Debunking The Da Vinci Code

Getty Images

Debunking The Da Vinci Code

Many recently have embraced Gnostic teachings that Jesus Christ fathered a child with Mary Magdalene. Was Christ married? Where do we turn for the answer to this question? Let us explain the stunning truth.
From the April 2006 Trumpet Print Edition

Jesus Christ: God, Savior, coming King of the Earth—fact or fable? What do you know about Jesus Christ? Many people claiming to be Christian don’t know the honest facts about Jesus. They don’t know why He came, what He accomplished, what He is doing now. Only a few know what He is planning to do in the near future.

Some scholars say we know very little about Jesus Christ—that somehow the facts have been lost in history. Many scholars say that scriptural accounts are unreliable. Experts reason that the Gospel writers—Matthew, Mark, Luke and John—overstated the facts about Jesus’s life and actions, especially the miracles He performed.

Yet here is something truly ironic. Some of these same men and women reject the canonized books of the Holy Bible, but accept the fantastical apocryphal books such as the gospels of Thomas, Philip and Mary. You may have never heard of these works. In what are known as the Gnostic gospels, Thomas has Christ teaching Hindu and Buddhist philosophy. The gospel of Philip identifies Mary Magdalene as Christ’s “companion,” meaning sexual partner. The gospel of Mary makes Mary Magdalene out to be the chief instructor to the 12 apostles. Shouldn’t we ask why intelligent people go after such spiritual nonsense?

The world of modern Christendom is about to celebrate one of its two most sacred seasons. As always, there is going to be a lot of talk about Jesus. But will it be the truth? It is certain that this year’s discussion about the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ will be full of wild controversy. Dan Brown’s most popular and controversial novel, The Da Vinci Code, will hit movie screens in May. The book has regenerated historical research, philosophical discussions and heated debates over the historical facts about Jesus Christ. The book has also drawn considerable fire from religious groups. The build-up to the movie’s release is sure to be just as intense. Newsweek and U.S. News featured major articles related to the movie and book as early as January.

Blasphemy Cloaked as Romantic Thriller

The plot of Brown’s bestselling novel weaves together the Gnostic gospels and medieval folklore that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married and had a daughter whose descendants founded the Merovingian dynasty. According to Brown, the legend of the Holy Grail is about Mary’s womb, not the last supper chalice. Brown’s widely popular thriller is set in the present day. A Roman Catholic sect called Opus Dei is killing people to hush up the secret about Christ and Mary. Why? Knowledge of their descendents would topple the authority of Roman Catholicism. The book makes Da Vinci to be the past leader of a secret order—the Priori of Sion—to protect the documents proving the bloodline of Christ’s child. As the plot thickens, the leading feminine character of the book becomes a key puzzle piece in breaking the code identifying the location of Mary Magdalene’s tomb and the identity of Christ’s descendents on Earth today.

Some in the publishing industry recognize that Brown’s book may have saved a slumping hardback industry. It has literally been the best seller of bestsellers. The book has drawn both high praise and sharp criticism. Some love the book because they believe it is an attempt to recapture the original truth about Jesus Christ. Others sharply disagree.

In fact, the book panders blasphemy in the form of a romantic mystery thriller.

Catholics Incensed

Roman Catholics are incensed over the book’s negative portrayal of their church. Although the book is a novel, it does mix some historical fact with legend and fiction. Obviously not all historians would agree with Brown’s interpretation of the past. Brown states that Constantine destroyed the older “true” Gospel accounts and replaced them with the New Testament Gospels we have today. Brown puts his own spin on the quirks that Leonardo da Vinci obviously put in his paintings. He interprets why the Knights Templar, a favored papal secret society, were rounded up and executed. Many historians see the book as being shallow in its historical research.

Yet Brown digs up some dark history that Catholics would rather not have brought back into the light—namely, the Catholic Church’s 13th-century extermination of the Cathars. Branded heretics by the church, they were virtually wiped off the map. Even though they developed a rich cultural heritage of art, literature and music, with centers of learning in Southern France, Italy, Bulgaria, Switzerland, Germany, Bosnia and Croatia, little remains of their history except in Inquisition records.

A majority of the Cathars were Gnostics who embraced heretical views of Christ and Mary Magdalene similar to those Brown uses in his plot. Yet there were thousands of other peoples—not Gnostics—such as Jews, non-Catholics, and members of the true Church of God—who were victims of the genocide. The Cathar rebellion laid the groundwork for the immensely evil Spanish Inquisition. Although Brown interprets the history for his own purpose, it is history nonetheless.

Catholics are also upset that Brown draws upon Alexander Hislop’s book The Two Babylons. Brown asserts that Constantine, an avowed sun-worshiper, repackaged his sun-worship as a new faith, assigning pagan symbols to Christian concepts.

Although Hislop’s book has been attacked vigorously for decades, it rightly shows that the Catholic Church is perpetuating the Babylonian mystery religion established ages ago by Nimrod and Semiramis. Sun symbols are a central theme in Roman Catholic ceremony. Some experts feel that Brown’s book is so popular because of all the recently exposed corruption in the Catholic priesthood.

It is important to recognize that Brown does not single out just the Catholic Church. He takes a huge swipe at established religion as a whole. In the book, the main male character states: “[E]very faith in the world is based upon fabrication.”

World of Religious Confusion

Brown’s book is revealing—though not in spiritual truth. There is no spiritual truth in the book. The book shows us the sad state of modern religion. Established religion has failed us. If modern religion truly satisfied us, none would have gone after Brown’s book. We need to face the fact that all mankind is caught in the clutches of religious confusion.

Never before has there been so much confusion about Jesus Christ. Brown’s book only adds to the problem. He does not see Christ as divine, but as a shrewd descendant of David trying to recapture the throne.

Why is there so much confusion about Jesus Christ, God and religion? Herbert W. Armstrong wrote, “What is religion? It is defined as the worship of, and service to, God or the supernatural. It is man’s relation to his Creator. Some religions have perverted that definition. They worship not the God who created them, but gods which they have created” (Mystery of the Ages). Mankind has created its own gods and religious systems. Not one can fulfill human spiritual needs.

Unfortunately, modern Christianity has done the same with Jesus Christ. The many denominations have created and teach about their own Christ. People within each denomination have shaped and believe in their own Christ. Isn’t this why churches are empty? Isn’t this the reason so many are cynical about religion? The absolute and pure truth about Jesus Christ has been buried under a mound of human reasoning and satanic deceit (Revelation 12:9).

Let’s take an honest look at the truth about Jesus Christ. What is our source of the truth? The Holy Bible is the only reliable source. Brown is anti-Bible. A leading character in his book states authoritatively, “The Bible is a product of man, my dear. Not of God. The Bible did not fall magically from the clouds. Man created it as a historical record of tumultuous times, and it has evolved through countless translations, additions and revisions. History has never had a definitive version of the book.”

Shall we follow Brown? Paul instructed Timothy: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16). The Bible is the reliable source of truth.

Was Jesus Christ Married?

It has often been said that truth is stranger than fiction.

Was Jesus Christ married? It has long been believed that Jesus was single. Yet, according to your Bible that is not true. Believe it or not, Jesus was married, but not to Mary Magdalene. Let us explain.

How do we know that Jesus was not married to Mary Magdalene? Jesus Christ was totally obedient to God the Father (John 8:29). He faithfully obeyed all of the Ten Commandments. He did not do away with the Ten Commandments—He filled them to the full (Matthew 5:17). He taught others to obey them (Matthew 19:17-22). At His crucifixion, He demonstrated His absolute faithfulness to the Fifth Commandment: “Honour thy father and thy mother …” (Exodus 20:12). In his Gospel, John describes Jesus’s final moments with good detail. He wrote: “Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home” (John 19:25-27). Please read these verses in your Bible.

Just before dying, Christ ensured that His widowed mother was taken care of. Essentially, He designated that John was now her son, and that he was required to see to her needs. He told His mother to look upon John as her son and to allow him to take care of her. Notice that verse 27 states that John took Jesus’s mother Mary into his home. This demonstrates Jesus Christ’s depth of love for His mother and His absolute selflessness. Though He was suffering excruciating pain and torture, He took care of His responsibility as her firstborn son.

Notice that Jesus’s aunt and Mary Magdalene were also present (verse 25). If Mary Magdalene were Christ’s wife, wouldn’t He have seen to her needs as well as His mother’s? The Seventh Commandment demands that a husband love and care for his wife. Jesus Christ would have been well aware of the laws governing marriage that stated: “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). This scripture demonstrates that the marriage bond is even more demanding than the family bond. A loving husband would see to his wife first, mother second. Surely, Christ would have taken care of His wife—especially if she was going to have His child. Christ doesn’t even mention Mary by name. How absurd to believe that Jesus and Mary were married!

Married to Israel

The truth is, Jesus Christ is a perfectly faithful husband. He is a powerful provider. To fully understand this fact, you must know who Christ was in prehistory. John shows us that He existed in perfect harmony and unity with God from eternity (John 1:1-3). Jesus Christ is the person of the Godhead known as the Word. Our English Word is translated from the Greek Logos, which means Spokesman or revelatory thought. Jesus Christ was the Spokesman for these two supreme God Beings. Paul tells us that God who became the Father created all things through Jesus Christ (Ephesians 3:9). The world knew nothing about God the Father until Jesus Christ came to this Earth. It was Jesus Christ who revealed the Father to us (John 1:18).

Here is the mind-numbing truth: Jesus Christ was the God of the Old Testament. He revealed himself to Moses as “I Am” in Exodus 3:13. Jesus Christ also revealed this to the Jews of His day, and they tried to stone Him for it (John 8:58-59).

As God of the Old Testament, Jesus Christ married the nation of Israel. The covenant established in Exodus chapters 19 through 24 was a marriage covenant.

Through Isaiah, Jesus Christ said to Israel, “For thy Maker is thine husband; the Lord of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called” (Isaiah 54:5). Jesus Christ took the nation of Israel, a filthy slave people, and made them His beautiful wife. Yet, they continuously rebelled against Him: Spiritually they played the whore, worshiping the pagan gods of the nations around them. Christ remained faithful—always. He pleaded with them through Jeremiah: “Turn, O backsliding children, saith the Lord; for I am married unto you” (Jeremiah 3:14). Jesus Christ’s love for His wife was undying.

Will Marry His Church?

When Jesus Christ came to this Earth as a human being, He came among the Jews, who were part of Israel—His wife. Though His wife had been unfaithful, He was not. While on Earth, Jesus Christ had to observe the laws of marriage as stated in Romans 7:1-3. He had been alive from eternity. The nation of Israel still existed. (Even the 10 “lost tribes” existed—but not in the world’s view. Write for a copy of The United States and Britain in Prophecy for a thorough explanation of this subject. It will be sent to you gratis upon request.) So, Jesus Christ could not have married another.

Yet because of His death and resurrection, at His Second Coming Christ is free to marry the Spirit-born Church of God!

The true Church of God is Christ’s affianced bride. This fact staggers the imagination. Paul teaches this incredible fact in Romans 7:4 and Ephesians 5:30-33. Study these verses. This coming reality will dazzle the whole world.

Jesus Christ brought a tremendous message from God to this world. The Prophet Malachi describes Christ as “the messenger of the covenant” (Malachi 3:1). Malachi is referring to the gospel, or good news, of the coming reign of the Kingdom, or Family, of God. The gospel is all about the New Covenant, which is a marriage covenant. Jeremiah states: “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the Lord” (Jeremiah 31:31-32).

Could human beings marry God? Your Bible says it is true. Humans have the potential to marry Jesus Christ. Shouldn’t you take a new look at your Bible? Concerning the coming marriage of Christ and the Church, Revelation states clearly: “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready” (Revelation 19:7). Christ’s marriage to the Church will usher in the utopia all men desire. This truth should excite every man more than some cheap piece of fiction.

Mary Magdalene

Brown’s book focuses on goddess worship, or worship of the divine feminine. He ties this pagan mysticism to Mary Magdalene. Brown would have us believe that Christ and Mary Magdalene were active participants in a pagan sex cult. It’s all wild, darkly evil fable. Brown takes his proof from Da Vinci’s painting The Last Supper. He assures us that it is Mary Magdalene sitting next to Christ, not John.

Brown plays upon the Gnostic legends that Christ wanted Mary to head the Church, but the chauvinists—Peter and the other apostles—prevented this from happening after Christ’s death. Legends say Mary became a famous preacher founding Christian communities.

The huge error in Brown’s book makes Mary Magdalene out to be more important than Jesus Christ. This fact has attracted a large feminist audience to the book.

What do we know about Mary Magdalene? We must turn to the Bible for the truth.

We first encounter Mary Magdalene in Luke’s Gospel. He wrote, “And it came to pass afterward, that he went throughout every city and village, preaching and showing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve were with him, And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils, And Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others, which ministered unto him of their substance” (Luke 8:1-3). None of the other Gospel writers mention Mary at this same juncture. Yet they do mention her at the events of Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection.

What we need to understand most is that Luke (and the other Gospel writers) tells us very little about Mary Magdalene. Recognize, Luke wrote his Gospel well after the events took place. He was well informed of the facts. Had Mary been the major player that Gnostic writers would have us believe, he would have told us.

Here is what he does tell us. She was from the small fishing village of Magdala, two miles north of Tiberias. Her surname was not Magdalene. Since there were several women, including Christ’s mother, with the same name, her city was added to her name to set her apart from the others. Luke tells us that Christ cast seven devils out of her (Luke 8:2). This means that Mary had been seriously afflicted with, more than likely, physical and mental problems. To be healed of such maladies would make her truly grateful. She obviously became a devout follower of Jesus Christ.

Holy Women

But notice carefully: While Mary Magdalene traveled with Christ, she was not the only woman who traveled with Him. Luke states that she traveled in company with “Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others” (Luke 8:3). Mary traveled with a company of women who ministered to Christ and the 12 apostles (verse 1). How many were in the group, Luke does not say. But he does add that there were many others. Mary was only one of a group of women who took care of Christ and the disciples’ needs as they preached the gospel.

Although this truth is not appealing to feminists, Mary was most likely a cook. Yet Luke honored her and several others by name for their works of service. These devout women would have been faithfully obedient to the Ten Commandments—holy women (1 Peter 3:5). Never would Mary or the others have been Christ’s sexual partner.

To make the statement that Mary was most likely a cook does not in any way denigrate the role of women in the early Church. In fact, Christ demonstrated through His ministry that women had an equal opportunity to obtain the Kingdom alongside men. Christ totally surprised the apostles when He conversed with the woman of Samaria (John 4:1-27). Christ had a wonderful relationship with Martha and Mary, the sisters of His friend Lazarus. Even the Apostle Paul drew upon the necessary support of women as he preached the gospel unto the Gentiles (Philippians 4:3).

Message to Apostles

Matthew, Mark and John place Mary on the scene at the crucifixion of Christ (Matthew 27:56; Mark 15:40; John 19:25). Luke does not mention her by name. Notice she is among a group of women—all said to have ministered unto Christ. These women saw to Christ’s burial needs. It is important to note that these women were more loyal to Christ in that they stayed with Him at His most difficult hour, while the apostles, except for John, fled.

The end of the Bible history of Mary is given to us by all four Gospel writers. Because Jesus Christ was killed on the Passover day, just prior to the High Sabbath, He was buried in a hurried manner. Then, after a weekly Sabbath, Mary and a group of women planned to return to the tomb to complete the burial tradition of adding spices to the burial clothes.

When they arrived early on a Sunday morning, Christ had already risen from the dead. The scene at the sepulcher was shocking. The body was gone. To get the full story, you must study a good harmony of the Gospels. The women reported the missing body to the disciples. The disciples did not believe the women. Peter and John ran to inspect the tomb. It was empty. John believed Christ was alive; Peter returned home awestruck by what he had seen. Mary and the women remained behind, weeping.

Mark tells us that Christ appeared first unto Mary (Mark 16:9). She and the women returned to tell the disciples (Luke 24:10). Still, they did not believe the women’s words. Christ later appeared to them and reprimanded them for their unbelief.

Why did Jesus Christ appear to Mary first and then have her carry the message of His resurrection to the other disciples? Was it because she was His companion, or wife? Never! Was it because of her loyalty to God, the truth and Jesus Christ? Absolutely!

Brown brings out in his book that the Roman Catholic Church has taught error concerning Mary in order to ruin her reputation and discredit her as Christ’s wife. The Catholic Church has taught that Mary was a prostitute. The Bible does not say that. Catholic traditions had connected her with the woman caught in adultery (John 8:1-11). The Bible does not name this woman. Catholic traditions have also stated that Mary Magdalene washed Christ’s feet with costly perfume (John 12:1-6). The context of these verses would prove that the Mary here would be Lazarus’s sister Mary (John 11:2).

Recently, the Catholic Church has corrected their errors concerning Mary Magdalene. Does this make Brown right? Has the real truth about Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene been hidden in a secret code? Hardly!

Let’s recognize that Brown’s empty pagan theology can never give us the truth about Jesus Christ. There is a truth that will totally satisfy all human longings. Next month, we’ll give you the stunning truth about why Jesus Christ came to this Earth.