77 Scriptural Errors in O’Reilly’s book “Killing Jesus.”
Bill O’Reilly hosts Fox New’s “The O’Reilly Factor” the highest rated cable news show in the country.
Coming from a background mix that includes a liberal Yale education and cafeteria Catholicism, O’Reilly uses his sharp egotistical wit and probing, no-nonsense interviews to entertain millions in prime time cable television in America.
O’Reilly smartly uses his Fox TV show as a promotional tool sending his two previous books: “Killing Lincoln,” “Killing Kennedy” and his latest, “Killing Jesus,” onto the best-seller lists.
They were co-written with best-selling author Martin Dugard. O’Reilly donates the profit from his share of the sale of these books to charities but Compass has yet to make that list. 😉
O’Reilly really dropped the ball with Killing Jesus. His account of Jesus’ life and death on this earth is rife with technical mistakes, doctrinal errors and uncomfortable speculation from a Catholic mindset. He should be renamed “Bill O’Really?”
Many readers probably won’t be aware of the book’s errors and misinformation, causing a subtly incorrect account of Jesus’ life to be burned into their unsuspecting minds.
There IS a lot of fascinating and accurate information about the Romans and the times in which Jesus lived sprinkled throughout the book. But because O’Reilly doesn’t use the Bible as a measuring stick for his research, the technical errors can throw you off.
It is also worth noting that throughout the book, O’Reilly seems somewhat bewildered and/or confused as he attempts to tell the age-old story of Jesus. The book approaches the Bible as something less than the inspired, infallible Word of God, and as a result, views the true identity of Jesus through a faulty and distorted lens.
On Pg. 176 O’Reilly says:
“It could be argued that as [Jesus] grew and learned scripture, he intentionally began contriving his actions and words to mimic the prophet’s predictions.”
Good grief O’Reilly, that’s scary! Jesus didn’t make Himself “fit” Bible prophecy, but rather fulfilled Bible prophecy!
“[Jesus] feels a keen desire to debate its nuances and legends…and finding new questions to ask.”
This, of course, is not true. I take offense at the scriptures being called “legends” as if they were passed down fables. And worse, O’Reilly says Jesus is debating the nuances, as if there are contradictions in scripture.
And finally, O’Reilly makes it sound as if Jesus was only asking questions, when the revelation of that scriptural record was that His answers were amazing.
Luke 2:47 “And all who heard Him were amazed at His understanding and His answers.”
“To this day, the body of Jesus of Nazareth has never been found.”
Over 30 verses refer to Jesus appearing 12 times to groups ranging from one person to 500 people. (2 Pet 2:16, Mk 16:9-11, Lk 24:34 et al.) To say that Jesus’ body has never been found means you have to deny the resurrection.
After first saying the body of Jesus has never been found, in the “Afterward” of the book O’Reilly does say “the Gospels state” that Jesus was seen 12 times as “apparitions!”
Really O’Reilly? You’re saying Jesus was resurrected as a ghost? NO, Jesus appeared with a physical body of flesh and bone, and has that same resurrected body today. He ate with the disciples after His resurrection. So Jesus was anything but a ghost!
Luke 24:42-43 “And they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish; and He took it and ate it before them.”
In addition to the above, the following is a partial list of technical errors that I also found in a quick one-time read. I’m sure I didn’t catch them all. But the fact I found so many affects the credibility of the book. The link to the entire list of 77 errors is at the end of this article.
O’Reilly says “tens of thousands” of Jews converged on Jerusalem for the Passover celebration. Historical accounts, such as the writings of Josephus, put that number in the millions. Later, on pg. 66, O’Reilly states “Passover is a time that Jerusalem is packed with hundreds of thousands of worshipers…” So internally the book is in conflict with itself.
“There are few sources of water.”
Regarding traveling from Nazareth to Bethlehem, O’Reilly says there are few sources of water. Not true. 2/3rds of the route Joseph and Mary would have traveled was next to the Jordan River, a bountiful source of water.
“the Temple Mount is a three-acre platform with walls stretching a quarter mile in length.”
I’m dumfounded that a Yale educated guy could think a wall could be 1/4 mile on one side and only be three acres on the inside! The Temple Mount is about 37 acres total, not three.
“[Mary Magdalene] will grow up to be a prostitute.”
There is no evidence whatsoever that Mary Magdalene was a prostitute.
O’Reilly obviously embraces his Catholic roots as he has John the Baptist listening to men confessing their sins in the Jordan River. But that’s not true. John is preaching repentance, not listening to confessions.
There is a great distance between repentance, which is confessing that you’re a sinner in need of a Savior and wishing to change directions, and listing out your sins one by one (as the Catholic Church doctrine requires you to do today).
“[John is] telling one and all that the end of the world is near and that they must prepare by being baptized.”
O’Reilly misunderstands the Bible, again, as to what is being proclaimed. What John said was “the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” And indeed it was with the world’s Messiah beginning His ministry.
But O’Reilly calls it the “end of the world,” seemingly to try to make John a false prophet and the scriptures incorrect.
The Temple Courts were fully enclosed.
|Roman coin used by Jews for Temple Tax|
Incorrect. The Jews were FORBIDDEN from minting their own coins and were forced to designate a Roman coin as a substitute for their half- shekel Temple tax (see photo above–the “designated” temple tax coin).
It was only after 66 AD, following the 1st Jewish Revolt, that the Jews could mint their own coins without images, often stamping the new image over the old Roman image. Four years later the Romans conquered Jerusalem and the Jewish coins were outlawed.
“[Jesus’] words of hope and love] will eventually rally billions of human beings to his spiritual cause. But they will not convert the powerful men who currently hold the life of Jesus in their hands.“
There were two powerful men who did convert- Joseph of Aramathia and Nicodemas.
“… the powerful men who currently hold the life of Jesus in their hands.”
“Though [Jesus] knows nothing about fishing…”
O’Reilly’s disregard for Jesus being God is scary. Jesus CREATED fish!
“Ask me for anything you want, and I’ll give it to you,…”
The text says up to “half” his kingdom, not “anything you want.”
O’Reilly describes a scene where Pharisees gather around Jesus in a Galilean marketplace. He says the Pharisees are wearing wooden boxes on their foreheads with a tiny scroll on the inside “telling about their exodus from Egypt.”
This is laughable! The Jews don’t wear their phylacteries on their heads causally around the marketplace as if it were part of their everyday dress.
Instead, they wear them, both on their head and attached to their upper inside left arm, only for time of prayer. And the verse inside is almost always from Deut 6 about loving God with all your heart and mind… in order that you don’t forget that it was God Who brought them out of Egypt.
Deut. 6:8 “You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead.”
Deut. 6:12 “then watch yourself, that you do not forget the LORD who brought you from the land of Egypt,”
“Since the destruction of the Temple in A.D. 70, it is no longer required that Jews make the pilgrimages to Jerusalem.”
Not correct. The commandment to go to Jerusalem is still in the Law. The reason they don’t go to Jerusalem is that the Romans conquered Jerusalem, destroyed the Temple and scattered the Jews. So they can’t make sacrifices on Mt. Moriah as called for in the Torah.
In fact, in 132 AD, during the Bar Corba revolt, the Jews took back Jerusalem for about 3 years and resumed sacrifices, although they weren’t able to rebuild their Temple.
“This same man who stands in the presence of God and sees that sins are forgiven is also the high priest…”
The wording here comes from O’Reilly’s Catholic roots where Priests oversee forgiveness of sins. The High Priest did NOT forgive sins, but rather, made atonement for sins. Therefore a more correct statement would be “make atonement so they could be forgiven.”
“James and John ask the Nazarene if they can be his principal assistants in the new regime…”
Incorrect. It was their mother who asked, not James and John.
Matt. 20:20-21 “Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came to Jesus with her sons, bowing down and making a request of Him.”
“‘O Lord, grant us success. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’ The words of thanksgiving are in Psalm 118.”
The words “O Lord, grant us success” are not in Psalm 118.
“Judas has lived the hand-to-mouth existence of Jesus’s disciples for two long years, rarely having more than a few extra coins in his purse, and very little in the way of luxury.”
Judas often had “more than a few extra coins” in his pocket because he constantly dipped into the disciples’ money box for personal needs.
John 12:4-6 “But Judas Iscariot, one of His disciples, who was intending to betray Him, said, ‘Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii, and given to poor people?’ Now he said this, not because he was concerned about the poor, but because he was a thief, and as he had the money box, he used to pilfer what was put into it.”
“It would be easy enough to ask the high priest to send Temple guards to the home of Lazarus…”
|Mount of Olives today, from the Southern Steps of the Temple Mount|
Whether or not Jesus was crucified on Thursday or Friday, He was NOT at Lazarus’ house in Bethany the night before His crucifixion. Rather He went from the Mount of Olives where He gave His famous Sermon on the Mount of Olives in Matthew 24, to the Upper Room and then back to Gethsemane at the base of the Mount of Olives. Bethany, where Lazarus lived, was two miles away.
Matt. 24:3 “And as He was sitting on the Mount of Olives,”
“Jesus returns to the garden at Gethsemane.”
Jesus never left the Garden of Gethsemane. The size of the Garden is huge covering an area of roughly six football fields. Jesus said He was going “over there” indicating a spot close by. Luke records He went a distance of about a “stones throw.”
Luke 22:41 “And He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and began to pray,”
O’Reilly again refuses to follow scripture by writing that the events of the evening before Jesus’ crucifixion took place at Annas’ house.
Jesus was originally taken to Annas, the revered former High Priest, but because he was no longer in power, Jesus was taken to Caiaphas house, who was in power.
So all the action O’Reilly writes about Annas on pages 226 to 231, should be about Caiaphas.
Jesus was crucified at 9 AM
O’Reilly has Jesus still carrying His cross to Golgotha “close to noon.” Jesus was crucified at 9 AM and died at 3 PM.
Mark 15:25 “It was the third hour when they crucified Him.”[9AM]
Luke 23:44 “It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness fell over the whole land until the ninth hour,”
“…the Via Dolorosa wasn’t established until centuries later and was not in existence during Jesus’s lifetime. The real path that Jesus walked began at Herod’s palace, near what is now the Jaffa Gate. It ends at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, which is thought to have been built atop the site of Golgotha and near Jesus’s tomb.”
O’Reilly has this all wrong. The path that Jesus walked carrying His cross began leaving Pilate at the Antonia Fortress, NOT Herod’s Palace, and proceeded through the Damascus Gate, NOT Jaffa Gate.
It is scripturally impossible (see map to right) for any sacrifice to take place on any mountain other than Mt. Moriah. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre is not on Mt. Moriah and is not north of the altar.
As you can see, I’m only pointing out Biblical error and not Roman history error, of which O’Reilly writes quite extensively. I have no clue if what he wrote about the Romans is accurate. Hopefully it is.
To download/read all 77 Biblical errors I found, Click Add to Cart (below)
Bill Perkins is the founder and Executive Director of Compass International, Inc.
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