The Christ Commission
Back in time
fiction is an excellent and slightly less dangerous medium to discuss controversial
historical information… like Jesus. And that is, it seems, what Og
Mandino’s The Christ Commission is… going to be. The book carried
slogans such as “Was The Resurrection a hoax?” and “Will
One Man discover proof that every Christian in the World is Wrong?”.
By the end of the book, however, the answer to both is “no”.
The story begins with Matt Lawrence, one of the greatest detective novelists ever, launching his latest bestseller. During an interview, he is asked whether he has a new project yet? Yes, early on in his career, he had an idea of “the Christ Commission”: a story set six years after the death of Jesus Christ, in which a commission interviews the key witnesses of Jesus’ life and specifically death, in an effort to establish whether Jesus rose from the dead or whether his body was instead removed by some of his followers to promote the myth that Christ has risen – the possibility Lawrence himself supports.
interview does not go down well. As it is not broadcast live, he finds himself
in the bar when it is screened and receives a punch on the nose from a disgruntled
person, upset by Lawrence challenging Christian dogma. He then finds himself
waking up and realises he has travelled back through time, to 36 AD. He
finds himself in the home of Joseph of Arimathea, who states that it is
he who has been able to transport him across time, so that his wish –
to hold a Christ Commission – can take place. As such, Joseph will
take Matt(hias) to the key individuals, from James, Jesus’ brother,
to John, Mary, Peter, Pontius Pilate, etc. With each, he asks a series of
critical questions, hoping to expose the Christ hoax and uncover the truth.
In the end, he accepts that his questions have not shown any evidence that the body was taken. In fact, he is then confronted with testimony that shows that the apostles and James clearly saw a resurrected man amidst them, which gave them their conviction that Jesus was “Christ” and the “Son of God”. However, by the time (a period of five days) that he reaches this conclusion, he has fallen foul of Pontius Pilate, who is preparing a “climax” to his life that will be similar to Jesus’ – with dire warnings from Joseph that if Matt Lawrence were to die in 36AD, Joseph will not be able to transport him back into the future, to our time. However, just before he is about to die, he is transported back to the future, to find himself waking up in the hotel room where a few hours before, someone punched him in the face – leaving him wondering whether it was all a dream, or whether it happened. But it equally leaves him convinced that he was wrong to doubt the veracity of the Bible.
story is very much like most of Og Mandino’s books: a feel good factor
about people’s beliefs, in which apparently they will be seriously
questioned, but which in the end will result in confirmation of basic beliefs.
“All is alright. Continue.”
The book is nevertheless of interest to the story of Perillos, for three reasons:
- the book focuses on trying to show that Jesus’ body was taken from his grave and taken somewhere and Matt Lawrence is trying to find out who and where it was taken.
- the book features time travel.
- the book places Joseph of Arimathea in a prominent position and even sees him as a type of “time lord”, able to blast Lawrence through time and space.
three core elements of the novel are also at the core of the Perillos mystery:
- the model features the tomb of Jesus and Joseph of Arimathea. The model identifies a location which we know is of key interest to certain esoteric traditions. The Courtade document identifies it as “a royal tomb” and Saunière as the “Tomb of Christ”. This does not mean it is the Tomb of Christ, but it is the most “logical” conclusion to draw from the available evidence. Furthermore, we note the reference to Joseph of Arimathea, linked with Saunière with a second site nearby.
- via the Chronodrome experiment, time travel has become intricately linked with Opoul-Perillos.
To find time travel and Joseph of Arimathea as “time lord” in search of the “Tomb of Christ” in one novel – and one area – is quite an intriguing correspondence. But that, it seems, is all there is to it: an American author had an interesting idea, which just “happens” to correspond with the key ingredients of the Perillos mystery of the past one hundred years.