate, himself a manipulator, asked them, “What are you willing to give to me to deliver him up to you?” The “chief priests and elders persuaded the multitudes to ask for Barabbas and put Jesus to death” (Matt. 27:20, Mark 15:11, Luke 23:18, John 18:40). “ …And they shouted, 'crucify him!’ and ‘he ought to die’” (Matt. 27:22-23, Mark 15:13-14, Luke 23:21-23, John 19:6-7). Pilate, it says, “delivered Jesus to their will” (Matt. 27:26, Mark 15:15, Luke 23:24-25).
After Pilate agreed to the demand of the leaders and people that Christ be killed, the Jews acknowledged their responsibility. “His blood be upon us and upon our children” (Matt. 27:25). Jesus confirmed to Pilate that the sin of the Jewish leaders was greater than that of Pilate in buckling to Jewish pressure. Jesus said, “For this reason he who delivered me up to you has the greater sin” (John19:11). Jesus was affirming “how the chief priests and rulers delivered him up to the sentence of death and crucified Him” (Luke 24:20).
This brings us to testimony by the apostles in the Book of Acts that the Jews killed Christ. In Peter’s speech to the Jewish multitude at Pentecost, he lays blame upon them for the death of Jesus whom “ye have taken and by wicked hands have crucified and slain” (Acts 2:23). Jesus, “whom ye have crucified” (Acts 2:36). Again, in Acts 3:14-15 he tells the Jews, “but ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you and killed the Prince of Life.” Peter tells the high priest and rulers that they are guilty for the spilling of the blood “of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified” (Acts 4:40). Later, he again tells the Pharisees, “The God of our fathers raised up Jesus whom ye slew and hanged on a tree” (Acts 5:30). Just before being stoned to death by the Jews, Stephen told them they have been Christ’s “betrayers and murderers” (Acts 7:52). A converted Jew, Paul, testified of his pharisaic brethren that, “though they found no cause of death in him yet desired they Pilate that he should be slain” (Acts 13:28) and that the Jews “have both killed the Lord Jesus and their own prophets” (1 Thess. 2:14-16).
In recent decades, some Jewish defense groups, such as the Anti-Defamation League, have boldly claimed there is no evidence that Jews masterminded the crucifixion. Instead, they say the “blood charge” laid upon the Jews is “a vicious anti-Semitic lie.” ADL claims the New Testament perpetuators of this lie are very largely responsible for persecution of Jews throughout history, including the alleged murder of six million Jews during World War II. As a result, ADL has made it a hate crime, in dozens of countries in which its hate laws rule, to publicly assert the New Testament claim that the Jews killed Christ. In addition, ADL’s US Department of Global Anti-Semitism in the US State Department considers blaming Jews for the crucifixion to constitute the hate crime of anti-Semitism. (See US Government Condemns 'Unintentional' Anti-Semitism) Yet the Talmud, highest religious and ethical authority for modern observant Jews, is very frank that the Jewish leaders had Christ executed. It is proud of them for eliminating an apostate in Israel! In my article “Are Jews Still Guilty for the Crucifixion” at Truthtellers.org, I document this boast.
The truth, however, will always be found in the first person accounts of the inspired Gospel writers. There is no need to rush after those who claim deeper causes than Holy Scripture plainly presents. In the current clamour to learn what Bill O'Reilly speculates on this subject, many may become disoriented. But eventually they can only find the whole truth in one direction - by going back to the Bible.
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