Was Jesus Christ a historical person?

TOPICS: People brought up with a false image of Jesus – the Christian Jesus is a mythological figure – seeing Jesus without the historical overlay – people must have the option to reject a spiritual teacher – the reason for the lack of historical evidence – at the time, Jesus was not seen as a historically significant person – the mystery religions inspired Christianity – Christianity meant to be the ultimate mystery religion – Jesus came to show us how to embody the mystery religions – why did Christianity become popular? – Jesus was a historical person who embodied the mysteries – the Roman church removed the mystical aspects of early Christianity – the need to reevaluate the history of Christianity –

Question from Kim: Jesus, I recently read the book The Jesus Mysteries by Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy and would like your comments on it since it brings up a lot of interesting points. The main thesis is that you did not exist as a historical person but that everything about your life was patterned after the old Pagan mystery religions, adapted to the Jewish culture. Obviously, I know this conclusion is wrong and that you did exist as a historical person, so I wont ask you to comment on that but…

Answer from ascended master Jesus through Kim Michaels: (April 12, 2006)

Actually, I do want to comment on that. It is valid to raise the question, “Was Jesus Christ a historical person?”

The simple fact is that the average Christian child is brought up with an image of Jesus Christ that is historically inaccurate in any number of ways. I was not born on December 25th, I was not born of a virgin, and three actual kings did not visit me at my birth. I was not God’s only Son, nor was I God incarnate as it is understood by most Christians. I was not physically resurrected nor were the graves opened in a literal sense at my death. The Sun was not literally darkened, there was not a world-wide earthquake and corpses did not suddenly walk around in the streets. I was not the sacrificial lamb that paid the price with my blood for all of humankind’s sins, past, present and future. I do not sit in heaven next to the throne of an old man with a long white beard, nor will I one day appear in the sky to fix all of humankind’s problems or to bring an end to the world.

It is a fact that most Christians have an image of Jesus Christ that is historically inaccurate, but they identify me with that image to the point of being unwilling to consider that there might be some discrepancies between reality and their view of “reality.” The authors of the book are therefore correct in saying that the Jesus that most Christians envision did not exist as a historical person. He is a mythological figure. Most of the common Christian doctrines are later additions that have little basis in historical fact and owe their existence to church and even state politics. Even some of the accounts of my life in the gospels are mythological in nature and should not be taken as historical facts.

Another important consideration is the importance of free will. Christians today look back at my birth and life with the mythological overlay of 2,000 years of history. They think my life was surrounded by some superhuman glory, including that I always walked around in clean clothes with neatly trimmed hair and beard and that I had a halo around my head that made me instantly recognizable as a holy person. The reality, of course, is quite different.

Most Christians think that if they had been alive back then, they would have instantly recognized me as Jesus Christ. But back then there wasn’t the historical overlay that has since been built around Jesus Christ. Thus, I appeared as a – relatively – normal person and it is a fact that the average Christian today would not have recognized me as someone special. In fact, most modern Christians – had they been around back then, which a number of them were – would probably have avoided me, sticking to their orthodox Jewish religion. If they had gone around looking for the Jesus Christ they have been brought up to see as God’s only son, they certainly would not have recognized my actual person as being that Jesus Christ.

The lack of this superhuman overlay was obviously a historical necessity, since it takes a long time to build up a myth as elaborate as what Christianity promotes today. Yet it was also very much in alignment with the Law of Free Will, which states that a spiritual teacher must appear in a disguise that makes it difficult for people to recognize him or her. In other words, people must always have the option of rejecting a spiritual teacher and they must always be required to stretch their minds and leave behind their existing beliefs in order to follow a new teaching.

Kim: One of the main claims made by the authors of the book is that there is no historical evidence for your existence, except what is found in the gospels themselves. They say this is not objective evidence since it could have been created or distorted to prove the claim of the orthodox church.

Jesus: As I said, people’s free will cannot be violated, so when I did walk the earth, I was quite aware that although I could perform certain miracles, I still had to maintain an aura of deniability so that people could easily find an excuse for rejecting me. This is one reason why I did not write down an official gospel or teaching or an official history about my life. It is also why I went out of my way to make sure there is no undeniable historical evidence about my life. Another reason is that I had no desire to focus attention on my outer person, precisely because I did not want to have a personality cult develop around me. The fact that Christianity later became such a personality cult is not to my liking.

If you look at the lives of other spiritual leaders, you will see that there is also relatively few – if any – historical facts that objectively prove their existence. Did the Buddha really exist as a historical person? The only evidence is what is found in the Buddhist tradition, and an objective scientist can easily reject that, as the authors of the book reject Christian sources as not being objective (which they weren’t).

However, the main reason why there is so little historical evidence about my life was that when I lived, very few people considered me a historically significant person. This is where even the authors of the book have been somewhat caught in the historical myth they are trying to disprove. The argument – advanced by a number of people – is that because I was such a significant person, there should be more historical evidence and since there isn’t, I must not have existed.

The fact is that the people who wrote history or who were leaders in society back then did not consider me worth mentioning, and that is why there is so little evidence. In retrospect, the invention of the wheel is one of the significant events of history, but no one recorded who invented it because at the time it wasn’t considered that important.

As the book points out, there were many mystery religions at the time and there were many charismatic preachers. The scene back then was much like the New Age movement today. Centuries from now a few of the leaders of the New Age movement will be seen as the forerunners for a new spirituality, but today they are not considered that way by mainstream society. Even many of those who heard me speak or saw me perform miracles thought I was just another wandering preacher. Few people saw me as a person that would be remembered beyond their own lifetime.

Only when Christianity started growing – which really did not happen until the second century – was there a recognition of the need for a historical record. At that point, any record that could be written had to be revisionist, which the authors correctly point out. And since the history was written by Christians, they inflated certain things to make me seem more important. However, missing historical records or a revisionist history do not prove that here was no historical person who gave rise to the Jesus myth.

The fact is that when you look at the research presented by the authors, one does not have to conclude that there was no historical person who started it all. The authors make a strong case that much of what Christians believe today was clearly later additions or even mythological stories rather than historical facts. Yet that does not disprove the possibility that an actual person inspired what later became the Jesus myth. Likewise, the fact that there are many similarities between Christianity and the mystery religions does not prove that there was no actual person who inspired Christianity. Some of the mystery religions were also inspired by an actual person.

Kim: I think the strongest part of the book – and what for me made it worth reading – is the detailed description of the old mystery religions that were later suppressed by the orthodox church. I found it interesting to see the parallels between the Mithras and Dionysus cults and Christianity. I also found it interesting that the authors describe the mystery religions as providing a systematic, initiatic path to a higher state of consciousness. That is essentially what you describe on this website and what has been lost from orthodox Christianity by turning you into an exception who will do all the work for us.

Jesus: I agree that the authors give a good description of the mystery religions, a description that can be difficult to find anywhere else, especially in comparison to Christianity. It is perfectly valid to study the parallels between the myths of the mystery religions and the myths of Christianity. However, it is even more valid to use the mystery religions to uncover the spiritual path that was built into my teachings from the very beginning.

It is, however, necessary to use more discernment than the authors of the book do, because they assume that all of the mystery religions were of equal validity. This is not the case, as there was quite a range of mystery religions—as there is a range of Christian churches or New Age organizations today. Some of the mystery religions were little more than cults using wine or hallucinatory drugs to supposedly induce spiritual states of consciousness. Others were proponents of ideas that had no truth in them and were deliberately designed to deceive sincere spiritual seekers—being channeled from the same sources as much modern channeled material. Others were simply personality cults centered around a particular leader, and some were political tools for the rulers of a nation or region.

However, some of the mystery religions were indeed inspired by, and to various degrees sponsored by, the ascended masters. For example, the cult of Serapis was centered around a figure who is today known as the ascended master Serapis Bey. Pythagoras is today the ascended master Kuthumi. These mystery religions were indeed given in order to set the stage for my appearance at the beginning of the Piscean age. They were, so to speak, preparing the ground for the emergence of what was designed to be the ultimate mystery religion.

The authors are correct in saying that many of the mystery religions described a God-man who had many similarities to my own life and teachings. However, there are some differences, such as the fact that I was not born on December 25th as the God-man of most mystery religions. The authors are also correct in saying that the God-man was generally thought of as a mythological figure who was not a historical person. They then use this to reason that I was also a mythological figure, patterned on the God-man of the mystery religions, and this is where they take their conclusions one step too far.

You see, the true mystery religions were given in order to provide people with an initiatic path that would lead them to the Christ consciousness. These religions had indeed produced some outstanding people who had manifested a high degree of Christhood. Yet before my time, only a few people had realized the inner mysteries. In other words, many people saw the God-man as an unobtainable ideal that no one could embody physically. What I am saying here is that even the mystery religions had their limitations because the human ego can distort any path. Many people had distorted the initiatic path toward the God-man into something that did not really apply to them. Their egos had tricked them into following the mystery religions without truly trying to embody the mysteries.

This was one reason why the mystery religions needed to be renewed, as any religion must be when it has been watered down by the human ego. Yet another factor was that with the advent of the Piscean age, many more people needed to see the mysteries as something that applied to them personally—because they now had a greater potential for embodying them. Thus, the logical next step – the fulfillment of the mystery religions – was that a person would embody physically all of the traits of the God-man, thereby demonstrating what was attainable to a greater number of people in the new age.

This was the main purpose for my life, and that is why I deliberately did and said many things that paralleled the teachings of the mystery religions. However, I also had a very specific mission in relation to the Jews in Israel, namely to bring the judgment of certain lifestreams and to prove the need for change in the Jewish religion and culture.

Kim: The authors argue that Christianity was born as a Jewish version of the mystery religions and that the evangelists, and especially Paul, never saw you as a historical person but patterned their writings on the mystery religions, adapting them to the Jewish culture. They say that in the beginning, Christianity found little support among the Jews, but later became popular in other regions. However, it was only when an orthodox church emerged that the myths about you were turned into historical facts and revered as actual events.

Jesus: Yes, and this is the weakest part of the book, where the authors fail to see that their thesis is actually disproven by their own research. The authors describe correctly that every region in the Mediterranean had its own mystery religion. They are not incorrect in saying that Christianity is like a mystery religion developed for the Jewish culture, because both Paul and the gospel writers were Jews or had close ties to Jewish culture, and they gave a certain Jewish flavor to early Christianity.

As a side note, Paul did see me as a historical person, he simply did not put much emphasis on this, partly because he had not followed me while I was in embodiment and partly because he understood that the real importance was not the historical Jesus but the ascended Jesus. Thus, he wrote about me the way he had experienced me, namely as a spiritual Presence, which is also the way all Christians should see me.

The main problem with the book is that the authors fail to take into account that Jews were generally despised everywhere, partly because the Jews saw themselves as God’s chosen people and set themselves apart from all other cultures. So the problem that the authors do not address is how a mystery religion developed specifically for the Jews ever became popular outside Israel? Since every region already had its own mystery religion, why would they accept a mystery cult of Jewish origin instead of developing their own to meet their needs in a new time? The fact is that virtually every culture would have rejected such a Jewish mystery cult. They might have taken certain things from it and used them to adapt their own mystery religion, but they would never have accepted a Jewish mystery cult.

There are two main reasons why Christianity slowly gained a wider following. One was that Christianity – largely through the writings of Paul and the Gospel of John – was separated from Jewish culture and made more universal. But the other was the fact that Christianity was different from the mystery religions precisely because it was based on the existence of a historical person, which is what the early followers of Christianity emphasized. This gave early Christianity a new sense of authenticity and urgency because it demonstrated a path that many people could follow. That is why my early followers did not call themselves Christians, but “Followers of the Way.”

The authors of the book are correct in describing that this element of Christianity was lost when the orthodox church emerged, especially when Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire. That is what I also describe on this website, and it is another example of how the human ego can distort any spiritual teaching. Thus, the book can make a valuable contribution in terms of helping people rediscover the mystical aspects of Christianity.

I consider this book a valuable work, but I also consider it a typical example of how the rational mind can easily lead people to discover a lot of valuable evidence but take their rationale too far into one extreme, thereby ending up with the wrong conclusion. That is why rational scholarship must be combined with intuitive insights – meaning Christ discernment – in order to reach its full potential.

This book could easily have been given a slight turn, whereby it could have argued for a restoration of the mystical elements of Christianity. However, the authors became blinded by the desire to come up with a sensationalist conclusion, namely that Jesus Christ did not exist as a historical person. Yet a person with good discernment can still gain valuable insights from reading this book.

Let me make it clear that I am in no way opposed to those who look at history and raise questions about the early Christian movement and why official doctrines took the form they did. This is an extremely necessary and valuable task that is an essential part of renewing Christianity and turning it into a viable religion for the modern age. There were so many additions and distortions in the first several centuries that there is an immense need for having scholars and historians uncover what actually happened.

However, I would find it most valuable to focus on how my original teachings were distorted, so that instead of being a mystical movement, Christianity became a rigid and dogmatic mainstream religion. This could help people see how to restore the mystical path, the path of initiation, that is hidden within my outer teachings. It is only by uncovering this path that Christianity can retain its relevance for modern spiritual seekers.


 Copyright © 2009 by Kim Michaels