(I know this is a very long post, my apologies. With the release of the DaVinci Code and all the recent talk about the Gospel of Judas I thought you might Find Rick Joyner’s take on both topics valuable. Blessings…)
MorningStar Ministries Special Bulletin #3 - May 1 2006
The DaVinci Code and the Gospel of Judas by Rick Joyner
The DaVinci Code is an important book that we need to understand. This book may be a well-written suspense thriller, but for historical accuracy it is hard to imagine one that has so twisted and distorted the facts. Even though it is a compelling read, it is taken too seriously by many, which is a statement about our times that we need to understand.
In this book, the author very cleverly uses characters who are supposed to be esteemed experts and historians to make bold and authoritative declarations about the church, its history, and the Bible which are not only false, but are either extreme exaggerations or outright fabrications. Is this acceptable just because it is a novel? Usually even novels that are based on historic events are held to a high standard in its representation of them. Why isn't this one? There is an obvious agenda in The DaVinci Code that we need to understand. What is it? Why does it matter?
There is a reason why this book is regarded by an increasing number of people to be one of the most demonically-inspired books of our times, with a profoundly evil agenda. This book is a regurgitation of the ancient Gnostic doctrines, as well as the promotion and glorification of paganism, while undermining Christianity and faith in the Bible. This is not a new deception, but is actually rooted in the original deception of the serpent in the Garden.
Gnosticism was a heresy that arose in the first few centuries A.D. when Christianity was spreading throughout the world, and it claimed to be Christian, but was not. It was rather a very basic departure from Christian truth, and promoted a salvation that was more of an elevation of the soul, through a secret knowledge rather than through the atonement of the cross.
Gnosticism was considered by some to have been the very deception that the Lord prophesied would seek to deceive even the elect (see Matthew 24:24). For the first few centuries of Christianity, this deception was effective in deceiving many new or unstable believers and even some of the leaders. It seemed especially prone to pick off those who were on either the extreme of having a low self-esteem or the opposite extreme of being driven by selfish ambition, because it fed on the pride of its converts that these two kinds of people are especially prone to embrace.
It is important for us to understand why this same heresy is surfacing again today in The DaVinci Code, and the timing of the discovery of The Gospel of Judas, which is no accident. It is probable that The Gospel of Judas manuscript discovered is probably authentic as far as being old, but it was not written by Judas, as it is being promoted. We know that this "gospel" existed because it is referred to a number of times by the early church fathers, but always as a heresy, just like the other Gnostic gospels that painted a very different picture of Jesus than the biblical testimony. Just because something is old does not make its teaching true.
With a brief scan of the web, you will find a growing number of studies that have and are being done on The DaVinci Code by serious historians and even art critics. From just a cursory examination of these, they all seem to be united in declaring the assertions in this book to be anywhere from inaccurate to outrageous. In fact, I could not find one that verified the implications made by this book. The author does not even get the architecture correct on the prominent buildings used in the novel, which could have easily been done with a little research through the Internet.
We will look at a few examples of the kind of distortion of history that is found in the assertions of this book, especially those which are used to attack Christianity or the Bible. Because Gnosticism is obviously being resurrected in our times, we should keep in mind that there have always been the two main assaults of Gnosticism:
1. To undermine Christianity by attacking its most basic truths—the deity of Jesus, His death, resurrection, and exaltation.
2. To attack the validity of the Scriptures.
The very first lie of Satan was an attempt to get Eve to doubt God's word. This is why there is such a massive and continuous assault on the validity of the Scriptures. If the "scientific" methods and standards used to determine authenticity of ancient writings are applied to the Scriptures, there are almost certainly no writings on the planet that pass these tests better than the Bible. However, science almost always uses a double standard when it comes to the Bible, accepting as fact that which attacks it even if it is the most flimsy of evidence, and rejecting a mountain of verification if it confirms the Bible.
We need to understand that Gnosticism seems to be an especially interesting parallel to the first forbidden fruit that brought all of the death into the world in the beginning. Satan seduced Adam and Eve into eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil by asserting that this knowledge would make them "like God." Gnosticism comes from a root word that means "knowledge," and it actually purports to lead those who acquire the secret knowledge to become like God. This perverted doctrine did much damage to the early church, and it is obviously being resurrected to do the same in our time.
The DaVinci Code seeks to make heroes out of secret societies and groups like the Templars, but you can be sure that secret societies, or groups that have secret rituals, will be used for evil. If we are abiding in the light then anything we do should be able to be exposed to the light or openness.
There have been societies, or orders, in church history that have done much good for the faith, but they were never secret orders, and were always very open about what they did. One of these would be The Order of the Mustard Seed that was founded by early Moravians and was instrumental in the conversions of John and Charles Wesley. We should beware of any secret society or order, and can assume that if something has to be kept secret it is in darkness.
This book also asserts through its characters, who are supposed to be esteemed and celebrated intellectuals and historians, that the Roman Emperor Constantine at the Council of Nicea (in the early fourth century) forced on the church the doctrines of the deity of Jesus, and his own desired canon of Scripture. The facts are that the canon of Scripture was not even on the agenda at this council, and the "close vote" on the deity of Jesus was 300 to 2. Does that sound like a "close vote" to you? This may actually reflect the degree of accuracy that the rest of the "facts" stated in The DaVinci Code actually have.
The characters in this book also state that this council threw out the "80 some" additional "gospels" that disputed His deity, keeping only the four that confirmed Jesus' deity, which Dan Brown states (always through his characters) that neither Jesus nor His first disciples held to. Again, the canon of Scripture was not even addressed at this council, and the "80 some other gospels" mentioned in this novel are another exaggeration. There were others, but the actual number is about 20, so the exaggeration of this was only by a factor of 4 to 1, which seems pretty good by the standards of accuracy set throughout the rest of this book.
The canon of Scripture was established centuries later. The reasons given for epistles or "gospels" that were not canonized varied. Some were not canonized because they had been written later than the first century, and therefore were not considered eyewitness accounts. Even the standard of justice established in the Law demanded that the testimony of any witness had to be an eyewitness account, not hearsay, and it was expected that the New Covenant should not have a lower standard than the Old Covenant. Some were not canonized because it was believed that they were redundant to the four gospels that were chosen. Others were not acceptable because they contained obvious Gnostic heresies.
Contrary to the statements of the "experts" in this novel, these heresies were almost universally understood by faithful believers to be heresy, and a diversion from the truth of the gospel. These Gnostic heresies were not corroborated by any of the writings of the early church fathers (leaders of the church who lived between 70 A.D.and 150 A.D.), but are disputed vehemently by them all.
Contrary to the assertions made in The DaVinci Code, the New Testament actually has an abundance of "scientific proof" backing up both its authenticity and its dating. The fact that the writings of the early church fathers took place between 70 A.D. and 150 A.D. is well established and is not disputed in its dating. The early church fathers included some who were direct disciples of those who walked with the Lord Himself such as Peter, John, and the other apostles. From these writings, there are some 30,000 references to what is now considered the canon New Testament. From these well-established authentic writings, you can reconstruct the entire New Testament with the exception of just eleven verses! This testifies quite overwhelmingly that what we have in our New Testament today is the same which was actually penned by the authors, though of course some translations may differ on some phrasing.
Even so, epistles that were not mentioned by the early church fathers were not necessarily considered spurious, or fraudulent, or that they contained false teaching. Many of these writings were considered good and edifying, but that did not pass the high test required to be considered canon Scripture. The many errors that later entered the church were not the result of rejecting epistles that should have been included in the canon, as The DaVinci Code purports, but were the result of neglecting the canon Scriptures.
In any case, the evidence that what we have in our New Testament today is that the authenticity of the writings is quite overwhelming, in contrast to the assertion of Dan Brown through his authoritative characters that the New Testament was repeatedly changed, and modified, and is very different from the original. This is not true, and there is abundant evidence that it is not true.
Other glaring flaws in The DaVinci Code really include almost every statement about the Bible or early Christian practices including the fact that neither Constantine nor the Council of Nicea were responsible for changing the Christian meeting day to Sunday or establishing the celebration of Christmas. That Christians had begun to meet on the first day of the week rather than the Jewish Sabbath is apparent in the New Testament, as well as the writings of the early church fathers. The celebration of Christmas also began well after Constantine. There is also not a single Christian writing included in the Dead Sea Scrolls, nor even a mention of Christ in them.
Brown's biggest distortion of the truth is the assertion that neither Jesus, nor the first Christians, considered Jesus to be deity. The Gospel of John begins by asserting His divinity, as does the first two chapters of Hebrews, the first chapter of the Gospel of John, and an abundance of other statements such as Romans 1:1-4:
Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God
which He promised before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures,concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead (NKJV).
There have now been books written on the inaccuracies, misstatements, and exaggerations of The DaVinci Code, and it does seem that every single point about Christianity in this book was not just distorted, but greatly distorted. Even other minor details that had nothing to do with faith were also amazingly inaccurate, such as the one that I'm sure irritated every pilot—a B-58 Baron is not a turboprop, but a light twin piston powered plane, which no one could walk around in as asserted in this strange novel.
From a Christian perspective, his agenda of attacking Christianity, promoting pagan worship and other rituals that are associated with satanic worship are quite obvious. When one serves Satan, the "father of lies," you will become like the one you worship. This book is full of lies. Historical novels are generally held to a very high standard of conforming to the truth when it comes to actual historic events. Why isn't this one?
The publisher of this book, and Hollywood, will obviously defend the book by saying that it is a novel, and Dan Brown is just taking some artistic liberty. However, this book crosses some very basic lines with its flagrant distortions of history obviously intended to be an attack on Christianity, and it should offend every true Christian. I would not encourage anyone to be slimed by reading this novel, or watching the movie, regardless of how entertaining it may be. There are lines that we, too, as Christians need to draw, and this is one of them.
Even with this being a very well-written and exciting suspense thriller, that its bazaar premises and message would allow it to be the bestseller that it has become says a lot about the present state of the world in our times. Truth, and the love for truth, is certainly becoming rare. Just as these same Gnostic heresies deceived and led astray many weak and unstable Christians in the first few centuries, we can be sure that it will do so again if the true shepherds do not protect those they are entrusted to watch over by warning them of these things.
The good that has come from this novel is that many Christians have been provoked into checking out some of the attacks made on basic Christian truth in this novel, as well as historic facts, and have resolved to strengthen their own foundations. We are coming to the time of the ultimate conflict between good and evil, between light and darkness, between truth and error. Good will always win over evil, light will always cast out darkness, and truth will always prevail over every lie. This we can be sure of.
© 2006 MorningStar Publications
All Rights Reserved