This group of books focuses on the life and times of our Messiyah and Savior; Yahushua. Many scoffers say these books were written decades - or even centuries - after the events. These scoffers also say the books were written by people who were not even alive at the time. That they are just hand-me-down stories, with much material borrowed from older cultures. And who am I to say? But it sure seems to me that most of this material comes by eye-witnesses. Matthew and John were there with our Messiyah on a regular - or, daily - basis. They were apostles who knew Yahushua. Luke was written by the disciple of Paul, while he lived with the apostles after the death of Yahshua. He had access to the original writings, and to the eye-witnesses themselves. He was a physician, a man of learning, and so one would presume he went to great lengths to learn and record the facts.
Yes it is probably true that these gospels were heavily modified by the first christians/pagans, in order to remove or change those things which were the most condemning of the pagans (especially the Gospel of Matthew). It is well accepted that some of the teachings of the Savior were suppressed in order to get the pagans to accept Him. But for the most part, I have to believe that these scriptures are accurate.
You will notice that I have changed the order of these books compared to the catholic bible. The Book of Acts is often called "Luke Part Two" because not only did Luke write it, but he also addressed both works to the same person: Theophilus. Now, half of the book refers to the legitimate apostles of Yahushua, and half of the work refers to Paul. Paul claimed he was an apostle, we have only his word that Yahushua appointed him the task. Even the people who were present at the moment did not make such claims as Paul did.
I have separated the Book of Acts into two sections. Following the Gospel of Luke you will find the section regarding the apostles. And in the section regarding Paul you will find the rest of the Book, the parts regarding Paul. Please do not accuse me of changing the scriptures. I am merely rearranging, I have not added nor subtracted. The way I have changed it makes the reading more seamless. If you click the "Next Book" link at the bottom of each page you will read the scriptures in proper order, with Acts following Luke. I attempt to answer the rest of your questions if you click on the page called "Epistles" in the menu.
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Catholic tradition tells us that Miriam of Magdala was a worthless whore, but the
scriptures do not back that up. The scriptures do claim that she was a sinner who
led many men astray, and she had seven demons in her (Luke 8:2). Whatever the case, she was
cleansed by Yahushua, and then she became a special person to him. She was the first
person He took to heaven with Him, even before His own parents Miriam and Yosef
(as recorded in the Gospel of the Nazarenes 95:8). She was one of His first disciples,
she anointed Him for His ministry (Nazarenes 11:2-9, 56:1; John 11:2), she anointed Him for
His death (Nazarenes 65:2; John 12:2-3), she was there when He died (Nazarenes 82:22), she was
the first one to the grave (Nazarenes 83:5; 84:1), and she was the one whom He chose
to proclaim the most important message of all time: "Yahushua is risen from the
dead!!" (Nazarenes 84:15; John 20:17).
As far as I know, Ramon K. Jusino was the first person to seriously propose that
she was "the disciple whom Yahushua loved", and that idea has later been expounded
upon by others, such as Esther A. de Boer. The extremely interesting thing about
that, is, "the disciple whom Yahushua loved" is also the author of the fourth
canonical gospel!! Yes, the person who we call 'John' of 'the Gospel of John' was
most likely Miriam of Magdala! Yes, I urge you to search the web and read the words
of these people. Also there is a link on my LINKS page. Very interesting stuff.
Now please read the first chapter of the Gospel of Yahchanan (John). You will notice that
Yahchanan the Immerser had two disciples who left him and followed after Yahushua. One
of the two is named, the other is not. The un-named one is never named in the Book,
and is only referred to as "the disciple whom Yahushua loved". This person is believed
to be the
author of the Book - probably Miriam Magdalene! Jusino hints that her identity would
have been suppressed in order for the Book to be accepted by the men of the time,
who considered women to be below them. Some modern scholars have pointed out that
the "Gospel of John" and the "Revelation to John" were written by different people.
And go over there to: Yahchanan 18:15 And Simon Peter followed Yahushua, and so
did another disciple. Now that disciple was known unto the high priest, and entered
in with Yahushua into the court of the high priest; 16 but Simon Peter was standing at
the door without. So the other disciple, who was known unto the high priest, went
out and spoke unto her who kept the door, and brought in Simon Peter. -- Uh, all the male
disciples had fled, and Simon Peter had to sneak back in, going so far as to lie three
times because he was afraid for his life. So why was this other, un-named, disciple
going in and out with impunity? She was a woman. Why is she not named? She is most
likely the author of the book.
John 21:20 Peter, turning about, saw the disciple whom Yahshua loved following; who also leaned back on his breast at the supper, and said, Master, who is he that betrays you? 21 Peter therefore seeing him said to Yahshua, Master, and what shall this one do? 22 Yahshua said unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to you? Follow Me. 23 This saying therefore went forth among the brethren, that that disciple should not die: yet Yahshua said not unto him, that he should not die; but, If I will that He tarry till I come, what is that to you?
This correlates well with the Gospel of the Nazarenes 95:8 where we learn that Miriam went off to heaven before she died.