Saturday, August 25, 2018

Rome’s aim in destroying the Temple was to destroy Christianity


Why was the medieval Roman church and the Orthodox church so antisemitic? Why were the Hebrew scriptures and all knowledge of Hebrew banned? Why were Christians expelled for 'judaizing' when it is clear that Jesus and nearly all the early Christians were Jews?
The last verse of Luke says that Christ's disciples were “continually in the Temple, praising and blessing God.” In the book of Acts, James, the brother of Jesus, instructs the Apostle Paul how best to perform Temple ritual. In early Christian writings up to the time of Jerome around 400, James is described as bishop of bishops, praying inside the Temple as Sagan priest.
Church history has been turned upside down. Black means white and white black. Judaism is allegedly anti-Christian. Paul is proclaimed as making a break with all aspects of the Temple tradition. The Bible, on the other hand, shows Paul anxious to fulfill the Temple tradition scrupulously. He is taught by someone whom the Roman church writes out of their history—James the brother of Jesus!
Why in short was Christian history re-written between the first century when Christians took full part in the Temple services, as the gospels and Acts say, and the time of Constantine in 325 when at Nicea he created an imperial Catholic Church profoundly anti-Jewish?  
A major discovery mentioned in archaeologist Meir Ben-Dov's book 'In the Shadow of the Temple' p187f  helps explains what was behind the so-called 'lost centuries' of Christian history.
Here's what he wrote about an extraordinary discovery during the first modern dig near Temple Mount:

"Among the most outstanding volunteers working on our dig were students from Ambassador College in Pasadena, California, who returned annually in groups of 100 and spent six weeks in arduous and energetic labor. Because of their remarkable fortitude and energy we often assigned them to particularly difficult projects.
One was to uncover what could be found under the remains of the Moslem palace south of the Temple Mount. A group of Ambassador students set work among the foundations of the building, which sometimes extended as far down as 7 meters and included parts of columns from earlier buildings placed in secondary use by the Moslem builders. The year was 1970 and we were approaching the 9th of Av -- when one of the members of this group came running towards me flushed with excitement.
"I've been looking all over for you!" he shouted. "What's up?" I asked, though it seemed pretty clear from the state he was in that he had found something interesting. "There's an inscription down there," he told me, and I accompanied him back to the area and climbed down the ladder to find that a column that the Moslems had incorporated into the palace foundation walls bore a clear inscription in Latin letters.
Even at first glance I could tell that this was a royal inscription, though most of it was still not visible. After a few hours' hard work we managed to free the column from the wall of which it had become a part -- without damaging the wall itself -- and cleaned off the remaining plaster that still clung on to it. Then came our startling discovery that it was a dedicatory inscription to the Tenth Legion mentioning none other than Titus himself.
We were filled with emotion because of the uncanny symbolism of the find. Here we were on the eve of the 9th of Av. One thousand nine hundred years ago to the day, Titus had briefed his troops on the storming of the Temple Mount. And now, in the renewed State of Israel, standing in Jerusalem, digging alongside the Temple Mount, we had come into tangible contact with Titus and his legions." (emphasis added.)

Ambassador College was collaborating in the first dig at Jerusalem organized by Prof Benjamin Mazar of the Hebrew University and the Israel Exploration Society. 



 Dr Ernest L Martin, who led the Ambassador College group, revealed the truth about Titus at the time that student John Turner uncovered the carved the Titus Pillar with the imperial name of his father Emperor Vespasian.
There are two versions of the briefing that Titus gave to his General Staff about storming and looting of the Temple in 70 CE. One is a short version. It looks more like Roman propaganda. Why? Because it appears to be a censored version that gives the entirely wrong impression of the facts. This was a common technique in Rhetoric or "spin" management as we would say today. It excises inconvenient facts from and account to lead the reader to a distorted conclusion.
What it leaves out is more significant than what it mentions. The fragment is attributed to the historian Tacitus and says:
The military staff told Titus:

“This holy building is the most beautiful structure ever built by the hand of man and should not be destroyed. If we leave it unharmed, its continued existence would serve as a witness to the moderation of the Romans. But if it were destroyed, the Roman name would be forever blackened. "

What it admits is striking. That the 'Jewish' Temple outshone anything in the Roman world is an extraordinary admission for any Roman writer, proud of Rome's achievements.
Many other writers, however, make the same assessment. This account, in itself, indicates the desperation to put some form of positive gloss on what in effect was a global disaster to its prestige. Rome destroyed the World's Wonder, a city greater than Rome and in direct violation to the Treaty between Caesar and the Jewish Ethnarch at the time of the Maccabees. It blackened its reputation forever.
The extract implies that the Roman army were careful not to harm this Wonder of the World.
Is it true?
  
The fuller story is revealed in the Sacred History of Sulpicius Severus, an educated Gallic Christian, a post-Nicene father (NPNF, s2, vol xi, p111). He appears to be quoting from the same or similar historical records but this time he gives the unvarnished truth. The Caesars wanted to destroy the Temple because the Temple Teacher and his Resurrection made nonsense of their pagan pantheon of false gods. Hence the Empire was threatened.

"Titus is said, after calling the council, to have first deliberated whether he should destroy the Temple, a structure of such extraordinary work. For it seemed good to some that a sacred edifice, distinguished above all human achievements, ought not to be destroyed, inasmuch as, if preserved, it would furnish an evidence of Roman moderation, but, if destroyed would serve as a perpetual proof of Roman cruelty. But on the opposite side, others and Titus himself, thought that the Temple ought especially to be overthrown, in order that the religion of the Jews and Christians might more thoroughly be subverted; for these religions, although contrary to each other, had nevertheless proceeded from the same authors; that the Christians had sprung up from among the Jews; and that, if the root were extirpated, the offshoot would speedily perish. "
The Titus Pillar may have been a Roman celebration of the brutal destruction of the Temple and the subjugation of Jews and Christians. It was the victory pole of paganism. If it was erected near where it was found, it would have stood like a vile asherah, decorated with an pagan eagle in the court before the Temple.
If that is so, it would have echoed repeated attempts to erect the pagan symbol in the Temple to proclaim to all Roman supremacy of their pantheon.
The Roman Governor Pontius Pilate had, according to the contemporary historian Josephus, tried to infiltrate Roman Legion standards into Jerusalem, something forbidden by the earlier treaty between Julius Caesar and the Maccabees. He failed, due to the passive resistance of the Jewish nation, who would rather die than see their Temple defiled.
An even more remarkable event occurred around the time of the birth of Christ and the dying days of Herod the Great. Josephus records that Romans attempted to raise an eagle at the great gate of the Temple. Jews, in fervent expectation of the coming of the Messiah at this time, ripped it down. They were led by two fervent Jewish scholars, Judas of Sepphoris and Matthias of Margalus. Fearing the whole nations would rise against him and Rome, Herod burnt alive the main perpetrators and killed their students in a bloody slaughter. Wracked with a putrefying disease, Herod in his last days instructed his soldiers to gather the most illustrious leaders from the entire Jewish nation into the hippodrome and slaughter them all at his death.
Seventy years later Titus may have erected this Pillar as the Roman signal of their definitive destruction of Judaism and Christianity.
Despite the myriad of martyrs who maintained the facts of the resurrections, miraculous healings and personal revelations, Rome was unable to accomplish the human destruction of Christianity or Judaism. Roman emperors conceded that the resurrections and miracles had taken place and were taking place in their own times. (Jesus, James, Joseph, p530 and chapter 32).
Then it became obvious that Rome had lost the war against truth. It tried another tactic: Fake history, disinformation and dissembling about why the Temple was destroyed.
The Titus Pillar reveals one reason for truth gap, the so-called 'missing centuries' of Christian history. It took centuries of antisemitic propaganda before the Romans could dissociate and expunge all facts about Christians' involvement in the Temple, where Jesus, James and Joseph taught and officiated.
Rome was destroyer of the building God had decreed to be built. How then could Rome, the determined destroyer of the King of Jews, the Chief Priest of that building, present itself as champion of Christianity?
Only by centuries of killings and propaganda to subvert all connections between Christ, the Bible and Israel. Then with an empire that had only modified its effete and dying paganism, Constantine could proclaim an imperial religion that he called 'Christianity' where the Hebrew scriptures, the Temple, Sabbath and the festivals were banned on pain of death.
                                      David Heilbron Price, Nazarene Project   8/2018


Saturday, March 17, 2018

Why was Mariam shocked to learn she would bear Jesus?

In the Gospel of Luke a virgin betrothed to Joseph was visited by the angel or messenger Gabriel. He announced that she would bear a son to be named Jesus. 
She was shocked. She said in Luke 1:35 'How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?' 
But she was 'betrothed' to Joseph! The verb 'know' must mean have sexual relations with him. 
Isn't that peculiar? Did it need an angel to tell her that marriage leads to children?
The reply of Gabriel is also unusual. It is not what we would expect.
'The holy spirit will come upon you and the power of the Highest shall overshadow you. Therefore the holy born one shall be called the son of God. And behold, your cousin Elizabeth. She also conceived a son in her old age. And this is the sixth month with her that was called barren. For with God, nothing is impossible.' 
Does this expression 'the holy spirit will come upon you' have anything to do with insemination of seed so Joseph was sidelined and rendered redundant? Hardly. A few verses later we learn in 2:25 that the holy spirit 'was upon' someone else. Who? Simeon the retired high priest! He was old and hardly pregnant! 
Was Mary 14 years old?
If as many churches say, Mary -- or Mariam as it is in the Greek NT -- was 14 years of age, why is she so surprised that one day in her marriage she will become pregnant. And what was Joseph doing marrying a 14 year old? Isn't that child abuse? Nothing in scripture supports a teenage girl. The only source of this is pagan mythologies where unmarried, unbetrothed virgins are inseminated by Jupiter or some other god. 
Why does the angel mention an old, grey or white haired cousin called Elizabeth? The word for old age here is the Greek, gera, from which we derive our term geriatrics. Cousins are usually in the same age bracket. This is confirmed in the Greek text. Note the word 'also'.
The Greek says:
And behold, (idou -- Just take a look at that!) your cousin Elizabeth! She also conceived a son in her old age. And this is the sixth month with her that was called barren. For with God, nothing is impossible.' (Or more correctly 'Also she conceived in her old age.' 

Luke also uses the word idou in chapter 2: 25 meaning Surprise, surprise! when Joseph and Mariam meet Simeon the former high priest in the Temple. He was forcibly retired by the paranoid and murderous Herod the Great. He is Mariam's relative. 
For reasons of self-preservation in those dangerous Herodian times they lived quite separately without contact.
'Behold Elizabeth! Also she conceived in her old age.' The 'also' of Luke 1 verse 35 must refer to a miracle relating to either pregnancy or old age ... or both. If Mariam was a young girl or even in her twenties it would not be a miracle that she would become pregnant as announced. A married Jewish woman would expect to have children as part of the reasons for marriage. In her case much more so as Joseph was inheritor of the house of David and her son would be a royal born at a prophetic time according to Daniel when many expected the Messiah. It had obviously not happened, much to her disappointment. Mariam was not some unknown woman but esteemed in her own right as a direct descendant of Aaron, with an authentic genealogy.
If she were in her 20s she should still expect to have children.
Let's make the first correction. Instead 'man' she is asking: 
'How can this be since I have not known (had relations) with my husband?' 
The Greek word here 'andra' does not mean 'man' in the sense of 'any man'. 'I have not been with a man.' That's what the RCC-Protestants say. They say she was a young girl engaged to Joseph but didn't know a man. Was she looking for other men? The text says in KJV she was 'betrothed'! Would she say to the angel that she was looking for someone else to have sex with? That's a crazy and blasphemous idea. 
Engagement
Non-Jewish sectarians are patently wrong because they fail to understand -- or do not want to understand -- what were Jewish marriages/ weddings customs. The answer is simple. They could crack open a Jewish encyclopedia or ask a local Jew at the synagogue. That is not too difficult. Instead they transpose Roman or even loose, modern ideas about 'engagement'. Not so.
Mariam was a daughter of Aaron -- a highly esteemed priestly family with only a few survivors. She was married to a royal son of the House of David. This took place according to ancient custom. Even common people of Israel in first century Judea and elsewhere around the world, followed these customs, according to Josephus and Philo. They kept registers in all the global depositories showing these customs of betrothal, wedding, birth were respected, with names of witnesses. Jews do this today. If a child of a man named Cohen = priest in Hebrew) does not conform to Hebrew rules of marriage, then all his offspring for ever cannot be considered viable as priests.
This regulation was essential if children were to be considered fit for marriage as priests and the same goes for kings and tribal leaders. Ten generations had to be verified by these interlocking methods where many independent registries confirm ancient families.
Betrothal
The first question to ask is: what did the Hebrew or first century Jews mean by 'betrothal'? Qiddushin or Betrothal in the Hebrew or Jewish sense gave the couple the right to live together with all rights of sexual relationship. If either man or wife wanted to separate, a divorce called a 'get' was needed before a judge.
So the shock reply of Mariam: 'How can this be?!' to a pregnancy has to be explained.
We further learn that she was still a virgin! In Jewish custom the term primarily has to do with menstruation. So when a woman says she is still a virgin it means that she was not menstruating or had not menstruated. Amongst the priestly class, no intercourse could take place until a wife had had three successive, regular monthly periods to show she was in good health. That's in Josephus and other sources of the time. The Talmud tractate Niddah written a few centuries later also says that a woman who was old and undergone the change and ceased to menstruate could also be considered a virgin.
Virgin
So the reason for her shock must be (a) she was 11 or 12 and had not menstruated and was naive and thought she never would, (b) she was married a long time she had not had regular periods, and Joseph had never 'known' her, or (c) she was old and had had her menopause some long while ago. Her infertility was certain to her.
Two other points. Firstly, context. The whole of Luke's first two long chapters is about women in their old age. In chapter one we have her cousin, Elizabeth/ Elisheva who was 'stricken in years'. Then we have Mariam / Miriam. The sister of Moses, Miriam the prophetess, married in her old age, Caleb, according to Jewish tradition. She had a flourishing and important family. Then in chapter two we have Anna or Hanna in Hebrew the prophetess of the tribe of Asher. Hanna as a name recalls that of the mother of Samuel the prophet who gave birth in old age, miraculously after much prayer. The NT Anna or Hanna was either 84 years old or much older depending how you read the text. She was 'advanced in years' v 36 having lived with her husband from her virginity seven years. That seems to confirm the Niddah laws of the Hebrew scriptures (and Talmud) are in force.
Secondly we can make a mathematical calculation of Mariam's age. I did this in section 15.17 of the book, Jesus, James, Joseph. It is based on Eusebius. After James the brother of Jesus was killed, Symeon the cousin of Jesus was made the Bishop / Supervisor or Governor/ Sagan of the ekklesia at Jerusalem. He was a younger son of of the younger brother of Joseph called Cleopas or Alpheus. Eusebius gives us his age at his death. We do not know the age of Maria, the wife of Cleopas when she started having children. But the calculation shows that Mariam was old when she had Jesus and later James, Jude, Simeon, Joses and probably three or so daughters.
Mariam was obviously old and past her menopause. That is why she was surprised at the announcement of a birth of a son to come.


Saturday, February 24, 2018

Jesus was not a Preacher or a Peasant!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yte-ad6Y31s
In an interview about his book, "How Jesus became God, the exaltations of a Jewish preacher from Galilee", Bart Ehrman starts on the wrong track. The title of the book is an error common among Protestants. Jesus was NOT a preacher and nor a peasant.  
He was a an anointed Teacher in the Temple -- a post that required both a proven Aaronic genealogy and a higher level of education than the priests and lawyers inside the Temple. The high priest of the time was inferior because he was not anointed. No one could enter the Temple unless he could prove his father and mother back over nine generations, unsullied by marriage to a gentile -- as the book of Ezra shows. A priest (Cohen) had to marry the virgin daughter of a Cohen or an Israelite.
Jesus was also a son of David through his father, Joseph, an Israelite of the tribe of Judah, as Matt 1 shows. Hence king of Israel and king of the Jews. Anointing applies to 3 offices, king, priest and prophet. 
John the Baptist was an Aaronic priest and had the power and authority to anoint, provided he had the special holy oil. Some vials of a special oil have been found among the Dead Sea caves, as then reported in the New York Times. This is covered in the book Jesus, James, Joseph, p306.  
Ehrman is also wrong in saying there is no historical contemporary evidence of the Resurrection. Several letters to Roman Caesars affirm this. I am not aware of any imperial documents of the first century attempting to deny the Resurrection. The proof was evident -- and other archaeological finds affirm it, such as the imperial Edict plaque found near Nazareth, p530 of my book. It is dealing with bodies missing from unpillaged, empty graves! This shows that the Romans were also aware of other people resurrected to physical life among early believers. 
I agree Pilate was a nasty anti-semite and mean personality but he did not bow to religious sensibilities as Ehrman says. He realised that he had broken Roman law and an imperial treaty because Jesus was a king and you cannot kill a king without consequences. He had no warrant to do so either from the Emperor or from the Senate. When this was explained to him by Joseph of Arimethea (who held a Roman title and held an imperial office), he took the body down. Sharpish. A treaty had been made with Jewish leaders and Julius Caesar and Pilate had ignored this. Pilate wrote reports to Tiberius trying to explain. So say early Christian writers. But he was hauled off to Rome to a Court process and punished. 
Ehrman is also wrong about no documents existing in the first 20 years after the Resurrection. RCC and Protestants just ignore the Nazarene documents because they do not agree with their Church doctrine, that arose with Constantine in the 300s. Ehrman also gets confused because he uses modern ideas, based on pagan Greek ones, to deal with the divinity of Christ. He should deal with Hebrew theology and philosophy.
He also omits the fact that the pagan gods were destroyed by the impact of the Resurrection. The empire changed to sun worshippers! 
Further information about the Nazarenes and how to get a free copy of the book, Jesus, James, Joseph and the past and future Temple, can be found on the Nazarene Project website. nazareneproject(dot)com.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yte-ad6Y31s
Terry Gross is the host and co-executive producer of…
YOUTUBE.COM

Saturday, February 10, 2018

How old was Jesus when he became Teacher-Priest?

Luke 3 describes the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist. John, six months older than Jesus, was then imprisoned and executed by Herod. John was an Aaronic priest through his mother Elizabeth. His father, Zacharias, was also a priest but not of such a highly esteemed family.
Luke then puts the spotlight on Jesus. He was a son of Mariam who like her cousin Elizabeth, Lk 1:5, was also of 'the daughters of Aaron'. They could trace their family back to Elisheba, wife of Aaron, and Miriam sister of Aaron and Moses. Luke then gives the priestly lineage of Jesus from Joseph to Adam.
The Bible says that a priest had to be 30 years old before he took up the mature, senior office of priest, Num 4:3. "From thirty years old and above, even to fifty years old..." (Some other junior posts could start when men reached twenty.)

"Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age," says Luke in 3:21.

But if Jesus was born in the autumn of 3 BCE and died at Passover 30 CE after 3 1/2 years mission, how could he be 30 when he started the mission? That would mean he started his mission in the autumn of 26 CE. Are there 30 years between 3BCE and 26CE?
That depends how you count them and Luke is very clear. The King James Version (KJV) says he began to be 'about' 30. The Greek however does not use the normal word 'peri' for 'about'. It uses another word for 'about' which invokes a comparison, oosei.
Why? Clearly it is drawing a distinction between the Greek or Roman calculation or arithmetic and the Hebrew.
Luke is after all writing to the Most Excellent Theophilus, chapter 1:3. This son of high priest Annas of the gospels, Theophilus, was put in office as the high priest in 37 CE by Vitellius who replaced Pontius Pilate. He was thus ethnarch or political leader of the nation. As such he was addressed with the respectful title of Most Excellent or Most Noble, kratiste.
He  was educated. He knew how to count in Greek and also in the Hebrew Torah!
Following the death of Tiberius who gave 7 years of peace to Nazarenes and Jews, Gaius Caligula threatened the entire Jewish people. He commanded that his statue should be placed and worshipped in all synagogues. Massacres of Jews took place in Alexandria, Egypt under Roman governor Flaccus and elsewhere. Then Caligula announced that he would place a huge golden idol of himself as Jupiter in the Temple itself. He would move the center of the Roman empire to the Temple and install himself there after having his divine status confirmed in Egypt by its pagan priests.
The cause of Caligula's wrath against the Jews? The Resurrection of Jesus the Christ -- which Tiberius had acknowledged as a fact but which threatened the fragile myths of the Roman gods, the invention of men.
Theophilus was high priest during the whole reign of Caligula. He needed to be stalwart in character to resist wisely with the minimum of bloodshed. That depended on his knowledge and education. How was he educated? By a teaching priest. Luke says:

"Seeing that many did take in hand to set in order a narration of the matters that have been fully assured among us, as they did deliver to us who from the beginning became eye-witnesses and officers of the Word, it seemed good also to me, having followed from the first after all things exactly, to write to you in order, Most Noble Theophilus, that you may know the certainty of the things wherein you were catechised." Lk 1 Literal translation 

Yes, a teacher catechised a potential high priest and one new in office to understand and fulfill all the complex rites and rituals. He was also informed about all recent political events that would effect the Jewish nation. He was the nominal head of government under the Romans. Theophilus had a very delicate task to perform.
In 37 James (Jacob) the brother of Jesus was recognised as the Superintendent (sagan or bishop) of the Temple and matters pertaining to the ordering of priests (see Acts 15 and 21:17).  Luke and the other gospels record that the resurrection of Jesus had been witnessed by all at Jerusalem. The priests in the Temple had a full view of the Ascension of Jesus forty days later from the nearby Mount of Olives.
What is a Teacher-Priest? To understand the basics we must rid ourselves of centuries of misinformation and gentile, antisemitic propaganda. Jesus is called throughout the Gospels, 'Teacher'. An unknown person, who according to the common "Christian" belief was a carpenter and who suddenly decided to become a roaming preacher, would not in first century Israel be called a Teacher. He would be called a carpenter. He would also be dismissed as a vagabond.
Jesus taught priests and lawyers in the Temple, many times. Obviously he had better education about the Temple and the Law than they had. He commanded their attention by his authoritative presentations and cutting reprimands, Matt 23. He called them hypocrites and blind guides.
A Temple Teacher must not only have deep learning but also an authentic pedigree to even enter the Holy Place. Genealogies were checked at the outer gates. He could not enter to teach priests if he had not fulfilled the requirements of priest himself. He must have been legally at least 30 years old in 26/27 CE.
So let us go to the Bible rather than traditions of a sect. Teacher in Hebrew is Moreh. It is a title. We find the term Teacher-Priest or Teaching Priest in the early days of the Temple. In Hebrew it is Cohen-Moreh. In 2 Chronicles 15:3 we learn that King Asa of Judah was greatly helped when the post of Teacher-Priest was re-established.

"For many days Israel was without a true God, and without a teaching priest (cohen moreh), and without law (Torah, teaching)."

Asa was the son of Abijah, the son of Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, the son of king David.
He carried out a reform and purified the land of idolatry. This might seem costly in one sense as it required righteousness and energy. But the whole land was in turmoil, city against city and nations were against nations in the area. He destroyed idols. Asa's reforms were a disruption only to those who were not believers in the true God. That included some of his own family.
The result was that peace reigned instead of internal turmoil and external wars. In reality righteousness was a very inexpensive policy and it was a sure-fire way of protecting national security.

In 15:2 Asa was told: "The Eternal is with you while you are with him. If you seek him he will be found of you."

Soon after he started the reform, Judah and Israel were faced with a massive invasion from Egypt, then controlled by the Ethiopians and led by Zerah. He expected easy pickings from the what he had heard of turmoil and wars.
All Judah could muster as an army was 280,000 men. That is a considerable army in modern terms. But it was far outclassed by the Ethiopian army. They numbered one million!
In spite of being massively outnumbered the Jews vanquished the invaders.
Thus instituting reform towards the true God of Israel was the best insurance policy that anyone could ever have.
So what was the office of Teacher-Priest? This post is mentioned to Aaron in Leviticus 10:11, so it is very ancient. When the Bible uses the term Teacher it does not mean 'preacher'. That is a Protestant term. It means teacher of Torah. It is associated with the Temple. Who was the Teacher-Priest in the time of Jesus?
The lineage that follows in Luke 3 shows that Joseph, his father, was this teacher before him and Heli or Eli before him. Joseph is called a tekton in the gospels. This word means 'technical expert'. It does not mean carpenter in the Jewish context. It means expert teacher of the Torah. Jesus too was a tekton, a teacher.  From Asa's experience we see that a Hebrew tekton was a master of security for the nation because he could turn Jews and their surrounding gentiles to God.
Josephus, the first century historian, calls Jesus a teacher and also refers to him by another Greek word in the famous passage in Antiquities book 18. That is poietes, a divinely inspired prophet.  (Our English word 'poet' derives from this word.) Jesus, he said, was

"a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man, for he was a doer (poietes) of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was the Anointed of God (Christ)."

So we have not only a priest and teacher but an anointed one. Anointing was not performed for the  high priests, like Theophilus, Annas or Caiaphas. The Talmud records that an anointed priest is in a higher category of holiness from an unanointed one and the latter must withdraw before him.
So having established that Jesus had this special, divine office of Teaching Priest, how can we show he was of an age that allowed him to take office, namely 30 years?
Understanding how the Hebrews counted reigns of kings and priests will explain why the Bible does not mention that king X reigned 5 years three months and two days. It always gives a whole number of years. Why?
In the Hebrew scriptures, the dates of kings and priests were governed by regnal years. Instead of noting a specific date in the calendar when the last king died and counting the days, the method was to note who was the king on the first day of the beginning of the civil year and then count the number of years that this applied. The civil year began on the first day of the month of Tishri, the Feast of Trumpets.
Counting the number of number of these feast days gives the length of the regnal years for the king. If a king B took over from his father king A in January and stayed on the throne until Trumpets, then he had reigned a year. If he died before Trumpets he would not have reigned that year, but the year would be given to the next king C who was in office on Trumpets. This would be noted as C's first year. The chronologer would not bother to note that he had only reigned a few months of that year.
So how does this apply to Christ?
According to the calculation made by Dr Ernest L Martin in his book, The Star that astonished the World, Jesus was born at the beginning of the first of Tishri at the start of the Feast of Trumpets, 3 BCE.
So we can calculate:
3 BCE to 2BCE is one year.
3 BCE to 1 BCE is two years.
Then we have to remember that there was no year zero. The next year is 1 CE.
3 BCE to 1 CE is 3 years.
3 BCE to 6 CE is 8 years.
3 BCE to 26 CE is 28 years!

So how could Jesus be reckoned to be 30?
Firstly, we should note that Jesus was born at the beginning of Trumpets -- at night. Hebrew days begin at sunset and end at sunset. There were shepherds in the field at night who announced that he had been born in their crib in their tents. (Jesus, James Joseph chapter 15)
So what part of the whole day of the Feast of Trumpets was the critical time that marked the king's reign and distinguished it from the previous king?
The clue is in the name -- Feast of Trumpets. It was the time when the trumpets sounded. If this was midday, then if the king B died before the trumpet he was without the regnal year.  If he took office only just before and died a few seconds after the trumpet he had reigned a whole year!
So we must count the time before the trumpets of 3 BCE as the first year of Jesus's life. The second year started with the Trumpet and continued to the next first of Tishri in 2 BCE.
So the calculation should read as following:
Birth to the time of Trumpets 3 BCE year one
3 BCE to 2 BCE 2 years.
3 BCE to 1 BCE is three years.
3 BCE to 26 CE is 29 years.

But aren't we still a year short of 30?

That's when we need to look at the gospel of Luke again. Luke 3:23 says:

"And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being according to Torah law (Greek does not mean 'supposed' as Jerome mistranslated it into Latin for doctrinal purposes. The word 'enomizeto' means regulated and according to nomos, Hebrew or Torah Law, literally legalized)  son of Joseph, ... "

Jesus was beginning his thirtieth year. Come the1st of Tishri, this would all be recognized as his year.  Under Hebrew law he was entitled to count this year. As Jesus was alive on this next feast of Trumpets, we can say with Luke Jesus was beginning to be thirty years and fully qualified to be priest.
Jesus, James, Joseph and the past and future Temple is available free on www.academia.edu/25051668 or in bookshops.








Saturday, December 30, 2017

Tom Paine debunks the Virgin Birth. What else did he miss?

Is the belief in Mary's Virgin birth is necessary for salvation? The answer to the question is "It depends on what you mean by Virgin Birth".  The conundrum arises because people today seldom read the Bible logically. They confuse what the NT actually says with common custom of "Christmas", nativity and Virgin Birth (that is virginal conception). There are animals and stables, mangers and the story of 'no room for them in the Inn'.
This mythology derives from the non-Jewish and often paganized church of the third and fourth centuries. The dogma of the BVM (Blessed Virgin Mary) is maintained up to the present by Roman Catholics, Protestants and others.
The 18th century best-selling writer and revolutionary,Thomas Paine, opposed this false interpretation. Fine! but he was fighting many shadows and falsehoods. The paganized accretions of the church also added quite a number of falsities that are still present today.
Mary's name was not Mary -- it is Mariam in the Greek NT. This is equivalent to the name of the sister of Moses, a Levite. She was not a young girl but was an old woman like her cousin, Elizabeth. And Elizabeth was equivalent to the Jewish name, Elisheva, Aaron's wife.
Mariam was married and still a virgin according to Hebrew definitions. There is no stable in the NT. There is no inn. There is no cave. The city of David, Bethlehem, was not full of people. It was probably empty except for a few shepherds. (Claiming descent from David was a death sentence in usurper 'King' Herod's regime. No one was even called David in NT times!) No animals, and no stable. But Mariam did not give birth alone. That would have invalidated the genealogy. She needed at least two or three proven honest witnesses.
These false accretions came from Mithraism that was absorbed into Roman religion around the first century. The RC Virgin Birth came from classical pantheism were the gods descended and took human virgins to procreate the demigods.
The Magi did not come at the birth but a year or two later. And there were not three, there were probably hundreds or thousands of Parthian Magi in a caravan that caused the whole of Jerusalem to tremble with fear of another Roman-Parthian war. Parthia had defeated Rome in numerous times in bloody wars and a peace treaty had been made less than 20 years earlier.
And as Paine rightly points out this BVM business adds impossibility to improbability and the illegitimacy of the RC story. In fact it demolishes it. It requires patience and logic to discover and expose lies and falsehoods. A contemporary of Paine was the famous scientist Joseph Priestley. Like many of the scientists of his day, he wrote a huge amount of theology, as in the age of Reason, the logical methodology required was the same. Paine was not up to par on reason. I recommend Priestley's books such as "History of the Corruptions of Christianity" 1782, 'History of early Opinions concerning Jesus Christ'', 'Discourses on Evidences of Revealed Religion' (delivered at the church of the Universalists, Philadelphia 1796 and dedicated to John Adams).
What is important is less the details of history but a willingness to find the truth, for example about the Resurrection and the NT as a whole and act on it.

Tom Paine is considered a hero of American Independence. Born in England, he became an American citizen and then in France during the Revolution was elected to the French Assembly! He wrote a number of books like Common Sense, The Rights of Man, and the Age of Reason, that were best sellers of his time. They still sell well today.
He was raised on the Bible and was able to expose quite a bit of the hypocrisy of the religion of his day. He described himself as a Deist and his rejection of traditional beliefs alienated him from many of his contemporaries.
He was also in conversation with scholars after he wrote this book, so we don't know his final thoughts. He was right to ask questions. But not all of his conclusions are correct. What is useful is the effort to separate the original truth about Christ and the later traditions of men and politicians.
If you consider the so-called Christian traditions of the RC-Protestants as a series of falsehoods overlaid on the biblical account, Paine exposed and removed some of the most pertinent. He said about the Virgin Birth in the Age of Reason that:
Were any girl that is now with child to say, and even if to swear it, that she was gotten with child by a ghost, and an angel told her so, would she be believed?  Certainly she would not.  Why, then, are we to believe the same thing of another girl, whom we never saw, told by nobody knows who, nor when, nor where?  How strange and inconsistent it is, that the same circumstance that would weaken the belief even of a probable story, should be given as a motive for believing this one, that has upon the face of it every token of absolute impossibility and imposture!"
No one would believe her then. No one should believe her today. Yet millions are taught this unbelievable and unprovable claim by a teenager as the foundation for religious belief and obedience to a denomination. Some blasphemously call this girl 'the mother of god.' That is a pagan title of the pagan Queen of Heaven.
Where did the Virgin Birth come from? Why is it held so firmly? The overlay here is ancient and pagan. It is that of the long-held, Greco-Roman gods impregnating human virgins. 
How did paganism get mixed up with Christianity? Thank the fourth century imperial church of Emperor Constantine for this mish-mash! Paine is right to show that such assertions don't make sense. They render the improbable impossible. He exposes it as an imposture. He was a free man and spoke his mind. In the Middle Ages the imperial church would have required his life. In fact Paine almost lost his life for his frankness.
The fraudulent doctrine comes by combining (syncretizing) current beliefs to make a new imperial religion acceptable to all. The imperial church and the popes gave 'Christian' names to the pagan gods. But this allegation of an unmarried teenager claiming a Virgin conception by a pagan-style god is at odds with the Bible.
The NT says the opposite. Jesus had a human father. Mariam says to Jesus about Joseph: 'Your father and I have been searching for you.' The disciples say that Jesus is the son of Joseph. Did the popes know better than the real mother and father?
But wasn't Jesus also divine? Where Paine does not analyze it is in the matter of a second birth mentioned to Nikodemus in John 3. This begettal occurred at the baptism of Jesus as an adult human. It was physically seen as 'the form of a dove'.
A further overlay of lies or ignorance that Paine does not speak of is the confusion of Mariam's marital state. Non-Jews of the RCC etc applied the Roman or  even modern concept of what 'betrothal ' is to the NT. Among Hebrews it was different. It is not Engagement. In Hebrew and biblical custom betrothal=Qiddushin= consecration. It means marriage vows and a divorce is needed to break it. So Mariam was married and with child.
It was clearly a miracle to everyone because she was an old woman! She was pregnant at what was definitely a post-menopausal age. 'By (the) holy spirit' means by the grace of God as elsewhere in NT.
Luke 1:36 says both Mariam and her cousin conceived in their old age (gera as in geriatrics) and as Sarah, Rebekah, Hannah and other holy women. Isaiah 7:7 speaks of 65 years but it is not clear whether this also refers to a married virgin.
No text speaks of a 14-year old. The 14-year old 'Mary' comes again from paganized demigod theology. The Romans assumed anyone older than 14 would not be a virgin.
There is a further overlay of ignorance or lies relating to what modern churches take a 'virgin' to be and what virgin meant to the Jews and in the Bible etc. The first century Jewish Christians were called Nazarenes Acts 24:5 and continued into later centuries. They were clear on these matters. Gentiles were confused.  Paine did not explore the sources of these errors although some of the scientist-theologians like Newton, Whiston, Priestley, Boyle did.
The scientific method requires that each step is proven before one moves to deducing a conclusion. That's why Paine needs to be read, checking and verifying with the Bible, other authors and Jewish writings. Some of this is summarized in chapter 15 of the free eBook
https://www.academia.edu/25051668/Jesus_James_Joseph_and_the_past_and_future_Temple_Version_N36



Saturday, December 2, 2017

New Testament Q theory gets a failing 'D' grade



In a case before a judge in Court, a number of witnesses come forward and give their accounts. The accounts are all different in the sense that, though they keep the same chronology and essential facts, they are presented in different terms.
At base there is no contradiction.
Would the judge be correct to say they must all be wrong and made-up because they are coherent and concur? Obviously not. Logical coherence is an indicator of truth. If the witnesses are all known as honest people, he would come to the opposite conclusion.
They were all witnessing to real events.
Now turn to the Bible. That sort of logic disappears like vapor on a hot day when it comes to atheists trying to deal with the Gospels. They are confronted with miracles and the resurrection, in fact several resurrections. Atheists just 'know' that it can't be true. So they say the gospel writings must be myths and falsehoods kept alive at first by oral tradition. They say, there were no miracles, no resurrections. There was a band of dispirited disciples who were disappointed that Jesus did not vanquish the Roman armies. They say that only later the disciples got together to write down some favorable things about Christ and his sayings.
They start by denying some or all of the testimonies of the witnesses, then try to make up a story without the facts they don't like from the witnesses. How do you explain the world-changing power of Christianity? The facts they don't like turn out to be the crux of the case! Resurrections!
Then as a hypothesis to describe what happened, they have to explain why they mutilated the testimonies. How would the reduced facts lead any judge to come to the reality of what we see today about Christianity?

False premise.
The NT gospels, they say, were not written until perhaps a century later by surviving disciples or their followers. How then were the gospels so consistent and mutually supportive?
One attempt by these theoreticians was to try to say all the witnesses collaborated after a few decades by establishing a short, common written source. There were no miracles so this core was Christ's teachings. It was known as Q, for Quelle, source in German. Q was used to distinguish those passages in Matthew, Mark and Luke that look similar, one way or another. It is like saying: "I found a jigsaw piece that has the same shape as the gap to be filled -- more or less."
In the two source or multiple source theory, Q was added to the shortest gospel, Mark -- which they say was the early source --to edit and make versions called Matthew and Luke which are longer.

Q is a vapor!
Using Q as a basic story they supposedly invented other parts of the gospel narratives much later. Trouble is: no one has actually found this writing among the many thousands of manuscripts that have been preserved! We have more manuscripts of the New Testament than any other contemporaneous books in Greek or Latin -- thousands. Yet not one of Q!
 We have many early translations into Syriac, Coptic Greek, Gothic, Latin etc. Not one of Q!
Heretics made up lots of faked gospels. They survive in their hundreds. There is no manuscript of Q among them. Nor do the heretics use anything like Q! They all look like sectarian fakes!
Conclusion number one: Q did not exist.

Vapor dispersion
That does not stop Q theory being highly popular in seminaries today.
Most churches teach it. Why? 
While any sensible person would examine whether this idea is sound before teaching it, modern professors with no scientific training in logic don't. It has the superficiality of truth. It is a veneer only. Certain forms look alike. The problem is they don't make any sense.
Superficial form made it popular enough to be taken on board uncritically by church "teachers" who like to shock unprepared students. They in turn, when they become teachers, pass it on. Most church seminaries teach this false theory about the origin of the first three Gospels of the New Testament as fact. But the Q Theory or Q hypothesis is a falsifiable, as all theories and hypotheses are.

Delusion reigns.
This theory, created in 19th century Germany by skeptics and atheists wanting to destroy the primacy of the Bible, is now accepted widely by academics and theologians. By having a 'school' they can all write learned articles about the inconsequential details of a word, while ignoring the falsity of the whole.
It has become more and more popular as the level of general education has fallen. It can be refuted by a better understanding of first century history and a better application of logic.
Flawed logic of the Q theory should make it a target for debunking. But professors teach it rather than debunk it! Students seem unwilling to call out the errant professors. Theory masquerades as fact. Its basic prejudice should also preclude it from claiming impartial truth. Ignoring the historical context of the building of the canon should give Q a failing "D" grade.

When  were the Gospels written?
During the lifetime of Jesus. For example his royal and priestly birth was verified and logged in the official family records at both Bethlehem and Nazareth/Sepphoris and the Temple genealogies as well. (Josephus and others describe how comprehensively and minutely these were kept.) Jews and Nazarenes were the most meticulous pedigree keepers, far exceeding any Gentiles.
For kings, tribal leaders and priests and all who wished to enter the Temple, these official records were extensive. They had to show that a child had at least a ten-generation pedigree, each legitimately born of married parents. The marriages (betrothals) and weddings (home-coming) and births had to be witnessed by multiple, proven honest witnesses, all recorded. Matt 1 and Luke 3 show the royal and priestly lineages respectively, (Jesus, James, Joseph and the past and future Temple, chapter 10).  
Luke was written soon after 37 CE when the "Most Excellent Theophilus" was in office as Luke 1:1 records. He says also that many had already written histories and biographies of Christ. Luke's gospel (without this dedication) was probably in circulation before late 37 CE, when Theophilus son of Annas became high priest.
What we have is the official or Temple version of Christ's life and work. Matthew was originally written in Hebrew. As such it was also deposited in the Temple archives. So it was written immediately, targeted at a readership of Christ's spectators and followers. It was well known among Jews in Jerusalem and also Hebrew-speakers in the Diaspora, such as Parthia and Babylon. (See the chronology of Temple high priests in chapter 14 on and the high priest list pp239ff in Jesus, James, Joseph and the past and future Temple.) 

Pseudo-scientific methodology
Poor logic and distorting facts should make Q theory unacceptable to Biblical students. A valid theory must stand on proven premises. False premises should rule it out before primary consideration. Students need adequate knowledge of the history of Christianity to define the premises. Sadly they do not have this background before they are bamboozled by power-posing professors.
Yet because it requires no historical, logical or scientific knowledge, the superficiality of saying three or four coherent gospel accounts must indicate an original written Q source, has made it popular among some academics.That assumes the disciples weren't capable of recording their own observations separately.
The rationalist /skeptical school is based on two false ideas: the resurrection did not take place and all the prophecies were written after the destruction of the Temple because no one could make such prophecies. Hence the dating of the gospels is all mixed up. The gospels are dated to the 80s, 90s and into the second century!

History confirms the Resurrections.
Hypothesis and conclusion: If the Resurrection is true, then historians would expect a major crisis in the Roman Empire. This would occur in the 30s and 40s when the astounding news was spread around.
It did!
Remember, there were many resurrections among the Jewish Nazarenes and others. Jesus appeared as a transformed being before the Jerusalem city officials and the legions in Jerusalem.. But a number of other dead individuals were raised to physical life again. These resurrected people included Lazarus, the widow of Nain's son but also many, many others. The gospels speak of other resurrections without naming names. They included the saints that were resurrected from their graves at the same time as Jesus, Matt 27:52. Even Josephus speaks of the great miracles of Jesus. Independent accounts of these exist, plus imperial, legal confirmation. Some are republished in Jesus, James, Joseph and the past and future Temple, chapter 32.
Josephus also speaks of the virulent anti-Semitism that took place before these events. The man who was officially responsible was not so much emperor Tiberius but his deputy, Sejanus. He was power-hungry and plotted to usurp Tiberius. When Tiberius found out about it, he carefully dismantled the plot and had Sejanus executed. He then looked at the evidence of the Resurrection, including reports from Pilate, and agreed it had taken place. He proclaimed Jesus a god! And he forbade Romans to persecute any of his followers on pain of death.

History proves armchair atheists wrong!
This shows that, contrary to armchair atheists, the proofs of the Resurrections were in full circulation, right after the events of 30 CE. There is no need to hypothesize that Christianity was some sort of minor movement of his dispirited followers who spread rumors of his teachings which somehow spread over the course of a century or two.
What happened after Tiberius died in 37 CE adds more proof that the gospels were all well-known among imperial circles. They were not only well-known but feared. The Resurrection of a Jewish King was distasteful to imperial Romans, because they despised the Jews. Worse. The Jews did not believe in the Roman Pantheon of Jupiter, Minerva and Mars etc. This Jewish God was better than all of them because contemporary Romans and others knew that the Roman Governor Pilate and the legions had all witnessed the resurrection of Jesus. They had probably interrogated the others who had been resurrected from their graves. The documents we have of later Caesars all seem to agree with that.
What of Tiberius's successor, Gaius Caligula? He was faced with the crux of the crisis. Either he accepted Tiberius's position and inevitable decline of the Roman gods and the Roman Empire or he had to give some proof of his own power above that of the Jews.

Caligula tries to be Christ.
In effect Caligula mobilized the whole Roman Empire against the Christians in a show of force and imperial power. Christ said he would come again to the Temple and an Abomination would also try to seize power. Caligula 37- 41 CE said he was god of the world, Jupiter himself. In his mind Jupiter was the king of the gods. 

The records of Philo, Josephus and Roman historians show that Caligula wanted as Jupiter to set up his capital and military HQ  in God's Temple in Jerusalem.
He would first defile it with a huge golden idol of Jupiter in the Holy of Holies. That would not only cause a Jewish insurrection against him. It would risk war with Jews and Israelites around the entirety of the Empire.
Caligula told his supreme military commander in the East, Petronius in Syria, to be ready for war on two fronts, inside and outside the Empire. He would massacre all disobedient Jews in Israel and elsewhere. Even worse this act would set ablaze a world war with the mighty Parthian Empire to the East. Many were Israelite exiles who had paid for the Temple reconstruction. Petronius set half his legionary forces against possible Parthian attack.
Did Caligula take Parthia too lightly because of their restraint during a half-century of peace? Or did he feel the war with Rome's greatest super-power foe plus eradication of all Jews and Nazarenes was necessary to resolve his Christ problem, that would inevitably entail Rome's pagan demise? 
Philo describes this in detail. Parthia had already defeated Roman legions under Rome's greatest generals multiple times (chart summary in Jesus, James, Joseph, p372). It was only when Tiberius agreed to peace with Parthia that the Temple had been rebuilt in 20 BCE.  This had brought a great and prosperous peace to Rome. Among other benefits was that the Silk Road to China was open to trade.

Roman gods die! So does Caligula!
Caligula wanted to risk all this in order to sit in the Temple of God. This was not madness, but power politics and egomania. Caligula risked the entire Empire on the idea that the Resurrection was false and his legions mightier than God. He did so because the gospels and many other proofs were circulating in Rome in 37-41 CE. Unless he defiled the Temple, the "Jewish God" would triumph over Roman gods and its emperor.
Caligula was well informed about the logical outcome of the Resurrection and the dangers for the Empire. So was the Senate. It refused to acknowledge the death of the Roman gods. The Resurrection showed they were all false gods. The Senate said they were in control of naming the gods. The Resurrection showed they were not. The world had thousands of expert witnesses saying the Resurrection was a real event.
Caligula tried to stop the inevitable rot and decay of the pantheon.
He declared he was the almighty Jupiter. He would kill any who refused to worship him. He would sit in God's Temple in Jerusalem as the immortal, supreme god himself! But he was attacked by his own guards! He died as he was about to set off for the East.

"To change God into a man is more easily done, than to change a man into God!" wrote Philo. (Jesus, James, Joseph, p 673).


The whole Roman pantheon that had existed for a thousand years collapsed in the first and second centuries. The world rejected Jupiter/ Zeus, Mars, Diana etc as false and fraudulent. They then turned their worship to new gods including the Sun. That deistic decimation wasn't done by Christians whispering to each other and passing on anonymous screeds. The gospels were written, not in a professorial study, but amid the most dramatic events of Roman history.

Those who support the Q theory willingly ignore the facts of history. The Q methodology assumes the gospel writers were like 19th century atheist German novelists cutting and pasting documents among friends for their amusement.

Circular arguments
Proponents of Q theory are in danger of falling into the vortex of a circular argument.
The theoretician Kloppenborg came up with the Q3 theory with three levels of Q documents in the gospels. He  defined Q1 as the earliest with only the Sayings of Jesus. He excluded by his definition anything other than these contextless words. Hence it would not have any reference to the aspects that are missing. Kloppenborg and friends did not like these other bits for his Q1. The second layer that later, so-called editors added was the prophecies. He called the prophecies Q2. Then the historical facts and geography were added. He called this supposedly later-written context, Q3. This mythical third layer of editing arose much later as the framework we see in the last redaction of MSS. Who wrote it? Unknown editors added this in a mysterious, still hypothetical document, that no one has ever seen.

If you believe this, consider my equally fictitious claim that I really wrote Q3 of Shakespeare and I claim all copyright on his plays! Or maybe Moby-Dick.

Q theory of Moby-Dick
I could do the same for a theory of the Q source in Moby-Dick by saying Herman Melville originally had two sources, Q1 without whales and Q2 about whales. Then I could say: "I'm glad Herman did not originally believe in killing whales! Q1 proves it." People could have great fun separating out the jigsaw pieces of which belong to Q1 and Q2.
The Q theory assumes that the earliest NT written source dates from the 50s. Not true. The Jews and the Romans had stenographers that recorded important speeches, especially those leading to trials or theological discussions in the Temple and elsewhere. The historical data and context of the gospels (including attempted ethnocide of Christians/ Nazarenes and Jews by Caligula, Nero and Flavians) are ignored in Q theory. 

Naming the Gospels
The complementary idea is that none of the gospels was written by people called Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. They were all anonymous at first for a century or so. Unfortunately for these novelist-theorists facts of history make nonsense of their armchair imaginations. There are no anonymous manuscripts. If there had been anonymous MSS circulating for decades, we would expect see scores of invented attributed authors (provided Christians were dishonest enough to invent authors for anonymous MSS). Prof Brant Pitre gives an intelligent and logical Roman Catholic rebuttal of modern skepticism in the theology he was taught and originally accepted at his universities at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NzQqYtJciOE Good to see a Roman Catholic academic going back to the Jewish roots of Christianity. Worth watching!