Jesus's Deception and Bringing Forth the Gospel of Truth
The original title of this section was Jesus's Lie...The Advocate felt uncomfortable about this, suggesting that I was being a bit too harsh in my assessment of Matthew's record. The Gospel of Matthew, in its eagerness to attribute the prophesy of Isaiah 42.1 - 42.7 to Jesus, which it might consider necessary, particularly since the character described is the same one charged with authority in chapter 61 of Isaiah, has overlooked an important criteria of Judgment. All scholars have agreed from the days of the Dead Sea Scrolls to this day that the Messiah Judge must be righteous and bring judgment unto truth. He deals with the Truth and does not compromise it. It has been an accepted tradition that Truth begins with the Lord, that God cannot lie; neither can his prophets lie. He says following the description of His Messiah:
Isaiah 42.9 Behold, the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare: before they spring forth I tell you of them.
God claims in Proof of Himself that before things spring forth He has already told us of them. Most things, such as the Curse to Scatter Israel, or the Wrath of fire and brimstone against the Heathen, He Ordered. The precept of God's Prophesy, then, is completely dependent upon Truth: the Truth that He ordered something to be fulfilled and your Truthful admission that you have seen that thing come to pass. One of the Criteria of the Prophesy against Israel is just that: When God is ready to Redeem Israel it will depend upon Israel admitting that it is He who scattered them. If people take it upon themselves to teach that the things He foretold cannot come true, or come true by some other means than that specified—such as Jesus claiming to be the Messiah who does not cause His Voice to be heard in the streets, though he had routinely caused his voice to be heard in the streets— then God becomes not only a liar but also thwarted in the manner in which He has desired to offer Proof of Himself. Even worse, in this instance, by claiming something which He was not, Jesus disabled not only God's plan but the Messiah of the future (His Second Coming). To maintain the Order of Truth, then, what is the Messiah or Second Coming to do with this one fact of deceit? Should he ignore it, as the ministry have done over the last two thousand years; or should he confront it and condemn it as I have done? Would I be a vehicle of Truth if I overlooked this lie?
One Truth always exposes another. No matter how righteous Jesus can be His record is now tainted with this lie. And this one lie is sufficient to disqualify Him from the thing He claimed. Whether it was by His Disciples or Himself, the lie stands in the record. The people who maintained this record were so blind they could not see the legacy they had thrown upon the future Second Coming.
Many like to confuse the scriptures as being words from Prophets. We recall that Paul, to legitimatize his deceit, tells us that the scriptures are inspired writings. But this God of whom we have been speaking would not cater to such a designation of the scriptures, since he frequently reminds us that the words of the prophets are His Words, not theirs. The prophet, in fact, is merely his servant and, if we may take liberties with the tongue we might say that the prophet of God though a son of man, is the mouth of God. Though many went to prophet's school to be a prophet, many prophets did not go to Prophet School and were common, ordinary men, even shepherds, like David the king, for instance. The Deliverer Messiah, we have seen earlier, according to Ezekiel, will say in fact, I am no prophet, for I was brought up to raise cattle. Jesus admitted to being a prophet and did prophesy. Neither was he brought up as a shepherd, raising cattle. Nor can we say, based upon John's Gospel, that Jesus was a man of letters who could fulfill the prophesy of applying a bruised reed to the smoking flax until he brings forth Judgment unto truth. Nor can he, standing on earth this day, say of his disciples" reports of him that he was truthful in the matter of this particular prophesy. For we have to admit that claiming a prophesy by deception, by telling the disciples not to admit one has been in the streets, is not a truthful way to address prophesy! Fortunately the other gospels do not report this action of Jesus.
It may be that Matthew created a small lie in his zealousness to confirm Jesus as the prophesied Messiah. It is certain that those who had read the scriptures of Isaiah 61 and 42 would desire to give Jesus the authority of this Messiah; Jesus had gone to the Gentile and could be called the light of the Gentile (in terms of Galilee); and certainly, based upon this Paul could be justified in saying that Jesus brought a New Covenant. But of all these things we have one problem: This Messiah of Isaiah 42 does not go into the streets and is a writer, an educated man, who can call into Remembrance, to review precept upon precept, line upon line, the scriptures until the wisdom of the wise men perish and all fall back and are taken. He also appears, as so clearly pointed out among the prophets above, at the time Israel is restored, at the time of the gathering, among the sheep that are scattered, to the remnant of Israel and them that are escaped of Israel. Where were they scattered? Was it to Egypt? Was it to Babylon? No! It was to all the Nations. How many different ways does God have to express this fundamental precept? It is clear the Messiah of the New Covenant could not have appeared at the time Jesus walked the earth. Jesus and the scholars of His Time ought to have known this.
It is clear that the Messiah who puts God's law in our hearts also appears much later in time than Jesus and at the time Israel is restored to the Promised Land. In effect, we can say, concerning this particular Messiah who does not go into the streets, that someone — perhaps it was Jesus — acted a little over zealously and robbed the Deliverer Messiah of his epitaph. We say he robbed him but really suggest that such a thing would be impossible, since When he comes God will give it to Him whose right it is anyway. That is to say, The Messiah who does not go into the streets, nor does he cause his voice to be heard in the streets, is yet to come and there is nothing Jesus can do to claim that prophesy except he claim it in His Second Coming. And this is the Truth of the matter, that if Jesus claims this prophesy in His Second Coming He cannot be found in the streets nor cause his voice to be heard in the streets. This, then, is the requirement of your Deliverer Messiah. And He — even if it is Jesus resurrected — will have to point out that someone in the Gospel of Matthew tried to rob him of His Epitaph! Behold, says He, My Members are in the book! Then He says, For the Father of Truth remembereth me!
I apologize for my diatribe. We have to mention this matter for you to appreciate what we mean by bringing forth Judgment unto Truth. If the disciples have lied about the Messiah whom we have encountered as Immanuel, who occurs before the diaspora of Israel, then the Deliverer Messiah, regardless of whom he is, even if He thinks He is Jesus reincarnated, must produce the Truth of the Matter. And it is by your rules that this Truth is forced out. Have not the Christians said that Judgment would be according to My Gospel and have not the Rabbis said all along that Judgment would include a review of their Oral Torah? By requiring the Deliverer Messiah to call these things into remembrance, to review them with you — even line upon line and precept upon precept — you have forced this Truth to be revealed! To conclude this matter we have to admit that someone seems to have shown Jesus attempting to deceive the people into believing he had not gone into the streets in order to fulfill a particular prophesy. As concerning whether Jesus is responsible or another, the Truth is, as Peter said, Judgment must first begin with us (the Apostles who told Jesus's story); and we believe that Peter Himself would agree that before the Transfiguration Jesus thought Himself to be the Light of the Gentiles and Messiah of Isaiah 61 and 42. The Messiah who knows the secrets of men will reveal this incident. You can be sure of it.
Line 406 — Jesus heals a man with a devil. Mark records the incident, with the unclean spirit saying, Thou art the Son of God. Luke records the same which says, Thou art Christ the Son of God. But in response to this the Pharisees answered that he casteth out devils by the prince of devils. Mark says the same except he calls the prince of devils Beelzebub. Luke agrees with Mark.
The Law and Traditions of the Sabbath
Line 566 —the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath. The Law of the Sabbath, coming from Moses, is simple. It simply says we are to keep the Sabbath, the Seventh Day of the week, as a Day of Rest, because God rested on the Seventh Day. Since that Law, men have attempted to amend it to mean various things to the extent that rest became an imposition on the enjoyment or fulfillment of life itself.
Matthew has Jesus answering the pharisees and scribes who complained that he healed a man's withered hand on the Sabbath. Luke has him responding that the Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath.
The complaint deals with the problem of Rest on the Sabbath. While the Law says that because God rested on the seventh day of the week man has also that day as a day of rest; and God, in his direction, tells us to respect the Sabbath by doing no work. This Law then became applied through traditions accumulated over the years to the affect that even today the tradition implementing the Law is reworked to determine whether turning on a light switch is work. By tradition among some of the more zealous Jews the mere effort of turning on a light switch is classified as work; therefore those who follow this tradition must sit in the dark on the Sabbath. In all probability the Jews of Jesus's day were arguing the same cause, saying that one could not light a candle on the Sabbath.
To understand the severity of these restrictions on the Sabbath it might serve us well to read the Dead Sea ScrollsÕ expectations on the Sabbath.
(from the Damascus rule) No man shall work on the sixth day from the moment when the sun's orb is distant by its own fulness from the gate (wherein it sinks); for this is what He said, Observe the Sabbath day to keep it holy (Deuteronomy 5.12). No man shall speak any vain or idle word on the Sabbath day. He shall make no loan to his companion. He shall make no decision in matters of money and gain. He shall say nothing about work or labour to be done on the morrow.
No man shall walk abroad to do business on the Sabbath. He shall not walk more than one thousand cubits (1500 feet) beyond his town.
No man shall eat on the Sabbath day except that which is already prepared. He shall eat nothing lying in the fields. He shall not drink except in the camp. If he is on a journey and goes down to bathe, he shall drink where he stands, but he shall not draw water into a vessel. He shall send out no stranger on his business on the Sabbath day.
No man shall wear soiled garments, or garments brought to the store, unless they have been washed with water or rubbed with incense.
No man shall willingly mingle with others on the Sabbath.
No man shall walk more than two thousand cubits after a beast to pasture it outside his town. He shall not raise his hand to strike it with his fist. If it is stubborn he shall not take it out of his house.
No man shall take anything out of the house or bring anything in. And if he is in a booth, let him neither take anything out nor bring anything in. He shall not open a sealed vessel on the Sabbath.
No man shall carry perfumes on himself whilst going and coming on the Sabbath. He shall lift neither sand nor dust in his dwelling. No foster-father shall carry a child whilst going and coming on the Sabbath.
No man shall chide his manservant or maidservant or laborer on the Sabbath.
No man shall assist a beast to give birth on the Sabbath day. And if it should fall into a cistern or pit, he shall not lift it out on the Sabbath.
No man shall spend the Sabbath in a place near to Gentiles on the Sabbath.
No man shall profane the Sabbath for the sake of riches or gain on the Sabbath day. But should any man fall into water or fire, let him be pulled out with the aid of a ladder or rope or some like tool.
No man on the Sabbath shall offer anything on the altar except the Sabbath burnt-offering; for it is written thus: except your Sabbath offerings (Leviticus 23.38).
No man shall send to the altar any burnt-offering, or cereal offering, or incense, or wood, by the hand of one smitten with any uncleanness, permitting him thus to defile the altar. For it is written, The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination, but the prayer of the just is as an agreeable offering (Proverbs 25.8).
No man entering the house of worship shall come unclean and in need of washing. And at the sounding of the trumpets for assembly, he shall go there before or after the meeting, and shall not cause the whole service to stop, for its is a holy service.
No man shall lie with a woman in the city of the Sanctuary, to defile the city of the Sanctuary with their uncleanness.
Every man who preaches apostasy under the dominion of the spirits of Satan shall be judged according to the Law relating to those possessed by a ghost or familiar spirit (Leviticus 20.27). But no man who strays so as to profane the Sabbath and the feasts shall be put to death; it shall fall to men to keep him in custody. And if he is healed of his error, they shall keep him in custody for seven years and he shall afterwards approach the Assembly.
No man shall stretch out his hand to shed the blood of a Gentile for the sake of riches and gain. Nor shall he carry off anything of theirs, lest they blaspheme, unless so advised by the company of Israel.
No man shall sell clean beasts or birds to the Gentiles lest they offer them in sacrifice. He shall refuse, with all his power, to sell them anything from his granary or wine-press, and he shall not sell them his manservant or maidservant inasmuch as they have been brought by him into the Covenant of Abraham.
No man shall defile himself by eating any live creature or creeping thing, from the larvae of bees to all creatures which creep in water. They shall eat no fish unless split alive and their blood poured out. And as for locusts, according to their various kinds they shall plunge them alive into the fire or water, for this is what their nature requires.
All wood and stones and dust defiled by the impurity of a man shall be reckoned like men with regard to conveying defilement; whoever touches them shall be defiled by their defilement. And every nail or peg in the wall of a house in which a dead man lies shall become unclean as any working tool becomes unclean (Leviticus 11.32).
The Rule for the assembly of the towns shall be according to these precepts that they may distinguish between unclean and clean, and discriminate between the holy and the profane.
And these are the precepts in which the Master shall walk in his commerce with all the living in accordance with the statute proper to every age. And in accordance with this statute shall the seed of Israel walk and they shall not be cursed.
These are some of the traditions created to implement the Law of Moses concerning the Sabbath and Clean and Unclean things. They are recorded by the Dead Sea Scrolls and tell us at least how certain Jews were required to conduct themselves on the Sabbath during Jesus's time.
When in Matthew 12.8 and Luke 6.5 Jesus confronts the Pharisees over their objection to his healing the man with the withered hand on the Sabbath, Jesus responds that the Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath. We can see here that Jesus believes that He has the right to change the rules of the Sabbath, since only the Lord or creator of the Sabbath could do so. To a Jew this kind of statement would be blasphemous, because Jesus would be claiming that He is God. This, then, would be the first objection to Jesus's action on the Sabbath, and it ought to cause the pharisees and scribes to recall Daniel's description of the Anti-messiah (or Antichrist): He will think to change times and laws and Paul claims he will go into the temple and cause men to worship him as God. Thus, they ought to conclude by His actions and representations that He was healing by means of Beelzebub. This comes out in Luke 11.14 and Mark 7.31 where Jesus healed a deaf and dumb man, casting out a devil. He was accused there of casting out devils by Beelzebub. This is also reported in Matthew 9.34; in Matthew 12.25 the Pharisees complained that he casteth out devils by the prince of devils.
In answer to the healing of the man with the withered hand, Jesus asked, (in Luke) whether it is lawful to do good or evil on the Sabbath, to save a life or to destroy it? Matthew gets to the heart of the issue, knowing the Law of the Sabbath we just reviewed. In 12.11 Jesus asks whether the pharisees would save a sheep which had fallen into a pit on the Sabbath. The Dead Sea Scrolls make it clear, you do not save the sheep fallen into the pit on the Sabbath. That answer ought to have been recorded in the gospel, for it is the proper answer, given the facts of the case. Jesus concluded his argument, which in Matthew was in the Temple, saying that in this place is one greater than the temple and that the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath day.
The Sabbath Breaker
John 5.10 reports the same type of confrontation over healing the man (with palsy?) by a pool in Bethesda, with Jesus telling him to pick up his bed and walk. The man reported the healing and the Jews complained that it is the Sabbath day and not lawful to carry thy bed. Undoubtedly there may have been many similar confrontations like this, but the one which reflects the most knowledge of a confrontation with the Law is in Matthew concerning the sheep fallen into a pit. Significantly these records maintain that Jesus violated the Sabbath in his healings; he also went with his disciples through a wheat field picking grain on the Sabbath, violating the Sabbath. In response to these actions the record is clear that Jesus thought Himself justified in violating these traditions of the Law and argued that the Law never intended to cause one to risk his or another's life to observe the day of rest which is the Sabbath. The Sabbath was for man not the man for the Sabbath, he would argue. He uses as support for his argument the case of David stealing the showbread in the temple to feed himself and his men. He did it to avoid starvation and were thus justified, said Jesus.
As concerning these things, even the fact that he was walking through a corn field (you do not walk further than 1,000 cubits from town on the Sabbath; you do not gather food nor prepare food on the Sabbath, etc.), Jesus appears to have been in continual violation of the Sabbath rules; and in retrospect we can say that with regard to living within the Essene Community, at least, Jesus would not have survived more than a few hours... until the first Sabbath came. We have no doubts that if Jesus had spent any time among the Essenes, who composed the Dead Sea Scrolls, He would have been quickly evicted from the congregation.
Because of his violations of the Sabbath the Pharisees sought to kill Jesus, according to all the gospels. John got right to the point, echoing a statement Paul made in his epistle to the Philippians:
John 5.18 Therefore the Jews sought more to kill him, because he not only had broken the Sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making Himself equal with God.
Philippians 2.6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God.
The aggravation of Jesus to the Pharisees might have been mitigated, we may now conclude, as concerning the matters of the Sabbath, had Jesus not given the impression that He was equal to God, by claiming to be Lord of the Sabbath, etc.
The disciples of Jesus ought to have been confused over these confrontations, seeing how Jesus was being accused of Blasphemous conduct. He proceeds to lecture them on blasphemy, saying you can be forgiven if you blaspheme the Son, or the Messiah, but never can you be forgiven if you blaspheme the Holy Ghost (Matthew 12.32). By this time, the Gospels report, the pharisees are filled with madness and were taking counsel on how to kill him. (Luke 6.11).
As a result of these confrontations over his miracles on the Sabbath a great multitude began to follow him. Seeing this, as noted above, he withdrew himself and charged his followers not to reveal that he had been in the streets so that the prophesy of Isaiah 42.1 could be fulfilled. Fortunately the other gospels did not report this command of Jesus which is out of character of one responsible for bringing judgment unto truth. One does not do that through deception and we hardly believe Jesus actually said it. If he did say it, it causes us to believe that he thought he was above the law and justified in lying, as if God Himself could be justified in lying!
Line 433 - The Pharisees asked for a sign that Jesus is the Anointed One or Messiah. In Matthew and Luke he answers with the sign of Jonah. In the story of Jonah, Jonah is told by God to go to the Ninevites and warn them of their imminent destruction by God for their wickedness. Jonah did as commanded and later found himself, feeling a bit ashamed, sitting atop a hill overlooking the city, wondering why it had not been destroyed. God covered Jonah's shame and told him that the reason the city was not destroyed was because Nineveh responded to Jonah's plea and repented. So the city was not destroyed because it heard Jonah. This compares to Isaiah's warning to Israel, as to why it will be scattered:
Isaiah 65.12 Therefore will I number you to the sword, and ye shall all bow down to the slaughter: because when I called, ye did not answer; when I spake ye did not hear; but did evil before mine eyes, and did choose that wherein I delighted not.
Isaiah 50.2 Wherefore, when I came, was there no man? When I called, was there none to answer? Is my hand shortened at all, that it cannot redeem? Or have I no power to deliver?
In Matthew 12.38 Jesus proceeds to explain how Jonah was in the belly of a whale for three days; in like manner, said Jesus, would the Son of Man lie in the earth for three days and three nights. But behold, He says, a greater than Jonah is here, after paraphrasing how the queen of the South came to Judgment before Solomon, saying, Behold one greater than Solomon is here.
Luke apparently did not have this version of Matthew before him when writing his copy of the Jonah parable. He, in fact, compresses the story, omitting the fact that Jesus is greater than Jonah and then proceeds to tell the story of the pharisee dining with Jesus.
Line 440—Ordination of the Apostles. After telling the parable of Jonah, Matthew has Jesus Ordaining his 12 apostles. The ordination of the apostles, according to Luke, was before the Jonah story. But in both accounts of the ordination, they begin with Jesus giving the apostles the power over unclean spirits. Mark is silent about the ordination, except in 16.18 he and Luke agree that Jesus gave the disciples power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. This, we noted earlier, becomes the focus of the concluding charge Jesus makes in Mark's gospel after the resurrection. There they have the power to lift up serpents etc., and are reassured that they can even drink poison and it will not hurt them.
Line 445 — In Luke's account we find the seventy disciples returning to Jesus, commenting how even the devils are subject unto them through Jesus's name. Then Jesus said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fallen from heaven. This becomes the sign of Wormwood used by John in Revelation, when he sees Satan, who is Wormwood, fall like a bolt of lightning from heaven. As an aside we might recall that the nuclear power plant that exploded in the Soviet Union carries the same name, Chernoble, which we understand, is Wormwood in the Russian language.
Line 461—In his instructions on Ordination Jesus tells the apostles not to go to the Gentiles, neither carry gold nor purse, and they are assured that the Spirit of my father shall speak in you. Here they are given the power of the Holy Ghost. To display correlating passages of Luke here, we discover ourselves having to hack up the gospel of Luke who spreads these ordination teachings of Jesus in different times and places. Luke adds (somewhat non-forgiving) instructions of kicking off the dust of your shoes from cities which do not receive you.
Line 489 —The hairs of your head are numbered. Both Matthew and Luke record Jesus's perception of destiny. He is a prophet, by his own admission, and appreciates the prophet's reward: of knowing his prophesy is fulfilled. He reminds them of his special relationship in their Salvation: whosoever shall confess him will he confess before the Father in Heaven. He, here, shows his continuing relationship as an intercessor between man and God. His concept of Salvation is in relation to standing before God in heaven, being saved for eternal life in paradise and not being thrown into hell. He warns his disciples not to fear any man but to fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. This character, we might add, is mentioned in Daniel and Revelation. He is the angel who holds the key to the bottomless pit. In Daniel it is Michael, who is the Deliverer Messiah. In Revelation He is an "angel" holding the key to the bottomless pit. Earlier in Revelation we find that it is one like unto the Son of Man who holds the keys:
Revelation 3.7 These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth;
20.1: And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years. And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season...But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.
Line 878— Upon this rock I will build my church. The power to loose and bind, such as is a particular of the Angel with the keys, was given to Peter in Matthew 16.18. Peter recognized Jesus after Jesus asked his disciples whom men said he was. They all responded that people thought he was John the Baptist; others thought him to be Elias, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets raised up. This is reported by all three synoptic gospels with some modification going from one to the other. Only Matthew thinks to add Jeremiah's name. His name as a prophet is significant in that Jeremiah prophesied about the captivity and then was carried away in the captivity, causing him to later write his book of Lamentations. In the actual scene, perhaps realized by Jesus, the Messiah prophesied as the son of the Virgin is a sign of the coming captivity or exile among the Gentile. We have other verses in fact which reflect Jesus's perception of himself and his time, that Israel was about to be put to the torch and scattered. It is doubtful, however, that the disciples understood what he was saying on this line and it is probable that any expectations they had in a Messiah deliverer to deliver Israel after it had been scattered had been translated (by Jesus) into a Messiah who Saves the soul for eternal life in Heaven. Jesus's ministry, in this regard, was one of a Spiritual Messiah and not of the Earthly King Messiah seen among the prophets, as discussed above. We, in fact, have an instance where the disciples wanted him to go for the crown and be set up as King over Israel. At this, the gospel shows that he went away from them and hid. When he was before Pontius Pilate the same kind of perception continues when Jesus is asked why none of his disciples are there to defend him. He replies that his kingdom is not of this world, otherwise his disciples would have defended him. These perceptions, then reflect a Messiah whose moment in time is spiritual rather than earthly.
Whom do you think I am?
In any event, with this background we can now look at Peter's answer to Jesus's question, Whom do you think I am? Peter responds in Matthew:
Matthew 16.16 Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
Assuming Matthew had Mark's gospel before him, using it as his outline, we have here a major modification of Mark's gospel and perception of Jesus and Peter. Mark has Peter saying, "Thou art the Christ" and Luke agrees with this perception. This is further reason to suspect that Luke reflects a bias more favorable to the Hebrew point of view, meaning that Jesus is not God, nor the son of God, but the Christ. And the Christ, in their common perception, was probably more on the order of a king like David. Scribes, however, would have taken Jesus's claims as blasphemy, knowing that he full well thought of himself to be like God or equal to God. Neither Mark nor Luke report the next important conversation between Jesus and Peter:
Matthew 16.18 ... upon this rock I will build my church..and give thee the Keys to the Kingdom..whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven; whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven.
This became the basis of Peter's authority to lead the church after the death of Jesus. Yet, it is interesting that the Gospel of Mark, which we believe was written by that Mark, the son of Peter, mentioned in I Peter 5.13, does not record this anointing of Peter. Clement, Peter's student and disciple, also mentions that Mark had the notes of Peter and used them to write his gospel. Clement knew both Peter and Mark. But there were two Marks mentioned in the book of Acts. One was John-Mark as distinguished from Mark. Mark was a friend of Timothy, apparently, since Paul tells Timothy in his Second Epistle to him to bring Mark with him, since Mark is profitable to me for the ministry. He also asks Timothy, when he comes, to bring with him the books and especially the parchments, suggesting perhaps books or parchments of gospels. Mark's name is also connected with Luke in the epistle to Titus written a year earlier.
Suspecting that Mark was the son of Peter and wrote his gospel from Peter's notes, we wonder, then, how it is that Mark does not report that Peter is given the Keys to the Kingdom?
We suspect also that Mark, Timothy, and Titus were about the same age, being the children of the apostles, and Luke the doctor also among them; with all being about the age of thirty years old; and Mark was probably the elder among them.
Following the thesis that Luke ought to have had both the gospels of Matthew and Mark before him when he wrote his gospel, we discover it also odd that Luke did not record the delegation of the keys to Peter. We find this odd because the delegation had to do with the transfer of power once Jesus was gone. We have seen quite clearly that, though Paul acknowledged Peter's and the Elders' sovereignty, Paul rejected Peter's direction. Because of the conflict between Peter and Paul and the fact that the Paulists won out in the end, we wonder whether this delegation in Matthew had not also been in the other gospels and somehow gotten trimmed out of them? It is a mystery that the one gospel which Paul seemed to favor, by quoting it, had the one statement of delegation that Paul ought to have resented. For it said, whatsoever Peter orders, do. Peter was of the Circumcised church and ordered Circumcision. Paul refused it.
We believe Luke and Mark travelled together, being about the same age, and they most probably exchanged information between themselves. In Clement's epistles we are told that Mark is Peter's translator / scribe. There are doubts that Peter knew Greek, although his epistles are written in a hand which shows almost equal familiarity with Greek as Paul. And Paul's scholasticism in Greek is highly commended by scholars.
We have suggested earlier that the Gospel of Luke appears to be biased to the Hebrew point of view, endorsing the Law, etc., but written by one not as familiar with the law as Matthew. At the time of the anointing of Peter, Jesus and his disciples had just arrived at the coasts of Caesarea-Phillipi, according to Matthew 16.13. Mark records them as having gone to the towns of Caesarea and Phillippi. According to our data, the place was a town called Caesarea-Phillipi, distinguishing it from the Roman capital of Palestine along the coast which is called Caesarea. Caesarea-Phillipi was Herod's headquarters over Syria and Galilee. Matthew, having Mark's gospel before him, ought to have known that Caesarea and Phillipi were not two towns but one. So it appears Matthew very subtly corrected Mark's gospel by referring to the coasts of the town, suggesting, we suppose, borders. He uses the same word, coasts, when referring to the group going to the borders of Judaea or Tyre.
Luke's gospel at this stage is staggeringly out of sync in terms of the order of events of Matthew, and where the two gospels are out of sync we have difficulty understanding what Luke's objective was in the format he had taken, modifying Mark's and Matthew's gospel as he did. We would have expected Luke, following Mark's lead, and certainly having a copy of Matthew in hand, might have picked up on the fact that Matthew had corrected Mark's gospel and therefore reconfirmed that the place of Caesarea-Philippi is one town not two towns. In questioning this we are led to further confirmation that Luke is a Gentile and really no more familiar with Palestine than Mark.
Mark, being Peter's son, ought to have known that Caesarea-Phillipi is one town, since the area just south of that place, along the sea of Galilee, at Bethsaida, is Peter's home town. Nearby was his mother-in-law's house in Capernaum. We should think that Mark would have been raised in that place, though during the time of Jesus's ministry in Galilee no child of Peter is mentioned. When Jesus went into Peter's house, however, he picked up a small child and told the disciples how they must be like that small child to enter the kingdom. Luke does not report this particular event in the same place, however. Nevertheless we wonder if that small child was Mark, Peter's son?
In any event, why Mark was not familiar with Galilee is a question we shall leave to others. In all probability we can conclude that Luke, following Mark's gospel, with Matthew's beside it, would have been confused over the references himself. If he had not been in Galilee and did not know the correct way to describe the place, he might have been tempted to not mention the place altogether. He in fact seems to recount his story in this way, relating details not known to the other gospels but dealing with the occurrence of those details and the place where they occurred in general terms. Where Matthew will add to Mark's gospel statements like, That same day or the next day, etc., Luke tends to avoid such definite statements of time and place. Only when Jesus is in Jerusalem and then goes to Aunt Mary's house who anoints his feet, six days before Passover, does Luke then get specific about times and places (Luke calls this Mary the other Mary and, not knowing she is Jesus's Aunt Mary, calls her a sinner and publican — all publicans were sinners).
We suspect that Luke would have been a young man joining the Seventy disciples, being taught by the disciples, which would cause him to look at places and events from the disciples' point of view. Thus he mentions the Seventy disciples returning to Jesus in Galilee whereas the other gospels neglect to mention their numbers or frequency of following Jesus as a group. Matthew and Mark are written around the hero of the story who is Peter and the apostles; Luke, in his exposition, seems to be distant from the apostles but close to the Seventy. The Seventy disciples is an important number to the Jews because when the Children of Israel migrated into Egypt there were among them Seventy souls. Seventy became a significant number ever since. We have the Seventy or seventy-two Scribes who went into Alexandria to translate the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek, for instance. From that work we have the oldest extant work of the scriptures, written in Greek, called the Septuagint, after the seventy scribes who translated it.
We wonder why Matthew does not recall the Seventy disciples by number.
Line 504 — He that loveth his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me. Here both Matthew and Luke continue to show a personality of Jesus who has no doubts that He is Lord of the Sabbath, etc. He spoke with authority, said the Gospel of John, and this is an illustration of it. Another (Apocryphal) gospel, we might add, records that Jesus spoke to the disciples in a harsh tone of voice most of the time.
Luke misses many of the parables and instructions of the Ordination Sermon. This sermon, we note, is an addition to the Gospel of Mark. Luke picks up bits and pieces of it and puts them into different times and places. Significantly, concerning Jesus's comment about John the Baptist, how He is Elijah, Luke amends the comment to reflect that since John the Baptist the Kingdom of God is preached. This corresponds with the thought that prophesy ended with John the Baptist, as the Apocryphal Gospel of James attests, for the Lord answered and said: Do you not know that the head of prophecy was cut off with John?
This produces a concern as to Jesus's relation to the Law, since, if the Kingdom is now and Prophesy is cut off, would the Law then be cut off? So Jesus adds a comment in response to the disciple's concern that He is not against Moses's Law. The comment was exacerbated, we might add, by the fact that they were observing Jesus doing things which the priests did not consider to be lawful. So they thought Jesus to be against Moses and asked Jesus about it. Jesus responded that He had not come to change the Law but to fulfill it; he added that not one tittle of the Law or prophets would go unfulfilled. Here he fully endorsed all the prophets and the Law. Later, teaching about the Law, specifically the Ten Commandments, he replied, I have broken none of them. Whereas he was against the bonds of traditions which made the Law like a ball and chain on one's foot, he was fully in support of the Law and obeyed it. John in particular points out his fealty to the Law, showing how he attended all the feasts the Jews were expected to celebrate, many of which were in Jerusalem and required his presence there. Towards the latter part of his ministry this became a problem because it was no longer safe for him to go into Judaea. In Galilee he was safe (though his home town nearly stoned him and desired to throw him off a cliff for his blasphemy). The more He preached referring to God as His Father, etc, the more susceptible he became to being chased out of cities and stoned. Eventually, on his last trip to Jerusalem for the Passover, his blasphemy caught up with him.
Only Matthew has Jesus saying to his disciples that John the Baptist is Elijah. Matthew has all along been trying to prove through the fulfillment of prophesy that Jesus is the Messiah, following the matter up with the confirmation of John the Baptist as Elijah (therefore confirming that Jesus is the Messiah). Paul, in his letters, continues the same type of argumentation. Mark on the other hand, had not thought about John the Baptist's relationship to Jesus beyond that of being a voice in the wilderness. Tying John the Baptist to a reincarnated Elijah is an entirely different matter and puts the time frame into the Latter Day epoch where Israel is delivered, etc., creating many problems in prophesy in terms of Jesus's ability to fulfill them.
In both Matthew and Luke we have Jesus suggesting that the end of prophesy is with John the Baptist. The Aprocryphon of James, though written later perhaps, shows that this was a well established idea among the formative Christian Churches. To say John is the end of prophesy would also lead to the conclusion John is also Elijah resurrected. For the last prophet to come before the Deliverer Messiah is Elijah!
Line 546 — Jesus says all the prophets and the law prophesied until John, according to Matthew; all the law and prophets were until John, according to Luke, and One statement implies that the Law and the prophets are no longer applicable after John the Baptist, because the Messiah is here to set a new law. The other statement says they prophesied until John; which also suggests in effect that both prophesy and the Law end with John. Since then the Kingdom is preached, Luke says. The structure of the thinking leads us to believe that Jesus replaced the Law of Moses. Luke, picking up on this phrase, has to explain his restructuring of Matthew's report from a comment about the end of prophesy to now include the end of the reign of the Law. Whereas Matthew did not have to explain that John, as Elijah, is the end of prophesy, Luke had to explain whether Elijah is also the end of the Reign of the Law. This is the answer:
Luke 16.17 It is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than one tittle of the law to fail.
It is clear that Luke intended to clarify any confusion there might be over Jesus's attitude towards the Law: the Law shall not fail. Between the two writers, then, we see a continuing pattern, that Luke is concerned about defending Judaism and wondering about the prophesies yet to be fulfilled in the Latter Days, and Matthew has arrived at the thought that the Latter Days are already present, that the Kingdom is come now. Luke shows the time to be the beginning of the preaching of the Kingdom of God with John the Baptist.
Line 526 — John questions Jesus as to whether he is the Messiah. Matthew 11.2 and Luke 7.19 both record the fact that John sent two disciples from his place in prison to find out whether Jesus is that Messiah that he thought was coming. Jesus responded in Matthew by reminding them that they had seen his miracles, how the blind received their sight, etc. The response hearkens back to Isaiah 61.1 and 42.7, to open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house...
Few verses are as telling as this comment made by Jesus as to whom he thought he was and what time he thought it was. We have a problem with the comment, however, since it pertains to the Messiah who does not go into the streets. We have seen earlier that Matthew incorporates the instructions to the disciples that they are not to make it known that Jesus was in the streets. Since he is also the one who brings judgment unto the gentile, we can presume that Jesus believed his ministry in Galilee was fulfilling that portion. Yet, we wonder how he could identify with this particular prophesy, of bringing forth judgment to the gentile, since that Messiah involves writing and this, a writer, is one thing Jesus was not. Again, it is reported in the Gospel of John that he startled the scribes and the priests in the temple when he read Isaiah 61.1 etc. though he knew not how to read. Jesus was not a writer; and the Messiah who writes (even the book of Remembrance) and is like Moses must have been a particular problem for Jesus to reconcile to his image or mission (The source of the Book of Remembrance is Malachi 3.16: confirming Deuteronomy 30.1).
As to whether Jesus actually told his disciples to deceive the population that he had not been in the streets so that the prophesy could be fulfilled, we, once again, are reluctant to think — we hope not — he would do such a thing. But Matthew records him being consistent in his conversation to John the Baptist, causing John to reflect upon the Messiah of Isaiah 42; and that Messiah occurs only after Israel is scattered, sifted throughout the nations, baptized with fire, and then gathered back to the Holy Land for redemption. We would hope that John the Baptist would have known this and, therefore, ought to have been confused by Jesus's answer.
This answer of Jesus should have been a problem for John the Baptist to accept. Though Jesus was a reputed Miracle Worker, there were many things mentioned in the prophesy of the Deliverer and his times that Jesus was not. A letter from Rabbi Shem Tov ben Isaac Ibn Shaprut to Cardinal Pietro de Luna (Antipope Benedict XII) written in 1394 itemizes many of these things. [See our work, Hidden Pavilions on this]
When Jesus read from Isaiah chapter 61, He read the introductory passage and, according to the gospel, stopped where the prophesy specifically addresses the Latter Days and its Messiah. So when he closed the book and said, This day these things are fulfilled, he addressed the part of making the blind see, releasing the prisoners from their prison, etc. He passed this comment in Isaiah to John the Baptist as proof that He is the Messiah.
Modern Christian scholars seem to believe that Jesus broke off the verse of chapter 61 to signify that the remaining things would be fulfilled on his Second Coming. We suggest, however, that because of Jesus's claim to fulfill the Messiah mentioned in Chapter 42 of Isaiah, because He used the same epitaphs of chapter 61 of Isaiah, saying "This day these things are fulfilled"; because of his and the gospel's many references that he is given as a light to the Gentiles (another Latter Day Messiah's epitaph); and because of his prophesy in Matthew 24, saying even in Matthew 24.34, "This generation shall not pass till all these things be fulfilled," there is good evidence to suggest that Jesus thought that the only thing left to be accomplished during his Second Coming would be that of Judgment. The perception of the Second Coming and the Judgment of the quick and the dead is suggested even to be in the very near future. Because of his saying in Matthew 24.34 and the other comparative sayings above mentioned, the disciples had no reason to doubt from Jesus's words that the Judgment was nigh at hand, probably even their own generation would see it, and it was standing at the door. It is no wonder, then, that Paul began preaching the gospel so zealously—to save men's souls from immanent damnation — believing himself the Second Coming would occur in his own lifetime. Peter and the Apostles in Jerusalem also believed this, but Peter cautioned the church that it could be still way off into the future because one day to the Lord is as a thousand years (quoting the book of Enoch). Peter said this in his second epistle, verse 3.8. He adds in 3.9:
II Peter 3.9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is long suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
This is the message of the Old Testament. Generally when a prophet rose up in the land his prophesy called the nation to repentance.
The mission of the four gospels, even the Apocryphal gospels which followed them, is the calling forth to repentance and identifying that with the establishment of the Kingdom of God through Jesus. Through Repentance and the confession of the cross, baptized through the blood of Jesus, one achieves eternal Salvation. This becomes the final scene, in fact, in the Latter Days. It is a final curtain call to repentance. How Jesus visualized this is hard to understand, since it is doubtful that the gospel writers understood his prophesy of the Latter Days and his future function in it. The fact that Luke records the Scattering of Israel as opposed to Matthew and Mark's silence on it, tells us that the gospel writers were not sure where Jesus stood in relation to prophesy of the Latter Days.
In understanding the prophesy of the Latter Days, which we have exposed in considerable detail earlier, let us keep in mind the precept of a Final Curtain Call as a final call to repentance: as Jonah appearing to the Ninevites. Again, we recall Jesus comparing Himself to Jonah, as if the world would be consumed if it were not to listen to Him and obey Him.
The Final Curtain Call
The gospels lead us to believe that the final curtain call to repentance was during Jesus's time. They show John the Baptist as Elijah, the prophet which announces the Lord's coming. One gospel, we have seen, has John the Baptist denying that he is Elijah and rather arguing that he is the voice in the wilderness. The Voice in the Wilderness may not be clearly and particularly tied to the final curtain call, as may be supposed by church scholars, but we all know that Elijah is most certainly in the Final Curtain Call. So a prudent writer, knowing this, that the appearance of Jesus was not the Final Curtain Call, would have had John the Baptist deny that he is Elijah. This, again, creates a problem in Jesus's precept of his time, since, in fact, John the Baptist was not Elijah and the precursor of the Last Curtain Call. Again, Jesus asked the disciples to believe that John is Elijah. If this sounds confusing, it is because the gospel writers were confused over this.
Line 941 — Elias is come already and suffered; likewise shall the Son of Man suffer. Jesus had made it clear to his disciples at the time of his transfiguration that John the Baptist was, in Jesus's mind, Elijah, for Jesus knew that Elijah must first come before the Messiah; and Jesus had no doubts He was the Messiah. This knowledge, we know, had to be a problem for him in reconciling himself to prophesy, since Elijah comes before the final judgment as stated above. The disciples had obviously given it sufficient thought to ask Jesus whether Elijah must first come. In Mark, Jesus replies that Elijah came already (in the person of John the Baptist) and they have done whatsoever was listed of him. The thing that was listed of Elijah was that he would turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the children to their fathers, etc. Elijah would be a prophet who would bring fear into the hearts of men before the Last Trump is sounded. The Final Curtain Call, (Last Trump) then, has Elijah resurrected and addressing the multitudes of the earth.
In Revelation 11.4 there is mention of Two Witnesses of God standing before mankind just before the Last Trump is sounded. Again, for purposes of understanding this, let's call it the Last Curtain Call. John says in Revelation that these Two Witnesses shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. Ezekiel and Jeremiah prophesied clothed in sackcloth. Elijah probably started the custom. When one puts on sackcloth one also throws dust over one's head signifying grief over the loss of one's children. The prophets presented themselves, then, in the figure of a mother grieving over the loss of her children. The Final Curtain Call shows the same thing happening, with the Messiah standing in Jerusalem and all of Jerusalem mourning as a mother grieving over the loss of her only child. This is the scene of the Final Curtain Call.
If you were that Messiah standing on Mount Zion in Jerusalem during that day, here is what you would see, as shown earlier in our comments on Latter Day prophesy: You would see yourself coming from the east with your sandals and robes stained from the winepress of the Lord; behind you would be flames coming out of Edom, from Bozrah. You would be walking towards the mount and in the midst of those flames would be the nations all gathered together, strung in the fields, body next to body. The bodies would begin in the valley of Jehoshaphat (judged of God) to the lands encircling Jerusalem. From there bodies could be seen from one end of the earth to the other. In the scenario, there is a flame around Jerusalem which protects the Redeemed Children of Israel. Of the nations represented dead in the fields round about the Holy Land there is no exclusivity: all of them are pretty well represented. The carnage that occured was like unto the days of Gideon,where the Midianites attached each other and flew from the field of battle; or the days of Hezekiah (II Chron. 32.22) where an Angel of the Lord was sent out and smote the army of Senacherib of Babylon, as he prepared to attack Jerusalem. Thus, in our scenario, seeing armies round about Jerusalem, our Gideon went to bed. He got up in the morning and prepared to position his troops for battle but looked over the ramparts and saw smoke in the distance where the Babylonian encampment was. He sent out some men to investigate the matter and they came back saying that the Babylonians had attacked themselves and flown back to Babylon. In like manner also are the nations gathered together and disposed of in the Last Curtain Call.
We can see how easy it is to imagine this Last Curtain Call from the dress rehearsal we see now taking place in the Middle East. We had mentioned this in an earlier work; focusing upon the alignment of strange bedfellows in the Last Curtain Call. The alignment of the nations which are prophesied to be destroyed in the Last Curtain Call began from England down the Rhine to the Middle East. It included all the Giants, not Excluding America, Ethiopia, Libya, Persia and Gog and Magog (who are peoples from the north). In the lineup there was no nation missing, except the Children of Israel were viewing the display from the ramparts of Jerusalem. Edom, in our scenario, became blessed in the end for their having functioned as a mediator, mitigating the affects of the disaster to come and for having performed a significant deed in the salvation of Jerusalem. In this scenario Edom, who had long been hated by God, is redeemed with Jerusalem. And the Glory of the Peace is shared between them both.
This was our view of the Day of Judgment, and we complained that no matter how pious men claim to be, they really donÕt believe in the power of the almighty God. For they like to take his prophesies and turn them into something that has nothing to do with the thing in which He had purposed himself in the prophesy. Ultimately He is purposed in making every soul of man bow his knees to Him and call upon Him with one language and one consent. How He does this has been the subject of our books. But most people donÕt believe Him and like to collect money teaching other purposes and means of God. They are Robbers. Nevertheless, His message has always been clearly stated and repeated over and over by the prophets through time. There should never have been any confusion over His Vision of the Last Days or its Final Curtain Call or what the signs of those days will be before they come to pass. By comparison, in an earlier work we showed the Americans and its enemies in bed together (figuratively speaking) in a most improbable situation leading to Armageddon.
What was improbable to our eyes a year ago is now being laid out in a dress rehearsal before our very eyes on the day of atonement of 1990! We say this not to suggest we are a prophet, for we are not, but to illustrate the point we had made in our earlier works: that it is far easier for God to arrange things to fulfill improbable prophesies than one might think. All it takes is a tiny whisper into someone's ear. Today we have the king of Babylon believing that God has bid him to bring the nations to battle. Generally kings like him who are raised up in prophesy to carry out the Wrath of God are often dealt with likewise. Babylon was used to carry out the Wrath of God against Israel and then Babylon was destroyed. Modern scholars like to illustrate the same comparison with respect to Rome, how it was used to carry Israel again into captivity after the manner of Babylon, and how Rome also was destroyed. Hal Lindsey, who has a little understanding (but significantly incomplete) of these matters, reminds us that no nation that was originally against Israel has survived through the ages, whereas Israel, the least among nations, has.
This is the scene of the Last Curtain Call. The king of the South (Egypt) is preparing again to attack the King of the North: Babylon. It is easy for us to see the characters of the Last Curtain Call being lined up on the stage, though the alliance of these contrasting characters would have hardly been believed a short time ago. We now would have you keep it in mind as a Dress Rehearsal for the thing to come. That thing is very easy to conjure and can be done rather quickly and at a moment's notice.
Having these awful thoughts in mind, then, and comparing them to our present situation, which is no mean thing, we can see how it is that Elijah could be so terribly feared! He comes and His Witness brings about great fear in the hearts of man. And this vision of fear is exactly the vision the scribes and the pharisees during the time of Jesus, the writers of the Dead Sea Scrolls, and the rabbis today, had in mind.
In the prophesies there are actually Two Events mentioned which we must keep in mind. The Dead Sea Scrolls, once again, are our proof that the teachers during Jesus's time viewed future history in this vision. Namely, the first part of the Vision is the Scattering of Israel and the Second part of the Vision is the Redemption of Israel and God's Wrath against the nations who, like Babylon, were against His People Israel. As concerning this Vision Jesus was not entirely clear on the matter, but in His Final statement, the prophesy atop the Mount of Olives just before His Crucifixion, He resolves the disciple's questions. We return to Him, then, by way of the most important question posed by Peter, James and John at the time of the Transfiguration: Must Elias first come?
Matthew 17.10 And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come?
17.11 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things.
17.12 But I say unto you that Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall the Son of man suffer of them.
17.13 Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the baptist.
Jesus answers, Elias is come already. Mark's Gospel adds, and they have done whatsoever was listed of him. Luke is, with good prudence, avoiding the argument we are now exploring, remaining silent on the matter, though he undoubtedly had Mark's Gospel before him and probably had Matthew's as well. Luke edited these passages out of his gospel and for good reason.
There is much information in these verses which can be gleaned to identify the attitude of the disciples at that time. It was after John the Baptist had been beheaded. Earlier, in Matthew 16.14, we had the disciples commenting that the 5,000 on the mount, whom Jesus had just fed, thought him to be John the Baptist resurrected! It is Peter who cleared up the matter, saying: Thou art the Christ [and son of God].
Some time later the disciples are still confused. A cloud says, at the time of the transfiguration near Caesarea - Philippi, This is my beloved Son, hear ye him. Afterwards, seeing the fear in the three men that witnessed it, Jesus told them to tell no man what they had heard until after his resurrection (Matthew 17.9). He said this to them as they came down from the mountain. And then, as if in reply to him, they asked, Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come? Something is missing in the gospel account. One cannot just jump from the voice from the cloud to the question concerning Elijah without some intervening conversation as to Jesus being the Messiah and the Latter Day Messiah at that. Furthermore, the question tells us that the disciples had heard enough conversation — and participated themselves in it — that they could confidently quote the priests and the scribes as saying that Elijah must first come. A very pointed question recorded here. We are hung up on it, we admit, and the scribes and the disciples ought not to have been any less hung up on it. For Jesus being the Latter Day Deliverer Messiah, without Elijah first appearing, would have been, to them who asked the question, quite impossible. The question also reflects upon the fact that Jesus had not revealed that He is a manifestation of the Messiah which comes before the Deliverer Messiah. He could quote prophesies about his suffering and being raised, like Jonah, after three days, but he did not tie these things to the particular Messianic prophesy. In all respects, Jesus was the Deliverer Messiah in the eyes of the disciples and he gave them no other basis of direction to follow (barring his comments of being killed and raised after three days, which they did not understand).
Matthew, in being zealous to show how Jesus fulfilled prophesy, remembered Jesus saying not that they have done whatsoever was listed of John, but more particularly, Elias is come already and suffered; likewise shall the Son of Man suffer. The implication in this rewrite of Mark is that Matthew could not find any prophesy listing things done to Elijah, neither in the verses concerning the Voice in the Wilderness nor the Elijah mentioned in Malachi. So he remembers what Jesus said in another sort of way, in reference to the Suffering. Certainly John had suffered, having been beheaded. In Matthew, Jesus prophesies that he will suffer likewise, as if John's Suffering was already prophesied and set the tone of the Suffering Messiah he would become. The problem here is that John was not scorned, nor ridiculed, etc. He called and was heard; he even insulted the priesthood, as prophets past were called to do, and called them vipers. But he was not rejected and — according to the gospels — was commonly respected by the people as a true prophet calling the people to repentance. Unlike the Suffering Messiah, he was commonly accepted as a prophet and even perhaps that voice in the wilderness which the gospels agree he maintained he was (though they contradict themselves on the matter of his being Elijah).
Historical Backdrop of John the Baptist
Now let's look at the times of John the Baptist: Rome had within that generation occupied and conquered Palestine. The Romans had just set up a tutelary king (an Edomite what an insult to the Jews !) whose name was Herod the Great. His dominion was centered over Syria and Galilee. Over Judaea and Israel was established a direct Roman administration through the Governor Pontius Pilate. Pilate, according to the Apocryphal Gospel of Nicodemus, was a friend of Joseph of Arimathaea who was one of the leaders of the Sandhedrim and perhaps co-ruler with Caiaphas. So in Jerusalem there were the Jewish rulers, of Joseph Caiaphas and Joseph of Arimathaea, overseeing Judaea. Superimposed over them was the Roman administrative machine under the governor, Pontius Pilate. Pilate ruled out of Caesarea, along the coast, near Tel Aviv.
In the north, then, the Jews were suffering under Herod the Hasomonian whose house extended its rule into Judaea. Jesus, though born in Bethlehem, outside Herod's dominion, was believed by Pilate to be under Herod's rule, because he came from Nazareth, and therefore, when Jesus came to trial, Pilate tried to pass the matter of JesusÕs trial back to Herod to resolve.
Although the times were relatively peaceful, as the trauma from the Roman conquest had by the time of Jesus been quieted down, there were still rebels about who were causing the Roman administration some aggravation. One of them had recently been captured and his name was Barabbas. He had been thrown in Pilate's prison for murder and sedition and was, at the time of his trial, along with two thieves, awaiting execution. The fact that there was not mentioned a large group awaiting execution along with Barabbas, for the crime of sedition, suggests that Barabbas was not a major rebel and probably a member of a zealot band. In the gospels, for instance, John and James, the sons of Zebedee, were described as Zealots. Peter, always in the scenes with them, was probably one of the zealots as well. We recall that Peter had a sword and cut off one of the high priest's servant's ears at the time Jesus was arrested. Peter, in fact, is described as having somewhat of a belligerent nature in the gospels. James and John were nicknamed by Jesus, Boanerges, meaning sons of thunder. They all came from Galilee.
We again recall that Josephus describes in the Jewish Wars first the march through Galilee, and the subjugation of its cities, before going on to conquer Jerusalem. Galilee seemed to be the place where the rebels were more concentrated (thus probably explaining why they were put under the administration of a "Jewish" king rather than directly under Rome; making it easier to deal with them through indirect rule). Galilee then was probably like Hebron today. Hebron is the center of rebel Palestinian activity against the Jewish state of Israel. Galilee was probably the center of rebel activity against Rome, and though the Jewish population must have been offended in Herod being their king (he did have some Jewish blood, however), the non-Jewish, Syrian/Assyrian population probably gave him adequate support. He was powerful enough to build major fortresses and palaces at Hebron, Masada, etc. He rebuilt the Temple in Jerusalem to a size and grandeur beyond its previous scale. Its beauty lasted but a short time, however, for within about seventy years it was destroyed. Surely the same generation who participated in building it (it took 34 years to build) saw its fiery destruction. Coming out of that temple after turning over the tables of the money changers, Jesus prophesied that not one stone of it would be left standing. He said this circa 32-33 A.D.; in 70 A.D. his prophesy was fulfilled. As a prophet He was, in a sense, like Jeremiah.
Jeremiah prophesied things to come which for the large part did not apply to a future generation but to the people of his own time. Jeremiah, in fact, complained to the people about this, that they took his prophesies as if they did not apply to them but to some future generations. The people scoffed at Jeremiah, saying that God could neither do good nor evil. Those scoffers were carried into Captivity to Babylon, Jeremiah along with them. During the event Jeremiah prophesied that they would be held there in captivity for seventy years and then restored to Jerusalem. Seventy years, less sixteen years, later the Jews were restored to Jerusalem by Cyrus the Great, the Persian who just then conquered Babylon. Cyrus put Zerubbabel, a son of David (and ancestor of Jesus, according to the gospels), in charge of the rebuilding of the desolated Jerusalem's walls and temple. It took Zerubbabel and others of that generation 16 years to complete the work. Some complained at the time that they strung the work out 16 years so that the prophesy of Jeremiah could be fulfilled. Others acknowledged, however, that the people from the north (that other state of Israel) whom we recall Jesus described as Samaria, opposed the building of the temple. We recall the Jews looked down their noses at Israel, the people in the north, who had intermarried with the Gentile and now no longer deserved being called Israelis but rather Samaritans. In any event Zerubbabel's time set the stage for things to come. The time was circa 600 B.C., the time of Ezekiel, Jeremiah, and Daniel and the Babylonian Captivity.
Isaiah had been dead about 100 years; the prophet Zechariah was yet 100 years into the future, and the prophet, Malachi, who prophesied the coming of Elijah before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord, was 200 years hence. From the day of the last of these great prophets, Malachi, to Jesus was another period of 400 years. Thus, in perspective, we can see that Israel had gone through the period of the Babylonian Captivity, then the Persian Empire of Cyrus the Great, who was benevolent towards the Jews and authorized them to rebuild their temple and city; then came the Greek occupation and the reign of the Seleucid kings, whose reign ended at the time of the Roman occupation, only a few short years before Jesus was born. This, perhaps, is an oversimplification of the historical scene behind Jesus, but it is important. For the land was going from a transition from being a Greek domain to the new Roman sovereignty. It is obvious, from the summary just made, that the Jews were used to being occupied by a foreign power. It was only through the appointment of Herod the Great, the Hasmonian, as King over Israel that the Jews had any semblance of their former independence, under the House of David, back. Perhaps it was with mixed emotions, then, that the people received Herod; some may have supported him and others may not. That there would have been a considerable amount of rebels in the field against him and Rome, there is some doubt. Certainly, whatever rebel activity there was, it was only a glimmer far to be excelled by the brilliance of Jerusalem burning only forty years after Jesus's death. In the few years before 70 A.D. the people did rebel and that rebellion cost them their city and temple.
Jesus, with this setting and backdrop, came to Jerusalem and made pretty specific comments and actions representing that He is the Messiah. He left no doubt about it in all His Sayings and actions that He intended the Jews to one day accept that He is the Messiah. The time was relatively quiet but there were some Jewish zealots round about harassing the Roman armies now and then. There weren't enough to call an uprising, for instance, but there were Barabbases around in the hills. They were arrested and quickly dealt with in all probability.
Were the Children of Israel waiting for a Deliverer Messiah to liberate them from the Roman oppression? The Dead Sea Scrolls shed some light on this. In them there is a continuing dialogue and battle between the Liar,who is a wicked priest, and the Teacher of Righteousness. Scholars have thought that this Liar of whom the scripts speaks refers to the time of the Seleucids, under Antiochus, for example, circa the second century B.C. As to recording any other conflict or opposition to Rome the scriptures seem to be silent. They do show poems of Captivity, etc., recalling the Lamentations of Jeremiah, etc., and perhaps the actual process of the desolation of the land by the hand of the Roman Empire. We suspect that this desolation came so abruptly that the writers of the Dead Sea Scrolls had no time to assimilate its record into scripture — or to comment about it — leaving them with only the urgency of hiding the scriptures away before the desolation came. Whatever happened to the monastery by the Dead Sea, the scene is clear that the Essenes opted to bury their holy scriptures in the caves nearby rather than to carry them with them, fleeing from the destroying army. This storm of troops from Rome was so great, we might add, those who buried the Dead Sea Scrolls were never able to return to the site to reclaim them! So quick and complete was the devastation that the people's Holy Scriptures could not even be recovered.
From the looks of things, from the time of Jesus to the time when Jerusalem was destroyed by Rome, there was not sufficient time for a strong rebel front to materialize. Whatever strength there was that did materialize occurred in Galilee, as Josephus tells us. And Josephus, being one of the Generals over a major city in Galilee, tells us how rather quickly all the forts of Galilee were crushed and destroyed. The Roman troops actually met little resistance in front of their column — easily crushing any opposition — until they arrived in Jerusalem. And there, under Titus, they prepared for a long siege to starve the people out.
Thus, Jesus did in fact occupy a time which was a prelude to the destruction of Jerusalem and its temple. And he is associated with zealots from Galilee, indicating thereby that his political leanings, though he was a pacifist, may very well have been towards the zealot point of view.
The three close friends of Jesus, who were always with him, and are the source of the gospel history, were three Jewish zealots, Peter, James, and John. Peter was probably the more conservative of the three and seems to be the more mature one of the bunch.
Because of our backdrop, it would appear that the zealots coming to Jesus actually believed he might be able to lead them against Rome and for the independence of Israel. If, for instance, getting back to the question whether John the Baptist were Elijah, the answer being yes would then suggest that Jesus is that Deliverer who will liberate Israel. This question, then,is the hinge around which Jesus then gravitates. He must acknowledge that the Deliverer is yet to come in the future. Thus He answered that Elijah must first come and He will restore all things, suggesting, perhaps, that Elijah will be the great Restorer/ Deliverer/ Redeemer. This identification of Elijah as the Messiah Deliverer or restorer is consistent with the Oral Torah.
At that time (a year into his ministry) he then began to talk about going to Jerusalem to suffer and be raised up the third day. It was from these questions concerning Elijah, beginning at Line 874, that Jesus had begun to focus his mission from the Deliverer type to the Suffering Messiah. His Kingdom, in this regard, would cease to be a King-liberator of Israel but rather of a spiritual nature. From here on the teaching and Jesus's leanings were to prepare the Lost Sheep of Israel for Salvation. He was not, in his mind, a Light unto the Gentile, but his mission was, on the contrary, to Save the Lost Sheep of Israel. Thus, he was able to rationalize turning away the Syrophonecian woman who wanted a scrap of blessing.
The interaction of Peter and Immanuel
Because most of the story is framed around Mark's gospel and that gospel was composed from the notes of Peter, according to Clement who knew Peter, we would expect most of the gospel history to interact around Peter. And Peter becomes the leader after the crucifixion. We saw this anointing at the time of the Transfiguration. Matthew reported it, but Mark and Luke were silent about it. Luke's gospel was written at the time Paul was in prominence and it defended the Hebrews against Paul. Matthew follows Paul's thesis and it is Matthew whom Paul quotes; or to put it another way, Paul quotes "gospel" passages which are found alone in Matthew and Paul may have had something to do with the writing of that gospel. We suspect he had the notes of Matthew and cleaned them up a bit, adding tid bits of information here and there that he thought were important for edification. Peter, however, was a protagonist of Paul on the basic issues of the faith, and we suspect Paul would not have been sympathetic to publishing the idea of Peter being the head of the church. So the appointment of Peter as head of the church in Matthew is a curiosity. The Gospel of Luke, sympathetic to the Hebrews, we think ought to have recorded the appointment.
The first thesis of the church after Jesus had been crucified is that Jesus had shed his blood and suffered for the remission of sin. The Church had not particularly identified this with the scattering of Israel. After Jesus's death there was an increase in the Jewish rebel activity — not because of Jesus — but because the Jews were beginning to reject foreign dominion. Josephus argues this point in his work. He had become one of the leaders of the rebellion, being stationed in Galilee. After he had been captured, being one of the first governors to resist the Romans, he saw the light and from then on served as an interpreter and mediator trying to get the Jewish people to settle down and accept the Roman governorship. The people did not listen to his appeals, outside the walls of Jerusalem, and the city was put to the torch in 70 A.D. Afterwards the Jews were hunted down throughout all of Judaea and shipped off as slaves to other parts of the empire. Many were sent to the Coliseum to satisfy the Roman thirst for violent drama, as Americans thirst for it today, and others were simply slaughtered. The disciples of Jesus, who were in Jerusalem at the time, flew probably back to Galilee and others went to Antioch, Damascus, Turkey, Southern France, Spain, Egypt, and even as far as England. The gospels, it is believed and with good evidence, were written just before this moment in time. They hadn't seen the dispersion of Israel and so they could not reconcile the dispersion as further confirmation of prophesy. They could not use the argument, nor see the significance of it, for instance, of the Virgin as a means of fulfilling prophesy. Matthew and Luke talk about the Virgin birth but do not take the further step of saying, in effect, Behold! The nation was scattered and taken captive right after the Virgin and her son appeared! There was no prophesy in the Bible which had greater weight in the support of Jesus's Messiahship than the Virgin Birth.
The Messiah, Immanuel, of the Virgin, would have known that His Presence represented the Scattering of Israel and the putting of Jerusalem and its temple to the torch. He would have known this because the prophesy of the Redemption shows the Messiah, called the Branch, restoring the Temple. He could not restore it in the Redemption if it were already standing! So the Messiah, Immanuel, meaning God is with us, would have known this and, therefore, this sets the standard for our inquiry on what Jesus knew and believed.
Jesus clearly understood himself to be the Suffering Messiah of Isaiah 53. All of his teachings, from the Transfiguration, of his ministry pointedly — not off-handedly — make repeated mention of the fact that He will go to Jerusalem and be put to death at the hands of the Gentile. He believed He would suffer and then be raised from the tomb after three days. He had no doubts about this. Why, then, did He say that He would likewise suffer as John the Baptist? This does not make sense. It is out of context of what Jesus would have seen in Himself and John the Baptist, unless of course Jesus saw the Baptist as the Suffering Messiah and Himself as the King Messiah and Deliverer. This vision of himself could not be, however, since He takes great pain to prophesy things to come vis a vis His Second Coming. Beginning with his response to the question, whether Elijah must first come, Jesus resolves the order of his response into an event in which he will be killed and then, after three days raised from the dead; then he concluded there would be a Second Coming, perhaps based upon the Adam and Eve story, which helps us achieve this perspective of Two appearances of the Messiah (with presumably two appearances of Elijah, who will restore all things).
In His comment about the fact that Elijah has come, Jesus really says:
Matthew 17.11 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things.
In the prophesy of Malachi, Elijah does not restore anything. He does cause the people, in great fear, to turn to thinking of their children, etc. But Jesus has Elijah pictured as being a Restorer. The fact is He is referring to the future which would be the Restoration of Israel after it had been scattered. The disciples and he had not seen the scattering of Israel and therefore had no basis, except for prophesy, of anticipating it would be scattered. They could hope to get out from under the yoke of the Roman occupation, for sure, but such a thing we should think would have been far from them in time. The disciples in fact, Peter and his zealot friends, perhaps even including Judas Iscariot, probably thought that Jesus is the Messiah who would lead them in the rebellion out from under the yoke of the Romans. This reason is offered, we shall see, in the argument why Judas turned against Jesus, who revealed Jesus's hiding place to the leaders of the Sandhedrim for a bribe. Judas, we are told, resented the fact that Jesus would not claim the crown, though he spoke of having a right to it. Probably in Judas's mind, Jesus betrayed the people by not standing up to lead them against the Romans. It was this Judas Iscariot who also was entrusted with the disciple's purse!
At the Last Supper Jesus prophesied that he who was closest to him, in effect, would betray him (this correlates with the Psalm: mine own familiar friend lifted his heel against me and Zechariah's prophesy: these are the wounds I received in the house of my friends). Judas, probably another zealot from Galilee and even possibly a relative of Jesus, was sitting next to him and dipped his bread in the same soup bowel as Jesus. Now our picture of Jesus and his times comes into clearer focus. Had he and his band been ruffians, attacking some Roman publicans on the road and robbing them, etc., they would have most certainly been rebels. Perhaps Judas had been a ruffian of this caliber. Certainly he had no qualms about taking measures into his own hands himself to get a quicker response to his objectives.
Jesus, it turns out, was a man speaking Peace to Natives carrying swords and spears. The people who were his immediate followers and formed the inner core of his band were a surly group of characters, carrying swords to defend themselves. It is doubtful that Peter went out to buy a sword just after the Passover dinner to defend Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane when the soldiers came. It is doubtful that Peter really believed that Jesus would be arrested, though he knew that the Sandhedrim was closing in on Jesus. He would have known this, being close to Jesus as he was, because Jesus had two disciples in the Sandhedrim: Joseph of Arimathaea and Nicodemus, who were probably father and son. These two important men would visit Jesus in the night, in secret. Because of their position in the Sandhedrim and their relationship to Jesus, they probably kept him well informed of the movements of the Sandhedrim. They are also probably the reason Jesus was able to teach in the temple so easily. We suspect these two priest-leaders, like Zacharias, were relatives of Jesus as mentioned earlier.
Peter, therefore, ought to have expected Jesus's imminent arrest. He might have bought a sword, borrowed one, or just taken his old sword out of storage, or from his girdle, etc.; but he was now prepared to defend Jesus through violent means, though Jesus had taught him to be a pacifist. And when Jesus allowed himself to be easily taken, it must have been a crushing defeat to Peter. What he believed Jesus to be was not taking place. The fact that Peter attempted to defend Jesus indicates that Peter had not formed in his mind at that moment that Jesus had to be put to death as a Suffering Messiah for the sins of Israel.
Before that moment Peter had been told that he would deny Jesus three times. All the gospels agree upon this and record it variously in terms of the cock crowing in the morning. Before he crows you will have denied me three times, said Jesus. The gospel record then goes into detail showing how Peter denied Jesus the three times. Mark summarizes the event, which took place during Jesus's humiliation and trial, which occurred from the evening of his arrest (it was dark, as men came with torches) until sunrise the next morning and the crowing of the cock. The reports of what happened to Jesus during these long night hours vary from one writer to the other, and they are at such variance they contradict each other. John's gospel attempts to correct the confusion of the synoptic gospels and is probably closer to the truth as to what really happened that evening. In his gospel he describes Jesus as being brought to the palace of Caiaphas, then Pilate in the great judgment hall, called the Praetorium, and then shuffled back and forth between Pilate and Herod, who himself had just happened to be in town for the Passover. The scene portrayed was like Jesus being passed from Caiaphas's palace after heavy questioning, to Pilate for further questioning, over to Herod's palace who quickly sent him back to Pilate via, perhaps, Caiaphas's house. By this time the gospels seem to agree that Jesus had been given a fancy red robe and a crown of thorns and then sent to Pilate. Another gospel suggests, however, that the crown and thorns and robe were put on Jesus after he was scourged, for Pilate finally consented to scourging Jesus and then sent him to the cross.
The gospel writers had arrived at some conclusions that Peter at those moments had not really considered. The gospel writers had now had plenty of time to discuss exactly what did happen to Jesus and how it perfectly coincided with Isaiah 53 and Psalm 22 and Psalm 69. Peter, influencing the story of Mark, had plenty of time to think about the goings on in the Praetorium, which was the center of all the activity during the night. He obviously could not follow Jesus to Caiaphas's palace or Herod's palace so he would wait in the Praetorium until Jesus was returned there. He would wait there because he could hear the proceedings and noted that the final decision laid with Pilate. He could not mix about because his Galilean accent would betray him. We presume that Jesus was sent to Herod for judgment with the assumption that Herod would return the message that he would keep Jesus under his custody. In that event, upon receiving that message, Peter would then probably go to Herod's palace and wait. But the decision that came back was that Herod would not touch the matter and left the decision in Pilate's hands.
John tells us that a disciple or apostle of Jesus was allowed to go with him into the Praetorium and stood near him. That disciple or apostle probably also accompanied him to Caiaphas and Herod, so he became the main authority for what happened. The writer of the Gospel of John suggests that it was he who had been allowed to stay with Jesus, although it is not inconceivable that Joseph of Arimathaea or Nicodemus might have been that person. The Gospel of Nicodemus, as a matter of fact, is written from the view inside the Sandhedrim and recounts the goings on in Caiaphas's presence.
Having this review in mind we can now try to examine what must have been going on in PeterÕs mind as concerning this man who suddenly had been crucified and, while being crucified, mocked and fed vinegar mixed with myrrh. After the crucifixion he must have heard the voices going on in the back of his mind: If you are the Son of God save yourself from the cross! One thing, if any thing, is clear in the mind of Peter — We know this from his epistle: He had heard a voice saying that Jesus is the beloved son of God. He could later correlate this to Psalm 2 which said, Thou art my son, This day I have begotten thee ...and then Psalm 110 Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool. He would see Psalm 2 readily because it repeated exactly the same words he heard come out of the cloud during the transfiguration. He would recognize the statement in Psalm 110 because Jesus made its first sentence an issue in front of the Pharisees, as he questioned them, If David called Him Lord then how is it that he is his son (Mat. 22.45). So Jesus had taught on this well enough to cause Peter to go back and study these two Psalms. The first thing He would see in Psalm 110 is:
Psalm 110.4 The Lord hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.
We note that the Dead Sea Scrolls held the name of Melchizedek as the fundamental Deliverer Messiah. Of course, if Jesus is the Son of God he is an eternal spirit, like unto Melchizedek. He suffers and is returned to the Lord until the Lord makes His Enemies his footstool. Time must now pass. What is the end to be expected?
Psalm 110.5 The Lord at thy right hand shall strike through kings in the day of his wrath.
The Lord's Day is a Day of Wrath. This is the time when He redeems Israel and takes His Wrath out against the Gentile! What then comes next?
Psalm 110.6 He shall judge among the heathen, he shall fill the places with the dead bodies; he shall wound the heads over many countries.
Psalm 2.8 Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.
This encapsulates the entire thesis as to what is involved with Jesus as the Christ. He suffered, as per Isaiah 53 and Psalm 22/69 and his death is an atonement for sin. His life is, as Jesus said it would be, a ransom for many (see Line 1130—Matthew 20.28). Thus, with this basis Peter could conclude that Jesus would return, as he said he would, to claim his inheritance and Judge the earth. And at that time the heathen shall be punished, for sure, but out of it will come, with the Kingdom of God, a New Heaven and a New Earth, as Peter did believe. It is these precepts which became the backbone of Peter's doctrine. Paul, we saw earlier, could not have recognized the wrath promised against the Gentile, nor could he reconcile the New Heavens and a New Earth to his doctrine. We end this collection of comments with a final thought: before all these things could become true — as relating Jesus to prophesy — the Virgin's Son had to be born: Before Israel could be scattered to the nations, before Israel could be restored to its land, the Virgin's Son had to be born. And though Jesus may have a spot on his record which might controvert his candidacy as the Son of Truth, or the Suffering Messiah, as He represented Himself in the end, we must conclude that in terms of prophesy God has no choice but to live with Him as His Messiah, as imperfect to Truth as He might have been. Unless the prophesy can be rerun, scattering Israel again, to be exiled for another two thousand years, thereby simultaneously producing another Virgin and her son; we may have to live with what we have been served; and Jesus may have to remain the Messiah of record. Because of the terrible fact of Israel's Diaspora, we are biased towards the obvious alternative: Keep Jesus as that Messiah, Immanuel, Son of the Sign of the Virgin; so that we can now permit Israel to be glorified in its restoration.