Was Jesus The Righteous Teacher Of The Essenes?

Was Jesus An Essene???

Although we cannot be certain that Jesus was an Essene, we can reasonably come to this conclusion because he held certain opinions that were common with Essene teaching and he presumably had friends among them.

The commonness between the Dead Sea Scrolls and Christian literature and practice that connect Jesus with the Essenes indicate a relationship not only between early Christians and the Essenes, but also a relationship between the Essenes and Jesus himself. It is also reasonable to assume that the early church based in Jerusalem – the Nazoreans who were the followers of James – was the equivalent of the Qumran community (1).

Were the Essenes involved in the risky venture of drugging Jesus to simulate death and then revive him and relocate him in Ephesus together with Mary Magdalene and Juda? If they were involved, was their involvement because Jesus was one of them – their Righteous Teacher perhaps?

It is reasonable to conclude based on the many similarities between the teachings of the two that Jesus was a leader of sorts even if that recognition came only from the Ebionites. However after the crucifixion of Jesus, James who was the leader of the Essenes accepted Jesus as someone special – a messiah and perhaps even the son of God.

Some say that it was because of Jesus’ connection with the Essenes that James his brother also became associated with the community and it is because of this that the early Christians were from this community.

References:
(1) Baigent, Michael. (2000). The Essenes and the Dead Sea Scrolls, The Cornerstone Society. Retrieved 2011, from  www.cornerstonesociety.com

Please read my blogs:
The Essenes And Christianity

https://familytombofjesus.wordpress.com/2015/12/10/the-essenes-and-christianity/

Did Early Christians Copy The Essenes?
https://familytombofjesus.wordpress.com/2015/12/18/did-early-christians-copy-the-essenes/

Advertisements

Was There A Conspiracy In The Burial Of Jesus?

The Burial of Jesus – What Probably Happened —

Eight years of research may seem rather protracted even if the subjects are as complex as the tomb of Jesus, the ossuary of James and the role of Mary Magdalene in the early Church and her relationship to Jesus. But eight years is not really all that long when you consider that the study is about events that happened 2000 years ago, when the available literature is not ample and whatever is available is riddled with controversies and contradictions.

Jesus taken down from the cross

(Fig 1) Jesus is brought down from the cross

With the available information and reasonable conjectures the task at hand is to try and resolve the many puzzles and reconstruct what in all likelihood happened.

We have seen what the early and subsequent Christian writers had to say about the significant aspects of the life and death of Jesus, about James the Just and the role of Mary Magdalene.

Separating Fact From Fiction

After the crucifixion of Jesus, there was a scramble for the leadership of his movement. Many of the contenders wrote their own gospels. This is the reason why there was a time when more than twenty gospels were in existence. A few of the authors claimed that the resurrected Jesus appeared to them and their authority to teach his word was received directly from him. And to add credibility to what they preached, they sometimes tailored events relating to Jesus to suit their teachings and the audience for which they were meant. At times they did this by altering some of the events in Jesus’ life to make them appear as fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies. To those who would not accept Jesus as God, they made him a messiah. For those who were oppressed and longed for divine deliverance they made him god.

We have crucifixion narratives from people who were not even witnesses to the event. We have accounts of the resurrection from people who went into hiding fearing for their own lives. As a consequence, there are different versions of these two seminal events. Mark’s narration of the crucifixion, which was probably the first, involves “a kind of crucifixion drama … compiled to meet the religious needs of a Gentile Church” (1).

As for the resurrection narratives, the versions are even more diverse. There are different claims as to who the resurrected Jesus first appeared. We are also not sure whether he appeared to the apostles in Galilee or in Jerusalem. There are varying reports that he appeared as a spirit and then there are claims that he appeared in flesh and blood (2).

The form of Christianity advocated by James was not a new religion, but “a Jewish messianic movement centered on Jesus”.  On the other hand Paul “pushed Christianity in an increasingly Gentile direction as the first century progressed” (3).

Paul molded a Christianity that had greater appeal and eventually prevailed as the dominant religion. In time Jamesian Christianity was sidelined and much of the other literature was branded as heresy. The fact that Paul wrote about 40% of the New Testament is further proof that “victors write history”.

The Crucified Jesus Comes Back To Life

We know that Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus took down Jesus from the cross with the help of the centurion Abenadar. While Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus held the upper body of Jesus the centurion took upon himself the responsibility of drawing out the huge nails that were driven through the palms and feet of Jesus. After Jesus was brought down the centurion trudged off towards Pilot’s house and the two middle-aged men carried Jesus to the well in Joseph of Arimathea’s garden that lay just beyond the city walls quite close to Golgotha.

The two benevolent gentlemen propped up Jesus against the wall of the well and began to wash off the blood in accordance with the Jewish custom (4). Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus then applied myrrh and aloes on Jesus. When they were about it, Jesus began to show signs of life. Were the two men shocked? Far from it! The two had indeed expected just this.  While myrrh and aloes are also used as perfumes, in this instance they were used for their medicinal properties to revive Jesus who was in a state of coma. All indications are that Joseph of Arimathea had made a deal with Pilate.

When Jesus was brought before the Sanhedrin not all members agreed that Jesus had committed blasphemy and deserved to die. For instance Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus argued with the other members of the Sanhedrin that Jesus had done no wrong. Joseph of Arimathea knew that somehow the other members of the Sanhedrin would force Pilate to decree the death penalty for Jesus. He was sure that Pilate dared not go against the committee as the Jewish leaders had threatened to report him to Caesar if he refused to crucify Jesus. So Joseph of Arimathea decided to approach Pilate with a proposal.

It was common knowledge that Pilate was a corrupt procurator. And Joseph of Arimathea being a wealthy merchant offered Pilate a hefty bribe to decree that Jesus be crucified on the day of preparation. This would mean that Jesus would be on the cross for only a few hours. Pilate must have known that Jesus would be drugged and taken down from the cross while he appeared dead.

According to John (John 19:28) Jesus said “I am thirsty”.  In response he was given a sponge soaked in vinegar/ soured wine. The Romans were cruel beyond an extent. They are said to do this to revive the victim so that he is conscious to feel pain. But in the case of Jesus it seemed to have had the exact opposite reaction. After receiving the sour wine Jesus said “It is finished,” and then he bowed his head and lost consciousness. This is probably because that the vinegar was not just vinegar. It was in all likelihood laced with a drug that caused Jesus to appear dead. Belladonna and soporific drugs were common in the Middle East at that time. Some scholars have suggested the involvement of the Essenes who were the followers of Jesus (5).

While it took many hours and in some cases a couple of days for victims of crucifixion to die, Jesus was declared dead after being on the cross for just three hours. From the sequence of events before and during the crucifixion it would appear that there was a conspiracy to make sure that Jesus was not put to death.

After he was convinced that Jesus appeared dead to the handful of onlookers, Joseph of Arimathea approached Pilate for permission to take down Jesus from the cross. We are told that at first on hearing Joseph of Arimathea’s request, Pilate is surprised that the request should have come so soon. He carried on the charade by sending a centurion to verify that Jesus was no more. In those days the checks to verify that a person was dead were not as refined as they are today. So probably the centurion decided that Jesus was dead after a visual inspection.

Another factor to consider is that the Jewish leaders went to Pilate and asked that the legs of Jesus be broken. While the legs of the victims on either side of Jesus were shattered, Jesus’ legs were not broken. Roman soldiers were generally known for their cruelty. They sometimes crucified victims in different positions merely for their amusement. It is difficult to believe that they were either compassionate and therefore did not smash the legs of Jesus or that they did not do so because they were convinced that Jesus was dead from a cursory glance at the body on the cross.

We are also told that one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side. And when he saw a mixture of water and blood ooze out he was convinced that Jesus was dead. According to some sources it was not “water and blood” but just blood. Besides who knows for certain one way or the other? After all there were no apostles who witnessed the crucifixion.  As per the Gospels “they all forsook him and fled” (Mark 14:50).

Longinus

(Fig 2) Longinus – the soldier who pierced the side of Jesus

According to apocryphal writings – The Gospel of Nicodemus (The Acts of Pilate) – the name of the soldier who pierced the side of Jesus was “Longinus”. Legend has it that this soldier was partially blind. Of all the soldiers available, why would a partially blind soldier be chosen to deliver the coup de grace and why would he pierce the side of Jesus and not aim for the heart?

Conspiracy Between Joseph Of Arimathea And Pilate

All indications are that there was a conspiracy between Joseph of Arimathea and Pilate to make sure that Jesus did not die as a result of the crucifixion. For whatever reason, there is no doubt that Pilate played the central role in making sure of this. If Pilate did not help to ensure that Jesus was not killed on the cross, why would the calendars of the Saints of the Coptic Church, both in Egypt and in Ethiopia, depict Pilate and his wife as “saints” (6)?

After they had washed him, they carried Jesus inside Joseph of Arimathea’s house and left him there in the care of the Essenes. The two then prepared what looked like a body wrapped in burial linen known in Hebrew as a takrik and in the rabbinic sources as a sadin using the 75 lbs of spices that Nicodemus had brought and whatever else they could use. They then carried what looked like a body in burial linen to the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea as already arranged. At the site of the tomb were Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses.

Joseph of Arimathea who was the initiator of the plot knew that sooner or later there would be trouble from the Jewish elders. Because of this he asked the beloved disciple John to take Mary the mother of Jesus and go to Ephesus a place that was familiar to Joseph of Arimathea because of his frequent business trips to England. It is likely that he stopped over on his to and fro trips and had friends there.  This is the reason why both Mary the mother of Jesus and John were absent during the entombment and other than the two men and two women, there were no relatives or followers of Jesus at the burial site.

We know from Matthew 27:57 “evening having come, a rich man from Arimathea coming up to Pilate, requests the body of Yeshua”. We also know from elsewhere in the Bible Mark 15:42 that “Now evening occurring” has been interpreted as “when the sun sets”. So by the time Joseph of Arimathea approached Pilate it was already after sunset. And by the time Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus carried Jesus to Arimathea’s garden and then prepared what appeared to be his body, it must definitely have been past sunset.

When Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus reached the tomb with what appeared to be the body of Jesus it was almost dark – presumably that part of the day when it was dark, but not dark enough to light a lamp. In addition to the two women – Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses – there were only a few Jewish guards there. The soldiers sat to a side indifferent to the burial rituals and the women stood at a distance still too distraught with the events of the day. Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus carried the burial linen with its contents to the tomb’s interior. There they placed the bundle on the bench along one of the walls, opened it, spread the spices on the loculus, folded the linen and kept it to one side and emerged from the tomb to the relief of the women who waited outside. That done the women proceeded to their homes. Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus blocked the entrance to the tomb with a golal, bid the guards goodnight and left in the direction of Joseph of Arimathea’s house that was just a short distance away.

Plausible Explanation For The Empty Tomb

This is the only plausible explanation for the empty tomb: the body of Jesus was never interred there. There is no question of the apostles robbing the body of Jesus. They would not dare attempt any such bravado, too frightened for their own lives. As for the bodily resurrection of Jesus being an explanation for the empty tomb, there are no witnesses to the phenomenon and there are too many contradictions to lend credence to the claim.

Could Joseph of Arimathea have executed this plot with only the connivance of Pilate and the help of his middle-aged friend Nicodemus? Seems unlikely! It is quite probable that he had the help of the followers of Jesus and James. If this is so, then we must try and figure out if Jesus and James were Essenes and what Jesus meant to the sect.

 References:
1) https://books.google.co.in/books?id=jaa9CgAAQBAJ&pg=PT77&lpg=PT77&dq=a+kind+of+crucifixion+drama+…+compiled+to+meet+the+religious+needs+of+a+Gentile+Church&source=bl&ots=oRKEeWae-q&sig=HlqUyuMX3OGedPtGCPxyNWljMUM&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjVmL6HlPnKAhUTGI4KHSCnABQQ6AEIHTAA#v=onepage&q=a%20kind%20of%20crucifixion%20drama%20…%20compiled%20to%20meet%20the%20religious%20needs%20of%20a%20Gentile%20Church&f=false

2) Bercovitz, J. Peter.  (2004). Resurrection Narratives. Retrieved 2012, from http://www.paulonpaul.org/jesus/narr_3_resurr.htm

(3) Shanks, Hershel & Witherington iii, Ben. (2009). The Brother of Jesus. Harper- Collins ebooks. New York. Pg. 114.

(4) Gibson, Shimon. (2009). The Final Days of Jesus. The Archaeological Evidence. HarperCollins Publishers Inc. New York.

(5) Kareem, Abdullah . (n.d.). Jesus Survived the Cross. Retrieved 2011, from http://www.answering-christianity.com/abdullah_smith/jesus_survived_cross.htm

(6) Ata ur-Rahim, Muhammad. (1996). Jesus: Prophet of Islam. Tahrike Tarsile Qur’an pg. 37.

Picture Credits:
(Fig 1) Jesus is taken down from the cross https://in.pinterest.com/pin/282741682828797411/

(Fig 2) Longinus https://www.google.co.in/search?hl=en&site=imghp&tbm=isch&source=hp&biw=1280&bih=637&q=Longinus&oq=Longinus&gs_l=img.12..0l10.2184.2184.0.11983.1.1.0.0.0.0.225.225.2-1.1.0….0…1ac..64.img..0.1.224.hJ4zCcGqTKY#hl=en&tbm=isch&q=longinus+moriones&imgrc=fv5ovg5u78T26M%3A

 

Amazing details about the family of Jesus

How Big Was The Family Of Jesus?

Matthew 13:55-56 and Mark 6:3 (see also Mk. 3:31; Lk. 8:20; Jn. 2:12; 7:3-5; Acts 1:14; Gal. 1:19; 1 Cor. 9:5) talk of the brothers and sisters of Jesus. These references gave the rise to the confusion whether these so called brothers and sisters of Jesus were his blood siblings. This issue became pertinent because the bible uses the Greek words adelphos and adelphe – literally meaning brother and sister respectively – to describe Jesus’ relationship to the supposed brothers and sisters.

Antonio_da_Fabriano_II_-_Saint_Jerome_in_His_Study_-

(Fig 1) St. Jerome in his study

Why did the bible use the words adelphos and adelphe if the brothers and sisters were not the full brothers and sisters of Jesus? This according to some is an error of translation. Hebrew and Aramaic – the former being the original language of the bible and the latter, the language of the time – did not have a word to denote cousin or nephew or other such relationships.

As a result when required to be exact one would have had to say “the son of my father’s brother” or simply “my brother”. In the latter case the relationship was correctly understood based on tradition. Because of this, when the old testament was translated to Greek, the version called the “Septuagint” or “LXX” the traditional Hebrew expression adelphos was used even though there is a word in Greek to denote a cousin simply because the Hebrew expression was customarily also understood as cousin. This convention was continued in the New Testament also.

Were These 6 The Blood Siblings Of Jesus?

In support of their claim that the six brothers and sisters of Jesus were indeed his blood siblings some scholars claim that Jesus was referred to in the Bible as the “first-born son” of Mary, implying that Mary had other children besides Jesus. However St. Jerome, a priest, confessor, theologian and historian, contests this claim by saying that during the time of Jesus it was tradition to use the moniker “first born” to refer to the child that first comes out of a womb, even though there may not have been other children after that.  He states that “The word of God defines first-born as everything that openeth the womb.”

However since the Bible refers to Jesus as the first born of Mary it is possible that Joseph had children by a previous wife. According to apocryphal sources it seems that when he was forty years, Joseph married a woman named Melcha or Escha. Other sources name this woman Salome. In any case it is said that they were married for forty nine years and that the couple had six children – two girls and four boys. The boys were named Justus, Simon, Judas and James and the girls Assia and Lydia. These six children of Joseph would thus be the step brothers and sisters of Jesus.

But there are those who argue that the Jews of Jerusalem during the time of Jesus still followed the Mosaic Law which encouraged married couples to have many children. So why would Joseph and Mary want to be different?

Saint Jerome who also held the perpetual virginity doctrine, argued that the brothers of Jesus were in fact sons of Mary’s sister, whom Jerome identified as Mary of Cleopas.

The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church refers to a statement by a modern scholar, whom it does not identify, that the brothers of Jesus were the sons of Clopas (Joseph’s brother according to Hegesippus) and Mary, the wife of Cleopas without clarifying whether or not this Mary was the sister of Jesus’ mother.

A few modern writers identify Mary of Clopas with Jesus’ mother. James Tabor postulated that Clopas, whom he accepts as a brother of Joseph, became the second husband of Jesus’ mother. Tabor argues that Clopas married Mary according to the Levirate law. This is unlikely as this would only apply in case of a childless widow. (1)

(1) References  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clopas

Picture Credits:
St. Jerome in his study https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jerome#/media/File:Antonio_da_Fabriano_II_-_Saint_Jerome_in_His_Study_-_Walters_37439.jpg

 

An Authentic Account Of Jesus’ Crucifixion Survival

My crucifixion
(Fig 1) My Own Painting of the Crucifixion

Did Jesus Survive The Crucifixion?

Pontius Pilate who was the Roman prefect (governor) of Judea was the one who presided over the trial of Jesus. For one or all of the following reasons Pilate could have ensured that Jesus did not die on the cross.

1) He was not convinced that Jesus had committed a crime so severe as to deserve death by crucifixion.

2) While Pilate was known to be a cruel governor, he was also notorious for being corrupt. According to some accounts he could have taken a hefty bribe from Joseph of Arimathea and spared Jesus’ life.

3) Pilate was also reluctant to condemn Jesus to death because his wife Claudia Procula interceded on behalf of Jesus. He could have spared Jesus’ life acceding to his wife’s pleas.

Another aspect that indicates that there was a conspiracy to spare the life of Jesus was the fact that Jesus’ legs were not broken while the legs of other two crucified along with him were broken. Besides this while other victims of crucifixion lingered on the cross for several hours and in some cases a couple of days before they died, Jesus was declared dead after being on the cross for a mere three hours.

However all this is just conjecture.

But consider the following. There is more substance to these claims that Jesus survived the crucifixion than just speculation.

1) Prophet Of The Children Of Israel

On the peak of a hill near the Dal Lake in Kashmir was a grand temple commonly referred to as the Takhat Sulaiman or the Throne of Solomon. There were four inscriptions on this structure.

‘The mason of this pillar is Bihishti Zargar, Year fifty and four,’ was the first.

The second was ‘Khwaja Rukun, son of Murjan erected this pillar.’

‘At this time Yuz Asaf proclaimed his prophethood. Year fifty and four,’ was the third.

And the fourth was ‘He is Jesus, Prophet of the Children of Israel.’

2) I Am Called A Son Of God

Shalivahana a good and brave ruler had recently defeated attacking hordes of Chinese Parthians, Scythians and Bactrians. One day when Shalivahana went to the Himalayas he saw a man sitting on a mountain. The man’s expression was calm and peaceful. The man was light skinned and wore white garments. Shalivahana was impressed by the holy man. The king asked the man who he was.

Shalivahana

(Fig 2) Shalivahana Chakravarthi

To this the holy man replied ‘I am called a son of God, born of a virgin, minister of the non-believers, relentless in the search of truth.’

“What is your religion?” the king asked the holy man.

‘O great King, I come from a foreign country, where there is no longer truth and where evil knows no bounds. In the land of the non-believers, I appeared as the Messiah. O King, lend your ear to the religion that I brought unto the non-believers. Through justice, truth, meditation and unity of spirit, man will find his way to Issa in the centre of light. God, as firm as the sun, will finally unite the spirit of all wandering beings in himself. Thus, O King, the blissful image of Issa, the giver of happiness, will remain forever in the heart; it is for this that I am called Issa-Masih.’ The holy man replied.

This dialogue between the great king and the holy man is recorded Bhavishya Mahapurana. While the exact dates of the Gospels are only estimates, the exact date of the ninth book of the Bhavishya Mahapurana is unambiguous. It was written by the Sutta in A.D. 115.

3) Jesus Was Alive In A.D. 115

St. Irenaeus of Lyons an Early Church Father, Bishop, and declared Doctor of the Church lived between the years of 125-203 A.D.

saint_irenaeus_oflyons

(Fig 3) St. Irenaeus of Lyons

In A.D. 185 Irenaeus is said to have written the following in his Book II, Chapter 22 of his treatise “Against Heresies”:

On completing His thirtieth year He suffered, being in fact still a young man, and who had by no means attained to advanced age . . . from the fortieth and fiftieth year a man begins to decline towards old age, which our Lord possessed while He still fulfilled the office of a Teacher, even as the Gospel and all the elders testify.

According to Irenaeus Jesus was alive and carrying on his mission at the age of fifty. We are given to understand that at fifty Jesus was not the strong young man he was at the time of his crucifixion. Is it possible that Irenaeus based his statements on a history book from India called the Bhavishya Mahapurana that spoke of a meeting that had happened in A.D. 115?  (1)

References:
1) The Rozabal Line, Ashwin Sanghi

Picture Credits:
(Fig 1) My own painting of the Crucifixion

(Fig 2) Shalivahana Chakravarthi https://www.google.co.in/search?hl=en&site=imghp&tbm=isch&source=hp&biw=1280&bih=637&q=shalivahana+chakravarthi&oq=shalivahana+&gs_l=img.1.0.0l9j0i30.112.4955.0.7873.11.7.0.4.4.0.460.933.5j4-1.6.0….0…1ac.1.64.img..1.10.964.sJ2_Xt_3aeQ#imgrc=BVp8NHOB0f_aEM%3A

(Fig 3) St. Irenaeus of Lyons https://www.google.co.in/search?hl=en&site=imghp&tbm=isch&source=hp&biw=1280&bih=637&q=shalivahana+chakravarthi&oq=shalivahana+&gs_l=img.1.0.0l9j0i30.112.4955.0.7873.11.7.0.4.4.0.460.933.5j4-1.6.0….0…1ac.1.64.img..1.10.964.sJ2_Xt_3aeQ#hl=en&tbm=isch&q=St.+Irenaeus+of+Lyons+&imgrc=7drg9vLNTuqwCM%3A