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26 Religion

The ancient religions and philosophies have mystical traditions, some similar to Judaism. These reveal similar patterns of thought. Here is a description of early religions that shared the same temporal space during the development of Judaism. There are hidden answers to kabbalah that are found in other religions. For example the symbol of an egg on Passover represents mourning to the Jews, but the rebirth of spring, and even the resurrection of the dead in other cultures. Aaron’s almond rod budded with flowers during this time of year. Hence, the real meaning of the egg lost in Judaism is to give us hope for the resurrection of the dead. This is quite significant, because the reason for resurrection is not clear in the Tanach. Yet, a symbol passed down from ages passed reveals the hope this idea offered to mourners.

The Talmud records discussions on religions by Ha”Zal. Many of the secret meanings in Hebrew words are revealed in related languages.

Diversity of religion is key to survival even in religion. For example, Paul’s deified messiah and belief in faith over law grew while James’ adherence to Jewish ritual declined in versions of Judeo-Christianity.[2620] Diversity in this case fostered the new religion of Christianity for the gentile world. Interestingly, Paul did not go so far as to deny a Jewish boy his circumcision in the case of Timothy, suggesting he did not fully reconcile in practice with his own idea of faith over law. Another key aspect to survival of religion is how well it fosters larger families and insures marriages amongst its single members. Ironically the restrictions of Islam succeeded here.

26.1 Ancestor Worship

If suffering is a prerequisite to deification therein lays the basis of ancestry worship. The deification of the N. Korean leader Kim-Il Sung as a savior now resembles the Christian savior. Perhaps it is the desire to transform death into something meaningful that has resulted in ancestor worship. Ironically, the need to reconcile with death may be the source of most religions.

26.2 Arianism

Christianity identifies Arianism amongst its heretical groups, which also includes the Cathari, Gnostics, and follows of Manichaeism. The Alexandrian presbyter Arius introduced Arianism in the 4th century:[2621]

Text 26-1: Arian Principle on the non-Divinity of Jesus
It affirmed that Christ is not truly divine but a created being. Arius' basic premise was the uniqueness of God, who is alone self-existent and immutable; the Son, who is not self-existent, cannot be God. Because the Godhead is unique, it cannot be shared or communicated, so the Son cannot be God. Because the Godhead is immutable, the Son, who is mutable, being represented in the Gospels as subject to growth and change, cannot be God. The Son must, therefore, be deemed a creature who has been called into existence out of nothing and has had a beginning. Moreover, the Son can have no direct knowledge of the Father since the Son is finite and of a different order of existence. (see also Index: Christ, two natures of)

According to its opponents, especially the bishop Athanasius, Arius' teaching reduced the Son to a demigod, reintroduced polytheism (since worship of the Son was not abandoned), and undermined the Christian concept of redemption since only he who was truly God could be deemed to have reconciled man to the Godhead.

26.3 Asian

26.3.1 Astrology

There seems to be some wisdom encapsulated within Asian astrology. Abraham long ago sent concubines with wisdom to the East. Two websites:
http://www.asia-home.com/china/animal.php?animal=11 - shows how to convert dates
http://www.usbridalguide.com/special/chinesehoroscopes/dog.htm - startling interpretations

26.3.2 Confucianism

Governmental religion, utilitarian based, leading to much wisdom, but occasional immorality such as discarding an elderly woman without a husband. There is a remnant of ancestral worship, feeding the dead, and belief in ghosts.

26.3.3 Totemism

Totemism believes in a mystical link between natural elements such as the sun, animals, or sea leading to worship of deities in these places.

26.3.4 Buddhism

Buddhism is a non-deity religion of spiritual harmony through meditation and harmony whose goal is nirvana, an awakening leading to doing nothing.

Meditation 26-1: Peace
Do not forget the Peace at the end of Shabbat—dissolver of agony.
[Met eyes with Dennis Merzel, performing a routine of stretching during a 3-hour flight delay from Long Beach {his home town 11 PM: 9/4/2011} to Salt Lake City, read this article a day later: http://basicgoodness.com/2011/open-letter-to-my-teacher-genpo-merzel, maybe there is more to “spare us the agony.” Dennis Merzel’s life: http://sweepingzen.com/2009/12/23/dennis-genpo-merzel-bio .]
It is Elul 5771, a time to cleanse, a time to forgive everyone, and a time to forgive oneself.

26.4 Canaanite Religion

Deities had names corresponding to Hebrew words. Most of these are Canaanite, some with Egyptian origin:

Ugaritic or Egyptian deities mentioned in the Torah:

  1. Sun – Shemesh
  2. River – Nahar Judge River[2622] – Nahar Dinur
  3. Sea – Yam
  4. Rahab – Egyptian monster
  5. Taninam – Sea monster – תנינם
  6. Leviathon – Lotan
  7. El Elyon – Highest of the gods, head god Elyon.
  8. Amen or Amon – Egyptian deity personification of air or breath represented as either a ram or a goose, revered as king of the gods in Egypt.[2623] Was a sun god to the Hittites of Kheta.
  9. Tzedek – Following the straight course, god of navigation, before the Sun god transitioning to Righteousness
  10. Sutech – Shepherd god, some identify Sutech, Set, Cedeq, and Shadai as the same in different cultures.
  11. Shadai – almighty, identified with breasts and sustenance – Albright, Shadai was also a city in Syria, weather god

“Amon's name meant The Hidden One, and his image was painted blue to denote invisibility. This attribute of invisibility led to a popular belief during the New Kingdom (1539-c. 1075 BC) in the knowledge and impartiality of Amon, making him a god for those who felt oppressed.”[2624]

In Jewish prayer, one says amen in response to hearing a blessing. Amen may mean that G-d sees our needs and will bestow blessings upon us fairly. L’havdil, the literal Hebrew of amen deals more with training, trust, entrustment, education, practice, and belief. The noun form refers to art.[2625]

El Elyon continues to refer to G-d in Judaism.

Psalm 48:2-3: His holy mountain, exaltedly beautiful, is the joy of the whole earth, Mt. Zion is the genuine Zaphon...

“Ugaritic myths locate the home of Aliyan Baal on Mount Zaphon, later known as Mount Cassius, the northern part of Syria. Zaphon was the Olympus of the western Semitic area... Psalm 48, therefore proclaims that Mount Zion in Jerusalem is Zaphon, the place the myth describes as located on a distant mountain.”[2626]

Shemesh – שמש seems to have some power to defeat evil beings by reciting the last two letters in reverse order, which by the ‘Name’ of G-d melts ones enemies.[2627] Emet – אמת destroys golems by erasing the aleph on the body leaving only death.[2628]


...

And the club swoops from the hands of Baal
Like an eagle from His fingers.
It strikes the head of Prince Yam,
Twixt the eyes of Judge Nahar.

Yam sinks,
Falls to the earth.
His joints fail
His frame collapses.
Baal drags and poises Yam
Destroys Judge Nahar.

...

The Baal Cycle

Baal (Hadad) is regularly denominated "the son of Dagan," although Dagan (biblical Dagon) does not appear as an actor in the mythological texts. Baal also bears the titles "Rider of the Clouds," "Almighty," and "Lord of the Earth." He is the god of the thunderstorm, the most vigorous and aggressive of the gods, the one on whom mortals most immediately depend. Baal resides on Mount Zaphon, north of Ugarit, and is usually depicted holding a thunderbolt. He is the protagonist of a cycle of myths from Ugarit. These tell of a challenge from Yamm ("Sea"), to which Baal responds. Armed with magical weapons made by the craftsman god, Kothar, Baal manages to overcome Yamm. Another major episode is instigated by Baal's lack of a house. With the assistance of Asherah and Anath, Baal gets El's approval to build a house; Kothar accomplishes the construction; and Baal celebrates by inviting the gods to a feast. The other major story concerns Baal's relations with Mot ("Death"), whom he initially defies, but to whom he eventually succumbs. The attempt to find a god adequate to assume Baal's role fails. Anath disposes of Mot, and then El learns in a dream that Baal is again alive. Mot also reappears, and he and Baal fight until the sun goddess warns Mot of the consequences. There is apparently a final definition of their respective spheres of influence.

After Baal is swallowed up by Mot, his sister Anath, called "the Maiden," longs for him like a mother. She finds Baal and buries him. She then defeats Mot and disposes of his body as if it were grain, grinding him up and scattering him over land and sea. Elsewhere in the text Anath refers to her victories over various monstrous enemies in single combat, and she is depicted in scenes of bloody slaughter. She is the "villain" of the tale of Aqhat, also from Ugarit. In this story the gods grant the childless Danel a son, Aqhat, on whom Danel confers a bow made by the craftsman god, Kothar. Anath offers Aqhat riches and immortality in exchange for the bow, but Aqhat refuses her offers. After bullying El into letting her have her way with Aqhat, she proceeds, with the aid of her henchman Yutpan, to have Aqhat killed. Danel performs various rites to try to remove the consequent blight on the land, until he is informed of his son's murder. He then seeks his remains and buries him, curses the towns closest to the site of the murder, and mourns for seven years, after which he gives his blessing to his daughter's proposed mission to avenge Aqhat's death. She sets out and comes to the camp of Yutpan, where the two of them start drinking--at which point the preserved portion of the tale ends. Anath is often associated with Athtart (later Hebrew Ashtoreth, Greek Astarte). Both are renowned for their beauty, and both are closely associated with Baal.

Another group of gods play important subordinate roles in the myths. The sun goddess, Shapash, "Light of the Gods," helps Anath in her retrieval of the dead Baal and intervenes in the final conflict between Baal and Mot. The craftsman god, known as both Kothar ("Skilled") and Hasis ("Clever"), makes the weapons with which Baal disposes of Yamm and builds the palace for Baal. He is the source of Aqhat's bow, coveted by Anath. The Kathirat are goddesses of marriage and pregnancy, who appear before the conception of Aqhat and in a brief myth about the marriage of Yarikh ("Moon") and his Mesopotamian consort Nikkal. Shahar and Shalim are the gods of dawn and dusk, whose conception and birth are recounted in a liturgical myth.

While the great cycle of narratives about Baal from Ugarit in its present form is clearly a literary work rather than a myth, it is doubtlessly composed of religiously significant mythic material. It depicts the prevailing order of things as the result of struggles among the gods--successive bids for power in which Yamm and Mot are confined to their present bounds and Baal and Anath (associated with fertility and military prowess, respectively) prevail. Having descended into the underworld and survived Death, Baal embodies the assertiveness and continuity of life.

It is the official documents of religious practice--god lists, sacrificial lists, and temple rituals, as well as the inscribed monuments--that disclose most directly the gods favored by the authorities of the time. While virtually all the gods of the myths are Semitic in name, the gods of the cult are much more diverse.

Baal Cycle Text

Now Mighty Baal, son of Dagon, desired the kingship of the Gods. He contended with Prince Yam-Nahar, the Son of El. But Kindly El, Father Shunem, decided the case in favour of His son; He gave the kingship to Prince Yam. He gave the power to Judge Nahar.

Fearsome Yam came to rule the Gods with an iron fist. He caused Them to labor and toil under His reign. They cried unto Their mother, Asherah, Lady of the Sea. They convinced Her to confront Yam, to interceed in Their behalf.

Asherah went into the presence of Prince Yam. She came before Judge Nahar. She begged that He release His grip upon the Gods Her sons. But Mighty Yam declined Her request. She offered favours to the Tyrant. But Powerful Nahar softened not His heart. Finally, Kindly Asherah, who loves Her children, offered Herself to the God of the Sea. She offered Her own body to the Lord of Rivers.

Yam-Nahar agreed to this, and Asherah returned to the Source of the Two Rivers. She went home to the court of El. She came before the Divine Council, and spoke of Her plan to the Gods Her children.

Baal was infuriated by Her speech. He was angered at the Gods who would allow such a plot. He would not consent to surrendering Great Asherah to the Tyrant Yam-Nahar. He swore to the Gods that He would destroy Prince Yam. He would lay to rest the tyranny of Judge Nahar.

Yam-Nahar was made aware of the words of Baal. He sent His two messengers to the court of El:

"Depart Lads!
Do not sit!
Then Ye shall surely set face
Toward the Convocation of the Assembly
In the midst of the mountain of Night.
At the feet of El do not fall,
Do not prostrate Yourselves before the Convocation of the Assembly,
But declare Your information!
And say to The Bull, My father, El,
Declare to the Convocation of the Assembly:
'The message of Yam, Your Lord,
Of Your master Judge River:
Give up, O Gods, Him whom You harbor,
Him whom the multitude harbor!
Give up Baal and His partisans,
Dagon's Son, so that I may inherit His gold!'"

The lads depart
They do not Sit.
Then They set face
Toward the Mountain of Night,
Toward the Convocation of the Assembly.
The Gods had not even sat down,
The Deities to dine,
When Baal stood up by El.

As soon as the Gods saw Them,
Saw the messengers of Yam
The emissaries of Judge Nahar,
The Gods lowered Their heads upon Their knees.
Yea, upon the thrones of Their lordships.

Baal rebukes Them:
"Why, O Gods, have Ye lowered
Your heads on top of Your knees,
Yea, upon the thrones of Your lordships?
Let a pair of Gods read the tablets of the messengers of Yam,
Of the emissaries of Judge Nahar!
O Gods, lift up Your heads
From the top of Your knees
Yea, from the thrones of Your lordships!
And I shall answer
The messengers of Yam
The emissaries of Judge Nahar!"
The Gods lift Their heads
From the top of Their knees
Yea, from the thrones of thier lordships.

After there arrive the messengers of Yam,
The emissaries of JudgeNahar.
At the feet of El They do not fall,
They do not prostrate Themselves before the Convocation of the Assembly.
Arise, for They declare Their information.
A fire, two fires!
He sees a burnished sword!
They say to The Bull, His father, El:
"The message of Yam, Your lord,
Of Your master, Judge Nahar:
'Give up, O Gods, Him whom Ye harbor,
Him whom the multitudes harbor!
Give up Baal and His partisans,
Dagon's Son, so that I may inherit His gold!'"

And The Bull, His father, El, replies:
"Baal is Thy slave, O Yam!
Baal is Thy slave O Yam!
Dagon's Son is Thy captive!
He will bring Thy tribute like the Gods.
Like the Deities, Thy gift!"

But Prince Baal was infuriated.
A knife He takes in the hand
A dagger in the right hand.
To smite the lads He flourishes it.
Anath siezes His right hand,
Astarte seizes His left hand:
"How canst Thou smite the messengers of Yam?
The emissaries of Judge Nahar?
They have merely brought the words of Yam-Nahar.
Word of Their Lord and Master."

But Prince Baal is infuriated. He spares the lives of the messengers; He sends Them back to Their master. He instructs Them to give His information: Baal will not bow to Prince Yam. He will not be the slave of Judge Nahar. He declares once more that He shall slay the Tyrant lord of the Gods.

"To the earth let Our mighty one fall!
Yea, to dust Our strong one!"
From His mouth the word had not yet gone forth,
Nor from His lips, His utterance.
And His voice was given forth
Like a mountain under the throne of Prince Yam.

And Kothar-u-Khasis declared:
"Did I not tell Thee, O Prince Baal,
Nor declare, O Rider of Clouds?
'Lo, Thine enemies, O Baal,
Lo, Thine enemies wilt Thou smite
Lo, Thou wilt van quish Thy foes.
Thou wilt take Thine eternal kingdom;
Thine everlasting sovereignty!'"

Kothar brings down two clubs
And proclaims Their Names.
"Thy Name, even Thine, is Yagrush!
Yagrush, expel Yam
Expel Yam from His throne
Nahar from the seat of His sovereignty!
Thou shalt swoop from the hands of Baal
Like an Eagle from His fingers!
Strike the shoulders of Prince Yam
Twixt the hands of Judge Nahar!"

The club swoops from the hands of Baal
Like an eagle from His fingers.
It strikes the shoulders of Prince Yam,
Twixt the hands of Judge Nahar.
Yam is strong;
He is not vanquished,
His joints do not fail,
Nor His frame collapse.

Kothar brings down a second club,
And proclaims His Name.
"Thy Name, even Thine, is Aymur!
Aymur, drive Yam,
Drive Yam from His throne!
Nahar from His seat of His sovereignty!
Thou shalt swoop from the hands of Baal
Like an Eagle from His fingers!
Strike the head of Prince Yam
Twixt the eyes of Judge Nahar!
Let Yam sink
And fall to the earth!"

And the club swoops from the hands of Baal
Like an eagle from His fingers.
It strikes the head of Prince Yam,
Twixt the eyes of Judge Nahar.

Yam sinks,
Falls to the earth.
His joints fail
His frame collapses.
Baal drags and poises Yam
Destroys Judge Nahar.

By Name, Astarte rebukes:
"Shmae, O Aliyan Baal,
Shame, O Rider of the Clouds!
For Prince Yam was Our captive
For Judge River was Our captive."

And there went out Baal,
Verily ashamed is Aliyan Baal
And Prince Yam is, indeed, dead.
So let Baal reign!

Baal was now King of the Gods. Lord of the Mountain of Saphon. But Baal had no palace like the other Gods. He speaks His word to Kothat-u-Khasis:

"There are the dwelling of El,
The shelter of His sons.
The dwelling of Lady Asherah of the Sea,
The dwelling of the renowned brides.
The dwelling of Pidray, girl of Light,
The shelter of Tallay, girl of rain,
The dwelling of Arsay, girl of Yaabdar.

Also, something else I'll tell Thee.
Go to!
Beseech Lady Asherah of the Sea,
Entreat the Creatress of Gods!"

The Skilled One goes up to the bellows.
In the hands of Khasis are the tongs.
He pours silver,
He casts gold.
He pours silver by thousands of shekels,
Gold He pours by myriads.
A glorious crown studded with silver,
Adorned with red gold.
A glorious throne,
A dais above a glorious footstool,
Which glisters in purity.
Glorious shoes of reception,
Thereover He brings them gold.
A glorious table that is full.
A glorious bowl, fine work of Kamares,
Set like the realm of Yam,
In which there are buffaloes by myriads.

Kothar-u-Kasis goes to the Lady Asherah of the Sea, Mother of the Seventy Gods. He offers these gifts unto Her.

He adorns Her with the covering of Her flesh.
She tears Her clothing.
On the second day
He adorns Her in the two rivers.
She sets a pot on the fire
A vessel on top of the coals.

She propitiates The Bull, God of Mercy,
Entreats the Creator of Creatures.
On lifting Her eyes
She sees.
Asherah sees Baal's going,
Yea the going of the Virgin Anath,
The tread of the Progenitress of Heroes.

After Aliyan Baal came,
And came the Virgin Anath,
They besought Lady Asherah of the Sea.
Yea entreated the Creatress of the Gods.
And Lady Asherah of the Sea replied:
"How can Ye beseech Lady Asherah of the Sea,
Yea entreat the Creatress of the Gods?
Have Ye besought The Bull, God of Mercy,
Or entreated the Creator of Creatures?

And the Virgin Anath replied:
"We do beseech Lady Asherah of the Sea.
We entreat the Creatress of Gods.
The Gods eat and drink,
And those that suck the breast quaff
With a keen knife
A slice of fatling.
They drink wine from a goblet,
From a cup of gold, the blood of vines."

Asherah of the Sea declares:
"Saddle an ass,
Hitch a donkey!
Put on a harness of silver,
Trappings of gold.
Prepare the harness of My jennies!

Qadish-u-Amrar hearkens.
He saddles an ass
Hitches a donkey.
Put on a harness of silver,
Trappings of gold.
Prepares the harness of Her jennies!
Qadish-u-Amrar embraces;
He sets Asherah on the back of the ass,
On the beautiful back of the donkey.
Qadish begins to light the way,
Even Amrar like a star.
Forward goes the Virgin Anath,
And Baal departs for the heights of Saphon.

Then She sets face toward El,
At the sources of the Two Rivers,
In the midst of the streams of the Two Deeps.
She enters the abode of El,
And comes into the domicile of the King, Father Shunem.
At the feet of El She bows and falls,
She prostrates Herself and honors Him.

As soon as El sees Her,
He cracks a smile and laughs.
His feet He sets on the footstool,
And twiddles His fingers.
He lifts His voice
And shouts:
"Why has Lady Asherah of the Sea come?
Why came the Creatress of Gods?
Art Thou hungry?
Then have a morsel!
Or art Thou thirsty?
Then have a drink!
Eat!
Or drink!
Eat bread from the tables!
Drink wine from the goblets!
From a cup of gold, the blood of vines!
If the love of El moves Thee,
Yea the affection of The Bull arouses Thee!"

And Lady Asherah of the Sea replies:
"Thy word, El, is wise;
Thou art wise unto eternity;
Lucky life is Thy word.
Our king is Aliyan Baal,
Out judge, and none is above Him.
Let both of Us drain His chalice;
Both of Us drain His cup!"

Loudly Bull-El, Her father, shouts,
King El who brought Her into being;
There shout Asherah and Her sons,
The Goddess and the band of Her brood:
"Lo there is no house unto Baal like the Gods.
Not a court like the sons of Asherah:
The dwelling of El,
The shelter of His sons.
The dwelling of Lady Asherah of the Sea,
The dwelling of the renowned brides.
The dwelling of Pidray, girl of Light.
The shelter of Tallay, girl of rain.
The dwelling of Arsay, girl of Yaabdar."

And the God of Mercy replied:
"Am I to act as a lackey of Asherah?
Am I to act like the holder of a trowel?
If the handmaid of Asherah will make the bricks
A house shall be built for Baal like the Gods.
Yea a court like the sons of Asherah."

And Lady Asherah of the Sea replied:
"Thou art great, O El,
Thou are verily wise!
The gray of Thy beard hath verily instructed Thee!
Here are pectorals of gold for Thy breast.

Lo, also it is the time of His rain.
Baal sets the season,
And gives forth His voice from the clouds.
He flashes lightning to the earth.
As a house of cedars let Him complete it,
Or a house of bricks let Him erect it!
Let it be told to Aliyan Baal:
'The mountains will bring Thee much silver.
The hills, the choicest of gold;
The mines will bring Thee precious stones,
And build a house of silver and gold.
A house of lapis gems!'"

The Virgin Anath rejoices.
She jumps with the feet
And leaves the earth.
Then She sets face toward the Lord of Saphon's crest
By the thousand acres,
Yea the myriad hectares.
The Virgin Anath laughs.
She lifts Her voice
And shouts:
"Be informed, Baal!
Thy news I bring!
A house shall be built for Thee as for Thy brothers,
Even as a court as for Thy kin!
The mountains will bring Thee much silver.
The hills, the choicest of gold;
The mines will bring Thee precious stones,
And build a house of silver and gold.
A house of lapis gems!"

Aliyan Baal rejoices.
The mountains bring Him much silver,
The mines bring Him precious stones.

Kothar-u-Khasis is sent.
After Kothar-u-Khasis arrived,
He sets an ox in front of Him.
A fatling directly before Him.
A chair is placed,
And He is seated
At the right of Aliyan Baal,
Until They have eaten
And drunk.

And Aliyan Baal declares:
"Hurry, let a house be built.
Hurry, let a palace be erected!
Hurry, let a house be built.
Hurry, let a palace be erected
In the midst of the heights of Saphon!
A thousand acres the house is to comprise,
A myriad hectares, the palace!"

And Kothar-u-Khasis declares:
"Hear, O Aliyan Baal!
Percieve, O Rider of Clouds!
I shall surely put a window in the house,
A casement in the midst of the palace!"

And Aliyan Baal replies:
"Do not put a window in the house,
A casement in the midst of the palace!
Let not Pidray, girl of Light,
Nor Tallay, girl of rain,
Be seen by El's beloved Yam Nahar!"
The Lord reviles and spits.

And Kothar-u-Khasis replies:
"Thou wilt return, Baal, to My word."

Of ceders His house is to be built,
Of bricks is His palace to be erected.
He goes to Lebabob and it's trees,
To Syria and the choicest of it's cedars.
Lo, Lebanon and it's trees,
Syria and it's cedars.
Fire is set on the house,
Flame on the palace.
Behold a day and a second,
The fire eats into the house,
The flame into the palace.
A fifth, a sixth day,
The fire eats into the house,
The flame in the midst of the palace.
Behold, on the seventh day,
The fire departs from the house,
The flame from the palace.
Silver turns from blocks,
Gold is turned from bricks.

Aliyan Baal rejoices.
"My house have I built of silver.
My palace of gold have I made."

His house, Baal prepairs.
Hadad prepares the housewarming of His palace.
He slaughters great and small cattle
He fells oxen and ram-fatlings.
Yearling calves,
Little lambs and kids.
He called His brothers into His house.
His kinsmen into the midst of His palace.
He called the Seventy sons of Asherah.
He caused the shep Gods to drink wine.
He caused the ewe Goddesses to drink wine.
He cause the bull Gods to drink wine.
He caused the cow Goddesses to drink wine.
He caused the throne Gods to drink wine.
He caused the chair Goddesses to drink wine.
He caused the jar Gods to drink wine.
He caused the jug Goddesses to drink wine.
Until the Gods had eaten and drunk,
And the sucklings quaffed
With a keen knife
A slice of fatling.
They drink wine from a goblet,
From a cup of gold, the blood of vines.

Lord Baal went on to take possession of many earthly cities. Sixty-six, Seventy-Seven towns He took. Eighty, Ninety was the total number of cities that fell to the possession of Mighty Hadad. Thus Baal returned to His home as Lord of all the World.

As Baal went into the midst of the house
Aliyan Baal declared:
"I would install, Kothar, son of the Sea,
Yea Kothar, son of the assembly!
Let a casement be opened in the house;
A window in the midst of the palace,
And let the clouds be opened with rain
On the opening of Kothar-u-Khasis."

Kothar-u-Khasis laughed.
He lifts His voice
And shouts:
"Did I not tell Thee, O Aliyan Baal,
That Thou wouldst return, Baal, to My word?
Let a casement be opened in the house,
A window in the midst of the palace!"

Baal opened the clouds with rain,
His holy voice He gives forth in the heavens.

The enemies of Baal seize the forests,
The foes of Hadad, the fringes of the mountain.
And Aliyan Baal declares:
"Enemies of Hadad, why do Ye invade?
Why do Ye invade the arsenal of Our defense?"
Weeping, Baal returns to His house:
"Whether king
Or commander
Be invested with sovereignty over the land,
Respects I shall not send to Mavet,
Nor greetings to El's beloved, the Hero!"

Mavet calls from His throat,
The Beloved meditates in His inwards:
"I alone am He who will rule over the Gods.
Yea command Gods and men.
Even dominate the multitudes of the earth."

Aloud Baal cries to His lads:
"Look, Gupan and Ugar, sons of Galmat,
Errand lads, sons of Zalmat
The lofty and distinguished!
Then surely set face
Toward the mountain of Tergezz,
Toward the mountain of Shermeg,
Toward the furrow of the thriving of the earth.
Lift the mountain on the hands,
The hill on top of the palms,
And go down into to nether-reaches of the earth
So that You will be counted amoung those who go down into the earth!
Then shall Ye set face
Toward His city, Hemry.
Lo, the throne on which He sits
In the midst of the land of His inheritance
And the guards of the defense of the Gods.
Do not draw near the God Mavet,
Lest He make You like a lamb in His mouth,
Like a kid in His jaws Ye be crushed!
The Torch of the Gods, Shapash, burns;
The heavens halt on account of El's darling, Mavet.
By the thousand acres,
Yea the myriad hectares
At the feet of Mavet bow and fall.
Prostrate Yourselves and honor Him!
And say to the God Mavet,
Declare to El's beloved, the Hero:

And Baal spoke His word to His lads. He sent His message to Mavet. The Lord Hadad refused to pay tribute to the Beloved of El. Mavet was enfuriated, and sent His word back to Baal. He declared that, because Baal had destroyed the Serpent Lotan, He would exact revenge by devouring Baal. The messengers of Baal informed Baal that Mavet would open His mouth wide.

"A lip to earth,
A lip to heaven,
And a tounge to the stars
So that Baal may enter His inwards,
Yea, descend into His mouth
As scorched is the olive,
The produce of the Earth,
And the fruit of the Trees."

Aliyan Baal fears Him,
The Rider of the Clouds dreads Him.
"Depart! Speak to the God Mavet.
Declare to El's Beloved, the Hero:
The message of Aliyan Baal,
The word of Aliy the Warrior:
'Hail, O God Mavet!
Thy slave am I,
Yea Thine forever.'"

The Gods depart and do not sit.
Then They set face toward the God Mavet.
Toward His city, Hemry.
Behold it is the throne of His sitting,
Yea the land of His inheritance!
They lift Their voices
And shout:
"The message of Aliyan Baal
The word of Aliy the Warrior!
"Hail, O God Mavet!
Thy slave am I,
Yea Thine forever!"

The God Mavet is glad. Baal will be delivered unto Him, and the fertility of the land will die with Him. Baal feasts His last meal, and Mavet commands Him:

"I shall put Him in the grave of the Gods of the earth.
And Thou, take Thy clouds,
Thy wind, Thy storm, Thy rains!
With Thee Thy seven lads,
Thine eight swine.
With Thee, Pidray, girl of Light,
With Thee, Tallay, girl of rain.
Then Thy face shalt Thou set toward the mountain of Kenkeny.
Lift the mountain on the hands,
The hill on top of the palms,
And go down to the nether reaches of the earth
So that Thou mayest be counted amoung those who do down into the earth,
And all may know that Thou art dead!"

Aliyan Baal hearkens.
He loves a heifer in Deber,
A young cow in the fields of Shechelmemet.
He lies with Her seventy-seven times,
Yea, eighty-eight times,
So that She conceives
And bears Moshe.

Baal was found dead there in the fields of Shechelmemet, in the land of Deber. The news reaches the ears of El, Father of Shunem:

Thereupon the God of Mercy
Goes down from the throne,
Sits on the footstool,
And from the footstool sits on the earth.
He pours the ashes of grief on His head,
The dust of wallowing on His pate.
For clothing, He is covered with a doubled cloak.
He roams the mountain in mourning,
Yea through the forest in grief.
He cuts cheek and chin,
He lacerates His forearms.
He plows His chest like a garden;
Like a vale He lacerates His back.
He lifts His voice
And shouts:
"Baal is dead!
Woe to the people of Dagon's son!
Woe to the multitudes of Athar-Baal!
I shall go down into the earth."

Also Anath goes
And treads every mountain to the midst of the Earth.
Every hill to the midst of the fields.
She comes to the goodness of the land of Deber,
The beauty of the fields of Shechelmemet.
She comes upon Baal prostrate on the earth.

For clothing She is covered with a doubled cloak.
The mountain in mournig She roams.
In grief, through the forest.
She cuts cheek and chin.
She lacerates Her forearms.
She plows lake a garden Her chest,
Like a vale She lacerates the back.
"Baal is dead!
Woe to the people of Dagon's son!
Woe to the multitudes of Athar-Baal!
Let us go down into the earth."

With Her goes down the Torch of the Gods, Shapash.
Until She is sated with weeping,
She drinks tears like wine.
Aloud She cries to the Torch of the Gods, Shapash:
"Load Aliyan Baal on to Me!"

The Torch of the Gods, Shapash, hearkens.
She lifts Aliyan Baal,
On the shoulders of Anath She places Him,
She raises Him into the heights of Saphon.
She weeps for Him and buries Him.
She puts Him in the grave of the Gods of the earth.

She sacrifices seventy buffaloes
As an offering for Aliyan Baal.
She sacrifices seventy oxen
As an offering for Aliyan Baal.
She sacrifices seventy head of small cattle
As an offering for Aliyan Baal.
She sacrifices seventy deer
As an offering for Aliyan Baal.
She sacrifices seventy wild goats
As an offering for Aliyan Baal.
She sacrifices seventy asses
As an offering for Aliyan Baal.

Then She sets face toward El
At the sources of the Two Rivers,
In the midst of the streams of the Two Deeps.
She enters the abode of El,
Goes into the domicile of the King, Father Shunem.
At the feet of El She bends and falls,
Prostrates Herself and honors Him.
She lifts Her voice
And shouts:
"Let Asherah and Her sons rejoice,
The Goddess and the band of Her brood!
For dead is Aliyan Baal,
For Perished is the Prince, Lord of Earth!"

Aloud cries El to Asherah of the Sea:
"Hear, O Lady Asherah of the Sea!
Give one of Thy sons that I may make Him king!"

And Lady Asherah of the Sea replies:
"Let Us make king one who knows how to govern!"

And the God of Mercy declares:
"One feeble of frame will not vie with Baal,
Nor wield a spear against Dagon's son."

When the parley is finished,
Lady Asherah of the Sea declares:
"Let Us make Ashtar the Terrible king!
Let Ashtar the Terrible reign!"

Thereupon Ashtar the Terrible
Goes into the heights of Saphon
That He may sit on the throne of Aliyan Baal.
His feet do not reach the footstool,
Nor does His head reach it's top.
And Ashtar the Terrible says:
"I cannot rule in the heights of Saphon!"
Ashtar the Terrible goes down,
Goes down from the throne of Aliyan Baal,
That He may rule over all the grand earth.

Anath goes now to face Mavet, the Darling of El, the Hero.

As with the heart of a cow toward her calf,
As with the heart of an ete toward her lamb,
So is the heart of Anath toward Baal.
She seizes Mavet, in ripping His garment.
She closes in on Him, in tearing His clothes.
She lifts Her voice
And shouts:
"Come, Mavet, yield My brother!"

And the God Mavet replies:
"What does Thou ask, O Virgin Anath?
I was going,
And roaming
Every mountain to the midst of the earth,
Every hill to the midst of the fields.
A soul was missing amoung men,
A soul of the multitudes of the earth.
I arrived at the goodness of the land of Debar,
The beauty of the fields of Shechelmemet.
I met Aliyan Baal;
I made Him like a lamb in My mouth.
Like a kid in My jaws was He crushed."

The Torch of the Gods, Shapash, glows,
The heavens stop on account of the God Mavet.
A day, two days pass.
From days to months.

The maiden Anath meets Him.
As with the heart of a cow toward her calf,
As with the heart of an ete toward her lamb,
So is the heart of Anath toward Baal.
She siezes the God Mavet.
With a sword She cleaves Him,
With a pitchfork She winnows Him,
With a fire She burns Him,
In the millstones She grinds Him,
In the fields She plants Him,
So that the birds do not eat His flesh,
Nor the fowl destroy His portion.
Flesh calls to flesh.

The Great El, Father Shunem, declares of the lost God Baal:

"For perished is the Prince, Lord of Earth.
And if Aliyan Baal is alive,
And if the Prince, Lord of Earth, exists,
In a dream of the God of Mercy,
In a vision of the Creator of Creatures,
Let the heavens rain oil,
The wadies run with honey,
That I may know that Aliyan Baal is alive,
That the Prince, Lord of Earth, exists."

In a dream of the God of Mercy,
In a vision of the Creator of Creatures,
The heavens rain oil,
The wadies run with honey,
The God of Mercy rejoices.
His feet He sets on the footstool.
He cracks a smile and laughs.
He lifts His voice
And shouts:
"Let Me sit and rest,
And let My soul repose in My breast.
For Aliyan Baal is alive,
For the Prince, Lord of Earth, exists."
Aloud shouts El to the Virgin Anath:
"Hear, O Virgin Anath,
Say to the Torch of the Gods, Shapash:
'Over the furrows of the fields, O Shapash,
Over the furrows of the fields let El set Thee.
As for the Lord of the Plowed Furrows,
Where is Aliyan Baal?
Where is the Prince, Lord of Earth?'"

The Virgin Anath departs.
Then She sets face toward the Torch of the Gods, Shapash.
She lifts Her voice
And shouts:
"The message of Bull-El, Thy father,
The word of the God of Mercy, Thy begetter:
'Over the furrows of the fields, O Shapash,
Over the furrows of the fields let El set Thee!
As for the Lord of the Furrows of His plowing,
Where is Aliyan Baal?
Where is the Prince, Lord of Earth?'"

And the Torch of the Gods, Shapash, replies:
"I shall seek Aliyan Baal!"

And the Virgin Anath answers:
"As for Me, tis not I, O Shapash!
As for Me, tis not I, but El summons Thee!
May the Gods guard Thee in Sheol!"

Shapash descends into the underworld. She enters the relm of Sheol. Upon Her return to the world above, She carries Great Baal with Her. Ball goes into the heights of Saphon. He confronts Mavet, the Hero.

Baal seizes the son of Asherah.
The great one He smites on the shoulder.
The tyrant He smites with a stick.
Mavet is vanquished,
Reaches earth.

Baal returns to the throne of His kingship,
Dagon's son to the seat of His sovereignty.
From days to months,
From months to years,
Lo in the seventh year.

And the God Mavet addresses Himself to Aliyan Baal.
He lifts His voice
And shouts:
"Because of Thee, O Baal, I have experienced humiliation.
Because of Thee, experienced scattering by the sword.
Because of Thee, experienced burning in the fire.
Because of Thee, experienced grinding in the millstones.
Because of Thee, experienced winnowing by the pitchfork.
Because of Thee, experienced being planted in the feilds.
Because of Thee, experienced being sown in the sea."

Thereupon Mavet threatens to destroy Baal in revenge. He threatens to take the kingship of Baal. Baal expels Him, drives Him out of the heights of Saphon. Mavet vows His revenge eupon Baal:

"And lo, as a brother of Yam Thou art made, Baal is given
As retribution for the destroyed sons of My mother!"

He returns to the Lord of the heights of Saphon,
He lifts His voice
And shouts:
"A brother of Yam Thou art made, O Baal!
As retribution for the destroyed sons of My mother!"

They shake each other like Gemar-beasts,
Mavet is strong, Baal is strong.
They gore each other like buffaloes,
Mavet is strong, Baal is strong.
They bite like serpents,
Mavet is strong, Baal is strong.
They kick like racing beasts,
Mavet is down, Ball is down.

Up comes Shapash.
She cries to Mavet:
"Hear, O God Mavet!
How canst Thou fight with Aliyan Baal?
How will Bull-El, Thy father, not hear Thee?
Will He not remove the supports of Thy throne?
Nor upset the seat of Thy kingship?
Nor break the scepter of Thy rule?"

The Got Mavet is afraid,
El's Beloved, the Hero, is frightened.
Mavet is roused from His prstration.

The God of Sterility submits to Baal. He conceeds the kingship to the Lord of Earth. Baal returns to the Heights of Saphon, but Anath does not go with Him. She turns Her anger to the enemies of Baal. To those who were fickle against Baal in His trials. The attacks mankind.

Like the fruit of seven daughters,
The scent of kids and anhb-animals,
Both gates of Anath's house.

And the lads chance upon the Lady of the Mountain.
And lo, Anath smites in the valley,
Fighting between the two cities.
She smites the people of the seashore,
Destroys mankind of the sunrise.
Under Her are heads like vultures.
Over Her are hands like locusts,
Like thorns, the hands of troops.
She piles up heads on Her back,
She ties up hands in Her bundle.
Knee-deep She plunges in the blood of soldiery,
Up to the neck in the gore of troops.
With a stick She drives out foes,
Against the flank She draws Her bow.

And lo, Anath reaches Her house,
Yea the Goddess enters Her palace,
But is not satisfied.
She had smitten in the valley,
Fought between the two cities.

She hurls chairs at the troops,
Hurling tables at the soldiers,
Footstools at the heroes.
Much She smites and looks,
Fights and views.
Anath gluts Her liver with laughter.
Her heart is filled with joy,
For Anath's hand is victory.
For knee-deep She plunges in the blood of soldiery,
Up to the neck in the gore of troops.

Until She is sated She smites in the house,
Fights between the two tables,
Shedding the blood of soldiery.

Pouring the oil of peace from a bowl,
The Virgin Anath washes Her hands,
The Progenitress of Heroes, Her fingers.
She washes Her hands in the blood of soldiery,
Her fingers in the gore of troops.

Arranging portions by the chairs,
Tables by the tables,
Footstools She arranges by the footstools.
She gathers water and washes
With dew of heaven,
Fat of earth,
Rain of the Rider of Clouds,
The dew that the heavens pour,
The rain that the stars pour.
The anhb-animals leap by the thousand acres,
The zuh-fish in the sea, by the myriads of hectares.


Information supplied by: "http://phoenicia.org

26.5 Catharism

Some Catharists may have interacted with kabbalists around the 12th century in Southern France, i.e. the time and the location where the Bahir first went public. Their doctrines included:[2629]

Text 26-2: Catharism on the Illusion of the Material World
Although the various groups emphasized different doctrines, they all agreed that matter was evil. Man was an alien and a sojourner in an evil world; his aim must be to free his spirit, which was in its nature good, and restore it to communion with God. There were strict rules for fasting, including the total prohibition of meat. Sexual intercourse was forbidden; complete ascetic renunciation of the world was called for.

The Cathar doctrines of creation led them to rewrite the biblical story; they devised an elaborate mythology to replace it. They viewed much of the Old Testament with reserve; some of them rejected it altogether. The orthodox doctrine of the Incarnation was rejected. Jesus was merely an angel; his human sufferings and death were an illusion. They also severely criticized the worldliness and corruption of the Catholic Church.

Interestingly, the Catharists lived in the same location as the Bahir’s discovery. Might there be an historical connection in their thought with the Bahir’s kabbalah? Althought Catharism is a Gnosticism there is one intersection as in the Catharist cross with the Kabbalah’s Bahir and that is the unconditional love of the Shechinah the presence of G-d with the masculine of G-d and Her children.

From “The mysteries of the great cross of Hendaye: alchemy and the end of time” by Jay Weidner, Vincent Bridges:

Text 26-3: R. Jacob the Nazarite, Elijah 1216 AD, and the Bahir – Jay Weidner

jkm102.png jkm103.png jkm104.png


Text 26-4: Maimonides and the 1216

“Maimonides points out the danger and impiety of attempting to calculate the date of the advent of the Messiah, which has been purposely concealed. It is very curious, however, that while he condemns the speculation about the exact date of the Messiah's coming, he mentions in the same letter, that, according to a tradition handed down in his family, prophecy, the forerunner of the Messiah, will re-appear in the year 1216.”

Rabbi Moses ben Nachman, Nachmanides or the Ramban, was born in 1194 and immigrated to Israel in 1216 at the age of 22.[2630] Quite likely he was familiar with this prophecy and saw his return to Israel as part of the messianic age.


The year 1216 alludes to the Bahir arrangement of the sefirot with the partzuf Nukva above Ben.[2631] Bahir 3 has a metaphor of a king who gives his daughter to his son.[2632] The daughter is also Wisdom. The filling (milah) that is a blessing alludes to the secret below. The Bet symbolizes the Shechinah. The Torah begins with the letter Bet, because it is the Female that is the source of creation. Also it is in ones house where the blessing resides.

The secret key is the love of Mary Magdalane[2633] for JC. While this may be considered ordinary, it was actually quite extraordinary. Mary overlooked the questionable ‘stain’ on JC’s birth because of his unknown father.[2634] Normally this would have restricted JC’s marriage choice to one outside the house of Israel or someone similarly estranged as a possible mamzer (adulteress, incestuous descent).[2635] However, Mary Magdalane was neither. Although her lover was questionably unfit, she considered him betrothed to her. The law that decrees someone unfit, is shaken to its foundation. The suffering caused by discrimination is removed. The nobility of spirit and blessing of love is upon them. The balance of male and female is the seed or the balanced cross[2636] wafer deposited in the upside down M that is the womb of Mary, the Holy Grail:[2637]

Figure 26-1: Tarot Ace of Cups - Holy Grail

jkm105.png

JC’s mother Mary of Bethlehem represents another form of unconditional love. Mary would not forsake the son of the unreported father, nor state whether she was a victim. Her love is a metaphor for the unconditional love of G-d for Her people. In kabbalah this is the unconditional love of the Shechinah, the presence of G-d, despite the blemish or sin of the people. She would rather go into exile wandering with Her people than stay in the heavenly presence. Her secret is contained in the Bahir. Rachel’s love for her children whose tears for the loss of her son Joseph led to her early death is another metaphor. She is buried alongside the road of forced exile to Babylon that her descendents took after defeat to the Assyrians.

The divine feminine quality of G-d, the partzufim of mother (Mary of Bethlehem) and daughter (companion Mary of Migdal) united with father (God) and son (messiah JC) is mirrored in the love of Marry Magdalane for JC. That the Cathars held that she was pregnant and bore a child to JC who is heir to the messianic throne is part of the Legend of the Sangrail.

From Leonardo da Vinci, Ultima Cena, Milano, Santa Maria delle Grazie, 1494 – 1498:[2638]

Figure 26-2: Leonardo da Vinci Last Supper
jkm106.png

26.6 Christianity

26.6.1 Introduction

Christianity is perhaps the most successful religion in producing generous people in the world. Synthesizing an ethical code from Judaism and a gift-giving spirit from Saturnalia[2639], the religion has turned a large number of people into beneficent individuals.[2640] What is the secret of Christianity’s success in transforming the world?

For the Christian, generosity is born out of recognition of the suffering of ‘Jesus the Christ’[2641] for atonement. The principle of intrinsic or original sin in humanity is the foundation of Christianity. Yet, humility is born out of this guilt.[2642] By degrading the human condition, Christianity breaks the yolk of self-importance liberating the generous spirit that often lies dormant in humanity.

Asceticism, self-deprecation, glorification of a “Savior”, and to believe in the greater importance of the afterlife serves to remove selfishness from the individual, and to create good will towards each other. The theological idea of the ‘Virgin Birth’ is the basis of the greatest sacrifice that man could ever imagine, setting the cornerstone of this religion.[2643]

Could this religion have been created without bashing the Pharisees and their descendents? The self-improving-self-deprecating ideology of Christianity derives from the experiences of Jesus with his fellow Jews. Jesus’ and Paul’s insinuations of the arrogance of Jews although misplaced serve to breakdown resistance of future gentiles to Christian conversion. Furthermore, Christianity’s sacrifice of a deity to end conceit is overwhelming; yet, the incarnation of a deity is not a biblical expectation or necessity.[2644]

Text 26-5: Numbers 23:19
God is not a man – לא איש אל, that he should lie – ויכזב; nor the son of man, that he should repent – ובן-אדם ויתנחם ההוא. Has He said, and shall He not do it or has He spoken, and shall He not make it good?

The original Judeo-Christian families returned to Judaism or assimilated over time. Ironically, all that remained of this sect were the followers that Paul made from his missionary journeys, while not approved or even of the same substance as the original Jewish followers of Jesus. Paul’s witnessing of the Sanhedrin’s stoning of Stephen galvanized him away from Torah law and into an anti-Mosaic perspective. If not for this one execution, Christianity would have likely faded with the other failed messianic movements into the history of Judaism.[2645]

26.6.2 Companion

Since Jesus’ father was unknown, he would have been stigmatized as possibly illegitimate.[2646] This would have limited his ability to marry as descendents of certain peoples were not allowed to marry into the people of Israel. While this was overlooked in the story of Ruth; in most cases this stigma would be a problem. Hence it is not surprising that Jesus would have taken Mary Magdalaine as his companion, an idea popularized in Gnostic tradition.[2647]

Jesus’ teachings rejected ‘scribal’ laws that alienate and discriminate based on class, nationality, or religion. Jesus’ selection of his companion is as great a lesson as the wife of Hosea and the names of their children. Ironically, the vanity of Christianity buried this fact, which would only have enhanced his greatness without deification. Now Jesus, a victim of illegitimacy overcomes his stigmatized birth to teach a greater moral lesson for humanity. Instead, the New Testament focuses on tracing his messianic lineage, supplanting his missing father. I think it is helpful for an orphan to see his father as G-d in the way Jesus did. Yet, the idea of an “only begotton Son” dissuades a lesson even for orphans.

26.6.3 Mark

Perhaps closest to the time of Jesus’ life, Mark preserved much of the traditional understandings of the life of Jesus.

Text 26-6: Mark 11:12-14, 20-21 (NIV)
The next day..., Jesus was hungry. Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. Then he said to the tree, "May no one ever eat fruit from you again." ... In the morning..., they saw the fig tree withered from the roots. Peter ... said to Jesus, "Rabbi, look! The fig tree ... has withered!"

Here, Jesus is a man not exhibiting the omniscience of a deity. He must find out whether the tree has fruit. The destruction of the tree resembles the Gourd of Jonah or even the sacrifices of Leviticus. There is an unfounded loss of life to serve a metaphorical purpose.

26.6.4 Matthew

Jesus reveals his Essene tradition by his depth of immersion in the commandments of G-d, going beyond the letter of the law deep into its intention.

Text 26-7: Matthew 5-6 (NIV)

(Mat 5:1 NIV) Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him,
(Mat 5:2 NIV) and he began to teach them, saying:
(Mat 5:3 NIV) "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Those who had their materialism stolen or lost it or sacrificed it.

(Mat 5:4 NIV) Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

The suffering of mourning will come to an end.

(Mat 5:5 NIV) Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

The Humble will inherit the world.

(Mat 5:6 NIV) Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
(Mat 5:7 NIV) Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
(Mat 5:8 NIV) Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
(Mat 5:9 NIV) Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.
(Mat 5:10 NIV) Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
(Mat 5:11 NIV) "Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.
(Mat 5:12 NIV) Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
(Mat 5:13 NIV) "You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.

The good endeavors are ones salt.

(Mat 5:14 NIV) "You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.
(Mat 5:15 NIV) Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.
(Mat 5:16 NIV) In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
(Mat 5:17 NIV) "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.
(Mat 5:18 NIV) I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.

(Mat 5:19 NIV) Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

These include the commandments kept by the Pharisees with focus on the moral commandments.

(Mat 5:20 NIV) For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.

Jesus seeks a deeper immersion into the Torah than mere scholarship or simplicity. He seeks authenticity.

(Mat 5:21 NIV) "You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.'
(Mat 5:22 NIV) But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, 'Raca, ' is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, 'You fool!' will be in danger of the fire of hell.

Not to become angry becomes a fence around murder, a mighty fence that even Jesus struggles with.

(Mat 5:23 NIV) "Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you,
(Mat 5:24 NIV) leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.

Not to bare a grudge before bringing an offering.

(Mat 5:25 NIV) "Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still with him on the way, or he may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison.
(Mat 5:26 NIV) I tell you the truth, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.
(Mat 5:27 NIV) "You have heard that it was said, 'Do not commit adultery.'
(Mat 5:28 NIV) But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

Not gazing at women lustfully becomes a fence against adultery.

(Mat 5:29 NIV) If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.
(Mat 5:30 NIV) And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.
(Mat 5:31 NIV) "It has been said, 'Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.'
(Mat 5:32 NIV) But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery.

Jesus’ spiritual perception of marriage makes divorce inconceivable. Perhaps, but some financial support could be necessary so that two can physically live with each other.

(Mat 5:33 NIV) "Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not break your oath, but keep the oaths you have made to the Lord.'
(Mat 5:34 NIV) But I tell you, Do not swear at all: either by heaven, for it is God's throne;

Classic Jewish prohibition on making a vow.

(Mat 5:35 NIV) or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King.
(Mat 5:36 NIV) And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black.
(Mat 5:37 NIV) Simply let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No'; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.

Simplicity with intention, but not promises or vows; but the best we can do.

(Mat 5:38 NIV) "You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.'
(Mat 5:39 NIV) But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.

Magnification

(Mat 5:40 NIV) And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well.

Magnification

(Mat 5:41 NIV) If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.

Magnification

(Mat 5:42 NIV) Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.
(Mat 5:43 NIV) "You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.'
(Mat 5:44 NIV) But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,

Magnification

(Mat 5:45 NIV) that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
(Mat 5:46 NIV) If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?
(Mat 5:47 NIV) And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?
(Mat 5:48 NIV) Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Matthew 6 - NIV Translation

(Mat 6:1 NIV) "Be careful not to do your 'acts of righteousness' before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.
(Mat 6:2 NIV) "So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.
(Mat 6:3 NIV) But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,
(Mat 6:4 NIV) so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
(Mat 6:5 NIV) "And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.
(Mat 6:6 NIV) But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
(Mat 6:7 NIV) And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.
(Mat 6:8 NIV) Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
(Mat 6:9 NIV) "This, then, is how you should pray: "'Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,
(Mat 6:10 NIV) your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
(Mat 6:11 NIV) Give us today our daily bread.
(Mat 6:12 NIV) Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
(Mat 6:13 NIV) And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.'
(Mat 6:14 NIV) For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
(Mat 6:15 NIV) But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
(Mat 6:16 NIV) "When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.
(Mat 6:17 NIV) But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face,
(Mat 6:18 NIV) so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
(Mat 6:19 NIV) "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.
(Mat 6:20 NIV) But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.
(Mat 6:21 NIV) For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
(Mat 6:22 NIV) "The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light.
(Mat 6:23 NIV) But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!
(Mat 6:24 NIV) "No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.
(Mat 6:25 NIV) "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?
(Mat 6:26 NIV) Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?
(Mat 6:27 NIV) Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life ?
(Mat 6:28 NIV) "And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.
(Mat 6:29 NIV) Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.
(Mat 6:30 NIV) If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
(Mat 6:31 NIV) So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?'
(Mat 6:32 NIV) For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.
(Mat 6:33 NIV) But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
(Mat 6:34 NIV) Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

26.6.5 Hebrews

While the priest served as an intermediary, the Hebrews never prayed to a priest nor was an intermediary needed in prayer, but only in offerings.

Christianity inherited the Essene tradition. Rabbinical Judaism inherited the Pharisee tradition. Both are legitimate expressions of a post-temple cataclysm.

26.6.6 Romans

Filled with mistranslations that attempt to alienate the choseness of the Jewish people from G-d, from Romans we can see the desire to stamp out the place of Israel in G-d’s plans. Perhaps here for the first time I can understand the wrath of the prophets and rabbis against Edom, as Esau’s descendents appear more concerned about supplanting their brother than saving his life.

Text 26-8: Isaiah 10:20-23
20. And it shall come to pass in that day, that the remnant of Israel, and such of the house of Jacob who have escaped, shall no more again rely upon him who struck them; but shall rely upon the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, in truth.
21. The remnant shall return, the remnant of Jacob, to the mighty God.
22. For though your people Israel be as the sand of the sea, still a remnant of them shall return; the destruction decreed shall overflow with righteousness.
23. For the Lord God of hosts shall make a destruction, as decreed, in the midst of all the land.

Isaiah is mistranslated in Romans to change returning to Israel with vicarious salavation suggesting the remainders are condemned who do not believe in JC.

Text 26-9: Romans 9:27 – 10:1
ROM 9:27 Esaias also crieth concerning Israel, Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved:

ROM 9:28 For he will finish the work, and cut it short in righteousness: because a short work will the Lord make upon the earth.

ROM 9:29 And as Esaias said before, Except the Lord of Sabaoth had left us a seed, we had been as Sodoma, and been made like unto Gomorrha.

ROM 9:30 What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith.

ROM 9:31 But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness.

ROM 9:32 Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone;

ROM 9:33 As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

ROM 10:1 Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.

ROM 10:2 For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.

ROM 10:3 For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.

ROM 10:4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.

ROM 10:5 For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them.

ROM 10:6 But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:)

ROM 10:7 Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.)

ROM 10:8 But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;

ROM 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

ROM 10:10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

ROM 10:11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

ROM 10:12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.

ROM 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Seems 10:13 suggests the original text while 10:9 is modified to exclude Israel.

26.6.7 Execution of Stephen


Text 26-10: Stephen's Testimony Before the Sanhedren – Acts 6:8 – 7:53
8 Now Stephen, a man full of God's grace and power, did great wonders and miraculous signs among the people.[2648] 9 Opposition arose, however, from members of the Synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called)--Jews of Cyrene and Alexandria as well as the provinces of Cilicia and Asia. These men began to argue with Stephen, 10 but they could not stand up against his wisdom or the Spirit by whom he spoke. 11 Then they secretly persuaded some men to say, "We have heard Stephen speak words of blasphemy against Moses and against God." 12 So they stirred up the people and the elders and the teachers of the law. They seized Stephen and brought him before the Sanhedrin. 13 They produced false witnesses, who testified, "This fellow never stops speaking against this holy place and against the law. 14 For we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and change the customs Moses handed down to us." 15 All who were sitting in the Sanhedrin looked intently at Stephen, and they saw that his face was like the face of an angel.

1 Then the high priest asked him, "Are these charges true?" 2 To this he replied: "Brothers and fathers, listen to me! The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham while he was still in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran. 3 'Leave your country and your people,' God said, 'and go to the land I will show you.' 4 "So he left the land of the Chaldeans and settled in Haran. After the death of his father, God sent him to this land where you are now living. 5 He gave him no inheritance here, not even a foot of ground. But God promised him that he and his descendants after him would possess the land, even though at that time Abraham had no child. 6 God spoke to him in this way: 'Your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and mistreated four hundred years. 7 But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves,' God said, 'and afterward they will come out of that country and worship me in this place.' 8 Then he gave Abraham the covenant of circumcision. And Abraham became the father of Isaac and circumcised him eight days after his birth. Later Isaac became the father of Jacob, and Jacob became the father of the twelve patriarchs. 9 "Because the patriarchs were jealous of Joseph, they sold him as a slave into Egypt. But God was with him 10 and rescued him from all his troubles. He gave Joseph wisdom and enabled him to gain the goodwill of Pharaoh king of Egypt; so he made him ruler over Egypt and all his palace. 11 "Then a famine struck all Egypt and Canaan, bringing great suffering, and our fathers could not find food. 12 When Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt, he sent our fathers on their first visit. 13 On their second visit, Joseph told his brothers who he was, and Pharaoh learned about Joseph's family. 14 After this, Joseph sent for his father Jacob and his whole family, seventy-five in all. 15 Then Jacob went down to Egypt, where he and our fathers died. 16 Their bodies were brought back to Shechem and placed in the tomb that Abraham had bought from the sons of Hamor at Shechem for a certain sum of money.

17 "As the time drew near for God to fulfill his promise to Abraham, the number of our people in Egypt greatly increased. 18 Then another king, who knew nothing about Joseph, became ruler of Egypt. 19 He dealt treacherously with our people and oppressed our forefathers by forcing them to throw out their newborn babies so that they would die. 20 "At that time Moses was born, and he was no ordinary child. For three months he was cared for in his father's house. 21 When he was placed outside, Pharaoh's daughter took him and brought him up as her own son. 22 Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in speech and action. 23 "When Moses was forty years old, he decided to visit his fellow Israelites. 24 He saw one of them being mistreated by an Egyptian, so he went to his defense and avenged him by killing the Egyptian. 25 Moses thought that his own people would realize that God was using him to rescue them, but they did not. 26 The next day Moses came upon two Israelites who were fighting. He tried to reconcile them by saying, 'Men, you are brothers; why do you want to hurt each other?' 27 "But the man who was mistreating the other pushed Moses aside and said, 'Who made you ruler and judge over us? 28 Do you want to kill me as you killed the Egyptian yesterday?' 29 When Moses heard this, he fled to Midian, where he settled as a foreigner and had two sons.

30 "After forty years had passed, an angel appeared to Moses in the flames of a burning bush in the desert near Mount Sinai. 31 When he saw this, he was amazed at the sight. As he went over to look more closely, he heard the Lord's voice: 32 'I am the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.' Moses trembled with fear and did not dare to look. 33 "Then the Lord said to him, 'Take off your sandals; the place where you are standing is holy ground. 34 I have indeed seen the oppression of my people in Egypt. I have heard their groaning and have come down to set them free. Now come, I will send you back to Egypt.' 35 "This is the same Moses whom they had rejected with the words, 'Who made you ruler and judge?' He was sent to be their ruler and deliverer by God himself, through the angel who appeared to him in the bush. 36 He led them out of Egypt and did wonders and miraculous signs in Egypt, at the Red Sea and for forty years in the desert. 37 "This is that Moses who told the Israelites, 'God will send you a prophet like me from your own people.' 38 He was in the assembly in the desert, with the angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai, and with our fathers; and he received living words to pass on to us. 39 "But our fathers refused to obey him. Instead, they rejected him and in their hearts turned back to Egypt. 40 They told Aaron, 'Make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who led us out of Egypt--we don't know what has happened to him!' 41 That was the time they made an idol in the form of a calf. They brought sacrifices to it and held a celebration in honor of what their hands had made.

42 But God turned away and gave them over to the worship of the heavenly bodies. This agrees with what is written in the book of the prophets: "'Did you bring me sacrifices and offerings forty years in the desert, O house of Israel? 43 You have lifted up the shrine of Molech and the star of your god Rephan, the idols you made to worship. Therefore I will send you into exile' beyond Babylon. 44 "Our forefathers had the tabernacle of the Testimony with them in the desert. It had been made as God directed Moses, according to the pattern he had seen. 45 Having received the tabernacle, our fathers under Joshua brought it with them when they took the land from the nations God drove out before them. It remained in the land until the time of David, 46 who enjoyed God's favor and asked that he might provide a dwelling place for the God of Jacob. 47 But it was Solomon who built the house for him. 48 "However, the Most High does not live in houses made by men. As the prophet says: 49 "'Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. What kind of house will you build for me? says the Lord. Or where will my resting place be? 50 Has not my hand made all these things?'

51 "You stiff-necked people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are just like your fathers: You always resist the Holy Spirit! 52 Was there ever a prophet your fathers did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him-- 53 you who have received the law that was put into effect through angels but have not obeyed it."

54 When they heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him. 55 But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56 "Look," he said, "I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God." 57 At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, 58 dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59 While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." 60 Then he fell on his knees and cried out, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them." When he had said this, he fell asleep.

Normally a simple contrite appearance would have mitigated capital punishment. Some of the generalizations and slander led to further arousal of the court. Perhaps Stephen was manic, the Sanhedren did not understand, and a mistaken execution would prod a young Paul to lead a crusade against his former Pharaseean peers.

26.6.8 Un-Law


Rabbi Yaakov Emden (See 31.20) taught, “The original intention of Jesus, and especially of Paul, was to convert only the Gentiles to the seven moral laws of Noah and to let the Jews follow the Mosaic law — which explains the apparent contradictions in the New Testament regarding the laws of Moses and the Sabbat[2649]2649 While the Noahide laws apply to the entire world the rest of the commandments, apply only t[2650]rael.2650 Now the reason for Paul’s decision to circumcise Timothy, whose mother was Jewish, becomes clear; although he condemned the law including circumcision.

At times Jesus differed significantly from the devotedness of the Essenes, instead fostering leniency, “The Sabbath is made for man and not man for the Sabbath” and “my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”[2651] Being from the plebeians of the Galilee, this would not be surprising.[2652] He spoke for the common man who while occupied by his chores and work, made a good effort to serve G-d—as opposed to those who threw off the yoke of work to live off of the charity of the community righteously serving G-d.

26.6.9 Blood atonement

Leviticus 17:11 is often misunderstood according to the following article:[2653]

Text 26-11: Rabbi Michael Skobac on Leviticus 17:11
One of the cornerstones of Christian theology is that the only way to achieve atonement for sins is through the offering of a sacrifice whose blood is shed in our place. The Greek Testament makes this very clear in Hebrews 9:22 “...without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” Is this idea consistent with the teachings of the Tanach, or do the Jewish and Christian bibles diverge on this issue? Christians generally insist that the absolute need for a vicarious blood sacrifice is rooted in the Torah, and cite as proof Leviticus 17:11 “For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes an atonement for the soul.”

If you are a Christian, or are a Jew who has been approached by Christian missionaries, you have probably heard many sermons on the topic of atonement, and have undoubtedly read many studies, which support the contention that there is no atonement without blood. Of course you are also aware that this is a teaching, which is not shared by traditional Jews. Have you ever wondered how they could reject what to others seems so clear? This study has been prepared to give you the opportunity to consider a different perspective on the vital issue of atonement.

ANOTHER LOOK AT LEVITICUS 17:11
You might remember that in junior high school, we were often given an assignment to write the title for a story; what is the central idea of a passage. Let's look at Leviticus 17:11 in context:

“And whatever man of the house of Israel, or of the strangers who sojourn among you, who consumes any blood, I will set My face against that person who consumes blood, and will cut him off from among his people. For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul. Therefore, I say to the children of Israel, ‘No one among you shall consume blood, nor shall any stranger who sojourns among you consume blood.’”

What should immediately be apparent is that the topic of this passage is not how to secure atonement from sins, but the prohibition against consuming blood. We are told parenthetically that the reason for this prohibition is that the blood contains the vitality of the animal (cf. Genesis 9:4, Deuteronomy 12:23) and consequently, when we bring an animal sacrifice, its blood serves as the atoning agent, and not another part of its body. Since Leviticus 17 doesn't come to teach us about the principles of atonement, we will have to look elsewhere for the Bible's most important teaching on how to repair our relationships with G-d.

Before proceeding, let's consider another point about what is, and what is not being said in Leviticus 17:11. The passage does say that since blood symbolizes the life of the animal, G-d has given it to us as a means of atoning for our sins. But does the verse clearly teach that it is the only means G-d has provided to make atonement? As with any other Biblical study, we will have to examine this question in light of the Bible as a whole. But for now, we should note that our verse merely says that blood can serve as an atonement. It is an effective means of atonement, but by no means the only form of atonement.

In the Torah, blood sacrifices were not the only path to atonement; there were other ways to achieve forgiveness. For example, incense served to atone for the people in Numbers 16:46-47, and giving charity is described in Exodus 30:15-16 and Numbers 31:50 as ‘making atonement for your souls’ - the same expression as in Leviticus 17:11. In reality, blood sacrifices were the least effective of all the means of atonement mentioned in the Bible. One important limitation to the effectiveness of sacrifices is that they were only brought for unintentional sins (i.e. someone didn't know that kindling a fire was prohibited on the Sabbath, or they were aware of this, but thought it was Sunday when kindling the fire). Sacrifices did not help to atone for sins that were done intentionally (Leviticus 4, and Numbers 15:22-31).

Examining the Christian interpretation of Leviticus 17:11 generates some serious problems. What happens if someone can't afford to purchase an animal for his sin offering? Is it possible that G-d would institute a system of atonement that could only be used by the wealthy? The Torah took this into account and allowed the poor person to bring two turtledoves or two young pigeons if he couldn't afford a lamb (Leviticus 5:7). However, what if someone was so destitute, that he couldn't afford even these small birds?

"But if his means are insufficient for two turtledoves or two young pigeons, then for his offering for that which he has sinned, he shall bring the tenth of an ephah of fine flour for a sin offering; he shall not put oil on it or place incense on it, for it is a sin offering." (Leviticus 5:11)

Since flour could be used for a sin offering, it is clear that blood was not a prerequisite for atonement. Another example will drive home the point. The proposition that only blood sacrifices could secure atonement creates a dilemma. Could it be that G-d would set up a system of atonement that wouldn't be available to all people at all times? While the Temple stood, sacrifices did serve as part of the atonement process. But what is the fate of Jewish people who don't have access to the Temple? What were the Jewish people supposed to do after 586 BCE when the first Temple was destroyed and they were exiled to Babylon? What did the Jewish people do in the times of the Macabees when the Syrian-Greeks were in control of the Temple and didn't allow sacrifices?
Christians erroneously claim that Rabbinic Judaism came up with novel, non-Biblical measures to deal with atonement after the destruction of the Temple by the Romans in 70 CE. Actually, it wasn't Talmudic innovation at all- the Bible anticipated the possibility of the cessation of sacrifices. When King Solomon finally laid the finishing touches on the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, he inaugurated it with a moving dedication speech (I Kings 8; II Chronicles 6). In this lengthy speech of almost 50 verses, you will notice that Solomon doesn't speak about sacrifices at all! This omission would be strange if the most crucial part of the Temple were the sacrifices. Actually, the central focus of the Temple was the Holy Ark (Exodus 25) containing the Torah. The Temple was first and foremost a symbol of G-d's presence and revelation to the Jewish people (I Kings 8:13, Exodus 25:8).

Towards the end of his speech, Solomon deals with the possibility of the Jewish people being denied access to the Temple in the eventuality that they are exiled from the land of Israel.

"If they return to You with all their heart and with all their soul in the land of their enemies who have taken them captive, and pray to You toward their land which You have given to their fathers, the city which You have chosen, and the house which I have built for Your name; then hear their prayer and their supplication in heaven Your dwelling place, and maintain their cause, and forgive Your people who have sinned against You and all their transgressions which they have transgressed against You..." (I Kings 8:46-50).

This seminal passage puts the spotlight on the Christian misunderstanding of Leviticus 17:11. The Bible is clearly teaching that sacrifices weren't necessary in order to atone for sins. Prayer and repentance are cited here as effective means for securing atonement. Certainly, when the Temple stood, and one could afford an animal, a sacrifice was brought as part of the atonement process for unintentional sins. Leviticus 17:11 teaches that when we bring such an animal as a sacrifice, we aren't allowed to consume its blood, because as the life force, it is the part of the animal that affects our atonement.

Christian dogma holds that the crucifixion of Jesus at Calvary served as the final atoning sacrifice for the sins of the world. Christianity insists that this is not just a Pauline innovation, but reflects the requirements of the Jewish Bible, and tries to establish this by pointing to Leviticus 17:11 as the key to atonement in the Tanach. However, if this passage is examined, it will be clear that Jesus could never serve as an atoning sacrifice. Obviously, the shedding of blood by pricking my finger or killing my cat won't fulfill the Biblical requirements for atonement. The Torah delineates how sacrifices are to be brought.

"For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls..."

Clearly, not any spilled blood is accepted by the Torah as a sacrifice. Jesus' crucifixion may qualify as an atonement according to the Greek Testament, but since his blood was not offered on the altar, it is not in line with what the Torah mandates.

There are actually several other factors which would render the crucifixion of Jesus an unacceptable sacrifice. According to the Biblical rules in Leviticus, all sacrifices had to be offered by a Priest who descends from Aaron. This was not the case in the death of Jesus, who was crucified by Roman soldiers. Additionally, Biblical law prohibited any sacrifice which was blemished or maimed (Leviticus 22:19-21). However, prior to his crucifixion, Jesus was whipped and beaten (Matthew 27:26, Mark 15:19, John 19:3) which would render him unfit. Furthermore, Jesus was circumcised in the flesh, which according to Philippians 3:2 and Galatians 5:12 is considered mutilation.

Frequently, Christians react to this line of reasoning by protesting that it is improper to be so literal, and that Jesus' death was more of a symbolic or spiritual sacrifice. This would be fine if the Bible provided for such ethereal offerings, but such is not the case. The Greek Testament, however, does insist that Jesus was a real sacrifice, literally fulfilling the Biblical requirements of such:

"But coming to Jesus, when they saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs...in order that the Scripture might be fulfilled: `Not a bone of him shall be broken.'" (John 19:33-36)

The Gospel of John portrays Jesus as the Paschal lamb which was not supposed to have any of its bones broken (Exodus 12:46, Numbers 9:12). Since the author of John insists that Jesus was a real sacrifice to the extent that the Biblical rules of the Passover were fulfilled in him, we can't dismiss the problems cited above as legalistic nit-picking.

One wonders why the Greek Testament chose to type Jesus as a Paschal lamb rather than the sacrifice for the Day of Atonement. We know from Exodus 12 that the Passover sacrifice did not serve as an atonement for sins, it commemorates the exodus from Egypt. (Even when the lamb was slaughtered in Egypt and its blood smeared on the doorposts, it did not serve to atone for the sins of anyone. It was a sign for the angel of death to pass over Jewish homes during the plague of the first born. The only people in danger were first born males, the blood wasn't a help to other people in the family, and didn't serve as an atonement for the first born). A more fitting prototype for Jesus would have been the Yom Kippur sacrifice, which made atonement for the sins of all the people. It is interesting that according to Leviticus 16:10,21-22, the animal which effectuated the atonement for the sins of the nation was not killed, but sent live out into the desert. Again, the shedding of blood is not a sine qua non for atonement.

The Greek Testament went to some great lengths to demonstrate that the atoning death of Jesus was predicated upon the Jewish Bible. In the book of Hebrews, a verse from the book of Psalms is quoted as evidence that the sacrifice of Jesus was part of G-d's original plan for the world.

"Sacrifice and offering You have not desired, but a body You have prepared for me" (Hebrews 10:5 referring to Psalms 40:6).

In verse 10 of our passage from Hebrews, we are told that the body spoken of refers to the body of Jesus. However, the Greek Testament took some great liberties in quoting from the book of Psalms, which never mentions a body being prepared:

"Sacrifice and meal offering You have not desired; my ears You have opened; Burnt offerings and sin offerings You have not required" (Psalm 40:6).

The author of Romans asserts that the Jewish scriptures spoke about the Messiah coming in order to eradicate sin from Israel:

"And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written,`The deliverer will come from Zion and remove ungodliness from Jacob'." (Romans 11:26 citing Isaiah 59:20)

However, checking the original source in Isaiah reveals the flawed foundation of the claim made in the book of Romans.

"And a redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who turn from transgression, says the L-rd."

Isaiah didn't teach that the Messiah's purpose is to remove sin; rather, he will come to the Jewish people when they show themselves worthy by turning away from sin.

WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT VICARIOUS ATONEMENT?
One wonders why throughout the four Gospels, Jesus never speaks about his death serving as a sacrifice to atone for the sins of the world. Is the idea that an innocent person can be killed instead of those who are guilty consistent with what the Bible teaches? After the sin of the Golden Calf, G-d expressed His intention to destroy the Jewish people. Moses intercedes, and offers to die in their place. In response, G-d says "Whoever has sinned against Me, I will blot him out of My book!" (Exodus 32:32-33). Throughout the Bible, G-d says that one person cannot die for the sins of another:

"Fathers shall not be put to death for their sons, nor shall sons be put to death for their fathers; everyone shall be put to death for his own sin" (Deuteronomy 24:16, II Kings 14:6).

"But everyone will die for his own sin; each man who eats sour grapes, his teeth will be set on edge" (Jeremiah 31:30).

"The person who sins will die. The son will not bear the punishment for the father's iniquity, nor will the father bear the punishment for the son's iniquity; the righteousness of the righteous will be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked will be upon himself" (Ezekiel 18:20).

"No man can by any means redeem his brother, or give to G-d a ransom for him" (Psalms 49:7).

"So you shall not pollute the land in which you are; for blood pollutes the land and no expiation can be made for the land for the blood that is shed on it, except by the blood of him who has shed it!" (Numbers 35:33).

Although Romans 4:5 says that Jesus justifies the ungodly, the Tanach teaches that "He who justifies the wicked, and he who condemns the righteous, both of them are an abomination to theL-rd" (Proverbs 17:15).

If indeed, Jesus came as the final sacrifice to atone for the sins of the world, why does the Tanach predict that the Temple will be rebuilt and sacrifices resumed?

"Even those I will bring to My holy mountain, and make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be acceptable on My altar; for My house will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples." (Isaiah 56:7). "From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia My worshipers, My dispersed ones will bring My offerings." (Zephaniah 3:10)

"All the flocks of Kedar will be gathered together to you, the rams of Nebaioth will minister to you; they will go up with acceptance on My altar, and I shall glorify My glorious house." (Isaiah 60:7)

"And I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant with them. And I will place them and multiply them, and will set My sanctuary in their midst forever." (Ezekiel 37:26)

"And He will sit as a smelter and purifier of silver, and He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, so that they may present to the L-rd offerings in righteousness. Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasant to the L-rd, as in the days of old and as in former years." (Malachi 3:3-4)

"And every cooking pot in Jerusalem and in Judah will be holy to the L-rd of hosts; and all who sacrifice will come and take of them and boil in them." (Zechariah 14:21) "And it shall be the princes part to provide the burnt offerings, the grain offerings, and the libations...to make atonement for the house of Israel." (Ezekiel 45:17)

The Christian claim that our sins can only be forgiven if blood is shed on our behalf also seems to limit the power of G-d. It's ludicrous to say that G-d`s ability to forgive us is dependent on anything. One of the most basic teachings in the Bible is that since G-d is merciful, He often forgives us simply because He is merciful. "Who is a G-d like You, who pardons iniquity and passes over the rebellious act of the remnant of His possession? He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in unchanging love." (Micah 7:18; cf. Psalm 103:7-18). Even when we don't seek G-d appropriately, He has the ability to reach out to us with love and forgive us:

"Their heart was not steadfast toward Him, nor were they faithful in His covenant. But He, being compassionate, forgave their iniquity...remembering that they were but flesh." (Psalms 78:36-39)

"You have not brought Me the sheep of your burnt offerings...or the fat of your sacrifices, but you have burdened Me with your sins...Nevertheless, I will wipe out your transgressions for My own sake, and I will not remember your sins." (Isaiah 43:23-25)

THE BIBLICAL VIEW OF ATONEMENT
One of the clearest indications that Christianity is off base in its insistence on the centrality of blood sacrifices is that none of the prophets speaks about it. There isn't one instance in the prophetic books where the Jewish people are told that in order to get right with G-d they need to get covered by the blood. If that's the case, what is the fundamental teaching of the Tanach on the issue of atonement? What theme is reiterated time and again by the holy prophets in the Jewish Bible?

"That every man will turn from his evil way, then I will forgive their iniquity and their sin." (Jeremiah 36:3).

"Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and let him return to the L-rd, and He will have compassion on him; and to our G-d, for He will abundantly pardon." (Isaiah 55:7).

"I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I did not hide; I said, `I will confess my transgressions to the L-rd', and You did forgive the guilt of my sin." (Psalm 32:5).

"And if My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray, and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." (II Chronicles 7:14). "But if the wicked man turns from all his sins which he has committed and observes all My statutes and practices justice and righteousness, he shall surely live; he shall not die. All his transgressions which he has committed will not be remembered against him; because of the righteousness which he has practiced he shall live...When a wicked man turns away from his wickedness which he has committed and practices justice and righteousness, he will save his life...Repent and turn away from all your transgressions, so that iniquity may not become a stumbling block to you (Ezekiel 18:21- 22,27,30).

"By loving-kindness and truth iniquity is atoned for..." (Proverbs 16:6).

"If you return to G-d you will be restored; if you remove unrighteousness far from your tent...then you will delight in G-d..." (Job 22:23-27).

"Depart from evil, and do good, so you will abide forever." (Psalm 37:27, cf. Ezekiel 33, Zechariah 1:3, Jeremiah 26:13).

The central teaching of the Bible is that only a break with our past and a sincere turning in repentance can restore our relationships with G-d. If I go off the path, I have to put myself back on track, and G-d will forgive me. Even when sacrifices were offered, they in and of themselves didn't effect atonement. The sacrifice was part of the process, it helped bring us to the core of atonement which is achieved by TESHUVAH, returning to G-d by forsaking our evil ways and praying for forgiveness. One of the main teachings of the prophets was to chide Jewish people who thought that sacrifices were the essential element of atonement:

"What are your multiplied sacrifices to Me? says the L-rd. I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed cattle. And I take no pleasure in the blood of bulls, lambs, or goats...Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from My sight. Cease to do evil, Learn to do good; seek justice, reprove the ruthless, defend the orphan, plead for the widow. Come let us reason together says the L-rd, `Though your sins are as scarlet, they will be white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they will be like wool, if you consent and obey..." (Isaiah 1:11-18).

"The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the L-rd." (Proverbs 15:8).

"To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the L-rd than sacrifice." (Proverbs 21:3). "For I delight in loyalty rather than sacrifice, and in the knowledge of G-d rather than burnt offerings." (Hoseah 6:6).

"Has the L-rd as great a delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the L-rd? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken more than the fat of rams." (I Samuel 15:22).

"With what shall I come to the L-rd, and bow myself before the G-d on high? Shall I come to Him with burnt offerings, with yearling calves? Does the L-rd take delight in thousands of rams, in ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I present my firstborn for my rebellious acts, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the L-rd require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your G-d." (Micah 6:6-8,cf. Amos 5:22- 24, Jeremiah 7, Psalm 69:31-32).

Since repentance, and not blood is the Biblical form of atonement, we now understand how in I Kings 8, Solomon explained that even if the Jewish people don't have access to the Temple, they still have access to G-d. This will illuminate a famous story found in the book of Jonah. G-d sends Jonah to the evil city of Ninveh to warn them of their impending destruction. Jonah doesn't come into the city and tell the people that unless they begin offering sacrifices they are doomed. Their response to his warnings is to repent: they fast, pray, and turn from their evil. What is G-d's response?

"When G-d saw their deeds that they turned from their wicked way, then G-d relented concerning the calamity which He had declared He would bring upon them, and He did not do it." (Jonah 3:10).

In similar fashion, Daniel advised king Nebuchadnezzar on how to atone for his transgressions:

"Therefore, O king, may my advice be pleasing to you: Redeem your sins by doing righteousness, and your iniquities by showing mercy to the poor." (Daniel 4:27).

This principle will also help explain a passage in the book of Hoseah. Hoseah was a prophet to the 10 northern tribes in the kingdom of Israel during a time when there was a civil war going on between them and the two tribes of the kingdom of Judah in the south. Because of the strife, the tribes up north couldn't get to the Temple in Jerusalem to offer sacrifices. Did this leave them with no way of atoning for their sins? The prophet advises:

"Return, O Israel, to the L-rd your G-d, For you have stumbled because of your iniquity. Take words with you and return to the L-rd. Say to Him, `Take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously, for we will render as bullocks the offerings of our lips'." (Hoseah 14:1-2).

We are able to approach G-d directly with prayer, which is possible at all times; and G-d assures us that sincere prayer can achieve forgiveness for our sins:

"Deliver me from blood guiltiness, O L-rd, the G-d of my salvation. And my tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness. O L-rd, open my lips, and my mouth shall show forth Your praise. For You do not delight in burnt offerings. The sacrifices of G-d are a broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart. These, O G-d, You will not despise." (Psalms 51:14-17, re:II Samuel 12:13).

"I will praise the name of G-d with a song, and will magnify Him with thanksgiving. This shall please the L-rd better than an ox or bullock that has horns and hoofs." (Psalm 69:30-31).

"For You, L-rd, are good, and ready to forgive, and abundant in lovingkindness to all who call upon You. Give ear, O L-rd to my prayer, and give heed to the voice of my supplications." (Psalm 86:5-6).

"And listen to the supplications of Your servant and of Your people Israel, when they pray toward this place; hear from heaven Your dwelling place, hear and forgive." (II Chronicles 6:21).

Are Christians consistent with the Jewish Bible when they claim that atonement is only possible with a blood sacrifice? Did the Rabbis just make up the idea that we can restore our relationship with G-d through prayer and repentance? YOU DECIDE!

Disregard the analogy of the body of Jesus with a sacrifice in red above, and the article presents the fine valiant principles of the Torah on this subject. L’havdil, the first two sons of Aaron died while making special fires in the tabernacle area. The Sifre considers their deaths to have served to consecrate the tabernacle on the eight day.

Text 26-12: Leviticus 10
1 Aaron's sons Nadab and Abihu took their censers, put fire in them and added incense; and they offered seedling - זרה fire before the LORD, which was not commanded of them. 2 So fire came out from the presence of the LORD and accepted - אוכל them,[2654]and they died before the LORD. 3 Moses then said to Aaron, "This is what the LORD spoke of when he said:
" 'Among those who approach me
I will show myself holy;
in the sight of all the people
I will be honored.' "
Aaron remained silent.
4 Moses summoned Mishael and Elzaphan, sons of Aaron's uncle Uzziel, and said to them, "Come here; carry your cousins outside the camp, away from the front of the sanctuary." 5 So they came and carried them, still in their tunics, outside the camp, as Moses ordered.

The phrase “accepted them” in Hebrew is like consuming an offering. Dieing is a repetition of consuming, so the implication is that their death had served a sacrificial purpose.

Text 26-13: Nadab and Abihu’s sacrifice and the comforting of Aaron
In early nonrabbinic interpretation Leviticus chapter 10:[2655]
Philo interpreted Leviticus 10 to teach that because Nadab and Abihu fearlessly and fervently proceeded rapidly to the altar, an imperishable light dissolved them into ethereal beams like a whole burnt-offering and took them up to heaven. (Philo On Dreams 2:9:67: “But Moses will not allow the sacred reasonings about Nadab to be bewailed; {75}{Leviticus 10:6.} for they have not been carried off by a savage beast, but have been taken up by unextinguishable violence and imperishable light; because, having discarded all fear and hesitation, they had duly consecrated the fervent and fiery zeal, consuming the flesh, and very easily and vehemently excited towards piety, which is unconnected with creation, but is akin to God, not going up to the altar by the regular steps, for that was forbidden by law, but proceeding rapidly onwards with a favorable gale, and being conducted up even to the threshold of heaven, becoming dissolved into ethereal beams like a whole burnt-offering.”)[2656]

In classical rabbinic interpretation Leviticus chapter 9
Rabbi Helbo taught that after ministered in the office of High Priest for the seven days of consecration, Moses imagined that the office was his, but on the seventh day (as indicated by Leviticus 9:1) God told Moses that the office belonged not to Moses but to his brother Aaron. (Leviticus Rabbah 11:6.)

Rabbi Tanhum taught in the name of Rabbi Judan that the words “for today the Lord appears to you” in Leviticus 9:4 indicated that God’s presence, the Shekhinah, did not come to abide in the Tabernacle all the seven days of consecration when Moses ministered in the office of High Priest, but the Shekhinah appeared when Aaron put on the High Priest's robes. (Leviticus Rabbah 11:6.)

Leviticus chapter 10: According to the Sifra, Nadab and Abihu took their offering in Leviticus 10:1 in joy, for when they saw the new fire come from God, they went to add one act of love to another act of life. (Sifra Shemini Mekhilta deMiluim 99:5:4.)
Abba Jose ben Dosetai taught that that Nadab and Abihu died in Leviticus 10:2 when two streams of fire came forth from the Holy of Holies and divided into four streams, of which two flowed into the nose of one and two into the nose of the other, so that their breath was burned up, but their garments remained untouched (as implied in Leviticus 10:5). (Sifra Shemini Mekhilta deMiluim 99:5:7.)

To see grand significance or sacrifice in the death of the righteous has a place in Torah.

26.6.10 Divorce

We know from Mark 10 that Jesus did not agree with Deuteronomy 24 on divorce, which he called the Law of Moses not God.[2657] Tradition holds that Adam haRishon, the first man was married to a demon wife before Eve. Hence, the place of divorce is secure from the beginning of humankind.

Text 26-14: Deuteronomy 24:1-5
1. When a man has taken a wife, and married her, and it comes to pass that she finds no favor in his eyes, because he has found some uncleanness in her; then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house.
2. And when she has departed out of his house, she may go and be another man’s wife.
3. And if the latter husband hates her, and writes her a bill of divorcement, and gives it in her hand, and sends her out of his house; or if the latter husband dies, who took her to be his wife;
4. Her former husband, which sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after she is defiled; for that is abomination before the Lord; and you shall not cause the land to sin, which the Lord your God gives you for an inheritance.
5. When a man has taken a new wife, he shall not go out to war, nor shall he be charged with any business; but he shall be free at home one year, and shall cheer his wife whom he has taken.

Text 26-15: Mark 10 on Divorce
2. Some Pharisees came and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?”
3. “What did Moses command you?” he replied.
4. They said, “Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce and send her away.”
5. “It was because your hearts were hard that Moses wrote you this law,” Jesus replied. 6. “But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’ 7. ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, 8. and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one. 9. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.”
10. When they were in the house again, the disciples asked Jesus about this. 11. He answered, “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her. 12. And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery.”

The Essenes opposed polygamy as prostitution – Zenut CD 7:1 of the Damascus scroll found in 4Q265-73, 5Q12, and 6Q15. The Essenes believed that Moshe wrote Deuteronomy, but that someone at the time of Eleazar had sealed it in the ark:

Text 26-16: Essenes on polygamy and Deuteronomy

“The builders of the wall ... shall be caught in fornication twice by taking a second wife while the first is alive, whereas the principle of creation is, male and female created He them [Genesis 1:27]. Also, those who entered the Ark went in two by two. And concerning the Prince it is written, He shall not multiply wives to himself [Deuteronomy 17:17]; but David had not read the sealed book of the law which was in the ark for it was not opened in Israel from the death of Eleazar and Joshua, and the elders who worshipped Ashtoreth.”
- Damascus Document CD 4.20-5.1 (G. Vermez' translation)[2658]


Only one comment of divorce is preserved in the Dead Sea Scrolls.[2659] The text implies they accepted the law of divorce as a law of G-d:[2660]

Text 26-17: Dead Sea Scrolls 4Q159
8. In the case where a man slanders a maiden of Israel, if he says it at the [moment] of taking her, they shall examine her 9. regarding (her) trustworthiness. If he has not lied about her, she shall be put to death; but if he has testified [false]ly against her, they are to fine him two minas [and he is not] 10. to divorce her for all the days (of his life).

From Leviticus, we know that a Cohen Gadol (high priest) is forbidden to marry a divorcee. Hence we know that divorce was known earlier, even in Leviticus!

Text 26-18: Leviticus 14:10-14 and 22:13
14:10. And he who is the high priest among his brothers, upon whose head the anointing oil was poured, and who is consecrated to put on the garments, shall not uncover his head, nor tear his clothes;
11. Neither shall he go to any dead body, nor defile himself for his father, or for his mother;
12. Neither shall he go out of the sanctuary, nor profane the sanctuary of his God; for the crown of the anointing oil of his God is upon him; I am the Lord.
13. And he shall take a wife in her virginity.
14. A widow, or a divorced womanגרושה, or defiled, or a harlot, these shall he not take; but he shall take a virgin of his own people to wife.
...
22:13. But if the priest’s daughter is a widow, or divorced, and has no child, and has returned to her father’s house, as in her youth, she shall eat of her father’s bread; but there shall no stranger eat it.

‘Divorced’ from the word Gerush – גרש means to drive away or banish. The principle of divorce existed before Deuteronomy presented the laws. Perhaps Hagar, Abraham’s wife was a divorcee when he banished her. But, since she did not sleep with another man, he was permitted to take her back to be his wife at the end of his life with her name Keturah.

“The grounds for divorce were strife between Abraham's two wives and strife between their children. God approved of the divorce on those grounds (Genesis 21:12-13). There is no suggestion of adultery or other sexual misconduct by Hagar. So this, the Bible's first reference to divorce, refutes the concept that the only biblical basis for divorce is adultery.”[2661]

26.6.11 Ebionites

The Ebionites (poor people) trace themselves to the original followers of Jesus (Joshua ben Joseph). They do not follow the deification of a messiah. They consider Jesus a prophet instead.[2662]

26.6.12 Forgiveness

Text 26-19: Parable of the field of wheat and weeds
MAT 13:24 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field:

MAT 13:25 But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went his way.

MAT 13:26 But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the weeds also.

MAT 13:27 So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it weeds?

MAT 13:28 He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?

MAT 13:29 But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the weeds, ye root up also the wheat with them.

MAT 13:30 Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the weeds, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.

In fact, we are all weeds in the eyes of Hashem. The mountains are filled with weeds, but there, they are called wildflowers. All people live together and even the weeds can be elevated. A congregation consists of both good and bad and in fact would not be a congregation without the bad. Moreover in each of us are good and bad qualities, but if we close an eye to seeing the bad in others, we can bring them to the side of merit. The incense that was used in the temple was required to have one repugnant ingredient and was invalid without it. The ‘bad’ is bound to the good and is redeemed. Forgiveness of sin is possible with repentance, reparation, and returning to G-d. [2663]

A fringe Jewish view exists today in some Hasidic sects who believe by attachment to a true tzaddik, one can become righteous. Early Christianity followed this approach. Modern Christianity apostatized it. Some Talmudic academies have believed in their rabbi as the messiah.[2664] Hasidim attach to their tzaddik and believe that the True Tzaddik, the Tzaddik Emet can lift them out of sin. Rabbi Nachman of Breslov taught, “He who will visit my grave, I will reach down and pull him out of Gehinnom by his peahs.”[2665] Nevertheless, no Jewish group or sect has ever posited the transference of the authority to forgive sin to a human being.[2666] Such an idea is not found in the entire Tanach.[2667]

26.6.13 Pascal Lamb

John refers to Jesus as the Pascal Lamb. The Pascal Lamb that is eaten on Passover was never a sacrifice. The words for sacrifice, zevach or karban never occur within the text of Exodus 12 describing the role of the lamb. Moreover, the Israelites did not take the lamb to the priests, but each family slaughtered their own to mark their doorposts and to eat for dinner with herbs to provide strength for the journey of their redemption that would begin the next day. The Pascal Lamb symbolized redemption not from sin, but from slavery. Atonement sacrifices were goats, because of their symbolic affinity for getting into trouble. The messiah’s association with a lamb is not that he must die, but that he will mark the way for our redemption. Still, the Egyptians worshipped the lamb and ram as symbols of the deity of the month of Nissan. Thus, the slaughter of the lamb also symbolized the slaughter of the gods of Egypt.

26.6.14 Scapegoat

The Christian association of the Leviticus scapegoat with Isaiah 53 was not a Jewish interpretation at the time of Jesus.[2668] While in a nadir opinion Isaiah 53 has been messianic, it was not associated with the scapegoat. ‘Literal interpretations often lead to strange ideas.’ Here a nescient opinion rose into a new new religion.

Text 26-20: Christian Theologies on the Scapegoat
The goat died for the sins of the people. In other words, the goat paid for the wrong deeds of the people. Jesus, in this death for our sins, did away with the animal offering; and, in dying for us; he did away with sin and death [Heb. 7:26-28]. [2669]

While the Old Testament clearly has symbolic gestures of sin transference such as animal sacrifices (detailed in the first and third chapters of Leviticus and numerous other references) and the infamous "scapegoat" (Leviticus 16:9-10), Paul is the one who seems to have adapted this to a literal transference with a human sacrifice. While Jesus' ransom for sin and forgiveness for sin are mentioned throughout the New Testament, only Paul addresses the concept of sin transference.[2670]

I really do not think that many in the Church fully grasp what happened on the dark altar of Calvary. On that altar the Lamb of God was made to be sin on our behalf (2 Corinthians 5:21). He did not simply die for our sins. He died with our sins. He was not merely cursed for our sins. He became a curse for us (Galatians 3:13). He did not simply close his eyes in death and sleep in Joseph’s tomb. He was “numbered with the transgressors” (Isaiah 53:12). He was led into the ultimate wilderness called Hell wherein He paid the wages of sin.[2671]

The departure of the Spirit left Christ in a wilderness of mind and soul that no other human being has ever experienced. A portent of this can be seen in one of the sacrificial rituals of ancient Israel in which the high priest would take a goat, lay his hands upon its head, and, in figurative ordinance, pronounce upon the head of the animal all of the transgressions and sins of the people. After this, the goat-now a scapegoat, one vicariously bearing the guilt of others-would be led away into the wilderness: "And the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited" (Leviticus 16:22; emphasis added; see also v. 10). In like manner, Christ in Gethsemane was exiled into a spiritual wilderness never before inhabited. No man had ever experienced what he would experience. At some point in the tribulation of the night, the withdrawal of the Spirit was complete: "And he saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor" (Isaiah 59:16). The Lord was alone in a spiritual void, stripped of all sources of solace, cut off from the presence of the Father, bearing in soul and body by virtue of his own strength alone the collective guilt of all mankind. How long the weight of our sins crushed upon him we do not know; how unrelenting his anguish we cannot comprehend.[2672]

Christ's Atonement was a descent into the seemingly "bottomless pit" of human agony. He took upon himself the sins of the most wretched of all sinners; he descended beneath the crudest tortures devised by man. His downward journey encompassed that quantum of suffering unrelated to spiritual error, but nonetheless viably acute in stinging proportions—the agony of loneliness, the pain of inadequacy, the suffering of infirmities and sickness. In the course of his divine descent he was assaulted with every temptation inflicted on the human race. After our futile attempts to explain the awesome depths of this "terrible trip," we come back again to those simple but expressive words of the scriptures, "He descended below all things" (D&C 88:6). There need be no equivocation, no back-pedaling, no apologizing—the Atonement is infinite in its depth.[2673]

I think Elder Porter did not mean to imply that the Lord taking the sins was figurative.  I think he was speaking of the ordinance of the scapegoat being figurative.  As a General Authority, Br. Porter would not make an error of that magnitude.  We firmly hold that the Savior took upon Himself our sins and that act was not figurative but was very literal.  Where the condition lies is in our willingness to do what he has asked us to do so that we might avail ourselves of this great blessing.  While the atonement is free, we believe we must be obedient to his commandments.[2674]

‘Sin transference’ is a very real idea in all modern forms of Christianity. While there is a literal line from the Torah that is the basis of this concept, ‘sin transference’ is not a part of mainstream Judaism. In addition, Judaism has always stood in opposition to human sacrifice. We cannot pay for our sins with the life of our brethren. While the suffering servant is a symbol of G-d’s punishment of Israel, he does not possess the sins of Israel.[2675]

Text 26-21: Isaiah 53:4-5

4. Certainly (אכן) our sickness (הלינו – we were sick) he carried (נשא),
and our pains he bore them (סבלם), and we thought him stricken, defeated by G-d and afflicted.

5. And he was wounded (מחלל – pierced) from our transgressions (careless errors),
broken (מדכא – crushed, break) from our iniquities (evil ways), our whole (שלומנו – our peace) chastisement (מוסר – reprimand, devotion) is upon him and in his friendship we are healed.


He turns the people back to G-d by not accusing them. He lifts the sins off of them by lifting their spirits, giving them hope, and they turn back to G-d. Isaiah 53 is about returning to G-d through Tshuvah, repentance, and guilt after seeing a victim for ones own sins. This is not the payment of sin by someone else’s blood. Isaiah 53 does not mention atonement by payment – Kippur – כפר.

While the death of righteous Jews under duress may speak of the injustices of other nations and bring G-d’s mercy once again on the house of Israel, the martyr does not possess, take upon himself, or die with the sins of the people. There is a concept of two messiahs in mystical Judaism, where the first, Messiah ben Yosef will prepare the way for the second messiah, Messiah ben Judah.[2676] These ideas represent the karmic reconciliation between the House of Joseph and the House of Judah from their early conflicts in Israel. These two messiahs must be alive at the same time so they may become reconciled. The tradition holds that the First will die in the battle of Armageddon so that the Second may survive to establishes G-d’s kingdom.

26.6.15 Messiah

26.6.15.1 Cyrus is His Messiah

Isaiah 45, the chapter that clearly states beyond any doubt explicitly that Cyrus is the Messiah is the same chapter that says that God is not Jesus. I capitalize Messiah here to emphasize the fact that the prophet’s understanding of the term is completely different than the Christian understanding and even Jewish sectarian understanding. For Isaiah the Messiah does not have to be a Jew and in fact is Cyrus.

Now a lot of people are confused, because they say, “Well what do we do now if Cyrus is the Messiah?” Since Cyrus clearly is the Messiah, we either have to be focusing all our hope on his return or we need to reevaluate our understanding of the Messiah. We should also be clear that Cyrus is not some kind of model of the Messiah. The Hebrew could not be more explicit, “Cyrus is His Messiah.”

OK now what does Isaiah 45:20 say about Jesus? It says literally, “God is not Jesus” – אל לא יושיע – El Lo Yoshua. Yoshua is Yeshua that is Jesus. I quote this verse not because I believe Isaiah could have known anything about Jesus having lived seven and half centuries before his time, but Christians themselves considered this verse a condemnation of their Savior Deity! Look up the commentary on this verse in the Artscroll Siddur and you will find under the Alenu prayer that a Jewish convert to Christianity informed the church on this verse and the church forced the Jews to remove it from their prayer book, i.e. they forced a quote from Isaiah to be stricken!

I would agree with the interpretation, “And for me, the sentence clearly is saying that the nations that have made a god by selecting an image to attribute to it for them, have prayed to that god, thinking that that particular god is G-d, but that the god they are praying to is not G-d, and thereby cannot save, or be even called salvation.”[2677] Nevertheless, since Christians believe Isaiah knew Jesus than they should be in a complete quandary, knowing that Isaiah rejects Jesus and proclaims loyalty to Cyrus all in the same chapter of Isaiah 45.

Getting back to reality, we must seriously reevaluate our understanding of the concept of messiah before we blindly accept a Christian or even a Jewish sectarian interpretation.

On the subject of the attributes and names of G-d, I refer you to the book Kuzari. This is a must read IMHO for anyone who is considering conversion to Judaism. It is a true story of how the King of the Khazars arranged a debate between scholars of Christianity, Islam, and Judaism to select a religion for his nation. In any case, the names of G-d are explained ad infinitum. We know for certain that all the names we have for G-d are a mere creation below His Infiniteness or Nothingness. At the highest level is the name “I will be that which I will be.” Below this is the ineffable Name, which we refer to as Hashem. There is nothing wrong with calling G-d according to one of his attributes, “Av Rachamim” – Father of mercy for example. But we NEVER PRAY TO ATTRIBUTES, THEY ARE NOT DIETIES, THEY ARE NOT SAINTS, THEY ARE NOT gods. L’havdil, the Trinity idea is anathema to suggest that three gods constitute one godhead. That Jesus would be considered the same, as god is anathema too. Kabbalists who describe 10 sefirot or attributes NEVER CONSIDER THESE TO BE SEPARATE POWERS OR DIETIES! Ultimately 3 are not 1, 10 are not 1, all are limitations in our ability to grasp G-d and are instead OUR ATTEMPT TO RELATE TO HIM/HER! AND I EMPHASIZE HIM/HER, because God is no MORE a HIM THAN A HER. G-D DOES NOT HAVE A WIFE who is ISRAEL ANY MORE THAN ISRAEL IS A BRIDEGROOM TO G-D as a WIFE!

All of these ideas are metaphors to help us relate to G-d, NOT TO BE TAKEN LITERALLY. Nevertheless, we can discard the Trinity idea, which does not seek to describe attributes, but is instead PURE IDOLATRY in dividing the godhead into parts.

On the other hand WE SHOULD KEEP THE METAPHORS OF G-D AS WIFE, HUSBAND, the TEN SEFIROT of WILL, WISDOM, UNDERSTANDING, KINDNESS, RIGOR, TRUTH, VICTORY, GRATITUDE, RIGHTEOUSNESS, AND KINGSHIP. These are ways to relate to G-d and we need to understand what it means to be created in the Image of G-d that is according to these attributes, which are also His creation. One may ask when is G-d a Wife? I ask you the question back, ‘When is G-d a Wife’?[2678]

So I mostly agree with the statement, “We can offer Him praise and honor by saying He is gracious, or He is my salvation, but He is clearly NOT those things.” I would not include the word salvation, because of the confusion of this term between Hebrew and English.[2679] You are correct to say, "He is clearly NOT those things" literally.

26.6.15.2 Nasserite Messiah


Meditation 26-2: The Nasserite Messiah
G-d said to Samuel listen to the people and make them a king, but Samuel knew that the people betrayed G-d in their request. Instead, G-d provided a messiah who would represent His will to the people so that they could receive Him. The messiah is the righteous Jew who is “a light unto the nations.”

After G-d relented, permitting mortal kingship in Israel, He manifested a new structure where a king may arise in each generation to lead His people. In this perspective what is a dead messiah? There are many dead messiahs. JC son of Joseph the carpenter, perhaps the most successful brought the light of the Bible to the greatest number of people. Though he no longer lives he is more alive today then when he walked the earth. A tzaddik is more alive in the world after death. The gematria of ‘katz hai’ – ‘alive in the end’ reveals the hidden essence in the tzaddik. Isaac avinu (patriarch) exemplified this quality. Though a quiet man in his life, in death he is forever alive and a merit to the living.

qyddx = yh {q = qjxy = 208

In Judaism, we are prohibited from worshipping a messiah. This would be idolatry. Instead the true messiah points the way back to G-d Who Alone is to be worshipped.

26.6.15.3 Messiah and Snake

The gematria of Messiah and Snake are the same in Hebrew. The major value is 358, with minor value 3+5+8=16, with reduced value 7. The major value denotes an enchantment and prosperous quality, the minor value denotes a fall,[2680] and the reduced value implies a spiritual nature. Here is a list of words or phrases with gematria 358. In Table 26-1 those items in the gray font do not have the same gematria, but are etymologically related:

Table 26-1: The Gematria of the Messiah and the Serpent
Messiah Qualities
(English)
Messiah Qualities
(Hebrew)
Serpent Qualities
(English)
Serpent Qualities
(Hebrew)
messiah
משיח
snake
נחש
we had returned
ùáðå
divines
נשח
Goshen
âùðä
armed
חשים
and lightnings
åáøëéí
enchantment
נשח
anointing
îùçä
in hatred
בשנאה
A breast plate
çùï
destroyer
משחית
his offering
ëøáðå
adversary[2681]
שטן
shall be anointed
éîùç


and shall come near
åðëøá


and we dwelt
åðùá



The qualities of the serpent are also qualities of messiah and as one conquers these traits one applies this energy for the good. This is the meaning of turning ones sins into merit on Yom Kippur. Similarly, Esau had a greater potential than Jacob for doing good if he would have conquered his evil desires. The messiah has conquered his hatred and applied his skills of enchantment for the good.

Nahash – snake, also means copper, brass, or even silver or gold as in a goblet. It refers to divination or sorcery. Joseph referred to his missing “divining” goblet with this word. Moses placed a snake on top of a pole so those that looked upon it would be cured of the poison from the desert serpents. Nahooshah was the name of the brass serpent during the reign of Hezekiah. Hezekiah destroyed the brass serpent because of idolatry. Nehoshet refers to the censers upon which incense was offered. Those of Korach and his followers were beat into plates for the tabernacle. This teaches that though G-d places snakes in our path as obstacles, these are ultimately for out benefit. Nahash was an Ammonite leader who oppressed Israel.

G-d commanded Moses to place a seraph on the top of the pole and not a ‘nahash’ not a snake. G-d’s commandment is missing the word for snake. Instead, G-d was telling Moses to place the image of an angel on the pole that would cause the people to look upward to G-d. G-d works through angels. Before G-d inflicts a punishment, He has already prepared the remedy. While, fiery snakes are a corrective force, removing the word ‘snakes’ leaves us with the fiery angel of healing. Perhaps, misinterpreting G-d’s words and placing a snake on the pole led to the later idolatry for which the bronze serpent was destroyed.

Text 26-22: Number 21:8-9
And the Lord said to Moses, Make a venomous serpent (seraph), and set it upon a pole; and it shall come to pass, that everyone who is bitten, when he looks upon it, shall live.
And Moses made a serpent (seraph) of shining (nahash), and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he looked at the serpent of shining, he lived.

Why are healing properties associated with venom? Perhaps small amounts of snake poison have homeopathic medical benefits. A small amount might stimulate the immune system to fight off a greater illness. Similarly, the looking at the snake on the pole might vicariously stimulate an immune response. Seraph refers to a serpent or snake that ‘burns’ with poison. Burning is analogous to fire and hence the angelic seraph is a fiery angel.

Since the healing property of snake poison is an instance where a small amount of harm causes the person’s body to strengthen its resistance, then a person who sined achieves greater repentance. From Isaiah, all of ones sins are made as white as the snow. For this reason G-d permits evil to exist.

Greek philosophers recognized the healing quality of sunlight. This is an example of a positive remedy. Light is messianic healing as opposed to snake oil. The warmth of the Sun strengthens the body and improves the immune system. In Greek the word for Sun is Helios. From this word we get the words ‘health’ and ‘healing’. Christian theologians have sought to explain the serpent on Moses’s pole in the following way.[2682] The process begins with the English word ‘heal’ and then steps back into Hebrew to get the word hilah – הילה which means ‘shining’ from the word for bright morning star, hailel – הילל. Another step back is to take the word ‘light’ for kindling to get lahat – להט. Lahat also means flaming or fiery.[2683] This type of ‘light’ connects to ‘heal’ through a letter reversal taking light -> IE licht -> חיל -> heal. Another word related to ‘light’ is Dolak – דלק that means to burn, light, or kindle. The confusions between burn and seraph, light and flaming, heal and shining have led Christian theologians to believe that the Serpent in the Garden of Eden was a fallen angel seraph who attracted Eve by shining and was of similar rank to the Messiah in heaven.

Overall, the messiah represents the positive approach to healing. The serpent represents the negative approach to healing. Both are a remedy in their own way with the same gematria, 358. The Sanskrit word deva means, “shining one.” Deva refers to angelic beings or demigods in Eastern religions. Related words that found their way into English include “divine” and “devotion.”

26.6.15.4 Suffering messiah

Meditation 26-3: Suffering Messiah Tours Israel
I viewed myself amongst a choir of angels in the blue heavens. God heard the prayers and formed worlds for their families.[2684] As man requests so God decrees and each religion has its reward.

After encountering the Messiah he brought me to a tunnel where I beheld a light at the end like the Sun. It was Helios, the healing light and I beheld it rising over Jerusalem.

The Messiah said that he could not journey with me to the Holy Land. I insisted but there was a dread sadness in his eyes. He told me that until the time of the redemption, he must continue to suffer to help lift[2685] the sin of others away. Until this is all fulfilled, he cannot reenter Israel. I took his hand and told him that my lead will exempt him.[2686]

I took him to the Dead Sea and than up the dry riverbed of Nahal Zelem – נחל צלים. There were no people around and he filled himself with the enjoyment of Israel. I then took him to the Negev and down into the canyons of the Makhtesh during the floods.[2687] The walls were beautiful to behold and he touched their swirling geological patterns as we descended into the heart.

We rose again and found a donkey on the plains during the rainstorms and the Messiah wanted to ride upon the donkey. He told me to lead him to Jerusalem, through Hebron and Bethlehem. As we proceeded, a crowd of people followed us until we reached Bethlehem where he wished to stop to behold his birthplace.

Eventually, we reached the Holy City and he wished to enter through the Armenian gate. He said in the final redemption, he will enter through the Western Wall gate. As we approached the overlook of the Temple, he asked me to enter him through his eyes. As my mind became his, my mental dialogue ceased and I beheld all people in an equal light above petty judgment.

I asked whether he was God and he said no, there is only God in heaven. He said he was the Son of God.[2688] I asked whether he is a divine being. He said no! I took his hands and we soared above the Temple mount and beheld the area. He showed me that a new Temple would be built completely encapsulating the Dome of the Rock.

I saw myself as Messiah ben Joseph serving Messiah ben David in a castle in the area. There were angels with me that followed me when I brought visitors into his audience chamber. The Jews will be first in this day as servants to the King Messiah. He held my hands and the angels gathered around us and I willed that all the gates of the Palace be opened. The host of people entered and gathered with us under the wings of God, the light of angels all about. The Messiah told me to call the Angel of Gehenom and then all of the Dark Angels. They all arrived and became part of our unity in the light of God, high on his Mountain, before his service. There is only one God and his Name is One.[2689]


There is some debate on whether the correct Hebrew name for Jesus is Yeshua – ישוע or Yehoshua – יהושע or יהושוע? The gematria of Yeshua is 386 while the gematria of Yehoshua is 391 or 397 with the uncommon spelling. The first form is a blessing since moshiach = 358 with Hashem = 26 and the letter Bet for blessing = 2, equals 384. The second includes the 5 books of Moses. The third includes the 6 tractates of Mishnah.

Text 26-23: Yeshua vs. Yehoshua

The Names Yeshua and Yehoshua
by Dr. James Price, professor of Hebrew
Yehoshua in the Septuagint

Two things indicate that Yehoshua is the proper Hebrew name for Jesus:
(1) In the Greek Translation of the OT known as the Septuagint (LXX), the name Joshua is rendered *Iasous* = Jesus.
(2) In the NT, Joshua is mentioned twice (Acts 7:45; Heb 4:8), and in both places the Greek NT spells the name *Iasous* = Jesus.

Thus the Greek *Iasous* is the equivalent of Hebrew *Yehoshua*

Yehoshua in the Hebrew Bible

As far as the Hebrew Bible is concerned, it is important to note that in the early books, the name Joshua is spelled as (yod-hey-waw-shin-ayin) or on rare occasions as (yod-hey-waw-shin-waw-ayin). However, in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, the high priest is named Jeshua the son of Jozadak ( yod-shin-waw-ayin); whereas in the contemporary books of Haggai and Zechariah, the same high priest is named Joshua the son of Jehozadak ( yod-hey-waw-shin-ayin beth-nun). Thus, it can be concluded that in post-exilic times of the Biblical era, the names Yeshua and Yehoshua were regarded as equivalent.[2690]

26.6.15.5 Essene Tradition of Twelve Disciples


Sanhedren 43a refers to someone by the name of Yeshu – ישו. This does not seem likely to be Jesus. He had five disciples:

Text 26-24: Sanhedren 43a
Our Rabbis taught: Yeshu had five disciples, Matthai, Nakai, Nezer, Buni and Todah. When Matthai was brought [before the court] he said to them [the judges], Shall Matthai be executed? Is it not written, Matthai [when] “shall I come and appear before God?” Thereupon they retorted; Yes, Matthai shall be executed, since it is written, “When Matthai [when] shall [he] die and his name perish.” When Nakai was brought in he said to them; Shall Nakai be executed? It is not written, “Naki [the innocent] and the righteous slay thou not?” Yes, was the answer, Nakai shall be executed, since it is written, in secret places does Naki, [the innocent] slay. When Nezer was brought in, he said; Shall Nezer be executed? Is it not written, “And Nezer [a twig] shall grow forth out of his roots.” Yes, they said, Nezer shall be executed, since it is written, But thou art cast forth away from thy grave like Nezer [an abhorred offshoot]. When Buni was brought in, he said: Shall Buni be executed? Is it not written, Beni [my son], my first born? Yes, they said, Buni shall be executed, since it is written, Behold I will slay Bine-ka [thy son] thy first born. And when Todah was brought in, he said to them; Shall Todah be executed? Is it not written, A psalm for Todah [thanksgiving]? Yes, they answered, Todah shall be executed, since it is written, Whoso offereth the sacrifice of Todah [thanksgiving] honoured me.

The Essene tradition portrays the Teacher with twelve disciples.

26.6.15.6 Primordial Man

The concept of primordial man, Adam Kadmon in Judaism has been suggested to be associated with the idea of messiah. There is some basis in the Midrash that G-d created the Name of the Messiah before the world. Also, the principle that Adam contained all the souls of mankind exists. In fact there is the idea that the messiah is the nexus or representation of Adam Kadmon in some Hasidic writings. Yet, Adam Kadmon existed before all other souls so the messiah today would be co-existent with souls in other humans, which means he would not contain them all in the same sense.

A major difference from Christianity is that in Judaism G-d created Adam Kadmon—he was not “born” of a deity. Albright’s attempts to back annotate a savior literal son of god into the Jewish Aramaic tradition in order to justify Christianity’s expectation of a divine messiah is weak.[2691]

26.6.16 Church

The Christian word, Church, is from the Hebrew word, Knesset, which means assembly as in Bet Knesset, assembly house. James, the brother of Jesus, ran the ‘church’ at the beginning of the Common Era. James may have died by accident or murder.[2692]

Text 26-25: James the Lesser
After the crucifixion of Jesus, his brother, James, led the small community of Judeo-Christians in Jerusalem. Under his leadership, the Jerusalem “church” tried to preserve the Jewishness of the group, and opposed attempts to bring in non-Jews who had not been circumcised. Researcher Oded Ir-Shai, in his article "The Jerusalem Church - From a Church of the Circumcised to a Church of non-Jews" (published in a Hebrew book entitled "The Jerusalem Book - The Roman and Byzantine Period," Yad Ben Tzvi, 1999), analyzes the few sources that mention James and his period. The time of his appointment as first bishop of Jerusalem is not known, but "his term ended tragically in the year 62, after the death of the Roman governor Festus, and on the eve of the arrival of his successor Albinus to Judea."

According to the description by Josephus Flavius in his book "Antiquities of the Jews," the high priest, Hanan Ben Hanan, took advantage of the opportunity that Judea was left without a Roman governor, "and called a sanhedrin [high court] of judges, and brought before it the brother of Jesus who is called the Messiah - his name is James - and other people, and accused them of having broken a law, and handed them over for stoning."

Ir-Shai believes that the source of the hostility toward James was his social outlook, "which was based mainly on zealous concern for the poor and the oppressed, and hostility not only toward wealth, but toward the wealthy as well," as the situation is depicted in the "Iggeret" ["Letter"] attributed to him in the New Testament.

The social ferment in Jerusalem increased greatly during that time and erupted after four years, at the same time as the Great Revolt of the Jews against the Romans.

In the later Christian tradition, there is a somewhat different version of the circumstances of his death: "James the Just" is described as a holy man who "didn't drink wine and strong drink, didn't eat meat, and never used a razor on his head." Since he managed to attract many to believe in Jesus, the "scribes and the Pharisees" demanded that he restrain the people, and for this purpose, stood him on the wall of the Temple Mount. But James refused to deny the gospel of his brother, and therefore he was thrown off the wall. When it turned out that he hadn't been killed by the fall, "they started to stone him," it is said, and one person among the masses, a washerman by trade, beat James on the head with a cudgel.

James the Lesser was a righteous man. The Book of James in the New Testament testifies to his hopes and values. What is not said above is that many Jews respected James even amongst the religious. Nevertheless, G-d used the Romans to destroy the Second Temple because of the sin between Jews of senseless hatred. The reference to Minim, spies, in the 19th blessing of the Amidah meant Christians at one time.[2693] This is a sad commentary on the conflict that grew out of the Jewish Christian split in early history.

26.6.17 Catholicism

26.6.17.1 Mary

A key principle is that prayer to Mary is considered to be more efficacious than to God who is more likely to not listen. The idea that Mary is more the merciful ear of God is maintained in the Hail Mary prayer. There is some similarity with Rachel who cries on behalf of her children to G-d in the Midrash, but Mary has a more intimate relationship. There is also some resemblance to the Shechinah.[2694]

26.6.17.2 Holocaust

Pope John Paul XX from Poland has come out with apologies to the Jewish people for the Catholic Church during WWII. John Cornwell discovered that Pope Pius XII made a deal with Adolf Hitler to look the other way in terms of the Holocaust in exchange for authority over the German Catholic Church. The Reform Jewish movement pursued this further and the Vatican was forced to acknowledge its anti-Semitic history and cover-up during WWII. Unfortunately, the New Testament trains anti-Semitism into each new generation by stereotyping Jewish leaders and individuals with negative parables and accusations.[2695]

Text 26-26: Complicity of Pope Pius XII in the Holocaust
Long-buried Vatican files reveal a new and shocking indictment of World War II's Pope Pius XII: that in pursuit of absolute power he helped Adolf Hitler destroy German Catholic political opposition, betrayed the Jews of Europe, and sealed a deeply cynical pact with a 20th-century devil.

One evening several years ago when I was having dinner with a group of students, the topic of the
papacy was broached, and the discussion quickly boiled over. A young woman asserted that Eugenio Pacelli, Pope Pius XII, the Pope during World War II, had brought lasting shame on the Catholic Church by failing to denounce the Final Solution. A young man, a practicing Catholic, insisted that the case had never been proved.

Raised as a Catholic during the papacy of Pius Xll – his picture gazed down from the wall of every
classroom during my childhood – I was only too familiar with the allegation. It started in 1963 with a play by a young German author named Rolf Hochhuth, Der Stellvertreter (The Deputy) which was staged on Broadway in 1964. It depicted Pacelli as a ruthless cynic, interested more in the Vatican's stockholdings than in the fate of the Jews. Most Catholics dismissed Hochhuth's thesis as implausible, but the play sparked a controversy which has raged to this day. Disturbed by the anger brought out in that dinner altercation, and convinced, as I had always been,of Pius XII's innocence, I decided to write a new defense of his reputation for a younger generation. I believed that Pacelli's evident holiness was proof of his good faith. How could such a saintly pope have betrayed the Jews? But was it possible to find a new and conclusive approach to the issue? The arguments had so far focused mainly on his wartime conduct; however, Pacelli's Vatican career had started 40 years earlier. It seemed to me that a proper investigation into Pacelli's record would require a more extensive chronicle than any attempted in the past. So I applied for access to archival material in the Vatican, reassuring those who had charge of crucial documents that I was on the side of my subject.

Six years earlier, in a book entitled A Thief in the Night, I had defended the Vatican against charges that Pope John Paul I had been murdered by his own aides. Two key officials granted me access to secret material: depositions under oath gathered 30 years ago to support the process for Pacelli's canonization, and the archive of the Vatican Secretariat of State, the foreign office of the Holy See. I also drew on German sources relating to Pacelli's activities in Germany during the 1920s and 1930s, including his dealings with AdoIf Hitler in 1933. For months on end I ransacked Pacelli's files, which dated back to 1912, in a windowless dungeon beneath the Borgia Tower in Vatican City. Later I sat for several weeks in a dusty office in the Jesuit headquarters, close to St. Peter's Square in Rome, mulling over a thousand pages of transcribed testimony given under oath by those who had known Pacelli well during his lifetime, including his critics.

By the middle of 1997, 1 was in a state of moral shock. The material I had gathered amounted not to an exoneration but to an indictment more scandalous than Hochhuth's. The evidence was explosive. It showed for the first time that PaceIli was patently, and by the proof of his own words, anti-Jewish. It revealed that he had helped Hitler to power and at the same time undermined
potential Catholic resistance in Germany. It showed that he had implicitly denied and trivialized the Holocaust,despite having reliable knowledge of its true extent. And, worse, that he was a hypocrite, for after the war he had retrospectively taken undue credit for speaking out boldly against the Nazi persecution of the Jews.

In the "Holy Year" of 1950, a year in which many millions of pilgrims flocked to Rome to
catch a glimpse of Pacelli, he was at the zenith of his papacy. This was the Pius people now in their mid-50s and older remember from newsreels and newspaper photographs. He was 74 years old and still vigorous. Six feet tall, stick thin at 125 pounds, light on his feet, regular in habits, he had hardly altered physically from the day of his coronation 11 years earlier. He had beautiful tapering hands, a plaintive voice, large dark eyes and an aura of holiness. It was his extreme pallor that first arrested those who met him. His skin "had surprisingly transparent effect," observed the writer Gerrado Pallenberg, "as if reflecting from the inside a cold, white flame." His charisma was stunning. "His presence radiated a benignity, calm and sanctity that I have certainly never before sensed in any human being." recorded the English writer James Lees-Milne. "I immediately fell head over heels in love with him. I was so affected I could scarcely speak without tears and was conscious that my legs were trembling."

But there was another side to his character, little known to the faithful. Although he was a man of selfless, monklike habits of prayer and simplicity, he was a believer in the absolute leadership principle. More than any other Vatican official of the century, he had promoted the modern ideology of autocratic papal control, the highly centralized, dictatoria1 authority he himself assumed on March 2, 1939, and maintained until his death in October 1958. There was a time before the advent of modern communications when Catholic authority was widely distributed, in the collective decisions of the church's councils and in collegial power-sharing between the Pope and the bishops. The absolutism of the modern papacy is largely an invention of the late 19th century It developed rapidly in the first decades of this century in response to the perception of the centrifugal breakup of the church under an array of contemporary pressures: materialism, increasing sexual freedom, religious skepticism, and social and political liberties.

From his young manhood on, Pacelli played a leading role in shaping the conditions and scope of modern papal power. Eugenio Pacelli was born in Rome in 1876, into a family of church lawyers who served the Vatican. He had an older sister and brother and a younger sister. His parents, devout Catholics, shared an apartment in central Rome with his grandfather, who had been a legal adviser to Pius IX, the longest-serving Pope in history. There was only one small brazier to supply heat for the whole family, even in the depths of winter. Eugenio was a modest youth, who never appeared before his siblings unless he was fully dressed in a jacket and tie. He would always come to the table with a book, which he would read after having asked the family's permission.

From an early age he acted out the ritual of the Mass, dressed in robes supplied by his mother. He had a gift for languages and a prodigious memory. He was spindly and suffered from a "fastidious stomach." He retained a youthful piety all his life. Politically and legally, however, he was capable of great subtlety and cunning. The Pacelli's were fiercely loyal to the injured merit of the papacy. From 1848, the Popes had progressively lost to the emerging nation-state of Italy their dominions, which had formed, since time immemorial, the midriff of the Italian peninsula. Six years before Eugenio's birth, the city of Rome itself had been seized, leaving the papacy in crisis. How could the Popes regard themselves as independent now that they were mere citizens of an upstart kingdom? Eugenio's grandfather and father believed passionately that the Popes could once again exert a powerful unifying authority over the church by the application of ecclesiastical and international law.

In 1870, at a gathering in Rome of a preponderance of the world's bishops, known as the First Vatican Council, the Pope was dogmatically declared infallible in matters of faith and morals. He was also declared the unchallenged primate of the faithful. The Pope may have lost his temporal dominion, but spiritually he was solely in charge of his universal church. During the first two decades of this century, papal primacy and infallibility began to creep even beyond the ample boundaries set by the First Vatican Council. A powerful legal instrument transformed the 1870 primacy dogma into an unprecedented principle of papal power. Eugenio Pacelli, by then a brilliant young Vatican lawyer, had a major part in the drafting of that instrument, which was known as the Code of Canon Law.

Pacelli had been recruited into the Vatican in 1901, at the age of 24, to specialize in international affairs and church law. Pious, slender, with dark luminous eyes, he was an instant favorite. He was invited to collaborate on the reformulation of church law with his immediate superior, Pietro Gaspam, a world-famous canon lawyer. Packaged in a single manual, the Code of Canon Law was distributed in 1917 to Catholic bishops and clergy throughout the world. According to this code, in the future all bishops would be nominated by the Pope; doctrinal error would be tantamount to heresy; priests would be subjected to strict censorship in their writings; papal letters to the faithful would be regarded as infallible (in practice if not in principle}: and an oath would be taken by all candidates for the priesthood to submit to the sense as well as the strict wording of doctrine as laid down by the Pope.

But there was a problem. The church had historically granted the dioceses in the provincial states of Germany a large measure of local discretion and independence from Rome. Germany had one of the largest Catholic populations in the world, and its congregation was well educated and sophisticated, with hundreds of Catholic associations and newspapers and many Catholic universities and publishing houses. The historic autonomy of Germany's Catholic Church was enshrined in ancient church-state treaties known as concordats.

Aged 41 and already an archbishop, PaceIli was dispatched to Munich as papal nuncio, or ambassador, to start the process of eliminating all existing legal challenges to the new papal autocracy. At the same time ,he was to pursue a Reich Concordat, a treaty between the papacy and Germany as a whole which would supersede all local agreements and become a model of Catholic church-state relations. A Reich Concordat would mean formal recognition by the German government of the Pope's right to impose the new Code of Canon Law on Germany's Catholics. Such an arrangement was fraught with significance for a largely Protestant Germany. Nearly 400 years earlier, in Wittenberg, Martin Luther had publicly burned a copy of Canon Law in defiance of the centralized authority of the church. It was one of the defining moments of the Reformation, which was to divide Western Christendom into Catholics and Protestants. In May 1917, Pacelli set off for Germany via Switzerland in a private railway compartment, with an additional wagon containing 60 cases of special foods for his delicate stomach. The Pope at that time, Benedict XV, was shocked at this extravagance, but PaceIli had favored status as the Vatican's best diplomat. Shortly after he settled in Munich, he acquired a reputation as a vigorous relief worker. He traveled through war-weary Germany extending charity to people of all religions and none.

In an early letter to the Vatican, however he revealed himself to be less than enamored of Germany's Jews. On September 4, 1917. PaceIli informed Pietro Gaspam, who had become cardinal secretary of state in the Vatican -- the equivalent of foreign minister and prime minister -- that a Dr. Werner, the chief rabbi of Munich, had approached the nunciature begging a favor. In order to celebrate the festival of Tabernacles, beginning on October 1, the Jews needed palm fronds, which normally came from Italy. But the Italian government had forbidden the exportation, via Switzerland, of a stock of palms which the Jews had purchased and which were being held up in Como. "The Israelite Community," continued Pacelli, "are seeking the intervention of the Pope in the hope that he will plead on behalf of the thousands of German Jews." The favor in question was no more problematic than the transportation of Pacelli's 60 cases of food-stuffs had been a few months earlier. Pacelli informed Gaspam that he had warned the rabbi that "wartime delays in communication" would make things difficult. He also told Gaspam that he did not think it appropriate for the Vatican "to assist them in the exercise of their Jewish cult." His letter went by the slow route overland in the diplomatic bag. Gaspatti replied by telegram on September 18 that he entirely trusted Pacelli's "shrewdness," agreeing that it would not be appropriate to help Rabbi Werner. PaceIli wrote back on September 28, 1917, informing Gasparri that he had again seen the Rabbi, who "was perfectly convinced of the reasons I had given him and thanked me warmly for all that I had done on his behalf." Pacelli had done nothing except thwart the rabbi's request. The episode, small in itself, belies subsequent claims that Pacelli had a great love of the Jewish religion and was always motivated by its best interests.

Eighteen months later he revealed his antipathy toward the Jews in a more blatantly anti-Semitic fashion when he found himself at the center of a local revolution as Bolshevik groups struggled to take advantage of the chaos in postwar Munich. Writing to Gasparri, Pacelli described the revolutionaries and their chief, Eugen Levien in their headquarters in the former royal palace. The letter has lain in the Vatican secret archive like a time bomb until now: "The scene that presented itself at the palace was indescribable. The confusion totally chaotic, the filth completely nauseating; soldiers and armed workers coming and going; the building, once the home of a king, resounding with screams, vile language, profanities. Absolute hell. An army of employees were dashing to and fro, giving out orders, waving bits of paper, and in the midst of all this, a gang of young women, of dubious appearance, Jews like all the rest of them, hanging around in all the offices with provocative demeanor and suggestive smiles. The boss of this female gang was Levien's mistress, a young Russian woman, a Jew and a divorcee, who was in charge. And it was to her that the nunciature was obliged to pay homage in order to proceed. This Levien is a young man, about 30 or 35, also Russian and a Jew. Pale, dirty, with vacant eyes, hoarse voice, vulgar, repulsive, with a face that is both intelligent and sly." This association of Jewishness with Bolshevism confirms that Pacelli, from his early 40s, nourished a suspicion of and contempt for the Jews for political reasons. But the repeated references to the Jewishness of these individuals, along with the catalogue of stereotypical epithets deploring their physical and moral repulsiveness, betray a scorn and revulsion consistent with anti-Semitism. Not long after this, Pacelli campaigned to have black French troops removed from the Rhineland, convinced that they were raping women and abusing children – even though an independent inquiry sponsored by the U.S. Congress, of which Pacelli was aware, proved this allegation false. Twenty-three years later, when the Allies were about to enter Rome, he asked the British envoy to the Vatican to request of the British Foreign Office that no Allied colored troops would be among the small number that might be garrisoned in Rome after the occupation.

Pacelli spent 13 years in Germany attempting to rewrite the state Concordats one by one in favor of the power of the Holy See and routinely employing diplomatic blackmail. Germany was caught up in many territorial disputes following the redrawing of the map of Central Europe after the First World War. Pacelli repeatedly traded promises of Vatican support for German control of disputed regions in return for obtaining terms advantageous to the Vatican in Concordats. The German government's official in charge of Vatican affairs at one point recorded the "ill feeling" prompted by Pacelli's "excessive demands." Both Catholics and Protestants in Germany resisted reaching an agreement with Pacelli on a Reich Concordat because the nuncio's concept of a church-state relationship was too authoritarian. In his negotiations, Pacelli was not concerned about the fate of non-Catholic religious communities or institutions, or about human rights. He was principally preoccupied with the interests of the Holy See. Nothing could have been better designed to deliver Pacelli into the hands of Hitler later, when the future dictator made his move in 1933.

In June 1920, Pacelli became nuncio to all of Germany, with headquarters in Berlin as well as in Munich, and immediately acquired a glittering reputation in diplomatic circles. He was a favorite at dinner parties and receptions, and he was known to ride horses on the estate of a wealthy German family. His household was run by a pretty young nun from southern Germany named Sister Pasqualina Lehnert. Pacelli's sister Elisabetta, who battled with the nun for Pacelli's affections, described Pasqualina as "scaltrissima"-- extremely cunning. In Munich it had been rumored that he cast more than priestly eyes on this religious housekeeper. Pacelli insisted that a Vatican investigation into this "horrible calumny" be conducted at the highest level, and his reputation emerged unbesmirched.

Meanwhile, he had formed a close relationship with an individual named Ludwig Kaas. Kaas was a representative of the solidly Catholic German Center Party, one of the largest and most powerful democratic parties in Germany. Though it was unusual for a full-time politician, he was also a Roman Catholic priest. Five years Pacelli's junior, dapper, bespectacled, and invariably carrying a smart walking stick, Kaas, known as "the prelate," became an intimate collaborator of Pacelli's on every aspect of Vatican diplomacy in Germany. With Pacelli's encouragement, Kaas eventually became the chairman of the Center Party, the first priest to do so in the party's 60-year history. Yet while Kaas was officially a representative of a major democratic party, he was increasingly devoted to Pacelli to the point of becoming his alter ego. Sister Pasqualina stated after Pacelli's death that Kaas, who "regularly accompanied Pacelli on holiday" was linked to him in "adoration, honest love and unconditional loyalty." There were stories of acute jealousy and high emotion when Kaas became conscious of a rival affection in Pacelli's secretary, the Jesuit Robert Leiber, who was also German.

Kaas was a profound believer in the benefits of a Reich Concordat, seeing a parallel between papal absolutism and the FÜHRER- PRINZIP, the Fascist leadership principle. His views coincided perfectly with Pacelli's on church-state politics, and their aspirations for centralized papal power were identical. Kaas's adulation of PaceIli, whom he put before his party, became a crucial element in the betrayal of Catholic democratic politics in Germany.

In 1929, Pacelli was recalled to Rome to take over the most important role under the Pope, Cardinal Secretary of State. Sister Pasqualina arrived uninvited and cunningly, according to Pacelli's sister, and along with two German nuns to assist her, took over the management of his Vatican residence. Almost immediately Kaas, although he was still head of the German Center Party, started to spend long periods--months at a time --in Pacelli's Vatican apartments Shortly before Pacelli's return to Rome, his brother, Francesco had successfully negotiated on behalf of Pius Xl, the current Pope, a concordat with Mussolini as part of an agreement known as the Lateran Treaty.

The rancor between the Vatican and the state of Italy was officially at an end. A precondition of the negotiations had involved the destruction of the parliamentary Catholic Italian Popular party. Pius XI disliked political Catholicism because he could not control it. Like his predecessors, he believed that Catholic party politics brought democracy into the church by the back door. The result of the demise of the Popular Party was the wholesale shift of Catholics into the Fascist Party and the collapse of democracy in Italy. Pius XI and his new secretary of state, Pacelli, were determined that no accommodation be reached with Communists anywhere in the world – this was the time of persecution of the church in Russia, Mexico, and later Spain -but totalitarian movements and regimes of the right were a different matter.

Hitler, who had enjoyed his first great success in the elections of September 1930, was determined to seek a treaty with the Vatican similar to that struck by Mussolini, which would lead to the disbanding of the German Center Party. In his political testament, Mein Kampf, he had recollected that his fear of Catholicism went back to his vagabond days in Vienna. The fact that German Catholics, politically united by the Center Party, had defeated Bismarck's Kulturkampf- the "culture struggle" against the Catholic Church in the 1870s--constantly worried him. He was convinced that his movement could succeed only if political Catholicism and its democratic networks were eliminated.

Hitler's fear of the Catholic Church was well grounded. Into the early 1930s the German Center Party, the German Catholic bishops, and the Catholic media had been mainly solid in their rejection of National Socialism. They denied Nazis the sacraments and church burials, and Catholic journalists excoriated National Socialism daily in Germany's 400 Catholic ewspapers. The hierarchy instructed priests to combat National Socialism at a local level whenever it attacked Christianity. The Munich-based weekly Der Gerade Weg The Straight Path) told its readers, "Adolf Hitler preaches the law of lies. You who have fallen victim to the deceptions of one obsessed with despotism, wake up!"

The vehement front of the Catholic Church in Germany against Hitler, however, was not at one with the view from inside the Vatican--a view that was now being shaped and promoted by Eugenio Pacelli. In 1930 the influential Catholic politician Heinrich Briining, a First World War Veteran, became the leader of a brief new government coalition, dominated by the majority Socialists and the Center Party. The country was reeling from successive economic crises against the background of the world slump and reparations payments to the Allies. In August 1931, Briining visited Pacelli in the Vatican, and the two men quarreled. Brüning tells in his memoirs how Pacelli lectured him, the German chancellor, on how he should reach an understanding with the Nazis to "form a right-wing administration" in order to help achieve a Reich Concordat favorable to the Vatican. When Brüning advised him not to interfere in German politics, Pacelli threw a tantrum. Brüning parting shot that day was the ironic observation-chilling in hindsight-- that he trusted that "the Vatican would fare better at the hands of Hitler ... than with himself, a devout Catholic." Briining was right on one score. Hitler proved to be the only chancellor prepared to grant Pacelli the sort of authoritarian concordat he was seeking. But the price was to be catastrophic for Catholic Germany and for Germany as a whole.

After Hitler came to power in January 1933, he made the concordat negotiations with Pacelli a priority. The negotiations proceeded over six months with constant shuttle diplomacy between the Vatican and Berlin. Hitler spent more time on this treaty than on any other item of foreign diplomacy during his dictatorship. The Reich Concordat granted Pacelli the right to impose the new Code of Canon Law on Catholics in Germany and promised a number of measures favorable to Catholic education, including new schools. In exchange, Pacelli collaborated in the withdrawal of Catholics from political and social activity. The negotiations were conducted in secret by Pacelli, Kaas, and Hitler's deputy chancellor, Franz von Papen, over the heads of German bishops and the faithful. The Catholic Church in Germany had no say in setting the conditions. In the end, Hitler insisted that his signature on the concordat would depend on the Center Party's voting for the Enabling Act, the legislation that was to give him dictatorial powers. It was Kaas, chairman of the party but completely in thrall to Pacelli, who bullied the delegates into acceptance. Next, Hitler insisted on the "voluntary" disbanding of the Center Party, the last truly parliamentary force in Germany. Again, Pacelli was the prime mover in this tragic Catholic surrender.

The fact that the party voluntarily disbanded itself, rather than go down fighting, had a profound psychological effect, depriving Germany of the last democratic focus of potential noncompliance and resistance: In the political vacuum created by its surrender, Catholics in the millions joined the Nazi Party, believing that it had the support of the Pope. The German bishops capitulated to Pacelli's policy of centralization, and German Catholic democrats found themselves politically leaderless. After the Reich Concordat was signed, Pacelli declared it an unparalleled triumph for the Holy See. In an article in L 'Osservatore Romano, the Vatican-controlled newspaper, he announced that the treaty, indicated the total recognition and acceptance of the church's law by the German state. But Hitler was the true victor and the Jews were the concordat's first victims. On July 14, 1933, after the initialing of the treaty, the Cabinet minutes record Hitler as saying that the concordat had created an atmosphere of confidence that would be "especially significant in the struggle against international Jewry." He was claiming that the Catholic Church had publicly given its blessing, at home and abroad, to the policies of National Socialism, including its anti-Semitic stand. At the same time, under the terms of the concordat, Catholic criticism of acts deemed political by the Nazis, could now be regarded as "foreign interference." The great German Catholic Church, at the insistence of Rome, fell silent. In the future all complaints against the Nazis would be channeled through Pacelli. There were some notable exceptions, for example the sermons preached in 1933 by Cardinal Michael von Faulhaber, the Archbishop of Munich, in which he denounced the Nazis for their rejection of the Old Testament as a Jewish text.

The concordat immediately drew the German church into complicity with the Nazis. Even as Pacelli was granted special advantages in the concordat for German Catholic education, Hitler was trampling on the educational rights of Jews throughout the country. At the same time, Catholic priests were being drawn into Nazi collaboration with the attestation bureaucracy, which established Jewish ancestry. Pacelli, despite the immense centralized power he now wielded through the Code of Canon Law, said and did nothing. The attestation machinery would lead inexorably to the selection of millions destined for the death camps.

As Nazi anti-Semitism mounted in Germany during the 1930's, Pacelli failed to complain, even on behalf of Jews who had become Catholics, acknowledging that the matter was a matter of German internal policy. Eventually, in January 1937, three German cardinals and two influential bishops arrived at the Vatican to plead for a vigorous protest over Nazi persecution of the Catholic Church, which had been deprived of all forms of activity beyond church services. Pins XI at last decided to issue an encyclical, a letter addressed to all the faithful of the world. Written under Pacelli's direction, it was called Mit Brennender Sorge (With Deep Anxiety), and it was a forthright statement of the plight of the church in Germany. But there was no explicit condemnation of anti-Semitism, even in relation to Jews who had converted to Catholicism. Worse still, the subtext against Nazism (National Socialism and Hitler were not mentioned by name) was blunted by the publication five days later of an even more condemnatory encyclical by Pins XI against Communism.

The encyclical Mit Brennender Sorge, though too little and too late, revealed that the Catholic Church all along had the power to shake the regime. A few days later, Hermann Göring, one of Hitler's closest aides and his commander of the Luffwaffe, delivered a two-hour harangue to a Nazi assembly against the Catholic clergy. However, Roman centralizing had paralyzed the German Catholic Church and its powerful web of associations. Unlike the courageous grass-roots activism that had combated Bismarck's persecutions in the 1870s, German Catholicism now looked obediently to Rome for guidance. Although Pacelli collaborated in the writing and the distribution of the encyclical, he quickly undermined its effects by reassuring the Reich's ambassador in Rome. "Pacelli received me with decided friendliness," the diplomat reported back to Berlin, "and emphatically assured me during the conversation that normal and friendly relations with us would be restored as soon as possible."

In the summer of 1938, as Pius XI lay dying he became belatedly anxious about anti-Semitism throughout Europe. He commissioned another encyclical, to be written exclusively on the Jewish question. The text, which never saw the light of day, has only recently been discovered. It was written by three Jesuit scholars, but Pacelli presumably had charge of the project. It was to be called Humani Generis Unitas (The Unity of the Human Race). For all its good intentions and its repudiation of violent anti-Semitism, the document is replete with the anti-Jewishness that Pacelli had displayed in his early period in Germany. The Jews, the text claims, were responsible for their own fate. God had chosen them to make way for Christ's redemption, but they denied and killed him. And now, "blinded by their dream of worldly gain and material success," they deserved the "worldly and spiritual ruin" that they had brought down upon themselves. The document warns that that to defend the Jews as "Christian principles and humanity" demand could involve the unacceptable risk of being ensnared by secular politics--not least an association with Bolshevism. The encyclical was delivered in the fall of 1938 to the Jesuits in Rome, who sat on it. To this day we do not know why it was not completed and handed to Pope Pius XI. For all its drawbacks, it was a clear protest against Nazi attacks on Jews and so might have done some good. But it appears likely that the Jesuits, and Pacelli, whose influence as secretary of state of the Vatican was paramount since the Pope was moribund, were reluctant to inflame the Nazis by its publication. Pacelli, when he became pope, would bury the document deep in the secret archives.

On February 10, 1939, Pius XI died, at the age of 81. Pacelli, then 63, was elected Pope by the College of Cardinals in just three ballots, on March 2. He was crowned on March 12, on the eve of Hitler's march into Prague. Between his election and his coronation he held a crucial meeting with the German cardinals. Keen to affirm Hitler publicly, he showed them a letter of good wishes which began, "To the Illustrious Herr Adolf Hitler." Should he, he asked them, style the Führer "Most Illustrious"? He decided that that might be going too far. He told the cardinals that Pius XI had said that keeping a papal nuncio in Berlin "conflicts with our honor." But his predecessor, he said, had been mistaken. He was going to maintain normal diplomatic relations with Hitler. The following month, at Pacelli's express wish, Archbishop Cesare Orsenigo, the Berlin nuncio, hosted a gala reception in honor of Hitler's 50th birthday. A birthday greeting to the Führer from the bishops of Germany would become an annual tradition until the war's end.

Pacelli's coronation was the most triumphant in a hundred years. His style of papacy, for all his personal humility, was unprecedentedly pompous. He always ate alone. Vatican bureaucrats were obliged to take phone calls from him on their knees. When he took his afternoon walk, the gardeners had to hide in the bushes. Senior officials were not allowed to ask him questions or present a point of view.

As Europe plunged toward war Pacelli cast himself in the role of judge of judges. But he continued to seek to appease Hitler by attempting to persuade the Poles to make concessions over Germany's territorial claims. After Hitler's invasion of Poland, on September 1, 1939, he declined to condemn Germany, to the bafflement of the Allies.

His first public statement, the encyclical known in the English-speaking world as Darkness over the Earth, was full of papal rhetoric and equivocations. Then something extraordinary occurred, revealing that whatever had motivated Pacelli in his equivocal approach to the Nazi onslaught in Poland did not betoken cowardice or a liking for Hitler. In November 1939, in deepest secrecy, Pacelli became intimately and dangerously involved In what was probably the most viable plot to depose Hitler during the war. The plot centered on a group of anti-Nazi generals, committed to returning Germany to democracy. The coup might spark a civil war, and they wanted assurances that the West would not take advantage of the ensuing chaos. Pius XII agreed to act as go-between for the plotters and the Allies. Had his complicity in the plot been discovered it might have proved disastrous for the Vatican and for many thousands of German clergy. As it happened, leaders in London dragged their feet, and the plotters eventually fell silent. The episode demonstrates that, while Pacelli seemed weak to some, pusillanimity and indecisiveness were hardly in his nature.

Pacelli's first wartime act of reticence in failing to speak out against Fascist brutality occurred in the summer of 1941, following Hitler's invasion of Yugoslavia and the formation of the Catholic and Fascist state of Croatia. In a wave of appalling ethnic cleansing, the Croat Fascist separatists, known as the Ustashe, under the leadership of Ante Pavelic, the Croat Führer, embarked on a campaign of enforced conversions, deportations, and mass extermination targeting a population of 2.2 million Serb Orthodox Christians and a smaller number of Jews and Gypsies. According to the Italian writer Carlo Falconi, as early as April, in a typical act of atrocity, a band of Ustashe had rounded up 331 Serbs. The victims were forced to dig their own graves before being hacked to death with axes. The local priest was forced to recite the prayers for the dying while his son was chopped to pieces before his eyes. Then the priest was tortured. His hair and beard were torn off, his eves were gouged out. Finally he was skinned alive. The very next month Pacelli greeted Pavelic at the Vatican. Throughout the war, the Croat atrocities continued. By the most recent scholarly reckoning 487,000 Orthodox Serbs and 27,000 Gypsies were massacred; in addition, approximately 30,000 out of a population of 45,000 Jews were killed. Despite a close relationship between the Ustashe regime and the Catholic bishops, and a constant flow of information about the massacres, Pacelli said and did nothing. In fact, he continued to extend warm wishes to the Ustashe leadership. The only feasible explanation for Pacelli's silence was his perception of Croatia as a Catholic bridgehead into the East. The Vatican and the local bishops approved of mass conversion in Croatia (even though it was the result of fear rather than conviction), because they believed that this could spell the beginning of a return {?} of the Orthodox Christians there to papal allegiance. Pacelli was not a man to condone mass murder, but he evidently chose to turn a blind eye on Ustashe atrocities rather than hinder a unique opportunity to extend the power of the papacy.

{Note from emperors-clothes.com: This is a very generous interpretation. In fact the Catholic Church, controlled the Independent State of Croatia. At one point it was in fact directly run by Archbishop Stepinac who answered to Pius XII. Stepinac has, in turn, been beatified by the current pope, in a Croatian ceremony attended by Croatian President Franjo Tudjman.}

Pacelli came to learn of the Nazi plans to exterminate the Jews of Europe shortly after they were laid in January 1942. The deportations to the death camps had begun in December 1941 and would continue through 1944. All during 1942, Pacelli received reliable information on the details of the Final Solution, much of it supplied by the British, French, and American representatives resident in the Vatican. On March 17, 1942, representatives of Jewish organizations assembled in Switzerland sent a memorandum to Pacelli via the papal nuncio in Bern, cataloguing violent anti-Semitic measures in Germany and in its allied and conquered territories.

Their plea focused attention on Slovakia, Croatia, Hungary, and unoccupied France, where, they believed, the Pope's intervention might yet be effective. Apart from an intervention in the case of Slovakia, where the president was Monsignor Josef Tiso, a Catholic priest, no papal initiatives resulted. During the same month, a stream of dispatches describing the fate of some 90,000 Jews reached the Vatican from various sources in Eastern Europe. The Jewish organizations' long memorandum would be excluded from the wartime documents published by the Vatican between 1965 and 1981. On June 16, 1942, Harold Tittmann, the U.S. representative to the Vatican, told Washington that Pacelli was diverting himself, ostrichlike, into purely religious concerns and that the moral authority won for the papacy by Pius XI was being eroded. At the end of that month, the London Daily Telegraph announced that more than a million Jews had been killed in Europe and that it was the aim of the Nazis "to wipe the race from the European continent." The article was re-printed in The New York Times. On July 21 there was a protest rally on behalf of Europe's Jews in New York's Madison Square Garden. In the following weeks the British, American, and Brazilian representatives to the Vatican tried to persuade Pacelli to speak out against the Nazi atrocities. But still he said nothing.

In September 1942, President Franklin Roosevelt sent his personal representative, the former head of U.S. Steel, Myron Taylor, to plead with PaceIli to make a statement about the extermination of the Jews. Taylor traveled hazardously through enemy territory to reach the Vatican. Still Pacelli refused to speak. Pacelli's excuse was that he must rise above the belligerent parties. As late as December 18, Francis d'Arcy Osborne, Britain's envoy in the Vatican, handed Cardinal Domenico Tardini, Pacelli's deputy secretary of state, a dossier replete with information on the Jewish deportations and mass killings in hopes that the Pope would denounce the Nazi regime in a Christmas message. On December 24, 1942, having made draft after draft, Pacelli at last said something. In his Christmas Eve broadcast to the world on Vatican Radio, he said that men of goodwill owed a vow to bring society "back to its immovable center of gravity in divine law." He went on: "Humanity owes this vow to those hundreds of thousands who, without any fault of their own, sometimes only by reason of their nationality and race, are marked for death or gradual extinction." That was the strongest public denunciation of the Final Solution that Pacelli would make in the whole course of the war.

It was not merely a paltry statement. The chasm between the enormity of the liquidation of the Jewish people and this form of evasive language was profoundly scandalous. He might have been referring to many categories of victims at the hands of various belligerents in the conflict. Clearly the choice of ambiguous wording was intended to placate those who urged him to protest, while avoiding offense to the Nazi regime. But these considerations are over-shadowed by the implicit denial and trivialization. He had scaled down the doomed millions to "hundreds of thousands" without uttering the word "Jews," while making the pointed qualification "sometimes only by reason of their nationality or race." Nowhere was the term "Nazi'' mentioned. Hitler himself could not have wished for a more convoluted and innocuous reaction from the Vicar of Christ to the greatest crime in history.

But what was Pacelli's principal motivation for this trivialization and denial? The Allies' diplomats in the Vatican believed that he was remaining impartial in order to earn a crucial role in future peace negotiations. In this there was clearly a degree of truth. But a recapitulation of new evidence I have gathered shows that Pacelli saw the Jews as alien and undeserving of his respect and compassion. He felt no sense of moral outrage at their plight. The documents show that:

  1. He had nourished a striking antipathy toward the Jews as early as 1917 in Germany, which contradicts later claims that his omissions were performed in good faith and that he "loved" the Jews and respected their religion.
  2. From the end of the First World War to the lost encyclical of 1938, Pacelli betrayed a fear and contempt of Judaism based on his belief that the Jews were behind the Bolshevik plot to destroy Christendom.
  3. Pacelli acknowledged to representatives of the Third Reich that the regime's anti-Semitic policies were a matter of Germany's internal politics. The Reich Concordat between Hitler and the Vatican, as Hitler was quick to grasp, created an ideal climate for Jewish persecution.
  4. Pacelli failed to sanction protest by German Catholic bishops against anti-Semitism, and he did not attempt to intervene in the process by which Catholic clergy collaborated in racial certification to identify Jews.
  5. After Pius XI's Mit Brennender Sorge, denouncing the Nazi regime (although not by name), Pacelli attempted to mitigate the effect of the encyclical by giving private diplomatic reassurances to Berlin despite his awareness of widespread Nazi persecution of Jews.
  6. Pacelli was convinced that the Jews had brought misfortune on their own heads: intervention on their behalf could only draw the church into alliances with forces inimical to Catholicism. Pacelli's failure to utter a candid word on the Final Solution proclaimed to the world that the Vicar of Christ was not roused to pity or anger. From this point of view, he was the ideal Pope for Hitler's unspeakable plan. His denial and minimization of the Holocaust were all the more scandalous in that they were uttered from a seemingly impartial moral high ground.

There was another, more immediate indication of Pacelli's moral dislocation. It occurred before the liberation of Rome, when he was the sole Italian authority in the city. On October 16, 1943, SS troops entered the Roman ghetto area and rounded up more than 1,000 Jews, imprisoning them in the very shadow of the Vatican. How did Pacelli acquit himself'? On the morning of the roundup, which had been prompted by AdoIf Eichmann, who was in charge of the organization of the Final Solution from his headquarters in Berlin, the German ambassador in Rome pleaded with the Vatican to issue a public protest. By this stage of the war, Mussolini had been deposed and rescued by AdoIf Hitler to run the puppet regime in the North of Italy. The German authorities in Rome, both diplomats and military commanders, fearing a backlash of the Italian populace, hoped that an immediate and vigorous papal denunciation might stop the SS in their tracks and prevent further arrests. Pacelli refused. In the end, the German diplomats drafted a letter of protest on the Pope's behalf and prevailed on a resident German bishop to sign it for Berlin's benefit.

Meanwhile, the deportation of the imprisoned Jews went ahead on October 18. When U.S. chargé d 'affaires Harold Tittmann visited Pacelli that day, he found the pontiff anxious that the "Communist" Partisans would take advantage of a cycle of papal protest, followed by SS reprisals, followed by a civilian backlash. As a consequence, he was not inclined to lift a finger for the Jewish deportees, who were now traveling in cattle cars to the Austrian border bound for Auschwitz. Church officials reported on the desperate plight of the deportees as they passed slowly through city after city. Still Pacelli refused to intervene.

In the Jesuit archives in Rome, I found a secret document sworn to under oath by Karl Wolff, the SS commander in Italy. The text reveals that Hitler had asked Wolff in the fall of 1943 to prepare a plan to evacuate the Pope and the Vatican treasures to Liechtenstein. After several weeks of investigation, Wolff concluded that an attempt to invade the Vatican and its properties, or to seize the Pope in response to a papal protest, would prompt a backlash throughout Italy that would seriously hinder the Nazi war effort. Hitler therefore dropped his plan to kidnap Pacelli, acknowledging what Pacelli appeared to ignore, that the strongest social and political force in Italy in late 1943 was the Catholic Church, and that its potential for thwarting the SS was immense.

Pacelli was concerned that a protest by him would benefit only the Communists. His silence on the deportation of Rome's Jews, in other words, was not an act of cowardice or fear of the Germans. He wanted to maintain the Nazi-occupation status quo until such time as the city could be liberated by the Allies. But what of the deported Jews? Five days after the train had set off from the Tiburtina station in Rome, an estimated 1,060 had been gassed at Auschwitz and Birkenau – 149 men and 47 women were detained for slave labor, but only 15 survived the war, and only one of those was a woman, Settimia Spizzichino, who had served as a human guinea pig of Dr. Josef Mengele, the Nazi medical doctor who performed atrocious experiments on human victims. After the liberation, she was found alive in a heap of corpses. But there was a more profound failure than Pacelli's unwillingness to help the Jews of Rome rounded up on October 16. Pacelli's reticence was not just a diplomatic silence in response to the political pressures of the moment, not just a failure to be morally outraged. It was a stunning religious and ritualistic silence. To my knowledge, there is no record of a single public papal prayer, lit votive candle, psalm, lamentation, or Mass celebrated in solidarity with the Jews of Rome either during their terrible ordeal or after their deaths. This spiritual silence in the face of an atrocity committed at the heart of Christendom, in the shadow of the shrine of the first apostle, persists to this day and implicates all Catholics. This silence proclaims that Pacelli had no genuine spiritual sympathy even for the Jews of Rome, who were members of the community of his birth. And yet, on learning of the death of AdoIf Hitler, Archbishop Adolf Bertram of Berlin ordered all the priests of his archdiocese "to hold a solemn Requiem in memory of the Führer."

There were nevertheless Jews who gave Pacelli the benefit of the doubt. On Thursday, November 29, 1945, Pacelli met some 80 representatives of Jewish refugees who expressed their thanks "for his generosity toward those persecuted during the Nazi-Fascist period ."One must respect a tribute made by people who had suffered and survived, and we cannot belittle Pacelli's efforts on the level of charitable relief, notably his directive that enclosed religious houses in Rome should take in Jews hiding from the SS.

By the same token, we must respect the voice of Settimia Spizzichino, the sole Roman Jewish woman survivor from the death camps. Speaking in a BBC interview in 1995 she said. "1 came back from Auschwitz on my own. . I lost my mother, two sisters and one brother. Pius XII could have warned us about what was going to happen. We might have escaped from Rome and joined the partisans. He played right into the Germans' hands. It all happened right under his nose. But he was an anti-Semitic pope, a pro-German pope. He didn't take a single risk. And when they say the Pope is like Jesus Christ, it is not true. He did not save a single child."

We are obliged to accept these contrasting views of Pacelli are not mutually exclusive. It gives a Catholic no satisfaction to accuse a Pope of acquiescing in the plans of Hitler. But one of the saddest ironies of Pacelli's papacy centers on the implications of his own pastoral self-image. At the beginning of a promotional film he commissioned about himself during the war, called The Angelic Pastor, the camera frequently focuses on the statue of the Good Shepherd in the Vatican gardens. The parable of the good shepherd tells of the pastor who so loves each of his sheep that he will do all, risk all, go to any pains, to save one member of his flock that is lost or in danger. To his everlasting shame, and to the shame of the Catholic Church, Pacelli disdained to recognize the Jews of Rome as members of his Roman flock, even though they had dwelled in the Eternal City since before the birth of Christ. And yet there was still something worse. After the liberation of Rome, when every perception of restraint on his freedom was lifted, he claimed retrospective moral superiority for having spoken and acted on behalf of the Jews. Addressing a Palestinian group on August 3, 1946, he said, "We disapprove of all recourse to force...Just as we condemned on various occasions in the past the persecutions that a fanatical anti-Semitism inflicted on the Hebrew people." His grandiloquent self-exculpation a year after the war had ended showed him to be not only an ideal pope for the Nazis Final Solution but also a hypocrite. The postwar period of Pacelli's papacy, through the 1950s, saw the apotheosis of the ideology of papal power as he presided over a triumphant Catholic Church in open confrontation with Communism. But it could not hold. The internal structures and morale of the church in Pacelli's final years began to show signs of fragmentation and decay, leading to a yearning for reassessment and renewal. In old age he became increasingly narrow-minded, eccentric. and hypochondriacal. He experienced religious visions, suffered from chronic hiccups, and received monkey-brain-cell injections for longevity. He had no love for, or trust in those who had to follow him. He failed to replace his secretary of state when lie died and for years he declined to appoint a full complement of cardinals. He died at the age of 82 on October 9,1958. His corpse decomposed rapidly in the autumnal Roman heat. At his lying-in-state, a guard fainted from the stench. Later, his nose turned black and fell off. Some saw in this sudden corruption of his mortal remains, a symbol of the absolute corruption of his papacy.

The Second Vatican Council was called by John XXIII who succeeded Pacelli, in 1958, precisely to reject Pacelli's monolith in preference for a collegial, decentralized, human, Christian community, the Holy Spirit, and love. The guiding metaphor of the church of the future was of a "pilgrim people of God." Expectations ran high, but there was no lack of contention and anxiety as old habits and disciplines died hard. There were signs from the very outset that papal and Vatican hegemony would not easily acquiesce, that the Old Guard would attempt a comeback. As we approach the end of this century, the hopeful energy of the Second Vatican Council, or Vatican II, as it came to be called, appears to many a spent force. The church of Pius XII is reasserting itself in confirmation of a pyramidal church model: faith in the primacy of the man in the white robe dictating in solitude from the pinnacle. In the twilight years of John Paul II's long reign, the Catholic Church gives a pervasive impression of dysfunction despite his historic influence on the collapse of Communist tyranny in Poland and the Vatican's enthusiasm for entering its third millennium with a cleansed conscience. As the theologian Professor Adrian Hastings comments, "The great tide powered by Vatican II has, at least institutionally, spent its force. The old landscape has once more emerged and Vatican II is now being read in Rome far more in the spirit of the First Vatican Council and within the context of Pius XII's model of Catholicism.'' A future titanic struggle between the progressives and the traditionalists is in prospect, with the potential for a cataclysmic schism, especially in North America, where a split has opened up between bishops compliant with Rome and academic Catholicism, which is increasingly independent and dissident. Pacelli, whose canonization process is now well advanced, has become the icon, 40 years after his death, of those traditionalists who read and revise the provisions of the Second Vatican Council from the viewpoint of Pacelli's ideology of papal power--an ideology that has proved disastrous in the century's history.[2696]

26.6.17.3 Loyalty

Perhaps a quality that stems from Edom is loyalty. Loyalty is to give the benefit of the doubt in trust of ones compatriot – paisano. This may apply to communities, countries, and companies. This type of protection preserves organizations from intrusion. As long as the organization is evolving, growing, and improving, loyalty keeps it above the fray and permits individuals within to overcome themselves rather than be swept away with potential repercussions against the organization. Hence loyalty has a place today where its virtues are often overlooked in fear of its vices: stagnation, corruption, and an inability to adapt.

26.6.17.4 Seven deadly sins and seven virtues

The Catholic Church also recognizes seven virtues, which correspond inversely to each of the seven deadly sins.[2697] Ironically, 5-7 lead to stress that kills. 2 kills by sickness. 4 kills by obesity. 1 can lead to adultery.


Vice
Latin
Virtue
Latin
1
Lust
Luxuria
Chastity
Castitas
2
Gluttony
Gula
Temperance
Temperantia
3
Greed
Avaritia
Charity
Caritas
4
Sloth
Acedia
Diligence
Industria
5
Wrath
Ira
Patience
Patientia
6
Envy
Invidia
Kindness
Humanitas
7
Pride
Superbia
Humility
Humilitas


Associations with demons

Lucifer: pride
Belzebub: envy (envious)
Sathanus: wrath (wraþþe)
Abadon: sloth (slowȝ)
Mammon: greed - avarice (avarouse) & covetousness (covetise)
Belphegor: gluttony (glotouns)
Asmodeus: lust (leccherouse)

“In the Book of Proverbs 6:16-19, among the verses traditionally associated with King Solomon, it states that the Lord specifically regards "six things the Lord hateth, and seven that are an abomination unto Him", namely:”

A proud look
A lying tongue
Hands that shed innocent blood
A heart that devises wicked plots
Feet that are swift to run into mischief
A deceitful witness that uttereth lies
Him that soweth discord among brethren

26.6.18 Romania


Anti-Semitism is alive and kicking in Romania
By Cellu Rozenberg
Tags: Israel News, Romania

Anyone in need of additional reminders of how much Romanians love the Jews could have found it in the recent destruction and desecration of some 200 graves in the great cemetery in Bucharest. Even though there are almost no Jews in Romania (their number is estimated at a mere few thousand, excluding Israelis who have gone there on business), anti-Semitism is nevertheless alive and kicking.

The graves that were destroyed and desecrated - a reminder of the large Jewish community, numbering some 800,000 people, half of which was destroyed in the Holocaust not by the Germans, but by Hitler's loyal allies, the Romanians - give no rest to some Romanians. This is not the first time such things have happened in Romania, but everyone keeps quiet, as if this were merely a bit of mischief.

The roots of Romanian anti-Semitism are planted deep in the country's soil, which is soaked with Jewish blood. In almost every city and town where Jews lived, they were routinely subject to murder and looting - carried out by ordinary citizens, but backed by the regime - both before World War II and after it. It is no wonder that historian Hannah Arendt described Romania as the most anti-Semitic country of all.

On the morning of June 29, 1941, 12,000 Romanian Jews, who were almost blindly loyal to the state, were led through the streets of the city of Iasi, humiliated and hungry, to the local police station, which became their slaughterhouse. It was the government that ordered the terrible massacre, in which my family, too, was murdered when the security forces began shooting in all directions. That, we will never forget.

By the end of World War II, most of the rest of Romania's Jews had also been systematically deported and eliminated. Thus following that war, many of the surviving Jews preferred to abandon communist Romania and move to Israel, albeit shorn of all their possessions. The communist regime did a thriving trade in Jews, demanding thousands of dollars for each one. They thereby stole additional money and property from the Jews. Under the communist regime, the Holocaust was never taught in Romanian schools. Only in 2004, due to external pressure, was the subject added to the curriculum.

But if anyone thought that a change had finally occurred over the last few years, if anyone hoped that anti-Semitism had been relegated to the boors who desecrate graves rather than pervading the government, then President Traian Basescu's remarks at a press conference at the Bucharest Airport upon his return from Syria a week ago reminded us that there is another Romania besides that of pastrami and wine - the Romania of anti-Semitism. Syria, Basescu said, is bordered by the following countries: Iraq, Lebanon, and Palestine.

It is well known that Romania's president is not particularly well-educated, but as a former sea captain one would have expected him to at least know a little geography and history. Has it escaped him that there is as yet no country called Palestine, but that another country, admittedly small, nevertheless exists on Syria's border - one called Israel? It is a pity that the Foreign Ministry did not see fit to respond sharply to these remarks. It is still not too late.

Cellu Rozenberg is a historian who specializes in national security.

26.6.19 Emanation

There is a tradition each of us contains a spark of moshiach and that he is also Adam Kadmon the primordial man.[2698]

Text 26-27: Adam Kadmon by Micha F. Lindemans
Hebrew: "The primordial man". The first man of the Jewish Kabbalah, who first appeared in 13th century texts. He was the perfect prototype man created by God. The Kabbalists took up the concept using it to describe the divine symbolism of the human body. Later Adam Kadmon came to be identified with the messiah and was contrasted with the devil Adam Beliya'al'. He is symbolized by the Sephiroth or ten circles of creation. There are some similarities with the Persian Adam Kasia.

Deut 13:14: Certain men, wicked (lieing – beliya’al – children of liars – בני-בליעל ) persons, have gone out from among you, and have drawn away the inhabitants of their city, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which you have not known;


There is also the tradition that the messiah is of Zer Anpin that is one of the Partzufim, meaning small face and like a son to the partzuf associated with father. These are the restructured sefirot sharing with each other like a family. The original sefirot shattered because the shefa did not flow, but was held fast until the sefirot exploded. To identify Zer Anpin with the messiah would be to identify an image of G-d with an image of man, not quite correct. Furthermore, in this case Zer Anpin who must be united with Nukvah, by analogy would require that the messiah be married.

Malkhut is one of the ten Sefirot, but if Malkhut wants to have a relationship with Yesod, she takes on the garment of Nukvah and she speaks to Ze'ir Anpin, because Yesod is just one aspect of the son, who is her betrothed. ... the lowest world has many levels, and this is because Asiyah itself divides into five Partzufim, and their names are Arik Anpin, Abba, Imma, Ze'ir Anpin and Nukva de'Zer Anpin, in other words the Nukvah of the one that is betrothed to Ze'ir Anpin.[2699]

For G-d to call to a man, “my son” means that he is in the image of Zer Anpin. This is also like Yesod, the righteous one who is part of the six. And the six are the vav in the Aleph that is Moshe Rabenu with Moshiach ben David as the upper yod and Moshiach ben Yosef as the lower Yod. Together, they are Adam Kadmon, primordial man. Perhaps this idea is more of Persian origin. The original messianic idea is the expectation of a mortal righteous king to turn the people back to G-d and who will fight G-d’s battles, and help bring the Jewish people back to Israel.

26.6.20 Sublimation


There is a joy in those who teach Torah from their belief in a saving messiah (moshiah moshiach). It is hard to explain the source of this joy, but it appears to be in the sublimation of their own will to the will of messiah and through the messiah’s will to the will of G-d. The prophets sublimated their ego directly to G-d, yet for some reason this is difficult. Alternatively, there seems to be a way of letting the messiah in, possessing you and making his will, your will. This is similar to recognizing an aspect of the messiah exists in each of us and collectively we constitute Adam Kadmon.

There is one danger to the sublimation of ones will to the messiah, and that is if the record of his teachings
are not his own. Hence, Samuel told the people correctly that G-d is their King and they need no other. So in their sublimation to the will of messiah, people have sought Ruach Hakodesh, the Holy Spirit to guide them. There is also an aspect of Capara, letting another suffer for them to pay for their sins in this subjugation. Psychologically, there is no competition from a dieing messiah, no threat, no challenge. In this martyrdom, Paul and John turned a man into a god so that the people should not appear to be subjecting their will to a mortal king in a form of idolatry. Hence, G-d said to Samuel, “they have betrayed me not you.”

In 49 AD, Paul, at the Council of Jerusalem declared that the gentiles need not keep the Jewish laws to be saved by the messiah.[2700] He knew that the gentiles were not obligated to the law in any case, but offered them a new religion that would not burden them and yet would unite them with goals. To be all things to all people he declared in Corinthians 9:22.[2701] Thus, he structured a world religion.

The word savior is misunderstood. It is from the Greek word Soteros, the title of the pagan king on a Greek coin, proclaiming the king, the savior.[2702] The Jewish idea is that G-d is our Savior; though we may stray He will always welcome us back with open arms.

26.6.21 Incarnation

26.6.21.1 Origins of a deified son of god

Isaac Asimov in his New Testament study comments on the Virgin Birth: [2703]

Text 26-28: Virgin Birth
But then, why the tale of the virgin birth, told with such urgency, that a marginal Old Testament verse (Isaiah 7:14 for Matthew 1:23) has to be searched for and found by Matthew to account for it?
...
But the Jews were, in those days, surrounded by a vast world of Gentiles who had traditions of their own. It was quite customary and usual in Gentile legend (almost necessary, in fact) that any great hero, any wonder worker be the son of a god. A virgin could be impregnated by a god in magical fashion—this would not be impossible in the Greek tradition.

And as it happened, there were Jews not only in Judea, where Jewish thought was provincial and conservative, but in Alexandria and other places where the Greek influence was strong. Greek versions of the Bible used the Greek word for “virgin” in the Isaiah quotation, and it is quite possible that Matthew followed the Greek version rather than the Hebrew version in supporting the virgin birth, and that he did not deliberately misquote.

In Jesus’ time, the possibility of virgin birth may have taken on added force. The Roman historian Livy, who died just a few years before the start of Jesus’ ministry, had written a history of Rome that proved enormously popular. In it he retells the tale of Rome’s founding by the twin brothers Romulus and Remus. The interesting part of that legend is that Romulus and Remus are described by him as being of virgin birth. Their mother, Silvia, was a Vestal Virgin whose children were fathered by Mars.

Greek-speaking Jews would surely place no credence in that, and yet there might have been the impulse to feel that if a virgin birth could be used to exalt the founders of the pagan city of Rome, how much more could one rightly be used to exalt the founding of the kingdom of God.


In Sefer Zerubabel, Romulus is identified with Armilos, the son of Satan and the stone statue mother.[2704] It is not too surprising that the idea of the virgin birth influenced by Roman Vestal ideas was written into the Book of Matthew. There is even a tradition that Eve was impregnated by the snake in the garden from the word for converse that resembles marriage in Genesis. From this thought, Cain was conceived.

In Egypt the idea of divine kingship, rulership by a god-king whose lineage was based on the Great Royal Wife was the archaic norm (2000 BC). The god-king could thus mediate between the gods and man. The weakness of the Virgin Birth idea is that it implies god is male and thus, there is a gender bias. A king could achieve a degree of security by assigning himself the title, ‘son of god.’

26.6.21.2 Principle power of belief in incarnation

The power of this idea lies in an unwavering belief in One G-d. No persona can be ascribed to the incarnation.

C. S. Lewis made the following statement.[2705]

Text 26-29: C. S. Lewis
If Christ didn’t exist what would I do. I wouldn’t want to live in that case. Thus I would choose to believe in Christ even if I knew he didn’t exist.

I was quite perplexed by these comments by C.S. Lewis leading to the following meditation within the context of the writer:

Meditation 26-4: Living with the Love of G-d
Why wouldn’t C.S. Lewis want to live without Christ? After all he would still have G-d. This is precisely the point, for he wouldn’t have God since they are the same.[2706] So why not just believe in G-d. Here we have the point that God loved His people so much that when he saw their hopelessness and fall into sin, instead of pulling up the ladders and hiding His face, He came down to be amongst them—to cry with them, to laugh with them, to hope with them, to dance with them, so that they would feel close to Him again. But why does this require a human form? In Hasidic thought, the tzaddik lowers himself in order to raise others, depriving himself from spiritual closeness with G-d, instead becoming a mirror for the fallen to forgive themselves as they fall in love with him. In today’s Christianity[2707] the heavenly Tzaddik comes to dwell amongst us in JC, though our sins be scarlet, He will make them white as snow. With the love of God in human form there is elevation, with a Human’s suffering, there is a mirror of forgiveness.[2708]
 
Forgiveness of sins always requires repentance. The meditation suggests that being with an incarnation leads to repentance.

Moshe Rabbenu’s[2709] face shined when he emerged from his tent with the full light of the Shechinah upon him. In this light Moshe exhibited the will of G-d. The Christian extension is to postulate a nullified person from birth filled solely with the will of G-d.

This Midrash explains how G-d contracts himself into a limited space:[2710]

Text 26-30: Midrash on Contraction
The Holy One blessed be He contracted His Shekhinah into the Tabernacle or between the poles of the ark.

“For the rabbis, tzimtzum means a concentration of divine being within a small space. In Lurianic teaching it implies the opposite: a withdrawal from a small space and creation of an empty place the size of a point, from which the Divine is, as it were, absent—from which he has contracted his essence.”[2711]

The theology of incarnation has some basis here, a person might make himself a void for the presence of God to enter, perhaps even the contraction of God in the space of a person for some higher purpose.[2712] There is a basis for Christian incarnation theology from a mystical interpretation of Judaism, although earlier Christianity, which did not interpret messiah as a divine being, is closer to mainstream Judaism.

26.6.22 Human Sacrifice

Suicide is wrong except to avoid adultery, killing another, and idolatry. Intentional human sacrifice is thus wrong. Nevertheless, one can find meaning in the death of another for tshuvah and sanctification.

Text 26-31: Rashi on Leviticus 10:2 about Nadav and Avihu
Moses endeavored to comfort his brother in still another way, saying: "Thy sons died to glorify the name of the Lord, blessed be His name, for on Sinai God said to me: 'And there will I meet with the children of Israel, the Tabernacle shall be sanctified by those that glorify Me.' I knew that this sanctuary of God was to be sanctified by the death of those that stood near it, but I thought either thou or I was destined for this, but now I perceive that thy sons were nearer to God than we." These last words sufficed to induce Aaron to control his grief over the loss of his sons, and like the true wise man he silently bore the heavy blow of fate without murmur or lament. God rewarded him for his silence by addressing him directly, and imparting an important priestly law to him.[2713]

Moses or Aaron would have sanctified the tabernacle in life if Nadav and Avihu had not died. Suicide is not a permitted Jewish practice. Nadav and Avihu did not commit suicide. On the other hand, Sanhedrin teaches that a voice went out of Jerusalem saying that the Nazarene would die if he would come to this city. Perhaps, Jesus thought he wouldn’t be killed? Tractate Sanhedrin has a reference to someone that sounds like Jesus but he only has five disciples. There was a herald that went forth for 40 days that warned him that he would be killed if he entered the city of Jerusalem, suggesting that he might have been guilty of suicide even if for parousia.

Text 26-32: Sanhedrin 43a
MISHNAH. IF THEN THEY FIND HIM INNOCENT, THEY DISCHARGE HIM; BUT IF NOT, HE GOES FORTH TO BE STONED, AND A HERALD PRECEDES HIM [CRYING]: SO AND SO, THE SON OF SO AND SO, IS GOING FORTH TO BE STONED BECAUSE HE COMMITTED SUCH AND SUCH AN OFFENCE, AND SO AND SO ARE HIS WITNESSES. WHOEVER KNOWS ANYTHING IN HIS FAVOUR, LET HIM COME AND STATE IT.

GEMARA. Abaye said; It must also be announced: On such and such a day, at such and such and hour, and in such and such a place [the crime was committed], in case there are some who know [to the contrary], so that they can come forward and prove the witnesses Zomemim.

AND A HERALD PRECEDES HIM etc. This implies, only immediately before [the execution], but not previous thereto. [In contradiction to this] it was taught: On the eve of the Passover Yeshu was hanged. For forty days before the execution took place, a herald went forth and cried, ‘He is going forth to be stoned because he has practiced sorcery and enticed Israel to apostasy. Any one who can say anything in his favor, let him come forward and plead on his behalf.’ But since nothing was brought forward in his favor he was hanged on the eve of the Passover! — ‘Ulla retorted: Do you suppose that he was one for whom a defense could be made? Was he not a Mesith [enticer], concerning whom Scripture says, Neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him? With Yeshu however it was different, for he was connected with the government [or royalty, i.e., influential]. Our Rabbis taught: Yeshu had five disciples, Matthai, Nakai, Nezer, Buni and Todah.

The Last Supper must have been held the day before or several days before Passover. This would have to be the case; otherwise temple guards would have been celebrating Passover instead of being able to arrest Jesus. Jesus’ words during this meal suggest he was preparing to die. By Jesus intentionally putting himself into harm’s way without being forced to murder, commit open idolatry, or sexual crime raises the question of purpose?[2714] Human sacrifice is a prohibition. Divinely imposed suffering in the case of Job may have some bearing on atonement.[2715] Does G-d grant meaning to self-flagellation or self-torture? There is some basis in the story of the Ten Martyrs for those who go to their death to sanctify G-d’s Name.[2716]

26.6.23 Suicide

While completely forbidden in Judaism, a Nazarene paradigm can find meaning here. The Nazarene may view suicide as atoning for his family and others. His death is not meaningless! He died so that others are forgiven.

The vehicle of atonement is love and giving a meaning to this type of end, to turn it into a beginning. Perhaps, the atonement is granted by G-d so that the survivors may find meaning in their suffering! The sufferers ought not to feel guilty that they might have prevented this death, but instead should find good news in forgiveness in their own life.

Seven statements of instruction in Jesus’ final words:[2717]

Text 26-33: Seven Last Words
(1) Matthew 27:46 tells us that about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Here, Jesus was expressing His feelings of abandonment as God placed the sins of the world on Him – and because of that, God had to “turn away” from Jesus. As Jesus was feeling that weight of sin, He was experiencing a separation from God for the only time in all of eternity. This was also a fulfillment of the prophetic statement in Psalm 22:1.

(2) “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). Those who crucified Jesus were not aware of the full scope of what they were doing because they did not recognize Him as the Messiah. While their ignorance of divine truth did not mean they deserved forgiveness, Christ’s prayer in the midst of their mocking Him is an expression of the limitless compassion of divine grace.

(3) “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43). In this passage, Jesus is assuring one of the criminals on the cross that when he died, he would be with Jesus in heaven. This was granted because even at the hour of his death, the criminal had expressed his faith in Jesus, recognizing Him for who He was (Luke 23:42).

(4) “Father, into Your hands I commit my spirit” (Luke 23:46). Here, Jesus is willingly giving up His soul into the Father’s hands, indicating that He was about to die – and that God had accepted His sacrifice. He “offered up Himself unblemished to God” (Hebrews 9:14).

(5) “Dear Woman, here is your son!” and to the deciple, “Here is your mother!” When Jesus saw His mother standing near the cross with the Apostle John, whom He loved, He committed His mother’s care into John’s hands. And from that hour John took her unto his own home (John 19:26-27). In this verse Jesus, ever the compassionate Son, is making sure His earthly mother is cared for after His death.

(6) “I am thirsty” (John 19:28). Jesus was here fulfilling the Messianic prophecy from Psalm 69:21: “They put gall in my food and gave me vinegar for my thirst.” By saying He was thirsty, He prompted the Roman guards to give Him vinegar, which was customary at a crucifixion, thereby fulfilling the prophecy.

(7) “It is finished!” (John 19:30). Jesus’ last words meant that His suffering was over and the whole work His Father had given Him to do, which was to preach the Gospel, work miracles, and obtain eternal salvation for His people, was done, accomplished, fulfilled. The debt of sin was paid.

When we are thirsty, we need God in our lives. Thirst is emptiness within.

26.6.24 Capara

A Capara means a ransom paid to free a prisoner, or it could be money given as tzedakah, or a goat given as an offering. The word Caphoret means ark cover. There is also the idea that a Capara may cover ones sins so that they are diminished in the eyes of Hashem. In all cases though the Capara applies to the giver and not the receiver of the benefit. The atonement is for the giver. That is not to say that people are not connected and that our prayers for another are in vain, has vshalom. G-d listens to these prayers, but the sins of the father are not upon the child and vice-versa. This is not to say that leadership may be responsible for the misfortunate state of followers and that good leadership can help people act better. Nevertheless, each person is responsible for his or her own sin and atonement.

Hence deity sacrifice and drinking the blood and eating the flesh of a god are not a Capara for the sinner. A Capara may be G-d forbid, a car accident, where ones car took damage so that ones own body was spared. On Yom Kipper, the fast is essential for the diminishing of our own fat, is a Capara for us. Isaiah 53 does not mention the word Caper because there is no atonement here, but ones sins are lifted through guilt and tshuvah for seeing another suffer due to the consequence of our sins.

Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzatto made the following statement:

Text 26-34: Luzatto on the Tzaddik

... suffering and pain may be imposed on a tzaddik (righteous person) as an atonement for his entire generation.[2718] This tzaddik must then accept this suffering with love for the benefit of his generation, just as he accepts the suffering imposed upon him for his own sake. In doing so, he benefits his generation by atoning for it, and at the same time is himself elevated to a very great degree.

Such suffering also includes cases where a tzaddik suffers because his entire generation deserves great punishments, bordering on annihilation, but is spared via the tzaddik's suffering. In atoning for his generation through his suffering, this tzaddik saves these people in this world and also greatly benefits them in the World-to-Come.

In addition, there is a special higher type of suffering that comes to a tzaddik who is even greater and more highly perfected than the ones discussed above. This suffering comes to provide the help necessary to bring about the chain of events leading to the ultimate perfection of mankind as a whole.

... Beyond that, the merit and power of these tzaddikim is also increased because of such suffering, and this gives them even greater ability to rectify the damage of others. They can therefore not only rectify their own generation, but can also correct all the spiritual damage done from the beginning, from the time of the very first sinners.[2719]

Luzatto uses the word Caper. Nevertheless, the atonement only applies to the suffering tzaddik and not to others, though there is an element of tshuvah that others may feel when seeing a tzaddik suffer. Moreover, self-sacrifice can never forgive the sins of others. Capera, atonement always applies only to a giver of tzedakah or a sufferer, has vshalom. One can also give charity for the benefit of another but the Capera benefit is not incurred by another only the potential benefit from the giver’s prayers.

That one who suffers may cleanse his or her own soul to the point where his or her prayers are more efficacious is possible, but it is not his or her suffering specifically that helps others. Hazal, the sages teach that a ‘tzaddik decrees and G-d fulfills’. This emphasizes the influence that righteous ones have in the eyes of Hashem. There are stories of people slain from a casual remark of a sage. Moshe struck down an Egyptian taskmaster with a word. The prophet Daniel declared prophecy and Hashem fulfilled. Some of the prophecy may have been based on Daniel’s background in Babylonia, but G-d still fulfils the words of the righteous. Moshe beseeched G-d on Mt. Sinai to spare the people. His prayers influenced G-d to spare the people. Any suffering incurred by Moshe for the sins of the people is his own atonement but not a means to saving the people from punishment.

Nevertheless, there is also the principle that when a tzaddik leaves a locale, the spiritual level of the place descends. Hence, there is a secondary influence to the presence of righteous people in a community. Since, we are all part of the primordial man, all of our actions influence the well being of each other to some extent. Rabbi Nachman chose to be buried in a cemetery of pogrom victims to make a tikkun for their souls. This also is not atonement, but the tzaddik exercising his good will to improve the fate of others.

Luzatto says, “a tzaddik suffers because his entire generation deserves great punishments, bordering on annihilation, but is spared via the tzaddik's suffering. In atoning for his generation through his suffering, this tzaddik saves these people in this world...” The implication that specifically, the suffering of a tzaddik atones for his generation is wrong. This would imply that torturing an innocent animal, has vshalom could save onlookers. Instead, the suffering of a tzaddik may make his prayers more efficacious. Luzatto uses the word imposed, this means that suffering may be used as a Capara, but also monetary tzedakah can be a voluntary form of Capara.

“My God, my God, why has though forsaken me.” To save a life is to be a Jew. Jesus wasn’t tempted by a satan, an adversary with these words, but all who heard should have wanted to save him. His Capara was for his own life. Atonement is always for ones own life, though a suffering servant turns others back to God.

Each and every Capara is always a payment by the benefactor. In Numbers 16, Moshe instructed Aaron to take his censor, place incense upon it, and take it out into the congregation and make atonement to stop the plague. The key to the Capara is the Ketoret – the incense. For the incense was made from the offerings of the people and though they had strayed in their rebellion against Moshe an G-d, they had also donated the ingredients of the Ketorets. Though we be filled with sin, remember our offerings, our tithes, our tzedakah, that it may be a covering for our sin. And the pleasing smoke of the Ketores was a cover, a Kippur over the sins of the people and G-d forgave them.

26.6.25 Love and Giving

Yet what is the spirit of this religion, the spirit of love, the spirit of community warmth, from where does it come?[2720] The spirit needs friends to share with, to learn Torah with, and to grow in spirit with. All of the commandments are equally important in Judaism. However, Christianity raises belief in Jesus to be 1st. The avoidance of hatred is also equated with the 1st. The principle of love ranks there as well—this is the idea of the love of Christ.

26.6.26 “What would Jesus do?”

We can learn by the examples of the righteous, but we cannot be certain of all of their deeds. For example, to mimic John 8:44 would lead to scorn.[2721] Words filled with anger lead to idolatry.[2722] Hence, we live by the commandments and our love for each other.

“Our masters taught: When R. Eliezer, suspected of [Judeo-Christian] heresy,”[2723]

26.6.27 “Who do you say I am”


Greatly misunderstood from Matthew 16:
13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”
14 They replied, "Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets."

Jesus is probing to see if the people are ready to follow him as haMoshiach. The Greek christ means anointed. The messianic idea is as much a story about followers as it is a story about a leader. Nevertheless, Matthew 16:16 ends with the cryptic “Son of the living God.”

15 "But what about you?" he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

Jesus teaches that it is not ‘who that I am that matters’, but ‘who you say that I am’ will transform your life. Jesus seeks to know the transformation Peter desires, which is the presense of G-d more than a messiah.


Meditation 26-5: To Understand Him and him
On Shemini Etzeret – 5768 – October 4th, 2007:

What are the heavens my son? They are none other than the light passing through the leaves. The light shines setting shadows upon the walls of a tarp.[2724] As the images of leaves and branches dance, such is the dancing of the Source of Light.

What is my spirit my son? As the wind caries the shefa of spirit to the world, so is the spirit of God carried unto man.

Who am I? You are my Lord, the One True God?

Jesus enters: “Who do you say I am?” Who are you? “I am the Son of Man.” For wonder, what did you mean when you said, ‘they make their phylacteries large upon their heads’? “I did not understand. When I was a young man, how could I know the things you know from your years. There is no pride in the service of G-d, but only man’s love of God.” Who do you say you are? “I am little lower than the angels. There is no god beside Him. There is only One G-d that is He.” And whose voice do I hear. “Sometimes you hear Him through the angels, sometimes you hear Him through a son of man, but the voice of the servant transmits the word of God.”

Jesus continues: “Who do you say I am? I walked the world a humble man trying to renew the faith of man, to awaken a love each day. But I fell pray to anger, my spite rose inside, and I battled with him night and day.[2725] He thought he’d take me away from Him, but through it all, I still longed for Him. Though others slandered me and talked me down; they could not take me from Him. So I spoke in parable and they could not understand to criticize His revelation.”

What did you mean when you criticized divorce as the law of Moshe? “I was too young to know the Wisdom of God in the merciful Laws of Divorce. That we should find the Lord with our True Other Half of our Soul is the basis of this law. Moshe only taught the word of God and I did not understand that in my hope for spiritual reconciliation that sometimes two are not one.”

What did you mean when you told others, ‘to leave their fathers and mothers and follow me?’ “That we Honor our Father and Mother only within the Honor of God is what I thought, but now I know that we Honor our Father and Mother as we Honor God, without expectation of reward. We ought not judge our parents, but to honor and this is the great commandment.”

And your mother who you told to wait while you lectured in the temple courts? “That I should have not caused pain to my mother then and later. That it would have been greater to have lived and loved her than to have gone down to my death in false vanity that I thought would not happen. In the end though I changed the world through later teachers who changed who I said I was. They turned me from a Son of Man into a literal Son of God, although I did not ask for such a heresy to be brought into the world. Nevertheless, my teachings grew in stature and also grew in distortion.”

And what of Paul, did he represent you? “Paul who I did not know did not know me. When he saw me, he did not perceive, as a prophet must. Heresy, idolatry, those who would worship me only fall from the Holy One. So later a Nicene Creed would unify me with the Divine to escape heresy, but would they? To his Everlasting Glory, the King of the Universe cares less for theology than the deeds of man, so he looks away from heresy and judges alone by man’s love for his fellow and his deeds of love for all creation.”

“Paul condemned marriage excepting the weak. In Truth two are greater than one and a cord of three is a partnership with G-d that withstands.”

“Adonai Hu Ha-Elohim – G-d He is the L-rd and there is no other. There was no god before him, nor will there be after. I strove only to be a Son of Man and that too is to be great! Seek not after praises from others, do not look for others to laud over you. Seek only the One True G-d, He is your Lord, the Peace of your Days, the Spirit of your hearts.”

26.6.28 Five Loaves and Two Fish

In Carpatheium Jesus tells his deciples to feed the 5000 with their five loaves of bread and two fish and the deciples question how this can be. Yet after passing out the food there are left overs to gather back. Jesus’ miracle is in revealing the people’s giving spirit. By sacrificing their own food, they brought the people to bring forth whatever they had brought to share it with each other for a Jew is commanded not to travel without food.

26.6.29 Holidays

Traditionally observing Christmas involved killing a tree for decoration. This is in direct prohibition with the Torah, where one is prohibited from killing trees indiscriminately and in some cases a decision of a Jewish court is required. In times of war one was not supposed to cut down trees in the land of Israel. Giving flowers does not destroy the flower bush. L’havdil when a Succah is decorated pruned branches of a tree are used for the S’hak that goes on top. One does not kill a tree to build the Succah. Nevertheless for a permanent structure, the tree could be used and there is an elevation of G-d’s creation in the construction of a house of G-d.

Possibly the tree could represent Jesus as l’havdil the Tree of Life represents the Tzaddik.

L’havdil, Easter involves decorating an egg, which is not consumed. This diminishes nourishment, which the egg would normally provide. Some kids will practice ‘egging a house’ which is disrespectful to the egg. L’havdil in Judaism and egg is eaten after a blessing which is an elevation of its purpose.

26.6.30 Resurrection

The first Christians were all Jews and they sought to manifest the hope of the words of Hosea 6 fully in their lives.[2726] When they celebrated the original Easter it was the resurrection of their own healing that they experienced. From Hosea we learn of the association of the dew of the earth with hope and renewal. This is also the meaning of the egg on Passover.

While the principle of resurrection to the Israelites is hope[2727] and applied to all people, that of Christianity is the dying god that is reborn as proof of his divinity. The source of this change is explained below.[2728]

Text 26-35: Pre-Christian Resurrected Gods
An inscription in the Vatican states plainly, “He who will not eat of my body, nor drink of my blood, so that he may be one with me and I with him, shall not be saved.” This is not terribly surprising; unless you consider that this is inscribed on the remains of the temple the Vatican was built on—one dedicated to the God Mithras. Mithras was a solar deity whose worshippers called him redeemer; his religion died out not long after the advent of Christianity.

Such eerie parallels between the pronouncements of Jesus and Mithras are not the only similarities between the two religions. Mithras was known to his followers as “The light of the world,” or “The Good Shepherd,” and exhorted his followers to share ritual communion meals of bread and wine. His priests were called “Father.”

Mithras was also born in a cave, with shepherds in attendance, on the twenty-fifth of December. (Alternatively, he is assisted in his birth from a stone by shepherds.)

Are these just coincidences? Absolutely not. Fourth century Bishop John Chrysostom writes: “On this day also the Birthday of Christ was lately fixed at Rome in order that while the heathen were busy with their profane ceremonies, the Christians might perform their sacred rites undisturbed. They call this the Birthday of the Invincible One;[2729] but who is so invincible as the Lord? They call it the Birthday of the Solar Disk, but Christ is the Sun of Righteousness.”

Consider this—several other Gods share the December birthday, and like Mithras, they are also solar deities, who are born in the winter solstices, often of virgin mothers, die, and are reborn. One of these, a pre-Christian deity called Attis, was called “The lamb of God,” and his crucifixion and subsequent resurrection were celebrated annually, with ritual communions of bread and wine. His virgin mother, Cybele, was worshipped as “The Queen of heaven.” It gets more interesting the further back we look—Attis and Cybele's predecessors are the Babylonian Goddess Ishtar, and her consort Tammuz. It is from their legend that we get the name for the annual celebration of the resurrection of Christ—Easter, a name of the Goddess Ishtar.

This is not the only coincidence related to this ancient couple—the earliest use of the cross as a religious symbol is related to Tammuz. In fact, crosses are related to a variety of solar deities. Of course, the cross was not popular with early Christians, except in the form of an X, the Greek initial of “Christos.” (Even this was borrowed symbolism- the initials belonging to the Greek Chronos.)

Hundreds of years before Jesus, there was a passion story told about a God man, born of a virgin mother, in a stable. He travels about with his followers, preaching and performing miracles, including turning water into wine. Eventually, he incurs the wrath of the religious authorities, who are appalled that he refers to himself as the son of god. He allows himself to be arrested and tried for blasphemya willing self-sacrifice. He is found guilty and executed, only to rise from the grave three days later, where the women weeping at his tomb do not recognize him until he assumes his divine form. This god, also one of the first depicted crucified, is the vine-God Dionysus.

Common to all of these ‘mystery’ religions (so called because one was required to be initiated or baptized into the faith to learn its doctrines), including early Christianity, are themes of rebirth, redemption, and the transmission of life-changing information, spiritual salvation. So many religions in those times shared similar themes with that usually the deities became melded together. Early depictions of Jesus show him holding the Lyre of Orpheus, or driving Apollo's chariot. A talisman bearing the crucified likeness of Dionysus is inscribed Orpheus-Bacchus. The follower of Jesus, named Lazarus (‘resurrected,’ a derivative of the name of Osiris, the resurrected God of Egypt).

It is impossible to tell just by looking at old artwork, which haloed infant gods are cuddled in the arms of which mothers. The Emperor Constantine, who legitimized Christianity in Rome, was a worshipper of Sol Invictus—an amalgamation of solar deities Mithras, Helios, and Apollo-and he recognized Jesus' place in that company almost immediately. Even today, ancient solar symbols abound in Christian iconography. Not that Constantine was the only one to muddle these gods together; in fact, Christianity's oldest known mosaic depicts Jesus as a triumphant Helios, complete with chariot.

Of course, later Christians were terribly perturbed by these similarities to Pagan religions. These coincidences so disturbed one early Christian church father, Justin Martyr, that he accused the devil of sending an imitator of Christ in advance. Had he paid a little more attention to the past, he might have noted that the association of Jesus with Dionysus is not so strange—philosophers had been making connections between Jehovah and Dionysus for centuries.

Did early Christians, like their modern descendents, believe that theirs was the one and only true manifestation of religion? Consider the words of Clement, of Alexandria, “There is one river of Truth, which receives tributaries from every side.” If only the later followers of the religion listened more closely, these mysteries may not have been lost.

26.6.31 Sabbath

By reasoning from a lesser decree to a stricter decree we learn that if we are not to pick a fruit on a festival than all the more so we should do so on Sabbath. That the Day of Rest applies to animals as well as trees and all creation teaches this as well, applying that we do not destroy on the Sabbath even the connection of an apple to her tree. Of course, in the case to save a life these rules are suspended.

If one had not prepared for the Sabbath, and decided to break these rules; nevertheless, to claim that the Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath to justify picking fruit off the trees disregards that the Sabbath provides peace and rest even for trees.
24 Jesus left that place and went to the vicinity of Tyre.[a] He entered a house and did not want anyone to know it; yet he could not keep his presence secret.

26.6.32 Speech


25 In fact, as soon as she heard about him, a woman whose little daughter was possessed by an evil[b] spirit came and fell at his feet.

26 The woman was a Greek, born in Syrian Phoenicia. She begged Jesus to drive the demon out of her daughter.

27 “First let the children eat all they want,” he told her, “for it is not right to take the children's bread and toss it to their dogs.”

28 “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “but even the dogs under the table eat the children's crumbs.”

29 Then he told her, “For such a reply, you may go; the demon has left your daughter.”

30 She went home and found her child lying on the bed, and the demon gone.

The question one might ask is, ‘Would a god refer to a Greek woman in such an analogy?’

26.6.33 Talmud

The prejudices in the Talmud against JC coincide with the redaction of New Testament prejudices against Pharisees and Sadducees.

My son Moshe at 8 weeks was old enough to teach me that instead of writing prejudices they should have been jumping up and down doing exercise.

26.7 Confucianism

Confucianism includes ancestral worship and hierarchical family structure based on age. Burial mounds are common and are prepared before dying. Saving face is a major part of Confucian cultures where others can expect suicide for failure as occurs in Japan and Korea. Along these lines there is a lot the Confucian culture could learn from Judaism where suicide is a sin and when committed the dead are not honored.

Food offerings to the departed are common to avoid the ghost of an unhappy departed one from haunting the living. Sometimes the food is left in front the grave or a memorial if the grave is not known. Others after share sometimes the uneaten food and sometimes it is simply abandoned for scavenger animals to reap. In Judaism, the cup of Elijah on Passover is set at the Seder table and not drunken by others.

In addition there is often a bully culture that accompanies Confucianism where there is sometimes a concern to appear superior to others or to honor others.

Ironically, the wisdom or sayings of Confucius are not a major part of the structure of the philosophy of this type of society. Moreover, the values of Confucianism have found a way to preserve itself while adopting other religions such as Christianity.

26.8 Egyptian Religion

Set is conceived as the sun that kills with the arrows of heat; he is the slayer, and iron is called his bones. He is the deity of the desert with the head of an oryx. “The Hittites, who identified their own god Sutech with the Egyptian Set. But even among the Hyksos, Set was revered as the awful God of irresistible power, of brute force, of war, and of destruction.”[2730]

The term numinous may be from nomen, a title for a future king of Egypt. Amen, Amon, or Amun refers to hidden (one) – imn or god of air, associated with the breath of life in Egypt 17th dynasty. Ma’at (truth, justice, order), Amunet, or Mut) was his consort.

26.9 Essenes and the Dead Sea Scrolls

The three most common biblical books found amongst all the caves are Deuteronomy, Isaiah, and the Psalms. Interestingly, these are also the most often quoted texts in the New Testament, revealing that the early Jewish Christians had an affinity to the same values and texts as the Essenes. There are also many variations in the Dead Sea Scroll (DSS) biblical books suggesting that the canon was not as fixed as many believe today. The Septuagint version which many thought is a misleading translation has similarities to the DSS like 151 psalms instead of today’s 150. The Temple Scroll found in Cave 11 appears as an extension of the Book of Deuteronomy. The Jewish prohibition of not destroying a text with the Name of G-d is likely behind the preservation of these scrolls in places resembling burial caves.

26.9.1 Sunrise

Understanding where the Essenes came from is essential to understanding their perspective and the meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Text 26-36: Roy A. Rosenberg

As might be expected, the common “people of the land” – am haaretz felt little kinship with the elitist Sadducees. The emerging middle class in the cities and towns that developed during the Hellenistic period was perhaps even more alienated from them, since the philosophy embraced by the Sadducees made it impossible for them to interpret Torah law in a progressive fashion. Thus the Pharisees became the party supported by the majority of the Jewish people. They were able to innovate law, utilizing rhetorical devices that drew forth from the written words of the Torah interpretations that were not readily apparent, and they had recourse to customary or unwritten law called “traditions of the elders.” The middle class and the common people, even if they were not Pharisees themselves, depended upon their guidance and the practices that they promoted.

As a result, the Sadducean priests who led the Temple establishment found it both necessary and desirable to make an accommodation with the Pharisees. Over the course of time Pharisaic law came to dominate even the procedures followed by the priests in the sacrificial service of the Temple itself. This, the more dedicated “sons of Sadoq” (Sadducees), who presumably were quite unlike the group described by Josephus, found impossible to accept. They seceded from the Temple and the compromising Sadducees who remained there, migrating to the wilderness where they could practice and believe as they wished. They were, in their own eyes, the true “sons of Sadoq” who would, as the age of wickedness came to its close, come to power at last and rebuild the Temple according to plans revealed to them by God. They would revive the ancient ways and the ancient calendar, venerating without hindrance from those who opposed them the sedeq of Israel’s God, his almighty Right Hand made manifest in the sun each day.[2731]

Jupiter has the Hebrew name Tzedek, identified with the Right Hand of G-d. Hence, in a mystical interpretation the messiah sits at the Right Hand of G-d from Psalm 110. The root, “tzde” means the proper state of the universe as opposed to the strict idea of righteousness. L’havdil: kettu (kittu) or sydyk tzedek and misor mishpat were children of Shamesh[2732] a Phoenician[2733] sun deity, perhaps alluded to in Psalm 89:15. The Sun shemesh as a father figure has Jupiter tzedek as a son,[2734] and perhaps Mercury mishpat kokhav as his grandson. Abraham Ibn Ezra used the phrase mishpetei ha-kokhavim for the laws of the stars, perhaps the sentences of justice carried by Mercury.[2735]

Psalm 89:15: “Righteousness tzedek and justice mishpat are the foundation of your throne; kindness hesed and truth emet shall go before you.”

Isaiah 41:1: “Show silence to me O islands, and to the people renew their power. Let them come near, then let them speak together to Mishpat, we came near,

Isaiah 41:2: “Who aroused from the East righteous glory – tzedek. They called to his feet and (Mishpat) gave before him nations and kings to tread over. He gave (them) like dust to his sword like the chaff pursued in the bow of his sky.

Mercury is below the Sun arousing Him from the East with the appearance of sunrise and then Mercury rising. Mercury below calls to his feet and presents the nations and kings to him to speak. This is the role of the messenger to the King.

G-d’s tzedek has the image of rising in the east, calling across the sky, and setting in the west. In the image from the Bahir, He calls across the sky to his feet in the west proclaiming his rulership to nations and kings. While tzedek associates with malchut in messianic manifestation and the divine presence, tzaddik associates with Shaddai and the sefira of yesod in righteous foundation.[2736] Interestingly tzedek in archetype resembles the masculine sky above while tzadik the feminine earth below shifting malchut and yesod into the positions described by the Bahir as 7th and 8th.[2737]

Examining the historical origins of these names is useful to understanding their symbolism.[2738] Merodach is a messenger between god (Sun) and his people in an early tradition,[2] making tzedek (Jupiter) his son and mishpat his grandson (Mercury).[2740] Egyptian Set and Babylonian Marduk (Mar – son of the mountain – duk) are other names for Merodach who symbolizes the son of Shaddai – Mountain One or Power of the Storm.[2741] That the sun would be considered the son of the mountain (Shaddai) could be imagined, as the sun appears to arise out of the mountain each morning. Çüdüq prepares the straight course of the Sun similar to Set guiding Ra.

In Hebraic mysticism, Metatron (tzedek) is called ‘the little god’, who while shielding us from the overwhelming light of G-d appears as a god. Moshe, symbolizes Nebo – Mercury, the scribe of the laws. Mt. Nebo is the mountain from which Moses gazes at the Promised Land and his final resting place. There are many variations in the quoted myths below, with some unverified suggestions in red:

Text 26-37: Origines Judaicae by William Frederick Cobb
Çüdüq (Cuduk) was the god moving straight forward, before he was a god of righteousness, just as right denoted what was physically straight before it was applied to moral rectitude. Hence Çüdüq, or Sutech (Set), seems (sic)[2742] to be a name originally applied to the sun in his straight course across the heavens.[2743]

What, however seems clear is that Set was of Semitic origin, was worshipped by the Kheta,[2744] and was adopted through the Hyksos into the Egyptian Pantheon. The identification of him with Shaddai the powerful, has the authority of Emmanuel de Rouge. It is worth observation that the Babylonian Merodach – מרדך was styled “the herald of the gods,” the intermediary between Ea and man. His planet Jupiter[2745] watched over the course of justice,[2746] and received among the Jews the name of Cedeq, He-who-walks-before-Ea.[2747] None the less he was originally a solar deity borrowed by the Semites from the Accadians (sic)[2748].

The Akkadians were Semites so this is confusing. Also, the Sumerian Amar-Utu, calf of the Sun, became Akkadian Merodach who would be more the son of the Sun (Akkadian Shamesh).[2749] L’havdil, during Hanukah the Shamash is used to light the other candles. In a synagogue, the Shamash keeps the place organized, distributes books, and arranges calls to the Torah, aliyot. He is also a type of guardian.[2750]

Text 26-38: The beginnings of history according to the Bible and the traditions of Oriental Peoples from the Creation of Man to the Deluge

Hanoch who as we are told was deified like Sheth (Seth),[2751] thus happens, in the essential features of his physiognomy to bear a remarkable resemblance to the Babylonian Marduk, “the herald of the gods,” the special revealer, the common mediator between Ea master of supreme wisdom and men, he whose planet (Jupiter) watches over the maintenance of justice in the world, and in that character receives the appellation Cedeq from the Jews; finally, “he who walks before Ea,” just as Hanoch “walked with God.”[2752] But Marduk was originally a solar personification, and has always retained something of that character; his name is simply a Semitic corruption of Accadian Amar-utuki, signifying (sic)[2753] “sun-brilliance;” the solar number of 365 years is thus specially appropriate to him, and I am impressed with the idea that when the Hebrews first attributed this length of life to Hanoch, they borrowed it from a foreign computation, ...

Marduk is supposed to have reigned on the earth, and in Babylon, where his tomb was shown; on the other hand, he is the last of the personifications of the Sun, found in the cycle of the gods assigned to the months. And the succession of these personifications of the Sun in the course of the calendar is essentially significant; it expresses the principal phase of its revolution its alternations of waxing and waning. In the first place, in the month of Duz (Tamuz), at the time of the summer solstice, he was “Adar the warrior,” or “the Sun of the South, the Sun of Noon,” who, like Adar-Malik, corresponds to the Moloch of Phoenicia and Palestine; the implacable Summer Sun, who, at the hour of noon, when the intensity of his flame reaches its culminating point, devours the productions of earth, and who can be appeased only by human victims; he it is who, at the beginning of this month Duz, slays Dumuzi (Tammuz-Adonis), the young and gracious Sun of the Spring. Three months later, in Tashrit (Tishrei), at the autumnal equinox, he becomes Shamash, “the supreme and equitable judge of heaven and earth,” “the director,” “the law which enforces the obedience of the lands;” the Sun of the Equinoxes dividing equally the day and the night, exercising his power with justice and moderation.[2754] Marduk succeeds him in the month of Arah-shamna (mar heshvon) already ruled by the hostile power of the sign Scorpio, the month during which each day beholds the energy of the luminous orb diminish, and makes it descend one step toward its annual decline. Marduk, adversary of the demons, is thus the Sun, still combating the advance of the principle of darkness and winter, but at last succumbing in the struggle. He was chosen to preside over the eighth month (October-November), as being the one of the solar gods represented by Mythology as suffering periodic death each day at the evening of the winter season. Nergal, too, the god of earth, whose name in Accadian meant originally “the ruler of the tomb,” ne-urugal, is the god who takes his place, succeeding to his rule in the month of Kisiliv, “month of the thick clouds;” Accadian, itugan ganna, the month ending with the winter solstice, this being the very epoch of the annual death of the Sun. This sequence of events, this continuous retrogression, is reflected in the construction of the genealogy of the antediluvian patriarchs of the line of Sheth, at least so far as we can judge from the skeletonized condition in which it has come down to us.

The solar calendar that the Essenes followed showed the importance that the sun held in the schedule of their lives. Prayer began each day at the shekiah (first glimpse of the rising sun) with the proclamation of Shema. Overtime the Essenic ideas were influenced by non-Sadoqites who joined the order. While initially, ideas of the afterlife or the resurrection held little importance as they accepted only the Torah, now prophetic principles, Zoroastrian angelic legions, and even some Mithraic sun significance assimilated.[2755]

A curious element of Essenic ritual, according to Josephus, was worship of the sun, to which they prayed at dawn. This practice was probably adopted from Zoroastrian or Mithraic religion. Other elements in Essenic doctrine, as, for instance, the belief in angels undoubtedly come from Persia and were probably absorbed during the Exile.

The Essenes did not pray facing Jerusalem, but instead the rising sun. Jewish synagogues outside of Israel are laid out for prayer to the east as well. Nevertheless, the Essenes would have been Torah observant Jews by today’s standards keeping the holidays and Shabbat with zealousness. Spirituality was important and they were less interested in dielectric reasoning,[2756] but more interested in the intention of the commandments as Jeremiah taught, “I will put my law within them, and I will write it upon their hearts.”[2757] They also believed in fate[2758] providing them solace through the Roman apocalypse, keeping the words of the prophets’ close in mind, and witnessing their fulfillment in their own time.

When the Essenes looked to the east, they may have had the idea of “the dawn of our redemption”. To this day a prayer for Israel reads, “Bless Thou the State of Israel which marks the dawn of our deliverance.” For the Essenes the sunrise brought them into a state of awe in G-d. Each sunrise represents the hope of a new day. In the ancient past the sun was the image of an angel of light or an agent of God that would save them, but the Essenes were monotheists and would never have worshipped the sun. When Moses gazed into the burning bush that was not consumed, the fire was also an angel of light. This angel stands as a veil between G-d and creation so that the world is not consumed.

Text 26-39: Mercury son of Jupiter
The mythology of Mercury begins back in Babylonian times where Mercury was known as Nebo (Nebu). Nebu was the son of Marduk, the king of the gods.[2759] Marduk became the king by slaying the sea monster Tiamat, thus establishing order in the universe. Nebo became the scribe of the gods. It was his job to write down the laws and edicts of Marduk and to communicate them to men. Marduk later became the Greek Zeus and then the Roman Jupiter. Nebo became the Greek Hermes and then the Roman Mercury.

Similarly, Moshe wrote down the laws and edicts of G-d. Mt. Nebo was the place of Moses’ death according to Deuteronomy 34:1:

א וַיַּעַל מֹשֶׁה מֵעַרְבֹת מוֹאָב, אֶל-הַר נְבוֹ, רֹאשׁ הַפִּסְגָּה, אֲשֶׁר עַל-פְּנֵי יְרֵחוֹ; וַיַּרְאֵהוּ יְהוָה אֶת-כָּל-הָאָרֶץ אֶת-הַגִּלְעָד, עַד-דָּן. 1 And Moses went up from the plains of Moab unto mount Nebo, to the top of Pisgah that is over against Jericho. And the LORD showed him all the land, even Gilead as far as Dan;

Nimrod was the son of Cush, grandson of Ham, great-grandson of Noah. Nimrod’s followers apotheosized Nimrod when he died into Marduk, while apotheosizing his son Nebu (god of wisdom) into Mercury, which travels close to the Sun (grandparent). Sumerian Marduk, associated with Jupiter and was considered the son of Enki.[2760] Nimrod’s followers borrowed AMAR.UTU (Marduk) from the Akkadian Semites (SHEM) who considered him the son of the Sun.[2761]

Text 26-40: Sumerians
The Sumerians were non-Semites of a fairly pure race[2762] of unknown probably Mongolian or Dravidian origin,[2763] reaching back many centuries before records. Equally uncertain is the date of the entry of the Semites, whose language ultimately displaced the non-Semitic Sumerian idioms. The Sumerians spoke a non-Semitic language unlike any other in which the grammatical forms are apparently often ambiguous, suggesting that the people who spoke it understood each other through using “tones” like the Chinese. With few exceptions, the names of the gods which the texts reveal to us are all derived from this non-Semitic language, which furnishes us with satisfactory etymologies for such names as Marduk, Nergal and Sin.

The Asian civilization has a different origin than the Noah story would suggest.[2764] Ironically, they are likely the source of the earliest recorded pantheon of deities. The Asians are not descendents of Ham by locality or Shem linguistically.[2765] In the Sinim[2766] peoples, there are wondrous beauties and wisdom. There is foremost a respect for family. They are a people who did not need a deluge, a people outside of Noah. The Noah story does not explain racial differences, since three brothers should have similar genetics. More likely in several parts of the world, simultaneous humanoid evolution supports these differences while not precluding some common ancestry.

26.9.2 Angel of light or the Sun god

The peculiar name for the highest angel may come from the Persian deity Mithras, the sun god.[2767] While there are similarities, modern Judaism rejects a mediator. While Sandalphon weaves the prayers of Israel into garlands to grace the head of G-d or Metatron is busy writing the merits of Israel, these angels are corruptible; and we do not pray to them, nor in their names. For example, the angel Metatron was given lashes for not standing and giving the impression that he might be a god.[2768] L’havdil, in Judaism, there is not a mediator as there is in Christianity.[2769]

Text 26-41: Hugo Odeberg on Mithras

Metatron derived from or connected with Mithra

The earliest writer known to have attempted identifying Metatron with Mithra is H. E. Schmieder in his Programma, Nova Interpretatio.. .Gal. 3 19' 20 , pp. 41-8, Excursus de Mitatrone (1826).

Pointing out parallel features in the conceptions of Metatron and Mithra, Schmieder puts forward the hypothesis that the Persian ideas, esp. with regard to Mithra, were first introduced into Jewish circles among the Essenes who then cultivated and developed them further. The central function in which Schmieder holds Mithra and Metatron to be congruent is that of mediator (sic). Nork (Felix Adolph Korn), Brahminen und Rdbbinen, 1836, pp. 99, 100, trying to connect the Jewish archangels and angels over elemental forces with the Persian 'Amshaspands' (i.e. Amesa Spentas) and ' Izeds *(i.e. Yazatas), also identifies Metatron with Mijra.

The total picture that Nork evolves of Metatron corresponds to the representation of this angelic or celestial figure as given by the Yalqut R e 'ufieni, or, generally speaking, to the conceptions prevalent in cabbalistic works from the fourteenth century onwards. Nork-Korn does not really attempt to account for the origin of Metatron from the Persian Mithra. His knowledge of Metatron seems to have been based on Eisenmenger, Entdecktes Judenthum. Wiesner, in Ben Chananja, 1862, p. 384; 1866, pp. 600-625.

This is the most important and most elaborate among the endeavours to derive Metatron from Mithra. Wiesner, not as is usual Kohut, should indeed be mentioned as the pioneer champion of the Metatron-Mithra theory. For the conceptions of Mithra Wiesner bases upon Rhode, Sage der Perser, Spiegel, Avesta, Windischmann, Mithra and on the Zend Avesta, in particular Mihir Yast. For the conceptions of Metatron he goes back to the earliest references known at that time, viz. those contained in the Babylonian Talmud. These references he considers critically. Wiesner lays stress on the following parallels:

(1) Mipra: Guardian of the World, the Mediator for the earth (Mittler der Erde), the Prince of the World (Mihir Vast, 103). Metatron: Prince of the World, Mediator. Wiesner here rightly points out that TB. Sank. 38 b, clearly involves the existence at that time of a view maintaining Metatron's mediatorship.
(2) Mipra: Mithra's glory is compared with that of Ahura Mazda, e.g. in Mihir Yast, i : "Ahura Mazda spake. . . 'Verily, when I created Mithra, ... I created him as worthy of sacrifice, as worthy of prayer as myself, Ahura Mazda ' " (Darmesteter's translation in Sacred Books of the East). Metatron: bearer of the Divine Name (TB. Sank. 38 b).
(3) Mipra: Mithra is the careful witness of all thoughts, words and deeds and hence representative of Truth, Justice and Faith, "der Hort des Gesetzes und sein Racher" (Windischmann, Mithra, p. 53). Metatron: Scribe-Witness and representative of the Godhead towards the world, implied by TB. Hag. 15 a.
(4) and (5) Mipra connected with death and immortality; increases the water and is the instigator of the dry land. Metatron has to do with the fate of men in and after death; is ORIGIN OF THE WORD METATRON connected with the primaeval waters according to the variant reading of Gen. R. 5.
(6) and (7) Mifira was identified with the Demiurge which latter is represented as a ' Youth '; Metatron also called the ' Youth ' (Naar). Mifira is, according to some sources, "born of woman", and "em Konig gottlichen Geschlechtes ". Metatron, being Enoch, is also "born of woman".
(8) Mifira a celestial priest (Mikir Vast, 89). Wiesner remarks upon the curious fact—that acc. to him—the Talmudists ascribed this office not to Metatron, but to Mikael. We now know that Metatron in mystical sources was represented as having a Tabernacle of his own (2 Leg. Martyrs', 3 En. 15 B).

The parallels adduced by Wiesner are striking. They are, of course, not sufficient to show that the conceptions of Metatron have actually evolved or developed out of those of Mithra. Wiesner's theories were supported by Zipser in several articles in the contemporary periodical. M. Joel, Blicke in die Religionsgeschichte zu Anfang des zweiten christlichen Jahrhunderts, 1880, i. 127, regards Metatron as identical with the Mithra of Mithraism, the ideas of which may have influenced the Rabbinic teachers of the time of >jElisa* baen >Afcuya (TB. Hag. 15 a; cf. 3 En. 16).

A. Kohut, Ueber die judische Angelologie und Ddmonologie in ihrerAnhangigkeit vom Parsismus. All the features in the Mithra and Metatron conceptions, which are of real import for the study of a possible Mipraic origin of the mysticism which finds its centre in the figure of Metatron, and which are found in the article by Kohut, are already pointed out by Wiesner. The points on which Kohut goes beyond Wiesner are, on the other hand, rather uncertain and vague as well as insufficiently founded. A refutation of the article of Kohut, hence, is by no means eo ipso a refutation of the hypothesis of Metatron as being derived from Mithra or influenced by the conceptions of the latter. A further investigation of the possible connections between Mifra and Metatron might with more reason be connected with the name of Wiesner (and his contemporary Zipser) than with that of Kohut. K. Kohler, JE. viii.-5oo, and Jewish Theology, ed. New York, 1918, p. 185. K. Kohler is also an adherent of the Metatron-Mithra theory especially from the point of view of Metatron's connection with the Merkabah speculations.

“There can scarcely be any doubt as to the Mithraic origin” of the Merkabah-rites in general. Metatron, like Mithra, ace. to Kohler, is the Divine charioteer. The Mithra speculations entered Jewish circles through Mithraism. It must be remarked here that Metatron does not figure as the charioteer of the Merkabah. The only trait pointing in this direction would be Metatron's function of guide of the Merkabah-seer. But this is not constitutive for Metatron. Other high angels have the same function (MIKAEL, GABRIEL, 'URIEL, etc.).

The ray of sunlight whose physical manifestation is that of an angel symbolizes the righteousness of God.[2770] Metatron serving as guide for the Merkabah parallels Psalm 85:14: Tzedek will go before Him, placing his steps on the way.

Text 26-42: Angel of Light
The Essenes venerated Sedeq as the Angel of Light, an epithet fitting for a divinity linked to the sun. In the War Scroll we read, “Thou hast made us an eternal people unto thee, and hast cast our lot in the portion of light that we may know thy truth. And from of old thou hast charged the Angel of Light to help us. In his lot are all the sons of sedeq and all the spirits of truth are in his dominion ... We are in the portion of thy truth. We will rejoice in the might of thy hand and be glad in thy salvation and exult in thy right hand and in the gift of thy peace” (1QM 13:9ff.). The Community Rule teaches similarly: “In the hand of the Angel of Light is dominion over all the sons of sedeq. In the ways of light do they walk” (1QS 3:20ff.). The Angel of Light was known by two other names as well, Michael and Malki-Sedeq. The Angel of Darkness, his antagonist, also had two other names: Belial (“worthless”) and Malki-Resha (“King Wickedness”) (4Q543 Test-Amram).

Sun disks with wings became a symbol of the kings of Israel marking their property.[2771],[2772] They symbolized the Malki-Sedek, the righteous king.[2773] In any case, the “light of salvation” denotes the hopes of the people to follow a lighthearted leader or to bask in the light of G-d. There is some allusion to the significance of the sun as the light of the world in the prayer for the sun as well.[2774]

26.9.3 11Q13 Melchizedek

This scroll points to three qualities of a great leader. The Moreh Tzedek is the Teacher of Righteousness (11Q13:20). The Tzemah Tzedek or Tzemah David is the Shoot of Righteousness or the Shoot of David respectively, the comforter (11Q13:15-19).[2775] The Malchi-Tzedek is the victorious king (11Q13:1-14). The materials in this scroll were not included in the Tanach.

In the Melchizedek scroll, the followers of Melchizedek are ransomed by G-d. Melchizedek is a righteous king, leader of the sons of light, messenger[2776] of Daniel,[2777] who executes the vengeance of G-d.[2778] Overall, this scroll is quite amazing. In verses 5-6, we read, “and of the inheritance of Melchizedek, for [...] and they are the inheri[tance of Melchi]Zedek, who will make them return. He will proclaim liberty for them, to free them from [the debt] of all their iniquities.” The ‘[debt] of iniquities’ are the oppressors G-d sends to afflict people for their sins. G-d also sends those who liberate us from this debt such as Isaiah’s Cyrus and here Melchizedek. This is the atonement or year of favor of Melchizedek. There is also a lot of hope in 11Q13 as the leader is also a messenger of peace and a teacher.

The Melchizedek lesson is that when one lives under the yoke of oppressors, one should realize that ones ‘debt of iniquities’ is being paid. Similarly, when one is free of oppressors, break the cycle of the scales of justice, by not taking ones blessings for granted. They are not the result of ones own labor, but the gift of God. Grace and atonement are prominent images in 11Q13:

Text 26-43: 11Q13 Melchizedek

(Note: The ellipses brackets [...] indicate breaks in the original scroll fragments. Florentino García-Martínez added all Bible references in braces {}. The document line (not verse) numbers follow the original Hebrew manuscripts. Items in parenthesis () are my own translations.)

Column 2
1 [... ] ? [...]


2 [...] And as for what he said: Lev 25:13 “In this year of jubilee, [you shall return, each one, to his respective property,” as is written: Dt 15:2 “This is]

3 the manner (of effecting) the [release: every creditor shall release what he lent [to his neighbor. He shall not coerce his neighbor or his brother when] the release for El [has been proclaimed].”

4 [Its inter]pretation for the last days refers to the captives, about whom he said: Isa 61:1 “To proclaim liberty to the captives.” And he will make

5 their rebels prisoners [...] and of the inheritance of Melchizedek, for [...] and they are the inheri[tance of Melchi]zedek, who
Text 26-44: 11Q13:6
ישיבמה אליהמה וקרא להמה דרור לעזוב להמה[ משא ]כול עוונותיהמה ו[כן יהי]ה הדבר הזה
6 will make them return. He will proclaim liberty for them, to free[2779] them from [the debt][2780] of all their iniquities. And this will [happen]

7 in the first week of the jubilee which follows the ni[ne] jubilees. And the day [of atonem]ent is the end of the tenth jubilee
Text 26-45: 11Q13:8
לכפר בו על כול בני [אור ו] בני [אור ו]אנש[י ]גורל מל[כי ]צדק[ ...].ם
8 in which atonement will be made for all the sons of [Light] and for the men of the lot of Melchizedek. [And on the heights] he will decla[re in their] favor according to their lots; for
Text 26-46: 11Q13:9
הואה הקץ לשנת הרצון למלכי צדק ולצב[איו ע]ם קדושי אל לממשלת משפט כאשר כתוב

9 it is the time of the <<year of ‘favor’[2781]>> for Melchizedek,[2782] to exa[lt in the tri]al the holy ones of El through the rule of judgment, as is written
Text 26-47: Isaiah 61:2
לקרא שנת-רצון ליהוה ויום נקם לאלהינו לנחם כל-אבלים
“Isa 61:2. To proclaim an acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn.”

10 about him in the songs of David, who said: Ps 82:1 "elohim will stand up in the assem[bly of El,][2783] in the midst of the gods[2784] he judges." And about him he said: Ps 7:8-9 "Above it

11 return to the heights, El will judge the peoples." As for what he sa[id: Ps 82:2 "How long will yo]u judge unjustly and show partiality to the wicked? Selah."

12 Its interpretation concerns Belial and the spirits of his lot, who were rebels [all of them] turning aside from the commandments of El [to commit evil].
Text 26-48: 11Q13:13
ומלכי צדק יקום נקם משפטי א[ל וביום החואה יצי]ל[מה מיד ] בליעל ומיד כול ר[וחי גורלו]
13 But, Melchizedek will carry out the vengeance of El's judgments[2785] [on this day, and they shall be freed from the hands] of Belial and from the hands of all the sp[irits of his lot].

14 To his aid (shall come) all “the gods of [justice”; he] is the one [who will prevail on this day over] all the sons of El, and he pre[side over] this [assembly].

15 This is the day of [peace about which God] spoke [of old through the words of Isa]iah the prophet, who said: Isa 52:7 “How beautiful

16 upon the mountains are the feet of the messenger who announces peace, of the mess[enger of good who announces salvation], saying to Zion: ‘your Elohim [reigns’”].

17 Its interpretation: The mountains are the pro[phets ...]

18 And the messenger i[s] the anointed of the spir[it] [mashiach haruach] about whom Dan[iel] spoke {Dan 9:25, 26} [...until the time of (the/an) Anointed Prince [mashiach nagid] there will be seven weeks ... after sixty-two weeks, (the/an) Anointed shall be cut off. ...and the messenger of][2786]

19 good who announ]ces salvation] is the one about whom it is written that [he will send him[
Text 26-49: 11Q13:20
לנח[ם] ה[אבלים פשרו ]ל[ה]שכילמה בכול קצי הע[ולם ...]
20 “To comfo[rt[ the ]afflicted,” its interpretation:] to instruct them in all the ages of the worl[d...]

(20 “To comfort the [afflicted,” its interpretation and] to educate – ‘sāchel’ to the ends of the wor[ld...] )

}Isa 61:2-3 “to comfort the afflicted, to watch over the afflicted ones of Zion}.

21 in truth. [...]

22 [...] it has been turned away from Belial and it [...]

23 [...] in the judgments of El, as is written about him: Isa 52:7 "Saying to Zion: 'your Elohim rules'." ["Zi]on" is
Text 26-50: 11Q13:24
[עדת כול בני הצדק המה] מקימ[י] הברית הסרים מלכת [בד]רך העם ואל[ו]היך הואה
24 [the congregation of all the sons of justice, those] who establish the covenant, those who avoid walking [on the pa]th of the people and your God is ...[2787],[2788]
Text 26-51: 11Q13:25
[... מלכי צדק אשר יצי]ל[מה מי]ד בליעל ואבר אמר והעברתמה שו[פר ב]כול [א]רץ

25 [... Melchizedek, who will resc]ue [them] from the hand of Belial. And as for what he said: Lev 25:9 "You shall blow the hor[n in every] land."

Column 3 (only small pieces)
1 [Its interpretation ...]
2 and you know [...]
3 God [...]
4 and many [...]
5 [...] Melchizedek [...]
6 the law for them [...] the hand [...] and he will announce [...]
7 they shall devour Belial with fire [...] Belial, and they shall rebel [...]
8 the desires of their hearts [...]
9 the ramparts of Judah [...] the ramparts of Je[rusalem...]
Nevertheless, the sages diminished the essenic ideas of 11Q13 to preserve the belief in the power of only one God, see Text 26-78: Haggadah on God Alone.

26.9.4 Gabriel Stone

That a form of Judaism existed where the messiah assumed the role of Isaiah 53 is now evident. While rejected in Judaism today, this was a legitimate view a century before Jesus’ birth. The Thanksgiving Dead Sea scroll has self-glorifications of such a messiah who is given divine qualities: beyond the temptation of the flesh, greater than the angels, great judge, capable of atoning for the people, etc.

ftp://tichonadmin:tichonadmin@80.179.136.36/site/Israel_Knohl_on_Hazon_Gabriel.pdf
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/850657.html

Text 26-52: Gabriel’s call for resurrection

‘In three days, you shall live’
By Israel Knohl

The first mention of the "slain Messiah" called Mashiah ben Yosef (Messiah Son of Joseph) is in the Talmud (Sukkah 52a). In my book "The Messiah Before Jesus" (University of California Press, 2000), I argue that the story of this slain messiah is based on historical fact. I believe it is connected to the Jewish revolt in the Land of Israel following the death of King Herod in 4 B.C.E. This Jewish insurrection was brutally suppressed by the armies of Herod and the Roman emperor Augustus, and the messianic leaders of the revolt were killed. These events set the slain Messiah Son of Joseph tradition into motion and paved the way for the emergence of the concept of "catastrophic messianism." Interpretations of biblical text helped to shape the belief that the death of the messiah was a necessary and indivisible component of salvation. My conclusion, based on apocalyptic writings dating to this period, was that certain groups believed the messiah would die, be resurrected in three days, and ascend to heaven (see "The Messiah Before Jesus," 27-42).

Ada Yardeni and Binyamin Elitzur recently published the text of a fascinating text they call “Hazon Gabriel” or the Gabriel Revelation (Cathedra magazine, vol. 123). This text, engraved in stone, conveys the apocalyptic vision of the Archangel Gabriel. Yardeni and Elitzur date it by its linguistic features and the shape of the letters to the end of the first century B.C.E.

In lines 16-17 of the text, God addresses David as follows: "Avdi David bakesh min lifnei Efraim" (“My servant David, ask Ephraim”). In the Bible, Ephraim is the son of Joseph. This sets up an equivalence between David and Ephraim and the Talmudic "Mashiah ben David" and "Messiah Son of Joseph," and confirms my theory that the Messiah Son of Joseph was already a known figure at the end of the first century B.C.E.

Although Yardeni and Elitzur offer a fine reading of the text, in my opinion one of the most important words has not been properly deciphered. Line 80 begins with the phrase "Leshloshet yamin" ("In three days"), followed by another word that the editors could not read. Then comes the phrase "Ani Gavriel" ("I, Gabriel"). I believe that this "illegible" word is actually legible. It is the word "hayeh" (live), and that Gabriel the Archangel is giving orders to someone: "Leshloshet yamin hayeh" ("In three days, you shall live"). In other words, in three days, you shall return to life (compare "bedamaiyikh ha'ee" - translated as "in thy blood live" - in Ezekiel 16:6). The word "haye" (live) is written here with alef. Similar orthography appears in the Dead Sea Scrolls, for example in the Isaiah scroll, where the word “yakeh” (30:31) is written with an alef after the yod.

This is followed by traces of two more words. The letters are not easy to make out, but the first word seems to begin with a gimmel and vav. The next word is not clear either. The letter lamed is quite legible, and the letter before it seems to be an ayin. I believe the sentence can be reconstructed as follows: "Leshloshet yamin hayeh, ani Gavriel, gozer alekha" ("In three days, live, I, Gabriel, command you"). The archangel is ordering someone to rise from the dead within three days. To whom is he speaking?

Who is the 'prince of princes'?

The answer appears in the following line, Line 81: "Sar hasarin" ("Prince of Princes"). The sentence reads: "Leshloshet yamin khayeh, ani Gavriel, gozer alekha, sar hasarin" (In three days, I, Gabriel, command you, prince of princes." Who is the "prince of princes"? The primary biblical source for the Gabriel Revelation is the narrative in the Book of Daniel (8:15-26), in which the Archangel Gabriel reveals himself to Daniel for the first time. Gabriel describes a "king of fierce countenance." This king "shall destroy them that are mighty and the people of the saints... he shall also stand up against the prince of princes" (Daniel 8:24-25).

The author of the Gabriel Revelation seems to be interpreting the biblical narrative as follows: An evil king arises and virtually destroys the Jewish people, the "people of the saints." He even manages to overcome and slay their leader, the "prince of princes." This is the leader who will be resurrected in three days.

Was the prince of princes a historical figure? I believe he was. The key to identifying him lies in the phrase “arubot tzurim,” which comes after the reference to the prince of princes. In the Bible and Talmud, the word "aruba" means a narrow opening or slit. "Tzurim" are rocks (the word appears here in an unvocalized form, without theletter vav). "Arubot tzurim" would thus be a crevice. The death of the prince of princes is somehow associated with a rocky crevice.

The Gabriel Revelation, as we have said, has been dated, on the basis of linguistics and orthography, to the end of the first century BCE. The circumstances surrounding the discovery of the inscription are unknown. All we are told by the editors is that it may have been discovered in Transjordan. This leads us to Transjordan in the late first century BCE. Do we know of any Jewish leader or king who was killed here in antiquity and whose death has some sort of connection to a rocky gorge?

The revolt in 4 BCE was a bid for freedom. The rebels sought to throw off the yoke of the Herodian monarchy, which enjoyed the support of the Romans. The insurrection, which began in Jerusalem and spread throughout the country, had several leaders. A study of both Jewish and Roman sources shows that the most prominent of them was Simon, who operated from Transjordan. Simon declared himself king, wore a crown, and was perceived as king by his followers, who hung messianic hopes on him.

This is how the first century Jewish historian Josephus describes Simon's death in battle: “Simon himself, endeavoring to escape up a steep ravine, was intercepted by Gratus [a commander in Herod’s army], who struck the fugitive from the side with a blow on the neck, which severed his head from his body.” With its reference to a rocky crevice and the prince of princes, the text seems to be alluding to the death of Simon, the rebel leader who was crowned king, in a narrow gorge in Transjordan.

Chariot to heaven

But the Gabriel Revelation also mentions other deaths. In Line 57, we find the phrase “dam tvuhey yerushalayim” (“the blood of the slain of Jerusalem”). Line 67 reads: "Baser lo al dam zu hamerkava shelahen" (“Tell him about the blood. This is their merkava [heavenly chariot]”). The message being conveyed is that the blood of those who were killed will become their “chariot” to heaven.

Hovering in the background, of course, is the story of Elijah's ascent to heaven: "Behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire... and Elijah went up in a whirlwind into heaven" (II Kings 2:11).

Simon, the prince of princes, was the messianic leader of a group active in Transjordan. The Gabriel Revelation appears, therefore, to have been written by his followers, and reflects an attempt to cope with the failure of the revolt and the death of their leader, recalling verses from the Book of Daniel that incorporate the words of the archangel.

The “king of fierce countenance” is identified as the Roman emperor Augustus, whose army brutally suppressed the revolt. Simon, the rebel leader anointed king, is identified as the prince of princes. The slaying of Simon by the supporters of the evil king is perceived as a fulfillment of Gabriel's vision. After all, Gabriel prophesied that the king of fierce countenance would defeat the prince of princes. “But he shall be broken without hand,” the verse continues. The implication is that with the death of the messianic leader, their troubles are coming to an end: The fall of the enemy and salvation are near. “Leshloshet yamin tayda ki-nishbar hara melifnay hatzedek” (“In three days you will know that evil will be defeated by justice”), we read in lines 19-21.

(Note: The type of salvation is not discussed, but the defeat is by ‘justice’. It would seem to suggest a destruction of the enemy similar to the prophecies of Daniel.)

If the Gabriel Revelation dates to the end of the first century BCE, as we have stated, then during this period, which was close in time to the birth of Jesus, there were people who believed that the death of the messiah was an integral part of the salvation process. It became an article of faith that the slain messianic leader would be resurrected within three days, and rise to heaven in a chariot.

The Gabriel Revelation thus confirms my thesis that the belief in a slain and resurrected messiah existed prior to the messianic activity of Jesus. The publication of this text is extraordinarily important. It is a discovery that calls for a complete reassessment of all previous scholarship on the subject of messianism, Jewish and Christian alike.

Israel Knohl is Yehezkel Kaufmann Professor of Biblical Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a senior research fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute.[2789] The following is from the appendix of “The Messiah before Jesus The Suffering Servant of the Dead Sea Scrolls”:

Text 26-53: Messianic Hymns
4QHe, 4QHa frg. 7, 1QHa col. 26
1 the holy [council]. Wh[o
2 has been rejected [of men] like me?
3 compares to my teaching.
4 Who is like me among the angels?
5 who could measure the [flow] of my lips? Who
6 am the beloved of the king, a companion of the ho[
7 none can compare, for I [
8 with gold <I> will cro[wn

And in the second fragment, we read:
1 who] has been despised like [ me?
2 compares to m[e in enduring] evil?
3 ] I sit [

A third fragment only contains part of a single word. Although these texts are very fragmented, we can turn for help to the other manuscripts of version 1, in which parallel expressions are sometimes preserved in a more complete form. Parallel expressions in version 2 are also helpful for our purpose. On the basis of all this direct and indirect evidence, we can attempt to reconstruct version 1 of hymn 1 as follows:

1 [ . . . I shall be r]eckon[ed with the angels, my dwelling is in] the holy
2 [council.] Wh[o . . . And who] has been despised like [ me? And who]
3 has been rejected [of men]6 like me? [And who] compares to m[e in enduring] evil? [No teaching]
4 compares to my teaching. [For] I sit [ . . . in heaven]
5 Who is like me among the angels? [Who could cut off my words? And]
6 who could measure the [flow] of my lips? Who [can associate with me thus compare with my judgment? I]
7 am the beloved of the king, a companion of the ho[ly ones and none can accompany me. And to my glory]
8 none can compare, for I [ . . . Neither]
9 with gold <I> will cro[wn myself, nor with refined gold]

Hymn 1, Version 2
The second version of this hymn is preserved in lines 5–1113 of
document 4Q491 frg. 11, col. 1:

5 [ . . . for]ever a throne of power in the angelic council. No king of yore will sit therein, neither will their nobles.
[ . . . Who can be compared to]
6 [ me?] None can compare [to] my glory, and none has been exalted save myself, and none can accompany me.
I sit [ . . . ] in heaven, and none
7 [ . . . ] I shall be reckoned with the angels, my dwelling is in the holy council. [My] desi[re] is not of the flesh, [for]
everything precious to me is in the glory of
8 the holy [hab]itation. [W]ho has been accounted despicable like me, yet who is like me in my glory? Who is [ . . . ]
9 [ . . . ] Who has born[e all] afflictions like me? Who compares to me [in enduri]ng evil?
No one is like me and no teaching compares
10 [to my teaching]. Who could cut off m[y words]? And who could measure the flow of my speech?
Who can associate with me and thus compare with my judgment?
11 [ . . . fo]r I am reckoned with the angels, and my glory with the sons of the king.
Neither gold nor refined [g]old.

Hymn 2, Version 1
There are also two versions of the second hymn. Let us first look at version 1,15 which is preserved in 4QHa frg. 7, col. 1, lines 13–
23, and col. 2, lines 1–14.

Column 1, lines 13–23
13 Sing praise, O beloved ones, sing to the king of
14 [glory, rejoice in the congre]gation of God, ring out joy in the tents of salvation, give praise in the [holy] habitation,
15 [extol] together among the eternal hosts, ascribe greatness to our God and glory to our king.
16 [Sanc]tify his name with strong lips and mighty tongue, raise up together your voice
17 [at a]ll times, sound aloud joyful music, rejoice with everlasting joy
18 [un]ceasingly, worship in the common assembly. Bless the one who wonderfully does majestic deeds and makes
known his strong hand,
19 [se]aling mysteries and revealing hidden things, raising up those who stumble and those among them who fall
20 [by res]toring the step of those who wait for knowledge, but casting down the lofty assemblies of the eternally proud,
21 [confirm]ing mysteries of spl[endor] and establ[ishing] glorious [ mar]vels; [bless] the one who judges with destructive wrath
22 [l . . . ] in loving kindness, righteousness, and in abundant mercies, favor
23 [ . . . ] mercy for those who frustrate his great goodness, and a source of

Column 2, lines 1–14
1 [ . . . ]
2 [ . . . and wickedness perishes . . . ]
3 [ . . . and op]pression [ceases; the oppressor ceases with indignation]
4 deceit [end]s, and there are no witless perversities; light appears, and j[oy pours forth];
5 grief [disappears], and groaning flees; peace appears, terror ceases; a fountain is opened for [eternal] bles[sing]
6 and [for] healing for all times everlasting; iniquity ends, affliction ceases so that there is no more sick[ness; injustice is removed],
7 [and guil]t is no m[ore. Pr]oclaim and say: Great is God who ac[ts wonderfully],
8 for he casts down the haughty spirit so that there is no remnant and lifts up the poor from the dust to [the eternal height],
9 and to the clouds he magnifies him in stature, and [he is] with the heavenly beings in the assembly of the community and rp [ . . . ]
10 wrath for eternal destruction. And those who stumble on earth he lifts up without charge, and [everlasting] mi[ght is with]
11 their step, and eternal joy in their habitations, everlasting glory without ceasing [for ever and ever].
12 Let them say: blessed is God who [wor]ks mighty [ m]arvels, acting mightily to make his power appear, [and doing righteously]
13 [in] knowledge to all his creatures and [in] goodness upon their faces, so that they might know the abundance of his loving [kindnesses, and the multitude of ]
14 his mercies to all the children of his truth.

Hymn 2, Version 2

Version 2 of the second hymn survives in a fragmentary form in
lines 13–16 of 4Q491 frg. 11, col. 1:17

13 [ . . . Rejoice,] you righteous among the angels [ . . . ] in the holy dwelling, hymn [him]
14 [ . . . pro]claim the sound of a ringing cry [ . . . ] in eternal joy, without [ . . . ]
15 [ . . . ] to establish the horn of [his] Mess[iah]
16 [ . . . ] to make known his power in might [ . . . ]

Text 26-54: Son of Man
The Qumran document (4Q246, col. 1–2) is written in Aramaic and begins with a seer’s appeal to a king. The seer describes the wars that would occur in the future:

Column 1

4 [ . . . Through] strong [kings] oppression will come on earth.
5 [It will be war between people] and great slaughters in the provinces.

The king of Syria and Egypt are also mentioned in connection with this period of wars. After the time of wars, however, a new king would arise, and all peoples would make peace with him and serve him. This king would be called “the son of God and son of the Most High”:

7 [Another/last king will arise and himself ] he will be great over the earth.
8 [The kings] will do [peace with him] and all will serve [him].
9 [The son of the gre]at [Lord] he will be called, and by his name he shall be surnamed.

Column 2

1 The son of God he will be called and the son of the Most High they will call him.[2790]

Switching to the plural form, the document describes kings whose reigns would “be like comets.” These kings would rule the earth for years and trample it underfoot.

1 Like comets
2 that you saw, so will be their kingdom. For years they will rule on
3 The earth and they will trample all: People will trample on people and province on province.

In the passage that follows is a description of the rise of the people of God, who would usher in an era of true peace and righteous judgment. They would be given everlasting dominion and all states would bow down to them:

4 [vacat] Until the people of God will arise and make everyone rest from the sword.
5 Its kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all its ways are in truth. It will jud[ge]
6 the earth with truth, and all will make peace. The sword will cease from the earth,
7 and all the provinces will pay it homage. The great God himself will be
8 its strength. He will make war on his behalf; He will give nations in his hands and all of them He will cast down before it. Its sovereignty is everlasting sovereignty.

The intriguing question prompted by this text is Who is this figure called the “son of God” whom all peoples would make peace with and serve, and what is his relationship to Jesus? The solution to the mysterious identity of the “son of God,” I believe, lies in an understanding of the history of the period in which this text was written. It is customary to date the writing of the Qumran documents by means of paleographical testing—that is, according to the form of a given document’s script. Such tests show that our document was written about 25 BCE. But the time the document was written is not necessarily the time it was composed. This could be a copy of a work written earlier.

I think that the apocalyptic work in this document was written in the Roman period. In my opinion, the content of the work can be clearly understood in the light of the political situation in the Roman Empire in the second half of the first century bce. Let us examine again the events of this period, which were already mentioned at the opening of chapter 2. In the year 44 BCE Julius Caesar was murdered. Caesar had declared in his will that he had adopted Octavian, the son of his niece, as his son. The adopted son was now given the name of the murdered Caesar: Caesar Octavianus. In order to glorify Caesar’s memory, Octavian organized games in his honor in July of 44 BCE. At the time of the games a comet appeared in the sky for seven nights in a row. This caused a great stir among the Roman populace. The comet, called Caesaris astrum or sidus Iulium,was regarded by the Romans as the soul of Caesar, which had ascended to heaven and become a god. The episode is described in Octavian’s memoirs:

On the very days of my games a comet was visible for seven days in the northern part of the sky. It was rising about an hour before sunset and was bright. . . . The common people believed that this star signified the soul of Caesar received among the spirits of the immortal gods, and on this account the emblem of star was added to the bust of Caesar that we shortly afterwards dedicated in the forum. The comet was regarded as not only a sign of Julius Caesar’s divine status but also a sign of the dawning of a new era, a “golden age.” It was also considered an indication of the divine nature of the new ruler, Octavian.

26.9.5 Menachem


Text 26-55: Israel Knohl on the Hasmoneans
Most scholars of the Dead Sea Scrolls accept that the Qumran sect can be identified with the Essenes. In his writings Josephus describes the sympathy and respect that Herod had for the Essenes. The reason for this sympathy, he said, was the special relationship that Herod had developed with Menahem the Essene. We will first consider the story as Josephus tells it:(11)

It is, however, proper to explain what reason Herod had for holding the Essenes in honour and for having a higher opinion of them than was consistent with their merely human nature. For such an explanation is not out of place in a work of history, since it will at the same time show what the general opinion of these men was. There was a certain Essene named Menahem, whose virtue was attested in his whole conduct of life and especially in his having from God a foreknowledge of the future. This man had once observed Herod, then still a boy, going to his teacher, and greeted him as “king of the Jews.” Thereupon Herod, who thought that the man either did not know who he was, or was teasing him, reminded him that he was only a private citizen. Menahem, however, gently smiled and slapped him on the backside, saying, “Nevertheless, you will be king and you will rule the realm happily, for you have been found worthy of this by God. And you shall remember the blows given by Menahem, so that they, too, may be for you a symbol of how one’s fortune can change. For the best attitude for you to take would be to love justice and piety towards God and mildness toward your citizens. But I know that you will not be such a person, since I understand the whole situation. Now you will be singled out for such good fortune as no other man has had, and you will enjoy eternal glory, but you will forget piety and justice. This, however,
cannot escape the notice of God, and at the close of your life His wrath will show that He is mindful of these things.” At the moment Herod paid very little attention to his words, for he was quite lacking in such hopes, but after gradually being advanced to kingship and good fortune, when he was at the height of his power, he sent for Menahem and questioned him about the length of time he would reign. Menahem said nothing at all. In the face of his silence, Herod asked further whether he had ten years more to reign, and the other replied that he had twenty or even thirty, but he did not set a limit to the appointed time. Herod, however, was satisfied even with this answer and dismissed Menahem with a friendly gesture. And from that time on he continued to hold all Essenes in honour. Now we have seen fit to report these things to our readers, however incredible they may seem, and to reveal what has taken place among us because many of these
men have indeed been vouchsafed a knowledge of divine things because of their virtue.

This story is undoubtedly something of a legend, like the other stories told by Josephus about the Essenes’ capacities to predict the fate of rulers.(12) At the same time, Menahem’s prophecy is used here as evidence of Herod’s election by God.(13) Although we do not have to accept the story in its entirety as literal, historical truth, we can learn from Josephus that Herod
respected the Essenes and brought them close to him, and that he had special ties of friendship with Menahem the Essene. On the basis of Josephus’s account, we can identify “the king’s friend,” the protagonist of the messianic hymns, as this Menahem. The favor Herod showed to the Essene sect under the leadership of Menahem should be seen in the light of his policies to-
wards the Jewish society of his time. Herod belonged to a family of Idumean extraction and as such lacked roots in the Jewish community. He had been appointed king of Judea by the Roman Senate and ruled by favor of the Romans. Herod ousted from office the Hasmoneans, who had ruled in Israel for more than a hundred years. The Sadducees—the priestly aristocracy who had supported the Hasmoneans—were hostile to Herod. He therefore had to look to other elements of Jewish society in order to gain support for himself and his regime. He found this support in moderate Pharisee circles under the leadership of Hillel and in the Jews of the diaspora.(14) The Essenes, the people of the Qumran sect, had been persecuted by the Hasmoneans and so were also possible allies from Herod’s viewpoint.(15) The second messianic hymn, as we have seen, describes a marvelous period in which wickedness and oppression had disappeared from the land and been replaced by light and joy, peace and conciliation:

[ . . . wickedness perishes . . . ]
the oppressor ceases with indignation]
light appears, and j[oy pours forth];
grief [disappears], and groaning flees; peace appears, terror
ceases.(16)

This description appears to reflect the profound change that had taken place in the position of the Qumran sect in the time of Herod. From the point of view of the people of Qumran, the fate that had overtaken their Hasmonean enemies was a sign of the beginning of redemption. The Hasmonean rulers had been hostile to them, tyrannizing over them and even attempting to kill their founder, the “teacher of righteousness.” In the period of Hasmonean rule they had had to abandon their place of residence and settle in the desert region near the Dead Sea. Herod, who had driven the Hasmoneans from office, respected the Essenes and especially their leader, Menahem; they were the ones who now enjoyed honor and prestige. Against this background one can understand the meaning of the following words from the second hymn:

raising up those who stumble but casting down the lofty assemblies of the eternally proud.

The proud who were cast down were the members of the Hasmonean aristocracy, and the stumblers who were raised were the members of the Qumran sect.

Menahem’s relationship with Rome and its culture was two-faceted. On the one hand, he was influenced by the Roman culture of his period, as we will discuss at length in appendix B. At the same time, like all the members of his community, he nurtured a deep hatred for the Romans, whom the Essenes saw as conquerors and oppressors. The fact that Menahem was one of the “friends” of Herod, who ruled by favor of the Romans, caused him to live a double existence. Yet this way of living was nothing new for Menahem and his followers. In the Manual of Discipline from Qumran—a description of the laws and regulations that governed the behavior of the members of the sect—we find the following:

These are the rules for the instructor in those times with respect to his loving and hating: Everlasting hatred for the men of perdition in spirit of secrecy . . . and meekness before him who lords it over him; to be a man zealous for the ordinance and its time, for the day of vengeance.(17)

These are instructions for living a double life! A member of the sect must behave humbly, “like a slave before his master,”(18) toward the “men of perdition” who “lord it over him,” but in the secrecy of his heart he must hate these men and await the day of vengeance when he will openly wage war against them. The pacifism of the Essenes was only a provisional pacifism and would end on the day of vengeance.(19) However, as we have tried to show with the imaginary reconstruction at the beginning of the book, this general injunction to live a double life was apparently exemplified in a special way and to an exceptional degree in the life of “the king’s friend,” Menachem.[2791]

9. Josephus, Jewish War 1.460.
10. See Josephus, Jewish Antiquities 15.228; Jewish War 1.538, 571,
620. On Herod’s courts of law, see Rabello, “Hausgericht in the House of
Herod the Great?” pp. 119–35.
11. Josephus, Jewish Antiquities 15.372–79.
12. See Josephus, Jewish Antiquities 13.311–13; idem, Jewish War
1.78–80; idem, Jewish Antiquities 17.345– 48; idem, Jewish War 2.111.
13. See Schalit, King Herod, pp. 228, 297, 334. On the possible
source of this story, see Tal Ilan, “King David, King Herod and Nico-
laus of Damascus” JSQ 5 (1998) pp. 225–28.
14. See M. Stern, “Herod and the Herodian Dynasty,” in The Jew-
ish People in the First Century, ed. S. Safrai and M. Stern (Assen, 1974),
pp. 270–77; idem, “Social Realignments in Herodian Judea,” in The
Jerusalem Cathedra ( Jerusalem, 1982), pp. 40–62.
15. See B. J. Capper, “‘With the Oldest Monks’ . . . Light from
Essene History on the Career of the Beloved Disciple?” JTS 49 (1998),
pp. 28–29.
16. See E. Schuller, “A Hymn,” pp. 610–11, lines 1–5.
17. 1QS 9:21–23.
18. Ibid.
19. See D. Flusser, “Hillel and Jesus: Two Ways of Self-Awareness,”
in Hillel and Jesus, ed. J. H. Charlesworth and L. L. Johns (Minneapolis,
1997), pp. 78–82. On the militant messianism in Qumranic writings
of the Herodian period, see K. Atkinson, “On the Herodian Origin of
Militant Davidic Messianism at Qumran,” JBL 118 (1999), pp. 435–60.

Perhaps Herod’s desire to preserve Jesus’ life has historical accuracy based on his favor towards the Essenes.

Text 26-56: Excommunication of Menahem
The death of King Herod in 4 bce and the revolt that took place in the country at that time permitted Menahem to cease living
his double life and reveal his messianic secret to the general public. We learn of the circumstances in which this secret was revealed from rabbinic sources. The oldest collection of rabbinic literature, the Mishna, mentions(20) five pairs of religious leaders who succeeded one another during the period from the Hasmonean rebellion (167 bce) to the time of Herod.(21) Hillel and Menahem were named as the pair active in the time of Herod. The Mishna adds: “Menahem went out, and Shammai came in.” What do the rabbinic sources have to say about the Menahem who was active in the time of Herod and why he “went out”? Menahem is undoubtedly an exceptional figure in rabbinic literature. In all the extensive rabbinic writings not a single law or statement was made in his name. In the tractate Avot a list of sages is given in order of generations, but the name Menahem does not appear in that list at all.(22) It would thus seem that Menahem was not one of the Pharisaic sages but belonged to one of the opposing sects.(23) For that reason, many scholars from the sixteenth century until the present, have identified the Menahem referred to in the rabbinic sources with Menahem the Essene mentioned in Josephus.(24) The rabbinic sources say that Menahem was a member of the king’s court,(25) which corresponds to what
we are told about Menahem the Essene in Josephus. The Jerusalem Talmud quotes the statement “Menahem went out” from the Mishna and asks, “Where did he go?” It answers:

Some say he went from one way of behaving to another and some say he turned round and left; he and eighty pairs of Torah scholars clad in golden tirki(26) [armor],(27) whose faces went black as pots because they told them, “Write on a bull’s horns that you have no part in the God of Israel.”(28)

MENAHEM WENT FORTH AND SHAMMAI ENTERED etc. Whither did he go forth? Abaye said: He went forth into evil courses.18 Raba said: He went forth to the King's service. Thus it is also taught: Menahem went forth to the King's service, and there went forth with him eighty pairs of disciples dressed in silk.[2792] (26)

This description is a verbal photograph of an extraordinary event.(29) Menahem is surrounded by a hundred and sixty disciples clad in golden—that is, shining—armor.(30) Opposite Menahem and his disciples stands another group, who are excommunicating them. The excommunicators tell Menahem and his disciples that they are rejected from the Jewish people. They say: “Write on a bull’s horns that you have no part in the God of Israel.”(31) Menahem does not answer but turns around and goes out with his disciples in silence and disgrace—their faces “black as pots.”

Menahem’s disciples are described in this passage as wearing coats of armor. At the time he was excommunicated, Menahem
was the leader of a military group with revolutionary ambitions.(32) In view of the friendship between Menahem and Herod, it is hard to believe that Menahem would have taken part in a revolt during the king’s lifetime. It would seem, rather, that the event described in the Jerusalem Talmud was connected with the revolt that took place after Herod’s death in 4 bce. Why was Menahem excommunicated at the time of the revolt? The only mention of Menahem in the Mishna is in chapter two of the tractate Hagiga. This chapter opens with a famous prohibition on investigating—especially in public—certain secret areas of religious knowledge:

The forbidden degrees may not be expounded before three persons, nor the story of the creation before two, nor the chapter of the chariot before one alone, unless he is a Sage that understands his own knowledge. Whoever gives his mind to four things, it were better if he had not come into the world—

what is above,

what is beneath,

what was beforetime

and what will be hereafter.

And whosoever takes no thought for the honor of his Maker, it were better for him if he had not come into the world.

In this passage one is totally forbidden to concern oneself with certain areas of knowledge—“what is above, what is below, what was beforetime, and what will be hereafter”—and restrictions are placed on publicly discussing the secrets of the creation or attempting a description of the seat of God in heaven—“the chapter of the chariot.”(33) The Mishna ends with a sharp condemnation of anyone who fails to consider God’s honor.

Scholars have had difficulty understanding how this discussion fits into the tractate Hagiga. Each tractate deals with a certain topic. The tractate Hagiga deals with matters connected to the ceremonies that took place in the Temple during festivals. The prohibition against slighting God’s honor by concerning oneself with the secrets of the creation or the seat of God in heaven has no connection with this subject. I believe that the solution to this problem, which has troubled commentators on the Mishna for many centuries,(34) lies with the figure of Menahem. Significantly, the only mention of Menahem in the Mishna occurs immediately after the remarks on the wickedness of slighting God’s honor. The protagonist of the messianic hymns, whom we have identified with Menahem, describes himself as sitting in the heavens on a “throne of power” in the midst of a “council” of angels. He even dares to ask, “Who is like me among the angels?” There is no doubt that from the point of view of the Sages, the admonition: “whosoever takes no thought for the honor of his Maker, it is better for him if he had not come into the world” most definitely applied to him. The remarks on the wickedness of slighting God’s honor were included in the tractate Hagiga precisely in order to explain Menahem’s “going out.” Menahem “went out”(35) because he failed to consider the honor of his Maker. This also explains the observation in the Talmud that Menahem “went forth into evil courses.”(36)

The picture of the excommunication reported in the Jerusalem Talmud now becomes clearer. During Herod’s reign Menahem was unable to publicly declare his messianic aspirations, as it would have been considered rebellion against the king, but after Herod’s death he thought that the time had come to pub-...

20. Mishna, Hagiga 2:2.
21. Scholars disagree about whether there really was a leadership in pairs at that period or whether the account in the Mishna is merely a projection of the conditions of the Tannaic period onto the Second Temple period. See Goodblatt, Monarchic Principle, pp. 72–73. Goodblatt claims that in Second Temple times there was no such thing as a leadership in pairs and that this Mishna represents an attempt on the part of second-century rabbis to create a picture of the leadership in the
Second Temple period in accordance with the realities of their own time. For the purposes of the present study, however, there is no need to decide about the historicity of leadership in pairs. From our point of view the importance of this Mishna lies in the statement that Menahem “went out.” Even if we accept Goodblatt’s view, this does not affect the
authenticity of the tradition where Menachem’s “exit” is concerned. On the other hand, it is hard to believe that anyone in the second century would invent such a story. It undoubtedly reflects a historical event.
22. Mishna, Avot 1:1–12.
23. See J. M. Baumgarten, Studies in Qumran Law (Leiden, 1977),
p. 10, note 18.
24. See A. Zacuti, Sefer Yuhasin Shalem, ed. H. Filipowski ( Jerusalem, 1962), pp. 17, 73. Among the scholars who have supported this identification are Azariah De Rossi in his work Me’or Einayim (see Robert Bonfils, Azaria De Rossi: Selected Chapters from “Sefer Me’or Einayim” [ Jerusalem, 1991], p. 241); H. Graetz, History of the Jews, trans. Shaul
Pinhas Rabinovitz ( Jerusalem, 1972), p. 495 (Hebrew); H. Schorr, Hehalutz 7 (1864), p. 60; Joseph Derenbourg, Essai sur l’histoire et la Géographie de la Palestine (Paris, 1867), p. 464; and Ch. Albeck, Mishna Seder Mo’ed ( Jerusalem, 1951), p. 11 (Hebrew).
25. In the Babylonian Talmud, Hagiga 16b, it is said that Menahem “left to do the king’s business.” This statement should be compared with Daniel 8:27: “I went about the king’s business.” According to the story in the Bible, Daniel was a member of the court of the king of Babylon.
26. This is the formulation in the Leiden manuscript of the Jerusalem Talmud and in the Venice edition. The confused forms Nyrvt, vhyrt appear in quotations of this passage by Rabbi Nissim Gaon (see Nissim Gaon, Liblli Quinque, ed. S. Abramson ([ Jerusalem 1965], p. 70) and the commentary on the Mishna by Rabbi Nathan (Kirjat Sepher 10, ed.
S. Assaf [1935], p. 541). On the other hand, in the extracts from Rabbi Nissim Gaon’s book that are published in J. N. Epstein’s Studies in Talmudic Literature and Semitic Languages ( Jerusalem, 1988), vol. 2, p. 268, the formulation is ysyrt. This form appears to be a scholarly correction by someone who knew that the rare word yqryt means “armor” in Greek
and replaced it with the more common ysyrt, “shields.” In the Babylonian Talmud, however, yqryt was changed to Nyqyrys, “silken garments,” in accordance with the description of Menahem in the Babylonian Talmud as someone who “left to do the king’s business.” On the versions in the Midrash to the Song of Songs Zuta, see S. Lieberman, Greek in Jewish Palestine (New York, 1965), p. 181, note 187. As Lieberman and Alon realized (G. Alon, Jews, Judaism and the Classical World [ Jerusalem, 1977], pp. 332–33), a comparison of the various versions reveals that the original form was yqryt. The changes and confusions were due to the fact that the word yqryt is a rare one in the literature of the Sages, and was therefore not understood correctly.
27. On yqryt, “coats of armor,” see Alon, Jews, Judaism and the Classical World; Lieberman, Greek in Jewish Palestine; and A. Tal, “hyqrt,” in 126 / Notes to Page 59 Studies in Rabbinic Literature, Bible and Jewish History, ed. Y. D. Gilat,
Ch. Levine, and Z. M. Rabinowitz (Ramat Gan, 1982), pp. 256–60 (Hebrew).
28. Jerusalem Talmud, Hagiga 2:2 (77b).
29. This tradition does not date from later than the second century ce. This is shown by the fact that in the Beraita in the Babylonian Talmud yqryt has already changed to Nyqyrys. The Baraita is a Tannaic source that dates from no later than the first half of the third century. It therefore follows that the date of the tradition in the Jerusalem Talmud can be no later than the second century.
30. On the display of shining weapons as a symbol of success in battle, see D. Gera, “The Battle of Beth Zacharia and Greek Literature,” in The Jews in the Hellenistic-Roman World: Studies in Memory of Menahem Stern, ed. I. M. Gafni, A. Oppenheimer, and D. R. Schwartz ( Jerusalem, 1996), pp. 27–31 (Hebrew).
31. “Write on a bull’s horns” is the formula ascribed in the Midrash to a decree of Antiochus Epiphanes (see Midrash, Bereshit Rabba 2:4, ed. J. Theodor and Ch. Albeck, p. 11 and parallels). This expression was perhaps intended as an ironical comment on the expression of Menahem’s followers, “to raise up the horn of the Messiah”—referring to Menahem.

The expression “bull” as meaning, “not true”, “not going to happen”, or “don’t believe it” has its origin in this custom.

32. The expression “eighty pairs” corresponds to the size of a military unit and is probably figurative. See B. Z. Luria, “Who is Menahem?” Sinai 55 (1964), pp. 300–301 (Hebrew). Lieberman (Greek in Jewish Palestine) in note 186 declares himself in agreement with the opinion of J. Derenbourg (Essai sur l’Histoire et la Géographie de la Palestine, p. 464), that the Menahem who “went out” with his disciples clad in shining armor was Menahem the Galilean, the leader of the sicarii—
the Zealots—at the time of the Jewish War, and not the Menahem who was Hillel’s counterpart. But although the Midrash to the Song of Songs Zuta combines these two personalities, there is no hint of any such combination in the Jerusalem Talmud. There is no reason to suppose that the tradition in the Jerusalem Talmud does not relate solely to the Menahem who was Hillel’s contemporary. The sayings about Menahem in both Talmuds—“He left to do the king’s business,” “He went forth into evil courses,” “He went from one way of behaving to another”—fit very well with what we know about the Menahem who was Hillel’s contemporary, but they don’t fit Menahem the Sicarii.
33. See G. Scholem, Jewish Gnosticism, Merkaba Mysticism, and Talmudic Tradition (New York, 1960).
34. See the attempt to solve this problem in Maimonides’ commentary on the Mishna. The associative connection between the word tvyri in the Mishna at the end of chapter 1 of Hagiga and in the Mishna at the beginning of chapter 2 is not sufficient reason for inserting a discussion of this prohibition in the tractate Hagiga.
35. On the use of the verb axy, “go out,” as a term for turning heretic, see S. Lieberman, Studies in Palestinian Talmudic Literature ( Jerusalem, 1991), p. 281, note 1 (Hebrew).
36. Talmud Babli, Hagiga 16b. As Ch. Albeck noted, this section of the tractate Hagiga contains further references to turning heretic. See Ch. Albeck, A Commentary to the Mishna (Jerusalem, 1952), vol. 2, p. 393 (Hebrew). The same expression “He went forth into evil courses” is used in Talmud Babli, Hagigah 15a regarding Elisha—aher. It seems to me that the heresy of Elisha was connected with the figure of Menahem. Elisha’s title aher is to be explained in relation to the expression derech aheret (literally: different way, heterodoxy), which is the common title for the Qumran sect in Rabbinic literature; see S. Lieberman, Texts and Studies (New York, 1974), pp. 190–99.

Text 26-57: Death of Menahem
The talmudic sources do not relate the military actions of Menahem and his hundred and sixty disciples. Josephus, however, tells us that among those who took part in the revolt were people close to King Herod,49 and so the participation of Menahem, “the king’s friend,” would not be unimaginable. The role of Menahem as a messianic leader corresponds to what we know about the leaders of the revolt: The Jewish revolt after Herod’s death had no one leader and no unified command. It was essentially a series of spontaneous risings which broke out independently of one another in various parts of the country. . . . The leaders of these risings . . . adopted royal titles. It may be conjectured that this phenomenon was linked with eschatological expectations, such as brought individual messianic figures to prominence.50 The seeds of the revolt had already been sown during Herod’s last days. When Herod was ailing and near death, two Pharisaic scholars in Jerusalem, Judah and Mattathias, urged their disciples to remove the golden eagle that Herod had placed over the gate of the Temple, arguing that representations of living creatures were forbidden according to Jewish law. By erecting the eagle Herod had been trying to please the Romans, for whom the eagle was a major symbol. Thus the opposition to the eagle must be seen as a mixture of political and religious zealotry. When there was a rumor that Herod had died, the disciples of Judah and Mattathias went out and destroyed the eagle with axes. The rumor, however, was false: Herod was not yet dead; when he heard about the destruction of the eagle, he ordered Mattathias and some of his disciples to be burnt.(51)

Herod died a short time afterwards, and his son Archelaus succeeded him on the throne. Thousands of pilgrims had gathered in Jerusalem for the festival of Passover. The disciples of Mattathias and Judah stirred up the people against Archelaus. The new king sent his cavalry against the crowds and three thousand people were killed. After the festival Archelaus left for Rome, and the revolt now erupted with full force.(52) The rebels rose up against Archelaus’s supporters and against the Roman soldiers stationed in the Tower of Phasael near the royal palace. The soldiers poured out of the tower and assailed the rebels. Then the rebels went up onto the roof of the chambers of the Temple and from there threw stones and catapulted missiles on the Romans. In response, the Roman soldiers set fire to the chambers, which immediately went up in flames, causing the death of many of the rebels. The Romans then entered the courtyard of the Temple and pillaged the Temple treasury.(53) This is the background to what we read at the beginning of chapter 11 of the Book of Revelation: “But do not measure the court outside the temple; leave that out, for it is given over to the nations.”

And what of the two witnesses—the two “olive trees”—who appear a little later in the same chapter? And when they have finished their testimony, the beast that ascends from the abyss will make war upon them and conquer them and kill them.
And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city . . . where also our Lord was crucified. (Rev. 11:7–8) We see that the bodies of two witnesses—two messianic leaders killed by the Roman soldiers—lay in the streets of Jerusalem.(54) Of these two messianic witnesses it is written in this chapter: “These are the two olive-trees and the two lampstands
which stand before the Lord of the earth” (Rev. 11:4). Menahem was probably one of these two messianic witnesses.[2793]

49. See Josephus, Jewish Antiquities 17.298, as well as the statement in 17.339 about the accusation made against the High Priest Joezer, son of Boethus, that he had befriended the rebels.
50. Stern, “Herod and the Herodian Dynasty,” p. 280. The fact that Menahem is not mentioned by Josephus as one of the leaders of the revolt does not invalidate the information given in rabbinic sources about Menahem’s military activities. Moreover, Josephus himself said that there were other leaders besides those he mentioned ( Jewish Antiquities 7:285). Perhaps the omission of Menahem’s name was motivated by Josephus’s desire not to spoil the picture he was trying to paint of the Essenes as a peace-loving group.
51. Josephus, Jewish Antiquities 17.149–67.
52. For a detailed account of the revolt, see E. Schürer, The History of the Jewish People in the Age of Jesus Christ, rev. and ed. G. Vermes and F. Millar (Edinburgh, 1973), vol. 1, pp. 330–35; E. M. Smallwood, The Jews under Roman Rule (Leiden, 1976), pp. 105–10; and E. Paltiel, “War in Judea after Herod’s Death,” RBPH 59 (1981), pp. 107–36.
53. Josephus, Jewish Antiquities 17. 254 –64; idem, Jewish War 2.42–50.
  1. We cannot know at exactly what stage of the revolt the messianic leaders were killed.

26.9.6 Christian connection to the Essenes

The following parallel shows something of the Christian connection to the Essenes.[2794]

Text 26-58: Son of God – Son of the Most High
4Q246 or the Aramaic Apocalypse provides the context for a scholarly examination
of the concept of the Son of God. 4Q246 says:

Affliction will come on Earth . . . He will be called great . . . ‘Son of God’ he will be
called and ‘Son of the Most High’ they will call him . . . His kingdom will be an
everlasting kingdom . . . He will judge the Earth in truth and all will make peace.

This was written a hundred years before Jesus was born. Luke 1:34-35, the famous
Annunciation scene in which the angel Gabriel tells Mary that she will bear a son,
reads as follows:

He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High . . . of his kingdom
there will be no end . . . he will be called the Son of God.

I don’t want any one to jump to conclusions. It’s most unlikely that Luke
copied the Dead Sea Scrolls; rather they both came out of the same Jewish soil. In
short, the Dead Sea Scrolls help us to understand the Jewish context out of which
Christianity grew.

Let’s talk about the Son of God for a minute. What does it mean to be the Son of
God? Again, you have to look at the Jewish context. The Egyptian Pharaohs were
deified as the sons of God. The Roman emperors were deified as the son of God.
And now I’ll tell you something that may surprise you. The kings of Israel were
also the sons of God. In Psalm 2:7, the Lord tells the king, “You are my son/Today
I have begotten you.”

It’s very important that we focus on the word “Today I have begotten you.” The
word is ha-Yom in Hebrew. The king of Israel became the son of God when he was
installed as king. Scholars call this the Adoptionist Theory. In this sense of the
concept of son of God, the king was not born the son of God but was adopted as
the Lord’s son when he became king. There are other sources in the Hebrew Bible
in which the king is referred to as the son of God. For example, in 2 Samuel 7:14,
the Lord says to King David through the prophet Nathan, “I will be a father to
him, and he shall be a son to me.”

In another context, all of Israel is the son of God. Look at Psalms 89:26: “You are
my father, my God, the rock of my salvation.” Or look at Hosea 11:1, “When Israel
was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son.”

The adoption of a king by the deity was a powerful way for the ancient kings to secure their power. He was less likely to be assassinated if rivals thought that he was in the protection of or possessed the powers of a deity.

26.10 Hellenism

26.10.1 Sun and rays

The Torah is the blueprint for the creation of the world. The word ‘Torah’ contains the root, ‘light’, a metaphor for the illumination of wisdom and knowledge. Later G-d’s giving of the Torah was personified in Helios’ giving forth of the logos, or equally Apollo the deity of reason giving forth knowlege.[2795] As Philo Judaeus (30 BC – 20 AD) philosophized, “... the logos is God’s likeness by whom the whole cosmos was fashioned.”[2796]

In the Byzantine mosaic in the Bet Alpha synagogue, one can see the Hellenistic influence. Here the lord of hosts is the sun deity, Helios in the center with four steeds all bearing sun disks on their foreheads as they pull the chariot carrying the sun across the sky. The twelve constellations surrounding are the heavenly hosts.

Figure 26-3: Zodiac Mosaic in the Bet Alpha Synagogue

jkm107.jpg


Other scenes in the mosaic include the Ark of the Covenant and the sacrifice of Isaac. The Bet Alpha Synagogue was built during the time of Justin I (518-527 AD) or Justin II (567-578). Note, Capricorn’s damage may be more than coincidental as it was associated with the Adversary, whose image is sometimes a goat. Capricorn was the sign of Augustus’[2797] conception. Augustus placed his astrological symbol on a Roman coin as testimony to the greatness of his destiny.[2798] He was the adopted son of Julius Caesar and referred to himself as divi filius, the son of the deified or similarly the son of god.[2799]

Figure 26-4: Complete Bet Alpha Mosaic

jkm108.jpg


Here Israel Knohl tries to unravel the parallel between Augustus and Jesus.

Text 26-59: Jesus as the son of God
The three Synoptic Gospels open by introducing Jesus as the son of God. The idea of the divine origin of Jesus is found in the story of the annunciation to Joseph: “for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost” (Matthew 1:20). Let us see again Bultmann’s comments on this story:

The idea of a divine generation from a virgin is not only foreign to the OT and to Judaism, but is completely impossible. . . . The idea of the Virgin Birth of the Messiah in particular is foreign to Judaism. . . . It was first added in the transformation to Hellenism, where the idea of the generation of a king or of a hero from a virgin by the godhead was widespread.(18)

Bultmann argues that the title “son of God” relates indeed to the idea of Jesus’ divine origin, but he claims that this concept was alien to Judaism in the period of Jesus; the title “son of God” and the stories about Jesus’ birth should be seen as later elements added by the Hellenistic Church after his death. Our findings shed new light on the title “son of God.” We have discovered that in the document found at Qumran, written about the year 25 BCE, that title had been applied to the Emperor Augustus. In this document, it was said of Augustus that he would be called “son of the Most High” and that he would be “great over the earth.”(19) As we have seen, this corresponds exactly with the archangel Gabriel’s announcement to Mary: “He will be great, and he will be called the son of the Most High. . . . Therefore, the child to be born shall be called holy, the son of God” (Luke 1:32, 35).

In light of the strong similarity in language between the Qumran text and the Gospel of Luke, it would seem that the description of Jesus as the son of God and the story of the annunciation did not originate, as Bultmann argued, with the Hellenistic Church. Rather, they are adaptations of materials from Qumran dating from the first century bce. The adaptations were made by someone who was familiar with the Qumranic document and understood the Aramaic in which it was written. Hence we may conclude that the tradition of Gabriel’s announcement to Mary of the divine origin of her son was formulated in the land of Israel and not within the Hellenistic Church. We can no longer rule out the possibility that Jesus indeed would have regarded himself as the “son of God.”[2800]

18. Bultmann, History of the Synoptic Tradition, p. 291 and note 4.
19. According to Brown, Augustus was mentioned in Luke (2:1) in order to assert that Jesus, not Augustus, was the true redeemer who would bring peace to the world. See Brown, Birth of the Messiah, pp. 415–16.
20. For a bibliography on the “Fourth Eclogue,” see W. W. Briggs, “A Bibliography of Virgil’s Eclogues,” ANRW II 31.2 (1981), 1311–25.
21. Virgil, Fourth Eclogue 1–14, trans. H. Rushton Fairclough (Cambridge, Mass., 1942). The vision of the “end of days” in Isaiah 11:6–8 is recalled in the way Virgil describes the “new age”: Uncalled, the goats shall bring home their udders swollen with milk and the herds shall not fear huge lions. . . . The serpent, too, shall perish. On the possibility of the influence of Jewish sources on Virgil, see R. G. M. Nisbet, “Virgil’s Fourth Eclogue: Easterners and Westerners,” BICS 25 (1978), pp. 59–78. But see also the reservations of J. J. Collins in Seers, Sybils and Sages in Hellenistic-Roman Judaism (Leiden, 1997), pp. 194 –97.
22. At any rate, according to Schuller’s reconstruction.

The phrase “Son of the Most High” is similar to Isaiah’s reference to Cyrus as moshiach, i.e. there is no inference to a king being a demigod, but neither does he have to be Jewish to be annointed. Luke’s transposition to Jesus may suggest his hellenistic background, but it would be unlikely that Jewish Jesus would have viewed himself in this context. Nevertheless see 26.6.21 Incarnation p.1190.

26.10.2 Rabbis

The term rabbi refers to being a teacher of the Mishnah, an expounder of the law. Hellenism influenced all three Jewish movements.[2801] The Pharisees made laws, while the Sadducees excluded all but the written Torah, while the Essenes sought attachment to G-d by attachment to the law and each other.[2802]

Text 26-60: Hellenism and rabbinical practice
There was much good in Greek thought, and this the rabbis accepted. The rabbis saw in Aristotelian logic a supreme instrument for the development of thought and discussion, and built their legal deductions on Greek logic. They accepted the Platonic ideal of universal education. Everyone, be he rich or poor, has the duty to develop his abilities as far as his intelligence permits, and the state must supply the facilities for the schooling of all children. In their own lives they exemplified the spirit of stoic fortitude and courage; man must do his duty bravely without expecting rewards, and must retain his inner balance in joy as well as in sorrow. They even debated the possibility of writing holy books in Greek, the ancient world’s universal language, distinguished by clarity and universal acceptance. Egyptian Jews actually used Greek to such extent that they forgot Hebrew almost completely. Above all, like Greek assemblies, they made law through interpretation of Scripture, promoting legislation that went beyond Scripture and transformed the character of Judaism.

... However much they failed to acknowledge it, the Pharisees drew from Hellenism.[2803] They had been attracted by the student-teacher relationship that had been common in the Hellenistic world but alien to Judaic society. They had been impressed by that part of Hellenistic education that tried to develop character in students and that had a high regard for individuality. Under Pharisaic influence the synagogue became a university for the Jews, a place where they gathered to learn and read the words of sacred writings from the past, where they read from the Five Books of Moses (The Torah), studied, sang and prayed.

The Pharisees were impressed by the Stoic teaching of an inner standard impervious to happenstance and suffering. And the Pharisees were attracted to Hellenistic law-making: Greek-style legislative bodies. The Pharisees created the Beth Din ha-Gadol (Great Legislature) as a lawmaking, law-transmitting and law-confirming body - an institution they did not learn of from scripture. But they saw their legislative body as having its authority in God rather than from a constitution, and they saw the laws created by the legislature as having originated in divine revelation.

The Pharisees left interpretations of Judaism's laws open to discussion and scholarly debate. And in debate they invented the cross-examination that was to become a part of modern jurisprudence. They believed that God alone was able to look into the conscience of individuals and measure whether they lived by The Law.

The Essenes appreciated the observance of the law for spiritual development, but not for exposition. Many of the great teachers (rabbis) in the Perkei Avot pursued both. Nevertheless, today Jewish history is reframed. For example, Shem the son of Noah is said to have had a Torah academy or yeshiva where Jacob went to study, even before the giving of the Torah. Here begins the honor of the talmid hocham city dweller over the am haaretz, the person who worked the land. Alas, how great was their respect for your prophets, the shepherds of your people.

Today rabbinical Judaism is viewed as the sole form of Judaism as allopathic medicine is considered the sole source of healing. Nevertheless, both areas had earlier forms filled with rich meaning and value.

26.11 Gnosticism

Gnosticism held a dualist view of the universe as a battleground for good and evil. Man is a out of favor in a cosmos created by an uncaring demiurge, who is below a superior god, source of the Aeons. Man’s mission is to return to the heavens from which he had come. To do this a soul has to pass through the seven spheres each of which an angel controls. As with the Jewish concept of the seven heavens, angels allowed those to pass who knew their proper names and special formulas. This knowledge of names and formulas is gnosis. Clemant of Alexandrea, a Gnostic, who lived about 150 AD, taught that the angels controlled movement of the stars and the four elements. Identification of angels with stars explains their enormous number, beauty, and radiance. The emphasis of monotheism in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam should have precluded pantheistic ideas in Gnosticism, but the reference to the “bnai elohim” or sons of gods in Genesis and Psalms 29:1 and 89:7 encouraged the popular belief that there are other divine or semi-divine beings. In the Book of Tobit, Raphael guides the young hero Tobias on a dangerous journey, and reveals the major formulas that protect him from the demon Asmodeus and restore his father’s sight. Raphael behaves like a guardian angel.

The aeon is an important principle of Gnostic thought:[2804]

Text 26-61: Gnostic Principle of the Aeon
The first aeon was said to emanate directly from the unmanifest divinity and to be charged with a divine force. Successive emanations of aeons were charged with successively diminished force. Each Gnostic system explained aeons in its own way, but all concurred that aeons increased in number in proportion to their remoteness from the divinity and that lower aeons shared proportionately less in divine energy. At a certain level of remoteness, the possibility of error was said to invade the activity of aeons; in most systems, such error was responsible for the creation of the material universe. For many, Christ was the most perfect aeon, whose specific function was to redeem the error embodied in the material universe; the Holy Spirit was usually a subordinate aeon.
In certain systems, aeons were regarded positively as embodiments of the divine; in others, they were viewed negatively as vast media of time, space, and experience through which the human soul must painfully pass to reach its divine origin.
The Coptic Gnostics of Egypt believed in Jesus as the reincarnation of Melchizedek. The Gnostic Gospels held a similar view.

A lion motif is featured in Isaiah 31:4 that is a poetic metaphor for G-d by the name Tzavaot.[2805]
Text 26-62: Isaiah 31:4
“For thus has the Lord spoken to me, Like the lion and the young lion roaring on his prey, when a multitude of shepherds is called forth against him, he will not be afraid of their voice, nor abase himself for the noise of them; so shall the Lord of hosts – צבאות come down to fight for Mount Zion, and for its hill.”

‘Hosts’ is from Sabaoth or Ialdabaoth,[2806] possibly connected with lions during the Jewish Temple period in Leontopolis. Interestingly the city is referred to in the Septuagint version of Isaiah 19:18 as the city of Asedic – sun of righteousness.[2807] Ialdabaot was a gnostic symbol of a demiurge, containing the image of the Sun, the Nahash – or shining serpent that Moshe raised to heal the people. Here the lion image with serpent body is unfriendly, conveying a gnostic fear. [2808] Perhaps this relates to the Shedu - שד.[2809] L’havdil, the name of G-d, Shadai - שדי is spelled similarly with the yod at the end meaning ‘my’ or possibly the presence of G-d. Overall, while Gnosticism may have grown out of Judaism’s tzedek tradition, it has diverged with its conception of an evil deity.

26.12 Islam

Islam believes in seven heavens where G-d sits on his throne in the 7th heaven surrounded by angels who serve him as ministers and attendants, serve an earthly king. Muhammad founded Islam in an attempt to reign in sadistic violent tendencies that he saw in the peoples of Arabia.[2810]

An 11th grade textbook in Saudi Arabia says, “that as Judgment Day comes, Jews will conceal themselves behind trees. The trees, in turn, will say, “Oh, Muslim, Oh, servant of God, here is a Jew hiding behind me. Come here and kill him.”[2811]

Muhammad developed Islam in 610 AD.

26.12.1 Al-Aksa Mosque

The farthest mosque based on later tradition that Mohammed ascended from the Temple Mount although the earlier intended mosque was near Medina. The Al-Aksa is fabulous inside. While there, I had the following experience.

Meditation 26-6: Al-Aksa
“While this is the mountain of Abraham, we claim his inheritance through Ishmael. And also we believe in Moses. We also claim the teachings of King David and the city of David. We also claim the Temple that Solomon built. Our belief in the One G-d is purer than yours ... But now I see a high priest coming forth and he is Shimeon haTzaddik and he claims the rock where the dome sits in the name of the Priesthood. How can I stand against the rights of the priesthood?”

When the purity of the priesthood is reestablished so will the Temple in Jerusalem be restored.

26.13 Judaism

26.13.1 Equanimity

Equal respect for all of the commandments of Torah characterizes this religion. Hallmarks of Orthodox Judaism are keeping kosher, Shabbat, and taharas hamishpacha (family purity). Nevertheless, the principles of not slandering, avoidance of anger, loving thy neighbor as thyself are only of equal importance. The later commandments are diluted in the education of a Jew who struggles to free himself from the yetzer harah (evil inclination). Nevertheless, Judaism is perhaps the most successful religion for creating a people who respect and preserve the commandments of G-d, which results in a goodly nation.

There have been trends in Judaism. For example, the Mussar movement emphasized character improvement as opposed to ritual observance. The Haskalah movement emphasized intellectual enlightenment. The Hasidic movement emphasized being filled with joy and good will. Jewish Renewal emphasized a reinvigoration of spirituality from the kabbalah. The Reform movement is bent on absorbing the primary principles of love and kindness.[2812]

26.13.2 Early messianic ideas

The following article hints at the type of messianic belief prevalent 2000+ years ago.[2813] In principle, God’s personalities may be seen as angelic messengers, but were never worshipped. The key is to realize the magic of creation and to “follow your shining star.”


Figure 26-5: The Proper Teacher
jkm109.png
Does the concept of ‘righteousness’ precede its personification as ‘Tzedek’ or vice-versa. Rosenberg suggests the personification preceded the concept. Moreover he suggests that a truer understanding of the bible requires us to revisit the early personified ideas. Perhaps there is some virtue here, but we judge even the written Torah according to the interpretation of the oral teachings that are passed down generation to generation. There is not a single word of the written Torah that is not under the jurisdiction of the oral. The Oral evolves with historical input and modern day necessity. Hence today there is not a metaphor in the Torah that is interpreted in validation for polytheism.[2814]

Text 26-63: Psalm 85:11-14
Kindness and Truth will meet, Tzedek and Peace will kiss.[2815]
Truth[2816] will grow from the earth, and Tzedek[2817] from the heaven gazes through.[2818]
Also the Lord will give goodness and our land will give its produce.[2819]
Tzedek will go before Him, placing his steps on the way.[2820]


Tzedek is the Shining Star[2821] that one should follow in life.[2822]

jkm110.png

“I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near.
A guiding star from Jacob; a rising scepter from Israel”[2823]
—Numbers 24:17

“Tzedek ☼ Tzedek, you shall pursue that you will[2824]
Inherit this land which the Lord your God gives to you”
—Deuteronomy 16:20

In references to Deut 16:20, the first tzedek refers to the female reproductive organ – Nukva – Malchut and the second tzedek to the male – Zer Anpin – Yesod.[2825] Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan Z”l paraphrased suggesting, ‘While the first can be completely righteous, the second causes fear even to the righteous. This is the confluence of Zer Anpin (second) and Nukvah (first), the former who lies across the sky with his head in the East and the later whose head is also in the East below.[2826] Their feet are in the West.’[2827]

Text 26-64: Aryeh Kaplan commentary on Bahir 75
The word “glow” (Nogah) usually refers to the twilight, which is the light of day shining into the night. As discussed above, day is Male, while night is Female. The “glow” of twilight is therefore when the male intrudes into the Female. It therefore represents the sexual organ of the Female, and is thus said to be “opposite Him”

It is then explained that the first “righteousness” refers to the Divine Presence (Shekhinah), which is Malkhut-Kingship, the Female. The reference is to the sexual organ of the Female.

The other “righteousness” is the male organ, which is the Sefirah of Yesod-Foundation. It frightens the righteous, “for there is no man righteous on earth, who does good and does not sin” (Ecclesiastes 7:20). It is more frightening, since sexual righteousness, while possible for a woman, is next to impossible for a man.

The author then asks if this “righteousness” is charity. Charity is the concept of giving something freely, without it being earned. He replies that it is not. The concept of a free gift is like a “coat of mail,” worn on the “body.” The “body” is Tiferet-Beauty, which is the concept of measured giving (see 30).

If God were to bestow His good freely without it being earned, it would not be a perfect good. For one thing, since it was not earned, it would be the “bread of shame” (Magid Mesharim, Bereshit). Furthermore, since the recipient is receiving without giving, he does not at all resemble God when he receives, and this itself is a concept of shame.

Therefore, in order that this good be perfect, it must be earned. This is the concept of “righteousness” (tzedek), where a fair reward is given for a fair job of earning it.
...
(Truth from hochmah and binah, and its reflection peace from chesed and gevurah are discussed hereafter in Bahir 75)

Judaism has always sought inspiration from the daily cycle of time. Whether from the spark of the sun to sunrise or from twilight to the night sky; all are the work of G-d. Yet for security, G-d further depaganizes Judaism by revealing His unknown name:

Text 26-65: Exodus 6:3

ג וָאֵרָא, אֶל-אַבְרָהָם אֶל-יִצְחָק וְאֶל-יַעֲקֹב --בְּאֵל שַׁדָּי; וּשְׁמִי יְהוָה, לֹא נוֹדַעְתִּי לָהֶם. 3 and I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, as God Almighty, but by My name YHWH I made Me not known to them.

Hence, we know G-d in a greater way today. The witnessing of the Right Hand of G-d, His miracles is a lesser basis to faith, but perhaps better than naught. But ahhh... for faith, l’shema, for its own sake, so pure and clean like the winter’s snow burying under it the last traces of idolatry.[2828]

26.13.3 Sources


In the Akkadian language 2300 BCE, Shaddai meant “god of the mountain” from shadu meaning mountain. Verses in the psalms containing this name often contain the word for shade in Hebrew, perhaps alluding to the shade of a mountain. The ‘breast’ is shaped like a mountain. The Hebrew and Akkadian words don’t relate too well, though, since the sub-word ‘dai’ means enough like when a mother is breastfeeding her child and her child has had enough.

“The Chrubim represented the clouds of the stormy winter sky upon which God was supposed to ride across the face of the earth.” [2829] Who makest the clouds Thy chariot, Who walkest upon the wings of the wind, Who makest winds Thy messengers, The flaming fire Thy ministers. (Psalm 68:5, 104:3-4) The cloud is personified as a cherub. El Shaddai equates to Storm God among the ancients.

26.13.4 Witch

An outrageous story of Shimon Shatach sentencing 80 witches of Ashkelon to death raises the question if they were actually killed. The Torah states that ‘one does not suffer a witch to live’, not as an excuse to murder them, but to the point that they increase the suffering of their own lives. Instead, by finding a positive way to diminish their superstitious involvements, one brings them back to life. If they do not appear to be suffering, they are not practicing the witchcraft the Torah refers to. Shimon Shatach also threw the Sadducees out of the Sanhedrin (90 BCE) and established yeshiva schools of learning whereas before children were educated primarily by their parents. Ironically, he may have simply replaced one caste society with another, but slightly better suited to derive laws for the masses, perhaps. However, he embittered the high priests towards the Pharisees.

Text 26-66: Shimon Shetach
Simeon's fairness toward gentiles is illustrated by the following narrative: Simeon lived in humble circumstances, supporting himself and his family by conducting a small business in linen goods. Once his pupils presented him with a donkey which they had purchased from an Arab. On the neck of the animal they found a costly jewel, whereupon they joyously told their master that he might now cease toiling since the proceeds from the jewel would make him wealthy. Simeon, however, replied that the Arab had sold them the ass only, and not the jewel; and he returned the gem to the Arab, who exclaimed, "Praised be the God of Simeon ben Shetach!"

26.14 Later Day Saints

At its foundation of the LDS religion, is the belief that the true bible has been either distorted in translation or lost. Hence there is a Joseph Smith translation (JST) of the bible that some follow. While this idea is not entirely LDS, the idea that the true bible can be restored is.[2830]

Text 26-67: R. Eleazar ben Pedat
According to R. Eleazar ben Pedat in the third century, “The various sections of the Torah were
not given in their correct order. For if they have been given in their correct order, anyone who read them would be able to wake the dead and perform miracles. For this reason the correct order and arrangement of the Torah were hidden and are known only to the Holy One, Blessed be He, concerning whom it was said,(1) ‘And who as I, shall call, and shall declare it, and set it in order for me.’”(2)

(1) Isa. 44:7.
(2) See Midrash Tehillim, ed., S. Buber, p. 37; see Scholem, On the Kabbalah, p. 37.

R. Eleazar ben Pedat’s interpretation refers to the chronological order of the stories in the Torah. L’havdil, the JST attempts to add missing texts or change existing texts by radical translation. Nevertheless that the bible is not a perfect theological revelation is a common idea.

Meditation 26-7: Responsa to LDS
“You may always call upon me directly. There is only one God and ultimately I am unknowable. Those who would say that God is a person refer to a creation or manifestation of myself in their world. While my presence has been on the earth as when I walked in the Garden of Eden to find Adam, I know all, and would never have to live a life as man to know the life of a man. Those who insist on this or that there are three gods of one mind have created a fairy tale. Still they are a good people and if they are happy I am happy for them. They will improve with your prophecy. Over time their ideas will purify.

The angels were made on the second day and they are distinct from man. They do not have free will. Man’s souls rest under the Throne of God waiting to be born. The angels are my messengers. All angels are my servants. In each generation there are those with potential to lead and to help turn my people back to God. This is the role of messiah.”

Scholarship, Service, and Spirituality – three pillars to life. “I looked for myself but I could not find me. I looked for God, but He alluded me. I looked for my brother and found all three.”[2831] As well as people treat each other is as close in the eyes of G-d that people can be, such is the case of Later Day Saints and their prophets.

Text 26-68: Typical LDS Blessing
O heavenly Father, we are thankful for the careful preparation of our teacher and all of the wisdom she imparted to us, as well as all of the students that were able to attend here today.

O heavenly Father, open our hearts to your love that we may always have a ‘soft answer to turn away wrath.’ Give us a love like Solomon had for you in his youth so that we may follow all of your statutes.

Give us a ‘heart that hears’ that we may always understand the plight others and help them.
...
Here is one of the great insights of the LDS religion[2832], which is also that of Judaism:[2833]

Text 26-69: Honorable Marriage
Do not be caught up in materialism, one of the real plagues of our generation—that is, acquiring things, fast-paced living, and securing career success in the single state.[2834] Honorable marriage is more important than wealth, position, and status.

Revered LDS scholar Hugh Nibley’s great grandfather was Alexander Neibaur who was a contemporary of Joseph Smith. Neibaur was a Jew and a scholar of kabbalah. He was from Poland and moved to Preston England and converted to Christianity and then LDS. It is possible that Joseph Smith’s ideas of multiple worlds of existence stems from the Jewish idea of Gilgul based on his discussions with Neibaur. The LDS’s genealogical search engine is at http://www.familysearch.org.

LDS theology has canonized statements similar to the New Testament on criticism of Jews.

Text 26-70: Second Nephi 10:1-8
Jews shall crucify their God—They shall be scattered until they begin to believe in him—America shall be a land of liberty where no king shall rule—Be reconciled to God and gain salvation through his grace. Between 559 and 545 B.C.

  1 AND now I, Jacob, speak unto you again, my beloved brethren, concerning this righteous abranch of which I have spoken.
  2 For behold, the apromises which we have obtained are promises unto us according to the flesh; wherefore, as it has been shown unto me that many of our children shall perish in the flesh because of bunbelief, nevertheless, God will be merciful unto many; and our children shall be crestored, that they may come to that which will give them the true knowledge of their Redeemer.
  3 Wherefore, as I said unto you, it must needs be expedient that Christ—for in the last night the aangel spake unto me that this should be his name—should bcome among the cJews, among those who are the more wicked part of the world; and they shall dcrucify him—for thus it behooveth our God, and there is none other nation on earth that would ecrucify their fGod.
  4 For should the mighty amiracles be wrought among other nations they would repent, and know that he be their God.
  5 But because of apriestcrafts and iniquities, they at Jerusalem will bstiffen their necks against him, that he be ccrucified.
  6 Wherefore, because of their iniquities, destructions, famines, apestilences, and bloodshed shall come upon them; and they who shall not be destroyed shall be bscattered among all nations.
  7 But behold, thus saith the aLord God: bWhen the day cometh that they shall believe in me, that I am Christ, then have I covenanted with their fathers that they shall be crestored in the flesh, upon the earth, unto the dlands of their inheritance.
  8 And it shall come to pass that they shall be agathered in from their long dispersion, from the bisles of the sea, and from the four parts of the earth; and the nations of the Gentiles shall be great in the eyes of me, saith God, in ccarrying them forth to the lands of their inheritance.
Orson Hyde, an LDS apostle, to his great merit, made it to the Land of Israel in 1841.[2835]

There are concepts in the Book of Mormon that are not displayed in other Judeo-Christian religions with such alacrity as Nephi 1:13. Hence, here is a religion that brings forth the pinnacle of good conduct that has been taught from father to son and mother to daughter in immigrant households from England to Scandanvia.

Text 26-71: Third Nephi 1:13
13 Lift up your head and be of good cheer.
Nevertheless a unique faith has often led to action that brought forth true prophecy as in the case of Orson Hyde’s trip to Israel.

Text 26-72: Orson Hyde in Israel
Along his travels he faced many hardships. He fought danger, disease and hunger all along the way. Some of Hyde’s greatest trials came on his voyage from Smyrna to Beirut. As he traveled with a group of Arabs under the hire of a few Englishman they were blown off course into the small isles that litter the easternmost cost of the Mediterranean. This journey of four days turned into nineteen. They had not taken food stores for this happenstance and began to suffer from lack of nutrition. He managed to survive by gathering snails from the rocks of the isles, which they passed. Eventually they found the mainland, and he continued his journey by land through Beirut.

Hyde obviously had little love for the "Arabs" in the area. He called them "land pirates"...

Hyde debarked at Jaffa, and traveled onward to Jerusalem. At this time Jerusalem had a population of approximately 20,000 in habitants. Among these, 7000 were Jews. The majority of the population consisted of Turks and Arabs. He traveled the city viewing and meditated among the spiritually historic sights that he emotionally witnessed. He attempted to contact other Christian missionaries and prominent men of the city, but he did not meet with much success. So he again resolved to complete the purpose of his mission alone.

One year and six months had passed since he embarked on his journey from Nauvoo, Illinois. On Sunday morning, October 24, 1841, just before dawn, Elder Orson Hyde walked out of Jerusalem, up the Mount of Olives, and viewed the beautiful sight of Jerusalem at as sunlight spread across the city of the Messiah. Here he wrote and delivered the dedicatory prayer, consecrating the land for the gathering of Judah’s scattered remnants and for the eventual building of a temple. In the dedicatory prayer, Elder Hyde referred to the prophecies of God’s servants in relation to the Jews and Jerusalem, and asked that all might be fulfilled. He called for the richest blessings of heaven upon the Jews; he blessed, by virtue of his priesthood, and by his special calling as an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, the city, the land, and the elements, to the end that Judah might be gathered, Jerusalem rebuilt, and become a ‘Holy City," that the Lord’s name might be glorified in all the earth. After the prayer, in accordance with a vision given him before he left Nauvoo, he erected a pile of stones as a witness. He later erected a similar pile or altar upon Mount Zion.

Hyde noted that many Jews listened to his prayer with great interest. To this day his prayer is well known in Jerusalem among the Jews for the wonderful blessings and promises which it proclaims upon Jerusalem and the "the Lords chosen people." Soon after this he boarded a ship and sailed back to England by way of Egypt, Trieste, and Regensburg. On the way he wrote a letter to the editor of the church’s British newspaper the Millennial Star, describing the event of his journey and predicting England role in bringing the results that he had worked and prayed for.

It was by political power and influence that the Jewish nation was broken down, and her subjects dispersed abroad; and I will here hazard the opinion; that by political power and influence they will be gathered and built up; and, further, that England is destined, in the wisdom of economy of Heaven, to stretch forth the arm of political power, and advance in the front ranks of this glorious enterprise.

26.15 Manichaeism

The prophet Mani, “the Apostle of Light” in 3rd century Persia, held that knowledge leads to salvation, victory of the good light over the evil darkness. The world is permeated with a deep pessimism dominated by evil powers and a strong desire to break the chains holding the divine and luminous principle inside the prison of matter and of the body. This would resemble the Jewish view of the world after the shattering of the vessels, the state of Tohu. Knowledge leads to salvation by the individual recognizing his soul is a particle of light, of the same substance[2836] with the transcendent G-d. Held that we can recall a previous existence.[2837] Idea of a divine soul. Recognized three ages:
  1. Golden Age – forces of light and darkness, knowledge and ignorance are distinct.
  2. Mixed period – forces become mixed and difficult to separate.
  3. Present Age – battle for the cosmos between these forces, the age of separation.

Similar ideas here to the Essene’s “War Between the Sons of Light and the Sons of Darkness.” Though the religion is basically monotheistic, the need to recognize that evil is not a part of G-d, fostered a dualistic approached. The later Jewish ideas of externalized evil in a personified Satan rebelling against God and pursuing the destruction of mankind are similar. Held to the Zoroastrian doctrine of two poles of good and evil that will again be distinguished.

In summary, a belief in past, present, and future where the nature of light is wisdom and the nature of darkness is ignorance. Influenced by Iranian dualism from Zoroastrianism. Manichaeism survives in Taoist or Buddhist disguise until the 14th century.

26.16 Messianism

The goal of messianics is to remind the Jews to keep the Torah. The "good news" is the Torah. Maaseh Tova - good tithings symbolize their transformation.

They serve as a lamp for Jews to remember G-d’s purpose for them. Finally they pray for the Jews to do tshuvah and return to G-d.[2838] Perhaps a spiritual House of Israel was needed to remind the Jews of the significance of their physical lineage.

Text 26-73: Messianic Conversion
‘The Torah is a heritage shared by every soul that joins the nation of Israel, in our modern era, the Jewish nation, and accepts the Torah. It is the Jewish Nation who continues to keep and teach the Torah—they are, until the return of exiled Israel, the “Congregation of Jacob.”’

While the original believers in Jesus were Jews, the messianic religion would one day be transformed into a new religion. There are three principles if excluded from Christianity that would provide some claim to Judaism. One is the removal of the divinity of Jesus and the trinity. The second is the removal of the virgin birth and Immaculate Conception. Lastly is the removal of sin transference, human sacrifice, blood atonement, and the Eucharist.[2839] Yet, can one who denies a Torah law such as the permissibility of divorce be a true prophet?

Meditation: Messiah a Mortal King – For those who discover this hidden text. There is a suggestion that a messiah would have some divine powers while he would be mortal. Yet, this material is not consistent with Torah![2840] In fact, it is an imagination, an attempt to reconcile the bliss of a Christian outlook with a Torah concept of messiah.

The messiah is our king a mortal king, though our eternal King is always G-d. Nevertheless, G-d has given us the Son of Man to be a king over us in this world. He has given him authority to heal. He has given him authority to forgive sin. How is it possible for the Son of Man to forgive sin? Sin is a creation of man and is much lower than the heavens. Take hold of the hand of the Son of Man and he will forgive your sin.[2841] Who is the Son of Man? He is the king I have given unto you, the messiah, your lord. Let him possess your heart and listen to his will as a mortal king for his will is the will of the Lord in heaven. He has purified himself on the mountain against his temptations. Is the Son of Man, G-d? No, this can never be. The Son of Man is like Metatron who I made little lower than the angels and yet raised him up to be king over them all. Such I have made the Son of Man your king this day.

The Rabad felt that we pray to G-d through Metatron who was called the lesser god.[2842] Zechariah 3:4 suggests that the ‘Angel of the Lord’[2843] can cause iniquity to pass, “And he answered and spoke to those who stood before him, saying, Remove the filthy garments from him. And to him he said, Behold, I have caused your iniquity to pass from you, and I will dress you in festive garments.” Is this authority to forgive sin?[2844]

In Enoch 3, Metatron is given authority to judge the angels.
Text 26-74: Sefer Hekhalot or Enoch 3:16:1
R. Ishmael said: Metatron, the Angel, the Prince of the Presence, the Glory of all heaven, said to me: (1) At first I was sitting upon a great Throne at the door of the Seventh Hall; and I was judging the children of heaven, the household on high by authority of the Holy One, blessed be He. And I divided Greatness, Kingship, Dignity, Rulership, Honour and Praise, and Diadem and Crown of Glory unto all the princes of kingdoms, while I was sitting in the Yeshiva and the princes of kingdoms were standing before me, on my right and on my left—by authority of the Holy One, blessed be He.

In Chagigah 15a, Metatron has authority to record the merits of Israel.

Text 26-75: Chagigah 15a
Aher mutilated the shoots. Of him Scripture says: Suffer not thy mouth to bring thy flesh into guilt. What does it refer to? — He saw that permission was granted to Metatron to sit and write down the merits of Israel. Said he: It is taught as a tradition that on high there is no sitting and no emulation, and no back, and no weariness. Perhaps, — God forfend! — there are two divinities! [Thereupon] they led Metatron forth, and punished him with sixty fiery lashes, saying to him: Why didst thou not rise before him when thou didst see him?[2845]

Below, Metatron is the emanation of the First Cause and the Prince of the World.

Text 26-76: Origens of the Kabbalah: Scholem
jkm111.png

jkm112.png

28 Cf. the Hebrew text in Reshith ha-Qabbala, 78.

Gersholm Scholem is the author of Reshith ha-Qabbalah, where he has published the Hebrew text of the above. Perhaps the kawwanah is towards the attributes of God, which are in fact the cherub, since G-d is unknowable; but still there is only the thought of G-d during prayer. Further explanation of how and why the kawwanah of man is felt through the cherub: See 31.23 Rabad and the MT in Judaism.

Similarly, from Genesis 18, Adonai would seem to be the presence of G-d in an angel. Joseph Gikatilla identifies Adonai with Tzedek in the first gate in the Sha’are Orah.

Text 26-77: Adonai connected with Metatron
It is this third angel who appears at several other key junctures of God's revelation to Israel.  The malach Adonai appeared to Moshe at the burning bush.[2846]  Later, God promises to send this special agent who will not only guard our people but also be given authority to pardon sin “since my Name is in him” (Exodus 23:20-21).[2847]  Because of his special office, there was further speculation about the angel of the Lord.  In some rabbinic teachings, he is given the name “Metatron” which literally means (in Greek) “in the midst of the Throne”.  He is seen as God's right-hand man at the very throne of HaShem!  So important is this angel as an intermediary, that one rabbi even suggested that it is appropriate to lift prayers (sic)[2848] to this angel (Tractate Sanhedrin 38b).[2849]  While this view was rejected by the majority, it goes to show the unique place which the malach Adonai/Metatron held in the angelology of historic Judaism.

Intentionally, Adonai is substituted for Hashem in prayer. Adonai shields us from the ineffable Name. Hence, we do not pray to an angel, but only to G-d, nor is the angel considered a deity; nor do we pray in the name of this angel to G-d. In fact the name Adonai – אדני is not known as an angel.[2850] The following passage from the Passover Haggadah reinforces how important it is to recognize that there is only God involved in our life:

Text 26-78: Haggadah on God Alone
The Israelites were saved by God and not an angel or seraph or any other messenger. For it is written: “On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn--both men and animals--and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord!” (Exodus 12:12)

“For I will pass through the land of Egypt,” I myself, not an angel;
“And I will smite all the firstborn” I myself, not a seraph;
“And against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments,” I myself, not a messenger;

26.17 Mithraism

26.17.1 Salvation cults

The following exposition is from A. Powell Davies’ “The Meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls”, pp.90-92.

Text 26-79: A. Powell Davies
What the layman does not know, and the scholar does, is that there were many Pagan deities during the time of Jesus and afterwards for whom quite similar claims were made and in whose names were preached quite similar doctrines. Mithras was a Redeemer of mankind; so were Tammuz, Adonis and Osiris. The view eventually taken of Jesus as a Redeemer was not a Judaic concept; nor was it held by the first Christians in Palestine. The Messiah the Jews and the Judaic Christians expected was not the Son of God but a messenger from God, not one who saved by blood-atonement but one whose salvation came from his rule of the earth in a Messianic kingdom. The Judaic Christians were not thinking of a salvation that admitted them to heaven, but of a salvation which would establish a new order on earth, and this remained the case, even though they believed in immortality.

It was when Christianity spread out into the Pagan world that the idea of Jesus as a Savior God emerged. This idea was patterned on those already existing, especially upon Mithras. It was the birthday of Mithras, the 25th of December (the winter solstice) that was taken over by the Pagan Christians to be the birthday of Jesus. Even the Sabbath, the Jewish seventh day appointed by God in the Mosaic Law and hallowed by his own resting on this day after the work of Creation, had to be abandoned in favor the Mithraic first day, the Day of the Conquering Sun.

In the Mediterranean area during the time of Christian expansion, nowhere was there absent the image of the Virgin Mother and her Dying Son. Originally, it was the earth itself that was the goddess, virginal again with every spring. Her son was the fruit of the earth, born only to die, and in dying, to be implanted once more in the earth, as the seed that would renew the cycle. This was the “vegetation myth” from which the drama of the “Savior-God” and the “Mater Dolorosa” (the sorrowful mother, the mother of Christ sorrowing for her son) was drawn, soon to be elaborated.

The cycle of seasons on the earth was seen to be paralleled by a coordinate cycle in the heavens. There, too, was to be seen the virgin goddess; the constellation Virgo that rose in the eastern sky just when Sirius, the star from the east, was signaling the new birth of the Sun. The passage of the horizon line through Virgo was the conception of the Virgin from the Sun. The earth myth was thus blended with the sky myth and both with the memory of ancient heroes, real or legendary, and so came the saga of the Redeemer.

The cave later to be associated with the rebirth of Jesus, was earlier the birthplace of Horus, who, when he was grown, would become Osiris, who must die for the salvation of his people. Isis was the Mater Dolorosa. There were innumerable such salvation cults, as described by such writers as Sir James G. Frazer in his Golden Bough, and by the great classical scholar, Professor Gilbert Murray.

In these cults were found the same sacraments later to be called Christian. The Last Supper (Eucharist) belonged to Mithraism, from whence it was borrowed to combine with the sacred meal of Palestine Christianity. Not only sacraments but such concepts as “the blood of the Lamb” (or of Taurus the Bull) were likewise taken from Mithraism. And not only cultist concepts but ethical teachings too were absorbed from the cults which entered into Christianity. In addition, there were ethical teachings which were not cultist, such as those of the Stoics.

The extent of the indebtedness of Christianity to Pagan religion is so great that, provided there was a Judaic-Christian nucleus at all, very little indeed need have been supplied by the Palestinian Christians. It must be remembered that after the earliest days little was said of Jesus the teacher. It was Christ the Savior who was Lord of the Christians. And whether it had been he or the Lord Mithras would have made very little difference in the redemptionist doctrines, the sacraments and observances of the church that at last declared that “Christ” was the Savior God, a decision formalized by a majority vote in 325 A.D., at the Council of Nicea.

It will be seen, then, that what the scholar knows and the layman does not, is the extent to which Christianity would have become what it did without Jesus and his disciples at all. The only element of importance that is found nowhere in Paganism is the portrait of Jesus the teacher; but this, as we have already noted, was not the emphasis of Pagan Christianity. By the third century, it had passed almost out of sight, not to return until the Enlightenment, the Protestant Reformation, and the invention of printing brought the Bible to the people. The Bible, indeed, had been considered too dangerous a book to put into the hands of the laity: they were not equipped to understand it and it might be an incitement to heresy. It was the Christ of the Creeds and the Sacraments, the Salvationist God, that the Christian church for so many centuries was concerned with: Jesus of Galilee it scarcely knew at all.

The one essential nexus for making the Judaic Christ the victor in the struggle of Salvationist religions was Paul of Tarsus, Pharisee, yet a Hellenist, an inspired Jew with a profound comprehension of Paganism. Supreme master of synthesis, it was he who first conceived the purpose of binding Israel to Athens, the dying Temple of Jerusalem with the Mithraic sacrifice, the Essenic Jehovah with the Unknown God of the Areopagus (earliest aristocratic council of ancient Athens). As the Apostle Paul, this was the world-minded “Christianos”—never merely a Palestinian Christian—who knew his “Lord” not in the flesh but through his own “gnosis,” and saw that Apollo, Mithras and Osiris could be made to bow before his own Hebraic Adonai (Lord), and that by absorption of their saviorhoods and blood redemptions, the Messiah of Israel could become the world-Christ.

But it could have happened otherwise and still have borne the name of Christianity. That is what the scholar knows but not the layman. And thus the scholar—not as believer but as scholar—is not disturbed at what the Scrolls imply for Christian origins: he has known all along that historically, Christianity is not the religion founded by Jesus and spread abroad by his disciples. But the layman has not known it. The discovery of the Scrolls has somehow made him sense it. That is why his interest in them is not the “fad” that some among the churchmen have tried to make it out to be. The layman wants to know the truth about the origins of Christianity.

26.17.2 The Last Supper


The Last Supper (Eucharist) belonged to Mithraism, from whence it was borrowed to combine with the sacred meal of Palestinian Christianity (Passover). Not only sacraments but also such concepts as “the blood of the Lamb” (or of Taurus the Bull) were likewise taken from Mithraism. And not only cultist concepts but ethical teachings too were absorbed from the cults, which entered into Christianity. In addition, there were ethical teachings, which were not cultist, such as those of the Stoics.[2851]

‘One Mithraic hymn begins: "Thou hast redeemed us too by shedding the eternal blood."’[2852] This was the sacrifice of the bull. ‘According to myth, Mithra was born, bearing a torch and armed with a knife, beside a sacred stream and under a sacred tree, a child of the earth itself. He soon rode, and later killed, the life-giving cosmic bull, whose blood fertilizes all vegetation. Mithra's slaying of the bull was a popular subject of Hellenic art and became the prototype for a bull-slaying ritual of fertility in the Mithraic cult.’[2853] ‘After the sacrifice, Mithra and the sun god banqueted together, ate meat and bread, and drank wine.’ ‘The myth was reinterpreted by the Roman Mithraists in terms of Platonic philosophy. The sacrifice took place in a cave, an image of the world, as in the simile of the cave in Plato's Republic. Mithra himself was equated with the creator (demiurge), he was called "demiurge and father of all things," like the Platonic demiurge.’ The transformation of Mithra from servant into deity is the source for the transformation of Jesus from messiah into deity. The demiurge is the Platonic subordinate deity who fashions the sensible world in the light of eternal ideas or the Gnostic subordinate deity who is the creator of the material world. From here we see the transformation of Jesus into the logos of creation in the Book of John and ultimately the god of the Old Testament.

...
In the Qumran liturgy, it is provided that “the Messiah of Israel shall stretch forth his hands on the bread; and after giving a blessing, all of the congregation of the community shall partake, each according to his rank.” It is essentially this ritual that Jesus followed, as related in the New Testament accounts of the Last Supper. “And as they were eating, he took bread, and when he had blessed, he brake it and gave to them” (Mark xiv, 22). [2854]


The case of the wine would be similar, wine also (the “blood” of the grape) being sacred. The ancients knew nothing of the chemistry of fermentation (not only as to wine but also the “miracle” of the yeast leavening bread). Consequently, they regarded the effect of wine as “god-possession.” The god had entered into and “enthused” them (the literal meaning of the word enthused means possessed by a god) and so they were filled with fervor (or frenzy). The earlier orgies associated with the magical properties of wine slowly gave way to more restrained and solemn observances in which “possession” by the god changed into communion with the god and the magical became the mystical. Thus, in the mystery cults of the Mediterranean area, the wine that was “blessed” was the blood—and therefore the life—of the Redeemer. For our covenanters at Qumran, it was the blood—the life—of the Messiahs. Through the bread that was broken and eaten, and the cup that was passed from one to another, the Messiahs entered into the very life itself of their communicants and all were a one, mystically united.[2855]

It seems likely that Jesus identifying the bread with his body and the wine with his blood is based on the pagan notion of deity consumption, but with application here to communion with the messiah. Nevertheless, this is not a Jewish idea and is not found in the Essene writings. Davies, while insightful in other places, is wrong here: “it was the blood—the life—of the Messiahs.” This is Mithraism not Judaism. There is no consumption of blood or flesh of deities, has vshalom.

The Didache, the Teachings of the Twelve Apostles, in its Latin version has a reference to the sacrament. Here, the wine represents, “the Holy Vine of son, David” while the bread symbolizes the “life and knowledge through Jesus, child.” There is some opinion that this is a link between the Essenes and Christians. In any case, a Midrash associates one’s drink in heaven is the reward for ones prayers in this world, while one’s food in heaven will be the reward for ones Torah learning in this world. Now the Passover meal represents the table of the Tzaddikim that one will dine with in heaven. The wine becomes the reward for reciting T’hillim, the Psalms of David. The matzos, flatbread, becomes the reward for learning the Torah or teachings of Jesus.[2856] There is one further symbolism in the Midrash: the mitzvot, commandments, one has kept in life will be rewarded by the clothes one has in heaven. Moreover the mitzvot are eternal and they are actually the spiritual clothes of those who have past on.

In the Didache:[2857]

The Didache although not intended for Jews contains the following:

Text 26-80: Didache trans. Roberts
The Didache[2858]

The Lord's Teaching Through the Twelve Apostles to the Nations.

Chapter 1. The Two Ways and the First Commandment. There are two ways, one of life and one of death, but a great difference between the two ways. The way of life, then, is this: First, you shall love God who made you; second, love your neighbor as yourself, and do not do to another what you would not want done to you. And of these sayings the teaching is this: Bless those who curse you, and pray for your enemies, and fast for those who persecute you. For what reward is there for loving those who love you? Do not the Gentiles do the same? But love those who hate you, and you shall not have an enemy. Abstain from fleshly and worldly lusts. If someone strikes your right cheek, turn to him the other also, and you shall be perfect. If someone impresses you for one mile, go with him two. If someone takes your cloak, give him also your coat. If someone takes from you what is yours, ask it not back, for indeed you are not able. Give to every one who asks you, and ask it not back; for the Father wills that to all should be given of our own blessings (free gifts). Happy is he who gives according to the commandment, for he is guiltless. Woe to him who receives; for if one receives who has need, he is guiltless; but he who receives not having need shall pay the penalty, why he received and for what. And coming into confinement, he shall be examined concerning the things which he has done, and he shall not escape from there until he pays back the last penny. And also concerning this, it has been said, Let your alms sweat in your hands, until you know to whom you should give.

Chapter 2. The Second Commandment: Grave Sin Forbidden. And the second commandment of the Teaching; You shall not commit murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not commit pederasty, you shall not commit fornication, you shall not steal, you shall not practice magic, you shall not practice witchcraft, you shall not murder a child by abortion nor kill that which is born. You shall not covet the things of your neighbor, you shall not swear, you shall not bear false witness, you shall not speak evil, you shall bear no grudge. You shall not be double-minded nor double-tongued, for to be double-tongued is a snare of death. Your speech shall not be false, nor empty, but fulfilled by deed. You shall not be covetous, nor rapacious, nor a hypocrite, nor evil disposed, nor haughty. You shall not take evil counsel against your neighbor. You shall not hate any man; but some you shall reprove, and concerning some you shall pray, and some you shall love more than your own life.

Chapter 3. Other Sins Forbidden. My child, flee from every evil thing, and from every likeness of it. Be not prone to anger, for anger leads to murder. Be neither jealous, nor quarrelsome, nor of hot temper, for out of all these murders are engendered. My child, be not a lustful one. for lust leads to fornication. Be neither a filthy talker, nor of lofty eye, for out of all these adulteries are engendered. My child, be not an observer of omens, since it leads to idolatry. Be neither an enchanter, nor an astrologer, nor a purifier, nor be willing to took at these things, for out of all these idolatry is engendered. My child, be not a liar, since a lie leads to theft. Be neither money-loving, nor vainglorious, for out of all these thefts are engendered. My child, be not a murmurer, since it leads the way to blasphemy. Be neither self-willed nor evil-minded, for out of all these blasphemies are engendered.

Rather, be meek, since the meek shall inherit the earth. Be long-suffering and pitiful and guileless and gentle and good and always trembling at the words which you have heard. You shall not exalt yourself, nor give over-confidence to your soul. Your soul shall not be joined with lofty ones, but with just and lowly ones shall it have its intercourse. Accept whatever happens to you as good, knowing that apart from God nothing comes to pass.

Chapter 4. Various Precepts. My child, remember night and day him who speaks the word of God to you, and honor him as you do the Lord. For wherever the lordly rule is uttered, there is the Lord. And seek out day by day the faces of the saints, in order that you may rest upon their words. Do not long for division, but rather bring those who contend to peace. Judge righteously, and do not respect persons in reproving for transgressions. You shall not be undecided whether or not it shall be. Be not a stretcher forth of the hands to receive and a drawer of them back to give. If you have anything, through your hands you shall give ransom for your sins. Do not hesitate to give, nor complain when you give; for you shall know who is the good repayer of the hire. Do not turn away from him who is in want; rather, share all things with your brother, and do not say that they are your own. For if you are partakers in that which is immortal, how much more in things which are mortal? Do not remove your hand from your son or daughter; rather, teach them the fear of God from their youth. Do not enjoin anything in your bitterness upon your bondman or maidservant, who hope in the same God, lest ever they shall fear not God who is over both; for he comes not to call according to the outward appearance, but to them whom the Spirit has prepared. And you bondmen shall be subject to your masters as to a type of God, in modesty and fear. You shall hate all hypocrisy and everything which is not pleasing to the Lord. Do not in any way forsake the commandments of the Lord; but keep what you have received, neither adding thereto nor taking away therefrom. In the church you shall acknowledge your transgressions, and you shall not come near for your prayer with an evil conscience. This is the way of life.

Chapter 5. The Way of Death. And the way of death is this: First of all it is evil and accursed: murders, adultery, lust, fornication, thefts, idolatries, magic arts, witchcrafts, rape, false witness, hypocrisy, double-heartedness, deceit, haughtiness, depravity, self-will, greediness, filthy talking, jealousy, over-confidence, loftiness, boastfulness; persecutors of the good, hating truth, loving a lie, not knowing a reward for righteousness, not cleaving to good nor to righteous judgment, watching not for that which is good, but for that which is evil; from whom meekness and endurance are far, loving vanities, pursuing revenge, not pitying a poor man, not laboring for the afflicted, not knowing Him Who made them, murderers of children, destroyers of the handiwork of God, turning away from him who is in want, afflicting him who is distressed, advocates of the rich, lawless judges of the poor, utter sinners. Be delivered, children, from all these.

Chapter 6. Against False Teachers, and Food Offered to Idols. See that no one causes you to err from this way of the Teaching, since apart from God it teaches you. For if you are able to bear the entire yoke of the Lord, you will be perfect; but if you are not able to do this, do what you are able. And concerning food, bear what you are able; but against that which is sacrificed to idols be exceedingly careful; for it is the service of dead gods.

Chapter 7. Concerning Baptism. And concerning baptism, baptize this way: Having first said all these things, baptize into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, in living water. But if you have no living water, baptize into other water; and if you cannot do so in cold water, do so in warm. But if you have neither, pour out water three times upon the head into the name of Father and Son and Holy Spirit. But before the baptism let the baptizer fast, and the baptized, and whoever else can; but you shall order the baptized to fast one or two days before.

Chapter 8. Fasting and Prayer (the Lord's Prayer). But let not your fasts be with the hypocrites, for they fast on the second and fifth day of the week. Rather, fast on the fourth day and the Preparation (Friday). Do not pray like the hypocrites, but rather as the Lord commanded in His Gospel, like this:

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily (needful) bread, and forgive us our debt as we also forgive our debtors. And bring us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one (or, evil); for Thine is the power and the glory for ever..

Pray this three times each day.

Chapter 9. The Eucharist. Now concerning the Eucharist, give thanks this way. First, concerning the cup:

We thank thee, our Father, for the holy vine of David Thy servant, which You madest known to us through Jesus Thy Servant; to Thee be the glory for ever.

And concerning the broken bread:
We thank Thee, our Father, for the life and knowledge which You madest known to us through Jesus Thy Servant; to Thee be the glory for ever. Even as this broken bread was scattered over the hills, and was gathered together and became one, so let Thy Church be gathered together from the ends of the earth into Thy kingdom; for Thine is the glory and the power through Jesus Christ for ever.

But let no one eat or drink of your Eucharist, unless they have been baptized into the name of the Lord; for concerning this also the Lord has said, "Give not that which is holy to the dogs."

Chapter 10. Prayer after Communion. But after you are filled, give thanks this way:

We thank Thee, holy Father, for Thy holy name which You didst cause to tabernacle in our hearts, and for the knowledge and faith and immortality, which You modest known to us through Jesus Thy Servant; to Thee be the glory for ever. Thou, Master almighty, didst create all things for Thy name's sake; You gavest food and drink to men for enjoyment, that they might give thanks to Thee; but to us You didst freely give spiritual food and drink and life eternal through Thy Servant. Before all things we thank Thee that You are mighty; to Thee be the glory for ever. Remember, Lord, Thy Church, to deliver it from all evil and to make it perfect in Thy love, and gather it from the four winds, sanctified for Thy kingdom which Thou have prepared for it; for Thine is the power and the glory for ever. Let grace come, and let this world pass away. Hosanna to the God (Son) of David! If any one is holy, let him come; if any one is not so, let him repent. Maranatha. Amen.

But permit the prophets to make Thanksgiving as much as they desire.

Chapter 11. Concerning Teachers, Apostles, and Prophets. Whosoever, therefore, comes and teaches you all these things that have been said before, receive him. But if the teacher himself turns and teaches another doctrine to the destruction of this, hear him not. But if he teaches so as to increase righteousness and the knowledge of the Lord, receive him as the Lord. But concerning the apostles and prophets, act according to the decree of the Gospel. Let every apostle who comes to you be received as the Lord. But he shall not remain more than one day; or two days, if there's a need. But if he remains three days, he is a false prophet. And when the apostle goes away, let him take nothing but bread until he lodges. If he asks for money, he is a false prophet. And every prophet who speaks in the Spirit you shall neither try nor judge; for every sin shall be forgiven, but this sin shall not be forgiven. But not every one who speaks in the Spirit is a prophet; but only if he holds the ways of the Lord. Therefore from their ways shall the false prophet and the prophet be known. And every prophet who orders a meal in the Spirit does not eat it, unless he is indeed a false prophet. And every prophet who teaches the truth, but does not do what he teaches, is a false prophet. And every prophet, proved true, working unto the mystery of the Church in the world, yet not teaching others to do what he himself does, shall not be judged among you, for with God he has his judgment; for so did also the ancient prophets. But whoever says in the Spirit, Give me money, or something else, you shall not listen to him. But if he tells you to give for others' sake who are in need, let no one judge him.

Chapter 12. Reception of Christians. But receive everyone who comes in the name of the Lord, and prove and know him afterward; for you shall have understanding right and left. If he who comes is a wayfarer, assist him as far as you are able; but he shall not remain with you more than two or three days, if need be. But if he wants to stay with you, and is an artisan, let him work and eat. But if he has no trade, according to your understanding, see to it that, as a Christian, he shall not live with you idle. But if he wills not to do, he is a Christ-monger. Watch that you keep away from such.

Chapter 13. Support of Prophets. But every true prophet who wants to live among you is worthy of his support. So also a true teacher is himself worthy, as the workman, of his support. Every first-fruit, therefore, of the products of wine-press and threshing-floor, of oxen and of sheep, you shall take and give to the prophets, for they are your high priests. But if you have no prophet, give it to the poor. If you make a batch of dough, take the first-fruit and give according to the commandment. So also when you open a jar of wine or of oil, take the first-fruit and give it to the prophets; and of money (silver) and clothing and every possession, take the first-fruit, as it may seem good to you, and give according to the commandment.

Chapter 14. Christian Assembly on the Lord's Day. But every Lord's day gather yourselves together, and break bread, and give thanksgiving after having confessed your transgressions, that your sacrifice may be pure. But let no one who is at odds with his fellow come together with you, until they be reconciled, that your sacrifice may not be profaned. For this is that which was spoken by the Lord: "In every place and time offer to me a pure sacrifice; for I am a great King, says the Lord, and my name is wonderful among the nations."

Chapter 15. Bishops and Deacons; Christian Reproof. Appoint, therefore, for yourselves, bishops and deacons worthy of the Lord, men meek, and not lovers of money, and truthful and proved; for they also render to you the service of prophets and teachers. Therefore do not despise them, for they are your honored ones, together with the prophets and teachers. And reprove one another, not in anger, but in peace, as you have it in the Gospel. But to anyone that acts amiss against another, let no one speak, nor let him hear anything from you until he repents. But your prayers and alms and all your deeds so do, as you have it in the Gospel of our Lord.

Chapter 16. Watchfulness; the Coming of the Lord. Watch for your life's sake. Let not your lamps be quenched, nor your loins unloosed; but be ready, for you know not the hour in which our Lord will come. But come together often, seeking the things which are befitting to your souls: for the whole time of your faith will not profit you, if you are not made perfect in the last time. For in the last days false prophets and corrupters shall be multiplied, and the sheep shall be turned into wolves, and love shall be turned into hate; for when lawlessness increases, they shall hate and persecute and betray one another, and then shall appear the world-deceiver as Son of God, and shall do signs and wonders, and the earth shall be delivered into his hands, and he shall do iniquitous things which have never yet come to pass since the beginning. Then shall the creation of men come into the fire of trial, and many shall be made to stumble and shall perish; but those who endure in their faith shall be saved from under the curse itself. And then shall appear the signs of the truth: first, the sign of an outspreading in heaven, then the sign of the sound of the trumpet. And third, the resurrection of the dead -- yet not of all, but as it is said: "The Lord shall come and all His saints with Him." Then shall the world see the Lord coming upon the clouds of heaven.

26.17.3 Mithras parallels

The following accounts are somewhat contrived by emphasis on parallels while ignoring differences. The significant question is to what extent Christianity has elevated these ideas vs. lost a more significant message?

26.17.3.1 Account 1

The origins of the modern Christmas traditions lie in Roman paganism and the celebration of Saturnalia, which occurred a little after mid-December. During Saturnalia, Romans were given over to wild merry-making, gift giving, etc., in what would today be likened to Mardi Gras. This was the state of affairs regarding Christmas for centuries, in spite of the theocratic Middle Ages, until the modern Christmas was synthesized from various Euro-pagan traditions in the Victorian era into what we know it as today. [2859]

It is surprising that Christianity was to become the international religion, when one considers that the already well-established religion of Mithraism was a natural challenger for that title. Up until the time of the Emperor Constantine, it was the latter religion, which was more popular within the framework of the Roman Empire, and Christianity was regarded as being only one sect amongst numerous other sects. It was only when Constantine decreed that Christianity was to be the state religion, that Mithraism, together with a host of other religions and sects, was put into the melting pot, and ideas of that religion, most suited for the Christian purpose, were absorbed into the new state-approved religion.

Mithraism, the religion followed by those who worshipped the sun god Mithra, originated in Persia about 400 BC, and was to spread its Pagan ideas as far west as the British Isles. In the early centuries of the Christian era, Mithraism was the most wide-spread religion in the Western World, and its remains are to be found in monuments scattered around the countries of Europe, which then comprised the known civilized world.

Mithra was regarded as created by, yet co-equal with, the Supreme Deity. Mithraists were Trinitarian, kept Sunday as their day of worship, and their chief festivals were what we know of as Christmas and Easter. Long before the advent of Jesus, Mithra was said to have been born of a virgin mother, in a cave, at the time of Christmas, and died on a cross at Easter. Baptism was practiced, and the sign of the cross was made on the foreheads of all newly-baptized converts. Mithra was considered to be the savior of the world, conferring on his followers an eternal life in Heaven, and, similar to the story of Jesus, he died to save all others, provided that they were his followers.

For three centuries both religions ran parallel, Mithraism first becoming known to the Romans in 70 BC, Christianity following a century later, and it wasn’t until AD 377 that Christianity became sufficiently strong to suppress its former rival, although Mithraism was to remain a formidable opponent for some time after that, only slowly being forsaken by the people. It was only the absorption of many Mithraist ideas into Christianity which finally saw its downfall.

The big turning point was brought about by the Congress of Nicaea in AD 325. Constantine, a great supporter of the Christian religion, although not converting to it until the time of his decease, gathered together 2,000 leading figures in the world of theology, the idea being to bring about the advent of Christianity as the official state religion of Rome. It was out of this assembly that Jesus was formally declared to be the Son of God, and Savior of Mankind, another slain savior god, bringing up the tally of slain god-men to seventeen, of which Mithra, together with such men as Bel and Osiris, was included.

Just as Nicaea can be regarded as the birthplace of Christianity, so too it can be regarded as the graveyard of what we imagine Jesus taught. From that time onwards, Christianity was to absorb the superstitions of Mithraism, and many other older religions, and what was believed to have happened to earlier savior gods, was made to centre around the Nazarene. The coming of Christianity under state control was to preserve it as a religion, and was the death knell of all other sects and cults within the Roman Empire.

Had Constantine decided to retain Mithraism as the official state religion, instead of putting Christianity in its place, it would have been the latter that would have been obliterated. To Constantine however, Christianity had one great advantage, it preached that repentant sinners would be forgiven their sins, provided that they were converted Christians at the time of their Passing, and Constantine had much to be forgiven for, He personally did not convert to the new religion until he was on his death bed, the reason being that only sins committed following conversion were accountable, so all sins committed by a convert, prior to conversion, didn’t matter, and he could hardly have sinned too much whilst he was lying on his death bed. Mithraism could not offer the same comfort to a man like Constantine, who was regarded as being one of the worst mass-murderers of his time.

The Emperor Julian, who followed Constantine, went back to Mithraism, but his short reign of only two years could not change what Constantine had decreed. His defeat, and death, at the hands of the Persians, was used by the Christians as an argument in favor of the new, against the old, being looked upon as an omen that Christianity had divine approval. If Julian had been spared to reign some years longer, the entire history of international religion would almost certainly have been different.

Under Emperor Jovian, who followed Julian, the substitution of Christianity for Mithraism made further progress, and old Pagan beliefs, like the Virgin Birth, Baptism and Holy Trinity, became generally accepted as the basis of the state religion. The early Christian idea of Unitarianism was quickly squashed in favor of Trinitarianism, and those who refused to accept the Holy Trinity were put to the sword, the beginning of mass slaughter in the name of religion, which was to go on for centuries.

26.17.3.2 Account 2

The following account is fairly thorough, although presented caveat emptor:[2860]

This religion, cloaked in mystery and secrecy, has captivated the imaginations of scholars for generations. Many facts discovered sheds vital light on the cultural dynamics that led to the rise of Christianity. The National Geographic Society’s book “Great Religions of the World,” page 309 writes; “By Jesus’ time, East and West had mingled here for three centuries. Down columns of boulevards walked Roman soldiers loyal to the Persian god Mithras.” Mithras was a Persian deity. He was also the most widely venerated god in the Roman Empire at the time of Jesus. The Catholic Encyclopedia as well as the early Church Fathers found this religion of Mithras very disturbing, as there are so many similarities between the two religions, as follows:

1) Hundreds of years before Jesus, according to the Mithraic religion, three Wise Men of Persia came to visit the baby savior-god Mithra, bring him gifts of gold, myrrh and frankincense.
2) Mithra was born on December 25 as told in the “Great Religions of the World”, page 330; “...it was the winter solstice celebrated by ancients as the birthday of Mithraism’s sun god.”
3) According to Mithraism, before Mithra died on a cross, he celebrated a “Last Supper with his twelve disciples, who represented the twelve signs of the zodiac.”
4) After the death of Mithra, his body was laid to rest in a rock tomb.
5) Mithra had a celibate priesthood.
6) Mithra ascended into heaven during the spring (Passover) equinox (the time when the sun crosses the equator making night and day of equal length).

As you can now see, Christianity derived many of its essential elements from the ancient religion of Mithraism. Mithraism became intertwined with the cult of Jesus to form what is known today as “Christianity.” Although literary sources on this religion are sparse, an abundance of material evidence exists in the many Mithraic temples and artifacts that archaeologists have found scattered throughout the Roman Empire, from England in the north and west to Palestine in the south and east. The temples were usually built underground in caves, which are filled with an extremely elaborate iconography (illustrating by pictures, figures and images). There were many hundreds of Mithraic temples in the Roman Empire, the greatest concentrations have been found in the city of Rome itself.

We often hear about how many of the traditions, rites and symbols of modern day "Christian" holidays have their roots in paganism. Have you ever wondered why December 25th was chosen to celebrate the birth of Jesus? Could it only be a consequence that ancient paganism and the story of Mithras' birth coincides with the Yule/Christmas season? If the accounts in the Bible are correct, the time of Jesus birth would have been closer to mid-summer, for this is when shepherds would have been "tending their flocks in the field" and the new lambs were born. Strange enough, the ancient pagan religion, Mithraism, which dates back over 4,000 years, also celebrated the birth of their "saviour" on December 25th. Franz Cumont, who is consider by many to be the leading research authority on Roman Paganism, explained the ancient religion called Mithraism.

Then Mithras returned to the earth to teach humanity His commandments and begin Mysteries and Rites which would help humans remember His acts on our behalf. Because of His actions, we can choose good without the overwhelming power of evil, even though evil's influence can still seem powerful because our minds believe it is. Because of His teachings, we know that the purpose of our lives is to serve others in the name of Mithras. The followers refer to Him as the "Light of the World" a phrase often used also in Christian faith when referring to Jesus.

This son of a god born of a virgin, was so commonly spread in those days that Philo of Alexandria (30 BCE - 45 CE), warned against this widespread superstitious belief in unions between male gods and human females. The offsprings are known as demigods.

Tammuz, who was incorporated also into Attis and Mithras, and they stood model for the story in the NT, because they were deities who all are supposed to have died and resurrected. Tammuz was always called Adon, meaning Lord. (the Greek Adonis, was based on him). Actually all these deities were based on the first deity to have died and resurrected, the Egyptian deity Osiris. So there is absolutely nothing unique about Jesus. In fact he is copyright due to Osiris.

Of the following (semi) deities legends went around that they were born of a virgin:

Augustus (his father was the god Apollo) Agdistis Attis
Adonis Buddha Dionysus
Korybas Krishna Mithras
Osirus Perseus Romulus and Remus
Tammuz Zoroaster Jesus

So basically, all the pagan religions were alike, including Christianity. It just happens that one of them got the ascendancy, and became the most powerful, and did its best to wipe out all the others. In addition to a lack of historical support, many characteristics of Jesus, which Christians today believe in, are undeniably similar or identical to religious trends and beliefs that preceded Christianity. There are tens of accounts of pagan gods of many different cultures who were said to have the same attributes as those that Christians claim Jesus had. A brief review of some of these may lead to some interesting questions concerning the originality of the Christian claim:

ATTIS - Phrygia: Born of the virgin Nana on December 25. He was both the Father and the Divine Son. He was a savior crucified on a tree for the salvation of mankind. He was buried but on the third day the priests found the tomb empty -- He had arisen from the dead (on March 25th). He followers were baptized in blood, thereby washing away their sins -- after which they declared themselves "born again." His followers ate a sacred meal of bread, which they believed became the body of the savoir.

BUDDIAH – INDIA: Born of the Virgin Maya on December 25th. He was announced by a star and attended by wise men presenting costly gifts. At birth angles sing heavenly songs. He taught in temple at age 12. Tempted by Mara, the Evil One (Satan), while fasting. He was baptized in water with the Spirit of God present. Buddiah healed the sick and fed 500 from a small basket of cakes and even walked on water. He came to fulfill the law and preached the establishment of a kingdom of righteousness and obliged followers to poverty and to renounce the world. He transfigured on a mount. Died (on a cross, in some traditions), buried but arose again after tomb opened by supernatural powers. Ascended into heaven (Nirvana). Will return in later days to judge the dead. Buddiah was called: "Good Shepherd," "Carpenter," "Alpha and Omega," "Sin Bearer," "Master," "Light of the World," "Redeemer," etc.

DIONYSUS - GREECE: Born of a Virgin on December 25th, placed in a manger. He was a traveling teacher who performed many miracles. Turned water into wine. Followers ate sacred meal that became the body of the god. He rose from the dead March 25th. Identified with the ram and lamb's and was called "King of Kings," "Only Begotten Son," "Savior," "Redeemer," "Sin bearer," "Anointed One," the "Alpha and Omega."

HERACLES – GREECE: Born at the winter equinox of a virgin who refrained from sex with her until her god-begotten child was born and was sacrificed at the spring equinox. He too, was called "Savior," "Only begotten," "Prince of Peace," "Son of Righteousness."

KRISHNA - INDIA: Krishna was born while his foster-father Nanda was in the city to pay his tax to the king. His nativity heralded by a star, Krishna was born of the virgin Devaki in a cave, which at the time of his birth was miraculously illuminated. The cowherds adored his birth. King Kansa sought the life of the Indian Christ by ordering the massacre of all male children born during the same night at He. Krishna traveled widely, performing miracles -- raising the dead, healing lepers, the deaf and the blind. The crucified Krishna is pictured on the cross with arms extended. Pierced by an arrow while hanging on the cross, Krishna died, but descended into Hell from which He rose again on the third day and ascended into Heaven. (The Gospel of Nicodemus’ tale of Jesus' descent into Hell.) He will return on the last day to judge the quick and the dead. Krishna is the second person of the Hindu trinity.

OSIRIS – EGYPT: He came to fulfill the law. Called "KRST," the "Anointed One." Born of the virgin Isis-Meri on December 25th in a cave / manger, with his birth announced by a star and attended by three wise men. Earthly father named "Seb" (translates to "Joseph.") At age 12 he was a child teacher in the Temple and at 30 he was baptized, having disappeared for 18 years. Osiris was baptized in the river Iarutana -- the river Jordan -- by "Anup the Baptizer," who was beheaded. (Anup translates to John.) He performed miracles, exorcised demons, raised El-Osiris from the dead. Walked on water and was betrayed by Typhon, crucified between two thieves on the 17th day of the month of Athyr. Buried in a tomb from which he arose on the third day (19th Athyr) and was resurrected. His suffering, death, and resurrection celebrated each year by His disciples on the Vernal Equinox -- Easter. Called "The Way, the Truth, the Light," "Messiah," "god's Anointed Son,' the "Son of Man," the "Word made Flesh," the "word of truth." Expected to reign a thousand years.


NOTE 1: Persian legends of Mithras says that He was born of the Sun God and a virgin mother, called "the Mother of God", on December 25th. They saw him as a symbol of justice, truth, and loyalty. He was considered the savior of humankind, and stories abound of His healing the sick, raising the dead, and performing miracles (making the blind see and the lame walk). Throughout His lifetime, He was seen as a protector of human souls, a mediator between "heaven" and "earth" and was even associated with a "holy trinity". He remained celibate, until the ripe old age of 64, throughout his life and preached the virtues of ethics, moral behavior, and good will. Does this sound familiar? Sure sounds like Jesus.

NOTE 2: Ancient Persians believed in a "celestial heaven" and hell. They believed that they would be judged by their god and granted justice of" eternal salvation. On judgment day, the faithful dead would be resurrected and light would triumph over darkness.

NOTE 3: They took part in ritual purification or baptism, held Sundays sacred, drank wine and ate bread as a symbol of the body and blood and even took part in ritualistic purging (purification rites such as flagellation).

NOTE 4: In their legends, Mithras had an "earthly mission' to accomplish. He then was put to death on a cross and buried in a cave (some legends have Him held in a cave to be reborn once a year).

NOTE 5: He then "rose from the dead" and took part in a last supper with his 12 disciples (often associated with the 12 signs of the zodiac) and then ascended to the heavens to watch over His "flock" from above.


As a footnote to all this: The World Book Encyclopedia tells that Mithras was an angel of light who fought on the side against the forces of evil. In the Zoroastrian religion of ancient Persia Mithras was called “the Heavenly Light.” This belief carried to Assyria and Asia Minor where many people identified him with the sun. Mithraism came into the ancient Roman world about 75 BCE, and ranked as a principal competitor of Christianity for 200 years. In addition to a lack of historical support, many characteristics of Jesus, which Christians today believe in, are undeniably similar or identical to religious trends and beliefs that preceded Christianity. There are tens of accounts of pagan gods of many different cultures who were said to have the same attributes as those that Christians claim Jesus had.

Trinity―Trinities were popular in pagan sects before Christianity was introduced to the world. Some of the more well known trinity gods included Mithra-Vohu Mana-Rashnu, Amen-Mut-Khonsu, and Osiris-Isis-Horus.

Virgin Birth―Among the pagan cultures that preceded Christianity, virgin birth stories abounded. The long list of pagan gods born of virgins includes: Romulus and Remus, Zoroaster, Buddha, Mithras, Chrishna, Osiris-Aion, Agdistis, Attis, Tammuz, Adonis, Korybas, Perseus, and Dionysus.

Disciples―In the following 'saviors' cases, a grouping of disciples was present, just as they were present in Jesus' story: Horus, Buddha, Chrishna, Dionysus, Mithra. Interestingly enough, in the case of Dionysus, his disciple Acoetes was a boatman, just as Jesus' disciple Peter. And just as Peter was freed from jail when the doors miraculously flew open, so was Dionysus' disciple Acoetes. In Budda's case, he, like Jesus, demanded that his disciples renounce all worldly possessions. Yet another instance of similarity is that the disciples of both Jesus and Buddha were said to have been arrested for preaching, as well as witnessed to have "walked on water."

Miracles―Among those 'saviors' who, like Jesus, performed countless miracles include: Horus, Chrishna, Buddha, Dionysus, Mithra, Osirus, and Adonis. Horus was said to have walked on water, just as Jesus did. In addition, Horus raised one man, El-Azarus, from the dead in front of countless witnesses. In the case of Buddha, it was told that he fed five hundred men with one loaf of bread, that he cured lepers, and that he caused the blind to see. Dionysus rescued a person from dying when the person was utterly desolate and placed them among the stars. And he gave food and drink, herbs and berries, to the starving people -- not to mention turning water into wine.

The Sun―Here is another common theory, quoted from S. Acharya's "The Origins of Christianity and the Quest for the Historical Jesus:" "The reason why all these pagan narratives are so similar to a "god-man" is that these stories were based on the movements of the sun through the heavens, an astrotheological development that can be found throughout the planet because the sun and the 12 zodiac signs can be observed around the globe.

Paul was supposedly born and raised in the city of Tarsus, a region in SE Asia-Minor (now called Turkey) where Mithras was well known. Biblical scholars are now saying that Paul, the alleged author of 13 out of the 27 (maybe more) books of the New Testament, may have been influenced in his writings by this strong religion of Mithraism. We can see a profound kinship between Mithraism and Christianity.

In-as-much as Mithraism was so popular in Rome, it is no wonder why the pagan Emperor Constantine, who believed in the sun god, Mithras, designated a certain day of the week to him, Sunday, which means, “the day of the sun.”

The original "Christian" faith became a mix of pagan, Mithraic, Judeo/Christian teaching. This lead to the confusing mix of theology that we have today within the "Christian" community. This apostasy from the original simple and plain teachings of Christ was accelerated by the persecutions and killings of any who tried to support the "old" ways. Maybe this solves the mystery of the “ungodly” marriage between Mithraism and the cult of Jesus. As it turns out, it was all for political convenience! But, Christians think they are better than that today. In short: The "Christianity" they have today has almost no relationship, in doctrine or in way of life, to the "the original teachings of Jesus."

In my mind, there are two Jesus' teachings. Jesus the Jew and Jesus the Gentile, which by the way is really Paul's Jesus. And guess which one Christians follow? The ex-pagan Constantine liked Paul's Jesus over Jesus the Jew. Jesus and all the others upon whom this character is predicated are personifications of the sun, and the Gospel fable is merely a rehash of a mythological formula revolving around the movements of the sun through the heavens.

For instance, many of the world's crucified "god-men" have their traditional birthday on December 25. This is because the ancients recognized that (from an earth-centric perspective) the sun makes an annual descent southward until December 21 or 22, the winter solstice, when it stops moving southerly for three days and then starts to move northward again.

During this time, the ancients declared that "God's sun" had "died" for three days and was "born again" on December 25. The ancients realized quite abundantly that they needed the sun to return every day and that they would be in big trouble if the sun continued to move southward and did not stop and reverse its direction. Thus, these many different cultures celebrated the "sun of God's" birthday on December 25th. The following are the characteristics of the "sun" of God:

a. The sun "dies" for three days on December 22, the winter solstice, when it stops in its movement south, to be born again or resurrected on December 25, it resumes its movement north.
b. In some areas, the calendar originally began in the constellation of Virgo, and the sun would therefore be "born of a Virgin."
c. The sun is the "Light of the World."
d. The sun "cometh on clouds, and every eye shall see him."
e. The sun rising in the morning is the "Savior of mankind."
f. The sun wears a corona ("crown of thorns") or a halo.
g. The sun "walks on water."
h. The sun's "followers" or "disciples" are the 12 months and the 12 signs of the Zodiac, through which the sun must pass.
i. The sun is "crucified," which represents it's passing through the equinoxes, the vernal equinox being Easter, at which time it is then resurrected.

In addition, all over the world are sites where this "god" or that allegedly was born, walked, suffered, died, etc., a common occurrence that is not monopolized by, and did not originate with, Christianity. An early Christian Syrian writer (quoted in Credner's "De Natalitorium Christi Origine") wrote the following concerning the December 25 hoax: "The reason why the Church fathers transferred the celebration from January 6 to December 25, was that it was the custom of the pagans to celebrate on the same December 25 the birthday of the sun, at which time they lit lights in token of festivity, and in these rites and festivals the Christians also took part. Accordingly, when the doctors of the Church perceived that the Christians had a liking for this festival, they resolved that the true nativity should be commemorated on that day."

When the Christ myth was new Mithras and Mithraism were already ancient. Worshiped for centuries as God's Messenger of Truth, Mithras was long revered by the Persians and the Indians (Zoroastrianism) before his faith found it's way to Rome where His mysteries flourished in the second century AD. Every year in Rome, in the middle of winter, the Son of God was born once more, putting an end to darkness. Every year at the first minute of December 25th the temple of Mithras was lit with candles, priests in white garments celebrated the birth of the Son of God and boys burned incense. Mithras was born in a cave, on December 25th, of a virgin mother. He came from heaven to be born as a man, to redeem men from their sin. He was know as "Savior," "Son of God," "Redeemer," and "Lamb of God." With twelve disciples he traveled far and wide as a teacher and illuminator of men. He was buried in a tomb from which he rose again from the dead -- an event celebrated yearly with much rejoicing. His followers kept the Sabbath holy, holding sacramental feasts in remembrance of Him. The sacred meal of bread and water, or bread and wine, was symbolic of the body and blood of the sacred bull.

Baptism in the blood of the bull (taurobolum) – early Baptism "washed in the blood of the Lamb" – late Baptism by water [recorded by the Christian author Tertullian Mithraic rituals brought about the transformation and Salvation of His adherents --an ascent of the soul of the adherent into the realm of the divine.

Yes, the ex-pagan Constantine and Paul were quit aware of all of this and it was that much easier to bring the pagan Gentile people into this new religion called Christianity. Contrary to popular belief, the ancients were not an ignorant and superstitious lot who actually believed their deities to be literal characters. This has been part of the conspiracy to make the ancients appear as if they were truly the dark and dumb rabble that was in need of the "light of Jesus." The reality is that the ancients were no less advanced in their morals and spiritual practices, and in many cases were far more advanced, than the Christians in their own morality, which in its very attempt at historicity, is in actuality a degradation of the ancient myths."

In addition, all over the world are sites where this "god" or that allegedly was born, walked, suffered, died, etc., a common occurrence that is not monopolized by, and did not originate with, Christianity. At the time of Jesus of Nazareth, as for centuries before, the Mediterranean world roiled with a happy diversity of creeds and rituals. Details varied according to location and culture, but the general outlines of these faiths were astonishingly similar. Simply put, the ancients' gods:

a. Were born on or very near our Christmas Day
b. Were born of a Virgin-Mother
c. Were born in a Cave or Underground Chamber.
d. Led a life of toil for Mankind.
e. Were called by the names of Light-bringer, Healer, Mediator, Savior, Deliverer.
f. Were however vanquished by the Powers of Darkness.
g. And descended into Hell or the Underworld.
h. Rose again from the dead, and became the pioneers of mankind to the Heavenly world.
i. Founded Communions of Saints, and Churches into which disciples were received by Baptism.
j. Were commemorated by Eucharistic meals.

Many professors of modern and past times cannot help but conclude that Jesus is based on pagan deities of old. Among these scholars number individuals such as Porphry (3rd Century), Max Muller, Ernest de Bunsen, Joseph Wheless, Albert Churchward (all of the 19th Century), and T.W. Doane (20th Century). Even Pope Leo X, privy to the truth because of his high rank, made this curious declaration, "It was well known how profitable this fable of Christ has been to us" ("The Diegesis" by Rev. Robert Taylor, footnote, p. 35).

Going back even to Sumeria, 2,000 or so years BEFORE Greece, in the legend of Gilgamesh, and showed up in many pagan mythoes; a god dying to cleanse peoples' sins shows up in Persian myths (as well as in Buddhism and Hinduism); and on and on.

But the STORIES of Jesus and many of the teachings are exactly the same as the stories told in Hinduism and Buddhism. There are scholars who are saying there is not a single original thought in Christianity. These scholars are now saying there are FEW things taken from Tanakh. Predominantly, the teachings and myths of Christianity are Buddhist and Hindu.

To conclude, in light of the tremendous volume of evidence that is there for anyone interesting in taking the time to read it, the underlying question of whether or not Christianity is simply the heir of pagan beliefs prevalent at the time of its development, is not a question that can simply be ignored by any Christian when pondering the origins of his/her faith.

References were taken from:

The World Book Encyclopedia; Library of the World’s Myths and Legends (Persian Mythology); Stories of the Bible on TV – Historians; J.M.Robertson, T.W.Doane, F.Cument, J.G.Frazer; The Origins of the Mithraic Mysteries by David Ulansey

26.17.3.3 Account 3

The history of sun worship, so seemingly foreign to the Western mind has, in fact, manifested itself into Christianity in many ways as the story of Jesus in the Gospels. So little was known about the life of Jesus, any and all writing styles from Midrash (searching past scriptures for “hints” of how they might apply to the present) to discerning the story of the Zodiac and its constellations were used to fill in what was clearly missing in the literal record.[2861]

Consider our "modern" terms, Horizon and Sun Set. These terms belie their ancient history. Horus-sun (Horizon) was sunrise as Horus was the Egyptian god of light and the day light portion of the 24-hour cycle. Set, was the god of darkness and night. He came on the scene at "Sun Set" and is the Jackal headed god of the Egyptian underworld. When we say “what a beautiful Sun Set,” we don't realize we are speaking as one might in ancient Egypt. Darkness was the time of Set, god of darkness. Nighttime was not a good time in most ancient mythologies. This is why many a priest stood every morning acting as if by incantation and arm waving, he could bring back the Sun/Son from the Underworld of darkness and fear. The sun descending into hell is something it did every Sun-Set. There was relief every morning when the sun/son was reborn.

Set murdered Osiris and in turn, Horus, son of Osiris, killed Set. Sunrise on the Horus-Sun defeats the night which began at Sun Set. Pretty cool huh? Jesus struggles with Satan (Set or Sata) in just the same way Horus battles with Set. It's all dualism. It's Light and Dark, good and evil, God and Satan.

“Set kills Osiris and scatters his body, then claims the throne of the gods for his own. He is later struck down by Horus, the son of Osiris, who restores order to the world and sets up the pharaohs as the guardians of Maat. Set and Horus continue to battle for control of the world, setting up an epic conflict of good versus evil.” (Light and Dark) David C. Scott Website. Gods and Mythology of Egypt.

Consider the fact that Jesus is surrounded by 12 disciples and the events of Jesus life are like the Sun of God surrounded by the 12 signs of the Zodiac that make up the way of the sun across the heavens in one year. Just as the 12 sons of Jacob and the 12 tribes of Israel are astro-theology personified and are in fact references to the zodiac and the story it tells. We might not watch the heavens anymore, and we know precious little about the zodiac, the characters and the revolving story they tell, but our ancestors read the heavens as we read books today.

For instance, many of the world’s crucified god men have their traditional birthday on December 25th (“Christmas”). This was a basic understanding we had in World Community Grid (WCG) and was not off the mark. Today, there is many times more material to show this connection.

This is because the ancients recognized that (from an earth centric perspective) the sun makes an annual descent southward until December 21st or 22nd, the winter solstice, when it stops moving southerly for three days and then starts to move northward again. During this time, the ancients declared that “God’s sun” had “died” for three days and was “born again” on December 25th. So Xmas really is the Birthday of the SUN/SON in every way.

The ancients realized quite abundantly that they needed the sun to return every day and that they would be in big trouble if the sun continued to move southward and did not stop and reverse its direction. Thus, these many different cultures celebrated the “sun of God's” birthday on December 25th.

In reality, the sun “dies” for three days on December 22nd, the winter solstice, when it stops in its movement south, to be born again or resurrected on December 25th, when it resumes its movement north. For those three days it might be said the Sun is in the grave.

In December, the Virgin, the constellation Virgo precedes sunrise and thus, “Behold, a Virgin shall bring forth the sun/son,” would be part of the story in the heavens. Matthew literalized the story in his reaching back into Isaiah for a story about a young woman that had virtually nothing to with prophecy of a literal virgin birth or Jesus himself.

Remember the alternative explanation of Isaiah 14 and “how thou art fallen, oh Lucifer, (light Bringer-Venus precedes sunrise), thou bright and morning star,” (Venus). Remember how Venus appears to rise and then descends back into the earth and how this IS the origin of the story of Satan's fall for trying to ascend to God's Throne, which is astro-theologically NOON. Everyone sees “Satan fall as lightening from heaven” at one time or another during the year if you know what Venus looks like just before Sun rise on the Horus-sun, or even shortly after Sun-Set.

Something that bright got humanity's attention and the stories of its apparent motion followed and then were literalized by the theologically ignorant. Venus always was and always will be a planet on the inside orbit between earth and the sun. It behaves as it does because it is as it is. Whole theologies have grown up around that which could not then be explained but now can be easily explained. Once you have the true explanation, you can drop the false one.

The Jesus story in the gospels may also be the story of the Sun/Son of God.

The sun is the “Light of the World.” Just as Jesus.
The sun “cometh on clouds, and every eye shall see him.” Just as Jesus.
The sun rising in the morning is the “Savior of mankind.” Just as Jesus.
The sun wears a corona, "crown of thorns" or halo. Just as Jesus.
The sun "walks on water." Just as Jesus.
The sun can turn water (rain) into wine (grapes) Just as Jesus.
The sun's "followers," "helpers" or "disciples" are the 12 months and the 12 signs of the zodiac or constellations, through which the sun must pass. Just as Jesus.
The sun at 12 noon is in the house or temple of the "Most High"; thus, "he" begins "his Father's work" at "age" 12. Just as Jesus.
The sun enters into each sign of the zodiac at 30°; (30x12=360 degrees) hence, the "Sun of God" begins his ministry at "age" 30. Just as Jesus.
The sun is hung on a cross or "crucified," which represents it’s passing through the equinoxes, the vernal equinox being Easter, at which time it is then resurrected. Just as Jesus.
(Archarya S.-- Suns of God/The Christ Conspiracy)

The equinoxes are 90-degree positions in the year that is the angle formed by the cross.

Consider the following.

The rejection of Cain's grain offering (Agricultural Goddess and fertility recognition of the religions surrounding Israel) and the acceptance of Abel's (roasted meat) offering was a symbol of the change to come in Israel from Matriarchy and female based religion, to Patriarchy, Priesthood and cultic temple worship and sacrifices. The story is not true, the message was clear! Women are now property and men own them, no matter what the "pagan" nations around practice or respect in the mysteries of the feminine and fertility. (sex if you must know!)

Little has changed in the Christian Patriarchy since which is why for years I allowed myself to say the words, "who gives this woman..." in marriage ceremonies. I stopped including that in the wedding ceremony at the end. The Father always formally transferred his property to the qualified and selected male and I had to be the priest in the middle negotiating the transaction! Men have had way too much time to screw up the planet and it's time perhaps to let the feminine spirit restore the right side of the brain in humans! Its time to act as the one we really all are in spite of that which divides us.

The physical sun has always fascinated human beings. It “rises” in the east to bring its warmth, light, and “sets” in the West, plunging the world into darkness with all the associated insecurities and dangers. It was truly a miracle and a most welcomed relief when every morning, the Sun rose from the land of the dead to bring it's light and protection for yet another day. It's cycles and apparent motion through the constellations has told the story of mankind for thousands of years, with all our hopes and fears. The physical Sun has been much of the inspiration of the spiritual son mythologies.

We're all still sun/son worshippers at heart.

26.18 Neoplatonism

Neoplatonism believes in the One Good, transcending being and thought, and unknowable. This bears some similarity to the kabbalistic idea of the Ayn Sof. G-d says in the Torah, “I am that I am.” which is a source of Ayn Sof – ‘Without End’. Still Judaism emphasizes that G-d is knowable as well. Knowing G-d is to know all his names.

Neoplatonism also believes in concentric spheres circling each other from the abstract sublime closest to the unknowable Good with the crude physical world in the center closest to us.[2862] The material world that is farthest from the Good is the source of evil.

The Neoplatonic One or Good is a transcendent, infinite, productive goodness, and freedom attainable through mystical experience. The One distributes Love – Eros to all souls; this love in turn leads each soul back with intellectual and moral effort on the part of these souls toward mystical union with the One. In the Enneads, Plotinus presents a ordered structure of living reality eternally proceeding from the One and descending in continuous stages from the Nous or Divine Intellect with its living forms, through the soul, with its different levels of experience and activity to the last and lowest realities, the forms of the bodies. This resembles the fives souls of man defined in Judaism as Yechidah, Chaya, Neshama, Ruach, and Nefesh where Nefesh is the body. Emanations from G-d in Neoplatonism include the 365 aeons. Whether the sefirot manifest by emanation varies in kabbalistic texts.[2863]

Text 26-81: Moshe Idel’s Sefirotic Ideas
Sefer ha-Bahir presents a mythically oriented picture of the Sefirotic pleroma, whereas R. Isaac the Blind gives a much more complex theory of the emergence of the Sefirot from the depths of divinity, betraying a deep speculative tendency probably influenced by Neoplatonic thought.

Other ideas include asceticism, contemplation, and the monastic life. Knowledge of the One in light and darkness is possible. The One strives to see its reflection in the ascendant human. The One is beyond all description and is unknowable. Origen was one of the early Neoplatonists and lived Caesaria, Israel.

26.19 Pythagoreanism

Pythagoras lived around 580 BCE in the area of Samos, Ionia. He believed the truth of the human is an occult self: the soul or psyche. This was an opposing force to the physical self. Concomitant to this notion of a separate and distinct soul was a belief in transmigration, reincarnation, and the kinship of all things. As the true self was finally independent of its specific embodiment, it self-persisted, until purified, through successive incarnations. The Soul if freed from physicality was capable of immortality in the realm of the divine. These ideas are traceable to Northern and Indo-Iranian cultures as well. Principles include harmony of the spheres, limit (peras) and the unlimited (apeiron), number and ratio, the platonic number. Self exists beyond the empirical personality. Freedom is gained in a realm apart from a this, worldly existence, that the route of salvation was away from life and involved a process of disentanglement from the world’s historical conditions. The “more” to life is not more in this world, but liberation, to a life in another world.

Judaism parallels many of the ideas, but there is greater emphasis on the importance of life in this world. The Jewish idea of ‘gilgalim’ resembles transmigration for the purpose of additional purification in each lifetime, until one is able to attach to the divine.

Pythagorean magic involved bringing the spirit of God down into an idol, which the magician would use for divination. He held great significance to the number four, the size of the bottom row of the tetraktys, the sacred decad, which resembled ten bowling pins. The tetraktys, the perfect triangle, consisted of rows with size 1+2+3+4 = 10. He believed in the cosmos, the beauty of order, developed a doctrine of opposites, a belief in keeping to secrecy, and the harmony of the spheres. Pythagoras taught by pregnant, cryptic akousmata ("something heard") or symbola. These became sacred discourses passed on in from the 4th century. During his lifetime, a symbol of three yods in a triangle symbolized the tetraktys.[2864]

Figure 26-6: Tetraktys - the “sacred decad”
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The Pythagoreans believed in a specific meaning to each of the first ten principle numbers. Numerology holds a similar position though with different meanings and up to the number one hundred. Jewish kabbalah does not pursue this. The sefirot in Jewish kabbalah are the source of the ten numerals as opposed to being the ten numerals.[2865] Here is an example of these associations:[2866]

For the Pythagoreans even abstracted things "have" their number: "justice" is associated with the number four and with a square, "marriage" with the number five, and so on.

Aristotle followed up on the Pythagorean idea and describes the associations.[2867] Though they have some similarity with the Tarot they differ from Jewish kabbalah in most cases and apply only to the first ten numerals, which held a source status to the Pythagoreans. While in Jewish kabbalah the ten sefirot are in three columns, the Pythagoreans with the doctrine of opposites saw them five opposite five or in two columns. Jewish kabbalah sees each sefira in the central column leaning towards one side or the other.[2868]

In summary, Pythagoreanism included ideas of:[2869]

Text 26-82: Principles of Pythagoreanism
(1) the metaphysic of number and the conception that reality, including music and astronomy, is, at its deepest level, mathematical in nature; (2) the use of philosophy as a means of spiritual purification; (3) the heavenly destiny of the soul and the possibility of its rising to union with the divine; (4) the appeal to certain symbols, sometimes mystical, such as the tetraktys, the golden section, and the harmony of the spheres (to be discussed below); (5) the Pythagorean theorem; and (6) the demand that members of the order shall observe a strict loyalty and secrecy.

Pythagoreanism continued to evolve after the death of Pythagoras.[2870]

After 350 BC the Academics of the next generation continued "Pythagorizing" Platonic doctrines, such as that of the supreme One, the indefinite dyad (a metaphysical principle), and the tripartite soul.

The indefinite dyad is the principle of opposites that define each other.

26.20 Sumerian

Enki (en - lord ki - earth) who became Akkadian Ea had the sacred number 40. He is called the lord of the abyss being the oceans on the earth. Not coincidentally, the Noah flood story lasts 40 days. Ki is life force in Asian Tao, probably connecting to Sumerian ancestry.[2871]

The flood story is known throughout the world even in S. America suggesting it was brought across the Bering Strait migration 12,000 years ago. William F. Albright discusses this to show that religious concepts date back long before civilization. Now the Gilgamesh is not the only early flood story.

Enki parallels many of the qualities of Aquarius, depicted with streams of water at each of his arms, and a nurturing, compassionate quality.[2872]

Figure 26-7: Colored Enki

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Text 26-83: Encyclopedia Judaica: Sumer Sumerians
There are a number of biblical (Hebrew) words that go back in all probability to Sumerian origin: anak (Sumerian naga), "tin"; eden (edin), "Eden"; gan (gan), "garden"; hekhal (egal), "palace"; hiddeqel (idiglat), "Tigris"; hikkar (engar), "farmer"; kisse (guza), "chair"; malah (malaO), "sailor"; perat (buranum), "Euphrates"; shir (sir), "song"; tammuz (dumuzi), "Tammuz"; tel (dul), "mound"; tifsar (dubsar), "scribe"; tomer (nimbar), "palm-tree." Far more significant are the literary motifs, themes, patterns, and ideas that go back to Sumerian prototypes: the existence of a primeval sea; the separation of heaven and earth; the creation of man from clay imbued with the breath of life; the creative power of the divine word; several "paradise" motifs; the Flood story; the Cain-Abel rivalry; the Tower of Babel and confusion of tongues; the notion of a personal, family god; divine retribution and national catastrophe; plagues as divine punishment; the "Job" motif of suffering and submission; the nature of death and the netherworld dreams as foretokens of the building of temples. Not a few of the biblical laws go back to Sumerian origins and in such books as Psalms, Proverbs, Lamentations, and the Song of Songs there are echoes of the corresponding Sumerian literary genres. Sumerian influence on the Hebrews came indirectly through the Canaanites, Assyrians, and Babylonians, although to judge from the Abraham story and the often suggested Babiru-Hebrew equation, the distant forefathers of the biblical Hebrews may have had some direct contact with the Sumerians. The Biblical word for Sumer is generally assumed to be Shinar (Heb. rAnQ; Gen. 10:10). It has also been suggested that Shinar represents the cuneiform 2um(er)-ur(i), i.e., Sumer and Akkad, and that the biblical equivalent of Sumer is Shem (from cuneiform 2um(er)); hence the anshe ha-shem of the days of yore in Genesis 6:4.
[Samuel Noah Kramer][2873]

The Sumerian languages suggests a connection with the Altaic languages having a subject-object-verb structure.[2874]

26.21 Zoroastrianism

Zoroastrianism believes in praying to one god while accepting a pantheon of gods. The Three Magi or Wise Men in Christianity were Zoroastrians since this religion calls their disciples magi. The name of the main god is Ahura Mazda who is creator of heaven and earth, light and darkness, day and night. The fallen deities or daivas are demons. They are the progeny of bad thought, untruth, or pride. This is similar to a Jewish idea that desires manifest angels. The fallen angel idea, prominent in Christianity with traces in Judaism is similar. The world is created in six stages:
  1. Sky made of rock crystal
  2. Water
  3. Earth
  4. Vegetation
  5. Animal life
  6. Humanity

A great mountain range surrounds the land linked to a central mountain, Mount Hara, located at the center of the earth. This is similar to the Jewish idea that Mount Mariah, the Temple Mount, is the center of our world with all minerals flowing to the rest of the world from this source. The Jewish development of an elaborate hierarchy of angels parallels the Babylonian exile (sixth century BCE) and ideas of Zoroastrianism.[2875]

The Zoroastrian myth of the cosmic battle between Ahura Mazda and Angra Mainyu with their armies of angels and devils influenced the angelology and demonology of the Apocrypha, Essene scriptures, and New Testament, which in turn influenced later Jewish, Christian, and Islamic thought. During this age the “Lord of Hosts” and warrior angels fight against the forces of evil led by Satan who assumes characteristics of the archfiend, Angra Mainyu. Zoroastrianism had concepts of life after death on earth, in heaven, and in hell. The role of angels is to praise and serve God, reveal divine truth, act as extensions of God’s will, rewarding the good, punishing the wicked, and conducting the souls of the righteous to heaven. In Tobit, Raphael a guardian angel has some similarity with Zoroastrian Fravashis—guardian angels or ancestral spirits who act as guards or guides of souls to heaven and assistants to Ahura Mazda in the creation of the world and defenders of heaven. Parallel Zoroastrian archangels also found in Hebrew writings include:

  1. Michael (like God) the warrior leader of the heavenly host from the Bible.
  2. Gabriel (man of God) the heavenly messenger from Daniel 8:16.
  3. Raphael (God has healed) from the Apocrapha.
  4. Uriel (God is my light) from 2 Esdras.

Later battles between hosts of angels originate in Gnostic thought.

[2620] Jerusalem Blessed, Jerusalem Cursed Jews, Christians, and Mulims in the Holy City from David’s Time to Our Own, Thomas A. Idinopulos, Chicago Press, p.137
[2621] Encyclopedia Britannica
[2622] http://www.cartage.org.lb/en/themes/geoghist/histories/oldcivilization/phoenicia/origin/literature/litphoen/baal.html
[2623] Worshipped at Thebes
[2624] Encyclopedia Britannica
[2625] See 9.5.1 Amen
[2626] Israel’s Sacred Songs, Harvey H. Guthrie, p.89.
[2627] Based on a dream where inside a gothic stone structured house with a stone arched roof, I encountered various gargoyle/golem beings. The third a large broad-like man, I dismissed by recalling Shemesh and its last two letters reversed, שם, reciting the formula, “By the Name of G-d, I dismiss you forever.”
[2628] See 7.19
[2629] Encyclopedia Britannica
[2630] See 4.6 Nachmanides p.315
[2631] See Figure 17-5: The Kabbalistic Tree in Two Systems p.315. Yesod representing Patzuf Ben is in the 8th position, while Malchut is in the 7th above.
[2632] See 31.10.1.1 or 31.10.2 on p.315
[2633] Mary was from the town of Migdal (tower), hence her surname, Magdalane. Migdal was located along the NE hills of the Sea of Galilee.
[2634] See 26.6.2
[2635] Note, Tamar the daughter-in-law and wife of Judah would also have children in this category, who nevertheless represent the root lineage of Judah and messianic kings.
[2636] The balanced cross is an old symbol of balance between male and female and fire, earth, air, and water.
[2637] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rider-Waite_tarot_deck
[2638] Da Vinci’s Last Supper magnified at http://www.itison.net/blog/?xnZt_OpX
[2639] See 26.17.3.1
[2640] This has not always been the case as anti-Semitism flourished under Luther and Calvin. http://www.outreachjudaism.org/reformers.html
[2641] The suffering and death of a deity
[2642] See 26.6.14 p. 315 and Text 2-210: Isaiah 53:1-12 p. 194
[2643] See 26.6.21, p. 315 prepares deity sacrificial ideas.
[2644] http://www.outreachjudaism.org/. Hezekiah said there was no one so righteous as David. In this manner a Jew understands that repentance is complete before G-d and there is no remembrance of sin. Hence if a Jew is asked if he is righteous, he should say yes, as his repentance atones for his sins.
[2645] See 26.6.6.
[2646] See 15.12.2 Seven Nations and 31.1.11
[2647] See 26.5 Symbolism in Da Vinci’s Last Supper magnified at http://www.itison.net/blog/?xnZt_OpX
[2648] NIV translation http://www.biblestudytools.com/OnlineStudyBible/bible.cgi?word=Acts+7&section=0&version=niv&new=1&oq=&NavBook=ac&NavPreviousChapter=%3C%3C&NavGo=7&NavCurrentChapter=7
[2649] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacob_Emden and http://www.auburn.edu/~allenkc/falk1a.html
[2650] See 2.1.2 and 31.20 R. Yakov Emden
[2651] See “The Meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls” A. Powell Davies, p.128.
[2652] See Text 24-9: Shamai and Hillel later divisions for a similar transition to leniency.
[2653] http://www.jewishpassion.com/documents/pt_leviticus_17_11.html
[2654] Literally, ate them like an offering.
[2655] http://wiki.verkata.com/en/wiki/Shemini
[2656] http://cornerstonepublications.org/Philo/Philo_On_Dreams_that_they_are_God_Sent.html
[2657] Jesus may also have been aware that Deuteronomy was a scribal addition to the bible as it seems Jeremiah knew from Jer. 8:8, see Jeremiah 8:8 in 2.11.
[2658] http://www.mystae.com/restricted/reflections/messiah/xenochian.html
[2659] See Text 26-17: Dead Sea Scrolls 4Q159
[2660] Martinez, Florentino Garcia(Editor). Dead Sea Scrolls. Leiden, NLD: Brill, N.H.E.J., N.V. Koninklijke, Boekhandel en Drukkerij, 2000. p 311. http://site.ebrary.com/lib/utah/Doc?id=10089157&ppg=336 Copyright © 2000. Brill, N.H.E.J., N.V. Koninklijke, Boekhandel en Drukkerij. All rights reserved.
[2661] http://www.tagnet.org/adventist.fm/articles/divorce.htm
[2662] See http://www.ebionite.org/
[2663] Because he has become bittul – nullified, one can hear His Will.
[2664] See Text 11-1: Sanhedrin 98b on the Names of Moshiach
[2665] Peahs are long side burns or ear-locks. This alludes the righteousness of the person.
[2666] Nevertheless, the ability to praise Israel and deride Israel has been extended to angels.
[2667] The authority to forgive sin is not transferred to angels either.
[2668] See Christianity, the 5th sect of Judaism in Text 10-27: The Personification of Evil
[2669] Old Testament Light, Lamsa, page 175. The phrase “died for the sins” distorts the payment idea of CaPaRaH.
[2670] http://www.wordwiz72.com/atone.html
[2671] Methodist view. http://www.veronaumc.org/sermons/Scapegoat.htm
[2672] Mormon view. King of Kings, Bruce Porter, http://deseretbook.com/mormon-life/study/one-article?article_id=347&page=2
[2673] The Atonement Infinite in Depth, Tad R. Callister, http://deseretbook.com/mormon-life/study/one-article?article_id=1375
[2674] Peggy Shadel
[2675] Text 2-210: Isaiah 53:1-
[2676] http://www.menorah.org/tsmbj13.html. This site illustrates authentic Jewish Christian messianic ideas with Christianity as the 5th sect of Judaism. These will not include scapegoat, human sacrifice atonement, which is a very literal-non-Jewish idea.
[2677] Email discussion source
[2678] When G-d is creator of the world, nourishing us when we are along, or encouraging our study of Torah. Ultimately G-d’s name is Binah, understanding, when She is our Wife.
[2679] English salvation is from sin. Hebrew salvation is to be rescued from persecution.
[2680] Nofel means to fall and has a minor value of 16. Also the falling tower in tarot or numerology is 16.
[2681] The serpent – 358 plus one transformation equals adversary – 359.
[2682] The pole is not to be confused with the Staff of Moses, which is a branch from the Tree of Life.
[2683] Genesis 3:24
[2684] This is an LDS concept reflecting the Mormon tabernacle choir in heaven.
[2685] Nasei as in Isaiah 53 meaning to lift and remove.
[2686] This technique is a form of astral projection for a heavenly being. In this manner it leaves its plane of existence while still attached with a silvery cord to its essence. The hand of the visionary becomes this cord.
[2687] This is HaMakhtesh HaGadol in the Negev southeast of Beer Sheva.
[2688] In a metaphorical way, i.e. no virgin birth
[2689] 12/23/2001
[2690] http://www.basictheology.com/forums/PrintPost.aspx?PostID=457
[2691] From The Stone Age to Christianity, William Foxwell Albright, Second Edition, Doubleday Anchor Books, 1957, pp.378-380: “There are a number of points, into which we shall not enter here, which make it very probable that Atrakhasis, the recurrent Mesopotamian savior of mankind from catastrophe, son of the god Ea, yet explicitly called ‘man,’ was actually fused in Jewish-Aramaic tradition with the figure of the Messiah, as reconstructed from messianic prophecies in the Old Testament.”
[2692] “Bones of Contention”, Sara Leibovich-Dar, Haaretz Daily, November 8, 2002
[2693] Talmud Avodah Zarah 16b-17a
[2694] See 13.10 Shechinah p.315 where one is supposed to pray on he behalf that is the community.
[2695] Hitler’s Pope, John Cornwell
[2696] Copyright Vanity Fair, 1999 Reprinted for educational and non-commercial purposes only
[2697] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seven_deadly_sins#Catholic_seven_virtues
[2698] http://www.pantheon.org/articles/a/adam_kadmon.html
[2699] http://www.christ-centeredkabbalah.org/K-Tran/GateOfReincarnations5703.htm
[2700] The World of the Bible, Roberta Harris, p.151
[2701] Ibid, p.152
[2702] “All have the inscription Ptolemaiou (left) and either Basileos (king) or Soteros (savior) on the right.” The Biblical Archaeologist, O. R. Sellers,Vol. 25, No. 3 (Sep., 1962), pp. 87-96
[2703] Asimov’s Guide to the Bible, The New Testament, Isaac Asimov, p.119
[2704] See 31.17 The Midrash of Shemhazai and Aza'el
[2705] Wilcox lecture, 12/02/2003
[2706] Within the context of C.S. Lewis
[2707] Early Christianity does not believe in incarnation or trinity.
[2708] See Isaiah 53:1-
[2709] Moses our teacher
[2710] Midrash Tanhuma, Va-yakhel 7 quoted in An Introduction to Kabbalah, p.198
[2711] Ibid, p.198
[2712] Space, Time and Incarnation, Thomas Forsyth Torrance
[2713] Legends of the Jews, Louis Ginzberg, vol.3, ch.51
[2714] See 26.6.15.4
[2715] See 31.1.9.3
[2716] See 31.1.10
[2717] http://www.gotquestions.org/seven-sayings-Christ.html
[2718] See 5.4.3 and also see 31.1.9.3.
[2719] Derech Hashem, Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto, translation by Aryeh Kaplan Feldheim Publishers, Jerusalem, 1977, pp 123-125. “Written in the early eighteenth century, Derech Hashem is a "classic" in Torah literature and is used in Orthodox Yeshivas throughout the world.” http://www.yashanet.com/studies/revstudy/text/r14_1a.htm
[2720] See 17.7 Transposed Tree of Life
[2721] Your God is Too Small, J.B. Phillips, p.98
[2722] See Text 7-6: Guard One’s Tongue to Guard All Life
[2723] The Book of Legends, Sefer Ha-aggadah, ed. Hayim Nahman Bialik and Yehoushua Hana Ravnitzky, R. Eliezer ben Hyrcanus, 99, p.224
[2724] Within a Sukkah on Shemini Etzeret – Eighth Closing Day, an extra holiday, before we return to the mundane world.
[2725] Spite.
[2726] Text 2-74: Hosea 698
[2727] See 19.4 Resurrection, p.315
[2728] The Mysterious dying God, About.com, Alternative Religions, http://altreligion.about.com/library/weekly/aa052902a.htm
[2729] Sol Invictus or Dies Natalis Solis Invicti – “the birthday of the unconquered sun.”
[2730] http://www.sacred-texts.com/evil/hod/hod05.htm
[2731] sic, The Veneration of Divine Justice, The Dead Sea Scrolls and Christianity, Roy A. Rosenberg, 1995, p.29
[2732] van der Toorn, K. et al., Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1996, entry Zedeq, p.930 and Dictionary of ancient deities By Patricia Turner, Charles Russell Coulter: http://books.google.com/books?id=jEcpkWjYOZQC&printsec=frontcover
[2733] Canaanite
[2734] Sometimes a daughter, alluding to tzedakah
[2735] http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/judaica/ejud_0002_0002_0_01531.html
[2736] The Sharei Orah associates tzedek with malchut and rainfall, while tzadik with yesod and righteousness. The Bahir associates it with the Shechinah, the Divine presence. Tzadik associates with Gevurah and judgment. Yesod and Malchut are unified in the ideas of tzedek and tzedakah.
[2737] See 17.3 Bahir Sefirot Arrangement p.315 Also See Bahir 120 in 31.10.1.3 and Isaiah 45:8 is explained in 2.24 Malachi
[2738] http://bulfinch.englishatheist.org/da/Synoptical-Table.htm

1.[2] 2739 31.22

Origines Judaicae William Frederick Cobb out of copyright on Google books: http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&ct=res&cd=3&url=http%3A%2F%2Fbooks.google.com%2Fbooks%3Fid%3DVOyfAAAAMAAJ%26pg%3DPA36%26lpg%3DPA36%26dq%3Dmenotheism%26source%3Dbl%26ots%3Dqeh6ZOF4gr%26sig%3Dp4fPQJtwQtEP8nbsK8iMdtCKIRs%26hl%3Den%26ei%3Dw-iOSrDJK8mptge6-ejOBA%26sa%3DX%26oi%3Dbook_result%26ct%3Dresult%26resnum%3D3&ei=w-iOSrDJK8mptge6-ejOBA&usg=AFQjCNGGNELDnKimgk_5oC0EzM4Vk1-XFg
[2740] See Text 26-39: Mercury
[2741] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marduk, http://www.coldwater.k12.mi.us/lms/planetarium/myth/Draco.html
[2742] Better, son of the Sun.
[2743] Alternatively, Çüdüq is Jupiter in its straight slow course seen at the same hour traveling across the nightly sky.
[2744] Hittites
[2745] On the Babylonian temple “The storied tower of Birs Nimrud counts seven of these quadrangular platforms painted in seven colors, black, white, yellow, blue, scarlet, silver, and gold, and in the same order sacred to the stellar gods, Adar (Saturn), Ishtar (Venus), Merodach (Jupiter), Nebo (Mercury), Nergal (Mars), Sin (the Moon), Shamash (the Sun).” New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/02177b.htm
[2746] See 26.9.1 Sunrise p. 315 concerning misor.
[2747] Psalm 85:14, See Footnote 200
[2748] From the Sumerians, but he was son of a solar deity there.
[2749] See Text 26-35: Pre-Christian Resurrected Gods p.315
[2750] http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Shamash#Shamash_in_Canaanite_and_Hebrew_tradition; See Text 2-260 p.224
[2751] The exaltation of Shem is Melchizedek. Tradition holds he was born circumcised. Hanoch became Metatron. Elijah became Sandalfon. Nevertheless etymologically, Seth is Set – Sutech and Çüdüq. See 26.4.
[2752] http://books.google.com/books?id=YTMqAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q=&f=false The beginnings of history according to the Bible and the traditions of Oriental Peoples From the Creation of Man to the Deluge, By François Lenormant, Professor of Archaeology at the National Library of France, p.260, 1882
[2753] Its Sumerian not Akkadian and means “calf of the Sun”.
[2754] Coincides with the astrological sign of the scales and l’havdil the judgement holiday of Rosh Hashanah.
[2755] The Meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls, A. Powell Davies, p.65.
[2756] After the rabbinical Babylonian traditions.
[2757] See Text 2-230: Jeremiah on Everyone Helping Each Other to ‘Know the Lord’ Jeremiah 31:31
[2758] See 2.8.3 King David and Avishalom p.155
[2759] http://avalon100.tripod.com/Mercury.html
[2760] Ea is Akkadian while Enki from the Sumerian - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enki
[2761] See Text 26-37: p.315. Also see http://www.crystalinks.com/sumergods1a.html. UTU (sun) was the son of moon god Nanna and goddess Ningal. UTU was the god of the sun and justice. He rises in “the mountains of the east” and sets in the “mountains of the west”. He carried a pruning saw to cut through the mountain from which he arose at dawn. The Sumerian spelling AMAR.UTU means “calf of the sun”. Finally, UTU is Shamash (sun) in Akkadian. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utu
[2762] http://www.askwhy.co.uk/judaism/0235Marduk.php
[2763] http://users.cwnet.com/millenia/clan.htm
[2764] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cradle_of_Civilization
[2765] http://www.asknoah.org/HTML/descendants_of_noah.html Rashi’s comment on Genesis 12:6, “and the Canaanites were then in the land: He [the Canaanite] was gradually conquering the Land of Israel from the descendants of Shem, for it fell in Shem’s share when Noah apportioned the land to his sons, as it is said (below 14: 18):“And Malchizedek the king of Salem.” Therefore, (below verse 7): And the Lord said to Abram: To your seed will I give this land. I am destined to restore it to your children, who are of the descendants of Shem. [from Sifra, end of Kedoshim]” Nimrod being a Caananite supports this thesis.
[2766] Isaiah 49:12 mentions the Sinim who are from the Fareast.
[2767] Book of Enoch, Hugo Odeberg, pp.131-134
[2768] Text 26-75: Chagigah 15a p.315
[2769] Also see the end of 31.23 Rabad and the MT in Judaism
[2770] The Veneration of Divine Justice, The Dead Sea Scrolls and Christianity, Roy A. Rosenberg, 1995, p.21
[2771] Artifacts dated to the Rulership of King Hezekiah had these markings.
[2772] http://books.google.com/books?id=n8XblpbjPTIC, yahweh and the sun, glen taylor
[2773] http://www.lmlk.com/research/lmlk_postage.htm shows the flying scroll of the Torah which also is light.
[2774] http://ffoz.org/blogs/_misc/birkat%20hachammah%20hebrew-english.pdf
[2775] The Veneration of Divine Justice, The Dead Sea Scrolls and Christianity, Roy A. Rosenberg, 1995, p.122
[2776] 11Q13:18, Daniel 9:25, See 2.33.4 From Passover to Shavuot, the Rise of Messiah p.258
[2777] See 2.33.1 Identity of Israel in Captivity p.254. The Masorites accepted this text into the Tanach because “the son of man” is a symbol for a righteous kingdom, not a divine being, versus beastly nations as seen from verses Daniel 7:17-18. As the beasts are kingdoms so is the “Son of Man” here.
[2778] Florentino García-Martínez, The Dead Sea Scrolls Translated (The Qumran Texts in English) (2nd edition; Leiden, Netherlands: E. J. Brill and Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1996), 139-40. Transliterated Hebrew words were inserted by Paul Sumner, based on the transcription of 11QMelch by Paul J. Kobelski, Melchizedek and Melchiresha (CBS Monographs 10; Washington, D.C.: Catholic Biblical Assn., 1981), 5-6. http://site.ebrary.com/lib/utah/Doc?id=10089157 p.1206 http://www.hebrew-streams.org/works/qumran/melchizedek-dss.html
[2779] “To enable them to leave behind all burdens of iniquity” is better. Here is a leader that inspires the people to leave behind their ways of iniquity.
[2780] “from [the sufferings due] to all of their iniquities”
[2781] The word is ‘ratzon’ and means favor not “grace” as in Florentino’s translation.
[2782] Similar to Isaiah 61:2 but Melchizedek is substituted for the name of the Lord. Melchizedek is like a messianic leader here, literally the righteous king the people are waiting for. In the Tanach, Malki-Tzedek is hyphenated. http://www.inspiredbooks.com/Chapter-4.htm
[2783] Here elohim means the holy ones of G-d including Melchizedek.
[2784] Better, ‘in the midst of judges He judges’.
[2785] Also see Isaiah 63:4
[2786] Melchizedek becomes the messenger of peace who will comfort the afflicted and instruct the people.
[2787] Unlike most translators who assume the object is the first word of the next verse, which is missing in any case—I would certainly not make up the object is ‘Melchizedek’, which would be idolatry.
[2788] The Dead Sea Scrolls Study Edition, ed. Florentino Garcia Martinez and Eibert J.C. Tigchelaar, Brill Publications: Electronic version: http://site.ebrary.com/lib/utah/Doc?id=10089157 p.1209
[2789] The Messiah before Jesus The Suffering Servant of the Dead Sea Scrolls, Israel Knohl, 2000
[2790] Referring to the secular king from Rome
[2791] The Messiah before Jesus The Suffering Servant of the Dead Sea Scrolls, Israel Knohl, pp. 53-58, 2000
[2792] Babylonian Talmud – Soncino Haggigah 16B
[2793] Ibid: pp. 66-68
[2794] Dead Sea Scrolls What they really say, Hershel Shanks, Biblical Archaeology Society, 2007, p.16.
[2795] See Beth Alpha Synagogue Mosaic circa 500 AD from the Byzantine empire.
[2796] Jesus Christ, Sun of God: Ancient Cosmology and Early Christian Symbolism, David R. Fideler, Published by Quest Books, 1993, pp.41-43
[2797] Caesar Octavianus
[2798] Until this became self-evident he concealed the horoscope drawn up for him by astrologer Theogenes.
[2799] The Messiah before Jesus The Suffering Servant of the Dead Sea Scrolls, Israel Knohl, 2000, pp. 32-34
[2800] The Messiah before Jesus The Suffering Servant of the Dead Sea Scrolls, Israel Knohl, Pp. 95-96, 2000
[2801] A History of the Jewish Experience Eternal Faith, Eternal People, Leo Trepp, p.57
[2802] A History of the Jewish Experience Eternal Faith, Eternal People, Leo Trepp, pp.48-49
[2803] http://www.fsmitha.com/h1/ch17.htm
[2804] Encyclopedia Britannica
[2805] From Jewish Magic to Gnosticism, Attilo Mastrocinque, p.79 http://books.google.com/books?id=qv6rkmFNDcMC&pg=PA79&lpg=PA79&dq=lion+headed+serpent&source=bl&ots=LsVVl-EYKW&sig=78DPtO7EwLGsdQSWkiokQB1bK6g&hl=en&ei=KlG6SrjIE-Gz8QbohK2MCg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=10#v=onepage&q=lion%20headed%20serpent&f=false
[2806] http://www.themystica.com/mystica/articles/i/ialdabaoth.html: “The Sethian Gnostics called the creator of the (physical) world Ialdabaoth, a name apparently derived from mystical Judaism but which in this case indicated an inferior status. The name fitted the creator that they described, and was practically synonymous with the demiurge.”
[2807] http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=206&letter=L, http://www.ecmarsh.com/lxx-kjv/isaiah/isa_019.htm
[2808] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Lion-faced_deity.jpg from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gnosticism#Kabbalah
[2809] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lammasu
[2810] Story of Islam, the movie.
[2811] Scripps Howard News Service, Deroy Murdock, http://www.memri.org
[2812] See 26.6.25 Love and Giving p.315
[2813] Journal of the American Academy of Religion 1968 XXXVI(2):118-122; doi:10.1093/jaarel/XXXVI.2.118 http://jaar.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/pdf_extract/XXXVI/2/118. Also see 26.9.126.9.3.
[2814] That such a concept may have existed or even lent credence to the development of other religions such as Christianity, does not diminish the fact that Jews do not drink from that well. We trust in our sages to the degree that they adapt the oral Torah for modern day circumstance, not diminishing the written, but not behaving as ostriches with their heads in the ground and their rears held high in refusal to question earlier interpretations.
[2815] Psalm 85:11
[2816] Emet - Truth is also a force of G-d. It is actually the verb form of recreation, the future tense of death – אמת. The qualities of G-d are personalities and forces, not mere characteristics or attributes of the Creator.
[2817] Tzedek (masculine noun) - Jupiter - צדק is the Angel of Light. Sometimes he is Michael, sometimes Metatron; he is the presence of the messiah or tzaddik emet, the primordial man – Adam Kadmon. Hence the sefirot and reconstructed partsufim are dynamic forces of G-d in our world. Tzedek is the force of Zer Anpin.
[2818] Psalm 85:12 – like the sun shining through to the earth. Alludes to the spirit of moshiach, a spark in each of us.
[2819] Psalm 85:13 – Tzedek precedes the Lord, like a protective filter of the light of G-d. Text 26-37: ; Tzedek is the pathway to G-d. Also “proper cosmic order”, Roy A. Rosenberg, Veneration of Divine Justice. In modern terms, tzedek is translated as righteousness.
[2820] Psalm 85:14 – Tzedakah (feminine noun) is often translated as charity. However, the ancient meaning is the resulting good countenance, demeanor, from tzedek, proper behavior. The cosmic order is in harmony as tzedek places the steps in the direction for Hashem to walk upon. The ‘tzaddik decrees and G-d follows’ explains the special relationship that existed between Moshe and G-d. Also see Likutey Moharan vol. 4, p.70 fn.1 on Rabbi Nachman hiding his shining countenance and p.288 on tzedek being joyfulness.
[2821] See 26.13 and for inspiration the movie “The Note” 2007.
[2822] Leads to goodness. Also see 9.7 Star Wisdom [FIGURES]. Keeping G-d as the source of all creation in mind, one can still “wish upon a star” that resembles Kiddush Levanah – sanctification of the New Moon. Sighting a shooting star – make a wish, a custom.
[2823] Composed by Baalim. See note on Text 2-182: Numbers 24:17. The metaphors reflect Baalim’s culture.
[2824] Proper course—straight path; see 31.10.1.4 Bahir 75
[2825] See 31.10.1.431.10.1.3 Bahir 75 and commentary in Text 26-64
[2826] See Text 3-37: Sanhedrin 38b
[2827] See Text 2-125: Aryeh Kaplan commentary on Bahir 72 and 73
[2828] See Text 26-78: Haggadah on God Alone
[2829] The Hebrew Goddess, Raphael Patai, pp.72-73
[2830] Golem, Moshe Idel, p.242
[2831] Dan Marriott, 1/11/02
[2832] Ezra Taft Benson, Ensign, May 1988, p.53.
[2833] Jewish teachers must emphasize this priority to rescue the Jewish people from dwindling away.
[2834] Postponing marriage
[2835] http://chass.colostate-pueblo.edu/history/seminar/hyde/hydepaper.htm; http://www.jewishjournal.com/home/preview.php?id=14054
[2836] Consubstantial
[2837] anamnesis
[2838] http://www.bethgoyim.org
[2839] The Eucharist is the practice of deity consumption via wine that is blood and a wafer that is flesh.
[2840] Authority to forgive sin is not transferred to angel or human being, but perhaps the ability to lift sins off another ala Isaiah 53, or the Angel of the Lord may remove the appearance of iniquity ala Zechariah 3:4.
[2841] See Text 26-77: Adonai connected with Metatron
[2842] See Text 31-14: Origins of the Kabbalah, pp. 214-216 – Gershom Scholem
[2843] Metatron
[2844] See 16.4 Sin p.315
[2845] So Aher would not jump to the wrong conclusion.
[2846] http://www.umjc.org/torah-mainmenu-28/27-vayeira/57-5765-angels-in-the-outfield
[2847] There is nothing said about ‘authority’ to pardon sin. Instead, Exodus 34:9 shows that Moses calls upon G-d with this name to pardon sin.
[2848] The text says that R. Akiba thought that the messiah sat on a throne adjacent to G-d. See Text 3-37: Sanhedrin 38b
[2849] See Text 3-37: Sanhedrin 38b
[2850] See 10.3 The 8 Letter Name of G-d
[2851] The Meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls, A. Powell Davies, p.91
[2852] Encyclopedia Britannica
[2853] Ibid.
[2854] The Meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls, A. Powell Davies, p.99
[2855] Ibid, p.100
[2856] The Meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls, A. Powell Davies, p.105
[2857] http://www.pathguy.com/didache.htm
[2858] http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/didache-roberts.html
[2859] http://ezinearticles.com/?expert_bio=Dennis_Diehl Dennis’ writings are quite extraordinary. http://members.aol.com/MercStG/ChriMithPage1.html http://media.www.iowastatedaily.com/media/storage/paper818/news/2004/12/08/HotTopics/Column.Mithra.Is.The.Reason.For.The.Season-1102514.shtml
[2860] http://jdstone.org/cr/files/mithraschristianity.html
[2861] http://ezinearticles.com/?The-Original-Sun-of-God&id=93709
[2862] Platonic forms are divine ideas. A divine form parallels every physical form in creation. Seeking to understand Plato’s seven spheres is a philosophical endeavor. The Aristotelian Golden Mean is an idea of balance similar to the balance between the left and right pillars of the Tree of Life.
[2863] Kabbalah New Perspectives, Moshe Idel, p.136
[2864] Harris Lenowitz
[2865] Sefer Yetzirah, Kaplan commentary in the section that there are ten not eleven and not nine.
[2866] Encyclopedia Britannica, Pythagoreanism – Major Concerns and Teachings
[2867] The Greek Qabalah, Kieran Barry, p.29
[2868] Sefer Yetzirah The Book of Creation In Theory and Practice, Aryeh Kaplan, p.34.
[2869] Encyclopedia Britannica, Pythagoreanism article.
[2870] Ibid.
[2871] http://loveenki.blogspot.com/2009/07/enki-and-history-of-humankind-1-i-am.html
[2872] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enki
[2873] http://www.sacred-texts.com/ane/sum/index.htm; http://www.houseofdavid.ca/eden.htm#_ednref6
[2874] See Sec. 6.2.1
[2875] Jewish angels have names from Hebrew as opposed to Zoroastrian angels.

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