There is considerable evidence that the earliest Christians believed that Christ was a purely celestial Being/Principle whose salvific acts took place in a higher spiritual realm intermediate between the material world the perfect Heavenly realm. This is most obvious in Paul's epistles, where he speaks of a divine Christ revealed in highly allegorical interpretations of Hebrew Scriptures and mystical experiences rather than appealing to alleged historical facts about a recent man who lived in Judea.
Is that above allegation about the views of early christians like Paul's, a mid 1st century Jew alledged to have written much of the New Testament merited based on what is contained in those writings? Let's look to what Paul wrote to see how much support this claim actually has.Romans 1
Paul, a slave of Jesus the Anointed One
, who is called an Apostle, and who was set aside for the good news of God, which He promised through His Prophets in the Holy Scriptures that tell about His Son, who came in the flesh from the seed of David, and who proved to be God's Son in a powerful way
, when he (by the Holy Breath [of God]) was resurrected from the dead. Yes, Jesus the Anointed One, our Lord, Romans 5:6
For a fact; The Anointed One came right on time and died for ungodly men back when we were still weak!1 Cor 2:1-2
1 So, when I came to you brothers, I didn't bring you the mysteries of God with high-sounding words of wisdom. 2 For, I decided not to teach you about anything other than Jesus the Anointed, and about how he was hung on a pole
. 1 Cor 11
23 I received this from the Lord and I've also shared it with you… that the Lord Jesus (on the very night that he was going to be handed over
) took a loaf, 24 and after giving thanks, broke it and said, 'This is my body [which is given] for you. Keep on doing this in memory of me.' 25 And after supper, he did the same thing with the cup, saying, 'This cup is the new Sacred Agreement of my blood. Keep on doing this… and as often as you drink it, think of me.'Philipians 2:
5 Keep this attitude in you that the Anointed Jesus had. 6 For, although he once existed in the same form as God, he didn’t consider trying to make himself equal to God. 7 Rather, he emptied himself into the shape of a slave and became a man. 8 And when he found himself shaped as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death… yes, death on a pole. 9 This is why God promoted him to a superior position and kindly gave him the name that is above all others; 10 so that in the name of Jesus every knee in heaven, on earth, and under the ground should bend, 11 and every tongue should confess that Jesus the Anointed One is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
In addition, here are words written by Luke, a companion of Paul, from Acts 3 about what the earliest followers of Jesus taught and believed:12 So when Peter saw this, he said, 'Men of IsraEl; Why are you surprised at this, and why are you staring at us as though we made him walk by our own power or devotion? 13 Why, the God of AbraHam, IsaAc, and Jacob – the God of our ancestors – has glorified His servant Jesus, whom you betrayed and disowned before the face of Pilate, after he had decided to release him. 14 Yes, you disowned that holy and righteous man, and you asked him to release a man who was a murderer! 15 Yes, you killed the Prince of Life! However, God thereafter raised him from the dead, which we all witnessed!
Do these writings really illustrate a belief that the "earliest Christians believed that Christ was a purely celestial Being/Principle whose salvific acts took place in a higher spiritual realm intermediate between the material world the perfect Heavenly realm
?" You be the judge.
............the notion that eternal salvation depends heavily on "getting the facts right."
That notion does in fact seem to be backed most strongly by institutional (church) propaganda. No argument there.
In addition, many of the narrative accounts are clearly pastiches of stories from the Hebrew Scriptures. For example, Herod's "massacre of the innocents" is a re-creation of the Pharaoh's attempt to kill the promised deliverer Moses in the Book of Exodus, making Jesus the New Moses, mediator of a New Covenant. He is then taken into Egypt by a Joseph (as the Hebrews were in the Book of Genesis), and his return to Judea is directly linked to the Exodus. gMatthew cites a passage from Hosea ("Out of Egypt I have called my son") as applicable to Jesus, when its original context is a reference to the Jewish people as a whole. In this way, Jesus is identified with the Jewish people. The crucifixion narratives are likewise crafted to fit with Psalm 22, which Jesus quotes from the Cross ("My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?").
Thus, the Gospels are not historical/biographical accounts or even fake historical/biographical accounts. The passage you cited above is not a simple, self-evident statement about a man entering a city at a particular point in human history. It may be quite plausibly interpreted in the same way as a statement like "Darth Vader was Luke Skywalker's father" or "Aslan was slain by the White Witch on the Stone Table"--a narrative "fact," but not a statement of ordinary fact.
Such conclusions are not out of the realm of possibility, but have very little textual support. Those who promote such idea must go through great lengths to connect dots that may in fact be totally unrelated to each other. If the Glenn Becks of the world can connect everything to George Soros I guess these guys can make their connections as well