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

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 Good to see a Roman Catholic academic going back to the Jewish roots of Christianity. Worth watching!

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Bible Canon: Rome's Fake History about Nicea

The Bible claims to be God's book. The canon must have God's clear authority. It does not come from an emperor or any group  of humans who wish to set themselves up as canonizers.
Which group and which leader is the only valid one?

The principle of defining the Bible canon comes from the Golden Rule. The first part reads: You shall love the Eternal your God with all your heart and mind and all your force. The Bible needs God's authority to define it. The second part follows: Love your neighbor as yourself.

But what about the Christian attitude to their neighbors, the Jews and also Hebrew-speaking Jewish Christians? Doesn't the phrase 'Love your neighbor as yourself' originate in the Hebrew books of Moses? 

Modern sectarians and some 'scholars' say the Bible, especially the 'New Testament', was defined by the Church at the Council of Nicea in 325. This is fake history. This Church Council dealt mainly with doctrinal disputes such as defining the personage of Jesus Christ and a Creed. The New Testament was already defined for this. The dispute on the canon actually arose in the latter part of the century when the Roman bishop wanted to change it. (The bishop of Rome was not present at Nicea.)

Why then did more than a thousand years of hating the Jews follow? Doesn't the Golden Rule in the NT canon forbid it?

At Nicea the Roman Empire was then under the authority of the first 'Christian' emperor, Constantine. He was still unbaptized but had the enlightened attitude that the type of Christianity that he had witnessed in his native Britain could be tolerated throughout the Empire. Even before Romans and Christianity arrived there, Britain had never persecuted anyone for religious beliefs. Constantine learned about Christianity from his mother a British princess, Helena, daughter of King Coel Coedhebawg .

But in the East there was religious dissension and fierce anti-Semitism. He called a Council of the (non-Jewish) Christians at Nicea, relatively close to his capital of Constantinople. It involved a number of pagan philosophers plus the sectarians who had banned Jews and Jewish Christians. Rome, the imperial center of paganism, had long been abandoned as an imperial capital.

Was a new start possible? Constantine  took a tough line. He said he considered himself greater than all the apostles. Could he then define doctrine, the canon and stop the quarrels by making himself a dictator? Would you like Hitler or Stalin to be the one to define the Hebrew or Greek canon? Who would agree to a Roman dictator? only their followers--  the Roman Catholic and Protestant churches. How does a dictator define truth? How does he  'manage' freedom of religion?

The Nicean Council set the new imperial religion on the wrong track. It condemned Sabbath-keeping and established what Constantine called 'the venerable day of the Sun'. Sun worship had been part of Roman worship since the collapse of the classical pantheon in the first centuries. It also banned the Passover and substituted the pagan Easter. 

From first to third centuries, Roman imperial religious Caesars wanted to extirpate Christianity by deaths, slavery or by disinformation. If the Roman authorities could not kill Christianity, the next best thing was to assimilate it into the pagan system of the College of Pontiffs. Constantine was now Pontifex Maximus, the Supreme Pontiff, ruler of all religious cults. (The popes use this title today.)

In Rome, then a provincial backwater to Milan, paganism still held sway among the old families. Rome depended for its continuation on maintaining a sufficient number of Vestal Virgins. Its Senate met in the temple of Jupiter Capitolanus. These beliefs in the pagan trinity and the virgin births of the demi-gods had strongly influenced the doctrines and theology of the Latin-speaking church.

Could Rome create its own NT Latin canon? Could it pick and choose the books in a Latin Bible? Rome then despised Greek wanted to exterminate all Hebrew speakers, Jews and Christian. (Paul wrote to the original believers in Rome in Greek, not Latin!) They were among the first to abandon the Passover for Easter in the second century. Its citizens generally knew no Greek. The Latin translations varied in accuracy. The Hebrew Scriptures were banned. But true Christians including those in Gaul and Britain knew the essential power of these texts. Many had died defending it. The memorized the books and recited them.

To influence Europe, Rome needed a Bible in Latin. The canon question only arose because Rome wished to alter the existing Hebrew and Greek texts. Why? Not for truth but for power and influence. 

The canon was already clear at Nicea in 325. Evidence? In 331 Constantine commissioned fifty Bibles for the church in Constantinople. The dispute about the canon arose decades after. By then further confusion and rivalry had occurred. For several centuries the empire had been victims of fraudulent gospels and writings. Each group opposed the other in saying which book should be added or which generally accepted book should be deleted because it spoke against their own pet heresies. The result was logjam. It was impossible for a body of pagans and error-ridden sectarians to add to the existing Bible or diminish it. They resigned themselves to recognizing the already established canon of the people they had killed, expelled or enslaved. The accepted books of the canon had been treasured and expounded for centuries in the faithful congregations around the empire and beyond.

What lay behind the dispute on the canon around the 390s? A jealous fight for leadership among the pagan and nominal Christians in Rome, Alexandria, Antioch and Constantinople. The majority of Christianity confirmed there was only one canon. Only one was possible. In 390s the Roman church was forced to set Jerome about the task to translate the Hebrew Scriptures into Latin and revise the existing Latin NT versions to suit their purposes. But Latin holds no authority as a Biblical language. And soon Latin became an unknown language to the people and also to the priests who mumbled phrases they did not understand.

The Bible canon was fixed in the first century. That included the Hebrew Scriptures and the Greek.(It excluded some genuine apostolic writings!) The writings  of Christians in that time show they quoted from this canon. How was this canon made? By the system of authority of the chief Scribe in the Temple (like Ezra) and the congregation of the leaders of the12 tribes, qahal, ekklesia (in Greek) as had been done since the Pentateuch. Jesus is called the president of the ekklesia in the NT. The term is epistates, 7 times in Luke. Check a lexicon or wikipedia His brother James held the same office, followed by John (who defined the NT). This is explained at and at, the site where the book of Dr Ernest L Martin on Canonization can be found. The modern-day writers who maintain Nicea as the time and place of canonization are victims of the same Roman disinformation, active for 1700 years!

David Heilbron Price is author of Jesus, James, Joseph and the past and future Temple available at bookshops and online at

Monday, July 17, 2017

Why the Temple is the key revealing true Christian history

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 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, he 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.
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? 
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 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.
What it leaves out is more significant than what it mentions. The fragment is attributed to the historian Tacitus and says:
The 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.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, he 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. 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 attempting 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.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

What the Hebrew version of Revelation tells us

A Hebrew version of a chapter or two of Revelation in the British Library was re-examined by Nehemia Gordon, the Hebraist scholar. His two programs about it are well worth a listen. The Hebrew text plus English translation is available also at
Was it a late translation from the Greek or was the Greek translated from the Hebrew?
One aspect that may indicate that the Hebrew original came before the Greek (though the British Library copy was written out much later) is in the word for 'key' in Greek. The Hebrew uses the more colloquial and unspecific term for key  'nail' -- a key is a bent nail. It is more likely that the colloquial is translated to the more formal and proper 'key' than that 'key' was translated into the colloquial and ambiguous word 'nail'.

This is a bit like translating the word for gun into the slang 'irons'  which means side gun at least in the cowboy movies. "Leave your irons outside the saloon, boys!" But a translator from an unambiguous Greek text, in a legal document, would not use a loose term. Here we are dealing with a theological/ legal document that should not be misunderstood.
John would be more at home in Hebrew than in Greek. The gospel of John is, as indicated in the 'we' passages at the end, edited in smooth Greek by several people as co-witnesses.
The second interesting point relates to the concept of ekklesia = Assembly (as opposed to the RC/Protestant concept of top-down "church").  The gospels and the NT translates the Hebrew term qahal= Assembly or Congregation as Greek ekklesia. In the Hebrew Revelation the seven "churches/ekklesias" are translated by a derivative of qahalmaqhel. This can be translated as choir. Curiously, this concept choir = bangor in the ancient British tongue, is what was used to describe the first established Christian communities/ colleges in the pre-Roman Catholic Britain (pre-600).

Monday, April 17, 2017

Review of PBS film: 'Last Days of Jesus"

The academics should be commended in trying to bring some contemporary Roman background into the gospel history. The PBS film on the "Last days of Jesus" can be found on You Tube at They did not however begin to address the major problem of Jerusalem politics: the Temple. This had been rebuilt with the aid of Parthia, the Israelite-run Super-State rival of Rome -- with whom Tiberius had tried to make and keep peace.  Vast populations of the Diaspora in Europe had also contributed in anticipation of the coming Messiah.

1. Sejanus was a key figure, a fervent anti-Semite. He like other Romans hated the fact that the Jews and the Temple were not subsumed in the Roman central control of the pantheon and the College of Pontiffs. Historical facts of the gospels in a Hebrew context make perfect sense. The scholars have, however, indirectly pointed to problems arising from the "Easter" week tradition of 4th century Constantine's imperial church. That tradition arose once he had eliminated all Jewish Christians. (The latter knew about the Passover dates, Davidic kingship and true high priesthood.) It is not honest scholarship if "scholars" re-write the gospels at their whim because of these conflicts or ignorance of first century Judaism. If the gospels are read as Jewish-Christian or Nazarene documents, many of the supposed "difficulties"disappear. See articles or Jesus_James_Joseph_and_the_past_and_future_Temple 
2. However, the program's theory of stretching a day to six months (including a half-year stay of Jesus in prison) does not hold water. The chronology is forced out of shape. The Crucifixion/ Resurrection occurred in 30 CE (verifiable by the Hebrew calendar). Sejanus was at his peak of power. Major facts left out: Christ cleansed the Temple at least two times. He cleansed it at the start of his mission. What is remarkable is that he had no resistance from the armed Temple guard, nor did the Roman legions intervene. What did he cleanse? The area was the periphery of the square Temple complex which was a furlong in length. The merchants' area may well have covered half a mile. Furthermore Mark 11 says he let no one carry vessels through the Temple. Alone? The gospels say the Temple guards ('the boys') cried Hosanna! He was in charge of the Temple guard! He had authority as an Aaronic priest because his mother was a daughter of Aaron, a direct descendant. So was John the Baptist via Elizabeth (Elisheva). John is called a high priest in the Hebrew Josephus. The next morning the high priests like Caiaphas, Annas came peaceably like kittens to converse with Jesus. Their question was about authority. Jesus had this. They didn't.
3. What is the picture with the correct chronology of 30 CE? Tertullian and others confirm that Pilate wrote dispatches to emperor Tiberius that the Resurrection actually happened and was eye-witnessed by the masses. It was undeniable. hence Tiberius acclaimed Jesus as god. The Senate (which was then led along by Sejanus) objected. They dug out an old law saying the Senate had to approve in the naming of gods! Tertullian mocks them, saying the poor gods, they would have to pray to the Senators that they should be recognized! Tiberius replied that anyone who attacked the Jews would be killed. It was at this stage that the plot of Sejanus fell apart. Sejanus was exposed and executed in autumn 31 CE. Later secular writings to the emperors indicate that Christ's divinity -- via the Resurrection -- was not challenged. The proof was irrefutable. Jesus was not a Protestant-style "preacher". He was a Teacher, a Temple Teacher. He taught in the Temple -- which is why the Davidic and Aaronic genealogies are in the gospels. They provide the proof of his authority. (It was forbidden to enter the Temple with long hair! ) The high priests call Pilate "Lord" as representative of Rome. But Jesus didn't. Why wasn't this a crime? He outranked Pilate. Pilate calls him King of the Jews and says he is innocent of any crime. Why? Because the Temple was considered a separate City-State with its own rules and armed priests. This was recognized in the treaty Julius Caesar made with the Maccabees.
If the academics would have stuck to the facts and proper dates, and avoided pet theories, they would have had a clearer explanation of many if not all of the problems they were seeking to elucidate. They would have also found that for the Romans, for Tiberius and for Pilate and Sejanus, 30 CE and 31 CE were not the 'Last Days of Jesus'!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Who canonized the Bible -- both Covenants?

Who bound the Bible Canon?
We learn from the Bible itself that the Hebrew books were defined by the 'sons of the prophets'. The New Covenant books were written and made into a canon directly by the disciples of Christ.
'Bind up the testimony, seal the law (teaching) among my disciples.' Isaiah 8:16. This shows how God's books are regularized for use.
A Council or Assembly of the original disciples certified and bound the teachings of the prophets and law-makers. This explains why many ancient Hebrew books including those found among the Dead Sea Scrolls are not in the Hebrew Bible. It explains why infancy gospels and fake apocalypses were long excluded from the Greek Bible. Dr Ernest L Martin set out the facts on the canon cogently in his book: Restoring the Original Bible. It is available at .   
The idea that the books of the canon were not certain for centuries is pure fantasy. So is the idea that the Roman church defined the canon around 400 CE. At that time Romans were ignorant of both Greek and Hebrew! They persecuted and killed anyone who did. The church of Constantine and the Council of Nicea in 325 were fiercely antisemitic.
The Catholic canonization is a propaganda fairy-story coming from sectarians who wanted the ignorant world at large to believe that only their group, sect or church had these extraordinary divinely given powers.It is a fantasy full of holes. Those who believe it might consider the theory that the Nazis helped propagate the Talmud.
It takes less than a century for  many other such people to forge fables and myths to confuse and corrupt the original message. Who could possibly know the truth? What qualified one person to be a judge, and another to be disqualified? Anyone's opinion was as good as another's. History shows that the centralizing church in Constantinople banned at that time the most erudite and learned people. The "Christian" Roman emperors there wanted wanted a centralized church obedient to them!
The presumption that only in the late fourth century did the Roman Catholic Church alone define these books for ‘Christianity’ is patently absurd. By then Rome was in conflict with other patriarchal areas like Alexandria, Egypt. Egypt was pretty corrupt but was Greek-speaking.
Athenasius, a politician and orator, who was partial to Greek philosophy, and was himself banned at least four times for heresy or politics, knew enough Greek to defend the Greek scriptures. Rome however wanted to change them.
The rest of this church was already persecuting and killing any one who knew Hebrew! Jerome was forging his own translation into Latin which hid or distorted much of the meaning rather than explain the Bible. The scam lasted more than a millennium!

 One book by Erasmus in 1516 exposed this fraud. Printing an accurate Latin translation of the Greek showed how badly translated Jerome's Latin Vulgate really was.
So how can we find the true canon?
One word in the NT explains the process of canonization. It consistently mistranslated. It is mistranslated by Jerome. It is mistranslated in the King James Version. In fact I know of no accurate translation. That is a curious fact. Correctly translated from standard references and classical lexicons, it would have indicated who could, should and did define the canon. It would also make clear that the Roman church could not have defined the canon!
The churches have been bamboozled after more than a thousand years of Roman Catholic propaganda. The Vatican (which hated Jews, the Bible and any idea that Christ held any office in the Temple) made sure that no one asked questions about such Greek terms. They banned the Greek text from Europe for five centuries. It eliminated all other translations but its own. Jerome mistranslated key Greek terms and replaced them by nondescript Latin terms. And in the later period the Roman Catholics made sure no one, not even its priests, understood Latin!
Why today have all the churches’ translators refused to translate this word correctly? Self-interest and anti-Semitism may be some motives.
What is the word that explains canonization?
That word is epistatēs. It occurs not once but seven times in the NT. Its true translation undermines the false dogma instigated by the imperial Roman ‘Mother Church’. It also exposes the difference between word church as used today and the original Greek word, ekklesia. The concept of church today is as different as if the Romans had looked at a pig in a trough and said that is what the Bible means by a horse! Many today still can’t recognize the ekklesia – it’s a war horse!
All of the occurrences of Jesus being called epistatēs are in the priestly book of Luke which centers around the Temple (5:5, 8:24, 45, 9:33, 49, 17:33). It is addressed to his Excellency Theophilus, 1:3. Luke covers many technical Temple matters such as the 24 priestly courses, the Sabbath, the calendar and various other tough topics of Torah. Luke was no gentile! (See Luke the Priest: The Authority of the Author of the Third Gospel by Dr Rick Strelan.)
Luke 1:3 implies the book is written to the high priest, his ‘Excellency Theophilus’ specifically to be deposited in the archives as a true, witnessed record of resurrections and miracles. One vital reason was that the Temple was under threat of desolation by the arrival of the arch anti-Semite, Caligula, as emperor. Reacting to the Resurrection which had trashed belief in the Roman pantheon, Caligula wanted to reign from Jerusalem and have a gigantic statue of himself inside the Temple and every synagogue in the Empire.
Why? He knew about and had probably read the Gospels where it said that Christ prophesied that someone claiming to be god would sit in the Temple. Caligula wanted to prove both Christ and the scriptures wrong by being acclaimed as Jupiter-god in the Temple in Jerusalem!
The title ‘Excellency’ relates to Theophilus being the political leader of the nation. He was the high priest put in power under the Romans. He was in office from 37 to 41 during all Emperor Caligula’s near ethnocidal persecution. Theophilus was the son of Annas of the NT. Josephus lists him as High Priest -- the Roman designated ethnarch, the designated political Quisling of the Romans.  
How do we know the Theophilus of Luke is this person who held the political office of High Priest during Caligula's reign? When Luke later wrote Acts, Theophilus was no longer in office. Hence he wasn’t then addressed as ‘Excellency’ in Acts 1:1. This evidence identifies him unambiguously. It explains what would otherwise be an affront by omitting his title in Acts 1.
So when Luke has the disciples refer to Jesus in the early ministry as ‘epistatēs’ we should take special note. The holder of that title is in direct opposition to the imperial Caesar, Caligula!
What is an epistatēs? Nearly all translations render it ‘Master’. But in the Greek language it is a very precise term about a very high office. To render it ‘Master’ is the equivalent of going to a hospital and referring to the chief brain surgeon as a health worker!
In fact, one translation, the Concordant version, translates it as ‘Doctor’! But in that case it has the sense of Professor of Hebrew Law. (The NWT has Instructor.) But at least the translators realized they were faced with a special term of office. Schonfield has ‘Chief’. The Weymouth translation gives it as ‘Commander’. That signification is far off from the idea of ‘Herr Doktor’!
So what does it mean? The word has in fact two main senses as you will see if you check any normal classical Greek lexicon as distinct from the Romanized ones.
One is in fact Commander of the city’s troops. In this sense it is equivalent, in the Hebrew context of the Temple, to the Priest for Warfare mentioned several times in the Bible. (see Jesus, James, Joseph p218 for the summary table.) There is some linkage with the sense that contemporary Jewish writers like Philo and Josephus use the term as Superintendent.
The second sense in normal Greek usage is President of the city’s ruling Assembly. What did the Greeks call their assembly? An ekklesia! That should have rung mighty bells for any honest translator. The word ekklesia occurs frequently in the NT. The same translators render it as ‘church’, an extremely bad choice. ‘Church’ is a self-serving term for the RC-Protestant community.
There was no such thing as their church in the first century. There were no churches with steeples. There were no stone cathedrals to terrify the population by their soaring architecture. There were no crucifixes and there were no statues of saints. Once people had all this under the fourth century Emperor Constantine, a hierarchy of bishops under his central authority could begin to control all the religion across the whole Roman Empire. Their church meant all the local population meeting like pigs at their trough in their buildings and subject to their lordship.
Attack the idea of ‘church,’ bishops and cathedrals and you attack the very foundation of medieval autocracy. It would turn society upside down. In fact so worried was King James that any translation would undermine the hierarchy where the king not only ruled but defined the religion for the people, that he laid down two very strict conditions for the translators of the King James Bible.
Firstly, no marginal notes, especially those that appeared in earlier versions denouncing Israel’s evil kings. Secondly, all occurrences of the word ekklesia should be translated church!
Why? Because Tyndale and the earlier translators had had the audacity to translate the word correctly as ‘Congregation’! Even today you will find the Bibles of most of church committee translations render Matt 16:18 (I will build my ‘ekklesia’) as church, a concept of Roman State religion.
Only those brave individual scholars like Robert Young’s literal translation or Darby’s have ‘I will build my Assembly’. The Assembly of Israel! In the first century ekklesia for Jews meant a governmental body, the Assembled Congregation of God’s people.
How can we be sure what ekklesia meant to Hebrews? It was the word used in the current Greek Septuagint version to translate the Hebrew word qahal, meaning the Assembly of the twelve tribes. They met in ancient times in the Court of Israel of the Temple. To reinstate it was part of Christ’s mission.
Christ is called an epistatēs of such an ekklesia. If modern churchman translated it as something like ‘President, professor, superintendent or Commander of the church’ they would have a lot of questions put to them! So what was Christ’s new Assembly?
Luke explains it himself. In Luke 12 he says Christ created an Assembly of Seventy. This clearly relates to the Assembly created under Moses in the wilderness, Num 11:16f. It was composed of six men from each tribe, with two of them staying in the camp. They experienced the power of God’s spirit in the Tabernacle. It was a foretaste of the NT Pentecost.
Then after the Resurrection, the 12 tribes had been forewarned to bring more witnesses. In Acts 1:15 there were 120 from the 12 tribes, ten ‘named ambassadors’ per tribe. They came from far and wide, ‘every nation under heaven,’ including Parthia, Rome’s rival superpower ruled by Israelite exiles, Acts 2:5-11.
The Hebrew scriptures speak many times of the Assembly of Israel, the qahal.
Peter is recorded in around 37 CE as saying that the Assembly of Seventy that Christ formed, composed of tried and honest men, was the first real qahal meeting all the criteria since the time of Moses. This was, said Peter, a true sign that Jesus was the Prophet, greater than Moses and foretold by Moses in Deuteronomy 18. Early historians such as Eusebius record how important the Seventy were in propagating worldwide the proof of the Resurrection.
So if the qahal is the real meaning of ekklesia, what is the title that Jesus has as its epistatēs? Turn to a standard reference like the Oxford Classical Dictionary and you will find that the epistatēs ..
'presided over the Council (boulé) and Assembly (ekklesia).'
A classical Greek reference like Smith’s Dictionary of Greek and Latin Antiquities will tell you that the epistatēs was in charge of the city treasury and public works. In the Greek Septuagint version of the Hebrew scriptures, the word epistatēs occurs numerous times. It is translated as Commander of the Army of Israel or as Superintendent of works in the Temple. Those two functions describe the office of the Sagan, or Chief Priest in the Temple.
But what has that to do with the canon?
The Oxford Classical Dictionary describes other attributes of the epistatēs.
'He held the State seal and keys. … In the Hellenic kingdoms the title epistatēs is given to an agent of the king within a subject city who exercises considerable power.'
Jesus held the powers of the kingdom of heaven. The Temple seal was clearly necessary for the exiled tribes of Israel to recognize the writings of Jesus, James and the Davidic House. The canon is a sealed book, sealed with the Temple seal of David’s House.
Up to just before the destruction of the Temple, this high post of Sagan was occupied by James, the brother of Jesus Christ. He wrote to the twelve tribes, 1:1. After he died or rather was murdered, we hear in early writings of the period that John, son of Zebedee, wore the diadem of office. He clearly was empowered to close the NT canon and its 27 books. He sealed them.
What of the Key? The Temple had a huge ‘Key of David’ that was used to open and close the massive  door to the Temple fortress. Christ, according to John’s book of Revelation, holds the Key of David on his shoulder, Rev 3:7, Isaiah 22:22. He is dressed in the robes of the Sagan Chief Priest, the cohen ha-rosh, Rev 1:13.
No one other than the epistatēs, and certainly not the paganized, gentile church of Rome could ever define the canon.
Case closed.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Pilate, Sejanus and the Resurrection of Christ

1. Jesus Christ (=the anointed king) was crucified on a tree in 30 CE.
It was not his 'last days' as he was resurrected to the general knowledge of all at Jerusalem. Forty days later he ascended in full public view from the Mount of Olives -- this would have included all the priests and people in the Temple and all the soldiers in the Roman Fort, the Praesidium (up to 10,000 legionnaires and ancilliaries) plus all the pilgrim crowds.
The second-century Christian lawyer,Tertullian, recorded that Pilate wrote dispatches to the emperor Tiberius about this to give the official version as everyone around the empire already knew about it.
Pilate was extremely anti-Semitic and had probably been placed there by the violently anti-Semitic Sejanus to stir up trouble. Yet he affirmed the eye witness accounts.
Sejanus had been plotting for years to overthrow Tiberius who had retired from official duties for sex games in Capri.Sejanus, his Praetrorian Guard chief, was de facto emperor. He became so powerful and manipulative that many Romans worshipped in a cult. He was a smooth operator with the Senators who were vital should he succeed in his plan.No one could put their name forward as a Consul without his favour. Sejanus became a Consul with Tiberius -even though he was not ranked as a Senator. With this Sejanus hoped that he would just eliminate Tiberius and everyone would presume he should be emperor although he was not of any imperial family. He was overcome with egotism -- and hate of Jews.
Sejanus, possible statue
2. The Resurrection threw this long-gestating plan into a spin. Tiberius, say Tertullian and other early writers, acknowledged that Jesus Christ was god. Sejanus and the Senate tried to stop this as it would mean ruin for their centralized control after a coup d'État.
The Senate pulled out an old law that said that only the gods approved of by the Senate were gods! This was clearly nonsense as a royal and priestly Jew had been resurrected to everyone's knowledge.
Tertullian mocks this pagan foolishness, saying the poor gods would have to pray to the Senators so they could be recongized as gods!! Furthermore many saints as Matthew says rose from their graves at this time. The archaeological and written proof of this are in the book.
3. Sejanus's reaction later in 30 CE and early 31 was to try to exterminate all Jews. That's what Philo and others say. Exterminating all believers would mean that Rome could turn back to ribald, old-time paganism. Instead his treasonous plot was revealed to Tiberius (who was not so anti-Semitic and more interested in maintaing imperial peace with Parthia). The old emperor did some some careful investigation and deft political footwork. Sejanus was "dethroned" and skewered.
Tiberius then proclaimed that anyone persecuting Christians (or Nazarenes as they were then called) would be killed. The ekklesia had seven years of peace.
4. Sejanus, who had been head of the Pretorian guard, was replaced by Macro. Gaius Caligula colluded with Macro and killed Tiberius. Caligula's way of dealing with the Nazarenes and the Jews/ Israelites/ Parthians/ Kelts was to provoke the Jews into a war of extermination, while trying to hold off the Parthian Super-Power enemy so they would not come to defend Jerusalem and the Jews.
Caligula already had his statue set up in all synagogues around the Empire. Jews suffered at this idolatry. Caligula wanted to go to Egypt where he would be made a god, 'as Egyptians knew better than Romans how to make a man divine'.
Philo Judaeus of Alexandria in Egypt made the cutting but careful remark: "to change God into a man is more easily done than to change a man into God.'
The Roman Supreme Commander in the East stationed in Syria, Petronius, prepared for war with Parthia. It seemed inevitable. Why? Caligula had ordered him first to set up a giant gold statue of Caligula as Jupiter and place it in the Jerusalem Temple. After that Caligula said he would come and set up his imperial Roman headquarters in the Temple.
We can easily guess why. Because Christ had said that 'an abomination of desolation' would sit and rule in the Temple as God. Caligula wanted to prove Christ wrong.
This act would have meant World War as Jews and Parthians and the Israelite Diaspora would attack and defend their most beautiful and precious City and the holy Temple to which they had all contributed in rebuilding for half a century since the time of the Parthian peace treaty.
Both Philo and Josephus say that the Israelite Diaspora were in number the greatest people on earth, though scattered in several countries and islands.
5. World War did not come. Caligula failed to conquer Britain, where Christianity took hold and was evangelizing the Continent. The "Triad of Lazarus" showed how false his divinity claim was. Caligula was assassinated in a back alley in Rome as he prepared to leave for Egypt. Dogs drank his blood. These dramatic events only added to the number of believers around the world.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Was there a "lost century" of Christian history after 70 CE?

Does the "Lost Century" of Church history exist?
This so-called missing century goes from just before the destruction of the Temple in 70 to 150 or 170 CE. What happened to the Church?
1. The first mistake is to use the term 'church' . It is not in the Bible! Early believers were called an ekklesia. As a Greek term, it means congregation, an official assembly. The later "Church" is a pagan term, reflecting pagan organization and pagan structure. The ekklesia translates the Hebrew qahal or tribal or national Congregation or assembly. It is a very specific term. The qahal were Israelites and composed the Congregation of Israel that met in the Temple for specific rituals.
Ever wonder why the book of Acts speaks of 120 'names' witnessing the Ascension of Christ? Names means that they were nominated. They were ambassadors from the twelve scattered tribes of Israel. Jesus visited all the tribal capital cities -- as is clear from the NT. Shechem was Joseph and other patriarchs were and are buried. 120 = 12 x 10. They came from Parthia -- Rome's superpower rival to the East -- and from wherever the Israelites were scattered.
2. Part of the confusion about the early ekklesia in the period 50 to 150 is due to the popular history sources people use. Many books quote Gibbon who was a skeptic. He discounts the Resurrection as a real event, ignores important witnesses, and downplays Philo and Josephus. They record that Sejanus, who had practically the power of emperor while Tiberius was semi-retired in Capri, acted much like Hitler or Islamic State against the Jews. He led many of the senate who wanted to exterminate all the Jews. Why? This was in the early 30s, even before Caligula took power. Sejanus had Tiberius's son Drusus poisoned and wanted to take over the Empire. Tiberius was alerted and had him removed and executed. Gibbon omits these major events of the first century and then talks about a 'thick mist'! That's hardly surprising: remove some facts and claim a mystery.

What was going on? The Resurrection threatened Rome. In his chapter 15 he hardly deals with Caligula -- except calling him mad. It is hardly a coincidence that Gaius Caligula emperor 37 to 41 CE decided to call himself 'God' and Jupiter. Rome balked at this, so Caligula said he would go to Egypt who were experts in making emperors gods. 
Then he said he would set up his headquarters in the Temple in Jerusalem. Why the Temple? He would challenged Almighty God and all the prophecies of Christ about the Abomination of Desolation! 
Read Tertullian and it is easy to understand. He lived in a time a century later when he was freer to tell the story without being attacked.
He said that in 30 CE the emperor Tiberius agreed to call Jesus 'God' because he was convinced by the reports from Pilate about the Resurrection. Why did not the whole Empire proclaim the resurrected Jesus as God? Tertullian says that the Senate refused. Why? Because they knew a resurrected Christ, officially recognized by the State, would undermine the whole pantheon of Rome -- Jupiter, Venus, Mars, Minerva etc. They said the Senate (at odds with Tiberius) had powers to define who was a god. 
Jesus proved this was crazy! It was a nonsense because everyone knew Christ was God. He had multiple witnesses.  High priests and worshipers, Pilate, the legions and the whole of the population of Jerusalem had seen him rise from the dead and ascend to heaven. This knowledge is confirmed in many early writings of the centuries.
3. The Temple was the center of Christian worship. The ekklesia met in the Temple. The ekklesia also met in areas outside the Roman Empire, where the number of representatives was always a multiple of 12. The early writings tell how the apostles visited some of these Israelite areas.
In the Empire Christians giving public speeches about the resurrection of Jewish Christ and his coming again to the Temple to judge them would be worse than doing the same thing in the Soviet Union or Nazi Germany! The Roman Empire was a military dictatorship. It then destroyed the Temple! That did not change the resurrection as a fact! But it's when the extirpation of Jews and Christians began. They were made slaves, thrown underground to work in the mines, never to see sunlight again.
4. What the historians do not deal with -- the immediate destruction of much paganism because of the Resurrection. It showed paganism was false. The result of destroying the Temple? Not what the Romans expected. The Roman pantheon was DESTROYED. No one spoke much of Mars and Jupiter, Venus again. Nor do they have worshipers today! In the second century even the emperors recognized that Jesus was God! See Justin Martyr. The pagan priests (pontiffs) turned the people to sun worship and then to Mithraism.
You will find all the details in the book : Jesus, James, Joseph and the past and future Temple. It is available as a free electronic version on at…/Jesus_James_Joseph_and_the_past_a…
The mists and mystery of a 'lost century' only exist for those who do not believe in the Resurrection!

Sunday, January 1, 2017


The false myth that Joseph was a carpenter at Nazareth, a hilly fortification and suburb of the major city of Galilee, Sephoris, is due to Celsus, the arch-critic of Christianity, of the third century.
He employed all arguments, sarcasm and irony that he could to destroy the faith. His work does not survive as a whole but large parts of it are quoted by Origen in his book, Against Celsus. At one stage he made a poor, biting joke about the crucifixion. Then he added that Jesus must have been a carpenter because of the use of nails to hold him to the tree.
Origen was the foremost biblical scholar of his time. He published the Hexapla Bible giving six versions and translations of the Hebrew scriptures (possibly 6000 pages). This work supports the Greek NT and he thoroughly knew both the Hebrew and Greek texts.
What did he say about Celsus and his 'carpenter' claim? He says no scripture exists saying Jesus was a carpenter. He goes on to correct something else that will surprise many church-goers. He says that Christ was not crucified on a stake or cross. Origen is fully familiar with the NT and what Peter says several times that Jesus was crucified by being nailed to a tree (Greek xulon). He then expounds the relationship of this tree to the tree of life. That allows no doubt that he is referring to a tree, not a post.
So where did the confusion about carpenter arise? it may have been spread by a Samaritan, Justin Martyr, a few decades earlier. The Samaritans wanted to destroy all connections with the Temple and the Hebrew scriptures for their own purposes of creating a worldwide religion. Justin made the highly unlikely assertion that the family of Joseph made plows! If he had read the NT carefully, he would have found out what a bad commercial proposition that was. The real site of Nazareth was on a hill and Jesus was nearly killed by the enemies throwing him over a precipice. The side of a mountain is not the best place to make or sell plows! The great valley of Jezreel is where the crops are grown.
The word in the NT, wrongly translated carpenter in the KJV, is tekton. It means a technical specialist. It can be used of a scribe, a poet, author, ship builder etc (see Liddell & Scott). Here in a Jewish context, it means scribe and teacher, as Jesus was also called throughout the NT.
Further contextual evidence comes from the place. Nazareth was a main center for genealogical records according to Eusebius. Pedigree is highly technical and biblical. The name Nazareth comes from the Hebrew Netzer the Branch. The town's name means Branches or genealogies!
Once the "Catholic" church had gained central control Jerome muddied the waters further in his translation. He uses the Latin word faber meaning carpenter or builder. That was useful for the Roman church as it distanced Rome's responsibility for the destruction of the Temple. Jesus was a manual worker!
And what does Pilate call Jesus? Does he call him Jesus the Carpenter who must be immediately killed? What threat to the Empire or even Pharisees or Priests is a carpenter? What threat is any Galilean manual worker?
No, he and they acknowledge him as a King. Christ or Meshiach means the anointed king, like David. No one could claim the kingship without a thoroughly verified genealogy and highly technical and deep knowledge of the Bible and prophecy. If Jesus were just a manual worker of dubious parentage -- as many churches still try to maintain -- he would be laughed out of Jerusalem and probably all of Israel.