Of the Samaritan factions mentioned we can recall that Simon Magus began a series of heresies, says Eusebius, which began to unfold in many forms after the last apostle and Symeon, the True witnesses of The Gospel, had died. Among the first of these were the Carpocratians, mentioned by Clement, as already being in force at the time he wrote his letter (earlier than 101 A.D.) concerning the Secret Gospel of Mark. This means that even before the Apostle John had died (98 A.D.) Carpocrates had to have been teaching his heresies that Jesus was not the Son of God but a man and giving rise to the Gnostic branch of Christianity. Simon Magus who began this series of heresies was a Samaritan.
We are not surprised to see the Essenes among the Jewish sects hostile to Christianity. We have discussed their Dead Sea Scrolls at length and note that there is no indication whatsoever that Jesus would have been comfortable among them. He, ministering near the river Jordan (see John 3.22) for some time must have offended both John the Baptist's disciples and also the Essenes who lived very close by in their monastery by the Dead Sea. He must have offended them because he, from the outset, was a Sabbath Breaker and committed the greatest of heresies or blasphemies himself among the Jewish sects. For He did not hesitate to tell those in his hearing that He was the same as God. And he often referred to his followers as his brethren.
In the list of the Apostles, Judas Iscariot is listed with a Simon the Canaanite (Matthew 10.2). In Luke, Simon the Canaanite is called Simon the Zealot. As noted above, there may have been four Marys: The Virgin Mary, Mary the wife of Cleopas and sister of the Virgin and Martha; Mary the mother of John and James, sons of Zebedee; and Mary Magdalene. One of these, the mother of John and James, is tied to the Zealots. Matthew 27.61 could not sort these Marys apart from one another. At line 2219 we see Matthew calling Aunt Mary the other Mary, when he had already seen Mark describe:
Mark 15.47 And Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses, beheld where he was laid.
Mark16.1 And when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Salome had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him.
Perhaps not willing to deal with this problem of the Marys, and certainly not close enough to the family to sort it out, Luke simply calls them the women which came with him from Galilee. Who were these women which came with Jesus from Galilee, and how would Luke know whom they were, and why didn't Luke, if he knew whom they were, describe them?
To add more confusion to our story of Aunt Mary, in the Secret Gospel of Mark, discovered by Morton Smith in 1948 at the Monastery of Mar Saba, about 12 miles southeast of Jerusalem, on the way to the Dead Sea, information from Clement concerning Aunt Mary, among other things, is offered:
Clement (Secret Gospel of Mark): And after the words, And he comes into Jericho, (Mark 10.46) the Secret Gospel adds only, And the sister of the youth whom Jesus loved and his mother and Salome were there, and Jesus did not receive them. But the many other things about which you wrote both seem to be and are falsifications.
The sister of the youth whom Jesus loved (John, brother of James, son of Zebedee) and his mother have been described as our Aunt Mary and/or Salome. But here Salome is mentioned separately from John's mother and certainly not mentioned in the framework of his sister. John, the apostle whom Jesus loved most, according to the Secret Gospel of Mark, had a sister who was not Salome. Clement comments on this fact as if it were a matter of common information. And Clement knew Simon Peter, Mark, his son, and other disciples and apostles (including Paul the self appointed apostle). The only other woman mentioned at the crucifixion scene is Joanna, one of the wards of King Herod's court (of Galilee).
We may now describe how the lineage of the throne of David from Jesus went:
...to James, his eldest surviving brother who was martyred circa 70 A.D., as Eusebius mentioned. Then:
...to Symeon, his eldest surviving relative, his uncle, and nephew of Joseph the Carpenter. He may have been father of Judas Iscariot— but we see Simon the Zealot filling that role better — and was most assuredly husband of Mary's sister Martha. We note that Aunt Martha and Aunt Mary lived in a house with their brother Uncle Lazarus, whom Jesus raised from the dead. Among the contestants for the throne of Jesus, following James' death, were Jesus's other brothers who seem to have abdicated this throne. Their names, as mentioned in the gospels, were Joses, Jude, and Simon. Among these Joses and Simon are names also mentioned as the sons of our Aunt Mary, along with John, James, and Salome! Such coincidences must have been a continuing plague to those trying to remember the key players in the Passion of Jesus Christ.
We know from Clement that Salome is not the mother of John and James; therefore, Smith's Bible Dictionary is incorrect in attributing Salome as the mother of Zebedee's children, John and James. Because Aunt Mary and Salome are in the scene in Jericho it confirms that they both came from Galilee and were probably related. But they were not mother and daughter, as suspected and were not sisters, otherwise Salome would have been counted among the Sisters, Martha and Mary, of the Virgin.
Another name in Jesus's family which was common was Joseph. Those who bore that name are: Joseph the carpenter, Jesus's father; Joses, (Joseph) of Arimathaea, a possible son, brother (or cousin) of Aunt Mary, wife of Cleopas, Joseph the Carpenter's brother; and Joses, Jesus's brother by Joseph the Carpenter; and Joses, one of the sons of the other (Aunt) Mary. One of the Joses, Joseph of Arimathaea, owned the tomb in which Jesus was laid. The Gospel of John ought to have known that Joseph of Arimathaea was laying Jesus in the new family tomb in the garden below his house in the Heights. It was probably located near Symeon's tomb, also described in the Gospel of Nicodemus as being in the Heights.
Of all these speculations, there is one thing which we can note for sure. Apart from Aunt Mary and Salome, one of the greatest mysteries in the Bible is in the relationship of Joseph of Arimathaea to Jesus. In all the gospels there is no indication of an heritage of Joseph of Arimathaea. We know, for instance, from the Gospel of Nicodemus, that Joseph Caiaphas, the high priest who ruled with Joseph of Arimathaea, was the son-in-law of Annas (Ananias), another high priest on the Sanhedrim. Another high priest who ruled prior to these, according to the gospels, was Symeon, who was an old man at the time of Jesus's infancy. The Gospel of Nicodemus records that Symeon received his position as priest in the temple and Sanhedrim through Zacharias, who was murdered in the temple. Since Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathaea play such a significant role of taking charge of Jesus's body, and even being disciples in secret (John 3.1), it is surprising that one of the gospel accounts had not mentioned Joseph's connection or heritage in relation to Jesus.
What we know about the High Priests, Symeon or Caiaphas, we ought to know about Joseph of Arimathaea. The absence of information suggests silence perpetrated to maintain the secrecy of his relationship to Jesus, probably as a means of protecting him from reprisals (since he was an important leader of the Jews) against Jesus's kin. The Gospel of Nicodemus is concerned with just this very problem, the accusation against Joseph of Arimathaea, one of the two principal leaders in the Sanhedrim, for having befriended Jesus in giving his tomb to him. While the gospel has Joseph of Arimathaea responding to the charges, an important answer he could have offered would be to explain why he asked for the body of Jesus. Although the fact that he was a secret disciple by night is offered (as maintained in the Gospel of John), the fact remains that other family members of Jesus had a house in Bethany (and probably Jerusalem) and had a family tomb in which Jesus could be laid, assuming he could not be laid in his own family's (Joseph the Carpenter's) tomb, which was probably in Nazareth. We can suppose it not to much of a burden to carry Jesus to the vacated spot where his uncle Lazarus once laid, for instance. Perhaps they did just that!
According to the gospels one of Caiaphas's predecessors, a High Priest named Simeon (Symeon), had received an oracle that he would not die until he had seen the Messiah. Seeing Jesus being brought to the temple, he raised Jesus up and proclaimed that in him he had seen the Savior of God:
Luke 2.34 Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in
Israel, and for a sign that shall be spoken against.
The Gospel of Nicodemus has Rabbi Levi remembering Rabbi Symeon's declaration, but with this variation:
Nicodemus: 16.0 Behold this child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is spoken against.
The Gospel of Nicodemus parallels the gospels of John and Luke on many accounts of Jesus and, therefore, ought to have been written much later than those gospels. However there are names of characters and issues in the Gospel of Nicodemus which are not mentioned in the other gospels and the language used, like that quoted above, 16.0, is of a more current nature, rather than prophesying into the future. Whereas Jesus is a sign which shall be spoken against, as in Luke, in the Gospel of Nicodemus He is a sign which is spoken against. The Gospel of Nicodemus, though claiming to be written circa. 33 A.D., contains much information relevant to later times. Some information, such as names not known in the gospels, seem to add to them; other bits of information seem to be added to the principal argument of the gospel and reflect issues not of concern during Jesus's day but much later. Such issues as Jesus having to descend into hell to break the gates of iron and brass (to fulfill prophesy—re: the Books of Adam and Eve and Enoch) obviously are appendixes to the main question cited in the gospel: what went on in the inner sanctums of the Sandhedrim as Jesus was being tried and what part did Joseph of Arimathaea and Nicodemus actually play in that scene? Incidentally, to descend into hell to break the gates of iron and brass is also an epitaph in the book of Adam and Eve and Enoch.
Principal issues in the Gospel of Nicodemus include those which would be anticipated as being not adequately addressed by the other gospels: Justifying itself, the prologue of the Gospel of Nicodemus says that the gospel was found by a certain officer of the guard, Ananias, who, being versed in the Law, found it in Pilate's records. According to the writer the gospel was found in the 18th year of the reign of the Emperor Flavius Theodosius.
The other gospels suggest that all of Jesus's friends, except Peter and one other mystery person (who accompanied Jesus before the judgment seat) ran away before the trial. The Gospel of Nicodemus offers an apology to explain that there were many defenders of Jesus before the Sanhedrim. This argument is accompanied with the fact that twelve (a sacred number) witnesses came forward to defend Jesus by verifying that Jesus was not born of fornication (and thus was the Messiah Immanuel, son of the Virgin), for instance. The fornication issue was not an early issue of the church; otherwise Paul would have dwelled upon it. It could not have become an issue until Matthew had gone to the trouble of justifying that Jesus is the Messiah because he was born of the Virgin mentioned by Isaiah. Here, in the Gospel of Nicodemus, we also have Joseph of Arimathaea and Nicodemus both defending Jesus before the Sanhedrim at the time of his crucifixion, further proof, from the argument of that gospel, that Jesus did have friends trying to defend him.
These arguments aptly apply to the beginning of the Second Century, where it was necessary to defend Jesus's Godlike being, born of the Spirit through a virgin and not according to the flesh. The necessity had come about, as we have seen above, as a result of Simon Magus, and the later Carpocratian heresy, which maintained Jesus was a man, not born of the Spirit but of the flesh. We suspect, then, because of the need to counter attacks on the faith right after the death of the last Apostles and Symeon, such accounts, as the Gospel of Nicodemus, defending the faith came into being. The Infancy Gospel of James and the Apocryphon of James, etc. all seem to draw upon the basic issues of the Gospel of Nicodemus, arguing Jesus's divinity. In any event, apart from these observations, there is a memory of names which are pertinent to our study. According to the Gospel of Nicodemus, Rabbi Levi learned the Law from Rabbi Symeon, and Rabbi Levi is another of the members of the Sanhedrim who is quoted as arguing the case that Jesus was the Messiah, thereby defending Joseph of Arimathaea in taking charge of Jesus's body. In his argument he reminds the elders of the Sanhedrim that Rabbi Symeon, the former high priest, recognized Jesus as the Messiah, when Jesus was but an infant, and raised him up proclaiming that he knew he would not die until he saw the Messiah, Saviour of Israel.
The common perception of the Messiah, as noted above, was as the Deliverer / Savior of Israel, as Rabbi Levi, in the name of Symeon said:
And the great teacher Symeon took him in his arms and said: Lord, now let your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people of Israel.
Although the canonized gospels, beginning most importantly with Matthew, recognized that Jesus was that Messiah, the Light of the Gentile from the beginning, the Gospel of Nicodemus takes a comment from Luke:
Luke 2.30 For mine eyes have seen thy salvation,
2.31 Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people;
2.32 A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.
In Isaiah, the Messiah is a light to lighten the Gentile, as Luke quoted it. The Gospel of Nicodemus clarifies the Messiah, or Christ, as a Light to be a Revelation to the Gentile. Here the thing that is Jesus is projected into the future, a Light for revelation to the Gentile. Whereas Jesus could explain his mission, in Matthew, as being that Light unto the Gentile which appeared to the land of Zebulon and Naphtalim (Galilee), the Gospel of Nicodemus follows the Evangelistic mood of the Apostles, which is being the vehicle by which Jesus's Light (or Good News) is revealed to the Gentile. It is a minor distinction, we admit, but the fact remains that the church under Paul and the Apostles lit upon the conclusion that their principal mission is to spread the Gospel to the nations. As Jesus prophesied, when the Gospel had been spread to the nations, then he would come. This, of course, was an instruction contradictory to his original charge to his disciples, at their ordination, of going only to the Lost Sheep of Israel. As noted earlier, Jesus was at first under the impression that the Lost Sheep of Israel were among, at least, the Samaritans. When he responded to Nathanael of Cana he replied that he had finally found a man of Israel in whom there is no gall. That man, according to the gospel, was the first to acknowledge Jesus as the Son of God, the King of Israel (John 1.49), after the Baptizing. Nathanael is not mentioned as an Apostle, however, which is interesting. He disappears and then reappears at the end of John's gospel when Jesus, in his resurrected form, appears to seven of the disciples in Galilee, including Nathanael, Simon Peter, Thomas Didymus, John and James (the sons of Zebedee), and two other (unnamed) disciples.
The Light unto the Gentile
We have seen that Jesus, himself, as reported in the gospels (most noteworthy Luke, Matthew and Mark), justified his cause of going through Samaria and teaching in Galilee as a Light unto the Gentile. Again, we have the quotation, the people of Zebulon and Naphthalim (Isaiah 9.1,2) have seen a great light, etc. The thesis of these prophesies and sayings which Jesus claimed of himself (Matthew 4.12) was that the Messiah will appear among the sheep whence the children of Israel are scattered and, since they were scattered midst the Gentile, according to prophesy, his appearance among the lost sheep would be taken as a light unto the Gentile. So the comment offered by Matthew concerning Jesus being a light unto the Gentile was scriptural provided one could establish that the Children of Israel had been scattered to all the nations, thereby providing the opportunity for the Messiah to appear midst all the nations to his lost sheep of Israel. While indications suggest that even the Dead Sea Scrolls viewed Israel in a somewhat scattered circumstance, at the time of Jesus, the fact remains that the official scattering of Israel (and the destruction of its temple) had yet to come. Thus, we can refer back to the perception of Rabbi Symeon reported in the Gospel of Nicodemus to appreciate the next mission of the Messiah Jesus:
Gospel of Nicodemus: And Symeon said to her: Good. Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is spoken against and a sword will pierce through your own soul also, that thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed. (see also Luke 2.34,35)
The child being for the fall and rising of many in Israel would presumably relate to the judgment, but seems to sense the scattering of Israel, as promised so clearly among the prophets. If so, then the Messiah who is a Light unto the Gentile would appear after this scattering anticipated, for instance, in the statement of Symeon the high priest. It also seems to relate to Luke's prophesy:
Luke 21.23 Woe unto them with child; there shall be great distress and wrath upon the people.
21.24 and they shall fall by the edge of the sword and shall be led away captive to all the nations; and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentile until the time of the Gentiles be fulfilled.
Matthew and Mark, we have mentioned earlier, were not as acutely aware of the mission of the Messiah preceding the scattering of the Children of Israel. Neither was the self-appointed Apostle Paul appreciative of this mission in the Old Testament prophesy. But Paul in describing the Second Coming, did pick up on the last comment of Rabbi Symeon:
..that thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed.
As discussed earlier, Paul, perhaps quoting Ecclesiastes (or the Dead Sea Scrolls) or even this verse attributed to Rabbi Symeon, referred to Jesus's Second Coming of Judgment as coming to judge the secrets of men. The magnitude of this comment cannot be appreciated until one has contemplated many of the issues we have approached. The Deliverer Messiah, or Second Coming, must do as we have done. We hope that you, in following through the labours of our efforts, precept upon precept through the eons of time, can better appreciate the overwhelming and mind-boggling task required of the Messiah. Paul's simplification of Jesus judging the Secrets of men is an oversimplification of the task indeed. Paull's secrets, Paul seems not to note, must also be revealed. Indeed, Paul has many secrets, even those spectacles inherited from him by the hand of Luther.
Other points previously made showed that either the gospel writers were confused or Jesus was confused as to his mission. The incidents involving the Syrophonecian woman, the comments involving the role of John the Baptist as Elijah, Jesus's reading of Isaiah 61, Jesus's instruction to his disciples to not reveal that he had been in the streets so that Isaiah 42 could be fulfilled, and other like comments by Jesus, point to the fact that Jesus believed he was that light of the Gentile of Isaiah 61 and 42 and that he was (accordingly) missioning in the Last Day. Only in his prophesy recorded in the garden of Gethsemane before the Last Supper do we get a clarification that he saw himself as having a future mission of returning in the Last Day for Judgment. Hints that he had spoken of his future, post resurrection mission through his ministry, after his transfiguration, occur in the expressions of being sacrificed and laid in the ground three days, his comments referring to the Son of Man returning in the clouds to judge (woe be to those with child in those days), etc. Further comments, such as his prophesy that not one stone of the temple would be seen standing, and:
Matthew 23.39 Ye shall not see me henceforth until ye shall say, ÒBlessed is he who cometh in the name of the Lords'.
24.1 And Jesus went out and departed from the temple...
24.2 ..and said, there shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.
This reveals that Jesus did anticipate from the time of the Transfiguration a return mission to Judge, etc. The destruction of the temple was a necessity to fulfill prophesies of the Messiah (reference the Branch) who shall build the temple of the Lord:
Zechariah 3.8 Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, thou, and thy fellows that sit before thee: for they are men wondered at: for, behold, I will bring forth my Servant the Branch.
6.12 And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the Lord of Hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is the Branch: and he shall grow up out of his place, and He shall build the Temple of the Lord.
6.13 Even he shall build the Temple of the Lord; and He shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and He shall be a priest upon; his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.
Jeremiah 33.14 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will perform that good thing which I have promised unto the house of Israel and the house of Judah.
33.15 In Those Days, and at that time, will I cause the Branch of Righteousness to grow up unto David: and He shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land.
33.16 In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely:
Again, we have seen how the Branch, the Deliverer Messiah, is like unto Zerubbabel (born in Babylon midst the captivity - or midst the nations whence the Children of Israel had been scattered) and He restores the temple and city of Jerusalem to its former glory. But scripture says the glory of this house shall be greater than the former. Jesus seemed to have understood this and we have even in another place his comment that he could rebuild the temple in three days:
John 12.18 Then answered the Jews and said unto him, What sign shewest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things?
12.19 Jesus answered and said unto them, destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.
12.20 Then said the Jews, forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days?
12.21 But he spake of the temple of his body.
Jesus had said this just after entering Jerusalem about five days prior to his last Passover and shortly after the incident of overturning the tables of the money changers and sellers of doves, cattle, and sheep in the temple, calling it not the House of God but a den of thieves. Whereas he ought to have been stoned for that incident, somehow he avoided arrest and found himself engaged in teaching, responding to questions of the rabbis and scribes.
In the prophesies concerning the Light unto the Gentiles, attributed to the Deliverer Messiah, in Ezekiel we have seen that at the time of the Gathering of the Children of Israel from the nations whence they had been scattered God would then give them a New Covenant and a New Heart:
Ezekiel 36.24 For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land.
36.25 Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.
36.26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.
37.24 And David my servant shall be king over them...and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore.
37.27 My Tabernacle also shall be with them: yea, I will be their God and they shall be my people.
Zechariah 12.8 In that day shall the Lord defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and He that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the Lord before them.
12.9 And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.
Malachi 4.1 For behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of Hosts..
4.5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord:
Isaiah 4.2 In that day shall the Branch of the Lord be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and comely for them that are escaped of Israel.
11.1 And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of His Roots:
11.2 And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of Wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of Knowledge and of the fear of the Lord.
11.3 And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord: and He shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears.
11.4 But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the Rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips will he slay the wicked.
11.5 And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reigns.
11.6 The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid..
28.5 In that day shall the Lord of hosts be for a crown of glory, and for a diadem of beauty, unto the residue of his people.
28.6 And for a spirit of Judgment to him that sitteth in judgment, and for strength to them that turn the battle to the gate.
28.9 Whom shall He teach knowledge? And whom shall He make to understand doctrine? Them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts.
28.10 For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line; here a little, and there a little: For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people.
30.28 And his breath, as an overflowing stream, shall reach to the midst of the neck, to sift the nations with the sieve of vanity: and there shall be a bridle in the jaws of the people, causing them to err.
42.1...he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.
42.2 He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street.
Zechariah 13.5 But he shall say, I am no prophet, I am an husbandman; for man taught me to keep cattle from my youth.
Isaiah 49.6 And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel; I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.
49.8 Thus saith the Lord, in an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of Salvation; have I helped thee: and I will preserve thee, and give thee for a Covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages.
49.9 That thou mayest say to the prisoners, Go forth; to them that are in darkness, Shew yourselves. They shall feed in the ways and their pastures shall be in all high places.
51.16 And I have put my words in Thy Mouth, and I have covered thee in the shadow of my hand, that I may plant the heavens, and lay the foundations of the earth, and say unto Zion, Thou art my people.
How can Paul's Christ come again and say, "Thou art my people," to the Jews when Paul has already taken away that title and given it to the Gentile? Clearly the Last Day, when Israel is Preserved and gathered from the nations, the day of Peace, is the day when the Light of God is visited upon the Gentile. On that day the Messiah proclaims on behalf of God that the scattered nation is now God's People. He redeems them to God.
Isaiah 52.7 How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith of Zion, Thy God Reigneth!
52.8 Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye, when the Lord shall bring again Zion.
Paul had abrogated the Promise of God to bring again Zion. Therefore, the Christian Church under Paul would not be among those who are considered God's Watchmen, who shall see eye to eye with the Messiah when He comes. This leaves them, on the other hand, denying him.
Isaiah 52.9 Break forth into joy, sing together, ye waste places of Jerusalem: for the Lord hath comforted his people: he hath redeemed Jerusalem.
Jeremiah 24.7 And I will give them an heart to know me, that I am the Lord: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God: for they shall return unto me with their whole heart.
It is also the time when the Temple and the Tabernacle are restored. It is a time when this prophesy is fulfilled:
Psalm 118.21 I will praise thee: for thou hast heard me, and art become my salvation.
118.22 The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner.
118.23 This is the Lord's doing; it is marvellous in our eyes.
118.24 This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.
118.25 Save now, I beseech thee, O Lord: O Lord, I beseech thee, send now prosperity.
118.26 Blessed be he that cometh in the name of the Lord: we have blessed you out of the house of the Lord.
118.27 God is the Lord, which hath shewed us light: bind the sacrifice with cords, even unto the horns of the altar.
118.28 Thou at my God, and I will praise thee: thou art my God, I will exalt thee.
The comments, a few among many of the prophets, which we have highlighted, are prophesies which apply to the Latter Days and time when Elijah is set to come. Looking back with 20/20 hindsight our vision is adequate to see that the prophesies which relate to the Latter Days did not apply to the days in which Jesus walked the earth. At most Jesus could be Elijah resurrected, which thing became the root argument in his gospel record and a continuing argument throughout other gospel attempts, including the Apocrypha. We saw that Jesus had not made a complete differentiation in his mind concerning the Scattering effect on Israel and the Redemption of its remnant. Jesus had, in fact, concluded that Israel had already been scattered, and it was part of his mission at least to gather them back. Thus, he justified his mission to the Syrophonecian woman, a non Israelite, as not being involved with her (the Gentile). This becomes a muddled perception, however, when we attempt to explain his prophesies of the scattering of Israel and the destruction of its temple. We suspect that through the better part of JesusÕs ministry Jesus wrestled with this and could not reconcile actually what time it really was until the moment before his cross. What is obvious to us, since we can look back and see how terribly Israel was scattered after the Virgin appeared, was not so obvious to him. Otherwise his commentary would have been more consistent. What we can easily frame in terms of Two Events: the Scattering of Israel and the Gathering and Redemption of Israel, Jesus had not been successful at describing.
The Branch, who restores the Temple, etc., sits in Judgment on the throne of the Kingdom from Jerusalem, during a time when God restores and defends Jerusalem and takes his wrath out against all those who come against Jerusalem — a time of peace when the wolf lies down with the lamb, etc.— All these things Jesus (at first) thought were in his present mission. The conclusion created substantial difficulties, of course, since the Temple had not yet been thrown down, justifying the work of its restoration; nor had the people really been scattered, leaving but a remnant midst the nations.
Nevertheless, Jesus, in the end of his ministry, concluded he must come again to claim the remnant of prophesy. And at that time he envisioned the people acknowledging him as that King saying Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, acknowledging that He is That Light of the Gentile in that Prophesy. In effect, the comment Jesus made, as noted, had been uttered after he had entered Jerusalem on the ass, when the people (probably his disciples) went ahead of him spreading palm branches before him, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord. Now this is the description of Him who is prophesied to come riding into Jerusalem on the ass:
Zechariah 9.9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.
9.10 And I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim and the horse from Jerusalem, and the battle bow shall be cut off: and He shall speak peace unto the heathen: and his dominion shall be from sea even to sea, and from the river even to the ends of the earth.
The epithet of the Messiah, having dominion from sea to sea, yet coming on the ass and the foal of an ass, comes from Daniel, in the passage of One like unto the Son of Man, reviewed earlier. One like the Son of Man holds dominion over all the earth, from sea to sea, etc. And that dominion epitaph comes from David's Psalms, namely:
Psalm 72: Give the king thy judgments, O God, and thy righteousness unto the King's son [Son of David].
72.1 He shall judge thy people with righteousness, and thy poor with judgment.
72.3 The mountains shall bring peace to they people, and the little hills, by righteousness.
72.4 He shall judge the poor of the people, he shall save the children of the needy, and shall break in pieces the oppressor.
72.5 They shall fear thee as long as the sun and moon endure, throughout all generations.
72.6 He shall come down like rain upon the mown grass: as showers that water the earth.
72.7 In his days shall the righteous flourish; and abundance of peace so long as the moon endureth.
72.8 He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth.
72.11 Yea, all kings shall fall down before him: all nations shall serve him.
72.12 For he shall deliver the needy when he crieth; the poor also, and him that hath no helper.
72.13 He shall spare the poor and needy, and shall save the souls of the needy.
72.14 He shall redeem their soul from deceit and violence: and precious shall their blood be in his sight.
72.17 His name shall endure for ever: his name shall be continued as long as the sun: and men shall be blessed in him: all nations shall call him blessed.
These things we have seen before, in Daniel and the prophets briefly recapitulated above. When Jesus stepped upon the ass, entering Jerusalem on the Passover, with his disciples running before him, crying Hosanna to the Son of David, the message Jesus was offering to the people of Jerusalem could not have been clearer. He intended to make his claim as the Messiah. Many had tried before him and failed. Many since him have tried and failed. These briefly include Mani and his heresy of Manichism, Simon Magus, and Carpocrates, to name a few. All intended to be equal to the Messiah, even God Himself. And in this we must always keep in mind the main issue we saw in the Books of Adam and Eve and Enoch: Satanel, Angel of God, was renamed Satan, angel of Hell, because he thought to make himself equal to God. This becomes a problem for the Messiah, to claim His Messiahship without blaspheming God. To fill the role of One like unto the Son of Man, as mentioned in Daniel, or the Son of David, as mentioned in Psalm 72, the Messiah must appear to blaspheme.
He must, as a minimum, ride upon an ass into Jerusalem, signifying that his Kingship has started and that moment would be forever salvation to all men and a day of Peace. Jesus, by sitting upon that ass and allowing his disciples to acknowledge Him as the Son of David, knew perfectly well what he was doing. Furthermore, we know that he had long before, after the Transfiguration, made up his mind that he would be the Sacrificed Messiah of Psalm 22, 69 and Isaiah 53 (and probably the Sacrificed Word of the Books of Adam and Eve and Enoch). So the lesson here is obvious. When he resolved to ride the ass into Jerusalem he had concluded that it ought to result in his death. For this reason, his Aunt Mary, coming with him from Galilee and anointing him with expensive oils in Bethany, was weeping. For the penalty for blasphemy was stoning to death. He had been stoned and chased out of town(s) before. In fact we note that he probably had a year's mission in Judaea (probably most of it baptizing near the Jordan river or teaching in Jericho) and had incited the Judaean communities against him sufficiently that it was not safe for him to go back into Judaea. This fact explains why he and his disciples, including those of the recently beheaded John the Baptist, celebrated Passover (re: the feeding of the five thousand) on a mountain in Galilee, rather than Jerusalem. By the time Jesus created his blasphemy of riding into Jerusalem on an ass he had well thought out the means of his claim and its consequences.
We have seen that the Son of David is an appellation of the Messiah. Because He is Immanuel and because of references in the Psalms (Psalm 2: Thou art My Son, This day have I begotten thee); references in Psalm 72 that the Messiah is David's Son; etc., the people would be justified in discussing the Messiah as the Son of God. Thus we have the interchange between the comments (usually by maniacs or people inhabited by devils) Thou, O Son of David and Thou O Son of God. Though Son of God, as argued earlier, was not a common epitaph of the Messiah and certainly not casually used in the Dead Sea Scrolls as in the gospels, there is justification for its use; and it was probably used only by his followers after much cogitation over the role of the Messiah; and the title probably reflects attitudes derived after the cross. In any event, the epitaphs Son of David and Son of God could just as easily be interchanged with the King Messiah (as seen in Psalm 72). Thus where Matthew and Mark have the crowd saying Hosanna to the Son of David etc., both Luke and John have the crowd saying, Hosanna to the King that cometh in the name of the Lord. Both expressions are the same under analysis; all rabbis would have to agree.
Jesus, at the time he last sat down to prophesy about his future coming, probably in Bethany in Martha's house, suddenly shifted the crowd's comment, Blessed is he who cometh in the name of the Lord, to Jesus's future. His comment recorded in Matthew 23.39 signified that that thing which they believed was fulfilled when he rode into Jerusalem on an ass was yet into the future, in his Second Coming, which in turn would be as the Son of Man in the clouds of heaven, etc. At this moment Jesus had performed a remarkable transformation in thought and the Light unto the Gentile, previously believed to have been satisfied in prophesy, got thrown into a future coming. Jesus had finally realized the two fold mission of the Messiah: one of sacrifice at the Scattering of Israel and as King Messiah and Judge on the Gathering of Israel. He, when questioned upon his role, once answered that he had not come to gather the Children of Israel but to divide them. In the Gospel of Thomas Jesus said:
Thomas: (10) I have cast fire upon the world and see I am guarding it until it blazes.
This vision reflects the Synoptic view that Jesus would be a cause by which the world would be divided over him, with even the members of one's own family divided, and that he had not come to bless the people with water, as in the case of John the Baptist, but with fire. He saw himself as preceding the Wrath of God, which thing is Scriptural in view of the prophesy of the Virgin in Isaiah, reviewed sometime back, and Psalm 72, etc. But the Wrath of God was metered out in two events: The Scattering of Israel and the Gathering of Israel. Whereas in the early part of Jesus's mission this separation of the two events is not clear, in the last prophesy it became clear, as reported in Luke. Thus Jesus could easily project the acknowledgment of him, Hosanna to him who comes in the name of the Lord, to the future. This is a major shift in thinking as concerning his mission as a Light to the Gentile. For it is the Light unto the Gentile who receives the acclamation: Hosanna to him who comes in the name of the Lord. And He is the Deliverer Messiah, or as Jesus seems to have viewed Him, as the Son of Man coming in the Clouds of Heaven. Technically we have seen, to satisfy Daniel, the Messiah Deliverer who comes in the clouds of Heaven must say, I am One like unto the Son of Man. He is not the Son of Man but One like Him. This technicality aside, we can now return to Isaiah 42:
Isaiah 42.1 Behold, My Servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.
42.2 He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street.
42.3 A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth.
42.4 He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his Law.
42.5 Thus saith God the Lord, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein:
42.6 I the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles;
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.
42.17 And I will bring the blind by a way they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them and not forsake them.
This compares to Isaiah 61 which Jesus read in the temple:
Isaiah 61.1 The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;
61.2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn.
We see that the Light of the Gentile is one who does not go into the Streets! It is probable that Jesus did not at first realize this and when he saw that stipulation on the Messiah it was too late. He had already spent a considerable amount of time missioning in the streets (at least a year in Judaea and half a year in Samaria). So he is reported to have charged his disciples to not tell the people that he had been in the streets, so that the prophesy could be fulfilled (Matthew 12.16). Matthew alone mentions this. Luke and John both present Jesus as the Light of the Gentile as well but do not try to get involved in reconciling the problem of the Light of the Gentile being one who does not go into the streets. Whereas Matthew shows Jesus as one who would deceive men to justify himself, the other gospel writers did not maintain such a point of view.
The problem with the Light of the Gentile goes much further than one would think. Not only must he not go into the streets, He is also the giver of the Law. In fact He is given as a New Covenant. Thus we can see in the epitaphs of the Deliverer Messiah how the Isles shall wait for his law.
If Jesus is excluded from being the Deliverer Messiah and Light of the Gentile, his mission also becomes one without the privilege of carrying the New Covenant promised with the Deliverer Messiah. For we saw that the Deliverer Messiah is that Light of the Gentile who does not go into the streets, who is associated with the gathering of the Children of Israel, and, as the Branch, is associated with the Restoration of the Temple (and Tabernacle). Even He shall build the temple, so saith the Lord.
In John the conversation drifts exactly to this point, that the Messiah builds the temple of the Lord, as Zerubbabel did before him. Jesus responds that if you tear it down he will rebuild it in three days. This comment reflects his commonly expressed perception that if you put your mind to it you can cause a mountain to move itself from your presence, etc. We suspect he actually believed he could rebuild the temple in three days. John editorializes at this point and said he was speaking of the temple of the body, which thing became the main issue of the Christian thesis: that the temple is replaced by a new temple built in Jesus. Rather than being built of stone it is a temple God places (through the cross of Jesus) in your heart. The problem in this thesis, satisfying prophesy, is that the same Light of the Gentile who is the Deliverer Messiah, Branch, and New Covenant of the people, is also associated with the epitaph: I will turn your hearts from stone to flesh, restore the preserved of Israel, etc. At the time the Temple and people of Israel are restored by the Branch, then the New Covenant is given them and their hearts are turned from stone to flesh, says Ezekiel.
When Jesus read Isaiah 61, which repeats Isaiah 42 concerning the Light to the Gentile, he said, offending those in his hearing, This day these things are fulfilled. In all probability he did this on more than one occasion. In the beginning of his ministry, when he first went to Nazareth he is reported to have taught in the synagogue, offending everyone so much that they sought to throw him off the cliff by the town. He probably said something quite similar to the reading of Isaiah.
The Road to Blasphemy
The Light of the Gentile becomes a means for understanding what was going on in Jesus's mind and how he eventually came to understand that that mission was really allocated to the Deliverance period and, as he believed he was the Messiah, His Second Coming.
Clouded in his attention to the Second Coming was the problem of Elijah. So after the Transfiguration he had to say that Elijah would yet come (though he is here already) and restore all things. What Elijah would restore becomes a problem for future fulfillment. For now, the Suffering Messiah (Jesus) had put his own input into prophesy, saying that Elijah has a greater role than restoring the hearts of the children to their fathers and the fathers to their children. Of course this thesis of Elijah mentioned as a role in Malachi reflects an inward turning to the family. The reason the family becomes attentive to itself is owing to a great fear that Elijah puts in our hearts. For he, coming before the Wrath of God, is a Warning of the fire and brimstone to come. The disillusion of the family before Elijah comes suggests that at the time the people would be turned against each other, where the father neglects the son and the son neglects the father; the daughter neglects her mother and the mother neglects the daughter. The view is basically sympathetic to Jesus's comment of turning the members of one's own house against each other (which is from where he may have derived his thesis).
Whereas Jesus saw himself as a divisive force, he had to see the future role of Elijah as a Gathering force. So Jesus added to Elijah's role as a Gatherer (Jesus said I have not come to gather you but to divide you) the fact that Elijah — not the Messiah — will restore all things. This leaves Jesus, as the Second Coming Deliverer Messiah with little left to deliver or restore, since the Deliverer Messiah (The Branch) is most noted for restoring the Children of Israel to their land, the Tabernacle with them, and even the Temple, as well as raising up the dead to life. Hence, in investigating this problem in the thought process of Jesus, or his disciples' understanding of it, we can appreciate Andrew's comment in John 1.41: I have seen the Messiahs. He had just come from a baptizing event where he saw two men, John the Baptist and Jesus, who subsequently are reflected in the gospels as candidates for Messiahship. Jesus is most frequently identified as Elijah, since he performed a miracle of food and resurrected the dead like Elijah did before him in the days of King Ahab of Israel. Remember, Elijah shall restore all things. This includes also the Messianic duty of bringing the dead to life per Daniel and the Psalms, etc. Truly, the perception of The Light of the Gentile becomes a heavier and heavier issue, separating truth from fantasy.
Because the prophets provided for a Sacrificed Messiah and Gatherer Messiah, it follows that the Deliverer Messiah has at the least the job of presenting the Proof of the Sacrificed Messiah. In Zechariah we see the Deliverer Messiah standing in Jerusalem:
Zechariah 12.10 And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for Him, as one that is in bitterness for his Firstborn.
This did not happen in Jesus's day. A few mourned for Jesus but certainly not the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
Zechariah 12.11 In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem.
13.5 But He shall say, I am no prophet, I am a husbandman: for man taught me to keep cattle from my youth.
Jesus claimed to be a prophet and never denied being a prophet.
Zechariah 13.6 And one shall say unto him, what are these wounds in thine hands? Then He shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.
In order for the Deliverer Messiah (The Branch) to claim this group of prophesies he must appear pierced and wounded in the hands; and, in what appears to be a relatively congenial conversation between him and Jerusalem, he explains the source of his wounds: in the house of his friends. If Jerusalem is in great mourning on that day it would, at least, be from the shame of being the cause of the death of the Messiah: finally recognizing that the Suffering Messiah was bruised for their wickedness. This would be handled through the presentation of the Deliverer Messiah showing the wounds in his hands. No doubt the restoration of the Tabernacle will also have a significant play in his presentation. No such event has happened in history.
The fact remains, because the Suffering Messiah exists in prophesy, the presentation of that Proof of him is reserved for Jerusalem in the Latter Days. So the Latter Day Deliverer Messiah must deliver that proof. And when He does this He must also comment that He is no prophet! The Son of Man coming in the clouds will just not fill the prophetic expectation of this Messiah.
This group of prophesies, of course, excluded Jesus from claiming them in his own day. He could only claim them on His Second Coming. And on that day, to conform to prophesy, He must not only show his wounds and deny he is a prophet but also deny that he is the Son of Man, offering that He is One like the Son of Man. In effect, prophesy has a catch 22 situation in it for anyone claiming to be That Messiah, The Branch, who also builds the Temple. He must do the opposite of what the people seem to expect. And He must do it in such a way that they are completely convinced that he is he whose right it is to take the Throne. And He must do it, we suppose, without Blasphemy. We say this because the requirement on the Latter Day Deliverer Messiah, as opposed to the Sacrificed Messiah (which presupposes blasphemy), is that all understand him perfectly—and agree— and marvel at his wisdom.
Isaiah 52.15 So shall he sprinkle many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at him: for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider.
52.8 Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye, when the Lord shall bring again Zion.
By the breath of his mouth the wicked are defeated, says prophesy. Ezra 4 shows the Deliverer Messiah standing in Jerusalem with no weapons at his side, yet destroying the ranks of the wicked, who are those who come up against His People Jerusalem, who are incidentally returned from exile. His most visual act in prophesy is seen in the vision of a man coming from Edom, wearing robes from Bozrah, with his sandals and robes stained from the Winepress of the Lord. The Winepress, as easy to imagine, is the moment God takes His Wrath out against the heathen and Gentile who were against His People, Israel. This Winepress epitaph associated with the Deliverer Messiah is one of the most continuing visions of the Deliverer Messiah offered in prophesy and draws us back to Moses's earliest pronouncements on the day of Israel's restoration. Jesus ought to have realized, in the end, this eschatological view and He certainly, in His Second Coming as the Deliverer Messiah would know this. And finally, to sum up the difference between Jesus's mission as the Suffering Messiah and the Deliverer Messiah, he would, in the Latter Day Deliverer Messiah Mission have to endorse the restoration of the Tabernacle and Judge. The Book of Disputation, a letter written by R. Shem Tov ben Isaac Ibn Shaprut to the Cardinal Pietro de Lluna in 1394 A.D., argues that a good reason why Jesus was not the Messiah is because he did not judge. This is maintained not only in the facts of Jesus's presentation but also the fact that Jesus said:
John 8.50 And I seek not mine own glory: there is one that seeketh and judgeth.
12.47 And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not; for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.
The Messiah of the Latter Days, who is the Deliverer Messiah and Light of the Gentile, must judge. And one of his first acts of judgment, we must presume, would involve the facts involving the Sacrificed Messiah. In truth, he must judge Himself, or, to put it another way, he must, as One like the Son of man in the Second Coming, judge Himself as Jesus the Son of man, in the First Coming. To appreciate the heaviness of this responsibility, one must admit that Jesus must one day confront the fact that his disciples have maintained that he was willing to rob himself (the Latter Day Deliverer Messiah who does not go into the streets) an epitaph that clearly belonged in the Redemption period of Israel. It would require Him to confront many anomalies said about him by the Ministry; and where there are crooked ways presented on the previous Son of Man He must set things straight. It is a sad mission because he will know the things we know and see how the reports of his early ministry reflect confusion over such easy precepts as Elijah. And this draws us to the root of the matter, because Jesus's recorded word wasn't perfect.
We make no attempt to apologize for Jesus in the time before the Transfiguration where he seemed confused over several basic issues. Not only was he confused over Elijah, He did not seem to appreciate how God would come to Redeem Israel after the Spirit of Burning and scattering of the nation to all the nations of the earth. We, of course, can appreciate this more than he, because we have lived through the Spirit of Burning (we hope there will be no more against Israel): We saw Hitler try to round up the Jews from all the nations in the world and put them into ovens. This was not the first persecution of the Jews. Domitian, we recall, as a result of the rebellion of Bar Cochba in A.D. 134, initiated a world wide (Roman Empire) round up of Jews. Other persecutions followed. Domitian Caesar, says Eusebius, attempted to kill all the Sons of David (affecting the grandsons of Jude), as He feared the return of the Messiah. While this is recorded as a Christian persecution, in all probability anyone who was a Jew and could be traced to David would have been in danger in his reign. For Domitian feared competition, as Herod did before him, of the Messiah King. Later under Hadrian, the Governor of Judaea (Rufus) made the final and determinative stroke against all Jews in Judaea and Israel:
Eusebius IV.6 The climax of the war [against Bar Cochba ] came in Hadrian's eighteenth year, in Betthera, an almost impregnable little town not very far from Jerusalem. The blockade from without lasted so long that hunger and thirst brought the revolutionaries to complete destruction, and the instigator of their crazy folly paid the penalty he deserved. From that time on, the entire race has been forbidden to set foot anywhere in the neighborhood of Jerusalem, under the terms and ordinances of a Law of Hadrian which ensured that not even from a distance might Jews have a view of their ancestral soil. Aristo of Pella tells the whole story. When in this way the city was closed to the Jewish race and suffered the total destruction of its former inhabitants, it was colonized by an alien race, and the Roman city which subsequently arose changed its name, so that now, in honor of the emperor then reigning, Aelius Hadrainus, it is known as Aelia. Furthermore, as the church in the city was now composed of Gentiles, the first after the bishops of the Circumcision to be put in charge of the Christians there was Mark.
Within 35 years after Clement's and the Apostle John's death, the Jews were forbidden to visit their city of Jerusalem. Eusebius concludes his commentary by reflecting on the fact that the church in Jerusalem is now under Gentile control, being not the Circumcised Church established under Peter and James the Righteous but the Uncircumcised Church of Paul; and Mark was in charge of the Uncircumcised Church there. Since that date, until 1946, the Jews were effectively kept out of their Holy Land. Since that date, the Circumcised Church of Peter and James the Righteous has been in dormancy. We mention this because the Second Coming of Jesus must now decide, since Israel has been restored to its Land, whether the Circumcised Church was wrong and Paul's Uncircumcised Church was True. The issue, as well discussed in our earlier presentation, revolves around the Validity of the Law and the prophets, as opposed to Paul and Barnabas's theory that Jesus abrogated the Law and the prophets and, in effect, the Old Testament was only but a type and shadow of Jesus, now being no longer significant to the presentation of truth. The prophesies of the Deliverer Messiah quoted above, such as the Restoration of the Tabernacle or the Temple are prophesies Paul's Circumcised Church abrogated, using Jesus. Again, we emphasize these points (as if we haven't done it enough) so you can appreciate the significance of the epitaph, Judging the Secrets of Men, including the position of Paul versus the Circumcised Church; which thing Jesus, on His Second Coming, must do. Whom would you vote for? Peter or Paul?
This is admittedly an abbreviated background of the Deliverer Messiah, and apart from these considerations, the Second Coming, or Deliverer Messiah, must deal with Jesus's blasphemies and explain them. We will not presume to impose upon you all of his blasphemies, but give you an appreciation for the extent of them and his consciousness of them.
At first Jesus did attempt to claim prophesy right and left, being the Light of the Gentile, the Son of Man, the Son of David, and the one who does not go into the streets (in spite of the fact that he had already violated that requirement on the Messiah). These initial acts were blasphemous to the Jews from the beginning. You ought to know enough about the position of Peter and the Circumcised Church in Jerusalem by now to be able to put on your Circumcised Hat and view Jesus as a Jew to appreciate Him on his road to Blasphemy.
Line 150 — Something happened in the desert at the Jordan river to cause many people to shift from following John the Baptist to following Jesus. That event is described as a voice coming from the clouds saying this is my beloved Son. All the gospels are consistent in recording this. However, in Peter's epistle, the event he chose to endorse the fact that God's voice called Jesus His Son was not at the Baptism but — a year later — at the Transfiguration! So Peter's epistle seems to take exception to the gospel tradition that Jesus was anointed by God as the Son of God in the desert as He was baptized by John the Baptist. We have seen further confusion at line 526, where John the Baptist sent two disciples from his place in prison to ask Jesus if he is He who should come. Either John the Baptist and his disciples heard the Voice of God anoint Jesus as the Son of God or they did not. There should never have been any doubt in John's mind.
Line 167 — After Jesus heard that John the Baptist had been thrown in prison he fled into Galilee, dwelling in Capernaum. From that time, say the Gospels, Jesus began to preach that the Kingdom of God was at hand, as John the Baptist taught before him, and saying (says Mark) the time is fulfilled: Repent! Luke adds that at this time Jesus read chapter 61.1 of Isaiah, saying the Spirit of the Lord is on me...this day the scripture is fulfilled. If Jesus spent a year in Judaea missioning around the Jordan River with John the Baptist, then we can count his move to Capernaum — a year into his ministry — as a great change in his behavior, where he blooms, as it were, as a Messiah candidate. The reading of chapter 61 and claiming that it is fulfilled through him was the beginning of the blasphemy. The people had not seen Elijah the prophet. How could Jesus claim, then, to be the Messiah? This, among many other considerations, gave the people good reason to be affronted by Jesus's claim. Yet, he became famous as a healer throughout Syria (line 180). He next gave his sermon on the mount (line 181) and in that sermon, says Matthew, made note that he had not come to destroy the law. The comment had been made because Jesus had been doing some things which caused the people to question his Lawfulness: He had been healing people on the Sabbath. His Sabbath violations and comments, probably couched in language similar to John the Baptist's, offended the pharisees and high priests. To appreciate the extent of his offences towards them (probably calling them Vipers, as did John) we have his comment on the mount:
Matthew 5.20 Except your righteousness exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees you shall in no case enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.
Here we have Jesus openly teaching opposition to the scribes and Pharisees, the leaders of the synagogues and Sanhedrim. The conclusion of the speech, says Matthew 7.29, was that he taught as one having authority and not as the scribes.
In his Syrian ministry he raised a dead man in Nain, says Luke. More rumors of him spread, says Luke (line 269), through Judaea. The raising of the dead was what Elijah had done long ago. Many began calling him a prophet and even Elijah resurrected.
Line 271 — Jesus taught in the synagogue and astonished everyone; again he is said to have taught as one with authority. This is probably Luke's account of Jesus reading Isaiah 61. Whatever Jesus did in that Synagogue had to again follow Jesus's precept that He was the Messiah and had openly begun to claim that title. From this point on we have reports of healings of people affected by devils, etc. who acknowledge Jesus as the Holy One of God.
In old Testament prophesy the conversations (from God) often involve another personality called His Holy One, who is often called God's Redeemer.
Line 287 — Jesus complains that the foxes have holes and the birds have nests, etc., but he has no place to lay his head. The comment, recalling the Psalms, probably reflects a worsening situation for him, as he is finding rejection among the people and probably had been chased out of a few towns by then. He then went to the country of the Gadarenes (Gergegenes) and healed a man who was possessed of a devil. That man became an ardent disciple and began to publish the great things Jesus had done for him in the region of Decapolis. More fame began to spread before him and finally he went to Nazareth, his own country and is next seen teaching in their synagogue. In Nazareth he heals a man with palsy on the Sabbath and the Pharisees began to question his acts. Luke 14.3 has them asking, Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath? Jesus replied with the question whether they would save an ox if it fell into a pit. The answer, we have seen earlier, in the Dead Sea Scrolls, had well been established in the Law (tradition): you do not save an ox on the Sabbath if it falls into a pit. The gospel writer did not know this tradition of the Law.
Line 344 — Jesus dines with a publican, one who is not a Jew. He is accused of eating with sinners and some complained that John and his disciples would obey the fasts, etc., but Jesus and his disciples did not. Here Jesus had parted from full obedience to the Law, or Traditions upholding the Law, and had begun not only to violate the Sabbath but mix with the Gentiles at their table. He probably ate kosher food but nevertheless dined at the same table as the Gentile — who by definition of not obeying the Law —were sinners. Jesus, in this view, had openly begun to hang around sinners (pharisees and publicans) and sin himself. One sinner of the Pharisees who came to him turns out to be his own mother's sister, his Aunt Mary.
The comparison of Jesus and his disciples to John the Baptist and his disciples ought not to be passed off lightly. It is again a means of measuring the fact that not all was well between the two new movements or factions of Judaism. At first Jesus and his disciples continued baptizing along the Jordan River near the community of disciples founded by John the Baptist. Indications are that one group moved up river, near Jericho and did their work there, whereas the other group located itself near the Dead Sea and community of Essenes, near where the main road to Jerusalem leaves the Dead Sea.
These two groups apart, we find not only a complaint among John's disciples that Jesus is Baptizing too (the response is that Jesus did not baptize — only his disciples did); but also that Jesus and his disciples did not observe the holy habits expected of holy men. We have paraphrased the complaint here. The actual complaint posed against Jesus and his disciples was that they did not fast nor abstain from wine like John the Baptist and his disciples did. John the Baptist observed the rules of a Nazarite, discussed in detail earlier. A Nazarite, we recall, is one Separated unto God and treated as Holy during his separation. During that period he or she cannot drink wine or vinegar, cannot cut their hair, and must observe all the fasts and laws of cleanliness required of a Nazarite. The nature of Nazarites is to fast, in fact; and being constrained also with habitation alone in the desert their food, by necessity, may be confined to locusts and honey: whatever they could gather. The rule for preparing locusts is to immerse them in either fire or water.
Jesus and his disciples were not following the expectations of those who ought to be Nazarites. Jesus claimed to be a prophet, was thought to be a prophet, but very much in behavior unlike a prophet. He was thought to be Elijah resurrected, even to the end of his ministry, though he is recorded as denying he is Elijah resurrected. Elijah was another Nazarite type who lived inthe desert most of the time. He wore rough animal skins and would suddenly appear on a road and prophesy before principals of the King. A man like that today would be considered a mad man.
John the Baptist also wore rough animal skins, like Elijah. Jesus and his disciples, on the other hand, wore common robes and probably behaved more like sinners than holy men. We say this because the measure of holiness is unto the Nazarite. If Jesus and his disciples did not wash before dinner, ate with sinners, drank wine and vinegar, and dined rather heartily together, being invited from one home to another, the conclusion one must reach is the fact that John the Baptist and his disciples are, by Nazarite standards, far more holy than Jesus and his disciples.
Nevertheless Jesus and his disciples were accompanied with phenomenal success. Whereas John the Baptist is remembered as a progenitor of Jesus and perhaps his teacher, in a manner of speaking, the fact is very little of John the Baptist's teachings are remembered. All we seem to remember is the fact that he taught that the Kingdom of God is at hand and all men should repent (now!). This message became the foundation of Jesus's early ministry, before the Transfiguration — which occurred, as we recall, right after John the Baptist's death. After John's death and Jesus's Transfiguration, Jesus's message became transformed from the King Messiah come to reign in righteousness to the thesis of his Sacrifice or martyrdom for the sake of Salvation.
Jesus's new Doctrine of Salvation became a radical departure from the earlier message that the Kingdom of God is at hand. The Kingdom Doctrine, we have seen abundantly in scripture, provides for a material Kingdom, under God and His Messiah, on earth. We belabor the point, admittedly, but this Kingdom comes when the remnant of Israel is restored, from all the nations whence it is scattered, to the Holy Land.
The New Doctrine of Salvation which Jesus began teaching did not appear to adopt the old Doctrine of the Kingdom but rather transformed that doctrine from the promise of a Material Kingdom on earth under God's Messiah King to a heavenly kingdom. This, of course, meant that Jesus's mission of Salvation, through his martyrdom, would bring everlasting life, in God's Kingdom of Heaven, to his believers. This, in truth, is not the exact perspective he probably intended but certainly the way he was understood by the gospel tradition. For in addition to the thesis of Salvation for the Kingdom of Heaven is the Promise in the Lord's Prayer of a Kingdom come on earth as it is in Heaven. The Lord's Prayer, adopted from an earlier Hebrew prayer, answers the Promise of the prophets, that God will establish His Kingdom on earth, under His Messiah King, as His Kingdom is in Heaven. Though Peter and the Apostles of the Nazarene Church in Jerusalem believed in this Promise, Paul and the Gentile church took a different tack and followed the thesis of Salvation for the Kingdom of Heaven. In Paul's thesis, which is based upon a new prophesy called the Rapture, those who believe in Jesus will be snatched up to Heaven by Jesus in the Last Day, just before the earth and all that is in it is destroyed by fire and brimstone.
The end of Paul's thesis of the Rapture, then, is no Kingdom of God on earth under His Messiah, no restoration of Israel from exile, no Tabernacle restored, etc., since the earth is destroyed. This thesis became the predominate message of Christianity once Clement had died circa. 101 A.D. His contemporary, Ignatius, who took over the Church at Antioch, who died after Clement and Symeon, about 107 A.D., followed the propositions of Paul and taught the Heavenly Kingdom rather than the Promised Kingdom on earth. Opposition to the new trend sprouted up in several heresies, like the Cerethians, which tried to reestablish the Promise of a Kingdom Come on Earth under the Messiah King. For now, however, after the death of PeterÕs Disciple, Clement, the world must be content with Salvation for the Kingdom of Heaven. And one would achieve status in the New Kingdom of God in heaven through belief in the shed blood of Jesus, that it has atoned for all of your sins — past and future — and that it guarantees you eternal life.
The conclusion we noted much earlier that is mentioned in the Gospel of Mark, that Jesus now sits at the right hand of the Father in Heaven, becomes a matter of fact observation from the Gospel writer as if he had been there in heaven and seen Jesus at the right hand of the Father. The goal of all disciples would then be to go to be beside Jesus and be prepared, as a bride, for the day of Judgment when Jesus comes to judge the wicked with fire and snatch the faithful up to heaven.
Line 363 — On the way to the Doctrine of Salvation Jesus and his disciples walked through a corn field on the Sabbath and ate therefrom. Jesus's disciples questioned him on this, since the Law (Tradition) clearly forbids walking more than a certain distance from the city on the Sabbath or the reaping of corn on the Sabbath. We recall that if one's animals begin to stray from that accepted distance, one cannot follow them to retrieve them. Now these things, to be clear, are not details of the Law, as prescribed by Moses, but traditions maintained to uphold the law. Again, Moses never forbade one to herd sheep or turn on a light on the Sabbath. Tradition, to uphold the Law of Rest on the Sabbath, concluded that such things as herding sheep or turning on a light switch would be too much work and a violation of the Sabbath. Jesus openly challenged these traditions.
So the disciples questioned his challenging of the Sabbath Traditions. He healed on the Sabbath (and would have saved an ox fallen in a pit on the Sabbath), and wandered through the fields eating corn on the Sabbath: all very clear violations of Sabbath Tradition.
Line 367 — Jesus healed the man with a Withered Hand on the Sabbath. Right after the disciples began to question JesusÕs motives on the Sabbath, Jesus followed through with a major healing on the Sabbath. Whereas Matthew has the scribes and pharisees questioning this, Luke shows that they had already been watching Jesus, whether he would try to (again) heal on the Sabbath.
This moment in Scripture occurred before the feeding of the five thousand on the mount. We may suppose Jesus had spent a year in Judaea ministering by the Jordan river, going into Jerusalem for feast days. During that part of his ministry, we noted how people began to compare Jesus and his disciples to John the Baptist and his disciples; and these comparisons reflect an underlying feeling of offense in Jesus. He ate with sinners, for instance, and that was offensive to the Pharisees and Scribes who would have heard of it.
In Jesus's Syrian or Galilean Ministry, during the next year and perhaps beginning with the miracle of the man with the Withered Arm, the offences from Jesus were beginning to come to a head. Suddenly (line 378) the Pharisees and Scribes began to counsel on means to kill Jesus. Luke says the Pharisees were filled with madness. What Jesus had done by this time was the equivalent of a madman going into a Christian church today and teaching Burnt Sacrifice as a means of Salvation from Sin; or, perhaps on another scale, a Moslem going into a Christian church and throwing over the statues, complaining that Christians are Idol Worshippers, or Idolators.
Line 409 — After several more healings and miracles, principally casting out devils — a typical act of magicians of his day— the Pharisees concluded that Jesus was an agent of the Devil Himself. Of course they would see him this way. He had violated the Sabbath so many times and argued in defense of his actions with them so much that he had become a thorn in their side. For he went into the synagogues and taught that it was acceptable to violate the Sabbath as he had done. In response he was accused of Blasphemy. Jesus retorted (line 425) that he was not Blaspheming God. He, in fact, turned the accusation around and said that the Pharisees were the ones who were blasphemous! In Matthew 12.34, following the earlier comments recorded of John the Baptist towards the Pharisees, Jesus retorted that they are a generation of Vipers. Again, we must compare this to a madman going into a church today and calling the leaders of the church a generation of vipers. That madman would undoubtedly be a cause for a call to the police and certainly banned from every going into the church again.
In Jesus's case there were enough disciples and hearers of his word — sufficient that the people thought him a prophet—that the leaders of the Synagogues and the Temple were distraught as to how to handle him. He ought to have been stoned (and nearly was in Nazareth), but probably, because of his popularity or fame, they could not drum the people up to stone him. Why so? Jesus was not performing his acts without reason. When challenged he had a logical and very understandable reply of which the experts, the Pharisees and Scribes, could not rebut. This, we note, is a requirement we have seen in the Messiah(s). He possesses Wisdom such that the Wise Men close their mouths at him. Jesus's record is well salted with such encounters between himself and the Wise men. In all cases where he is accused of blasphemy, or false teaching, he replies with an answer which wins the debate. Again, as concerning the argument of the ox falling into a pit, we hardly see Jesus winning the debate as easily as the gospel represented it to be. Jesus's argument was that God's disposition is to save lives, not lose them. Though the tradition said one must abandon the ox to die in a pit on the Sabbath, one could argue that God would not condone this if it threatened the ox's life. For Adam, one could say, was charged with the husbandry of the earth. But these kinds of arguments were not recorded in the gospel at this point of contention.